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VOLUME 38, #8 OCTOBER 2021


Here Comes


Legendary LakePlacid When Should You Give Your Child A



The Reading Disability INSIDE:

Family RESOURCE Guide - Pull Out and Save!

2 WNY Family October 2021

October 2021 • Volume 38 • Issue 8

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

Where It’s At! Happy Halloween! Features:

6 n How to Create Your Family's Best-Ever Pumpkin by Katy M. Clark 8 n Pumpkin Possibilities: How to Use Every Last Part of the Pumpkin by Janeen Lewis 10 n Simplify Your Halloween & Savor Every Spooky Moment by Christina Katz 12 n Tips to Keep Kids Safe for a Spooktacular Halloween by Kimberly Blaker




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13 n A Sensory Sensitive Halloween by Sarah Lyons 14 n Trick to Make Halloween Treats a Non-Issue for Your Allergic Kid by Pam Moore 16 n Attention Grownups! 4 Ways to Take Control of Your Halloween Candy Before It Takes Control of You by Pam Moore 20 n 8 Ideas for Fall Theme Walks to Explore Your Neighborhood by Katy M. Clark

FAMILY RESOURCE GUIDE A Special Pull-Out Section 21 n

45 n Helping Kids Make Friends at Any Age by Sarah Lyons 55 n The Family Pet Choosing the Right Family Pet

Directories: 63 n Let’s Party

Regulars: 5 n Web Finds / What’s New In The Kid Biz 18 n Pick of the Literature by Dr. Donna Phillips 46 n Family Travel Lake Placid by Deborah Williams 50 n Journey Into Fatherhood Traveling with Violet: Part 2 by Richard De Fino 51 n Parent Previews Cruella by Kirsten Hawkes 52 n Raising Digital Kids When Should You Give Your Child a Smartphone? by Mike Daugherty 54 n Dear Teacher by Peggy Gisler & Marge Eberts 56 n Special Needs Could Your Child's Reading Difficulty Be Dyslexia? by Julia Garstecki 58 n Tweens and Teens Ten Life Skills You Learn by Having a High School Job by Pam Molnar 60 n Single Parenting Time: The Single Parent's Most Precious Commodity by Diane Dierks, LMFT 62 n The Kid Friendly Kitchen by Kathy Lundquist 63 n The Kiddie Gourmet ZJ's Family Restaurant 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 October 2021 WNY Family 3

4 WNY Family October 2021

web.finds With this COVID thing dragging on, we’re not so sure what the status of indoor Halloween parties will be, but certainly “normal” trick-or-treating, which is done outdoors, should be doable this year. And what’s ANY version of Halloween without a costume?!! So, here are a few easy-peasy ideas to try.


This costume based on some overalls and a yellow hooded sweatshirt works well for boys or girls, and is adorable for a single child, a brother and sister, or even a group of friends. The tutu is optional. Add roundish black eyeglasses (these were found at the dollar store), black footwear, black gloves, black pipecleaners, black electrical tape, black and white felt, and hot glue, and you have an easy to assemble, comfortable costume, especially when Halloween nights can be chilly in WNY. Find a full tutorial at


What kid doesn’t love pizza? We laughed out loud when we saw how clever this was in its simplicity. Any stiff material can be used for the crust (foam-backed fabric found in the drapery and upholstery section of the fabric store was used in this example). On this site, the fabric was cut into 2 triangles and sewed at the shoulders. But perhaps you could try folding the fabric in half, cutting a hole along the fold for the head opening; then trimming the fabric’s sides to form the triangle shape. Felt of different colors is used for the various pizza toppings, glued with fabric glue. Check out the complete tutorial at: https://www.u-createcrafts. com/diy-pizza-halloween-costume/


We’ve seen three-dimensional LEGO costumes made out of cardboard boxes, but this version seems the easiest and can work for the entire family, which adds some extra fun! Start with a square of cardboard, proportionate to the size of the person, hot-glue 9-ounce plastic cups, cut down a bit, to the surface, and spray paint the entire thing blue, red, yellow, or green. The kid’s version can be made “sandwich board” style with a front and back, or “necklace” style with only a front, as shown here on the adults. Use the handles from a reusable grocery bag for kids’ shoulder straps. Add solid color T-shirts in the same color as your LEGO, and your costume is ready! For complete instructions, visit:


The website linked to this costume seems to no longer be active but we still think the costume merits your attention. A hooded sweatshirt and jogging pants in the matching color and kitchen scrubby sponges cut on the diagonal and hot glued to the fabric make for the simplest dino costume ever!

What’s New... IN THE KIDBIZ QUESTIONS TO ASK CHILD CARE CENTERS As many families with young children settle into their “back to school” routines, the Erie County Department of Health is offering parents and caregivers a set of questions to ask child care centers about their health and safety practices related to COVID-19. 1) What is your center’s policy on mask use for staff, children and others who enter the building? 2) How do you screen staff, parents, children and vendors who enter your center for COVID-19 symptoms? 3) Are child care center staff fully vaccinated? Do all staff know how to access COVID-19 testing? 4) Do center staff rotate to different rooms during the day or during the week? 5) Does the center have a process for having staff return to work, or children return to care, following illness?

COOL SCHOOL CHALLENGE POLAR PLUNGE 2021 Something new has been added to this year’s Polar Plunge, which takes place on December 4, 2021 and benefits Special Olympics New York. On Friday, December 3rd, the very first “Cool School Challenge Polar Plunge” will take place at Woodlawn Beach State Park. This Polar Plunge is unique in that the event will be led by a committee of students from various schools. Students and staff are encouraged to create a team of “Plungers” and join the coolest event around! Your school’s team should work together to recruit as many participants as possible, while raising money and awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics New York. Two scholarships, of at least $1,000 each, will be awarded to the top fundraising male and female. The scholarships will not have restrictions as to the grade level that the awardee needs to be in thus, the scholarships are open to all students, high school and younger. Special Olympics New York provides inclusive opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to compete in Olympic-style, coached sports. If you are interested in participating in the 2021 Polar Plunge as an individual or want to create a team or sign up your school for the Cool School Challenge Polar Plunge, you can contact Erica Raepple at 716-909-6444 or via email eraepple@nyso. org or visit id=2390&pg=entry October 2021 WNY Family 5

How to Create Your Family’s

by Katy M. Clark


t’s pumpkin time! How can you make sure you pick the perfect pumpkin and transform it into a boo-tiful jack-o-lantern? Check out these handy tips with everything you need to know to create your family’s best-ever pumpkin.

