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February 2021 • Volume 9 • Issue 6

Laughter is the best Medicine

l a V y p Hap

! y a D s ’ entine

Children & Mental Health







AmandaOstrander Ostrander540.655.3496 540.655.3496 Amanda

CurtisBurchett Burchett540.354.6323 540.354.6323 Curtis

LisaSeifred, Seifred,Client ClientServices ServicesManager Manager Lisa

Amanda Ostrander 540.655.3496

Curtis Burchett 540.354.6323

Lisa Seifred, Client Services Manager





leading off: publisher’s note Happy Valentine’s Day! February is such a strange month. It is the “end” of winter and the shortest month of the year. We always look past February as we are anxious for the warmer weather, spring events, and of course, our Roanoke Family Expo in April! Once again this year, our expo ties into our Family Favorite Awards. At the event, our readers will learn which local businesses won each category of our contest! We will crown local businesses “Family Favorites” and we will of course award the $250 grand prize to one reader who is chosen at random from all of the votes received. Learn more about the event and vote for your favorites at www. roanokefamilyfavorites.com.

In the meantime, we are still in the midst of the worst health crisis in the world in nearly 100 years. With this in mind, the Expo may need to be moved to a date later in the year. Please stay tuned to Facebook and our website for updates. Lastly, we had some awesome things planned in 2020, and we all know how that went! In 2021, we are changing directions a bit to try to continue to support local businesses and families in our region even more than we have in years past! We are focused on providing more content and a creating a stronger web presence in order to make parenting in the Roanoke Valley easier! Stay tuned... and stay safe!

Anika has her learners permit!

The Eagan Family

Andrea, Josh, Anika and Evelyn Proud Members of the Parenting Media Association since 2013! Learn more at www.parentmedia.org. 7

Co n t act Us: P.O. Box 4484, Roanoke, VA 24015 540-251-1660 www.roanoke.family


Josh & Andrea Eagan josh@virginiafamily.com • Anika and Evelyn’s Parents

Creative Director

Read Our Other Publications



Contributors Cristy Carr • Gene Marano • Sandi Schwartz Tani Haas • Rebecca Hastings Rachel Levine • Jacqueline Moon

Connect With Us


Tracy Fisher

tracy@virginiafamily.com • Charlotte and Evelyn’s Mom

Community Relations Director

We welcome reader comments, submissions, and the support of advertisers.

jeanne@virginiafamily.com • Parker and Connor’s Mom

We reserve the right to refuse or edit any materials submitted to us as we deem inappropriate for our audience. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with any submission to be returned. We do not accept responsibility for unsolicited materials.

Jeanne Lawrence


Jacqueline Moon jackie@virginiafamily.com • Elijah’s Mom, and Luke and Blair’s Stepmom

Sales Assistants Ani & Evie Eagan

sales@virginiafamily.com • Bauer and Chloe’s Owners


John Morris • COV Designs john@covdesigns.com

Roanoke Valley Family and www.roanoke.family are published by MoFat Publishing. Roanoke Valley Family is published monthly. The views and the opinions expressed by the writers and advertisers do not necessarily represent those of Roanoke Valley Family, its staff, or its contributors. While multiple businesses, schools, and organizations are represented in our pages, and magazines are often distributed to students according to the policies and procedures of each school district, this is not a publication coordinated or endorsed by any public or private school district, nor is it a publication with any religious or political objectives. As a mass media outlet, it is our oath and responsibility to communicate with due diligence, through our content, the plurality of views and opinions reflected in our audience of Central and Southwest Virginia. Readers are strongly encouraged to verify information with programs and businesses directly. Parents are urged to thoroughly research any decisions involving their children. Copyright 2021 by MoFat Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved. All material, including artwork, advertisements, and editorials, may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of the publisher.




Submit Your Ideas Share your story ideas with us by emailing jackie@virginiafamily.com

© Copyright 2021 Mofat Publishing

Inside February How to Eat Like the French

European eating habits can change our point of view for health and family bonding. Read on page 32

Teen Stress Busters Habits for your family to start to help improve the mental health of your teenagers.

Read on page 16

Laughter is the Best Medicine How laughter can help boost your family’s daily mood and prevent depression.

Read on page 28

12 Local Events & Fun At Home

We urge families to be safe and carefully consider as they attend community events this winter.

24 Children & Mental Health

Covid-19 and isolation has taken a toll on our children, learn how to handle that stress.

What kind of flowers should you NOT give on Valentine’s Day? Cauliflowers!

26 A Mother’s Valentine

Everyone knows a mother’s holiday experience is different than most.

36 Visual Heartbeat: Science Experiment

See your heart skip a beat this Valentine’s Day with this simple at-home science experiment.

What kind of candy is never on time? Choco-LATE.

34 Rachel Reads

Honor the history and culture of African Americans with these books about Black History.

8 In the CommUNITY

Every month we spotlight local charities making a difference in the Valley.

Have you got a date for Valentine’s Day? Yeah, it’s February 14th.

in the


Noteworthy news from around the Valley

Postpartum Support Virginia And Huddle Up Moms Bring Mental Health Support Group For Mothers To Roanoke Postpartum Support Virginia and Huddle Up Moms are working together to launch a support group for pregnant and postpartum women in the Roanoke region. Postpartum Support Virginia (PSVa) is a non-profit organization working to ensure every family in the state of Virginia is educated about, screened for, and offered resources when needed to treat maternal mental health issues (also called Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders or PMADs). Huddle Up Moms is a newly formed Roanoke-based organization focused on empowering and educating women in Southwest Virginia. Recognizing that the early stages of motherhood are more challenging now than ever before, Postpartum Support Virginia and Huddle Up Moms are teaming up to provide much needed mental health resources in the Roanoke Valley. Moms interested in joining a group should email Huddle Up Moms at huddleupmoms@gmail.com for more information.  Roanoke-based support groups will be led by trained facilitators who are survivors of maternal mental health issues or maternal health


Family • February 2021

professionals, including doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners, and doulas. The first group is scheduled to begin meeting in early February. Local pregnant or postpartum women (up to one year postpartum) who need additional supportive care or connection with peers are encouraged to attend. Sessions will offer women an opportunity to connect with other mothers in this peer-based format, along with access to information about numerous resources available within the Roanoke community. Nationally, at least one in five women will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, and as many as one in two mothers in at-risk populations are affected. Those most at risk include mothers with a baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, mothers with a history of anxiety or depression, Black/ African American women, Latina/ Spanish-speaking women, and women who have recently immigrated to the United States. Symptoms can appear anytime during the two-year span from conception through the baby’s first birthday. The onset of symptoms

may be gradual or sudden. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are caused by changes in biology, physiology, environment, and expectations. PMADS is a leading complication of childbirth in the US. Postpartum Support Virginia and Huddle Up Moms believe in working to ensure all moms have access to resources that foster mental health, as well as empowering women to prioritize their well-being. Huddle Up Moms aims to fuel meaningful connections within the Roanoke community, believing that all mothers deserve to flourish in all aspects of their lives. We welcome educators and partners from the community who may have resources to share with mothers. Those interested can learn more by visiting www.postpartumva. org or www.huddleupmoms.org or join the conversation on Facebook and Instagram at @postpartumva and @ huddleupmoms. You can also directly email Huddle Up Moms’ Executive director Jaclyn Nunziato at jnunz24. hum@gmail.com for more details. 

United Way of Roanoke Valley Received Grant to Help Families with Childcare Needs Parents can soon expect more emergency childcare options for their school-age children, thanks to a $1.5 million start grand administered by United Way of Roanoke Valley, as part of the Ready Regions aid package. As area families continue navigating the effects of COVID-19, many are still struggling with shifts to virtual learning, while they have fewer childcare options. The grant from the Virginia Early Childcare Foundation will foster strategic collaborations that increase the supply of safe, quality childcare slots in our region. United Way of Roanoke Valley will focus on creating community

partnerships that involve diverse sectors, including nonprofit organizations, childcare facilities and schools, workplaces, local government, health, nutrition and social services. “We’ll use the funding, distributed in two phases, to identify untapped resources and new options for increasing assistance to families, at the same time addressing the barriers that they find themselves facing,” said Vivien McMahan, Vice President of Community Impact at UWRV. “The priority is on finding solutions quickly that meet their unique needs, so we can bring some relief and support to children and

families who most need help to make it through the rest of the school year.” $1 million in funding has been designated to support tuition costs through June 30, 2021 in the cities of Roanoke, Martinsville, Covington, Lexington and Buena Vista, and the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, Rockbridge and Henry. These are the areas identified by the Virginia Department of Social Services based on the number of children who receive free or reduced lunch, are without internet access, and have parents in the workforce while schools are in hybrid or virtual schedules and area childcare providers have closed. The reminding fund will be used to support the opening of new classrooms during the same time period, in order to increase childcare capacity in the localities.

