8-9 GOOD NEWS Moms Helping Moms
10-12 GOOD PRODUCTS Made by Mama Cookies, Cakes, Pops and Parties
14 GOOD PEOPLE Local Heroes Save a Neighborhood Center
16-19 History Comes Alive Christopher Settle
21 Supplements: Are You Getting What you Paid For? David Foreman
23 The Benefits of Getting to Know Your Child’s Temperament Paige Michaelis
24-27 The Variety Of Education Choices In Pinellas County Pamela Settle
28 A Note from Pinellas County Sherriﬀ Bob Gualtieri
31 A Note from Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman
32 A Note from Pinellas County School Michael A. Grego
34-35 Editorial: Fighting For Families Legislative Session 2015 and beyond Pamela Settle
About the Cover The cover model is local hero Torrie Jasuman, resident of St. Petersburg and founder of Babycycle with her two children. Photographed by Brandi Morris also of St. Petersburg. (727) 515-6659 • Brandiimage.com
36-37 The Celebration of the Florida Strawberry 38 My Story Christine Tsotsos
Can a magazine care about your family?
Yes it can and we do every day!
SPRING ISSUE 2015 Volume 6 • Issue 1
Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC
Editor-in-Chief Pamela Settle
Design and Layout Marcie Kelliher
ContribuƟng Writers Dr. Marcie Biddleman Christopher Settle Dave Foreman Dr. Michael Grego Sheriff Bob Gualtieri Paige Michaelis Christine Tsotsos
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GoodLiving® Magazine & GoodLivingMagazine.com P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656 firstname.lastname@example.org GoodLiving® magazine is a publication of Light Shine Media Group, LLC and is available to readers by a paid annual subscription available at tampabaygoodliving.com. Promotional copies are distributed through establishments as a courtesy to their customers and clients. Additional copies are donated to local schools as a community service. To request copies, contact email@example.com. All photographs, artwork, design and editorial are the sole property of GoodLiving® magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission. GoodLiving® magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC are not responsible for statements made by advertisers and writers for any consequences arising from omissions or errors. Readers should verify the advertising information of the advertisers and all specials are valid to the expiration date set by the advertiser. GoodLiving® magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC reserve the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Letter from Editor As I write this, my heart is breaking for a girl in our community. A middle-school aged girl whose life is in crisis because her cell phone let hurtful people into her life, right under the eyes a loving mother. It took another teenager to uncover the hidden apps on her phone revealing a secret life that shocked her family. The damage is done and now they attempt to heal. There are countless stories like this one. Maybe not cell phone predators, maybe it’s drugs, bullying, struggles with school work or an unplanned pregnancy. These threats and more are out there and impact families of all races, neighborhoods and income levels. At a recent Juvenile Welfare Board event, Mike Carroll the new head of the Florida Department of Children and Families said this, “The litmus test for any community is ‘how are your children doing?’” In Pinellas County, like every other county in Florida, the answers are somber. Thousands of children are hungry and waiting lists for quality child care are long. Children are entering school not ready to learn and appropriate services for mental health or special needs therapies are not available for all who need them. But on the flipside to Mr. Carroll’s question, I’ll oﬀer this, “The litmus test for any community is what is being done to help our children and families?” That shows a more uplifting picture. In this issue we celebrate moms who come together to help other moms. We celebrate moms who earn money for their families in creative ways. We celebrate volunteers who rebuilt a community center, a retired teacher who started an after-school program and a variety of advocacy eﬀorts that are out there to make the Florida a better state for kids. Additionally, our community leader columns by Dr. Grego, Dr. Biddleman and Sheriﬀ Gaultieri share just a small picture of what is being done on behalf of families. Every day, in all walks of life, people are putting their heads together to create solutions. It starts with the mom who buys an extra case of diapers and ends with large government funded programs. Somewhere along that continuum, we can all find a way to participate. I urge you to come and get involved with GoodLiving® Magazine as we share what’s happening in our communities. Follow us on Twitter, Like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter at GoodLivingMagazine.com. Share our magazine with your friends and let us know if you need copies for your school or organization. We work hard to create a publication that stands the good things in our community, provides locally relevant information and shares the best resources for raising a happy and healthy family. Can a magazine care about your family? Yes it can and we show it every day through words and actions. Until next time,
Moms Helping Moms Pinellas County is full of heart. Just ask the moms who are out there helping other moms. First, there are the charities that support moms who can’t buy the things they need for their children. Domestic violence shelters like CASA, pregnancy centers like Kimberly Home and organizations that give directly to moms like Clothes to Kids and Babycycle. These organizations, and others like them, take gently used baby items and clothing as well as new food, diapers and wipes. The Healthy Start Coalition holds annual baby showers to provide items to moms who need a break. Nobody understands or cares about babies more than the community of moms. And then there’s the grassroots giving that happens on Facebook to help a mom who suddenly finds herself with a seriously ill child. In North County, the Helping Hands for Hudson Facebook page has been giving a local mom moral support and needed fundraising while the family deals with their young son’s cancer. More than 6,500 people follow their journey, offering prayers and support. Other moms are putting up GoFundMe pages to help fellow moms in dire straits with sick children. Social media has opened up many doors for neighbors to help neighbors.
create a solution, and Babycycle was born. “Having two little ones of my own, I can’t imagine having to face the reality that one in three women in Tampa Bay face not being able to afford to diaper their child. Many choose between diapers and wipes and food or the electric bill and I don’t think that’s a choice any parent should have to make.” Her efforts are making a huge difference, in her heart and the hearts of those she helps. “It’s deeply fulfilling to me. We see the difference in the lives of those we serve. The sadness and fear the women walk in with is replaced with hope by the time they walk out the door. It’s not just about diapers - it’s about the hope for a new tomorrow and the love we share with them.” Babycycle has a warehouse on 47th Ave. North and five drop off locations in the St. Petersburg area, including The Posh Tot and Yoga Blu Studios. Drop off locations accept all items, small or large. Call to arrange a drop off at the warehouse. Babycycle has two days a month the public can volunteer: agency distribution day (2nd Thursday of the month) and client distribution day (last Saturday of the month). WIC and Healthy Start refer clients, but moms in need can show up on the last Saturday of the month without a referral. Torrie urges all moms to get involved somehow in helping others, whether its collecting diapers for Babycycle or volunteering at a school. She personally likes doing service alongside other women in her community in civic groups. “ I happen to love The Exchange Club of St. Petersburg, The Junior League of St. Petersburg and the GFWC Jr. Women’s Club of St. Petersburg. All have a wonderful heart of service attitude and can really help moms get involved in local volunteer efforts.”
One such neighbor went the extra mile to help fellow moms. Torrie Jasuwan, our beautiful cover model, of St. Petersburg was looking for a way to pass along baby items she no longer needed and didn’t find what she was looking for. So like so many other problem solving moms, she took it on herself to
Babycycle Currently collecting diapers and wipes, plus all other baby items, at their five drop off locations. Moms who want to help can hold diaper drives for disposal or gently used cloth brands. They also accept cash donations at their website BabycycleFL.org
Moms Helping Moms
Other organizations for moms to help other moms
For 30 years, the Kimberly Home in Clearwater has been helping women and their children. Volunteers and donations are constantly needed to meet the ongoing need. Among the many services they provide are pregnancy and ultrasound testing, counseling/mentoring, infant and toddler daycare and providing material items to new moms.
Clothes to Kids
“One way the community can get involved is by helping with baby showers and donating supplies,” said Sharon Joller, a volunteer. Earlier this month, Sharon helped them kick off the opening of their daycare center that will care for babies from eight weeks to three years. While babies are getting good care, the moms will be helped with education and job training. The new center has some immediate needs: musical instruments, CD players, infant sand/water table plus sand/water toys, different career costumes, paper towels, Dreft laundry detergent, high chairs (with plastic cushion), multi-ethnic dolls and clothes and push, riding and pulling toys. Another way to help is attend their “A Touch of Southern Grace,” annual Gala and Auction held March 27th at 6:30 p.m. at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. Enjoy dinner, music and a live silent auction. Top hats and parasols are optional. Tickets are $100 or $180 for two. For more information or to reserve your place, contact Katherine at (727) 443-0471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This organization accepts new and gently used clothing and shoes for school-aged children. Families come to their two locations to obtain free clothing for their children. Drop clothing at their stores or hold a clothing drive for your school, church or neighborhood. Hold a drive at your church or collect within your circle of friends. Support them and learn more at ClothestoKids.org
(Community Action Stops Abuse) Women who leave an abusive situation often arrive at CASA with only a garbage bag holding their personal belongings. Donation drives and fundraisers for new and used items mean so much to survivors who must start over with nothing. Used clothing and household items can be delivered to the CASA Thrift Shoppe. New items are to go to the CASA administration offices during regular business hours M-F from 9-5 p.m. CASA-StPete.org
Alpha House This organization in St. Petersburg assists moms in crisis with a pregnancy. They need volunteers to help with fundraising, event planning, donation collection and sorting, and huggers and rockers for babies when mom is in a group session. They accept maternity and ladies clothes, baby clothing, toys and accessories and baby food, formula and diapers. Donations are accepted at 701 5th Ave N., St. Petersburg. Alphahousepinellas.org
Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas A Touch of Souern Grace
The Healthy Start Coalition through its Momcare program goes into the homes and helps moms learn how to care for their unborn and newborn babies. They also connect them to resources so baby’s life gets off to a healthy start. They accept ongoing donations of diapers and wipes. Drop them off at their location at 2600 East Bay Drive, Suite 205 in Largo. HealthyStartPinellas.org
Annual Gala and Auction March 27 • 6:30 p.m.
at the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa
Made by Mama
Locally made items that are for sale. Women are so creative, resilient and strong! We celebrate their ingenuity as mompreneurs in their quest to be at home with their children while earning income doing something they love. These are products sold by woman who are a part of Made by Mama, a private Facebook group started by Lisa Duncan-Thayer two years ago to help local shoppers connect with local small business owners. Many of these products are sold one-to-one, through Facebook or on Etsy. We can support local families by purchasing from these moms and others like them for gifts or items for our own families. Ask to join the group to become a shopper for things made with love by mama. Lisa Duncan-Thayer’s shop is Cozy Crochet. She makes custom hats and outfits like this adorable zebra dress. She has a soft spot for children going through chemotherapy and uses her business as a way to fund the free hats she makes for children who have lost their hair. Buy from Lisa at Facebook.com/CozyCrochetByLisa.
