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18 Parent + Child = Success with Math Andrew Kelly

20-22 60 Minutes of Exercise a Day and Time to Play: Can We Make This Happen for Our Kids? Pamela Settle

23 Community Hot Topic 24 Kids Can Do It! DIY Fitness 25 Be a Backyard Ninja Warrior 26-27

Beyond the Ball Field: Discovering New Physical Activities


A Note from Pinellas County Sheriff Sheriff Bob Gualtieri


A Note from the Juvenile Welfare Board Dr. Marcie Biddleman


A Note from Pinellas County Schools Michael A. Grego, Superintendent

33 Back to School Goals About the Cover Model Chandler McGhee visits the S rling Skate Park in Dunedin. Photo taken by Julie Effron, a natural light photographer specializing in newborns, children and families. (914) 548-8008


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39 Teach Your Children Well About Good Digestive Health Brenda Watson

46 My Story Rachael Piwinski


Back to School 2014

Best wishes for a wonderful experience of learning, friendship and peace.

Volume 5 • Issue 4

Make it a GOOD year!

Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC

Editor-in-Chief Pamela Settle

Design and Layout Marcie Kelliher

ContribuƟng Writers Dr. Marcie Biddleman Dr. Michael Grego Sheriff Bob Gualtieri Andrew Kelly Rachael Piwinski Brenda Watson

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GoodLiving™ Magazine & P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656 GoodLiving® magazine is a publication of Light Shine Media Group, LLC and is available to readers by a paid annual subscription available at Promotional copies are distributed through establishments as a courtesy to their customers and clients. Additional copies are donated to local schools as a community service. To request copies, contact All photographs, artwork, design and editorial are the sole property of GoodLiving® magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission. GoodLiving® magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC are not responsible for statements made by advertisers and writers for any consequences arising from omissions or errors. Readers should verify the advertising information of the advertisers and all specials are valid to the expiration date set by the advertiser. GoodLiving® magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC reserve the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Letter from the Editor School is officially in session. And that single statement means something different to everyone who reads it. Some parents are relieved to have children back in a structured environment away from home. Some parents are dreading the battles that come from academic, behavior or social challenges. Some parents love their kids’ school and some don’t. Some parents have it easy with their kids and some don’t. We have families with kids in public schools, charter schools, private schools, religious schools, virtual schools, home schools and a growing number of parents involved in something called unschooling. Three things are certain. 1) No child is the same. 2) No family is the same. The needs of our Pinellas County families are as diverse as the family itself. 3) Every child in this county is a gift, a little human treasure box filled with unique abilities, a one-of-a-kind personality, interests, insecurities, talents and a lifetime of potential. Now, what we as a community do with these treasure boxes is up to us. They rely on us to make the best decisions for them. With such tremendous diversity, there is no simple answer when it comes to the education of a child – no magic bullet, no one institution with the answers. It also takes a proactive approach to lift our children to their potential through education. Every school needs support. No matter the type of school, there is a parent organization. Please be involved with your child’s school and respond to its needs. The same goes for the surrounding community. Adopt that school and be there to provide moral support, participate in events and donate when possible. Our children deserve the very best we can give them. And they deserve to be the reason we do what we do when it comes to education. This issue marks the start of year five for GoodLiving® magazine, and thus our fifth Back in School issue! We stand for children and youth in all that we do, and we put our words in motion by being active in the community and advocating for children, parents, teachers and charities whenever possible. This magazine is a labor of love, a publication with a purpose to be a positive force in the community that is Pinellas County. We thank you for being a reader! It is with that sincere spirit that I wish every family, every child and every school community a wonderful year of learning, friendship and peace. Until next time,

Pamela Settle


Photo courtesy of R.O.C. Park, Inc.

Remembering our Children (R.O.C.) Park Coming to Madeira Beach Losing a child can be the most painful thing a parent endures. Local parents, Bill and Diane Karns, know that pain all too well after the loss of their son, William. In their search for healing and a way to honor his memory, they were inspired to build a park not only for their child, but for other children. The idea became a quick reality thanks to the openness of the City of Madeira Beach, where leaders were more than supportive to include a memory park for children in the design of their new municipal complex currently being built along the shores of Boca Ciega Bay.

Photo courtesy of CASA

CASA Builds New Shelter and Wins Awards CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) has been receiving numerous recognition awards for its work in helping victims of domestic violence and preventing violence in Pinellas County.

In August, they were the winner of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce’s Good ‘Burger Award in the Community Service & Nonprofits category. CASA was also named the 2014 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Best Nonprofit in the Crisis Resources The Karns started R.O.C. Park Inc., a non-profit organization, along with their two daughters Nikki and Paige, to raise the funds category and Judge’s Choice in WEDU’s Be More Encouraged awards in 2013. needed to build the park. “R.O.C. Park will be a celebration of the lives of children who are no longer with us. This will not be a The Good ‘Burger award comes as CASA pushes to raise funds solemn setting. The splash pad feature within the park will be a place needed to complete their new shelter, a 100-bed emergency for children to play and have fun. The adjacent recreation center and shelter for survivors of domestic violence. CASA’s current facility baseball fields will be full of excitement and entertainment for many is old and too small to serve the need. Last year, 1,400 people, children in the community. That’s what this is about: turning half of them children, were turned away because of lack of the tragedy of loss into a celebration of life in a positive manner. space. The time is right – a $2.5 million grant has been received; My son loved children and I’m sure he is proud to see this park 5-acres have been purchased; New Market Tax Credits have been become a reality for families and the community to enjoy,” said secured and an operating plan for the new 40,000 sq ft. building Bill Karns. has been developed. The estimated cost of construction, project management and fundraising is $10,000,000. Other families are invited to share their memories as a permanent part of the new park. Brick pavers, benches, tree adoptions, sitting pods, love locks and memorial rocks are available for a donation in memory of a child who has passed. These items will be placed throughout the park, with brick pavers surrounding the waterfall feature, splash pad, butterfly garden and “Love Lock Tree.” For more information, to make a donation, or to adopt a memorial item visit


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To learn more about the campaign, go to Call to Artists: They are asking for local artists to contribute works of art to beautify the new facility. Contact them if you’d like to donate one of your works of art.

news Ronald McDonald House Gets a New Mural Mural artist Terry Klaaren spent an August afternoon painting a beautiful mural at Ronald McDonald House – East in St. Petersburg. He was doing his part for a birthday celebration honoring 3-year old Vedanten Naidoo, whose parents stayed at RMH when he was born. The Naidoos asked Terry to donate his work in gratitude for RMH. Families, companies, youth groups, church groups and civic organizations find some really GOOD ways to help the families who need to stay at RMH while their child is treated at All Children’s Hospital. The warm environment is a welcome respite for families dealing with the stress, especially when volunteer groups come to prepare a hot dinner for the residents. Recently, Stroller Strides moms from the Largo area dropped in to fix a meal and employees of Liberty Tax came in to make picadillo and plantains. The Dunedin Blue Jays held a bowling tournament that raised enough money to pay for 65 nights at the RMH. Staff from Drive Time Automotive grilled burgers and cleaned up the back deck and patio area. Be creative! You too can find a way to bless the families at RMH. To learn more about being a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House, contact Lise Fields,, (727) 767-8166.

Photo courtesy of Habitat for Humanity

Girl PowerHouse This fall, women from all over Pinellas County will be pounding nails, pushing up walls and raising roof trusses as they come together for an all-women build with Habitat for Humanity of Pinellas County. The Girl PowerHouse is being built for a woman and her daughter; “powered” by over 250 women volunteers, funded by women and led by a female construction site supervisor! When Habitat Pinellas put out the call for volunteers, the slots were filled within two days to help hospice patient care assistant Altamease Mack and her baby daughter get a house of their own. Girl PowerHouse begins construction in St. Petersburg on October 10th and will be completed by early December with a dedication. Sponsored by “Hammers & Heels,” the women’s giving circle for Habitat Pinellas. Although all volunteer slots are full, Habitat for Humanity supporters can still help build the Girl PowerHouse by making a $50 “Square Foot” donation to help offset construction costs at powerhouse_build.

Photo courtesy of Ronald McDonald House

Phinley Wins! Our very own Phinley won the award for the best minor league mascot for 2014! Appropriately, the award was announced during shark week. Phinley can be found frolicking around Clearwater Threshers game at Brighthouse Field in Clearwater. He is also very generous with his time and is seen throughout the area at various family events. Congratulations to Phinley for doing such a GOOD job on the field and in the community!

Photo by Carolyn Cretekos

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news Forward in Faith

Catholic schools that are part of The Diocese of St. Petersburg are being challenged to become “institutions of welcome,” according to superintendent Alberto Vázquez Matos. He said, “We want Catholic schools to be symbols of hope and compassion in the communities they serve; to go out and visit the homeless, the elderly; to go beyond the strong academics to show others the hope.” This challenge will result in schools finding ways to bring the community into the schools and the students and families into the communities. The Forward in Faith campaign also includes a fundraising component to raise scholarship and new building funds. The scholarship funds are necessary to help families who want a Catholic school education but cannot afford the full tuition. To get involved with Forward in Faith, contact Veronica at (727) 347-5539.

Upcoming Conference: Hooked on Family Engagement To Increase Student Achievement! The Alliance for Family Engagement is holding a conference for parents, teachers, administrators and community members. There will be 15 different sessions to promote family engagement and increased student achievement, including Creating Family Friendly Schools and Partnerships; Understanding Florida State Standards; Reading Fluency and How to avoid power struggles. Registration is $65 and includes a continental breakfast, lunch, and door prizes. Parking $5. St. Petersburg Hilton Bayfront Hotel 333 1st Street South, St. Petersburg 33701 Friday, November 14, 2014 • 8:00 a.m. to 3:30p.m. For more informa on call Michelle Roberge at (727) 588-5050

JWB Children’s Initiative The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County has seen success with its Children’s Initiative at Fairmount Park Elementary. During the four-year initiative, students were provided with an enriched learning environment, additional social services and increased parental engagement. The pilot included 137 students and a total of 75 families. The successes included increased academic achievement, less discipline issues, more family involvement and increased school readiness. More than 80 percent of the families attended monthly meetings during the four-year initiative. More than 2,300 home visits were conducted by social workers. Eightyfive percent of the students participated in Summer Bridge and more than 90 percent of the initiative students entered kindergarten prepared to learn.

Get Your School or Business into the Box Car Rally!

Lots of creativity and laughter goes into the building of homemade box cars for the annual Achieva Credit Union Box Car Rally held October 4th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Clearwater’s Now the Pinellas County School District will begin utilizing this model Cleveland Street District. Proceeds benefit Pinellas County of support to students at five schools: Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, classrooms. The event is free to attend. There will be food, drinks, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose elementary schools. balloons, music, merchant tables and more. The JWB collaborated with principals and teachers of the five It’s not too late to get into the friendly competition with your schools to focus on increasing achievement for all students with own car. Last year, school teams, corporate teams and family an emphasis on closing the achievement gap and turning around teams challenged each other on the downhill course that starts low-performing schools. Implementation will be individualized with the countdown on the ramp and ends bumping into the hay at each school through its School Improvement Plan. “We are bales at the bottom. Race Classes: Pee Wee (ages 7-12); Teen grateful for our partnership with the JWB and look forward to (ages 13-17); Adult (ages 18+); High School (Schools only); and working with all our community partners invested in turning Corporate (Businesses only). Entry fee is $50. Get information around our most struggling schools,” Grego said. and registration form at


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Upcoming College and Career Fairs High school students and their parents have great opportunities to learn about college and career opportunities. Two major College and Career Fairs are scheduled over the next couple of months: The Pinellas County College Fair will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at the University Student Center at University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Free parking is available in the USF St. Petersburg parking garage at 250 5th Ave S in St. Petersburg. More than 80 university representatives will be on hand. The North Pinellas County College & Career Fair will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 6, at Countryside High School, 3000 State Road 580 in Clearwater

Don’t Forget to be Involved It’s the start of the school year, and your school will be recruiting for its PTA, PTSA or PTO. The important letter in all of these is “P” which stands for PARENT. All schools need both moms and dads to help out and not just for fundraising. They need volunteers to work with students, chaperones for field trips and cheerleaders who celebrate school successes with students and teachers. The best schools have vibrant energy coming from their organized parent group that spreads through the school. Bring your ideas and creativity and to the next meeting. You’ll be teaching your children how to be true to your school!

