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Fall Issue 2016

Letter from THE Editor

VOLUME 7 • ISSUE 3 GoodLiving® Magazine is published byLight Shine Media Group, LLC Editor-in-Chief Pamela Se le To submit story pitches or events, To adver se or purchase bulk copies of the magazine, adver GoodLiving® Magazine P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656

Like tobacco, drugs and alcohol, smart phones and social media should be illegal for kids under the age of 18 for their own protection. That’s a pretty radical comment and probably highly unpopular, but I got your attention! After spending many years of my career in tobacco-prevention programs, it’s not that crazy. An expert on the study of developing brains, Dr. Leonard Sax, stated in a seminar to Pinellas County parents that handing children a smart phone is like handing them the keys to a high powered sports car. They may be able to drive a golf cart around the park, but it’s not the same as the car. Likewise, a young person can manage a telephone, but their brains are not prepared to handle what is available to them on the smart phone, the unfiltered Internet and in social media. Consider that to manage the sports car as an adult, you need judgment, restraint, experience, a sense of timing and speed, awareness of others and the ability to control it in an emergency. I’ve also been reading on some mom blogs posts about regret. Regret from parents who let their children have smart phones -- phones and apps that took over their lives. They want their kids back. They want to see them have a conversation. They want to see them engaged in tangible, physical things. They want them to think for themselves. They want to see them aware of the world around them and even have the ability to read a map! Smart phones are becoming an addiction, or at best a compulsion and a crutch. Maybe we should let kids grow up first before giving them the chance to short circuit their own neurodevelopment during these tender times. Yes, it’s a radical proposition, but I believe in 50 years that sociologists will have a lot to say about how quickly our society changed with the invention of the first iPhone. As parents, we need to step back and look at the dangers and the unintended consequences. Because unfortunately with the good, comes the bad.

About the Cover Our cover model is Eva Johnson, whose family is one of our Healthy Kids Club families. See story on pg. 19. Photo by Brandi Morris,

Time Magazine ran a cover story this summer about how hate has taken over the Internet. The phenomenon known as trolling has opened the door to rampant hate talk anywhere and everywhere to the point of it becoming an accepted behavior. It’s driving our young people to depression and suicide. Some celebrities are opting out of social media. People are exposed to public hate more than ever, and it may be taking hold. So this issue of the magazine is devoted to the idea of intentionally bringing the good into our homes, into our schools and into our communities. Together we can counteract the hate and negativity one person and one action at a time. We can be the change because there truly is power in the good! Until next time,

Pamela Settle

GoodLiving速 is a registered trademark and a publication owned by Light Shine Media Group, LLC. It is a free publication distributed throughout Pinellas County or is available to read online at Bulk copies are donated to local schools as a community service. To request copies, contact info@ All photographs, artwork, design and editorial are the sole property of GoodLiving速 magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission.

GoodLiving速 magazine, Light Shine Media Group, LLC and its owners are not responsible for any 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速 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.

Good Events GoodLiving® Fall Community Challenge This time of year, the calendar is jam packed with walks, runs and bike rides that benefit charities and causes. GoodLiving® magazine challenges each family in the county to choose at least one of these events to support with your participation. Children follow our lead and learn compassion by watching us be generous and care for others. These events present teachable moments. Find ways that your children can get involved in these causes by doing a family project in conjunction with the event.

Upcoming Events SPCA Tampa Bay Let’s Go for a Walk Pet 3K Saturday, October 8 • 8:30 a.m. to noon One of the most fun events of the year! Let the dogs out for a fun 1.8 mile walk along the waterfront at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Petersburg. Supporters will be walking to end animal cruelty and help raise money to Rescue, Rehab and Re-home homeless and abused animals in our community. Event fun includes a free IHOP pancake breakfast, Doggie waterpark, microchip clinic, vendor tables, food trucks, agility zone and pet costume contest. For more information call (727) 499-0364 or visit 2nd Annual Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk Sunday, October 29th • 8 a.m. Join other Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans for the Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk, benefiting breast cancer research at local medical organizations. Race registration includes a ticket to the Buccaneers game the next day. Register by October 24th. Cost of registration includes: Ticket to the Raiders vs. Buccaneers game, Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk athletic gender-specific t-shirt, chip-timed 5K race entry and donation to breast cancer research. First 500 to register are invited on the field to be part of a halftime experience. First, second and third place male and female winners for all age categories receive medals. Beat the Priest 5K Run or 1 mile walk Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Dunedin Saturday, October 15 • 8 a.m. check in. This is your chance to Beat the Priest and help support the Tyler Gray Memorial Scholarship Fund by participating in the 5K run or the one mile family walk through the gorgeous trail system in Hammock Park. Runners and walkers are invited to stay for the Our Lady of Lourdes Fall Festival during the day. More information at Making Strides Against Breast Cancer - Pinellas Saturday, October 15 • 8 a.m. registration Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is a celebration of survivorship, an occasion to express hope and our shared determination to end breast cancer. Take a step in that direction by supporting the American Cancer Society Making Strides of Pinellas walk. It takes a community coming together to raise funds, but it also takes education and support of those who battle the disease. Rally with them as they fight the fight against breast cancer. Non-competitive, 5K (3.1 mile) event and celebration held at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg. Register at


Good Events 15th Annual Richards’s Run for Life 5K Friday, November 4th • 7 p.m. Supporting cancer research, this is the 15th year that Columbia Restaurant owner, Richard Gonzmart, has sponsored this event in Ybor City through the Gonzmart Family Foundation. Run or walk through the beautiful streets of historic Ybor City with over 1,500 of your friends. Then stay for the best post race party in Tampa Bay featuring food that includes Columbia’s Original “1905” Salad. Your complete donation supports research studies in Adolescent Young Adult (AYA) Initiative for Sarcoma Research and Advanced Prostrate Cancer Collaboration (APCC) at Moffitt Cancer Center and other cancer centers in the country. Pre-register by October 28 to get the t-shirt for $25 per person. Registration is limited to 2,000 people. Light the Night Walk Saturday, November 19 • 5 p.m. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk funds treatments that are saving the lives of patients today. LLS provides patient support services, advocacy for lifesaving treatments and the most promising cancer research anywhere. Friends, families and co-workers form fundraising teams and consumers help by donating at retail outlets. Channelside Bay Plaza. Register at Purple Stride Tampa Bay Saturday, October 29 • 7 a.m. Walk in support of those who fight pancreatic cancer. It is estimated that more than 46,000 Americans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year. It has the lowest relative five-year survival rate of any major cancer (6%) and is the fourth leading cause of cancer death. Sponsored by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network that funds research, patient services, community outreach and advocacy. The event, held at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg includes a timed 5K run and a family-friendly walk, children’s activities, music, refreshments and more. Pre register by October 9 to get a t-shirt. 2016 Tampa Bay Heart Walk Saturday, November 12 The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere event that brings communities together to raise funds and celebrate progress in the fight against America’s number one and number four killers, heart diseases and stroke. The event is inspirational and fun while they promote physical activity and heart-healthy living. Rewarding for the entire family. Your participation helps raise money in the fight to save lives. Walk with friends, family, coworkers and other members of the community you meet along the way. Sponsored by the American Heart Association and held at Raymond James Stadium. Enter your team and have some fun celebrating healthy and happy hearts! Information at

2016 Walk to End Alzheimer’s Disease Saturday, November 5 • registration 8 a.m. Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association to support care and research. Walk either a 5K or a 2 mile route near Amalie Arena in Tampa. Register at The Out of the Darkness Community Walk for Suicide Prevention Monday, October 24 • registration 8:30 a.m. Sponsored by the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The event brings together family, friends, colleagues and supporters who walk to raise funds and awareness for AFSP’s vision to create a world without suicide. All funds go to AFSP with 50% of the money raised coming back to the Tampa Bay Chapter to be used locally in education and support. Held at South Straub Park in St. Petersburg. Check in time 8:30 a.m. Register at Community Walks at Come early for family activities and the resource fair. Leashed pets are welcome. For a $10 donation, pets receive a Paws for Prevention bandana. The Out of the Darkness Community Walk is also a journey of remembrance to unite the community and acknowledge the ways in which suicide and mental illness affects our lives. Honor beads can be worn to show a personal connection to suicide.

Did you know: I wear

I wear I wear I wear I wear I wear

I wear I wear I wear

white red gold orange purple silver

because I lost a child.

because I lost a spouse/partner. because I lost a parent. because I lost a sibling.

because I lost a relative or friend.

because I lost a first responder or member of the military.

green blue teal

because I struggle personally.

because I support the cause. because I have friends or family who struggle.

If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Celebrate the Good.


CELEBRATION OF READING This past summer, Brooke’s group embarked on a challenge: “We read wonderful literature based on different countries and regions around the world every week for eight weeks. Each book we selected came from Jamie’s beautiful new book baby, Give Your Child the World. A thorough list of books for students of all ages broken down by worldregion. My favorite time of day with each of our three children, and as a family, is the multiple times we sit and read aloud together. There is something about the shared story, vocabulary and experiences that the pages of good books provide. It is not necessary to have monetary means to travel the globe or walk in another man’s shoes. All we really need is a library card and a good list to guide us.”

September is Library Card Month! Books are magic in a kid’s life. The real ones with paper pages and covers and spines, and that yummy book smell. And then there’s the experience: to have it and hold it; to read through the pages watching the bookmark move toward the back over a few days and “Yay!” that moment of pure satisfaction when you can revel in the moment the last page is read. One of the great achievements of our society is our system of public libraries, where any child can experience the magic of books at no charge. Today our libraries are much more than book lenders. They have advanced with the times to become almost like community centers with meeting rooms, classes, online resources, seminars and even concerts! In Pinellas County, each city runs their own library and keeps their own calendar. Some programs are similar, but some are very different. There are read aloud events for young readers to bring books alive. There are Lego and stem events for elementary-aged children. There are teen gatherings for some safe social interaction. Keeping up with your child’s school is first and foremost, but keeping up with your local library should be next on the list! Sign up for their e-newsletters to receive event information. Set aside at least one day each month to visit the library with your children. Give the older children some free time to roam and explore the books. This experience can never compare their digital world. Visit for a full list of Pinellas County libraries and links. You don’t need to stick to only your local library. Explore all the library websites and see what might be happening just a few more minutes down the road.

Give Your Child the World through Books One of our local homeschool mom bloggers, Brooke Davis Cooney, is leading her local group through a book called Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie Martin.


