MetroFamily Magazine October 2020

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Kids & Politics

Engaging future voters in the political process

Race Equity in Schools

How you can activate positive change

Mindful Parenting

5 tips for less stress & a calmer home



entures v d a y il m a F for socially distant fun



COMING SOON YOU CAN CHECK OUT GABBY'S DOLLHOUSE ON YOUTUBE! DreamWorks Gabby’s Dollhouse © 2020 DreamWorks Animation LLC. All rights reserved.


Explore the virtual Oklahoma Hall of Fame today!


Telling Oklahoma’s Story Through Its People Since 1927

Share your story!

OPEN Tuesday-Thursday 9 AM to 1 PM


1400 Classen Drive (NW 13th Street and Shartel Avenue) | 405.235.4458 |





11 Fall Favorites

8 Local Family Fun

16 Kids & Politics

20 Exploring Beyond Oklahoma

Find 12 autumn adventures from our advertising partners Engaging future voters in the political process

34 Race Equity in Schools

How local districts and families can activate positive change


5 days of close-to-home Fall Break excitement

Outdoor R&R awaits in Arkansas

26 Real Moms of the Metro

Local activist shares stories from the sit-in movement to today

30 Calendar of Events

Virtual & in-person fall fun

40 Family Mental Wellness 5 tools for mindful parenting

42 Super Kids of the Metro Restore OKC intern cultivates crops and community


42 On the cover Fall Favorites pages 8, 11 & 30 Kids & Politics page 16 Race Equity in Schools page 34 Mindful Parenting page 40









Sarah Taylor

Managing Editor Erin Page

Assistant Editor Lindsay Cuomo

Contributing Writers George Lang Dr. Lisa Marotta Debbie Murnan

Contributing Photographers Bridget Pipkin Caylee Dodson

Art Director Stacy Noakes

Senior Project Manager Kirsten Holder

Director of Events Marissa Raglin



ow are my fellow PSL and fall fanatics holding up? It’s officially my favorite season of the year, but I find myself more often lamenting the things I won’t get to enjoy because of a certain pandemic rather than focusing on all the possibilities that do exist. And my head continues to spin with changes to school situations, political divisiveness and racial inequity plaguing our community. I find myself at a standstill, overwhelmed with situations that feel entirely un-changeable. As usual, the MetroFamily community helps jumpstart me to focus on the positives and empowers me to create change where it’s needed most. As far as those fall family fun plans, my crew may have had to cancel our original Fall Break trip, but travel writer extraordinaire Debbie Murnan comes to the rescue with socially-distant family fun ideas in nearby Arkansas. Our resident guru of seasonal festivity Lindsay Cuomo has reimagined fall fun in the metro, with lists of safe autumnal adventures from Halloween decor tours to outdoor experiences to soak up the best of this season. As I’m feeling overwhelmingly overwhelmed, Dr. Lisa Marotta’s tips and tools for mindful parenting on page 40 are like a breath of crisp fall air, reminding me I do have the time and space to be intentional with my kids and with myself. Instead of getting caught

up in political negativity, I’m going to revel in the lessons of George Lang’s article on talking to kids about politics on page 16, providing my household a powerful, positive framework to engage our kids in discussions and learning opportunities leading up to the presidential election. I’ve had the opportunity over the past months to talk with local leaders about the race inequity that exists in our public school systems in the metro and the responsibility of all parents and educators to actively fight against it. Leaders within various metro school districts and our State Department of Education share the realities and how families can get engaged to create change on page 34. Based on their expert advice, I’m defining my personal action steps to be part of that vital shift toward race equity. Thank you, as always, to this community for helping me and so many others ascertain how we can make a difference. And thank you for helping restore my favorite season. If you need me, I’ll be lighting my pumpkin candles, baking pumpkin-flavored treats and planning my family’s pumpkin patch outings. With gratitude,

Erin Page Managing Editor

Dana Price Laura Beam

Office Manager Andrea Shanks

This Month’s Cover

Contact us

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

Proud member of

Alayna and Diego are Edmond siblings who love visiting metro parks, especially Scissortail Park where their cover photos were taken! Alayna plays soccer, enjoys musical theater with KidsAlive! and loves to act out roles from her favorite movies. The 12-year-old is in the seventh grade and enjoys cooking, shopping and spreading love everywhere she goes. Diego is 5 years old and in kindergarten. He is crazy about cars and monster trucks and enjoys playing soccer, swimming and being outdoors. Alayna and Diego are the children of Diego and Gardenia and siblings to 1-year-old brother Gianluca.

Also a member of Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, Edmond Chamber of Commerce & Moore Chamber of Commerce



Off the Pages Feeling spook-tacular? While it’s true some of the traditional fall and Halloween activities won’t be in play this year, we’ve created the perfect opportunity to don those Halloween costumes! Whether silly, sparkly or spooky, snap a pic of your child or entire family and upload to our virtual Halloween Costume Contest. Then vote on your favorites! The winner will receive a weekend holiday getaway to the Gaylord Texan resort in Grapevine, Texas. Second and third place winners will also win great prizes from our sponsors. Visit to enter. Deadline: October 31 at midnight. SPONSORED BY

Autumn adventure awaits Pumpkin patches, hayrides and farm fun, oh my! The pandemic may have changed some of the ways we typically celebrate the fall season, but never fear: we’ve got plenty of ideas to celebrate autumn’s arrival. From Halloween décor tours and spooky crafts to fall road trips and sociallydistant seasonal activities, find all the fall fun your family can handle at


Get your Geek on! Our annual event Geekapalooza: A STEAM Festival for Kids is going virtual this year! This exciting series of 10, onehour workshops is designed to get kids of all ages engaged in hands-on STEAM activities. Geekapalooza launches on Nov. 8, National STEAM Day, and continues through Nov. 13. Watch sessions live or check out the recordings at your family’s convenience. Plus, enjoy prizes, giveaways and our annual “Geek” costume contest!

Geekapalooza Geekapalooza G Your family can participate in one of two ways: • VIP tickets are $35 per family. Receive a box of materials needed for the STEAM projects, plus coupons to use at metro family fun hot spots. Only 100 of these tickets are available, so secure yours soon! • General admission tickets are $12 per family. Receive a list of simple household products to round up for the STEAM projects.

Geekapalooza Help us learn about stuttering.

Geekapalooza is an annual program of Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma and MetroFamily, and Girl Scouts can earn badges for their participation in the event. Learn more and secure your tickets at geekapalooza.


A STEAM Festival for OKC Fam hosted by Girl Scouts of West Oklahoma and MetroFamily

Who? 3- to 6-year-old children who stutter. What? Your child will receive a speech-language assessment and complete tasks on a computer. eir parent(s)/guardian(s) will �ll out �uestionnaires about them. Where? Child & Family Stuttering Lab at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Time commitment? A total of 2-3 hours over two sessions. Participants will be compensated for time and travel. Who to contact? Principal investigator: Dr. Katerina Ntourou (405) 271-4214 ext 46069,

IRB 9573 Study Title: Attentional bias, effortful control, and childhood stuttering e University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution




5-Day Fall Break Planner

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a stressful year. With so many changes in life and school, we all need a little fun to look forward to. No matter when (or how long) your Fall Break is this year, add one or all of these OKC metro outings to your schedule.


Explore downtown hot spots! Oklahoma Contemporary (11 NW 11th St) is celebrating the grand opening of its new location with the inaugural exhibition Bright Golden Haze, which focuses on artists’ varied use of light. Kid favorites like Star Ceiling, an LED show depicting the night sky, and Black Glass Eclipse are unique examples of the diversity of the interactive medium. The museum is free to visit but advance reservations are required since capacity is limited in the galleries to ensure a safe experience.



Afterward, head outside and interact with light in the outdoor installation Aqueous by NYC artist Jen Lewis. The Candyland board game-like pathway reflects the sky during the day and at night lights up and reacts to visitors’ steps.

Bring history to life! Even though the kids have a day off from school, that doesn’t mean they can’t have fun learning! Kids and adults alike will enjoy learning and play at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s (1700 NW 63rd St) brand new outdoor play space, Liichokoshkomo. The multi-million dollar interactive space tells the stories of some pioneering people who made the West their home. Designed by a movie set company, you can explore a train depot, trading post and different Native structures like towering cliff dwellings and a Kiowa tipi. Prosperity Junction, a replica turn-ofthe-twentiethcentury cattle town, is another kid favorite where families can stroll down main street lined with life-size shops and businesses. Museum staff have fun dropin craft activities planned for Oct. 15, 16 and 19. Museum admission is $12.50 for adults and $5.75 for kids ages 6 to 12. Kids 5 and under get in free. Just a few minutes to the south, the Oklahoma State Capitol (2300 N Lincoln Blvd) welcomes families for self-guided tours on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Explore the unique architecture of the nearly 100-year-old building as well as public art, the Oklahoma Veterans Memorial and a working oil well. Extend the fun with a stop at Harn Homestead (1721 N Lincoln Blvd), an outdoor museum exploring territorial life in Oklahoma. Don’t miss nearby William Freemont Harn Park (NE 16th St & N Stiles), a farm-themed park with a pretend tractor and a rooster play structure.


Next, fuel up with a picnic at Scissortail Park (655 S Robinson Ave). Afterward, get the sillies out with a spin around the Sky Rink, an outdoor roller skating surface. Or rent a pedal boat and cruise the park’s lake. Continue your fun with a tour of Myriad Gardens’ (301 W Reno Ave) pumpkin murals! Six gourd-riffic murals crafted out of organic materials make for festive backdrops to celebrate fall with some Insta-worthy pics to round out your day.


Museum hop in Norman! Learn about the bizarre creatures that roamed the earth even before the dinosaurs at Sam Noble Museum’s (2401 Chautauqua Ave, Norman) Permian Monsters: Life Before the Dinosaurs exhibition. 290 million years ago the land and sea were home to some strange beings, and you can check out what they looked through the vivid artwork, 3D sculptures and fossils on display. Sam Noble has five other galleries filled with engaging sights including a two-story dino fight scene and a record-breaking skeleton of a Pentaceratops with a 10-and-a-half-foot-tall skull.

