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fun starts now

Step into the Season




WHAT'S STREAMING Kid-Friendly Options

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Understand how paraprofessionals, or teacher’s aides, play a vital role in helping children with special needs.




Have cause to celebrate? Get inspiration from local party planners, rentals and venues.

departments 06

EDITOR’S NOTE Losing sleep over early school start times.


WORTH NOTING Spotting the signs your kid is vaping, plus the latest book and streaming picks, a bear of a premiere and online game giveaway.


EDUCATION CORNER What’s the best approach to take when your kids bring home bad grades?


These local spots share activities and fun for a family day out at the museum.


EDUCATION NEWS Noteworthy happenings from schools and more in the region.




Teens who are adopted can have their lives changed by finding a place to call home. Plus, Adoption Profiles: In honor of National Adoption month, adoption agencies share their stories starting on pg. 41.


Learn more about a prospective school at these area open house events.



Find fun for all ages with these area happenings. Plus, early holiday events on pg. 50 and Turkey Day fun on pg. 53. ON THE COVER:

2018 Cover Kid Winner Christian, 11, of Strongsville, stands in front of one of the Gordon Square Arts District’s murals. The “Untitled” piece was done by artist Justin Michael Will from Cleveland Heights. The mural is on the building of Love Threading Bar on Detroit Avenue. PHOTOS BY KIM STAHNKE PHOTOGRAPHY




Making the most of a child’s letdown.


Explore the opportunities in Northeast Ohio to take an art escape that will captivate kids of all ages.



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Find a farm to pick out the perfect Christmas tree.

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Editor's NOTE

Losing Sleep Over Early School Start Times I thought it would never happen. My boys, now 10 and 12, are sleeping in on the weekends. When we don’t have a hockey game in the morning — it’s still early in the season — they wake up around 9 a.m. or even sometimes as late as 10:30 a.m. However, this means a newfound tiredness during school days. With late-night practices and games, along with longer homework hours, my kids now grudgingly wake up. My 12-year-old recently complained of the “Mondays.” It made me think, should kids get more sleep during the school week? This is a question an Ohio senator, Sandra Williams, is trying to answer. She recently introduced a bill (S.B. 218) to prohibit public schools starting before 8:30 a.m. This isn’t a new concept, as many health professionals cited sleep as important factor in health. In fact, we reported in the story “Sleep Interrupted” in our February issue that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended in 2014 that schools should start later due to insufficient sleep concerns. “Doing so will align school schedules to the biological sleep rhythms of adolescents, whose sleep-wake cycles begin to shift up to two hours later at the start of puberty.” Also, a 2016 AAP study says, “adequate sleep duration on a regular basis leads to improved attention, behavior, learning, memory, emotional regulation, quality of life and mental and physical health.” Our story mentioned Mason City Schools in Ohio, that at the time of publication, was considering later school start times for their middle and high schools after concerns expressed by parents about the impact of early start times. After feedback from parents, teachers and the community — including surveys and focus groups — the school district, starting in the 2019-20 school year, now starts 30 minutes later than their previous 7:15 a.m. start. Mason City students in grades seventh and above start school at 7:45 a.m. and third through sixth grades begin at 8:40 a.m. According to a Mason City Schools press release, this is just the beginning of efforts to improve learners’ mental health. School Superintendent Jonathan Cooper says in the Jan. 31 video statement about the change, “It’s something that is a first step in a direction that we do care to build a healthy environment for our kids.” While it isn’t the 8:30 a.m. start time the Senate bill proposes, the district found a way — with the help of the school community — to do it on their own. Sleep, not just for kids, is an important part of healthy living. If more Ohio schools and their communities look to research and follow an example, such as Mason, could it work? That’s a decision we could all sleep on.

VOL. NO. 6 • ISSUE NO. 11

november 2019 Northeast Ohio Parent is a property of

PO Box 1088 Hudson, OH 44236 330-822-4011 PUBLISHER - Brad Mitchell 330-714-7712 EDITORIAL:

EDITOR - Angela Gartner 216-536-1914 ASSISTANT EDITOR - Brandon Szuminsky DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER - Denise Koeth GRAPHIC DESIGNER - Sherry Lundberg ADVERTISING SALES:

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VAPING? By Michèle L. Bailey It can be hard to tell if your child is vaping — and the results can be scary. Vaping, originally designed as a better alternative to cigarettes to help people quit smoking, is proving to have a host of side effects. More worrisome, vaping has also been tied to a number of illnesses and hospitalizations across the country, including some deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1,299 lung injury cases associated with the use of e-cigarette, or vaping, products have been reported as of October and 26 deaths have been confirmed in 21 states. Fifteen percent of the patients were under age 18. Dr. Andrew Garner, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at CWRU School of Medicine and Primary Care Pediatrician with Partners in Pediatrics of University Hospitals, suggests there are signs to look out for if you suspect your child is vaping.

• Unusual looking pens and USB drives: Vaping devices don’t necessary look like what you’d expect. Some are sleek, attractive and look similar to USB flash drives but with holes on each end. Also, look for refill pods, atomizers and cartridges, and batteries that require recharging. • Persistent coughing, throat clearing and mouth sores: As mentioned earlier, vaping causes a drying effect that could lead to these symptoms, but they could also be due to irritation of the airway or a reduction in the ability of the immune system to fight airway infections. Kids who vape are twice as likely to develop airway infections like bronchitis or pneumonia.

• Unexplained sweet scent: Though vaping can be odorless, many teens are attracted to the scented flavored pods. The most popular flavors are sweet smelling and very fruity, like candy, fruit loops and blueberries. • Odd changes in behavior: Vaping can cause dry mouth, increased thirst, a lack of taste and nosebleeds. These symptoms are thought to be due to propylene glycol, a dehydrating chemical in many vaping juices that attracts water molecules, preventing them from being absorbed into the body. So if your child is suddenly experiencing nosebleeds, drinking more than usual, or eating spicier foods, it may be worth investigating the cause.

• Caffeine sensitivity: Nicotine can stimulate the release of adrenaline, resulting in an increased heart rate and an elevated blood pressure, much like a shot of espresso. Since caffeine can also increase your heart rate and blood pressure, kids might start to note that too much of a “good thing” actually does not feel very good at all. • Irritability: Many kids who vape become addicted to the nicotine rush, and they will begin to experience withdrawal if they are unable to get another hit of nicotine. Despite their ostensible role in smoking prevention, this is why kids who vape are four times more likely to start smoking cigarettes — it’s another way to get that rush.

Garner encourages parents to use caution if your child is showing signs of these symptoms or behaviors, as they could be caused by many other conditions as well. It’s important to avoid being too accusatory, but do see your pediatrician to investigate.


Family Living Living at at Its Its Best Best 8 || Family 8

The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a non-profit dedicated to helping families whose son or daughter is struggling with substance use, provides some tips on how to talk to your kids about vaping. Be equipped with facts. Make sure to do your research and not try to discuss vaping based on hearsay or rumors. Be on the lookout for opportunities to discuss vaping, which can present themselves in many ways: letters from the school, advertisements, seeing it on TV, walking by someone vaping or passing a vape shop. Be ready to listen rather than lecture. Try using an open-ended question like “What do you think about vaping?” to get the conversation going. Convey your expectations. Express your understanding of the risks along with why you don’t want your child vaping. If you choose to set consequences, be sure to follow through while reinforcing healthier choices. Be a good role model. Set a positive example by being vape and tobacco-free. If you do vape, keep your equipment and supplies secured.


Kid-Friendly Options As November brings an end to many outdoor activities, you might find yourself curled up with your kids on the couch. Luckily, there’s plenty of choices to stream on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime — and it’ll only get better as this month marks the launch of the new service Disney+. Disney+ Debut

The Mouse enters the streaming game with a big splash this month. The new service will feature nearly every Pixar and Disney classic at launch, along with Star Wars movies and TV series and the whole catalog of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. On your radar should be the “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” for teens and the new CGI version of “The Lady and the Tramp” for younger kids. “Carmen Sandiego,” Netflix

An animated redo of the classic children’s show, the new second season finds Carmen Sandiego, a master thief, still traveling the world using her skills for good.

“The Little Mermaid Live!,” ABC & HULU

ABC will broadcast this live performance on Nov. 5 that brings together songs from the stage and film versions of the Disney mermaid classic featuring Auli’I Cravalho, the voice of Moana, in the lead role. Miss it on ABC? You can catch up on Hulu. Nostalgia Nook

Want to introduce your kids to some favorites from when you were younger? You can find the series “Rugrats” and both teen-tastic “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” movies on Netflix. If you want to give your teens a John Hughes education, Hulu has “Sixteen Candles” and “Pretty in Pink” or take them back even further with classic cartoons “The Pink Panther Show” or “Speed Racer.” — Brandon Szuminsky

READING ROOM PARENT BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Scarecrow’ Written by Beth Ferry;

illustrated by the Fan Brothers

New York Times bestselling picture book author Beth Ferry and acclaimed illustrators Eric and Terry Fan present a heartwarming timeless tale of unlikely friendship in “The Scarecrow.” The story follows the eponymous scarecrow through the seasons, all the while exploring themes of loneliness, compassion and

hope. “All the woodland creatures know not to mess with old Scarecrow” so he finds himself alone until a chance encounter with a baby crow. Scarecrow “does the strangest thing” and sets into motion a series of events that bring “joyful hearts.” With each changing season comes a renewed sense of purpose for Scarecrow. As springtime blossoms so does friendship. What is broken becomes mended, and what is empty becomes full. Only when Scarecrow opens his heart can love grow by finding happiness in helping others. The beautiful, whimsical illustrations — created in pencil, ballpoint and Photoshop — have a soft, romantic quality. Detail and texture bring the characters and landscape to life — you can almost feel the brisk autumn wind and blustery snow. While it can easily become a foreboding figure, this scarecrow is endearing in windowpane plaid, weathered blue denim, burlap and hay. The soft expressions on his burlap face – painted blue eyes, triangular nose and stitched mouth – perfectly capture the emotions throughout the story. The poetic rhyming text begs to be read aloud at bedtime or school story time. Recommended for ages 4 to 8, this sweet story is sure to tug at the heartstrings of all ages. Young audiences will recognize lessons of kindness and getting what you give, while mature readers can appreciate symbolism in the imagery and find deeper meaning in the relationships, which, like the seasons, come full circle. — Lindsey Geiss

Cami Kangaroo Has Too Much Stuff by Stacy C Bauer

Cami Kangaroo loves stuff! Rocks, shells, feathers, toys...she loves them all. She collects them, sorts them and builds with them. There’s only one problem: her room is so messy that it’s nearly impossible for her to find things! The book provides parents with advice and tips to help guide their children as they declutter their space and find peace in their surroundings.

My Camel Wants To Be a Unicorn by Julia Inserro

Why would a camel want to be a unicorn? Did she eat too many unicorn cupcakes? What could possibly be the problem? A story to reinforce the concept of empathy — don’t make assumptions about others, ask and observe.

TEENS Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett Krosoczka’s mom is an addict, in and out of rehab, and in and out of Jarrett’s life. His father is a mystery — Jarrett doesn’t know where to find him, or even what his name is. Jarrett lives with his grandparents and, as a teenager, Jarrett begins to piece together the truth of his family, reckoning with his mother and tracking down his father. This memoir is about growing up in a family grappling with addiction and finding the art that helps you survive.

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‘Great Bear Rainforest’ Opens at Great Lakes Science Center

“Great Bear Rainforest,” the newest film at the Great Lakes Science Center’s Cleveland Clinic DOME Theater, opened Nov. 1. The film features breathtaking visuals — from grand panoramic drone shots of dense forests climbing up jagged snow-capped mountains to mammoth grizzlies popping up from tall grass like overlarge prairie dogs — as viewers are treated to a tour of the eponymous rainforest’s rich diversity on land, sea and stream. The ostensible star of the show—other than Ryan Reynold’s often-cheeky narra

tion—is the spirit bear, considered the rarest bear in the world. This subspecies of the North American black bear has white fur from a rare genetic trait and estimates of the entire population range from 50 to 100 in total. While viewers get to glimpse creatures from across the phylum, bears and spirit bears in particular take center stage. The film is tailor made for animal fans of all ages. While the film may move a tad leisurely for the youngest viewers, all ages will appreciate the stunning vistas and animal hijinks. Older kids in particular are likely to respond to the film’s human characters: teenage members of First Nation communities, who fish, protect and study this ancient area, including a 12-year-old spirit bear expert and a 15-year-old bear DNA collector. There is little to provoke even the faintest of heart, with only a few brief scenes of tension between bears, a brief storm interlude replete with thunder and lightning and a few shots of mildly bloody salmon. “Great Bear Rainforest” has a run time of 40 minutes. The Great Lakes Science Center’s fall-winter schedule is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. For showtimes and tickets, visit ­ — Brandon Szuminsky




Celebrate this annual event — which takes place the week of Thanksgiving — by gathering the family together and trying something new. We’ll share a list of fun, recentlyreleased puzzles, card and board games for all ages.


Which is stronger? The Lone Wolf or the Pack? Find out in The Game of Wolf, a strategic trivia game where friend quickly becomes foe. As the Wolf, pick your pack members based on their knowledge of the subject or go Lone Wolf for a chance at double the points! $24.99, ages 14+



The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake is just the place for a relaxing wintertime escape. Spend the day cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, huddle by the lakefront fire terrace then enjoy an outstanding meal at Horizons Restaurant. Go walking in a true winter wonderland right in the heart of Ohio Wine Country. 866.806.8066 | 4888 North Broadway, Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio 44041

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Education CORNER


t’s disappointing when a child brings home a bad grade from school. For some parents, however, it is also confusing. What’s the best way to react? Should they scold and punish — or take a wait-and-see attitude? According to Natalie Borrell, academic life coach at Life Success for Teens, if a child comes home with a bad grade there is a lot parents can do to help. Knowing how to talk to children can motivate them to avoid patterns of failure and increase their desire to succeed. Borrell offers the following tips for talking to children about grades.



