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SEPTEMBER 2019

Tenacious Teens

Meet local kids impacting the community

Scissortail Soiree

Gearing up for the NEW city park’s grand opening

Truths about trafficking

Debunking myths and keeping kids safe

+ NEW family-friendly tailgating guide


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Features 6 Teen Talk Metro moms share advice on timely tween and teen topics 8 Living Empowered Local middle schooler starts support group for kids with Crohn’s 10 Lessons from a Rowing Shell Youth rowing league inspires diverse student athletes 12 Beauty in Inclusivity Down syndrome awareness walk celebrates 25th year 38 Truths about Trafficking Local experts debunk myths and share how to keep kids safe

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In Every Issue 16 Local Family Fun Something for everyone at Scissortail Park’s star-studded grand opening 18 Exploring Oklahoma Find family-friendly football fun with our NEW tailgating guides for OU, OSU and UCO! 22 Calendar Get the scoop on 152 September family fun events 46 Kid Review Take a trip to a toy mecca in Pauls Valley

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flip for the high-flying talents of freestyle motocross performers and Megasaurus, a fire-breathing, careating, transforming robot. When you visit our contests page, you’ll also get a special code for $5 off tickets! Deadline is Sept. 6.

Starting Sept. 3, enter to win a family 4-pack of season tickets to the Discovery Family Concert Series plus two Kids Club Memberships from the OKC Philharmonic and other great prizes from partners such as the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Held Nov. 10, Feb. 23 and May 3, the OKC Phil concert series is perfect for introducing kids to music and the events include handson activities prior to the concert. Deadline is Oct. 3.

Only Online Register for Cover Kids Search by Sept. 30 Calling metro kids with bright smiles, fun personalities and hearts for the community! Registration for our 2020 Cover Kids Search is open — we’re just missing YOU! Learn more and register for your child’s chance to be on our cover in 2020 at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/ coverkidssearch.

Contests Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live is coming to the Chesapeake Energy Arena on Sept. 21, and you could win a family 4-pack of tickets! Truck-loving tots through teens will

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Daniel Tiger and friends are hopping aboard Trolley to bring their interactive musical adventure to the Hudiburg Chevrolet Center at Rose State College on Feb. 13, 2020! We’re giving away two family 5-packs of tickets to enjoy the stories of friendship and helping others, punctuated with music, dancing and laughter. Deadline is Sept. 9.

Enter these contests today at www. metrofamilymagazine.com/contests.


TEENS PARTICIPATE IN THE YOUTH ROWING LEAGUE AT THE OKC BOATHOUSE.

I Publisher

Sarah Taylor

Managing Editor Erin Page

Assistant Editor Lindsay Cuomo

Contributing Writer Kayte Spillman

Contributing Photographer Bridget Pipkin

Art Director Stacy Noakes

Project Manager Kirsten Holder

Sales

Athena Delce Dana Price

Office/Distribution Kathy Alberty

Marketing Assistant Lauren Smith

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318 NW 13th St, Ste 101 OKC OK 73103 Phone: 405-601-2081 Fax: 405-445-7509

think teenagers get a bad rap. Now, granted, I don’t have teens. Yet. But I feel that day creeping up on me, particularly when I am the recipient of exaggerated eye rolls and outright defiance or my affectionate gestures are shut down in public. On the flip side, when my kids knowingly make a witty remark, we have a conversation about a serious topic I can tell is important to them or they make a choice that though not popular they know in their hearts is right, I see the beauty of who they are becoming. And it’s those traits that remind me of the tweens and teens featured in this issue, making bold moves and impacting the world around them in a beautiful way. Their determination and kindness give me so much hope for the future of our city. And for my own household. Part of parenting the next generation is dealing with the sometimes scary, wide-open world of the internet. Many of us raising kids now didn’t grow up in a world where technology was always at our fingertips, and I often feel ill-equipped for that part of my motherhood journey. When the topic of educating kids of all ages about internet safety, specifically human trafficking, is broached, I’ll admit I want to stick my head in the sand. But the story of how one local woman is taking a stand against trafficking on page 38, and local experts’ advice on how parents can protect and educate their kids, has

empowered me as a parent to give my kids the tools they need in our high-tech world. On a much lighter note, find a meaningful opportunity to experience inclusivity at the Down Syndrome Festival & 5k on page 12, and consider how a non-traditional sport like rowing could inspire kids’ intrinsic athletic natures on page 10. Mark your calendar for all the family fun to be had at the muchanticipated opening weekend of Scissortail Park — find details on page 16. The beginning of fall signals the return of football season in Oklahoma. Tailgating with kids can be a challenge, but there is magic to be found in introducing college hopefuls of all ages to the excitement of campus on game day. Find our new handy tailgating guide on page 18. Finally, as we celebrate tweens and teens this month, check out our online feature about what local organizations like Sisu Youth Services, Pivot and Parents Helping Parents are doing to support metro teens and families. Find out how you can help at www. metrofamilymagazine.com/metro-orgsserving-teens. Enjoy!

Erin Page Editor

sarah@metrofamilymagazine.com www.metrofamilymagazine.com MetroFamily Magazine is published monthly. Copyright 2019 by Inprint Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Articles and advertisements in MetroFamily do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Inprint Publishing, Inc. We do not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by MetroFamily does not constitute an endorsement of the products, services, or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service which is fraudulent or misleading in nature. Circulation audited by

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This Month’s Cover Abby is a softball phenom in the seventh grade at Carl Albert. She began playing ball at age 4 and now plays competitively for the Midwest City team Hustle, starring at second base and traveling with her team to Gulf Shores this summer for the USSSA National Championship. Abby also shines on the basketball court for her school’s team and enjoys swimming, going to the lake, playing video games and painting. She is the daughter of Amy and Jason and big sister to 3-year-old Austin.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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Tween & teen

ADV I CE ------ from local moms ------

Last month local moms shared tips and lessons learned in hopes of making the chaos of backto-school more manageable for us all. Just like returning kids to the classroom can cause frustration and exhaustion, so can transitioning from mom-ing littles to the tween and teen years. In conjunction with this issue’s focus on tweens and teens, local moms share advice on parenting this age group, which though occasionally hostile and hormonal is also treading tough waters between childhood and adulthood as they determine who they are and how to share those findings with the world around them.

SCHWARTZ KIDS

BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.

Engaging teens Get into their business! Ask lots of questions even if your teen acts like it annoys him. Ask specific questions about their day: What was something funny that happened? Did anything make you angry today? What was the highlight of your day? Michelle Sutherlin Strain, mom to Alex Strain, freshman at USAO in Chickasha, Ryan Sutherlin, senior, and Will Sutherlin, freshman, both at Norman North. Michelle is a counselor at Norman North High School.

Checking social media Check their social media often, both their regular accounts and fake accounts. Remind them the written word (and images) last forever. When it comes to technology for parents, get an app that shows your teen’s location as it can help hold them accountable. I recommend Life 360. Michelle Sutherlin Strain

SCHWARTZ FAMILY

Regulating homework We made a weekly calendar for our older daughter as she began high school. On Sundays, we add in that week’s activities and homework assignments so we are aware of deadlines. She is fairly responsible for all her assignments so the burden of keeping up with them lies on her. Our younger daughter can get bored with school when she’s not challenged and sometimes will slack off. We ask her a lot about pending assignments and what she needs help with. We are working with her to understand how to study and the repetition necessary to commit knowledge to memory. As she transitions to middle school, we are setting up a dedicated study space in her room with a desk and bulletin board. Brenda Schwartz, mom to Campbell, freshman at Yukon High School, and Harper, sixth grader at Yukon Sixth Grade Academy. Brenda is director of honoree relations for the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. STRAIN AND SUTHERLIN FAMILY

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Communicating with teachers My experience is that teachers welcome all parental involvement. Communicating your child’s challenges and talents allows teachers an understanding of how to best support that child. I recommend parents attend back-to-school night, introduce themselves to their child’s teachers and establish an open line of communication for any missed assignments or challenges that may occur during the year. I also reach out via email to introduce myself once school begins to let teachers know my husband and I support them and to reach out any time if they need more information or have questions. Brenda Schwartz

Managing technology

MORA FAMILY

Transitioning to middle school My middle schooler’s homework situation has been tricky since everything is online and I have been too lazy (and too trusting) to check his assignments. I initially felt being uninvolved with the online ‘parent portal’ was the way to go because I told my son he can’t expect to be micromanaged when he gets out into the world, but then I realized that giving a tweenager that much freedom isn’t helpful during the transition from elementary to middle school. Elena Mora, mom of Alex, seventh grader at Alcott Middle School, and Olivia, fourth grader at McKinley Elementary School. Elena is an online consultant for Ideal Homes.

Our older daughter has had her own phone since the beginning of seventh grade (when she began working as a sports manager and we needed to be able to reach her) with the understanding that her dad and I can check her text conversations at any time. We also watch her Instagram posts closely and Snapchat posts as we can, reiterating we can check her phone at any time. Our younger daughter, who’s in sixth grade, does not have a phone and we do not plan to give her one until she reminds us when we allowed her big sister to get one! Harper is much more engrossed by technology than Campbell was so we will likely limit her time on a phone and watch the content more closely. Brenda Schwartz

Offering grace Be patient. Remember their frontal lobes are still developing. They are learning how to act every day and will make mistakes. Michelle Sutherlin Strain

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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XANDER’S TEAM ROGUE ILEUM IN THE 2018 TAKE STEPS WALK FOR THE CROHN’S & COLITIS FOUNDATION.

XANDER STONE WITH GI DR. JEANNE TUNG, FAR RIGHT, AND FRIENDS FROM OKLAHOMA AT CAMP OASIS.

Living empowered

Metro teen aspires to help others living with chronic disease Xander Stone is a typical 13-yearold who loves spending time outdoors with his Boy Scout troop and aspires to become a chemist. Unlike most eighth graders, he has what he’s dubbed “an ileum gone rogue.” Stone was diagnosed in early 2018 with Crohn’s Disease after excruciating abdominal pain landed him in the ER, where that rogue ileum, a portion of the small intestine, was detected via CT. An ambulance ride to Children’s Hospital, more tests and blood work culminated in the surprising diagnosis. “Looking back over the year prior, we can see some of the symptoms that led up to it,” said mom Martha Stone. “His growth had slowed and he often had a stomachache.” None of Xander’s symptoms were singularly alarming, and the frequent tummy pain before school was thought to be related to anxiety. His intense pain, which led to the ER visit and subsequent diagnosis, was caused by a fistula, which eventually healed itself. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) affect as many as 1.6 million Americans. It’s estimated around 80,000 of those are kids under age 20. The chronic, lifelong condition can be treated but not cured. “People often don’t understand this disease is more than just stomach troubles; we lose people to it every year,” said Jackie Peterson, Take Steps Walk manager for several chapters of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. “And patients often don’t want to come out and talk about it. There is a stigma

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that makes it difficult to get the word out so we can fund research.” On a variety of medications and supplements to manage his symptoms, Xander weekly battles his needle phobia as he learns to give himself shots, with the support of his dedicated team of mom, dad and younger sister, Avery. Xander is also becoming an advocate for himself, learning all he can about his disease and digestive tract, discovering what causes his symptoms to flare, asking lots of questions of his doctors and reviewing new medications with his mom to understand their purpose. He’s spent part of his last two school years at Hefner Middle School, and part on a homebound program. “The hardest part is seeing my kid hurt and not being able to fix it,” said Stone, who notes her family’s faith and church as their biggest support system. “Aside from that, not having a group of people on our exact same journey to talk with and experience life with is challenging, too.” To form those connections, the Stones have become ambassadors for the disease and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of North Texas and Oklahoma. The mother-son duo started a monthly support group for kids with IBD and their families at their church, offering conversation, education and social opportunities, and they will serve on an educational panel for newly diagnosed children with IBD and their families at Children’s Hospital in October. Xander was selected by the local Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation to be the honored hero for the organization’s Take Steps Walk on Sept. 21. Participants, including Stone’s Team

Rogue Ileum, will walk from the intersection of 8th and Lincoln Boulevard to the Capitol and back. Festivities will include a DJ, games, inflatables, face painting and balloon artists for participants and the community. “Xander has really come into his own as an advocate for himself and become empowered to realize he can make a difference for others,” said Peterson. Stone will share his story with the crowd and hopes to inspire participants, volunteers and the community at large to help fund the organization. “I was excited to be chosen as the honored hero because I want to support research to find a cure,” said Xander. The fundraiser also supports Camp Oasis of Texas, a traditional summer camp experience for kids living with IBD. In addition to activities like zip lining, metal working, cooking and crafting, Camp Oasis has a full medical staff onsite and offers therapists, educational sessions for newly-diagnosed campers and training specific to the issues campers face related to IBD. Stone spent a week of his summer feeling “normal” amongst a group of kids walking the same challenging journey. As Team Rogue Ileum prepares to walk on Sept. 21 to raise awareness and fund research, Stone is amazed by her son’s ability to take his chronic disease in stride and use the opportunity to help others. “He is stronger than I could ever have imagined,” said Stone. Learn more about the Take Steps Walk here: www.cctakesteps.org/OklahomaCity2019.