October is National Native American Heritage Month and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (555 Elm Ave, Norman) has a collection on display with works from six renowned Kiowa artists. These artists created several paintings featuring their culture, acting as agents of cultural preservation while developing their own artistic styles. The museum offers complimentary admission. The University of Oklahoma requires masks to be worn by all staff and visitors when inside university facilities, including these two museums. Enjoy the outdoors with a stop at Reaves Park (2501 Jenkins Ave, Norman). The park features a large wooden play structure and plenty of space to roam as well as a few geocaching treasures to hunt for.


Experience Edmond! Darci Lynne Farmer wowed TV audiences with her ventriloquist act on America’s Got Talent and now the Edmond Historical Society and Museum (431 S Blvd, Edmond) is sharing her story of success from placing first in the Edmond’s Got Talent competition to winning the popular TV show. In this first-ever museum exhibit dedicated to Darci Lynne, families can see some of her first practice puppets and scripts as well as her costumes and tour posters. Nearby is the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse (124 E 2nd St, Edmond), which was the first schoolhouse built in Oklahoma. The structure is free to visit and tours are provided by the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust. Follow them on Facebook for updates on tour dates. Pack up a picnic to enjoy at nearby Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond). For older kids the onsite disc golf course or skate park provide options for active fun, while little ones can explore several playgrounds and watch the ducks near the pond. Or simply take a leisurely stroll around the 5 miles of multi-use paved trails while enjoying the fall foliage. Continue your afternoon outdoor fun at Wings’ annual Fall Festival & Pumpkin Patch (13700 N Eastern Ave, Edmond), which features hayrides, pumpkin train rides, a corn maze, pony rides and outdoor games. Pumpkins are available for purchase, and all proceeds benefit Wings Special Needs Community. The festival and patch are open through Oct. 18 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and admission is $6. Staff and volunteers will wear masks and guests are encouraged to as well. Hand sanitation stations will be available.




Level up on outdoor fun! Outdoor fun has been a common theme for 2020 and RIVERSPORT Adventures (800 Riversport Dr) is taking the fun to a whole new level this month. Each Saturday, families can take part in a variety of outdoor-themed excitement in addition to the usual attractions. The Outdoor October event brings in pop-up shops, food trucks, authentic German food and more.


On Oct. 17, families can take part in a 15-mile guided bike ride and a free bike maintenance clinic and watch Rad, a 1986 BMX movie, with Olympic gold medalist Bart Connor. The following Saturday includes geocaching treasure hunts and free outdoor clinics focused on camping, hiking and cooking outdoors. Admission is free but some activities require a fee. Parking is $5. For more unique adventure, head south to Magnolia Blossom Ranch (2901 NW 16th St, Newcastle) where the cure-all for all that is 2020 awaits: an afternoon with alpacas! Enjoy feeding, petting and playing with these gentle giants while you tour the farm, learn about their care and hear the benefits of their silky-soft fleece. Advance reservations are required and accommodate one family at a time.

#OKCFamilyFun is sponsored by Crestone Ridge.

(405) 820-6851


Nothing says outdoor fall fun more than a visit to a pumpkin patch and the metro is home to several options! Get your fill of farm fun from hayrides and corn mazes to petting zoos and more. Check out our comprehensive list at pumpkin-patches.

Convenient living at its finest! • Yukon schools • Close to the Kilpatrick Turnpike • Clubhouse with pool • Playground • Beautiful custom homes

Fall Fun Guide Fall, you come at the perfect time each year — and we need you this year more than ever! The crisp air, smell of pumpkin spice and peeks of autumn colors —and the year 2020 in general — have us ready to infuse our family calendar with safe fall fun. From the spooky to the silly and everything in between, check out these options from our advertisers. Find all our fall guides at

Día de los Muertos

October 3 • 10:00 a.m. – Noon Create a colorful sugar skull rock, a unique twist on a holiday tradition. Make tissue paper marigolds and papel picado, colorful symbols of the holiday, and enjoy storytime.

Fall Break Drop-In Activites October 15, 16, 19 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

October 15 • Fall Tree Finger Painting October 16 • Foam Fall Leaf Wreath October 19 • Beaded Pumpkin

Rustic Roots Pumpkin Patch Through Oct. 31 105340 Greer Rd, Lamont 580-716-3608,

Free for members or with Museum admission. All activities available while supplies last.

Rustic Roots Pumpkin Patch features pumpkins and fall décor as well as a 10-acre corn maze, petting zoo with baby animal encounters, corn cannon, hay fort with a giant slide, hayrides, jump pad, games and more. After dark on select Saturdays, the corn maze is haunted and attendees can watch a scary movie in the barn. Admission is $10. Monday-Wednesday, 4-7 p.m.; ThursdaySaturday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. & Sunday, 1-7 p.m. Oct. 10, 17 & 24: maze, 8-10 p.m.; movie, 9-11 p.m.



11 1700 Northeast 63rd Street Oklahoma City, OK 73111

Staying Active & Connected to friends with Girl Scouts TM

At Home .

Ongoing Events By His Hand Mini Farm Fall Festival & Haunted Trail Oct. 1-31 17801 State Hwy 39, Lexington 405-201-1962 Head to the farm for a spooky good time! Explore the pumpkin patch, hop aboard a hayride, journey through a haunted trail (or a mystery trail for younger kids), hang out with farm animals and so much more. Farm, $10; haunted trail, $15. Thursday, noon-10 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, noonmidnight.

The Great Pumpkin Patch at Myriad Gardens Oct. 16-25 301 W Reno Ave 405-445-7080, While it is not possible to hold Pumpkinville this year, organizers at the gardens have put together a fabulous alternative. Visitors can enjoy brightlycolored murals and mosaics around the grounds as well as corn stalk mazes, a trick-or-treat weekend, pumpkin decorating, fall floral displays, scarecrows and other fun things to do outside at a safe social distance. A variety of pumpkins will be available for purchase. The all-ages event is FREE to attend; participation prices vary.

Storybook Forest Oct. 23-30 Arcadia Lake 7200 E 15th St, Edmond 405-216-7471, Fairytales come to life on a fun, not-scary trail filled with roaming characters at Spring Creek Park. Additional activities include story time and a campfire. Admission charged for children; adults in the same car with child(ren) are free. Admission is $12 per child and tickets can be purchased online only. The trail is open nightly from 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Day Events

Sign up today at

Fall Y’all at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame

Steampunk Fall Celebration at The Cowboy

Oct. 17 Oklahoma Hall of Fame, 1400 Classen Dr 405-235-4458,

Oct. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 1700 NE 63rd St 405-478-2250,

Welcome fall with the whole family at the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Fall Y’all celebration. The one-day fall festival will be set up outside, weather permitting, and allow families to come and go as they please. Enjoy pumpkin painting, plantings, crafts, watching Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and carnival games. Activities begin at 10 a.m. Museum admission is free throughout the day.


Fun and fantasy abound at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Create your own Steampunk accessories, explore the Design-a-Robot maker space and create your own mini bot out of everyday objects, while supplies last. Activities are free with museum admission. No reservations required. In addition, families can enjoy special activities at the museum during Fall Break. Dropin Oct. 15, 16 & 19 to create your own masterpieces from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.





Do You Have a Child That is a Problem Feeder?

SkateGalaxyOKC’s Spook and Roll

Yukon’s Pumpkin Harvest Craft Festival

Oct. 31, 1-4:45 p.m. & 7 p.m.-midnight 5800 NW 36th St 405-605-2758,

Nov. 7, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. 1200 Lakeshore Dr, Yukon 405-350-8937,

Go retro at SkateGalaxyOKC’s Spook and Roll Halloween party. Families can skate to spooky tunes, play games to win prizes and compete in a costume contest! Again this year, families with younger kids can start their festive fun earlier with an afternoon session. Admission is $10 for the afternoon and $15 ($12 if in costume) for the evening. 1-4:45 p.m.; 7 p.m.midnight. Also check out the family skate night on Oct. 15, fall break day skate on Oct. 16 and all-night skate on Nov. 24.

Yukon’s Dale Robertson Center comes alive with fall spirit featuring more than 45 booths from across Oklahoma selling candles, wood art, needlework, home décor and more. There will also be a bake sale with proceeds going toward Friends of the Park. Admission is free.

Fall Break Camps with space still available Thunder Youth Basketball Fall Break E-Series + Science Camp Oct. 12-16

Does your child: - eat the same foods every day? - eat less than 20 foods? - cry or fall apart with new foods? - refuse an entire category of food? - eat a different meal than the rest of the family?

Our Certified Feeding Therapists Can Help! Contact us today for more information


Kids can hang out with Thunder Youth Basketball coaches for five days of virtual training that will help young athletes of all skill levels grow in the game of basketball. Plus, Science Museum Oklahoma will join the online camp for a daily science experiment! All items needed will be included in the camper’s gear kit, mailed directly to your home. Instructional sessions will be offered live daily (no basketball goal required) with access to recorded sessions and daily challenges. For ages 6-14. $65 per camper. Two sessions: 10-10:30 a.m. & 11-11:30 a.m. Register by Oct. 7.

Science Museum Oklahoma Fall Break Camps Oct. 15 & 16 2020 Remington Pl 602-3760 This year there are two ways to participate in SMO camps: in person and virtually. Both are jam-packed with hands-on activities that explore science. In-person class sizes are limited to allow for social distancing or you can choose to learn from the comfort of your home. For kids in grades PreK-6. $30-$90.

Cadence Equestrian Fall Break Horse Camp Oct. 15 & 16 14150 S Pine St, Edmond 348-7469 Whether you are new to riding or want to expand your horse skills, learn at Camp Cadence, a day camp that is all about horses. No previous horse experience necessary. Safe camp horses used for indoor and outdoor riding. For ages 5-15. $195. 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

SoccerCity Fall Break Camps Oct. 15, 16 & 19 4520 Old Farm Rd 748-3888 At SoccerCity, kids can have fun and stay active while skill-building. Groups will be divided based on age and ability and kids can attend one, two or all three days. For ages 4-15. Full day and half day options available. $25-$125. 9 a.m.-noon & 1-4 p.m.


