Staten Island Parent - May 2024

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What is Book tok? What parents need to know the Win-Win of Caregiver support speCialty Camps & summer programs The Arts, STEM, Sports & More! For Your Explorer may 2024
May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 3

F eatures

12 | tech

Substacks by women worth checking out

16 | tech

What parents need to know about


18 | childcare

New study shows how to support employers with caregiving benefits

22 | m om stories

My battle with postpartum depression

32 | teen

Parenting teen tips

34 | profile

Glow Maven Latham Thomas

stories & Columns

6 | editor’s Letter

8 | community n ews

What’s happening on Staten Island

20 | a sk the e xpert

How to manage emotional labor in your home

24 | c amps

Specialty Camps for your summer explorer

30 | Family Day o ut A sensory-inclusive Harry Potter

Family F un

36 | c alendar All the fun activities for May

38 | Family stuff May birthdays

p ro F i Le gLoW maven

Photo: Yumi Matsuo |

Hair & Makeup: Buffy Saint Marie Hernandez |

Produced by: Donna Duarte- Ladd

Shot on location at: The Soft Space by Mama Glow

4 | May 2024 M Ay 2024 contents
pg. 34 pg. 16 pg. 24 pg. 22 pg. 36
May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 5

Amazing May

I don’t know who gets to pick when holidays happen, but they really nailed it with Mother’s Day. May is a magical month; flowers blooming, kids are heading off to prom and graduating, playing in championships and performing in recitals, backyard barbacues are back and everyone seems to be in a better mood as the days grow longer and warmer. It only makes sense to choose the most lovely time of year to celebrate the most important woman in your life — Mom!

Celebrate Mother’s Day with the people who made you a mom at an event from our Family Calendar (page 36).

This month we profile Latham Thomas of Mama Glow. Thomas (page 34) has continuously honored mothers by educating doulas and nurse care managers, working to advance maternal health via community and academia, and more. She recently opened The Soft Space, where people can engage in well-being experiences. Latham gives us all the details of this new space and shares about watching her young adult son soar and why she is an open nester vs an empty nester.

Big news Witches, Wizards and Muggles. The Harry Potter Exhibition (page 30)

“SensorySundays” will turn the lights down, lower the noise on specific dates!

With summer around the corner you might still be narrowing down camps. Have you looked into a specialty camp? We have a helpful roundup of Specialty Camps and Summer Programs (page 24).

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Email Jeannine at

Get news, tips and humor all month long:

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6 | May 2024 editor’s note
in touch

What’s Happening on s taten i sland

staten isL anD’s beLoveD roLLerJam usa set to cLose

A Staten Island staple, RollerJam USA, is sadly closing this May after 17 years of operation. RollerJam USA has been the only option for indoor roller skating in Staten Island since 2006.

The Tottenville rink revolutionized rollerskating with a nightclub feel and atmosphere. The space quickly found its way into the hearts of Staten Island residents of all ages. Staten Islanders have grown up rollerskating at RollerJam, whether it was from weekly free skates, birthday parties, or special events. The rink has seen over 3 million customers skate through their doors as well as over 50,000 birthday parties hosted.

Owner Joseph Costa delivered the news in a video on the RollerJam USA Instagram page recently, announcing the rink would

officially be closing its doors on May 4th. Costa spoke directly to the community in a heartfelt statement: “This is not easy for me… I’d like to personally thank every single person who is watching this video, ones that come here every single week, the community you know who you are, the

teen honors uncLe’s Legacy by heLping others With speciaL neeDs

For a young woman of just 18 years old, Heather Lawrence is an inspiration to all. Her warmth, dedication, maturity, and determination are traits that would make any parent beam with pride, and her story will assure you that there are very good young adults out there.

A freshman at Kean University, Heather always lent a helping hand in the communityespecially when it comes to people with special needs. This is because she and her siblings grew up around their uncle Erik, who had intellectual disabilities. Despite his diagnosis, Heather and her siblings loved their uncle unconditionally and never saw him any differently than their neurotypical relatives.

After a bad fall led Erik to move into a group home, Heather and her sisters made it their mission to visit him as often as possible in order to keep his spirits high and continue to enjoy spending time together. They would take him shopping, to the movies, bowling, to play ball, do arts and crafts, listen to the music, blow bubbles, and whatever else he wanted to do. They would visit the group home on holidays

to help decorate, as well as regularly read to and color with the residents.

Sadly, Heather’s uncle passed away during the pandemic. Devastated, she decided to channel her grief into helping others like Erik.

She then became an advocate for CP Unlimited, formerly known as the Cerebral Palsy Association, an organization promoting opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to achieve fulfilling lives. She held all kinds of fundraisers for them - bowling, painting, coat drives, among other events - in an effort to keep her uncle’s legacy alive. She raised funds for arts and crafts, one of his favorite activities,as well as sensory items, painting supplies, and much more to distribute to local group homes in Staten Island as well as the Cora Hoffman Center, a day habilitation center for individuals with disabilities.

According to Heather, “Acceptance is one step towards making a difference.” She hopes to continue to spread awareness and help others understand that people with disabilities are simply unique in their own way, and they have

community of roller skaters that love skating, I want to thank the people that have come here periodically. I want to thank the people who have been here once. I’d like to thank the people who have maybe come to a party, school trip, worked here, all my employees. Everybody, I want to thank you. I want to show the world that roller skating will be around for another 150 years. It’s an amazing thing. RollerJam wants to thank everybody.”

The Instagram video received an overwhelming response from locals devastated about the closing with 300+ comments.

With no options on Staten Island, you’ll have to head over a bridge for indoor skating. Check out our roundup at roller-skating-rink-staten-island.

hearts and feelings just like everyone else. She encourages others to spend time getting to know them in order to gain insight into who they are beyond the disability. She knows that understanding individuals with disabilities is not always a simple task, but you only need patience, an open heart and an open mind.

In addition to attending college, Heather continues her work in the community by volunteering her time and dropping into the Cora Hoffman Center to help with activities, drop off donations, and sometimes just to say hello to everyone - just to make them smile whenever she can. Heather Lawrence is certainly one of a kind, and we cannot wait to see what she does next to keep her uncle’s legacy alive.

8 | May 2024
communit Y news
May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 9 ���������������� ��������������������� �����������������������
Staten Island Academy

battLe oF the boroughs minecraFt eDucation chaLLenge

Imagine being able to show off your Minecraft skills in school! Last month, some lucky public school students participated in Staten Island’s Battle of the Boroughs Minecraft Education Challenge at Tottenville High School. They were tasked with repurposing New York City spaces to create a sustainable, inclusive, and future-ready city.

The students were selected based on their answer to the prompt, “What are your ideas to change the Kingsbridge Armory to benefit the community?” Teams in grades K-12 then used Minecraft’s blocks, creatures, and communities to create their own utopian New York City. Their creativity and imaginations soared as Vito Fossella watched them use the popular video game platform to make their visions come to life!

Top honors in the Senior Category went to Tottenville High School; the winner of the Intermediate Category was awarded to the team from I.S. 49 (Berta A. Dreyfus Intermediate School), and in Junior Category award went to P.S. 54.

Battle of the Boroughs Mayor’s Cup Finals is where these winning teams will get the chance to show off their creativity skills

again and compete with the winning teams from each borough in June. Congratulations to the winners and good luck at the Finals!