In her blog, Brooke shares lists of books to help guide a family’s reading choice. These are books, she says, that can direct one’s heart and mind to ponder the importance of reading together as a family to shape the character of your children and generations to come. Read more at

Volunteers Perform Pout Pout Fish Puppet Shows Every year, members of the Jr. League of St. Petersburg get together, choose a book, buy the puppets, write the script and prepare to perform shows for preschoolers at the main branch of the St. Petersburg Library. Preschools bring classes, but the shows are open to the public as well. They do two a month during the school year for a total of ten shows. After the performance, the students get to participate by talking about the story and then each class gets to go home with a copy of the book to read again and again. Each year it’s a new set of volunteers and a new story. This year the children will get see Pout Pout Fish come alive as a puppet show.


Pinellas County Kids are Reading! A lot! This past summer, Pinellas County Schools introduced the myON® program to the county’s students. This online digital platform for obtaining books to read on devices is highly engaging to children, Joy of Reading Aloud allows students to select their own books and becomes a tool for teachers and parents to monitor reading progress. The platform is like The mom blogs, especially ones for homeschool families, are singing the praises of reading aloud to babies, preschoolers, and students from Amazon in that it makes recommendations, but unique to myON® Kindergarten through high school. Yes high school. It may seem like is that it assesses and establishes reading levels. There are 8,000 titles available, some with audio support. reading to children is something we do up until they learn how to read for themselves, but it’s actually a highly beneficial activity for the Street teams of college students took to the streets, community entire family through the years. In today’s world where conversations centers, summer camps and schools to encourage students to read have been reduced to an emoji, this is an actual chunk of time using myON®. The simple goal was to get books into the hands of where a parent and child can bond, face to face, and engage in some children throughout the community with no cost to the families. For stimulating conversations. Books can take you both on an adventure those without Internet access at home, a student is able to download to new places and open the door to talk about challenges facing up to 20 books at a time on any digital device. a character. A teen who may be reluctant to talk about his or her For those without Internet access at home, a student is able to day may be inclined to open up about the topic in the book. It also download up to 20 books at a time on any digital device. To get hard creates an opportunity for the parent to choose books that help to copy books out there too, the program’s Book Bus accompanied the shape character development. For elementary aged kids, continuing street teams and gave away 20,000 children’s books that had been to read aloud can help a child focus on the story and hear how text donated by the community. is read, with inflection and pauses. When a child is first learning to read, the brain is focused on the decoding. They are translating words The program was so successful, across the page and not taking in the story. Since this is the age when says Shana Rofalski, the program’s director, that the district offered books get really interesting, it’s an optimum time to give your child all county schools the chance to access to the story because you are doing the decoding work. It frees kids to think. The words come alive. And a love of stories is nurtured. continue with myON®. About Books like the Chronicles of Narnia are fantastic adventure books with two thirds of the schools opted to continue and more could be on plenty of opportunities to do character voices, and to stop and talk board soon. The Book Bus will also about the moral decisions. Unplug for 30 to 60 minutes at a time continue to collect and distribute and read aloud. Try it at least once. No child is immune to a great children’s books throughout our book being read aloud. And all the better when it’s a parent doing the reading. Follow Sarah Mackenzie’s blog for reading lists, listen to county. Save your books and watch for the Book Bus coming to a her podcasts and get encouragement from her Read Aloud Revival. school near you!

Celebrate the Good.


CELEBRATION OF READING Early Learning Coalition Encourages Read, Talk and Sing The Early Learning Coalition began in 1999 and has been a big supporter of reading ever since. It’s current executive director, Lindsay Carson says they encourage parents to read, talk and sing as much as possible to their babies, toddlers and preschoolers. She also has this advice for parents of young children: • Young children NEED human interaction. Resist the temptation to use electronic devices for reading and singing. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no devices for children under two with good reason. • 85% of brain synapses are formed before age five. Reading is an important element in creating attachment and bonding during this time. • Children have natural developmental milestones, so it’s not necessary to push them to read prematurely. We need to let them be kids. Jumping ahead to teach reading too early can interfere with and preempt learning the skills that are set to develop during the preschool years, like spatial skills or problem solving skills. • There is research out there that shows the connection that if you teach a child to read to early, they stop reading for pleasure by 3rd grade. • There is no need to purchase fancy flash cards or products. Simply be with them and READ, TALK, and SING everyday. These activities develop vocabulary and language, which are the precursors to literacy and help to develop their skills. • For ideas to help with interacting with preschoolers, the free VROOM app sends an activity to parents everyday. • VPK is important! Here children develop the prerequisite skills to get them ready for Kindergarten.

Law Enforcement Bonding over Books The Early Learning Coalition (ELC) is partnering with law enforcement throughout Pinellas County to grow its Officer Friendly program. To help stimulate a positive relationship with law enforcement, and to promote reading, individual officers volunteer to read books aloud to young children at their preschool. A strong proponent of the program, Chief Daniel Slaughter from the Clearwater Police Department, says, “It is great for officers to take a moment away from dealing with crime and spend it with the children in our community. Interacting with them, reminds officers why they are trying to make the community a better place.” Also participating are police departments in St. Petersburg, Largo, Pinellas Park and Belleair, along with the Pinellas County Sheriff ’s Department.

Good LIFE LESSONS FOUND IN CHILDREN’S STORIES Promise me you’ll remember, you are Braver than you believe, Stronger than you seem, Smarter than you think.

- AA Milne, Winnie the Pooh

If you have GOOD thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.

A person’s a person no matter how small.

- Roald Dahl, The Twits

- Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who No act of kindness, no matter how small, is never wasted.

- Aesop, The Lion and the Mouse How much good inside a day? depends how good you live ‘em. How much love inside a friend? depends how much you give ‘em.

- Shel Silverstein, A Light in the A c

It’s no use to go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.

- Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland In every job that must be done. There is an element of fun. You find the fun. And the job’s a game.

- P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins


We Have


in our Schools and you could be one too!

Corey Thornton “He’s a rock star when he comes into our school! The kids all line up straight and behave because they want a high five from him.” The PTA volunteer from Bardmoor Elementary continues to tell the camera how local motivational performer and mentor, Corey Thornton, has made a positive difference with their students. And, yes, how fortunate we are to have such a talented performer, a product of Gibbs High school, stay in Pinellas County to give back to his community and to help lift up a generation of young people. “It seems that negative is becoming the new normal. I see the anger on faces in the crowd before a show starts. Those kids aren’t expecting such a positive message, but after a while I see some of them change their attitude. I’ll bring up the one that appears to their leader and get him dancing and the mood changes.” Corey has been performing in front of hundreds of students at a time, school by school, year by year, hoping to not only change moods, but to change lives. “I was there before. I was going in a wrong direction, but I changed. And I want to tell them that they can change too. They can choose another way to live, and that is the message I give them in my music and when I do mentoring.”

Photo by Crystal Morris Corey with students at Bardmoor Elementrary School

teachers, dancing and singing along. The messages are intentional: stay in school, work hard, do well on your tests, don’t do drugs and don’t be a bully. His style on stage is magnetic, fun and full of energy. You can tell just by looking at the kids. They know when someone is real. They know when someone cares. Corey knows it matters and that’s why he’s begun mentoring small groups at schools. “One principal called me to mentor a small group that had been causing trouble. I worked with them for several months and things got better for the whole school.” He volunteered at five different schools last year, but it got to be too much for one person who also needs to run a business and have the energy to perform. The thing is, Corey knows how many students need someone to change their negative to a positive, to encourage them, to empower them and to show that someone genuinely cares.

Any school, community center, youth group or event can book Corey for a show. Bardmoor Elementary uses him as an incentive for students to be able to attend performances in the middle and the end of the year. And if you go to our website, Corey began working in group homes and youth camps where he, you’ll see the video of this volunteer saw the young people locked up as a result of their actions. He from Bardmoor talking about Corey’s influence at their school. She wondered what would happen if he could get to kids before they says he comes to their events and just visits the school to encourage headed that direction, so he merged his desire to help young people the students, making them feel special and even stopping to tie a with his passion and talent for music and set out on his own to shoe for a little boy. Our kids need the right kind of heroes. They make a difference, in his own unique way. need GOOD ones like Corey Thornton. We are so fortunate to It’s been ten years of doing programs for young people, writing have a native son staying to shine a light for our kids to guide them songs and making videos. He’s now 39 and still the coolest guy on a positive path for their lives. Watch his performance videos, when he walks into a school. His lyrical rhymes and catchy music videos and learn how to book him for your school or event at rap-style tunes are hip enough to get all the kids, and most


Heroes on the Inside, too Professionals who work for the Pinellas County School District have a heart for kids, too, and they are the day-to-day heroes who manage the programs for bullying prevention and mentoring.

Bullying Prevention Activities go on through the year, but in October, you’ll see the schools ramp up their bullying prevention programs. Teams at the school level plan activities that can be found on the school’s website.


Lauralee Westine This is a story about making a positive difference with just one to two volunteer hours a week. Lauralee Westine has been a strong supporter of education, but watched from the sidelines as statistics continued to be reported in the news. A local attorney with her own business, as well as a busy wife and mother, her heart still tugged at her mind to find a way to do something. She toyed with the idea of being a mentor, but was concerned about hurting a young person’s feelings if her schedule kept her away on occasion. So she went to the Pinellas County school’s website and looked at the listings for volunteer opportunities and one stood out to her: classroom assistant. Last year, Lauralee spent Friday mornings at one of our county’s high risk schools. She dropped her daughter off at school and drove from East Lake to Maximo Elementary School in St. Petersburg. There, she assisted Jody Myers’ 5th grade language arts class for a couple of hours. “My favorite part was just to be there and love on them and tell them they were doing a good job.” Engaging in “Battle of the Books” and helping the teacher with tasks quickly grew into more. Lauralee could see that she could bring more to this school. “Their Great American Teach In day wasn’t well attended, so I reached out to my contacts.” She recruited professionals from business, law enforcement and sports to spend some time at this school. She even convinced her husband, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri to attend her class’s holiday party and wear reindeer antlers. Lauralee’s natural attraction to doing good deeds flowed freely at this school, but she says she was the beneficiary in this deal, and she was not referring to the Volunteer of the Year award she received. “I loved meeting the kids and being around them.” So much so that this year, she is asking to volunteer in the lunchroom at Baypoint Middle so she can continue encouraging the same students from last year. Lauralee would like others to know that there is a waiting list for mentors in Pinellas County, in particular with the Take Stock in Children program. If being a mentor isn’t quite right for you, she encourages you to find one way that you can reach out and volunteer to help children at any of our Pinellas County schools.

Celebrate the Good.

According to Donna Sicilian, executive director of student services, the district is supportive of any employee or student who feels they are being bullied. They use a program called Olweus, which is a research-based bullying prevention program. School staff receive training on how to create bullying free environments.