Picky, Picky

The best selection in your local pumpkin patch will probably be available in early October. Of course, selecting your gourd at the grocery store is convenient any time! My kids have found some of their biggest, best pumpkins at the local store. No matter where you go, look for smooth pumpkins with no soft spots that indicate rot. It is also ideal to find one with a green stem, which means that the pumpkin has been freshly picked.  Try not to let your kids pick up the pumpkin by the stem. If the stem breaks off, it could take some of the outer pumpkin with it, making the inside rot faster.  Once you get your prized pumpkin home, store it uncarved in a cool, dry spot. When it is time to create your Jacko-lantern, aim for just a few days before Halloween. This will ensure that it does not decay too fast (boo, black spots!) and looks frightfully good on the big night.

Carving Station

If you are lucky enough to set up a carving station outside, go for it! The mess from making a Jack-o-lantern is easier to handle on your patio or in your backyard than inside. Never fear, though. Carving can be done indoors or out, especially with a well-prepared station. To make cleanup 6 WNY Family October 2021

easier, go old school and line your tabletop with newspaper or cut open a plastic trash bag to spread over your surface. You will want to clean up quickly afterwards, too, since pumpkin flesh and seeds are super slippery.

Make It Boo-tiful

Have you ever seen a Jack-o-lantern with black lines on its face? I know when my family uses permanent markers to sketch our design, we are usually left with a couple mistakes that we must live with or cut out. Here’s a tip I wish I knew years ago: try sketching your lines with a dry erase marker instead, as their marks are erasable on pumpkins. Or use a template that you can attach directly to the pumpkin as a guide. When it’s time to cut into your pumpkin, leave that to the adults, as little ones should not handle anything sharp. Instead, give the kids big spoons or an ice cream scoop and let them scrape out the seeds. Save the seeds if you want to toast them later (more on that below). Grown-ups, your goal should be to cut with short, controlled motions. D o n ’ t forget to go slow! It’s not a race and you definitely want

to avoid a serious hand injury.

Extra, Extra

Another useful tip is to give kids their own small pumpkin to decorate with glitter and glue or foam stickers while you carve the family’s bigger pumpkin. That way they will stay engaged and not lose interest. If carving is more trick than treat for your family, then you can always paint your pumpkin instead. Note that you may need several coats to get the desired color and it can take a while for the paint to dry between coats.

Getting Seedy

If you plan to roast the seeds later, you’ll want to soak them in a big bowl of warm water. After swirling the seeds and attached goo around with your hands to separate them a bit, let them sit for at least 5 minutes. The goo sinks to the bottom while the seeds float to the top. Once dry, your seeds are ready for whatever sweet or savory recipe you find on the internet. Enjoy! Katy M. Clark is a writer whose work has appeared in national and regional parenting magazines. She blogs at Experienced

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Petting Zoo Parking Apple Picking Goat Races Includes 4 qt bag of Corn & Rope Maze pick your own apples Jumping Pillow Playground And Much More! Access to beautifully landscaped grounds and 340 private acres in the countryside

Drive Thru Haunted Hayride Last two weekends in October ~ Details to come ~

New This Year

MEGA SLIDE Off Becker Mt.


Join Cornell Graduate Melinda Vizcarra for a lesson in agriculture and see where your food comes from. Monday - Friday; Great for School Field Trips

Fun Halloween Candy Bark

Have some leftover Halloween candy on hand? Put it to good use with this fun Halloween Candy Bark recipe.

Use melted Orange and Dark Cocoa Candy Melts candy as your base, then go wild topping your bark with all your favorite chocolates, gummies and candies! This is a great Halloween recipe for kids and a tasty way to surprise friends and family at a Halloween party or any post-Halloween celebration. Throw in as many candy-coated peanut butter pieces, chocolate chips, white chocolate, candy corns or whatever you want, and have some fun melting the chocolate with this new family favorite! For complete instructions, visit halloween-candy-bark/WLPROJ-9473.html

October 2021 WNY Family 7

Fun Facts About Pumpkins The word pumpkin originated from the Greek word “pepon” which means “large melon.” The English used the word “pompion,” which later evolved into pumpkin. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Pumpkins originated in Central America and Mexico, where archeologists have found seeds dating back over 7,000 years. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Pumpkins are members of the vine crop Cucurbita, which also includes squash and cucumbers. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jack-o-lanterns were originally carved from potatoes and turnips to keep bad spirits away in Ireland and Scotland. Irish immigrants discovered pumpkins when they came to America, and began to carve those instead. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In early colonial times, pumpkins were used to make the crust of pumpkin pies, not the filling. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Colonists thought pumpkins could remove freckles and cure snake bites. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ According to Guinness World Records, the largest pumpkin pie, with a diameter of 20 feet, weighed 3,699 pounds and was made by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest in New Bremen, Ohio on September 25, 2010. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Morton, Illinois, home to Libby’s pumpkin cannery, is the selfproclaimed “Pumpkin Capital of the World.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Six states — California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — account for nearly half of the country’s pumpkins. United States pumpkin growers produce about 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin per year. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Every year in places like Damariscotta, Maine, and Tualatin, Oregon, paddlers compete in pumpkin regattas. Giant pumpkins — some weighing over 1,000 pounds — are carved into boats and raced by costumed characters.

8 WNY Family October 2021

Pumpkin Possibilities

How to Use Every Last Part of the Pumpkin — by Janeen Lewis


t happens every fall season. That once-exciting pumpkin the family picked carefully from the pumpkin patch or at the grocery store has gone from the perfect Jack-o-lantern to a rotting heap on the porch. Often, it is regretfully tossed into the trash pile. But this year can be different! No part of the pumpkin has to go to waste. From the blossoms and leaves to the flesh, skin, and seeds, these eco-friendly ideas show ways to use every last part of the pumpkin.

Blossoms & Leaves If you grow your own pumpkin, pumpkin leaves and blossoms are edible. In her book The Edible Flower Garden, Rosalind Creasy writes that pumpkin blossoms have “a long history as a delicacy dating back to the early Native American tribes.” Pumpkin blossoms can be stuffed or added to salads, and you can find a recipe for crispy pumpkin blossoms (along with many other pumpkin recipes) at You can also decorate with pumpkin leaves. Use pumpkin vines in a fresh fall floral decoration. If you want the leaves to last, make a beautiful do-it-yourself fall pumpkin. Using a faux pumpkin from a craft store, mod podge pumpkin leaves on the pumpkin for a festive design. Either keep the leaves natural, or make them fancier by adding paint and glitter before you mod podge.

Stem Save the stem for decorations and craft projects. If you are carving the pumpkin into a Jack-o-lantern, remove

the skin and flesh from the stem after you are done with the Jack-o-lantern. Dry out the stem on a flat surface for several weeks, and then, if desired, sand the stem to make it smoother. You can make craft pumpkins out of velvet, cotton or paper maché, then add the stem to make the pumpkin more realistic.

