August 2022

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VOLUME 39, #6 AUGUST 2022


e y b d Goo ! r e m m Su

Ways To Reduce Back-To-School ANXIETY

Last Minute Family Trips • The Adirondacks • Watkins Glen

INSIDE: Choosing Childcare • The Fit Family • Wellness Choices

77th Annual

Gerry Rodeo August 3-6, 2022

Join us for the Oldest Consecutive Rodeo East of the Mississippi, as 250 cowboys and cowgirls roll into town to vie for more than $40,000 in prize money in four rodeo performances. Each action-packed night features 8 events including Women’s Breakaway Roping. The midway houses more than 20 booths offering everything from cotton candy to western wear to pony rides. The rodeo has always been promoted as family entertainment and is therefore alcohol free.

The award-winning, GERRY RODEO, celebrates the 77th Annual Rodeo in 2022 – you won’t want to miss the fun!

Please visit or call 888-985-4847 for more information.

2 WNY Family August 2022

August 2022 • Volume 39 • Issue 6

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Michele Miller GENERAL MANAGER Paul Kline SALES REPRESENTATIVE Paul Kline GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Karen Wawszczyk Melanie Schroeder CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Blackburn • Donna Phillips Richard De Fino • Deborah Williams Kathy Lundquist • Myrna Beth Haskell Mike Daugherty




Where It’s At! Goodbye Summer! Features: 6n


Editorial Submissions MAILING ADDRESS: 3147 Delaware Ave., Suite B Buffalo, NY 14217 Phone: (716) 836-3486 • Fax: (716) 836-3680 PRINTED BY: Commercial Printing Division The Post-Journal, Jamestown WE ARE AN AUDITED PUBLICATION CIRCULATION (copies printed): 20,000 © 2022 Western New York Family, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without permission is strictly prohibited. Inclusion of an advertisement does not constitute an endorsement by the publisher. PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS: MAILED FIRST CLASS, IN AN ENVELOPE SAME DAY ISSUE IS DELIVERED FROM THE PRINTER: $28 one year, $52 two years, $75 three years. Phone & online orders accepted with credit cards. Gift subscriptions available. Single copies & back issues by mail, $2.50. IF YOU MOVE: Missed issues will not be replaced if we do not receive an address change before issue mailing date.

Simple Ways to Reduce Back-To-School Anxiety by Tanni Haas, Ph.D.

10 n

Go Wild in the Adirondacks by Michele Miller

43 n

One Parent’s Experience: My Toddler Has Zero Interest in Potty Training. This is Why I Don’t Care! by Pam Moore

44 n

The Family Pet

Visit Our Web Site To Reach Us: Advertising Department Calendar Submissions Subscriptions

5 Ways to Start the New School Year Without Losing Your Mind by Rebecca Hastings


18 n The Fit Family 28 n Choosing Childcare 35 n Wellness Choices

Regulars: 5 n Web Finds / What’s New In The Kid Biz 16 n Family Travel Watkins Glen by Deborah Williams 26 n Pick of the Literature by Dr. Donna Phillips 30 n Raising Digital Kids Digital Dreams by Mike Daugherty 32 n Journey Into Fatherhood A Weekend for Me and Violet by Richard De Fino 33 n Parent Previews by Kirsten Hawkes 34 n Dear Teacher by Peggy Gisler & Marge Eberts 36 n Tweens and Teens Skin Health Checkup by Kathryn Streeter 38 n Single Parenting Single Parents and Teens by Diane Dierks, LMFT, CFLE 40 n Special Needs Success Story: Villa Maria’s Achieve Program Helps Students Develop Skills Inside & Outside the Classroom 46 n The Kid Friendly Kitchen Frozen Treats by Kathy Lundquist 47 n The Kiddie Gourmet Morluski’s by Barbara Blackburn

You’ll find FREE courtesy copies of WNY Family at all Buffalo area Wegmans and 300 locations including Public Libraries, Doctors’ Offices, Child Care Centers and many of our advertisers. (Look for us INSIDE Wegmans on the racks where newspapers are sold, even though we are still FREE, or in some stores, on the FREE rack in the store foyer.)

Find this entire issue online at August 2022 WNY Family 3

Award Winning Academy of Theatre Arts 2022/2023 ATA Theatre Season

Performing Arts Center located at 4231 Transit Road Williamsville, New York 14221

Fall registration is now open!

Spots fill up quickly, so sign up today!

For more information visit our website! Call 51 05 810 -day! o t

4231 Transit Road • Williamsville, New York 14221

Contact 810-0551 or 4 WNY Family August 2022

• Nationally Award Winning Academy of Theatre Arts and The ATA Performing Arts Center is the only year-round full time theatre venue in Western New York created and designed solely for the development and training of children and young adults in the genres of acting, vocal performance and musical theatre dance. Dedicated to enriching young lives dramatically, ATA provides an extensive year-long venue, as well as our extremely popular summer camp program, for anyone between the ages of 3 and 18 who has an interest and passion for theatre arts. • Not only does our Award Winning program excel in theatrical training, but with a generation now losing those communication skills needed to succeed in life, ATA uses theatre as a platform to teach and promote excellence in public speaking, self esteem, confidence and personal skills.

web.finds As the end of summer approaches, you may be running out of ways to keep the kids amused. Try out these outdoor games that will provide some active fun for the whole family — and get the kids away from their electronics for a while!


Cornhole is definitely popular, but we particularly liked this colorful version, which has several different pockets, each worth a different number of points when you score. Weighs less than 6 pounds, plus it disassembles and folds into the included carrying case, which is especially helpful if you don’t have a lot of storage space. (By GoSports, Amazon, $29.99)


The hardest part about trying to play badminton outdoors was getting the net poles into the ground. EastPoint Sports has solved that problem with this set, which comes complete with 4 rackets and two shuttlecocks. (By EastPoint Sports, Amazon, $37.94)


Just like the one you play at the arcade! Unfold and it’s ready to play. Comes with wooden balls. Challenge a friend (or two) to a tournament. Set up this game on any flat surface (indoors or outdoors) and take turns until one player reigns supreme. Keep score with the included pad of scorecards! (By Black Series, Amazon, $34.99) https://amzn. to/3o7SiFw


This 5-foot tall tower with buckets at different heights is more suitable for families with older kids, and it’s pricier, too. Portable, lightweight, with carry case. (By Creative Brainworks, Amazon, $69.45)

What’s New... IN THE KIDBIZ MOTOR VEHICLE CRASHES: #1 KILLER OF TEENS The three main factors that put teens at risk behind the wheel are consumption of alcohol, speeding, and distracted driving. Speaking on a mobile phone while driving increases crash risk by 2 times, while texting increases the crash risk by up to 6 times. Young drivers’ consumption of alcohol remains a significant cause of teenage traffic fatalities, with 523 teen drivers killed in DUI crashes in 2020. In 2020, almost 3,000 teens in the United States, aged 15-20, were killed in motor vehicle crashes. That means about 8 teens die daily from motor vehicle crashes and hundreds more are injured. The number of young driver and passenger fatalities has increased by 19.5% compared to the previous year. In 2020, 56 percent of the deaths of teenage passengers in passenger vehicles occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 15 percent occurred when a teenager was driving. In addition, the presence of teen or young adult passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with each additional teen and young adult passenger. There are proven methods to help teens become safer drivers. For example, creating a proper foundation for driving at an early stage is pivotal in making safe drivers and reducing the number of teenagers killed in driving accidents. “The goals for driver education classes are generally straightforward — to teach young people the rules of the road, the basic skills they need to control the car, and safe driving practices, such as defensive driving and risk assessment,” said Leo Waldenback, co-founder of Zutobi. “But we went further. We created the application that not only prepares our users for the DMV permit and driving test but develops that mindset, which will help dramatically reduce the likelihood of an accident, correctly obey the laws, and be a responsible driver.” To learn more about Zutobi’s online driver education courses, visit August 2022 WNY Family 5

s y a 5 Wto Start the

New School Year

Without Losing Your Mind — by Rebecca Hastings


s I try to soak up the last moments of summer fun, I feel like I’ll never be ready for the switch back to the routine of the school year. I’m not sure who invented the lazy days of summer idea, but it wasn’t a mom. Summer is full of sun and beach and popsicles and more TV time than I care to admit. But it didn’t feel lazy. Now we’re on the cusp of a new school year, and the pressure is building. All of a sudden a switch will be flipped and we’re supposed to find routine and structure again (which feels kind of like playing with that disastrous moon sand my kids love.) The sun is screaming “stay and play” but the calendar is an annoying buzz in my ear challenging me to get it together because the clock is ticking. The transition to a new school year doesn’t have to be complicated. You can have a great start to the school year with a few simple tricks. No, these tips will not complete the reams of paperwork headed your way during the first week of school, but they will help you feel better equipped to handle it. 6 WNY Family August 2022

1) Rest: Don’t skim past this. I know rest seems counterproductive and even impossible sometimes, but it will make a huge difference. My family knows a tired mom is not the nicest mom (at least in my house.) Start thinking about what you can do now to feel more rested. Skip that last episode of your favorite show late at night. Give yourself permission to sit down for ten minutes in the afternoon. Do things that make your body and soul feel calmer and more rested. You’ll be able to tackle the change to school days more effectively.

2) Eliminate:

Think about the things you do — ALL of them. I know it’s a lot. Write them down. Now look at that list and cross off as many things as you can. Not that you’ve done them, but to eliminate them, at least temporarily. You can always add them back on later.

Now that your list is smaller, look at what’s left. Instead of vacuuming three times per week, try twice. Skip the daily laundry and pick two days to do laundry each week so you’re not thinking about it every day. These ideas don’t need to be permanent, but they will help during the busy transition.

3) Autopilot:

Put as much as you can on autopilot. My favorite place to do this is with food. Come up with a simple meal rotation by picking an easy thing for each night of the week. For example, salad night, chicken and veggie, burgers and corn, taco night, breakfast for dinner, pizza, and leftovers. Then rotate through for the next few weeks. Your grocery list will be the same, and you don’t have to think too hard or prep too much ahead of time. You can let this go after the first few weeks of school in favor of your favorite fall recipes. But it will save your sanity now. Other things you can put on autopilot: morning and bedtime routines, easy breakfast and snack options, five minutes a day for mail and paperwork.

4) Let Go: As much as I love finding fun ideas on Pinterest for magical first-day photos and perfectly curated bento box lunches complete with animal face mini sandwiches, it doesn’t help me stay sane. Instead, it makes the pressure build that I am responsible for making the new school year absolutely amazing.

We do not need to be school magical. We can let go of these crazy expectations during the transition from summer to school, and give ourselves permission to try those things in a few weeks when we feel more grounded. A happy, calm mom is more important than a sandwich shaped like an animal.

5) Grace:

Let’s just say it right now — we’re going to drop the ball. It’s true. At some point, we’re going to miss something or turn in a form late. Last year I forgot to pick up my son’s inhaler from the nurse at the end of the school year. We all lose track of things sometimes. So, let’s start the year with a bit of grace for ourselves and for one another.

Instead of beating ourselves up over getting the wrong color folder or forgetting to send a water bottle, let’s remember that we’re all here doing our best to love our kids. And no folder or missed bus can change how much we love them. Rebecca Hastings traded the classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, three teens, and two dogs. You can find her at and on Amazon. In real life, she can often be found typing words, driving her kids places, or wherever there is chocolate.