Preserve precious memories of loved ones with a custom Memory Quilt or Memory Bear made with love by Teresa Scholle. She uses clothing items cut into squares for the quilts. They are machined stitched to withstand washing over time and have a custom embroidered name on the back. She also makes Memory Bears from school uniforms, band uniforms, baseball jackets, dad’s flannel shirt and more. The bear shown is wearing a sweater and necktie that had belonged to a woman’s 90-year old brother who had just passed away. So sweet! Email Teresa at Teresa616@aol.com for more information. She says she loves a challenge so ask Joyful Blessings is a company owned her about your special project. by Melanie Merritt a mother of three from St. Petersburg. She accepts large orders for vinyl decals, custom shirts for teams, personalized clothing items, cups and much more. Her goal is to pay it forward, using profits to fund free items for children in hospitals throughout the U.S. She personally sews or customizes special items and ships them out in her free time. Being a mom of special needs kids, she has a real heart for blessing others who need a lift up. Shop her store at Facebook.com/JoyfulBlessings. Purchase this darling felt tea set from La Tea Da owned by Tina McGowin. She also makes adorable dolls using high quality cotton and 100% wool felt. Each tea set and doll is custom made and can be ordered through her Facebook page.
Madison Crosby owns Luca Lu and makes clothing, accessories, blankets and ring slings for babies. She uses organic fabrics and 100% organic, affordable teething necklaces and bunny ear teething toys. Madison has an Etsy page at etsy.com/shop/ lucaluandmomma2.
Made by Mama
Locally made items that are for sale.
Ruth Wilson of Sugar Jewels, Inc. makes tutus, headbands, hair clips, Shadow Ellis & Natalya Musallam run Sassy Sweethearts crowns and banners. Shop her store at Facebook.com/sugarjewelsfl or Boutique on Facebook. They believe girls need to have sugarjewels.etsy.com. Photo by Danielle Nicole Photography. accessories that are stylish, unique and affordably priced. Their boutique has affordable, trendy baby and children’s accessories and boutique clothing. Watch for flash sales, contests and giveaways at Facebook.com/SassySweetheartsBoutique Sea Sirens Mermaid Tails swimsuits by Ruth Dorst’s Mermaid Molly are walkable, swimmable and fun for adults or kids. Mermaid tail fabric is made out of bathing suit material so it is super stretchy, comfortable and safe for swimming. Go to SeaSirensInc.com to order.
Kristi of Capone Cottontail Vintage in St. Petersburg makes custom knit Holly Wilson’s unique treasures are found at Simply and crocheted stuffed critters, hats and Hammered on Facebook. Using old flatware she creates scarves. Her Etsy shop is at etsy.com/shop/ jewelry, keychains, bookmarks and other personalized gifts you CottontailVintage. She loves custom orders. find anywhere else. Facebook.com/simplyhammeredbyholly
Jennifer Williams of Jens Korky Kreations on Facebook has a variety of items made with wine bottles, corks and shells.
Chantal Jean-Louis knits custom baby blankets for only $45 plus shipping. Email her at email@example.com for more information. She says she works fast, so be sure an contact her for that baby gift you need to buy!
Cookies, Cakes Pops and Parties Brandi Costa of Painted and Sprinkled became a mompreneur out of necessity after her son was born with special needs. Once a teacher, Brandi now makes custom cake pops for parties. It is her outlet, a source of income and now her yummy art! Brandiâ€™s Facebook page is called Painted and Sprinkled. Facebook.com/paintedandsprinkled
Melissa Radcliff of Goodies and Displays specializes in custom 3D cupcake displays, cake pop displays, cake enhancers and party decor matching any theme. (727) 768-1976 or Facebook.com/goodiesunlimited
Francesa Hudson, mom of two from Westchase, will make you custom party decorations from her shop Pretty Lil Party. Her Etsy site is etsy.com/shop/ prettylilparty.
Elizabeth Monfred, owner of Nanaâ€™s Cookie Jar makes gorgeous custom cookies for parties and events for all phases of life from showers to adult birthday parties. For orders, email elizsbethd5@msn. com or call (813) 215-8491. Peruse her page for ideas at Facebook.com/nanascookiejar.
Sweet Suprise Cakes is owned by Heather Legere from Clearwater. She bakes and decorates custom cakes made from scratch with a marshmallow fondant. Find her shop at Facebook.com/ sweetsuprisecakes. Prices start at $25 and she delivers for a small fee.
FAITH EVENTS sponsored by:
Saturday, February 28th • 5 p.m.
Wednesday, March 18 • 12 p.m.
20967 US Highway 19 N, Clearwater
Christian Chamber of Commerce Monthly Business Building Lunch
Friday, March 6th • 10:30 a.m.
Feather Sound Country Club Speaker Steve Hopper, Ability to Influence. C3TB.org
Showcase for Jesus 2015 Lunch and a Concert with the Hyssups and more
Saturday, April 11th
Suncoast Cathedral, St. Petersburg
Motivational Book Club
Friday, March 6th • 7 p.m.
The National Parkinson Foundation’s Annual Moving Day USF Tampa
The Christian Comedy Tour: Family Comedy Night
Saturday April 18th • 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Tree of Life Church, St. Petersburg tickets $10 in advance/$15 at the door
Eckerd’s Community Alternatives Fifth Annual Golf Tournament East Lake Woodlands Country Club, Oldsmar
Saturday, March 7th • 8:30 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Suncoast Catholic Ministries Annual Men’s Conference
Saturday, April 25th
St. Lawrence Church, Tampa
The Christian Comedy Tour Family Friendly Comedy Night
Saturday, March 7th • 6:30 p.m.
Light of Christ Church, Clearwater tickets - $10 in advance/$15 at the door
My Wish: Father/Daughter Dinner and Dance Benefit for More 2 Life
Tuesday, May 12th • 6:30 - 8:15 a.m.
Feather Sound Country Club (727) 216-1404 ext 207 to order tickets
44th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast w/ Pat Williams from the Orlando Magic
Friday, March 20th • 7 p.m.
Tampa Convention Center for tickets call (727) 458-4824
Faith Connections International Ministries Game Changers
HE IS RISEN! Celebrate Easter at the church of your choice! Palm Sunday, March 29 and Easter Sunday, April 5
Healthy Happy Families
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Save a Neighborhood Center In 1969, Wade Clark made a vow to himself. That if he returned from the war in one piece that he would do something to bring people from all walks of life together; to serve human kind and work to unite others instead of tearing them down. In Clearwater, Florida, in 2015, Wade Clark made good on his vow the day the Martin Luther King, Jr. Neighborhood Center reopened to serve everyone in that community. The center, slated for demolition by the City of Clearwater due to the building’s disrepair had been a fixture in Clearwater since it opened 1974. Clark, a resident and neighborhood activist couldn’t bear to stand by and let it be torn down. In 2010, he garnered support from others in the neighborhood, and with the city’s okay, set out to raise funds to refurbish the center and reopen it as a non-profit. He started by founding The Clearwater Martin Luther King Jr. Neighborhood Center Coalition and today Clark today serves as its chairman. In 2015, just over four years later, he and the coalition celebrated the recent grand opening and the kick off of a whole slate of programs designed to be a positive force in the neighborhood for young and old.
Board of Directors of the Coalition and the Center Directors From the left (front row): Pat Harney, Rita Harvey, Karena Morrison, Rose Baker, Yvette Pendleton, Lillie Henry, Magnolia Green, Katrina Peterson From the left (back row): Milton James, Jimmy Pendleton, Larry Potter, Wade Clark, Sam Collie, Leroy Ed Rodes
and as part of community activism. Others have caught their enthusiasm and are coming in to be a part of the solution. Toastmasters International Club has committed to volunteer time to help with speaking skills. Part of the plan is for the participants to identify issues in their community and then go through the various steps of civic engagement attempt to create solutions at the local, state and national levels. This along with job training and soft skills development will go a long way to building better futures.