Help Your Kids Earn Better Grades

Talking about grades can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Conversations about grades can be casual and informal and come up long before report cards come home. Ask how science class is going, or the timeline of the English project. Comment positively when you see good grades on assignments and ask how you can help when you notice a poor grade.


Setting a reasonable goal in each subject area gives your child something to work towards. A goal can be a particular letter grade or, even better, mastering a habit like consistently turning in work on time. It is important for your child to know that you expect them to give their best effort in school, but that you don’t demand perfection.


An A that was earned easily shouldn’t be praised as much as a B that your child worked hard for. Talk about the fact that your child put in effort and saw a reward for it. Focusing on the process and celebrating determination, rather than the final product, promotes a growth mindset.

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Remember, your child is not defined by the grades they receive in school and recognize the value in both of you explicitly recognizing that fact. Grades only represent a portion of who they are and what they are capable of becoming. Your child’s report card measures how well they have mastered the information being taught, but it doesn’t measure other important characteristics like sensitivity, creativity and emotional intelligence.


When your child receives a low grade, ask them what went wrong and how they think they can do better. You may be surprised by what you hear, and it may give you ideas about how you can be supportive. By asking instead of telling, you’re having your child do some problem solving on their own.


If your child excels in a particular subject, acknowledge that you are proud of the grade and ask why you think he or she does so well in it. If you understand what your child likes about a subject they excel in, it might help you strategize how to make other areas more appealing.


Setting up a day and time each week to talk about grades can make the conversations less stressful. If your child knows that every Friday you check in on grades, it becomes a part of their normal routine and the conversation won’t feel so heavy.


By Mich


Before any conversation about grades, take a moment to relax and think about the conversation in your mind. Run through what you want to say to your child, but also how your child is going to receive what you say. The point of any conversation about poor grades should be to help your child feel more confident and experience growth, not to make them feel bad about what has happened. While it may be nice if you never had to have unpleasant conversations with your child about their academic performance, that’s simply not realistic to expect. Whether your child typically has trouble in school or simply hit a snag on a particular subject, it’s important to realize how you can help support and strengthen their resolve and hopefully help put them on a path to better results in the future.

Education NEWS

Menlo Park Academy Announces Head of School


enlo Park Academy Board of Directors voted to appoint Tara Schmitt as the school’s first Head of School this fall. Schmitt brings more than 15 years of education, development, strategic planning and change management experience to Menlo Park Academy, including serving as: Head of School at Christian Montessori School in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Director of Institutional Advancement at Montessori High School at University Circle in Cleveland; and Managing Director of Development with the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center at the University of Michigan. Most recently, she served as a Director of Alumni Relations at Case Western Reserve University. The Wisconsin native spent most of her professional life in Ann Arbor before moving to Northeast Ohio four years ago. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Xavier University and has completed several Montessori programs, including the AMI Orientation to Adolescent Studies and the NAMTA Whole School Management Course for Administration in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Cleveland resident is active in Social Venture Partners and is the Lead Partner for Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank. She enjoys spending time with her two daughters, exploring the world, reading, camping and recreational rowing with the Western Reserve Rowing Association. “This new role with Menlo Park Academy was especially appealing to me since I enjoy the challenges of long-term school visioning, while also managing day-today school operations,” Schmitt says. “My goal is to work with faculty, staff, parents and the Board of Directors to promote a collaborative and nurturing environment for Menlo Park Academy’s nearly 600 students.” Submitted by Menlo Park Academy,

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Education NEWS

Girl Scouts Opens Chickadee Program Center at Camp Ledgewood Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) opened Chickadee Program Center at Camp Ledgewood in Peninsula. Two events for Girl Scout members, including volunteers, and their families were held to give members a chance to view the new program center. The Chickadee Program Center, named after a native Ohio bird, has large rooms and a kitchen to host programs and activities, as well as volunteer trainings. The FabCab is a mini digital fabrication lab with equipment used to create rapid prototypes, providing Girl Scouts the resources to explore the entire engineering design process and earn badges through their experiences. The building was designed by architect Rick Parker of Brandstetter Carroll Inc. and constructed by the female-owned Metis Construction, LLC. It was funded by combining donations and proceeds from the sales of council properties to create the GSNEO master plan. “Why that’s so important is right now in the world, for business, the global supply chain has been disrupted,” says Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA who attended the opening last month. “What that means is the products and services we used to be able to rely on — that supply chain has really been struck, it’s not just that, it’s also our labor and workforce. What are we going to do to develop the workforce of the future? The world is being redesigned and recreated around technology – line by line, code by code. You need to have a tech-literate, English-speaking workforce locally.” Costing approximately $3 million to construct, the new Chickadee Program Center is part of a $6.2 million investment at Camp Ledgewood, including new cabins, a commemorative brick plaza recognizing some of the most loyal Girl Scout supporters, a bell tower, bridge and fire pit, the installation of Wi-Fi throughout camp, critical infrastructure improvements like water and septic systems, and more. Camp Ledgewood is open year-round and is located in the village of Peninsula in Summit County, within the boundaries of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The 350-acre

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St. Hilary School

The Future Begins Here


Leading the way to the future through faith and service, traditional and innovative teaching methods, cutting-edge science and technology facilities and equipment, three foreign languages, career exploration courses, enrichment and extracurricular opportunities, and much more OPEN HOUSE January 26, 2020 12:00 – 2:00 PM

PHOTOS BY ANDREW JORDAN PHOTOGRAPHY camp features low and high ropes courses, zip lines, an archery range, hiking trails, an amphitheater and observatory, and Lake Loomis for canoeing, kayaking and nature studies. The camp is accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA) and has an average of 3,400 Girl Scout visits each year. “Inspiring girls to unlock their inner G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader) to reach their full potential is a priority for Girl Scouts of North East Ohio,” says Jane Christyson, CEO of Girl Scouts of North East Ohio. “The new program center gives our members flexible space for training, special events and other gatherings that allow us to offer unparalleled leadership experiences.”

R E G I S T R AT I O N for 2020-2021 February 3-5, 2020 8:00 – 3:00 PM For new students entering grades K-8; No appointment needed; Age 5 by September 30, 2020

Serving a range of learners in grades K-8 Over $150,000 in tuition assistance awarded annually 529 plan funds may potentially be used toward tuition

Comprehensive Preparation for a Complex World 645 Moorfield Road, Fairlawn | 330-867-8720, ext. 343 |

Submitted by Girl Scouts of North East Ohio,

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A NEW KIND OF SCHOOL DAY • Dedicated teachers licensed by the state of Ohio • Flexibility to learn in the safety of your home, tuition-free • Socialization opportunities that provide a well-rounded learning environment

OHDELA provides our students a personalized learning experience. As a tuition- free K-12 100% online public school, we allow students the flexibility to learn from the safety of their homes while receiving a state-of-the-art 21st Century education. Our teachers are highly qualified and our technology-rich curriculum is aligned to all state standards. We offer live classes daily and students can review recorded lessons. We offer field trips and an innovative student engagement program.

Call today to learn more!


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Education NEWS

Ohio Department of Education Awarded $43 Million Focused on Literacy Improvements The Ohio Department of Education has been awarded two competitive grants by the U.S. Department of Education — for a combined total of $43,200,000. These grants focus on improving student literacy from birth through Grade 12. The Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant provides funding to establish model literacy sites across Ohio in preschools and elementary, middle and high schools. The model sites will concentrate on implementing practices consistent with Ohio’s “Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement.” The grant also will support professional learning and coaching. The partnership between the model sites and the Ohio Department of Education will allow early childhood programs, districts and families to improve student literacy and increase educational options available to students who have been traditionally underserved. The literacy development grant is for $42 million over five years. Activities will begin January 2020. The Model Demonstration Projects for Early Identification of Students with Dyslexia Grant aims to improve the literacy of students with — or at risk for — dyslexia. This grant will support pilot programs to address the literacy needs of students in three model schools (preschool through first grade). These schools will offer professional learning and support for teachers, coaches and principals, along with regional support focused on instruction for children with dyslexia. The grant involving the early identification of students with dyslexia is for $1.2 million over four years. Activities in the three elementary schools will start in January 2020. Submitted by the Ohio Department of Education.



en-year-old Brady Snakovsky, of Strongsville, will be honored as the 2019 ASPCA Kid of the Year at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals annual Humane Awards Luncheon on Nov. 14. Every year, the ASPCA honors animal

Local 10-Year-Old Helps Provide Police Vests to K9s heroes who help humans or other animals in extraordinary ways, as well as people who demonstrate great commitment to assisting at-risk animals. Brady and his mom founded Brady’s K9 Fund after Brady learned Ohio’s K9 officers could not afford potentially life-saving, but expensive, ballistic vests. Since it was launched, Brady’s K9 Fund has provided vests for 126 K9 officers in multiple states, and his GoFundMe page has brought in nearly $130,000 to advance the mission of protecting all police dogs from gun violence. The ASPCA will also honor other award recipients, including fashion icon, author and performer Isaac Mizrahi and former U.S. President George H. W. Bush’s official service animal, Sully. “This year’s ASPCA Humane Award winners cover a wide variety of issues – from dogfighting and kitten advocacy to equine safety and protecting pets from poverty – but what unites them is a deep commitment to protecting vulnerable animals and communities,” says Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA. “We congratulate and commend the winners, and hope their stories inspire compassionate advocacy and action across the country.” Following a nationwide public call for

nominations, an expert ASPCA committee reviewed hundreds of entries and selected winners in seven categories including Kid of the Year, the Equine Welfare Award, Cat Advocate of the Year, Dog of the Year, the Public Service Award, the Henry Bergh Award and the Presidential Service Award. Submitted by American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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Old Trail School Breaks Ground on New Outdoor Classroom


Above: Pictured in front (L to R) – Joe Vogel, Assoc. Head of School; Missy McGinnes, Board President; Tom Merryweather, former Head of School and Lead Benefactor; Sarah Johnston, Head of School; Nikolas Sirna, Peninsula Architects. Left: Tom Merryweather, former OTS Head of School and lead benefactor of the project. PHOTOS COURTESY OF OLD TRAIL SCHOOL

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n line with its strategic goal of providing transformative student experiences through distinctive, nature-based and experiential learning, Old Trail School officially broke ground on the Marilyn and Tom Merryweather Outdoor Classroom on Tuesday, Oct. 1. Designed by Peninsula Architects, the 2,100-square foot facility will feature an outdoor covered classroom with open seating for up to 50 students, an indoor multipurpose space for another 49 students, and two individual restrooms. Perhaps the most dynamic feature, however, is an accessible living roof that shelters the spaces below. The multi-purpose structure will be a significant addition to the outdoor education programming at Old Trail, which is the only independent school in the country located within a national park. Made from timber, steel, glass and concrete, the design of the building will provide a space where students can engage the outdoors, enhance their learning environment, and dynamically complement the natural setting of the surrounding Cuyahoga Valley National Park. “Today is a significant day in the future of our school,” said Head of School Sarah Johnston during the ceremony. “It is a day that symbolizes forward momentum and the enhanced connection to our place in the Valley and all it has to offer. We are grateful to all the families who supported this project and to Tom Merryweather, who has been actively involved from the start.” Merryweather is the lead benefactor of the project and a former head of school at Old Trail.

“This project represents the culmination of several years of planning and fulfills a critical piece in Old Trail’s commitment to developing intellectually curious and forward-thinking students,” said OTS Board President Missy McGinnes, a 1986 graduate of the school. “Old Trail is also committed to providing transformational student experiences and this project certainly fulfills that as well – especially with regard to nature-based education.” Construction has already begun on the site, which is located adjacent to the school’s 11-acre, organic farm. A curriculum is currently in development that will provide students and faculty countless opportunities to embrace the concept of ‘bringing the park in and getting the students out’. Discussions are also ongoing about using the site to offer an outdoor preschool. The expected completion date for the project is June 2020. “What better way to engage students with the outdoors than with a building that engages the landscape and encourages creative thinking,” said Nik Sirna, Peninsula Architects Principal. “The Marilyn and Tom Merryweather Outdoor Classroom is much more than a place for a teacher to hold a class. This building is intended to host multiple functions simultaneously while each bit of space has its own aesthetic.” Old Trail School is an independent, coeducational day school for students aged two through grade eight. For nearly 100 years, OTS has inspired the best and brightest young people in the region. In addition to a challenging academic

experience, students learn to embody the school’s core values of respect, responsibility, goodness, and service as they mature into thoughtful, independent leaders well prepared for high school, college and beyond. For more information about Old Trail School visit ■

“There is compelling evidence demonstrating the relationship between children’s time spent in nature and improved attention abilities and self-regulation skills. The positive impact of natureregard and outdoor experiences is so profound that some pediatricians have begun ‘prescribing’ time in parks as part of a treatment plan for children struggling with executive function difficulties.” — Old Trail School Psychologist, Katherine B. Howard, M.A., NCSP, LPC

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OPEN HOUSES ALL SAINTS SCHOOL OF ST. JOHN VIANNEY 28702 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe 440-943-1395, Jan. 26: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. BEAUMONT SCHOOL 3301 N. Park Blvd., Cleveland Hts. 216-321-2954, Nov. 13: 5:30-7 p.m. CLEVELAND MONTESSORI SCHOOL 12510 Mayfield Road, Cleveland 216-421-0700, Nov. 2: 2-4 p.m. Jan. 29: 5-7 p.m GILMOUR ACADEMY 34001 Cedar Road, Gates Mills 440-473-8050, Jan. 26: noon-2 p.m. (Lower School) HANNA PERKINS SCHOOL 19910 Malvern Road, Shaker Hts. 216-991-4472, Nov. 6 & Feb 5: 4-6 p.m.

HATHAWAY BROWN SCHOOL 19600 N. Park Blvd., Shaker Hts. 216-932-4214, Monthly: (Middle & Upper School) Nov. 2: 10-11:30 a.m. (Infant, Toddler, Early Childhood, Primary School) HAWKEN SCHOOL

Lower & Middle Schools 5000 Clubside Road, Lyndhurst 440-423-4446, Nov. 10: 1 p.m. Upper School 12465 County Line Road, Gates Mills 440-423-4446, Nov. 3: 1 p.m. Mastery School Magnolia Drive, University Circle 440-423-2955, Nov. 17: 1 p.m.