10 | May 2024
communit Y news


June 17 - August 16

Closed June 19. July 4, July 5

May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 11 STATEN ISLAND ACADEMY • 718-303-7845 DISCOUNT RATE DEADLINE Deadline June 2, 2024 LOOK FOR THESE PROGRAMS: Talented and Gifted LEGO Programs Adventure/CIT Program Academic Tutorial Service English Institute

5 Substack Newsletters to Follow Written by Women

During the pandemic, a lot unfolded. Sure, it was a chaotic time, but it also sparked creativity, leading many of us to cultivate or seek genuineness while we schooled kids, worked, and juggled our day-to-day. Amidst this, digital newsletters emerged. Sure, there are those newsletters we never signed up for that mysteriously plant themselves in our inbox that do not relate to our lives. Go away! Yes, those newsletters. These were different. These offered authenticity as the main narrative, and while some have started before the pandemic or post-lockdown, we have begun to hear more about these exceptional newsletters.

Some are from our favorite sites or podcasts, where newsletters are an opportunity to provide you with valuable and helpful content daily or weekly. Sign up for those and read them because they are most likely being curated by an editor with excellent credentials- gathering and sending this valuable content your way.

Another form is Substack, where you can browse a variety of newsletters, sign up for one or more, and manage what is sent to your inbox.

What is Substack

Substack emerged around 2017 and allows writers to publish and circulate their newsletters. Most come from working editors, journalists, or people who wish to share more about a particular subject; this is a welcoming forum where they can do it.

It’s a revolution for many writers as it allows journalists, editors, and authors to do what they are passionate about (writing) while being provided tools to create and manage their subscriber lists. Authors can even charge subscriptions for access to their content, and

fans can read beyond what is shared on a writer’s social media handle. It is a way to stan out on someone you admire while not flooding your beloved mailbox with content you don’t want to read, a win win for all involved.

Here are 5 worth checking out Resilence with Alexa Wilding . New York Family’s former cover mom (October 2022), Alexa Wilding, is also a great writer. After years of sharing her life via Instagram as a writer, singer-songwriter, twin mom, cancer mom, survivor, and advocate, she has started a Substack.

When I was just a fan of her IG handle, her raw essays led me to get to know her, which led to an NYF cover. Whether she shared from her earthy home upstate or at the hospital while one of her twins and then herself fought (and won) their cancer battles,

her writings were profound. Even in the saddest moments, there were layers of hope and a love for the energy and mystique of life. I am excited to read more about her journey and, most importantly, resilience in her new newsletter!

Gratitude Journal by Alex Elle. Alex is my therapist; she doesn’t know it, but she may since she has a following of over a million plus on Instagram alone, and most of her followers hang on to her every phrase, wordfor-word. This New York Times bestselling author, breath coach and more- has posted words that have lifted, consoled, and given me hope. Her newsletter, Gratitude Journal, is a resource of hope and growth where you can find posts on Growing through Grief and Gratitude , Lessons are Blessings and Gratitude for Boundaries , and more. This is for all

12 | May 2024

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her free subscribers; Alex also offers paid subscriptions from $7 a month to $70 a year, which provides different benefits.

Scraps by Carolina Gelen. It all started with a can of tuna for me with Carolina Gelen. I was searching for a suggested feed on Ig, and this delicious (and affordable!) recipe where one can make tuna benedicts, tuna burger, and more in just a few minutes became my lunch and dinner staple. Her newsletter is full of delicious recipes that feel easy to make and doable for my family in this expensive food economy; her newsletter is called SCRAPS, and her goal is to work hard to churn out recipes that won’t break the bank. I want to, and so will you, make everything she cooks up, like her Sweet & Saucy Apricot Chicken and her 30-Minute Creamy Caramelized Fennel Pasta

Les Undressed. There used to be a time when I dressed pretty cute; as I write this post, my big toe wiggles out of the hole of my well-worn sock. While I still have my style moments, they have become few and far

Substack is a way to stan out on someone you admire while not flooding your beloved mailbox with content you don’t want to read — a win win for all involved.

between as I now work full-time remotely. Sure, not having to worry about getting dressed up daily has its financial and time benefits, but I grew up loving style. While New Yorkers are pretty stylish, Parisian style hits differently. They have that je ne sais quoi when it comes to their wardrobe.

Someone I found who inspires me is Sylvie Mus. This human could wear a sack and look fabulous, so let’s get that right out in the open. Her twist on classics reminds me of what quiet elegance looks like. Initially from Rwanda and now living in Paris, Sylvie’s newsletter focuses on wardrobe building and

insider tips, and her approach to dressing is more simplified, which is where I am personally at right now in my life. It also doesn’t hurt that she shares some of her day-to-day life, which gives me a dose of everything France I adore.

Hi, It’s Your Older Sister. One of the coolest things about newsletters authored by a friend or colleague is that they offer a unique glimpse into the things you already admire about that person and a window into their thoughts and experiences. Whether it’s a heartfelt reflection on life, insider tips, or candid musings on motherhood, it is refreshing to read authentic content. It harks back to the days when blogs first started to pop -up, before people became influencers, and the waters began to get mucked with what is real and what is staged.

Hi, It’s Your Older Sister. Cris Pearlstein shares genuine tips and honest mom advice, such as rejection and identities. Many of us can relate to these subjects while adulting and mothering. It is also nice to know that your older sister still has your back.



14 | May 2024
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What is BookTok?

and what parents need to know

BookTok, a niche community on TikTok focused on books and literature, has been gaining traction recently. Its reach has even expanded beyond the app: you can find displays in Barnes and Noble’s and other book stores dedicated to showcasing BookTok’s current favorites.

With over 29 million videos posted to the BookTok tag, more people than ever are getting book recommendations from TikTok, including plenty of young adult readers.

But there’s no real way of controlling what books get put on your child’s For You Page, and many of the most popular books on BookTok may not be suitable for young adult readers.

What do parents need to know about BookTok? And how involved should parents be in what their children are reading, especially as they get older?

We sat down with Dr. Erin O’Connor, chief of education for parenting platform Cooper, to talk about BookTok, how to find appropriate books, benefits kids of reading books of all kinds and more.

How the rising popularity of BookTok is impacting young adult readers

O’Connor says one of the best things about BookTok is that it’s getting teens and adolescents to read.

Reading helps teens and adolescents develop important emotional and cognitive skills. It allows kids to process more emotionally sophisticated content more easily than if they were accessing this content on the ever-moving world of social media, for example.

There are countless benefits that come with pleasure reading for teens and adolescents, so “there’s just a huge upside” in creating a space “where it’s cool to be discussing books and be engaging in these sorts of interactions,” O’Connor says.

While BookTok is beneficial because it’s getting teens and adolescents to read, it should still be approached with caution.

Like many other social media sites that teens and adolescents use, there’s not a lot of control

over what content is put in front of users. As a result, book recommendations from BookTok don’t have the chance to be vetted by parents.

“Some of these books have a lot of adult, mature themes around unhealthy relationships, violence, things like that, that are hard to judge outside of the context of reading,” O’Connor says.

How much should parents be involved in what their kids are reading

The degree of how much a parent should be involved with what their child is different for every family. But it can never hurt to have knowledge about what your child is choosing to read, especially for adolescents and young teens.

O’Connor recommends sites like Common Sense Media if you’re looking for a more researched opinion on what a book contains.

Or, you can get on BookTok yourself and see what’s out there.

“That’s a good way to just get a quick sort of understanding of what your young adult is seeing and what their interest is in a book,” O’Connor says.

It’s also important to remember that even when young adult readers start to gravitate towards more mature books, O’Connor says it’s “not always the content that we’re worried about that they’re interested in.”