This is not a government-funded neighborhood program. Instead, the center has been refurbished and is being operated by volunteers and donor dollars. The neighborhood wanted the center to stay open and they have supported it to the point of reopening. Programs will be affordable, but residents will Two programs are being facilitated by other leaders who have have to pay a small fee to join and participate. Fundraising will continue. They currently have a Fundraising Brick campaign roots deep in Pinellas County and similar passions. One is underway for the outside of the center. Bricks engraved quotes Future PROS, run by Coach Frank Lang, a native of North from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are being personalized and Greenwood who was helped by the Center as a youth. After playing football on scholarship at the University of Cincinnati, sold for $100 and $200. he fulfilled his dream to come home and help the talented Each $200 brick buys a child an opportunity to be fully enrolled athletes succeed in academics as well as sports. His Future in all of their programs for a month. This includes a healthy snack PROS program has that goal, and he will be working with every day of the week through the Healthy Kids Cafe, ten hours youth at the Center. of tutoring each week, five hours of physical training each week, two hours of leadership training, participation in the community The newly formed Greenwood Youth Leadership Council garden and one month of full access to the Center. will be run by Marques Clark, a native of St. Petersburg, along with Coach Lang and Executive Director Karena Bowers. Marques will be directly working with youth to help them learn the skills necessary to succeed in life, business
Anyone interested in joining their effort is invited to stop by for a tour. They are open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Learn more or donate at ClearwaterMLKCenter.org.
by CHRISTOPHER SETTLE
enrich a history lesson for a student by creating an experience that will stick in the brain more than a textbook lesson can.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.
You can also explore Living History. People around the world don authentic clothing and daily items to portray an era of history at festivals or special events. Just as the name suggests, history comes alive for participants and spectators. In Europe, history reenactors bring to life the Middle Ages, the Dark Ages, Vikings, Ancient Greek times, the Tudor Dynasty and more. Here in America, since we are still fairly young, our historical reenactments are more modern: Colonial America, the Wild West, Civil War and World War II are popular eras. In Florida, unlike other states, reenactors are able to re-create the discovery of Florida by the Spanish and the Seminole Wars. It’s serious business as reenactors who do this as a hobby seek to make their historical impression as authentic as possible. But it is also fun, a unique hobby that builds friendships and keeps our past alive by connecting people together.
Patrick Henry (Virginia Convention • March 13, 1775)
Or in other words, You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. Today’s world is changing at rates faster than ever before. Events are unfolding before our eyes thanks to digital media. Social media allows for the sharing of information, and that includes inaccurate information, opinion, propaganda and hoaxes. The key to protecting ourselves from misinformation is to have a solid knowledge of history. To spark a love for history one needn’t look far to have it come alive for you and your children. History is so much more than dates and facts memorized for a test; it is a collection of stories of people like you and me who lived in an earlier time. A local history museum or attraction can be a fun day trip and a learning adventure. You can
Some reenacting eras are more open to family participation, where the kids come along and are part of the story. Matt and Tara Rojas and their children Angel (8) and Noah (2) recently started Civil War Reenacting with a unit based in Pinellas County, the 1st US Sharpshooters Co. F. They purchased authentic clothing and camp together during several events that happen throughout the year in Central Florida. “As a family, reenacting gives us to opportunity to spend time together away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, TV, and other distractions of modern life, and step back into time for the weekend immersed in history. The children play in the fresh air. At night, we all snuggle together in our small tent under our blankets. “Reenacting is something the children will always remember and what better way to learn history than to live it,” said Matt Rojas. Other families choose to use Living History events as a fun experience for their children. Many of the events pack other fun activities to make it a full day.
- 16 -
The following is a list of upcoming historical reenactments from different eras of history. Spectators are welcome and if it looks like something your family would have fun doing, just ask anyone there how to get involved. They will be happy to have you join them!
Medieval Reenact ing: Renaissance Festivals
The 37th Annual Bay Area Renaissance Festival February 14 - March 29, 2015 Take a journey back in time as more than 100 merchants fill in a charming 16th century village. Experience live armored jousting, 12 stages of entertainment, and seven theme weekends, plus fun and food for the whole family. Open weekends 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., rain or shine. Admission at the gate: Adults $19.95; Children 5-12 $11.95; four and under are free. Parking is free. Discount tickets are available at participating Walgreens stores and at MOSI. bayarearenfest.com/generalinfo.html
Seminole War: Pre -1840 Historical Impressions
The “Florida Frontier Guard” interprets the service of United States military personnel in Florida during the “Florida War” of 1835-1842, also called the “2nd Seminole War.” During that conflict, roughly 30,000 militia and volunteer troops were used to support the US Army’s operations in the Florida Territory. Battle of Okeechobee • February 28 - March 1, 2015 Okeechobee Battlefield Historic State Park, Okeechobee, Okeechobeebattlefield.com Big Cypress Shootout • March 14 - 15, 2015 Billie Swamp Safari, Big Cypress Indian Reservation bcshootout.com, Floridafrontierguard.com
Civil War Reenact ing and Civilian Impressions
Multiple units for Civil War Reenacting exist throughout Florida as units come together to re-create battles that happened here. Typically, a person joins one unit and that unit participates together. Units for the Confederacy and Union are open for membership. Learn more at Floridareenactorsonline.com The Battle of Natural Bridge • March 6 - 8, 2015 Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park in Williston Natural Bridge is the site of the second largest Civil War battle in Florida. During the final weeks of the Civil War, a Union flotilla landed at Apalachee Bay planning to capture Fort Ward and march north to the state capital. They were stopped by Confederates and forced to retreat to the coast. Tallahassee would remain the only Confederate capital east of the Mississippi not captured by the Union. There are picnic and fishing areas surrounded by woodlands for a comfortable place to relax and reflect back on Florida’s history. The 150th Occupation of Manatee • May 23, 2015 Manatee Village Historical Park in Bradenton In 1865, Union troops moved into the area and federal forces occupied the town of Manatee. With the help of Civil War soldiers and civilian reenactors, the village will come alive with the daily life of Federal occupation in May 1865. Visitors will be able to observe daily home life, boat building, church services, period children games and so much more. Visit the collection of restored buildings from Manatee County’s settlement history and experience life in Manatee County at the end of the Civil War.
World War Two
Since 1975, the WWII Historical Reenactment Society has brought history to life as an educational hobby, providing its members and the public with an authentic, safe time machine to the 1940s, using authentic uniforms, equipment, and vehicles. The membership of the organization is composed of historians, teachers, students, military collectors, veterans and others interested in the Second World War. Members provide displays and battle simulations for the public, tactical simulations for members, school presentations, veteran’s reunions, air show displays, parade participation and other community events when called upon. They do impressions of a variety of American, German, British and Japanese military units, including French resistance. The Rojas Family with their unit at the Brooksville Raid.
World War II Weekend • March 7 Dade Battlefield Historic State Park Commemorating the most widespread armed conflict in history and celebrating both military and popular civilian culture during the war years with Allied and Axis Uniformed Reenactors, Authentic Camps and Equipment, Mechanized Military Vehicles, Weapons Demonstrations, and a Battle Between Allied and German Forces. Grounds open at 10 a.m. Battle engagement at 2 p.m. $3 admission. Children under 6 and WWII vets are free. 7200 Battlefield Drive in Bushnell. (352) 793-4781. Dadebattlefield.com
Children running and playing at the Brooksville Raid.
World War II Items on Display • April 21- 26 41st Sun and Fun Fly In, International Fly In and Expo. Lakeland. 17 A- great event for anyone who loves aviation. Sun-n-Fun.org
2015 Old Florida Festival March 7 - 8 Collier County Museum Spend a day in the past with a Calusa Indian, a Seminole family, a Civil War soldier, a Cracker cattleman, a Spanish Conquistador and dozens of other costumed time-travelers at the Old Florida Festival. The annual family-style adventure brings together the state’s finest historical reenactors, craftworkers and living history presenters to recreate over ten centuries of everyday life on the Southwest Florida frontier. Continuous all-day demonstrations will be offered along with 1800s-style music and entertainment, cannon and musket firing, a Seminole War skirmish, and authentic military drills by soldiers from the American Revolution to World War II. Also to be enjoyed: Children’s Treasure Hunt, Gem Mining, and Face Painting; Civil War Camp and Dances; BBQ, Crafts, Live Music and more. Admission: Adults: $10, Children 10 - 18 are $5, and Children under 10 are free. Event Parking is free. OldFloridaFestival.com History Comes Alive, Dunedin Cemetery. March 7, 2015 Reenactors portray former members of the Dunedin Community and tell you about their lives and experiences. It’s a step back in time with those who actually lived it. dunedinmuseum.org
16th and 17th Century Florida
An organization called the Historic Florida Militia, Inc. (HistoricFloridaMilitia.com) has several different units that reenact various battles over the city of St. Augustine during the 16th and 17th centuries. Units are: Expedition of Hernando Desoto (16th-century Spanish); Men of Menendez (16th-century Spanish); Drake’s Men (16th-century English) and Searle’s Buccaneers (17th-century English).
PinellasMemory.org Pinellas Memory is a long-term project for local Pinellas County libraries to share the unique history of the area, from pioneer times to the modern day. Much of that history is retained locally by our libraries, historical societies, and community museums. Their shared goal is to increase public access to local history by digitizing collections of historical media to include old newspapers, photographs, pamphlets, postcards and more.