We heard it online! Westside Elementary hosted a Drive-Thru Holiday Parade. Thanks to First Baptist Church in Roanoke, each student received a wrapped gift. What a great idea! @RoanokeSchools

Welcome Hiabchi Guys to the Roanoke City Market Building! @RoanokeTimes Family • February 2021


In the community

by Sandra Pratt

Family Service of Roanoke Valley


Family • February 2021

Family Service of Roanoke Valley was the first human service agency in the valley and has been restoring hope in our community since 1901 celebrating their 120th birthday this year! In full disclosure I served on the Family Service Board of Directors for six years and have remained involved in various ways volunteering my time and donating my resources. It is one of the best kept secrets in this community. Secret no more, as I plan to share information about one of their programs that needs some explaining and deserves praise for its effectiveness. Play is important for children as they grow as it enables them to explore their world, develop social understanding and language concept while also helping them to express their thoughts and feelings. The therapeutic use of play allows trained professionals a way to communicate with children to help them achieve optimal mental health. Though it may look like children are “just playing” it differs from regular play and gives them a natural way to learn about themselves and their relationships in their world. The Association for Play Therapy is the national professional society that advances play therapy and provides research, training, and credentialing programs for its member mental health professionals. They define play therapy as “the systematic use of a therapeutic model to establish an interpersonal process wherein Play Therapists use the therapeutic

powers of play to help clients prevent or resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve optimal growth and development”. Family Service provides play therapy to children between the ages of 2 and 9 with a licensed professional counselor who is also a registered play therapist. They have specially created playrooms with a

day-to-day activities, their relationship within the family, affecting sleeping habits, changes in diet or if they simply are not enjoying things they use to, having mood swings or difficulty coping with small stressors. Sessions can vary and may last 30-50 minutes and are usually held weekly. The number of sessions can vary based on the problems that need to be resolved but research suggests it can take an average of 10-12 sessions. Parents who choose to seek counseling help for the children often ask how to explain play therapy to their children. Family Service provides some samples on how to explain this to your child and gives some dos and don’ts to help make the process more comfortable for everyone.

When I ask Harig what the community could do to help support this program she exclaimed “TOYS!”. They are always in need of toy donations for the play therapy rooms and not just any toys. It needs to be toys that help facilitate imaginative play like baby dolls, dollhouses and accessories, dressup play items, real-life toys like kitchens with food, and medical kits. Puppets are useful so that - Ralph Waldo children can engage wide in artistic expression Emerson variety of toys to along with art supplies help children fully of all types. Because some express themselves children need to work through through imaginative play. expressions of aggression toys like Clinical Program Manager Sarah Harig Nerf guns, swords etc. will assist with states “Play is their language; toys are these stronger feelings of anger and their words”. Play provides children frustration. For more information a safe distance from their problems about how to connect with counseling and gives them an appropriate way to services and how to drop off donations express their thoughts and feelings. visit www.fsrv.org. When might play therapy be right for your child? It can be appropriate for a wide variety of concerns not just a traumatic event. Harig says if your child’s behavior is impacting their

“It’s a happy talent to know how to play.”

Family • February 2021


Meet Your Neighbors

By: Angela Evans

Dr. Michelle Mills and Dr. Travis Shannon

Dr. Michele M. Mills and Dr. Travis M. Shannon spread cheer through Salem and Roanoke one smile at a time! From their family dental practice, to baseball fields, to local parks, you can find them and their family taking care of the community and enjoying all the Roanoke Valley area has to offer. The married dentists have their own family practice! Mills and Shannon Dentistry perform regular and complex dental work on adults and children, and Dr. Mills and Dr. Shannon believe it is a perfect partnership. Dr. Mills and Dr. Shannon are proud to call Roanoke home!

There are many outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. We knew it would be a wonderful place to raise a family. I also hoped we would get snow!” Before coming to Roanoke and Salem, the couple both served in the Navy following graduation in 2001. Dr. Mills said they spend four and a half years in the Navy with tours in Norfolk, Parris Island, and Guam. They both did their residency in the military. “It was a wonderful experience and I treasure the memories from our Navy days,” said Dr. Mills.

“We grew to love the beauty of the area. There are many outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. We knew it would be a wonderful place to raise a family.”

Dr. Mills and Dr. Shannon specifically chose to live in the Roanoke area! Dr. Mills says she was a Navy kid and grew up in South Carolina, Hawaii, and New York. She says they both attended the Medical University in South Carolina. They married in 1998. Dr. Mills said they drove from South Carolina to home in New York frequently, and Roanoke was the halfway point. Because of those drives, they chose to live in the Roanoke area! Dr. Mills said, “We grew to love the beauty of the area.

-Dr. Michelle Mills


Family • February 2021

Following their Navy service, the couple moved to Salem and spent around two years as associate dentists. They began their own private practice when two other dentists retired.

Mills and Shannon Dentistry opened its doors in 2008 in Salem. “Working with my husband is wonderful. It was not our original plan when we moved to the valley; however, it ended up being a perfect partnership. We both share the same goals and ethics. He enjoys complex surgery cases and I enjoy seeing children. So, I see all the kids in the office and he takes out all the difficult teeth! We both do all other dentistry such as crowns, dentures, fillings,

and implant cases. I see both adults and children. Over the years, our patients get to know us and many of them have met my children when they were in the office. It truly is a family practice,” said Dr. Mills. Dr. Mills and Dr. Shannon have two sons, Ashton, 15, and Chase, 13. Her mother Ann moved to Roanoke to live close to them. The family loves the outdoors and sports, especially baseball. When not at the dental office, baseball dominates their time. Dr. Mills said one of their favorite activities is watching their sons play baseball. She enjoys taking pictures of the team in action. The family loves practicing on the baseball field at North Cross School. The family also likes snow skiing. Their favorite places to travel are Winterplace and Snowshoe. Other favorite outdoor activities include hiking and taking their dog Daisy to the park. Green Hill Park is their favorite park for fun!

Their love of outdoors and sports extends to the community and other families. Mills and Shannon Dentistry gives back each year. They sponsor patients’ sports teams and yearbooks. They have also given large donations to the NCS Baseball Team and the Science Museum. Dr. Mills said, “I love the community. Our city is growing but still has a small town feel. I am very proud to call Roanoke and Salem home.” Dr. Mills say their patients and their staff make this the best place for their family to live and work. She said, “I often say I have the coolest patients in town. Being a dentist was my dream from about middle school age. My patients are thoughtful and kind and funny. My team is also amazing. It is difficult to find the perfect words to describe how fortunate I feel to take care of my patients and work with my amazing team. I still love what I do!” The dentists thank the Roanoke and Salem communities for letting them make this home!

Mills and Shannon Dentistry 3533 Keagy Road, Salem, VA 24153 540-989-5700 | millsandshannon.com Family • February 2021


February 2

Groundhog Day On this day in mid-winter, the groundhog awakens from a long winter’s nap, and goes outside of his den to see if he sees his shadow. This tradition is big, on an otherwise cold and dreary mid-winter’s day.

Local tse EvenHom

& Fun at

According to legend, if the groundhog sees his shadow (a sunny morning), there will be six more weeks of winter. He then returns to his den and goes back to sleep. If however, he does not see his shadow (cloudy days), he plays around outside of his hole for a while. If he does not see his shadow, spring is just around the corner. The Groundhog’s Day tradition travelled long ways. It comes

from German roots. In the early 1800’s, German immigrants to America, brought the tradition of predicting winter weather on February 2. In their native Germany, they used Hedgehogs to predict weather. As they settled in the hills of Pennsylvania, they began the tradition, using the Groundhog to predict the arrival of Spring. Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the site of the annual Groundhog event. Our little rodent friend (yes, Groundhogs are classified as rodents) is called Punxsutawney Phil. He has been making this annual winter prediction since 1887. There are a few other “predictors” around the country, but they all pale in comparison to Phil’s ability to predict the remainder of winter. For the Record Phil sees his shadow about 9 out of 10 times.