“[Adolescence is] a challenging time in terms of friendships and identity and sexuality and all these things that children are often seeking information out about anyway,” O’Connor says.

When dealing with teenagers, give them some space and privacy about what they’re reading.

“If they seem to be enjoying the book and able to handle the content, you can talk to them

about some of the themes, but you don’t necessarily have to be reading along with them,” O’Connor says.

But for younger children, reading the same book at the same time as them can be a great way to start a conversation with them about themes they may be reading about.

O’Connor recommends being aware of series or books by the same author, where the maturity level and themes might “ramp up” as they go on. For example, maybe the first two books in a series are okay for your 13 year old to read, but you may suggest that they hold off on reading the next books until they’re 16.

While there may be temptation to shield children from more mature themes, remember that censoring what they read may not stop them from encountering them. “A lot of these themes and topics, they’re going to be seeing them on Youtube, TikTok, Instagram,” O’Connor says. “And reading is a good way to digest that material in a little bit more of a removed way.”

O’Connor says it’s important to, as a parent, encourage open communication and be ready to discuss these mature themes when teens and adolescents come across them.

There are many benefits of letting young readers read books of all kinds

O’Connor says reading a variety of books can help with empathy development, especially in teen and adolescent readers.

“I think it’s really the exposure to not only diverse voices in terms of the authors, but also diverse experiences in terms of the characters, and seeing and understanding the thought processes that they go through as they make decisions,” O’Connor says. “And thinking about yourself and how you make decisions can be very viable.”

16 | May 2024
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Caregiving Benefits childcare


study shows how support from employers strengthens families — and businesses

The phrase ‘caregiver benefits’ might seem completely foreign to many parents. Unfortunately, the modern parent has to contend with a barrage of work/home confluences as they navigate childcare, work schedules, kids’ schedules, illness, and much more. While hybrid/remote work has become a part of the norm since COVID, many parents still have to piece together childcare, which sometimes feels like piecing together an impossible puzzle. From using vacation time for kids’ illness to using PTO days, many parents simply need flexibility – and employers who value and understand that –to make it all work.

On top of figuring out schedules, parents also have to allocate enough funds – and make enough money – to pay for childcare. In some instances, childcare is so costly where some parents may find themselves working to essentially pay for childcare. This causes many parents stress and unease. Many even leave the workforce and/or can’t take on challenging roles such as leadership roles because the stress outweighs the potential positives.

However, a recent white paper study, “The R.O.I.(Return of Investment) of Caregiving Benefits” from Vivvi, a company that provides child care and early learning for children and families, in collaboration with The Fifth Trimester, found that family-friendly caregiving practices can boost earnings, productivity, and leadership potential. Thus, caregiving benefits can lead to an improved work environment and profit to employers. In fact, childcare benefits are so vital, respondents from this recent study said they ranked having childcare benefits more than having a 401k!

“In 2024, support for caregivers at work – benefits, training, culture, or all three – is no longer ‘bells and whistles’ but a vital

pillar of profitability, with calculable R.O.I.,” says Lauren Smith Brody, founder of The Fifth Trimester, and author of the report. “For years, we’ve known that this progress is the right thing to do, but now we can see – with real numbers – that it’s a business imperative.”

Featuring six months of quantitative and qualitative research and data, the survey measured more than 300 caregivers and 10

individual case studies in a diverse range of industries, demonstrating how support can drive profits. Read on to check out more about the survey and its surprising findings.

Quite simply, caregiving benefits can include non-monetary and monetary benefits such as offering flexible schedules, providing discounted or complimentary childcare services, offering extended leave time, and/or offering respite care, to name a few options.

18 | May 2024
cottonbro studio/

Key Findings in The R.O.I. of Caregiving Benefit

Caregiving benefits not only benefit parents but provide retention for all. When parents are treated with belonging and equity in a company, other employers also benefit. The survey found that 42% of respondents who considered leaving their job in the last year say that they stayed because of their employer’s support of their caregiving; while 59% of respondents say that if they had back-up or subsidized child care they would be likely to stay in their job for at least four years.

Candidates are actively looking for family benefits. Being a parent is no longer something caregivers have to hide or figure out on their own. Survey findings show that 9 out of 10 respondents say that they’d rather have an ongoing child care subsidy of $10,000 than an immediate $10,000 cash bonus. Incredibly, respondents ranked having child care benefits more important to them than having a 401k. Candidates are also looking for paid family leave, on-ramping programs,

can include non-monetary and monetary benefits such as offering flexible schedules, providing discounted or complimentary childcare services, offering extended leave time, and/or offering respite care.

and fertility benefits when looking for a new role, even if they won’t use them yet.

Productivity is boosted with parent-friendly policies. Quite simply, when parents don’t have to worry about childcare they are better able to be focused and motivated. According to the survey, 69% of respondents said if their employer had backup or subsidized child care they would work in person more often than required. Additionally, 57% of respondents said that if their employer had backup or subsidized child care they would take on higher-level work.

Leadership can be unlocked with childcare benefits. The survey also found that childcare benefits may offer companies better gender balance. Thus, allowing more women in

leadership positions.

Improvement of ROI and profits. One case study showed that every $1 invested in caregiving benefits drives $18.93, for an R.O.I. of nearly 18x.

“This new report makes it clear that parents are driven to stay, grow, and create progress and profit for their employer,” says Lauren Hobbs, Chief Marketing Officer at Vivvi.

“There is no single way to support caregivers in the workforce; but rather, so many accessible strategies—each with measurable R.O.I.—that companies can implement regardless of their size, structure or industry.”

The full survey results of “The R.O.I. of Caregiving Benefits” and the 10 case studies can be found here. Caregiving

May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 19
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How to Manage Emotional Labor in Your Home

Scheduling appointments, making the grocery lists, managing disagreements between siblings. There’s a seemingly endless list of things that go into running a home, especially when you look beyond physical tasks like chores and getting kids where they need to be.

Recently, more and more people have been talking about emotional labor, the often unseen work that goes into making sure life runs smoothly, whether that’s at home or at work.

Emotional labor often takes the form of everyday tasks, so it’s easy for them to be overlooked, but no household would function without it.

Oftentimes, emotional labor falls more on one spouse over the other, which can get exhausting over time.

We sat down with Dr. Yasmine Saad, clinical psychologist and founder and CEO of Madison Park Psychological Services about how parents can manage emotional labor more effectively at home.

How would you define emotional labor at home?

Emotional Labor was initially introduced by Arlie Hochschild in her book “The Managed Heart” (1983). This theory explores how individuals manage their emotions to meet the demands of their roles, initially in professional settings but later extended to personal and family contexts.

Emotional labor in the home context refers to the management and regulation of emotions to maintain harmony and meet the emotional needs of family members.

This includes a wide range of activities, from showing empathy and support, to managing the emotional climate of the home, to ensuring everyone’s needs are met in terms of love, care, and attention. Examples of emotional labor in a family setting can vary widely but often include:

• Listening and providing emotional support: This involves being there for family members during times of stress, sadness, or

celebration, offering a shoulder to lean on, and providing comfort and encouragement.

• Anticipating the emotional needs of family members, such as knowing when a partner had a tough day and needs space or when a child needs extra attention.

• Maintaining a positive home environment by mediating conflicts, maintaining morale, and fostering a sense of security and belonging.

• Ensuring family activities foster positive memories and bonds

It’s not uncommon for the distribution of emotional labor to be uneven at home, with one spouse doing more than the other. What effect can this have on a relationship in the long term?

The distribution of emotional labor in homes is often uneven, typically with one partner, usually the one who is most maternal, taking on a greater share of this emotional role. Fathers or mothers can occupy that role.