Making a Difference 2019 Cover Kids

On top of being adorable, our 2019 Cover Kids are kindhearted and community-minded. Cover Kid and staff families spent a summer morning decorating bags and packaging dog and cat treats for the Pet Food Pantry. The local nonprofit provides pet resources and supplies to low-income seniors, veterans, homeless and those in shelters so they can feed and care for their furry friends and also afford their own food and medical supplies.

focus

The Cover Kids crew was joined by therapy dog Pistol Pete, who showed his appreciation for their hard work with lots of tail wagging. MetroFamily’s 2020 Cover Kids Search is now open! We’re looking for metro kids between the ages of 2 and 12 with bright smiles, fun personalities and a desire to serve the community to participate. To be considered, kids must be registered by Sept. 30 and attend the Cover Kids Search event on Sunday, Oct. 13 at the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Visit www. metrofamilymagazine.com/coverkidssearch to register.

just add water.

COVER KIDS MAKE TREAT BAGS FOR THE PET FOOD PANTRY AND ENJOY THERAPY DOG PISTOL PETE.

High-tech options ease kids’ communication with grandparents BY SAMUEL ROLDÁN

Grandparent’s Day is Sept. 8 this year, and as families express gratitude for those special relationships between older and younger generations, there’s also cause to celebrate more ways than ever to stay in touch. Whether your kids have grandparents in the metro or far away, or you’re a grandparent seeking to connect with those high-tech grandkids on their level, 12-year-old Samuel Roldán shares his three favorite options for keeping in touch. My dad is from Costa Rica, which is also where my grandparents live. To me this means I can’t talk to them as much as I wish I could. My favorite way to talk to them is in person when they come to town, but that’s usually for two weeks of the year, and then they have to go back to Costa Rica. I have to call them using my dad’s iPad. Sometimes I can’t call them because my dad is really busy or the battery is low or dead. Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, why doesn’t he call them with his phone?” Well, that’s simple. I don’t have a phone, iPad or anything I can talk to them on. So I have to use something else to talk to them, and I am definitely not going to mail them!

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I love to call my grandparents on FaceTime. I love that I can talk to them and see them at the same time.

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Another way I love talking to my family is by using Skype. One thing about Skype that I wish FaceTime had is the ability to leave a message. Another benefit of Skype is you know if someone is online or not. That way you aren’t disturbing them while doing something like going to the beach or, I don’t know, trying to expertly drive up a mountain without falling off a cliff. There’s an app called WhatsApp that can be super useful, too. You can send photos with it and call them or send videos or just plain chat with them. I have to get my dad’s phone to do that, and I don’t want to take his phone and just walk away with it because then I would get in trouble. But my dad will usually let me talk to them because he understands that I miss them and I want to talk to them.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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Life lessons from a rowing shell BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS BY RIVERSPORT OKC.

Yvette Rivera yearned to join a team sport as she entered her freshman year of high school. Knowing traditional sports like basketball and soccer weren’t in her wheelhouse, she discovered ASTEC Charter High School had a rowing team through the OKC Boathouse Foundation’s Youth Rowing League. Though she knew nothing about rowing, she was intrigued. “So many sports are about individual performance, but rowing is about working together,” said Rivera of what piqued her interest. She nearly quit after her first practice. “It was so hard!” said Rivera, who eventually joined ASTEC’s inaugural girls-only team. “But my technique improved and I realized I could better myself and be there for my team. I had to be patient with myself.” Those lessons were imparted by her coaches, provided along with all equipment by the nonprofit OKC Boathouse Foundation for free to Title 1 schools. The Youth Rowing League reaches about 160 metro middle and high school students each year, with 13

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schools participating regularly. Much like Rivera experienced, the league is often a place for students who don’t identify with traditional sports. “My personal mantra is every kid is an athlete, they just haven’t been exposed to the right sport yet,” said Melanie Borger, director of athletic programs for the OKC Boathouse Foundation. “This gives them a chance to self-identify as an athlete and the confidence to tackle other challenges.” The Foundation is committed to reaching a diverse student population, one of 50 organizations nationwide garnering a 2019 $5,000 Sports 4 Life grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation to specifically reach more girls of color. According to the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW, young girls of color are disproportionately excluded from sports and the subsequent benefits of improved health, self-esteem, grades and leadership skills. More than half of the 60,000 girls the grant has impacted nationally since 2014 weren’t participating in a sport previously, and more than 90 percent identify as Hispanic or African American. Locally, 70 percent of females in the Youth Rowing League identify as Hispanic or African American. Observed in her 25 years as a rower, Borger says a stereotype exists that rowing is a

sport reserved for the upper echelon. While true rowing can be costly because of the equipment required and limited to those with easy access to water, Youth Rowing League supporters believe all students deserve to belong to a team sport. “Programs like ours are trying to reach a more diverse population,” said Borger. “We have a lot of schools that want to participate and limits on capacity, primarily due to equipment costs.” The Sports 4 Life grant will allow the Youth Rowing League to reach 20 to 30 more students this year, who, like Rivera, may be forever changed by their inclusion. “I’m really thankful to the league for bringing a competitive sport that usually costs a lot of money to our school for free,” said Rivera, who never had to supply more than her positive attitude and work ethic. “It changes you as you learn you’re able to do more than you thought possible.” Now 19, Rivera graduated from ASTEC in May and plans to enroll at OCCC for a semester before transferring to UCO, where she hopes to join the rowing program. In the meantime, she will apply to become a coach for the Youth Rowing League, drawing on techniques learned from her coaches to inspire other young girls.


COACH DANIEL PORTER ENCOURAGES THE ASTEC CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL TEAM.

COACH PORTER CONGRATULATES RIVERA.

“Many of our students stay involved after they graduate as assistant coaches for the league or corporate rowing teams or volunteers for our visually-impaired adult team,” said Borger, noting the growing prominence of women’s collegiate rowing as another benefit to joining a team in high school. “For those who want to go to college,

“It’s a sport that teaches kids the more work you put in, the more successful you will be,” said Borger. “It’s also a great metaphor for teamwork. Everyone has to do the exact same thing at the same time. There is no star player in a rowing shell. Everyone is equal and important.”

being involved in the Youth Rowing League will strengthen their college application and they can potentially earn a scholarship.” Whether students pursue rowing as a competitive sport or an enjoyable hobby, Borger and Rivera agree the lessons learned last a lifetime.

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Local organization celebrates 25 years of walking to honor loved ones with Down syndrome BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED.

EMILY AND MADELEINE KONGS, LEFT, AND FRIENDS PREPARE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2017 DOWN SYNDROME AWARENESS WALK.

A small group of thoughtful, committed parents came together in Oklahoma City in 1995, not with the intent to change the whole world, but simply to infuse their own corner of it with joy and inclusion. Linked by children with Down syndrome, the families gathered to talk, walk, laugh and enjoy the sunshine with others whose life journeys were more alike than different. When Marji Robison and her family attended their first Buddy Walk in 1996 at Lyons Park, she remembers feeling normal for the first time in nine months, since her youngest daughter, Breanna, was born with Down syndrome. Lisa Hancock attended her first walk in 2000 at Earlywine Park, when she, Robison and other local parents were also working to establish the Down Syndrome Association of Central Oklahoma as a nonprofit organization. Emily Kongs will participate in her third walk this year, grateful for the families who started the movement 25 years ago to benefit kids like her 2-year-old daughter Madeleine, who has Down syndrome, and hoping to further the work for all those who will come after her. From humble beginnings with 300 participants to the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, with 6,000 walkers, 700 5k runners and more than $200,000 raised for DSACO in 2018, the Down Syndrome Festival & 5k provides yearround opportunities for kids and young adults with special needs to thrive and a chance for community members to experience inclusion at its finest.

THE ROBISON FAMILY PARTICIPATES IN THEIR FIRST BUDDY WALK IN 1996.

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POWERING PROGRAMS As the walk has gathered steam, so has Hancock’s oldest daughter, Heather, now 35, who has set out on her own personal mission to change the world. A motivational speaker and administrative assistant for the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s Special Education Section, the dream job she worked hard to attain, Heather Hancock’s insight and ideas are called upon regularly by many organizations seeking to better understand and engage with Oklahomans with special needs. In addition to serving as a self-advocate on the DSACO board, Hancock serves on the Oklahoma City mayor’s committee on disability concerns and as a global messenger for the Special Olympics Oklahoma board. Hancock promotes Special Olympics throughout the state and competes in basketball, bocce ball, swimming and bowling. “Wanting to advocate for herself, serve on boards, have a job, go to Washington, D.C. to advocate with our congressmen,

create workshops for other young adults with special needs all came from being involved with DSACO and the conferences the organization has sent her to,” said Lisa Hancock, also a DSACO board member. “It’s made her so outgoing, empowered her to be independent and think about what she wanted for her own life.” Thanks to monies raised from the annual walk, DSACO funds self-advocates to attend national conferences, the Buddy Walk on Washington and to advocate for national bills to assist those with special needs. Along with husband Craig Blackburn, Heather Hancock and countless others had a hand in the successful passage of the ABLE Act, allowing tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities and their families. Though married in a commitment ceremony in 2016, Blackburn remains in New Orleans and Hancock in Oklahoma City because if they were to move, the programs and services they receive through their states’ developmental disability waiver program

would cease. Designed to allow people with special needs to participate as active members of their communities, Lisa Hancock says those services are crucial to the impactful lives her daughter and son-in-law are determined to lead. “They travel back and forth and go to D.C. to lobby for different bills, right now on portability of programs,” said Lisa Hancock. “We’re hoping to get programs transferrable across state lines because if you move, it ends your programs in one state and you have to get on the waiting list in another state.” Lisa Hancock hopes the way Heather lives her life helps other families realize what people who have Down syndrome can accomplish is truly limitless. “Their future is really bright, and parents don’t always see that when they are little,” said Lisa Hancock. Heather Hancock has certainly been an inspiration to Breanna Robison, 23, who also serves as a self-advocate on the DSACO board, makes television appearances and

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gives speeches to spread awareness of the organization and has attended the national Down Syndrome Summit, thanks to a scholarship funded by the annual walk. DEMONSTRATORS

in the 1700s-era Traditional Village help tell our story.

“A lot of people with disabilities would never get to have that experience,” said Marji Robison. “She met people from all over the country and learned about living on her own and getting a job.” Breanna Robison met her long-time boyfriend through DSACO, and the two enjoy the organization’s annual Valentine’s Day and Halloween dances and monthly social activities for teens and young adults. Robison’s favorite program is Kylee’s Kitchen, microwave-based cooking classes that encourage independent living. The Robison family is navigating what young adulthood will look like for Breanna, finding their desire to support Breanna’s wish to have a paying job confounded by the negative impact gainful employment would have on her Social Security benefits.

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Discover an authentic replica of a Chickasaw “council house,” a hub for prominent leaders.

“As our DSACO members are getting older, we’re talking more about having workshops on the transition into the challenges of adulthood, like how to find work, how to live on their own and marriage,” said Marji Robison. On the other end of the spectrum is the Kongs family, just beginning their journey with 2-year-old Madeleine, who loves participating in story and music time at DSACO with older siblings Owen and Claire. As Emily Kongs has gotten more involved in the organization, now wearing her speech-language pathologist hat to provide weekly speech therapy for members, she has been impressed by the support and variety of programs offered, from prenatal through adulthood, including support groups, social events, basketball camp, sign language classes, tutoring and education consultations, most of which are supported by the funds raised through the annual walk.