APR. 9-10

APR. 29-MAY 2

AUG. 5-8


FEB. 25-26

540-400-7795 • virginiachildrenstheatre.org


Family • February 2021

February 4

Thank Your Mailman Day Thank Your Mailman Day is your chance to say thanks to the guy, or gal, who delivers your mail. After all, your mail carrier delivers your mail six days a week. They are a hardy lot. The reliable postal worker is always there doing their job, regardless of the weather. You’ll find some mail carriers on walking routes, wearing shorts in all but the coldest of winter days. Make it a point to catch your mail carrier on his or her route today. Give him or her a great big smile and a great big “TY”. If you happen to visit your local post office, give them a thank you, too. February 12

Chinese New Year Chinese New Years is celebrated by billions of people around the world. The date of Chinese New Years changes every year. It is a 15 day celebration,

beginning on the first day of the new moon, and ends on the full moon. The celebration on the15th day is called the Chinese Lantern Festival. Chinese culture is amongst the oldest in the world. While the rest of the world is in the early years of but the third millennium, Chinese culture is in their fifth millennium. The year of the Ox, 4719, starts today. February 14

National Organ Donor Day National Organ Donor Day encourages people to sign up to donate their organs. It may save a life. It is uncomfortable to think of our own death, especially an early one. But, if it was to happen, you could save other lives. You are giving the gift of life to other people. Please consider seriously signing up to donate your organs and tissue.

February 16

Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is also known as Mardi Gras Day or Shrove Day. It is a day when people eat all they want of everything and anything they want as the following day is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of a long fasting period for Christians. In addition to fasting, Christians also give up something special that they enjoy. So, Fat Tuesday is a celebration and the opportunity to enjoy that favorite food or snack that you give up for the long Lenten season. February 17

Random Acts of Kindness Day Today is the day to perform a few random acts of kindness. Almost any kind deed will do. And, we highly recommend you perform kind acts on as many people as you can.

people and groups. People like the idea of showing a little kindness to others. Its a fun and good thing to do. And, they like being on the receiving end of this day as well. It makes both the giver and the receiver feel good. Caution: What comes around, goes around. Random Acts of Kindness is highly contagious. February 20

Love Your Pet Day Love Your Pet Day is day to pamper your pet. People just love their pets, and today is an easy excuse to spend time with them, and to give them special treats. Whether its a dog, a cat, a fish, a pet snake, or your pet rock! Give them lots of love and attention today.

This is a favorite day of many

Family • February 2021


Introducing Financial Empowerment Centers T

he City of Roanoke contracted Freedom First to act as the financial counseling provider of Roanoke’s Financial Empowerment Center, the first of its kind in Virginia.


Family • February 2021

Financial Empowerment Centers offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling as a no-cost public service to enable residents to address their financial challenges and needs and plan for their futures. Freedom First’s

counselors work with a wide range of local nonprofit partners and government agencies to ensure that Roanoke’s residents have access to holistic support that will ultimately enable them to achieve financial stability.

Let’s meet the FEC counselors. Keri Garnett was hired at Freedom First in 2019 as the Financial Empowerment Center Manager. “Financial stability is just one piece of the puzzle, but it’s a crucial one,” says Garnett. “When someone is able to break out of a cycle of highinterest debt, build up their credit, and stick to a budget, they can turn their whole life around. Opening access to financial education can be a truly impactful benefit to the Roanoke community. The more financially empowered people are, the more they, too, can give back and lead fulfilling lives.” As the FEC manager, Keri works with the FEC counselors to support their work, providing professional, one-on-one financial counseling at nocost to Roanoke area residents. “A large part of this focuses on continuing education for them, as well as linking them to our community so they can provide and refer our clients to the services that will help them best,” she says.

Kathryn Knotts has been with Freedom First for four years. In her role as a FEC counselor, Kathryn helps her accomplish the ultimate goal of longterm financial stability and success. Her sessions focus on goal setting, asset building, debt management, credit repair/ establishment, spending plans, and banking best practices. “The most rewarding part of my job is to experience and share in the excitement of my clients reaching their goals after working so hard to achieve them.” Araceli Arellano joined Freedom First in April 2020 with over four years of experience in the banking industry and experience in working as a legal assistant at an immigration law firm. She is now able to apply her experience into being a counselor, educating clients on financial issues and creating long lasting relationships, especially within the Spanish speaking community. “It’s a great feeling when you’ve helped someone reach an important milestone in their life when

they’ve felt like it couldn’t be reached. Making them aware of their ability to get out of difficult situations like dealing with creditors or starting and keeping a savings plan, and empower them to make good financial decisions in their lives is a rewarding feeling.” Darion Boisseau also joined Freedom First in April 2020. Before Freedom First, Darion worked with the community doing outreach and educational assistance at the Roanoke Housing Authority and TAP, as well as a Motherhood Facilitator for the Health Department. She loves being able to help provide healthy resource connections to families and is now excited to help empower others in their financial journey. “It’s very rewarding to be able to work with the community and help towards overall growth. I also enjoy being part of a cohesive team with so much unity and effective communication.” Keri says the best part of her job is her team. “They’re all bright, dedicated, and fun to work with. They help me grow as a person and a supervisor and I feel proud of the work they’re doing for our community.” To find out more about the Roanoke FEC or to schedule a no-cost counseling session, please visit roanokefec.org.

Family • February 2021


“The best way to help your teen manage their stress levels is to model healthy coping strategies yourself�

Stress Busters: Helping Teens Manage Stress Tanni Haas, Ph.D.

Being a teen is stressful.

Promote Self-Reflection

Teens are expected to do well in school and to fit in with friends. On top of everything else, there’s the awkwardness of developing physically on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. The good news is that there’s much parents can do to help ease their stress. Here’s what the experts suggest:

Marthe Teixeira, a life and wellness coach, says that it’s important not to “jump to conclusions or give advice right away” when you help your teens deal with stress. Instead, help them reflect on how they can manage stress on their own.

Create A Stress-Free Home Environment Parents often think that because teens gravitate toward their friends, they no longer play an important role in their lives; nothing could be further from the truth. Parents are very important to teens, and especially when it comes to helping them manage stress. To really be there for your teens, make sure that your interactions are calm and inviting. “The goal,” says sociologist Dr. Christine Carter, author of The New Adolescence and other parenting books, “is for them to feel seen and heard by you.” Clinical psychologist Dr. David Lowenstein agrees that parents should do whatever they can to create a stress-free haven at home: “When your teen feels accepted and peaceful at home,” he or she will be better prepared to tackle the outside world.”

Teach them how to break down a complex situation into smaller, more manageable parts. For example, if they’re stressed about a huge school project, have them estimate how long the project will take to complete, and then ask them to spread the work over a number of days to create a more realistic and less stressful schedule. Share your own experiences with an issue they’re facing. “Share how you successfully managed the issue,” says Dr. Chinwe Williams, a professional counselor, and “then allow your teen to explore his or her own thoughts and feelings related to what you’ve shared.”

Be A Role Model If your teens are going to learn from your experiences, you need to be a role model. “The best way to help your teen manage their stress levels,” says pediatrician Dr. Stacy Leatherwood Cannon, “is to model healthy coping strategies yourself” or, as Ms. Teixeira neatly sums it up: “practice what you preach.”

Encourage Physical Activity Encourage them to engage in lots of physical activity. “Physical activity,” says clinical psychologist Dr. Erlanger Turner, “is one of the most effective stress busters.” He especially recommends activities that they can do together with others. “Whether teens are into team sports, or prefer kayaking or rollerblading with a friend or two,” Dr. Turner says, “they’re more likely to have fun - and keep at it - if they do it with friends.”

… And Lots of Sleep Physical activity is bound to make your teens exhausted. Life coach Pamela Willsey says that “a good night’s sleep is one of the best stress-reducing remedies that exist.” Experts agree that the best ways to ensure that teens get the recommended 8-10 hours of sleep at night is to have them keep a consistent sleep schedule, limit afternoon naps and turn off all electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime. The so-called blue light that electronic devices emit sends a signal to their brains that suppresses the production of melatonin and prevents them for feeling tired. Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences & Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.

How to be a Fitness Role Model

“if kids see parents committed to taking care of themselves, it creates a desire for them to do so, too.”

by Kimberly Emory


s parents, what do we want for our children? While some parents might name specifics like getting a good education, acquiring job skills, and finding friends, most parents would say that, in general, they want their kids to be happy and healthy. We often focus on the happiness of our children—taking fun vacations, having them participate in sports and other extracurriculars they enjoy, and getting tutors for them when they’re struggling in school. But how many of us think about the healthy aspect of that phrase as much as the happy? As parents, it’s our job to teach and model good habits and behaviors for our children, and that includes health and fitness. Since being healthy also supports overall happiness, it is especially important that we cultivate these habits early.