Seeds Before you even cut the pumpkin, do some fun math with kids. Estimate how many seeds are in the pumpkin. Scoop out all the seeds, then count them to see whose guess was closest. Before roasting seeds, pull some out to plant next year. Pick the biggest ones, rinse them in a colander and spread them out to dry on a tray or flat surface for several weeks. Store them in an envelope in a dry, cool place to plant next year and start an annual tradition of observing a pumpkin’s life cycle. When you are ready to roast the seeds, there are many delicious ways to flavor them. Make sweet and salty pumpkin seeds by adding brown sugar and sea salt. You can also roast them with olive oil and your favorite herbal seasoning, or choose from cinnamon, ginger, garlic salt, seasoning salt, pepper or grated cheese. Experiment to find your favorite flavor, or add toasted seeds to granola and make your own fall trail mix.

Flesh Also known as the meat or the pulp, this is the part of the pumpkin that can be used in a plethora of ways. Make classic treats like pumpkin pie, bread, cheese cake, and cookies. But you can also make pumpkin butter, soup, hummus, smooth-

ies and even pumpkin body scrub. While all pumpkin is edible, varieties of pumpkin that are good for carving into Jack-o-lantern aren’t the best for making into pumpkin treats. Look for a pumpkin that is specifically for baking. Some types to try are Sugar Pie, Cinderella, Blue Hubbard or Long Island Cheese. (Editor’s Note: We kid you not; Long Island Cheese is a variety of pumpkin with a flatter shape resembling a wheel of cheese.)

Skin Also known as the rind, this is the hard outer shell of the pumpkin. Cut the rind into pieces or strips. Roast them in the oven to make pumpkin crisps, or dehydrate them to make pumpkin chips. Find recipes at

Hollow & Carved Pumpkins If you removed the insides of your pumpkin to use the hard outer shell for an indoor floral decoration, fill the hollow pumpkin with seeds and turn it into an outdoor bird feeder. You can also use it as an outdoor planter for pansies or another hardy flower. When it begins to

decompose, you can plant the pumpkin shell with flowers in the ground, and the pumpkin will fertilize the soil and plant as it continues to rot. If you carved your pumpkin, resist the temptation to scoop it off the front stoop and toss it in the trash. First, contact your local recycling center. Some city recycling services pick up Jack-o-lantern with yard debris or provide a drop-off for spent pumpkins so they don’t end up in landfills. If this is not a service offered where you live, cut the leftover pumpkin into small pieces, or better yet, let the kids have fun smashing it into tiny pieces. Pitch the tiny pieces in the compost pile. If you don’t have a compost pile, scatter the pumpkin pieces over soil, cover with leaves and let nature take it from there. There are many versatile ways to stretch out your pumpkin’s life this fall. Try as many ways as possible to use every last part of the pumpkin! Janeen Lewis is a freelance writer with a degree in journalism from Eastern Kentucky University. Her work has been published in several newspapers and parenting publications across the country.

Tales from the Pumpkin Patch These pumpkin books will get children and adults alike in the mood for fall. Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills Feathered friends look everywhere for a pumpkin. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz Celebrate Halloween with the Peanuts gang. Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson Inviting photographs in a backyard pumpkin patch show the life cycle of fall’s favorite fruit. Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum A National Geographic Kids book, it’s filled with photographs and facts about pumpkin growth.

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara A class of curious students estimates how many seeds will be in three very different-sized pumpkins. What they find is a surprise.

Appearing in our November & December Issues



A Holiday Gift Guide

The Roll-Away Pumpkin by Junia Wonders A little girl enlists some help as her pumpkin rolls away from her and through town.

This holiday season showcase the unique gift ideas your business has to offer in

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell A little boy keeps his pumpkin long after Halloween. When it begins to rot, he puts it in the garden and watches it decompose until a new pumpkin plant sprouts in spring.

Want a FREE 100 word “Gift’s Galore” Profile?

WNY Family Magazine’s “Gifts Galore” Section.

Call your Advertising Representative to find out how

836-3486 Ext. 104 Space Reservation Deadlines: November Issue - October 8th December Issue - November 10th October 2021 WNY Family 9

Simplify Your

Halloween & Savor Every Spooky Moment


alloween becomes more commercialized every year. But a classic approach to Halloween will keep your budget intact and a grin on your face throughout the spookiest time of year. If you want to restore the playful spirit of Halloween and spend more quality time with your family, let these reminders help you center your celebration on old-fashioned, frightening fun. Make memories this Halloween, rather than too many trips to the store.

Pump Up Your Pumpkin Power

What’s Halloween without those bright orange globes of autumn spirit? I’m referring to pumpkins, of course. Set a date for that trip to the pumpkin patch where family members can each choose a pumpkin for carving. Then set aside a few hours one week before Halloween for Jack-o-lantern carving. Here are some classic pumpkin designs to inspire you. Smiling Jack

By Christina Katz

Go Green When Choosing Costumes

When it comes time to brainstorm costume ideas, challenge your kids to pull costumes together from scratch rather than purchasing pre-made. Try to inspire more creative self-expression from them and less of you making it all happen for them. You’ll find ample tutorials on the Internet and lots of costume accessories to choose from at your local resale shop. Here is a list of costume types to get the ideas popping.

Use Down To Earth Décor

Don’t go over the top with Halloween décor. Often a few natural-looking items added to a front porch are all you need. Or search online for easy craft tutorials related to the following images. Build up a repertoire of decorations that you expand gradually over the years rather than going over the top with Halloween decor. Bats









Spider webs




Celebrities Monsters Magical Creatures


Professions Foods Cartoons Fictional Characters

Evil grin Cat in profile Flying bat Spider with web Wise owl Spooky ghost Your family’s name Halloween words 10 WNY Family October 2021

Brainstorm Imaginative Party Themes

Hosting a Halloween party? Keep it simple with classic Halloween party themes. Here are some ideas to get you brainstorming. Search online for easy homemade décor ideas. Salem Witches

Zombie Apocalypse

Sleepy Hollow Headless Haunts

Shakespearean Tragedies

Roswell Aliens

Dancing Skeletons

Black & White Horror Movie

Wizard School

Transylvania Vampires

Mystical Journey

Create Annual Movie-Watching Traditions

Sharing family films is a terrific way to chill out during a busy time of year. So gather the crew and get in the Halloween mood with movies that startle without scaring the pants off anyone. For The Whole Family To Watch Together The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (Not Rated, For ages 4 and up) The Wizard of Oz (Not rated, ages 8 and up) ET (Rated PG, ages 8 and up) Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone (Rated PG, ages 9 and up)

Compile A Halloween Playlist

Spooky songs are to Halloween what Christmas carols are to Christmas. Recruit your kids’ help and make a Halloween playlist. Here are some blastsfrom-the-past many parents will recognize. Turn them on to turn chore time into a dance party.