Upper School - Huntsburg Campus 11530 Madison Road, Huntsburg Twp. 440-636-6290, Nov. 4: 9-11 a.m. (Visitor’s Days) HOLY TRINITY 33601 Detroit Road, Avon 440-937-5363, Jan 14: 6-7 p.m. (Preschool & Kindergarten) Jan 26: 10 a.m.-noon (Pre-K-Grade 8) JOSEPH & FLORENCE MANDEL JEWISH DAY SCHOOL 26500 Shaker Blvd., Beachwood 216-464-4055, Nov. 14: 8:30 a.m. (Kindergarten)

LAKE RIDGE ACADEMY 37501 Center Ridge Road, North Ridgeville 440-327-1175, LAWRENCE SCHOOL

Lower School 1551 E. Wallings Road, Broadview Hts. 440-526-0717, Feb. 5: 8:30-10:30 a.m.

Upper School 10036 Olde Eight Road, Sagamore Hills 440-526-0717, Feb. 13: 6-8 p.m. LAKEWOOD CATHOLIC ACADEMY 14808 Lake Ave., Lakewood 216-521-0559, Jan. 26: noon-2 p.m. LAUREL SCHOOL

Lyman Campus 1 Lyman Circle, Shaker Hts. 216-464-1441, Nov. 16: 9-11 a.m. (Pre-Primary) Jan.11: 9-11 a.m. (Early Learners-Grade 4) THE LILLIAN AND BETTY RATNER SCHOOL 27575 Shaker Blvd., Pepper Pike 216-464-0033, Nov. 8: 9-10:30 a.m. (Toddler & Children’s House) THE LIPPMAN SCHOOL 750 White Pond Dr., Akron 330-836-0419, Nov. 7: 9-11 a.m. Nov. 10: 1-3 p.m. LITTLEST ANGELS PRESCHOOL 923 Pearl Road, Brunswick 330-460-7301, Nov. 10: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. MENLO PARK ACADEMY 2149 W. 53rd St., Cleveland 440-925-6365, Nov. 12 & Feb 5: 5:30-7 p.m. (Information Night) Dec. 11 & Jan. 18: 9-10:30 a.m. (Open House)

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University Circle Campus 11125 Magnolia Drive, Cleveland 216-421-5806, Nov. 10: 1-2:30 p.m. (Early Childhood) Ohio City Campus 2610 Detroit Ave., Cleveland 216-377-1410, Nov. 10: 1-2:30 p.m. (Early Childhood) OLD TRAIL SCHOOL 2315 Ira Road, Bath 330-666-1118, Nov. 10: 1-2:30 p.m.

SETON CATHOLIC SCHOOL 6923 Stow Road, Hudson 330-342-4200, Nov. 10 & Jan. 26: 2-4 p.m. ST. BARNABAS SCHOOL 9200 Olde 8 Road, Northfield 330-467-7921, Jan. 26: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

VILLA ANGELA-ST. JOSEPH HIGH SCHOOL 18491 Lakeshore Blvd., Cleveland 216-481-8414, Nov. 6: 6 p.m.

WESTERN RESERVE ACADEMY 115 College St., Hudson 330-650-9717, Nov. 2: 10 a.m.

ST. HILARY SCHOOL 645 Moorfield Road, Fairlawn 330-867-8720, Jan 9: 9-11 a.m. (Kindergarten) Jan 26: noon-2 p.m. (K-8) ST. MICHAEL SCHOOL

OUR LADY OF THE ELMS SCHOOL 1375 W Exchange St., Akron 330-836-9384, Nov. 10: noon-2 p.m. SAINT AMBROSE SCHOOL 923 Pearl Road, Brunswick 330-460-7301, Nov. 10: 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. SAINT BERNADETTE SCHOOL 2300 Clague Road, Westlake 440-734-7717, Jan. 26: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. SAINT JOSEPH PARISH SCHOOL Little Falcons 215 Falls Ave., Cuyahoga Falls 330-928-2151, Nov. 7 & Dec. 13: 6-7 p.m. (Preschool, Pre-K and Kindergarten)

St. Michael Campus 6906 Chestnut Road, Independence 216-524-6405, Nov. 3: 1-3 p.m.

St. Basil Campus 8700 Brecksville Road, Brecksville 440-717-0398, st-basil-campus Nov. 3: 1-3 p.m. ST. SEBASTIAN PARISH SCHOOL 500 Mull Ave., West Akron 330-836-9107, Nov. 8: 8:15-10:00 a.m. (Day School) Jan. 26: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Day School & Center for Early Learning)

a winterful tea TO BENEFIT UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS RAINBOW BABIES & CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL S u n d a y , D e c e mb e r 8 , 2 0 1 9 1 1 : 3 0 a m - 2 : 0 0 pm I n n Wa l d e n , 1 1 1 9 A u r o r a H u d s o n R o a d Aurora, Ohio 44202 Holiday Festive Attire

For tickets & more information email

Give the gift of time and create a new holiday tradition while supporting UH Rainbow Enjoy a traditional tea, a silent auction of curated trees and wreaths donated from ASID members and a grand raffle.

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Party Planning Guide

Make your occasion extra special with these venues and entertaining possibilities.

Akron ArtWorks

Akron ArtWorks, a family-owned art studio, offers fine art instruction and therapeutic groups for children, teenagers and adults. The studio’s teaching philosophy emphasizes the artistic process, teaching students to focus on exploration during skill development, so that the final product can be a true expression of their unique point of view. 1720 Merriman Road, Ste. A, Akron, 330-983-9983,

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Flower Entertainment

The premier children’s entertainment agency books the best balloon artists, clowns, face painters, magicians, inflatable amusements and much more. 440-944-0278,


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Party Planning Guide

Goldfish Swim School

Plan your child’s next birthday party at Goldfish’s 90-degree indoor pool. Birthday parties at Goldfish Swim School offer fun for the kids and no hassles for parents. Goldfish Swim School – Cleveland East Side: 216-364-9090; Goldfish Swim School of Fairview Park: 440-333-5393; Goldfish Swim School of Hudson: 234-380-4400; Goldfish Swim School – North Canton: 330-822-6921,

Great Lakes Science Center

Engineer an out-of-thisworld birthday party at Great Lakes Science Center! Family-friendly activities, plus hundreds of hands-on exhibits, create the perfect atmosphere for any child’s party. The science center offers customizable packages including food and beverage options and live science demonstrations. 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216-621-2400,

24 | Family Living at Its Best

Hands on Pottery

Celebrate your birthday at Hands on Pottery Studio, a great place for birthdays, holiday parties, family get togethers and more. Party packages include a private room, instructor and the project for each guest. Choose from pottery painting, glass fusing or succulent gardens. Help with set-up and clean-up is included. Food and drinks are welcome. 5660 Mayfield Road, Lyndhurst, 216-292-4844,

Jungle Terry’s Traveling Zoo

Official animal entertainer of Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine. Jungle Terry does educational animal shows for birthday parties, schools and many other special events. 440-275-1331, - CONTINUED ON PAGE 26 -



From the venue and theme to entertainment and food, there’s a lot to consider when planning your child’s birthday party. Check out the tips below to make your party planning process easy and fun. PH OT OS

decorations and begin any DIY projects. Don’t wait until the last minute — starting projects early eliminates stress and knocks things off of your to-do list. Place online orders as soon as possible, since shipping errors happen and items can be out of stock if you wait too long. This also is a good time to plan games and activities to ensure you have what you need and can execute your ideas at your ideal party location.









Knowing how much you are willing to spend on the party will help keep you on track. Does your little one need to have a party at an event center with 100 of your friends and family, or can you keep it casual at home? Small things add up quickly, especially if you’re booking a venue outside of your home. In terms of the cost, some categories to keep in mind are: number of guests, venue, food/cake, décor, party favors and extras.


Themes are one of the most important steps to planning a great party. Once you have chosen your theme, you can begin looking for

Reserve your venue, special entertainment or rentals as soon as you pick a date. You don’t want to miss out on having the ice queen at your snowflake party because you waited too long to book.


The theme is set, the venue is booked, now it’s time to put together a guest list and send out invitations. Does your budget allow you to invite extended family members or every classmate? Keep in mind who the party is for when creating your guest list. Consider inviting them with free customizable invitations sent digitally through Facebook, Evite, email or even via text. Paper invitations typically are thrown away after a party, so consider saving the environment (and your wallet) and send them digitally. This also is the time to create a menu and order the food/cake.


Most parents (including you) don’t want more stuff — this includes a bunch of random party favors that are bound to get lost. Most parents are happy with their child enjoying the party and having something to eat. If you want to give out party favors, try something different, like edible favors. You can order custom cookies that match the party theme. Sending your friends home with a cupcake or other takehome treat is a sweet idea. Considering doing a craft at your party? These can double as favors. Not the DIY type yourself? Send home a DIY slime recipe and ingredients kit. Other great ideas are Play-Doh packs, Lego packs, coloring books or books. Reusable bags are a great way to package your items; you usually can find them on sale, plus they are an extra gift for your guests to keep.


Let’s face it, even the most seasoned party planner is stressed on the day of the big event. Have a list of items you will need for the day: camera, candles, lighter, ice, helium balloons, food, drinks, party favors, etc. Include things that often get left behind or forgotten. With a list, you’ll be able to stay organized and have the best party ever.

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Party Planning Guide

LaCentre Conference & Banquet Facility

LaCentre has set a new standard of elegance for special events in Northeast Ohio. Providing the finest personal service by experienced professionals, LaCentre features the most advanced capabilities in the area. Within its warm and relaxed atmosphere, you’ll discover an ambiance that embraces the uniqueness of the area’s culture. 25777 Detroit Road, Westlake, 440-250-2000,

Lake Erie Nature and Science Center Celebrate your birthday at the center! Are you wild about wildlife? Enjoy a live animal presentation where you will meet (and touch) the center’s animal ambassadors. Are you out of this world? Get ready to blast off as you and your guests explore the galaxy and beyond in Schuele Planetarium. 28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village, 440-871-2900,

Make Believe Family Fun Center

When you book a birthday party at Make Believe Family Fun Center, you are creating a celebration your family will never forget. Make Believe takes care of all the set-up, provides the fun with its attractions, serves the food and cupcake tree, and in the end takes care of all the clean-up. A dedicated party host will accompany your kids to each attraction, giving them tips to make sure they play harder and laugh longer, all the while making sure your birthday child is the star of the show. 8303 Day Drive, Parma, 440-385-5500,

Melt Bar & Grilled

This holiday season, wow your party or event guests with deliciously decadent comfort food including gourmet grilled cheese, awesome shareable appetizers and fresh salads from Melt Bar and Grilled. Ten locations including Lakewood, Cleveland Heights, Mentor, Independence, Akron and Avon.

26 | Family Living at Its Best

Play Arcade + Kitchen

The best kids parties are at Play. Arcade games, food and fun. Play Arcade + Kitchen is the party place for ages 1 to 100. For birthdays to weddings and everything in between, it offers full-service party planning. For more information, contact the event manager at 5900 Mayfield Road, Mayfield Hts., 440-442-4263,

Pure Image Photo Booth

Pure Image Photo Booth helps make your event fantastically fun. It will have your guests raving and sharing their custom-designed photo strips — after all, who doesn’t keep and share a great photo of themselves? 216-446-5178,

Scene75 Entertainment Center

You bring the people, Scene75 brings the fun! Whether you’re celebrating a kid’s, teen’s or an adult’s birthday party, Scene75/Cleveland’s birthday parties will make your celebration one you’ll never forget. 3688 Center Road, Brunswick, 234-803-1100,

Snapology of Cleveland

Visit for more Birthday Party Planning Ideas!

Looking for a unique party idea for your Lego fan? Choose a Snapology birthday party, pick a theme and the Snapologists will take care of everything. Your guests will have a great time building and making memories at the awesome Discovery Center in Beachwood. 3365 Richmond Road, Beachwood, 216-990-8988,

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araprofessionals, or “teacher’s aides” as they are often called, work alongside licensed teachers to give students additional attention and instruction. These team members are relied upon to play a more important role in a child’s special education experience than many people may think. For the families of children with special needs, these aides are vital and many families develop strong and lasting relationships with their child’s paraprofessionals. Resources vary across school districts and so a statewide development effort is underway to support districts in the use of paraprofessionals to better meet the instructional needs of all children, especially those with disabilities and learning challenges. SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS

While many districts provide special needs support, not all offerings are created equal. That’s what Nicole Born-Crow discovered when her son Finn (8), now a third grader, entered the CHAMPS program at Horace Mann School in Lakewood. The mother of three says her family has experienced enough different school settings that they are now able to appreciate the differences between the aides and how much they do. “We needed someone who understood Finn to figure out how to diffuse a situation and keep him on task,” she says. “One of his paraprofessionals, Theresa Kruckenberg, has gotten to know him at a level where I feel like she is part of the family.” This is Finn’s third year with Kruckenberg in a special education classroom where he is one of six students. Kruckenberg helps

28 | Family Living at Its Best

By Lindsey Geiss Finn with social and emotional regulation and watches vigilantly for subtle signs of seizure activity. She also helps to oversee

Finn’s autism and epilepsy service dog. The value of Kruckenberg goes beyond a list of duties. “It’s beautiful to see Theresa’s passion,” Born-Crow says. “She brings a love for what she does into the role.” Passion can be one of those ephemeral concepts that can be hard to pinpoint, but in Kruckenberg’s case, it’s quite easy to see. That’s because Kruckenberg demonstrated her dedication and strong connection with Finn in a unique way: she got a tattoo on her arm of one of Finn’s animal drawings. The tattoo was a surprise for Finn at his safari-themed going away party before he left to have brain surgery for his seizure disorder; the drawing it was based on marked a recent milestone achievement for Finn. “Seeing the growth is so amazing,” Kruckenberg says. ‘UNSUNG HEROES’ The prefix “para-” is a Greek word that has several meanings, including “alongside of,” “near” or “side by side.” It’s not sur-

prising then, that paraprofessionals work alongside licensed teachers to give students additional attention and instruction. Some are assigned to an individual student with special needs, while others work in settings where they assist multiple students. Paraprofessional job titles and requirements vary by district. The Ohio Department of Education issues Educational Aide and Student Monitor permits to applicants who meet the qualifications and have been hired by school systems to serve in their districts. Educational Aides assist with instructional tasks under a teacher’s guidance, while Student Monitors perform non-instructional assistant duties, such as supervising children on the bus, playground or cafeteria. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics 2018 numbers, there are about 1.3 million paraprofessionals or teacher assistants, of which about one-third are special education paraprofessionals serving students who have a wide range of learning, mental, emotional and physical disabilities. The instructional paraprofessionals typically work in one of two settings: a regular education classroom or a resource classroom. A regular education classroom is an inclusive setting where paraprofesionals provide classroom accommodations for students with mild/moderate disabilities. In the self-contained setting of a resource classroom, paraprofessionals assist with instruction as delegated by an intervention specialist teacher to support a small group of students with moderate/intense disabilities that may require a modified curriculum.