Handling Reports Staff monitors every report of bullying, whether it’s verbal, in writing or submitted using the online form. If a report does not meet legal criteria for bullying, staff still creates a safety plan because perceived bullying still matters. District policy now includes cyber bullying.

Project Aware Now in its third year, this is a grant-funded program that provides training to the community about mental health. It’s important for children to learn how to be resilient, to manage what is happening in life. This training teaches staff, parents, community members and law enforcement how to spot the first signs of mental distress and how to get that person to help before it gets more serious. Contact Vickie Kohler to arrange for a training session for your school or organization.

Mentoring Programs There are several reasons a child needs a mentor: lacks adult influence, needs a confidence boost or is struggling academically. To find the best fit for you, visit

Lunch Pals Employees from a company are paired with students to mentor during the half hour lunch break once a week. To enroll your company, call Susan Schneck at (727) 588-1369. More mentors are needed in this program.

General Mentors For individuals who would like to mentor.

Other Mentor Programs Boys and Girls Clubs Big Brothers Big Sisters Peer to Peer Mentors 5000 Role Models Take Stock in Children Girl Friends of Pinellas County Schools


Hey Mom and Dad: YOUTH GROUPS ARE A GREAT IDEA! By PETE O’SHEA The good people of this world can often be found plugged into a hope filled, neighborhood church. It is a warm, loving environment and it is extremely helpful to navigate all of life’s ups and downs. Your church not only brings you closer to God, but it also provides a safe haven. It is the oasis in the desert that we so badly need in these days that constitute the worst spiritual warfare the world has ever known. If this notion is applicable to adults, imagine how much more applicable it is to young people. Books are written and revered from generation to generation about teenage angst. Those formative years are unsettling, uneasy and in some cases unmanageable. Our young people remain our most precious resource and the best and only solution we have for a better future. It is up to all of us to properly prepare them and give them a good faith foundation. They need to feel like they belong at the family’s church and that they matter. We have to speak in their vernacular and leverage technology to attract and maintain their interest. Plugging your child into a strong youth group is an awesome idea.

TUNE your radio station to the Pete O’Shea Show and

TURN your car, your office, your home or your headphones into places of positivity during your day! Pete’s friendly and upbeat style will bless your time as he discusses important current events and interviews inspiring people from the Tampa Bay area.

I don’t mean to state the obvious, but it is much harder today to grow up in this topsyturvy world. When I was a kid, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, we could ride our bikes anywhere and we felt safe. There was no such thing as reality television or cyber-bullying and we had a plethora of positive influences all around us. Our church was my second home and I loved being part of our youth group. I loved leading a youth group many decades later. I learned more from the kids than what I taught them. I also thoroughly enjoyed sharing my love of Jesus with them and then sitting back and watching them share that love with others. Almost every church has a youth group, and if they don’t, go up to your pastor and tell him or her that you’d be willing to start one immediately. It is a safe environment for kids to socialize, have fun and learn. The group becomes a team or even a family and they form a bond that lasts forever. NEWS FLASH: Your kids are going to go out and meet other kids and go to the movies, the mall or the bowling alley together. You can try to stop this or at least slow it down, but the conclusion is inevitable. So, why not introduce them to other good kids that then become their close friends? I have had the honor of working with countless youth pastors who dedicate themselves to making young people’s lives better. They are tireless in their efforts to bring forth a good message and a very comfortable set of surroundings that everyone can be happy about on a regular basis. Are there a lot of things that you and your teenager actually agree on? Don’t bother to answer that question, it was rhetorical. Youth Pastors are heroes. They are good role models. They put in many more hours than they are supposed to and I guarantee you; they did not get into this for the money!!! In my years of being involved in youth ministry, I have seen grades improve, problems go away and many a bad attitude turned around in phenomenal fashion. I’ve watched followers become leaders and bad kids become good kids. Teaching them directly from the bible certainly helps. You can’t go wrong when you are working with awesome material. The mantra of youth ministry is that they are all our kids, they are blossoming into their Divine Destiny and we all have a role to play in giving them every opportunity to succeed. The bad people of this world are more than willing to teach our young people about their corrupt and sinister way of life. The car thief and the drug dealer are skulking around each corner, waiting to pounce. So, Mom and Dad… forget the dope dealer, send your kids to the youth pastor, the hope dealer.

Listen to his show 3 - 6 p.m. on AM 1110

The Pinellas Education Foundation is proud to celebrate

30 YEARS OF TRANSFORMING LIVES Since 1986, The Pinellas Education Foundation has worked to enhance and improve the quality of public education. They do this by advocating for public education reform, creating programs to improve student and teacher performance, and raising funds for scholarships, grants and teacher recognition. Some of the most successful Foundation programs are Youth Connect, the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program, Enterprise Village, Finance Park, Future Plans, Fund A Classroom Grants, and the Academies of Pinellas. Learn more by visiting

a note from

Pinellas County Schools

Pinellas County Schools is always looking for opportunities to challenge students and extend learning opportunities. Every elementary school provides gifted services, and students can participate in innovative and accelerated programs at all levels. Through our Connect for Success initiative, we provide 6,500 laptops for students at Title 1 schools. Several years ago, we also implemented the Pinellas Talent Identification Program to encourage high achieving seventh-grade students to take the SAT. Pinellas County Schools continues to make significant progress towards the district’s vision of 100 percent student success. I am proud of our commitment to boosting achievement and preparing all students for their futures. At the heart of our success is the dedication of our teachers and students, and the involvement of our families. One of the most important factors in student success is good attendance. This school year we are working with the Juvenile Welfare Board and other community partners to remind families how crucial it is for students to attend school on time each day. Schools have received a variety of materials to help families keep good attendance top of mind. Parents and district staff also have a new tool on school websites to help track student attendance. Pinellas County Schools is committed to providing quality educational opportunities for all students. To meet the needs of each student, Pinellas County Schools continues to build on a long-range plan to personalize learning. The district offers quality neighborhood schools and 70 magnet, fundamental and career programs. In November and December, we hold various events where families can learn about our application programs, and in January, families have the opportunity to apply. Schools throughout the district offer a wide variety of courses that let students explore careers in fields ranging from aerospace technology to fashion design to cybersecurity. High-quality classes and programs inspire students and provide them with skills they need to achieve success in college, career and life. Pinellas County Schools choices and career programs have earned the district national recognition. Pinellas was recognized by the Brookings Institution for quality options available to families and scored first in school choice in the state of Florida and seventh in the nation. In addition, the district was named a Ford Next Generation Learning (Ford NGL) Model Community, a milestone designation for preparing high school students for success.

Celebrate the Good.

All of our academic offerings are complemented by a wide array of extracurricular programs from nationally recognized athletic and band programs to foreign language clubs and afterschool enrichment activities. STEM Academies, one of our more popular afterschool programs, give students opportunities to participate in fun activities while exploring science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Pinellas County Schools now serves more than 4,500 students at 230 STEM clubs throughout the school district. Pinellas County Schools is incredibly fortunate to have a community that treasures the importance of public schools and the arts. Thanks to community support for Pinellas County Schools Referendum all schools have access to quality art and music supplies and equipment. Referendum funding also strengthens reading programs, provides up-to-date technology and helps recruit and retain high quality teachers. We recognize the value of parental involvement and provide a variety of activities and events to families to get and stay engaged in education. In closing, I want to share my pride in serving Pinellas families and the community. I also want to encourage members of the community to consider volunteering. Our district provides numerous opportunities for families and community members to get involved in education. For information, call (727)588-5050, contact specific schools or visit Michael A. Grego Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools


Out of the Darkness by KATHLEEN PETERS

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24. And what’s even scarier is that it is the only cause of death in the top 10 that is rising instead of decreasing. Why is this issue growing as a problem? Because we aren’t doing as well as should in giving these young people the help they need to get back on track to a happy, productive life. As a society, the words “mental health” conjures up images of the 4 percent of Americans suffering from severe illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. But that 4 percent doesn’t come anywhere near the one in five young adults who will face a behavioral health incident this year. Who are these young adults and what do they look like? It may be the boy or girl that mows your lawn, babysits your kids and plays baseball on the weekends. They’re hard to spot, because they’re just like us. Most importantly, because of the stigma associated with behavioral health, most of them won’t ask for help and will continue to suffer in silence. I recently met a young woman who had struggled with thoughts of suicide while in law school. Like many of us at one time or another, a series of incidents - a breakup, death of a family member and school exams - all occurred in rapid succession. Not surprisingly, she was having trouble coping. But since she was concerned that a documented history of treatment would hinder her future career, she chose not to seek help. In my opinion, erasing the stigma around behavioral health is the top issue facing the well-being of our society today, and bringing this conversation out of the darkness and into the light is my No. 1 priority. To help, earlier this year in the Florida Legislature we passed legislation doing three key things to help remove the stigma and give more people access to the behavioral health system: • Advocating a “no wrong door” policy, we are pushing for central receiving facilities so that people can more quickly get the care they need. • Courts are now permitted to dismiss some nonviolent offenses for individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis, removing the potential challenge a criminal record could create for employment post-treatment. • Finally, we approved “Mental Health Courts,” a diversion strategy which allows courts to reassign some non-violent offenders for treatment instead of jail. Behavioral health issues may be more common than we like to think, but the good news is that they are curable. Changing laws is just a small part of the solution. As parents, we need to share stories, be open with our kids and help normalize the process of seeking care. Over the years, we’ve made amazing strides in battling heart problems, lung disease and HIV-AIDS. As a society I know we have the medical knowledge and resources to ensure that no child suffers alone. I hope you’ll join me in bringing this important health topic out of the darkness. Kathleen Peters FL – House District 69 (727) 341-7385

What can parents do? • Make sure your kids know it’s okay to get help • Talk with your pediatrician • Get a referral to a mental health specialist • Work with your school • Connect with other families

Signs to look for THAT A YOUNG ADULT IS HAVING A BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ISSUE • Mood swings so severe they cause problems in relationships • Drastic changes in behavior, personality or sleeping behavior • Severe difficulty concentrating in school • Worries or fears so intense they get in the way of routine daily activities like going to school or spending time with friends • Repeated use of drugs or alcohol • Sudden overwhelming fear for no reason – racing heart, trouble breathing, etc. • Significant weight loss or gain • Sadness or depression lasting more than two weeks – crying, fatigue, lack of motivation • Risk-taking behaviors to self or others • Planning or attempts to harm themselves or others

Important Numbers FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE: Suicide/Emergency Hotline Pinellas 727-791-3131 National Alliance on Mental Illness Pinellas 727-791-3434 Personal Enrichment Through Mental Health Services Crisis Stabilization Unit 727-552-1053

FOR OUTPATIENT CARE: Tampa Bay Cares to access up-to-date information about all community resources 2-1-1 or Directions for Living 727-524-4464 Suncoast Center 727-327-7656 Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services 727-538-7460 Department of Health – Pinellas County 727-507-4857 Catholic Charities 727-893-1313


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Reading proficiency by third grade is one of the most important predictors of high school graduation and career success. Reading proficiency is a standard reporting measure of a student’s ability to show adequate reading achievement on the Florida Standards Assessment using state-adopted standards for each grade level. Third grade reading proficiency takes into consideration such skills as reading fluency, vocabulary, retention, comprehension, and reader motivation and applies those skills to reading complex passages. Research shows that reading proficiency by the end of third grade enables students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn: it is the gateway to every other subject and allows students to tackle the more complex subject matter they encounter in higher grades. Yet two-thirds of U.S. fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to national reading assessment data, and the numbers rise for low-income students. This challenge has significant and long-term consequences, not only for each child struggling with reading proficiency but also for our communities. If left unchecked, the next generation will struggle to succeed in a global economy, participate in higher education, or enter military and civilian service.