How are kids influenced by our health and fitness habits? “They’re sponges!” said Jason Gordon, elementary PE teacher and owner of PlayFit StayFit fitness studio. “They are a product of their environment, and if you live with unhealthy habits, they will pick that up.”


Family • February 2021

Robin Goodpasture, nutrition coach at FitStudio in Salem, went on to remind us that we shouldn’t expect kids to develop habits we don’t have ourselves. While kids do get health and fitness education at school, they get more from home, Goodpasture said. “This journey is lifelong, so start early!”

to find the types of activities they’re interested in, but there’s almost always something out there a child would like to try.”

How do you involve kids in your health and fitness routines?

Goodpasture said that “if kids see parents committed to taking care of themselves, it creates a desire for them to do so, too.” Seeing parents exercising regularly also encourages them to discover the why behind the habit: “You are worth being taken care of! Here’s how we do that.” Gordon’s take is that “we show them what good habits are and give them a basis of what mommy and daddy do. That helps them later when making their own decisions.”

“They need to build off what their parents are doing,” said Gordon. “Involve them in your own activities. Go for family hikes, take them to playgrounds. Find things to do with them.” At PlayFit StayFit, Gordon allows kids to workout alongside parents, and once they reach age ten, they can do classes on their own if they choose. “It’s a family atmosphere here,” he said. Goodpasture took it a step further, saying that while sometimes kids will want to do what you’re doing, just shoving them out the door and telling them to be active is not usually the best way to develop the habit. Find out what kind of exercise activity they would like to try, and then do it together! “You might have to do a bit of research

Do our exercise habits have any impact on our kids’ health or perception of fitness?

Is it true that what kids eat doesn’t matter as much as adults? Gordon said that to an extent, yes. “Kids have higher metabolisms, so they can eat a bit more unhealthily and still benefit” without feeling the effects as much as adults do. Goodpasture agreed that “kids

can get away with eating stuff that adults can’t.” However, she encouraged asking yourself the question, “If I wouldn’t put it in my body, should the kids?” “Remember,” she said, “they are growing and need nourishment, so we need to instill good eating habits that last.” While the temptation is always around us, unhealthy foods are okay only from time to time. Goodpasture described the conversation we need to have with kids when we do go for those unhealthy options: “We are going to have this food as a treat today. We will enjoy it, but it’s a treat, and we only have treats occasionally.” Goodpasture encouraged making mindful, intentional decisions about health and wellness, especially when it comes to food. Since parents are in control of the food available at home, they need to provide opportunities to make good, intentional choices. She suggests keeping veggies cut

up and readily accessible at all times, teaching portion control by using small containers for snacks, sitting at the table/ counter to eat, and reading labels and nutrition guides on food packaging and deciding together whether or not to eat that particular food based on the contents.

How can I improve this area of my life for my kids? Gordon’s experience is that as kids get older, they often get involved in more video games and screen time. “Go outside and play! It sounds simple. But kids need safe, unstructured play whenever possible.” Goodpasture emphasized that small changes and baby steps lead to success. “If you’re trying to get healthier, tell your kids! Place the emphasis on losing body fat and not weight, and let them know you’re doing this so you will be healthy and able to do more with them. If you make it a family affair, your kids will often hold you accountable!”

Goodpasture summed it up this way: “We as parents are one of the top influencers of our children’s health. We are concerned about their well-being and want them to be actively healthy. Focus on one thing at a time, intentionally and mindfully instilling healthy thoughts and processes. Trust the process.” Parents, let’s advocate for our kids’ health as well as our own, and take the initiative to make wellness a priority for ourselves and our families. Our future, and the future of our children, depends on it!

Family • February 2021


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Spring Home Maintenance Plan now to inspect your home’s exterior and address issues for worry-free warm weather enjoyment.

For most people, your home is the single biggest investment you will make in your lifetime. We see and care for the inside of our homes daily, but when was the last time you took a thorough look at your home’s exterior? Believe it or not, spring is right around the corner and as much as we’re ready to spring Ccean the interior, the outdoor spring maintenance should be equally important. Now is the perfect time to start preparing a top to bottom inspection of your home’s exterior. Here are some important, but often overlooked, areas you should inspect and if necessary, perform maintenance or call for repair. Exterior surfaces: Check for mold, mildew, algae or moss present on shady sides of your home. Look for loose bricks or siding pieces. Look for trouble spots especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. If you see water stains that could indicate that your gutters are not containing water runoff from the roof and likely need cleaning. If you have wood siding, check for openings, damaged areas or knots that have popped out, allowing space for carpenter ants, woodpeckers or other animals to move in. Doors and windows: Check for cracks or holes and repair as necessary. Use a screen repair kit to fix holes or tears that bugs can sneak through. Leakage around doors and windows will allow warm summer air in and let cooled indoor air out, so check that caulking and weather stripping is still intact. Repaint trim as needed. Roofing: If you’re comfortable, get up on the roof and do a close inspection. If it’s too high or you’re uncomfortable up there, you can use a pair of binoculars to look for damaged or missing shingles and signs of rust, cracking or leaking. If you find issues, call a professional to assess the damage. Chimney: While you’re looking at the roof, check the chimney. Look at the joints between bricks or stones. Have any fallen out? Is there anything growing on the surface? If so, that might mean water is seeping in. HVAC: Remove leaves and gunk from the top and exterior parts of your outdoor air conditioning units.

Make sure the unit is running well, and if needed, schedule an inspection or repair. Foundation: Your home’s foundation is subject to lots of environmental stress. Expanding and contracting soil, moisture and poor drainage are some of the most common threats. Things to look for (inside as well) include cracks in walls, a wall crack in the basement that extends from floor to ceiling, doors that stick, sagging floors, pooling water near a slab foundation, or a wet crawl space after a rain. Decks and porches: Check decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose pieces or broken components. Decks generally need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, it’s time for stain and/or sealant. Lawn and property: Take a walk around your entire lawn. Do you see shrubbery encroaching on windows or sidewalks? Are there bare spots in your lawn that need reseeding? Look for exposed tree roots that need trimmed or covered and areas where your dog or other critters have created holes that need filled. If there are areas that need reseeded, now is the time to make a plan and gather materials. Taking a little time in late winter to plan for spring maintenance means that when spring does get here - you’ll be ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor and your beautiful home will thank you!

A native of the area, Curtis Burchett has more than 18 years experience as full-time Realtor. He currently lives in Southwest Roanoke County with his wife and 3 children. Family • February 2021


Mental Health in

Children By Cathy Brown, LCSW


ear Parents and Caregivers: Sit down. Relax. Take a breath. It is okay not to be okay right now. Parenting is difficult in the best of times, much less during a world-wide pandemic! Remember these words: “this too, shall pass.” I believe my grandmother said this very often during my childhood. For those of us who want things to be “normal,” whatever that means, it is difficult to maneuver through the current abnormal state of our world. We all worry about how this is impacting our children – is their education suffering? Their socialization? Are they healthy? Are they getting what they need? The good news is that children are resilient beings, and they adapt to their circumstances, in most cases, easier than adults. How do we know what is a “normal” reaction to the current collective trauma we are all experiencing, and what is not? In the 21st century, we pay much closer attention to children’s mental health. We know that early intervention leads to better outcomes as adults. So as parents, there are things we can look for to indicate potential concerns.


Family • February 2021

Some of those include:

Changes in energy level or lack of desire to participate in activities they previously enjoyed.

Marked distress that is out of proportion to the severity or intensity of the stressor, taking into account the external context and the cultural factors that might influence symptom severity and presentation.

Mood changes – increased irritability, crying, withdrawal from family and friends (isolation).

Significant impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

The common thread here is changes in typical behavior patterns that may go on longer than one to two weeks. Fortunately, the majority of children and youth do not have a diagnosed serious mental health disorder.

The stress-related disturbance does not meet the criteria for another mental disorder and is not merely an exacerbation of a preexisting mental disorder.

Change in eating or sleeping patterns

Children often present for treatment with Adjustment Disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, 5th edition gives the diagnostic criteria for an adjustment disorder as follows: The development of emotional or behavioral symptoms in response to an identifiable stressor(s) occurring within 3 months of the onset of the stressor(s). These symptoms or behaviors are clinically significant, as evidenced by one or both of the following:

The symptoms do not represent normal bereavement. Once the stressor (or its consequences) has terminated, the symptoms do not persist for more than an additional 6 months. There are specifiers that can go along with this diagnosis, such as “with depressed mood,” “with anxiety,” “with disturbance of emotions and conduct,” and so on. An adjustment disorder can be treated in an outpatient setting, and may or may not include another intervention, such as short-term medication.