Paraprofessionals emerged in public schools in the 1960s when teacher shortages and limited resources required additional personnel to meet student needs. Since then there has been a growing reliance on them nationwide to support the inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms in addition to self-contained special education settings. Daniel Murdock Sr., PhD, Director of Pupil Services/Special Education for Avon Lake City Schools, says paraprofessionals are “highly valued unsung heroes.” Districts typically seek individuals who are passionate about and have experience working with children with disabilities, as well as patience and strong communication and behavior management skills. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) experience may be recommended, and crisis prevention-intervention training is often required. Lifting a student and assisting with personal needs may also be necessary. Other factors are determined by the grade of the student. Preschool, for example, has specifically mandated ratios and hours as well as unique responsibilities. Ultimately, it’s the needs of individual students that drive an aide’s role, says Valerie Parker, Pupil Services Coordinator for Beachwood City Schools, which employs 35 paraprofessionals. “Paraprofessionals are extraordinarily valuable team members, often forming very close relationships with students and families,” says Parker. “All Special Education Assistants in the district are hired and cross-trained to provide support services to children with disabilities. Roles and responsibilities differ based on individual student’s needs and the services are outlined according to the services in the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP).” “Paraprofessionals collaborate with the teachers, therapists and a variety of other team members,” she says. “They provide support through data collection and plan implementation. Paraprofessionals are providers of information when they are working directly with one student or a small group of students. They provide repeated practice and support for students to generalize skills across settings.” Schools assign one-on-one paraprofessionals based on individual student needs and an IEP team decision. Factors considered include, but are not limited to, safety, behavioral supports, close monitoring, prompting and medical needs. Students and their aides often develop close partnerships, Parker says. “Paraprofessionals share in the students’ successes and support the students through their challenges,” she says. “Once those

relationships are formed, it’s not unusual for parents to call our office to request the same para the following year.” FINDING A BALANCE

Joellen Podoll’s daughter Maryn is in her second year of kindergarten in Cuyahoga Heights. She had a one-on-one aide last year for her first year of kindergarten, and this year she is able to bounce back and forth mostly by herself between her kindergarten room and the intervention room, thanks in great part to paraprofessionals. “They have been a perfect bridge to foster independence for Maryn,” Podoll says. Podoll admits she was unsure about oneon-one paraprofessionals at first. “When Maryn turned 5 we had an open discussion about her strengths and weaknesses,” she says. “The decision to do two years of kindergarten was intentional. She was going from half-day inclusive pre-K to full day kindergarten. Originally, I wanted Maryn to do it on her own; I didn’t want her to have a one-on-one aide. I thought, if one of our goals is truly to help her social skills and independence, I was concerned she’d be reliant on this person.” (Schools and parents alike do caution against an overreliance on aides promoting prompt dependence or learned helplessness.) Podoll says they went back and forth, but ultimately agreed to use an aide to support Maryn’s complex medical needs and cognitive and social delays related to 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (also called DiGeorge syndrome), a chromosomal disorder that caused heart defects requiring multiple open-heart surgeries, a cleft palate and feeding issues requiring a g-tube. Maryn’s first paraprofessional was “motherly and loving,” says Podoll, “a perfect fit for what she needed at the time” to gain comfort in the general education classroom, playground and lunchroom, but she needed to leave the position. Podoll found Maryn’s second paraprofessional helped her build on what the first had started. “I was ready to push independence more to overcome her severe anxiety and selective mutism, and the second paraprofessional did that,” Podell says. “I told them, ‘Maryn is incredibly smart. She will request help, but she needs to know how to make her own decisions.’ I also coordinated with the school nurse to train the entire intervention room and paras, empowering and trusting them to attend to her g-tube.” Podell has seen the benefit of her daughter working with a stable team. “Maryn has the same teacher and classroom, so she knows the routine,” Podell

says. “The paras have also been the same during her time there, so the consistency has been helpful.” Her paraprofessional followed Maryn for the first two weeks of school to make sure she could transition from classroom to classroom. Now, she is now more independent, though an aide observes at recess and accompanies her on field trips. “Maryn knows they are there if she needs them,” she says. Podell stresses the importance of communication in working with paraprofessionals. “I told (Maryn’s support) team, ‘you can get her to do anything if she knows she can dance after,’” she says. “I informed the teacher of Maryn’s friendship with a neighbor, so the team can encourage peer interaction.” STATEWIDE DEVELOPMENT EFFORT

A study of special education paraprofessionals was done by the Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation (OPEPP) to identify areas the role can be improved to help better serve students. OPEPP decided to conduct the 2015 study — “School District Practice and Needs in Deploying and Developing Special Education Paraprofessionals” — “because, though paraprofessionals deal with the most challenging students in schools, qualifications for the role are minimal. Special education paraprofessionals need only a high school diploma and, optionally… a passing grade on a test to ensure employers they possess minimal academic skills…” According to the study’s authors, Deborah M. Telfer, Aimee Howley and Craig B. Howley, in a 2017 article, “How the Other Half Teaches” in School Administrator magazine, paraprofessionals “typically don’t get full time work, are often paid minimum wage, receive little to no professional development and are not included as members of instructional teams.” The same study suggested ways to upgrade the special education paraprofessional role and functionality to better provide academic assistance to students with disabilities. Recommendations include increased access to high quality training and professional development and greater engagement in instructional teams. According to OPEPP, paraprofessionals serve an essential function on instructional teams and the group is building capacity to use them more effectively and improve their learning opportunities and outcomes. A partnership between the University of Cincinnati’s Systems Development - CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 -

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How to build a better relationship with your child’s paraprofessional As moms who have navigated working with paraprofessionals, Joellen Podoll and Nicole Born-Crow share tips for building a relationship with your child’s aide: Recognize their contributions.

Thank you notes and other tokens of appreciation can go a long way. Include them without pressure.

Rather than sending the request yourself, invite them to friend you on social media so the ball is in their court. If you participate in events or causes (e.g., autism walk) during the school year, ask them to join your team without obligation.

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Share information openly and


suggests sharing your child’s strengths, interests, what makes them happy, social history, family news, health issues and hopes and dreams. Keep in mind, many districts prefer teachers handle all communication, so contact your child’s teacher/ intervention specialist before the school year starts and throughout the school year, especially after IEP meetings and conferences, to request that information be shared with paraprofessionals for consistency. Establish a rapport. Volunteer in the classroom, if possible, to observe interactions and greet paraprofessionals at school. Show photos or videos of your child outside of school to offer extra insight into your child’s personality, capabilities and daily life.

& Improvement (SDI) Center and the ODE, OPEPP began about eight years ago as a federally funded four-year cooperative agreement awarded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs. With support from the Ohio Department of Education Office for Exceptional Children, the work evolved into a statewide professional development effort to support districts in the use of paraprofessionals to better meet the instructional needs of all children, especially those with disabilities and learning challenges. To be accepted into the partnership, districts must “agree to conduct an audit using OPEPP’s tool, develop an action plan with support from an OPEPP consultant, participate in a fall and spring academy, and report progress. Funds are used to provide professional development and consultant services, develop products, and provide honoraria to districts,” says Deborah Telfer, PhD, Director & Research Associate, University of Cincinnati Systems Development & Improvement Center. Avon Lake City School District is one of 15 partner districts in the state participating this year and one of only two in Northeast Ohio to be included. (Akron Public Schools participated in the past.) The district employs 46 instructional and non-instructional paraprofessionals, 24 of whom have associates/bachelor degrees — several of which are licensed/certified teachers. Daniel Murdock, Avon Lake City Schools Director of Pupil Services/Special Education, expects the established OPEPP district partnership to provide clear benefits. “We intend to take our paraprofessionals, who are already outstanding and regional award winners, to the next level by building the capacity of our district to use paraprofessional educators more effectively, far exceeding the typically-afforded support and training provided by other districts in Ohio,” he says. Murdock says he and the district’s core team participate in trainings in Columbus, hold monthly building meetings and have a process to identify needs and set goals for training supports and resources. Plans include creating a network for paraprofessional communication, additional ongoing professional development and mentoring/ shadowing opportunities to augment the onboarding process.

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Cleveland is filled with enticing examples of public art — large murals, side-of-building art displays and street art — where families can visit and discuss the value of art. “There is a growing community of public art in Cleveland,” said artist Justin Michael Will, a resident of Cleveland Heights and a lifelong resident of Northeast Ohio. “Cleveland is not huge, it’s not overly saturated and there are lots of people in lots of different walks of life with different budgets but still needing art in their life. The best thing about public art is being able to reach a lot of people and reaching them for free. It’s part of their neighborhood.” Will has works of arts on the streets of Cleveland such as the untitled piece on the side of the Love Threading Bar building in the Gor-

Living atat ItsIts Best 32 Family Living Best 32| |Family

don Square Arts District and another on an apartment building on the east bank of the Flats. “That one was supposed to be temporary for a festival,” Will says about the apartment building mural. “I painted it live, during the Flats Festival of the Arts. But then the building liked it, and they’ve left it up.” Will’s typical pieces are not soaring skyward: he also does gallery shows, loves to paint, works with ink and makes decorative furniture pieces. However, he loves the immediacy and accuracy of public art. That doesn’t mean the labor of love isn’t still labor. The Gordon Square mural took four 12-hour days, for example. “My dream job would be a nice interior wall in a cafe and I could knock out in a day,” he says. “But that wall (in Gordon Square) is very large and the brick is deep and I’m a sucker for detail, so…yeah, that was a lot of work.”



Rini Jeffers PHOTO BY Kim Stahnke STORY BY

Will grew up liking graffiti art, though he never practiced it himself. He does see some clear differences between his work and the kind that crops up in dark alleys and unattended lots, but sees the value in both. “That’s the big question: the difference between mural art and traditional graffiti — and I guess my mind goes to it being commissioned,” he says. “Someone is paying you or asking you to donate your time to do this. But I guess if it is not derogatory or violent or a turf thing, that’s a mural. That’s public art and it’s great.” Increasingly, Cleveand is embracing public art. The Gordon Square Arts District commissioned eight large murals to be done by 10 artists. Will’s mural on the side of 6805 Detroit Ave. is at the same place — but on an opposite wall from — a work by another local artist Lisa Quine. The Cleveland Foundation in 2016 sponsored an international

group of artists to work with local artists to create murals in the Ohio City/Hingetown neighborhoods. Now a gigantic mural stretches along Washington Avenue from West 25th to West 28th streets. And just last month, city officials announced artist Wyland — famous for his underwater life art — would refurbish his mural “Song of the Whales” that has grace the Cleveland Public Power plant along the East Shoreway since 1997. (Find other murals at, clevelandmural. com or

TINY WORLDS Few things resonate more with kids than a world of tiny replicas of everyday life that can make even the smallest little one feel big in comparison. The top floor of the Children’s Museum of Cleveland is dedicated to miniatures and dollhouses — a wonderland of the tiny.

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Even the lavish old Stager Beckwith mansion, which is the new home of the museum, is replicated in miniature. Children can learn how miniaturists create these Lilliputian worlds though hands-on play, searching for hidden logos and designing their own tiny world in Brick Works, where children ages 3 and older can build their own creations. Other features of the museum include: Arts & Parts: Combine science and art in open-ended craft spaces focused on blending the creative process and tinkering with tools and raw materials. Theater: Learn about different cultures and explore imagination with storytelling. This area provides props, costumes and even technical aspects like lighting to create a stage play. Playlist: Kids listen to various musical genres and display how it makes them feel on specially lit walls. They can mix music and shadow theater animations to “perform” songs. (Children’s Museum of Cleveland, 3813 Euclid Ave.,

ALL HANDS ON ART If you’d prefer to go off the beaten track and try your hand at making art of your own, visit the Firelands Association for the Visual Arts in Oberlin. Located in the New Union Center for the Arts, an old schoolhouse right off the charming town square, FAVA is a small art gallery that also hosts Art Labs, workshops for toddlers, children and parents. Children ages 5 to 12 can join Clay for Kids, a four-week course on Wednesday afternoons starting Nov. 27 to create their own functional pieces. Just a block or so down the street you can visit the Allen Memorial Art Museum, founded in 1917 and run by Oberlin College, with more than 15,000 works on display. (FAVA, 39 S. Main Street, favagallery. org)

EXHIBITS TO VISIT A list of cultural activities in Northeast Ohio wouldn’t be complete without the region’s art museums, as families can visit art exhibits at places such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and Akron Art Museum. The Cleveland Museum of Art opened in 1913 and is free for patrons to visit its standing exhibits. The museum offers a variety of family programs and experiences and activities include Sunday Open Studios, Play Days and Saturday Art Stories. The Cleveland Museum of Art is at (11150 East Blvd., visit The Akron Art Museum is free for children age 17 and younger. Also, the museum has free admission on Thursdays. (Akron Art Museum, One South High,

FIRST FRIDAYS Looking to explore somewhere new? Many smaller towns pick a day of the month to draw visitors to their downtown areas with


the lure of free music and celebrations. For example, Medina, Canton and Wadsworth will be marking their “First Fridays” with a host of cultural activities aimed at families. Medina Historic District will kick off its party at 5 p.m. Nov. 1, with live music, pop-up art shows and performances throughout downtown Medina. Most local shops are open until 8 p.m. (Visit or Wadsworth will mark its First Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 1 at Main Street Wadsworth, 102 Main St., Ste. 20. History and hauntings will be discussed during the Downtown Wadsworth Ghost Walk. Catch rarely seen architecture during its Upper Floor Tour, which includes glimpses of area buildings, presented by the group’s Economic Vitality Committee. (Visit

Families can check out local bands and gather ‘round the fire at this year’s S’moresfest to help support local arts. The event benefits Brite Winter Festival, a music and arts festival planned for February. With a nod to Cleveland weather, organizers say the two events are planned knowing “it might be snowing, it might be 70 degrees,” but either way participants are invited to come and sit by the cozy fire pits and listen to live music — while eating s’mores, of course. General tickets are $20 and $10 for ages 18 and younger; ages 5 and younger are free. S’moresfest 2019 is from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 15 at Merwin’s Wharf, 1785 Merwin Ave., Cleveland. For information, visit or

34 FamilyLiving LivingatatItsItsBest Best 34| |Family

Above: Families view the exhibits at the Cleveland Museum of Art. PHOTO BY SCOTT SHAW PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF THE CLEVELAND MUSEUM OF ART Left: In the Playlist studio, children can listen to different genres of music and act it out using shadow animation. PHOTO SUBMITTED BY CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF CLEVELAND Right: Art activities abound at Beck Center for the Arts. PHOTO BY BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS AND WETZLER PHOTOGRAPHY

Canton will mark its First Friday with LegoMania from 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 1 at the intersection of Cleveland Avenue NW and 4th Street NW. (Visit

Thanks for Sharing Your Mornings with Us!