The National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading was created to reverse this trend and work with local communities to find solutions using a collective approach. These include solutions that address the core factors impacting third grade-level reading proficiency: • School Readiness; • School Attendance; • Summer Learning; • Parent Engagement; and • Healthy Readers. In Pinellas County, the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) and our partners have launched Early Readers, Future Leaders as part of the National Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. In the pages ahead, we’ll shine a light on the core issues that influence grade-level reading, provide facts and tips, and unite our community with a simple message that READING MATTERS! Together with our Board of Directors, funded agencies, and community partners, JWB is asking everyone to be part of the solution. Working collectively, we can improve the futures for all Pinellas County children!

BOARD MEMBERS Dr. James Sewell, PhD, Chair Gubernatorial Appointee

Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman, DM JWB Executive Director

Brian J. Aungst, Jr., Vice Chair Gubernatorial Appointee Susan Rolston, Secretary Gubernatorial Appointee The Honorable Bob Dillinger Public Defender Maria Edmonds Gubernatorial Appointee Dr. Michael A. Grego, EdD Pinellas County Schools Superintendent The Honorable Bernie McCabe State Attorney Michael G. Mikurak Gubernatorial Appointee The Honorable Patrice Moore Sixth Judicial Circuit Court Raymond H. Neri Gubernatorial Appointee The Honorable Karen Seel Pinellas County Commissioner Dr. Marcie A. Biddleman, DM Executive Director

Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County 14155 58th St. N., Ste. 100 Clearwater, FL 33760 P: 727.453.5600 F: 727.453.5610 @JWBPinellas


School Readiness Readiness Tips for Parents

Learning begins long before a child enters kindergarten. Vocabulary development is particularly important. Infants absorb words, rhymes, songs, and images at amazing rates. Parents play a huge role in helping their children enter school ready to learn. Also helping are childcare providers, preschools, pediatricians, and the broader community. Access to quality childcare and early education is key. In addition, the timely recognition of developmental delays or health problems is also critical.

Learning begins long before a child enters kindergarten.

Parents are their child’s first teachers. There are many ways moms and dads can help prepare their children for lifelong learning by building vocabulary and instilling a love of reading: 

Talk, talk, talk.

Starting at birth—even while expecting—talk and describe what you are doing. Speak slowly, ask questions, and let your child see your face as you form words. Use facial expressions to grab attention. 

Read, read, read.

It’s never too early to read to your child. Establish a routine, like during bath or bedtime. Set a goal to read 20 minutes a day, even if it’s five minutes at a time. Read slowly, point to pictures, and ask questions. Make it fun; use your face, voice, and body to bring books to life. 

Sing, sing, sing.

Infants and young children love music and movement. When they listen to lively songs, such as The Wheels on the Bus, they learn about the world around them and the rhythm of language. Plus, you will relive your childhood by singing your favorites to them!



School Attendance Attendance Tips for Parents Know

school policies.

Know the attendance policy for your child’s school and keep a copy handy. Establish

regular routines.

Set a regular bed time and morning routine. Save time in the morning by laying out clothes and packing backpacks the night before. Address

health issues.

Every day counts in a child’s first years of school. Starting as early as kindergarten, absences add up. Your child can fall behind even if he or she misses just one or two days a month. Good habits start the very first month of school. These habits set the stage for good school attendance all year. Being late or tardy can impact your child’s education. Learning begins the minute the bell rings to start the school day. Good attendance is an indicator of future success. Children who attend school regularly are more likely to read on grade level, be promoted on time, and graduate from high school.

Every day counts in the first years of school.

Allow your child to stay home only when he or she is truly sick. Manage chronic health conditions, such as asthma, and prevent lost learning time with regular dental and health exams. Have

a plan.

Develop backup plans for getting your child to school. Call on a neighbor, family member, or another parent. Limit

time out of school.

Avoid scheduling family vacations or appointments for your child when school is in session.


READING TIPS  It’s never too early, so start reading to your child at birth. Reading to your baby y

ulary. is a wonderful way to bond, and hearing words over and over helps build vocabulary.  Talk to your infant or toddler to help build vocabulary. Point to objectss that

are near and describe them as you play and do daily activities.  Use sounds, songs, gestures, and words that rhyme to help your baby learn

about language and its many uses.  Turn off the television and read to your baby; infants and toddlers need to

hear language from human beings, plus you’ll enjoy the bonding time together.

 Establish a reading routine, like during your child’s bath or bed time.  Read every day. Set a goal to read 20 minutes a day with your

child —even if it’s 5 minutes at a time.  Use every day opportunities to build your child’s vocabulary and reading skills, like

trips to the grocery store. Ask younger children to identify items by name or ask them to find things that start with a certain letter of the alphabet. Older kids can help read sale flyers and product labels.  Have older kids read aloud while you’re cooking dinner or folding

laundry. Ask them to help you by reading a recipe, and encourage them to read to younger siblings.  Make your own reading routine, so children see that reading is important.

Set a good example by reading books, newspapers, and magazines.


FOR PARENTS  Books are magical; make them come alive when reading aloud to your child. Use your face,

voice, and body to bring the book to life. Take turns acting out different parts of the book.  Interact while reading. Point to pictures and ask questions like:

What’s going to happen next?  Read your child’s favorite book over and over again. Repetition is key, and your child

will start to memorize words, songs, and rhymes.  Spell F-U-N with family game night. Games like Scrabble, Taboo, and Pictionary help

build your child’s vocabulary and make learning fun.  Find books that interest your child, spark his or her imagination, or are connected to

something real in their world. For example, if your family goes to the beach, your child might enjoy a book on sea animals.

 Keep lots of new or used books handy and within reach of small

children. Create a quiet space in your home where your child can read, write, and draw.  Keep newspapers and magazines around for older kids to read.

Exchange books with other parents.  Take children’s books with you wherever you go; pack these to keep

your child busy in car rides or at appointments.  Visit your local library. Libraries offer a wide range of free reading

activities, such as story time and summer reading programs. Plus, your child will love carrying his or her very own library card!



Summer Learning Students lose ground or slide academically during the summer months. This has a cumulative effect on a child’s early school years, slowing progress toward third grade reading proficiency. Engaging children in summer learning opportunities is the best defense against summer slide. Instead of a punitive or remedial summer school model, the best programs combine core academic learning with hands-on activities and meaningful relationships. Having access to books and interactive reading programs over the summer reinforces skills and supports learning that takes place during the school year.

Students lose ground or slide academically over the summer months.

Tips to Prevent Summer Slide Enroll your child in a summer learning program. 

The best summer learning programs or camps combine core academics, hands-on activities, arts, sports, technology, and meaningful relationships. 

Read, read, read.

Get your child involved with a summer reading program that recommends a certain number of books be read for recognition or reward at the end. Encourage your child to read every day, and read aloud to your child every day. 

Visit your local library.

It’s important that your child has access to books that peak interest and imagination over the summer. There’s no better place than your local library, and your child will love carrying his or her very own library card!

Connect to online reading programs. 

Online reading programs, such as myON®, provide access to digital books and match a child’s interests and reading level to a recommended book list. Many are free or are available through the public school system.


A SPOTLIGHT ON... Engagement Tips for Parents 

Learning starts at home.

As your child’s first teacher, start early and talk, read, and sing often. Set up routines and look for ways your child can learn in every day activities. Keep TV time limited; your child’s early vocabulary depends on hearing your voice and seeing your face as you interact and play. 

Learning continues at home.

As your child enters school, don’t underestimate the learning that happens at home. Sit with your child as he or she does homework and talk about what was learned that day. Encourage learning when school is out of session, like holiday breaks and summer. 

Set an example.

Parent Engagement Moms and dads play the most powerful and influential role as their children’s first teachers, since 85% of the brain is developed by age five. As their children’s first brain builder, tech navigator, advocate, and coach, parents set the stage for success in the early years and early school grades. Parents are in the best position to prepare their children for school, establish good school attendance habits early, and prevent summer learning loss. This type of engagement from an early age is linked to third grade reading proficiency and higher student achievement overall.

Parents are their children’s first teachers.

Let your child see you reading, and read to your child often. Show an interest in what he or she is learning and practice good attendance habits, so your child learns the value of education from you. 

Parents know best.

You are the expert on your child. Because you know your child so well, you are in the best position to motivate, challenge, and support his or her learning experience. 

Think quality.

When it comes to being involved in your child’s education, think quality. As your child enters school, pick a day to volunteer in the classroom, have lunch together at school, or chaperone a field trip. If you’re busy during a school meeting or activity, ask a family member or close friend to attend. 

Keep connected.

Use technology to communicate with childcare staff and teachers, and visit the website portal for your child’s school to keep informed. Get involved in PTA, PTSA and similar organizations to keep connected.



Healthy Readers A healthy child is ready to learn, and good health begins with the prenatal care a mother receives. Children who are on track in their physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and verbal development are more successful learners. It’s important that parents, caregivers, doctors, and teachers watch for signs of delays in these areas, so diagnosis and treatment can start early. When a child’s basic needs are met, good health follows. These include proper shelter, food and nutrition, and nurturing. From there, a child’s good health continues by receiving proper medical, dental, vision, and hearing check-ups, along with treatment as needed. Access to consistent and quality healthcare plays a major role in grade-level reading and school achievement overall.

A healthy child is ready to learn!

Parent Tips for Healthy Readers 

Get moving.

Physical activity helps kids pay attention and learn. Plus, it reduces the risk for chronic diseases such as childhood obesity and diabetes. Children are encouraged to be active for a minimum of 60 minutes a day. 

Get unplugged.

Turn off anything with a screen. This includes TVs, computers, tablets, and gaming devices. 

Take care of health issues.