Drake’s Raid, St. Augustine 1586 Saturday • June 6th, 2015 Reenacting the raid of June 6th, 1586 when twenty-three English ships under the command of Sir Francis Drake approached the harbor of the Spanish colonial city of St. Augustine. They landed on Anastasia Island with cannons and eventually drove the Spanish from St. Augustine. A reenactment of this raid is held annually, along with drills, demonstrations and a nighttime reenactment of the sacking and burning of the town. Sack of St. Augustine: Capt. Robert Searle’s Raid of 1668 Saturday • March 7, 2015 Another English raid on our nations’ oldest city of St. Augustine. A 17th century-style military encampment will be open to the public along with drills, demonstrations and living history interpretation from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The reenactment of the sacking and burning of the town will commence Saturday evening at 4:30 p.m. in the old city, beginning at the Plaza and ending at the Old City Gates. - 18
Photos in this story courtesy of Visit St. Augustine.
History Museums to Check Out Tampa Bay History Center
Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center
The Art of Piracy: Pirates in Modern Culture Since the late 1600s, when Spanish galleons laden with gold sailed the Florida straits, tales of pirates and shipwrecks have floated through the history of Tampa Bay. The Art of Piracy: Pirates in Modern Culture, open through April 26th will examine the role of art in shaping the popular and iconic images associated with 17th and 18th century pirates in and around the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Atlantic seaboard.
Come see the new and improved Safety Harbor Museum, while participate in activities that celebrate the city’s history and growing arts community.
Operation Drumbeat: Nazi Threat in the Gulf While Allied Forces clashed on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific, a threat was brewing closer to home. German submarines lurked beneath the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, just a few miles from the Florida coast. Communities from Miami to Jacksonville, Tampa to New Orleans were under constant alert, threatened by an unseen enemy just below the surface of the ocean. Operation Drumbeat: Nazi Threat in the Gulf, features a 30-foot replica of a two-man WWII-era German Seehund “midget” submarine which was constructed by local exhibit designers Creative Arts as part of H2’s new reality show, Museum Men (BHN Channel 101; Verizon Channel 127). You can watch the episode featuring the Tampa Bay History Center here. Open through April 2015.
Indian Rocks Historical Museum irbmuseum.com The “Indian Rocks Area Historical Society and Museum” was founded in 1980 and is run by an enthusiastic group of volunteers who collect, preserve and share the history of Indian Rocks.
Dunedin Historical Museum dunedinmuseum.org The museum contains approximately 2,000 artifacts, 2,500 photographs and a library containing 200 volumes of local and Florida History. Included in the museum library collection is an electronic archive of the Dunedin Times Newspaper, from 1924 through 1965. March 7th, History Comes Alive, Dunedin Cemetery. Reenactors portray former members of the Dunedin Community and tell you about their lives and experiences. It’s a step back in time with those who actually lived it.
Tarpon Springs Historical Society & Welcome Center
American Victory Ship Mariners Museum
Palm Harbor Museum palmharbormuseum.com
Armed Forces History Museum armedforcesmuseum.com Build-a-Model Camp. Come join the fun and learn the basics of building a Level 1, snap together scale model. Camp includes a tour of the museum, set of authentic military dog tags, ride on the motion theater simulator, scale model and supplies and certificate.
Gulfport Historical Society and Museum gulfporthistoricalsociety.org
St. Petersburg Museum of History spmoh.com
Cracker Country Living History Museum crackercountry.org
Safford House Museum
Step back in time and enjoy as an experience guide leads you on an adventure that brings rural Florida’s history to life. Experience guides share the stories of Florida’s pioneers while touring you through Cracker Country’s original structures. Each tour lasts approximately 1-1 & ½ hours and can be tailored to meet a variety of interests. Florida History Group Tours of at least 15 people must be reserved at least three weeks in advance. Cracker Country is not open to the public on a daily basis. For a tour contact Jennifer Becker at Jennifer.Becker@freshfromflorida.com.
Pinellas County Heritage Village pinellascounty.org/Heritage
One of Tarpon Springs’ best kept secrets is the 1883 Safford House Museum. Visiting the home of one of the city’s original developers is a journey back in time. The Safford House has been restored to its original Victorian splendor and is open to the public. Today the Safford residence is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is owned and operated by the City of Tarpon Springs as a museum.
Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr. Veterans Museum at Veterans Memorial Park veteransparkhc.com/Museum.html
In the heart of Pinellas County, enjoy a day at this 21-acre living history museum with some of Pinellas County’s most historic buildings dating back to the 19th century.
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Supplements: Are You Getting What You Paid For? by DAVID FOREMAN, RPH, ND,
the same. Buyers beware. These other products are likely not from the exact same bean, extracted the same and with the same concentration.
THE HERBAL PHARMACIST I don’t often get time during my busy day to sit down and watch television, but recently was able to catch a popular health show that was discussing weight loss. As much as I truly appreciate medical experts sharing supplements on TV, most often valuable information is omitted. Here is a great example: The segment was a discussion of white kidney bean extract in regards to weight loss. As with most of the supplements I have seen discussed on TV, this information is only partly true, because not all supplements are created equal- there is a wide range of quality between suppliers. This is not just for white kidney bean extract, but also for numerous other herbs and vitamins. Here are some things they don’t say: • There are different ways to do an extraction on an herb (Water, Alcohol, CO2, other)
There are other great examples of this type of “generalizing” done in the natural health marketplace: The carnitine I use is called Carnipure. This product has multiple studies done on their exact ingredient. Can other manufacturers say they have spent millions of dollars showing how their carnitine works for weight loss, energy and more? No, they cannot. Another technique I use is to look for products that claim to use 3rd party companies to test and evaluate their products. The two most popular 3rd party testing companies are NSF and USP. If a product has received the “seal of approval” from one of these companies, it will be plainly displayed on the label of the product you are purchasing. If you wish to see a list from these two testing facilities, check out their respective websites: nsf.org and usp.org. Additionally, certain companies may do randomized testing using a 3rd party. Even though it is “random,” this policy keeps the manufacturer “honest,” so to speak, and you are more likely to get a consistent product. Also, if you choose to seek a supplement that has a branded/patented ingredient, you’ll get the advantage of higher quality assurance in manufacturing along with safety/ efficacy studies to back up their claims.
• There are different parts of a plant that can be used (flower, root, leaf, stem, shell, husk) • There are different growing regions within countries (Asia, Europe, North America) • There are different varieties of a plant (there are numerous types of beans, seeds, mushrooms, roots, etc. all from the same plant name. In addition to the shortcomings in some of these programs, you may have also recently been exposed to stories in the media (including social) questioning the quality and safety of numerous dietary supplements sold in some stores. This negative press may make you concerned about using them at all, which I find disheartening. There is too much good to come from using supplements to just give up on them based on allegations that are yet to be substantiated. I am not only a health expert, but I am also a consumer. I will not give up my supplements and I will always seek out the best ingredients/ products to use and share with others.
Do We Even Need To Use Supplements? The simple answer here is YES. We just can’t get what we need from a “perfect” diet, and the fact is that the majority of us don’t eat right. Dietary supplements are a critical part of achieving and maintaining health. Whether it is due to poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, lack of exercise or over-eating, the fact remains that most of our food choices lack the nutrients they once had. Supplementing your daily diet is a must.
So How Do I Purchase My Supplements? With regards to purchasing supplements, I always look for patented unique ingredients with scientific studies on that exact product or ingredient. Why? Consistency is critical when using anything that improves our health. Studies done on one herb should NEVER be applied another. In the case of the white kidney bean extract, the studies done on weight control and the ability to block starch digestion was done with only one form of white kidney bean extract (Phase 2). There may be other products on the market, but as far as I am concerned and aware, they are not
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Dave is a frequent TV guest to discuss living healthy. Here he is talking nutriƟon before the Super Bowl! Dave Foreman, RPh, ND is a pharmacist, author, television commentator, radio host and pracƟƟoner of natural living and holisƟc approaches to beƩer health. He makes his home in Pinellas County. Follow his blog at HerbalPharmacist.com.
The Benefits of Getting to Know
Your Child ’s Temperament by PAIGE MICHAELIS, THE 1MINUTE MOMMY “My children are SO different!” “My child ALWAYS wants to be the boss and just won’t listen.” “My child has no sense of time; when it is time to leave somewhere she is always starting something new!” Do any of these statements sound familiar? Part of these challenges could be due to your child’s inherent temperament; that part of themselves that they are born with that shapes their responses and view of the world around them, builds their values and shapes preferences. It is inherent in all of us. One of the biggest aha moments I had when my children were young was realizing that they really WERE different and that even though they were being raised with the same parenting, they were responding to that parenting in VERY different ways. My older daughter was easy, my younger, not so much. I took a temperament survey (that I now teach) entitled the Core Temperament Scale, which, through a series of questions, breaks down a child’s temperament into one of the Core Four: Achiever, Thinker, Interpersonal and Influencer. Each person has a dominate temperament and can also carry traits from other temperaments as well. The value is learning the dominate traits of our kids and how they mesh, or clash with others’ temperament, including parents and teachers.
