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Visit us online at

In this issue: Summer Camps Guide


March 2017

Disney On Ice

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Dear Readers,


The Biggest Hearts are Sometimes the Youngest .................................................4

he countdown to summer has begun and it’s time to start planning. If you’re considering a Summer Camp for your kids, from this issue through the June issue, we will bring you articles and resources to help you find a camp that’s best suited to your child. In this issue, we’re covering the benefits of camp for both parent and child (page 15), what to look for and ask about to ensure the camp you send your child to is safe (page 6), tips for helping anxious kids enjoy summer camp (page 18) and summer camp tips and tricks (page 16). You’ll also find ads throughout this issue with information about many area camps In addition to this newspaper, we have an online summer camps guide that is comprehensive, well-organized, easy to use and puts you a click away from registering for summer camps. Visit the online summer camps guide at www. And, on March 4th we’ll host a Summer Camp Expo at Riverside Arts Market where you will be able to meet one on one with camp providers and register your children for camps. We’ll also have resources, family-friendly activities and entertainment, prizes and giveaways. It also happens to be RAM’s 9th Birthday celebration and they have lots of activities and events planned for you to enjoy. If you have a child age 5 or who turns 4 between February 2 and September 1, registration for Florida’s free Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) is underway. If you have a teen, this is the season for college tours. Turn to page 12 to find resources as you plan for college. Looking for a good book for your child to read? The American Library Association has named its best books for children winner list for 2017. Turn to page 19 for a list of many of this year’s

March 2017

HEALTH & SAFETY Put Your Best Fork Forward for National Nutrition Month .......................................5 The Camp Looks Fun, But Is It SAFE?? ................................................................6

INFANT & TODDLER Don’t Let Your Babies Watch TV............................................................................7 Make Shots Less Painful for Your Baby.................................................................7 Personality Is Contagious.....................................................................................7 Time Is Best Healer for Colds...............................................................................9 Things to Do: Infants and Toddlers.......................................................................9

SPECIAL NEEDS winners. You’ll find the complete list online at On the topic of books, the inaugural Jax Book Fest will be held on March 25th at the main library downtown. Turn to page 22 to learn more. Adventure Landing Shipwreck Island Waterpark opens on March 17th! Get $3.00 off admission with the coupon on page 17. There is also a coupon for a free game of mini golf and 100 arcade tokens for $15. Jax4Kids is proud to sponsor the Clay County Fair, now in its 30th year. Turn to page 30 for more information about this year’s entertainment, schedule and how to get discounted admission and ride armband tickets. Go and enjoy! Until next month, Alison Peters-Carlson Editor

Night to Shine Touches Many Lives.....................................................................10 Purple Day........................................................................................................10 Things To Do: Special Needs..............................................................................11

TEENS Troubling Trend: Teen Depression Rates Rising...................................................12 Things To Do: Teens...........................................................................................12

NATURE Butterfly Watching Picking up Steam..................................................................13 Things To Do: Nature.........................................................................................13


Camps Benefit Children, and Parents as Well......................................................15 Summer Camp: Tips and Tricks..........................................................................16 Tips for Helping Anxious Kids Enjoy Summer Camp.............................................18

EDUCATION American Library Association Names Best Children’s Books................................19 It’s Essay Season! Are Your Kids Ready?............................................................19 Music Accelerates Learning, Brain Researchers Discover ...................................20 Jax Book Fest Has All-Star Cast.........................................................................22 That’s My Job! Jackie Havrid, Dental Hygenist, Carlson Dental Group .................22 Things To Do: Education ...................................................................................22


Follow us... Alison Peters-Carlson Editor....................................... Linda Bigbee Graphic Tim Chavez Graphic Designer........................................... Judi Fields Circulation Beth Canonica Advertising Sales.................................... Donna Paunetto Advertising Sales.............................. Doug Berle Advertising Sales......................................... Mary Gustafson Business Manager............................... Published by Child Enrichment, LLC, 12620-3 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246. Copyright 2017. Reproduction of any artwork or copy prepared by To Go is strictly prohibited without written consent of the publisher. We will not be responsible for any errors and/or omissions. The Publisher’s liability for error will not exceed the cost of space occupied by the error. Articles for publication are welcome and may be sent to For more information concerning advertising, call 904-710-2020 or e-mail

#IChooseDCPS..................................................................................................23 Learning How To Code - Sumo Style ............................................................ 24-25 2017 Fall VPK Registration.................................................................................26


Bee Winner.......................................................................................................27 New School for Oakleaf .....................................................................................27 Florida Striders Chldren’s Run/Walk Honored......................................................27 Bily, Garcia Takes Top Honors.............................................................................27

ST. JOHNS COUNTY SCHOOL NEWS New Principals Named for Nease Elementary “M” and Switzerland Pont Middle..............................................................................28 Early Kindergarten Registration Set ....................................................................28 Teachers of the Year..........................................................................................28

PETS Dog on Lap While Driving Can be Deadly............................................................29 Barkin’ Biscuits Has Them Howlin’ ....................................................................29 Things To Do: Pets............................................................................................29

THINGS TO DO Clay County Agricultural Fair Opens March 30th.................................................30 March Events....................................................................................................31 MARCH 2017 • •

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The Biggest Hearts are Sometimes the Youngest


he community is filled with so many big hearts, people looking to make a difference and change lives. Sometimes, we forget how important these people are and that we depend on their goodwill. They push boundaries in order to assist others, never asking for anything in return. Many times, children are capable of the very biggest acts of generosity. Kaitlin, 10, of Ponte Vedra, is an example of such. Upon first glance, Kaitlin is a typical girl… maybe

wearing leggings or organizing the gel pens in her backpack. But, there is something very unique about her. Kaitlin helps her parents raise and train service dogs for disabled veterans. Leo, the first puppy the 10 year-old helped raise, graduated with his warrior through K9s For Warriors last January. Kaitlin and her family spent nearly a year with Leo, a labradoodle. Greg, Kaitlin’s father, is a veteran and graduate of K9s For Warriors; he is also employed by the nonprofit as a warrior trainer. “Kaitlin put all the love and work into this experience,” said Greg. “She and her mother, Kim, thought it would be a great way to give back to those who gave so much for us. After we got the puppy, Kaitlin took over and made it her responsibility.”

friend. Although she was emotional about Leo’s departure, Kaitlin was proud that her dog was continuing on his mission to help a veteran in need. Kaitlin and her family are now raising their second dog, Sammy.

canines to warriors suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of injuries they have received during military service post-9/11. The canines used in the program are carefully evaluated, former rescue/shelter dogs or owner surrenders. “Puppy-raisers are very special volunteers to this Give a new leash on life to rescue dogs and organization,” said Rory Diamond, CEO, K9s For military heroes. Warriors. “Not many people can open their hearts to a puppy just to give them back in a year’s time. The organization’s dog fostering and puppyKaitlin’s level of dedication is astounding. Not raising program utilizes volunteers within the many kids can say they played a part in saving local community as temporary caregivers until the life of a wounded veteran.” canines are able to reside in the kennels on K9s For Warriors’ campus. For more information, K9s For Warriors is dedicated to providing service contact: j Samantha Epstein Education Manager K9s For Warriors 114 Camp K9 Road Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32081 904-686-1956

Kaitlin and her father are often spotted around town, Greg with his service dog, and Kaitlin with her puppy-in-training. The two ventured out to stores, school events, and family activities with their dogs in tow. Months before Leo was paired to his veteran, the Ponte Vedra family returned the canine to the kennels at K9s for Warriors to begin his official training. Kaitlin put on a brave face as she said goodbye to her puppy and best

Fun and


2017 2017

Kick-up your heels at the Clay County Fair!









“She Is His Only Need”

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Put Your Best Fork Forward for National Nutrition Month


very year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics takes the opportunity to encourage us to make wise food choices through a monthlong celebration called National Nutrition Month. Beginning in 1973, this event has always strived to increase public awareness of the importance of good nutrition. The theme for this year is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” It reminds us that each one of us, no matter how young or old, holds the tools to make healthier food choices in 2017. Making small changes during the month of March can help us over time become healthier through improvements in our diet and exercise habits. Putting your best fork forward means that eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Choosing healthier food and beverage choices is within our reach and is outlined through the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. • Choose whole fruits/vegetables (over canned when possible) • Choose whole grain bread, cereal, pasta and crackers • Choose low-fat (1%) or fat-free milk and dairy products • Include a good source of protein at every meal such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs or nuts/nut butters • Strive for a diet lower in saturated fats and trans-fats (hydrogenated fats) • Strive for a diet lower in salt (sodium) • Strive for a diet lower in added sugars (including sugared beverages) Another way to put your best fork forward is to choose nutrient-dense foods rather than thinking of foods as “good” or “bad”. Nutrient-dense

foods include those which are packed with vitamins/minerals, fiber and other nutrients such as protein. Think blueberries, strawberries, salmon, broccoli, squash, Greek-style yogurt, or avocados. Many of these foods are also naturally lower in calories so they can help with weight management when replacing other empty-calorie foods in the diet (sodas, chips, candy). Making smarter food choices one fork at a time can lead a person down the path to health and fitness. Another practical way to eat smarter is to choose a variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs. Think of your fruits and vegetables as the colors of the rainbow – each color offers a variety of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Choose fresh produce when it’s in season, and then choose frozen when fresh is not available. For example, dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes, and red fruits such as strawberries, pomegranate and tomatoes. One last way to put your best fork forward is to choose foods lower in saturated fats which can lower your risk of heart disease – the leading cause of death in the U.S. Make the majority of the fats you eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. Monounsaturated fats are canola, olive and peanut oils; avocados are a good source too. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in nuts, seeds, fish and leafy greens. Check the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels for total and saturated fat. j Aurea Thompson, MSH, RD, CSP, LD/N Board Certified Specialist in Pediatric Nutrition Wolfson Children’s Hospital

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Page 5


This Camp Looks Fun, But Is It SAFE?? A s a parent of two children, I look forward every month to the Jax4kids newspaper and its online version. Knowing that Spring Break & Summer camps are just around the corner, I know parents are starting to think, “Which one(s) should we choose?” With literally hundreds of camps out there, you parents are looking at a couple of things when making your decision: price, location, specialty and schedule. These are certainly important, but when I look at where to potentially drop off my child, I look at it from a different angle. I think, “Is it safe?!”

Why is this so important? It’s important because by taking a nationally recognized CPR and Basic First Aid course the camp staff members are well-equipped to take the first critical steps in providing care in an emergency. If it is something minor, then they can take care of it completely. If it is something severe, then every second counts. They can take effective action quickly while • waiting for EMS to arrive.

This should be the first thing we ALL look at. As a safety training expert, I encourage you to include safety as one of your top priorities when selecting a camp for your child. I am the co-owner and lead instructor at Safety First CPR & Safety Training. I have 25 years of aquatics and safety experience • at places like the Walt Disney World Company, various city municipalities as well the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast teaching CPR/First Aid, lifeguard classes, swim lessons and managing aquatic staff. I’m always safety conscious. So right now I’m going to give you an inside look into how I would narrow down my top camp choices. I advise you to ask yourself the following questions: •

“Has this camp provided a complete description of the activities?” You want to make sure that the camp activities are safe for your child.

“Do they have a medical release form for me to fill out and sign?” This piece of paperwork is the first line of defense for the camp staff to take care of your child’s needs quickly should a medical emergency arise. It should contain information such as current medications, allergies, special needs and instructions, and your child’s pediatrician information. It should also have a place for you to give consent for emergency medical staff to treat your child in an emergency.

• “Did I read the waiver, and do I understand what I’m signing?” You may have signed the paperwork quickly, but did you actually read it? Read it, and ask questions if you have them. The camp staff is legally responsible for the safety of your child under the premise that the activities may or may not have some risk, i.e., • swimming, various physical activities, etc. “Are camp staff members certified in CPR and First Aid?”

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“Does this camp have a nurse or someone dedicated to First Aid on staff?” By having a go-to person, this allows everyone in the camp to send campers to a specific location/person. This person will also be responsible for having all of the necessary first aid supplies. “Does this camp have an AED?” An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is the most important tool in the arsenal of life-saving techniques. During a Cardiac Arrest incident, CPR is only half of the solution. CPR is only a means to push oxygenated blood throughout the body once the heart stops. It rarely starts the heart. If a person goes into cardiac arrest, some trauma has happened to that person. If that trauma disrupts the electrical rhythm of the heart, in layman’s terms, the heart goes haywire. An instrument is needed to “reset” that electrical rhythm. That’s where the AED machine comes in. We see them at pools, government buildings, airports, some schools and even in the local Publix supermarkets. For every minute that goes by during a cardiac arrest incident before the AED arrives on the scene, the chances of survival decline. They are that important. And, yes, unfortunately children do suffer sudden unexpected heart trauma sometimes. In our line of work, we see the news headlines fairly regularly. So, does this camp have a life-saving AED device? If not, why not? “Does this camp have a First Aid kit, and is it properly stocked?” This should be a standard piece of equipment at the camp. One should also ask, “How often is it stocked?” Two of the things most often used are adhesive bandages and ice packs. “Does this camp have an EAP – Emergency Action Plan?” What happens if there is a severe thunderstorm…..or fire…. or active shooter…. or

lost child? What procedures do they have in place for each of these incidents and more? Do they practice what happens during these incidents? If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s that the more a staff trains, the more efficient and proficient they are in handling emergencies. “At this camp, what happens when my child gets sick or hurt?” This question goes along with Emergency Action Plan. How will the staff handle an illness or injury? Will the staff contact me? Is there an incident/accident form filled out and can I get a copy? “How many accidents occurred last spring or summer at this camp and how did they handle them?” This may seem excessive, but you want to know if this camp’s activities and overall operations are safe for your child.