DIVE INTO ART The region is filled with ways children, adults and families can dive into an art interest. Whether it’s taking classes as places such as Beck Center for the Arts, (; Fine Arts Association, (; and Fairmount Center for the Arts, (; or traveling to a local park system’s nature center, which many provide nature art exhibits and classes.

THE ART OF THE CLE This month features the chance to take in an art exhibit dedicated to the art and artists of a region. BAYarts will open “The HeART of Cleveland” exhibition by curator and local artist Scott Kraynak at the end of this month. The exhibit is based loosely on Kraynak’s book of the same name, released in 2018. The exhibit will celebrate the diversity of talent from Northeast Ohio, highlighting artists and their works and exploring what makes Cleveland such a vibrant region for art. Presented by Baycrafters Center for Fine Art and Education, the exhibit will be shown 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 23 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at Baycrafters Art Studio and Gallery. 28795 Lake Rd., Bay Village. (Visit


r Len & Sa

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10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106 @clestartshere



“We took the grandchildren there today for their first visit and they both loved it! Everything from the cars to the costume wing was such an incredible experience for all of us. They even loved the historic mansions! We finished with a ride on the Euclid Beach Grand Carousel and we all already can’t wait to go back!”

36 | Family Living at Its Best

xperience Cleveland like never before at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle. Through the use of its vast and varied collections covering family history, community history, entrepreneurship and innovation, Cleveland History Center provides the public with a much-needed sense of place in today’s mobile society. Each document and artifact tells a story that personally engages guests of all ages — these stories come to life. Immerse yourself in the extensive collections and interactive exhibits. Ride on the restored Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel, stroll through two beautiful historic mansions, experience the evolution of the automobile in the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum, travel through time in the Chisholm Halle Costume Wing and get your hands on history in the Kidzibits Playzone. Cleveland Starts Here®. Cleveland Starts with You!

Museum PROFILES 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, OH 44122


T Look for Drop-In Tours such as “Leonard Bernstein,” “An American Story,” and “The Temple Gallery.” Check for dates and times.

he Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage is a museum of action, where people of all ages and backgrounds come to learn about the history of bias and discrimination in order to recognize and prevent hate in all its forms in the present and future. With three galleries its 24,000 sq. ft. home, the museum invites visitors to explore Jewish history and culture in the context of the American experience. The stories of individuals and families — past and present — come to life through state-of-the-art exhibitions, oral histories, interactives, films, photographs, and artifacts. Its flagship program Stop the Hate is an essay contest in which students in grades 6–12 speak out against discrimination for a chance to win scholarships and prizes. Deadlines are in January 2020. Younger audiences are welcome to experience the museum with their families during special family-fun programming each month. On view now is the special exhibition, Leonard Bernstein: The Power of Music, a great experience for the whole family.


When the Lion Sneezed

Talespinner Children’s Theatre presents this magical, musical tale filled with mistaken identities and colorful characters features folk traditions and tales of cats from different ancient lands. When the Lion sneezes, two cats are created; one seemingly good, and the other bad. Their sibling rivalry shows that people are not always who we think they are. 1:30-3 p.m.


Friends of the Maltz Museum’s Chanukah Candle Lighting

Celebrate the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, also known as the miracle of lights, which begins this night at sundown. People of all faiths and backgrounds are invited to hear the story of Chanukah, sing along to traditional tunes with live music performance, make holiday crafts, in addition to exploring the Museum. 1:30-3 p.m.

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2600 South Park Boulevard, Cleveland


hat will you discover when you unplug and reconnect with the outdoors? Step into the expansive outdoor classroom nestled in the heart of the 300-acre Shaker Parklands on Cleveland’s east side. Unleash your curiosity and explore all the unique educational experiences Northeast Ohio native habitats have to offer. Informational signage will guide you through the trails, habitats and exhibit area as you escape and explore together and make lasting memories — all while learning the importance of preserved ecosystems. Six restored and conserved habitats fill your senses and provide wonderful nature experiences and discovery for all ages and through all seasons. The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes is free and open to the public. Explore the newly reconstructed All People’s Trail, participate in an environmental program, summer camp, class, birdwatching, nature walk, hike or an event. With more than two miles of trails and connecting trails throughout the Shaker Parklands, adventure awaits.

38 | Family Living at Its Best


Family Fireside Night

An evening exploring the native winter animals of northeast Ohio’s past and present. Bundle up as you go outdoors and search for animals in their winter habitats. The discovery continues indoors, where you can unearth prehistoric creatures through hands-on crafts and activities. Hot chocolate and snacks will be provided. $5 per person or $25 family (up to 6 persons). 6:30-8 p.m.


Pancake Breakfast with the Birds

This joint program with the Rotary Club of Shaker Heights includes an all-you-cancan-eat breakfast of plain, blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes, sausage, applesauce, juice and coffee. Guided hikes, crafts and bird-related activities. $9 registration for adults, $5 for children aged 4-10, and children age 3 and younger are free. 8 a.m. to noon

Changing Directions Adoption choices for teens could have a lasting impact on their future


By Angela Gartner

ourteen-year-old Dequarius had faith that he would get adopted someday, but didn’t know his new home would be two states away. Dequarius, who goes by “DQ”, and his siblings, Shermon, 12, and Deanna’Marie, 16, of Cleveland, are now living in New York with parents Lisa Johnson and Greg Myers. Shermon and DQ lived together in a foster home before meeting their new parents while Deanna’Marie was separated from her brothers. “When our sister left and we heard that she couldn’t stay with us anymore, we were very sad,” DQ says. After being in foster care for several years, DQ says his sister was the first to tell him about a couple interested in meeting the siblings. They seemed like they were pretty cool,” DQ says about the introduction to his adoptive parents. However, he did feel nervous about them and the fact they wanted to adopt kids from a different state. Johnson says she and her husband, Myers, simply found themselves at a point in life where they had room and love to spare. “I had three (kids), my husband had two (kids),” Johnson says. “For us, our kids were getting older, moving out of the house and we realized we weren’t done yet. We still had love to give. I guess you could say, I found the cure for the empty nest.” The couple took the required training and classes, and also did respite services for other foster parents. During that experience, they found out that they wanted older children, not babies. “We ended up realizing our life is set up for older kids,” Johnson says. “We are not afraid of the challenges (teens might bring). We don’t believe there is such a thing as a bad child, just ones who haven’t had the opportunity to be successful.” She says at the time they were ready to adopt, New York didn’t have any available teens that fit their family, so the couple decided to look in cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh. As most foster or adoptive parents do, they did an online search and saw countless faces of kids who were seeking homes. They worked with a recruiter from Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program, which is the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption that helps find permanent homes for youth in foster care, and Cuyahoga County Children and Family Services to connect with DQ and his siblings.

Kids in Care

It is not uncommon for older children to be in foster care. In fact, Beverly Torres, senior manager of Permanency Support for Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, says they currently have more than 800 children between the ages of 13 and 18 that are in the custody of the county agency. According to Summit County Children Services, as of Oct. 9, 161 children ages 13 and older were in the agency’s custody and, as of September, 142 teens were in the permanent custody. Across all the agencies, they say the main factors for kids to enter into foster care are abuse, neglect, or mental health issues that interfere with parenting and family concerns. Issues like drug abuse also play a role. “The opioid epidemic continues to have an impact on the child welfare system as well,” Torres says. Ann Ream, department director of community relations and foster care for Summit County Children Services, says teen adoption is important. “There is a strong need to create awareness and bring attention to the need for permanent families for children and youth on a national, state and local level,” she says. “The hope is that all children, regardless of age, have established connections and relationships that are life-long.” A Chance for Teens and their Siblings

Tony Siracusa and his wife, Cindy, of Eastlake, have five adopted children with ages ranging from 11 to 18; three out of those five children are siblings. Siracusa says the oldest of the siblings was 16 when they adopted him. “Teens deserve a chance too, that’s why we didn’t hesitate,” he says. ”We weren’t actively looking to foster three kids at the time, but we weren’t going to break up a family. It’s important not just for teens but also the younger ones as well. They can’t be jumping from family to family.” When it comes to adopting a teen, he says it’s harder on the teen than on the adult. “Teenagers can come with a lot of baggage and not-so-good behavior,” he says, “that’s why it’s important to get them the right help, understand their needs as a teen and have an outlet for any pent-up feelings or anger.” To help their teen with the transition, Siracusa says communication is the key. “Just talking to each other,” he says. “About


his feelings, what happened with him and letting him know it’s perfectly normal (to feel this way). You have to realize, they are going to be angry at the world for their situation. You have to direct them as best you can. Let them know it wasn’t their fault and why it happened, give them love even when they dont want it.” Foster and adoptive parents also need someone to lean on. Siracusa talked about a support system of trainers from Lake County of Job and Family Services, along with Lake County Foster-Adoptive Parent Association, a group that provides activities, training and other events for parents. Making Choices

It varies among agencies how long teens are in foster care. Lori O’Brien, administrator for Children & Adult Services at Lake County Job and Family Services, says teens who are ages 12-14 tend to stay in the system longer than those children ages 15 or older. “The reality of that statistic is that the older the child is, the more able they are to protect themselves,” O’Brien says. “Over the last nine years of data evaluated, the younger teenagers time in agency custody averaged to be 12 months versus the older teenagers, who averaged 6.5 months.” While Cuyahoga County doesn’t have specific data on teens, Torres says the average length of stay for any child, including teens, in their custody is a little over 17 months. Teens who do stay in the foster care system after age 12 have an option to choose to be adopted or not. O’Brien provides the law as follows, “Ohio Revised Code 3107.06 states that the minor, if more than 12 years of age must provide written consent to the adoption unless the court finds that it is in the best interest of the minor and determines that the minor’s consent is not required.”

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Adoption can be difficult to process for kids. “Children who are adopted in their teenage years often lived with their parents long enough to have built a strong bond,” O’Brien says. “Those bonds may not have been healthy

but by nature, children tend to love their parents regardless of the way they were treated. Loyalty issues emerge for the child, which causes emotional conflict where the child feels as though they are betraying their family by

consenting to the adoption process.” Torres says there are some children that say they do not want to be adopted, and it is the staff ’s job as trained adoption assessors to “unpack that ‘no’” to work through what that “no” means specifically for that child. “We also work with the adoptive families to support them when the child with whom they are adopting has struggles,” she says. Siracusa’s son, at age 16, had an option like many older foster kids in Ohio to be adopted or not. He chose to be with Siracusa family, which also helped him experience freedoms that weren’t available in foster care. Currently, at age 18, he has moved out on his own. Like most parents, Tony says he and his wife will be there when he needs them. “It’s important these kids know they are loved, have a safe place and safe people to talk to and lean on if they come upon hard times,”Siracusa says. “They have a place to go and will not be thrown away on the street somewhere.” Enjoying New Freedoms

After a year of going back and forth between Ohio and New York, Johnson and Myers adopted the three siblings. DQ says he felt happy that someone wanted to adopt them after years in foster care. He and his siblings are adjusting to their new life together. “I can walk down the street without getting hurt or something happening,” DQ says. “(Me and my siblings) are trusting each other more and giving each other personal space. When we first moved here, we didn’t know how to respect each other.” He is also enjoying freedoms of academics, sports, hanging out with friends, social media and learning life skills. DQ says while it was challenging to live in a new state and move in with his siblings, along with dealing with the issues of being adopted, he advises to keep fighting. “You can’t turn your back now,” he says. “You have to keep fighting.” As far as the changes in his life, he says he has more freedoms than being in foster care. “I can continue my life and don’t have to depend on just myself,” he says, adding Johnson and Myers are teaching him the important aspects of life — how to be respectful and how to be a man. “They talk to me a lot, comfort me, and help with some challenging things,” DQ says. Johnson says the siblings are now thinking about the future. “When they came here, they were focused on only what happened that day,” she says. “Now the’re dreaming (of what’s ahead).”

40 | Family Living at Its Best

- Adoption Profiles • Sponsored Content -

Building Blocks

Adoption Service Inc.