Temperament at Home After taking the Temperament Scale, I realized that one of my girls was an Interpersonal and one was a Thinker. I, on the other hand, am an Achiever, and this is when it got interesting. Immediately I was able to realize WHY my Interpersonal daughter was always following me around, and also WHY my Thinker daughter couldn’t typically give me answers to my questions right away. To this day, I continue to come back to where our temperaments clash, and say to myself about my Thinker child: “Oh yes, I may need to give her some more time to answer the question” or to my Interpersonal child: “She may want me to slow down and connect with her.” I have had to adapt their environment (my parenting) to meet each child’s style and it has gone a long way in reducing behavior challenges and personal frustrations.
learners. While the Interpersonal child is more of an auditory learner, loves working in groups and isn’t very good at managing time. Can you see how each of these children may need a different school environment in order to thrive? The reality is that it may be challenging to find the “perfect” school fit for your child’s temperament. But even if they aren’t in a perfect environment, there are things that you can do. Once you have a core understanding of temperament, you can approach your child’s teacher and ask for help in working with your child’s temperament. An example of suggestions that could be made with an Achiever child’s teacher might include: • Giving the child options to regularly lead groups • Giving the child “important” jobs within the classroom • Suggest that more learning be given in the form of projects and hands on learning • Allow children to participate in problem solving within the classroom The hope is that educators will be open to this type of parental participation. My experience is that they are willing to try their best to help the child thrive, so it is always worth a try!
Teaching Through Temperament We can also teach our children about what we notice/know about their temperament traits and teach them how to work with them. For example, most children who are high on the Interpersonal scale tend to shut down under stress, so one way to work with this trait is to teach them coping strategies to use to work through their shut downs. This might include giving them space to work through things, teach stress relieving techniques and share ways in which to reconnect with you when they’re ready. The awareness and peace that parents receive from having a better understanding of their child’s temperament is exponential. When we can understand more about why children do the things they do and then realize that we can’t change inherent temperament, we can adapt the child’s environment in order to make everyone’s lives easier.
Temperament in Schools As we think about how our schools have very much become a one-size-fits-all environment, temperament tells us that these are not one-size-fits-all kids. For example, the Achiever child likes to lead, be in charge and direct. They are also experiential
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Paige Michaelis, SPHR is a CerƟfied PosiƟve Discipline Educator and CerƟfied ParenƟng Coach. She holds workshops throughout the Tampa Bay area and can create a Core Temperament Workshop for moms clubs, PTAs, or other groups. She can also schedule a Private Temperament Survey Session and ConsultaƟon for parents. Contact Paige at 1minutemommy.com
THE VARIETY OF EDUCATION CHOICES IN PINELLAS COUNTY The Money
by PAMELA SETTLE Just as this issue was going to print, families were learning their educational fates in the school lottery system for Pinellas County Schools. Social media has been packed with parents asking questions and checking with other parents about this school and that school. One group in particular has been very active, the Pinellas Parents Advocating for Middle School Improvements, a closed Facebook group of parents that is led by concerned mom Tammy Kaplan. According to their page, the group is a parent-driven initiative... this is not associated with any one school... and is open to all parents, interested family members, teachers and members of the community. This is a group of parents coming together to offer support and solutions to the problems our children face at the middle school and high school level. Groups like these are important for sharing information and helping each other out. In them, the question, “What are my options?” comes up a lot. Some parents seem more desperate and frustrated than others, but they share the same goal in finding the best educational situation for their children. And who can blame them? We get such a short window of time to raise our children that we can’t afford to lose one or two years of school by being in the wrong situation. If you didn’t get one of your choices in the lottery and you don’t prefer to attend your zoned school, the choices are pretty basic. 1) Enroll in a private school. 2) Enroll in virtual school. 3) Attempt to find a space in a Charter school. 4) Homeschool/Unschool.
Virtual school and Charter schools have no tuition costs to the families. Homeschool families purchase their own curriculums and extra-curricular activities. Private schools require the most out-of-pocket money, however two state scholarship programs are available and many have sliding scale options or their own scholarships to make it more attainable. The first option is called a McKay scholarship. If your student has either an IEP (individual education plan) or a 504 plan for medical needs, your family can apply. If you believe your child is eligible for an IEP or a 504, talk to your school and ask for an evaluation. The period to file a letter of intent for the McKay for the 2015-2016 school is open now. The very last day for any filing for the first quarter is July 2nd, but it’s not recommended to wait until then. Filing the letter does not obligate you. Each student receives a different dollar amount based on their own matrix score and you will not know that until after you apply. The next step is to research the private schools in the county to see if you can find the right fit. Many of those schools can help you navigate the process. Read more about eligibility and file your intent at FloridaSchoolChoice.org The second is the Step Up For Students scholarship program. This program, based on financial income, raised its income qualifying amount last year to make the scholarship available to more of Florida students. For example to apply for next year, a family of four cannot exceed $3,739 gross monthly income. A student may receive up to $5,272 to help cover private school tuition and fees, and there are some private schools that have tuition near that range. If you feel you may qualify, go to StepUpForStudents.org to learn more. They are currently asking parents to sign up for their interest list as the application period for 2015-2016 school year hasn’t yet begun.
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PRIVATE SCHOOLS Pinellas County has a wide variety of private schools, more than a 100 of them, and many offer their own scholarships to help students. They range from very small independent schools that specialize in a hands-on, personalized education to larger institutions with a full slate of classes and activities. Some have a religious component, some have high academic standards and some specialize in working with children who have learning, behavioral or medical needs. Each one is unique, making shopping for the right school either an exhilarating exercise in choice or overwhelming. With testing a hot issue in Florida education, private schools are gaining popularity because they are not legally bound to Common Core. Many of them adhere to the Florida State Standards (Common Core) as guidelines, but they are not required to use state approved curriculums nor do they have to administer the tests required for public, charter and virtual school students. Private school students, teachers and schools are exempt from the consequences set forth by the new education standards and Florida law. This flexibility and freedom also allows private schools to include more arts, music, recess and PE into the daily schedule. Right now Pinellas County public schools have PE three days a week and no recess. Being an intentional parent means not rolling with the tide, but instead knowing what your child needs and making sure he or she gets it, regardless of the kind of school the child attends. At the end of this article, we will leave you with a list of important questions to ask schools. Going through this list will give you an opportunity to think about the right kind of school environment for your child. Combine that with the temperament information from Paige Michaelis on page 23 and you’ll be on your way!
Catholic Schools The Diocese of St. Petersburg has 13 elementary and two high schools throughout the county. According to their superintendent of schools, Dr. Alberto Vazquez Matos, county Catholic schools have a renewed commitment to being a active and compassionate parts of their local communities. “We want Catholic schools to be symbols of hope; for students to go out and visit the homeless, the elderly; to go beyond the strong academics to show others the hope.” And because he wants as many families as possible to be able to afford a Catholic education, they launched Forward in Faith, a campaign to raise scholarship funds. A few of the schools on the list are St. Cecilia, Holy Family, Our Lady of Lourdes, Cathedral School of St. Jude and Espiritu Santo. Go to GoodLivingMagazine.com to see a list of the full list of Catholic Schools.
Christian Schools Christian-based schools range from very small to large, and they vary widely as to how much religion is incorporated into their school day. At their core, most Christian schools look to develop character and a spiritual awareness as part of their academic instruction through teaching, outreach and a strict set of behavioral requirements. There are many quality Christian schools in the county. The larger, more well known Christian schools are Westlake Christian, Keswick Christian, Canterbury
School of Florida, Indian Rocks Christian School, St. Paul’s School, Skycrest Christian and St. Petersburg Christian. Go to GoodLivingMagazine.com for a list of Christian schools, including the smaller schools that may be just right for your child.
Independent Private Schools Additionally, there are independent private schools that are not affiliated with a religious institution. Again, some of them are very small and intimate, and others are large with an impressive list of academic programs and athletic teams to meet a variety of different tastes and needs. Some schools that fit into this category are Shorecrest Preparatory School, Admiral Farragut, Dunedin Academy, Walden School, Camelot School and Sunflower Private School.
Montessori Schools Montessori schools have their own unique structure based on the theory of founder Maria Montessori. It is characterized by an emphasis on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s natural psychological, physical, and social development. Typical for a Montessori program are mixed age classrooms, student choice of activity, uninterrupted blocks of work time and freedom of movement. These are the Montessori schools in our area: Montessori by the Sea in St. Pete Beach, Alegria in St. Petersburg, American Montessori Academy in Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor Montessori in Safety Harbor and Palm Harbor Montessori in Palm Harbor.
Waldorf Schools In Waldorf schools, students are divided into three developmental categories and taught accordingly. There is one Waldorf elementary school in the county. Says Barbara Bedingfield, founding director of the Suncoast Waldorf School in Palm Harbor, “Our curriculum is human-centered with the teachers bringing lively, oral, imaginative and art-filled lessons that precisely meet the developmental needs of their students.” Play, movement and time outdoors is an important part of the day to go along with academic studies. Students get recess twice a day. Instructors from Suncoast have just recently started a Waldorf Middle School in Palm Harbor.
Special Needs Schools Regardless if it’s autism, ADHD, dyslexia, sensory processing disorders, developmental delays, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and the other diverse and challenging conditions and disabilities, being in a school surrounded by peers and specially trained teachers can be the best environment for a student. If you have a child with an exceptionality, it’s worth to at least visit these schools and learn what options you have. Some schools to consider are: Broach School Center Academy DePaul School for Dyslexia Esther’s School LIFT School SOAR School Eastlake (new) Special Kids Academy Woodlawn Community Academy
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VIRTUAL SCHOOL Through Pinellas County Schools, children K-12 can enroll in either part-time or full-time virtual school. Pinellas Virtual School courses are free and the curriculum is aligned to district standards. PVS offers a wide array of courses, including honors classes and popular electives. The courses are taught by qualified Pinellas County Schools teachers, who are able to offer personalized attention and one-on-one instruction to virtual students. Students must take the final exam (if required by grade level) and complete all assignments, activities and assessments in order to receive credit. The state requires that state tests and End-Of-Course exams be taken in person so they can be monitored.