“The Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

“This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

“Superstition” by Stevie Wonder

“Werewolves Of London” by Warren Zevon

“Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr.

“Time Warp” by Richard O’Brien

“Abracadabra” by The Steve Miller Band

Sweet Potato Soup with Zucchini Bread

“Don’t Fear The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult

Candy Corn

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Cole Slaw

“Spooky” by Andy Williams

Candy Pumpkins

Chicken And Dumplings

“Witchy Woman” by The Eagles

Autumn Colored Gummies

Beef Stew with Crusty Bread

“I Want Candy” by Bow Wow Wow

“The Devil Went Down To Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band

“The Addams Family” by Victor Mizzy

Vegetable Soup with Pumpkin Muffins

“Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley

Clam Chowder with Apple Muffins

“Witchcraft” by Frank Sinatra

“Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” by Arlen & Harpburg

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedance Clearwater Revival

For Older Kids: Family Movies to Watch With Teens The Goonies (Rated PG, ages 11 and up) 1985 Hocus Pocus (Rated PG, ages 11 and up) 1993 Edward Scissorhands (PG-13, ages 13 and up) 1990 The Addams Family (Rated PG-13, ages 13 and up) 1991

Transform Candy Into Decor

Halloween candy isn’t merely for eating. Display some classic candy choices in glass jars from the dollar store to inspire seasonal fun. Or use classic candy to decorate a wreath form to hang on your front door during TrickOr-Treating. Search for photos online and choose the wreath style that matches your level of ambition. Here are some candies that can add visual sweetness minus the calories and cavities.

Autumn Wrapped Candy Jelly Belly Autumn Mix

Serve Satisfying Potluck Meals

If you plan to bring a meal to a potluck or just want to fill bellies with savory sustenance, serve something simple. Trick-or-treaters need substantial meals to counterbalance all the sugar typically consumed on Halloween. Try your hand at the following favorites. Chili with Corn Muffins

Shepherd’s Pie

Chocolate Eyeballs

Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

Black & Orange Hard Candy Sticks

Meatball Subs with Potato Salad

Caramel Apple Lollipops Halloween Ghouls Mix M&Ms Gummy Worms

Lasagna and Caesar Salad

Author, journalist and writing coach Christina Katz always thinks of Halloween as the kick-off to the busy holiday season, followed swiftly by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. So she tries to take it slow and simplify as much as she can.

October 2021 WNY Family 11

Tips to Keep Kids Safe


—by Kimberly Blaker

n e e w o � a H


Avoid high heels.


If walking on roads, walk facing the oncoming traffic. Where possible, stay off the road completely.


When crossing streets, use crosswalks if possible, and look both ways twice. If at a stop sign or light, make sure traffic comes to a complete halt before crossing.


Don’t cross the street between parked cars or where drivers’ views might be obstructed.


Carry a flashlight so cars and bicycles can easily spot you. Also, wear something reflective or add reflective tape to costumes and bags. Wearing a glow stick is another option.


Keep props such as swords and knives, short, soft, and flexible to avoid injury to self or others.


Don’t wear colored contact lenses unless they’re prescribed for the child wearing them. Otherwise, they can cause severe eye damage even if they’re non-prescription sold solely to change eye color.

for a


or decades, parents have heeded warnings of the dangers of trick-or-treating — wives tales and gross exaggerations about apples containing razor blades and poison-filled candy worry countless parents every Halloween. Experts, however, have debunked these mistaken notions and hoaxes. The one case in which a child’s candy was poisoned occurred in 1974. It turned out that the boy’s father poisoned the candy so he could collect on a life insurance claim. Since that time, there has been nothing more than a few false reports.

Stranger & Acquaintance Dangers One risk to children on Halloween, or any time of year, is child predators, although studies have shown the incidence doesn’t increase on Halloween. Still, parents should take precautions and educate their kids before they head out without adult supervision. To keep your kids safe from stranger and acquaintance dangers on Halloween:


Young children should be accompanied by an adult when trick-ortreating.


Older kids should trick-or-treat with a friend or preferably in a group.


Tell your kids not to step inside the homes or cars of strangers or even acquaintances you haven’t pre-approved. Also, tell them what to say

12 WNY Family October 2021

if they’re invited in, so they’re prepared. Your child can be direct and just say, “My parents told me I have to wait outside.”


Give your kids a curfew, so you know what time to expect them home.


Know what route they plan to take. Make sure it’s in safe neighborhoods, and they won’t have to walk through secluded areas to get there.


Only go to houses with porch lights on.


Have kids carry a cell phone, and make sure they know how to use it to dial 9-1-1.


Add a tracking app to their phones, such as Family Tracker, Glympse, Footprints, FamilySignal, or Life360.

Traffic & Costume Dangers Most risks to your child on Halloween are safety issues involving traffic and costumes. Have your kids follow these Halloween safety tips for a funfilled evening without incident:



Make sure costumes, masks, and shoes fit well. Costumes shouldn’t drag the ground posing a tripping hazard. Avoid masks. Instead, use make-up and well-fitting hats or wigs, so vision isn’t obstructed.

Try to find flame-resistant costumes, and make sure kids keep their distance from lit pumpkins and luminaries.

Safety Tips for Visiting Trick-or-Treaters O

Keep cords and tripping hazards out of your driveway and walkway.


Use glow sticks or solar lights in pumpkins and luminaries rather than candles.


Pass out sealed candy. Otherwise, many parents won’t allow their children to eat it.


Keep pets away from trick-or-treaters. Costumes and excited children can scare pets and lead to unexpected behavior.

Kimberly Blaker is a Michigan-based freelance parenting writer.

— by Sarah Lyons

ideas may be: using a prop, wearing a silly T-shirt, or incorporating tools, such as noise-cancelling headphones, into your child’s costume. Never make your child feel that they are odd because they don’t like to dress up or go trick-or-treating.