The uneven distribution of emotional labor can have several long-term effects on a relationship, including:

• Resentment and frustration: The partner carrying a larger share of emotional labor may feel overburdened, unappreciated, and resentful, eroding relationship satisfaction.

• Emotional burnout: Constantly managing others’ emotional needs can lead to emotional exhaustion, reducing one’s capacity to manage one’s own emotions effectively.

• Decreased intimacy and connection: As one partner feels increasingly burdened and the other potentially oblivious or disengaged, the emotional distance can grow, affecting

intimacy and connection.

How can spouses make sure emotional labor is evenly distributed?

To ensure a more even distribution of emotional labor, spouses can take several steps:

• Open Communication: Regularly discuss the distribution of emotional labor, acknowledging its presence and importance. Share feelings and experiences openly to foster understanding.

• Recognition and Appreciation: Recognize each partner’s efforts in managing emotional labor and express gratitude for these often invisible tasks.

• Shared Responsibility: Actively work towards sharing the emotional load, which may involve redistributing tasks, setting boundaries, and proactively offering support.

• Develop Self-awareness: Encourage each other to become more aware of one’s own emotional needs and capacities and how one’s actions affect the emotional climate of the home.

• Seek External Support: In cases where the imbalance is significant and difficult to address, seeking the guidance of a therapist or counselor can be beneficial.

Additional considerations include the importance of modeling healthy emotional labor practices for children, as this sets the foundation for their future relationships and emotional well-being.

Also, understanding that the dynamics of emotional labor can vary widely among different types of families and cultural backgrounds, and what works for one family may not work for another.

20 | May 2024
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May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 21

My Battle with Postpartum Depression

Depression is a funny little illness. Because you look and feel like you’ve been through the spin cycle of a washing machine, yet everyone keeps telling you that you’re totally fine. You’re fine, your family says. You’re fine, your friends say. You’re fine, the doctor says. You’re healthy, your family is healthy, and everything is perfectly fine in your life.

If you’re supposedly so fine, then why don’t you feel fine?

Why, instead, do you feel like every moment awake is an assault on your mind and body, like the very act of taking air into your lungs is earth-shatteringly terrifying, and like you are no longer even living inside of yourself, but instead just functioning as a separate, mindless entity, numbly hovering over your former self in the meager hope that someday you can return and feel, dare I say, normal again?

And all the while, as you’re feeling increasingly un-fine, the world around you is spinning away. People are still living their lives, still going to work, still caring for their children, still eating and sleeping and smiling and laughing every day. They’re doing all the things you did back when you really were

fine. Except now, everyone else is fine. They go right on living while you teeter dangerously on the brink of insanity, wondering how you’ll make it another day, another hour, even another minute.

I had my miscarriage in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. I had watched the parade in the morning, dressed my son in his holiday finest, then drove over to my mom’s house in Brooklyn and sat down with my family at the table to eat. Sometime between my first stuffed mushroom and second slice of turkey, I began to feel the stabbing pangs of labor pain. Two terrifying hours later, I emerged from an emergency room bathroom stall with a tiny, balled-up fetus wrapped inside of a sanitary napkin. Horrified and shaking, I handed it to the triage nurse, who told me I was running a fever and needed to calm down.

Please don’t feel sorry for me. My story is only seemingly dramatic because hospitals, blood, and death tend to fill me with dread, and retelling the events of that day is simply impossible to do without conveying just how dramatic it all felt at the time. But in reality, I’d been only eight weeks along, was quite optimistic that I could conceive again soon, and honestly thought I was going to be okay. I mean, much worse things have happened to

people much more misfortunate than myself. So after about ten miserable hours in a dim hospital room, I went home and crawled into bed, exhausted and sad but feeling that the worst of it was over.

Or so I thought.

I did not know, at that point, that postpartum depression could happen after a miscarriage, even one occurring in just the first trimester. I didn’t know that the overflow of hormones coursing through my body after this event – combined with the severe loneliness brought on by a harsh winter, a young child who needed more from me than I could possibly give at the time, and a hardworking husband who was never home – would lead me into a frightening downward spiral so intense that I am still recovering from it today.

My husband used to leave for work around 6a.m., and I’d wake up at 5a.m. just to savor the only adult company I’d enjoy all day until he returned, already half-asleep, around 9p.m. Those mornings I’d sit on the floor of the foggy bathroom while he showered for work and we’d chitchat back and forth. It was the closest to normal that I would feel all day. Then I’d climb back into bed when he left, around the same time my son would usually wake up, and we’d watch cartoons together until the sun came up. And then I’d brace

22 | May 2024
mom stories

myself for a very long, lonely, dreary, anxietyridden day.

The darkest period of my life was like one, long, drawn-out anxiety attack. I’ve struggled with anxiety my entire life, but never like this. My days were spent pacing the floors of my three-room apartment for hours at a time, fingers tearing at the hair behind my neck and pulling until it bled. I’d clutch the phone in my hands and cry, praying for it to ring, wishing for someone to talk to, anyone at all who could distract me from my personal hell for a moment or two. I’d open every shade and curtain in the house, hoping the daylight might flood my home and chase my shadowy demons away. I’d wait by the window, praying, begging, pleading for my husband to pull up in his car and save me from the bitter, paralyzing loneliness.

One morning, after I’d gotten out of bed, I fainted as I poured my son’s breakfast cereal. It could have been from dehydration, or anxiety, or maybe just plain hunger, as I hadn’t been able to force down more than a slice or two of bread in about two days. I quickly awoke to find my son, confused and

my home and chase my shadowy demons away.

visibly upset, pleading with me to get up. At that point, I really needed help. For my little boy, my sweet, innocent, scared little child, I had to come out of this. I simply had to. There was just no other way.

Recovery was a gradual process. With the help of my family, some medication, and a whole lot of self-discovery, I eventually began to feel like myself again.

The following March, I was thrilled to learn that my daughter was on the way. This was a blessing for more than just the obvious reasons, because it forced me to stop taking my medication and learn to heal entirely on my own. Honestly, I didn’t even think I was capable of healing on my own until I had no

other choice. So I believe my little girl saved me from what might have been a different kind of downward spiral.

You don’t need to be a parent to find yourself coping with depression, although I know many are. You don’t need to be married, divorced, employed, unemployed, grieving, sick, healthy, rich, or poor. You don’t need to have any reason at all. For many of us, depression and anxiety are simply things we struggle with every single day. They’re as real to us as breathing. Today, I still battle depression and anxiety, although it looks and feels much different when hormones aren’t involved as much.

Your depression affects everyone around you, whether you realize it or not: your family, your children, your friends, your job. Sometimes people understand, but most of the time, they don’t. If you’re lucky, someone will see you struggling, and they’ll reach out to you. If you’re really lucky, you’ll find a place within yourself where healing can begin on its own – where you can realize how much the people in your life need you – and you can learn to be you again.

May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 23
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Specialty Camps & Summer Programs

Summer is near, and you may still be searching for the perfect camp for your child. We get it! We all want that memorable experience for our kids. Summer is about creating memories, connecting, and making new friends. It is about providing your child an opportunity to build on a hobby or skill or introducing them to something new that you know will be an incredible adventure.

We have 10 unique specialty camps in the Arts, STEM, sports, and theatre right in and around Manhattan and worth checking out!