CHAMPIONING INCLUSIVITY Like Robison, Kongs found her family’s first experience at the walk in 2017 refreshing. Madeleine was just a baby at the time, and Kongs remembers feeling relieved to see parents not having to worry their children with special needs wouldn’t be able to participate in activities or glance over their shoulders to ensure others weren’t staring or making comments. S U L P H U R, O K L A H O M A Chickasaw Cultural Center.com

“We had never been in a place with so many people who have Down syndrome,” said

THE ROBISONS AT THE 2000 BUDDY WALK.

Kongs. “You can just feel the joy and love of all the people there to support each other. Sharing that common bond at the walk helps me feel we are a part of something bigger.” Robison, who will help Breanna and Heather Hancock sell cookies at the self-advocate table at this year’s walk, never imagined how the event would grow from its humble beginnings walking a quarter of a mile at a local park with a few hundred participates to thousands expected to gather at the Myriad Botanical Gardens this year. She’s especially grateful that new parents like Kongs still feel the original intent of the walk’s first organizers to create a supportive, inclusive environment. Kongs encourages metro families with typically developing kids to attend the event to enjoy the fun and allow their children to experience firsthand that children and adults with special needs are just like them. Though a brief informative conversation before the event might be warranted, Kongs encourages parents to let kids experience the event organically, playing beside special needs children in the petting zoo or moon bounces and asking questions if they are inclined. “Every parent I know with a child with Down syndrome, and older kids and adults with Down syndrome themselves, welcome kids’ questions,” said Kongs, who often engages kids in public who are obviously curious about Madeleine. “I explain she was

5 8 0 - 6 2 2 -7 1 3 0

14 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019


Great offer here! born with an extra chromosome and that may mean she is smaller or things might take her a little longer than other kids, but otherwise she is no different.” While important for parents to have conversations with their kids or read books together about inclusivity, firsthand experiences including children or adults with special needs in everyday activities can make the difference between simply accepting others’ differences and truly embracing them. “You want [kids with special needs] to be invited over for a playdate, included in birthday parties or asked to go to the movies with a group of teens,” said Robison. “You want it to just be a normal thing for kids to be around people with Down syndrome.” Particularly with school back in session, Kongs hopes kids of all ages are seeking opportunities to practice kindness and inclusion in the classroom. In her professional career, Kongs has long helped students and their parents understand the importance of self advocacy, particularly when it comes to affording kids with special needs the same learning rights and traditional classroom time.

“The research is conclusive that all kids benefit from having differently-abled children in their classrooms,” said Kongs. “There’s no better gift in the classroom than to help children recognize they don’t have to learn, read or write just like their classmates.” Kongs has realized how she treats Madeleine, whether by expecting her to try new skills in her gymnastics class like the other kids or advocating for her to be placed with kids her own age in a church nursery, will usually be emulated by those around her, whether strangers, family and friends or Madeleine’s siblings. The whole Kongs family strives to live in a way that exudes the golden rule of treating others as they want to be treated. And they will gladly embrace opportunities to help those around them embrace inclusivity, too. “Parents can encourage their kids to be inclusive by inviting differently-abled children to play on the playground, be part of their group or sit with them in the lunchroom,” said Kongs. “That classmate may be the coolest child they meet all year!”

25th Anniversary Down Syndrome Festival & 5k

Lil’ Kickers classes for ages 18 mos.-9 yrs. are held Mon.-Sat. in the morning and Mon.-Thurs. in the evening.

Start anytime! Enroll today! Mention this ad to receive a free trial class and upon registering for the season, get one more session free!

Saturday, Oct. 5, activities beginning at 8 am Myriad Botanical Gardens • 5k and Awareness Walk celebrating loved ones with Down syndrome • FREE Festival held on the Great Lawn and Sheridan Lawn north of the Crystal Bridge will include a petting zoo, carnival games, face painting, moon bounces, DJ, food trucks, raffle and therapy dogs. Selfadvocates will serve slices of a giant sheet cake to festivalgoers in celebration of the 25th anniversary. Visit www.dsfestivaland5k.com for more information or to register for the 5k.

Fall Session continues!

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THE KONGS FAMILY AT THE 2017 DOWN SYNDROME FESTIVAL & 5K.

(west of Meridian, south of 122nd)

405-748-3888 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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Call TODAY!


K R A P L I A T SCISSOR OP E N I N G

D N E K WEE

N E W C IT Y PA RK SOA RS W ITH KI N GS O F LEO N A N D FA MI LY E NTE RTA I NME NT BY KAYTE SPILLMAN. PHOTOS BY CITY OF OKC MAPS OFFICE.

Arguably the most exciting component of MAPS 3 — the new 70-acre Scissortail Park that sits as the front lawn to Oklahoma City’s downtown — will open to the public Sept. 27 and 28. With a name that is quintessential Oklahoma, the park will feature ornamental gardens and woodlands with a Grand Promenade, a lake with a boathouse, a children’s playground, an outdoor roller rink, an enclosed dog park and interactive water features and fountains. For most MAPS 3 voters, all of that certainly would be enough. After all, Oklahomans have been waiting for this for a long time; the park has been in talks for years, construction began last April and millions (about $193 million to be exact) have been spent to provide this new front door to Oklahoma City.

SCISSORTAIL PARK’S CAFE, SPARK, IS LOCATED AT THE NORTH END OF THE PARK.

16 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

But that’s not where park organizers stopped. Opening weekend is jam-packed with free events for the entire family. And the best part? It’s just a taste of what’s to come with Scissortail Park. Kings of Leon, who have a huge Oklahoma fan base as the brothers in the band grew up partially in the Sooner State, will headline the opening night concert Sept. 27. Attendees do not need a ticket to attend the totally free concert, and gates to the park will open at 5 p.m. After the official Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting and Dedication at 6:30 p.m., Kings of Leon will take the stage. The night concludes with Moonglow Fireworks over Scissortail Lake. “We wanted to start the weekend with something to show off the park and to show that the park is really important to us and the city,” said Jacilyn Kennedy, Scissortail Park associate director of events.

WATER FEATURES ABOUND IN THE NEW CITY PARK.


THE COLORFUL AND CREATIVE CHILDREN’S PLAY AREA IS LOCATED ON THE EAST SIDE OF SCISSORTAIL PARK.

And it is important to the city, if the mayor is any gauge. Kennedy said it was because of a partnership with Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt that the park was able to garner such a crowd-pleaser to perform on opening night.

next morning with yoga at 8 a.m. and Zumba at 9 a.m. Boat rentals and food trucks will be available all day and into the evening, Robinson Lawn inside the park will feature lawn games and the children’s area will be transformed into Scissortail Park KidZone.

p.m. the park will host the closing ceremony and conclude the evening with a concert from the OKC Philharmonic.

“Mayor David Holt has been such a wonderful supporter of the park,” Kennedy said. “He reached out to the Kings of Leon himself and was able to solidify that for us.”

“We’ll have face painters, free crafts, oversized bubbles, kid-friendly music performances, puppet shows, Oklahoma Children’s Theater and OKC Improv all during the day at the park,” said Nicole Kusnierz, Scissortail Park programming manager. “It will also spark the imagination and creativity for the kids to see how they can use this space.”

“This weekend has a lot of fun activities to give an idea of what programming will be like throughout the year,” Kusnierz said. “For the fall, we will host yoga and story times, STEM programming, art-based activities and movie nights.”

Kennedy said park organizers are estimating about 100,000 people will roll through Scissortail Park during its opening weekend, with more than 30,000 people alone coming Friday night. Because so many people are expected, park staff are working closely to address any security issues that may arise. “Safety is of the utmost importance,” Kennedy said. “We have a great partnership with the police and fire departments and EMSA. The entire city is on board with making this event as safe as possible.” After partying until almost midnight on opening night, the park kicks off events the

Saturday afternoon and evening bring live local music with the Premier Starry Night Concert to begin after the sun goes down at 9 p.m. Stick around because activities don’t shut down until late Saturday night with Park after Dark, music and dancing from 10:30 p.m. until midnight. On Sunday the park will come to life at 11 a.m. with boat rentals, food trucks and live local music and other entertainment. At 6

The entire weekend is a preview for what OKC residents can expect from Scissortail Park in the future.

With the public already shelling out millions to create the park, a foundation will take over to fund the rest of the park’s needs, relying on corporate sponsors and donors. The foundation is currently seeking volunteers to help with opening weekend. For more information about Scissortail Park opening weekend activities or to volunteer, visit www.metrofamilymagazine.com/ scissortail-park.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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EXPLORING OKLAHOMA WITH CHILDREN

FOOTBALL FRENZY made family friendly It’s football season in Oklahoma! The excitement of the gridiron is an enticing fall activity but navigating the experience with kids can be a challenge. For many young Okies, a sporting event or similar activity is their first introduction to a college campus. Participating in game day fun can offer kids of all ages a sense of belonging in the world of higher education and a peek into the camaraderie their own college future could include. For older kids, make a weekend of a college tour and football game. Whether an entree into considering college or just a day of family fun, we’ve got handy tips to help your family make memories together cheering on your favorite local team. You don’t even have to have tickets to the game to enjoy a game day experience! Activities are open to the public and there are typically opportunities to watch the game at tailgates and other venues on and off campus. Don your blue, orange or crimson and start planning today! Editor’s note: Visit www.metrofamily magazine.com/tailgating-guide for our full family-friendly tailgating guide, including game day itineraries and campus experiences in Edmond, Stillwater and Norman. BY LINDSAY CUOMO & ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS PROVIDED. ILLUSTRATIONS BY GREG WHITE,

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UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL OKLAHOMA Bring your Broncho spirit! TOP GAME DAY EXPERIENCES FOR KIDS 1. Two hours before game time join student, alumni and other campus organizations for a family-friendly tailgate in the parking lot just outside the stadium, complete with games and inflatables. Bring your own tailgate snacks and enjoy the fanfare.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY EDMOND

2. Cheer on the UCO Marching Band as they make their way to the stadium an hour before game time, passing right by the parking lot tailgate.

3. Take a tour of the campus to see iconic sights like the Old

North Tower, the tallest and oldest building on campus. Students have been learning in that building for 130 years! Then, head over to Bronco Lake to enjoy the fountain and see the ducks and fish that call the waters home.

4. As the gates open to Wantland Stadium 90 minutes before the

game, shop for game day gear at the pop-up vendors inside the stadium. Most games have a giveaway, so you might get lucky and snag a free Broncho shirt, hat or tumbler to show your team spirit!

5. Hunt for Buddy Broncho, UCO’s mascot, and pose for a pic. He moves around the stadium, hanging out with fans before and during the game.

1889 Territorial Schoolhouse, 124 E. 2nd St. Visit the earliest-built one-room schoolhouse in Oklahoma Territory on the first two Saturdays each month from 1-4 p.m. Edmond Historical Society & Museum, 431 S. Boulevard Little ones will love the Children’s Learning Center where they can play in an old-time bank, general store and train station. Stop by Stephenson Park right next door. Admission is always free. Edmond Unplugged, 117 S. Broadway Take a break from technology by playing board games, relaxing and connecting. Fink Park, Second St. & Garland Godfrey Dr. Close to campus, the outdoor space offers walking trails and a playground perfect for fall days. Hafer Park, 1034 S. Bryant Ave. Fish, play volleyball, play on one of three playgrounds or try the outdoor exercise stations in this beautiful oasis.

ICONIC EDMOND EATS Cafe 501, 501 S. Boulevard Don’t miss the beautiful bakery items!

Eggington’s, 737 W. Danforth Rd. Enjoy a hearty pre-game breakfast

Eddie’s Bar & Grill, 930 E. 2nd St. Walkable from campus

Flat Tire Burgers, 318 E. Ayers St. Walkable from campus METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA Step inside Sooner nation! TOP GAME DAY EXPERIENCES FOR KIDS 1. Get into the gameday spirit at the brand new Party at the Palace,

starting three-and-a-half hours before the game at the Brooks mall area, just north of the stadium clock tower. Enjoy music from live bands and a Dj, food trucks, inflatable for kids and more. Snap a pic with the Spirit Squad, the Sooner Schooner and the ponies, Boomer & Sooner, get a front-row seat to the Sooner Tailgate radio show and watch other college football games and Sooner highlights to get hyped up for the game. Throughout the season fans are treated to giveaways, autograph sessions and other special appearances, as well.

2. Visit open-to-the-public tailgates hosted by university

organizations, which open two-and-a-half hours before the game, on the way to Heisman Park (just east of the stadium). Practice your Heisman pose as you survey the five large-scale bronze statues memorializing Sooner athletes who have won the prestigious award.