Understanding Concussions

All Children’s Hospital and Pinellas County Schools want to make sure that parents, teachers and coaches understand the Pinellas Virtual School Will Hold guidelines for getting back to learning in the classroom after a Open House on Sept. 18 concussion. Physical and cognitive rest is essential to allow the Pinellas Virtual School, a part of the Pinellas County School brain to heal. A new video highlights the effects of concussion District, will host its Open House from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on and the importance of returning to learning in a structured Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014 at the district’s Discovery Room, 305 4th manner. All schools, coaches, volunteer coaches in park leagues, Ave SW, Largo. Students and families will get to meet Pinellas parents and teachers are encouraged to watch this video. Free Virtual School teachers and learn about exciting opportunities DVDs are also available upon request. Watch the video and such as help sessions, field trips and the PTA. request a free DVD at

products Y-Volution: Life in Motion To keep your kids moving from toddlers to teens, Y-Volution has created an innovative line of wheeled toys from ride-on toys to balance bikes to scooters. Take them out in the neighborhood or to the park for fun that gives them exercise plus helps them learn balance and work on their core. Featured here is the Y Fliker Carver Series, a collection of innovative, self-propelled threewheeled performance scooters. Riders can carve, drift and even 360 using the same side-to-side hip motions as downhill skiing. Padded handgrips, hand brake and a twist-and-fold mechanism for easy storage are other top features. Ages 5+, MSRP: $129.99. Available at Toys ‘R Us stores. For a more traditional scooter, the Y Glider XL is an advanced three-wheeled scooter for kids ages 5 to 9 years old. It features Y-Volution’s unique patented “Lean to Steer” technology for easy steering, giving the rider total control to carve or cruise. Ages 5+, MSRP: $69.99. Available at Toys ‘R Us stores.

Exploracise Combine learning math facts and exercise with these unique sport ball products developed and designed by Carrie Scheiner, a Tampa mom who was inspired by her kids to create these educational toys. She has been recognized with multiple awards including Dr. Toy’s 10 Best Educational Products Winner for the multiplication football. Ball products include My First Math Ball, Spanish Bilingual Baseball, Addition Football and Multiplication Football. All ball products are $22.50. Also offered are DVDs and E-books. Readers can save 25% with coupon code “MsCarrie.”

Nutcase Helmets The design of the Gen3 helmet is certified for both bike and skate, which is a great way to save money for your active kids. The full line of helmets is fun, stylish, safe and affordable for bike, skate, snow, water and moto for adults and kids alike. Helmets have a Spin Dial feature at the back for maximum comfort and a snug fit. Kids will have an easy time with the magnetic buckle under the chin for one handed, one-thego operation and no pinching. Reflectivity on all sides for great visibility on the sidewalks and streets. More than a dozen different styles to find one that is right for your child’s personality. Prices vary by style. Gen3 is $69.99 at

Go Out and Play! For those who are game rule challenged, this lively guide to games spells out the rules for 70 of the best kid games. Learn classic to contemporary: kick the can, freeze tag, blindman’s bluff, red light green light, four square, duck duck goose, and so many more. Guide also includes tips on how to encourage and facilitate outdoor play as well as a wealth of resources on how to help create more play spaces in your own community. $11.95 at

Topricin for Children With all the exercising and growing kids are doing, it’s quite possible they will get aches and pains along the way. Topricin for Children is a safe, natural alternative to over-thecounter chemical-based pain pills which can have dangerous side affects. The product is gentle, soothing, moisturizing and kind to the skin. It has no odor and uses no volatile oils such as camphor or menthol or irritating chemicals. Winner of the Parent Tested/ Parent Approved (PTPA™) Seal of Approval. Purchase the tube as shown or the Boo Boos Happen first aid kit. Both are found on their website at



With exploring and playing hard, comes the occasional cut. WoundSeal creates an instant scab that stops bleeding and protects the wound. Keep it at home and in the traveling first aid kit for peace of mind during sports, trips to the playground and everyday incidents. WoundSeal is nationally available with a SRP of $6.99.

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products SleepPhones

Zipit Bed Comforter Make making the bed a zip for kids with Zipit Bedding, a patented all-in-one bedding system that combines the sheets with the comforter via zippered sides. Think sleeping bag fitted to a bed – nice and neat and cozy. Crazy kickers can’t lose their blanket in the middle of the night either. Perfect for any bed, but extra nice for trundles, bunks and air mattresses. Such a good idea was of course conceived by a mom inventor. Several fun designs for boy’s and girl’s rooms, plus solid colors for teens. Washable and a good deal, buy them at Starts at $69.99 for twin size.

Looking for a comfortable, private way to listen to music while sleeping? SleepPhones with their patented “headphone in a headband” design secures ultra-thin stereo headphones inside a soft, stretchy headband. SleepPhones plug into most media devices and provide hours of relaxing audio without disturbing others. A wireless option is available, as well as RunPhones to use when running. As comfortable as pajamas for your ears with superior sound with eco-friendly lead free electronics. $39.95 at

Uppercases Pillow Case A personal favorite at GoodLiving® magazine! Uppercases are Egyptian cotton pillowcases that are digitally printed with bright graphics and positive, personalized messages. Know that little ones, college students or loved ones far away will have a positive word from you when they go to sleep at night and when they wake up. Special designs for children and adults. $16.95 for a non personalized case at

ENERGI+ BACKPACK With Built-in Battery This backpack definitely moves the traditional bag into the modern era. Perfect for college students who are on the go all day with their tablets, MP3 players, phones and laptops. The internal battery charger is accessible to cords from a variety of internal and external Cassette Speaker pockets that protect valuable electronics. Looking for a fun gift for a music lover who never had to listen to The removable 10,400mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery a cassette tape? Go retro while listening to digital music with The provides four full smartphone charges or one full tablet charge. Jam Rewind speaker. This Bluetooth pocket speaker resembles a All 1,450 cubic inches of internal space are smartly designed with vintage cassette tape but with optimal sound, integrated speak13 total specialty pockets. Durable construction, a hidden trolley erphone, voice prompts and rechargeable battery. For $79.99 the slot, water bottle pocket and so much more. Retails for $199.99. Rewind features four speakers and a battery life up to 8 hours.

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products Keeping Students Safe editor’s pick

Safety POD by First Alert® For students who walk to the bus stop, teenagers driving alone or college students away from home, this hand-held personal security alarm can protect them from danger when you can’t. The Safety POD fits in the palm of a hand, but sounds a 100 decibel alarm with the push of a button and features a built-in LED light to deter threats. The motion sensor feature can add a layer of protection to a dorm room by hanging the POD on the door handle. $29.97 at Lowe’s stores or online.

My Mobile Watchdog Keeping kids safe from digital predators and bullies is now a fact of life for modern families. The My Mobile Watchdog app can be your active partner to protect your children while teaching them how to use their phones safely and smartly. You access their phone’s information with your computer, tablet, iPhone, or Android smartphone. You choose levels of privacy and the type of activity for immediate text message notifications. Open the dashboard to see actual text and picture messages and contact history. Also find a lost phone, block websites, turn off apps during homework time automatically and much more. $44.95 for the year.

Audiovox Car Connection

Safe Flash Reflectors can increase visibility for kids who are walking, riding or running outside. Made in the USA, these 2-sided reflectors are weatherproof, shatterproof, easy to clean, easy to use or transfer and so ultra-lightweight they can even be used on earphone wires. Just peel one open and wrap it around any strap such as a backpack, book bag or purse strap, or a baseball hat clasp, umbrella shaft, belt and more. Individual reflectors start at just $2 with free shipping. PTAs are offered a 50% discount on volume orders to get them on as many children as possible.


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Technological advances give parents more tools than ever before when it comes to protecting children through intervention and education. While it may seem like invading privacy, remember that the judgment center of the brain is not fully developed until the early 20’s. This tool gives parents the power of information when it comes to their child learning to drive and becoming independent. The Car Connection is a device that enables parents to remotely monitor their child’s car performance, driving behavior and see where the car is located at all times – driving or parked. The small device attaches to a car’s standard OBD-II port on a car 2003 or newer. It requires an account to transfer data to a program accessible to the parent. On the website, find reports on the car’s location on a given day, in addition to safe or unsafe driving behaviors, speeds and car performance. In addition to the benefits as a teaching tool, the Car Connection can be a layer of safety for young drivers so parents can immediately locate a car should that child get into a dangerous situation or the car is stolen. The program allows parents to set a boundary called a Safety Zone. When the car leaves that zone, the parent is notified immediately. MSRP for the device is $169.99 and the data service is $10 a month.



7th Annual YES! Family Abilities Information Rally Saturday, October 4

St. John’s Pass Seafood Festival October 24, 25, and 26

The F.A.I.R. is a FREE family-friendly community event designed to help all people fully participate in our community. People of all ages and abilities can visit vendors with games and giveaways while having fun learning about programs, products and services useful to them. The day is loaded with fun: singing, dancing, fire truck display, petting zoo, basketball with Gasparilla pirates and playful mascots. Other activities include arts and crafts, bounce house, bowling, sign language and Braille demonstrations, new products in transportation and mobility, face painting, an obstacle course, wheelchair sports, live entertainment, door prizes and a silent auction with lots of unique items. Food will be available for purchase. Visit more than 200 community partners who enrich, educate and empower those living with disabilities, their families and the general public. All People’s Life Center, 6105 E. Sligh Ave in Tampa.

For more than 30 years, John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk has offered festivities for the whole family at the annual Seafood Festival. The event takes place at Historic John’s Pass Village located in beautiful Madeira Beach. The many features of the event include an Art & Craft Show with 60 local and regional artists selling their work, tons of fresh local seafood, a Halloween Block Party, live music throughout the village, trick-or-treating and a children’s costume contest.

The 4th Annual St. Petersburg Science Festival October 17-18, 10 a.m to 4 p.m. This is a wonderfully done event for kids and their parents, a regional celebration to explore the wonders of hands-on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The 2014 festival is along the waterfront campus of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. The event is held in conjunction with MarineQuest, the annual open house of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. USF - St. Petersburg Campus, 140 7th Ave. S. in St. Petersburg.

The Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading October 25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In its 22nd year, the event has a roster of more than 40 authors talking about and signing their books – book that will inform you, enlighten you, mystify you, break your heart, make you laugh and keep you turning pages (or swiping through the screens on your e-reader). The festival is free. USF - St. Petersburg Campus, 140 7th Ave. S. in St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg International Folk Festival October 30 – November 2 Go around the world without leaving St. Petersburg when Vinoy Park transforms into an international village filled with costumed dancers, ethnic aromas, arts and crafts and live music. See ethnic costumes on parade, handicrafts and more! Vinoy Park, 501 5th Av NE in St. Petersburg.