Make sure that safety is part of your pre-camp legwork when choosing the right camp(s) for your child. Having fun is important, but at the end of the day, what’s most important is that your most cherished possession comes back home safely to you! j Safety First CPR & Safety Training, LLC provides onsite private group courses in Community CPR/ AED and Basic First Aid. We also sell Heartsine brand AEDs. Our entire course list includes: CPR, Basic First Aid, Babysitting Safety, Women & Teen Girls Safety & Self-Defense, Bloodborne Pathogens, Job 101 for Youth and some limited group swimming lessons. Tukz Taaca can also be hired to teach Lifeguard Certification Courses at area pools. Full information on our website at

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Don’t Let Your Babies Watch TV T he marketing pitch is enticing – “watch this especially produced show to make your baby smart” or “watch this video, and it will develop your baby’s brain.” Many parents are happy to leave their kids with these shows because these shows act as good babysitters that can entertain their babies while they are busy with everyday work. Parents do not feel guilty because they think that when their babies or toddlers are watching these shows, they give their babies “quality time”. Programs (and videos) geared for babies are becoming popular. Since Teletubbies has been successful in appealing to viewers under age 3, the creators of Sesame Street launched Sesame Street Beginnings that also target this age group. A 24-hour cable channel for babies, BabyFirstTV was launched in the U.S., Canada, and other countries. The average Canadian kid watches 14 hours of TV a week; the average American, three hours a day—two hours a day for babies. Also, according to a University of Washington research project, 40 percent of 3-month-old babies are already watching TV. But is TV (and video) really good for babies and infants under age 2? According to Dimitri Christakis a pediatrician at Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle and writer of the “The Elephant in the Living Room: Make Television Work for Your Kids,” while older children can learn from educational shows, no study has shown that babies benefit from watching television and video. In fact, it can actually do harm: The first 2 years of your kid is a critical time for brain development. Watching TV steals time away from your kid’s exploring, interacting, playing with you and others, and actively learning by manipulating things around him. These are activities that help your baby develop the skills he needs to grow intellectually, socially and emotionally. When your kid plays, he is actively learning about how the world works. He wires his brain by experimenting with cause and effect. When your kid interacts with people, he meets his emotional milestones. TV keeps your kid away from these activities.

learn to talk by listening to TV characters baby talk or talk down to him. He learns to talk by mimicking adult language. He learns from the adults’ simplified but correctly pronounced speech. Note that when your baby smiles at the TV, the TV does not smile back. This may affect him socially and psychologically. Dr. Sally Ward, principal speech and language therapist at the Speech, Language and Hearing Center in London, found that over the last 20 years, an increasing number of 9-month-old children were having trouble paying attention to voices when there was also background noise coming from the TV. This may affect their paying attention in class when they go to school. A study by Dr. Ward also found that television noise drowned out any interaction between parent and child, which is vital in developing language. Also, when kids who watch TV go to school, they have to make a change from being primarily visual learners to listening learners. If a kid watches more TV than interact with the family, he will have a hard time making this transition, and his school learning will suffer.

Make Shots Less Painful for Your Baby B

y the time your baby is a year old, she’ll need to use all five S’s, he says. Pick those that need at least 16 vaccinations. The pain of work best for your baby. each needle stick is fleeting for her, but the stress of seeing your baby cry can stick with you. For a child older than 3, a spritz of a cooling spray or smear of anesthetic cream before the Fear of shots shouldn’t steer you away from the vaccination will numb her arm or leg. Then when recommended vaccination schedule. Vaccines the needle goes in, she’ll feel less pain. are all that stand between your baby and dangerous childhood diseases like polio, Breastfeeding soothes the fussiest of babies, and diphtheria, measles, and rubella. “With each shot it may relieve vaccine pain even better than you get an increase in immunity,” says John W. cooling spray. Try nursing your baby before the Harrington, MD, professor of pediatrics at Eastern shots, as part of the five S’s, or right afterward. Virginia Medical School. At 2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, many And vaccinations don’t have to hurt. “You can do babies will need three or more shots in the same a lot of different things to address the baby’s visit. It might seem like giving two shots simultapain,” Harrington says. neously (one in each leg or arm) would accentuate pain, but the opposite is true. “When you The Five S’s – side/stomach position, shushing, tandem shoot like that, the brain gets confused,” swinging, swaddling, and sucking – soothe fussy Harrington says. babies, and are also good distraction techniques during vaccines. Here’s how they work: You hold Finally, try to calm your own nerves so they don’t your baby on his stomach or side. After the doctor rub off on your baby. “You really want to have the or nurse gives the shot, you quickly swaddle your parent on board,” Harrington says. “If they’re baby in a blanket. Then you swing him, make a skittish about the vaccines, their emotions can shushing sound in one ear, and place a pacifier in increase the child’s anxiety.” j his mouth. When Harrington and his team tested the five S’s on a group of infants, the method decreased pain scores and crying time. You don’t

Personality Is Contagious W

Dr. Christakis found that children who watched television as babies are more likely to have shorter attention spans, problem concentrating hen preschoolers spend time around one and impulsiveness by age 7. He also stated that another, they tend to take on each others’ although Attention Deficit Disorder is genetic, TV personalities, indicates a new study by Michigan can also trigger this condition because TV rewires State University psychology researchers. the baby’s brain. The still-developing brain adapts to TV’s fast pace and overstimulation. The study, published online in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, suggests Also, in his study, Christakis found that children personality is shaped by environment and not just who watched TV as babies were less able to genes. recognize letters and numbers by the time they go to school. A 2005 University of Pennsylvania study found that watching Sesame Street before age 3 delayed a child’s ability to develop language skills.

Many TV shows and videos geared to kids are actually teaching them the wrong things. They distort reality with their cartoonish and unnatural depiction of the world. Also, the pacing of these shows is fast and teaches the baby’s sponge-like brain to always expect fast-paced input. The real world, as they will soon find out, is much more boring and requires patience to adapt to. j

The first 2 years of your child is also a critical time for learning language. Language is only learned through interaction with others, not by passive listening to TV. If you do not respond to your kid’s attempt to communicate, he could miss this important milestone. Also, your child will not

“Our finding, that personality traits are ‘contagious’ among children, flies in the face of common assumptions that personality is ingrained and can’t be changed,” said Jennifer Watling Neal, associate professor of psychology and co-investigator on the study. “This is important because some personality traits can help children succeed in life, while others can hold them back.” The researchers studied two preschool classes for an entire school year, analyzing personality traits and social networks for one class of 3-year-olds and one class of 4-year-olds.

Children whose play partners were extroverted or hard-working became similar to these peers over time. Children whose play partners were overanxious and easily frustrated, however, did not take on these particular traits. The study is the first to examine these personality traits in young children over time.

Emily Durbin, study co-investigator and associate professor of psychology, said kids are having a bigger effect on each other than people may realize. “Parents spend a lot of their time trying to teach their child to be patient, to be a good listener, not to be impulsive,” Durbin said. “But this wasn’t their parents or their teachers affecting them – it was their friends. It turns out that 3- and 4-year-olds are being change agents.” MSU doctoral students Allison Gornik and Sharon Lo co-authored the study. j

MARCH 2017 • •

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Time is Best Healer for Colds


t’s 3 a.m. and your baby is wailing. She feels warm, but it’s not a raging fever. Her nose is running, but the mucus looks clear. Another parent at day care mentioned a virus that’s going around. Or maybe it’s just a cold and she’s crying because she’s tired and uncomfortable. What can you give her to make her feel better? With any child under the age of 4, your options for over-the-counter medicine are limited. That’s true for drugs to treat coughs and colds as well as nausea and vomiting.

It is strongly recommended against giving infants and toddlers younger than 4 cough and cold medications containing antihistamines and decongestants unless your doctor says to. You can feel better knowing that time is the best healer for babies’ colds. “Patients will get better on their own in a week or two without any need for medications,” says pediatrician Amy M. Taylor, MD, a medical officer in the FDA’s Division of Pediatric and Maternal Health.

Even when you’re in a hurry to help your child, carefully read the directions and warning labels Most cold medications, for example, are off-limits on all drugs. Follow the dosage and dosing for infants and toddlers. The same is true for most information on medicine labels as written. Treat nonprescription drugs that treat an upset them as absolute rules, not suggestions. stomach. When you use a dropper, place a couple of drops Fortunately, you can handle these situations with at a time inside the lower cheek of your baby. some basic understanding of medicines and Don’t squeeze the medicine right into the back of what’s OK for your little one. the throat. Your baby may start to cough or choke. Let the medicine slide down the throat naturally. Antibiotics, for example, won’t help a cold or anything else caused by virus. They treat Also, don’t mix medicine with a bottle of formula, bacterial infections only. juice, or water. If your baby only has half of her bottle, you have no way of knowing how much Pain relievers acetaminophen and ibuprofen medicine she actually got. j come in infant-strength doses and can help James Roland/ fevers.

Things to Do

Community Child Safety Car Seat Checks March 10, 9am to 11am Safe Kids Northeast Florida offers car seat checks at locations throughout Jacksonville. Seat checks HypnoBirthing Course – Session Begins by appointment only. Call 904-202-4302 for your March 5, 5pm to 8pm appointment and time. Held at the Markets at This cutting edge, comprehensive, childbirth Town Center, in the parking lot across from Brio education program teaches expectant couples to Tuscan Grille Restaurant. view birth for what it truly is: a natural, normal, Markets at Town Center / 904-202-4302 / 4910 safe and healthy part of life that is to be celebrat- Big Island Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32246 / wolfsoned. Couples will learn more about birth options: home birth, water birth, midwives, doulas, etc; develop a Birth Plan and / or Postpartum Plan; Gate River Run - Diaper Dash prepare your mind, body and soul for birthing, March 11, 11am breastfeeding and early parenting; and reduce The Diaper Dashes will be held to the left of the the risk of medical interventions and complicastage at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds. The dashes tions. The six week course begins March 5, and will start about 11am with each division starting continues through April 9. Cost is $325 for the as soon as the younger division is finished. You session. sign up your child at the start of the race. Each Birth Center of Jacksonville / 904-444-5200 / Diaper Dash will be 25 to 40 yards. Registration is 804 Margaret St, Jacksonville, FL 32204 / www. free and includes a Diaper Dash T-Shirt. Divisions: 12 months and under; 13 – 24 months; 25 – 36 months; 37 – 48 months. Paint Me a Story: Ollie’s Easter Egg Jacksonville Fairgrounds / 510 Fairgrounds Place, March 7, 10am and 4pm Jacksonville, FL 32202 / Doing Dishes hosts Paint Me a Story one day a month at 10am and 4pm. For $18, your child New Baby Seminar will hear a story and then paint a correspondMarch 15, 6pm to 8pm ing piece. Your child will also receive a snack Angel Kids Pediatrics hosts a premiere seminar and a drink. This class is designed for you and for exclusive access to pediatric professionals your child to create scheduled projects together. that are ready to share inside secrets and answer Smaller children will need guardians to help. your questions on how to care for your newborn. Register online in advance. This month’s story is Includes a special gift for mothers-to-be. Light Ollie’s Easter Egg, and kids will paint an Easter Refreshments will be served. Free, but please Egg. register online in advance. Doing Dishes Mandarin / 904-730-3729 / 5619 Angel Kids Pediatrics / 904-674-2304 / 13241 San Jose Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32207 Bartram Park Blvd. unit 209, Jacksonville, FL Doing Dishes St. Johns / 904-824-7774 / 2220 32258 / CR-210 W Suite 309, Saint Johns, FL 32259 Community Child Safety Car Seat Checks March 17, 10am to 12noon Little Learners: Animal Addresses Safe Kids Northeast Florida offers car seat checks March 8, 9:30am to 11:30am at locations throughout Jacksonville. Seat checks Bring your little ones to MOSH the second by appointment only. Call 904-202-4302 for your Wednesday of every month for exclusive appointment and time. Held at Baptist/Clay Mediprogramming for preschool-aged children and cal Campus, in the parking lot in front of medical their caregivers. This month, learn about the office building. unique habitats that Florida creatures call home. Baptist/Clay Medical Campus / 904-202-4302 / Doors open at 9:30 a.m. for Museum explora1747 Baptist Clay Drive, Fleming Island, FL 32003 tion, followed by Little Learners circle time and / sing-along, programming and community learning activities through 11:30. Admission is only Visit’s Infant and $5 per person (ages 3 and up). This program is Toddler Events guide, online at extremely popular, please pre-register online. MOSH / 1025 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207 /

Infant & Toddler

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” – Emilie Buchwald Kids really do say the funniest things! Please share your favorites with us by e-mailing your story directly to One entry each month will be turned into a cartoon to be published in the next issue of Jax4Kids. We’ll send you the original cartoon as a keepsake.

MARCH 2017 • •

Page 9


Night To Shine Touches Many Lives


alentine’s Day now takes on a new meaning for many of those with special needs. Thanks our own Tim Tebow, prom queens and kings from across the nation around the world, gather on Valentines weekend for an annual worldwide party called Night to Shine. For three straight years, the Jacksonville-based Tim Tebow Foundation sponsored a prom night experience with all the trimmings for people with special needs ages 14 and older. It all started in 2015 with 44 proms and more than 7,000 people in 26 states and 2 foreign countries. In 2016 attendance skyrocketed with 32,000 people involved in 201 proms. This year, Night to Shine was simultaneously hosted on Feb. 10 by 375 churches in all 50 states and 11 countries on six continents: Albania, Canada, Ecuador, Haiti, Kenya, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Uganda, and the U.S.

Purple Day


urple Day is an international grassroots effort dedicated to increasing awareness The Jacksonville event, which was hosted by nine about epilepsy worldwide. On March 26th area churches, was held at The Jacksonville annually, people in countries around the world are Veterans Memorial Arena. Rascal Flatts lead invited to wear purple and host events in support singer Gary LeVox, who wrote and performed a of epilepsy awareness. Last year, people on all song for the occasion, accompanied Tebow to the continents including Antarctica participated in event. Purple Day. See for an event near you. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” the former football star told the crowd. “This is so awesome. Motivated by her own struggles with epilepsy, Nine churches getting together to celebrate 8-year-old Canadian Cassidy Megan created the people, to love people, to make a difference in idea of Purple Day in 2008. Cassidy’s goal is to peoples’ lives.” get people talking about epilepsy in an effort to dispel myths and inform those with seizures that The volunteers have as much fun as the they are not alone. The Epilepsy Association of participants. Nova Scotia came on board in 2008 to help develop Cassidy’s idea which is now known as From a volunteer in the Purple Day for epilepsy campaign. Maine: “Two years

ago I walked into Eastpoint Church with a hopeless heart and I walked out with a changed heart filled with life, love and hope. I volunteered as a one-on-one support for the Night to Shine event …They quickly showed me what if “When I was at one of the proms last year, a felt like to feel alive as beautifully dressed queen of the prom was hugging me when the girl’s mom leaned over and whispered their joy spread from their hearts to mine with tears in her eyes, ‘My daughter will never get married and she will never have children, but tonight and I was filled with With the help of life. All the guests and you made her feel like a princess!’” 150,000 volunteers, volunteers had – Tim Tebow something different more than 75,000 people with special that I felt… I didn’t needs attended the proms and each one of them know what it was, but the emptiness inside of me was crowned a king or a queen. was filled that night. Last night I volunteered for the third year in a row and danced the night away “As a mom of children with special needs, I have with the incredible guests … Amen!!!” dealt with the stares, unpleasant comments, feeling ostracized, you name it... Last night, my The Tim Tebow Foundation is inviting supporters girls attended the Night to Shine prom. It was a to help grow this annual event. For information on night filled with dancing, food, fellowship, and fun how to attend, volunteer and donate funds, see beyond anything I could hope for them. People were there to help, not because they had to, they wanted to because their hearts were filled with The mailing address is: nothing but love and compassion. I can’t tell you Tim Tebow Foundation how much that means to me. I’m tearing up as I 2220 County Road 210 W. say these words because it warms my heart to Ste. 108, PMB 317 know people actually care that much about our Jacksonville, FL 32259 special needs population,” a Tennessee mother of two said.  “This is so much more than a prom, it is a time to celebrate people, to celebrate life and to tell each Tebow was able to visit five different prom King and Queen that they have great purpose and locations: Colorado Collaboration, Fort Collins, value. I am blown away by the magnitude of CO; Alamo Community Church, San Antonio, TX; Night to Shine 2017 and the way that God has Christ Presbyterian Church, Ormond Beach, FL; truly blessed this worldwide movement,” Tebow Jacksonville Collaboration, Jacksonville, FL and said. j Neply, Haiti.