3. Explore the university’s South Oval, home to the Bizzell

Memorial Library, recently honored by Architectural Digest as one of the most beautiful libraries in the world, and the iconic Seed Sower, a statue crafted to illustrate the efforts of the university’s first president.

4. Pop into The Sooner Shop, a new fan experience in the former OU Bookstore. The two-story shop in the Asp Ave Parking Facility is the flagship retail store for OU Athletics.

5. Make your way into the stands 45 minutes before game time to

see the Pride of Oklahoma Marching Band perform – pay special attention to the drum major!

FAMILY-FRIENDLY NORMAN Andy Alligator’s Fun Park and HeyDay Entertainment, 3300 Market Pl. and 3201 Market Pl. Play like a kid at these two family fun venues which sit side-by-side and offer a wide selection of activities and entertainment! Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave. See a variety of works of art. Admission is always free! Reaves Park, 2501 Jenkins Ave. Climb to the top of Kids Place, an elaborate play structure primed for imagination. Sam Noble Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave. Travel back in time to learn about prehistoric Oklahoma. Sutton Wilderness Park, 1920 12th Ave. NE Explore nature trails in the 155-acre urban park, a prime place to spot wildlife or catch a few fish.

ICONIC NORMAN EATS Diamond Dawgs, 753 Asp Ave. Quintessential game day grub Pryor’s Pizza Kitchen, 123 W. Main St. New-to-town dinner option with connections to one of Norman’s first residents Service Station, 502 S. Webster Ave. The once-operational Conoco station offers a clever auto-themed menu

20 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019


OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY Experience the Cowboy Campus! TOP GAME DAY EXPERIENCES FOR KIDS 1. Little ones will enjoy a stroll by Theta Pond to see the ducks

followed by an easy walk over to library lawn to play on the swings and climbing spiderweb. Catch the Cowboy Marching Band practicing outside Bartlett Center across from the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts, usually prior to their appearances at the pep rally and The Walk. On your campus explorations, don’t miss Old Central, the first permanent building on Oklahoma A&M’s campus, built in 1894.

2. GameDay at the Union begins three hours before game time and features a bounce house, Pistol Pete temporary tattoos, games, a coloring station, photo opportunities and giveaways. Kids can collect spirit buttons before each game of the season, and the University Store and many of the food court’s restaurants are open to enjoy.

3. Visit the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center two-and-a-half

hours before kickoff for a pep rally with the Cowboy Marching Band, Pistol Pete and the Spirit Squad. Food and drink are available for purchase and football is on the big screens. Take a pic with Bullet, the university’s equine mascot, 90 minutes before the game.

4. Don’t miss The Walk, two hours prior to game time, when fans cheer on the football players as they walk from the Student Union down Hester Street to Boone Pickens Stadium, led by Coach Mike Gundy and the OSU Marching Band.

5. Visit the Family Fun Zone on the north side of Boone Pickens

Stadium. Activities include games, face painting, inflatables and more. Practice your own football plays on the turf outside the team’s indoor practice facility and shop nearby vendors for university apparel and unique gifts.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY STILLWATER Botanic Garden at OSU, 3300 W. 6th St. Wander the walking trails and explore the beautiful display gardens. Bumblebee Transformer and Optimus Prime statues, 5104 W. 6th Ave. and 2201 E. 6th Ave. Take a selfie with the larger-than-life transformers. Oklahoma WONDERtorium, 308 W. Franklin Ln. Learn to play at the interactive space designed for kids 12 and under to explore science, art, math, creativity, history, culture, health & wellness, dramatic play and problem-solving. OSU Insect Adventure, located on W. Virginia Ave. Bug out at the only live bug petting zoo in the state! Open on first and third Saturdays. National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, 405 W. Hall of Fame Ave. Take in the largest collection of wrestling artifacts and memorabilia in the world. Explore the sport through interactive kiosks and watch NCAA championships from the 1930s to present day.

ICONIC STILLWATER EATS Eskimo Joe’s, 501 W. Elm Ave. No visit is complete without the cheese fries and an iconic Joe’s shirt

The Original Hideaway, 230 S. Knoblock St. Founded in 1957, one of the first pizza restaurants in the state

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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September EVENTS CALENDAR

TOP 5 EVENTS Sept. 12-22

Oklahoma State Fair at State Fair Park

Sept. 21

FREE Aviation Festival at the OU Westheimer Airport

Sept. 27

FREE Kings of Leon Concert at the Grand Opening of Scissortail Park

Sept. 28

FREE Tinkerfest at Science Museum Oklahoma

Sept. 28 & 29

FREE Oklahoma Wildlife Expo at the Lazy E Arena


Sept. 3-7

FREE McClain County Fair at the McClain County Expo Center (2101 Hardcastle Blvd, Purcell) features livestock competition events, an antique tractor display, kiddie tractor pull, live entertainment and all-you-can-eat bean & cornbread supper. Free to attend; participation prices vary. See website for schedule of events. 229-2543, www.mcclaincountyfair.com/home

Sept. 4

FREE Un-BEE-Lievable STEM Story Time at the Norman West Library (300 Norman Center Ct, Norman) features a STEM story time about bees and a coding lesson with the library’s Bee Bots. 10-11am. 7012644, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Sept. 4-7

FREE Pottawatomie County Fair at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center (1700 W Independence, Shawnee) features livestock competitions, arts & crafts exhibits, commercial vendor and educational booths, fair food, old-fashioned midway games, live entertainment and evening carnival rides. Free to attend; participation prices vary. See website for schedule of events. 273-6092, www.freefair.org

Sept. 5-8

FREE Cleveland County Fair at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds (615 E Robinson St, Norman) features carnival rides, tasty fair food, arm wrestling, celebrity cow milking contest, 4H, FFA and OHCE exhibits and more. Free to attend. See website for schedule of events. 360-4721, www.clevelandcountyfair.org

Sept. 5

FREE Robot Invasion at the Midwest City Library (8143 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features an hour of hands-on activities to explore the basics of robotics. For teens. 4-5pm. 732-4828, www.metrolibrary.org Doggie Paddle at The Station Aquatic Center (700 S Broadway Ave, Moore) features a dog-only swim time. Moore Pawsabilities will be accepting donations for the Moore Animal Shelter. Preregister. $7.50 per dog. 6-8pm. 7935000, centralpark.cityofmoore.com

FREE DIY Pom-Pom Rugs at the Almonte Library (2914 SW 59th St). Choose from pre-made patterns or design your own rug made from yarn. All supplies are included. No previous knowledge needed. For ages 10 & up. 6-7pm. 606-3575, www.metrolibrary.org

Top 5 Events for

TE E NS

Sept. 6

1

FREE Games with Grandparents at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library (2201 SW 134th St) features games and light snacks to celebrate National Grandparents Day. 5-6:30pm. 9792200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Woodland Terrariums at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Create a fall terrarium and learn about woodland creatures using easy-to-care-for succulents and mini woodland animals and flora. Preregister. For ages 6-12. Members, $12; nonmembers, $15. 6-7pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

2

Brush up on your painting skills at the Southern Oaks Library’s Paint & Pop Teen Night on Sept. 7. Sip on your favorite soda and create a masterpiece in this free social painting class designed just for teens. Preregister at www.metrolibrary.org.

FREE First Friday Gallery Walk in the Paseo District (NW 30th & 27th St, Walker & Hudson Ave) features special themed exhibits, refreshments, guest artists and a variety of entertainment. 6-9pm. 525-2688, www.thepaseo.org

3

Soar above the crowds on a ride in the midway, sample delicious fair food and take in an exciting show at the Oklahoma State Fair, happening Sept. 12-22. At this annual hot spot for fun, everyone in the family can feel like a kid again! Visit www.okstatefair.com for a complete schedule of events.

FREE Family Fridays: Rhythm and Flicks at Charles Johnson Park (29th & Mid-America Blvd, Midwest City) features live entertainment, a movie in the park, bounce houses, yard games and food trucks. 7-11pm. 7391293, www.midwestcityok.org FREE Deep Deuce Director’s Cut at the Deep Deuce Grill (320 NE 2nd St) features an outdoor screening of the beloved 1987 film The Princess Bride. Guests are invited to come dressed as their favorite characters. Attendees can also enjoy a photo booth, movie snacks and drinks. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. 8pm. www.facebook.com/DeepDeuceDistrict

CALENDAR SPONSORED BY

Hit the running trails at Regatta Park to help raise funds for lifesaving smoke alarms. The Oklahoma City Fire Department is hosting its annual Project Life Run on Sept. 7, and your family can walk or run to help Oklahoma City residents in need. Sign up at www.okc.gov.

4

Discover your next read at the Oklahoma Book Festival on Sept. 21 in the Boathouse District. Meet authors and illustrators, shop book vendors, and enjoy live entertainment and more. The festivities are free to attend and run from 9am-5pm. Find out more at www.okbookfest.org.

5

Explore another culture together at a local festival. Whether you hit up the India Food Festival or the Lunar Moon Festival on Sept. 21 or Fiestas De Las Americas on Oct. 5, you and your teen can tour the world without even boarding a plane. For our favorite metro teenfriendly events each month, visit www.metrofamilymagazine. com/events-for-teens.

CRESTONERIDGE.COM

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

23


CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

Oklahoma State Women’s Soccer vs University of Central Arkansas at Neal Patterson Stadium (398 W Hall of Fame Ave, Stillwater). Prices vary. 7pm. Also held: 9/8 vs St. Louis, 9/15 vs Omaha, 9/19 vs Kennesaw State, 9/22 vs SMU. 877-255-4678, www.okstate.com

FREE Western Days Festival at Mustang Town Center & Wild Horse Park (1201 N Mustang Rd, Mustang) features a Stampede Fun Run, parade, best-dressed cowboy and cowgirl contest, an art show, gunfighters, a coloring contest, games and activities at Wild Horse Park, pancake breakfast, chuck wagon dinner, cornhole tournament and live music. Most events are free to attend; participation prices vary. Friday, 10am-10pm; Saturday, 6:30am-10pm. 376-2758, www.mustangwesterndays.com

Sept. 6 & 7

Vintage Barn Sale at the Old Chicken Farm (12699 Britton Rd, Jones) features furniture, decor, handmade treasures, re-purposed possessions and more. Adults, $5, kids (13 & under), free. Friday, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 9am-4pm. 740-1414, www.theoldchickenfarm.com

Sept. 6-8

FREE Bluegrass & Chili Festival at the Claremore Expo Center (400 S Veterans Pkwy, Claremore) features live music, a regional chili cook-off competition, a car & tractor show, junior showcase, kids’ activities and shopping. Friday & Saturday, 11am-11pm. 918485-2554, www.bluegrasschilifest.com

Wizard World Comic Con Tulsa at the Renaissance Hotel & Convention Center (6808 S 107th E Ave, Tulsa) features dozens of celebrities and industry professionals as well as live entertainment, gaming, exclusive Q&A sessions, movie screenings, anime, a kids’ zone and more. $34.99 & up; kids (10 & under), free. Friday, 4-9pm; Saturday, 10am-7pm; Sunday, 10am4pm. wizardworld.com/comiccon/Tulsa

Sept. 7

Piedmont Founders Day in Olde Town (Piedmont & Jackson, Piedmont) features a vendor sale, parade, 5k, inflatables, kids’ obstacle course, train rides, pony rides and a petting zoo. Free to attend. 7am-4pm. 373-0072, www.piedmontokfoundersday.org

FREE Midwest City Kiwanis Club Fishing Clinic at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park (8700 E Reno Ave, Midwest City). Boys and girls ages 6-15 can learn how to cast, knot tying, outdoor ethics and more. A limited amount of poles will be available for use. 8-11am. 739-1293, www.midwestcityok.org Oklahoma City Fire Department Project Life Run at Regatta Park (701 S Lincoln Blvd) features a 5k and one-mile fun run to raise money for smoke alarms for Oklahoma City residents in need. $40. 8am-noon. 297-3428, www.okc.gov FREE VegFestOKC at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features

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food demonstrations, wellness coaches, fitness tips and a tailgate party cohosted by a local brewery. 9am-5pm. 834-0477, www.vegfestokc.com