August 2022 WNY Family 7

Simple Ways To Reduce

Back-To-School Anxiety

to hear stories from their parents’ childhood,” says Dr. Joan Munson, a clinical psychologist,” because it helps normalize any difficult feelings they’re experiencing.” You can also help them normalize their feelings, Dr. Munson says, simply by reminding them “that all children have these fears and they’re not alone.”

Practice School-Day Routines


lot of kids feel anxious at back-to-school time after a long summer full of fun. They’re often the most anxious when they’re about to go to a new school, are going through a transition year from elementary to middle school or middle to high school, or when a best friend has moved away over the summer break. What do you do to make your kids less anxious and more excited about the upcoming school year? Experts agree on the following:

Talk To Your Kids About Their Anxieties

If you suspect that your kids are experiencing back-to-school anxiety, talk to them about it. Instead of sitting them down for a formal affair, talk about their anxieties as a natural part of your end-of-summer conversations. As Caroline Miller of the Child Mind Institute puts it: “Kids often say more when there’s less pressure to ‘have a talk.’” Ask open-ended questions that you know will get them to speak, listen carefully to how they respond, and acknowledge their anxieties no matter how exaggerated they may seem. “When children know they can share their observations or challenges, and their parents will 8 WNY Family August 2022

— by Tanni Haas, Ph.D. listen,” says Dr. Laurie Hollman, a child psychotherapist, “they go to school with the parents’ calm, steady voice in the back of their minds.”

Stay Positive and Project Confidence In Them

When you talk to your kids, stay positive and let them know that you have confidence in them. As Dr. Kurt Smith, a counseling psychologist, puts it: “Your enthusiasm will be noticed and remembered.” Focus your conversation on how well everything turned out in previous years, and assure them you’re confident about this year, too. It can be helpful to recount your own back-to-school experiences with anxiety and how you overcame them. “Kids love

You can help ease your kids’ anxieties by having them practice their school-day routines, like waking up in the morning at a specific time, getting dressed, packing the school bag, eating breakfast, and travelling to school. Dr. Lynn Bufka, a clinical psychologist, says that practicing school-day routines will instill in your kids “a sense of mastery over the situation” and “will help them feel like it’s more under their control.” Indeed, research shows that kids who prepare in advance for the upcoming school year are less anxious and do better academically.

Engage Them In Role Play

It’s helpful to role play the schoolrelated situations that make your kids the most anxious. “The best way to gain mastery over worries,” says Katie Hurley, a licensed social worker, “is to practice taking control over worrisome situations.” This can be anything from riding the school bus to participating in class discussions. “If you discover that your child’s afraid of riding the school bus,” says Dr. Munson, “set up an area in the house and do a ‘pretend’ ride to school.” Similarly, “if they’re afraid to ask the teacher questions, do role plays together on how to speak up in class.”

Arrange Play Dates With Classmates

It’s a good idea to arrange play dates with your kids’ friends, especially if you know that those

friends are likely to be their classmates during the upcoming school year. “Play dates before school starts,” says Dr. Hollman, “can help prepare them to be with their classmates in an unpressured setting.” Dr. Munson agrees: “If your child hasn’t seen school friends over the summer, it isn’t too late to invite them over to help your child get re-acquainted with them and excited for school. Visits to the park, pool, or movies with old friends — and new ones, too — can make your child feel more comfortable when they encounter their peers at school.”

Make The First School Day Special

The first day of school should be treated like a special occasion. “Letting them choose what clothes to wear or breakfast to have,” says Dr. John Piacentini, a child psychiatrist, “can provide a sense of control and excitement about school.” But don’t assume that this will magically reduce all your kids’ anxieties. Dr. Munson emphasizes that parents ought to “set aside a time in the evening to discuss how their child’s day went and to listen to any concerns.”

Don’t Be Anxious Yourself

Try to control any anxieties that you may experience yourself. Anxiety is contagious, so if you’re anxious, your kids can get anxious, too. As Ms. Hurley puts it, “if you appear overwhelmed and anxious on the first day of school, your child is likely to follow your lead.” Instead, Dr. Julia Burch, a child psychologist, suggests that you “try to model the calm behavior you’d like to see in your child.” If you stay calm and focus on all the great things your kids are about to experience, they’ll end up getting more excited than anxious about the upcoming school year. Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.

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Call our Advertising Department at 716-836-3486 ext. 104 to find out how you can reach these readers, or contact your Sales Rep Directly. August 2022 WNY Family 9

Go Wild!

– by Michele Miller

in the Adirondacks


t is thought that the word “Adirondack” comes from the Mohawk word “ha-de-ron-dah” meaning “eater of trees.” Trees of many varieties densely blanket the hills and mountains in this region, covering about 5,000 square miles of northeastern Upstate New York — that’s bigger than Yosemite, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Great Smokey National Parks combined. Forty-six mountain peaks, known as the Adirondack High Peaks, each rise approximately 4,000 feet over this region known for fishing, hiking, skiing, boating, camping, and the simple enjoyment of nature and the outdoors. Day one of our road trip started by driving east on the N.Y. State Thruway as far as Syracuse, then heading north via Route 81 (Exit 36) towards Watertown. It took three and a half hours to reach Watertown, where we stopped for a lunch break at Maggie’s On The River. Located in a remodeled warehouse, formerly home to the Watertown Thermometer Company, it features original brick walls and exposed beams to create a rustic atmosphere, and serves generous portions for lunch. There’s seating outdoors, great for watching the rapids of the Black River that runs at the building’s back. Two hours later, we arrived at the Saranac Waterfront Lodge (250 Lake Flower Ave., Saranac Lake, NY;, which would be our “home base” for two nights. Located directly on the shore of Lake Flower’s Pon10 WNY Family August 2022

tiac Bay and only open since May 2021, it features sweeping views of the Adirondack waterfront, 93 guest rooms, indoor heated pool with hot tub, fitness facility, bike rentals, and water sports rentals (paddle boards, canoes, single/double seat kayaks). Guests have a choice of two on-site restaurants — the Boathouse Saranac Lake Pub which offers casual dining for breakfast, lunch, and dinner indoors, as well as lakeside (weather permitting); intimate fine dining at Harvest, a new chef-driven restaurant that offers a true farm-to-table experience; and the Navigator’s Lounge lobby bar which offers fireside seating

for your morning coffee or an evening cocktail. Outdoors, you can relax in Adirondack chairs, which surround a fire pit facing the lakefront. The hotel also has a large event space, seating 150 people, perfect for a family reunion or a lakeside wedding. If driving to the Adirondacks in an electric vehicle, you’ll find ample charging stations on the lodge’s property. The hotel is a short walk from the downtown arts district of the Village of Saranac Lake where you’ll find art galleries, murals, sidewalk art, restaurants, and shops.

continued on page 13

August 2022 WNY Family 11

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GO WILD IN THE ADIRONDACKS continued... Families will delight in the Adirondack Carousel (2 Depot Street, in William Morris Park, Saranac Lake; adirondackcarousel. org), which celebrates old-fashioned fun for all ages. The Adirondack Carousel carvers were selected based on their skills, carving sophistication, structural characteristics, and quality of trappings and embellishments after careful review of submitted bios and photos of previous work. Each agreed to select an animal found in the Adirondack Park, to decorate with Adirondack-related articles, flora, and fauna — and to include a ladybug somewhere on the animal! The result is a charming collection of out-of-the-ordinary carousel creatures including a large mouth bass, beaver, black bear, blue heron, fox, loon, otter, and more. The highlight of our Saranac Lake visit was actually 25-minutes away in Tupper Lake. The Wild Center (45 Museum Drive, Tupper Lake, NY; is a one-of-a-kind destination. This new kind of museum mixes indoor and outdoor education about the natural world in a unique way, for both children and adults. Designed by the same firm that designed the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C., and opened in 2006, The Wild Center has been described as “stunning” by The New York Times, while The Boston Globe proclaimed it “the place to see.” We heartily agree! While there is much to see inside the Center, we saved that part of the museum for last because we couldn’t wait to explore the outdoor Wild Walk, a trail across the treetops that includes a four-story twig tree house and swinging bridges, a human-sized spider’s web hovering 24-feet off the ground, and a 10-foot wide bald eagle’s nest where visitors can climb in and imagine life as one of these majestic birds. Other trails in the forest include places where kids can burn off that extra energy by trying out a swing hung between two trees, walking a low balance beam, climbing on a huge tree stump, or shimmying through a hollowed-out log in the Pines Wild Play area that allows for imaginative, creative play.

continued on page 14

August 2022 WNY Family 13

GO WILD IN THE ADIRONDACKS continued... Inside the Center’s 54,000 square foot building, which gets 10 percent of its power from the solar panels on its roof (the rest is generated by Niagara Falls!), you’ll watch fish swim over your head, see a massive, moving glacial ice wall that describes how the last ice age carved the modern Adirondacks, watch the Center’s resident North American river otters play, and learn about many aspects of the natural world, and the more than 2,000 live creatures that live in it, through many hands-on, interactive exhibits. All of the animals at the Center are rehabilitated, having been injured or abandoned. We received a behind-the-scenes tour of what will become a new permanent exhibit the first week in July — Climate Solutions, designed to help you find your place in the climate effort. At the “Tinkering Studio,” kids will be able to build their own mini electric car and wind turbine. “Creature Feature” will allow guests to meet and learn about different animals twice a day, such as a porcupine or a turtle. Your family can easily spend an entire day exploring The Wild Center, and we can guarantee they’ll love it, young and old alike! We kept our fingers crossed that the weather would remain dry for a busy second day, which involved more outdoor activities. We checked out of the hotel early in the morning so that we could make the 1 hour and 15 minute drive east to Ausable Chasm (2144 US-9, Ausable Chasm, NY; in order to arrive close to their 9am opening time. The Chasm opened in 1870, just five years after the end of the Civil War, and is one of our nation’s first organized tourist attractions. More than 11 million visitors have witnessed what Mother Nature provided through 15,000 years of formation — a uniquely-carved, vertical-walled canyon composed of 500 million year old rock — Potsdam sandstone. The gorge is about 2 miles long and the chasm ranges from 20 to 50 feet wide at points, and from 100 to 200 feet deep. With its rapids, waterfalls, and curious rock formations it offers a variety of adventures for visitors of different ages and abilities. Five different trails are color coded and range from the Rim Walk Trail (easiest), Inner Sanctum Trail (intermediate), River Walk Trail (intermediate, helmet required and closest to the water’s edge), Dry Chasm Trail (more difficult, featuring wilderness style hiking on rugged, natural terrain), and Adventure Trail (most challenging, exploring by via ferrata — a via ferrata is a protected climbing route characterized by a steel cable that runs along the rock, offering a unique and awe-inspiring journey through the chasm. Climbers crisscross over the raging river on a fully-guided, unique via ferrata that features cable bridges, a cargo net climb, and edge walks. Not for the faint of heart (literally, not recommended for guests with a heart condition, back or neck injury, pregnant, etc.) and guests under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and pass weight and arm reach requirements. A variety of tours are available, including tubing down the chasm, which had not yet begun for the season during our visit, but we chose the “Classic Tour.” This 2-part tour includes a 1-mile walk along the chasm’s stone walkways, bridges, and stairs, which ends as you descend to the loading dock where you’ll board a bright blue raft and float through the narrowest and deepest part of the chasm. We were two of the four adults seated at the back of our raft and the four of us were given paddles to help the guide seated at the back maneuver the raft. Three children and a dad sat right up front. Everyone is fitted with the proper life jacket and given instructions on how to float on their back with their arms out to the side and their toes pointed downstream should they be tossed out of the raft. The likelihood of this happening is slim, but it did cross our minds as our raft wound up going down the rapids backwards! Thankfully, 14 WNY Family August 2022