Healthy Happy Families

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If you are, send us an email and tell us a little about yourself. Contact us at

events GoodLiving® 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 beyond walking and posting about them on social media. Find ways that your children can get hands-on involvement by learning about the causes and doing a family project in conjunction with the event.

UPCOMING EVENTS Walk Like MADD and 5K MADD Dash Friday, September 19, 5 p.m. Enjoy the beautiful walk or test your speed in the sand for this timed 5K along the shore at Indian Rocks Beach to raise funds for the Pinellas County chapter of MADD. Funds raised stay in the community for prevention, education and victim support. Bring the whole family and make this a teachable moment for kids about good choices. Education tables, entertainment by Corey Thornton and Pete O’Shea, a tribute to victims and more. Get a team from your school or company and register at

SPCA Tampa Bay Let’s Go for a Walk Pet 3K Saturday, October 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 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, Brewhouse Beer Garden, microchip clinic, photo booth, vendor tables, doggie day spa and pet costume contest. For more information call (727) 499-0364 or visit

2nd Annual Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk Sunday, October 12, 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 that afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Register by Wednesday, October 1st at 11:59 p.m. Cost of registration includes a ticket to the Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, a Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk athletic gender-specific t-shirt, chip-timed 5K race entry and a 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 and Off-Road Duathlon October 18, 9 a.m. Registration

This is your chance to Beat the Priest as Father Gary returns again in 2014 to run with all the 5K runners and walkers through the gorgeous trail system in Hammock Park. 5K starts at 10 a.m., followed by the 1-mile family walk at 10:50. 5K registration My Hope Chest Butterfly GloWalk 5K and Party includes a race day t-shirt, bib number, finishers event cup for a September 20, 12 p.m. free beer pour, post-race food, finisher’s medallion beads, a timed Help breast cancer survivors who cannot afford reconstructive and recorded 5k run, awards for the top 25 male and top 25 surgeries by raising funds for the local charity, My Hope Chest. female finishers, and FREE access to the Black Honkey’s concert Event entry fee gets you a t-shirt, butterfly wings and glow paint. on race day evening. Runners and walkers are invited to stay for Come for the Glo Afer Party for only $20. Event is in Hurley the Our Lady of Lourdes Fall Festival during the day. Park at St. Pete Beach/Pass A Grill, 1500 Pass A Grille Way. Register at for more event information.

Chick-fil-A Fall Stampede to benefit Children’s Cancer Center Saturday, September 27, 8 am – 10 am Join the fun at the Fall Stampede with friends, family and of course the Chick-fil-A cow for this annual event. Held at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park adjacent to the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa. Family fun activities will be in the main park before and during the 5k run and Family Fun Walk. The 5k portion will be chip timed this year. 6 a.m. registration. 8 a.m. 5k start. 8:45a.m. 1-Mile Fun Walk start. 9:15 a.m. Mascot Race.


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Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Saturday, October 18, 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. A survivor’s breakfast will be held on site at 7:30 a.m. Register at

events Event at Spa Beach Park in St. Petersburg includes a timed 5K run, 1-mile family-friendly walk, kid’s dash, children’s activities, music, Sponsored by the Tampa Bay chapter of the American Foundation refreshments and more. Registration opens at 7:00 a.m. October for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The event brings together family, 19 is pre-registration deadline to get a t-shirt. 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 2014 Tampa Bay Heart Walk back to the Tampa Bay Chapter to be used locally in education Saturday, November 15 and support. Held at South Straub Park in St. Petersburg. Check The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premiere in time 9 a.m. Register at event that brings communities together to raise funds and If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline celebrate progress in the fight against America’s number 1 and at (800) 273-TALK (8255). number 4 killers: heart diseases and stroke.

The Out of the Darkness Community Walk October 25, 10:30 a.m.

Purple Stride Tampa Bay 2014 November 8, 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 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. 4201 North Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, FL 33607. Enter your team and have some fun celebrating healthy and happy hearts! Information at or email

What is this Common Core? You’ve no doubt read about this new “Common Core” but may be wondering exactly what its impact will be. The Common Core, now fully rolled out to all public schools, is a set of standards describing what students should master at the end of each grade level. Many parents are justifiably nervous about how this transition is impacting their childrens’ education. The truth of the matter is that more will be expected from your child, but as I stated in my introductory paragraph, more is needed from our education system if we are going to remain relevant in the world’s economy. My advice to parents is to ramp up your involvement, keep a watchful eye on materials and textbooks, and become learned of the standards your child is being held to this year ( is a good start). Also, please give teachers the benefit of the doubt when looking at lesson materials and homework. Where you may think some of the materials are cryptic and confusing, they are no doubt part of a portfolio of materials designed to build conceptual understanding.

Parent + Child = Success with Math! by ANDREW KELLY It is back to school time already, and by the time you are reading this your child has probably already had their first math lesson, maybe even their first quiz. This school year is sure to be a challenge with the new teaching standards and a brand new standardized test to replace the FCAT. The backdrop of all this is the unfortunate poor showing of U.S. students in the latest international proficiency testing, where U.S. 15 year olds ranked at the bottom of 30 countries in math proficiency (PISA, 2012). Couple this with the growing need for mathematically astute minds in many career fields and you have the makings for a slowly developing perfect storm for our young people to endure. The good news is, you can change the weather! You just need to be aware and involved.

First Step in Building Strong Math Skills: Numerical Fluency Numerical fluency can be defined as the ability to answer basic number facts quickly and accurately and explain how you did it. Numerical fluency requires a mental framework for answering questions that can be leveraged for future concepts. For example, knowing 8+5=13 simply from memorization or finger counting is not numerical fluency. A numerically fluent student, when asked how they solved this problem, may explain “well, I added 2 to 8 to get to 10, which left 3, which I added to that 10 to get 13.” This student can apply that framework to other addition problems. There are similar mental frameworks for subtraction. A child should have this fluency by Grade 2 or they are already behind in math. My advice to parents is to check often for numerical fluency in your children, make sure it’s happening at an early age and if not, take corrective action immediately. It is my hope that the new Common Core Standards help with this problem.


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Where to get Help… School is naturally the primary source of your child’s math education, but sometimes a child will need a bit of help outside the classroom. If your child is struggling, there are avenues of support. If the current class is the primary problem then private tutoring may be needed. There are private tutoring companies that can connect you with a tutor for an hourly fee, but there are also free options at schools and libraries. If you do have a tutor, be mindful of your child relying too heavily on the tutor – you can evaluate this by their test scores. If your child is a self-learner, the internet is bursting with great learning materials, some for free or some for a nominal fee. Another option, and shameless plug from this author, is to enroll your child in a math learning center like Mathnasium, which will provide individualized curriculum and instruction for your child.

It Starts at Home… Math education is not limited to one class a day at school. Whether your child excels in math or takes a bit longer to get it, parents should create an atmosphere of learning at home, continuously seeking opportunities to motivate children to learn and apply that knowledge in their daily lives. This includes yourself, don’t be afraid to dust off your own math concepts so you can talk to your child about adding fractions, long division or probability. You may find that you are better at math than you realized. If you create an atmosphere of learning and growing in the family - through prioritization, involvement and support, the chances of your child excelling in math greatly increase, maybe even exponentially! About the Author: Andrew Kelly is the Owner/Managing Director of Mathnasium of Countryside, a math-only learning center. Mr. Kelly has 20 years of experience working in the informa on technology field, including running his own web development company for 7 years. Andrew has a B.A. in Mathema cs from the University of Maine and an MBA in Finance from Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. He served as a weather officer in the Air Force and is a decorated Desert Storm veteran. He also served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a teacher in Kazakhstan, where he gained an apprecia on for the profession of teaching. He lives in Palm Harbor where he enjoys spending me on the water with his family and their golden retriever Nikki (who likes to visit Mathnasium on occasion). He can be reached at .


Photo courtesy of KaBoom!

Minutes of Exercise a Day and Time to Play

Can We Make This Happen For Our Kids? By PAMELA SETTLE When I was a young girl, I read all the “Little House on the Prairie” books and remember thinking how different it was that the kids back then were happy to get an orange, a wood toy or a rag doll for Christmas. Toys and electronics were not in abundance like they are today; kids had to use their imaginations to make up games. When I was a little older, kids in the neighborhood congregated at the local parks, getting there on their bikes and living by two rules: don’t get into trouble and be home by dark. Times have certainly changed. Today we have: • Moms who are being arrested for allowing their kids to play in a park without parent supervision. • More homes with two parents who work outside the home and more single parent households. • Kids who are supervised from being dropped at the door for before-school care to being picked up at the door for after-school care. • Kids who are scheduled to participate in organized activities like karate or soccer that have rules, but have little time for unsupervised, creative free play with other kids. • Kids who spend their free time on electronic devices. • Kids who don’t get 30 minutes of physical exertion a day, let alone 60.

This lack of unstructured play, outside with other kids, is having serious consequences. KaBoom!, an organization with the mission of advancing play and playgrounds in the U.S. warns that the lack of play is causing physical, intellectual, social and emotional harm to our children. They spell it out on their website: Physical harm: In neighborhoods without a park or playground, the incidence of childhood obesity increases 29%. Intellectual harm: Without ample play, we will continue to see a decrease in creativity and imagination, as well as vital skills including curiosity, social skills, resiliency and the ability to assess risk. Children in China, Korea, Finland, Singapore and Japan are provided with playful schooling opportunities prior to second grade and have among the highest scores on international PISA exam for 15 year olds, ranked (1, 2, 3, 5, 8) respectively. The U.S. was ranked at #13. Social harm: Children who don’t play don’t learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts and advocate for themselves. The lack of these skills has dramatic long-term effects. Children deprived of play show increased problems with social integration, including a greater likelihood of felony arrests by young adulthood.

Emotional harm: Studies have shown that schools without recess face increased incidence in classroom behavioral problems, • Students who don’t get vigorous physical education every day including violence and emotional outbursts. Their students show a lack of ability to interact with peers and authority figures. at school. (Pinellas County schools went to a three-day a Outside the school, play deprivation can have serious long-term week schedule at the start of the 2013-14 school year.) consequences. Physician, psychiatrist and clinical researcher • Students who don’t get recess during the day. Stuart Brown studied more than 6,000 felons and found that 90% Certainly, this list could be much longer when looking at some of the of convicted murderers lacked “play features” in their childhoods. reasons why life has changed for kids growing up in the 2000’s and why (Source: they don’t have the time for physical exercise or the freedom to nurture their creative selves, develop their independence and Just. Be. Kids.


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Just across the border in Canada, Dr. Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta has been studying the role peer-peer play has in the development of social competence since 1990. He says the experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain, and without play experience, those neurons aren’t changed. “It is those changes in the prefrontal cortex during childhood that help wire up the brain’s executive control center, which has a critical role in regulating emotions, making plans and solving problems,” says Pellis. “So play is what prepares a young brain for life, love and even schoolwork.” He went on to say that in order to produce this sort of brain development, children need to engage in plenty of free play. “No coaches, no umpires, no rulebooks.” The parent is key here. With so much emphasis on structured activities for children in our communities, a parent needs to be intentional about creating free play opportunities by making it a family scheduling priority. The good news is that adults need more play in their lives too, so joining in on the sandcastle building project or being the volunteer convict in the cardboard jail can go a long way toward creating happy kids and happier parents. It goes against the grain of our uber social expectations that drive us toward over-scheduling our kids in the name of raising successful young people. This trend, however, could be causing the exact opposite result by stunting creativity and social skills.