Family Aquatic Center (for dog swimmers only). Dogs must be accompanied by an adult 18+. $8-$15. 10am-1pm. 2972279, www.okc.gov/parksignup

for Independence. Activities include vendors, music and a short walk with your pooch. Free to attend; fundraising encouraged. 11am-3pm. www.cci.org

FREE Public Pond & Garden Tour in Oklahoma City (various locations) features a variety of local water gardens and ponds available for viewing including pondless waterfalls, bubbling rock features, container water gardens and more. Saturday, 9am-6pm; Sunday, 1-6pm. 802-6200, www.wgso.org

Junklahoma at The Old Store (100 Monroe NW, Piedmont) features more than 200 vendors with a wide variety of antique, vintage, junk, handmade and boutique products. The vendor fair happens in conjunction with Piedmont’s Founder’s Day. Free to attend. 10am-4pm. 373-2093, piedmontokfoundersday.org/junklahoma

FREE Saturdays for Kids at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St). Many modern games have Native American roots. Explore traditional games like Game of Grace, ring toss and more. For ages 4-12. 10am-noon. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org

Story Time with Author Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail at the 99s Museum of Women Pilots (4300 Amelia Earhart Dr, Ste A). Danielle will read her book Alis the Aviator: An ABC Aviation Adventure. Free with admission. Adults, $7; students, $4; kids (5 & under), free. 11am. 6859990, www.museumofwomenpilots.org

Garden Tea Party at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features a stroll around the Children’s Garden to observe the herbs that are growing, followed by an afternoon herbal tea, lemonade and a snack. Each participant will plant an herb seed to take home and grow for their next tea party. For ages 6-10. Members, $8; nonmembers, $10. 1-2pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

Doggy Dip N’Dash at Earlywine Park & Family Aquatic Center (3101 SW 119th St) features a 1.5-mile dash around Earlywine Park and a dip in the pool at Earlywine

DogFest Walk N’ Roll OKC at Earlywine Park (3033 SW 119th St) features a family-friendly, dog-friendly walk and festival benefiting Canine Companions

FREE Paint and Pop Teen Night at the Southern Oaks Library (6900 S Walker Ave) features a social painting class. Preregister. 2-3pm. 631-4468, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Red Brick Nights Street Festival in Guthrie (2nd & Harrison Ave, Guthrie) features rotating pop-up shops, food trucks and live music. 6-9pm. 282-1947, www.facebook.com/redbricknights

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Play • Learn • Thrive

www.SensationalKidsOKC.com

14715 Bristol Park Blvd., Edmond • 5701 SE 74th St., OKC METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

Oklahoma State University Football vs McNeese State University at Boone Pickens Stadium (700 W Hall of Fame Ave, Stillwater). Prices vary. 6pm. Also held: 9/28 vs Kansas State. 877-255-4678, www.okstate.com University of Oklahoma vs University of South Dakota at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium (1185 Asp Ave, Norman). Prices vary. 6pm. Also held: 9/28 vs Texas Tech. 325-2424, www.soonersports.com

up. 6pm. Also held: 9/22 vs Sacramento. 235-5425, www.energyfc.com

including discounts for grandparents at the Chikasha Poya Exhibit Center, the Aachompa’ gift shops and the Aaimpa’ Cafe. Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. 580-622-7130, www.chickasawculturalcenter.com

Sept. 8-12

Sept. 8

Banjo Fest at OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center (7777 S May Ave) features a diverse and entertaining lineup of banjos best from around the world including the world renowned Alison Brown Quintet, The Grascals and Buddy Wachter & Johnny Baier. $25$40. 7pm. 682-7579, tickets.occc.edu

Sept. 7 & 8

Grandparent’s Celebration at Chickasaw Cultural Center (867 Cooper Memorial Dr, Sulphur) features a special celebration

Pawsitively Pampered Annual Dog Wash & Vendor Event at Yukon National Bank (1550 Garth Brooks Blvd, Yukon) features a dog wash fundraiser benefiting Pets and People Humane Society. Enjoy dog grooming, food trucks and more. $10-$30. 600-4905, www.facebook. com/pawsitivelypamperedyukon

National Theatre Live presents Antony & Cleopatra at the OCCC Visual and Performing Arts Center (7777 S May Ave), featuring a pre-recorded presentation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy of politics, passion and power. $15. 2pm. 682-7579, tickets.occc.edu OKC Energy FC vs New Mexico United at Taft Stadium (2501 N May Ave). $11 &

Rhea Lana’s of Edmond Consignment Sale at the Former Elevation Trampoline Park (14400 N Lincoln Blvd, Edmond) features infant, children and maternity clothes, shoes, baby equipment, furniture, toys, books, DVDs, nursery decor and more. See website for special hours and discounts for moms-to-be, teachers and military. 501-328-3941, edmond.rhealana.com

Sept. 9

Drive Fore Autism Golf Tournament at the Greens Golf & Country Club (13100 Green Valley Dr) features a golf tournament benefiting Autism Oklahoma. Lunch, 11am; shotgun start, noon. www.autisumoklahoma.org FREE International Short Film Screenings at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library (2201 SW 134th St) features films from the Toronto International Film

UCO HOMECOMING - SATURDAY, OCT. 5 Parade & Alumni Tailgate - Bring the family!

All guests will receive free unlimited sno-cones!

Need to pick up after 6 p.m.? We can help! • After-school and summer programs for school age kids • Caring for infants through 12 years • 3-star nationally accredited program • Open 24 hours and Saturday • Accept military, tribal, DHS & drop-in care • Serving Oklahoma City families for over 35 years

10 a.m. | UCO campus (Edmond) http://bit.ly/UCOHomecoming2019

Inflatables, face painting, games, food & music TM

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METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

3601 NW 51st OKC

405.946.3223

309 Bizzell MWC

405.737.8790

3034 NW 17th OKC

405.947.7722

www.childcareinc.com

3 OKC Locations 540 N Council Rd. -

405.789.0661

5816 NW 36th St.-

405.947.4002

6624 NW 63rd St. -

405.721.1830


THE SIMPLE STEPS TO

Festival from recent years and discussion led by local film experts. Preregister. For ages 12 & up. 6:30-8:30pm. 979-2200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

MEAL PREP

Sept. 12

Magical Monarch Migration at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Learn about marvelous monarchs with crafts and games and learn ways we can help them migrate safely to Mexico. Preregister. For ages 7-10. Members, $5; nonmembers, $6. 6-7pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

Save time, energy and money by planning and preparing a week’s worth of meals at once. Get started with these simple meal prep steps below.

Simpler Is Better. Choose recipes

that call for simple ingredients — ones that can be used in a variety of meals, like onions, peppers and brown rice.

Scrabble Showdown at Castle Falls Event Center (820 N MacArthur Blvd) features a Scrabble tournament, silent auction, food, drinks and door prizes. Benefits the OKC Metro Literacy Coalition. $35. 6-9pm. 830-2793, www.scrabbleshowdown.com

Use Your Freezer. Double up. Make extra food and store it in the freezer. Then, just reheat for a fast meal throughout the week!

Sept. 12-16

Disney on Ice presents Mickey’s Search Party at Jim Norick Arena (333 Gordon Cooper Blvd). A brand-new adventure starring popular characters is filled with world-class skating, highflying acrobatics and unexpected stunts. See website for performance times. $15$50. 948-6700, www.okstatefair.com

Pick Chicken. Buy a pre-cooked

rotisserie chicken and add it to sandwiches, tacos, salads and more.

Prep on Weekends. Or any time.

Sept. 12-22

Oklahoma State Fair at State Fair Park (3001 General Pershing Blvd) features fair food, midway games and rides, five exhibit halls, concerts, livestock competitions and more. Adults, $12; kids (6-11), $6; kids (5 & under), free. Exhibit halls, 10am; midway, 1pm weekdays; 10am weekends. See website for complete schedule. 948-6700, www.okstatefair.com

Spend some time at the store, and then the kitchen. Get your kids involved too!

GROCERY LIST

SHOP HEALTH

FRUITS

Y. EAT HEALTH

Y. LIVE HEALTH

WHOLE GRAINS (Breads, Pastas,

Y.

PROTEINS

R DAILY MEAL PLANNE Rice, Cereal)

(Meat, Seafood,

SHOP HEALTHY. EAT

SUN

VEGGIES

TUE

MON

LOW FAT DAIRY (Yogurt, Milk, Cheese)

Beans and Peas,

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

27

FRI

THU

WED

OTHER

(Toiletries, Household

Items, Baking Goods,

Sept. 12-15

FREE Rogers County Fair at the Claremore Expo Center (400 S Veterans Pkwy, Claremore) features a horse show, car show, 4-H and FFA competitions, carnival rides, children’s area, midway games and more. Free to attend. See website for complete schedule. www.rogerscountyfair.com

Nuts, Eggs)

HEALTHY. LIVE HEALTHY.

etc.)

SAT

Another helpful tip? Try our Daily Meal Planner!

SNACK IDEAS:

Find it — and tons of easy, healthy recipes — at

HEALTHY MEXICAN CASSEROLE | CAULIFLOWER CHICKEN FRIED RICE CHICKEN SALAD SALAD


CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

FREE Movie Night in the Park at Mitch Park (2733 Marilyn Williams Dr, Edmond) features an outdoor screening of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Concessions available for purchase. Movie begins at dark. 359-4630, www.edmondparks.com

Sept. 13

FREE LIVE on the Plaza in the Plaza District (1700 block of NW 16th St) features artists, live music, special events and local shopping. 6-10pm. www.plazadistrict.org/live FREE Latin Fest at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features a mariachi band, dancing, food trucks and outdoor games. 7-11pm. 4457080, www.myriadgardens.org

Sept. 13 & 14

FREE Cherokee Strip Celebration in Downtown Enid (various locations) features a three-day celebration commemorating the settlement of Enid. The festivities include food, arts & craft show, live entertainment, a parade, gunfight reenactments and more. See website for schedule of events. 580237-2494, www.enidchamber.com

Ante Up at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features casino games, live entertainment and more in a Western saloon atmosphere. Benefits the Museum’s public education programs. Preregister. $50; couples, $85. 7-10pm. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org

Museum Playdate at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features playtime in the mezzanine, coffee for caregivers, structured gallery activities and full-day admission to explore the museum. Preregister. For ages 2-4. Members, $5; nonmembers, $15. 10amnoon. 278-8213, www.okcmoa.com

FREE Monarch Tagging Walk-Ups at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Take part in a demonstration about how and why monarchs are tagged at the Gardens. Also held on Sept. 30. 2-3pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

Jo Rowan, Dance Dept. Chair

FREE Harrah Day at Harrah Heritage

Park (1374 N Church Ave, Harrah) features carnival rides, games, a parade, food, shopping, live music and fireworks. Free to attend; participation prices vary. Friday, 6-10pm; Saturday, 9:30am-11pm. 454-2190, www.harrahchamber.com OU Nike Invitational Volleyball Tournament at the McCasland Field House (151 E Brooks St, Norman). The Sooners match up against Arizona State, Louisiana & Georgia Tech. Prices vary. See website for game times. Games also held: 9/21 vs SMU, 9/25 vs TCU. 325-2424, www.soonersports.com

Sept. 13-15

Scotfest at River West Festival Park (2100 S Jackson Ave, Tulsa) features food, crafts, live Celtic music, highland games, Scottish and Irish dance demonstrations, a Celtic dog parade and genealogy & family history sessions to celebrate Oklahoma’s Celtic heritage. Adults, $10-$15; kids (7-12), $5; kids (6 & under), free. Friday, 5-11pm; Saturday, 9am-11pm; Sunday, 9am-6pm. 918-740-7738, www.okscotfest.com

Now Enrolling! Dance classes for all ages!

Community Dance Center Hip Hop Creative Movement

Jazz

Tap Ballet Trained Instructors

Scholarships Available

Small Class Sizes No-Hassle Spring Performance

Community Dance Center

405.208.5508 | CommunityDanceCenter@okcu.edu okcu.edu/community-dance-center

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METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

Join us for an evening under the stars to raise funds for underserved local youth! Friday, October 4 at 6pm Adults will enjoy live music, a silent auction, craft beer by Vanessa House and a seated gourmet dinner. Children of our guests may join us free at the Kids' Club. They'll enjoy crafts, games, dinner and s'mores! Register the whole family online at campfirehok.org/events or call 405-254-2068 by September 27.