British Swim School


British Swim School is the premier learn-to-swim provider for people of all ages, offering programs for children ages 3-months through adults. They use gentle teaching methods and a survival-first approach to help people of all experience levels become safer, stronger swimmers. British Swim School’s safe, fun, and effective instructional program has made it the preferred choice for parents and students for over 40 years. With two locations on Staten Island, at the LA Fitness Forest Ave in the North Shore and LA Fitness Richmond Ave in the South, there are lesson options available 7 days a week. The Summer Schedule also includes daytime classes during the week at both locations.

DEA Music & Art Camp

1409 Richmond Ave., Staten Island, NY 10314


Immerse your child in the extraordinary world of fine arts at DEA Music and Art Camp! Their program offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the captivating realms of music and visual arts. From mastering musical instruments to creating vibrant paintings and intricate sculptures, every day is an adventure in creativity. With classes starting at just $60 a day, their affordable program lays the foundation for lifelong artistic skills. Enroll your child today to unlock their potential and create cherished memories. Don’t miss out on this chance to nurture your child’s creativity and watch them thrive! Secure your spot early and let the artistic journey begin at DEA Music and Art Camp.

24 | May 2024 c amps

Ed Perpetua Tennis Academy

30 Harold Street


Discover a summer of tennis excellence with Ed Perpetua Tennis Academy. Located amidst the serene campus of Staten Island Academy from June through August, their outdoor programs offer a picturesque backdrop for young tennis enthusiasts. For children aged 10 and under, the revolutionary QUICKSTART program brings a blend of modified courts, racquets, and balls, fostering confidence and enjoyment in their tennis journey. Their annual summer camp caters to budding tennis stars aged 7 to 17, with flexible scheduling options to fit every family’s needs. From beginner to advanced, their programs focus on skill development, strategy, and agility, preparing players for competitive play and even college scholarships. Don’t miss out – enroll your child today and unleash their tennis potential.

FasTracKids NY

Grasmere: 141 Evergreen Ave. 718-351-7333,

Willowbrook: 1409 Richmond Ave. 718-494-1232.

At FTKNY’s STE(A)M and academics based summer programs, children will explore the weeks’ enrichment adventure, interact with a SmartBoard Learning Station, engage in role play, do arts and crafts, conduct experiments, improve their math and literacy skills and have lots of free play time plus outdoor playtime with their friends! FTKNY programs ensure that kids have lots of fun while combating the summer brain drain that occurs each year when they are out of school. At FTKNY, kids have so much fun they don’t realize how much they are learning.

Mozart & Einstein Summer Camp 1481 Hylan Blvd. 347-974-4704.

Mozart & Einstein offers a dynamic summer program offering a diverse array of enriching experiences for children. From music mastery in the piano lab to exciting adventures with superheroes and superpowers, each session blends learning and fun. Dive into the world of economics, jam in Rock Band, or unleash creativity in Visual Arts, exploring colors and clay. Digital Art classes offer hands-on technology exploration, while the guitar/ukulele club easily ignites musical passions. With engaging activities tailored to various interests, their program ensures every child finds joy in learning and leaves with newfound skills and inspiration. Don’t miss this opportunity for a summer filled with growth, creativity, and endless possibilities.

St. Joseph by the Sea 5150 Hylan Blvd. 718-984-6500,

St. Joseph by the Sea is offering 22 summer programs in 2024 encompassing sports, business, robotics and theater. All camps are run by coaches and experts well versed in that discipline Camps include Tennis, Competitive Cheer, Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Esports, Boys Lacrosse, Girls Lacrosse, Boys Flag Football, Girls Flag Football, Baseball, Bloomberg Business Terminal, Robotics, Wrestling, Dance Workshop, Boys Soccer, Girls Soccer, Girls Volleyball, Girls Softball, Rugby and Theater by Spotlight Theater with an end of summer performance of Mamma Mia. Register now!

26 | May 2024 c amps
May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 27 Ages 3.5-5 Ages 5 -10 Ages 5 -12 Ages 5-14 6-8 Ages 2-3 Grades

Staten Island Art and Culture

109 New Dorp Plaza, Staten Island, NY 10306 646-233-5173,

Elevate your child’s summer at the prestigious Staten Island Art & Culture Studio! Delve into a world of creativity with their engaging lineup of visual arts classes. From painting, sculpture, multimedia projects, papermaking (to name a few!), their studio offers a dynamic range of activities to ignite your child’s imagination. Under the guidance of esteemed instructors, they’ll learn diverse mediums and techniques, seizing the opportunity to transform their potential into mastery. Let Staten Island Art & Culture be your child’s artistic guide, where they can develop lifelong skills in a supportive environment. This summer, nurture their passion for the arts and watch them flourish at Staten Island Art & Culture Visual Arts Studio!

Super Kids Summer Camp

1409 Richmond Ave


Experience the Ultimate Summer at Super Kids Summer Camp. Revamped for 2024, kids will dive into a dynamic blend of performing arts, music, fitness, and academics, guided by experts. Rates start at just $98/day, making excellence affordable. Campers embody intellect, creativity, and vitality, ensuring each moment is extraordinary. Enjoy three days of outdoor activities weekly, from fitness classes to games and performances, amidst the refreshing park backdrop. Parents are welcome to join the fun. Their commitment to safety is unparalleled, with firefighter escorts ensuring safe outdoor activities. Join them for a summer of learning, laughter, and lasting memories!

Sweetie House Playground

2343 Forest Avenue (Roman plaza Store #11)


Embark on an exciting journey at Sweetie House Playground thrilling playground & café summer camp. Start with the funfilled ball pool & slides, then experience heart-pounding carousels, trampolines, balance beams, and climbing ropes. Explore the simulated kitchen, enjoy projection games, arts & crafts, baking, singing, and dancing. Join Sweetie House Playground for laughter, memories, and safety ensured by experienced staff. Book before 5/15 for free benefits.

Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning

631 Howard Ave.


Make new friends and maybe even meet up with some old camp friends at Wagner College Lifelong Learning, where you will find a great lineup of camps and specialty programs for kids and teens on campus this summer atop the beautiful Grymes Hill. The specialized camps for children and teens include performing arts, lego robotics, video game design, special effects and Minecraft/Roblox flix, animation and action stop motion flix, Dungeons Camp; Dragons and Star Wars role play games, woodshop, art, and more! Wagner’s programs are designed to harness passion and encourage imagination while learning and having fun.

28 | May 2024 c amps

Summer Camp Fun at Wagner

Comejoinus,make new friends and mayb e even meet up with some old

Showing on June 7, 8, and 9

Kickstart your summer with a blast at our SUMMER KICKOFF FAIR!

Join your fellow Staten Island neighbors on May 19th 12-4pm, for a day of family fun hosted by Wagner College. There will be games, bouncy castles, groovy beats spun by a live DJ, dazzling planetarium shows, delicious BBQ, raffles, and so much more!