GO WILD IN THE ADIRONDACKS continued... the rapids were rather tame, but that can change depending on how much water is in the chasm — storms bring rising waters. Tickets for the Classic Tour start with children ages 5 and up, so we figured the risk of encountering a problem was minimal. When you reach the end of your raft ride, you can take a trolley back up to the Welcome Center where you started. Ausable Chasm also has its own campground and cabins. There’s a café in the Welcome Center, as well as restrooms and a gift shop. Once we had conquered the chasm, we turned south on Route 9 to reach Fort Ticonderoga (102 Fort Ti Road, Ticonderoga, NY;, another 1 hour and 15 minute drive. It was interesting to compare this fort to our own Old Fort Niagara. We arrived at 2pm, just as a formation of soldiers was marching through the Fort entrance to join other uniformed soldiers in preparing a cannon to fire — a fairly long and complicated process, but intriguing to watch as commands were issued, soldiers worked as a team, and smoke eventually rose as the cannon was fired as if it were the 1700s. The Fort, originally named Fort Carillon, was built by French forces in 1755, on the shores of Lake Champlain, between New York’s Adirondacks and Vermont’s Green Mountains. Many cannons surround its outer walls. The Fort was important as one of North America’s most strategic strongholds as part of the struggle for the continent in the 18th century. The fort featured prominently in the French and Indian War, where in 1758 nearly 16,000 British troops suffered almost 2,000 casualties assaulting French positions at the Fort. In 1759, another English advance forced the French to blow up Fort Carillon’s powder magazine and retreat. The fort was then renamed Ticonderoga, which is said to be derived from an Iroquois word meaning “where the waters meet.” In 1775 Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold’s men, including the Green Mountain Boys of Vermont, captured the fort’s still-sleeping small British garrison in a surprise attack. This Battle of Fort Ticonderoga, though small, was the first American victory of the Revolutionary War. Today, visitors can walk in the footsteps of these legendary leaders. Tailors and shoemakers demonstrated their skills in various parts of the fort’s barracks. Exhibit galleries showcase the Fort’s world class collections. Special tours and programs take place during the height of the summer season. Down the road from the Fort, we visited the King’s Garden, the largest public garden in the Adirondack and Lake Champlain region and one of North America’s oldest gardens. A short distance away from the garden, we took a path down to Lake Champlain’s edge to board the Carillon, a 60-foot replica of a 1920s 1000 Island cruise boat, for a 75-minute cruise narrated in great detail by a young costumed soldier. Although we did not take advantage of it, you can also drive up Mount Defiance to get an impressive birds-eye view of Ticonderoga’s military landscape from high above. If you’ve purchased admission to the Fort, you’ll be given a token to open the gate for access to Mount Defiance. The Adirondacks is also home to Lake Placid and Saratoga Springs which can be added to your travel route before returning to Buffalo if you have the extra time to explore. Michele Miller is the founder, editor, and publisher of WNY Family. Photo credits: Gail Root, Michele Miller, The Wild Center, and Fort Ticonderoga. August 2022 WNY Family 15

Watkins Glen

Boasts Attractions Unique to NY State


The village is named after a New York City physician, Dr. Samuel Watkins, who owned 25,000 acres of land in the area. He arrived in 1828 and built an imposing three-story Federal style house that is still standing. Watkins brought the bricks with which he built the home from his Harlem farm via the Erie and CayugaSeneca canals. 16 WNY Family August 2022

There are four public sails daily including a sunset sail. Despite the vessel’s long history in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, it seems proper that she is now sailing on the deepest lake in the state. You can help trim the sails or just relax and enjoy the beauty of the vineyards, waterfalls, and cliffs of the southern waters of Seneca Lake. Watkins Glen State Park is the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks and leaves visitors spellbound. It is in the heart of downtown and is the largest outdoor attraction in the region. USA Today Readers voted it the #3 state park in the country recently.

ew York’s It is quite possible FAMILY TRAVEL Finger Lakes to begin a circumnaviare awash in — by Deborah Williams gation of the globe from sparkling lakes, towering Seneca Lake. The canal waterfalls, gorges, and charming lakeside system connects the lake to the Atlantic towns. But Watkins Glen, on the southern Ocean. tip of the deep blue 35-mile-long Seneca Steamboats and barges were used to Lake, is a unique place with attractions transport goods and people in the 1800s. found nowhere else in the state. Many of these barges are now at the botIt is here that you can drive your own car on a world famous racetrack, sail in an almost 100-year-old schooner, hug a cow or a goat, hike the gorge in an award winning state park, sample wines or grape juice served by a winemaker whose farming ancestors in America date back to the 1600s, trek in the state’s only National Forest, fish in the Lake Trout Capital of the World, and swim in the state’s deepest lake.

In 1956 True Love made her debut in the musical film High Society, starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong. There is a famous scene where Bing Crosby serenades Grace Kelly with the song “True Love,” composed by Cole Porter, while onboard the True Love.

tom of Seneca Lake, at its southern end. During World War II, the Navy and Air Force used Seneca Lake to train soldiers at the Sampson Training Station, which has since been converted into Sampson State Park. Some areas of the lake have been used as testing sites for submarines.

We learned about this lake lore while sailing on the True Love, a majestic 67-foot wooden schooner, built in 1926 by John Alden in Maine as a racing vessel. She went on to win the classic Newport to Bermuda race. After her racing career she retired to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands where she sailed for well over half her life. In 2008 she made the long journey north to her current home at the Seneca Harbor Park Pier.

Opened to the public in 1863 by Morvalden Ellis, a journalist from Elmira, the gorge was privately owned and operated as a tourist resort, until it was purchased by New York State in 1906. Within two miles, the Glen’s stream descends 400 feet past 200-foot cliffs, generating 19 waterfalls along its course. Central Cascade, which plunges more than 60 feet, is the highest waterfall in the gorge. At Rainbow Falls, rainbows can often be seen.

Preparations are essential for exploring the Glen (which comes from an old Greek word meaning “small, narrow, secluded valley”). There are more than 800 stone steps in the gorge — many sections of the gorge trail are wet from spray or springs. Remember proper footwear for everyone. Although dogs are allowed in other sections of the park, they are not allowed on the Gorge Trail for safety reasons. There are three trails in Watkins Glen, but it is best experienced on the Gorge Trail that can be accessed from the Main, South, and Upper entrances. Most visitors walk uphill from the Main Entrance and return. Others take a shuttle bus (in the summer) to the Upper Entrance and walk the one and a half miles back down to the Main. Many prefer a shortened trip from the South Entrance to the Main or vice versa. No matter which route you choose, you will be rewarded with wondrous views all around and even a walk under a waterfall. Campers and day visitors to the park can also enjoy the Olympic-sized pool, summer guided tours through the gorge, picnic facilities, and excellent fishing in Seneca Lake or Catherine Creek. For auto racing fans Watkins Glen International or simply “the Glen,” draws racers and fans from around the country and beyond. Even if you are not a racing devotee there is something special about driving

this fabled racecourse and everyone 18 and older can do it. It would have been more exciting driving a race car or at least a sports car, but I had to be satisfied with my minivan. As I drove around the course behind the pace car, I tried to channel one of my favorite movie stars and auto racer Paul Newman who had raced on this very course. In fact, he got into motorsports while filming for the movie Winning. He attended the Watkins Glen Racing School to prepare himself and fell in love with the challenge. He went on to be a winning racer and owner and was still racing in his 80s. The village will forever have a place in motorsports history. On October 2, 1948, the first post World War II road race was hosted on the village streets. You can drive the original Grand Prix course all on public roads. The 6.6-mile circuit started and ended in front of the Schuyler County courthouse. A historic sign marks the spot. Today’s racetrack up the hill from the village was built in 1956 and rebuilt in 1971. Have you ever wanted to hug a cow or a goat? Pet a sheep? All that is possible at the Farm Sanctuary, the coun-

try’s largest farm animal rescue facility, west of the village of Watkins Glen. Located on 275-acres of rolling green pastures, this shelter is home to more than 600 rescued cows, pigs, turkeys, goats, sheep and other farm animals and each has a special story. Some were rescued from abusive farms and others were displaced during natural disasters or abandoned. Now they are loved and live comfortable and happy lives. There are guided one-hour tours that begin with a short video. Then it is on to meet the animals who seem to enjoy interacting with people. The 16,212-acre Finger Lakes National Forest lies on a ridge called the backbone between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes and is New York State’s only National Forest. This multi-use land is reminiscent of western national forests with open land and free-ranging cattle. It has more than 30 miles of interconnecting trails that traverse gorges, ravines, pastures and woodlands. Recreational opportunities include hiking, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, biking, snowmobiling, and camping. There are more than 40 wineries along the eastern and western shore of continued on page 25 August 2022 WNY Family 17

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Why Is Being Active Every Day Important?


ost of us know that kids are supposed to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day. And 1 hour spent being active sounds like a pretty easy goal, doesn’t it? But as kids get older, increasing demands on their time can make getting that hour of exercise a challenge. Also, some kids get caught up watching TV, playing video games, and spending time on social media. Even doing a lot of studying and reading, while important, can make it hard to find time to exercise. On top of that, during these years kids often come to a fork in the road with sports. Those who are athletic might end up increasing their time and commitment to sports, which is great for their physical fitness. But more casual athletes may lose interest and decide to quit teams and leagues. Unless they find replacement activities, their physical activity levels tend to go way down. Being active is a key part of good health for all school-age kids. Exercise strengthens their muscles and bones and lets their bodies do normal kid stuff, like lifting a backpack or running a race. It also helps control their weight and prevent some types of health problems, like high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

How Can We Keep Kids Motivated?

So how do you get kids motivated to be active, especially those who aren’t natural athletes? Kids can be fit even if they’re not winning sports trophies. The key is finding activities they enjoy. The options are many — from organized sports to inline skating, bike riding, and tennis or swimming. When kids find an activity that’s fun, they’ll do it a lot, get better at it, feel accomplished, and want to do it even more. Likewise, if they’re pushed into activities they don’t like, they’re unlikely to want to participate and will end up frustrated and will feel like exercising is a chore.

Stick to Basics for 6- to 8-Year-Olds

Expose younger kids to a variety of activities, games, and sports. Keep the focus on fun. A mix of activities at home and at school is ideal. Besides organized activities, include some free time for kids to make their own decisions about how to be active.

continued on page 20


BEING ACTIVE continued... At this age, kids are still mastering basic physical skills, such as jumping, throwing, kicking, and catching. It will take a few more years before most can combine these skills the way many 11-year-olds can (for instance, being able to scoop up a baseball, run toward the base, and throw the ball — all in one fluid motion). So if your child is on a sports team, make sure you and the coaches set realistic expectations.

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9- to 12-Year-Olds Are More Coordinated

Older kids usually have mastered basic skills and can start enjoying the benefits of being more coordinated. That means a kid who likes basketball isn’t wildly throwing the ball at the basket anymore, but is perfecting the free throw.

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Such expectations are also important when it comes to how much kids can handle mentally. Younger kids often are not ready for the pressure of competition, nor can they grasp complex strategy. Look for teams, leagues, and classes that stress the basics and provide encouragement and praise for kids as they improve their skills.