Getting to 60 Minutes The addition of free play can help to increase the time that kids are getting exercise if the play is vigorous, like a game of tag. So while play can lead to exercise, the two are not necessarily going to happen at the same time because the goal of play is to be free of expectations. Making sure all kids get the recommended 60 minutes of exertion every day takes planning and commitment on the part of parents, schools and the community. The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) holds the position that schools are ideal for influencing children’s health through improved physical activity participation, because school is where most children spend the majority of their time outside the home. The United States Department of Health and Human Services, along with public health and medical organizations, has called for schools to step up their game when it comes to increasing physical activity. This however, comes at a time when school districts are under increasing pressure to increase graduation rates and test scores for academics. Physical activity has been proven to increase learning potential, however, the recommendations for schools under their plan are difficult to meet in the current climate. AAHPERD has compiled a Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program (CSPAP) for schools to follow in order to reach the nationally recommended 60-plus minutes of physical activity for each school day.

Photo courtesy of KaBoom!

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The five components of a CSPAP are: 1. High-quality physical education. 2. Physical activity during school. 3. Physical activity before and after school. 4. Staff involvement. 5. Family and community engagement. In the spring of 2013, the Pinellas County School District started the move toward revising class scheduling for elementary schools to have three 50-minute classes a week for P.E. instead of five 30-minute classes a week. Both schedules meet the state requirement of 150 minutes of P.E. per week, which is half the recommended 60 minutes per day. With no recess, children aren’t moving on at least two days a week during the six-hour school day. If this situation doesn’t change, and there aren’t signs that it will anytime soon, parents need to find other ways to ensure their children participate in activities that increase heart rate on a daily basis.

Each city in the county has a recreation department with a wide variety of classes, programs and events that are more affordable than private offerings. For unincorporated Palm Harbor, the City of Dunedin offers a discounted family pass because the non-resident rate can be cost prohibitive. “The county used to provide vouchers for unincorporated areas to help families, but they stopped doing that,” said Terry Trudeau, superintendent of recreation for the City of Dunedin. Dunedin also participates in a reciprocal agreement with Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs and Oldsmar. This means that families with a recreation card for their city can receive the same resident cost breaks at the other recreation centers. This is good news for residents of the smaller cities like Oldsmar, who have limited funds for recreation programs. This way, for example, Oldsmar residents can drive to Safety Harbor or Dunedin to participate.

Like many other recreation departments, Trudeau says they are constantly looking to expand programs to meet changing recreation needs. Not every child wants to or can play a team sport. Plus, parents For busy working parents, one way is to choose an after-school and children are looking to do things together. Her department has program that intentionally includes activity into the daily recently added archery, which is open to anyone over the age of eight. schedule. One provider of after-school programs is R’Club. Cardio tennis (for 14+) is popular with teens who want a fun workout According to their executive director, Art O’Hara, their programs without the commitment to a team. For the younger ones, there are have a minimum of 30 minutes of planned outdoor time daily new Pre-K sports opportunities on Saturday mornings. including: organized large group games like kickball, obstacle Recreation departments throughout the county offer opportunities courses and four square and sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer and relay races. Also on their list are music and movement, to be active without significant time or financial commitments. Parents can look through their city recreation catalogs to identify Wii Dance, indoor “crab” soccer and yoga. “While some of the activities that will build different skills like balance, throwing, activities are competitive in nature, it is not the focus. We spend jumping, running, swimming and eye-hand coordination. City a great deal of time working on sportsmanship, cooperation and parks can offer other types of exercise, including many of the skate inclusion. The kids really seem to take to that and the parents parks in the county, walking/running/biking trails, equipment for appreciate it.” climbing and even water access for kayaking or stand up paddling. Children who do not attend an after-school program with physical Pinellas County is full of opportunity when it comes to meeting the activities need their parents to get them moving every day. 60-minute a day goal for activities. From St. Petersburg to Tarpon Participating in a youth team sport like baseball or football may Springs, parents can find outdoor activities, recreation classes, team not provide enough actual conditioning or exercise. Learning a sports, private lessons, parks and trails. Whether it’s supervised or free sport is a wonderful experience, however it should be part of a comprehensive and diverse set of physical activities that develop creative play time, the time is well spent as together we build strong and healthy kids and create healthy and happy families. the whole child.

MOMS FIND A SOLUTION Kathleen Tullie, a mom, real estate professional and athlete, was moved into action after reading the book, Spark by Dr. John Ratey of Harvard Medical School. Studies cited by Dr. Ratey demonstrate that getting kids moving before school could translate to better academic performance during the school day.

BOKS is a free before-school physical activity run by moms, dads, physical education teachers and other types of volunteers in local communities. It is simple to implement and currently in 1,000 schools. They provide training materials and a weekly plan. The program is run on school property 40 minutes before school starts.

New grant money has been announced, as they search for new schools to begin the program. Three-hundred new schools will Armed with that knowledge, Tullie and friends created an organization be awarded $1,000 in start up costs. U.S.-based elementary and that would bring a physical exercise program to their children’s middle schools that enroll in BOKS for the first time before school, before school, run completely by volunteers. Fast forward to October 1, 2014 are invited to apply. The funds can be used today, and Tullie is the executive director of a nonprofit corporation toward t-shirts, equipment, incentives, trainer stipend, travel to called BOKS, an initiative of Reebok and The Reebok Foundation. BOKS trainings or supplies. has more information on the program and information about the grant application process.


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In April 2014, The Pinellas Education Foundation held an educational symposium called, “Are We Losing our Boys?” to discuss the issue of boys, who as a gender are falling behind statistically: • Failure in school is common among criminals – which are 80% male. • 70% of D’s and F’s on report cards belong to boys (K-12). • 80% of high school dropouts are boys. • Boys in the U.S. are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. • 3 out of 4 diagnosed with learning disabilities are boys. • 90% of the discipline problems are boys. • Women now account for 62% of associates degrees and 57% of bachelors degrees.

One of the first to write on this subject, Christina Hoff Sommers, PhD, makes her case that there is a war against boys and that it is harming our economic future. In her book, The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men she discusses boy-averse trends such as the decline of recess and zero-tolerance disciplinary policies that have turned our schools into hostile environments for boys. The subject is multi-layered and complicated, and there are varying opinions in the field of education. However, the statistics don’t lie. We have an issue with the over diagnosing of ADHD and ADD and the subsequent medicating of children that needs to be talked about. We have an achievement gap that needs to be addressed. We have boys in our community who feel disenfranchised from school which leads to hopelessness which leads to a life of untapped potential. As a society we cannot afford to let this happen. As people, we owe our children better. The spring symposium was an introduction to the subject in Pinellas County by the foundation. To continue the discussion additional symposiums with expert speakers are being planned. The next one will be in October. Visit to get links to YouTube videos on the subject and see clips from the spring event. Sign up for their newsletter to receive an invitation to the October symposium.

Kids Can Do It!

DIY Fitness Learning how to take responsibility for their own fitness will help children develop good habits for a healthy life. This simple exercise plan can help them achieve 60 minutes a day, while empowering them to take set and achieve goals. Parents can help them get started by 1. Making sure they know how to do these basic exercises. 2. Printing out the tracking sheet at 3. Adding DIY Fitness to the after-school list of things to do, right along with homework, chores and reading. Or do it before school to get energized for the day.

Hailey Carr, a 4th grader at Curlew Creek Elementary School demonstrates the proper way to do a plank.

4. Creating meaningful incentives for progress Do these exercises in any order and don’t forget to keep track of each exercise on the tracking sheet. It will show you how strong you’re becoming.

Jumping Jacks Count as you go and do as many as you can.

Hopping Hop on one foot for as long as you can, then switch feet.

Sit Ups Do as many as you can.

Wall Sit Stand with your back flat against the wall, then slide your feet out and scoot your back down until it looks like you are sitting on a chair. Hold this position as long as you can.

Push Ups Do are many as you can. If it’s too hard to do a regular push up, then do them from your knees.

Squats Squat down and stand up again as many times in a row as you can.

Kai Huggins, a 5th grader at Forest Lakes Elementary School demonstrates a sit up.

Download the tracking form at GoodLiving

Plank Hold a plank position for as long as you can.

Arm Hold Hold your arms straight out to the sides as long as you can. Grab a couple of soup cans from the pantry if you want to make this more challenging.

Relay Running Find a spot to practice running sprint relays, like between two mail boxes or across your back yard. Do as many relays as you can and work up to more. See if you can increase your speed by having someone time you.


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Be creaƟve and personalize your rouƟne. You can also include other exercises that you learn in P.E. like burpees and mountain climbers. Bring in the hula hoop, jump rope or march in place. Add music for energy and invite friends to join you. Challenge and encourage them to become strong like you.

Be a Backyard Ninja Warrior The popularity of mud runs and obstacle courses are a sign that adults want to break away from routine exercise regimens. The teamwork, the challenge and even the mud are proving to be big fun for grown ups. It’s also big fun for the little ones, too, and a backyard obstacle course is easier than you think to create – not to mention disguising exercise as a fun game. There are no rules. Design them according to your yard, the age and abilities of your kids and the objects you have on hand. Use the below ideas as a guideline for creating your own backyard “ninja” course. With any of these obstacles, add water guns, water balloons or mud puddles to have more of a “Wipeout” experience. Can’t you just hear the laughter? The most important element is the element of fun. Invite other children over and video tape them to make their own show. The memories will be priceless.

Balancing and Throwing •Walk across a balance beam while balancing a book or bean bag on their head. Walk across a balance beam backward or hopping on one foot. Make a balance beam by laying the 2-by-4 flat on the ground. • Stand foam swimming pool noodles vertically in six 1-gallon buckets filled with sand or dirt, and place them in a zigzag pattern about 6 feet apart. Have contestants balance beanbags on their heads as they run around the outside of each bucket. • Balance an egg on a spoon and weave through a series of cones or lawn chairs.

Strength and Fitness •Have a stopping station for 10 pushups or 10 sit ups. • Use monkey bars or a swing set to create a spot for pull-ups or hanging. • Have them do cartwheels or forward rolls across a long distance. • Teach them how to do “high knee” running in place, and do it for a count of 30. • Place cones or buckets of water 18” apart to weave through without knocking anything over. • Hang a thick rope from a sturdy tree branch. Place a kiddie pool underneath the rope and swing over the pool without getting wet or falling off. Or tie a flag around the branch near the top of the rope. Jump onto the rope and climb the rope to the top to touch the flag – without falling in the pool! • Gather some large boxes and fold in the tops and bottoms of each box and create a tunnel by connecting them. • Use dowels and twine to create an obstacle they need low crawl under to get through.

PRODUCT IDEAS: Fisher 12’ Single Speed Ladder, $58.99

• Place buckets in a line for throwing balls or beanbags. • Set up a hoop for throwing footballs through or make a target that needs to get hit by a thrown baseball.