All Camps are Run by Sea’s

Competitive Cheerleading 9am-4pm

7/8-7/ 11

Tennis 9am-4pm

7/ 15-7/ 18

Girls Basketball 9am-3pm

Bloomberg Business Terminal 9am-12pm

ESPORTS 9am-12pm

Boys Lacrosse 9am-12pm

Girls Lacrosse 12pm-3pm


Boys Rugby 9am-12pm

Showing on July 12, 13 and 14

For more information: Scan our QR code, visit, call (718) 390-3221, or email @WagnerLifelong

top of Home Page) Richard Bruno, Director of Camps at 718.984.6500 x5316

Spotlight Theater Presents

Summer Production Mamma Mia

Monday, July 29th – Friday, August 16th Mon - Thur, 10am - 3pm

Performance August 16 @ 7:00 PM

Boys Basketball 9am-1pm


Girls Flag Football 9am-12pm

7/29-8/ 1

Baseball 9am-1pm Robotics 9am-12pm

Wrestling 9am-12pm

Dance Workshop 9am-12pm


Boys Flag Football 9am-12pm

8/ 12-8/ 15

Boys Soccer 9am-12pm

Girls Soccer 9am-12pm

Girls Volleyball 9am-12pm

Girls Softball 12pm-3pm

May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 29
Forms on www.
on Athletics tab at
the Sea High Shool
Varsity Coaching

A SensoryInclusive Harry Potter

The Exhibition welcomes all witches, wizards and muggles to its “Sensory Sundays”

On a recent Sunday, we did something rare as a family and headed to Harry Potter: The Exhibition. This meant there was no tag teaming, with one parent going out with one kid while the other stayed home with our Autistic son. Without the pricey airplane ticket to LA or Florida, we headed into the world of Harry Potter.

The mystical world of Harry Potter is enchanting, charming, and, for kids (and parents!), magical. But for kids with Sensory Processing Disorders, regardless of the charm and like many other entertaining places -it can be overwhelming.

Web MD describes this disorder as people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming.

There is more to this disorder, but in a nutshell, this condition can affect the entire family. As visiting spots may not be tangible for your child with a sensory processing disorder, some feel it is better to skip rather than overwhelm your child. This is something I get as a mother of an Autistic eight-year-old.

Thankfully, the wizarding world of Harry Potter: The Exhibition which has been showing New Yorkers this world, since May 2023, has partnered with KultureCity and obtained its Sensory Inclusive certification. Until August, “Sensory Sundays” will turn the lights down and more on specific dates. Guests exploring the exhibit will be minimal and manageable, meaning kids can check out it at their own pace. If loud noise triggers you or even smells- these will be reduced. If you

or your child needs a little extra, KultureCity ® Sensory Bags will be readily available. In these packs, which are of no extra cost, remember to give it back so others can use it after your visit; you’ll find strobe reduction glasses, noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, and more.

What is KultureCity

This non-profit organization offers and partners to make spaces more sensoryinclusive so people with sensory processing disorders and unseen disabilities can experience what is happening around them.

Key Highlights of the Harry Potter: The Exhibition Book to Screen : Whether you need a recap or are just ready to get the show going, you can sit and watch a video and literary quotes from Harry Potter movies and books. Don’t forget to check out the first edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

The Great Hall Gallery : is a space that allows visitors to celebrate magical seasonal moments in its iconic architecture.

The Hogwarts Houses Gallery : kicks off the exhibition fun, giving guests a chance to dive into their chosen Hogwarts house during preregistration. Even if one house is working its spell for you to select it, this gallery lets you explore them all! Imagine this: a festive hall with the legendary Sorting Hat as the centerpiece, begging for photo ops. And don’t miss the newly designed house crests gleaming on stunning stained glass windows.

Hagrid’s Hut and The Forbidden Forest: Kids will love this fan favorite. Go on a fantastical adventure with an interactive Patronus delightful experience. Then, get ready to uncover legendary creatures like centaurs and Acromantula hiding in the forest, and step inside a replica of Hagrid’s Hut for an adventure you won’t forget!

My youngest loved videos but was mainly enamored with the carpet and chose to experience the magic from the floor (no one batted an eyelash). My oldest enjoyed the entire experience; there were no teenage eye rolls or sighs; he was super involved and happy to finally experience the exhibition. It reminded me that going to sensory-inclusive events and spaces is not only for the sensorysensitive person but also for the family, who may miss fun experiences, making it a winwin for everyone.

Harry Potter:The Exhibition

50 W 34th St., New York, NY 10001 across the street from Macy’s Sensory Sundays coming up: May 5, June 2, July 14, and August 4, 2024, 9am-11am

Tickets: Kids (ages 3-15) $32.66, Adults (ages 16 plus) $43.55, Children under 3 free

30 | May 2024
family day out
May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 31

Tips on Parenting Teens

Parenting teens can be equally challenging and amazing. As your kids are growing up, they are navigating a new terrain with extended responsibilities, questions about life, and simply finding their way. In some instances, teens might rebel, act out, or shut down. Others might be dealing with mental health issues, or simply feel overwhelmed by the many things they have on their plates. As parents it’s important to be there for them as well as to allow them to explore and find themselves. Below, we are sharing some tips on parenting teens and how to navigate this time.

Keep the communication open and be a good listener

Teens, in general, are sometimes known to

shut down. This can include closing you off from the conversations and/or giving you limited-to-no responses. Try not to take this personally as teens are also figuring out who they are as well as what they believe in.

Establish an open dialogue with them so they know that they can go to you. It’s important not to stress out or force conversations, but rather be open to their journey and listen. Teens need parents to listen as a way to feel understood, which can help to forge a closer connection. Sometimes this might even involve walking away from a conversation or revisiting it if anger comes into play.

Let them explore and encourage them

Teens, unlike younger kids, are figuring out their interests and/or what they enjoy doing. Give them the space to figure out their inter-

ests/passions as well as support their journey, even if you might noy completely understand it. It is important for them to feel your support and know you are there for them.

Provide guidance and give clear guidelines

You want your teen to know what is acceptable about where they are going and/ or who they are hanging out with. This is a good time to discuss values,making good choices, and any challenges that might arise. Make sure they know - and understandthe consequences if they don’t follow the guidelines. This could be anything from breaking curfew to drinking to being grounded.

Respect their values

Your teen might not have the same values/ views as you. Show them that you respect what is important to them and ask them to explain why it is important to them if you are conflicted. Showing that you care about them/

32 | May 2024

respect them will go a long way as you address your concerns while still supporting them.

Spend time together

Despite what they might think, your teen is still a child who needs you in a different way. Show them that you care and you’re interested in them by doing things together. This could be you enjoying something that they love and/or you involving them in one of your favorite activities. Be consistent and make it a point to show up for themfocusing on activities without the clutch of devices or technology. Try activities such as yoga, hiking, or even simply enjoying a meal together.

Share your experiences

Even though they might not say it, they look up to you. Share your lived experiences, including some hard life lessons you had to learn at their age. They will appreciate - and maybe even be shocked - at how human you are.

Be a role model

Your teens are watching. Model traits that

you would want them to embody such as kindness, thoughtfulness, curiosity, confidence, patience, and more. It is also important for them to see you being passionate about what you do. This can also include your volunteer work and how you show up in the family. Even if they might not be expressing these traits now, they are absorbing everything.

Make sure teens get enough sleep

Teens may think they can operate on little sleep, but as we know sleep is vital for everyone to function and be in a better mood. Set realistic goals around bedtime, including an electronic curfew or no screens after a certain amount of time. Also, make sure they get up at a decent time on the weekend.

Reach out for support

While you can do all of the “right” things, there’s still a level of complexity when it comes to parenting teens. Know that this is all part of their journey and will take time for them to find their way. Find local parenting support groups - with a focus on provides expertly curated resources for all parents in the New York area, including our most popular feature — our mom-generated nanny board — the best online source for parents to find vetted (by other parents), experienced nannies and childcare providers who want to work in New York City, Westchester, Long Island and Northern New Jersey. Visit; we can’t wait to see you there! is now part of

teen parenting as well as teen specific issues to communicate your struggles with others in a similar situation.

In NYC, check out Parenting Teens in NYC, NYC Parents with Disabilities, and Raising Teenage Girls Is HARD! Parenting Teens Support Group by Teen Thrive on Facebook.