The good news is that there are a number of things that parents can do to model good health and routine for our children. Some of these include: Exercise: Exercise is one of the top 3 treatments for depression. Walking through the neighborhood, public parks, or playing basketball in the driveway of our home are some ways to encourage getting up and moving around. Communication: Open up a conversation between you, your children and other family members about how people are coping with the current situation. Plan a certain time, several times per week (dinner time, for example) to have a “check-in” with all family members. If you do think you are seeing changes in your child’s behavior, ask them. Engage in a conversation expressing your concerns and ask your child what they think. They may not know how to ask for help! Keep as much structure and routine in the household as possible. Have meals and bedtime at designated times each day. If there is going to be a change, i.e., dinner will be late, let family members know. Children who have symptoms of anxiety need to depend on a routine, and do better when they know the routine will be disrupted. When in doubt, ask a professional. Call your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician. You can also call a mental health practice and discuss your concerns with a practitioner. Once you determine your child may benefit from mental health services, there are a number of ways to find a treatment provider. Each locality in the Commonwealth of Virginia has a Community Services Board (CSB), which is the system of public mental health providers and offer same-day access for assessment. Information for Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, the CSB serving the Roanoke Valley, can be found below. Most insurance carriers will also have a list of approved providers in your area. Word of mouth from friends, or a recommendation from your pediatrician is another great option.

One last word on parenting – no one has all the answers. But no one will fault you for asking for assistance and education when it comes to your child’s health, be it physical or behavioral. You know your child better than anyone else, so relax, and trust your instincts! Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare (BRBH) is the Community Services Board which serves the localities of Roanoke City, Salem City, Botetourt, Craig and Roanoke Counties. BRBH serves children, youth and adults experiencing mental health or substance use disorders and developmental disabilities. BRBH offers same-day access for assessment at 611 McDowell Ave, NW, Roanoke 24016 on Monday through Friday, 8:30am3:00pm. The telephone number for the BRBH access center is (540) 343-3007. The 24/7 telephone number for BRBH Crisis Services is (540) 981-9351. More information can also be found at www. brbh.org Cathy Levine Brown is a native of Roanoke. She is a 1985 graduate of James Madison University, and a 1995 graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Ms. Brown was licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1999. During her career as a Clinical Social Worker, she has held a number of positions in various areas of behavioral health practice, including foster care and adoption, working with adults with Intellectual Disabilities, School Social Work and Communitybased Mental Health services. She is currently the Division Director of Child, Youth and Family Services for Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare. In this position, she oversees the operations of all programs which treat children, youth and their families, including outpatient counseling, psychiatry, community-based services and Care Coordination.

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millmountain.org Family • February 2021


On Valentine’s Day, long before your mom days, you probably dined by candle light in some swanky restaurant. Once you gave birth to those sweet little munchkins, your meal is more likely to involve baby spit up or chicken nuggets. Besides the lack of a romantic dining experience you may also find your self saying the following:

“Thank God this holiday doesn’t entail elves, fairies, leprechauns or any other magical night creatures.”

5 Things

Only A Mom Would Say On Valentine’s Day By Cheryl Maguire

I’m not sure who came up with the brilliant idea of having “magical night creatures” but I can guarantee it wasn’t a mom. At night moms are counting down the seconds until she can go to sleep. The last thing on a mom’s mind is

every smile

comes from a place of safety and security that only a home can bring.

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Family • February 2021

remembering to move an elf, retrieve a tooth or paint green leprechaun foot prints on the floor. Plus, who would want to create a “leprechaun mess” knowing who will have to clean it up later—definitely not a mom! We have enough messes we already clean daily. So please don’t create a magical “cupid” that come in the night—we already have more magic than Harry Potter at our house—thanks but no thanks.

“I just need about ten more hours on Pinterest to find the perfect Valentine’s Day craft, cupcake and card.”

Pinterest is a black hole that will suck all of the hours out of your day. Just when you think you found the perfect craft, cupcake or card to replicate for the twenty-five kids in your child’s class, you will see another one and then another one and before you know it the whole day is gone and you still haven’t picked up a glue gun or spatula.  

“I know you already have five Valentine’s Day t-shirts but I couldn’t resist buying another one. I mean what other time can you wear a shirt that says, ‘Love-a-saurus’ with an adorable red dinosaur on it?”

Valentine’s Day kid shirts are adorable. And let’s face it, your teen isn’t going to let you dress them up in a “Lovea-saurus” shirt so I’m going to dress them up in as many as I can while I still can. Some of my favorites besides “Love-a-saurus” are “More Spice than Sugar,” “I Choo-Choo Choose You,” and “You have a Pizza of My Heart.”  

“Rose are red, Violets are Blue, I’ll give you some candy if you go number 2—in the potty this time.” Oh the joys of potty training on Valentine’s Day! Enough said.  

“I think a fair cut of your Valentine’s Day school candy

would be half since I wrote all twenty-five of your Valentine Cards.” Not only do you have to write each kid’s name on the Valentine card but then you have to lick each envelop and then put a candy or sticker on it. If you are lucky enough to have three kids that is seventy-five cards in one night since, of course, you waited until the night before to do this “work.” Surely this warrants at least half of the candy take if not more—actually 60/40 is probably a fairer cut. Once that Hershey kiss starts melting in your mouth, that hand cramp will be a distant memory—until next year.   Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, Parents Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Your Teen Magazine, and many other publications. She is a professional member of ASJA. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05  

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How Laughter Can Help Us Get Through These Tough Times By Sandi Schwartz

Sometimes life can be tough. Whether we are feeling anxious about current affairs or dealing with a health issue, something as simple as laughter—believe it or not—can help us persevere. As adults, we tend to get bogged down with our to do lists and stresses of daily life and forget how beautiful it is to let loose and have a good laugh. Unfortunately, most adults do not laugh enough. In fact, one study found that healthy children may laugh as much as 400 times per day, but adults only laugh 15 times per day.  If we stop for a moment and observe our children, they are probably laughing and playing freely without the weight of the world on their shoulders. We can learn so much from them when it comes to being lighthearted. It is so important that we raise them in such a way that they will continue to experience fun and laughter throughout their lives. We can create a positive environment for them to grow up in by stopping once in a while to have a laughing fit together.  Why Is Laughter So Important? Science shows us that laughter really is like medicine. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughing is one of the easiest ways for us to reduce stress and anxiety in our lives. Laughing transforms our body and mind in so many


Family • February 2021

amazing ways, boosting positive emotions like happiness, peace, and humor.  When we laugh, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex of our brain is activated. This releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that allow us to experience pleasure and satisfaction. Laughing also reduced our stress response because the level of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine (adrenaline), and dopamine are lowered. We feel energized since we take in more oxygenrich air when we laugh. Finally, laughing relaxes our muscles, which soothes tension from stress. In fact, a good laugh can leave your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes afterwards.   The muscles that help us smile also affect how we feel. When we use these muscles, we trigger a part in our brain that improves our mood. One particular research study involved having participants hold a pencil in one of three ways in order to get them to make certain facial expressions without telling them exactly what they were doing. The first group held the pencil sideways in their mouths to force a smile. The second group stuck the pencil in lengthwise to force a frown. The last group, serving as the control group, held the pencil in their hands. Participants were then asked to watch cartoons and rate how funny there were to them. The group with the sideways pencils (the “smiling” group) had higher funny ratings than the lengthwise group (the “frowning” group). The control group scored between the other two groups. This study showed how smiling and laughing can really make a difference in how we perceive the world around us.  Researchers also found that facial expressions can reduce negative feelings like pain and sadness. In one study, researchers applied an uncomfortable heat to subjects’ arms and

then them to make either a relaxed face, an uncomfortable face, or a neutral face. The results showed that the people who made a relaxed face experienced less pain than those who made an uncomfortable or neutral face. This happens because smiling releases endorphins and serotonin, which are thought to minimize any pain we feel.    Laughter is beneficial because it also changes how we look at a situation. A silly moment can offer a healthy distraction from negative emotions like anger, guilt, and stress. It sure is hard to feel negatively when you are cracking up! It also gives us a more lighthearted perspective when faced with challenges, and helps us view such events as positive opportunities as opposed to threats.  