Page 10 • • MARCH 2017

nerve cells, a seizure may result. Seizures cause a change in function or behavior. A seizure may take many different forms including a blank stare, muscle spasms, uncontrolled movements, altered awareness, odd sensations, or a convulsion. The location in the brain of the abnormally discharging nerve cells determines the form the seizure will take. Seizures may occur rarely or as often as numerous times a day. If the condition is successfully controlled by medication, a person may be seizure free. Epilepsy is one of the most common chronic neurological disorders. An estimated 50 million people worldwide and 2.2 million Americans have epilepsy. That means approximately one percent of the general population has epilepsy.

“When I found out I had epilepsy I was 7 years old and I was so scared, embarrassed and I felt so alone. I really thought I was the only kid with epilepsy. I also thought that I was the only one with epilepsy who felt this way. I didn’t want anyone to know I had epilepsy and I wouldn’t let my parents or anyone talk about me having epilepsy.

Epilepsy can be present at any age although its onset is most often in childhood or in the later years of life. Sometimes those who develop seizures during childhood outgrow their seizures. In the elderly, there is an increased incidence due to strokes and aging of the brain. In more than half of those with epilepsy, seizures can be well controlled with seizure medication.

“The next year I was sitting on the couch with my mom one day and I asked her why there wasn’t just one day for epilepsy like there was for cancer or St. Patrick’s Day, a day where people could learn more about epilepsy …. I told her I wanted to have just ONE day a year where we could have more awareness for epilepsy, a day that people could come together and help each other (and) I wanted to get everyone to wear something purple and to tell people why, and to talk about epilepsy.”

There is currently no “cure” for epilepsy. However, for 10 to15 percent of people with epilepsy, the surgical removal of the seizure focus – the part of brain where the person’s seizures start – can eliminate all seizure activity. For more than half of people with epilepsy, medication will control their seizures. Additionally, some children will outgrow their epilepsy and some adults may have a spontaneous remission.

“She did explain to me that lavender was a color for epilepsy because in some parts of the world it represents the feeling of being alone. I told her that lavender is just a shade of purple and by calling it Purple Day people could wear whatever shade of purple they wanted.” Epilepsy is a condition of the brain that is characterized by recurrent seizures. Approximately one in 10 people will experience at least one seizure during a lifetime. A single seizure, however, is not epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition that is defined by multiple seizures. It is not a psychological disorder nor a disease and it is not contagious. The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells or neurons that communicate through electrical and chemical signals. When there is a sudden excessive electrical discharge that disrupts the normal activity of the

Not everyone can identify specific events or circumstances that affect seizures, but some are able to recognize definite seizure triggers. Some common triggers include: • • • • • • • • • •

Forgetting to take prescribed seizure medication; Lack of sleep; Missing meals; Stress, excitement, emotional upset; Menstrual cycle / hormonal changes; Illness or fever; Low seizure medication levels; Medications other than prescribed seizure medication; Flickering lights of computers, television, videos, etc., and sometimes even bright sunlight; Street drugs. j


Things to Do Special Needs

STEM-Focused Autism Awareness Discussion and Q&A • March 2, 10am Specifically focused on the intersection of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and autism, Dr. Julie Buckley, MD, FAAP, pediatrician, educator and advocate, will explain how to best understand autism through this lens. She will also discuss ways in which STEM fields are advancing understanding of autism and answer questions. Florida State College at Jacksonville, North Campus Auditorium / 4501 Capper Road, Jacksonville, FL 32218 / Jumpstreet Special Needs Event March 4, 9am to 11am Jumpstreet hosts a special event for children with special needs and their siblings. The semi-private event will be held the first Saturday of the month. From 9am to 10am, the event is private; from 10am to 11am, the event is open to the public. Cost is $8 for children 4 and up; $4 for children 3 and under. Parents/guardians are free. Jumpstreet / 904-853-5721 / 1214 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 /

focus on current medical evidence and interventions regarding autism. Featured speakers include Peter Szatmari, MD, MSc, FRCPS, Theresa Hamlin, EdD, and Peter Mundy, PhD. The event will be held at the UNF University Center. Cost is $65, and includes continental breakfast and lunch. This event is open to all, including parents, physicians, law enforcement personnel, caregivers, teachers, social workers, psychologists, speech/occupational therapists, and more. UNF University Center / 904-202-6039 / 12000 Alumni Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32224 / Brooks Rehabilitation Challenge Mile March 11, 10am This one-mile event is to enable, honor and empower individuals living with disabilities. People of all ages and abilities are invited to participate. Participants can walk it, jog it, wheel it, or run it. This is a great celebration of all abilities working together to accomplish something that once seemed impossible. This is a free event but you must pre-register online. Each participant will receive an event t-shirt and a finisher medal. Packet pick-up will occur on the morning of the event. There is no packet pick-up for this event at the Expo. Brooks Rehabilitation will provide free bus transportation to Challenge Mile participants from select Brooks Rehabilitation locations. If you would like more information or would like to reserve your spot, please email Jacksonville Fairgrounds / 510 Fairgrounds Place, Jacksonville, FL 32202 /

9th Annual Autism Symposium March 8, 8am This event features national autism experts and will

Surf Quest Season Opening March 11, 1pm Surf Quest was created by former professional surfer Pete Skoglund in cooperation with The Arc of the St. Johns in St. Augustine, Florida. Program is a free monthly event with trained volunteers who introduce adaptive aquatic recreation using specialized surfboards and flotation devices for anyone with a disability. All ages and abilities are welcome. This program allows family and friends to participate in outdoor recreation as ohana (family). Surf Quest empowers people with disabilities by providing adaptive surfing instruction and therapeutic educational programs on water recreation, and enriches lives by assisting families to access the beach and ocean together in a barrier free environment; Surf Quest will act as an advocate for accessibility to the water that will allow people with limited mobility to reach the beach (i.e. wheelchairs, assisted devices, strollers, etc.); Surf Quest will provide adaptive equipment with educational programs for the advancement of adaptive surfing; and Surf Quest will develop partnerships to expand the awareness of safe adaptive aquatic recreation. Frank Butler Beach / Butler Beach, St. Augustine, FL 32080 /

needs. All plungers must raise $100 to participate. Seawalk Pavilion / 352-243-9536 / 100 1st Street North, Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250 / specialolympicsflorida. org Dr. Temple Grandin: Thinking in Pictures Presentation March 14, 11am to 12:30pm -- Florida State College at Jacksonville: Kent Campus March 14, 7pm to 8:30pm -- Florida State College at Jacksonville South Campus Dr. Grandin is now the most accomplished and wellknown adult with autism in the world. Her fascinating life, with all its challenges and successes has been brought to the screen. She has been featured on National Public Radio, major television programs, such as ABC’s PrimeTime Live, The Today Show, Larry King Live, 48 Hours and 20/20, and has been written about in many national publications, such as Time magazine, People magazine, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and New York Times. Don’t miss this chance to hear from an amazing speaker (her audiences rate her presentation as 10+) and increase your awareness and understanding of autism. Free, but register online in advance. Florida State College at Jacksonville / Kent Campus, Room D120, 3939 Roosevelt Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32205 Florida State College at Jacksonville South Campus, Wilson Center for the Arts / 11901 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32246

Special Olympics Polar Plunge March 11, 9am Participants are released in groups to plunge into the ocean and enjoy DJ Music afterwards. The ultimate objective of Special Olympics Florida is to help people with intellectual disabilities participate as productive and respected members of society at large, by offering them a fair opportunity to develop and demonstrate their skills and talents through sports training and competition, and by Visit for more event listings. increasing the public’s awareness of their capabilities and



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Things to Do

Troubling Trend: Teen Depression Rates Rising


hen Elizabeth began to feel depressed during her freshman year in high school, she ate little and slept poorly. But she threw herself into a busy schedule of school and sports, hoping that she could outpace her sadness and anxiety.

She also mentions a sense of foreboding that many teens share; they encounter a 24/7 cycle of frightening news on their phones and computers, including stories about global warming, terrorism, school shootings and other serious problems.

“I didn’t feel right, and I didn’t know what to do. I tried to keep myself as busy as possible,” she says. “I’d call it a bad day and leave it at that. I’d try to wake up the next morning and put on as happy a face as I could.”

“It’s pretty much, ‘The world is a terrible place. Bad things happen to people, and something bad is going to happen to me,’ Elizabeth says. “Why be happy when that’s just going to happen? I think we scare ourselves into not being happy, on top of the family things and personal things that are going on. We don’t know how to deal with it.”

She began pulling away from others and became “distant and nervous,” she says. But she wouldn’t confide in anyone – not even her mother, who suspected that she was struggling. “I’d cry to my mom and tell her that I was just really tired. I needed to go to bed and start again the next day,” she says. “One day, I couldn’t take it,” says Elizabeth, now a 16-year-old junior in the Philadelphia area. When a friend noticed that she seemed panicked during lunchtime at school, he rushed her to the counselor’s office. Later, Elizabeth was diagnosed with depression – one of a growing number of teens who have the disorder. A recent national survey by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 8 percent of young people between ages 12 to 17 were depressed in 2011. By 2014, the rate had jumped to 11 percent. The rate was higher for teen girls – increasing from 13 percent in 2004 to 17 percent in 2014. Suicide rates are also up among teens, especially teen girls. Many experts don’t believe that the rise comes solely from better awareness and diagnosis of depression. “Any developmental scientist will tell you that all the indicators are that teens’ mental health is declining,” says Diana Divecha, PhD, a developmental psychologist who conducts research for the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Many of today’s prevalent problems – stressed families, powerful academic pressures, unrealistic norms for good looks, and unhealthy use of social media – can hamper rather than promote teens’ healthy emotional development, Divecha says.   For Elizabeth, academic pressures contributed to her depression. “I was nervous about college and high school. It’s a big step,” says Elizabeth, who also has anxiety. While depression and anxiety are separate disorders, they often occur together. “I wouldn’t sleep because I had a paper or something,” she says. She got an average of 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night, which made her cranky and contributed to her low mood.

After Elizabeth got counseling, she felt much better, she says. The report says that excessive use of social media has a role in this More time on social media causes some teens to interact less with others, including their own families, the report says. Another recent study found a link between depression symptoms and “negative Facebook experiences” that included “bullying, meanness, unwanted contact, and misunderstandings.” Elizabeth says that teen girls are constantly confronted with unattainable images of perfection on social media. “People who are depressed have this idea that their life is supposed to be a certain way and are really upset and depressed that it’s not looking like those people that they idolize because of how skinny they look or how great their makeup is or how their eyebrows look,” she says. “That’s not reality.” Parents need to help teens interpret social media, “giving them information that people present their best selves – even a false self – on social media, and that’s not really how life works,” Divecha says. Parents can also support their teens in other ways. Wendy Hahn, a pediatric psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, offers these tips: • • • • •

Ask teens how to address problems, and work on solving them together Model healthy relationships and social media use Listen to your teen without judgment It’s important “for adults to be present, available, and interested in a teen’s experience without dismissing it or quickly stating what the teen ‘should’ do,” Hahn says. “Teens often express a desire to be validated for what they think and feel and why they act as they do in situations.” j

Page 12 • • MARCH 2017

Atlantic University, University of Miami, NOVA Southeastern University, Florida Memorial University, Full Sail University, University of Central Florida, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and Bethune-Cookman University. Any student aged 13 and over is welcomed to attend unac2017 College Fair- Northside Christian companied. Students 12 and under must be Academy • March 2, 9am to 11:30am Northside Christian Academy hosts a College Fair accompanied by an adult or a sibling at least 16 years of age. Parents are always welcomed to on March 2. Students from surrounding areas are encouraged to attend and talk with colleges attend. The tour packages include deluxe double, triple and universities. For any questions, contact Northside Christian Academy Academic Advisor, or quadruple occupancy hotel accommodations, breakfast daily, luxury coach transportation Amber Sapp at 904-964-7124, or via email at equipped with wi-fi and individual plug-ins to Northside Chriskeep your electronic devices charged and ready tian Academy / 904-964-7124 / 7415 NW CR to go. Rates start at $206 per person. The tour 225, Starke, FL 32091 / www.northsideeagles. will be departing from the Legends Center. org Legends Center / 904-371-9903 / 5130 Soutel Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32208 / Dress For Success March 3, 4pm to 5pm SAT/ ACT Prep What you wear to your next job interview might be more important than you think. Learn how to March 25, 4pm to 5:45pm make a good first impression. Held in Room B at Get ready for success with free SAT / ACT Workshops for college bound students. The program the Southeast Branch Library. will introduce you to the resources the library Southeast Regional Library / 904-996-0325 / has to help you prepare, including where to find 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd, Jacksonville, FL sample tests! It also presents an overview of 32256 / test-taking tips and strategies. Pablo Creek Regional Library / 904-992-7101 / De-Stress Techniques For Teens 13295 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32246 / jpl. March 7, 6pm to 6:45pm Testing is upon us, and stress levels are high. Take a break from studying and learn some College Planning Seminar simple techniques to de-stress. You’ll be introMarch 28, 6:30pm to 9pm duced to some breathing exercises you can do Horizon College Planning hosts a free College anywhere, learn how certain scents can calm Planning Seminar at Palencia Amenity Center, for you, and make a few take-home stress relievers. high school students and their parents. Speakers This free class is funded by the Friends of the will include Ginny Wirzbicki, a college planning Southeast Library. consultant; Russell Moore, an admissions reSoutheast Branch / 904-827-6900 / 6670 US 1 cruiter from the University of Alabama; and Billy South St. Augustine, FL 32086 / Hohmann, a Certified Financial Planner. Some of


Financial Aid 101 March 14, 6pm This course is designed to help families understand the financial aid process and participants will have the opportunity to complete both the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as the Florida Financial Application. The Parent Academy of Duval County Public Schools is a family resource designed for parents, caregivers, and community members. All Parent Academy courses are free of charge. Jean Ribault High School / 904-390-2960 / 3701 Winton Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32208 / www. 2017 Spring Break College Tour March 20 – 23 Although there are many ways for parents and students to become totally informed about how to make the transition from high school to college, the best way is to visit colleges in person and speak with admissions officers face-to-face. It’s never too early to give a middle or highschooler the opportunity to see themselves on the college campus of their dreams and help them understand what it really takes to get there as a student. This year’s tour will feature eyeopening visits to some of Florida’s top universities including Florida A & M University, Florida State University, University of Florida, University of South Florida, Southeastern University, Florida

the questions we plan to address include How easy or difficult is it to get into college?; How do admissions committees review my application?; How can a student maximize his/her high school years and still have fun?; Should a student take the SAT, ACT or both?; How do I decide on a major when I don’t know what occupations I like?; How do I choose a school, and when should I apply?; Is there a formula for writing essays for college applications?; Is it too expensive to go to an out-of-state or private school?; How do I figure out financial aid, and are scholarships only for geniuses?; and Should I seek the advice of a College Planning Consultant? Attendees must call in advance to reserve a seat, as space is limited, and students must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Reservations can be made by filling out the contact form on Horizon’s website or by calling 904-742-4716. Horizon College Planning is a education consultant company, specializing in helping students with planning for college, tutoring in study skills and other subjects, as well as, exam preparation (SAT, ACT, PSAT, GRE, GMAT, ISEE, Praxis, Accuplacer, Compass, CogAt, etc.). Palencia Amenity Center / 904-742-4716 / 605 Palencia Club Dr, St. Augustine, FL 32095 / www. Visit for more event listings.