The 5ual Ann

Rustic Roots Pumpkin Patch & Corn Maze! September 26th October 31st, 2020 Thur-Sat 10am-7pm Sunday 1-7pm

• 10 Acre Corn Maze • Petting Zoo • Hay Fort • Hay Rides • Corn Cannon • Barrel Train & more! Rustic Roots Events & More

105340 Greer Rd, Lamont (1.5 hrs N of OKC Metro)


Now with 3 locations to serve you! Call (405) 840-1686 to schedule an evaluation!

Thank you for voting us Best Special Needs Therapy Service Provider! Our therapists provide fun, inventive and playful interventions that address your child's specific needs. We offer physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech language therapy.

Play • Learn • Thrive

Edmond - 14715 Bristol Park Blvd. OKC - 5701 SE 74th St. Yukon - 1445 Health Center Pkwy

Camps | Bi hday Pa ies | Group Rates METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2020


Kids & Politics Conversations to spur civic engagement BY GEORGE LANG

My parents talked to me about politics, and it turned me into an enthusiastic voter. Because the memory is so vivid, I believe my first experience with voting came when I was 4 years old. I remember going into an actual voting booth and only being tall enough to see a little of what was going on as my mother, wearing a long wool coat, pulled a lever that closed a curtain behind us. She flipped levers beside the names of several candidates, and then she pulled the lever again, registering her vote and reopening the curtains. The mystery and solemnity of the voting process was magnified by the mechanical noises going on behind those opaque curtains. I thought it was so cool, and by the time I turned 18, I was particularly bummed when I learned that those hulking machines were things of the past. Connecting arrows with a felt tip pen was decidedly less dramatic, but the process of voting still gave me chills. Throughout my childhood, there were issues of Time and Newsweek on the coffee table and I read them voraciously. I was a weird kid, but I was an informed weird kid whose parents engaged him on current events and made the evening news daily family viewing. Decades later, in 2012, my wife took our son to vote at a nearby church. It was the first time he could understand the importance, the nearly sacred responsibility of casting a vote. By that time, he had witnessed a few years worth of 24-hour news and, even though that curtain was replaced by cardboard dividers, he still thought it was pretty cool.


Engaging kids in conversation When parents do not talk about politics with their children or involve them in their voting rituals, their children usually do not become actively engaged in politics. According to a 2016 survey by, just 10 percent of parents believe it is good to start talking about politics and issues with children at any age, and only 46 percent engage their kids on the subject. Of the remainder who avoid politics at the dinner table, 90 percent of respondents said they did not believe their children would understand. Knowledge is power, and it is always appropriate to give your children that power. In 1973, my family was living in suburban Houston when my teacher at A.J. Martin Elementary School canceled a visit to the Houston Zoo, a long ride by bus on the Southwest Freeway. Instead, our class walked a mile, hand-in-hand, to the recently built McDonald’s, where we were shown how the shake machine worked and enjoyed some hamburgers. Now, anyone who has visited the zoo at Hermann Park knows this was not an equal trade, but McDonald’s was a good way to mollify a class full of disappointed kids. When I asked my parents why the plan had changed, they explained a letter that went out to all parents informing them the school was restricting long-distance field trips due to the energy crisis. Thanks to that McDonald’s trip, I learned about the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and embargoes. I was a kindergartener.

At that same time, the Watergate hearings were being shown daily, and I watched them while most kids watched The Brady Bunch. By the time President Richard Nixon resigned, I could identify John Sirica, the former boxer and chief judge who presided over the trials of Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, by his wiry eyebrows. My young life was impacted by presidential misconduct, the energy crisis, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the recession that followed. The only time I experienced information overload was while watching Dan Rather’s five-part documentary on the nuclear arms race, The Defense of the United States, at age 14. My conservative parents were not prepared for the anti-war feelings that emerged after I watched the documentary’s simulation of a 15-megaton nuclear attack on Strategic Air Command. While those were strange and nightmarish years, our children now live in a time of full-contact political rhetoric on television and social media, global climate change, Black Lives Matter protests against police violence and a deadly pandemic that has been unnecessarily politicized. Compared to my son’s experience of staying home for most

of his 15th year of life to avoid contracting the coronavirus, the 1970s were like summer camp. But Sam was born into a consequential time. When he was 3-and-a-half years old, the United States elected its first Black president. We pointed out President Barack Obama on television and taught Sam to say his name. By the time the 2012 election rolled around, he could talk about the issues with greater clarity than most 7 year olds. As a freshly minted 10-year-old, he was ready to talk when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision that legalized gay marriage in 2015, and we did. We prepared him with the facts, regardless of our being cisgender straight parents, because facts are always more valuable than opinions. Today, I spend a significant part of each week writing about politics, but as a longtime journalist, I back up my opinions with hard facts. As such, most of our discussions at home are fact-based rather than uncontrolled deployment of opinions. My wife and I are political animals, but we ground our political ideals in a foundation of reality. So, when any politician showers their

opponent with ad hominem attacks or a cascade of lies, we back up and try to discern the truth buried in all the shrapnel of political warfare. The results are gratifying since Sam can now watch the news and divine the truth while positively identifying the falsities. This was, to be sure, a gradual process, but sometimes the reality of life in 2020 broadsides parents. A truth tailored to your child’s specific sensitivities is far more effective than a lie, or even simple omission, designed to protect them from emotional harm. By having frequent and casual discussions — not lectures — about current events and politics, most parents can gauge how to approach even difficult talks about race, gender, human rights and the politics that surround them all. Sam is known to his classmates as having strong opinions about all of those things, and as we find ourselves in the midst of an extremely consequential election, he is vocal in defending his principles. Most importantly, he is fully capable of calling me out when he sees me going off the rails and can tell when I am spouting opinions rather than verifiable facts. Everyone in our house has political opinions, but he knows what those smell like.



Part of our continuing rapport over politics involves the teaching of respect, something that is mirrored in the teachings at Sam’s school, Odyssey Learning Academy. Because the school offers narrative reports rather than letter grades, we learn about how Sam interacts with classmates, including those with whom he disagrees politically. He is firm, but he understands that the kids with whom he disagrees are not bad people because of their political beliefs.

Preparing future voters In 2020, our politics are unusually disjointed, with deep divisions felt over nearly every current topic. The best thing a conscientious parent can do is have frequent heartfelt conversations, so frequent that they become natural occurrences, so that any political subject is on the table and fair game. Find things that are relatable, and most of all, can be humanized. Every event or circumstance has a human component to it, and it is far more important to see the impact politics has on our neighbors, our friends, our family and people we don’t even know instead of merely objectifying political reality. Every chance possible, kids should be steered toward reliable media sources that do not merely offer “both-sides” journalism but are dedicated to finding and reporting truth. Let them read or watch news aimed at adults, and if they are exposed to social media, always attempt to provide context for the impassioned and occasionally nonsensical arguments they encounter.


STORYBOOK FOREST October 23–30 (Closed on Halloween)

5:30–8:30p ( Times may change) | $12 Per Child Starting October 1st all tickets will be for sale ONLINE ONLY at

STORYBOOKFORESTOK.COM Volunteers & Additional Info please call 216–7471 Sponsored by Arcadia Lake and Edmond Electric Vehicles not purchasing a child’s ticket will be charged the daily entrance fee.


It really just comes down to engagement. If you engage with your children on politics, they will engage with politics as adults.

And they will vote.

Engaging kids in the

political process BY ERIN PAGE

Even if they’re not watching the nightly news, kids today are likely just as bombarded with information about the upcoming election season as adults. Whether through social media or even what their friends are saying at school, those messages can be confusing and difficult to wade through. Parents can provide safe places for conversation and education to help kids feel part of and informed about election season, as is appropriate developmentally. Use these tips to get kids engaged:

Start with family conversations, first asking your kids open-ended questions about their opinions on the issues and candidates.

Seek out kidfriendly news for younger kids, or watch the news together with older kids, followed by family discussions. Read kid-friendly books about U.S. politics and discuss the election process. Ask your kids which national and societal issues they are most interested in. Research candidates’ stances on issues important to your child.

Talk about political ads kids see on TV or social media. Discuss the claims made, how the ad is used to persuade voters and why negative ads are used.

Watch political debates together. Compare media coverage through varied outlets and discuss why they differ. Check the credibility of candidates’ claims.

Talk about candidates’ social media platforms and posts. Ask your child which they are drawn to and why.

Discuss the mudslinging and fear-mongering that can accompany any election. Discuss how to determine when candidates are seeking to appeal to voter emotions versus discussing policy.




Fall Road Trip


Western Arkansas W

ithout a doubt, the year 2020 has turned our world upside down. The relentless and ever-changing updates on the COVID-19 pandemic have left us weary, frightened and desperately seeking hope for better days ahead. More than ever, time with our family in the outdoors has become sacred and therapeutic, serving as prime opportunity to escape from our homes and yet feel safe while doing so.