Executive Director: Denise Hubbard

866-321-ADOPT (2367)


uilding Blocks Adoption Service, Inc. (BBAS) is licensed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Service (ODJFS) to take custody and participate in the placement of children. They were founded by an adoptive parent in 1997 and since its inception has participated in over 3,600 acts of adoption. Currently they have 27 employees who provide various adoption services throughout the State of Ohio. BBAS specializes in both independent and agency adoptions. They provide adoption services here in Ohio as well as nationwide through networking programs. The agency provides adoption services for those women seeking to make an adoption plan for their born or unborn child. They provide adoption and social services for those

seeking to adopt through the newborn program and older child adoption through the ODJFS state waiting adoption program. In addition, BBAS can provide stepparent, grandparent and relative adoption services. They are making the world a better place one adoption at a time.


“ We are making

the world a better place one adoption at a time. ”

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- Adoption Profiles • Sponsored Content -

Northeast Ohio Adoption Services (NOAS) 330-856-5582 ext. 125 NortheastOhioAdoptionServices

“If you cannot foster


or adopt, mentoring is

another great way to make

an impact on a foster youth. Please be the healthy adult connection these teens desperately need.”

— Cheryl Tarantino, Executive Director

42 | Family Living at Its Best


ational Adoption Month is a time to celebrate and honor the beautiful families created through adoption. We are proud to have placed over 1,300 children with their forever families; however, we recognize this is not possible for every foster youth. As these kids grow older, their chances of being adopted diminish and a birthday becomes nothing more than one year closer to aging out of the system with no home, no family, and no one to enjoy life’s little victories with. With each passing year of waiting, these youth grow increasingly discouraged and lose hope. While being involved with the child welfare system is never easy, we believe that “Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story” (Josh Shipp). By becoming a mentor, you can provide a current foster youth (ages 12-17) or a former foster youth (ages 18-21) with the secure, caring, and consistent relationship they need to achieve their greatest potential. Mentors allow teens and young adults to participate in new, fun experiences

while also being involved in the community and looking ahead to their future by goal setting, attending college/vocational outings and working on life skills with an adult role model. If you are at least 25-years-old, can pass a background/driving record check and drug test, and can volunteer at least six hours a month for one year, we invite you to learn more about the impact you can have by being an IGNITE mentor. You might just be one person, but to a foster youth who has no one, you might just be enough. National Adoption Month is surely something to celebrate, after all, children and teens deserve to grow up in families. We hope this month you also think about the teens who are still waiting for their forever families and the young adults who have had to come to terms with never having one. You can help change the trajectory of their lives by being a volunteer mentor! To learn more, please contact Abi at 330856-5582 ext. 125 or abiroschak@

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t s m i r as h C 3 3 Heritage Farms 330-657-2330

6050 Riverview Road, Peninsula Open Nov. 23-27 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving Day Open Nov. 29-Dec. 22 (or until sold out)

Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon-7 p.m. Cut-your-own fields close at 5 p.m.

Medina Christmas Tree Farm 330-723-2106

Main Farm: 3301 Hamilton Road, Medina Open Nov. 29 from 9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.

Nov. 30-Dec. 22 hours are Monday-Friday from 3:30-7:30 p.m., Saturday from 9:30 a.m.7:30 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Butler Farm: 3235 Hamilton Road, Medina Open weekends Nov. 23-Dec. 22 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

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Pine Tree Barn & Farms 330-264-1014

Pine Tree Original Farmstead: 4374 Shreve Road, Wooster Open beginning Nov. 23, Sunday-Wednesday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., ThursdaySaturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Valley Road Tree Farm: located around the corner on Valley Road. Open weekends only, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. from Nov. 23-Dec. 15.

River Run Tree Farm


5620 Streeter Road, Mantua Open Nov. 29-Dec. 15, Friday-Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Storeyland Christmas Tree Farm 330-772-8733

5148 State Rt. 7, Burghill Open daily Nov. 29-Dec. 23 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (after 5 p.m. by appointment)

Sugar Pines Farm

440-729-1019 9500 Mulberry Road, Chesterland Open daily beginning Nov. 29

Weekends and Nov. 29 from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Weekdays from noon-5:30 p.m.

Visit for more holiday fun things to do with your family.

Kall Christmas Tree Farm Adolph Tree Farm

950 Waterloo Road, Mogadore 330-603-4265 adolphtreefarm

Bender Christmas Tree Farm

3381 Sheffield Road, Jefferson 440-944-5240

Big Run Evergreens 635 Twp. Road 2724, Loudonville 419-994-3600

Braden Christmas Tree Farm

5801 Knox School Road, Homeworth 330-525-7103

Cowan Tree Farm

2754 Dawley Road, Ravenna 330-296-5752

Diversified Tree Farm

8546 Nichols Road, Windham 330-527-7409 diversifiedtreefarm

Doc Miller’s Christmas Tree Farm 2666 German Church St. NE, Alliance, 717-706-5565

Flower Family Christmas Tree Farm 1236 Hudson Road, Kent 330-678-8967

3605 Foskett Road, Medina 330-725-8870

Kurtz Christmas Tree Farm

2350 Quarry Road, Wellington 440-328-9140

Log Barn Farm

8711 Stanhope-Kelloggsville Road, Williamsfield 440-293-7330

Manners Christmas Tree Farm

780 Dodgeville Road, New Lyme 440-294-2444 mannerschristmastreefarm

McKosky Tree Farm

14740 Leroy Center Road, Mentor 440-298-1412 mckoskystreefarm

Moore’s Christmas Tree Farm 6767 Edison St., Hartville 330-877-6520

Mountain Creek Tree Farm

7185 Williams Road, Concord 440-354-8928

North Corner Farm

13800 Butternut Road, Burton 440-785-3692

Pauley’s Tree Farm

721 Benedict Leavittsburg Road, Leavittsburg, 330-360-3794

Rauh Christmas Tree Farm

3001 N. River Road, Stow 330-678-7474

Rhodes Sisters Christmas Tree Farm 12020 Clay St., Huntsburg 440-636-5498

Sarna’s Christmas Tree Farm

1137 E. Jefferson St., Jefferson 440-576-3450

Shawnee Trail Tree Farm

896 Terex Road, Hudson 330-486-7024 shawneetrailtreefarm

Skylar Brook Farm 12853 Bair Road, Orrville 330-641-8877

Soubusta Farms

11380 Thwing Road, Chardon 440-289-1026

Stone Garden Farm & Village

2891 Southern Road, Richfield 330-212-9934

Sugargrove Tree Farm

1619 Township Road 1455, Ashland, 419-282-5151

Swan Farm

11721 Tinkers Creek Road, Valley View 216-524-2536

Timber Valley Christmas Tree Farm 4250 Bagdad Road, Medina 330-722-3832

Twinsberry Tree Farm

8916 S. Jefferson Road, Shreve 330-567-3902

Wilcox Tree Farm 17620 Diagonal Road, LaGrange 440-355-4027

Williams Tree Farm

1926 Battlesburg Road SW, East Sparta 330-484-5306

Wintergreen Tree Farm

3898 Winchell Road, Mantua 330-221-3835

Galehouse Tree Farms

11762 Coal Bank Road, Doylestown 330-658-2480

Greig Christmas Tree Farm 35900 Eddy Road, Willoughby Hills 440-487-7158

Howling Pines Tree Farm

10480 E. Washington St., Chagrin Falls, 216-410-6341

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NOVEMBER CAlenDAR Find more events at

11/9 & 23

Ourcks Pi bout Learn a and nature animals

Pick your DAY


Tinkergarten. Tinkergarten is on a mission to elevate childhood. A growing technology-enabled network of leaders that bring families together in a natural place where kids can learn through play. 1-2:30 p.m. Coventry Peace Park, 2843 Washington Blvd., Cleveland Hts.,


Bucket Drumming. Learn fundamental techniques and comprehensive rhythms through call and response

46 | Family Living at Its Best

Penguin Palooza. Celebrate the Humboldt penguins, warm up with hot chocolate, create your own penguin craft and feed the penguins. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Akron Zoo, 505 Euclid Ave., Akron, 330-375-2550,

training. Ages 8-11 and 12-18. 4-4:45 p.m. Fairfax and Cuddell Fine Arts, 10013 Detroit Ave, Cleveland, 216-664-4183,


Tales and Treats. Each week a librarian will read a chapter from the book “Toys Go Out” by Emily Jenkins. Kids then play a game or create an art project. 4 p.m. Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St., 330-673-4414,


After School Anime Awesomeness. Hang out with other teens and watch some shows. Feel free to draw, chat and have an “anime-zing” time. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Willowick Public Library, 263 E. 305th St., 440-943-4151,


Junior Ranger, Jr. Creatures of the Night. Have you ever wondered which animals are out and about while you sleep? Investigate nocturnal mammals through hands-on activities, crafts, story and a hike. 6 p.m. Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, 1403 W. Hines Hill Road, Peninsula, 330-657-2909,

Free Student Theatre. In order to make the art of theater more accessible, students of any age are invited to show their student IDs and attend any Thursday Clague Playhouse show at no charge. 1371 Clague Road, Westlake, 440-331-0403, Girls’ Got Swag. Girls in fifth to eighth grade learn how to design and create fashion, work closely with mentors and build lasting friendships. 4-5:30 p.m. Oaks Family Care Ctr., 4196 Center Road, Brunswick,


Drop-By: Masks, Puppets, and More! Join a naturalist to make your own mammal puppet or mask. Learn wild facts about native mammals. 10 a.m. West Creek Reservation, 2277 West Ridgewood Drive, 440-887-1968,


STEM Pop Up Program. Learn about chemical reactions, launching rockets or maybe mixing colors and exploring light. 2 p.m. Children’s Museum Cleveland, 3813 Euclid Ave., Cleveland,


Raising Readers Family Story Time. A unique, drop-in storytime for readers of all ages. Laugh, sing and share a love of literacy and language. 11 a.m. Jefferson Branch Library, 850 Jefferson Ave., Cleveland, 216623-7004,

ongoing THROUGH 11/30

Fall Hiking Spree. Get out and explore. Complete at least eight designated hikes to earn hiking staff (first-year hikers) and shield.


Afternoon Adventures: African Primate. A monthly exploration of environmental science for children in kindergarten through second grade. 4:30-5:15 p.m. Hudson Library & Historical Society, 96 Library St., 330-653-6658,

Trekking Through Autumn. Explore the Medina County parks through this self-guided hiking program. First-year hikers earn a backpack, and veteran hikers earn a pin.

Teen Cuisine. Teen Cuisine helps teens become self-sufficient in the kitchen while building healthy habits that will last a lifetime. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Lee Road Branch Library, 2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Hts., 216-932-3600,



Wild Hikes Challenge 2019. Walk, hike, skip, jog, run or stroll on eight designated trails before Dec. 31 to earn a hiking staff (first year) and/or a 2019 Wild Hikes medallion.

day - by - day 11/1-3

‘Pipeline.’ A compelling, mustsee portrait of the systemic school-to-prison pipeline and the experience of being a parent to a young black man in America. Cleveland Play House, 1901 E. 13th St., Suite 200, Cleveland,


Buckeye Alpaca Fall Fest. Come see these amazing animals compete for champion status and find special gifts. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Summit County Fairgrounds, Tallmadge,


In Living Color - A Visit from the Akron ZooMobile. Learn that the world is colored with animals and discover the not-so-blackand-white world of animal colors. 1:30-2:30 p.m. Avon Lake Public Library, 32649 Electric Blvd., 440-933-8128,

P.A.L.S. Big Screen Sensory Friendly Movie. A showing of “Aladdin,” where the sound is lower, the lights are brighter and where talking, singing and moving is perfectly acceptable. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Parma-Snow Branch Library, 2121 Snow Road, 216-661-4240,


Dinosaur Party. Children ages 6 and under can celebrate Dinovember with dinosaur stories, songs, crafts and other activities. 10:30 a.m. South Lorain Branch Library, 2121 Homewood Drive, 440-277-5672, ‘American Girl’ Book Club. Meet Melody, make a craft and have a snack for one of the historical “American Girl” dolls. Ages 6-12. 4-5 p.m. Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., 440-255-8811,


Purrr-fect Reading Friends. Drop in and share a story with Charlie, a reading therapy cat. 3-5 p.m. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, 440-871-2600, Sensory Friendly Movie: ‘Arctic Dogs.’ Sensory film showings feature more light and lower sound. Shows start between 5 and 5:30 pm. Lake 8 Movies, 588 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton, Busy Parent MeetUp: Household Chores — Divide and Conquer. What is the best way to make sure things are getting done? Let’s talk chore charts, reward systems and maybe even “Honey-do lists.” 6:45-7:30 p.m. Keystone-LaGrange Branch Library, 101 West St., LaGrange, 440-355-6323, NO! Don’t! Stop! So How Exactly is That Working for You? Challenging Behaviors Workshop. This presentation will provide points to ponder when responding to challenging behavior demonstrations that may disrupt the learning/ teaching environment. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. OCECD, 6200 Frank Ave. NW, North Canton,

11/7-10, 15-17

‘The Jungle Book.’ In this action-packed adaptation of the classic adventure story, Mowgli grows up believing he’s as fierce a wolf and when he learns he is actually a human, he must decide decide whether to remain with the pack or return to the human world. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Workshop Players Theater, 44820 Middle Ridge Road, Amherst,

Family Scavenger Hunt. Bring the whole family for a fun afternoon of adventure. Naturalist Natalie Schroder will lead you through the woods in search of the treasures of the wild. 3-4 p.m. South Chagrin Reservation, 37374 Miles Road, Bentleyville,

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Make a simple puppet for the story ‘Old MacDonald Had a Farm.’ Enjoy making puppets and reading along with the story. 10-11 a.m. Middlefield Branch Library, 16167 E. High St., Middlefield, 440-632-1961, Let’s Have a Hoot. Fall party for 3-5 year olds. Enjoy fall related stories and activities. 10-10:45 a.m. North Canton Public Library, 185 N. Main St., 330-499-4712, Juggler Matt Jergens. International gold medalist will perform his award-winning show featuring amazing juggling skills, music, high energy, laughter and fun. 2-2:45 p.m. Morley Library, 184 Phelps St., Painesville, 440352-3383, Star Party Drop-in. Join both the Stark Parks staff and the Wilderness Center Astronomy Club for a night that’s out of this world. Telescopes will be provided. 7 p.m. Tam O’ Shanter Park, 5055 Hills and Dales Rd NW, Canton, 330-477-3552,