Sept. 14

Monarch Madness 5k & Festival at the Oklahoma City Zoo (2101 NE 50th St) features a 5k & one-mile fun run benefiting local monarch butterfly conservation. The officially timed course simulates the epic journey monarchs take from Canada to Mexico with themed stops along the way. Festival activities include craft stations designed to educate Zoo guests about the decline of monarchs and inspire them to take action to save them. Festival: free with admission; run: 5k, $30-$40; fun run, $25-$30. 7:30amnoon. 424-3344, www.okczoo.org/5K

FREE Fancy Nancy Tea Party at the Warr Acres Library (5901 NW 63rd St, Warr Acres) features a themed tea party and story time with crafts, music, stories and snacks. For boys & girls ages 3-5, 9:30am; ages 4-9, 11am. 721-2616, www.metrolibrary.org Monarch Butterfly Watch at the Chickasaw Cultural Center (867 Cooper Memorial Dr, Sulphur) features hands-on outdoor classrooms, take-

Patio Parties in the Uptown 23rd Street District (various locations) features live music, art, kids’ activities, beer gardens, tailgate parties and more. Free to attend. 10am-4pm. www.uptown23rd.com

home crafts, games and more. Free to attend. 10am-5pm. 580-622-7130, www.chickasawculturalcenter.com FREE See You Saturdays at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) features themed experiences and learning opportunities for families to enjoy together including crafts and guided tours. All ages welcome. 10am5pm. 235-4485, www.oklahomahof.com

FREE Cherokee Strip Celebration in Perry (various locations) celebrates the founding of Perry with a 5k, parade, mock gunfights, live entertainment, food, exhibitors and more. Free to attend. 9am-4pm. 580-336-4684, www.perryokchamber.com

Sprouting Chefs: Healthful Mug Cakes at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Learn how to make quick and healthful mug cakes without the hassle and time of using an oven. Preregister. For ages 7 & up. Members, $15; nonmembers, $17. 10-11:30am. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

FREE Dot Day at the Northwest Library (5600 NW 122nd St). Learn about pointillism and create dot masterpieces. All ages. 2-3pm. 606-3580, www.metrolibrary.org FREE Mad For Pollinators (And Other Insects, Too) at The Village Library (10307 N Penn Ave). Learn how to host pollinators and other helpful insects in your yard, how to raise them indoors and more. All ages welcome. 2-3pm. 755-0710, www.metrolibrary.org

Super Saturdays at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) features animal-themed yoga, crafts, learning stations, scavenger hunts and more. A food truck will be outside from 11am1pm. Free with admission. 10am-2pm. 325-4712, samnoblemuseum.ou.edu

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METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

Greater Oklahoma Bluegrass Music Society Concert at the Oklahoma Country-Western Museum & Hall of Fame (3825 SE 29th St, Del City) features three professional Bluegrass gospel bands. Concessions available. All ages welcome. Adults, $8; Members, $5; kids (12 & under), free. 6:30pm. 317-2618, www.gobms.org

at John Crain Field (500 Imhoff Rd, Norman). Prices vary. 1pm. Also held: 10/3 vs Kansas State. 3252424, www.soonersports.com FREE Story Time at The Boxcar (2100 N Eastern Ave, Moore) features story time, songs and a little bit of dancing hosted by representatives of the Moore library for kids ages 12 & under. 2-3pm. 759-7295, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Sept. 15

FREE Yoga on the Lawn at the Wheeler Ferris Wheel (1701 S Western Ave) features a yoga class open to all skill levels. 10-11am. 655-8455, www. facebook.com/WheelerWheelOKC

Third Thursday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features hands-on art activities, live music, food and beverages and outdoor activities, including on the Roof Terrace, weather permitting. $12; members, free. 5-9pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com

FREE Fiestas Patrias OKC at Wiley Post Park (2021 S Robinson Ave) features a concert, a special ceremony called El Grito de Independencia, food, drinks, a business expo, activities for kids and more. 1-10:30pm. 360-1200, www.facebook.com/scissortailcdc

FREE Monarchs, Milkweed and Moore at the Moore Library (225 S Howard Ave, Moore). Learn how to help the monarch population recover and thrive by creating a habitat in your back yard. Preregister. 6-7:30pm. 7935100, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

As We Are Live In-Studio Concert at Calvary Chapel of Norman (1401 W Boyd, Norman) features a live in-studio interview and concert by alternative rock band As We Are. 7-9pm. 3268196, www.facebook.com/1071Kouj

FREE Pirate P-ARRR-ty at the Norman West Library (300 Norman Center Ct, Norman) features crafts and a screening of Treasure Planet. Dress up encouraged. All ages welcome. 6-7:30pm. 701-2644, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Sept. 16

FREE Ukulele for Beginners at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library (2201 SW 134th St) features a beginners’ class on how to play the ukulele. Learn basic chords, notes and a few songs to start your musical journey. Preregister. For ages 10 & up. 6-8pm. 979-2200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Mysteries of the Overholser Mansion Tour at the Henry Overholser Mansion (405 NW 15th St) features an afterhours tour of the mansion, the chance to examine archival materials and hear some amazing stories. Preregister. $20. 7-8:30pm. 525-5325, www.okhistory.org

Sept. 17

FREE Talk Like a Pirate Day at the Southern Oaks Library (6900 S Walker Ave) features a scavenger hunt, pirate costume contest, crafts, games and more. All ages welcome. 6-8pm. 631-4468, www.metrolibrary.org

Sept. 20

Sept. 18

FREE TLC (Touch, Learn, Create) – Zoo Animals at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library (2201 SW 134th St) features themed sensory stations for ages 2-6. 10-11:30am. 979-2200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Sept. 19

University of Oklahoma Women’s Soccer vs University of Houston

30 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

FREE Friday Rides on the OKC Streetcars (various locations) features complimentary fares. 2357433, www.okcstreetcar.com Meet Me at Main at the 10 West Main Shopping Center (10 W Main St, Yukon) features live music, shopping, food trucks, face painting and children’s activities. Free to attend. 6-10pm. 823-2429, wwww.facebook.com/meetmeatmain

FREE Wheeler Summer Music Series at the Wheeler Ferris Wheel (1701 S Western Ave) features live music by Saint Loretto, Flock of Pigs and Sophia

Massad Music. 7-11pm. 655-8455, www.facebook.com/WheelerWheelOKC

Sept. 20-22

Stone River Music Festival at the Stone River Festival Grounds (343188 E 870 Rd, Chandler) features Oklahoma bands, local crafters and artists, food and a kids’ corral with a playground. $25-$35. See website for a complete schedule of performers. www.stonerivermusicfestival.com

Sept. 21

Smithsonian Magazine’s Museum Day at participating museums (various locations). More than 1,000 participating museums, zoos and cultural centers across the country will open their doors for free. Tickets can be reserved online. www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday

Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live at Chesapeake Energy Arena (100 W Reno Ave) features Hot Wheels™ Monster Trucks, the high-flying talents of freestyle motocross performers Josh Headford, Cody Elkins and Brody Wilson and the fan-favorite Megasaurus, a firebreathing, car-eating, transforming robot. Adults, $25-$40; kids, $8. 12:30 & 7:30pm. www.chesapeakearena.com FREE Aviation Festival at the OU Westheimer Airport (1700 Lexington, Norman) features aircraft displays, workshops, R/C model aircrafts in action, a children’s activities area sponsored by Sooner Flight Academy and tours of the control tower. 9am-2pm. 325-7231, www.ou.edu/airport/events/festival FREE Oklahoma Book Festival in the Boathouse District (732 Riversport Dr) features authors, illustrators, presentations, panel discussions, live entertainment, book vendors, costumed characters, story time and crafts for kids. 9am-5pm. www.okbookfest.org Sprouting Chefs: Pumpkins and Apples and Fall at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). Learn about fall fruits and make a few easy and creative recipes using them, including how to spice up your pancakes. Preregister. For ages 5 & up. Members, $10; nonmembers, $12. 1011am. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org India Food Festival at the Wiley Post Event Center (2021 S Robinson Ave)


and children’s games. 5-10pm. 763-5904, www.facebook.com/congdongvnokc

features a celebration of food, dance, art and tourism from the country of India. Attendees can enjoy foods from a variety of vendors from different regions of India, face painting, balloon twisting, mehandi, jewelry sales and more. Free to attend. 3-9pm. 759-0838, www.iaok.org

Mesta Festa at Perle Mesta Park (NW 18th & Shartel) features a beer and wine garden, outdoor games, arts & crafts, live music and dance performances, sand volleyball, local artists and pop-up shopping booths, as well as food trucks. Benefits the Mesta Park Neighborhood Association. Free to attend. Noon6pm. 426-9668, www.mestapark.org

Camp Out OKC at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave). The Devon Lawn will be transformed into an urban campground for families. Learn camping basics and enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including an outdoor showing of The Jungle Book, s’mores making and ghost stories. Reservations include breakfast. Space is limited, preregister. $65 per family of 4, plus $10 per additional person. 6pm8am. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

Family Fun Night at Kickingbird Golf Club (1600 E Danforth Rd, Edmond). Play nine holes with the family with special junior tees and putt around on the FREE putting course. $8 green fee; $8 carts. 5pm. 341-5350, www.kickingbirdgolf.com

Studio Sunday at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features an art-making time for families inspired by the museum’s collections, exhibitions and special occasions. All ages welcome; no registration required. Free with admission. 1-4pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com

FREE Heard On Hurd Street Fest in Downtown Edmond (Broadway between 1st & Hurd, Edmond) features local food, unique shopping and live music. All ages welcome. 6-10pm. www.facebook.com/heardonhurd/

Lunar Moon Festival at Military Park (Classen & NW 24th St) features dragon dances and other traditional dance performances, food trucks, shopping

Oklahoma Czech Festival Saturday October 5

We Welcome You

Uptown Fun(5)k in the historic Mesta Park and Heritage Hills Neighborhoods (various locations) features a fun run through the tree-lined streets. Benefits the Uptown 23rd District Association. $30 & up. 10am-1pm. uptown23rd.com/uptown-fun5k

Tombstone Tales and Taste of El Reno at the Historic Fort Reno (7107 W Cheyenne St, El Reno) features dinner and a historical performance by lantern light. Adults, $30; kids (5-12), $15. 5-9pm. 262-3987, www.fortreno.org

FREE Big Wheel Nationals at Moore’s Central Park (700 S Broadway Ave, Moore). Kids ages 4-8 can test their pedal speeds and race on a sponsored Big Wheel. Spectators and racers can also enjoy inflatables, giveaways and food trucks. Preregister. For ages 4-8. 4:30-7pm. 793-5090, centralpark.cityofmoore.com

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CALENDAR #OKCFAMILYFUN

An Evening of Live Stand Up With Bill Maher at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features the Emmy-nominated talk show host and political commentator. $55-$95. 7-9:30pm. www.okcciviccenter.com

Saints World Tour. $22.50. 8pm. 2972264, www.okcciviccenter.com

Sept. 25-28

National Cavalry Competition at Historic Fort Reno (7107 W Cheyenne St, El Reno) features an equestrian competition including mounted saber and pistol courses, wagons and unit demonstrations. Adults, $8; kids, $5; seniors & military, $7. 9am-4pm. 2623987, www.facebook.com/USCavalry.org

Sept. 22-28

Just Between Friends Consignment Sale at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds (615 E Robinson St, Norman) features new and gently-used children’s clothes, toys, furniture and accessories. See website for shopping times. Admission charged on select days. Sunday, $2; Thursday half price sale, $5. See website for sale times. www.norman.jbfsale.com

Sept. 26

Homeschool Day at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse (124 E 2nd St, Edmond). Experience a day in the life of an early Edmond student. Preregister. $5. 9am2pm. 715-1889, www.edmondhistory.org

Sept. 24

FREE Cherokee Cultural Celebration at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features a variety of activities related to 19th century Cherokee culture and lifestyle including hands-on participation in Cherokee games, demonstrations in pottery making, basket weaving, finger weaving and more. Preregister. Best suited for grades K-8. 10am-2pm. 4782250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org

FREE Fall British Bake Off Challenge at the Southwest Oklahoma City Library (2201 SW 134th St) features a baking challenge modeled after the popular TV series The Great British Baking Show. Create a delicacy at home inspired by the beginning of fall and bring it to the library to share. Additionally, attendees can participate in a technical challenge where every contestant will be assigned to make a dessert that will be revealed during the program. For ages 12-18. Preregister. 6:30-7:30pm. 9792200, www.pioneerlibrarysystem.org