Hopping and Jumping • Lay a wooden ladder on the ground and have kids bunny hop through the rungs or hop on one foot. • Place a series of hula hoops on the ground several feet from each other. Have the kids jump, leap or hop from one hoop to the next. Set up hula hoop alley. • Lay eight Hula-hoops in a row. Kids step into the first hula hoop, raise it up over their body, and drop it behind them before going to the next hoop, moving down the line until they’re done. • Jump rope while counting to 20. • Use some simple dowels stuck in the grass to hold arching pool noodles to create hurdles of varying heights.

Orange Traffic Cones, $13.50 a dozen Obstacle Course Ring Set, $15.99 6 piece Inflatable Obstacle Course Tire Set, $25

• Hop to the finish line. • Use potato sacks for hopping to the finish line.

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Beyond the Ball Field:

Discovering New Physical Activities Teaching children to love physical activity means being creative and intentionally searching out new and exciting adventures. Adventures that aren’t video game adventures. Too much screen time is rewiring our brains to ignore our peripheral surroundings because we are focusing too much attention on a small screen. For healthy brains, both children and adults need to balance screen time with outdoor stimulation, new physical activities and social interaction.

Exploring Pinellas County can be lots of fun! Here are some suggestions for new adventures: Fly high, build upper body strength and express your personality at Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay located in Clearwater. Owner Beth Brier brought circus arts to her dance studio after her daughter pursued the art form. Their new facility is in a warehouse with ceilings high enough for students to learn on trapeze, Spanish web, the lyra (hoop), hammocks and silk fabrics. Both children and adults take lessons here from experienced instructors who give hands-on, personal instruction. Girls and boys who are interested in dance, gymnastics or Parkour find satisfaction here as the workout is rigorous, but the performance is art. Students are encouraged to express their individuality. Adult students are former dancers or gymnasts who want a lower impact form of exercise, or are looking for a unique, creative experience. Eight year old petite Ava says it’s “really fun.” Her Photo courtesy of Saddle Up Riding Club. mother elaborated adding that she has seen a real improvement in Ava’s body strength and self image. “This is her creative home.” Get in touch with your inner cowboy or cowgirl and enjoy the In addition to the aerial arts, classes are offered acrobatics, a form great outdoors on a horse with Saddle Up Riding Club. Riding that is described more as theatrical tumbling with an emphasis in horses is a unique way to get children outside, exercising and learning the importance of caring for a living creature. Saddle Up flexibility, contortion and performance. Dance classes for ages 2 to adult are also offered at the studio. began 10 years ago as a place for children to learn the character Learn more at traits of perseverance, team work and a job well done. Children come to the farm for three hours called “Barn Times” where they clean the horse stalls, groom the horses for riding, tack them up and ride in a group riding class. It may sound easy, but takes a lot of physical endurance. Games are played on horseback using muscles and teaching balance. Horses are wonderful therapy for those whose legs don’t work well and require a wheelchair or walker. Because a horse walking mimics the gate of a human walking, riders engage and use the muscles they are not using while in a wheelchair. The same holds true for children, as riding a horse develops balance, uses leg muscles and helps to develop strong core muscle strength. Best of all, children are getting exercise and don’t even know it. Barn Times are for ages seven and up and are held at several times throughout the month. Kids that would like to compete are encouraged to use Saddle Up’s horses to compete at area 4H and schooling shows. For more information on Saddle Up go to or call (727) 520-3132.


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Bring the older kids for some unstructured time at the new playground at the MLK Jr. Recreation Center in Dunedin. This playground was designed by the city’s Youth Advisory Committee who convinced leaders that a park was needed for older children. “We gave them the catalogs and let them choose the equipment for this park,” said Terry Trudeau, supervisor of recreation for the city. The park, which opened at the start of summer, has state-of-the-art equipment including a large play structure with “pods,” “jacks” and “DNA” for imaginative climbing and jumping. It also features a bouncing balance beam, a pair of swings that can accommodate up to four kids at once, a good old-fashioned merry-go-round, and a large space net for climbing fun. The park is adjacent to a lighted basketball court, a covered picnic area and the Stirling Skate Park. The skate park is 10,000 square feet of concrete, flow course designed by Team Pain. Built in 2007, the park features two bowls and a street plaza, snake zone, step up, rail, hubbas and a banked hubba.

Learn Brazilian Jujitsu. At Gracie Tampa West in Oldsmar, coach Tony Way leads a group of elementary-aged children in the skills of Jujitsu, a form of martial arts that is purely self defense, using control and leverage to win a physical battle. They meet every evening at 6 p.m. and are preparing to begin their first after-school class offering. Coach Way says that boys especially relish the opportunity to wrestle with one another. “Boys need to be physical and this is a safe way to burn all that energy while learning to control their anger and keep their egos in check.” Every session has students grappling with each other on the mats, which to the casual observer looks like kids wrestling around. However, each move is a strategy to best the opponent. “Kids win and lose, so they learn not to fall apart every time they don’t get their way. It also builds confidence and is bully proofing.” Palm Harbor dad, Carlos Santiago, stopped in one day because he saw the “No Bullying” sign on the building. He brought his son one time and they were hooked. Now Carlos brings Carlos, Jr. and daughter Rhiyah every day after school for their class and then he stays for Cardio Kickboxing after.

Photo courtesy of City of Largo.

Put on your argyle socks and take your soccer ball to the Largo Golf Course for a game of FootGolf. This version of golf is played with only a soccer ball, so no need for expensive clubs to get out on the links. Players tee off by kicking their soccer ball toward the specially designed green that has a 21 inch hole. The Footgolf greens are either left or right of the golf greens and marked with a red flag. Players kick their ball until it goes in the hole, scoring the same as golf. Winner of the hole gets to kick first on the next tee. There are 18 holes on this executive course. Footgolf is played May through October, so get out there and check it out before the season ends.

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a note from the

Pinellas County Sheriff As this Amendment has been widely touted as providing access to “Medicinal Marijuana,” I think it is important to consider what types of illnesses would qualify for a recommendation to use marijuana. As a casual reader, many think of cancer patients, terminally ill patients or AIDS patients needing the active ingredients in marijuana to increase their appetite. Unfortunately, in addition to the “debilitating diseases” you may think of, Amendment 2 also allows for any “other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would outweigh the potential risks for a patient.”

Dear Parents, This fall we will have an opportunity to vote on Amendment 2 – a proposal allowing for the open sale and smoking of marijuana throughout Florida via physician recommendation. Many residents have asked my position on this issue and I would like to use this opportunity to share some of my concerns with the proposed Amendment. There are already some forms of marijuana, such as Marinol, approved by the FDA and prescribed for medicinal purposes available in pill and oil form. Moving forward, scientific testing is being done to discover additional uses for the chemicals found in the marijuana plant and I anticipate we will see new drugs approved by the FDA and on the market in the future.

In my experience combating pill mills and the abuse of prescription drugs here in Pinellas County, I have seen first-hand how quickly addicts find a way to obtain access to prescription pills. But we do not have to guess how our state may be impacted; we have the benefit of analyzing how other states in the U.S. have abused this loose phrase. In the states where marijuana has been legalized for In states with medical marijuana, medicinal purposes, of those tracking the medical reason given requiring marijuana only 7% of patients listed terminal or use it for life ending illnesses. for only life-threatening illnesses. The vast majority of reasons recorded for requiring marijuana were for a variety of pain related issues – With the knowledge that a pill containing the active ingredients in specifically listed examples include menstrual cramps, headaches, marijuana is already available to patients, it is difficult to understand why and minor arthritis. a constitutional Amendment to provide additional access is necessary. After researching the proposed amendment, Federal drug regulations Parents would have significantly more and analyzing similar legislation passed in neighboring states, it has access to the ingredients in the Big become clear that Amendment 2 is not about providing access to terminally ill patients, but about providing additional access and legal immunity to a smoke-able form of marijuana to everyone in Mac they buy at McDonalds than to the state of Florida.


I believe Amendment 2 is loosely written and has a high potential for abuse, particularly from recreational users, addicts and children if passed.

the chemical makeup of the marijuana they would be purchasing.

As a parent, my primary concern is the ease of access Amendment 2 would allow for our kids. If Amendment 2 is passed, our children would not need the consent of a parent to get a physician recommendation for marijuana. As parents we pay attention to how much soda and candy our kids eat, we make decisions about immunizations they receive and when our children are ill we carefully follow our doctor’s recommendations when administering antibiotics. Why then would we want our junior high and teenage kids ingesting marijuana without our knowledge or consent in unknown quantities and dosages? Unlike a traditional prescription, Amendment 2 would make marijuana available by a system more akin to an open ended physician recommendation. Recommendations would be made without a specified dosage, without any follow up appointments to evaluate success, and without any end date. In addition to the overall danger of unregulated dosage, there is no reason to believe that the growth and strains of marijuana produced to fill the demand will be safe or consistent. Parents would have significantly more access to the ingredients in the Big Mac they buy at McDonalds than to the chemical makeup of the marijuana they would be purchasing.


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Earlier this year I supported legislation which provided access to a specific regulated strain of marijuana in a safe topical oil form with low THC content for children who suffer from severe epileptic seizures. However, this fall I am opposing Amendment 2 because it is loosely written and has an extremely high chance for abuse. Sincerely, Bob Gualtieri, Sheriff

Pinellas County, Florida For more information about Amendment 2, please visit

a note from

Juvenile Welfare Board The Children’s Services Council of Pinellas County

Read To Succeed Tips Read Early and Often Early years are critical for developing a lifelong love of reading. Begin reading at birth and make a commitment to read at least 20 minutes a day with your child. Break the time into smaller segments for shorter attention spans. As your child starts school, continue reading aloud to expand your child’s vocabulary and improve his or her reading comprehension.

Read with 3 “R’s” in Mind Toddlers and preschoolers benefit from the three “R’s” of reading: Rhythm, Rhyme and Repetition. Reading stories with repetitious text encourages your child to “chime in” on familiar parts, while poems and rhymes train your child to hear the difference between the 42 sounds used in the English language.

Read for Fun Don’t worry about how you look or sound; if you’re having fun, your child will, too! Use your face, voice, and body to help bring characters and stories to life. Take your child to storytelling time at your local library, bookstore or theatre.

Read and Interact Engage and interact with your child while you read. Point out things on each page, explore the pictures and ask your child questions like “What do you think will happen next?” Discussion builds comprehension and communication skills.

Read It Again and Again Don’t worry about repeating your child’s favorite book for the 100th time – repetition is vitally important for little learners, and as children memorize their favorite books, they learn vocabulary and a love of reading.

Read with Routine Children of all ages benefit from routine and structure. Establish a reading routine, such as always having story time after bath or before nap time. Ask your schoolaged children to read their textbooks to you while you’re cooking dinner, driving the car or sorting laundry.

Read with Variety

All Kids Matter! As children in Pinellas County return to school, the Juvenile Welfare Board ( JWB) would like to remind parents, grandparents and other caregivers that success in reading matters – especially grade level reading by the third grade. Research shows that proficiency in reading by the end of third grade enable students to shift from learning to read to reading to learn, and to master the skills needed to comprehend more complex subject matter students encounter in higher-grade curriculums. Students who fail to reach this critical milestone may struggle in the later grades and are at greater risk of dropping out before earning a high school diploma. Yet, two-thirds of fourth graders in the United States are not proficient readers, according to the Campaign for Grade Level Reading’s national website – and four out of every five low-income student falls short of this critical milestone. In Pinellas County, last school year’s standardized test scores revealed that 45% of all public school third graders were not reading on grade level; the picture was even bleaker for third grade students attending high-poverty schools. JWB understands that school success lies not only with the public school system but with a full array of community partners mobilized to help remove barriers, expand opportunities and assist parents in becoming engaged partners in their child’s educational success. JWB and our partners are committed to childhood literacy and to encouraging the love of reading from an early age, so children grow up to be lifelong readers and strong, confident learners. To that end, we’ve compiled a few simple tips that parents and caregivers can follow to help their children “read to succeed” for a lifetime of learning. Because reading matters!