Ohio Heroes. Tecumseh, LeBron and an Ohio presidential anime battle royale, all in one show. The goal is to entertain and educate children about the unique state we call home. 2:30 p.m. Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., Akron, 330-535-3179,

Native American Games. Join a naturalist to play some fun traditional games that Native American children played to develop skills that made them better hunters. 1:30-3:30 p.m. Big Creek Park, 9160 Robinson Road, Chardon, 440-286-9516, Family Fun: ‘When the Lion Sneezed.’ This magical, musical tale filled with mistaken identities and colorful characters features folk traditions and tales of cats from different ancient lands. Presented by Talespinners Children’s Theatre. 1:30-3 p.m. Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, 216-593-0575,


New Parents Smart Starts. Parents and children ages birth to 2 years come for dinner, speakers and demonstrations on nutrition, early literacy, baby massage, sign language and more. 5:306:30 p.m. Norton Branch Library, 3930 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, 330-825-7800,


Mug Cakes. Students in grades 6-12 make their own microwavable cake in mug. 3:30-4:30 p.m. Highland Library, 4160 Ridge Road, Medina, 330-239-2674, Kinderealm: Animal Homes Nature Walk. Children ages 3-6 and their adult companions learn about where animals live. Includes a hike and craft. 10:3011:30 a.m. F.A. Seiberling Nature Realm, 1828 Smith Road, Akron, 330-865-8065,

48 | Family Living at Its Best

Gamers: Family Edition. Adults and families are invited to bring their own tabletop game or borrow one for an evening of fun. 6-7:30 p.m. North Canton Public Library, 185 N. Main St., 330-4994712,


Drumming Class. Learn a beat and play a variety of different drums on National Drumming Day. 4:30-5:30 p.m. Cleveland Public Library - South Branch, 3096 Scranton Road, Cleveland, 216-623-7060, Free Sensory Friendly Haircuts. Catalyst Farms is offering free haircuts by stylists while their team of therapists is on hand to offer support. Perfect for children on the autism spectrum or with sensory difficulties. 4-6 p.m. 1021 Ridge Road, Wadsworth,


‘The Princess That Had No Name.’ This fairy tale character-filled play weaves classic and fractured fairy tale farce with mystery when a girl wakes up in the forest with no memory of the past. Stow Players, 5238 Young Road, Stow,


‘Annie.’ Everyone’s favorite orphan returns to the stage for the holiday season, delighting families with Charles Strouse’s classic songs, including the enduring ballad “Tomorrow.” Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, 40 River Street, Chagrin Falls, 440247-8955,


Health Fair. Celebrate Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary with Cookie Monster, Elmo and Big Bird. 10 a.m.-noon. Reed Memorial Library, 167 E. Main St., Ravenna, 330-296-2827, STEM at the Settlement. A curriculum built to stimulate students’ minds, cultivating a sense of curiosity and an eagerness to enhance knowledge, all while enriching and empowering a new generation. Ages 3-8. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Music Settlement,11125 Magnolia Drive, Cleveland, Super Science Saturday: Space S.T.E.A.M. A day filled with awesome hands-on learning opportunities for the whole family. 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Akron Fossils & Science Center, 2080 S. Cleveland Massillon Road, Copley, 330-665-3466,


Chocolate on the Rocks. What could be better than adventure set in fall colors at sunset while exploring towering cliffs without leaving the Heights? How about savoring chocolates while enjoying the view? 3-5 p.m. The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, 2600 S. Park Blvd., 216-231-5935,


Pirate Ship Playdate & Craft. A chance for children and caregivers to play and create together. 10 a.m. Eastlake Public Library, 36706 Lake Shore Blvd., 440-942-7880,


Art Babes. Park the stroller and cozy up in a circle of babes for sensory play, face-to-face bouncy rhymes and social games to inspire curiosity and build first relationships. 1 S. High St., 330-376-9185,


Fairmount Youth Theatre Presents ‘Beauty & the Beast.’ Come enjoy the Fairmount Youth Theatre’s fall production. Fairmount Center. 8400 Fairmount Road, Novelty, 440-3383171,


Green Tech: Testing Turbines. Learn the purpose of a turbine and how it works. Create a mini-turbine and measure electrical currents. Grades 2 and up. 10-11 a.m. Cuyahoga Falls Library, 2015 Third St., 330-9282117, 8th Annual APL Pet Party. Meet adorable animals looking for forever homes. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Rocky River Public Library, 1600 Hampton Road, 440-333-7610, Stark Park Kids: Seasons Change. Meet some wildlife ambassadors and investigate the special adaptations they have that help them to thrive in each of Ohio’s seasons. 10-11 a.m. Sippo Lake Park, Exploration Gateway, 5710-5712 12th St., Canton, 330-409-8096,


Magic of the Lights. Over one million lights stretched across a one-mile plus pathway, including fan-favorite light displays such as the Enchanting Tunnel of Lights, Winter Wonderland and more. 5:30-10:30 p.m. Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 19201 E. Bagley Road, Middleburg Hts., northeastohio


‘Tonic Tomte & the Trolls.’ A tale of Sweden by Eric Cable. Talespinner Children’s Theatre, 5209 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-264-9680,

save the date 12/6-1/5

‘Shrek The Musical.’ Based on the smash-hit DreamWorks Animation film, “Shrek The Musical” is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure. Beck Center for the Arts, 17801 Detroit Road, Lakewood,


‘The Neverending Story.’ An epic tale of wonder where reality and fantasy intertwine. A boy is immersed in a magical book and finds himself on a quest to save the people of Fantastica. Magical Theatre Company, 565 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton, 330-848-3708,

Send Calendar Listing Submissions to:


Seasonal Scavenger Hunt. Stop by during the designated week each month while the library is open to take part in a seasonal scavenger hunt. Find all the pictures and get a prize. Barberton Public Library, 602 W. Park Ave., 330-745-1194,


Nature Crafting. Flip your creative switch and join us for some nature ornament crafting. 4 p.m. Towner’s Woods Park, 2264 Ravenna Rd., Kent, 330813-8023,

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Early Holiday Fun THROUGH 12/30

Deck the Hall 2019: A Classic Comic Hero Christmas. Nineteen rooms in the Manor House will be themed with the stories of classic comic heroes including Wonder

Woman, Black Panther, Superman, original Avengers, Batman, Spiderman, Catwoman, Flash, Green Lantern and more. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, 714 N. Portage Path, Akron, 330-836-5533,


Marketplace Holiday Gala. Let the festivities begin as Gervasi Vineyard kicks off the holiday season at The Marketplace’s annual Holiday Gala. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Gervasi Vineyard, 1700 55th St. NE, Canton, 330-497-1000,


Holiday Marketplace. Featuring handcrafted art, pottery and other handmade specialties by local artists for everyone on your gift list. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The Fine Arts Association, 38660 Mentor Avenue, Willoughby, 440-951-7500


Medina Candlelight Walk. Shops and restaurants of the nine-block Medina historic district will be open later into the evening to welcome local and visiting guests from around the region. Medina Public Square,

11/22 - 1/5

Wild Winter LIghts presented by NOPEC at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Experience the vibrant colors of more than one million lights. The event will feature more than a dozen diverse and interactive zones including, Snow Safari, Glacier Glade and Santa’s North Pole Lodge. Each area features unique twists on holiday festivities — from a 16-foot-tall teddy bear and giant sugar cookies to the awe of the A-Roar-A Borealis, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s version of the Northern Lights. Visitors will get a chance to participate in interactive games like snowball toss, enjoy a light show on Waterfowl Lake, take photographs with Santa and more. 5:30-9:30 p.m. For tickets and dates, visit


Tree Lighting Ceremony. Debuting the official start of the season, Crocker Park will welcome back the 50-foot Christmas tree with its annual tree lighting ceremony. 5-7:30 p.m. 89 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake,

2019 HOLIDAY MOVIES MOVIES 2018 HOLIDAY Nov. 29 23 & 30 24 7:30pm $6

Dec. Dec. 1* 6 7:30pm 7:30pm FREE* FREE

*Ticket *Sensory required, Friendly

available 11/1

Dec. 20 Dec. 16 Dec. 21* Dec. 17 Dec. 14 7:30pm 7:30pm 3:00pm 7:30pm 7:30pm FREE $5 $5 FREE* $6

*Ticket required, available 11/1

*Sensory Friendly

Dec. 21 18 Dec. 7:30pm 7:30pm $6 $5

Dec. Dec. 1922 & 22 7:30pm $6 $5

605 Market Ave. N, Canton, OH 44702 • 330.454.8172 • 50 | Family Living at Its Best

Early Holiday Fun 11/23 & 30

Elf Labs. Elf Labs is a fun and fanciful experience just for kids. A team of exuberant elves will escort your children through five unique stations where they will experience the magic of Christmas. Castle Noel, 260 S. Court St., Medina,


Holiday Tree Festival. Kick off the holiday season at this festival featuring more than 200 decorated trees, 85,000 strings of lights and countless other holiday creations. John S. Knight Center, 77 E. Mill St., Akron, 330-3748900,


Light Up Lakewood. Free family-friendly event on Detroit Avenue featuring a holiday parade, lighting ceremony, winter fireworks, live music, ice carvings and more. 4-8 p.m. 14701 Detroit Ave., Lakewood,


Holiday CircleFest. A free annual Circle-wide celebration with activities, entertainment and a procession led by community lantern artists, illuminated dancers and giant puppets. 1-5 p.m. The Cleveland Museum of Art, 11150 East Blvd., 216-707-2483,

Hudson Holiday Walk. Enjoy horse and carriage rides, kids’ activities, caroling and more, plus bring a new unwrapped toy and help Stuff the Humvee with the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism to assist local military families in need this holiday season. Noon-5 p.m.


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. The Biblical saga of Joseph and his coat of many colors vibrantly comes to life in this delightful musical parable. Weathervane Playhouse, 1301 Weathervane Lane, Akron, 330-836-2626,


Country Lights. Live lighted trees deck the halls that lead to Santa’s Workshop and the Little Elf Corner. Take a wagon to see operating model trains, farm animals and Holiday Horses. 4:45-9 p.m. Lake Metroparks Farmpark, 8800 Euclid Chardon Road, Kirtland, 440-256-2122,


Wild Lights. Come enjoy the wildest lighting display this holiday season. Nearly the entire zoo is decorated and several animals will be out. Akron Zoo, 505 Euclid Ave., Akron, 330375-2550,

11/29-30, 12/5

‘A Christmas Story.’ The record-breaking show returns in all its pink-bunny-suit, glowing-leg-lamp, triple-dog-daring glory. The perfect holiday treat for the entire family. Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square, 1407 Euclid Ave, Cleveland,


Winterfest. Pop-up holiday shops, food trucks, shows and prizes will be topped off by the evening lighting ceremony on Public Square. Plus, visit the library for a variety of free family activities. Cleveland Main Library, 325 Superior Ave., 216-623-2800,


Ballet Theatre of Ohio presents ‘The Nutcracker.’ This classic has become a treasured holiday tradition for families of all ages. Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., 330-2532488,


‘A Christmas Carol.’ In this fresh and lively adaptation of the beloved Charles Dickens’ classic, five actors tell the entire redemptive story of Ebenezer Scrooge through puppetry, songs and a lot of imagination. French Creek Theatre, 4530 Colorado Ave., Sheffield Village,

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Messy Mondays. Children ages 3-8 years with a caregiver enjoy stories, songs and a fun, creative and messy activity. 7-8 p.m. Through 1/18. Maple Heights Branch Library, 5225 Library Lane, 216-475-5000, Fabulous Threes’ Story Time. Join this storytime specially created just for 3 year olds and their parents or caregivers. 9:45-10:15 a.m. Twinsburg Public Library, 10050 Ravenna Road, 330-425-4268, Tales for Twos. Stories, music, fingerplays and activities for 2 year olds and their caregivers. 10:45-11:15 a.m. North Ridgeville Branch Library, 37500 Bainbridge Road, 440-327-8326,


Stroller Strides. A functional, total-body conditioning workout designed for moms with kids in tow comprised of strength training, cardio and core restoration, all while entertaining little ones. 9:30-10:30 a.m. Beachwood City Park West, Shaker Boulevard East and west of Richmond Road,

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Twinkle Tots. Enjoy a light show set to lively music and learn what can be seen up in the sky. 11:30 a.m. Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village, 440-871-2900,

Tiddlywinks. An interactive storytime filled with stories, songs and rhymes just right for little listeners. Birth-36 months. 10 a.m. Through 11/12. Mentor Public Library, 8215 Mentor Ave., 440-255-8811,


Garrettsville Storytime. A great opportunity for children to interact with other children and adults while fostering a love of reading and showcasing great books for little listeners. 11:30 a.m. Through 12/24. Garrettsville Branch Library, 10482 South St.,

Preschool Story Time. Miss Chris will share stories, songs, dance, playtime and a snack. 10 a.m. Through 11/21. Peninsula Library, 6105 Riverview Road, 330-467-7323,




Preschool Storytime. Stories, songs, flannel board stories, fingerplays and a craft. 10:30 a.m. Reed Memorial Library, 167 E. Main St., Ravenna, 330-2962827,


Stories and Play. Enjoy stories, movement and songs for young children. Stay and play afterward with toys and a chance for parents to chat. 10-11:30 a.m. Through 11/21. Goodyear Branch Library, 60 Goodyear Blvd., Akron, 330-784-7522,

Lapsit. Families with children ages 2 and younger enjoy bounces, songs, rhymes and a book, with a big finish of bubbles. 10:45 a.m. Kirtland Public Library, 9267 Chillicothe Road, Kirtland, 440-256-7323,

Mid-week Mommy Mix & Mingle. Bring your babies and preschoolers to the museum to enjoy some awesome playtime and meet other moms. First Wednesday of each month. 10 a.m.-noon. Akron Children’s Museum, 216 S. Main St.,

Caregiver and Me. Grab your littlest learners, ages birth to 3, and enjoy a morning of singing, dancing, movement and more with other parents and children. 9:30 am. Children’s Museum Cleveland, 3813 Euclid Ave.,