Maris Battaglia, Director

They’re also better able to understand the rules. Parents of kids involved in team sports might want to talk about handling setbacks and losses, and remind kids that sports should still be fun even as competition heats up. Whether it’s soccer or ballet, if your child doesn’t enjoy an activity or feels frustrated by failure, it may be time to switch to something else. Help your child with this transition so they don’t feel like a failure. This can prevent negative feelings about sports and physical activity in general. Ask what they would like to try next. It doesn’t matter what they do, as long as they continue to be active.

Help Kids Find What They Like

When choosing activities, consider a child’s interests, abilities, and body type. A bigger child might be suited for football because size is an advantage. A smaller child might succeed at baseball or might consider a non-team sport. Also, consider temperament. A mildmannered child who might not be comfortable playing football may like the challenge of karate. Likewise, an active kid might not have the patience and control required for ballet, but is well-suited to a fast-paced activity, like soccer.

Personality traits and athletic ability combine to influence a child’s attitude toward participation in sports and other physical activities. Which of these three types best describes your child? Nonathletes: These kids may be less athletic than peers, dislike physical activity, or both. By this age, kids are aware of these differences and some may have even been teased about them. The danger for them is not leaving one activity that didn’t work out; it’s abandoning all physical activity altogether. Casual athletes: These kids are interested in being active but aren’t star players, so they are at risk of getting discouraged in a competitive athletic environment. Most kids fall into this category, but in a culture that is obsessed with winning, it’s easy to overlook them as athletes. Encourage them to remain active even though they aren’t top performers. Athletes: These kids have athletic ability, are committed to a sport or activity, and are likely to ramp up practice time and intensity of competition. Some are happily settled in a sport or activity by the older school-age years. It’s important to ensure that athletes manage schoolwork, get enough rest, and still enjoy the sport. Continue to let your child try out new things and enjoy a variety of physical activities.

How Can Parents Help?

Kids look to parents for guidance, support, and encouragement. It’s very important to set a good example. Don’t groan about your own exercise — make it a priority and be active together as a family. Information provided by from Nemours Children’s Health. © 1995-2021. The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®. Reprinted following guidelines.

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Encouragement and Positive Reinforcement through Dance to reach one’s personal best

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FAMILY TRAVEL continued... Seneca Lake but the Fulkerson Winery in Dundee on the western shore is a perfect stop for families because it not only offers wine tastings from their award-wining wines but grape juice tastings as well. During the summer, visitors can pick cherries and peaches and, in the fall, they can pick their own grapes and apples. The Vineyard Trail is open daily, and everyone is invited to stroll through the vineyards, fields, and forests with views of the dazzling blue lake below. The entire trail system is three and a half miles, but the main loop is only one and a half miles, and you can turn back at any time during your walk. Trail maps are available. This is a farm and winery with a difference. “My family farmed Manhattan where the World Trade Center once stood before the Revolutionary War — we are now the 14th generation of farmers in this country,” explained Sayre Fulkerson, who with his son Steven are the 6th and 7th generation of farmers to work the hillsides of Seneca Lake. Caleb Fulkerson was the first Fulkerson generation on this land. He journeyed from New Jersey in 1805 and staked out a piece of land on the western slope of the lake. Ready for a snack? The Shtayburne Farm Creamery, about two miles away, offers handcrafted cheeses and ice cream. including some quite unusual flavors. On our visit there was bacon ice cream. Though I sampled it, I was content with a small taste and ordered a more conventional mint chip for my cone — rich and delicious. You can buy cheeses to take home as well as order a flight of cheeses to sample. Ice cream is available in a cup or cone or in smaller sample sizes. Take your order and sit outside and enjoy the view. There are also cows and calves to visit. The place to stay is the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, the first full-service hotel in the village. Located on a prime spot on the water next to the Harbor Park and fishing pier, it opened in 2008. It was the first of the Harbor Hotel collection owned by Buffalo-based Hart Hotels. The award-winning AAA Four Diamond property set the standard for the other Harbor Hotels to come. It has an indoor pool, fitness center, ballroom, meeting rooms, expansive outdoor patio with fire pits, dining room, and bar. It quickly became very popular with racing teams and fans. During our stay, the Ferrari teams were in town for a racing series at the Glen. It was fun to see them in their signature red jackets in the dining room, lobby or outside on the patio. Travel Tip of the Month: For more information on Watkins Glen visit or call 800-607-4552 or 607-535-4300. For Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel visit or call 607-535-6116. There are road trip packages that include the other New York State Harbor Hotels in Chautauqua and Clayton. Deborah Williams lives in Holland, NY and is a veteran travel writer whose work has appeared in national and international publications. She is the recipient of the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Gold Travel Writing Award.

August 2022 WNY Family 25


i d n ’ t beautifully crafted by s u m Marianne McShane PICK OF THE LITERATURE mer just and mistily illustrated — by Dr. Donna Phillips start? Here we are in by Alan Marks, is the August already… but haunting tale of Eily, not to worry, we have a young girl who lives 31 more days to read on the coast of Ireland. those books we wanted As legend would have to this summer! With a it, the residents of her month left, what better village used drops of place to do that than on water collected by her a vacation to the shore father, a fog catcher, to or the woods? With this appease and thank the in mind, I have some great books you might want to consider fairies that lived around them. The only place to “catch” this taking along on the trip. Or, if you are taking a “staycation,” magical fog was on a small island that everyone was afraid to here is a list of books that can transport you far away without visit. When the supply of these magic drops dwindles, her father leaving home! sets off on a stormy morning to replenish the supply but leaves without his charm for Let’s start at the beach with A Day for protection. So she sets off in the little boat Sandcastles (Candlewick Press, Somerher father built her to search for him. This ville, 2022, $17.99) written by JonArno stunning book is a combination of Irish Lawson and illustrated by Qin Leng. This folklore and Moroccan tradition that will wordless picture book tells the story of two entrance the reader and all who listen to young children who try to build the perit. It’s perfect for a misty morning at the fect sandcastle. As often happens, there beach. are many successes and failures as waves, beach walkers, and well-meaning bystanders interfere or offer suggestions. The illustrations are brilliant, and the many perspectives add more interest and detail to the story. This a wonderful book for conversation, creativity, language development, story construction, and personalizing. Old Wood Boat (Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2022, $18.99) is the love story of restoring an old sailboat, written by Nikki McClure and graced by her vintage-looking cut paper illustrations. While the text is simple, the illustrations tell the story of an old boat that yearns to sail again. The family that adopts her shares the magic and the details of the restoration. Soon they all sail off into the adventures to come. A wonderful dictionary of nautical sailor terms and a diagram of the boat add much to talk and think about. The Fog Catcher’s Daughter (Candlewick Press, Somerville 2022, $17.99), 26 WNY Family August 2022

If you are headed to the great outdoors, there are many books to choose from to take along or to get your ready for your adventure. We all see the same moon phase no matter where we are. Moon (Random House Kids, New York, 2022, $9.99) is a peek-through board book by Britta Teekentrup. With each turn of the page, we see a different phase of the moon and the creatures that live under it. We visit shores, mountains, valleys, deserts, and forests and get a sense of the peace, quiet, and rhythm of the night. At the Pond (Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2022, $18.99), written by David Elliot and illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford, is the story of a day in the life of the flora and fauna that live in and near a pond. With the break of dawn, we see the mallard family as they come out to feed. As the sun rises, water lilies bloom and frogs join them on the lily pads. Fish, insects, and turtles are next.

As the day continues, snakes and the animals of the shore and birds of the air come out to share the bounty and, as the sun sets, muskrats and deer join them. This book activates the sights and sounds of the pond, as animals and birds call to each other and our imaginations soar with the images of the beautifully crafted text. Each page is a poem in itself. In addition, the pages at the end of the book give us more information about the creatures we meet. Marshmallow Clouds (Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2022, $18.99), written by Ted Kooser and Connie Wagner and illustrated by Richard Jones, is the brilliant interplay between poetry, imagery, and figures of speech. It includes metaphor, personification, and simile. Organized around the seasons, this book will delight the imagination and senses and the illustrations add subtle details to draw the reader into the scenes. It also invites you to look more closely and think more broadly about what you see and hear in nature. This is a book for all seasons! This book list should give you wonderful book options for your last summer adventure! Whether you have a vacation or a staycation, think about reading a book or even just a chapter a day. By the end of August, you will have 31 new book experiences to add to your summer memories! Dr. Donna Phillips is an associate professor in the College of Education at Niagara University where her specialty is literacy and children’s literature. She lives on Grand Island, NY and is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of one.

August 2022 WNY Family 27

Roots of the Future Montessori

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31% of our 55,000 readers will be looking for Childcare Services in the next 12 months? Showcase your Center & increase enrollment with our Choosing Childcare section! Source: Circulation Verification Council Audit, June 2020

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Niagara County’s Child Care Resource and Referral Program Administered by Niagara Community Action Program, Inc.

Quality Childcare Makes A Difference


ost families use a combination of care arrangements to meet all of their needs; the best child care arrangements are those that work best for you, your child, and your family. Types of care arrangements can include: • Parent only care • Care by a relative • Non-relative care by nannies, friends, or neighbors (in the child’s home or a licensed family child care home) • Child care centers • Specialized child care for children with special health needs Why is it important to have high quality child care? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, all of a child’s early experiences, whether at home, in child care, or in other preschool settings are educational. The indicators of high quality child care have been studied and are available in many formats. When care is consistent, emotionally supportive, and appropriate to the child’s age, development, and temperament, there is a positive effect on children and families. The benefits of high quality childcare are many: 1) Enhanced brain growth and child development, since the brain develops most in the first five years of life. 2) Greater success in school since children in early learning programs are more likely to be exposed to a large amount of language through reading, singing, and talking, which also supports their advanced thinking and problem solving skills. 3) Better cognition, social skills, interpersonal relationships, and self-regulation, meaning fewer behavior problems. 4) Children from high-quality programs are less likely to need special education, repeat a grade, and most often graduate high school on time. 5) Lasting benefits include the fact that such children are more likely to achieve a four-year college degree, will be higher wage earners, will be less likely to be involved in crime or unemployed, and are healthier as adults. Locally, you can visit the Child Care Resource Network at or call them at 716-877-6666 for resources. Visit for additional information on making your childcare decision. You can download their comprehensive guide at wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Eng_121m.pdf entitled “Is This The Right Place For My Child: 38 Research-Based Indicators of Quality Child Care” which includes a checklist you can copy to take with you to each childcare facility you visit.

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August 2022 WNY Family 29

RAISING DIGITAL KIDS — by Mike Daugherty


oogle the term “Movie Stars.” Go ahead... I’ll wait. The result is a scrollable list of individuals that have captured the hearts of people all over the world through their character portrayals on the big screen. Their names include everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie to Marlon Brando. I scrolled through about three pages of celebrities, remembering the various roles they’ve played over the years. Now, Google the term “YouTube Stars.” Once again... I’ll wait. The result is a scrollable list, who are these people? PewDiePie? Lilly Singh? Should I know these people? People who have found fame through online platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are known as “instacelebs.” The instacelebs category is made up mostly of young adults ages 15 through 28. Their online content includes videos of gaming, style, makeup, and sketch comedy. Instacelebs are masters at building their brand. They are also known for being very well connected to their fan base. They’ll often respond directly to fans who comment on their videos, ask a question, like their posts, etc. In return, their fans are overwhelmingly loyal. 30 WNY Family August 2022

Today’s youth culture views the stars of the small screen in a similar way as we look at the stars of the silver screen. The difference is that these new celebrities are not out of reach the way existing stars are. These celebrities don’t live in Hollywood with the glitz and the glamour. They are real people. Their fans have watched them rise to instaceleb status, but yet they are still filming videos from their bedroom. Kids today have seen how people can share their ideas with the world and build a following through those ideas. The barriers to becoming a celebrity are much different for the Netflix generation. They don’t need famous parents, casting agents, runways, or even money. All they require is a camera, an idea, and a platform to broadcast. The path to becoming a celebrity gained a new avenue.