Sept. 26-28

Adorable Affordables Consignment Sale at the Payne County Expo Center (Hwy 51 & Fairgrounds Rd, Stillwater) features gently-used children’s, maternity and scrapbooking items. Free to attend. Thursday & Friday, 9am-7pm; Saturday, 8am-2pm. 7477304, www.adorableaffordable.net

Sept. 26-Oct. 6

Tulsa State Fair at Expo Square (4145 E 21st St, Tulsa) features family entertainment including carnival rides, attractions, concerts, creative arts, food, livestock competitions and more. Adults, $12; military & seniors (62+), $8; kids (5-12), $8; kids (under 5), free. Open most days at 10am. See website for hours of operation. 918744-1113, www.tulsastatefair.com

Sept. 27-29

Sept. 24-29

Fiddler On the Roof at Civic Center Music Hall (201 N Walker Ave) features the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter. Best suited for ages 8 & up. Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30pm; Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2 & 8pm; Sunday, 1:30 & 7pm. $27.16 & up. 594-8300, www.okcciviccenter.com

Sept. 25

Home Free in Concert at the Hudiburg Chevrolet Center (6000 S Trosper Pl, Midwest City) features the Dive Bar

32 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

FREE Grand Opening Celebration of Scissortail Park (300 SW 7th St) features free concerts, fireworks on Friday night, yoga, Zumba, a KidZone with lawn games, face painting, crafts, live performances and more. See website for a complete schedule of events. 447-7080, www.scissortailpark.org

FREE International Festival at Elmer Thomas Park (3rd & NW Ferris Ave, Lawton) features concerts, food, children’s activities, demonstration artists, a parade, vendors and multicultural entertainment. Friday, 5-10pm; Saturday, 11am-10pm; Sunday, noon5pm. 580-581-3470, www.lawtonok.gov

Sept. 27

FREE Kings of Leon Concert at Scissortail Park (Oklahoma City Blvd & Robinson Ave) features a free concert to celebrate the opening of the park, food trucks and family activities. 5pm. www.scissortailpark.org

Sept. 27-Oct. 6

A Day Out with Thomas at the Oklahoma Railway Museum (3400 NE Grand Blvd) features a ride with Thomas, the railway controller Sir Topham Hatt, authentic engines, model trains, photo opportunities, a bounce house, live music, miniature golf and more. Advanced purchase recommended. Friday, $16; Saturday & Sunday, $18; kids (2 & under), free. 8am-6pm. See website for train departure schedule. 424-8222, www.oklahomarailwaymuseum.org

Sept. 28

St. Jude Walk/Run Oklahoma City at Myriad Botanical Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features a family-friendly walk/run to raise money for the children of St. Jude during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Volunteer opportunities available. All ages welcome. $10. 7am12:30pm. 815-5705, www.stjude.org FREE Tinkerfest at Science Museum Oklahoma (2020 Remington Pl) features makers, artists, crafters, engineers and educators to showcase how their diverse skills converge. Guests of all ages will have the opportunity to get hands on with a variety of activities. 9am-4pm. 602-6664, www.sciencemuseumok.org/tinkerfest FREE Oklahoma Wildlife Expo at Lazy E Arena (9600 Lazy E Dr, Guthrie) features a variety of activities to celebrate our state’s natural diversity and opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts and newcomers. Learn about camping, shooting sports, fishing, bird watching, mountain biking and more. All ages welcome. 9am-6pm, Sunday 9am-5pm. 522-6279, www. wildlifedepartment.com/expo Wings Over Weatherford at the Stafford Air & Space Museum (3000 Logan Rd, Weatherford) features historic aircraft flights, a kids’ zone and food trucks. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet pilots, tour select aircraft and more. Museum admission is included. Flights in historical bombers and biplanes will


be available for purchase during the event. Adults, $5; kids (12 & under), $3; members, free. 10am-4pm. 580772-5871, www.staffordmuseum.org FREE Plaza District Festival in the Plaza District (1700 block of NW 16th St) features live music, food trucks, visual art exhibitions, children’s activities and more to celebrate the spirit and diversity of the neighborhood. 11am-10pm. 5785718, www.plazadistrict.org/festival Corks & Chords at Bicentennial Park (201 N Walker Ave) features a variety of food trucks, pop-up shops, wine tastings from Oklahoma wineries, live music and entertainment. 21 & up, $10; under 21, free. 4-9pm. 602-1851, www.oklahomagypsyglam.com

Oct. 3-5

Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival at Cottonwood Flats Recreation Area (212 W Oklahoma Ave, Guthrie) features three days of live bluegrass music from acclaimed local and national artists. Event includes a kids’

tent with crafts, activities and youth music. $15 & up. Thursday, 10am-10pm; Friday, 11am-1am; Saturday, 10am9pm. 282-4446, www.oibf.com

Oct. 4-6

Oklahoma Regatta Festival in the Boathouse District (725 S Lincoln Blvd) features rowing, kayaking, dragon boating and a family festival with a children’s area, food trucks and a beer garden. Free to attend. Friday, 5-9pm; Saturday, 10am-10pm; Sunday 7am5pm. 552-4040, www.riversportokc.org

entertainment including dancing and music. $16, meal included. Friday & Saturday, 10am-10pm; Sunday, 11am3pm. 820-2942, www.greekfestokc.com

Oct. 5

Oklahoma Czech Festival at Yukon Czech Hall (205 N Czech Hall Rd, Yukon) features a parade, live music, dancing, carnival rides, a petting zoo, Czech foods and a craft show. Free to attend. 8am-5pm. 206-8142, www.czechfestivaloklahoma.com FREE Fiestas De Las Americas in the Historic Capitol Hill District (SE 25th St between Harvey & Robinson) features the colorful Parade of the Americas, food, games, music, art and more. 11am-8pm. 632-0133, www.historiccapitolhill.com

Rock Island Arts Festival at the Rock Island Depot (100 Chickasha Ave, Chickasha) features fine art displays, crafter booths, live music and entertainment, face painting, storytelling and inflatables. Free to attend. FridaySaturday, 10am-9pm; Sunday, noon-4pm. 274-7547, www.rockislandartsfestival.org

Annual Down Syndrome Festival & 5k at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features a 5k and Awareness Walk as well as games, inflatables, a petting zoo, an animal exhibit and more. 5k, $35/person & up; festival & awareness walk, free. 8amnoon. 445-7080, www.dsfestivaland5k.com

Greek Festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Church (2101 NW 145th St) features authentic Greek food such as gyros and baklava and live

· Classes · Activities · Crafts · Workshops · Field trips

Find ALL the fall fun here! www.metrofamilymagazine.com/fall-fun

Fun for ALL ages at the Oklahoma History Center! 405-522-0765 www.okhistory.org 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr./OKC

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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Weekly EVENTS CALENDAR Extended Hours at Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr). The museum is opening two hours early due to the high demand for the Van Gogh, Monet, Degas exhibition, closing Sept. 22. Van Gogh, Monet, Degas admission, $15; museum admission: adults, $12; kids (6-18), $10; kids (5 & under), free. Sundays, 10am-5pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com


Little Sapling Series at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features songs, games and interactive fun to learn about nature. Each week features a new theme with corresponding activities and learning opportunities. Preregister. For ages 2-5. Members, $3; nonmembers, $4. Tuesdays, 10-11am. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

Family Skate Night at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36th St). Includes basic skate rental. Family package includes admission, skate rentals, pizza and drinks for up to five family members. $6 per person OR $29 for the family deal. Thursdays, 7-10pm; Sundays, 6-8pm. 605-2758, www.skategalaxyokc.com

FREE Art Adventures at Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (555 Elm, Norman) for ages 3-5. Young artists are invited to experience art through books. Tuesdays, 10:30am. 325-3272, www.ou.edu/fjjma

FREE Children’s Story Time at Full Circle Books (1900 N Expressway) features a fun story time with a special guest or staff member. Saturdays, 10:15am. 842-2900, www.fullcirclebooks.com

FREE Botanical Balance Yoga at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features an all-levels class. Check in at the south entrance to the Crystal Bridge to find out location. Bring mat & water. Tuesdays, 5:45pm; Saturdays, 8am. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

FREE Littles Story Time at Commonplace Books (1325 N Walker Ave) features a half-hour, all-ages story time. Saturdays, 10:30am. 534-4540, www.commonplacebooksokc.com FREE Story Time & Craft at Best of Books (1313 E Danforth Rd, Edmond) features a kid-friendly story time and corresponding craft activity. Saturdays, 11am. 340-9202, www.bestofbooksok.com

Tuesday Night Classics at Harkins Theatre (150 E Reno Ave) features classic films on the big screen including Escape from New York and The Addams Family. Tuesdays, 7pm. $5. 231-4747, www.harkins.com

FREE Storytime & Activities at the Norman Barnes & Noble (540 Ed Noble Pkwy, Norman) features a themed story time and related activity. Saturdays, 11-11:45am. 579-8800, stores.barnesandnoble.com

FREE Reading Wednesdays Story Time at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features a nature-themed story time and craft activity. Best suited for ages 2-5. Walkups welcome. Wednesdays, 10am. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

FREE Learn to Skate Lesson at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36th St) features a FREE roller skating lesson. No sign up required. Skate rentals start at $2. All ages welcome. Saturdays, noon. 6022758, www.skategalaxyokc.com

FREE Wide-Open Wednesdays at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features complimentary admission, courtesy of Oklahoma Ford Dealers. Attendees can also enjoy a free Western movie matinée at 1pm. Wednesdays, 10am-5pm. 4782250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org Toddler Story & Craft Time at Unpluggits Paint & Play (575 Enterprise Dr, Ste 110, Edmond) features a short story time and age-appropriate craft. Free with admission. Wednesdays & Thursdays, 11-11:30am. 340-7584, www.unpluggits.com FREE Nature Tales at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial Rd) features an activity time for kids ages 2-7 with a nature-themed story time. Preregister. Thursdays & Saturdays, 10:30-11:15am. 297-1429, www.okc.gov/parksignup

Discovery Time at Sam Noble Museum (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) features interactive, hands-on activities such as stories, crafts and discovery table specimens. For preschool & elementary-aged kids. Free with admission. Saturdays, 2pm; Sundays, 2:30pm. 325-4712, samnoblemuseum.ou.edu FREE Moore Chess Club at the Moore Library (225 S Howard Ave, Moore). Learn to play or improve your skills with other local players. All ages and skill levels welcome. Sundays, 1-4pm. ishkissenger@gmail.com

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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Native American Games

September 7 • 10:00 a.m. – Noon Many modern games have Native American roots. Test your skills as you play traditional games designed to teach valuable skills, coordination and conflict resolution.

Little Buckaroos Round-up

October 5 • 10:00 a.m. – Noon Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. Put on your favorite cowboy gear and join us for stick horse barrel races, roping and more.

nationalcowboymuseum.org/kids 1700 Northeast 63rd Street Oklahoma City, OK 73111 Mon – Sat, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sun, Noon – 5:00 p.m. (405) 478-2250


Ongoing EVENTS CALENDAR


All exhibits are free with admission unless otherwise stated. Admission to the venues is listed.

in cold case crimes. Each piece reflects the collaboration between the artist and the family. Free with admission. Adults, $7; kids (6-18), $4; kids (5 & under), free. Monday-Saturday, 10am5pm. 521-2491, www.okhistory.org

Opening Sept. 14

Caballeros y Vaqueros at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) traces the decorative traditions of new world husbandry as Colonial Mexico developed from a fusion of Native American, European, African and Islamic traditions. Adults, $12.50; kids (6-12), $5.57; kids (5 & under), free. Monday-Saturday, 10am5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org

Through Oct. 31

FREE Making Space: Summer Mural Series, Part 2 at Campbell Art Park (11th & Broadway) features a series of murals along the construction fence of the new building site to showcase local talent, give new artists an opportunity to grow and develop their skills in mural creation and offer free public art to enrich downtown Oklahoma City. 951-0000, www.oklahomacontemporary.org

Opening Sept. 20

ling & S 1/2 Price Bow se. Every Open to Clo Monday!