Check in your teens mental health

We are in a mental health epidemic. According to the Center for Disease Control, “more than 4 in 10 (42%) students felt persistently sad or hopeless and nearly onethird (29%) experienced poor mental health.” This problem is continuing to heighten with common pressures, social media, and issues at home and school.

Check in with your teen to see how they are doing. Some ways to monitor this might be assessing their energy levels, digestion issues, headaches, increased anxiety, anger, eating issues, memory problems, and more. If you are concerned, contact your local doctor and/or find a support group or therapist, and of course be present for them. provides a rich array of local resources, useful content, directories and interactive tools to help families meet and celebrate the challenges of parenting.

Visit us online today !

May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 33
Your online resource for all things parenting

Glow Maven Latham Thomas

on The Soft Space, advancing maternal health via community and academia, watching her young adult son soar, and how she is an Open Nest, not an Empty Nester

Our cover this month is by happenstance. Latham Thomas of Mama Glow unveiled a stunning new space and I was eager to feature it. The Soft Space embodies community, education, and support, among other things—but more on that later.

Our New York Family team had quite the agenda on the day of the shoot at this new space. Our Events Editor, Shara Levine, kicked off her day celebrating Women’s International Day in a movement class. Then, our crew arrived to photograph the space and our April mom. While our cover mom, was getting glammed up, photographer Yumi Matsuo and I got to work, absorbing the energy of the space, capturing its loveliness and Latham’s infectious energy.

After we saw the captured pics, we couldn’t resist featuring this new space and celebrating Latham on the cover.

A champion of maternal health through advocacy and teaching- Latham knows support is crucial at the beginning of becoming a mother and even more vital as we journey through the many phases of being women.

We are excited about this new space and one doesn't have to live in Brooklyn to enjoy the space. The community is for all and is there to support you.

I chatted with Latham about expanding Mama Glow, watching her young adult son soar, and how she is an Open Nest , not an Empty Nester.

For all the parents new to Mama Glow,

can you share how Mama Glow supports mothers and families?

I’m the founder of Mama Glow, a global maternal health and education platform that educates and professionally develops doulas and nurse care managers to serve in our healthcare system to improve maternal health outcomes. We have trained nearly 3,000 doulas across the USA and 6 continents. Our market leading training program, the Mama Glow Doula Homeschool Professional Training Program is the first of its kind to be embedded as an Ivy League University course where I was appointed Visiting Professor of the Practice of Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brown University. My commitment to advancing maternal health is grounded in community and academia. We recently wrapped a national Doula Competency training program we designed for CVS Health and Aetna nurse care managers for CEUs. This means that nurses are also learning how to integrate the doula model of care to support families.

We offer doula matching services to families in different ways, some are private pay, others come to us through the Mama Glow Foundation for pro bono doula services. We also offer educational programs for parents.

The Mama Glow Foundation leads efforts in education, advocacy and the arts as well as research and scholarship. At the Foundation we welcome and mentor University fellows through our partnership with Brown University and support Doula clubs on 5 campuses, supporting university doula collectives. The Mama Glow Foundation also provides pro bono doula services across the country

through partnerships with companies like Carol’s Daughter and the Love Delivered Initiative, and through the Citywide Doula Initiative, where the Mama Glow Foundation is the largest provider of pro bono doula services in New York City.

It’s been a deep pleasure to elevate and celebrate this work through our platform, including: The Doula Expo by Mama Glow, our annual culture shifting festival that celebrates a vision for the future of birth work, this past Spring, we held the Doula Expo at Hudson Yards in a 60,000 square foot space and welcomed nearly 2,000 guests. This is how we show up in the community and now folks will be able to also join us for lectures, workshops and events and community support at The Soft Space by Mama Glow as well.

Any advice for an overwhelmed mother on how she can make space for herself?

It’s really important to listen to your body. Self-care is about checking in with yourself on a moment-to-moment basis and meeting your personal needs. Community is so critical as we navigate the challenges of new parenthood. I encourage folks who are feeling overwhelmed to tap into their support system, your sister circle, and practice asking for help - by the way; it can be difficult to ask for help when you’re the person everyone depends on. Having a group text check-in having some folks you can ask to come over and watch the kids while you go for a walk alone, can be really helpful in reducing stress. All of the self-care and stress management tools I use are free: I journal, practice deep breathing, turn on the music and move my body, I water my plants, I go outside

34 | May 2024

for a walk… all of this helps me stay calibrated. I would invite you to pour energy into the small things that bring you pleasure and punctuate moments of pleasure throughout the day, even those of us who are busy can choose to make this time for ourselves.

It is no secret that New York Family loves you; this is your third cover! Your first cover featured you and your then-tween son. How is parenting evolving for you as your son transitions into adulthood? I’m honored for my third cover! Parenting

is amazing at every stage. My son is now 20 years alive and I have an Open Nest. I wrote a post when Fulano headed off to school where I spoke about the potency of this new life phase and what it was like to move away from birthing and caring for someone for nearly two decades and then sending them out into the world. My son went on to attend Berklee School of Music in Boston and is now a junior in college. While it’s just a 3 hour train or car ride away from Brooklyn, it’s still far enough away that I am reminded of the distance. It’s good for him because it allows him to spread his wings. I learn so much as a parent about trust. When your children begin to soar, you have to activate your trust and faith in ways previously unimagined, you have to trust that all of the lessons you gave and the messages you shared were encoded. You have to believe that you have raised a person who carries their values in their heart and makes good decisions without your direct and daily influence. And that mutual trust is the pulse of your relationship. I am an evolved version of myself, I became anew when I gave birth to my son and I shed a layer of myself when he entered this new life phase. I don’t say ‘Empty’ nest because I don’t feel empty; I feel whole, alive, and full. I have been so creative during this time, and I’ve given birth to so many projects during my open nesting phase. Open nesting is a rite of passage that I honor and celebrate.

What types of programming are available at The Soft Space?

The programing is really special, we have everything from our professional doula training programs, to wellness and self-care programming like, Full Moon Sound Baths, Crystals for Fertility, Sacred Belly Dance, Womb Healing and more. What’s been really great is that a lot of brand partners have come to the space to activate, so we have hosted events with folks like Juliane Hough and KINRGY, CVS Aetna, where we hosted a retreat for their Women’s Health team, Nanit hosted a day long activation for parents. We are hosting a Retreat for Doulas and Caregivers, something we love to do most, is pour into our community. The space is really versatile and we look forward to bringing even more amazing offerings to the community as we head into the Summer months! Stay tuned to our site and mailing list for program updates!

Handles: @Glowmaven, @thesoftspace.bk @mamaglow

May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 35
Photo by Yumi Matsuo


Little Movers: May Flowers

May 1, 11:15 am –12pm

Mariners Harbor Library

206 South Ave.


Hear stories all about spring flowers, sing songs, and get those wiggles out as you help your active child build important early learning skills. Discover ways to promote early literacy at home and meet other caregivers in the neighborhood. Best for new walkers, toddlers/or children at this developmental stage.

Staten Island Anti-Prom


May 3, 6:30 pm – 9 pm

New Dorp Library

309 New Dorp Lane


Come hang out and dance the night away at Staten Island AntiProm, the Library’s annual celebration for teens, featuring music, art activities, snacks, and more. Special outfits are optional… but always encouraged! Anti-Prom welcomes and celebrates young people of all sexualities and gender identities and expressions.

Parent’s Night Out

Porterhouse Party

May 3, 7 pm

Mount Loretto

Hylan Boulevard

Join Social Media Mobile Catering Sensation Porterhouse Party for an exclusive charity event and casino night, featuring casino games, prizes, music and dinner served up by the Porterhouse Party Team.