OMG YES! My child wants to be a YouTuber. How do I address this? This is a widespread aspiration, especially among children between the ages of eight and thirteen. The allure of Internet fame will fade for many as they mature and begin to develop more realistic goals. Like our parents used to say… “it’s a phase.” It is essential

to handle their aspirations in this phase to instill the appropriate values as they grow into young adults. My wife and I have three children. The older two fit in the eight to thirteen demographic, and both have a YouTube channel. We only recently decided to allow the kids to pursue this. Here is how we chose to approach it. 

Be Encouraging - Neither of us loved the idea of the kids having a YouTube channel, but ultimately decided that allowing them to create and post videos was a skill that would be useful in the future. We looked for alternatives, such as uploading them to Facebook for just family and friends to see, but that did not provide an authentic experience for the kids.

Be Honest - We have set the expectation for our kids that these people did not rise to fame after posting one or two videos. Finding success online will take a lot of hard work, dedication, practice, and patience. These ideas translate so well to future interests that it was important for our kids to understand them at an early age.

Be Responsible - This is where we had to put some parental controls in place. Ground rules were put in place around topics like appropriate language, treatment of others, and personal information. Videos are viewed before being uploaded. One of us checks for comments, although since the channels are so new, there are no comments. We adjusted and readjusted the channel visibility settings as well. You can google YouTube channel privacy settings to learn more about the options.

Don’t fret too much about this. Once kids see how much time it takes to think of an idea, film a video, edit, and post it, many will quickly lose interest. For those children who stick with it, parents should continue to play an active role, especially in privacy settings, comment reading, and overall “watchdog.”

What about becoming a pro gamer? YouTube is a highly competitive platform, and while there are many niche areas, finding real YouTube fame and success is rare. eSports (professional gaming) can provide teens with a more realistic pathway to success. The rise in popularity and viewership of eSports cannot be ignored. According to an article from Syracuse University, an estimated 47 million people watched eSports competitions last year. The tournament prize pools are nothing to laugh at either. The prize pool for the 2021 DOTA 2 world championship tournament sponsored by Valve was 40 million dollars! Colleges, universities, and even high schools have begun instituting eSports programs since 2010. Similar to other traditional sports, these programs include daily practices as well as required exercise and nutrition plans to keep team members healthy and active. While I do not know any YouTube celebrities, I know several college students with full scholarships to respected schools for their gaming abilities. I’m not suggesting that you remove screen time limits and let your child play competitive video games every day until the wee hours of the morning. Approach gaming as if it was a traditional sport. You can use this to encourage things such as hard work, time management, and goal setting. All of those will be important regardless of how your child’s foray into eSports turns out. ●

Do Your Research - To support your child in this endeavor, you’ll need to understand eSports’ world. See what eSports leagues, teams, and tournament opportunities are available in your area.

Focus - Gamers will want to focus their talents on a single game. Counter-Strike, League of Legends, Fortnite, and DOTA 2 are the most popular.

Join a Team / Play in a Tournament - Just like trying out for a baseball team, sign up to join a team. Playing in a local tournament is another way to showcase talents. If neither is available, look for online opportunities.

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Gaming may be a passing phase, but it also holds the potential to be something more. The key for parents is to encourage a variety of other interests and activities while supporting their child’s passion for gaming. Mike Daugherty is a husband, father of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his twenty-year career in public education. Currently, Mike is the Director of Technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district in Northeast Ohio. As an IT director he has developed creative, well thought out solutions that positively impact teaching and learning, August 2022 WNY Family 31

later that day so I could get a few things done around the house. Sunday pretty much followed suit, except my motherin-law came over.


A Weekend for Me and Violet

always knew a time would come when I would be put to the ultimate test of parenting. A test of stamina, wit, and precision-to-detail, and it’s something that many fathers might actually fear. It is also one that will always be put under a microscope and for good reason, of course.

time. Four days, just me and the baby. Unsupervised. Piece of cake! Right?

I am talking about my first attempt in solo parenting. We men usually don’t have the best rap for being well organized and aware of our unacknowledged forgetfulness, so I can’t blame all the mothers of the world who have been skeptical about the thought of leaving their babies alone with their counterparts.

My plan was simple: 1) Stick to our normal everyday routine. 2) Absolutely do not veer off course. 3) Do not give in to the crutch of cartoons on the couch, no matter how tempting it may seem. If I followed these guidelines, what could go wrong?

Earlier this year, Andrea went to Florida to attend a Dietetics conference to earn continuing education credits for her professional license. She ended up going with a friend of hers from college, whose house she also stayed at, along with her husband and their toddler who’s only a few months younger than Violet. I could sense in the months leading up to Andrea leaving for Florida that she was getting more anxious and nervous by the day. It’s not that she didn’t trust me to watch Violet, but more so that she had never been away from Violet since she was born.

Andrea left first thing Saturday morning, driving herself to the airport. She said goodbye to Violet the night before, not wanting to wake her so early in the morning. When Violet did wake up just a few hours later, she didn’t immediately notice that Andrea was gone, having jumped straight into her usual morning routine, which is a cup of pea protein milk (tastes better than it sounds), a banana, and watching the Channel 2 morning news with me. It wasn’t until after she finished her pre-breakfast that she noticed mom was missing.

From start to finish, Andrea would be away for four days. That’s four WHOLE days, or, 96 hours, or 5,760 minutes, where all eyes would be on me. Was it possible I wondered? No mom around to keep a schedule, put a menu together, orchestrate our weekly agenda, and no timekeeper to remind me that it is bath

After a few of her “mamas” went unanswered, I told Violet mom would be back in a few days (not that she understood) and proceeded to distract her by carrying on with our scheduled weekend activities — playtime, snacks, walk around the block, lunch, nap, etc. My sister-in-law and her husband came over

32 WNY Family August 2022

While my in-laws were here, I was able to get a lot done, which was a big help. I prepped food for Violet, bought groceries, cleaned the house, and did some yard work. Monday I was alone, but Violet was in daycare, which made the day effortless. On Tuesday, it was just the two of us, which would end up being my only full day alone with Violet. But I made sure to stick to the plan — schedule, schedule, schedule. By the time Wednesday came around, I was ready for Andrea to come home. It’s not that I was suffering by any means, it just didn’t feel right without her. Plus, Violet and I were both missing her. I have to say though, Violet and I managed pretty well for the times when it was just the two of us, although the constant multitasking did wear me out a bit — trying to clean while I cooked, loading laundry while Violet slept, folding it while the dog barked to be let out, and trying to get her ready for daycare while I got ready for work. But we made it happen. I think my key takeaway was making sure to pace myself amongst all the commotion. But all jokes aside about strict schedules and endless routines, I really enjoyed my time alone with Violet, all 345,600 seconds of it. My favorite moments were during the down times, the quiet hours, when it was just the two of us on the couch, “not” watching cartoons together. Richard De Fino, a freelance writer by night, first became a father at age 34. After losing his first-born son Louis, at birth, he was determined to keep his memory alive the best way he knew how; through words. Now, with the birth of his daughter Violet, he plans on continuing to share his fatherhood journey each month with WNY Family readers.

Family Movie Options: In Theaters and Streaming Online Minions: The Rise of Gru


Rating PG

Overall B+

Violence B

Sex B+

Profanity A-

Alcohol/Drugs A

Eleven-year-old Gru has a burning ambition: to join the Vicious Six, a notorious group of supervillains. After he’s rejected due to his age, Gru decides to prove himself by stealing the Zodiac Stone they have looted. With the supervillains in pursuit, Gru and his minions are going to need luck and loyalty to survive. Manic minion humor and nonstop fart jokes will amuse kids; the 70s references are there for the adults. Photo ©Universal Pictures

Thor: Love and Thunder


Rating PG-13

Overall B-

Violence C

Sex B-

Profanity C

Alcohol/Drugs C

Gorr the God Butcher is on the attack, killing deities wherever he can find them and abducting the children of Asgard. Thor has been adventuring with the Guardians of the Galaxy but now he returns home to save his people, only to find that another Thor is on the case. Like other films in the franchise, this is full of wisecracking fun but it is often very somber in tone and contains dark action sequences that will terrify most kids. Photo ©Walt Disney Studios

The Sea Beast


Rating PG

Overall A-

Violence B-

Sex A

Profanity A-

Alcohol/Drugs C+

Jacob Holland is a monster hunter, heading off on a voyage to destroy the infamous Red Bluster, a gigantic beast known for sinking dozens of ships. When Jacob finds Maisie Brumble stowed away on his vessel, he fears for her safety. This animated feature manages to successfully combine high quality animation, an entertaining story, swashbuckling adventure, and strong positive messages. Best of all, it never becomes preachy. Photo ©Netflix

Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank














Facing execution for being found in cat territory, Hank is astonished to be appointed as samurai in Kakamucho. What he doesn’t know is that the devious Ika Chu plans to wipe out the town. Despite an excellent voice cast and some clever animation, this movie struggles in spots. The jokes are aimed at kids with little attention paid to adults except for a tsunami of movie references to better-known films. Photo © Paramount Pictures

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On














Marcel is a seashell who lives in an Airbnb with his grandmother and pet lint. An angry tenant took away dozens of Marcel’s friends and now he hopes that a new tenant can help find his missing pals. This is a sweet film, full of Marcel’s simple, wistful wisdom. It’s harmless for kids, but is likely too slow to hold their attention. That said, it overflows with an enthusiastic optimism that feels badly needed in these contentious, stressful times. Photo ©A24 Detailed reviews available at August 2022 WNY Family 33

DEAR TEACHER – by Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts

Helping all parents make their children’s educational experience as successful as possible

A Look at this Year’s Classrooms


arents: Hooray! It appears that your children will be back in the classroom fulltime this coming school year just like most were at the end of the last school year. Nevertheless, most medical experts say that new variants of COVID are definitely on the horizon. This could have your children required to wear masks again at school depending on the state where you live. It also can mean the possible reintroduction of virtual learning, although this is less likely to happen due to its previous very negative impact on learning. Of course, the biggest challenge is helping students catch up from the learning losses or lags in math and reading that they incurred if most of their schoolwork was virtual in the past two years. States have received a lot of money from Federal government programs to fund interventions designed to help these students. If the students in your children’s schools had significant learning losses, here are some changes that

34 WNY Family August 2022

you may see in their classrooms: •

more diagnostic testing to evaluate individual student’s achievement in math and reading in elementary school

reduction in time for some subjects to have more time for math and reading

possible reduction in class size

happened with your children. Since lockdown drills have stressed your children, you will need to talk to them about the drills in a calm and confident manner. Affirm that the drills can be hard and scary. Do emphasize that the drills will help keep them safe in case anything bad ever happens. Ask open-ended questions to find out why the children are scared? One thing that you can’t really say is that everything will be fine. You may find it helpful to follow some of the National Association of School Psychologists’ recommendations for talking to your children about violence in schools: 

Tailor your explanations to be age appropriate. As your children enter middle and high school, welcome their thoughts on gun control and safety.

full-time tutors supporting all students

Review the school safety procedures with your children.

extension of the school day

grouping based on achievement level rather than grade level

accelerating what students need to learn

a move to a year-round school calendar

Keep an eye on your children’s sleep patterns, appetite, and anxiety after drills. Don’t be afraid to talk to a mental health professional for help, especially if your child has experienced past trauma or has special needs.