Let’s Sing and Dance. Sing and move to the music with Miss Nancy. Ages 2-6. 9:30 and 10:15 a.m. Westlake Porter Public Library, 27333 Center Ridge Road, 440-871-2600,

Fall Baby N’ Me. Caregivers and their children ages birth-18 months. Rhymes, songs, fingerplays and books. Through 11/21. Chagrin Falls Branch Library, 100 E. Orange St., 440-247-3556,

Baby Play & Learn. Come and have fun with your baby and enjoy stories, songs, rhymes, bounces and play. 6-6:45 p.m. Through 11/12. Elyria Central Library, 320 Washington Ave., 440-322-0287,

KESHER: Connecting the ‘Mom’ and the ‘Me.’ Connect with your new baby and other new moms through this new free 6-week series. 9:30 a.m. Gross Schechter Day School, 27601 Fairmount Blvd., Pepper Pike, 216-763-1400,


Baby Bonanza. Bring your not-yet-walking babies and blankets in for books, bopping and bouncing at this lap-sit program. 10-10:30 a.m. Through 11/27. Lee Road Branch Library, 2345 Lee Road, Cleveland Hts.,

Shalom Baby. Jump into the joys, surprises and preparations of parenthood with Shalom Baby. 7 p.m. Gross Schechter Day School, 27601 Fairmount Blvd., Pepper Pike, 216-763-1400,


Pre-K Storytime. Join Miss Sue for stories, music, crafts and dancing. 11:30 a.m.-noon. Through 11/21. Newbury Station Branch Library, 14775 Auburn Road, Newbury,

Family Story Time. Children of all ages with a favorite adult are invited to join for songs, stories, fingerplays and more. 10:30 a.m. Kent Free Library, 312 W. Main St., 330-673-4414,

Silly Saturdays. Stories, songs and so much more geared toward ages 2-6, but all ages are welcome. 10:30 a.m. Through 11/16. Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library, 3512 Darrow Road, 330-688-3295,

Turkey Day Fun 11/4

Timbertots: Turkey Time! What goes gobble-gobble and struts around the park? Preschoolers having fun learning about turkey. 10-11 a.m. Swine Creek Reservation, 16004 Hayes Road, Middlefield Twp.,


Turkey Trot 5 Miler & Fun Run. Run through Twinsburg’s best and most challenging trails to capture a new personal best. Trophies and prizes will be awarded. 9 a.m. Twinsburg Fitness Center, 10084 Ravenna Road, 330-963-88722 Thanksgiving Day Garland. Come make a festive Thanksgiving Day garland. Ages 5-12. 4:30-6 p.m. The HUB at Mentor High School, 647 Center St., Mentor, 440-205-6011,


Talkin’ Turkey. Stop by the nature center to learn all about these strange birds through a variety of wild turkey activities. Noon-5 p.m. Susan Hambley Nature Center,1473 Parschen Blvd., Brunswick, 330-722-9364,


World Kindness Day. Drop into the library and make a Thanksgiving card to send to a local nursing home. 9 a.m. Wadsworth Public Library, 132 Broad St., 330-334-5761,

Terrific Turkeys Puppet Show. Puppets, jokes, songs and a whole lot of terrific turkey stories. 10-11 a.m. Chagrin Falls Branch Library, 100 E. Orange St., 440-247-3556,


Garden Sprouts: Thanksgiving. Children 3-5 years old and an adult companion learn about Thanksgiving through a story, craft and activities. 10:1511 a.m. Miller Nature Preserve, 2739 Center Road, Avon, 440937-0764,

Make-N-Take Nature Crafts: Thankful for Birds. Make bird food crafts for the birds that visit our Wildlife Observation Area’s Wildlife Garden and your own backyard during this free drop-inanytime program. 1:30 p.m. Carlisle Reservation, 12882 Diagonal Road, Lagrange,




A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Enjoy a festive Thanksgiving feast Snoopy-style with stories, treats and crafts. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Brunswick Library, 3649 Center Road, 330-273-4150,


Turkey Roll on Ice. What do you get when you put turkeys, cranberries, an ice rink and a team of four friends together? Why the Turkey Roll on Ice of course. 7 p.m. Mentor Civic Ice Arena, 8600 Munson Road,

Thanksgiving Dinner with Abraham Lincoln. Enjoy a Thanksgiving feast as you dine with President Lincoln and costumed interpreters sharing stories and music of the season. 3:30-6 p.m. Hale Farm & Village, 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath, 330666-3711,

Turkey Treats. Celebrate Thanksgiving with stories, crafts and more. 6 p.m. Lodi Library, 635 Wooster St., 330948-1885,


Turkey Tango Time. Prepare for your Thanksgiving with engaging musical activities for ages 9 months to 6 years with music therapist Hannah Gonzalez. 11-11:45 a.m. Amherst Public Library, 221 Spring St., 440-988-4230,


Turkey Tech. Enjoy holiday-themed interactive activities, demonstrations and workshops. Great Lakes Science Center, 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216-6942000,


Tracking Turkeys. Join a scavenger hunt in search of turkeys, read a fun story and learn some interesting facts about our feathered friends. 4-5 p.m. Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation, Cuyahoga Hts.,

Turkey Trot Family Storytime. 6:30-7 p.m. Geauga West Library, 13455 Chillicothe Road, Chesterland, 440-729-4250,


Gobble Gobble Turkey Fun! Why does a turkey gobble? How many feathers does a turkey have? Come find out and make turkey-themed crafts too. 6-7 p.m. Painesville Twp. Park, 1025 Hardy Road, Painesville Twp.,

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THROUGH 2/2/20 ‘Open World’: Video Games and Contemporary Art. Visual artists are gamers too, yet video games are rarely examined as a major influence on contemporary art. “Open World” draws attention to this phenomenon. 1 S. High St., 330-376-9185,


ONGOING SmART Saturdays. Exploratory art experiences and creative opportunities for all ages. 1-2 p.m. on the third Saturday of each month. Art Studio Sundays. Artwork make and take with a different project each week. Every Sunday 11 a.m.-2 p.m. 216 S. Main St.,


ONGOING Creation Education Museum. Dedicated to comparing and contrasting scientific models like intelligent design and evolution on the origin of the universe and catastrophism and uniformitarianism models on the geologic record. 2080 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road, Copley, 330-665-3466,


ONGOING Get up close to 700 animals 361 days a year. Explore Komodo Kingdom, Grizzly Ridge, Penguin Point and much more. Pride of Africa now open. 500 Edgewood Ave., 330-375-2550,

ONGOING Meet animals from around the world and create unforgettable memories. Tour the zoo and the RainForest for an afternoon or the entire day. 3900 Wildlife Way, 216-661-6500,


ONGOING Wonder Lab, Adventure City, Making Miniatures, Arts & Parts, The Meadow, Playlist and Theater. Visitors with autism spectrum disorder and developmental, sensory and learning differences will find support throughout the museum. 3813 Euclid Ave.,


ONGOING Cleveland Starts Here. A place for Northeast Ohioans to locate their own stories and place themselves in the rich story of Cleveland and Northeast Ohio and for school children to experience firsthand the history of Cleveland and the region. 10825 East Blvd., 216-721-5722,


THROUGH 1/5/20 ‘Michelangelo: Mind of the Master.’ An unprecedented opportunity for museum visitors to experience the brilliance of Michelangelo’s achievements on an intimate scale through more than two dozen original drawings. 11150 East Blvd.,


Through 12/1 ‘Finding Lucy: Our First Steps In Discovery.’ Rediscover the moment that changed our understanding of human origins forever. 1 Wade Oval Drive,

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Opens 11/15 Curiosity Carnival. Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, step right up for a special exhibition like no other, featuring amazing feats of science! All the sights and sounds of the carnival, from the spectacles to the midway games, are based on science. 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland, 216-694-2000,


ONGOING Aquarist for a Day, Stingray Art Experience, Zzzs in the Seas Overnights. 2000 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216-862-8803,


ONGOING Amelia Earhart, Ruth Nichols, Bessie Coleman, Harriet Quimby, Katharine Wright, the WASP, Jackie Cochran and more. Burke Lakefront Airport, 1501 N. Marginal Road, Cleveland, 216-623-1111,


ONGOING Schuele Planetarium: Twinkle Tots, Stellar Stars, Family Adventures in Space, Sky Tonight and Full Dome Show. 28728 Wolf Road, Bay Village, 440-8712900,


THROUGH 3/1/20 ‘Leonard Bernstein: The Power Of Music.’ The first large-scale museum exhibition to illustrate Leonard Bernstein’s life, Jewish identity and social activism. 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood, 216-593-0575,


ONGOING Stark County Food: From Early Farming to Modern Meals. This exhibition will explore food history in Stark County, from the earliest orchards and farms to today’s culinary tourism scene. 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton, 330-455-7043,


THROUGH 1/6/20 ‘Fragments’ by Paula Zinsmeister. Artist Paula Zinsmeister uses a variety of printmaking and mixed-media techniques to portray the beauty of natural plants and grasses. In some instances, paper was made by hand or dyed using plants. 2600 S. Park Blvd., 216-231-5935,


ONGOING The Garage: It’s Your Turn to Play. Pick up an instrument, crank up the volume and make your own music in the museum. Designed to evoke the birthplace of rock bands for decades, The Garage is where it’s your turn to play. 1100 Rock & Roll Blvd., Cleveland,


ONGOING First Saturday. Visit the Shaker Historical Museum the first Saturday of the month. Discover exhibits of Shaker life, the development of Shaker Heights, art and architecture. Shaker Historical Museum, 16740 S. Park Blvd.,

Northeast Ohio Parent



Samantha Olp

330-636-6127 or

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Bring Some

Extra Magic To Your Holiday Season

By Tricia Scott

owner of Visit Mickey Vacations


e are just around the corner from the holiday season, but there is still time to make magic happen. Throughout Disney destinations, the holiday season begins in mid-November. Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line are magical year round, but there is a special kind of magic during the holidays.

56 | Family Living at Its Best

Walt Disney World has the most beautiful decorations everywhere you turn. Cinderella’s Castle is covered in twinkling lights, as if draped in glittery snow and icicles. On top of the gorgeous décor, you will find Disney characters dressed in special apparel. Guests can have a meetn-greet with Santa Goofy or visit Mickey and Minnie in their holiday best. Plus, every resort is decorated with great detail to complement their already existing styles and themes.

Looking for something extra special? Walt Disney World hosts Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom. On select nights in November and December, this party features exclusive holiday entertainment, snow falling on Main Street U.S.A., complimentary treats of cookies and cocoa, and — new this year — a stunning castle projection, fireworks show and holiday parade with Santa bringing up the rear.

If you are looking for all the magic at a slower pace, climb aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship for a Very Merrytime Sailing. All four ships are beautifully adorned with festive decorations that include a life-sized gingerbread house, a 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias and shimmering lights. On the first evening, Mickey’s Tree Lighting Magic Ceremony kicks off the celebration. While on board, you can do as much or as little as you like, as the crew takes care of all your needs. A Disney Cruise includes many things: Broadway-style shows, spacious staterooms, non-alcoholic beverages and a variety of food including the buffet, restaurants,

Opposite page: Cinderella’s Castle and Goofy Santa. Above: Grand Floridian lobby

poolside snacks, all-you-caneat ice cream and 24-hour room service. Hoping for a date night for the parents? No problem — youth clubs give kids many options for entertainment, so you can check them in and enjoy an evening on your own. You can even make reservations at Palo, an adults-only, northern Italian style restaurant available on every ship. If reading this makes you wish you had something planned, but don’t feel there’s enough time (for planning or budgeting) for this year, let Visit Mickey help you get set up for the holiday season in 2020. Walt Disney World can be booked through 2020 and Disney Cruise Line can be booked through May 2021. It’s always best to book early and save.

Go to

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arents, don’t blink. Before you know it, you’ll be driving your kids to college, bawling your eyes out all the way home and be prepping them for what it’s like “to adult.” My oldest daughter is currently in her first year at college and loving it. How I am handling it? Well, let’s just say I’m pretty homesick for her. I’m so happy that she’s off doing her thing though, building her own friendships, learning and living. I will say the last year, packed with applying to schools and deciding where she should or would attend, wasn’t always easy. In fact, sometimes it was just downright stressful. However, I think we all learned some valuable lessons in the process, the most important being how to handle a letdown. My daughter is a straight-A student, works super hard, attended Kent State University during high school in the College Credit Plus program (earning more than 20 credits) and was involved in some great extracurricular activities. She set the bar high when it came to where she dreamed of going to college to further her education. I always wanted to encourage that, at least to some extent. The hard part came when she got waitlisted at her top choice college, her “dream school.” It’s tough as a parent to watch your kids dream for so long, and then work so hard to get there, only to have it denied. Looking back on her situation, I think it was such a great lesson. I mean, how many times have you worked for something only to have

58 | Family Living at Its Best

“your promotion” go to someone else? Or the job go to someone else? Sometimes we just don’t know why things happen the way they do. Maybe things really do happen for a reason. That’s what I think, at least. As a parent, you always kinda have a gut feeling about things with your kids. You know what I mean, right? After all was said and done, I knew in my heart that the school she was waitlisted at wasn’t the right place for her anyway. Even though it was hard for her for a period of time, I could feel that good things were coming. And they did. She ended up in the honors program with several scholarships at another university where she is thriving now. She’s loving every minute of it and realizes now this is where she was meant to be. Learning from a letdown is something I think is good for kids. Some-

times as parents we try and shield our kids from every disappointment, when in fact that may do more harm than good. It’s important for kids to realize that sometimes they have to pivot and move on to go where they’re supposed to be. Whether it’s the soccer or dance team they wanted to be placed on or even the university they dreamed of attending. To sum it up, I think the three lessons she learned the most were these... 1. Sometimes bad stuff can lead to the good stuff. 2. When life throws you a lesson, learn from it. 3. Accept your feelings and then gracefully move forward.

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60 | Family Living at Its Best

Profile for Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine

Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine - November 2019  

Family Living at its Best in Greater Cleveland!

Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine - November 2019  

Family Living at its Best in Greater Cleveland!