Sincerely, Dr. Marcie Biddleman Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board

Fill your home with as many books as possible; a print rich environment is vital to a child’s success. Research online reading tools and don’t forget the value of your local public library; your child will love carrying his or her very own library card!

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a note from

Pinellas County Schools Dear Parents,

Arts/Pre-Cambridge at Tarpon Springs Middle School. We’re increasing the programs in our high schools that lead to industry certifications, such as IT certifications and Cybersecurity. We have two new elementary Centers for Innovation and Digital Learning at Kings Highway and Gulf Beaches elementary schools.

To those who are new to Pinellas County Schools this year, welcome! To those of you who already had students in our schools, welcome back! The start of the school year is always an We have the new Advanced Placement Capstone program at energizing time full of anticipation and excitement. I’m especially four high schools: Boca Ciega, Northeast, St. Petersburg and excited about the start of this school year because of the many Countryside. We are also proud to announce that our technical improvements we’ve made for our students and families. schools have a new name: Pinellas Technical College. Students After years of discussion, our student calendar finally allows for final prepare for a wide range of careers at our two Pinellas Technical exams to be completed before winter break. We hope this change College campuses, and the new name is a better reflection of the gives our students a more restful break and more productive start to opportunities available to those students. their second semester. We’ve expanded our after school STEM As you can see, we’re moving forward in Pinellas as we elevate (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Academies in the offerings of our school district and increase opportunities elementary and middle schools. These academies increase STEM for students to achieve academic success. Thank you for your opportunities for Pinellas County students and are designed to involvement in your child’s education and for encourage students to enroll themselves in accelerated STEM working with us to achieve our vision of 100 courses as they progress through middle and high school. percent student success. This school year brings the start of four new middle school Thank you, magnets: Gateway to Engineering at Azalea Middle School and Michael A. Grego, Ed.D. East Lake Middle School, Pre-Cambridge AICE at Pinellas Superintendent, Park Middle School and the Leadership Conservatory for the Pinellas County Schools

Back to School Goals: 1. Make A’s and B’s 2. Read daily 3. Make the swim team 4. Have fun! Back to School Lists

List for Parents

As the start of the school year approached, the lists started coming. School supply lists. Reading lists. Extra curricular activity lists. Car pool lists. With all this attention to lists, we may forget to make a list about the important things, like how as a family you want the school year to go. We know that if we blow with the wind, we go wherever it blows. But if we set our course and stick to it, we have control over our destination. This intentional approach to the school year can provide the necessary framework to keep life from getting too crazy.

Being intentional about how we parent our children through their school years takes some goal setting too. There is so much more to life than reading and writing and math, and a parent is the teacher for those life lessons.

The Child’s Goals First, set academic goals with your children by discussing what kind of grades they choose to earn. Write the goals down and discuss what steps are necessary to achieve that goal. Will it take reading an extra half hour a day? Will it take asking for more math homework? Will it require that all other activities are a lesser priority? Discuss how your child can be successful in his goal at the beginning and make agreements in advance about how you will work together to see it through. Second, look at the activity schedule and decide how much time will go to extra curricular activities. Map out your week and don’t be afraid to say no when the schedule looks unmanageable. Make allowances for unstructured, creative free time because kids need to be kids. Down time helps to spark their creative juices. Third, talk about behavior expectations and responsibilities at home. Teaching them to be responsible for their own actions will help them grow into independent, capable adults. Finally, make a poster with the goals and hang it up where it can be seen every day. The visual cues will be picked up by the brain and accepted as truth. Then in three months if the child is not on track to meet the goals, the door is wide open to discuss the necessary next steps.

Purpose. Making sure the child understands that his or her life has a purpose that goes well beyond what goes on in school. Identify talents, gifts and interests and give constant encouragement. Be surrounded by positive people. School represents a major part of a child’s world, but school has a limited purpose. Outside of school, children need to be connected to a positive, encouraging community with like minded peers and adults. Community or faith-based youth groups can provide a sense of belonging that kids crave. Create a safe environment at home. Kids have bad days too and giving them a safe place to be themselves is a gift. We can’t expect them to keep it all together all the time. Be their safety net. Don’t expect failure, but give your support no matter what. Teaching kindness and generosity. In an era where self-absorbed selfies are all the rage, we must make an effort to teach children how think of others and show kindness. Parents make the best teachers and they follow our leads. How to keep commitments. In our culture, we have lots of examples of how to quit when the going gets tough. We can teach our children how to endure hardships and learn from them. Expecting our kids to be faithful to their commitments is something they will carry through life. Living a peaceful life is a choice. Our world is in chaos. It’s a scary time to be raising kids. We can however, make our homes a peaceful place to be. We can pick our battles with each other and learn to resolve conflict in positive ways. We can make our homes a place of love and acceptance.

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Kam, Age 5 and Joseph, Age 7, Retention Averted Last spring, we enrolled two kids, both of whom were in danger of being retained in their current grade. With the end of the school year fast approaching, the intensive Brain Balance Program went to work and achieved solid and rapid results. By the time the school year ended, both families were notified their kids were at or near grade level and would not be retained, to the great relief of the parents.

Even without identifying the exact cause of these difficulties, we do know a lot about what the problem is, and fortunately, how to address it. The symptoms or condition can be reversed or significantly improved with proper nutrition, adequate activity levels, a restriction of electronics and the one-ofa-kind brain stimulation they receive at a Brain Balance Achievement Center. Every child is unique, and that’s why we address every child individually with our comprehensive evaluation and lesson planning.

Zack, Multiple Diagnoses, Age 8 The Back-to-School Challenge By LARRY POLNICKY “Back-to-school”—what emotion does that term evoke in you? Is it that excited joy a parent feels when contemplating another year of learning, growth and achievement? Is it a nervous anxiety, as you wonder if your child will be able to meet the challenges adequately? Or does “back-to-school” reignite that gut-wrenching fear that your child will struggle, melt down and fail? How did your child make the transition back to school last year? Students enrolled in the summer program at Brain Balance Achievement Center will make the fall transition with confidence and a smile. The reason: we improve brain function, and with that comes better academic performance and improved behavior and social skills, which are the key ingredients for back-to-school success.

Zack was a child with multiple diagnoses, including ADHD and dyslexia. The family tried many other therapies without much success. Their experience in the Brain Balance Program, however, was truly life changing. As mom wrote: Zack is no longer on the ADHD scale. At all. He no longer has letter reversals in his writing. He no longer shows any evidence of Dyslexia. He no longer shows any evidence of Auditory Processing Disorder. I did not know this was even a possible outcome. This program changed Zack’s life, the life of our family and the dynamic between Zack and his brothers. I no longer worry or have anxiety over Zack’s academic life.

Find out more by attending a free parent event 6:00 PM, Tuesday, 9/16/2014 at the Brain Balance Center located at 4022 Tampa RD, Suite 6, Oldsmar, FL. Or call us at 813-749-0872 to arrange a personal tour and free, no obligation, private consultation. Or visit us on the web at to read articles, research papers and parent testimonials.

Jay, Autism, Age 6 A recent graduate of the Brain Balance Program, Jay’s progress was rapid and measurable, but nothing captures his success better than mom’s own words:

As a testimony to how much Jay has improved, the results from Jay’s most recent Our fall after-school enrollment is now in full School IEP meeting shows that he has swing. In as little as three months, you will see caught up to this grade level in most areas. more willingness and less frustration, better In fact, he is actually performing above his behavior, and academics finally clicking. grade level in Math, Letter Recognition and Reading. At the beginning of the school year, For those who have counselors, teachers or doctors recommending medications for Jay required a full-time assistant along with a your student to solve challenges, we invite visual schedule and several other visual aids in order to make it through each school day. you to come for a free consultation to Jay no longer needs any of his visual aids. He discuss how our program may reduce or has become quite a mature and independent eliminate the need for medications. student and he is able to get through each day with minimal support from his assistant. Parents, instead of dreading report cards He is engaging more in class activities and and calls from the school, look forward to opening up socially to his peers. Last week, a school year with a child on a different he actually had a part in the Kindergarten path, the path to success! Here are some play and he did an amazing job. It brought true success stories of children who have tears to my eyes. completed our program:

Larry Polnicky is the owner of the Brain Balance Achievement Center in Oldsmar. His son Ben has autism and showed significant improvements after completing the program at a center in Atlanta. So moved by how this program changed their lives, it became his calling to help other children by opening a center in Florida. Larry is involved in the local community and founded The Children’s Achievement Foundation to raise scholarship money for families who need assistance to participate in alternative programs.

News from the

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Dolphin Tale 2 Opens September 12 The much anticipated sequel to the hit movie Dolphin Tale, Dolphin Tale 2 will hit local theaters on September 12th. Shot on location in Clearwater, the story continues with Hope, a dolphin rescued one year after Winter was rescued. She was found on a beach close to the same location where Winter was found. See the movie to learn more about this true story, and support the Florida film industry!

Pushing Forward Toward To The Future The CMA unveiled its plans for the new aquarium to be built on the site of the current Clearwater City Hall building. If funding is secured by April 2015, they can break ground in October 2015 to begin building the new facility. Plans include a marine hospital, Dolphin Theater and a community banquet room in addition to exhibits like the Stingray Touch Tank, Aviary, Coral Reef tank and, of course, the beautiful new dolphin digs for the resident movie stars, Winter and Hope.

Unique Camps Coming to CMA Sea Monster Mash October 25, 2014 Learn about vampire squid, goblin sharks, ghost shrimp and other deep sea creatures, visit our goo-station and make “fish” slime, create an icky “bioluminescent” fish anatomy picture, get entangled in our food web, play ghoulish games and feed creepy crustaceans.

Sea of Thanks November 24 – 26, 2014 Dive in to the Sea of Thanks as we discover how different ocean animals interact with each other. Create your own signature whistle as we discuss how dolphin families communicate and make a sea turtle family tree as we learn about different animal ancestors. We’ll complete our experience with an exploration into ocean communities, creating our own classroom coral reef. In the spirit of family fun, one additional family member is invited to join us for an end-of-camp boat tour of Clearwater’s estuary community. Enjoy all three days or single-day camps are available.

For more info or to sign your camper up for CMA’S Educational Camps go to 36

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Clearwater Marine Aquarium Holiday Mini-Camps Dec. 21 – 23, 2014 or Dec. 29 – 31, 2014 Join us as we learn all about our Florida marine life and their cold water cousins through fun-filled interactions with some of Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s resident animals. Discover how blubber and fur work to keep animals warm, prepare treats to lift our rescued animals’ holiday spirit, and spend time out on the water, seeing animal adaptations in action! Tour behind-the-scenes areas, participate in a fish feeding session, play educational games, and make crafts, as we compare animal adaptations here in Florida and in the coldest regions of the world.

“Spring into Science” Spring Break Camp March 30 – April 3, 2015 Clearwater Marine Aquarium educators will present an engaging science curriculum with hands-on experiences. Campers will board a Clearwater Marine Aquarium vessel and study the local ecosystem while participating in plankton tows and net pulls. In addition, campers will discover the properties of water, have hands-on practice using the scientific method as we conduct observations of our resident dolphins, access exclusive behind the scenes areas of our working marine animal hospital, and learn about exhibits before we open to the public each day.