Through Dec. 1

FREE The Musical Swings at Bicentenial Park (201 N Walker Ave) features an interactive public art installation with 10 swings that each activate a different note. When used all together, the swings compose a musical piece in which certain melodies emerge only through cooperation. 9am-9pm. 606-2922, occf.org/musicalswings

Through Sept. 16

FREE OKC Zoo Art Gone Wild: Art by Animals, for Animals at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features a variety of works of art by animal artists incluing Sumatran tigers, Asian elephants, California sea lions and more. MondaySaturday, 9am-5pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm. 445-7080, www.myriadgardens.org

Through Sept. 22

Van Gogh, Monet, Degas: The Mellon Collection of French Art at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features more than 70 works by French and European masters. Adults, $12; kids (6-18), $10; kids (5 & under), free. Wednesday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm; Third Thursdays, until 9pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com

Through Oct. 30

Happy Hour ! Mondayshoes

Unsolved History: Forensic Science, Cold Cases, and Art Therapy at Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi) features 11 artistic creations by Oklahoma-based artists and art therapists who work with the families of victims

Photographing the Street at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (415 Couch Dr) features the work of four American and Canadian artists who have chosen the street as their primary subject. Photographing the Street demonstrates the richness of expression, abundance of visual possibilities and stimulating moments afforded by the most public of spaces, the street. Adults, $12; kids (6-18), $10; kids (5 & under), free. WednesdaySaturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon5pm. 236-3100, www.okcmoa.com

Ask about our party packages!

Through March 2020

FREE Snapshots in Time: 100 Years of Photographs & Cameras in Edmond at Edmond Historical Society & Museum (431 S Boulevard, Edmond) features photographs and cameras from Edmond’s first century, including more than 20 vintage cameras dating from the 1920s to 1990s. TuesdayFriday, 10am-5pm; Saturday, 1-4pm. 340-0078, www.edmondhistory.org

Passport at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features unexpected pieces that take visitors around the world, through the decade and into diverse artistic careers. Adults, $12.50; kids (6-12), $5.57; kids (5 & under), free. Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm; Sunday, noon-5pm. 478-2250, www.nationalcowboymuseum.org Find more information about these exhibits and other current museum exhibits at www. metrofamilymagazine.com/museums.

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

Ou Hourr s Ope

n at 4P M Mon Open a -Fri t 11AM Sat & S un

Midtown OKC

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Fighting for

hope The realities of human trafficking and how parents can protect their kids BY ERIN PAGE

Haley Felix doesn’t know any victims of human trafficking personally. But she’s spent much of the past year of her life fighting for them. The Edmond North High School alumna completed a 1,700 mile, six-week cycling journey along the Pacific Coast in July to raise more than $230,000 for an Austin, Texas organization called The Refuge for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. Felix and nine other college-age women were selected after an application and interview process to represent The Refuge in the 2019 ride. A friend of Felix’s from Oklahoma State University participated in the ride last summer, and Felix initially applied after thinking the bike ride looked like an exciting challenge. Then she began to research the cause. “I was super naive to the subject of sex trafficking,” said Felix, who graduated from OSU in May. “I always thought it was like what you see in the movies, someone snatched up and forced into prostitution. But this is happening in our own back yards, just down the street. It looks a lot different than what people think.” Felix was most impressed by the trauma-informed wraparound services and community The Refuge provides young girls and teens who’ve been exploited. Curious if there were similar organizations in her hometown, Felix’s research led her to The Dragonfly Home, the

38 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

only certified service provider for trafficking victims in Oklahoma City, and one of only three in the state. The Dragonfly Home opened the first human trafficking nonresidential crisis center in Oklahoma in November 2016. Though Melissa Eick, The Dragonfly Home co-founder and director of communications and development, says the founders believe wholeheartedly in a shelter model, they realized there were victims of sex and labor trafficking who didn’t need a shelter and had nowhere to go to connect with the highly specialized resources to heal. In addition to providing medical attention, mental health care, therapy, legal assistance, connection to safe places to stay, educational and career support, basic necessities and support groups, The Dragonfly Home hosts movie nights, art parties and holiday celebrations. “The reality of human trafficking is dark and hard,” said Eick. “But when people get the help they need, it’s incredible to see. I’m inspired by their courage, resilience and resolve to move forward.” The cozy, welcoming crisis center has expanded twice since opening, and the organization is currently raising funds to open a shelter. The Dragonfly Home has served 350 victims of sex and labor trafficking since inception and fielded 3,500 calls to its 24-hour helpline, which also provides emergency relocation services to victims any time of day, any day of the year.


Felix applied to become an intern at The Dragonfly Home shortly after finding out she’d been selected for Pedal the Pacific, determined to learn more about how she could make a difference for children and adults who’d lived through the horrors of trafficking. Felix’s work for The Dragonfly Home was primarily administrative, but she received training in trauma-informed care and trafficking recovery. Felix’s self-proclaimed naiveté has been replaced by a depth of understanding of the common misconceptions about sex trafficking and exploitation. Her career outlook has changed dramatically, too. Though Felix earned her degree in nutritional sciences, she is working for AmeriCorps in Denver mentoring students for a year, after which she plans to get a graduate degree in counseling so she can spend her life aiding trauma victims.

No Boundaries International has worked with students who’ve been trafficked, and pimps, from the Oklahoma City and Edmond public school systems. The Dragonfly Home, too, serves people from what Eick calls “nice homes, nice neighborhoods and good schools” right here in the metro. Eick recalls watching a local law enforcement officer pose as an 11-year-old girl on Instagram, innocently declaring she was bored and home alone all day. Within two minutes, multiple known local predators were contacting her. “Parents need to know, even if they have provided a safe, loving environment for their kids, this is a problem that’s right around the corner, especially if their kids are on social media,” said Eick.

Metro tweens and teens vulnerable to trafficking There’s not much more terrifying for parents than considering the reality of sex trafficking happening to their own children. Acknowledging that possibility is the first step in fighting back, getting educated and arming kids to protect themselves from the dangers. “Be aware of what sex trafficking really looks like, and don’t be the parent who thinks it could never happen to your kid,” said Felix. “This can happen even to kids who have great parents, who love and support them.” Young women like Felix give Lori Basey, president and co-founder of Oklahoma City-based No Boundaries International, hope for the future of her work in increasing awareness and understanding about sex trafficking and exploitation in the metro. After five years of training and mobilizing local volunteers to aid overseas trauma victims in disaster- or war-torn communities, Basey and her colleagues realized the great need for trafficking prevention and awareness in Oklahoma City. Felix is a prime example of what Basey says works best in keeping tweens and teens safe from becoming trafficking victims themselves: education and empowerment to become part of the solution. Eick and Basey agree the first step in keeping kids safe from the dangers of trafficking is the parents’ willingness to acknowledge the realities themselves.

It’s a common misconception that trafficking always involves kidnapping or that traffickers are strangers. More often, trafficking victims live at home without those around them even realizing it’s happening, and they are trafficked by someone with whom they think they’ve developed a positive relationship.

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“Pimps aren’t snatching kids up while they’re playing at the park,” said Felix. “It’s more manipulative, building a relationship over time, getting in their heads.” Felix learned in her training that pimps often meet their tween and teen targets online, at the mall or at a party. They exchange numbers and text or message on social media over a period of time, earning the child’s trust, affirming them, listening to their woes and worries and eventually proclaiming love or offering to help the child achieve their dreams or escape challenges. Basey warns that kids seeking love or acceptance, who have low self-esteem or don’t feel understood can be vulnerable to these tactics, and those emotions can be fairly common among tweens and teens, even those who have a positive home life. After developing that relationship, it’s often the child who asks or agrees to meet who they think is a friend, and that’s typically the point at which he or she is sold for sex, without even leaving the metro. Victims are returned home, threatened into silence and expected to be available any time in the future. Many victims live in this cycle, ashamed and afraid to tell anyone what’s happening. “Less than one percent of trafficking involves abductions,” said Basey. “Kids often willingly go, they make one bad mistake or go one place they shouldn’t. Pimps are incredibly patient and try to get them isolated eventually.”

METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

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Though Felix says she wasn’t fully aware of the dangers of sex trafficking, she vividly recalls her mom requiring her to watch a program about internet safety and the prevalence of pedophiles. They had frequent conversations about making good decisions online, and that atmosphere of ongoing conversation about tough subjects is one she believes parents should emulate. Felix still adheres to her mom’s and the program’s advice of never friending or responding to people she doesn’t know online. That advice includes sending photos to strangers, or even mere acquaintances. Through her work as a trauma-informed occupational therapist, Basey has discovered approaching teens about sensitive issues with an agenda tinged with fear, shame or a “just say no” mentality tends to incite curiosity, while simply presenting the facts directly can better encourage long-term, open-ended conversation. “As early as 10 or 11, it’s important that parents talk to their kids about internet safety,” said Eick. “While talking about human trafficking takes a level of maturity [in kids], par-

ents can start talking about ‘bad’ people who might reach out to them on social media.” Eick cautions that waiting until junior high or high school may leave too much room for kids to have already been approached or even

Could your child be our next Cover Kid? Find details and register at www.metrofamilymagazine.com/ coverkidssearch

40 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

exploited, though it’s never too late to have the conversation. She adds it’s imperative to take kids seriously if they report someone on social media saying or doing something creepy.


“If they have the courage to report something, it’s worth listening to,” said Eick.

Trade fear for empowerment

and essentials like toilet paper, tissues and paper towels are always needed.

Parents should talk to kids about the photos they post online, and be hyper aware of the photos they post of their kids, too, both parties considering how much exposure they are willing for those photos to gain. Eick says consistent checks on kids’ phones, texts and social media accounts are an absolute must, as are a frequent review of apps that can lead to exploitation. To aid teens and families, The Dragonfly Home hosts free monthly seminars about internet safety and how traffickers target victims online.

Basey encourages parents and their tweens or teens to engage with organizations like No Boundaries International by dropping off donations to their clothing closet or food pantry or serving food through their food truck, which can open the door to those hard conversations about the dangers of trafficking and why organizations like No Boundaries International exist.

“Kids in our city are at risk, but rather than give in to the fear, become an active part of the solution,” said Basey.

Felix adds that while sex education is imperative for parents to cover with their kids, they should also have ongoing conversations about what healthy relationships look like, guiding kids’ expectations for romantic relationships and discussing red flags.

Basey was thrilled when Deer Creek High School students took that message to heart, raising the funds for their food truck, which provides free meals in vulnerable and impoverished communities in the metro. The truck is a tangible tool to break the barrier of isolation and establish relationships with community members at risk of exploitation.

“Kids are going to have these conversations anyway,” said Basey. “Parents have to decide if they want the internet, other kids or situations to give them the information or if they want to be the one to provide it.”

Learn more The Dragonfly Home www.thedragonflyhome.org

“We tell kids, ‘yes, you are being targeted, but here’s what you can do about it,’” said Basey.

Visit the Events page for more information on free internet safety seminars and the Support Us page for a current wish list. No Boundaries International nbint.org Visit the Outreach and Get Involved pages for how you can help.

Families can collect donations for The Dragonfly Home using the wish list on the organization’s website. Gift and gas cards

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Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley Kid Reviewer: Isaac Roldán, age 7 What made the experience stand out?

I had never been to a museum with so many toys. I did not know what to expect. We took a long time getting there in the car and I wasn’t sure where we were going, but now I want to go back.

What was the best part?

All the action figures from Marvel and Star Wars and Transformers were amazing.

What was the worst part?

I wish we could have played with everything in the museum or bought all the toys to bring home.

Will other kids like visiting?

Yes, especially if they know all those characters, too.

Would this experience be enjoyed by your siblings? Why or why not? Yes, we had a really fun time. My brothers and I all played together in the dress-up area even though my oldest brother is 12. Even my youngest brother, who’s 1, could play with us.

If you could do this again, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently? I would be more excited to visit.

46 METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / SEPTEMBER 2019

Does anything you saw match up with what you’ve done before?

All the characters are from movies or cartoons. I’ve played with some of those toys before but I’ve never seen that many in one place. My dad is from the 80s so he has shown us all those action figures before on Instagram and on eBay but I had never seen them in person.

What do you think you’ll remember most about visiting? I’ll remember seeing all the toys with my family after a road trip.

Special thanks to our Kid Reviewer Isaac Roldán and his older brother Sam who have provided insightful and witty kid perspectives on local happenings and attractions for the past three years. Next month, look for the launch of a new section featuring inspirational local kids. If you know a kid making waves in our community, let us know at editor@metrofamilymagazine.com.


Profile for MetroFamily Magazine

MetroFamily Magazine September 2019  

MetroFamily Magazine September 2019