Things to Do


Butterfly Watching Picking up Steam E

The Perennial Plant Association chose butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa) as its perennial plant of the year, a gorgeous, nectar-filled native that attracts dozens of butterflies and feeds monarch butterfly caterpillars. There are options for every taste and habitat! 3. Go on a butterfly walk with an expert Check events listings for nearby nature Without much thought, children are adept at centers, arboretums and public gardens, or tracking the quick darting of the butterfly. Gettler natural history groups like the Sierra Club or wants us all to take a step back in time and expeAudubon Society. Not only will you learn a ton rience what she believes is the “most accessible and meet great people, you’ll likely be entry to the natural world.” introduced to more butterfly species and new habitats than you might discover on your own. Butterfly watching – “Not as silly as it sounds!” 4. Raise a caterpillar, and share the experishe says. Wizardry on earth – most children ence with others would agree. The practice of following a butterfly If you’re growing native plants already, you with bare eyes is a trained talent – but Gettler might come across a tiny egg or caterpillar insists sharp peripheral vision and recognition of making a home in your garden. Why not bring small movement is within us. it inside and watch it grow up? The kids in your life—even the kids-at-heart—will love watching along with you! 5. Write a letter or email to your local government representatives asking what they’re doing to protect butterfly and pollinator habitat in your town Let your representatives know you care about butterflies and pollinators, and ask that they do the same. If you find out nothing’s in the works yet, suggest that roadway medians and verges be left unmown or reseeded with native plants, lowering the cost of maintenance and putting wildlife habitat back into operation. Support land trusts and conservancies committed to preserving existing habitat in your area. rin Gettler – author of the just released “Bird Watcher’s Digest Butterflies Backyard Guide” – says the hobby is picking up steam. Birders are natural converts – but Gettler insists butterfly watching allows for younger enthusiasts. “Children instinctively understand the fascination – the big flashy wings, the squishy wiggly caterpillars. They get it.”

Gettler’s backyard guide allows hobbyists to recognize the different groups of butterflies, from blues to sulphurs to commas to skippers. Teach yourself to recognize ten butterflies from your area and the hobby takes on life and wonder.

1. Learn to recognize five butterfly species, and then get out to see them This year, meet your neighbors! Learn the names of five of your local common butterfly species, and challenge yourself to find them this spring. Eastern and Western Tiger Swallowtails are big and beautiful, for example, and easy to find in the blooming spring woods. Find Spring Azures by puddles, and admire their iridescent blues when they open their wings to bask in the warm sunshine. 2. Add native plants

Nature Connects®: Art With LEGO® Bricks Through May 7 The award-winning Nature Connects: Art With LEGO Bricks exhibition by world-renowned artist, Sean Kenney, is coming to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The exhibition features 13 LEGO sculptures with over 300,000 bricks. Free with Zoo admission. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens / 904-757-4463 / 370 Zoo Parkway, Jcksonville, FL 32218 / www. Family Seining March 11 and 25, 8:30am to 10:30am The GTM Research Reserve will host Family Seining on the second Saturday from 8:30am to 10:30am. Join staff and/or volunteers for a guided family seining activity. Visitors will get the chance to pull a seine net through Guana Lake, collecting species of fish, crabs and more, and then learn about the animals and their roles in the habitat. All necessary gear, including waders and boots, will be provided. There is a $3 per vehicle parking fee. The event is free. Please meet the guides at Guana Dam Recreational Area. They will be located at either the north or south boat launch, depending on the tide. For more information, call 904-823-4500 or click here to reserve a spot online. If space is full, a Family Seining event is also offered on the fourth Saturday of the month. GTM Research Reserve / 904-823-4500 / 505 Guana River Rd, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 / Wild Wonders Nature Program March 11 and 25, 1pm A hands-on nature program for the entire family will be held at Dutton Island Preserve in Atlantic Beach. Mike Rossi, an experienced local educa-

Children’s Shorebird Nesting Program March 14, 10am to 12noon St. Johns County has partnered with St. Johns County Audubon to present the very first shorebird nesting program. This program is for children third grade and up. Participants will get the opportunity to learn about the unique birds that nest along our beaches. In addition, children will get the opportunity to participate in activities that mirror what the real bird biologists do to protect local nesting sites. The program is free and will take place on Tuesday March 14 at 10am at Nease Beachfront Park. For more information or to register for the program please contact Kelly Ussia at 904-209-0335 or When setting up a reservation please include a phone number, email address, and indicate the number of children in your party. Nease Beachfront Park / 904-209-0335 / 3171 Coastal Highway, Vilano Beach, FL 32084 / Discovering Nature Nearby March 18, 9:30am to 12noon The Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens hosts a series of free nature programs. Held on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 9:30am. Free, but donations are greatly appreciated. Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens / 1445 Millcoe Rd, Jacksonville, FL 32225 /

Visit’s Nature Events online at

“The trick is to keep looking!” says Gettler. Side note: Gettler is endorsed by the revered birding expert, Bill Thompson III, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest. “The first time I met author Erin Gettler, she was stooping low in a grassy field along the Maine coast, taking a photograph of a butterfly,” says Thompson. “We were there as part of a weeklong nature camp—she as a participant and I as an instructor—but by the end of that week, she’d easily taught me more about butterflies than I’d taught her about birds.” j

Learn. Fun. Naturally.

Top 5 Ways to Make Spring 2017 about the Butterflies

Nature Events

tor, will present his program “Warm Fuzzies & Prehistoric Pals”. Kids can experience oneon-one encounters with turtles, snakes, small mammals and reptiles. Dance, storytelling and humor are interwoven into the presentation. Dutton Island Preserve / 1600 Dutton Island Road, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233 /

Animal Encounters Guided Trail Tours Energy or Water Detective

Programs start at just $6/person.



Find us on 7152 Lone Star Road

Jacksonville, FL 32211


MARCH 2017 • •

Page 13

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Camps Benefit Children, and Parents as Well W

hy is camp even important or possibly useful? Many parents never attended camp and even if they did (or have sent their child to a camp before), they may not know that all camps are not the same. Either way, there are many benefits that camps can offer both parents and kids.

The first thing to know is that different camps are just that—each is unique. When we see a camp in movies or on TV, it’s usually a place somewhere in the wilderness where kids live for several weeks. I’m sure those kinds of camps exist; however, in reality camps are more diverse in their form and format than we are lead to believe. A lot of camps are daily only, for a few hours or for the whole day. They may last as little as a week or for as long as 6 weeks, either in a nature setting or in the modern conveniences of the city. Campers may go out on field trips to places like the beach or to museums. They may make arts and crafts, or go swimming in pools. Some camps provide a variety, but others may concentrate on specific topics, like science, nature, sports, ocean life, animals, art, etc. Each camp might be for a certain age, but others allow for several ages and then group the kids to be around those their own age and ability. There are even camps for children with special needs, such as autism, Down’s syndrome, medical or behavior needs. There’s a camp that fits just about any kid, most ages, and different levels of ability. In fact, Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics has a camp every summer for kids with behavioral and/or developmental needs, and we have highly trained staff supervised by board certified behavior analysts and other licensed mental health professionals. Parents benefit. Camps clearly cost money, but usually parents would be spending that money on child care regardless. So it makes sense to at least consider benefits vs. cost. Also, their child gets adult supervision during camp – usually parents are happiest about this. Many kids are able to—and even like to—look after themselves and run around with friends in the summer. That said, others get bored, socially isolated, and/or get into trouble if they aren’t being supervised. Kids benefit, too. Besides having a variety of activities, they get to meet new kids and learn to adapt, while making fast friends. If they’re having trouble making friends, most camps try to help them get to know the other kids. Those who

are curious about different topics (like science, sports, nature) can immerse themselves in camps that focus in an area of interest. Camps that cater to children with behavioral, social, or developmental concerns can target deficits to help kids with those issues over the summer. The kids may not see that as a great benefit, but we as parents and caregivers know it to be true. Parents should get information on a variety of camps and consider the options before choosing. First, what is the level of adult support? What is the staff-to-child ratio? With a ton of kids and only a couple staff, level of supervision will be lower. What is the quality of the adult support? Are adults actively monitoring everyone and helping to facilitate social skills? What is the level of training? Not every staff member needs a high-level degree, but there should be some staff with education and experience relevant to the purpose of the camp. A third area to consider is special needs, impairments, social concerns, health concerns, and/or behavioral concerns. Are the camps you’re considering equipped to manage these? If the camp says they are, ask how they are going to accommodate your child. Fourth, think about your child’s interests. Camps with variety are great and useful, but kids who are finicky or interested in specific things may find a more awesome experience if offered something interesting. Fifth is cost—cost is often a concern, but explore pricing options before deciding. Finally, many families don’t consider sending their child to camp because it might restrict family travel or vacations. If that’s an issue, all parents or guardians have to do is ask. Most camps will accommodate vacation schedules. Kids can have fun summers, with or without a camp experience, however, it’s worth looking to see whether the things camps have to offer are useful for both children and their parents. j Andrew Scherbarth, Ph.D., BCBA-D Director of the Disruptive Behavior Clinic Clinical Child Psychologist Licensed Psychologist | Board Certified Behavior Analyst Keystone Behavioral Pediatrics 6867 Southpoint Drive North, Suite 106 Jacksonville, Florida 32216 904.619.6071

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

– Oscar Wilde MARCH 2017 • •

Page 15


Summer Camp: Tips and Tricks Finding the Right Fit


1. Pick a summer camp with your kids, not for them. Camp is a time for your children to have fun and stay active in the summer, while learning new things or pursuing an interest. Maybe your child wouldn’t like the same camp as an older sibling but, instead, would like the kind of camp you went to growing up — or maybe an entirely different one. 2. Follow your kids’ lead. Encourage them to be excited, but don’t discount their worries and fears. There’s no need to freak your kids out by discussing emergency pick-up plans and homesickness, but if these are concerns your kids have, take the time to talk with them about it.

Sun Safety 1. Teach your kids how to apply sunscreen. Some camps may not allow counselors to apply it on your kids, so it’s important to teach them before camp starts. Purchase at least SPF 30. Buy it in bulk so your kids can apply it generously and rub it in on all exposed skin — including behind ears and under swimsuit straps. Spray sunscreens still need to be rubbed in — otherwise it’s very easy to miss patches of skin. 2. Teach your children how often to apply sunscreen. Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours and after swimming. 3. Encourage your kids to wear a hat and sunglasses whenever possible for extra sun protection.

Packing 1. Plan ahead. Many summer camps send out a packing list with guidelines of what kids should bring. So be sure — well in advance — that your kids have everything they need, whether they’re going to a day or overnight camp. 2. Pack extras of essentials like underwear and socks. 3. Leave nice things at home. In general, only pack clothes and bed linens that you don’t mind throwing out after sleep-away camp. Health 1. Get your kids up to date on all of their shots. Just like with school, camps will ask to see your kids’ immunization history. If you know your children are due for a shot, take care of that well in advance so you’re not scrambling the week before camp starts. 2. Tell all necessary staff about your children’s food and insect bite allergies. The nurse can help to administer medicine, but make sure your kids’ camp counselors know of the allergy as well for day-to-day awareness. Meal times at camp are often chaotic, so make sure your children know what food is off-limits, and what to do if that food is served. Also, remind your kids to use insect spray before going outside and to always have an EpiPen® at camp if the doctor has prescribed one. 3. Let the camp know about all medicines your kids are taking and all health concerns (e.g., asthma, diabetes, seasonal allergies, behavioral or mental health disorders, etc.). Make sure they’re informed about anything else that could impact your children’s health and interaction with others.

Swim Safety 1. Make sure your kids know their limits in the water before jumping in. Less-experienced swimmers should wear flotation devices, or stay in the shallow end of the pool. 2. Swim with a lifeguard. All swimmers — even experienced ones — should only ever swim with a lifeguard present.


ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CAMP Weekly June 5 - July 21 (Except for July 3 - 7)

Sign up for a week of learning, adventure, and fun! Students will print, draw, paint, work with clay, and learn new ways to think and talk about art in the Cummer Museum’s Galleries and Gardens.

Extended Care Available

Registration required, call 904.355.0630 or visit HEAL Foundation scholarships are available for children with autism.

MIDDLE SCHOOL CAMP July 24 - 28 Monday - Friday 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PRICE PER WEEK Members $180 Non-Members $215

Drinking Water 1. Drink up! Studies show that 50-75 percent of kids at summer sports camps are dehydrated. And 25-30 percent of kids are at risk of heat-related illness due to serious dehydration. Children should increase their water intake while playing in the sun and before, during and after physical activity, whether they “feel thirsty” or not. 2. Be prepared. Send your kids to camp with a large water bottle or jug if the camp allows it. 3. Remember that sports drinks shouldn’t replace water. These drinks do help to replace electrolytes that are lost during physical activity. But fruits can provide the same nutritious offerings of these drinks — with a fraction of the sugar and calories. Water is the best drink for hydration. j

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Visit’s online Summer Camps Guide. It’s easy to navigate and makes finding and registering for summer camps easy.

“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they’ll become.” – Brooke Hampton

June 5th - August 4th

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Stars and Stripes Talent Showcase Talent Show Sport Week Boot Camp

Early Registration: $99/week After May 6th: $119/week One-Time Registration Fee: $50 Extended Day: $25 Sibling Discounts Available

06.05.17 — 08.04.17 K-8 th Grades 9 a.m. — 3 p.m. Extended care available REGISTER TODAY AT

Camp located at Blessed Trinity Catholic School on Beach Blvd

MARCH 2017 • •

Page 17


Tips for Helping Anxious Kids Enjoy Summer Camp


ortraits of summer camp showcase sun-splashed children playing sports, swimming, and getting freckles. Not pictured is any sign of anxiety, a natural reaction to a new adventure and a several-week separation. All children experience a mixture of excitement and nervousness when summer camp approaches. For most, excitement trumps nerves, but some children develop anxiety serious enough to get in the way of what should be a fun, formative experience.