Plan Ahead

A Sensory Sensitive Halloween


ostumes, Halloween parties with sugary treats, trickor-treating, and spooky decorations are fun and exciting for most kids, but for a child with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), Halloween celebrations can be very overwhelming. A child with SPD has trouble processing input from any of the five senses in a normal way — what is background music to others may be loud and distracting to a kid with SPD, costumes may feel too itchy, make-up may feel sticky, and masks may have a strong scent or may be too restricting for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder. As a mom of a child with SPD, I have learned firsthand how challenging Halloween can be. My daughter struggles daily to find clothes that are comfortable and are not too distracting. Typically, if we find a pair of pants she likes, I buy as many pairs as we can find. Loud noises or new situations can also be very stressful for her. She has the desire to be part of the fun on Halloween, but as the day approaches the pressure is too much, the costume is uncomfortable, and walking around in the dark knocking on strangers’ doors is scary. I end up frustrated and she ends up disappointed. This year we are taking a different approach to the holiday and I hope these tips help other families dealing with SPD enjoy Halloween, too.

Prepare Your Child Prior to Halloween, talk about how you will celebrate the day. Discuss what

situations may be challenging and talk about what will help them feel more comfortable. If going door to door trick-or-treating is scary, do a practice run. Ask neighbors, friends, or family if your child can practice knocking on their door before the day of Halloween so they know what to expect. Try on the costume and make any adjustments needed so that they can feel as comfortable as possible.

Try to be flexible and prepare a backup plan, just in case things do not go as planned. My daughter was very excited about Halloween and even wore her costume to school, but when the time came to go trick-or-treating with her siblings, she was overwhelmed. It is okay if your child decides to stay home and hand out candy, needs to take a break during trick-or-treating, or wants to head home early. Parents may also look for alternative activities that are just as fun. Many communities or churches offer fall parties that are not scary, are offered during the day, and where costumes are optional.

Costumes are usually a huge challenge for the child with SPD but luckily there are a lot of options. My daughter prefers to wear her favorite clothes and paint her face. This is what makes her feel comfortable. Other kids may like wearing their favorite pajamas or other soft clothing under a costume so they cannot feel the itchy fabric on their skin.

Halloween can be fun for everyone if families work together to find a way to celebrate that works for all of them. It is understandable that these traditions do not always sound appealing or make sense to kids who have SPD. Consider coming up with your own Halloween traditions such as painting pumpkins, baking treats, or going to dinner or a movie. With a little extra effort, planning, practice, and flexibility, Halloween can be something your whole family enjoys.

If your child does not want to dress up at all, try letting them ride in a wagon and decorating the wagon like a car so that they can be part of the fun without having to actually dress up. Other simple

Sarah Lyons has been published in Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, KC Parent, Austin Family, Creative Child and over 140 other parenting publications.


October 2021 WNY Family 13

— by Pam Moore



Make Halloween Treats a Non-Issue



y daughter has multiple food allergies. I’m not talking about food sensitivities. I’m talking about taking an EpiPen with us everywhere we go, knowing our bright, curious daughter could die, were she to accidentally eat a rogue cashew. At two she was old enough to enjoy trick or treating with her big sister but too young to understand that, with the exception of Skittles, Smarties, and Tootsie Rolls, her Halloween candy would mysteriously disappear. Now she’s three and she “gets it.” I know she understands that she must ask me or her dad before she eats anything at a party. I know she’ll wait for me to give her a special, safe treat that I’ve packed just for her instead of accepting a slice of birthday cake. I’m still learning how to handle Halloween. If you’re also wondering how to enjoy trick or treating without being spooked by potential allergens, here are some tips from seasoned allergy parents.

1) Create Your Own Traditions

You don’t necessarily have to replicate the Halloween experience of your youth for your child to love the holiday as much as you did. As a parent, you 14 WNY Family October 2021

have the freedom to invent your own family traditions. Jennifer Roblin takes her nonallergic son, age seven, trick or treating while her husband stays home with their daughter, who is four and has multiple food allergies. Her daughter loves dressing up and handing out plain potato chips (which are safe for her). Says Roblin, “I asked her if she wanted to go trick or treating this year and she cried, saying ‘No Mommy, I dress up and hand out tato chips.’” Leigh Goodwin Furline, who has one child with food allergies and one who does not, gives her kids the option to trick or treat or not. Last year, they decided to skip trick or treating in favor staying home to watch a movie. They also received some safe candy and a toy of their choosing.

2) Trade Candy For A Toy

Trading candy for a toy means not only can parents bypass label-reading, candy-sorting, and the risk of crosscontamination, but they also avoid the hassle of candy rationing, candy-hiding, kids begging for candy, and all other candy-related problems.

Sarah Jean Shambo lets her son choose whatever toy he wants in advance, but she waits until Halloween to purchase it. This way, she explains, “He’s excited about the trade and it doesn’t have to be a fight.” While the Shambo family takes a DIY approach to the switch concept, many parents call on the official Switch Witch who needs candy to keep warm through the winter. Developed by a mom who struggled with the piles of candy her kids brought home from trick-or-treating, the toy is designed for parents who want to limit their kids’ sugar consumption and for those who need to keep their food-allergic kids safe. (Editor’s Note: If you google “Switch Witch” you’ll find a variety of similar products which can be purchased. The “original” Switch Witch, found at, was created by a mom whose young daughter was diagnosed with diabetes.)

3) Trade Unsafe Candy for Safe Candy

If a Halloween without candy sounds as depressing to you as a birthday without presents, trading your child’s Halloween candy out for safe treats is a sweet solution. If you’re concerned about the possibility of cross-contamination, you could do what Sarah Hodges does. Instead of sifting through all of her son’s candy and reading all of the labels to determine what’s safe, she replaces everything with Enjoy Life Halloween candies (https:// Megan McDavitt has two children, ages four and two, who between them, are allergic to milk, peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame. She encourages them to take non-candy or safe items if any are available. Once they get home, she lets them keep any safe candy and replaces anything they can’t have with No Whey Halloween candies ( Kim Schmid, who has one child with allergies and one without, does it a bit differently. She combines the contents of her two kids’ candy bags and then sorts it. Her allergic daughter gets to keep whatever is safe for her. The rest of the candy goes into her non-allergic son’s bucket.

4) Just Say “No Thank You”

As parents of kids with food allergies, we all hope our kids will outgrow them. In the meantime, we share the hope that our kids have the maturity and the confidence to speak up for themselves anytime they could be exposed to an allergen. For some families, Halloween is no exception. In fact, it can be an excellent opportunity to give a child the chance to practice having these conversations.

back. We usually take them [shopping] a few days later to purchase toys with their Halloween money.” Other parents, like Becki Rice and Cristina Salazar Rafferty, enjoy the benefits of getting rid of the candy without having to pony up — their family dentists pay for Halloween candy. To find candy buy back events in your area visit Life with allergies can certainly be scary. But Halloween doesn’t have to

make it even spookier. A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to making Halloween fun for everyone, no matter what they can or can’t eat. 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. To get her free guide to crushing Impostor Syndrome visit This article was originally published on Motherly.