Whether you are ready for a road trip now or you’re just planning for a future getaway, western Arkansas is an incredible destination to consider. The Ozark Mountains are on full display here, where forest trails frequently lead to stunning overlooks and waterfalls. Bentonville, located in northwest Arkansas, brings a perfect blend of outdoor adventure and indoor spaces to delight in art and delicious food. And with fall on the horizon, the Ozarks are a sight to behold from mid-October to early November, so your family can take in all those glorious colors of autumn along the way. Enjoy our family’s favorite long weekend itinerary! ARTICLE AND PHOTOS BY DEBBIE MURNAN



Day One Fort Smith, Arkansas is a great place to start your trip, located less than 3 hours from the OKC metro area. If you can get there by lunchtime, Rolando’s Restaurante will please both your eyes and your taste buds with the most colorful and beautifully-plated Latin cuisine. Guest favorites include the queso blanco, enchiladas and el plato Cubano. The restaurant’s interior is its own work of art, decorated with vibrant colors and Ecuadorian tiles, but they also have an outdoor dining space and curbside pickup options. Next, make your way north toward Devil’s Den State Park. This iconic park, located in the Lee Creek Valley, is studded with unique caverns and multi-use trails surrounded by the Ozark National Forest. A remarkable rock dam spans the creek next to Lake Devil, where families can fish or rent pedal boats. The most popular trail in the park, especially for small children, is the Devil’s Den Self-Guided Trail. This 1.5-mile loop has several points of interest to keep the kids engaged and excited to learn about their surroundings. The park offers 17 full-service cabins, many built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). They have been modernized with kitchens, heat and air and satellite TV. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can have peace of mind knowing Arkansas State Parks are taking extra precautions by allowing 24 to 48 hours between guests in all lodges and cabins. Lake Fort Smith State Park is just a 30-minute drive from Devil’s Den for even more exploration. The visitor center offers several fun exhibits for children to learn about pioneer life, including a replica log cabin and covered wagon. Arkansas State Parks require guests to wear masks prior to entering their indoor facilities. For families ready to take in those majestic lake views, the marina at Lake Fort Smith offers boat and kayak rentals.



Day Two My family members all agree the most incredible panoramic views of the Ozark Mountains are from the White Rock Mountain Recreation Area, which is just an hour away from Devil’s Den and Lake Fort Smith State Parks. Getting there is half the fun! All roads leading in are well-maintained but do have a few gravel sections that some drivers may feel more comfortable traversing in a SUV or truck. Once you arrive, I highly recommend hiking the White Rock Rim Trail, a 2-mile loop that encircles the mountain’s peak and yields breathtaking vistas. Keep in mind, there are several high cliff areas where children and leashed pets need to be monitored closely. We embarked on this hike when our boys were 5 and 6 years old and they did great, so don’t let this warning keep you from exploring the area. Enjoy one of the trail’s four stone shelters along your trek, perfect for a lunch picnic with your family. After an adventurous morning, take a break in the car as you head toward Bentonville, which is about 1 hour and 45 minutes away. This beautiful city in northwest Arkansas has been home to Walmart since 1950, after Sam Walton purchased a store in its town square. Our family’s favorite Bentonville attraction is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, which was founded by Alice Walton, Sam Walton’s daughter, in 2011. Admission is always free for guests and the museum remains open during the pandemic with extra safety measures in place, like required face masks and timed-entry tickets

you can reserve in advance. The museum features a wide range of American art, from Colonial to contemporary eras. The outdoor walking trails are brilliantly woven with sculptural art, evidence of the museum’s mission to appreciate and connect with nature. An original Frank Lloyd Wright home stands proudly in the center of the grounds and is worth touring once it’s safe to reopen to the public. There are lots of hotel and Airbnb options to consider near Bentonville, but we were most impressed with the new Trails Edge Cabins located in Bella Vista, nestled among wooded hills and rocky bluffs, where mountain bikers and hikers have easy access to the Back 40 Trail System. Northwest Arkansas is truly a biker’s paradise with miles of both paved and dirt flow trails as well as several bike parks and pump tracks for even the youngest bikers to enjoy. The culinary scene is expansive in Bentonville, where local chefs embrace the farm-to-table culture, offering guests healthy and unique dining experiences. Crêpes Paulette will satisfy everyone with a wide variety of sweet and savory combinations. Patio dining is available but they also take online orders for curbside pickup. The Preacher’s Son consistently treats guests to exceptional service and artfully crafted meals in a beautifully restored historic church. The atmosphere is ethereal, with natural light pouring in through art glass windows. Head chef Matthew Cooper has a passion for creating rustic and flavorful dishes, many of which are gluten-free.

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See this work and more in person at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.


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Opening October 17! Peter Turnley (American, b. 1955) The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Berlin, Germany, November (detail), 1989, Archival pigment print, 20 x 24 in. (sheet) Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Gift of Ryon and Lauren Beyer in honor of the Museum’s 75th anniversary, 2019.173 © Peter Turnley



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Day Three Before heading home, consider exploring a familyfriendly trail that leads to alluring waterfalls and creeks within the Tanyard Creek Nature Park. Nearby, step inside the Cooper Chapel, an awe-inspiring cathedral composed of glass and steel where towering arches create transformative light and shadows. For a more historic experience, families can even visit a former Civil War battlefield at the U.S. Pea Ridge Military Park. Cell phone driving tours are available for guests to learn more about the significant people and events of the Civil War era, or you can stretch your legs on some of the site’s hiking trails. Your drive home will take you right though Siloam Springs, a perfect place to stop for a mid-day meal at Fratelli’s Wood Fired Pizzeria, conveniently located within walking distance from the city parks surrounding Sager Creek. Expect plenty of shady places to picnic with your family while enjoying the views of cascading fountains and stately trees. After a trip like this, you’ll see why Arkansas is called “The Natural State.” It’s an ideal place to renew your family’s wanderlust spirit while sharing some incredible outdoor adventures together.





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The heart of an Activist

Ruth Rolfe’s story

Ruth Rolfe was 14 years old when she saw a story on the evening news about a group of students participating in sit-ins to protest policies of segregation. Inspired to action, she told her parents she wanted to get involved. It was 1958 in Oklahoma City, and Rolfe’s father, actively engaged in the NAACP, connected his only child with civil rights activist Clara Luper. Rolfe would spend the next three years advocating for Black community members to have access to formerly white-only restaurants, amusement parks, swimming pools and other community resources. Rolfe would take lessons learned from powerful civil rights activists, including Luper, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., her parents and other local leaders, to form her own life as an advocate for equity and equality. Her careers with the Community Action Agency and as a diversity officer with Cox Communications and her volunteer efforts for causes like voter education and access for people with disabilities, inspired by her son Jarvis who has Down syndrome, were sparked in the young teen’s eyes and heart, desiring to affect positive change. BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS BY FOTO ARTS PHOTOGRAPHY AND COURTESY OF OKLAHOMA HISTORICAL SOCIETY.



The sit-in movement

What stands out most for Rolfe about the sit-in movement in Oklahoma City is the spirit and camaraderie among the students and the loving leadership from Luper. During the summer, the various teams of local youth would participate in sit-ins six days a week. During the school year, the work continued on Saturdays. The students divided into teams and walked to various restaurants that served whites only, protesting peacefully by sitting at lunch counters or tables, waiting to be served. “We really just wanted to sit at a restaurant and have a hamburger and a Coke,” said Rolfe. “It was frustrating, seeing other people have access to what we didn’t just because of the color of our skin.” But there was much more to the movement than the public demonstrations. The students met weekly at Luper’s home to learn history, the importance of which was emphasized often by the students’ disciplined leader, and receive training in non-violence. There was strategy and precision behind every move the group made.

“She was tenacious,” said Rolfe of Luper. “She always expected us to do our best. She taught us to speak well, she included prayer in what we did, she did not mind speaking up and speaking out. She was very brave.” Rolfe wasn’t afraid during the sit-ins, mostly because the students traveled in a group and were trained in responding non-violently when words or actions escalated among staff or patrons. When the sit-ins became intense, the group sang freedom songs, which kept them grounded and focused and gave an outlet for their anxiety. The Oklahoma City group was not subjected to as much violence as they witnessed in other parts of the country, where youth protesters were met with water hoses and dogs. But the work was not without repercussions. “I was arrested, oh, a couple of times,” Rolfe recalls. “We were not put behind bars but taken to the police station and kept in a group.” Rolfe’s father, along with an attorney and other leaders from the NAACP, would arrive to get the students and leaders released. One of Rolfe’s favorite parts of her work with the group of youth was the opportunity to travel to the NAACP national conventions, for which the organization and Luper chartered a bus. For some students, it was their first trip away from home. Rolfe attended conventions in Indianapolis and Atlanta and participated in the March on Washington in 1963. Rolfe relished traveling to new places, witnessing presentations by leaders in the Civil Rights Movement and hearing those leaders discuss strategy in various meetings. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. signed Rolfe’s high school yearbook in Atlanta in 1962. Over the course of Rolfe’s three years participating in sit-ins, she witnessed some restaurants changing their policies and opening to Black community members. As more restaurants desegregated, the group also focused on gaining access to amusement parks and pools.

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Community champion

Rolfe’s experiences as a student activist and the influence of Luper and others remained strong as she began her career, first working for Oklahoma City’s Community Action Agency during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Rolfe held a number of positions, helping organize community members in low-income areas to address issues in their communities. Rolfe wrote grants and reports to secure funding for the nonprofit organization and enjoyed working with a variety of agencies around the metro to accomplish their mission. “In one of the communities, there was not a park for Black children to play in,” recalls Rolfe. “Really the only playground equipment was at the school, and that was locked after school, so we tried to find resources to provide a park for the children to play in.” Rolfe shifted gears in the 1980s to work for Cox Communications Oklahoma, from which she retired a few years ago. She began her career with Cox in the employee training and development sector, then transitioned to the diversity training field and would write the first Affirmative Action Program for the Oklahoma office. The corporate office provided diversity training templates, and at the local level, Rolfe and her teammates developed and implemented ways to bring them to life for their employees in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The training raised the level of awareness among employees about the prevalence of racism and how to address it. “Training was part of it, but we also looked at personnel policies and procedures, like hiring and promotions,” said Rolfe. “Training can’t change a person’s heart, but it can open their eyes and [make them] more accepting of people from other cultures and backgrounds. When you have policies in place and hold a leadership team accountable, it provides avenues to be open.” Beyond the basic diversity training, Rolfe shared personal experiences, which helped employees internalize the team’s message and acknowledge how racism impacted those around them. When Rolfe retired from Cox, one of the company’s technicians, who was also an artist, presented her with a chalk drawing depicting an experience she regularly shared in trainings. As a young child, Rolfe and a cousin were visiting their grandparents in Athens, Texas. During a trip to the local courthouse, Rolfe and her cousin snuck a drink out of the water fountain labeled “white only.” The drawing of that rebellious act by two little girls and the fact that her story so impacted the technician mean much to Rolfe. “People would get teary in some of the classes,” remembers Rolfe. “They would open up and talk about their own prejudices, both Black and white. We had an opportunity to help people feel what the training was about, not just look at it from an academic perspective.”