11. Summer camps hone many skills useful for future success: resilience, self-reliance, and social adaptability. The camp experience — being away from home among peers — can help kids develop social skills, separate in a healthy way from parents, and cultivate independence. Camp activities can help them build confidence by demonstrating mastery. Children are often ready for sleep-away camp around ages 10 to 12, although preparedness varies depending on age, experience, and temperament.


13. The key to helping your child get over pre-camp nerves is to acknowledge her feelings and give her tools to help her tame them. 1.








Let your child feel a sense of ownership over the experience. Involve him in picking the summer camp; familiarize him with the camp environment and teach him about camp activities so he can formulate expectations. Help your child get excited about camp: Take her shopping for new gear and focus her on fun things about camp that she can anticipate. Avoid focusing on what makes children anxious. Instead of asking leading questions like, “Are you nervous about horseback riding?” ask openended questions like, “How are you feeling about the horses?” Don’t trivialize her concerns or offer glib reassurances. “There’s nothing to worry about!” or “Everyone loves camp!” may discourage your child. Instead, show that you have empathy and acknowledge her concerns. Focus on concrete details in conversations leading up to and during summer camp. Avoid abstract issues like what it it’s like to be away from home in favor of cabin details, meals in the lodge, or campfire rituals. Reflect on your own formative experiences away from home and share positive aspects of them with your child. Show that you are willing to talk about the new things he’ll be doing, whether it’s eating new food, sleeping in a bunkbed, getting along with cabin-mates, or coexisting with insects. Go through “rehearsals.” A shorter-term sleepover or a night at Grandma’s will make it easier for your child to be away from home. Don’t linger at the bus stop. Keep the goodbyes short, as delaying just causes more mixed feelings.

Make communication easy and accessible: Pack envelopes and stamps, outline a schedule for phone calls or emails if they’re part of the camp’s routine, and make sure your child understands how easy it will be. Have goals for each letter or conversation, so your child will come away focused on how she is adjusting, rather than on how much she wants to come home. Try not to communicate your own anxiety; your child can pick up on your feelings even if you don’t verbalize them. What you want to share is your confidence in your child and the summer experience. Help your child formulate realistic, goal-oriented plans for making friends or toasting the perfect marshmallow or passing a swimming test. The thrill of completing these plans can give your child a feeling of success and take his mind off his anxiety. If your child has psychiatric or learning issues, don’t keep them a secret. Make sure the staff and counselors know anything they need to know to head off problems and maximize her experience. Does she wet the bed? Is she anxious about water? And let your child know that counselors are there to support her, whether she has a simple question or a larger problem.

Are you ready for your child to go to summer camp? For parents who are anxious about sending kids to summer camp, remember that the cost of a good camp covers more than the arts and crafts; it includes a team of professionals and counselors committed to fostering social learning in your child Summer camp is a unique situation where your child engages with a large community of peers and learns how to interact socially in a less-structured environment than school. This is a time for him to actively make decisions for himself and develop a sense of self-reliance. Though you may be concerned and wish to intervene, your supportiveness will give your child room to take ownership over the experience himself. When should you worry that a child’s pre-camp anxiety is something problematic? You might be concerned if she demonstrates physical symptoms of fear: cold or clammy hands, butterflies, faintness, headache, or nausea. Excessive tearfulness and hiding are also signs that something out-of-the-ordinary is going on. A child might have nightmares about separation, or ask questions like, “What if something happens to me or you when I’m away?” If a child’s reaction is so severe that it interferes with normal functioning, it might be time to consult a mental health professional. j

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Your Online Guide to Summer Camps

‘Tis Time Again Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday, March 12, at 2:00 A.M. Remember to “spring ahead” and set your clocks forward 1 hour (i.e., losing one hour) on Saturday night before we go to bed. Here in the United States, the time change rules are not followed uniformly. Parts of Arizona as well as Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands do not observe the time change. Still, the U.S. Department of Transportation, which oversees daylight savings time, says the practice of changing the clocks forward one hour from standard time during the summer months, and changing them back again in the fall is done to save energy, prevent crime and reduce auto accidents.


American Library Association Names Best Children’s Books


he American Library Association (ALA) has announced the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults. A list of all the 2017 award winners follows: John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature: “The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” written by Kelly Barnhill, is the 2017 Newbery Medal winner. The book is published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing. Three Newbery Honor Books also were named: “Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan,” written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan and published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; “The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog,” written by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly and published by Dutton Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC; and “Wolf Hollow,” written by Lauren Wolk and published by Dutton Children’s Books, Penguin Young Readers Group, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Coretta Scott King (Illustrator) Book Award: “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat,” illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, is the King Illustrator Book winner. The book is written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults: “March: Book Three,” created by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell, is the 2017 Printz Award winner. The book is published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing. Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “Asking for It,” by Louise O’Neill and published by Quercus, a Hachette Company; “The Passion of Dolssa,” by Julie Berry and published by Viking Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers; “Scythe,” by Neal Shusterman and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Publishing; and “The Sun Is Also a Star,” by Nicola Yoon and published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House.

Alex Awards for the best adult books that appeal to teen audiences: “The Queen of Blood,” by Sarah Beth Durst, published by Harper Voyager, an imprint of Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinHarperCollins Publishers. guished American picture book for children: “The Regional Office is Under Attack!” by “Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Manuel Gonzales, published by Riverhead, an Jean-Michel Basquiat,” illustrated by Javaka Steptoe is the 2017 Caldecott Medal winner. The imprint of Penguin Random House. “In the Country We Love: My Family Divided,” book was written by Javaka Steptoe and by Diane Guerrero with Michelle Burford, published by Little, Brown and Company, a published by Henry Holt and Co. division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. “Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded,” by Hannah Hart, published by Dey Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named: Street, an imprint of William Morrow, a division of “Leave Me Alone!” illustrated and written by HarperCollins Publishers. Vera Brosgol and published by Roaring Brook “Arena,” by Holly Jennings, published by Ace Press, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishing Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Holdings Limited Partnership; “Freedom in Congo Square,” illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, “Every Heart a Doorway,” by Seanan McGuire, a Tor Book published by Tom Doherty Associates. written by Carole Boston Weatherford and “Romeo and/or Juliet: A Choosable-Path published by Little Bee Books, an imprint of Adventure,” by Ryan North, published by Bonnier Publishing Group; “Du Iz Tak?” illustrated and written by Carson Ellis, and published Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random by Candlewick Press; and “They All Saw a Cat,” House. “Die Young with Me: A Memoir,” by Rob Rufus, illustrated and written by Brendan Wenzel and published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & published by Chronicle Books LLC. Schuster. “The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar,” Corretta Scott King (Author) Book Award recognizing an African-American author and illustrator by Matt Simon, published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. of outstanding books for children and young “The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko,” by Scott adults: “March: Book Three,” written by John Lewis and Stambach, published by St. Martin’s Press Andrew Aydin, is the King Author Book winner. See for complete list. j The book is illustrated by Nate Powell and published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing, a division of Idea and Design Works LLC.

It’s Essay Season! Are Your Kids Ready?


hether your children are submitting a college application or finishing up the fourth grade, the end of their school year will probably involve writing essays.

In terms of style, academic essays are more formal, featuring third person pronouns and statements that can be backed up with facts or examples.

Some essays are timed, while others are prompt-based, but most essays fall into two categories: academic and personal.

Personal Essays Personal essays allow student writers to be more creative in both content and style. These essays usually do not have a thesis statement. Instead, they focus on a central idea, story, or moment. Personal essays also generally allow student writers to use first person pronouns.

Many students dread essay writing, but with knowledge of a few terms and strategies, your kids can knock their next essay out of the park without fear or complaining. Definition of Essay The word “essay” can be a noun or a verb. According to, the noun form of the word means “a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, usually in prose and generally analytic, speculative, or interpretive.” The verb form of the word means “to try: attempt.” When I teach essay writing in my high school English classes, I share both definitions with my students. I tell them an essay is an attempt to organize their thinking on paper for a particular purpose. In my classes, we break down our essay unit into two categories: academic essays and personal essays. Academic Essays Academic essays usually require students to compose a thesis statement and then go on to prove their thesis statement in the body of their piece with evidence and examples from various texts. I tell my students their thesis statement is similar to a legend on a map because the thesis statement orients the reader to what they will find in the rest of the essay. Academic essays vary by type. Some types are persuasive, expository, and comparison/contrast.

Two types of personal essays are the descriptive essay and the narrative essay. In descriptive essays, students use strong sensory details and figurative language to describe a moment, an object, a person, or something else. Narrative essays tell a personal story. This type of essay works really well when the writer shares a meaningful story that taught him or her something. When I was in the eighth grade, I wrote a narrative essay about a talent show I entered as a third grader. Though I rehearsed my song and dance, I messed up royally the night of the performance. My narrative went on to describe the details of that fateful night. My teacher liked my narrative essay so much, she submitted it to a writing contest. It won! The principal of my school then had my piece read over the intercom! Further Resources Please visit for more information on Florida writing (and other) assessments, To find out Florida language arts standards (including writing) for kindergarten through 12th grade along with many other resources, see j Nancy Bethea

It's Pi day at Your Pie on March 14th. All pizzas are $3.14 all day! YOUR PIE Southside near Tinseltown and YOUR PIE Fleming Island near Carmike Cinemas.

MARCH 2017 • •

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Music Accelerates Learning, Brain Researchers Discover


xposure to music and music instruction accelerates the brain development of young children in the areas responsible for language development, sound, reading skill and speech perception, according to a twoyear study by researchers at the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California. The study of 6 and 7-year-olds began in 2012, when neuroscientists started monitoring a group of 37 children from an underprivileged neighborhood of Los Angeles. Thirteen of them received music instruction through the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles Program where they practiced up to seven hours each week. Eleven children were enrolled in a communitybased soccer program. Another 13 children were not involved in any training at all.

“The auditory system is stimulated by music,” Dr. Assal Habibi, the lead author of the study and a senior research associate at the institute, explained. “This system is also engaged in general sound processing that is fundamental to language development, reading skills and successful communication.” “These results reflect that children with music training, compared with the two other comparison groups, were more accurate in processing sound,” Habibi said. The study was funded by Brain and Creativity Research Funds. Co-authors of the study were BCI neuroscientists B. Rael Cahn, and co-directors of BCI Antonio Damasio and Hanna Damasio.

In a related study, a group of Northwestern University researchers looked at the impact of The researchers compared the three groups by music education on at-risk children’s nervous tracking the electrical activity in the brains, systems and found that music lessons could conducting behavioral testing and monitored help them develop language and reading skills. changes using brain scans. The researchers spent two summers with children from poor neighborhoods in Los The children also completed a tonal and Angeles who were receiving music lessons rhythm discrimination task in which they were through the Harmony Project, a non-profit asked to identify similar and different melodies. organization providing free music education to Twice, they heard 24 melodies in randomized low income students. order and were asked to identify which ones differed in tone and rhythm, and which were The first 6 months involved group introductory the same in tone and rhythm. musicianship classes (1 hour x 2 sessions per week) – identifying pitch and rhythm, performChildren who were in the youth orchestra ing, notation, basic recorder playing. Following program were more accurate at detecting pitch this four hours a week of group instruction in changes in the melodies than the other two strings, woodwind, brass (depending on groups.  availability of instruments) was provided. Within two years of the study, the neuroscientists found the auditory systems of children in the music program were maturing faster in them than in the other children. The finetuning of their auditory pathway could accelerate their development of language and reading, as well as other abilities – a potential effect which the scientists are continuing to study. The enhanced maturity reflects an increase in neuroplasticity – a physiological change in the brain in response to its environment – in this case, exposure to music and music instruction.

Students were divided into two groups. The first received two years of music education by the end of the study, the second received one year of lessons. Researchers discovered that children’s brains responded to the music education after two years of lessons. One year was not enough to have a definitive impact. j Editor’s note: You’ll find a comprehensive list of music classes available on Click on the Schools & Activities tab and under “Classes”, select Music. There you will find available options lessons in piano, brass, strings, guitar, woodwinds, percussion and more.

Page 20 • • MARCH 2017

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Page 21


That’s MY Job!

Jax Book Fest Has All-Star Cast


ega-selling local author Brenda Jackson and teen fantasy author Maggie Stiefvater headline the inaugural Jax Book Fest set for Saturday, March 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the main downtown library, N. Laura St. Other local authors will be in attendance and available for signings throughout the fun-filled day. The festival kicks off with a children’s book panel from 10 to 11 a.m. featuring best-selling authors Karen Beaumont (“I Like Myself”), and Ethan Long (“Pug”), and prolific children’s book illustrator David Catrow.

Unforgiving,” “Corey’s Mountain,” “The Rancher Returns,” and “Captivated By Love.”


Jacksonville native Jackson discusses her work from 11 a.m. to noon. With more than Beaumont/Catrow Long 100 novels and novellas and 10 million in print, the romance/adventure author is one of the top book sellers in the world. Her 2016 books include “Possessed By Passion,” “Bachelor

Things to Do 25th Annual World Of Nations Celebration March 4, 10am to 7pm and March 5, 10am to 6pm As you travel through the World of Nations Celebration, experience the cuisine, artistry and customs from lands near and far. Admission is $5 (Saturday or Sunday). Children ages 3 and under are free. There will be food, live music, International Marketplace, dance performances, and more. Visit website for complete schedule, activities and more. MOSH Homeschool Program March 15, 9:30am to 11am MOSH offers engaging, inquiry-based programs for your student and family in the areas of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. Programs have been developed specifically for elementary-aged students. Parents with younger or older siblings may observe classes with registered students. Homeschool programs will consist of two 45-minute interactive sessions, which cover a range of topics. You will have time to explore the Museum 30 minutes before the program begins and will also have time after the program. Doors open at 9am, and the program begins at 9:30am. Cost


From noon to 1 p.m. award-winning Jacksonville author Rodney L. Hurst Sr. explores the city’s racial history with his best-selling memoir “It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®! A personal account of the 1960 sit-in demonstrations in Jacksonville, Florida and AX Handle Saturday.”