This Halloween, Adrianna Shook plans to help her almost four-year-old daughter say, “Trick or treat, we have allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. Do you have something else?” Many parents I spoke to said that they were happy to politely ask neighbors if their treats were peanut-free when their kids were little but now that they’re older, the kids do it themselves. Not only that, but it turns out a little education goes a long way. Charlotte Eugenio said that after a couple of years of polite “no thank you’s” in a row, she noticed some houses started offering a separate selection of nut-free options.


For parents of younger kids who want their kids to experience as much of the “normal” (read: allergy-free) Halloween experience as possible, a little benign trickery goes a long way. Jennifer Devine Pirozzoli usually takes her daughter to the homes of other family members, which gives her the opportunity to run up to the door and choose from an entire bag of safe candy, without ever knowing that her mom hand-picked it in advance. Other parents, like Victoria King, who plans to take her two-year-old son trick or treating for the first time this fall, will carry safe treats for their food allergic kids to munch on as they walk.

6) Cash for Candy

There’s no reason a kid shouldn’t have the chance to cash in on his treats. Parents like Toni Gaudisio are happy to buy back their kids’ candy. Says Gaudisio, “My kids [who are eight and eleven] are allowed to swap out five pieces of candy for safe candy and the rest I buy October 2021 WNY Family 15


hile Halloween might be spooky, what’s scary is how you feel after a candy binge. While being an adult means I have the freedom to eat candy until I’m sick, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. In fact, it is decidedly a bad idea.

r G o w n o n i t ups! n e tt A

arrive at your door) is to buy only varieties that are not your favorites. You’ll be a lot less likely to binge on candy that you don’t like. Some of us buy our favorites so that if it’s left over, we’ll gladly finish it off. That’s where we get into trouble, taking in much more sugar than we should and feeling guilty afterward.

The good news is, you don’t have to change the essential part of yourself that loves candy in order to ignore sugar’s siren call, even when it’s marked wa-a-ay down come November first. The key to taking control of your candy consumption is to take the emphasis off of changing yourself and instead focusing on changing your environment.

2) Get Rid of the Candy

4 Ways to Take Control of Your Halloween Candy Before It Takes Control of You

It’s just not realistic to stop enjoying sugary treats. Science has repeatedly proved what many of us already know; sugar is addictive. A recent study in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care found that sugary sweets were even more attractive to lab rats than cocaine. Additionally, the mechanism that causes our brains to release dopamine, the “reward” hormone, is much more consistent when the stimulus is sweets versus cocaine. The study authors conclude that this may be nature’s way of ensuring we seek and consume sugary foods which are calorie-dense.

Biology aside, there’s no denying candy tastes good. For most of us, the sensation of crunching into an apple will never replace the mouth-watering rush of biting into the soft flesh of a Swedish Fish. What’s more, science has proven we only have a certain amount of willpower to see us through the day. It is no coincidence that drug stores, office supply stores, and grocery stores display candy at the cash register. Marketers know that by the time we get through the store, after making so many decisions — which size, what brand, how many of each thing on our shopping list — we’re tired of making decisions, which makes 16 WNY Family October 2021

— by Pam Moore

us more likely to buy something (i.e., candy) on impulse. This phenomenon is real and it has a name: decision fatigue. With so many factors compelling us to eat Halloween treats, what’s a healthconscious candy-lover to do? Consider creating an environment that minimizes or eliminates the tempting candy and makes it easy for you to make healthy choices. This will allow you to save your precious energy for the things that matter, not willing yourself to resist the candy stash. Here’s how:

1) Buy Halloween Candy That You Don’t Like! One easy way to reduce the temptation to snack on leftover Halloween candy (or surreptitiously break open one of the candy bags you bought in preparation for the trick-or-treaters who will

As already mentioned in another article in this issue, Switch Witch is an excellent “helper” for parents looking for a way to get rid of candy without being the bad guy. The friendly witch simply takes the candy and leaves a non-food present in its place shortly after Halloween. Alternatively, you could have an “unofficial” switch fairy come to your house, akin to the tooth fairy. Though it was designed for parents wishing to keep their kids from eating too much candy, the Switch Witch concept also ensures that the parents don’t break into the kids’ stash after they’re tucked in for the night. Whether you are left with more candy than your trick-or-treaters could take or you’re looking to get rid of your kids’ candy haul, The Halloween Candy Buy Back (HCBB) program sends your candy where it is truly appreciated instead of in the landfill, or worse, in your belly. Typically, a local dentist or other small business will pay a dollar per pound of candy, then ship it to American troops stationed overseas. To see if a local business is sponsoring a buyback in your community, visit the program's website at

3) Put the Candy Out of Sight If you can’t bear to buy candy you don’t like and don’t want to get rid of it, consider putting it out of sight — in a cupboard or some other place that you don’t often go into. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. If the dish of candy

is not prominently displayed in plain sight, there will be less temptation and you’ll be more likely to resist. It’s easier to ration yourself to one piece of your favorite candy a day if the candy is not constantly in view and within easy reach.

4) Plan Your Meals & Snacks When you hit that late afternoon slump and you have candy at your fingertips or a bag of unwashed, unpeeled carrots at the bottom of your vegetable crisper, it’s only human to choose the former. But what if your carrots were washed, peeled, sliced, and ready to eat in an easily accessible Tupperware? Prepping veggies as you need them only makes it easy to let them rot before you get to them. Instead, find a time or two each week to prepare a variety of healthy snacks all at once. You could fill a gallon-sized plastic bag with sliced celery, carrots, and bell peppers and take out a few when you want a snack. Alternatively, you could put a handful of snap peas and cherry tomatoes into snack-sized Tupperware to quickly toss in your bag before you head out. Similarly, a little meal planning goes a long way. While there are countless apps designed to simplify the process, choosing the “right” one might be overwhelming. (Remember decision fatigue?) If this sounds like you, it’s okay to keep it simple and keep technology out of the equation. Your system could be as low-tech as sitting down with your calendar and a piece of paper, noting which nights you will be eating out or too busy to cook, and which nights you will be available to cook, plug the meals you’d like to eat and the nights on which you’d like to eat them. Then, all you have to do is make a shopping list accordingly, hit the grocery store or submit your order with your favorite online shopping tool. As long as you ensure there is enough food for leftovers or a simple meal (e.g., salad or a tuna melt) on the nights you’re pressed for time, you will be well on your way to avoiding the temptation of going out to eat, grabbing take-out, or worse, filling up on candy. As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Whether you’re nuts about Paydays, wild about York peppermint patties, or crazy for Kit Kats, it’s normal to crave candy. While most of us have outgrown the thrill of walking outside past our bedtimes, wearing gauzy princess gowns or superhero costumes, a taste for candy is something most of us never outgrow. If, like most of us, you find it takes superhuman strength to resist sweets, try changing your environment instead of yourself, and you might just avoid the scary sensation of going into the holiday season with a sugar hangover. 