Start a laughing contest to see who can make the other person laugh first. Play fun games like charades, Twister, Pictionary, and Headbanz. Read joke books and websites, and then share your favorites with each other. Create funny stories using Mad Libs or whisper down the lane.

Laughter plays a huge role in how we handle adversity by allowing us to escape from our problems for a little while.

Next, laughter builds resilience, the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress. When children are resilient, they are braver, more curious, more adaptable, and more able to obtain happiness and success. Additionally, resilience can help cushion us from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression because it improves our ability to cope, according to Mayo Clinic. Laughter plays a huge role in how we handle adversity by allowing us to escape from our problems for a little while. By teaching our kids to laugh even in times of pain, we are giving them a key tool that will help them be more resilient as they grow older.   Laughing with our kids is so special because it builds a bond with them. These joyous moments create a more uplifting environment at home. What’s really fun is that laughter tends to be contagious, so before you know it your whole house could be giggling up a storm. Finally, the best part of laughing is that it’s completely free and always accessible to us, without any side effects (except for maybe a few aches on your side from laughing so hard).  

language like pig Latin.

Have a family talent show and see who comes up with the funniest routine. Dress up in silly costumes. Watch a comedy television show or movie together as a family. Talk is a silly

Keep a collection of funny quotes and pictures that you can bring out at anytime to get everyone laughing. Try laughter yoga with your kids. Created by Dr. Madan Katari in 1995 in Bombay, India, this yoga practice combines breathing exercises, yoga, stretching, and laughing. Sandi Schwartz is a freelance writer/blogger and mother of two. She has written extensively about parenting, wellness, and environmental issues. You can find her at www. happysciencemom.com. 

So, how can we laugh more with our kids? Here are 10 ideas to get you rolling (on the floor)…

Family • February 2021


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meal and this is their focus. They do not watch television or work while they eat, a meal is to simply be enjoyed. When they are done eating they clean up and go on to the next thing. In other words, no fast food, no snacks, and no standing at the counter to eat. Slow down and enjoy meal time, both the food and the company. Eat real food The French avoid processed foods that are full of chemicals and wasted calories. They focus on real whole foods such as cheese, yogurt, bread, fish, meat, and even dessert. Instead of filling up on juice or soda, they drink water with their meal. Full fat foods are offered rather than low calorie or fat free foods because they are more filling and healthier overall. Meals usually have three courses salad, a main dish, and always dessert. Enjoyment is strongly encouraged over guilt.

How to Eat Like the French By Sarah Lyons


currently have three toddlers in my house. One loves veggies and fruit and rejects meat, one eats everything except bread, and one maintains a not so healthy diet of chicken nuggets and Goldfish crackers. Studies show that French children are more likely to eat a variety of foods and maintain a healthier weight. What makes French kids so different from their American counterparts? No snacks Americans love their snacks. We bring snacks to soccer games, work snack time into our elementary school days, and provide snacks at play dates. The French do not snack in between meals, making them hungry when it is time to sit down for lunch. Imagine how hungry your child would be if there were no crackers, fruit, or cookies to snack on before dinner. They might even be


Family • February 2021

hungry enough to sample some new foods at their next meal. Portion control French people do allow generous portions of food because they are hungry, however they do not eat gigantic portions like we do in the United States. Consider giving a generous portion that will be satisfying rather than a portion that will make you so full you are uncomfortable. Learn to stop eating when you are full, not when the plate is clean and teach your children to do the same. No eating on the go Many American families eat on the go. Fast food, snacks in the car, and rushing through meals is becoming the norm. In France, meals are to be savored and enjoyed. The French sit down at the kitchen table to eat a

Eat less at night The largest meal of the day is typically dinner in America. In France, a full breakfast is always served and lunch is the largest meal of the day. Dinner will typically be a lighter meal. Once the kitchen is closed after dinner, there are no bedtime snacks. A lighter meal in the evening will help with healthy sleep habits and maintaining a healthy weight.. Enjoy cooking The French culture enjoys food and therefore enjoys cooking. Get the kids involved in the food preparation process. Let them experiment with different flavors and spices in the kitchen. Getting kids involved in the preparation of a meal encourages them to try new foods and might reduce the battle to try new things. Making all these changes at once is not realistic for most families. Apply these tips for an overall healthier mindset and make small lifestyle changes that will make a big impact on your family’s health long term. Sarah Lyons is a Midwestern mom of six children, including 2 year old triplets.


in Our Health Magazine



At Mills & Shannon Dentistry, CARE At Mills & Shannon Dentistry, WEWE CARE ABOUT MORE than your smile. ABOUT MORE than justjust your smile. By By combining dental excellence warmth, combining dental excellence andand warmth, building a dental home you. wewe areare building a dental home forfor you. 20192019



Michele Mills, Travis Shannon, Michele Mills, DDSDDS Travis Shannon, DDSDDS

might notice we changed a little. While we have NextNext timetime you you visit,visit, you you might notice we changed a little. While we have always accustomed to following strict infection control precautions, always beenbeen accustomed to following strict infection control precautions, we’ve made a few changes notice. From our temperature we’ve made a few changes that that you you maymay notice. From our temperature and and screening station to our new and improved N95 surgical masks and screening station to our new and improved N95 surgical masks and faceface shields medical grade air purifying filters in each treatment room, shields and and medical grade air purifying filters in each treatment room, to to fewer people in the waiting room, we’ve made changes to keep you and fewer people in the waiting room, we’ve made changes to keep you and youryour family comfortable. us today to schedule appointment. family safesafe and and comfortable. Call Call us today to schedule youryour nextnext appointment.

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Rachel’s Reads By Rachel Levine

February is Black History Month. As the struggle and fight against racism in America continues, our topic this month is the courageous history of Black Americans. We could fill a hundred pages with incredible children’s books on this topic, but here are just a few to get your family started. Three of the books take place in or near Virginia, and are wonderful jumping off points for studying local history.


by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Case for Loving by Selina Alko

The Case for Loving tells of a Virginia family who changed our country in 1967. Richard and Mildred Loving’s marriage was not recognized by the State of Virginia because Richard was white and Mildred was AfricanAmerican and Cherokee. At the time racially mixed marriages were illegal


Family • February 2021

in Virginia and in many states across the country, and the Lovings were persecuted by Virginia because of their marriage. They bravely pursued a long legal fight for their right to marry, and after nine years their case went to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled that banning interracial marriages was unconstitutional, and the Lovings and other couples across the country had their marriages legally recognized.

Sit-In tells the inspiring story of how college freshman David Richmond, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, and Ezell Blair Jr. changed the world. On February 1st, 1960, these four brave young men went and sat at a white only Woolworth’s counter in Greensboro, North Carolina. Their protest against racial segregation ignited a movement of lunch counter sit-ins across the country and helped end segregation in public places. The Woolworth’s in Greensboro where it all began is now the site of the International Civil Rights Center and offers guided in-person and virtual tours. The Center would be a great field trip as it is only two hours away from Roanoke!

Fifty Cents and a Dream by Jabari Asim

Lillian’s Right to Vote

by Jonah Winter and Shane W. Evans The right for all American citizens to vote was won through the hard work, sacrifice, and determination of multitudes. Lillian’s Right to Vote illustrates the long journey from enslavement, through the oppression of Jim Crow and segregation, to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Together we follow generations of Lillian’s family as they bravely strive to vote in the face of cruelty, violence, and humiliation. The work and sacrifices of generations lead to the moment when Lillian can stand in the voting booth and take her rightful place in democracy. This powerful story inspires readers to a deeper level of appreciation for our right and responsibility to vote.

Booker T. Washington was born enslaved in Franklin County, Virginia in 1856. Freedom came when he was a child, but there were few opportunities for work, and even less opportunities for education. Fifty Cents and a Dream tells of Washington’s determination to go to school. Step by step he walked 500 miles alone across Virginia to attend Hampton Institute. This story of courage will stay with you for a long time, and after your read it take a trip to the Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy. This amazing resource is just a short drive away!

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Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine

A compelling book not to be missed, Henry’s Freedom Box is the true story of Henry “Box” Brown who was enslaved in Richmond. After his wife and children were sold and the family forcibly broken apart, he created an ingenious plan to mail himself to freedom in Philadelphia. Absolutely gorgeous illustrations by Kadir Nelson accompany Brown’s story and earned Henry’s Freedom Box a Caldecott medal.

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Science Experiment Supplies: Toothpick Marshmallow or soft clay Stopwatch or similar device

Directions: 1. Using two fingers (and not your thumb) find the pulse on your wrist. This pulse is called your radial pulse and should be on the same side of your wrist as your thumb.