Best-selling young/adult fantasy author Stiefvater (stee-vah-tǝr) fills the 2 to 3 p.m slot. The accomplished musician (bagpipes), artist and fast-car lover, has been writing since she was a child. She began her award-winning werewolf series (“Shiver,” Stiefvater “Linger,” “Forever” and “Sinner”) in 2009. The final chapter in her urban fantasy series The Raven Cycle (“The Raven Boys,” “The Dream Thieves,” “Blue Lily, Lily Blue” and “The Raven King”) came out last year. j

Education is $8 per student and parent (unless otherwise noted); 20% discount for MOSH Members and their students. Register in advance. This month’s program is Identity Exhibit (Age Group 10-12). MOSH / 904-396-MOSH / 1025 Museum Circle, Jacksonville, FL 32207 / Classical Conversations: Window Into Challenge • March 16, 7pm to 9pm Families who want to homeschool through middleschool and highschool but aren’t sure how, are invited for an informational session. Learn more about the classical, Christian model at a Classical Conversation’s Window Into Challenge event. It will offer you a bird’s eye view into Classical Conversations Challenge Program. The Challenge Program is for middle school through high school age students. Come learn more and have your questions answered at this free event. Please RSVP for the meeting. Lake Asbury Baptist Church / 904-629-7762 / 2674 Henley Rd, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043 /

Visit for more event listings.

Page 22 • • MARCH 2017

plaque and calculus (hard and soft) deposits

Jackie Havird, CRDH, BASDH from teeth, administering local anesthesia and Dental Hygenist, Carlson Dental Group

How long have you been a certified registered dental hygienist? 4 years. Why did you choose this career? I chose a career in dental hygiene because I enjoy assisting patients in maintaining and contributing to their oral health and living an overall healthy life style. What kind of education did you get to become a certified registered dental hygienist? First and most importantly, I got an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene to attain a license in dental hygiene.  After practicing for 1 year, I went back to school and graduated with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene to further my career opportunities.  In the Fall of 2017 I will be applying to several universities for a Masters Degree in Public Health.  What are some of your responsibilities? As a dental hygienist I am responsible for taking patient’s vital signs, taking dental radiographs, recognizing dental caries (cavities) and /or infections, oral cancer screenings, removing

performing proper documentation. I also provide patients with detailed oral hygiene instructions to better their home care regimen. What do you like most about your job? I take pride in performing a service to patients.  I have a lot of passion for taking care of people and find it rewarding to make somebody feel more confident about their smile because everybody deserves to smile.  Holding a license in dental hygiene has opened the door for me to be able to volunteer for many dental functions such as the Colgate Dental Van, and the Florida Mission of Mercy, that provide access to dental care to patients.  This February I will be going on my first medical mission trip to Honduras to provide dental care to an impoverished population.

MARCH 2017 • •

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book. You’ll have an excerpt of code, tell the students to copy the code, change this one thing,” said Lozano. “When you’re first learning, it’s cool, but then two days later you’re just typing for no reason. The Sumo Coding Club really makes the students want to code, so they can make their robot better.

At the start of the program, each student received a box consisting of various parts that needed to be “We decided to give the students assembled in order to create the code,” continue Lozano. “It was actual robot, which would also very, very, very basic code to go home with them. That part battle, but then we said ‘this is integrated the engineering aspect Two mats approximately 3 feetare just using the technology and how you do this thing, this thing, of the program with the students by-3 feet lay on the floor of a not exacting developing it. The and this thing, you guys can go learning how to use a soldering classroom at A. Philip Randolph beauty of the robots is that they ahead and battle.’ They’d come iron to meld metals and connect Career Academies, ready for the create them from scratch.” back and be like ‘Oh I need to wires properly among other skills ensuing battles. change this.’ I’ve never seen kids needed to properly craft a robot. The idea behind the Sumo Coding run back to a laptop to code. From there, the computer science The competitors? Two robots Club can be traced back to an They were legit running just to aspect came into play as students on each mat ready to push each Augusta, Ga.-based group called code. That’s what happens. When wrote lines of code in C++ other out of the ring – sumo style. HACK Augusta, who operates you give them a fun goal to reach, programming language that told the Sumo Robot League with the they’re more oriented. We gave their robot how to move, including It is all part of a new after-school goal of getting more students them a cool project and they how to maneuver and stay within program sponsored by Duval interested in computer science. wanted to achieve that goal.” the sumo ring when battling. County Public Schools called the Sumo Coding Club that helps For DCPS, the first group to The middle school level was “Students these days are so introduce more advanced coding participate in the Sumo Coding identified as the ideal starting smart with this stuff, it’s more to middle school students through Club was a handful of middle level for the Sumo Coding Club of an excitement,” explained the “Computer Science For All” schoolers from Kirby-Smith, for a variety of reasons. One main Holcomb. “They want to know initiative. Joseph Stilwell Military Academy reason was to foster that spark of how to get to the end result. of Leadership and Twin Lakes interest in computer science, so They’ll take it apart, look at it, and “The whole idea was to give Academy Middle, who met for that when the middle schoolers they’re so intuitive, they can put the kids the ability to make six weeks at A. Philip Randolph. moved onto high school, they can it together on their own. They get something and then code it, The club has operated under the take advantage of new computer some excited because each one which is extremely valuable,” said guidance of Vlachakis, Andrew science-based programs being is different colors and it’s their Alexandra Vlachakis, Executive Jackson High School teacher Ian offered. bot. Director of Career and Technical Lozano and Twin Lakes Academy Education for DCPS. “A lot of kids Middle teacher Robert Holcomb. “It’s helping to build the skills the kids need Students in the Sumo Coding for the future at a very Club have gained valuable critical age. That middle hands-on experience school group has the that introduced them to ability to capture the engineering and more problem solving and advanced computer science computation thinking techniques. skills a lot quicker,” explained Vlachakis. “Traditionally when you teach coding, you have this big

Learning How To Code – Sumo Style

Page 24 • • MARCH 2017

“The students have to know what to change and what it means,” added Holcomb. “That’s where the awesome formula comes into plan. This is real code. If they don’t change up their code, the bots get stuck and they are just pushing. Some of the kids have figured out that if their bot is just pushing, they need to rotate. It gets more and more advanced as we go on.” The learning process does not stop once the robot enters the sumo ring, but rather continues as the students encounter issues or want to fine-tune their robot’s code. “We encourage them that problems and mistakes are part of the learning process,” said Holcomb. “Things are not always going to work, but finding out and fixing the problem, that’s where the joy comes in. We don’t give them the answer right away. We let them struggle through it, and then they find it, and that’s where that joy happens. It’s a huge confidence builder when you can fix something and figure it out on your own.” “Sometimes the code may not

work, and it can take a few frustrating moments to figure out what’s wrong with it,” said Brian Buchanan, a seventh-grader from Kirby-Smith Middle. “Once I find it, then it’s all good. Also, when I lose to someone, it’s a little frustrating, but I have figure out what I should do to make the code better. Yet, that’s where fellow Sumo Coding Club members are able to step in. “I’ve actually given whole strings of code, because when I need something I can ask them,” said Serena Price, an eighth-grader from Kirby-Smith. “Nobody creates code from scratch anymore; you create from other people’s things. It’s really great to see that if you make a mistake, and you make it again and again until you figure it out, that’s ok,” stated Vlachakis. “It’s ok to make a mistake and it’s ok to go back and fix it. It’s about learning, and collaboratively working with that person next to you. There’s always going to be that kid who figures out that one thing that makes their code better than your’s. You

start to see the kids transform into these collaborative, problemsolving groups they build on their own, naturally and organically. It’s a very active and engaging classroom, and that’s great because it’s about discovering and learning together and being able to engage the kids in a whole different level than they have before.”

coding, you can learn any coding language. That is what will make these kids successful,” said Lozano. “It’s a fun thing for kids and this is where we need to focus,” concluded Holcomb. “We spend a lot of time on the subject areas, but every place we work is going to have a computer or some type of device. I encourage students just to try it. Coding isn’t for everyone, but if they don’t try it, they don’t know.”

This year is just the start for the Sumo Coding Club, and there is hope that the program will grow to reach more students. Vlachakis still hears from former By Colleen O’Connell students who she introduced to computer science prior to her current role. Meanwhile, both Buchanan and Price have realized how the Sumo Coding Club has helped shaped their future goals. Buchanan hopes to attend the Naval Academy, go into computer science and become a programmer. Price wants to meld her love of arts and technology and become either a graphic designer or create video game graphics. But the fundamentals are being taught through the BE SURE TO LIKE US Sumo robots.


“If you learn the fundamentals of MARCH 2017 • •

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Page 26 • • MARCH 2017

Clay County School News Bee Winner

Florida Striders Children’s Run/Walk Honored

Shiloh Cuffe celebrates with Doctors Inlet Elementary Principal Thomas Gerds after winning the Clay County Spelling Bee. He correctly spelled “graffiti” to win the title.

The Orange Park Florida Striders Children’s Run/Walk Program has been named the Outstanding Youth Program for 2016 by the Road Runners Club of America, the oldest and largest national association of running organizations in the United States.

Cuffe, a sixth grader at Doctor’s Inlet, represents the county in the regional Bee set for March 4 at Jacksonville’s Main Downtown Library, 303 N. Laura St. Oakleaf Junior High’s Joe Antonacci came in second and Blake Pu of RideOut Elementary placed third.

New School for Oakleaf Clay County will soon have a new school. Elementary School “Y” in the Oakleaf area has been approved by the school board for an estimated cost of $25 million. The board awarded the $852,800 combined architectural and engineering contract to the Orange Park firm of Bhide and Hall Architects. The firm, which will also oversee construction of the school, will use the same design it created about a decade ago to build Coppergate Elementary School. As planned, School Y will hold 886 students and will relieve overcrowding at Plantation Oaks Elementary and Oakleaf Village Elementary. Oakleaf High was the last school Clay County built. The project began in 2008 and the $52 million school opened on Aug. 16, 2010. OP/Middleburg (904) 272-8100 Green Cove Springs (904) 284-6500 Keystone Heights (888) 663-2529 TDD (904) 284-6584

“Participation-based youth running programs that engage kids early in life have a profound impact on lifetime attitudes toward physical activity and will directly combat the obesity epidemic,” explained Erica Gminski, RRCA Youth Programs Coordinator. “Our goal with Kids Run the Nation is to have a youth running program in every school in the U.S. The Florida Striders Children’s Run/Walk Program is but one example of a successful partnership between the running community and local school systems, and we are excited to support them this year through the Kids Run the Nation Grant Fund and to recognize them as the RRCA’s 2016 Outstanding Youth Program.” The network of run/walk clubs, which now includes 22 schools in Clay County, has been also named one of 47 Kids Run the Nation grant recipients. The first club began under the leadership of Coach Carol MacDougall at R.M. Paterson Elementary School in Fleming Island in 1998. Today, Coach MacDougall teaches at Swimming Pen Creek Elementary School in Middleburg and serves as the Children’s Running Coordinator for the Florida Striders. “It is a great honor to have the Road Runners Club of America recognize the Florida Striders Children’s Running Program with this award.

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Pen Creek Elementary and a volunteer for the school’s Run/Walk Club. “This program is so valuable to our students for so many reasons. For one, the students are able to focus better in class after exercising. Also, it teaches them discipline by letting them set goals and rewarding them when they achieve it. This program introduces students to running who may not be introduced to the sport by another way.”

I am thrilled to be a member of the Striders and have a part of the Run/Walk Club program as their Children’s Running Coordinator,” said MacDougall. “It’s amazing to me to see how the program has grown over the years and continues to grow. It makes me very happy to see mileage shirts on children when I am out in town and to know that I was involved in them receiving that shirt.” The school-based programs encourage students to set personal distance goals, which parent volunteers help track. The Florida Striders provide marathon medals to students who have run/walked the distance of a marathon, as well as awards and shirts to celebrate their distance goals at 25- and 50-mile increments. They distributed 5,289 marathon medals during the 2015-2016 school year. The club also hosts five free “fun runs” for students to participate in, and offer start-up assistance for schools that want a run/walk program of their own. “Sports are important for a healthy lifestyle,” said Stephanie Holeton, a parent at Swimming

“I am happy to see the valuable partnership and support that the Florida Striders has invested in our schools over the past two decades recognized on a national scale. They have taught our students lifelong lessons: the importance of physical fitness, and the inherent reward of setting and meeting your own personal goals. I look forward to supporting the health and wellbeing of our students through our continued partnership, and congratulate the Florida Striders on this award,” said Addison Davis, Clay County’s superintendent of schools. “I am so pleased to see the Florida Striders’ Children’s Program recognized. For less than $10 per child per year, we can help children’s academic performance, focus, behavior in school, self-esteem, and their physical fitness. I have never found a program that can accomplish so much for so little money per child,” said Bob Boyd, past president of the Florida Striders, and a longtime supporter of the Children’s Run/ Walk program. “It is truly a wonderful program and Carol MacDougall deserves recognition for her excellent leadership in making a real difference for the children in our community.”

March Calendar Friday, March 17

End third grading period

Monday through Friday, March 20-24

Spring break, Student/teacher holiday

Monday, March 27

Planning day, student holiday

Tuesday, March 28

Students return

Bily, Garcia Take Top Honors

The school-related employee of the year is Robert Garcia, custodian at Orange Park High School. He has worked at Orange Park High since 2002 in a number of roles, including athletic coach and ESE assistant.

Michelle Bily is Clay County’s teacher of the year. The 4th-grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary School is in her third year at the school. “I am honored to be a part of the teaching profession and humbled that I have been selected from a pool of incredibly talented educators. I look forward to continuing to advocate for students and the profession while using this opportunity to learn all I can from the amazingly dedicated educators across our district and state,” Bily said.

“I am very honored to be chosen by Orange Park High School to be school-related employee of the year, but it was a great surprise to be selected and also very humbling to be selected schoolrelated employee of the year for Clay County,” said Garcia. Robert Garcia, Michelle Bily with Superintendent Addison Davis

The two winners will represent Clay at statewide competitions this spring. MARCH 2017 • •

Page 27

St. Johns County School District News New Principals Named for Nease, Elementary “M” and Switzerland Point Middle Lisa Kunze, principal of Switzerland Point Middle School, has been selected to be the principal of Allen D. Nease High School. Kunze will replace Kyle Dresback, who was recently Kunze selected as associate superintendent of Student Support Services. Dresback will replace Cathy Mittelstadt who has been selected to serve as the deputy superintendent for operations. Employed with the school district since 2005, Kunze previously served as the assistant principal at Nease before joining Ponte Vedra High School as an assistant principal to help open the school. She began her career in education in Duval County as a science teacher at Mandarin High School. She taught for seven years before becoming the assistant principal at Stanton College Preparatory School. She was later promoted to vice principal at Sandalwood High School. “I am very excited to return to Nease and the high school environment,” said Kunze. “By joining the team this school year, I will have the unique opportunity to observe and listen to the faculty, students and parents about the culture of the school and their goals for the future.” Kirstie Gabaldon, assistant principal of Sebastian Middle School, will replace Kunze as the principal of Switzerland Point Middle.