Preventing or managing chronic health conditions keeps kids in school. Managing a child’s asthma helps reduce absences; regular medical and dental care prevents lost learning time. 

Early is key.

Prenatal care builds early brain development in infants, and social/emotional development is supported through play and interaction with parents. Screenings conducted early in a child’s life catch developmental, hearing, and vision problems before they interfere with learning. 

Provide healthy foods.

Nourish children inside so they flourish outside. Children who skip breakfast or do not have access to nourishing meals cannot concentrate and learn. Schools offer free or affordable meal programs that include breakfast and lunch; plus, many neighborhood recreation centers, churches, and summer camps offer free summer food programs.


Early Readers, Future Leaders Pinellas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Partners

2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares • Alpha House of Pinellas County • ARTZ 4 Life BayCare Health System • Bethel Community Foundation/Truancy Intervention Program Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay • Boley Centers, Inc. Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast • Bright House Networks • CAP/Union Academy NFC CASA • Central Florida Behavioral Health Network • City of Clearwater City of Dunedin • City of Largo • City of Pinellas Park • City of St. Petersburg City of St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation/TASCO • Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation of Tampa Bay • Community Health Centers of Pinellas Cops ‘n Kids • COQUEBS • Directions for Living • Dunedin Public Library Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County • Faith-Based Literacy Program Family Center on Deafness • Family Resources, Inc. • Florida Campaign for Grade-Level Reading Florida Dept. of Health - Pinellas • Florida Dream Center • GA Food Services, Inc. Girls Scouts of WCF • Girls, Inc. • GRAYDI NFC • Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services Gulf Coast Legal Services • Healthy St. Pete Foundation • Healthy Start Coalition of Pinellas High Point Community Pride NFC • InterCultural Advocacy Institute James B. Sanderlin NFC • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Junior League of Clearwater-Dunedin • Junior League of St. Petersburg JWB Community Councils: North, South, and Mid-County • Largo Public Library Lealman & Asian NFC • Literacy Council of St. Petersburg • Literacy Council of Upper Pinellas Lutheran Services Florida • Martin Luther King Jr. NFC • Mattie Williams/Safey Harbor NFC myON Reader/Julie & David Cole • Operation PAR • PACE Center for Girls, Pinellas PARC • Parent Support for Education Council, Inc. • PEMHS Perserve Vision Florida • Pinellas Community Foundation • Pinellas County Government Pinellas County Homeless Leadership Board • Pinellas County Schools Pinellas County Sheriff ’s/Police Athletic League • Pinellas County Urban League Pinellas Education Foundation • Pinellas Park Chamber of Commerce  Pinellas Public Library Cooperative • Public Defender’s Office – 6th Judicial Circuit R’ Club Child Care • Religious Community Services • Salvation Army • SEER Analytics Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay • Sixth Judicial Circuit Court • Society of St. Vincent de Paul St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce  • St. Petersburg College • St. Petersburg Free Clinic St. Petersburg Library System • Suncoast Center, Inc. • Tampa Bay Rays Tarpon Springs Housing Authority • The Children’s Home, Inc. • The Poynter Institute UMCM Suncoast • United Way Suncoast • University of South Florida • WEDU • WeeREAD WellCare • WorkNet Pinellas, Inc. • WUSF Public Media • YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg YMCA of the Suncoast • Youth Development Foundation • Youth Development Initiatives

Early Readers. Future Leaders. Pinellas Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Getting Help for your Child is a Sign of Strength by LISA SIGNORELLI, LCSW MANAGER OF OUTPATIENT SERVICES A parent calls and says, “I’m getting notes in his agenda and calls from the school. I worry every time my phone rings. They say he is not following directions, he is having tantrums, he says he doesn’t care. He seems angry.”

A therapist works with families facing challenges every day and has many solutions. Together, you will all talk about the challenges you are facing, and work together to identify your family’s strengths and resources to help your child get on a A mother calls and says “We were having another fight, around bedtime. She pulled up her sleeves and showed me cut marks she made on positive path. her arms. I’m scared.” Going to therapy does not mean there is something wrong with your child. It will not give them a mental health diagnosis that A father says “He’s been acting strangely and staying in his room. I was will prevent them from pursuing future opportunities. It does not putting away his laundry and found a bag of marijuana. I’m furious!” mean your child needs medication, and it won’t be forever. If you These are calls we receive every day at Suncoast Center and these are have these concerns, be sure to share them with the therapist so challenges faced by many families in our community. According to they can be addressed. the CDC, up to 1 in 5 children have mental health and behavioral Getting help is a sign of strength. It teaches your child that challenges. Fortunately, treatment works and early intervention is key. problems are not something to be ashamed of, and how to take It’s scary and overwhelming when your child is having behavioral or action to solve problems. It builds hope and confidence in your mental health problems. We ask ourselves, “Am I a bad parent? Is my child, as they learn new skills and coping strategies. Progress starts child a bad kid? What am I doing wrong? Is it always going to be like this?” when you talk about the problem and get others on your team. It is not going to always be like this. You are not a bad parent. Your child is not a bad kid. You can work together to face this challenge. Talk with your child about your concerns in a calm, hopeful way. Let them know you are aware of the problem and you will work together as a family to solve it. Talk to your child’s teacher or school social worker. Make an appointment with your pediatrician to explore your concerns. Have your child participate in these meetings, so he can see that you are taking this seriously and are working to find solutions. Consult with a properly credentialed therapist, like those at Suncoast Center. Ask questions all along the way and share your fears.

Celebrate the Good. Administration 727.327.7656 Client Intake 727.388.1220 24/7 Rape Crisis Hotline 727.530.7273 35

INTRODUCING Brandon McIntosh Hi! My name is Brandon and my business is helping kids be healthier! I’m really excited to be an Ambassador for the GoodLiving® Healthy Kids Club and look forward to seeing you at events or if you sign up for one my programs! I have been a fan of the magazine for years because it’s always been committed to creating a healthier community made up of healthy parents and healthy kids. We’ll be teaming up for some great things, so be sure to sign up for Healthy Kids Club at Helping kids is my calling and I love it. I remember back in 2010, seeing kids wearing hoodies in summer. I asked them, “Why are you wearing that? It’s hot outside.” The children said they were covering up their weight because they didn’t want to be bullied. So after talking to more than a dozen children, I realized that their weight was causing depression and low self-esteem. I was seeing kids run around the recreation centers not really happy with their bodies. Some of them even starve themselves, which is so bad! These experiences really opened up my eyes and I started to research more about childhood obesity. I learned that a third of kids under age 19 are overweight or obese, and at greater risk for stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Soon after, I held a focus group with local parents in Largo and asked them questions like, “What type of foods do you buy your children?” and “Is your child active?” After that meeting, I developed the program “Fit Kids.” My goal for the program is to make fitness fun and to get kids moving in a way that doesn’t seem like punishment. I believe that a kid should be a kid. In addition to fitness, I also wanted to teach kids how to eat right, including adding more vegetables and fruits to their diets. And then finally, I had to figure out a way to get parents involved with the program. This was accomplished by inviting the parents to work out with their children for free.


The Be a Fit Kid Progr Program: Be A Fit Kid is a principal fi fitness tness and conditioning program for children of all shapes and sizes. The program consists of resistance and aerobic exercise in a group setting along with nutritional education and using food logs for children ages 6-15. Be A Fit Kid provides children with a coach who is interested not only in physical training but in educating them about nutrition. When a child exercises in a group regularly, has fun and learns how to eat healthy, he or she is less likely to be overweight or diabetic. Exercise improves learning and academic performance. Our program helps children build self-esteem and confidence. It can motivate children to excel academically and build social skills.

Andrew’s Story When I started working with Andrew, he was 11 years old. His father was out of the picture and his mom worked everyday. He was bullied at school because of weight, didn’t play sports and was not very active. He joined the Be a Fit Kid program for eight months. When he started the program, he was nearly 139 pounds and had a hard time running one lap around the gym. By the seventh month, he lost just over 19 pounds and made the school’s Flag Football Team. We accomplished our goal by cutting out a lot of refined sugar, carefully monitoring what he ate and motivating him to move his body. The individualized attention, coaching and encouragement made a huge difference to this young man. If he continues on this path, his outlook for the future is much different!

Brandon’s Tips FOR BEING A FIT KID Make a weekly meal plan with your children. Look up healthy recipes online and when you go grocery shopping, bring your kids. The more knowledge they have about healthy eating, the more likely they are to make better food choices when they are away from home. Add Fruits & Vegetables to your child’s meal plan. Aim for at least 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Older kids may turn their noses up at vegetables just as younger children will. So you have to be creative and persistent in having them try new fruits and vegetables! Encourage your kids to drink more water. Avoid buying drinks with added sugar, such as sports drinks, energy drinks and soda. Offer water as often as possible. Add lemon or a shot of fruit juice to help with the flavor. Replace junk food with healthy snacks. Avoid buying chips, cookies and processed snacks. Serve quality snacks such as dried or fresh fruit, nuts or carrots with hummus. Make sure your child eats breakfast. A healthy, non-sugary breakfast is an important meal, particularly for school-age children. Studies show that children who head to school on an empty stomach tend to perform worse on math, reading and memory tests. Do Mini-Workouts each day. Encourage your kids to move by setting a good example. Encourage your child every day to do 30 minutes of exercise between doing homework and playing video games. Start a walking program and take your kids along with you. Be a Fit Family. On the weekend, do something active as a family. Go for a family bike ride, walk, hike or visit a park or beach. Also, sign your family up for a local 5K walk/run. Sign your child up for a sport. Participation in sports will help your child build self-esteem and confidence. It can motivate children to excel academically and build social skills. Allow your child to try numerous sports. Studies show concentrating on just one sport at a young age may cause exercise burnout.

Fit Kids for Life: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Brandon McIntosh and Chrisoula Kiriazis, MD Taking from his success with this program, Brandon co-wrote Fit Kids for Life as a manual to help parents. He teaches about the Be A Fit Kid/ Fit Kids philosophy and gives parents prac cal informa on on how to coach their own children into being fit and healthy. The book is available at and for $10. Contact Be a Fit Kid Today! Email or call (727)492-7955.

Celebrate the Good.


The Importance of Movement by REBECCA THOMPSON HITT, MS, MFT

Take a moment right now and check in with your body.

For Preschool Age

Are you hungry? Are you tired? Are you thirsty? Do you need to move your body? Do you need to go to the bathroom?

The wonder and awe of the world in young children can be exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. They naturally gravitate towards moving their bodies. Create spaces in and outside of your home where they can climb, imagine and dig in the earth. Set aside time every day where they are free to explore outside without any structured activities.