CHARTER SCHOOL A charter school is sanctioned and funded by the county school district, therefore they must comply with state testing requirements for students. The schools, however, run independently from the district with their own administration, faculty and class offerings. New charters have begun with science and math as their specialty, some focus on the arts and others contain more cultural influence. Many county charters have long waiting lists, showing the popularity of these choices. To see the variety of options, visit their websites, take a tour and get your name on the waiting list. A list is on our website.
HOME SCHOOL/uNSCHOOL These are technically two separate ways of educating a child. Home school parents use curriculum to teach subjects to children while sticking to a routine that follows the school year. Homeschoolers have an almost endless array of choices and the flexibility to customize a child’s education to child’s interests and abilities. May 21 - 24, the Florida Parent Educator’s Association will hold their annual expo at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee, attracting more than 17,000 families and holding a high school graduation ceremony for its members. Home schooling has changed in the last decade and is enjoying a rich collection of special events, classes, cooperatives of families, educational travel, support systems and online discussion forums, as well as access to the newest and most sophisticated curriculums. Two schools work with home school families to provide oversight and accountability: Allendale Academy Private School and North Bay Academy. If you’re interested in the concept, these two schools can give you a good introduction and connect you to local home school coops. Also Homechoiceacademy.com has a lengthy list of local parent groups. Unschooling takes homeschooling to a different level. These families forego formal curriculum and let the world be the educator based on the child’s talents, aspirations and abilities. A family who unschools may have a child who early on shows a penchant in one direction, and so that family will use all their time and resources to help that child move in that direction. For example, an artist, a musician, an entrepreneur. Their reasoning is why should I hold my child back for 18 years of school, when they can begin their life at a much earlier age? These are families who devote a great deal of time with their kids and have the resources to provide them with the experiences the children need to succeed. If you’re curious do an Internet search of unschooling and Florida.
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Choosing the Right School is Important to a Child’s Future. Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions!
Five Tips for Selecting the Right School
What is the total enrollment here? By grade level? What is the teacher-to-student ratio? When was the school founded?
Children are not extensions of their parents. They have their own unique personalities, likes/dislikes, abilities, interests, temperaments and learning styles. Know what inspires your child to learn as well as his or her weaknesses.
Is the school accredited? By whom? What types of credentials are required for teachers? What is the teaching staﬀ turn-over rate? Do teachers stay after school to help students?
Are parents allowed in the classroom? What is the homework quantity? How are report card grades calculated?
Parents may be tempted to place a great deal of weight on how schools make them feel and not whether or not the school is a correct fit for their child.
What are the most common discipline issues here and how are they handled? What types of academic support is available for students who may have a need?
What types of emotional support or social skills classes do you oﬀer for students who may have a need? What curriculum or curriculum type is used in each subject area?
When a parent chooses a school for a child, they should remember that a good school is still not a guarantor for a child’s success.
Do you use Common Core curriculums? What kind of standardized testing is administered? What types of technology do you oﬀer to students?
How do the teachers teach? Lecture or interactive? What outdoor facilities and playgrounds are oﬀered?
Find out if the school is adaptable to your child’s learning style (visual, auditory, tactile, etc.) or does it rely solely on a traditional classroom format? What percentage of its student population has ADHD, learning disabilities or other special needs? How does the school accommodate those needs?
How often is recess for each grade level? What sports programs do you oﬀer? At what level do your teams play? How much time is devoted to art, music and other creative activities? What clubs and other extra curricular oﬀerings do you have? Do you oﬀer any internship, mentorship, or exchange programs for students?
What types of service opportunities do you oﬀer for students?
Ask current parents and outside sources to describe the school’s culture and do online research, too. You’ll want to make sure your child will fit well with the school’s culture. The school may sound great, but if your child is different from the norm in some way, he or she may not integrate well and make true friends. Your child will remember being excluded from parties and sleepovers if there is exclusion due to differences in income levels, race, religion or background.
How are parents involved? Any requirements? How active is the parent volunteer group? What percentage of parents participate? How much fundraising is required? What sets your school apart? (indicators of excellence) What high school transition classes or support do you oﬀer? What kind of meals are served at school?
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a note from the
Pinellas County Sheriff During the last couple months, news outlets have flashed photos of 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck and scrolled headlines with the latest information in the case of her father, John Jonchuck, Jr., who dropped her from the side of the Dick Misener Bridge. This instance was a highly publicized, extreme case of mental illness that led to death and tragedy, and it lends credibility to the link between mental illness and child abuse. However, not every incident is so flagrant.
Does the Child…. • have poor personal hygiene?
In fact, a majority of the Pinellas County Sheriff ’s Office Child Protection Investigation Division’s (CPID) cases involve a mental illness component, according to CPID supervisors. Our CPID is trained to detect mental illness core risk factors and underlying dynamics such as uncharacteristic, irrational, or erratic behavior, abrupt change in their routines, or previous psychological breakdowns. Because most people aren’t trained to identify these factors, mental illness often goes unnoticed and can result in unreported child abuse and dangerous situations for Florida children. Child abuse can take many forms including physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect. Whether a child is physically battered, belittled and made to feel inadequate, or left without the basic necessities for survival, at best, victims are marred with lifelong emotional scars. That is why another core risk factor CPID looks for when investigating a case is whether the parent/ guardian was abused as a child himself/herself. Due to stressors, mentally ill people are sometimes incapable of taking care of themselves, let alone their children or other family members. What can you do? Societal manners often dictate that we mind our own business and refrain from being nosy neighbors. But it is our responsibility as a community to remain alert and vigilant when it comes to identifying warning signs before they result in disaster. Here we have provided a few tips for recognizing the signs of child abuse. If ever you suspect that someone you know is suffering from abuse, contact the appropriate authorities immediately.
Sincerely, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri
Warning Signs of Child Abuse • behave inappropriately adult (nurturing other children like a parent) or infantile (thumb-sucking, throwing tantrums)? • exhibit rebellious, defiant, or antisocial behavior? • have excessive absences? • flinch away from physical contact or become panicked when confronted for minor misbehaviors?
Does the Caregiver... • limit the child’s interaction with others? • use harsh physical punishment and request teachers and other authority figures do the same? • deny that problems exist in the family or blame the child for the problems? • often provide conflicting, implausible, or no explanations for child’s frequent injuries? • appear jealous when the child gives attention to others instead of him/her? If ever you suspect that someone you know is suﬀering from abuse, contact the appropriate authorities immediately: Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Child Protection Investigation Division Administration: 727-582-3800.
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a note from Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County Investing in Children. Strengthening our Community. There is no harder job than that of being a parent, and every day, school grades, healthier behaviors, more positive peer interactions, moms and dads across Pinellas County face challenges that make and an increased ability to cope with stress for children as they grow up. parenting an even tougher job than normal. 2. Parental Resilience: While no one can eliminate stress from The Juvenile Welfare Board ( JWB) understands this and is dedicated parenting, a parent’s capacity for resilience can affect how he or to investing in programs and partnerships that promote child safety she deals with stress. Resilience is the ability to manage or bounce back from all types of challenges that emerge in every family’s life. and well-being, as well as those that offer knowledge and skills in parenting. These efforts foster family stability and help build upon It means finding ways to solve problems, build and sustain trusting a family’s strengths and their Protective Factors, which are positive relationships, and knowing how to seek help when necessary. attributes that families possess that help them succeed. 3. Social Connections: Friends, family members, neighbors, and
There are six protective factors that when in place, help moms community members provide emotional support, help solve problems and dads be the best parent they can be to their children: and offer parenting advice. Networks of support are essential to 1. Nurturing and Attachment: Babies who receive affection and nurturing from their parents have the best chance of developing into happy children, teens, and adults. A relationship with a consistent, stable and caring adult in the early years is associated with better
Tips To Enhance Families’ Protective Factors Manage stress through regular exercise, relaxation to music, engaging in hobbies, meditation or prayer. Learn to anticipate and minimize everyday stress, and avoid “stacking.” Whenever possible use humor, or try singing, humming or laughing out loud when feeling stressed. Identify family and friends nearby who can lend a hand occasionally. Consider connecting with a nearby church, temple or mosque. Befriend the parents of your child’s friends, classmates or teammates. Get involved with your neighborhood association or join a civic group to help strengthen social connections. Arm yourself with parenting tips and information on child and youth development through books and websites designed to enhance a parent’s knowledge and skills. Enroll in a parent education class or join a parent support group in your area. Start by calling “2-1-1” to learn what local resources are available. Or visit helpful parenting websites such as ParentFurther. com; CDC.org; or ChildWelfare.org. Seek out help when needed. JWB invests in many programs, such as the Family Services Initiative, which oﬀer families real-time support in times of need. To access help, simply dial “2-1-1”. Plus, Neighborhood Family Centers, supported by JWB and located in neighborhoods throughout Pinellas County, oﬀer no cost support for families.
parents and also offer opportunities for people to give back – an important part of self-esteem, as well as a benefit for the community. 4. Concrete Support in Times of Need: Meeting basic economic needs like food, shelter, clothing, and health care is essential for families to thrive. Likewise, when families encounter a crisis such as domestic violence, mental illness, or substance abuse, adequate services and supports need to be in place to help provide stability, treatment, and help to get through the crisis. 5. Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development: Accurate information about child development and appropriate expectations for children’s behavior at every age help parents see their children in a positive light and helps promote their healthy development. Information can come from many sources, including family members, parent education classes and the internet. Studies show information is most effective when it comes at the precise time parents need it to understand their own children at a specific age or developmental stage. 6. Social and Emotional Competence of Children: A child or youth’s ability to interact positively with others, self-regulate their behavior, and effectively communicate their feelings has a positive impact on their relationship with family members, other adults, and peers. Identifying and working with children early to keep their development on track helps keep them safe and healthy. If you or someone you know is raising children, we’ve provided some basic tips that can help build and enhance a family’s Protective Factors. In addition, JWB offers free workshops in the community titled “Building Your Family Strengths.” For more information call Dawna Sarmiento at (727) 453-5695.