With more than 17 years of experience, Gabaldon has spent her entire career serving the students in St. Johns County. She started as a teacher at Nease and then went on to be the registrar at Bartram Trail High School before joining Creekside High School as an assistant principal. She also served at Murray Middle School when it was in need of an assistant principal for an extended period. She joined Sebastian Middle prior to the start of this school year. Also, Randall “Jud” Strickland, principal of Cunningham Creek Elementary, has been selected to be the principal of elementary “M” currently being constructed at 2675 Pacetti Road, St. Augustine, 32092. Gabaldon

Strickland has served as the Cunningham Creek principal since 2013. Prior to that, he served more than 20 years in the Duval County Public School System where he spent 10 years as a principal and was responsible for opening Bartram Strickland Springs Elementary School. He also served as executive director for elementary turnaround schools and as chief of elementary schools. A new principal for Cunningham Creek has not been named.

Teachers of the Year The St. Johns County School District Teacher of the Year is Dana Kelly from Cunningham Creek Elementary School. Kelly teaches first grade at Cunningham Creek Elementary School. She has 13 years of teaching experience, all within the district. Since 2010 she has been at Cunningham Creek, most of which has been spent serving first grade. Before that she taught third and fourth grades at Osceola Elementary. Kelly’s students become “world changers” while in her classroom striving to make positive impacts in their classroom, school, community and the world. For 180 days, her students are known

as the “Pirate Crew” and set sail on the seas of learning.

Early Kindergarten Registration Set

Early registration for children entering kindergarten for the 2017-2018 school year is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, March 24; 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 4; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday May 15.

Parents must register children at the school where they are zoned for the 2017-2018 school year. To find your school, enter your street address on the Attendance Zone Locator at www. Students zoned for new Elementary School “M” will need to register at Pacetti Bay Middle School, located at 245 Meadowlark Lane, St. Augustine. Contact the Student Services Department at 5477598 for additional information on registration and zoning. To be eligible for public kindergarten in the SJCSD, children must be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 and must reside in St. Johns County. Other requirements for registration: • Birth certificate; • Documentation of a health examination performed on or after August 11, 2016; • Proof of completed required immunizations on Form DH680; • Proof of residence per the Residency and Guardianship Policy located at

Friday, March 10

student/residency. Voluntary Pre-kindergarten (VPK) early registration will also take place at select schools on the above dates and times. Children entering the VPK program must be 4 years old on or before September 1. The district VPK offers a high-quality early childhood education program with small class sizes and degreed teachers with certification in disabilities. VPK is available at John A. Crookshank, Cunningham Creek, Durbin Creek, Ketterlinus, Otis Mason, Mill Creek, Ocean Palms, Osceola, PVPV/Rawlings, South Woods, Timberlin Creek and Wards Creek elementary schools as well as The Webster School and Valley Ridge Academy. The district Head Start Program is currently taking applications for the 2017-2018 school year at the Head Start Office located at 102 Martin Luther King Ave. in St. Augustine. For additional information on VPK or Head Start, please contact Early Childhood Services at 5474897.

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March Calendar Third Quarter ends

Monday through Friday, March 13-17

Spring break, Student/teacher holiday

Monday, March 20

Teacher planning day, Student holiday

Tuesday, March 21

Classes resume

maximize the potential of each student. Lessons on perseverance, teamwork and building confidence have also positively impacted her students’ achievement.

She credits her professional development in Gifted instruction as having a significant influence on her students’ achievement in academics and socio-emotional growth. Earning her Gifted Endorsement taught her that this instruction is Kelly simply highly effective teaching for all students. Her first graders take Still ownership of their learning by helping to select to achieve success. their reading and writing goals helping her to

The Rookie Teacher of the Year is Kaley Still from Creekside High School. Still believes that if a student has a hard time with a specific skill then it is the teacher’s responsibility to come up with a different way of presenting the information

She teaches ESE for grades 9 through 12 for students with intellectual disabilities. Her classroom is one where her students are rewarded for following the rules because she believes that the learning environment should be one where students are motivated to behave and respect not only the teacher but each other. The winners were announced at the annual Teacher of the Year and Rookie Teacher of the Year Celebration at the Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village. The St. Johns County Teacher of the Year.

Visit St. Johns County Schools online at for more information.

Page 28 • • MARCH 2017

Things to Do

PETS Dog on Lap While Driving Can Be Deadly


hile driving under the influence was once the major focus of safety on the road, distracted driving of all kinds has gained national attention in recent years. Texting and driving has proven to be the latest serious road hazard; it has cost a number of lives, and 42 states have developed laws and campaigns against it. Now many states are focusing their attention on a new threat – one that has gone under the radar thus far, but may prove to be as dangerous as texting and driving. This one involves the widely practiced habit of driving with a pet on your lap. re. The system also includes a cloud-based engine for close observation, analysis, timely detection, and alerting of medical and behavioral problems.

the window. Beyond potentially causing an accident, there are very real dangers to allowing a pet to sit on your lap. If a crash were to occur, a small pet could easily be crushed by a deployed airbag or thrown from the car and injured. In addition, during a crash an unrestrained dog can act as a missile. As AAA National Traffic Safety Programs Manager Jennifer Huebner-Davidson notes, “An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert roughly 300 pounds of pressure . . . Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in its path.”

Jacksonville Community Pet Clinic & Pet Shots • March 4, 8am to 2:30pm Jacksonville Community Pet Clinic and Pet Shots offers high quality, affordable veterinary care in a mobile clinic. 8am to 10am – AgPro, 2520 County Road 220, Middleburg, FL 32068 10:30am to 11:30am – Bassil’s Pizzas and Subs, 6251 Argyle Forest Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL 32244 1:30pm to 2:30pm – Winn Dixie, 1900 Park Avenue, Orange Park, FL 32073 Jacksonville Community Pet Clinic / 904-6940541 / Pet Health Series: Solutions for Digestive & Skin Sensitivities • March 11, 12noon to 4pm Area PetSmart stores host Solutions for Digestive & Skin Sensitivities, part of their Pet Health Series. Become familiar with PetSmart’s nutritional platform that has specialized formulas to help treat a variety of pet aliments. Take home free samples plus coupons and giveaways. While supplies last.

States are taking notice of the potential dangers. Hawaii has made it illegal to carry a pet on one’s There are no real statistics to say exactly how lap while driving, and many other states have many crashes and other traffic incidents pets on introduced, considered or enacted legislation laps cause each year. However, The AAA Founda- meant to stop drivers from traveling unsafely with tion for Traffic Safety notes that taking your eyes pets. As a result, in some states, driving with your off the road for just two seconds doubles your pet on your lap can earn you a traffic stop or a PetSmart Stores / chance of a crash, and two seconds is all it would fine. Even in some states where there is no Jacksonville Beach / 904-853-2135 / 1956 3rd take for a frightened or excited pet to jump up on specific law pertaining to driving with a pet on St South, Jacksonville Beach ,FL 32250 you, claw you, climb up onto the dashboard, or one’s lap, you can still be cited for doing so under St. Johns Town Center / 904-997-1335 / 10261 worse, crawl under the brake pedal. broader distracted driving laws. Florida has no River Marsh Dr Unit 143, Jacksonville ,FL 32246 restrictions. Southside / 904-519-8878 / 8801 Southside A 2011 survey sought to ferret out the truth about Blvd Ste 3, Jacksonville ,FL 32256 how and why people drive with their pets, as well Increased awareness would likely also make a Regency / 904-724-4600 / 356 Monument Rd, as any potential distractions their furry friends great difference. AAA notes that drivers who have Jacksonville ,FL 32225 might potentially cause. The findings were heard of cases where unrestrained dogs were Orange Park / 904-579-2362 / 1919 Wells Road, interesting, to say the least; nearly 60 percent of injured or caused injury to someone during a Orange Park ,FL 32073 respondents had driven with their pets in the last crash were three times more likely to use a North Jacksonville / 904-696-0289 / 13141 City month, and 31 percent admitted to being restraint. Station Dr Unit 1, Jacksonville ,FL 32218 distracted by their pet while driving. Distractions included everything from feeding and petting their While we love our pets and want them to enjoy Yappy Hour St. Pawty’s Day pets to taking their photos while driving. every experience with us, the safest place for March 19, 2pm them (and everyone else riding along) is to be The Jacksonville Landing hosts a Yappy Hour St. Seventeen percent of respondents who drove properly secured in the back seat or cargo area of Pawty’s Day for dogs and their owners. Come with their pet – nearly one in five – admitted to your SUV. There are a number of pet restraint down for festive treats, raffles, and activities. either allowing their pet to sit on their lap or options in many sizes and price ranges that are Be sure to wear green! holding them while driving. Twenty-three percent comfortable for dogs and still allow them some Jacksonville Landing / 2 West Independent admitted to using their hands or arms to secure freedom of movement. Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / www.jacksonviltheir pet when they hit the brakes. They type of pet vehicle safety device you select Respondents cited several reasons for not will depending on the size, temperament, and K9 Kids & Rescues Kamp restraining their pets in the car. The biggest was type of pet you have. Types of pet safety devices March 20 – 24 their pet’s temperament; they considered their include: vehicle pet barriers, pet car and SUV Kids ages 7-10 are invited to The Bed & Biscuit pet to be calm enough to make restraints seats, pet vehicle safety barriers, soft sided pet for a K9 Kids & Rescues Kamp. The kids will unnecessary. Many respondents had simply never carriers, and hard sided pet travel crates and join The Hounds to learn about & create daily considered the idea of restraints. Some said they kennels. j enrichment, make fun snacks, and help train & didn’t use restraints because they only went on socialize dogs that need homes. The kids will short trips. And a few respondents noted that they About wanted their dog to be able to put his head out of Honors Society. In just one week, students sold over 200 boxes of all-natural dog treats, raising over $500 for their program.

Barkin’ Biscuits Has Them Howlin’


arkin’ Biscuits, the North Florida School of Special Education micro-enterprise and vocational training program, has quickly grown into a robust, vibrant doggie treat-making community. Students increased production to 20 recipes per day (that’s 60 boxes made each day)! So what do they do with all of those biscuits? The treats are currently available in over 30 stores in Jacksonville and even in two stores in North Carolina and Texas. One of the newest retail partners, Native Sun Jacksonville, will be featuring student-run demos monthly at each of

their locations to enhance community engagement and help to spread the mission of the North Florida School of Special Education. In addition to traditional retail, many local businesses support the program by purchasing sample treat bags to hand out to their customers. Pet Paradise gets 5,000 of these treat bags each month, to be distributed to their 26 resort locations around the Southeast. In October, Barkin’ Biscuits teamed up with Christ’s Church Academy to hold its first fundraiser to benefit the school’s National Junior

Even with all of these exciting new partnerships, the creative chefs in the Barkin’ Biscuits kitchen are busy at work perfecting the recipe for the brand new grain-free variety of treats, Barkin’ Biscuits Sweet Potato Carrot grain-free dog treats. This third flavor will feature sweet potatoes, carrots, and moringa grown at the school’s Berry Good Farms. The North Florida School of Special Education is dedicated to improving the lives of students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities through education, social, and vocational training.

Pet Events also learn proper dog manners, how to train some basic & fun behaviors, safety around their dogs and others, how to make fun enrichment for their dogs at home, how to make tasty dog snacks, and good games to play with new dog friends. Tuiton for this Kamp is $99 for the week of 3/20-3/24, hours 8:30am-12:30pm. Children must be between the ages of 7 and 10 at the time of Kamp. Participants will stay onsite for the duration of the camp and will not be able to be transported. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Homemade Hounds Bed & Biscuit / 3450 County Rd. 220, Middleburg, FL 32068 / Hogs For Dogs Bike Run March 25, 9:30am Clay Humane will hold its annual “Hogs for Dogs” charity motorcycle ride on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Registration begins at 9:30am at Adamec Harley Davidson on Wells Road in Orange Park, FL and will end with dinner at Whitey’s Fish Camp in Fleming Island, FL. Kickstands go up at 10:00am to begin the scenic ride through nearby counties. Cost is $30. Registration includes: t-shirt, goodie bag, food, music and more. Register before March 17 to guarantee a t-shirt. Adamec Harley-Davidson, Orange Park / 904276-7729 / 1520 Wells Road, Orange Park, FL 32073 / Pet Food Bank Distribution March 25, 10am to 12noon The Pet Food Bank provides a one-month supply of cat or dog food to households with up to 4 dogs and 5 cats. As a requirement, all animals must be spayed or neutered pets. If you arrive before 9:30am, you will be asked to wait offsite. No lines will be allowed before 9:30am, however, lines are much shorter after 11am. Please keep your pets at home during food pickup. But be sure to bring Proof of Spay/Neuter for Each Pet, Proof of Income Qualifications, Photo Identification, Container or Bag for Each Pet’s Food, Terms of Agreement – First Time Receivers Only, and a Food Bank Application – First Time Receivers Only. First Coast No More Homeless Pets Cassat Hospital / 904-425-0005 / 464 Cassat Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32254 / Like’s Facebook page at to find out about other events for pets. Barkin’ Biscuits has already grown to offer vocational training to over 20 young adult students and starting in 2017, will be offering paid jobs to several post-graduate students. In only two and a half years, Barkin’ Biscuits are one of the most popular hand-made dog treats in Jacksonville. If you know of any stores that may be interested in becoming retail partners or any organizations that would be interested in fundraising with Barkin’ Biscuits, please contact Ciaran Sontag at 904-724-8323 or email j

MARCH 2017 • •

Page 29


Clay County Agricultural Fair Opens March 30th


hrills and squeals, kick up your heels! The Clay County Agricultural Fair opens Thursday, March 30th and runs through April 8th. The Fair offers ten days of great family fun and entertainment and Jax4Kids is proud to be a sponsor of this wholesome family event. Get discounted, advance tickets online now through March 29th at Advance ride armband tickets are on sale for $15 – a savings of up to $10 each! You can order tickets and armbands, good for any one day of the fair, online and print them at home to save time waiting in line and to save money! Children 5 and under are free admission when accompanied by an adult. All entertainment and daily activities are free with gate admission.