Seriously. As parents, we are often disconnected from our own bodily needs because we have so many other things that need our attention. Can you take care of any of those needs right now? Do it before you continue reading this article. This is a great first step to becoming aware of our own bodies and our own needs. And this is one of the essential skills our children need to learn to become healthy, mindful individuals. And it isn’t taught in schools. In fact, schools have a full agenda, much like you probably do, and children learn to disconnect from their bodies and their own needs as well. As the requirements for our children in traditional schools become longer, including mandates for the number of minutes each subject must be taught, schools are eliminating recess, physical education and play-based learning. There simply isn’t any time for movement because it is considered unimportant in our head-centric education. But this disconnect is hurting our children. Children who are connected to their bodies learn better. They’re more capable, more able to calm themselves when they’re having a difficult time, and more likely to be able to engage their thinking brain to learn. The connectedness of our bodies and brains is well documented. Kids who move regularly score better on standardized tests, have better reading and problem solving skills, and have better classroom behavior. So what’s a parent to do? While we can certainly try to take research to our school leaders to help bring awareness of simple things teachers can do in the classroom (such as the article cited below), it really falls on us as parents to educate our children about their body’s needs and to get them moving more at home. As parents, we can cultivate our child’s awareness of his or her own body. We can promote physical movement and time for play when they are with us after school, on the weekends and on school vacations. It matters, and it is something we can do. Here are some suggestions for incorporating movement into your time with your kids to help cultivate awareness of their bodies (and yours, too!) at different ages. You may find some added benefits, including better behavior at home as well. Give it a try and let us know what you find. Recommended Reading chapters/Movement-and-Learning.aspx


Shovels, old pots and pans, and a trip to the playground where they can hang on the monkey bars go a long way towards getting energy out and connecting pathways in their brains for learning. As they move, so they learn. Children between 3 and 5 need you to know what they need and to provide it for them. You can begin to talk to them about how they feel when they run around and play. Identifying how it feels in their bodies after they play and move will help to create awareness. Invite them to ask for a trip to the park or a quick game of Simon Says when they think of it.

Specific suggestions: • Building blocks • Hide and go seek • Make believe play • Clapping games, like Patty-Cake • Helping with household tasks like cooking and laundry

For Middle and High School Age By the time our kids are tweens and teens, many of these habits are already formed, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t teach some mindfulness and help them to change some patterns at this stage. In fact, you may benefit from the suggestions here, as well. We ALL need to move more and this can be a great way to open dialogue with your older kids. It might sound something like this: “I’m noticing that I sit a lot at work. I haven’t really been moving my body very much, and I was just reading an article about how we learn better and work better when we move. I’m wondering if you’d like to try some of the ideas with me and see how it feels for you?” They might say no. Let them. And start doing it yourself. When you sit down together at dinner, talk about what you’re noticing about yourself (I did my work in less time today. I feel better. I’m less fidgety when I get out for a bike ride in the morning–whatever you notice about yourself ). Leave an open invitation for your child to join in. But also know that your child is watching and learning from your example.

For Elementary Age As our kids get older, they’re likely to have more scheduled activities in addition to more homework in the evenings. Just because they have bigger bodies doesn’t mean they don’t need to be moving or playing. In fact, it becomes even more important to create the time. Encourage your kids to get up, stretch and check in with their bodies while they’re at home in the evenings with you. When they get home from school, encourage them to move their bodies before they sit down to do their homework. Consider limiting structured activities to the ones they really love. Your little dancer or soccer player will do much better having some unstructured playtime. They will benefit from both the outside activites that get them moving AND the time where no one is telling them what to do. They really need both! Talk to your kids about how they feel when they’re sitting too long at school. What does it feel like in their bodies? What does it feel like when they get to move and play? Create the space for open dialogue about what they need and how they can meet those needs both in and out of school.

Specific Suggestions: • Keep homework to 30 minutes, with 30 minutes of movement afterwards • Create child-friendly play spaces with activites such as Legos, clay or play-dough, and paints • Hopscotch • Scavenger hunts • Get them into the kitchen to cook with you

Celebrate the Good.

If they’re willing to join you in an experiment, give some ideas and let them run with it. One mother does low-intensity weight training every day and invited her teen daughter to join her. Her daughter thought it was a great idea and now they have something they can do together.

Specific Suggestions: • • • • • •

Yoga Running Bike riding Swimming Dance Drama

The most important thing in all of this is to begin thinking about what your child really needs and to start talking about it. Use yourself and your own experiences as a guide to engage in conversation with your child and create some awareness of their bodies and what they need. Having someone else consider what they need helps them to consider what they need. Being mindful of oneself and one’s experiences is really what it is all about.

Rebecca Thompson Hi , MS, MFT, is a holis c family counselor and the founder and execu ve director of The Consciously Paren ng Project, Inc. She has two boys, 12 and 17, and two grown step-children. She’s passionate about helping create, nurture and repair healthy families using current neuroscience and a achment research.


Gratitude^, Kindness^, Peace^ AND MOMS WHO WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Supna Shah and

WE GO KIDS When any one of her three year old triplets starts to get out of control, Supna Shah has them all sit in a circle and hold hands. She then leads them through their yoga breathing exercise. Inhale, one, two... Exhale, one, two... She repeats this ten to fifteen times until there is a collective calm, and says that this very simple, yet mindful, exercise has taught her children how to undo their own tantrums. “Even young babies can sense their mother’s breathing rate,” she says. “They were aware of it in the womb and so they can pick up on their mother’s calmness.” Supna had been practicing yoga and yoga breathing for 15 years when she became pregnant with triplets. She used her training to help her through her pregnancy because it was the only physical activity she could do. Then once home with the babies, she started training them young. “Parents can start very early,” she adds. Supna says she incorporates yoga breathing into their routine everyday and that now, at age three, her children are able to self calm themselves. “It’s a tool for developing coping skills and dealing with conflict. It also builds self awareness and overcomes anxiety.” Supna is such a believer in this technique, or tool of yoga breathing, that she is working to help other moms embrace it as part of their parenting practices with very young children. Additionally, she is advocating for teaching yoga and healthy eating habits to kids, which can help them throughout their lives. She coaches parents to see the huge gap there is in our society between doing a sport and teaching life-long activities that promote strength and flexibility. Not to mention, she adds, that we all need to make time to counteract the cumulative negative effects of our lifestyle, and yoga can help to accomplish that.


“My medium is clothing.” Like many great innovators and entrepreneurs, Supna’s company grew out of her core beliefs and passions as well as her experience. She’s not a yoga teacher, though. She produces yoga specialty clothing for babies and children up to age six, and does it in a way that helps empower other moms who have home businesses. Instead of finding an overseas manufacturer, all of her clothing pieces are custom designed with embroidery or appliqués created by other moms. So to keep prices within reach, she sells only through her online store at The line includes onesies, t-shirts and pants made from organic cotton. She has started with four of the 17 animal poses: frog, turtle, monkey and the most popular, down dog. Pigeon pose is coming next as well as expanded sizing. She has the needed flexibility to balance her business with being a wife and mom to three children, something she couldn’t do in her old corporate lifestyle. Today she relishes her role as a mompreneur advocate, as well as a health and yoga advocate. “I believe we have a social obligation to help other moms with their businesses. In the end it benefits the children.”

Supna Shah with her family. We Go Kids clothing line shown above.

Keep Telling the Story Supna uses her website to connect with moms and dads of young children for much more than children’s clothing. She partners with Haley Bechet, owner of Yoga Youth and Fitness and together they produce yoga how-to videos that are shared on Facebook. Healthy eating and healthy living videos and articles are also made and shared as part of the We Go Kids Movement. While she says there is an abundance of free resources out there, she supports local yoga teachers, many of whom are being trained locally through Kidding Around Yoga (KAY). Kidding Around Yoga’s founder has created a course for learning how to work with children ages 2 to 17. It’s not necessary to be a yoga teacher or trainer to take the class. Learn more at

Marni Becker-Avin and

WUF SHANTI Based in South Florida, Marni and her son Adam are behind the creation of Wuf Shanti, a boxer-ish dog character who teaches yoga to children at events through videos, and hopefully someday soon a television show. Marni’s grandfather was actually the one who taught her son yoga. “When Great-Grandpa passed away, Adam wanted to do something to honor him, so he created this yoga dog character to help pay forward Grandpa’s teachings to the next generation. Adam believes, and so do I, if we can teach kids when they are young tools to help them deal with their emotions in a more productive way, then they will grow up to be less depressed and anxious teenagers, and hopefully happier content peace-loving adults,” said Marni.

Celebrate the Good.

Haley Bechet with students.

Haley Bechet and

YOGA YOUTH & FITNESS A Kidding Around Yoga instructor in the Palm Harbor area, Haley Bechet is reaching out to teachers in order to help them in the classroom. This mom of two has recently launched a website loaded with homemade videos and curriculum to help teachers share poses and techniques with students. Her goal is to bring yoga and fitness into schools and homes by giving teachers and parents easy and simple instructional videos. These videos can be accessed directly through the site at She hopes parents and teachers both will be inspired to use this free yoga and fitness resource so that children can grow up peaceful, healthy and centered without interrupting their busy school and family schedules. Haley also teaches yoga classes and Stand Up Paddling yoga classes in the north county area.

The Wuf Shanti TV Show.

Both Marni and Adam are certified Kidding Around Yoga teachers, and at age 12, Adam may be the youngest. Their hope is to grow their program so that Wuf Shanti can be as popular as Barney once was. Videos are on YouTube now, and they were recently accepted by the Children’s Television Network (part of the Children’s Miracle Network) to have their videos distributed to all of the children’s hospitals across the nation. A pilot for a television show has just been completed. “We would like to make an impact in the lives of many young people to help them learn how to cope with emotions and stress, heal their bodies and relax their minds. Teaching positive thinking, kindness and gratitude are very important to us, and it’s all in a huge effort to change the world,” said Marni who also very much loves working on this goal with her son. Go to for more information and links.


Recess Moms Organize for

HEALTHIER SCHOOLS Activist moms Christie Bruner and Stephanie Cox tapped a nerve with their fight for recess last year. Their local committee, along with moms from other counties, worked with legislators to craft a bill that would make daily recess mandatory for students in K - 5 across the state. The bill passed the house with a near unanimous vote, but a procedural block kept the Senate from even getting to vote. Here in Pinellas County, our superintendent issued a directive to schools regarding daily physical activity. (See sidebar.)

Christie Bruner and Stephanie Cox are Pinellas County moms leading the local grass roots campaign in the quest for recess and healthier schools.