Mommy & Me Resource Page

in St. Petersburg Chris e Bruner (727) 637-7913 in Largo/Seminole Jennifer Sullivan (727) 560-0423 Baby Boot Camp is an innova ve stroller fitness program that helps moms regain or enhance pre-pregnancy fitness levels and meet the physical challenges of paren ng by emphasizing strength training in a suppor ve environment. Karna Fitness offers small group training classes for women of all ages and fitness levels. First class always free!

1017 Illinois Ave. • Palm Harbor (727) 735-2063 At Om Sweet Om we believe in the importance of a healthy mind, body, and soul at every stage in life. All of our classes, unless specified otherwise, are for all ages (from 0-109). We teach everything from gentle yoga and medita on to ballet, pilates, zumba, and even art and music. We put a high value in togetherness and in growing a community of happy families to contribute to the world. Please check out our schedule online and come see us soon! Welcome Om!

Dr. Theresa Hartley 2653 Ulmerton Rd in Clearwater (727) 623-0992 HartleyChiropracƟ Start your child’s first year with the chiroprac c advantage. You should have your baby’s spine checked: - Immediately a er birth - On holding up his or her head - When able to sit alone - When star ng to crawl - When standing alone - On taking his or her first step - A er any li le trauma to the head -

Heather Aynne Vernillo Dr. Ka e Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields invite you to join them on their mission of changing skin and changing lives. With their legacy of success, our patentpending solu on for trea ng aging skin and our proven business system, you can start immediately to build your business and the poten al for your own legacy of success. We have a generous matrix compensa on plan that is unique in the value it places on customers. We also have an impressive Informa on Technology backbone to support our Consultants’ growing businesses online. These are all assets that support you as you build your individual enterprises.


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3487 4th St. N. • St. Petersburg (727) 894-0906 Zumbini® classes offer dance and play movement, fun props and a chance to play musical instruments for children 0 - 3. Children learn through play, listening, seeing, feeling and being, plus they get to bond with their caregiver in a fun, upbeat environment. Four quarterly sessions through the year, which are 8 sessions each. Every family receives two CDs and a songbook for the quarter. Sessions are taught at the Highland Recrea on Center in Largo. For more informa on: Facebook - Zumba Down With Mary Brown (727) 433-5599

31071 U.S. 19 • Palm Harbor (727) 330-7785 With an awesome selec on of name brand baby, kiddie, and maternity needs, STELLIE BELLIES offers an alterna ve for paying full price for well loved and gently used merchandise. We carry clothing from preemie through size 8 to toys and strollers and all your baby needs. We also have the biggest selec on in town of maternity clothing. We have been in business for over 10 years and strive to provide excep onal service and a wonderful shopping experience.

Teach Your Children Well About Good Digestive Health Brenda Watson, C.N.C. President, ReNew Life Formulas Digestive Care Expert New York Times Best-Selling Author Public Television Health Educator Maybe you’ve been thinking about giving your child a daily probiotic, but haven’t quite decided. Here are some important facts concerning the benefits of probiotics for children that you should review before making that important decision.

Why Give Children Probiotics? Probiotics, or “good bacteria,” are the friendly bacteria that naturally live in a healthy digestive tract. Giving children probiotics throughout their early years has been shown to provide significant benefits for overall digestive and immune health.*

Probiotics Support a Child’s Immune Health* Every day your child is exposed to challenges to their immune system while in school, at play or from the environment. Did you know that up to 80% of the immune system is located in the digestive tract? That’s why healthy digestion is vital for immune health. Probiotics interact with the immune system in the gut to promote healthy immune function.* Taking a probiotic specially formulated for children can help promote the balance of “good” bacteria in the intestines to support a growing child’s immune system.*

Probiotics Promote a Child’s Digestive Health* Probiotics can promote a healthy balance of intestinal flora to support your child’s digestive balance.* With fast-food restaurants at every corner and so many prepared foods available at the grocery store, it can be difficult to get your child to follow a healthy diet 100% of the time. Diets that are too high in sugar or too low in fiber can deplete your child’s beneficial gut bacteria. Taking a daily probiotic can be a safe and gentle way to help replenish “good bacteria” and promote a healthy balance of flora to support digestive health.* Better health begins with better digestion. Begin promoting your child’s good digestive health today!* *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. ___ For over 20 years, Brenda Watson has dedicated her career to helping people achieve vibrant, lasting health through improved digestive function. A dynamic health advocate, author, speaker and celebrated public television health educator, she is among the foremost authorities in America on optimum nutrition and digestion, natural detoxification methods, and herbal internal cleansing. Brenda recognized a growing need within the natural products industry for a line of safe and effective digestive care products during her extensive clinical work, and in 1997 she accepted the challenge herself. The result is the ReNew Life line of superior-quality digestive health supplements based in Palm Harbor, Florida.


Disney villains take center stage in 2014 with “Villains Mix & Mingle – Live on Stage” castle show; and Club Villain, an all-new nightly character dance party experience takes over the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon in Frontierland. Mischievous villains will be available for guests to meet all night long in locations throughout the park.

Photos courtesy of Walt Disneyworld.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party School is back in session, football has started and other parts of the country are starting to feel like fall. But here, well, it’s still 92 degrees and humid outside, making it difficult to feel anything but really hot. Travel an hour or so east to the Magic Kingdom and experience a change of season that only Disney can do in Florida. Starting September 1st, they begin their Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween parties on select nights from 7 p.m. to midnight. The park is decked out in pumpkins, leaves and other fall-like décor, enough so that for a moment, it feels like fall in Florida. Characters are roaming the park in costume greeting the guests, many of whom, adults and children, are dressed in elaborate Disney-inspired costumes. Trick or treaters with their pumpkins hit up the candy stations placed through the park. Partiers are dancing it up at the dance parties and super sleuths are becoming apprentice sorcerers while stopping villains from taking over the park as part of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game. (Pick up game cards and maps at the Firehouse inside the park on the left.)


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The twice-a-night parade, “Mickey’s Boo-To-You Halloween Parade” is led by the infamous Headless Horseman, at 8:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. and “HalloWishes,” a green and orange fireworks spectacle, starts at 9:30 p.m. The Halloween elements are tame enough so that young children won’t be overwhelmed, but fun enough that all ages can enjoy the wholesome festivities. The Spooktacular party runs select nights from September 1 through Halloween night October 31. This is an after-hours party that requires a separate admission ticket. Advance purchase (prior to event day) savings are available for select dates. Guests may visit for party dates and prices, or call 407-W-DISNEY.

Celebrate a Birthday at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Orlando Once the kids, especially boys, get past the age of five, it’s a challenge to plan a birthday that will not disappoint. A night at the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure is ideal for boys ages. The pirate theme is carried out from start to finish, and the pirate actors in character do a fantastic job of interacting with the children. The audience is divided into sections, each with its own trouble-making pirate liaison responsible for connecting the section to the show and recruiting volunteers. The show itself is lively and entertaining with fights, an aerialist, explosions and a sea monster. The actors are also acrobats, so the stunts are impressive. Sections are pitted against each other as they cheer for their pirate. A highlight is when all children are invited to go on stage to be a part of the show. Each child receives a certificate of participation. The show and dinner (which includes beer for adults) are both included in the price. As with any attraction in Orlando, definitely search for deals and discounts for the tickets. Their website has specials listed ranging from $25 to $40 a ticket. Call for group pricing and to arrange an add-on birthday package, which is another $25 per person. Depending on your budget, you could do the dinner adventure without the birthday package and still have a great time. Just go somewhere else for cake and ice cream before or after the show.


EXPLORE SARASOTA WITH THE KIDS Editor’s Review by PAMELA SETTLE Having lived in Pinellas County for exactly ten years now, I am embarrassed to say that I had never been to Sarasota. We have plenty of beaches here, I thought, so why drive 75 minutes to someone else’s beach? Then came the invitation to spend a few days learning some of what Sarasota has to offer families with children and now I can’t wait to go back.

Tidbit of Sarasota culture. The circus came to town in 1927 when John Ringling brought elephants and all to winter in Florida, making them quite possibly the first elephants to be called snowbirds! This grew into a major identifier for the city which is today home to museums, landmarks, the historic Sarasota Opera House, an original circus train, two working circuses, circus training schools and an eclectic array of circus families and performers. Visit to learn more.

Feeding the bear at Big Cat Habitat.

David F. Bolger Playspace, with its tower and slide, basket swings, hand-powered fountains and other novel pieces of equipment. Visitors can also stroll the 66 acres of the Bayfront Gardens, take in the majesty of the Ringling mansion and go through the 31 galleries of the Ringling Museum of Art. Families who enjoy performance arts need to keep an eye on the schedule for the historic Asolo Theater, an intimate venue for performances. Sign up for their newsletter at We dropped in on the Circus Arts Conservatory where children and adults can learn to perform just about any of the circus arts like juggling, hand balancing, trapeze, aerial silks, rolla bolla, clowning and more. They offer out of towners Saturday classes, so never say never. Learn more about them at

David F. Bolger Playspace. Photo courtesy of Ringling Museum.

First stop was the Ringling Museum of the American Circus where kids can look with awe at the 3,800 square foot miniature replica of circus life constructed over a 50-year time span by master builder Howard Tibbals. This work of art contains eight main tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 performers and workers, 800+ animals and a 59-car train. It really was amazing. We moved into the exhibit halls to see costumes and memorabilia and the kids could see what it was like to walk on a tight rope and stand on the back of horse. Outside the museum on the grounds is the

Next up was a trip to see lions, tigers and bears, but we were not going to the circus and we were not in Oz. Instead, we went to the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary where we were able to get up close and personal with lions, tigers, bears and a rare liger, close enough to feed them – off a stick for $2. Allowing guests to pay to feed the animals is brilliant because it costs so much to feed each animal daily and they have to raise the money somehow because they don’t turn any needy animal away. The woman with all the mouths to feed is founder Kay Rosaire, a famed eighth generation animal trainer and the passionate force behind this rescue facility. Training the animals to perform in their show is a means to maintain the rescue. It’s an intimate, homey, informative and entertaining show where Kay and her knowledge about animals are actually center stage. During the show she urges spectators to be informed about animal rescue and animal rights. She tells personal stories of the animals in training while she gets them to balance on a giant globe or jump through a hoop as casually as asking a dog to sit and heel. The tigers do fancy tricks like they do in the large circus acts, but that tiger act is never followed up by a chimpanzee who laughs like crazy when it’s tickled on the belly at a big circus.

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adventures covered with paper. Here the sides are just as scrumptious as the meats, which is usually not the case at a barbecue joint, so don’t miss the scalloped potatoes, baked beans and sesame crunch slaw. Nancy is known for her smoked pork, which is the food that got her started in this business as a private caterer turned road-side vendor turned restaurant owner due to customer demand. All this happened after the age of 50, making Nancy a female entrepreneur hero in my book.

Entrance to the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden.