Friday, April 7th – Granger Smith Saturday, April 8th – Steven Curtis Chapman Reserved concert seats are available for $20.00 for rows A and B, $15.00 for rows C and D, or $10.00 for all other seats. Concert seats do not include gate admission. Entertainment at this year’s Fair includes Main Street Parades, Fireworks show on Friday, March 31st, the internationally acclaimed professional Frisbee dog show, Disc-connected K9s, pig races, Walking with Giants dinosaur strolls, Ron Diamond hypnotist and magic, Team Rock Ninja and much more. For a complete list of entertainment and show times, visit


For Showtimes and Tickets:

2017 Clay County Fair Schedule:

Adult (Age 13 - 64): $10.00 each Child (Age 6 - 12): $7.00 each Senior (65+): $7.00 each This year’s concert lineup includes: Wednesday, April 5th – Chris Lane Thursday, April 6th – Wynonna Judd

World Golf Village | I-95 Exit 323 | St. Augustine


Thursday, March 30th: 2 to 11pm Friday, March 31st: 2 to 11pm Saturday, April 1st: 10am to 11pm Sunday, April 2nd: 11am to 9pm Monday, April 3rd: 4pm to 11pm Tuesday, April 4th: 4pm to 11pm Wednesday, April 5th: 4pm to 11pm Thursday, April 6th: 12 Noon to 11pm Friday, April 7th: 10am to 11pm Gate sales end 90 minutes before closing Call the Clay County Fair Office if you have any questions (904) 284-1615. j

Mark & Tracy Photography

Admission Prices purchased after March 29 are:

CMYK / .ai


Advance Gate Admission Prices are: Adult (Age 13 - 64): $7.00 each Child (Age 6 - 12): $5.00 each Senior (65+): $5.00 each

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“Part of Your World,” “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl”!

MARCH 21-26, 2017 JACKSONVILLE’S TIMES-UNION CENTER Join us Opening Night for the 15th Annual Family Night on Broadway! Enjoy the preshow and intermission activities.

SUMMER CAMP Expo h4 Saturday Marc 10 AM – 3 PM FREE



Explore Summer Camp Options On-site Summer Camp Registration Family-friendly activities and entertainment Register for Prizes and Giveaways

Special Offer – Buy an adult ticket and get a child’s ticket for free* with the code Mermaid. • (904) 442-2929

*Offer is for one half price adult ticket and one half price children’s ticket plus facility fee and service charges on all price levels for Tuesday, March 21 performance only. Not valid on previously purchased tickets. Offer valid until 3 p.m. March 21 only through the FSCJ Artist Series, or may be withdrawn at any time.

Page 30 • • MARCH 2017

Riverside Arts Market Events RAM’s 9th Birthday Celebration Conscious Eats Cooking Demonstrations Renaissance Jax Robotics Local Produce, Artists and Artisans


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THINGS TO DO Summer Camp Expo March 4, 10am to 3pm Come explore summer camp options, register for prizes and giveaways, enjoy family friendly activities & entertainment, and take advantage of on-site summer camp registration. All events and activities are free.  In addition to the Summer Camp Expo, the Riverside Arts Market will be celebrating their 9th Birthday. / 904-710-2020 / Riverside Arts Market, 715 Riverside Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32204 / Household Hazardous Waste Remote Collection Events March 4, 9am to 3pm – Baker Skinner Park March 18, 9am to 3pm – Blue Cypress Park The Solid Waste Division will host twelve household hazardous waste and electronic waste (e-waste) mobile collection events throughout the city.  Types of waste which may be brought to one of the mobile events or to the HHW Facility include: Televisions, Computer monitors, Computer terminals, CPUs, Keyboards, Printers, Scanners, Stereo equipment, Radios, VCRs, DVDs, Camcorders, Desk and mobile phones, Pagers, Power tools, Small kitchen appliances (i.e. microwaves, toaster ovens), and Health and beauty appliances. There is a limit of 3 Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) and televisions per customer.  Household hazardous wastes cannot be collected curbside with regular trash. Residents may bring these items, however, to one of the scheduled mobile collection events.  Types of waste which may be brought to one of the mobile events or to the HHW Facility include:  Paint, Paint thinners and paint strippers, Rechargeable batteries, Photographic chemicals, Thermometers and thermostats, Drain cleaners, Pool chemicals, Aerosol cans, Pesticides, Antifreeze, Fertilizer, Acids, Gun powder, Ammunition and fireworks, Fluorescent bulbs and tubes including CFL light bulbs, and 20-pound propane cylinders.   City of Jacksonville / Baker Skinner Park, 7641 Powers Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32217 Blue Cypress Park: 4012 University Blvd. North, Jacksonville, FL 32277 / 2017 Purim Carnival • March 5, 12noon to 5pm The Annual Galinksy Academy PTA Purim Carnival features oversized games of Jenga and Connect 4, face painting, bounce houses, rockwall, toddler zone, horseback rides, petting zoo, and more.  Food will be available for purchase, including Kosher Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Vegetarian Black Bean Burgers, Popcorn and Cotton Candy, and Hamentaschen. King, Queen, or other fun costumes are encouraged. (Please no scary costumes or weapons of any kind).   Jacksonville Jewish Center / 3662 Crown Point Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257 / JSYO Festival of Strings • March 6, 7pm This showcase includes the JSYO’s Foundations I & II, Encore and Premiere Strings, the Jacksonville Symphony’s Jump Start Strings students, and performances with community partners. More than 300 students will gather on stage for the grand finale.  Tickets are $8/adults and $3/ children in advance, and $10/adults and $5/children on the day of the performance.  Jacoby Symphony Hall / 904-354-5547 / 300 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / Alhambra Children’s Theatre Matinee: The Ugly Duckling • March 8 and 16, 10am to 11:30am Alhambra Theatre and Dining presents a children’s theatre matinee performance of The Ugly Duckling. Prices for all ages are just $12* per person and $9* per student for school groups, including home school groups.  Taxes not included.  Bring your own brown bag lunch to enjoy after the show, as there is no food or drink service for these performances.  Doors open at 10am, and the show begins

at 10:30am. Show lasts about 45 minutes.   Alhambra Theatre & Dining / 904-641-1212 / 12000 Beach Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32246 / 7th Annual St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival March 11, 11am to 10pm; March 12, 11am to 6:30pm The 7th Annual St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival returns to Francis Field March 11 - 12.  On Saturday, St. Augustine’s fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at 10am.  The Celtic Festival begins Saturday from 11am to 10pm and Sunday from 11am to 6:30pm, featuring traditional Irish music, Scottish pipes and drums, contemporary Celtic Rock, Scottish Highland Games, Celtic vendors and food, and more in celebration of St. Augustine’s remarkable Celtic history and heritage.  General admission tickets are one-day tickets valid for either March 11 or March 12.  Tickets are $10 .  Retired and active duty U.S. Military Personnel with current ID admitted free. Children 12 and under admitted free.  VIP Tickets are also available for $60.   Francis Field / 29 West Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084 / Jurassic Quest March 11, 9am to 8pm and March 12, 9am to 7pm Jurassic Quest features a Dinosaur Adventure for the whole family. The main dinosaur exhibit features ultra-realistic, life-size animatronic dinosaurs; over 80 life-size dinosaurs in all. Visitors can interact with these huge creatures, learn about them, and even ride a few. It features realistic scenes, enormous dinosaurs, baby dinosaurs and activities for kids of all ages. There are huge T-Rex and Triceratops fossil digs where young paleontologists can uncover long hidden dinosaurs bones, the “Dino Bounce” area with several, towering, dinosaur theme inflatable mazes, face painting, Dino crafts and more.  Tickets are $20 for kids 3 to 12, $20 for seniors 65 and up, and $25 for adults 13 to 64.  Kids VIP tickets are available for $29.  There are additional premium attractions that are available for an additional price. Police, Military and their families save $5 on each ticket.   Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center / 1000 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204 / Jacksonville Symphony Youth Orchestra Major/Minor Concert • March 11, 8pm This showcase features JSYO’s top-tier ensembles, the Philharmonic and Repertory orchestra, playing with their professional mentors in the Jacksonville Symphony. Winners of the 2017 Young Artist Competition will be featured. Tickets are $8/adults and $3/children in advance, or $10/ adults and $5/children on the day of the performance.  Jacoby Symphony Hall / 904-354-5547 / 300 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / Audra McDonald in Concert • March 12, 7pm Tony, Grammy, & Emmy award winning singer and actress Audra McDonald performs live at the Jacoby Symphony Hall.  There will also be performances by the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus.   All choirs will perform.   There will be a post-show meet and greet; tickets are limited and available only with special seating in the front of the Orchestra section.  Tickets are only available at Ticketmaster, not at the JCC office.  Tickets start at $49.   Jacoby Symphony Hall / 800-745-3000 / 300 Water St, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / The Rainbow Fish • March 15, 10am and 12noon Live performance of The Rainbow Fish, based on the book by Marcus Pfister.  Best suited for grades PreK - 2.  Cost is $8.50 per person.  Reserve your tickets in advance.  Two performances: 10am and 12noon. Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts / 904-442-2947 / 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246 / www.

Carrie Clarke Day • March 18, 11am The event will take place at the Clarke House Park on Kingsley Ave. There will be historic demonstrations, tours, live music, hay rides and, of course, the playground. Admission is free.  Clarke House Park / 904-264-2635 / 1039 Kingsley Ave, Orange Park, FL 32073 / 2017 SEC Gymnastics Championships • March 18, 2pm The 2017 SEC Gymnastics Championship will be held at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on March 18.  The competition will be held in two sessions; one at 2pm, and the second at 6pm.  Tickets for the SEC Gymnastics Championship start at $14. One ticket is good for both Sessions. Fans will not be asked to exit the arena after each session.  Parking is available for purchase in Arena Lots on the day of the event for $10, cash only.  Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena / 300 A. Philip Randolph Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / www. Brain Candy Live • March 19, 7pm Adam Savage, (star of Mythbusters), and Michael Stevens, one of YouTube’s biggest stars, bring more than three tons of their crazy toys, incredible tools and mind-blowing demonstrations for a celebration of curiosity that’s an interactive, hands-on, minds-on theatrical experience.  There will be one showtime only, at 7pm.  Tickets range from $27.50 - $150.   The $150 ticket price includes meet and greet.   Florida Theatre / 904-355-5661 / 128 East Forsyth Street, Suite 300, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / Disney’s The Little Mermaid March 21, 7:30pm March 22, 7:30pm March 23, 7:30pm March 24, 8pm March 25, 2pm and 8pm March 26, 1:30pm and 7pm The 5th Avenue Theatre presents The Little Mermaid, Live on stage.  Based on the Disney animated film, this beloved family classic is now on stage with all the songs you love. Tickets start at $38.50 and are available online.  There is a Broadway Princess - 2 Show Series ticket package available for The Little Mermaid and Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella in June.   Times Union Center, Moran Theatre / 300 Water Street, Jacksonville , FL 32202 / Harlem Globetrotters 2017 World Tour • March 21, 7pm The Harlem Globetrotters bring their 2017 World Tour to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Tuesday, March 21, at 7pm.  Tickets to the see the Globetrotters start at $25.50, and are available online or the Tom Bush Family of Dealerships Box Office located at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.  A special Magic Pass is also available to purchase.  The Magic Pass event takes place from 5:30pm to 6pm. Before the game, take part in a once-in-a-lifetime experience with your family where you have an opportunity to spend time on the court with the Globetrotters - shooting, trying out ball tricks and getting autographs and photos.  All customers must have a game ticket AND Magic Pass for entry. This includes all children as well as the parent(s)/guardian(s) wishing to accompany them. Soft/rubber soled shoes must be worn on court. Magic Pass tickets are an additional $22 each, plus online fee.   Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena / 300 A. Philip Randolph Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / www.ticketmaster. com Wings Over Golden Isles Air Show March 24, 5pm to 10:45pm; March 25, 8am to 5pm; March 26, 8am to 5pm

Inaugural Wings Over Golden Isles Air Show weekend. The USN Blue Angels Jet Team will headline the Wings Over Golden Isles Air show on March 24-26, 2017. Tickets are available for purchase in advance.  Find your spot and set up your folding chairs and enjoy the Golden Isles only worldclass air show event. There are great viewing locations throughout the air show grounds.  This show was originally scheduled for October 2016, but had to be rescheduled due to Hurricane Matthew.  For those fans who purchased advance October 2016 show tickets, tickets will be honored at the 2017 spring show.    Brunswick Golden Isles Airport / 295 Aviation Parkway, Brunswick, GA 31525 / DrumLine Live • March 28, 7:30pm “DrumLine Live,” the production created by the musical team behind the hit movies, “Drumline” and “Drumline: A New Beat,” is coming to Jacksonville’s Times-Union Center on March 28, 2017 for one performance only.  DRUMLine Live is an international tour based on the Historically Black College and University marching band tradition. Tickets start at $31.50, plus fees, and are available for purchase online, by calling 904-442-2929 or at the box office from 10am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Discounts for groups of 10+ are available. Times Union Center, Moran Theater / 904-442-2929 / 300 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202 / www.fscjartistseries. org Clay County Agricultural Fair March 30 through April 8 The Clay County Agricultural Fair returns to Green Cove Springs March 30 to April 8.  There will be Team Rock Ninja Experience, Disc-Connected K9’s World Famous Frisbee Dogs, 4H / FFA Youth Dairy Show, Main Street Parade, a Talent Show, and more.  Regular Gate Admission is $10 for adults, 13 to 64; $7 for seniors (65+); and $7 for children, 6 to 12.  Advanced tickets are available for purchase through March 29.  Ride armbands and concert tickets are also available for purchase. Opening Day is Thursday, March 30th, 2pm – 11pm   Clay County Fairgrounds / 904-284-1615 / 2493 State Road 16 W, Green Cove Springs, FL 32043 / www.claycountyfair. org Tynes Elementary Spring Food Truck Festival March 31, 5pm Food trucks, bounce houses, vendors, games and more.   Tynes Elementary School / 904-291-5400 / 1550 Tynes Blvd, Middleburg, FL 32068 / 22nd Annual Rhythm & Ribs Festival March 31, 5pm to 10pm; April 1, 11am to 5pm; April 2, 11am to 6pm The Rhythm & Ribs will be held March 31 – April 2, 2017, at the Special Events Field located behind the Visitors Information Center and parking garage, on West Castillo Drive.  Admission is $10 on Friday and Saturday and $5 on Family Day, all day Sunday. All proceeds go to charities of Sunrise Rotary.  Kids games wrist bands are $20 Friday and Satuday and $15 on Family Day Sunday. Special Events Field / 29 West Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, FL 32084 /

EDITOR’S NOTE: Dates, times and locations are accurate at time of publication; events and activities listed in this guide are subject to change without notice. Visit for updated information and more events! MARCH 2017 • •

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Mattamy’s affordable, family-friendly community of RiverTown is now open and we can’t wait for you to see what all the excitement is about. Visit our brand new Welcome Center and tour our 6 new Model Homes. Take in our stunning designs and Mattamy’s signature streetscapes in the only master-planned community on the St. Johns River. With homes starting from the $240s, RiverTown is the best value in St. Johns county. Amenities like lap pools, tennis courts, playing fields, playgrounds and cabanas, make RiverTown perfect for your active lifestyle. Don’t miss your chance to see why RiverTown is a place you’ll be proud to call home.


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Jax4Kids March 2017  
Jax4Kids March 2017  

The countdown to summer has begun and it’s time to start planning. If you’re considering a Summer Camp for your kids, from this issue throug...