Limit how much your younger children see news about school shootings or other violent events on television.

Talking to Your Children About School Lockdowns Question: My children in elementary school are very aware of the shootings that have occurred at schools. Their school has state mandated lockdown drills four times a year. Every time this has happened, it has shaken them up. How can I calm them down? — Bewildered Answer: Lockdown drills have become almost as common as fire drills. Studies are showing that these drills may upset children as has

School lockdowns are not all the same. In less threatening drills, teachers lock their classroom doors, turn out the lights, and have the children hide in the corners or a closet. There are others that are quite realistic and frightening with the noise of gunfire, knocking on doors, and shouting. This type of drill can be very disturbing, and schools should avoid having them. To lessen children’s apprehension about drills, schools should always announce that a drill is a practice drill, and teachers need to explain before and after the drills how they’re designed to keep the children safe. continued on page 47

s s e n l l e W Choices

Maternal Milk Tied to Better School-age Outcomes for Children Born Preterm


hildren who were born preterm are at heightened risk of lower academic achievement in math, reading and other skills and are also at greater risk for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But a new study suggests that an intervention in the first weeks and months of a preterm infant’s life may lead to better neurodevelopmental outcomes in later years. In a study that followed preterm infants for seven years, investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital together with collaborators at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute found that children who received greater quantities of maternal milk both during and after time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) had greater academic achievement, higher IQs and reduced ADHD symptoms. Results are published in JAMA Network Open. “Our study finds that there may be longterm neurodevelopmental benefits to providing maternal milk to preterm infants,” said corresponding author Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, MPH, of the Department of Pediatric Newborn Medicine. “A lot of families are dedicated to the idea of providing maternal milk but may face steep challenges. Our findings emphasize the importance of providing support for initiating and sustaining lactation because maternal milk at this early age can provide benefits years later.” Belfort and colleagues looked at neurodevelopmental outcomes for 586 infants born at less than 33 weeks gestation at one of five Australian perinatal centers. Children were evaluated at age 7 (corrected for prematurity). The team looked at data on maternal milk dose (volume of maternal milk infants received each day) and maternal milk duration (how long parents continued breastfeeding) predicted several neurodevelopmental outcomes. These outcomes in-

cluded academic achievement, Verbal and Performance IQ, symptoms of ADHD, executive function, and behavior. Overall, the team found that higher maternal milk intake was associated with higher Performance IQ and higher reading and math scores. Parents also reported fewer ADHD symptoms for children who consumed more maternal milk during infancy. Duration of maternal milk intake (up to 18 months corrected age) was also associated with higher reading, spelling and math scores. The researchers controlled for

confounders, including clinical and social factors. These beneficial associations were stronger for infants born at the lowest gestational ages, particularly those born below 30 weeks of gestation. The authors note that their study is observational — they cannot determine causality as there may be other, unaccounted factors that influence both the ability to provide maternal milk and academic achievement. The study’s strengths include its large size, the range of outcomes examined, and that the researchers could assess school-age outcomes. Other studies have only followed children through preschool age, making it difficult to assess the full range of neurodevelopmental outcomes. Overall, Belfort sees the team’s findings as an affirmation of guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics and World Health Organization, both of which recommend maternal milk for infants. “Our study confirms recommended strategies for supporting parents to provide maternal milk for preterm infants,” said Belfort. “And it strengthens the call for health policies and parental leave policies that support rather than work against parents. As a society, we need to invest in families — it’s an investment that will continue to benefit children when they reach school age.” Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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cne has long been a hallmark of youth, affecting up to 85 percent of teens at some point. But adolescent skin problems are more common and more visible than ever, says Jacqueline Panko, MD, a dermatologist with The Polyclinic in Seattle. Wearing face masks can trigger breakouts, per Boston Children’s Hospital. And with more schooling, dating, and socializing taking place via video chat, teens are on-camera without the benefit of blemish-removing social media photo filters, and may not love what they see.

TWEENS & TEENS — by Malia Jacobson

Treatment plans usually include a mix of topical creams or gels, oral antibiotics, and possibly hormonal therapies like birth control pills, says Panko. “We also talk to families about diet and sun exposure. Some UV light appears to help clear up acne, so teens sometimes see acne clear up in the summer, but we also want to talk about protection against skin cancer. And although there aren’t many studies on acne and diet, it appears that high-glycemic diets with lots of processed foods are more inflammatory, so we encourage teens to eat healthy diets with fewer processed foods.”

“Acne has been around for a long time, and it’s a concern for most teenagers at some point,” Panko notes. “But with teens spending even more time on video, they may be more sensitive to how they’re showing up on camera right now.”

More Than A Cosmetic Concern

Research shows that acne is far from a harmless rite of passage. Even after pimples heal, they leave behind telltale scars and hyperpigmentation, or dark spots on the skin. According to a 2017 review of published research, acne leaves physical scars up to 90 percent of the time. Acne also impacts teens’ mental health, per a number of studies. One study found that around two-thirds of teenagers with acne reported a moderate to severe negative impact on their mental wellbeing and daily activities, including schoolwork, interpersonal relationships, and sports. Ongoing acne can lead to the development of problems around body image, sexuality, and socialization. “We consider acne much more than a cosmetic concern,” says Panko. “The teenage years are a powerful time in someone’s life and development. Being able to face the world with clear skin can allow teenagers more confidence so they can dream bigger and show up in the world more confidently.” 36 WNY Family August 2022

on the body the acne is, whether their skin is sensitive, and any other medications they may be taking.”

Skin Health Checkup:

When to get help for teenage acne How A Dermatologist Can Help

Teens who are bothered by pimples for more than a few months should consider seeing a dermatologist, says Panko. Acne is highly treatable, and treating early may help prevent scarring and hyperpigmentation in the future. A teen’s first visit to a dermatologist generally includes a comprehensive medical and family history along with questions about which products they’ve tried. “We’ll talk about what has worked and hasn’t worked in terms of treatments, then tailor a treatment plan to that patient’s specific needs,” says Panko. “Treatments may depend on whether a patient plays sports, where

Trendy treatments like probiotic washes, handheld wands, and light therapies haven’t been proven to work, says Panko. “There are all sorts of treatments out there, but we can’t comment on those because they haven’t really been studied yet.”

Product Parade

Concerns about the cost of treatment and fears that a dermatologist will push pricey products may keep families from seeking medical help for acne. In fact, many dermatologists are fans of effective OTC skincare and can help guide teens toward the best drugstore products so they don’t waste time and money on ineffective, costly potions (who doesn’t need help sorting through the crowded skincare shelves)? “Drugstore products are an excellent place to start,” says Panko. “Benzoyl peroxide is a very effective antibiotic for acne, and it’s an ingredient in lots of over-the-counter gels and washes. One of the nice things about it is that we don’t build up resistance to it — just be aware that it can bleach towels and linens.” An over-the-counter retinoid called Differin can also work well, says Panko. “This is a product that used to be available by prescription only, and it’s now available at drugstores.” A topical retinoid can help with rebuilding collagen over time, with helps with redness and scarring.

Clear Outlook

How long will teens need to wait to see results? Clearing acne does take some time, notes Panko, and teens may need to be patient. “We generally expect acne to be about 50 percent resolved after two months of treatment, and around 75 percent resolved by three months, which is around the time we’d want to see teens back for a follow-up visit.” Getting help for acne can be empowering for teens, giving them more control over an important aspect of their physical and psychological wellbeing. Along with clearer skin, teen patients often gain a more positive outlook, says Panko. “Dermatologists are good at treating acne, and we’ve been doing it for a long time. Helping teenage patients with acne is rewarding; it’s satisfying to see a teenager clear their acne and rebuild their confidence. It’s a really fun relationship to have with a patient.” Malia Jacobson is a nationally published, award-winning journalist. Her work has appeared in publications that include Cosmopolitan, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, and Runner’s World.

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75% of Teens Aren’t Getting Recommended Daily Exercise

New study suggests supportive school environment is linked to higher physical activity levels


hree out of every four teens aren’t getting enough exercise, and this lack is even more pronounced among female students. But new research from the University of Georgia suggests improving a school’s climate can increase physical activity among adolescents. School environments play a critical role in helping children develop healthy behaviors, like creating healthy eating habits, said lead study author Janani R. Thapa. And the same goes for physical activity. “The length of recess, physical facilities, and social environments at schools have been found to affect physical activity among students,” said Thapa, an associate professor of health policy and management at UGA’s College of Public Health. The state of Georgia has implemented policies and programs to boost physical activity in K-12 schools. Thapa has been one of the lead evaluators of these programs. Thapa suspected that school climate could play an important role in determin-

ing how comfortable students feel participating in school sports or other physical activity. School climate includes factors such as social support, safety, and bullying. Using data from a statewide survey of over 360,000 Georgia high school students that included questions about physical activity levels and school climate, Thapa and her co-authors were able to test that relationship. The data included eight characteristics of climate: school connectedness, peer social support, adult social support, cultural acceptance, physical environment, school safety, peer victimization (bullying), and school support environment. Overall, female students reported less physical activity than their male counterparts; only 35% were active compared to 57% of males. And physical activity declined steadily from ninth grade to 12th grade for both genders. However, students of both genders were more physically active when school climate was perceived to be positive across most measures.

One thing that stood out was the influence of bullying. Female students who reported being bullied were more likely to be physically active, while male students who reported being bullied were less likely to be physically active. Bullying was the only measure of school climate that differed for male and female students. This disparity could be explained, said the authors, by the different norms about exercise and masculine versus feminine ideals. “For example, female students who are active in sports and physically active may not fit the gender norm and hence may face bullying,” said Thapa. These findings suggest that K-12 schools that want to promote participation in physical activity should consider how to improve students’ sense of safety at school and bolster peer and adult support of exercise. The study, “School climate-related determinants of physical activity among high school girls and boys,” published in the Journal of Adolescence. August 2022 WNY Family 37


a whole school year, or for the summer, or some other definitive amount of time. This allows parents and teens the time they need to adjust to the new living situation and ensures that parents maintain control of the situation. Also, teens should be told that if at the end of the agreed upon period the teen decides he or she has made a mistake, that it is okay to revert to the previous living situation without repercussions.

Rule Number Two: Keep teens focused on their own lives, not their parents’.