2. If using clay, roll it into a flattened ball so that it resembles a marshmallow.

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3. Place the toothpick halfway into the clay or marshmallow. This is your pulse meter.

4. Place your pulsemeter onto your radial pulse with the toothpick sticking up.

5. Move your pulse meter around until you see the toothpick begin to move. It should vibrate slightly or tick.

6. Count how many times your toothpick moves in a minute, timing this out with your stopwatch. This should be your resting heart rate. (Please note: if you can not count for a full minute then you can also count the number of times your toothpick moves in 10 seconds and multiply this by 6).


& More!

Experiment provided by The Science Museum of Western Virginia

Visible Pulse Try this: Try doing jumping jacks or another very physical activity for a minute or two and measure your pulse again. Is it faster or slower? Does something different happen to your pulse if you meditate or rest for a minute?

What’s happening? Your heart is a pump which moves blood all through your body using blood vessels. However, unlike water from a hose, your blood travels in surges or pulses with each pump of your heart. We can feel these surges when arteries (one of the special vessels that carry blood away from the heart) are near the surface of your skin such as at your wrist. We need to move blood around our body because it brings with it oxygen that our muscles need. When we exercise, our muscles need more oxygen and so our pulse speeds up. When we rest, the oxygen needs of our muscles change and so our pulse might slow down. We measure our pulse in beats per minute which is why we counted the number of vibrations of our toothpick for a minute. The average resting heart rate varies by age with younger children tending to have a higher rate but a typical average, for those over two, is near or below 100 beats per minute.

Bumper Cars Ninja Warrior Course Basketball Dodgeball Jousting Pit Fidget Ladder Airbag Pit Launch Tower Arcade with prizes Flight Training Wall Snack Bar 5 Party Rooms

Stories Saved History All over the world, community stories, customs and beliefs have been passed down from generation to generation. This folkore is used by elders to teach family and friends about their collective cultural past. And for African Americans, folklore has played a particularly important part in documenting history, too. by Jennifer Dos Reis Dos Santos, PhD Candidate, Aberystwyth University


he year 1619 marked the beginning of African American history, with the arrival of the first slave ship in Jamestown, Virginia. Slavery put African Americans not only in physical shackles. They were prevented from gaining any type of knowledge, including learning to read or write during their enslavement. Illiteracy was a means to keep control as it was believed that intellectual stimulation would give African Americans ideas of freedom and independence. The effects of slavery on African culture were huge. The slaves had to forsake their true nature to become servants to Anglo Americans. And yet, even though they were forbidden from practicing anything that related to their African culture and heritage, the native Africans kept it and their languages alive in America. One important way of doing this was through folk tales, which the African slaves used as a way of recording their experiences. These stories were retold in secret, with elements adapted to their enslaved situation, adding in elements of freedom and hope. In the story of a slave from Guinea, recorded in The Annotated African American

Folktales, he asks his white master to bury him face down when he dies, so that he may return to his home country which he believes is directly on the other side of the world: “Some of the old folks in Union County remembered that they had heard their fathers and grandfathers tell the story about Sambo who yearned to go back to Guinea. Hunters and hounds feared Sambo’s woods for more than a hundred years I guess the hounds used to feel Sambo’s homesickness. But now, since the hounds run fast and free, I guess Sambo finally got back to Guinea.” Adapting the oral storytelling traditions of their ancestors helped slaves stolen from West Africa cope with and record their experiences in America. And later it helped other generations, particularly in the 19th century, to learn what happened to the ancestors who had been enslaved. Folklore has not just helped African Americans to record and remember large-scale events, or relate morals as other folk tales do—it has helped with individual family genealogy, too.

Having an aspect of genealogy in folklore makes African American history not only traceable but more approachable. The stories relate to specific people, their experiences and the places where they lived. They are not necessarily mythical tales, but stories are about real people and what happened to them. They demonstrate and track the fight for freedom and independence. This linking of genealogy and folklore gives the oral histories continuity, and adds an element of personal curiosity to the historical past. Family history figures in many folk tales makes each story unique, as one’s own heritage will be intertwined with its telling. It adds to cultural memory, too, and enhances family values as descendants are able to refer back to and honor their ancestors’ experiences. Take this extract from a retelling of “The Cat-Witch,” for example:

“This happened in slavery times, in North Carolina. I’ve heard my grandmother tell it more than enough. My grandmother was cook and house-girl for this family of slaveowners—they must have been Bissits, ‘cause she was a Bissit.” In more recent decades, novels and book retellings of this family history have become the new way of keeping African American folklore alive. Indeed, folklore has been the inspiration behind some of the most important African American literary works. In Roots, Alex Haley’s work of historical family fiction, the main character’s father, Omoro Kinte, initiates a baptism ritual that has been transmitted throughout generations. The newborn baby is held up towards the starry night sky and then given its name. The baby is told to “behold the only thing greater than yourself.” This naming ritual is a poetic moment and has become iconic in various ways. It is even referenced in Disney’s The Lion King when Rifiki lifts Simba to the sky.

In honor of black history month.


Like Roots, Margaret Walker’s Jubilee (1966) is enriched with folkloric elements. Both novels emphasize the importance of different sayings and traditions. Jubilee’s main protagonist remembers that “when she sang, the children would stop their playing and come closer to listen, for they loved all her songs—the old slave songs Aunt Sally used to sing, and the tender, lilting ballads of the war, too.” Singing folksongs was a tradition that served as entertainment or as a way to have rhythm during their work in the fields. After all, tradition is what kept the enslaved sane. Their African culture not only gave them the strength to fight for another day but it provided solace too. For any one of us, the past is important in determining our identity and history, but without the determination and persistence of the first African Americans, it is likely that much of their story would have been lost to time. Thanks to their repeated sacrifices, African Americans can still look to their ancestors for guidance today.

Tickets are now available at grandintheatre.com We have limited spaces for this screeming. Social distancing guidelines will be implemented.

AKEELAH and the


The Grandin Theatre • 1310 Grandin Road • Roanoke, VA 24015 • 540-345-6377



540-985-6550 Michael Craft 4750 Valley View Blvd geico.com/roanoke

Limitations apply. See geico.com for more details. GEICO & affiliates. Washington, DC 20076 © 2019 GEICO Family • February 2021


Adventure Us:

By Cristy Carr

Fairy Stone Secluded in the forested foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains lies a beautiful piece of land concealing rare treasures: Fairy Stone State Park. One of the first 6 original Virginia state parks to open in 1936, Fairy Stone was built through the combined efforts of the CCC and the Virginia Conservation Commission. Many of the park’s structures, including the log cabins and the bathhouse, are of original CCC construction. At almost 5000 acres, Fairy Stone is also one of the largest of Virginia’s parks. The land was donated by wealthy Roanoke entrepreneur Junius Fishburn, who in addition to helping to found and lead one of the


Family • February 2021

first Roanoke banks, also founded the Roanoke Times newspaper. Obviously, the park is best known for its legendary “fairy stones.” These are six sided crystal formations occurring in various shapes, including striking intersections such as right-angled Roman crosses or oblique St. Andrews crosses. The story is that the crystals were formed from the tears of fairies when they heard the news of Christ’s death. These unusual crystals – made of a mineral called staurolite – are still plentiful to be found in the park, although it requires exercising some powers of careful observation and patience. There is a designated

fairy stone hunting area off Route 57 a couple miles east, where you can search either with guided tours or by yourself. (Ranger-guided tours are not currently being offered due to Covid precautions.) In our multiple visits, we had moderate success, with even our kids turning up some interesting crystals. Note that no digging tools are allowed, and the stones are for your personal enjoyment only – not for selling on eBay! The park also offers an array of other outdoor adventures. There is an excellent recreational area beside beautiful Fairy Stone Lake, including a beach area, a designated swimming

area with a water playground, and lots of other picnic and play options. The fishing is good, and canoes and paddle boats can be rented during the summer season. The swimming area is open year round but lifeguards are only on duty during the summer months. Fairy Stone also offers a number of hiking trails suitable for the whole family. Across the lake from the swimming area, the Stuart’s Knob trails provide views over the lake and glimpses of several old mining caves. Other old artifacts of the area’s mining history can be seen at the park; the pulley wheels that were used to haul the iron ore out of the hills sit in front of the visitor center. The longer Little Mountain Falls trails are open to biking and horseback riding as well as hiking. In seasons with plenty of rain, the falls are a good destination for those with plenty of energy. If you’re looking for a longer weekend adventure, check out the cabins, yurts, and campsite. If you’re looking for a fun day trip out of town, there’s lots to explore, even in the winter months!