Balancing career and children

Rolfe was a full-time working mom of two boys, and a single mom when she and their father divorced. She’s quick to credit the boys’ grandparents for helping with school drop off and other responsibilities. Rolfe’s older son John is now deceased, but she remains connected to him through two grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Her younger son Jarvis, who turns 50 this month, has Down syndrome and lives with Rolfe. “He is the joy of my life,” said Rolfe. “When he was a baby and I was going to the pediatrician with him, I was bemoaning that here I have this child who is different. The doctor said, ‘Just treat him like any other kid and he will be OK.’ So that’s been my attitude.” Jarvis attended Casady School, was a Special Olympian in track and field and now bowls regularly with a team of coworkers at Meadows Center for Opportunity, where he has worked since age 19. Rolfe feels fortunate that Jarvis is high-functioning, has developed his own network through church and with family and has a very active life. Knowing not all children or adults with disabilities have that same support system, through a variety of groups, Rolfe has been an advocate for others with disabilities, highlighting the need for access to things like transportation, recreational activities and medical attention. Rolfe and Jarvis share cooking duties and chores, and Rolfe says they meet in the kitchen at mealtimes between their independent activities and obligations, she volunteering with the food and clothing ministry at her church and serving as a board member for the Oklahoma State Council on Aging and he working with his church’s men’s group, singing with the men's chorus and serving as an usher.

Is it possible to end racism? Rolfe believes the division in our country fueled by racism is founded at least partially on the idea that providing equity and equality to certain groups or races negates it for others. “Jarvis is different, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t have access to what I have access to,” explains Rolfe. “Women are different, but that didn’t mean they shouldn’t have access to vote. My access does not take away your access. Giving justice and equal rights doesn’t mean they are taken away from any other.” When Rolfe considers that racial injustice and systemic racism are still so prevalent, she doesn’t believe the fight is hopeless, but she does hone in on the word “still.” “Still. We’re still doing this,” said Rolfe. “Maybe in different ways and levels, but the root cause is still there. Legislation may put a BandAid on it but it hasn’t addressed as much as we’d like the heart of the people. Whatever we can begin to do to reach the heart of individuals is what is most helpful in the long run. Laws and legislation may mean I have to tolerate you, but they don’t mean I have to care about you.” Always a strong advocate of non-violence as taught by Luper, Rolfe believes consistent, civil interactions are key for long-term change and are the responsibility of every individual and family. For parents, introspectively looking at who their kids play with, what the family is reading or watching on TV and whether they

are discussing social justice in the home can set a strong example of valuing anti-racist behavior. Having conversations about racism within families or friend groups can be uncomfortable but can also promote growth. “You don’t always have to agree or see things the same way, but be open to how you see it and why,” said Rolfe of conversations about racism. “Dig deeply enough and you’ll find more common ground. Parents want the best for their children, no matter what color.” In addition to visiting local museums, playing in the backyard and crafting together, Rolfe talks with her great-grandchildren about racism. As Rolfe watches other young people in the metro responding to systemic racism and calling for change, she has some advice from her own teen years to share. “Young people [should] look at solutions beyond the protest,” advises Rolfe. “Marching is good; we marched a lot. But we have to march with purpose.” That purpose begins with celebrating differences, understanding and appreciating the beauty of diversity within the community. “Different does not mean better or worse; it’s not a value judgment,” said Rolfe. “Different is good; that’s why we have rainbows and seasons. Different should not be looked at as a reason to treat others badly.”

Halloween Costume Contest Ghosts, ghouls, werewolves and vampires alike are invited to enter MetroFamily's Halloween Costume Contest! Parents can submit a photo of their kiddo (or the entire family) dressed in spooky-or-not Halloween costumes for a chance to win. Lots of prizes will be awarded, including the grand prize of a two-night stay during the holidays at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, TX. Enter between Oct. 1-31!






TOP FREE EVENTS Through Oct. 31

Watch as more than 20 local muralists add their creative touches to the walls in the Plaza District (NW 16th St) during the FREE Plaza Walls Mural Expo, which culminates with a gallery exhibition on Oct. 9. Stop in to see the artists in action and celebrate the unique public art in the district.

Tuesdays in October

Kick back and relax under the shade trees at Mitch Park (1501 W Covell Rd, Edmond). Families are welcome to hang out and refresh in the provided hammocks or bring their own at the FREE High Noon Hangout. Tuesdays, noon-1 p.m. 359-4630,

Oct. 10

Hang out at Oklahoma Contemporary’s FREE Second Saturday event (11 NW 11th St). Take part in a socially distant afternoon of outdoor art activities celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day, spotlighting Native American culture and contemporary practices. The event is free to attend, but tickets are required. All ages are welcome. 1-4 p.m. 951-0000,

Oct. 16

Enjoy a FREE outdoor screening of Scooby-Doo on the lawn behind the Jackie Cooper Gym (1024 E Main St, Yukon). The movie starts at dusk and


snacks and drinks are available for purchase. 350-8937,

Oct. 17

It’s fall y’all and the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1400 Classen Dr) is bringing back its annual celebration. Stop in for pumpkin painting, crafts, carnival games and more during the museum’s FREE Fall Y’all Festival. Activities will be held outside, weather permitting, and staff will be frequently sanitizing. 10 a.m. 235-4458,

Oct. 24

Save the date for another fun event at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial Rd). Kids 6 & up are invited to take part in a FREE Haunt the Hike to learn about some of the coolest nocturnal animals and witness how the park comes to life after hours. Costumes encouraged. Preregister. 6-7:30 p.m. 297-1429,

Oct. 26-31

The annual FREE National Weather Festival hosted by the National Weather Center is going virtual this year with a week of activities. Get your weather questions answered by local broadcast meteorologists, women scientists and more, plus take part in a variety of activities exploring meteorology. See website for a complete schedule plus a list of special guest appearances.

Public Programs Youth Camps Learning Gallery Second Saturday

Guided Fall Hikes Near

Learn some cool facts about animals that have creepy reputations such as bats, snakes and spiders and discuss why these animals aren’t as scary as they might seem during the FREE Not-so-creepy Crawlies event on Oct. 17 at Martin Park Nature Center (5000 W Memorial Rd). Preregister. 10 a.m.-noon. 297-1429,


Explore the colorful change of the seasons at the Wichita Wildlife Refuge (20539 State Hwy 115, Lawton). Tag along with park staff to explore the scenic fall foliage. The FREE Fall Foliage Hikes are moderate in difficulty and begin at the visitor’s center. Saturdays in November, 10 a.m. #OKCFAMILYFUN CALENDAR IS SPONSORED BY:

Please enjoy fall family fun responsibly! When around others, wear a mask, remain socially distant, wash your hands often and stay home if you or a member of your household is feeling ill. Find CDC recommendations for celebrating fall and Halloween at METROFAMILYMAGAZINE.COM / OCTOBER 2020


Let us ignite your family’s creativity! We offer a number of programs for all ages, including FREE art activities. Learn more at 11 NW 11th St., OKC, OK 73103 405.951.0000 | @okcontemporary


Spooky & Not-So-Spooky Fun Organizations around the metro are shaking things up to bring OKC families many of their favorite Halloween activities safely. Check out these fun, socially distant Halloween events.

Great for all ages Oct. 16-25

The Great Pumpkin Patch at Myriad Gardens (301 W Reno Ave) features brightly colored murals and mosaics around the grounds, corn stalk mazes, a trick-or-treat weekend, pumpkin decorating, fall floral displays, scarecrows and a variety of pumpkins available for purchase. Participation prices vary. Open daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. 445-7080,

Oct. 24

Steampunk Fall Celebration at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (1700 NE 63rd St) features a variety of themed activities. Create your own Steampunk accessories, explore the Design-a-Robot maker space and create your own mini bot out of everyday objects, while supplies last. Free with admission. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 478-2250, Boo on Bell in Downtown Shawnee (Main St & Bell Ave, Shawnee) features a carnival, trick-or-treating, live entertainment and food. See website for a detailed schedule. Free to attend; participation prices vary. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. 777-6505,

Oct. 31

Halloween on the Green at Will Rogers Gardens (3400 NW 36th St) features fall-themed crafts including sugar skull decorating, face painting and crafts. Attendees will receive seeds to plant their own miniature pumpkin plants at home. Preregister. All ages welcome. $5. 9 a.m.-noon. 297-1392, FREE Trick-or-Trail at Joe B. Barnes Regional Park (8700 E Reno Ave, Midwest City) features a drive-thru trick-or-treat experience for children of all ages. Costumes and candy bags are encouraged, Spook and Roll Halloween Party at Skate Galaxy (5800 NW 36th St) features a costume contest with prizes, games, festive decorations, music and more. Costumes encouraged. Staff is


wearing masks and following increased cleaning measures. Afternoon session, $10; evening session, $15 (in costume, $12). 1-4:45 p.m.; 7 p.m.-midnight. 605-5728, FREE Drive-Thru Trunk or Treat at Edmond First Baptist Church (1300 E 33rd St, Edmond) features a drive-thru trunk-ortreat with decorated trunks and several stops to receive plenty of candy. Volunteers will wear gloves and be taking proper safety precautions to keep everyone safe. Costumes encouraged but not required. All ages welcome. 4-6 p.m. 341-0253,

Fun for teens & tweens Oct. 23-31

Nerf Nightmare at Nerfed Indoor Battle Arena (1 E Main St, Shawnee) features an interactive haunted walk that allows you to bring a Nerf gun to shoot at the ghouls and goblins. Maximum of six patrons allowed at a time and each gun will be thoroughly sanitized prior to and after each use. $8-$10. Select Fridays & Saturdays. 6-10:30 p.m. 585-1321,

Oct. 30

Trail of Horrors at Little River Park (700 SW 4th St, Moore) features a haunted trail through the woods of the park with terror lurking around each corner. Children 11 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets must be purchased in advance. $8. 8-11 p.m. 793-5090,