New Dorp Christian Summer Camp

May 4, 11 am – 2 pm

New Dorp Christian Academy

Thing S To do in MAy

259 Rose Ave

Kids will enjoy a thrilling bounce house and a wide range of exciting activities for kids ages 2 –12. Meet experienced staff, learn about diverse programs, and explore fantastic facilities.

The Carousel For All Children Grand Opening 2024

May 4, 11 am – 5:45 pm

Willowbrook Park

2 Eton Pl

Join in the Grand Opening celebration at Willowbrook Park, featuring rides, entertainment, food and more as the carousel opens for the season!

Concert: Taikoza

May 4, 1 pm – 4 pm

Faber Park

2175 Richmond Terrace


Taikoza created a new sound

using the thunderous rhythms of the ancestral Taiko drums and the magical sounds of the bamboo flutes. This exciting group draws from Japan’s rich tradition of music and performance to create a highly visual and stimulating performance.

Silly Billy Magician

May 4, 4 pm – 4:45 pm

Staten Island Children’s Museum 1000 Richmond Terr. Step right up for a highly interactive comedy magic show from Silly Billy! Silly Billy has been named New York’s top children’s entertainer by five different NYC publications and received a sixpage profile in The New Yorker. Having received the honored designation “New York Magician of the Year,” he has performed at the White House, and Lincoln Center, and has appeared on Comedy Central. Come enjoy an

afternoon of laughter!

Open Play: Pop In Playtime

May 4 every Saturday through May 18, 11 – 11:45 am Richmondtown Library

200 Clarke Ave.

A library playdate, meet other caregivers as you explore developmentally appropriate play materials in a safe, warm, and joyful environment. Extend your child’s learning through play! Best for ages 0-4 & their caregivers. No registration is required. First come will be first served.

Sunday Make Break: Yayoi Kusama Inspired Painting

May 5, 2 pm – 4 pm

Michaels Craft Store: Pergament Mall

2795 Richmond Ave

Join in-store to create a painting inspired by Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, celebrating AAPI Month!

Music & Movement: Gardening Day J@mboree

May 6, 10:30 am – 11 am

Huguenot Park Library

830 Huguenot Ave

The Huguenot Park Library presents Gardening Day J@mboree! Our J@mporee is jam-packed with music, dance, and parachute games. This music & movement program helps children develop team-building skills, build language skills, and enhance social interactions. Best for new walkers, toddlers, and/or children at this developmental stage.

Teen Lightsaber Decorating

May 6, 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

36 | May 2024
t he carousel For a ll children will have its grand opening on may 4.

Richmondtown Library

200 Clarke Ave.


Calling all Star Wars-loving teens! Stop by the Richmondtown Library to decorate your own lightsaber. May the force be with you!

Community Science: Horseshoe Crab Monitoring

May 7, 7:30 pm – 9 pm

Conference House Park

298 Satterlee St


Join the Urban Park Rangers for an evening on the shore engaging in a community science project as we collect scientific data and learn the importance of protecting horseshoe crabs. Registration required.

STEAMtastic!: Clay Dishes with Natural Patterns

May 9, 4 pm – 4:45 pm

Mariners Harbor Library

206 South Ave.


Join staff from the Mariners Harbor Library for an exciting, hands-on program dedicated to clay! Use air-dry clay to create a decorative dish with impressions of plants and flowers while learning about clay handling techniques and plants native to New York.

Balloon Bending Bonanza!

May 10, 3:15 pm – 4 pm

Huguenot Park Library

830 Huguenot Ave.

Introduction to Basic Balloon

Bending: A class for the beginner. How do I blow these things up? How do I tie them? Now what? All this will be answered and more in this fun and interactive class!

Spring Family Hike

May 12, 11 am – 1 pm

Tenafly Nature Center

313 Hudson Ave

Celebrate family with a guided walk with a TNC Environmental Educator. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just hoping for a pretty photo op with

the family, a walk is the perfect activity to celebrate this special family day. Advanced registration is required.

YA Spring Wreath Craft

May 13, 4:30 pm – 5 pm

Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library

2550 Victory Blvd

Celebrate Spring together with the community by making flowers and wreaths.

SGC’s Monthly Math Jeopardy

May 14, 4 pm – 5 pm

St. George Library Center

5 Central Avenue

Play a game of Jeopardy and see who is the monthly math winner!

Candy Sushi and Chinese Lanterns

May 15, 4 pm – 5 pm

Todt Hill-Westerleigh Library 2550 Victory Blvd.


Create your own Candy Sushi and Chinese Lanterns in celebration of Asian American Native Hawaiin Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Doggie Day Hike

May 18, 11 am – 12 pm

LaTourette Park & Golf Course

Forest Hill Rd. & London Rd


Take a stroll through the forest

Sensory Play and Springtime Craft

May 21, 4:15 pm – 5:15 pm

Tottenville Library

7430 Amboy Rd

Join the library for a sensory time and while you’re at it, get into a springtime mood while using your artistic talents to make a fun spring craft! No registration is required.

Nature’s Workshop: Mindful Nature Art Hike

May 25, 11 am – 12:30 pm

Von Briesen Park Bay Street & North Road


with your four-legged friend on this dog-friendly hike. Dogs are required to be on leash. Dog lovers without dogs are also welcome to participate.

Sensory Saturday Storytime!

May 18, 11 am – 12 pm

Stapleton Library

132 Canal St.

Get hands-on! Join for songs, rhymes, and favorite read-aloud books followed by sensory play afterward. For young children of all abilities.

The Great Staten Island Lighthouse Hunt

May 19, 10 am - 4 pm

National Lighthouse Museum

200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point

Start at either the Conference House in Tottenville or the Postcards Memorial, and enjoy a family-friendly fun day learning about Staten Island’s lighthouse history.

Sunday Make Break: Summer Tie-Dye

May 19, 2 pm – 4 pm

Micheals Craft Store: Pergament Mall

2795 Richmond Ave.

Summer is coming! Join the store for this fun tie-dye project with or without fringe.

Join the Urban Park Rangers on this scenic and mindful stroll through Von Briesen Park, engaging your mind and senses. Afterward, put your artistic abilities to work as we reflect on paper by sketching your experience in nature.

Good Morning Big Apple

May 25, 11 am

Barnes & Noble Staten Island Mall 2655 Richmond Avenue Suite 1590

Welcome local author, Lynsey Victoria who will be taking over story time and signing copies of her book, Good Morning Big Apple.

Staten Island Memorial Day Parade

May 27, 12 pm Forest Avenue


March in support and solidarity with those who have lost their lives in service to their country in the annual Staten Island Memorial Day Parade.

Sand Art Tuesday

May 28, 4 pm – 5 pm

Dongan Hills Library

1617 Richmond Rd.

Please join on the last Tuesday of every month and create sand art pictures. There will be different pictures to choose from each month, so stop by to find out what it is! Light refreshments will be served. Best for ages 10-14. First come, first served due to limited supplies.

May 2024 | Staten Island Parent 37 MAY calendar
make a flower wreath at todt hill-westerleigh Library on m ay 13.

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MAy 19

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SunriseWALKS & Carnival

SunriseWALKS & Carnival


Get tickets Get tickets here! here!

Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds (1131 Manor Rd.) (1131 Manor Rd.)

Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds



Help send children with cancer and their siblings to our FREE summer camp!

All proceeds to benefit the Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island, a FREE summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings!

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