Single Parents and Teens


arenting teens is difficult enough for married parents, but when parents are separated or doing it on their own, it can be a confusing challenge. Teens are wired to differentiate themselves from their parents to define who they are as individuals. They also want a lot of freedom, but often are not responsible enough to earn it from their parents. Add a divorce situation where they see opportunities for manipulation, and the potential for tension is almost inevitable. Here are a few rules for dealing with teens as a single parent:

Rule Number One:

Teach teens that responsibility comes with freedom of choice. Oftentimes in divorce situations, teens are given more power than they can handle. In some states, 14-year-olds have the power to choose which parent they want to live with. Although it is understandable that a court might think a teen should have a say about which parent they prefer, it can have a serious impact 38 WNY Family August 2022

on a teenager when the power of choice is abused. Regardless of what the law says in your state, parents should put teens on notice that if they do choose to be with one parent over the other, there are boundaries and rules about that choice. For instance, a time limit should be placed on the decision so that your teen does not think he or she can bounce back and forth between mom’s and dad’s every time there is a conflict. It is healthy to tell a teen that if a choice is made, it needs to be in force for

Although teens can seem very adult-like, it’s important for them to be more focused on their own lives than those of their parents. To help them do that, parents need to keep them out of the middle of any of the adult conflicts and problems. It is also important to not allow them to take on adult roles in the household. If teens think it is their job to pay the electric bill, discipline their siblings, or be mom’s best friend and confidante, they will begin to think they are peers with their parents instead of children. Promoting kids to adulthood is easy to do, but demoting them back to children when parents need to act parental can set up an environment for rebellion. When teens want to take over their parents’ responsibility in the household, parents need to lovingly and firmly encourage them to focus on schoolwork and relationships in preparation for college or their future careers and leave the management of the household and other adult responsibilities up to the parents.

Rule Number Three:

Listen, listen, listen. Teens have a unique way of communicating that often

includes contemporary jargon and distasteful language. Parents often fail to recognize that going from the high school to home environment can sometimes be like going from the war zone, where they have to fight for position, to a place where they have no voice. Parents do well to spend time listening to their teens before interjecting their criticisms or opinions. Get in the habit of allowing teens to talk for two minutes before stating an opinion or making a comment. Nod your head, stay engaged in the conversation, and let them vent (even when you cringe at their attitude). After hearing them for a couple of minutes, acknowledge what they are feeling instead of commenting on the facts or their logic. Say something like, “I’d be upset, too, if my friend did that to me” or “I can see how you might be angry at your teacher.” That can go a long way to let them know they have been heard. Save the lecture

or opinions for when they ask for your help. Most of the time, kids don’t need you to fix their problems or comment on their approach to them. They simply need to know that they can tell you anything and you will accept them anyway. Trust that the values you’ve given them over the years will ring true in their lives and refrain from trying to resolve problems they need to resolve for themselves. Instead, choose to battle with them only on subjects that have life-changing consequences for your teen. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Diane C. Dierks is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Atlanta, Georgia. She is co-host of the new podcast, Co-Parent Dilemmas (, or wherever you get your podcasts). She is also author of The Co-Parent Toolbox (2014 Aha! Publishing) and Solo Parenting: Raising Strong & Happy Families (1997 Fairview Press).

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Ability Inspire Advocate

Special Needs Potential Thri

Growth Strategies


hen Emily Cott first enrolled into Villa Maria College’s Achieve Program for Students with Learning Differences, she didn’t understand what her strengths were. She didn’t know what she wanted to major in, and she didn’t have a vision for her future career. In Emily’s own words, she struggled with communication — especially with her professors, not studying as much as she needed to for exams and interviewing for internships. Now entering her senior year, Emily has worked hard to develop the skills she needs to be successful inside and outside the classroom. She has become a standout student and a leader among her peers. Her journey was not always easy, but through her commitment combined with the support and services she received from the Achieve Program, it became possible. One of the first ways in which Achieve helped Emily was through the Career Readiness Program. The Career Readiness Program utilizes one-on-one coaching and specialized workshops to explore major options, future career paths, skills and strengths assessments, and part-time jobs to help Achieve students build their resumes and gain professional experience. By making use of these services, Emily determined that she was best suited for Villa Maria’s Business Administration major with a minor in Computer Software Development. The Career Readiness Program also helped Emily get and complete two on40 WNY Family August 2022


Villa Maria’s Achieve Program Helps Students Develop Skills Inside & Outside The Classroom campus internships, one in the College’s with a 3.7 grade point average. admissions department and the other in With her academics in good standthe College’s business office. Each ining, Emily set her focus on meeting anternship helped her expand her skill set, other personal goal — growing socially. gain professional experience, and build “One of Emily’s personal goals was to out her resumé. Perhaps most impormeet new people,” tantly, these opporsaid Laura Pietak, tunities gave her Villa’s Achieve more experience Program director. with interview“She set herself up ing — something for success by servshe struggled with ing as an orientation initially. The Caleader, volunteerreer Readiness Proing to work open gram will continue houses, speaking on to support Emily student panels, and as she applies and attending more of interviews for an Villa’s Student Life off-campus internevents. As a result ship and prepares of all her efforts, to transition from Emily has become college student to the go-to peer for young professional. prospective and inEmily Cott, ‘23, Villa Maria’s Emily has also coming students. She Team Spirit Award Winner worked with Achieve has made new friends of the 2021-2022 academic to meet her academic and further developed school year. goals. Her own desire existing relationships.” to succeed was supported by the indiThis year, some of Emily’s favorite vidualized services that are exclusively on-campus events were the College’s available to Achieve students at Villa Halloween and Christmas parties, BinMaria. Over the past 3 years, Emily has go, and, of course, Achieve’s End-ofworked diligently with Achieve staff to Year Celebration. develop learning strategies that helped At this year’s Achieve celebration, her focus and do her best work. Emily’s positive attitude, dedication, By working with Achieve’s profesand service to the College were recogsional tutors, she began to excel in her nized when she was named the winner business classes and on writing assignof the 2022 Team Spirit Award. ments. Achieve staff also supported her “The Team Spirit Award is given as she worked on building her soft skills, to the student who aligns with the Collike time management. “With the help lege’s mission and values, has shown of the Achieve Program, I’ve seen an growth academically and socially, is increase in my memory skills, problem someone who advocates for themselves solving skills, and independence,” said and demonstrates advancement in their Emily. Her efforts have paid off. She completed the Spring 2022 semester continued on page 42

August 2022 WNY Family 41

SPECIAL NEEDS continued...


career path,” said Pietak. “Based on the progress she’s made academically and socially, Emily was the perfect fit.” “Throughout the year she has strived to be positive — even during hard times,” continued Pietak. “Her efforts have paid off as she completed her junior year successfully.” With her senior year on the horizon, Emily is remaining focused on her academics and getting that off-campus internship. After graduation in May 2023, Emily hopes to stay in Western New York and become employed by a large company. “I currently work at Wegmans, and I would like to continue working there at a higher level,” she said. “I’m also interested in working for M&T Bank.”

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The Achieve Program addresses students’ needs individually and develops a plan to help make their transition into college easier. Achieve helps students with learning differences develop the skills necessary to be successful, both academically and socially in college, and builds their confidence along the way, with a focus on preparing students for life after College. Learn more at


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’ve told my toddler I’ll buy her whatever kind of underwear she wants when she uses the toilet. I’ve put her on the potty and promised her a vigorous rendition of The Potty Dance, if she eeks out just a few drops. Meanwhile, she has yet to demonstrate any real interest in potty training. (I don’t consider resisting diaper changes interest in potty training). And that’s fine with me. Here’s why:

1) I Avoid Potty Talk My older child, who is now five, started using the toilet at two years old. Over the past three years, I have given hours of my life to the discussion of her bathroom needs. Do you have to go to? Are you sure you don’t have to go? It’s a long drive. Please try before we go. Can you hold it till we get home? Do you want me to come in the restroom with you or wait outside? The amount of time and energy I’ve spent on this line of conversation is astounding. I’m ok with limiting it to one family member at a time.

2) Grocery Shopping is Less Complicated Sometimes I think my older child strategically waits until my grocery cart is completely full to announce she must go to the bathroom. Right. Now. While I realize my toddler might be the type to use the potty before we leave the house without being asked, she very well might not be. I’m not a betting kind of woman when it comes to taking my kids grocery shopping. Between lamenting my lack of a CDL when maneuvering the car cart, and hating the sound of my own voice saying “No” (no marshmallows, no sugar cereal, no, not even the one with Dora on the box, no getting out of the moving cart), I lack the reserves to manage two children’s urgent bathroom needs.

3) I’m Already Carrying a Mom Bag Gone are the days when I dashed out with my phone, my keys, a chap-

One Parent’s Experience:

My Toddler Has Zero Interest in Potty Training

This is Why

I Don’t Care! — by Pam Moore stick, and my wallet shoved in my coat pocket. In my bag, you’ll find all that, plus Tic Tacs (a handy, if sugary, bribe), baggies of sliced apples if I’m on my game, a bag of beef jerky or applesauce pouches if not, a change of clothes for each kid, and a pinecone someone asked me to hold for a minute. What difference does a couple of diapers and some wipes make?

4) I’m Lazy I masquerade as laid back and efficient when I am, in fact, uptight (I want my house clean!) and lazy (I don’t want to actually clean it!). These qualities don’t lend themselves to diving headfirst into the labor-intensive, messy endeavor of potty training. Instead of listening to a podcast and making dinner while pretending I can’t hear my kids fighting and decimating the playroom, potty training would require constant vigilance; close attention to both the clock and the child. Meanwhile, because my toddler absolutely refuses to use the potty, I’d have to add managing the poop-y underpants situation. I’m just not ready for it.

5) I Avoid the Power Struggle I don’t remember what it’s like to be two years old. But I’m guessing it’s

pretty disempowering — even if you’re lucky enough to score caregivers who meet all of your basic needs (and some of your toddler’s desires, including demands to wear a tutu and tights in the dead of winter). You’re at eye level with a typical adult’s mid-thigh. You can be scooped up and carried to an undisclosed location without notice or consent. You’re at the mercy of grown-ups 99% of the time. I don’t see the point of adding toilet use to the long list of things you can’t control.

6) I Get to Baby My Baby My toddler is my second and most likely my last child, which makes her my baby forever. I realize it will be just a couple of blinks before I’m putting her on the school bus with her big sister. Diaper changes give me a chance to kiss the velvet skin of her little potbelly, to squeeze her scrumptious thighs, to marvel at her unlined, chubby feet. Also, there’s nothing quite like the sound of her high pitched giggle when I tickle the back of her knee. Pam Moore is an award-winning freelance health and fitness writer, occupational therapist, and certified personal trainer. She’s also the host of the Real Fit podcast. Learn more by visiting This article was originally published on Motherly. August 2022 WNY Family 43

Should Your Pet Go On Vacation with You?


long-awaited vacation is on the horizon but is everyone in your household ready? How about your pets? Consider whether each pet would be better coming with you or staying home. Some pets travel well, but if they are anxious, temperamental, or don’t cope well with new places, it may be best for them to stay home with family, friends, a kennel, pet spa, or pet-sitting service.

Make sure your pet has identification. In addition to

Consider how you will be traveling. Does your pet enjoy the car or get car sick? Are you flying? What are the airline pet ticket prices and rules? Can your pet fit in an approved carrier under a seat or will they be required to fly in cargo? Do you need a health certificate from a veterinarian within ten days of travel? What about any connecting flights and access to pet relief areas — are they inside the airport or will you be required to leave and reenter security screening? What are the rules about traveling by bus or train? Where are you staying and what are their regulations (e.g., pet friendly hotels, camp grounds, airbnb?) Travel to foreign countries with a pet often requires very specific tests and extensive documents and may require quarantine upon arrival. Should you decide to venture on with your pet, have everything in order for a comfortable, safe, and fun-filled getaway.