Now that school has resumed, the Pinellas Parents for Healthy Schools group has gotten back together. Here’s what Christie says is happening next:

Will the Recess Moms try again for mandatory recess? Yes, the Recess Bill will be back in the upcoming 2017 legislative session. Recess Moms from across the state, including Pinellas County, will be involved in gaining the support to pass this bill. We are currently in the process of reaching out to all legislative candidates to gain their support for the bill. Check out our website at for updates regarding healthy school issues from potential State Senators, State Representatives as well as local school district candidates.

In regards to the directive being handled differently at each school, what should parents do to advocate for recess at their children’s schools? Parents need to be leaders at their individual schools. Talk to your principal and teachers, and ask them how recess will be handled at the school and offer to help. Rally other parents together and ask to attend your Healthy School team meeting. This team should consist of your principal, cafe manager, PE teacher and another staff member. A parent representative should be welcome to join this team, as well. Involve the school’s PTA to gain support for any fundraising or volunteers that may be needed. Be positive, be helpful and be creative!

Your group has also taken on the issue of the school nurse shortage. What should parents know about the school nurse situation? There is a school nurse shortage in Pinellas County, with one nurse serving several schools during a week. This means that a school nurse is not full time at a school to handle medical emergencies, sick children and medication dispensing. While the daily medical needs of students is going up, the funding for school health services is not keeping up. Funding for school health services in Florida districts comes from various sources including the county health department, school district dollars and sometimes help from other community partners.

Celebrate the Good.

Students with diabetes, asthma and allergies are among the chronically ill children who do not have a qualified nurse on school property. Often times, a front office staff member or teacher is given the authority to care for these students, which takes away from their other duties. We need to continue to raise awareness about this issue, and let residents of our district know that this is a community health crisis. We need to look for solutions that get school nurses back in our schools. Our students’ health should be a higher priority.

How can parents join your quest for healthier schools? Join us on the Pinellas Parents for Healthy Schools Facebook page. Comment and interact with other parents across the district to see how to help make your school a healthy school.

ENACTMENT OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY ON A DAILY BASIS Pinellas County Schools is committed to supporting the healthy development of students both physically and academically. Through local decision-making for appropriate implementation at each site, beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, all elementary schools will offer physical activity everyday through physical education, recess or both. This can be accomplished in many ways through flexible scheduling models, taking into consideration the varying needs of individual schools. Research supports the mental and physical benefits of being able to participate in periodic physical breaks during the school day and our board acknowledges the important connection between physical activity and achievement.


EDITORIAL by PAMELA SETTLE The big day is coming on Tuesday, November 8th. Presidential elections happen once every four years, but this one, the 58th, will be historic. To make sure that you can participate, register to vote if you haven’t already. The deadline to register is October 11th. Go to for details. In addition to electing a new president, we have an important election for a U.S. Senator between incumbent Marco Rubio and opponent Patrick Murphy. Pinellas County is a very important county for this election, so every vote will most definitely count. Districts 12, 13 and 14 all have elections for the U.S. House of Representatives. These are my favorite politicians because they really are our connection to Washington D.C. In my experiences, I have found our Pinellas County representatives to be extremely responsive to the needs of the local community as well as individual constituents. You really can call their offices and ask for help. They really do want to hear from you and help you if they can.

worded this amendment to their benefit, so in this case, a NO vote is favorable for the future of solar energy in Florida. Also back is Amendment 2 for another round. Opponents say that the language in the amendment hasn’t really changed and that all the loopholes that can lead to legalized marijuana are still there. Visit to learn why this isn’t a good and healthy direction for our state and it isn’t the right way to create a system that will benefit the sick. And then here in Pinellas County, we have races for the state house, county commission, school board and county charter amendments. State House of Representative Incumbents Chris Sprowls, Chris Latvala, Larry Ahern and Kathleen Peters are up for reelection. The county commission has a big race between businessman Mike Mikurak and incumbent Charlie Justice. Two seats for school board need to be finalized: Carol Cook vs. Eliseo Santana and Janet Lentino vs. Matt Stewart. These three races are important to our local community and deserve your attention.

And finally, the opportunity to vote YES on the renewal of school funding for the arts, teacher bonuses and textbooks/technology. This is a continuation of the same referendum previously approved by voters, and so it won’t show up as an increase on your tax bill. Despite the strong, divergent opinions about education and feelings about those who make the rules, this solution paves the way for the local At the state level, there are constitutional amendments up for vote. community to do the right thing for the students and the teachers I want to call your attention to the solar power amendment. It’s right now, regardless of what else is going on that is out of our control. important to realize that the one in November is different from the one we passed in August. Voters approved the one in August, which is This is our chance to do the right thing by those in the classrooms. good for the future of solar energy. But in November, we need to vote Period. For the average homeowner in Pinellas, that translates to just no. Those in favor of a just utility structure that benefits the consumer over $5.00 a month, and again, this is a renewal so it’s already in place say to vote NO on 1. They tell me the power companies have cleverly and working in our schools. Our kids need you to do this for them. So, please vote YES to continue this needed funding.

#GoodLivingStandsforKids AND RECOMMENDS








ENCHANTAILS Delight the little mermaid in your home with this brand new book and slumberbag set called Enchantails. The mermaid storybooks are built around real life places in the ocean for young girls to explore. Each mermaid character has her own color for the luxurious satin sleeping bag with monogrammed pillow, carrying tote and fictional map of Oceana. Parents and entrepreneurs, Mark and Tristy Viniello created this product line in reaction to their daughter’s fascination with the mermaid folklore and mythology. Their goal was to create mermaid inspired products that would stimulate play and imagination, as well as encourage reading. The world of Oceana has 12 realms based on mythology and real life places to intrigue, excite and transport young minds around the world. These products are new for fall and the holidays. The first three character sets, Mermaid Kelani, Mermaid Lucienne, and Mermaid Tasi are available for online purchase at Starting this fall they will be available at Macy’s, Kohl’s, Stein Mart and Bealls.

ThumbThings Handmade Finger Puppets A great way to involve young children in a story is through the use of puppets. Having a parent or caregiver using the finger puppets as part of the story generates interest. Encouraging a child use the puppets to act out the story opens the door for creative and deeper thinking about the story. Finger Puppets, Inc. has more than 200 adorable characters to collect, trade and share. Children can spend hours interacting and playing pretend games at home, in the stroller and even in the carseat, all while learning valuable social skills. The company is hoping to inspire people to choose responsibly and buy products that can change the world. Each puppet they sell is handmade by women’s artisan collectives in rural Peru and every purchase supports subsistence communities. They are certified by Green America and and a member of 1% For The Planet.


Props in a Box Another way to help stories come alive for children is through theatrical play. We love this product as a gift for a family with young children, because it can inspire kids to imaginative play. Props in a Box™ and the brand-new Props in a Bag™ are sold in Toys R Us stores nationwide and online. They are also introducing their “all in one” movie making kit for those aspiring directors and actors. With both sets, children have the chance to dress in costume and perform the stories spinning in their minds. Each set comes with everything needed to put on the perfect production -- costumes, accessories, props with a “hand-made” feel and a whimsical illustrated backdrop, plus the Props in a Box Movie Maker App™. For Props in a Bag™ sets, choose from the Camper, the Construction Worker, the Magician and the Superhero. For Props in a Box™ choose from Dinosaur & The Pirate, Farmer & The Doctor, Fisherman & The Astronaut and Princess & The Chef.

Good PRODUCTS GoodLiving Reader Giveaways! Go to our website and enter to win any of the products on these two pages. Winner will be notified on November 3, 2016. Sign up for our Healthy Kids Club Newsletter to receive ongoing notices about these and future giveaways. Protect Young Backs and Necks Carrying gear to school and after-school activities on a child’s back can cause wear and tear and undo stress on a developing neck and spine. You can at least take some of the weight of the world off their backs and onto wheels with this backpack from High Sierra, a manufacturer of high quality backpacks and hydration packs. This Powerglide Wheeled Backpack is large enough for books, gym clothes, a lunch box and more for students on the go in elementary school through college. Includes a padded computer sleeve, premium organizer pocket, electronic device pocket, key fob and space for a water bottle. A wheeled backpack needs quality, smooth rolling wheels to last more than one school year and this one has two of them! The two-position telescoping handle stows away and is tough enough for a teenage boy. Adjustable padded shoulder straps are hidden away as an alternative. It even has a durable kick plate so it all stays together longer. 5 Year Warranty included.

Snowflake Books Once upon a time, a mom dreamed of writing children’s books in different languages which could be tailored to reflect a child in both text and images. Jill Barletti’s company, Snowflake Books, produces personalized hard cover books that will be treasured for a lifetime. Her company is based her belief that each child’s story is unique and special, just like a snowflake. The adventure to build the book happens at First, in character builder, one gets to create fully customizable characters, choosing hair, eyes and skin color. Second, select the cast of characters, which is three to five of the child’s loved ones. This ensures that the character’s family looks like the reader’s family. The third step is to customize the language (choose up to two) from these options: English, Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese. And finally step four involves personalizing the story to the child with age, names, roles of the cast members and even uploading a child’s photo.

Celebrate the Good.

Protect Young Eyes while Reading and Playing These days children of all ages are spending hours a day looking at lighted screens including televisions, tablets and smartphones, sometimes for extended periods of time. With schools now incorporating tablets and laptops into class for schoolwork, children’s exposure to screens continues to increase. This is all happening at a time when their eyes, like everything else on their bodies, are developing and it could be causing damage. Almost all digital screens emit a blue light and excessive exposure to blue-violet, high energy visible (HEV) light from backlit screens and artificial lighting can be damaging to eyes causing eye fatigue, headaches and eye strain. The online company, has an easy solution to make screen time safer for children, and adults, with their digital protection lenses worn as glasses. These are protective glasses are for anyone, much like sunglasses, but coated with a material that protects from the damaging light from screens. Frames begin at just $6 and they are available for those who need no corrective lenses or magnification -- so protection only. But if you wear a prescription or use reading glasses, you can special order those as well. For children using myON® or other digital reading resources, this can be a safe, easy and affordable way to provide some protection no matter which device they are using at the time.




NO to Spreading Hate

Troll. No longer just the cute toy with the spikey hair. Troll is the new name for those who are poisoning the Internet with hate talk and even creating an atmosphere of fear that is silencing free speech and driving young people to kill themselves. Trolls are unfortunately a very real, and a very negative part of our cyber world. And their numbers are growing as more social media products make it possible for people to have access to one another, often times anonymous and unfiltered. Trolls attack without caring for the victims or caring about the consequences. Experts have been warning about unchecked and unsupervised cell phone use among pre-teens and teens — the same kids who can’t legally drink, smoke, drive, take drugs or sign a contract because they lack the maturity and judgment to handle these kinds of responsibilities. In the August 29th Time Magazine cover story, writer Joel Stein covers the issue of hate taking over the Internet. He makes a case that “regular” people are becoming trolls because it’s growing into an acceptable form of entertainment and amusement. The story also mentions a study where people exposed to good deeds on Facebook were 10% more likely to do the same. The opposite may also be true as researchers see indications that our cultural norms about how we treat others are shifting and that “When people think it’s increasingly OK to describe a group of people as subhuman or vermin, those same people are likely to think that it’s OK to hurt those people.” It’s hard not to relate this to the bullying problem we have in schools today, where kids as young as three, four and five are bullying their peers, and even worse in middle and high schools where bullying is resulting in suicides and depression. Hate is a learned behavior. Children mimic what they see and hear. So are we as adults reflecting the hate we see on the Internet in our daily lives? Are our norms shifting toward hate?