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. To get her free guide to crushing Impostor Syndrome visit This article was originally published on Motherly.

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PICK OF THE LITERATURE — by Dr. Donna Phillips

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716-836-3486 x 104 for more information. 18 WNY Family October 2021


t is easy to see why Halloween ranks as one of the favorite holidays in the United States. It is a celebration for every age! While it seems to be meant for children, it brings out childhood memories and childlike imagination in everyone. Dressing up in costume, going trick-or-treating, searching your Halloween haul for your favorite treats, parties and party games, spooky stories… what’s not to love? It is imagination and surprise that rule the day, and there is no better way to fuel this than with Halloween books! If you are just introducing a young child to Halloween, Open the Witch’s Door… (Random House, New York, 2021, $6.99), by Jannie Ho, is the perfect board book for little hands. What is going on in Witch’s house? There is all kinds of noise and commotion inside as Witch gets a special dinner ready for her favorite friend! This lift-the-flap book lets us peek inside her house to find out what is hiding out in there and what is going on! What is under her hat? What is under the stairs? What is in the cupboard? Who is at the door? What do

we find when we open it? The simple story, colorful illustrations, and the surprise behind each door will delight your youngest and get them ready for fun events to come. A child who is fascinated by work trucks will surely enjoy Where Do Diggers Trick-or-Treat? (Random House, New York, 2021, $6.99), written by Brianna Caplan Sayres and illustrated by

Christian Slade. This imaginative book, cleverly written in rhyme, makes these machines come alive as we learn how each one celebrates Halloween. The truck, tractors, cranes, and diggers find their own special ways to enjoy holiday activities. Making cider, carving pumpkins, dressing up, exploring a corn maze… there is something for everyone to relate to and look forward to as these machines remind us of the fun of the season in their unique way. Comic books have been given a new life and respectability in the form of Graphic Novels. A new book in this format is another story in The Kids at Baily School series. This timely Halloween adventure called Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots (Scholastic, New York, 2021, $7.99) is based on the novel by Marcia

Thornton Jones and Debbie Dadey and is told through the illustrations created by Pearl Low. As an example of a beginner’s graphic novel, the reader is immediately engaged in the story when a new, very unusual, and spooky new teacher shows up at school. This normally challenging class has met its match when they begin to believe she is a vampire! The big question becomes… “Who and how will they survive the school year?” This book takes advantage of the unique format to invite the reader to connect pictures and print. The pictures set the stage for the story and the dialogue helps to move it forward and helps us get to know the characters. This book is definitely a Halloween Holiday treat! Nothing can be spookier than stories that come from other times and other cultures which have often been passed down from generation to generation. Living Ghosts & Mischievous Monsters (Scholastic, New York, 2021, $12.99), with stories collected and written by Dan SaSuWeh Jones and illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre, is a compilation of thirty-two spine tingling and chilling American Indian stories, some actually experienced by the author. Stories of ghosts, spirits, witches, and the supernatural will keep you riveted and on edge, and the haunting images by Alvitre will add to the suspense. This is the perfect book to keep even the most reluctant reader engaged, and it would be a great read-aloud for party entertainment or as a way to get your family ready for the fun of Halloween. Whether you are introducing a young child to the fun of Halloween or looking for new ways to share it with your family and friends, why not plan to take a trip to the library, a favorite bookstore, or shop online. It is a great way to find books that can provide ideas for costumes, party treats and games, or perhaps ways to revisit old traditions or create new ones.

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. October 2021 WNY Family 19

8 Ideas for

Fall Theme Walks

To Explore Your Neighborhood


all is the perfect time of year to get outside. And what better way to experience all the season has to offer than by taking a walk? Walking is fun and easy, plus it provides a boost to your physical and mental health. Going on a walk with your kids lets them notice new things and meet new people along the way. Here are 8 fall theme walks that you and your children can take around your neighborhood.

Sensory walk

On this walk, have your child focus on their senses. Ask your child what colors they see. Touch the leaves that have fallen. Smell the air and ask if it smells different than in the summer. Listen to the birds or squirrels. Don’t forget to taste fall, too, by sampling apples or cider when you get home.

Scavenger hunt

There are many printable scavenger hunts available online or you can get creative and make your own. Have your kids look for distinctly autumnal items like fallen leaves, acorns, or pumpkins. Once they find an item, have them check it off their list. Most kids love carrying the list on a clipboard, too. It’s very official!

Talk the walk

Use descriptive words to engage your child in talking about fall. Ask them why they like this season. Then tell them why you like it. For example, “I like fall because the colors of the leaves are red, orange, and yellow.” I used to tell my kids that I liked fall because the 20 WNY Family October 2021

— by Katy M. Clark weather is cooler and it feels good to wear sweaters.

Bird watching walk

Does fall bring the arrival or departure of different kinds of birds in your area? Talk about the birds you saw this summer and imagine where they live now. Notice which birds fly in V-shaped formations as they prepare to head south. Keep track of how many different birds you see on a walk in a field journal.

Art walk

The object of an art walk is to collect as many items related to fall as you can, such as leaves, sticks, and acorns. Then take them home and create! You can glue twigs and leaves together to make forest creatures or try your hand at making leaf prints. One of the easiest projects my children enjoyed when they were younger was sticking fallen leaves of all colors, shapes and sizes between sheets of clear Contact paper to make a placemat.

Nighttime walk

Just because the days are getting shorter doesn’t mean you have to stay inside when it gets dark. On your nighttime walk, see if you can find constellations like the Big Dipper. Watch for the blinking lights of planes as they cross the sky. Take flashlights or headlamps and look for critters in your neighborhood.

Buddy walk

Sometimes all that is needed to make a walk more exciting is a friend. Invite one or two buddies to traverse the neighborhood with you or pick a new location for your walk. Simply traveling through a novel area can be an exciting change of pace for most kids. Go for a walk around the block or take a friend on any of the eight walks here.