Oct. 31

“Cemetery Symbols: Carved in Stone� program at the Oklahoma History Center (800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr). Explore the meaning behind historic gravestones. Gravestones and cemeteries are rich in a language of symbols but can be difficult to interpret. This class will provide the skills necessary to investigate the past through tombstones. Preregister. Members, $5; nonmembers, $10. 1-3 p.m. 522-0765,

Haunted Fun

Perfect for toddlers & preschoolers Oct. 10-Nov. 1

Haunt the Zoo at the Oklahoma City Zoo (2000 Remington Pl) features treats, extended dates and new surprises. New trick-or-treating methods will be in place to ensure a safe and memorable experience. Advance reservations and general admission required for entry. Official treat bags are $7, $6 for members. Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. 424-3344,

Oct. 23-30


Wicked Forest of Terror (9420 W I-40 Service Rd) features an outdoor, walk-thru haunted attraction. The youngest ghouls and goblins are invited to arrive before sundown to experience the fun Children’s Forest on the last two Saturdays in October. Prices vary. See website for a complete schedule. 212-4800,

Haunted Corn Maze & Movie at Rustic Roots (105340 Greer Rd, Lamont) features a haunted maze in the farm’s 10-acre corn maze and a horror film in the barn. Saturdays, Oct. 10, 17 & 24, 8-11 p.m. $10. 580-716-3608,


Storybook Forest at Arcadia Lake’s Spring Creek Park (7200 E 15th St, Edmond) features a fun, not-scary trail filled with roaming characters and lots of treats. Additional activities include a campfire, concessions and story time. All tickets must be purchased in advance. Adults in the same car with child(ren) are free. Tickets will be limited to ensure social distancing. $12. 5:30-6:30 p.m. 216-7471,

Oct. 30 & 31

Halloween Train at the Oklahoma Railway Museum (3400 NE Grand Blvd) features a 40-minute Halloween train ride, mini-golf course, scavenger hunt and costume contest. Costumes encouraged. 13 & up, $12; kids (3-12), $5; kids (under 3), free. See website for train departure schedule. 424-8222,



Race equity in schools BY ERIN PAGE

Stephanie Price calls her career an act of resistance. A mixed race Black woman, she’s a minority in her field of speechlanguage pathology and in the education industry. Price grew up in Norman and has worked for Moore Public Schools for the past 11 years. Both as a student and an educator, she has regularly experienced racism, a situation not unique to these districts. “I am an exception,” said Price of her presence in education as a Black woman. “Would you want to work for an institution that has caused you trauma?” As a student who posed questions about concepts she didn’t understand, Price was often told she wasn’t trying hard enough. As an educator, she regularly deals with microaggressions and comments that indicate bias.


“Questions like why do Black people need to have their own history month?” explains Price. “Or [saying] the Civil Rights Movement happened so long ago, so Black people need to just get over it.” But passionate about her work and determined to fight for equity, Price connected with Moore Public School’s Committee for Racial and Ethnic Minorities, which is seeking to improve equity for marginalized groups within the district. “I was looking for a place where there were people who looked like me that could understand the experiences I was having,” said Price, who has served as committee chair. “I wanted to have some real discussions about how educators are harming each other and students and [to] address racism and bias in our schools.” Price is proud of the committee’s work, from providing anti-bias and diversity training for educators to engaging administration in meaningful discussion about methods to improve equity, but acknowledges there’s still much to be done. “I have seen the hiring of more diverse

principals and change in the way we are creating marketing materials,” said Price. “I think the work that’s been done the past several years has opened the door for further conversation about antiracism and racial equity, and I hope the district starts to shift toward a more culturally-responsive mindset. We have a lot of students who are being harmed by the things their teachers are saying, not just Black and brown students, but our students who identify as queer or trans or non-binary, too.” Other metro districts have recognized the need for equity committees and administration-level staff. In 2018, Oklahoma City Public Schools established the division of equity and accountability, and in 2019 Dr. Marsha Herron became executive director. Herron is now chief of equity and student support in a newly designed division. One year after launching a Diversity Enrichment Council, Norman Public Schools hired the committee chair and long-time educator and principal Stephanie Williams as its first executive director of diversity and inclusion in July 2020. Deer Creek Public Schools will launch an inclusivity committee

this fall, led by Dr. Kelly McCoy, federal programs director, and Kelly Forbes, English learner coordinator. The work can be lonely and laborious, but it is critical. “Research shows white educators are more likely to associate Black, Latinx and Indigenous students with being violent, lazy, unclean, unintelligent,” said Price. “They view Black girls as being more adult and mature and less needing of love and support. The rates of suspension and expulsion are disproportionate. Access to AP and gifted classes is disproportionate. It’s a really big issue that we need to be actively fighting against.”

The case for race equity

Race equity means students’ racial identity has no influence on how they fare in school, and to achieve it requires examination of the systemic conditions, and racism, that hinder the educations of students of color. “Education is the great equalizer,” said Herron, “but we also have to decide every kid

is deserving of a high-quality education.” According to the United Negro College Fund, Black students spend less time in the classroom due to disproportionate discipline. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that in 2013 to 2014, a higher percentage of Black students than any other racial or ethnic group was suspended, and the propensity toward harsher discipline starts in preschool. Black students are 2.3 times more likely to receive a referral to law enforcement or be subject to a school-related arrest as white students. Fifty-seven percent of Black students receive access to a full range of college-preparatory math and sciences courses, compared to 81 percent of Asian and 71 percent of white students. Though students of color will make up more than half the student population by 2024, 82 percent of teachers are white, according to the U.S. Department of Education, a statistic that remains virtually unchanged for the past 15 years. Local dad and educator Andre Daughty, who calls himself a unicorn because Black male teachers make up only 2 percent of the profession, has taught at the

elementary, middle and college levels and is now a consultant and keynote speaker helping educators and organizations around the nation address equity. “Students need to see that you can be really dope and be a teacher in your own style,” said Daughty. “That you can be that teacher who plays rap music but also can recite Langston Hughes or James Baldwin. No matter who you are, you bring your own culture, which models high expectations through excellence." Teachers of color are more likely to have higher expectations of students of color, confront issues of racism, serve as advocates and develop more trusting relationships with students, particularly when sharing a cultural background. Only 20 percent of public school principals are individuals of color. In the 2013-14 school year, less than 500 Black students were enrolled in teacher preparation programs in the state of Oklahoma. Dr. KJ Stormer, department chair of education and professional programs for Langston University, says many of her students of color are empowered by their experiences with Black or brown educators, who motivate their own careers in education.

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Looking inward

Before a school or district can take action toward race equity, it’s vital to first take a critical look at the structural challenges impeding positive change. “You can have these multicultural equity boards, but if they are not effervescing in their actions, not engaging in critical selfreflection about whether they harbor biases, that’s where we have an issue,” said Stormer. “It’s hard to change your disposition or critically check yourself and say ‘I am wrong about this.’” Examining biases, owning up to systemic racism and listening to those who have been marginalized is a vital first, and ongoing, step. As part of the launch of its new inclusivity committee, Deer Creek Public Schools sent a parent survey over the summer to provide an opportunity for families who have been marginalized to express those experiences and feelings. “A lot of times people, and educators can be the worst, just want to jump in and fix something,” said McCoy. “But we need to take a step back and listen.” The district’s new committee plans to review district and board policies and procedures and explore how the academic and extracurricular experiences, as well as curriculum, can be more equitable, among other initiatives. Forbes, who is bilingual and openly gay, brings an international perspective in his first year in Deer Creek after teaching throughout the world for more than a decade, and his desire is to create safe spaces for families to speak their needs and then to incite action to meet those needs. “We have to use our positions to empower those around us, students just as much as parents or teachers,” said Forbes. “This is personal for me.” After a year of meeting monthly, learning together from speakers, listening to the varied perspectives of staff, parents and community members and pouring over data, Norman’s Diversity Enrichment Council developed a list of initial recommendations to improve equity. Williams began her new position with that roadmap in place, poised to take action based upon careful introspection.

member, a nod to the importance of district administration and board investment to achieve true change.

“It takes white allies to be able to start to really change the system. If we continue to view antiracist work as a problem for Black and brown folks then what’s going to change? It’s an issue that white people have to begin to address within themselves and their communities. We have to be able to be allies for people that don’t look like us or believe the same things we do because that’s how we make the world a better place.” Stephanie Price OKCPS’s 80-person committee is made up of 10 subgroups, each representing a dimension of educational equity, such as Teaching Quality and Diversity. Each is co-chaired by a community member and OKCPS representative, and all new members receive training each January. Subgroups can request and evaluate district data to uncover inequities and develop procedures for change.

Professional development

“We can all sit down and have discussions about race and equity, but there has to be action beyond conversation,” said Williams.

As Daughty has taught the next generation of educators and administrators, he’s realized some white student teachers have never had students of color.

The OKCPS equity committee and department were first inspired by Ruth Veales, the district’s longest serving board

“For me to help prepare you to be the best administrator you can be, you have to be culturally aware,” said Daughty. “If you


don’t understand the student’s culture or household, how can you properly teach the student?” One of Williams’ top priorities is to equip NPS educators to be culturally responsive, starting with discussion about bias. “An internal assessment of where you are on your journey is important for our staff,” said Williams. “We will help them navigate that piece so when in the classroom, they are better equipped to serve their students.” Rather than a one-and-done approach, professional development on race equity should provide consistent opportunities to learn, discuss and practice antiracism skills. Prior to the start of the school year, Deer Creek Schools received training about recognizing their own biases, and McCoy and Forbes hope that kind of professional development becomes embedded throughout the school year. “We first have to model how we are going to reflect on our own prejudice and biases,” said Forbes. “This has to be a lifelong learning situation.” Herron presents professional development on race equity regularly, and it can be both invigorating and taxing. “When I go home, I’m exhausted from carrying the burden, being the voice and talking about race all day long,” said Herron. “It’s lonely work. But it also feels great because of the feedback we get.”