Aside from the big animals, the habitat is home to camels, exotic birds, lemurs and a petting pen. The trip is worth it to see the majestic cats and bears up close and to learn from Kay. It was unlike any animal attraction I have ever been to and definitely the first time I fed some steak to a tiger who looked me straight in the eyes. We left the animals behind us and explored some gorgeous gardens at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Our tour started with a steamy stroll through the orchids in the Tropical Conservatory followed by a jaunt through the Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden which opened recently. Here kids can climb up a tree house, walk over rope bridges and stop at the interactive research station. The shade of the Banyan Grove was nearby but we chose to cool off in a kid’s playhouse that had crafts and educational information about plants. Set between Sarasota Bay and Hudson Bayou, the full 15 acres of this world-renowned garden is definitely worth a relaxing day trip to explore and take in the spectacular and diverse beauty.

Tidbit of Sarasota culture. Sarasota is well known for its art and its food. It is the only city on the west coast of Florida to have its own opera, ballet company and orchestra. There are five professional theater companies and theaters for plays, comedy, dance, music and Broadway shows. Add visual arts, festivals and heritage to the cultural mix that enriches the city year round. Award-wining chef ’s drawn to the high-caliber cultural scene have helped to create what’s been called a “foodie’s paradise.” Our family-friendly itinerary included two restaurant stops that I want to mention. First is Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, a rustic, local spot for some tasty barbecued meat served on a stainless steel tray


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The second restaurant on my list is Der Dutchman. Who knew there was a significant Amish presence in Sarasota? Well there is and they operate this buffet-style restaurant with an impressive pie list, bakery and gift shop. Homemade comfort foods fill up the all-you-caneat buffet line. The fried chicken is the star. Surround it with mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese and vegetables and you’ll be transported to your childhood. Save room for the lemon or the peanut butter cream pie, which, I was told were made every night by scratch by an 80-something Amish woman during the night. Or if you’re too full, stop at the bakery on the way out. Warning: plan ahead and bring a cooler because it’s Florida and the cream pies will get hot on the way home. Just do it. You won’t be able to say no as you pass through their bakery and store. The gift shop is fun too, as are the surrounding shops that sell Amish goods. We stayed on the beach at Lido Key in a newly renovated Holiday Inn that was affordable and convenient for Pinellas families who want to drop down for a long weekend trip. The rooms were lovely with views of the even lovelier Lido Key Beach. Within walking distance is the famous St. Armand’s circle with upscale shopping and restaurants. The other Sarasota attractions are short drive away. Sarasota has these and other attractions to fill a calendar with day trips with the kids. It also makes an ideal staycation getaway as it’s only an hour from most of Pinellas County, but different enough from home to feel like you’ve really gone somewhere new.

Learn more at Coming October 15 – 18

The Ringling International Arts Festival Four Days of Music, Dance & Theater

Bring the kids to see

The Intergalactic Nemesis Oct 16 – Oct 18 at the Mertz Theatre For something truly unique, bring the kids to see this oneof-a-kind mash-up of radio drama and graphic storytelling. Three actors give voice to dozens of characters, one Foley artist creates hundreds of sound effects, and a keyboardist provides the music as 1,250 blow-your-mind comic-book images tell the story of an impending invasion of sludge monsters from the planet Zygon. for tickets.

eating Lunch Japan Style The Japanese have made packing lunches an art form. Search Japanese Bento on the Internet and you will find site after site of pictures of exquisitely sliced food. Bento style lunches have made their way to the U.S. as you’ve probably seen on Pinterest. The benefit of Bento style lunches is that is provides a break from the traditional American sack lunch of sandwich, chips and fruit. Bento containers have small compartments to hold bite-sized food which encourage bites of fruits and vegetables for a balanced lunch.

If packing a warm lunch seems like a challenge, we can look again to Japan for the Zojirushi vacuum insulated, high-quality stainless steel food containers. Using advanced vacuum technology, foods and beverages stay hot for more than six hours. (These can be used to keep foods cold, too.) Zojirushi took the insulated food container, made it high quality and then designed it to be an elegant way to transport a meal, Japanese bento style. There are several sizes to meet the needs of the whole family. First is the Zojirushi Mr. Bento Apple Red Stainless Steel Lunch Jar that has four separate microwaveable bowls inside an insulated jar. The jar keeps dishes insulated to hold in the heat or cold, and it comes with a main dish with lid, soup bowl with lid, small side bowl, large side bowl, carrying bag, and forked spoon. Second is the Zojirushi Ms. Bento Stainless-Steel Vacuum Lunch Jar which is the same as Mr., only with three food bowls in the vacuuminsulated stainless-steel jar.

To get started, order a Yumbox bento lunch box from There’s a wide variety of bento style lunch boxes for sale out there – some good, some not so good. This one has a feature that makes it worth the higher price tag: it has a silicone insert in the lid that seals over all the compartments to prevent foods from intermingling. You can add apple sauce or yogurt from a larger container, which helps with portions and saves money because you’re not buying the individual containers. It’s also time saving for kids who have to eat quickly at school. Just pop open the lid and everything is right there ready to eat. Of course we should mention that this cuts way down on plastic bag usage, which makes it a GOOD product for the environment. The Yumbox has a version with six smaller compartments for $28 and a version with four compartments, one large enough for a sandwich for $30. They are made with food safe materials, free of BPA and phthalates. The Yumbox is well made of a durable plastic and it is just the right size to fit inside a lunchbox. Add a drink and an ice pack for safety if food needs to stay chilled.


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And third is the Zojirushi Stainless Steel 12 oz. Food Jar which is perfect for a school lunch of stew, chili, spaghetti or favorite warm lunch foods. Seal the hot food inside and rest assured your student will have a hot lunch. Zojirushi has superior insulation because of their gasket seal design for the lids that lock in heat and minimizes leakage.

Once you have the right containers, the door is wide open for researching bento food ideas to add variety and balanced choices for lunch.

eating Packing a Gluten-free Lunch When a child needs a gluten-free lunch, the once easy sandwich option is a thing of the past. Pizzas made with gluten-free crusts can offer a delicious, easy and make-ahead option. They can be extra nutritious with the right toppings. A family-owned company out of California has a certified gluten-free facility as part of its historical artisanal bakery. The Venice Bakery makes and ships pizza crusts (large and individual sizes), flat breads, wraps and bread crumbs that are delicious. Add some healthy toppings to the ready-made crusts and lunch is ready to go!

Enjoy the Teen Chili Challenge For a day of free family fun, head out to St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue’s 25th Annual Fire Prevention Block Party on October 11th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A variety of activities will be available for kids of all ages including a fire truck display, face painting, teen chili cook-off and much more. St. Pete Fire will also be distributing smoke detector batteries free of charge in efforts to promote fire safety in the community.

Healthy pizza topping ideas The Fresh Market Top with olive oil, Ricotta cheese, fresh asparagus tips, spring peas and fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The Tarpon Greek Top with Greek-style hummus, sliced plum tomatoes, black olives, crumbled feta cheese and chopped fresh basil. The BBQ Bird Top with barbecue sauce, sliced roasted chicken, shredded gouda or cheddar cheese, sliced red onion and chopped fresh cilantro.

While you’re there, don’t miss the exciting and tasty Teen Chili Challenge! All Children’s Hospital will be hosting the chili cook-off in partnership with Kohl’s Cares as a part of the Kohl’s Cooks for Kids program. Members from St. Petersburg recreation center teen boards will be slicing, dicing and simmering their most nutritious and delicious chili recipe for our panel of judges. The team with the highest score will take home the top prize – an opportunity to cook their recipe for local firefighters. The cook off starts at 11 a.m. and public tasting begins at 12:30 p.m. Since 2006, Kohl’s Cares has donated more than $1 million to All Children’s Hospital. The Kohl’s Cares donation supports the Kohl’s Cooks for Kids family cooking classes, the “Yum Yum! Let’s Make Some!” cookbook, and community events such as the Teen Chili Challenge. The Fire Prevention Block Party will be held at Northwest Park, located at 5801 22nd Avenue North in St. Petersburg 33710.

The Pesto Party Top with prepared pesto, shredded roasted chicken breast, sliced red bell pepper and fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. The Hula Girl Top with lower-sodium marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni slices, pineapple chunks (fresh or canned) and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. The Fresh Italian Top with sautéed Roma tomatoes with garlic, fresh spinach, fresh mozzarella slices and dollops of ricotta cheese. The Roasted Veggie Top with red sauce, mozzarella or goat cheese, choice of preroasted vegetables including zucchini, eggplant, onion, bell peppers, artichokes, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Photo courtesy of All Children’s Hospital.

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In my life I have had many setbacks that eventually brought me to my goals; some of these goals I didn’t even know I had wanted at the time. This is a story about my life and the struggles I endured to lead me to my goals and bright future. I am 17 years old, and in my 17 years on this earth I have learned a lot about how the right and wrong choices can affect your future. Even before I was brought into this world, there was a choice to have a baby, and both of my parents made that decision and ended up pregnant with four babies: quadruplets! I, my two sisters and our brother were brought into this world healthy, happy and with so much love. There was only one difficulty – I was born with a birth defect known as Amniotic Band Syndrome. ABS affects one in every 1,200 births; hand defects make up 80% of ABS cases. My amniotic sac broke and some of the bands wrapped around my fingers and constricted them. I would look at my dolls, family and friends and wished I was born like them – perfect. In my mind I was broken, a mistake, unfixable. When I was in 4th grade I made a decision. I decided that since I was so far from my idea of perfection that I was worth nothing and I started taking my frustration out on myself physically. I started a form of self mutilation known as bruising; I would punch, or pinch my body until I would have bruises. In 5th grade I started to burn my body, and in 6th grade I actually started to cut myself. The year I started to cut myself I decided I wasn’t skinny enough. I was already a very small girl, but I wanted to be like the super models you see in magazines. I would make my school lunch, then hide it away in my room in a box or throw it away when I got to school. A year later, my family found out about what I was doing to myself and they got me the proper medical attention needed. I would lie every day and tell my parents that I felt fine, that I was getting better and they believed me.

That More2Life presentation really made me think about what I wanted to get out of my life – and what I was currently getting out of it wasn’t what I wanted. I was in recovery for two months after Spencer taught my class. I had started eating throughout the day, and even went without harming myself. In April, my depression got out of hand, my weight started to drop rapidly and I had relapsed with self harm. I felt like my life seemed to not be going anywhere I wanted it to go. I just didn’t want the life I was living anymore. On April 14, I attempted suicide. That night, I only contacted Spencer. I trusted him, and I knew that he would get me help. He contacted everyone he needed too, and he encouraged me to recover.

Towards the end of my 8th grade year, a non-profit organization called More2Life came into my health class for a three-day presentation to teach us about goals, abstinence and building healthy relationships and friendships. An educator named Spencer taught my class. At first I thought that what Spencer was I have been in recovery since April 14, 2012 and I do believe talking about was a bunch of lame facts that adults threw together I have changed for the better. I share my story with millions to use to scare teenagers about abstinence and the future. through a pro-recovery blog I created to share my stories and advice, and to hear what others have to share about their incredible As Spencer started sharing his story, I started listening to what stories as well. The past two summers, I have been interning with he had to say. Spencer had a rocky past. He had used drugs, and More2Life and sharing my story at dinner benefits and in videos. hung around with the wrong crowd. He shared with us that he had attempted suicide and when he was younger he self harmed. I have made so many amazing friends and I am grateful for the experiences I encounter working with More2Life. I will not let He had lost some pretty amazing friends to drugs, and he didn’t want to lose anymore. Spencer got out of that life, and he started my past define who I am today. I’m a survivor of mental health and I am not ashamed. focusing more on himself and his future.


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P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677

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