Address: 967 Fairystone Lake Dr. Stuart, VA 24171 Time from Roanoke: 1 – 1.5 hours Activity Options: Hiking, swimming, fishing, picnicking, treasure hunting Nearby Food: Options in Martinsville such as The Wild Magnolia or Rania’s Restaurant; options in Floyd such as Pine Tavern Restaurant, Dogtown Roadhouse, or Bootleg BBQ Nearby Attractions: Philpott Reservoir; Martinsville attractions such as the Museum of Natural History, Piedmont Art Museum, MartinsvilleHenry County Heritage Center & Museum; Floyd attractions such as the Floyd Country Store; Ferrum attractions such as the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum

St. Francis House Food Pantry Proudly fighting to end hunger in the Roanoke Valley since 1973.

Go on adventures with Cristy every week on her weekly blog, Adventure Us, on Roanoke.family!

Visit our website to learn more. www.cccofva.org

Family • February 2021



DATING SMARTS by Jamie Lober

ating wisely starts with knowing what a positive relationship looks like. “Healthy relationships are made up of mutual respect and boundaries that are respected by everybody involved,” said Laura Guilliams, director of crisis services at SARA (Sexual Assault Response and Awareness), the sexual assault crisis center for the Roanoke Valley. We hear a lot about sexual assault in the news these days, and it can happen with a romantic partner, acquaintance,


Family • February 2021

or total stranger. The best thing we can do, when it comes to keeping our children safe, is have a conversation— talk about what consent means and how to respect space, choices, and boundaries in their relationships. We cannot play the blame game. “Old-school tips on being safe, like ‘don’t walk alone at night’ and ‘watch your drink’ set us up for the concept of victim blaming,” said Guilliams. If a victim walks home alone at night

and is assaulted, too often blame is placed on them for being victimized, as opposed to blaming the person who committed the assault. “What we do in the field of prevention and response to sexual violence is try to change the conversation and not look at it from the lens of how people can keep themselves safe,” said Guilliams. Instead, we want to reinforce the message that assaulting another person is wrong.

We need to talk to our children about healthy relationships and boundaries when they are little. “It’s about the concept of listening to your gut and owning that, so if you walk into a situation where you feel uncomfortable, you leave,” said Guilliams. Sometimes, out of a fear of being seen as disrespectful or rude, we may keep ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, but that is wrong. “Each of us has the right to determine what is and is not okay for us, and that is different for each person,” Guilliams said. We can teach our adolescents a saying to simplify things: “A cliché I use all the time is ‘ABC,’ which means ‘All Behavior has Consequences,’” said Dr. Charles H. Holland, fellow of the American Academy of Clinical Sexologists.

conversation with our kids based upon what is age-appropriate. “With young children, the conversation may involve talking about what touches are okay and what touches are not okay, and the difference between good touches, bad touches, and secret touches,” said Guilliams. We need to explain each one, so everything is clear. With a small child, “a good touch might be a hug from mom or dad. A bad touch might be when their big sister punches their arm. And a secret touch would be what we would consider an inappropriate touch of a sexual nature on a child,” said Guilliams. Avoid using the word ‘sex’ when talking with teens about dating wisely. “I recommend that parents call it ‘making love,’ and talk to their children about how there are certain behaviors you might consider reserving for someone you love,” said Holland. We can ask our teens to think about whether the decision to have sex may take an emotional toll in the days to come. Ask, “Will you still love yourself in the morning if you engage in that behavior with your partner?” said Holland.

Healthy relationships are made up of mutual respect and boundaries that are respected by everybody involved

We can also lay out ground rules and what happens if they are broken. “If I wanted to go on a date with my girlfriend, I had to be home at a certain time—and if I was not, that time was doubled and taken away from my curfew the following weekend,” said Holland. The same “ABC” approach applies to sex. “Teenagers need to know their behavior with their partner has consequences, like the danger of pregnancy, so you need to talk about birth control even though you may be hoping they don’t have sexual intercourse,” said Holland. A stranger is not always the source of danger. “Statistically, somebody is more likely to be assaulted by somebody they know and trust, because their guard may be down,” said Guilliams. We can instill in our teens that they should not breach another person’s boundaries and not sexually assault somebody. “Sexual violence is a way of gaining power and control over someone else, where sex is used as a weapon,” said Guilliams. We can mold the

Maintaining open lines of communication is our best guarantee that our teens will make smart choices. “If your child knows he will have to sit down at dinner and talk every night of the week, that has an impact on the behavior he will engage in and delivers the message that you

are open to talking about anything,” Holland said. If your child becomes a victim, there are many paths to take. SARA has a 24-hour crisis hotline with advocates available to help determine the best course of action. You have the right to pursue the criminal investigation process, the right to medical attention and evidence recovery at the hospital by a forensic nurse, the option to seek protection through the criminal justice process, and the right to do nothing. You also have the right to seek counseling and support and the right to decide whether or not you want to tell people. “It is equally important to let people know they are not required to talk about their story if they do not want to; a lot of times, we talk with people about supporting a survivor by believing them,” said Guilliams. Be supportive if your child has a traumatic experience and ask him to do the same for his peers. “Let them know they are believed and did the right thing—no matter what they did—and help them get connected to resources,” said Guilliams. Sexual assault does not discriminate. “Sexual assault affects everybody, regardless of gender, race, sexuality, ability, and age; it affects an entire community,” Guilliams said. By communicating and promoting healthy behavior and good manners, you are doing the best thing you can. “Parenting is the hardest job in the world,” said Guillams, “so I encourage parents to access every resource they possibly can and know they do not have to navigate any of this alone.”

Sexual Assault Response & Awareness Hotline: 540-981-9352 • You are currently in crisis and don’t know what to do next • You have a question about your rights as a survivor • You aren’t sure what it looks like to file a police report • You think you might need to see a doctor but don’t know where to go • Your friend/sister/son/partner etc. was sexually assaulted and you want to know how you can help them • You’re experiencing flashbacks or nightmares • Many more reasons

Your experience is specific to you. If you need help, call us and we will help you through this.

Family • February 2021



Artwork by Shepard Fairey | Amplifier.org




Mini Art + Bonus Mini Easel!

Bring the Taubman Museum of Art to you with this fun activity inspired by small artworks in the exhibition George Washington Spotlight: In Collaboration with Historic Smithfield, on view now through July 25, 2021. This spotlight exhibition features selections from the Collection of Historic Smithfield in addition to paintings including Charles Willson Peale’s George Washington at Yorktown, c. 1780-82, and Louis-Nicolas van Blarenberghe’s companion paintings Siege of Yorktown, 1781 and Surrender at Yorktown, 1786.



Using a toothpick or very small paint brush, create a miniature painting of your choice. Artists can also choose to create a miniature drawing with either a pencil or finetipped pen.

Pencil or pen Paint Toothpick or small brush Small piece of paper

John Ramage (Irish, c. 1748-1802) Portrait Miniature, First Portrait of George Washington as President, October 3, 1789 Watercolor on Ivory Courtesy of a private collection

This delicate miniature portrait of George Washington was painted on ivory by Irish artist John Ramage in 1789. Ramage was the first artist to depict him while he was serving as the President of the United States and presents Washington wearing military dress. The portrait commissioned by Washington was given to his wife, the first lady Martha Dandridge Custis Washington. The back of the locket contains a braided lock of his hair overlaid with Washington’s initials and inset in a gold rim engraved with the history of ownership.





Glue four toothpicks together into a rectangle or square for the easel’s frame.

Glue two toothpicks in an upside down ‘V’ to the center of the rectangle. Glue one supporting toothpick vertically in the center of the frame.

Cut one toothpick in half and glue the halves into a triangle shape to the top bar of the rectangle.



Materials: 10 toothpicks Glue Scissors

Glue a toothpick to the easel’s base at an angle to support the easel and allow it to stand. Add a toothpick to the bottom of the frame to create a small tray.

Proudly display your miniature painting on your brand new easel!

110 Salem Ave SE, Downtown Roanoke | 540.342.5760 | TaubmanMuseum.org

Free General Admission sponsored in part by

RVFM_MiniArt.indd 1

1/15/21 11:16 AM


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Profile for Roanoke Valley Family Magazine

Roanoke Valley Family February 2021  

Volume 9, Issue 6

Roanoke Valley Family February 2021  

Volume 9, Issue 6