Changing curriculum

Listening to students of color and ensuring they’re represented in classwork is a key step toward race equity and teaching in a culturally-aware manner. “Once you know who [your students] are and where they come from, that equips you as an educator to foster that in activities and assignments you give,” said Williams. “It’s important for me that my daughter is able to pick up books in the library or classroom with other little brown girls on them.” Knowing students deeply invites more cultural proficiency among educators and an atmosphere where students can request to learn more about a culture, individual or topic. “At some level, there’s no excuse to not educate yourself about what the needs are,” said Forbes, who adds that any requests by students can likely be satisfied through a Google search or collaboration with other

teachers. “If students have input, it will be compelling. When we share our cultures, then leave the classroom and meet on the street, we get along in a much different way.� Herron encourages parents to ask questions about what holidays schools choose to celebrate, and Price adds to find out whether the voices of marginalized communities are being amplified. If students are expected to celebrate Columbus Day or the Land Run, Herron says it’s important to ask “who is being harmed by this day?� With questions about curriculum, Williams suggests parents start with the classroom teacher. Parents can request the standards being taught in a particular subject and it’s always appropriate to ask if there are opportunities for student voice and choice in a class or unit. “Not only does this help you as a parent gather information, but it gets that teacher thinking, too, about how to present the lesson and what changes they could make,� said Williams. Daughty credits his wife Danielle, a second grade teacher in Edmond Public Schools,

with engaging in tough conversations in her classroom, and, with parent permission, teaching that Christopher Columbus was not a hero but a murderer. When Daughty was in the classroom, he shared that George Washington’s famous dentures were made from the teeth of his slaves. As a fourth grade teacher, Daughty invited students to bring their grandparents and parents to the classroom to talk about their experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. “Integrating what is happening in the real world with curriculum brings a deeper connection to every student,� said Daughty. “Having people who understand history and culture and familiarizing that with personal experiences gives students empathy, understanding and much more knowledge.� McCoy is exploring opportunities to partner with Indigenous parents and community members to encourage and support Native pride throughout her district, including the creation of hands-on materials to explore Native dress and customs and the launch of a Native American club. She’s intent on updating the reading lists for elementary and secondary students, which currently feature

Does the mess have you stressed?

nearly all white, middle-class protagonists and authors. “Our children need to see themselves reflected in literature,� said McCoy. “That’s a very tangible thing we can do to start to shift the mindset.�

Discipline and development

When it comes to inequities in discipline and achievement, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister encourages parents to get involved in advocating for transparency and change. “Families can advocate for their districts to review the Oklahoma School Report Card to see how site and district data can unmask achievement gaps that may be occurring due to systemic racism,� said Hofmeister. “In addition, parents can encourage districts to examine how the number of students of color identified as gifted and talented and accessing postsecondary opportunities reflect site and district demographics.�

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For years, Black students have experienced higher frequencies of discipline in OKCPS. When Black students don't fare well academically, it’s often related to discipline issues.

is being harmed by policies or how students experience the inaction of policies.

“We have to be more intentional about using data to really drive change,” said Herron. “It’s not enough to say we know as a Black student you’re 4.5 times more likely to be suspended than your counterparts. What are the contributing factors to why that is happening?”

“To hear something a kid says and then meet that need, that’s a powerful part of what this work looks like,” said Herron.

Herron and her team are shifting the paradigm from looking at discipline to looking at students’ environments, asking educators to become self-reflective to consider if or how their actions could be impacting students. Prior to COVID-19, Herron conducted equity visits throughout OKCPS, typically requested by principals to better understand how students experience the school. Herron asks students questions and encourages discussion and then debriefs with administration. Those in power often realize that, even with good intentions, they could neglect to consider who

Students consistently feel empowered when their schools’ policies, climate and staff behaviors change based on their feedback.

Power in representation

For many of her students, Williams was their first teacher and principal of color. NPS is striving to ensure its educators better reflect the students they serve. “For me, it’s always been about wanting kids to see themselves represented in positions they feel are successful,” said Williams. “I think we have to be careful because oftentimes we highlight the struggle of a certain race, and while it's important to know history, we need to be highlighting the many positives and successes of those races, too.”

Their first years. Our first priority.

Herron regularly hears from former Langston students who are proud to see someone who looks like them in a chief position at OKCPS. “I get emails that make me want to break down,” said Herron. “They say ‘I see myself now as capable and able to move up in an organization because you and Dr. Polk and Mr. Brown have broken those barriers.’” According to Price, research shows Black and brown students have higher self-esteem, improved grades, take a higher course load and are more likely to graduate from high school if they have a Black teacher by the time they are in third or fourth grade. “Imagine having a teacher who truly understands your experience as a human, how validating it would be as a child who hasn’t experienced that to be in a classroom [with a teacher] who gets them for the first time ever,” said Price. When white students have teachers or leaders or color, it reinforces the development of a culturally-responsive mindset and that all people are deserving of love and respect. Hofmeister says parents shouldn’t hesitate in

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asking administrators to recruit faculty of diverse backgrounds and to empower faculty members to focus on equity and diversity. At the same time, Hofmeister adds it’s important to consult the district’s strategic plan to ensure considerations are given to diversity and inclusion. While a focus on hiring more educators of color is noble, local experts agree it’s imperative first for a district to constructively consider its environment. “Part of it is creating a culture for educators to feel welcome and accepted,” said Price. “We have to train people about bias and racism and how to have conversations so we can create a more accepting place to be.” That includes creating an atmosphere where educators of color don’t have to change their disposition to fit in, a very real scenario Stormer and others have encountered in their careers. “You can’t be too revolutionary or seen as a disruptor when entering certain educational environments,” said Stormer. “Black and brown teachers have to be discrete in their dispositions until there is buy-in. Educators of the dominant culture don’t necessarily have to do that.” OKCPS is self-examining what their hiring spaces look like, if hiring practices are representative of the student body and whether teaching equity and diversity is positively affecting those decisions. “Sometimes it’s not the race of the teacher that matters, it’s the relationship with a teacher who views students as human in the context of their struggle,” said Herron.

How to get engaged At your child’s school:

• Find out whether your child’s school has a council or committee dedicated to combatting bias and promoting inclusion. If there’s not one, start one. Hofmeister says an important first step is the movement toward race equity is creating a safe space for students and families to have candid and courageous conversations with teachers and administrators. • Ask your child’s teacher questions about presenting curriculum from a BIPOC perspective. Engage in discussion with school administrators and district curriculum coordinators. • Discuss concerns regarding a lack of hiring educators and administrators of color as well as discipline and achievement disparities for students of color with district leaders. • Purchase books written by authors of color and featuring protagonists of color to donate to your school’s library.

Beyond the school building, consider behaviors at home: • Read books that feature heroes of color, whether historical figures or fiction. Find a list for kids of all ages at talking-to-kids-about-racism. • Volunteer at a diverse school as a family. • Visit (or join) a diverse church or other place of worship. • Build relationships with families of varied races and ethnicities. • Engage in ongoing discussions with kids of all ages about the realities of racism. Find resources at racial-justice-okc.


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Managing stress with

mindful parenting BY DR. LISA MAROTTA

We are all feeling the stress this fall of school decisions, social distancing and overall uncertainty in the world. Parental stress is real, and it has a trickledown effect on children. We all know how children behave when they are stressed: increased misbehavior, irritability and resistance. To break the cycle of stress we would all do well to become more mindful in our relationships. At its core, mindfulness is about slowing down, stepping back and observing before responding. Through the challenges of this pandemic, we have had many opportunities to slow down. Mindful parenting capitalizes on this experience and expands it further. Mindfulness is defined as paying attention, in the moment, nonjudgmentally. Applying mindfulness to parenting involves increased awareness of your thinking and emotions to keep your cool under pressure. While most parenting skills are about what you DO as a parent, mindfulness shifts the focus to how you want to BE as a parent. Mindfulness makes us more aware of the pressure of perfectionism and allows us to accept mistakes in ourselves as well as our children. Mindful parenting is associated with less parental stress and depression, improved parent-child communication and less hyperactive behavior in children. Set your parenting intention to respond differently to stress by practicing mindfulness daily, using a mindful mindset and tools to help. Dr. Lisa Marotta is a private practice psychologist working with women, children and families in Edmond. She facilitates parenting classes and is the author of the award-winning children’s book Suki and Sam. Stay connected with Dr. Marotta through her blog Psyched About Life: Tools for Everyday Living at


The Mindful Parent Mindset You probably already have these skills, but with mindfulness you practice the awareness to use them when they are most needed: Attention: Mindful parents tune in to what is happening in the moment. This is single-task engagement, as opposed to multitasking or operating on autopilot. We have many distractions and always too many “to dos” in the day. When you are with your child, however, mindfulness reminds us to be present. If you are trying to do all the many other things, you might miss a wonderful moment or overreact to a small problem. Compassion: Mindful parents use empathy and observation to understand the child’s point of view. This skill of nonjudgment also extends to a greater acceptance of your own limitations and imperfections as a parent. Try to keep in mind that child misbehavior is not typically a plot to sabotage our parenting efforts. Emotional Regulation: Mindful parents take time to evaluate their reactions and get calm before responding. They use mindfulness tools to get emotions under control and notice their internal thoughts and the external situation before choosing how and when to act. Pausing to “get your act together” makes you more effective in the long run. Becoming more connected with your own thoughts and feelings naturally makes you more connected with your child’s thoughts and feelings. Being attuned in this manner can make parenting less stressful and improve your relationship with your child. Your mindful mindset will not only help you keep calm under pressure, it has the added benefit of demonstrating stress resilience to your children.