Because all kids matter!
Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman, DM JWB Executive Director
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a note from
Pinellas County Schools Preparing for Florida Standards Assessments:
What Parents Need To Know
Department of Education have taken several steps to ensure students are prepared to take the new assessment by offering:
Parent nights with information on the Florida Standards As parents, we want our children to have the opportunity to receive Assessment. If you were not able to attend the informational a great education to prepare them for life’s journey after graduation. parent night at your child’s school, please contact the school One way we gauge and measure our students’ educational success is principal if you have any questions. through assessing their learning. Parent guides to assist families of students K-12 with tips This March the Florida Department of Education will implement on the assessment subjects of English and math. a new test to replace the FCAT. This new assessment is tied to the Visit pcsb.org/standards to access guides. state’s new mathematics, reading and writing standards called the Training tests to familiarize parents and students with the Florida Standards, formerly known as Common Core. The new assessment system and how it works. The tests combine sample standards provide detailed expectations of what every child should items for different grade levels and subject areas. Visit fsassessments. be able do at each grade level. These standards were developed with org/training-tests to access sample tests by grade level. input from Florida teachers, educators and the public. The emphasis with these new standards is for your children to think critically and analytically. You can expect the assessment to include different types of questions beyond multiple choice or simple fill-in-the blank questions. For example, the new types of test questions will require that a student respond by creating a graph or by using information from two or more literary texts, audio or multimedia presentation. The thought of a new test can make some students and parents anxious and uncertain. For this reason, our district and the Florida
With these resources and your support, I hope you are empowered to help your child be successful in taking the new assessment and ultimately reach their fullest academic potential.
Sincerely, Michael A. Grego Superintendent
Common Core and ADHD
While the study does not show that CCSS leads to more stimulant use, it indicates that the demand for increased focus on math and English language arts at the expense of physical activity may strain the attention The Impact Common Core Curriculum has on of students with ADHD and other learning Children with Learning Challenges Like ADHD disorders. It also highlights the need for parents and teachers to recognize that these By LARRY POLNICKY students are likely to require more support than they did before. Common Core Teaching Tips To prepare students with learning challenges to meet Common Core standards, parents and teachers must ensure that any IEPs put in place are standards-based. Creating IEPs that compare students’ current level of performance with CCSS is critical for identifying the specific accommodations and supports that In recent years, public school systems have adopted the same set of academic standards, will maximize students’ chances of closing called Common Core State Standards (CCSS). the gap between their current and expected level of performance. For example, students These standards set out the skills students with ADHD who are struggling to reach CCSS should master by the time they graduate from high school. They cover math and Eng- in English language arts may benefit from lish language arts, and the standards apply to the use of software that turns spoken words into written text, while those falling behind students of all ability levels, including those in math may welcome desk copies of fact with learning disabilities such as ADHD. sheets and charts to help compensate for The concept of setting academic standards in their memory difficulties. schools is not new, and students with ADHD will encounter many of the same challenges The recommendations made in standardsbased IEPs will affect students’ progress they faced prior to CCSS implementation. These students will still require Individualized throughout the school year, so it is essential for parents and teachers to work together Education Programs (IEPs), but these must be aligned to CCSS. Standards-based IEPs are and be as specific as possible to ensure that students receive timely access to the help of particular importance to students with ADHD, as CCSS place increased demands on they require. students to perform well in math and English End the Academic Struggle language arts, subjects that students with If your child is having difficulty learning ADHD traditionally find taxing. under the new common core curriculum or A recent study examining the link between appears to have marked issues with motor development, we invite you to consider Common Core Standards and rates of the Brain Balance Program. Our carefully ADHD medication use suggests that stustructured and coordinated combination of dents with ADHD may be tempted to take program elements helps establish proper more stimulants to help them cope with brain and body function leading to an the greater demands to perform well in the classroom. It reveals that middle school improved ability to learn. We encourage you to contact us for a free consultation and high school students with ADHD are and learn more about our comprehensive 30 percent more likely to take stimulants during the school year than in the summer. assessment to better understand what is at Additionally, those who reside in states with the root of your child’s issues. the most rigorous academic standards are the most likely to take stimulants only while school is in session.
Find out more by calling us at 813-749-0872 to arrange a personal tour and free, no obligation, private consultation. -orVisit us on the web at brainbalancecenters.com to read articles, research papers and parent testimonials.
Larry Polnicky is the owner of the Brain Balance Achievement Center in Oldsmar. His son Ben has autism and showed significant improvements after completing the program at a center in Atlanta. So moved by how this program changed their lives, it became his calling to help other children by opening a center in Florida. Larry is involved in the local community and founded The Children’s Achievement Foundation to raise scholarship money for families who need assistance to participate in alternative programs.
FIGHTING FOR FAMILIES Legislative Session 2015 and beyond If you’re a regular reader of GoodLiving®, then you have no doubt seen information about the Children’s Movement of Florida. I believe so strongly in speaking up for children’s needs in our state, that I have been volunteering with them for five years and now serve as their volunteer chairman for the Hillsborough/Pinellas area. So far most of their work has been happening in Tallahassee, but I’d like to see us get some growth here locally. If you are a parent in either county, you should be connected with us for local issues. This goes for anyone who cares about or has a stake in the well being of all of our children. The best way to sign up for information is to go to GoodLivingMagazine.com and click on the Children’s Movement tab to sign up for emails.
Representative Kathleen Peters Representative Peters currently has a five-year work plan to rewrite Florida’s mental health chapter. This will be herr first year reforming our mental health laws to work in favor of the afflicted by eliminating redundancy and streamlining services. She wants readers to know that it is important to understand that more money is not the only solution to resolving this problem, although increased funding is something shee will be working on. Peters has filed legislation to hold utility companies accountable in their billing practices This bill will also require the PSC to take ethics training courses and to broadcast their meetings to the public. And she is pursuing an appropriation again this year for training and technical assistance regarding affordable housing to designated lead agencies of homeless assistance continuums of care.
This year, the agenda continues to push for adequate funding for school readiness and VPK, extending of KidCare to cover more children for health care, improved funding for Early Steps, and the development of a statewide parenting resource called Help Me Grow. The free phone, web and mobile service will provide parents with a trusted resource for the most current information about a child’s development. The service will also include a screening Representative Dwight Dudley component for parents who believe their child may have special House Bill 81 will prohibit Duke Energy and other utility companies needs. You can sign up for state emails at ChildrensMovementFL.org from charging their customers a higher rate due to extended billing Your Pinellas County delegation is hard at work this year too. cycles. During the summer, Duke customers saw as many as twelve We asked them what specifically they are working on this year to days added to their bills due to changes in meter-reading routes. make life better for families in Pinellas. If you see anything here Because of these extensions, approximately 267,000 ratepayers were that sparks your interest, please communicate with them and let pushed into higher rate classes. Overcharges eventually exceeded them know how you feel. $1.3 million. HB 81 would correct this problem and prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.
Senator Jack Latvala
• Working on Public Service Commission reform to help families get a fair shake from electric utilities and curtail some of the practices that have adversely affected consumers. • Economic Development: Filing legislation to promote and strengthen businesses and provide new jobs. • Protection of Families: Working on human trafficking, protecting the rights of mobile home park residents and the protection of email addresses to prevent fraud. He added, “There is nothing more important to me than the stability of our families and the economy of Pinellas County and of Florida.”
House Bill 399 will prohibit utility companies from charging their customers for natural gas production and exploration. This stems from a recent Florida Public Service Commission decision that allows Florida Power and Light to charge their customers $191 million to enter into a joint natural gas venture in Oklahoma. Later this year, the PSC will decide on whether or not to allow FPL to collect an additional $750 million per year. Just like nuclear cost recovery, which cost customers billions for a pair of non-existent power plants, this is another attempt to burden ratepayers rather than shareholders with all of the risk of a chancy investment. HB 399 would stop this dangerous precedent from being set.
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Education a Hot Topic Also this session, the Senate and the House Education Sub-committees are discussing the issue of standardized testing. Due to the outcry of Florida parents, students and teachers to Florida lawmakers, some changes may be on the horizon, including some short-term holds on the consequences that come from failing the tests. Two different bills have already been introduced, so expect a good deal of news on this issue. Keep a check on the blog The Gradebook at The Tampa Bay Times website for the most current information. The Pinellas County School board, along with advocates and concerned parents throughout the state, are urging teachers and parents to write to their state representatives about their personal experiences and/or concerns with the current situation surrounding standardized testing. Nearly every week, I read of a teacher somewhere in the U.S. who has resigned from teaching because of what the testing is doing to the school environment. If you have something to say, now is the time to say it. The only way change will come is if they hear from the consumers of education and the taxpayers. If you want the names and email addresses of the Education Sub-committee, members then again, go to GoodLivingMagazine.com and look under Hot Topics for a blog called Taking a Stand for Our Kids. Here you will find the full list that you can simply copy and paste into an email. For your information, here is a list of our Pinellas County Delegation with their email addresses. You can communicate your support for the Childrenâ€™s Movement of Florida or any of the other issues impacting our lives. It is our American duty to communicate with them on the issues we care about. Please remember to be respectful and polite in your correspondence, but donâ€™t be afraid to tell them how you really feel.