Because it Matters. GoodLiving® Magazine has been sharing good news and good stories with our readers since it began six years ago! And now at we have a place for even more good stories from Pinellas County that will be available for all to see online 24/7. By sharing these stories we can impact how we and our neighbors feel about our community and each other because what we read, hear and see changes how we feel.


GOODLIVING® MAGAZINE Sharing the GOOD for 6 years! Tell us Your Story and help us Change the World

One Story at a Time!

Celebrate the Good.


Goodness is contagious. So we want to do more to pass it on. Email us and tell us your good news. There is Power in Sharing the Good! Submit your stories any me at


Raising the Bar for Healthy Skin Our skin. Our body’s largest organ. And while it wraps us up tightly to keep our arteries, muscles, bones and internal organs neatly in place, it is porous and so whatever goes on our skin can be absorbed into our skin. In recent years, the marketing departments of companies convinced the American public that they needed antibacterial washes to do a better job of killing germs. The problem is that there wasn’t any science to back up that claim. Now it seems that we’ve done more harm than good by helping to create antibiotic resistant bacteria and environmental consequences because this soap goes down the drain and into our drinking water. The Food and Drug Administration ruled on September 2, 2016 that companies can no long sell over-the-counter antibacterial soap products that contain certain active ingredients, most commonly triclosan and triclocarban. This ruling does not impact hand sanitizing gels and wipes. However, health officials and your school nurse are saying what they’ve always said, “use good old soap and water several times a day.” But before you go rushing back to plain ol’ commercially-produced hand wash or soap, consider making the change to hand-made soaps. It’s one of those “easy being green” steps that is also a decision your skin will thank you for.

Two Palm Soaps 1359 Main Street • in Dunedin’s Country Boy Plaza Call for hours at (727) 647-9041 • or visit



Two Palm Soaps Shirley Crawford, owner of Two Palm Soaps in Dunedin is a local soap expert, and ten minutes in her store will make you a believer. If you think hand-made soaps are for show in the fancy guest bathroom, consider this: just like a home-cooked meal takes time and uses the best fresh ingredients, home-made soaps need time to cure, and most makers use the best oils, essential oils, goat milk, oatmeal, herbs, clay and other ingredients that aren’t found in mass produced cleansing bars or hand washes. This is unlike the mass production processes that rob the final product of glycerin, a natural by-product of the blend of lye and oil called saponification. The glycerin, which is the part that gives moisture and softness, is usually sold to make cosmetics and lotions, so you have to eventually buy two products! After processing, what’s left are foaming detergent cleansing bars and body washes that can irritate and dry skin. Package labels will likely include a list of chemistry class sounding ingredients that represent parabens, petrochemicals, artificial colors, artificial fragrances and preservatives. You won’t find that in Shirley’s shop! In hand-made soaps, the glycerin stays and that’s what gives you the moisturizing effect your skin needs. So first, Shirley starts by using high quality oils. Then using her basic technique that retains the glycerin, she mixes in and blends other ingredients to create a line that has dozens of options. Choose from fragrances and blends to suit just about any taste. From the mild goat milk and oatmeal bar to fruits and flowers to scents just for men, the soaps will give your skin the treatment it deserves while pleasing your other senses, too. Those with sensitive skin or skin conditions like eczema should stop by and see what she recommends. Her very knowledgeable advice is always free.

Good EATING Pumpkin Spice Crisp Rice Treats Ingredients 1 10oz bag of Dandies Pumpkin Marshmallows 2 Tbsp vegan margarine, like Earth Balance 5 cups Crisp Rice Cereal 2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup 1 tsp Cinnamon 1/4 tsp Ground Clove 1/2 tsp Nutmeg Instructions In a microwave safe bowl, combine Dandies, margarine and maple syrup. In 30 second intervals, with a quick stir between each, microwave until marshmallows are fully melted. Stir in spices. Mix in cereal and stir until evenly coated with marshmallow cream. Press mixture into a 9x9 pan. Once cool, cut into squares, and enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows? Yes, and with no GMOs, high fructose corn syrup or gelatin. Light, fluffy and spiced just for the season when everyone is clamoring for pumpkin spiced treats. Chicago Vegan Foods manufactures this product, along with a traditional vanilla flavored marshmallow, that is 100% vegan and certified kosher. The Dandies are the first Non-GMO Project Verified marshmallows on the market. They are made with all-natural ingredients and completely free of artificial ingredients. “Marshmallows should make people happy, not be made with scary ingredients,” shared Dan Reed, Marketing Director for Chicago Vegan Foods. “We’ve updated this classic comfort food to be in line with today’s values.” Dandies can be found at Whole Foods Market.

Real Cooking Kits for Kids Real Cooking Kits for Kids involve children in the home cooking experience. Teach them to bake and cook with real ingredients in a way that is a fun activity for the family to do together. Could even be good training for one of the several kid cooking shows now airing on the Food Network! This line of baking kits empowers kids to make beautiful and delicious treats, using real ingredients. Each all-inclusive kit contains kid-friendly, real-working kitchen tools that take the legwork and mess out of cooking with kids. They will love these stylish and functional accessories that are just their size. Simply add natural ingredients such as milk, eggs, butter and oil to the perfectly proportioned baking mixes (made in the USA) and pop them in the kitchen oven. Kids can decorate each treat with the included toppings and edible decorations. Featuring cupcakes, cookies, cake pops and mini donuts. Join the family cooking craze which is not only fun, but also helps children learn about what goes into food.


To make these jack-o-lanterns, add a few drops of orange food coloring to your marshmallow cream. Instead of pressing mixture into a pan, roll into baseball size balls. Dip some cashews into melted vegan chocolate, and let harden. Stick a chocolate covered cashew into the top of a crispy treat ball. Decorate each ball with a jack-o-lanterns face using black icing. Recipe by Chelsie Jangord with permission from Chicago Vegan Foods

Good EATING Super Healthy Kids GO TO GoodLiving®’s Guide to Happy Healthy Kids has partnered with Super Healthy Kids, an online resource that supports busy moms who want to cook healthy meals at home, and do it efficiently so they can save money. Members get a weekly meal plan with recipes and instructional videos, mobile-friendly shopping lists, nutritional information, printables and much more.

Apple Almond Dessert Pizza Recipe

Instructions Chop apples into chunks. Mix 1/4 cup almond butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup and almond extract together. Spread over pizza crust. Sprinkle apple chunks, dried cranberries and sliced almonds over almond butter spread. Mix remaining almond butter and 1/3 cup maple syrup together. Add more maple syrup if it isn’t runny enough to drizzle. Once runny, drizzle over apples.

Ingredients 2 medium apples 1/2 cup almond butter 1/2 cup pure maple syrup 1 tsp almond extract 1 whole wheat pizza crust 1/8 cup sliced almonds Enjoy this recipe? 1/8 cup dried cranberries Find more at

My Story by MELANIE PRICE Our heart journey started the day after our daughter, Madeline Grace was born in 2000. And as I sit in the cardiac ICU with her today, a 16 year-old teenager, I reflect on what a journey it has been. It’s a journey that would not have been possible without the generous gifts of life-saving organ donor families. At birth, our newborn called “Maddie” received a donated pulmonary valve. It was her first of seven open heart surgeries. In 2006, she received her first heart transplant at the age of five. Now 10 years later, a second heart transplant at age 16. These transplants are due to congenital heart defects and cardiomyopathy. By three years old, Maddie’s heart function deteriorated to 18 percent, which was enough to list her for her first transplant. I never realized when I got my drivers license and checked the box to be an organ donor that my future life would be so impacted by others’ live-saving decisions to be an organ donor. More than 120,000 people in the U.S. are waiting on an organ transplant today, yet many may never get the call for a second chance at life. We are so incredibly blessed with Maddie’s chances at life because of the selfless acts of donor families. I purposely use the words “we” and “our” because this LIFE started with God, we live by Him. We celebrate the highs and lows with friends and family, both near and far, plus the medical staff, special heart families and our donor heart families. We are extremely grateful for the faithful prayers, organ donations and heart research that have benefited my precious daughter. And then there’s our two school families that have been our rocks, giving us ongoing support, friendship and love. Especially this time for a teen girl who just spent seven months in a hospital room. We couldn’t have done it all without them. I want to say thank you to the teachers and administrators from Westlake Christian School and Calvary Christian High School who over the years have helped shape Maddie’s character and have influenced her faith in who she is today. These blessings in our journey continue. After seven months in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, we are so grateful for this center of excellence in pediatric heart transplantation. We thank them for their part in getting Maddie to the start of 11th grade and back to enjoying life as a teenager. John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has been our home away from home these past 16 years, with seven open heart surgeries, two heart transplants, ecmo, kidney dialysis, IV infusions, defibrillator,

To support Maddie’s Heart Walk team, visit the GoodLiving Magazine Facebook page and click on her link.


40+ heart catherizations and much more. Each time, each procedure, each medicine gets more advanced through research, and much of this advancement is due to the research funded by the American Heart Association. We, and other heart families, are so incredibly fortunate to have such a giving community that supports the American Heart Association and the Heart Walk. This year it is scheduled for Saturday, November 12, 2016 at the Raymond James Stadium. Maddie has been a Red Cap Heart Survivor for the Heart Walk every year, for 15 years, raising over $50,000. For the past three years, Maddie has been coordinating her own Heart Walk campaigns, which is her way of giving back to help fight heart disease. Maddie is a typical 16 year old girl today, enjoying friends, driving, doing art projects, buying clothes at bargain prices, enjoying her two dogs as known as her “boys” Marley & Coco, researching colleges and what she may want to be one day. She is inspired by her nurses, child life specialist, a very special ICU doctor who shares stories of working hard every day to realize your dreams and be happy. She is also inspired by her favorite bible verse, the one she memorized in elementary school: For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ( Jeremiah 29:11)

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Please think k of Maddie and others who need organ transplants. nsplants.







Fall 2016 GoodLiving Magazine  
Fall 2016 GoodLiving Magazine