Five Mindful Parent Tools The opportunity to practice mindfulness is offered every day as a parent. Transitions are usually tricky in families, especially morning and bedtimes. Journal your observations about these trigger times to find patterns and think about which of these mindfulness tools might be most helpful: Breathe: Your breath is the quickest way to calm yourself when you are stressed. Focus on your breathing by taking a deep breath in through your nose. Exhale to release the breath slowly and steadily through your mouth. Repeat this simple but powerful step until you notice that you are calmer and ready to respond instead of reacting. The purpose is to deactivate the “fight or flight” response and allow you to use your whole brain in assessing the parenting dilemma. STOP: This is an acronym for a self-regulation hack. Once well practiced, this tool can become a habit that is almost automatic during times of high emotions. S: Stop what you are doing T: Take a few breaths O: Observe what is going on, both internally and externally P: Proceed with intention, choosing what would be best to do next Grounding: Oftentimes our thoughts can become so intense they increase our negative emotions, which makes the situation feel worse. When you notice distracting thoughts about the future (“My child will always behave this way”) or the past (“I have been too hard/easy on my child”), focus on your senses to regain your attention and emotions. Monitor what you can hear, see, taste and touch around you. Clear your mind to drop back into your body and re-orient yourself to what is happening around you.

Intention: Mindful parents reflect on recurrent trouble spots to stay connected with their parenting goals. Create time for stillness during your day to note changes that could benefit your family. Your intention sets the tone for how you accomplish change within your family. Gratitude: Parenting is also about recognizing the good stuff. Even on your “worst day ever” as a parent, there are wonderful moments that can lift your spirits, if you slow down to notice. Mindful parents are on the lookout for those things that are going well. Once you become skilled in these mindfulness tools you will find they are easy to teach your children. Mindfulness is contagious — in a good way. Editor’s note: This column is the fourth in a 12-month series on family mental wellness, written by local experts on topics pertinent to parents and children. Columnists include Dr. Marotta, Thai-An Truong, LPC, LADC, in private practice as a postpartum therapist and mom of two; Stacey Johnson, LPC, (@staceyjohnsonlife) in private practice at The Purple Couch and mom of eight; Dr. Erica Faulconer, pediatrician at Northwest Pediatrics and mom of three, and Jeanae Neal, registered behavior therapist and mom of one.

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Super Kids

of the Metro


Leading by example

Keymonti’s story

The staff at Restore OKC have proclaimed to Keymonti Hammon on multiple occasions that one day he’ll take over their jobs, a fact the 16-year-old relays with a mix of pride and incredulity. A sophomore at Classen School of Advanced Studies at Northeast, Hammon was one of the first student interns for Restore OKC’s 2019 pilot program and has worked for the nonprofit organization throughout 2020. BY ERIN PAGE. PHOTOS BY CAYLEE DODSON.


Ann Miller, director of Restore Farms, and her colleagues at Restore OKC promote racial reconciliation by partnering with neighbors in Northeast Oklahoma City to end the cycles of poverty many find themselves caught in. The internship program with Restore Farms was born out of a desire to provide work for local teens, while also exposing them to a variety of career choices and empowering them to serve their community. Miller consistently tells interns that she and her staff will have achieved their goals if one of them comes back to take over their jobs. Hammon is a prime example of a student for whom she believes that possible, due to his work ethic, empathy for those he leads and desire to enable others’ strengths to shine. “Above all else, we want to invest in these kids, help them pursue their dreams and end the food desert in Northeast Oklahoma City, and they are working with us to brainstorm ways to do that,” said Miller. Currently, Restore Farms employs 15 interns with capacity to bring on board as many as 25. Students learn many facets of agriculture by working in the 5-acre farm and area elementary school community gardens. Hammon sets the standard, leading by example, believing in his own merits and bringing out the assets in those around him.

Growing food and leaders Hammon is known among his fellow interns and staff as a hard worker who infuses much-appreciated fun and goofiness into their days. Throughout his internship, he's worked in the farm greenhouses, cared for the pollinator garden to sustain bees and monarchs, helped build school gardens at Thema Parks and MLK Elementary Schools and landscaped at Restore OKC’s offices. “He’s been such a delight,” said Miller. “He’s wise, he’s consistent, he’s willing to work hard. He doesn’t mind following and is willing to defer to other teens in leadership positions. He does a good job honoring and respecting others, handling conflict directly, but maturely, in private.” Throughout the summer internship, when Hammon spent 15 hours a week at Restore Farms, two days were work days but the third was dedicated to education. In addition to learning about agriculture, Hammon has gained life, business and communication skills, including introductions to marketing, budgeting and graphic design. One of his favorite opportunities has been cooking classes and meeting a professional chef, and he’s most grateful for the connections he’s made with people who inspire him to do what he loves.

“Everyone deserves the opportunity to work and show their worth,” said Hammon.

Changing Lives– One Dog at a Time Thirteen-year-old Caleb White volunteers every weekend at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare. Whether it’s featuring a dog for #FreeMeFriday, taking pets to events for potential adoption, or playing ball with a furry friend for an afternoon, his passion for animal rescue is a prime example of why we’re inspired by kids like Caleb. At Kimray, our mission is to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. Caleb exemplifies this by living out that mission in the service he provides to his community. And that’s The Kimray Way.



“Before Corona, I was trying to start my own catering business,” said Hammon. “Food speaks to people through the heart. Through my cooking and baking, I show people how I feel and make people feel better by eating good food.” In his spare time, in addition to cooking and baking, Hammon plays baseball, with third base his favorite position, likes to write and sing and has an affinity for reading horror novels. Hammon attests that he’s not always been a great leader, saying in middle school he was often argumentative and unwilling to listen to others. His mentor Darren, an engineer with whom Hammon connected through local organization Class Matters, talked with Hammon privately, a lesson Hammon took to heart as he now mentors others, about how his actions were affecting those around him and how he could instead use that same energy for good. “He taught me how to be a leader, how to resolve conflict with others and how to get others on task,” said Hammon. “After learning all that, I’ve been in situations to show what I’ve learned to others. I’ve had hardships and I’ve had to earn my leadership skills.”

Now Hammon relishes opportunities to show younger students, perhaps future interns, around Restore OKC. Hammon credits Darren, all the staff at Restore OKC and teachers throughout his educational career with shaping him into the young man he is now, as well as his family, including his mom and stepdad and four siblings. The sophomore hopes to one day attend college to major in hotel and restaurant management so he can work his way up the ladder in the culinary industry, but says it’s unlikely he’ll be able to go to college right out of high school. Instead he’ll need to get a job first to earn enough money to pay for college. Miller says that’s an issue for many of their interns, and the reason Restore OKC is working with nearby colleges and universities to try to establish full scholarship guarantees for their interns. “These are amazing kids but a lot of them have a barrier [to attend college] without financial assistance,” said Miller. “Most of them say if they don’t get a full ride, they won’t be able to go.”




Impacting the community As Restore OKC staff have asked interns to brainstorm how to provide food sources for thousands of community members to walk or bike to, Miller says it's been inspiring to watch the students expand their vision for the community and themselves. Interns like Hammon provide fresh perspective on how to accomplish the organization’s mission, and the students have also been open and honest in their conversations about the racism and racial injustice they’ve experienced firsthand. “The more I’ve gotten to know them, it’s impossible for me to ever be apathetic,” said Miller. “We’ve had conversations with them about how we can try to love others well, what they can do to start to turn the tide and when to enter in to those hard conversations. But a lot of the impetus has to be on the white community to wake up to [racism].” Hammon is hopeful that his generation can lead the community toward racial reconciliation, encouraging people to come

together and marginalized voices to be heard, but he doesn’t believe it’s possible to end racism entirely.

“To be a leader, you have to listen to others and their opinions.” In true leader fashion, though, Hammon is willing to do his part, examine his own biases and pave the way for others to understand those who are different. Until the previous school year, Hammon says Northeast High School students were predominantly Black. That changed when Northeast and Classen SAS merged.

“I was introduced to many different types of people and different opinions, and my point of view changed from getting the opportunity to learn from and talk to people about their everyday lives and things they [wish] were different,” said Hammon. “My train of thought would have never changed if I was never put in that situation. That was a good opportunity for me. To be a leader, you have to listen to others and their opinions.” In his time with Restore OKC, Hammon has led with the same mentality, getting to know his fellow interns’ skills and passions so they can work more effectively as a team and make a positive, lifelong impact on the community they serve. “These interns are awesome and they 100 percent are going to change our future and our world,” said Miller. “We’re just getting to be instruments that come alongside them. Keymonti has been so fun to watch, see him grow and see his horizons begin to expand.”


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Through our blogs Hashtag Parenting and Weekend Warrior, local parents share their favorite things to do and discuss the everyday issues closest to their hearts. From tackling virtual school to a beautiful adoption journey, check out some of our favorite recent blogs by YOU our parent community. Find all our parent blogs at

“Although sometimes I think I am Superwoman, I had to check my expectations and understand what I could do as a working parent and what my son could do as a virtual student.” Mom and education industry expert Dr. Tamecca Rogers shares nine tips that have helped she and her son along their virtual school journey at Photo by Denice Toombs.

“When deciding what to pack kids for lunch, I encourage finding simple ways to bump up the nutritional value. Great substitutes for crunchy processed snacks such as chips and crackers are baby carrots, sliced cucumbers, celery topped with peanut butter and raisins, freeze-dried fruit and popcorn.” Local mom, registered dietician and personal trainer Umo Callins @wellrooted_hn shares tips to boost family immunity at

“All around was a sense of letting go of our normal rules and routines. Soon I stopped arranging the shoes kicked off at the back door and joined in. When my 4-year-old daughter asked for yet another fort, I stopped myself from giving her the practical ‘not right now’ answer and instead chose to give an emphatic yes.” Mom, art educator and painter @triciacastro explores how her family has learned to embrace slowing down and saying yes at metrofamilymagazine. com/slowing-downand-saying-yes.


“We signed up and completed the requirements to become a Choctaw Nation foster family with every intention of being a bridge between the birth family and reunification. Our story didn’t emerge exactly as we initially envisioned, but rather the way it was supposed to unfold.” Metro dad and a senior director for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Heath Holt Hayes shares the heartache, joy and adaptation in his family’s journey to adoption at Photo by April Mass Photography.

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The event launches at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 with a welcome introduction and continues for the next five days (Nov. 9-13), with two workshop sessions conveniently held daily at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. PLUS all workshops will be recorded so you can watch them live and/or later! Tickets (VIP for $35; general admission for $12) are available NOW and must be purchased in advance.

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