Pinellas County Legislative Delegation Senators Jeff Brandes Brandes.Jeff.email@example.com Arthenia Joyner Joyner.Arthenia.firstname.lastname@example.org Jack Latvala Latvala.Jack.email@example.com Representatives Larry Ahern Larry.Ahern@myfloridahouse.gov Dwight Dudley Dwight.Dudley@myfloridahouse.gov Chris Latvala Chris.Latvala@myfloridahouse.gov Kathleen Peters Kathleen.Peters@myfloridahouse.gov Darryl Rouson Darryl.Rouson@myfloridahouse.gov Chris Sprowls Chris.Sprowls@myfloridahouse.gov To find your legislators or learn more about what is going on in Tallahassee, visit FLSenate.gov and MyFloridaHouse.gov
Pick While the Getting’s Good!
There is much to celebrate when it comes to the health benefits of eating fresh, locally grown Florida Strawberries. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium and fiber. One cup is only about 50 calories. Research shows strawberries to help fight cancer and heart disease, promote eye health and reduce inflammation of the joints – just to name a few! But most importantly they are downright juicy, sweet and delicious as a stand alone snack or in a recipe. The peak growing season around here for strawberries is February and March so now is the time to buy them in bulk to freeze or make preserves. For best freezing results, wash, hull and dry in that order, and then freeze on baking sheets before putting into freezer bags. Squeeze out as much of the air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Interested in making your own homemade jams or preserves? It’s actually pretty easy. Consult with our Florida Extension experts for instructions and recipes for canning at this website: pinellas.ifas.ufl.edu/fcs/foodSafety_storage.shtml
One way to save money on bulk strawberries is to take the kids to a local farm and pick your own. Kids love getting to see where and how berries are grown, in addition to the sense of accomplishment that comes with driving home with your harvest. (You can also find roadside stands for flats of locally picked berries if time is an issue.) Amber Kosinksy of Wish Farms said their fields are filled with families who love their time picking strawberries. “They are taking pictures and posting them to social media all day long.” Consult with PickYourOwn.org to find farms and food stands. Hunsader Farm and O’Brien Family Farm are local favorites. The site also lists smaller farms and organic farms for strawberries and other local produce. The larger commercial growers like Wish Farms hold You Pick days at the end of the season. Wish Farms holds an annual end of year picking event where all proceeds are given to charity to support migrant farm workers. Pickers can buy a flat for $5 each. The date for the 2015 event hasn’t been set yet, so check their website for details. WishFarms.com
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Florida Strawberry Sorbet
Ingredients: 1/3 cup water 1/3 cup sugar 1 pound frozen Florida strawberries (thawed) 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Homemade Strawberry Fruit Leathers Ingredients: 5 cups strawberries, hulled and halved (or any other fruit) 2 tablespoons honey Preheat oven to 150 - 200 degrees depending on how low your oven can go. In a medium saucepan, on low heat, cook the strawberries until they are soft and juices are released. Add honey and stir until combined.
In a small saucepan, over low heat, combine water and sugar. Stir until all the sugar is totally dissolved. Put the syrup in the refrigerator to cool. Puree the strawberries with lemon juice using a blender or food processor. Transfer pureed berries to a large bowl and refrigerate until very cold.
Pour berries into food processor and puree. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
After about an hour, remove the syrup and the strawberries from the refrigerator. If you have an ice cream maker, pour puree and syrup into the bowl and process using the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it is finished, place in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy your sorbet.
Pour berry mixture onto parchment lined pan. Tip: Don’t pour too thin of a layer or you’ll have fruit chips. If it’s too thick, it will take longer. Start checking after 4 hours.
If you do not have an ice cream maker, combine the syrup and berries. Transfer to a small, metal baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours.
Put in oven and bake for 4-6 hours, until leather peels away easily from the parchment. Using scissors cut into rectangles and roll them up, parchment and all.
Remove from freezer and let thaw slightly on the counter. Transfer sorbet back to blender or food processor to whip it up a bit more, breaking any ice that might have frozen solid. Transfer to an air-tight bowl and refreeze. Once it has hardened, you are ready to enjoy your sorbet!
Note: oven temperatures and baking time will vary. This is a slow process but well worth it to have a real fruit snack free from high fructose corn syrup and artificial colors!
Courtesy of Strawberry Sue and the Florida Strawberry Grower’s AssociationFind more recipes at StrawberrySue.com
Florida Strawberry Festival Considered one of the top festivals in the country, the Florida Strawberry Festival is one big celebration of strawberry, community, family, fun and Americana! The Festival was established to celebrate the harvest of the strawberry that made Florida the Winter Strawberry Capital of the World. Today, the festival is a country fair with exhibits, livestock, arts and crafts, contests, marching bands and top-name musical entertainment. Of course, don’t forget the fair food that includes strawberry desserts. To celebrate their 80th Anniversary, a commemorative 2015 cookbook was created, “80 Years of Recipes.” Inside are recipes of Neighborhood Village winners, former Strawberry Queens, volunteers and friends of the Festival. Available at the Festival’s Administrative Office for only $10 and in the Neighborhood Village during the 2015 Festival. At the Gate 1 Entrance, find the booth for Wish Farms. They will be selling freshly picked berries, including their organic berries. Misty the Garden Pixie will be there will spare wings for little girls to take their picture, along with their children’s book of the same name that celebrates strawberries with children. Wish Farms (formerly Wishnatzki Farms) is a family-owned business that has been growing berries for three generations. They are part of the legacy and history of Florida Strawberries that is the reason for the Strawberry Festival.
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MY STORY by CHRISTINE TSOTSOS As I sit to write this article, my first thought is that “my story” (much like yours) is more than a snapshot of the here and now. Every moment in life and everything within those moments kind of nudge us to the people we are at this very moment. In my elementary classrooms through the years, I taught children to recognize “cause and effect” in literature. My children also learned that everything in life; math, science, religion, the law and human behavior can be explained using cause and effect, otherwise known as “actions have consequences.” Well, my story is a result of cause and effect. My name is Christine Tsotsos. I am a retired teacher. I taught for 31 years in Pinellas County elementary classrooms, the last two decades in high poverty schools. I believe that everything I ever achieved in life, especially in my career, has brought me to this moment. I am the Co-Founder and Co-Director of Shepherd’s Village Academic Enrichment Center in Dunedin. Founded in August 2014, Shepherd’s Village is a free after-school program serving elementary age children who live in either low income neighborhoods or have been identified as needing academic enrichment. After retiring in 2010, my answer to the question, “What’s up next for you?” was “Definitely not teaching.” After serving the school district and after taking care of my beautiful mother, I was ready to live. I made drastic changes related to my health. I quit smoking, started cycling and running and became plant based (vegan). After my dog passed on to Rainbow Bridge, I adopted a two year-old sweetheart pup named Artey from Dunedin Doggie Rescue. I started writing a book called “Quiet Tornadoes.” I hung out at Broadway Deli in downtown Dunedin much like the old Greek men do in some cafes in Tarpon Springs. Keith made awesome coffee, Artey was welcome on the patio and my friends would all gather there too. Life was grand!
Our Priest, Becky Robbins-Penniman tends to write incredibly intelligent and passionate sermons that go straight to my head, heart and soul. One Wednesday she talked about our global response to children in need. A parishioner and I chatted afterwards about our local children in need and how our public schools are way off the mark as far as how children learn and respond to knowledge…. and how, with all the politicians spouting off about how public school classrooms should be run, our children are pressured to do things in the classroom that have no correlation to their cognitive abilities. We are destroying the love of learning in our children in what have become testing factories. Ask any experienced educator. Children learn best through project-based inquiry. Start with what children wonder about; set up opportunities for them to investigate, explore and apply new knowledge then learning takes on real meaning! Project-based inquiry at the Village not only supports the district’s grade level standards, but every unit will involve action, engagement, cooperation, empathy citizenship and opportunities to serve the community. Despite insistence that I would never teach again, God had other plans. Michelle came on board and together we created Shepherd’s Village Academic Enrichment Center. Since there is no cost to our families, we rely on corporate and community grants and contributions from family and friends to cover operational expenses. We’re not being paid monetarily, but we’re being paid very, very well. Remember that prayer at Weaver Park? Well, the confluence of all these events now converged to an apex that I couldn’t ignore. “Here’s the answer. Here’s your ministry.”
I knew where all these blessings came from. Absolutely. One day I rode my bike to Weaver Park, stopped at the pier and prayed. I asked God to use me. I asked him to heal me….to use me to serve Him. I loved living in the moment, but I missed having a specific “purpose.” Shortly after that day, I met up with my friend Michelle at Broadway Deli. Michelle retired as an assistant principal a year after me. We talked about our dogs. She told me her church, The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, has an annual “Blessing of the Animals” and invited me to the service the following week. So on that day in October 2012, Artey and I attended and our lives were forever changed.
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P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677