Pack for your pet. Bring food, treats, water and food bowls, a leash, a waste scoop and bags (litterbox for cats), grooming supplies, medication and first-aid supplies, and any travel documents including a current rabies certificate. Pack a favorite toy or bed to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. 44 WNY Family August 2022


a microchip, a collar and current ID tag are a must! Make sure that your cellphone number is on the ID tag so that if you become separated someone can contact you.

Resist the urge to let your pets roam free while you’re driving. Not only can

this lead to injuries to both your pets and any human passengers but, if an accident occurs, a pet could be launched out of the vehicle and run away in fear. A slinky cat or an eager pup can also slip out an open car window or door in the blink of an eye at a rest area. If your pet is not in a crate while in a car, make sure they are in the BACK SEAT with a harness attached to a seat belt or other restrictive device so if there is a sudden stop they aren’t thrown about the vehicle. NEVER allow your pet to ride with their head outside the window. They could be injured by flying objects or have damage to their eyes from wind and dust.

Research relief. Before you

leave make sure there are sufficient stops along the way for petfriendly potty breaks and exercise. Use blankets or car mats to protect your vehicle if an accident occurs.

NEVER leave your animal alone in a parked vehicle! Even with mild temperatures out-

side and windows open, a parked vehicle can become a furnace in no time, and heatstroke can be fatal. In cold weather, a car can act as a refrigerator, and pets can get hypothermia — especially reptiles and birds.

Be careful where you walk your pet, especially in warm/ sunny weather. Hot pavement can burn your pet’s paws creating an emergency you don’t want.

Up-to-date health care. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on their standard vaccinations as well as flea/tick and heartworm prevention. Certain vaccinations may be recommended for your pet in geographic areas or circumstances (Lyme Vaccine in the North-East, Influenza Vaccine in Florida, Leukemia Vaccine if your kitty will spend time outside). If your dog may be boarded at any time on your trip, Kennel Cough Vaccine is likely required.

Pet medical emergencies don’t just happen at home. Be sure to have your veterinarian’s phone number, the National Animal Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4235), and info for a 24-hour emergency veterinary hospital in the area where you’re visiting.

Talk to your veterinarian about ways to help your pet travel more comfortably. If your pet gets car sick or

anxious in the car, there are medications and supplements which can help.

Vacations should be fun for everyone in your group – including your pets! The Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society is comprised of more than 75 animal hospitals and 220 veterinarians in Erie and Niagara Counties, New York. It exists to advance public awareness and understanding of proper pet health care, veterinary services and the veterinary profession.

Is it Time to Add a Pet to the Family? — by Sarah Lyons


re you thinking of adding a four-legged, furry friend to the family? Adding a new member to the family is fun and exciting but it can also be stressful and disruptive if you are not prepared to take on the responsibility of a family pet. Here are some things to think about before you adopt a pet.

of feeding and caring for the pet? If not, is the parent willing to pick up the slack?

Are the kids comfortable around animals?

Can you afford to care for your pet? Not only will there be an initial adoption cost but there will be food, accessories, vet bills, and boarding costs if you decide to travel.

Some kids are naturally afraid of animals and it may cause them to act erratically around the new pet, which may upset the animal. While a healthy respect for animals is important, kids should be comfortable around the type of pet you are considering adopting. If your child is fearful, do not force them to interact with the animal. Instead, show them how to properly care for the pet and encourage them to participate as they feel comfortable. Do they understand how to properly treat an animal? Before adopting a new pet, kids should understand how to take care of them responsibly. They should also understand that they must be touched gently and carefully. They should not squeeze, hit, ride on, or drop the animal. Dogs and cats are not toys. If an animal feels threatened or cornered they may growl, hiss, or bite. It is a good idea to explain this to your child and let them know if they are cared for in a loving way, this usually isn’t an issue. Is everyone in the family committed to the idea? Adopting a pet is a long-term commitment that everyone in the family needs to be on board with. Are the kids responsible enough to take on the tasks

Do you have proper space for the type of pet you are considering? Is your family home enough to walk and feed a dog? Will the pet get enough attention with your work and activity schedules?

You should also consider if anyone in the family may have allergies, fears, or any other issues that may interfere with being able to commit to caring for an animal for years. If you have answered these questions and are still excited about the idea of adding a four-legged friend to your family, discuss with all family members what type of animal would be a good fit. Dogs are generally higher maintenance than cats because they must be walked or have a fenced backyard. They need to be let out at regular intervals, which means someone has to be home during the day to do that. There are also many dog breeds to consider depending on size and temperament. It is wise to do some research on dog breeds before jumping in. Cats are generally lower maintenance because they can be left alone for longer periods of time but they do still need love, attention, feedings, and a clean litter box. If chosen carefully, pets can be a great addition to a family because they bring many years of companionship and enjoyment. August 2022 WNY Family 45


eep cool in the heat, and enjoy a few frozen treats to make those lazy days of summer even sweeter. You don’t have to do much work, spend much money, or eat a lot of calories. Since it’s so warm, and summer is short, we’ll keep the column brief while I jump in the pool with the kids. Enjoy summer while it’s here — soon enough we’ll be putting on the sweaters! If you have any questions about our column, e-mail Kathy at allergy@roadrunner. com. For further information about food allergies, contact FARE at www.foodallergy. org, or call 1-800-929-4040. Kathy Lundquist is a Western New York parent whose son, now an adult, was born with severe food allergies. Over the last two decades, she has worked tirelessly, in a variety of capacities, to increase community awareness about food allergies.

Frozen Bananas

Free of: DAIRY, EGGS, SOY, PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, FISH, SHELLFISH, WHEAT, GLUTEN, VEGAN Yield: 4 Servings Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes Freezer Time: at least 2 hours 4 bananas, whole and peeled Favorite allergy safe dip or syrup (chocolate, strawberry, caramel, etc.)

Frozen Yogurt Free of: DAIRY, EGGS, SOY, PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, FISH, SHELLFISH, WHEAT, GLUTEN, VEGAN Yield: Servings depend on portion size Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 0 minutes Freezer Time: at least 2 hours 2 cups any flavor yogurt (coconut, soy, other allergy safe) 2 cups fruit Put yogurt and fruit into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth or desired consistency (some people prefer more texture.) Spoon into a container or into individual serving cups. Freeze for at least 2 hours; serve. 46 WNY Family August 2022

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Pour dip into a tall thin container or glass (deep enough for the banana.) Insert a Popsicle or craft stick into one end of the banana. Holding the stick end, dip each banana until well coated. Place on wax paper. Freeze for at least 2 hours. Variation: for added crunch, roll dipped bananas in cereal or crushed cookies.

Frozen Cookie Sandwiches

Free of: DAIRY, EGGS, SOY, PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, FISH, SHELLFISH, WHEAT, GLUTEN, VEGAN Yield: 4 Servings Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes Freezer Time: at least 2 hours 2 cups frozen dessert (ice cream, soy ice cream, rice cream, allergy safe) 8 large cookies (3-4” size) or graham crackers (read labels for your allergens) Soften 2 cups of frozen dessert at room temperature for about 10 minutes or until easy to scoop. Scoop about 1/2 cup (standard scoop size) onto 4 cookies. Gently press down the other cookie on top. Tightly wrap in plastic or wax paper. Freeze at least 2 hours, until firmly set.



— by Barbara Blackburn

o r l u s k i ’s in gravy, served over poMorluski’s is a global tato pancakes. The pancakes 10678 Main Street gourmet dinmay have been a tad overClarence, NY 14031 ing adventure blending two browned, but the resulting 716-407-3238 cuisines, Polish and Italian. dish was soul satisfying. All of this good food comes Dad ordered the special ~ SPOONS ~ in a divine setting of a forof the day, Chicken CacciaFOOD 5/5 mer Church of Christ, with tore, chicken in red sauce stained glass windows, and with mushrooms and onions a host of pink flamingos, in and other veggies over pasta. SERVICE 5/5 Clarence. It was as tasty as it was large, The kid’s menu offers in a portion large enough for “meals for humans 10 years a small family. We enjoyed FAMILY and younger.” Entrees sport the take-home as leftovers FRIENDLY 5/5 Cheese Pizza ($9.00), with for several meals. sauce and Mozzarella; Fresh The culinary delights Pasta-Red ($7.00), with a did not end there but ofmeatball or Italian sausage ($2.00); Pofered Nalesniki (crepes, $9.00), Poltato Pancake ($6.00), served with sour ish Cheesecake ($8.00) or our choice cream and applesauce; Kid’s Pierogi of Wuzetka — Polish cocoa cake with ($8.00), two topped with caramelized cream filling topped with chocolate gaonions and a choice of potato, chednache ($8.00). On the Italian side, there dar and bacon or Farmers cheese; Kid’s is Tiramisu, Cannoli, and Buckeye Torte, Kielbasa ($7.00), the latter being link of kielbagluten free. All sa served with of this labor noodle bits; and intensive food Scratch-Made concocted with Soup ($4.00), local farm fare choice of pickle brightened our soup or Italian spirits. wedding soup. Just two Dad ordered other choices that Pickle Soup to give you a ($5.00). We both savored the veggie broader view of the categories would broth with pickles, carrots, potatoes, be Fish Milanese or Chicken Milanese, fresh dill, and a dollop of sour cream. both topped with fresh arugula, grape The restaurant has an herb garden, tomatoes, seasoned goat cheese, and guarded by the flamingos, and you are craisins, with a lemon oil and balsamic welcome to pick some sprigs. glaze. My main course, as well as Dad’s, We bade goodbye to the sound of came with fresh bread with honey butmusic from the church balcony as we ter and family style mixed greens salad chuckled over the whimsical touches, dressed with house balsamic vinaigrette such as the sign in the ladies’ room: dressing. I favor salads tossed by the “Wash your hands and say your prayers. staff in the kitchen over those tacky little Jesus and germs are everywhere.” What tubs of dressing. a cute and cozy restaurant! Potato Pancake and Goulash ($21.00) followed, called Placki ZiemLook for Barb Blackburn’s culinary niaczane and Gulaszem, translated into classes in the upcoming Williamsville beef tips, carrots, red/green peppers Community Education catalog.

DEAR TEACHER continued... Unfortunately, the more frequently schools have practice lockdown drills, the more likely young children will think that they are a confirmation that a school shooting is likely. Some child and adolescent psychologists believe that these drills are doing more harm than good. However, it has been shown that well executed lockdowns can slow a gunman until the police arrive.

It’s Important to Know Your Child’s Reading Level Question: I don’t believe that my child suffered a loss in her reading ability during the Pandemic as she read more than ever. Is there an easy way for parents to find out what their children’s reading level is? — Curious Answer: Some schools are trying to make up for learning loss by presenting students with more challenging reading material rather than simpler text. We certainly understand why parents want to know how the pandemic affected their children’s reading level. Hopefully, you are right about the progress your child made in reading. Fortunately, it is easy to find your child’s reading level. Go to our Dear Teacher website and scroll down on the home page to “Find Your Child’s Reading Level.” Click on the word “more” and you will be able to download an assessment. The directions for giving the assessment are on the first page. It is a very easy, quick and reliable assessment to use. On completion of the test you will know your daughter’s independent reading level. That is the area where she can read books totally by herself. Next, you will find her instructional reading level, and hopefully she is reading on or above the grade she is currently in school. Finally, you will learn what grade level of material totally frustrates her. Parents should send questions and comments to, and visit the website to learn more about helping their children succeed in school. August 2022 WNY Family 47

48 WNY Family August 2022