Science walk

Gather leaves that have fallen from trees as well as those from plants. Ask how the leaves are different. Is one kind changing color but the other is not? Look for any black spots on leaves and talk about decay. Notice the evergreen trees in your area and discuss why they do not change color. For extra credit, bring home leaves and press them between sheets of newspaper weighed down by books for a few days. This will preserve their shape and color without the leaves curling and drying out. Katy M. Clark is a Michigan writer whose work has appeared in national and regional parenting magazines. She blogs at

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The Jewish Community Center of Greater Buffalo is excited to launch the School of Dance,  with classes beginning in October for students ages 3 and up. Classes are being offered in a variety of styles at both JCC locations, in 10-week sessions, giving you the flexibility to sign-up for the same class or try a new class without a full year commitment! We want our students to love what

they do while learning and having fun. Led by professional dance instructors, students will learn technique, improve coordination skills, develop a positive selfimage, build strength and confidence, and take part in performance showcases at the end of each session. Masks will be required by all students and instructors. Registration is open to everyone for the School of Dance and JCC members receive a 25% discount on class tuition. Not a member? Consider becoming a

member to enjoy discounts on all programs, and use of the fitness center and pool. Bring your child to dance and get a quick workout or swim in. To register, view class schedules and descriptions, teacher bios and more visit www.jccbuffalo. org/schoolofdance/.

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Look for the next Resource Guide in our May issue: To Advertise Call: 836-3486 ext. 104

4837 Union Rd., Cheektowaga, NY 14225 716-634-3395 Encouragement and positive reinforcement though dance to reach one’s personal best. FIND US ON FACEBOOK


3370 Sheridan Dr., Amherst, NY 14226 716-877-7121 Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Lyrical, Acro, Ballet & Kinderclass for children & adults, from beginner thru professional levels.


10151 Main St., Clarence, NY 14031 716-510-2531 Instilling a great love of dance, while inspiring self-confidence and discipline. Ages 2 & up.


5360 Genesee St., Bowmansville, NY 14026 716-288-7868 Where every dancer counts so that each dancer can reach their fullest potential.


730 Orchard Park Rd. West Seneca, NY 14224 716-675-3128 Outstanding classes from Mommy & Me to Award-Winning Advanced Classes. FIND US ON FACEBOOK

Spezio’S Dance DynamicS Instilling Passion & Building Character One Step At A Time!

Spotlight on

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Dance Instruction:

Spezio’s Dance Dynamics, Amherst’s premier dance training center, has been educating young artists from beginner to pre-professional since 1993, while enhancing each dancer’s creativity, physical fitness and passion for the art of dance. Director and Owner Michelle Spezio holds extensive teaching background in all genres and aspects of training enhances opportunities for all students whether they intend to pursue a

career in the arts or are dancing for enjoyment. The professional staff of degreed teachers is dedicated to providing students a well-rounded dance education to all. SDD offers a professional studio with 4 class rooms, many amenities and versatile subjects of study as well as high level ballet training for dancers to discover their personal talents. “Dancer’s TurnOut Better,” that’s what we believe. Research shows that students who study dance are disciplined, goal oriented and selfmotivated. Dancers are expressive in their communication of emotions, likely to excel, creative, imaginative and able to critically analyze and problem solve. Educating dancers to use these life skills in pursuing goals, overcoming obstacles and staying physi-

cally fit throughout their lives is our goal. Dance Dynamics Students have won significant awards for proper training/choreography all through the USA. Dancers have attended many prestigious summer intensives and awarded scholarships. SDD is committed to helping every dancer experience the joy of dance! Spezio’s Dance Dynamics is a proud member of Dance Master’s of America, International Dance Entrepreneurs Association, NDEO, Award winning faculty and director, and has had the pleasure of training so many talented dancers. SDD dancers are going places!

1639 N. French Road, Amherst, NY 716-688-9590 Paid Advertisement

1639 N. French Rd., • Suite 300 Getzville, NY 14068 716-688-9590 Offering quality classical dance instruction for all ages and levels since 1993. See Our Advertiser Spotlight.


See Listing Under “Performing Arts”

Dentists (Family):


425 Main St., West Seneca, NY 14224 716-674-5256 Afraid of seeing the dentist? We can help! Call now for an appointment. FIND US ON FACEBOOK


1660 Hopkins Rd., Getzville, NY 14068 716-688-7721 160 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14201 716-436-2130 Gentle, Caring Dentistry for your child. Most insurances accepted including Medicaid/Healthplex. FIND US ON FACEBOOK See Our Advertiser Spotlight.

“Afraid of going to the dentist? ...we can help!” Call for FREE X-rays, Exam & Consultation!

Educational Resources: YOUR END GAME

128 South Rockingham Way, Williamsville, NY 14228 716-946-4502 Increases sense of self, sense of belonging, and sense of direction.


Entire Family!

Meet BUDDY, Our Therapy Dog!

Emergency?...Call Us Now!

“Our Mom is Very Gentle!”

Dentists (Pediatric):


4017 Legion Dr., Hamburg, NY 14075 716-648-4035 Pediatric Dentistry. Dental Care for Infants, Children, and Young Adults.

Most Insurance Plans Accepted

425 Main St., West Seneca (1 Block North of Southgate Plaza)


JuSt4Me pediatric dentiStry

Spotlight on

See What Kids Are Smiling About!

At “JUST 4 ME” Pediatric Dentistry, we believe that eating healthy foods and keeping good oral hygiene are essential to maintaining a healthy smile. As parents, we know it is difficult to control what food is given to your child at daycare or school, BUT you can control what is given to them at home. Setting a good example of healthy habits NOW will help your child in many years to come.

Make grocery shopping or visiting a farmers market an adventure by giving your child a list of healthy food choices to buy. Let your child pick a new fruit or vegetable each week to taste-test at home. Keeping the kids involved in their food choices will help them eat healthier! It is important to keep in mind that although some foods appear healthy to eat they may NOT be healthy for your teeth. Foods like raisins and fruit snacks are NOT healthy choices for your teeth due to the sticky sugar that can cause cavities. The #1 cause of cavities in children today are the gummy vitamins. Each gummy vitamin contains 2-3gm of sugar that sticks in the grooves of your teeth, which is the equivalent to skittles

candy. Most local pediatricians agree that CHEWABLE vitamins are a better choice. Here are a few chewable vitamins that are available in local stores: Flintstones, Nature’s Way “Alive”, Big Friends Natural Factors and Natures Plus Animal parade. Call “Just 4 Me” Pediatric Dentistry to keep those smiles healthy!!

160 Elmwood Ave. Buffalo, NY 14201 716-436-2130 1660 Hopkins Rd. Getzville, NY 14068 716-688-7721 Paid Advertisement

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Educational Services:

Farms & Farm Markets:

150 Stahl Rd., Getzville, NY 14068 General Information: 716-629-3400 Developmental evaluations, therapeutic and clinical services, family support services, feeding clinic, behavioral health services, respite, & school programs for children from birth to adult. FIND US ON FACEBOOK See Our Advertiser Spotlight.

3724 Quaker Rd., Gasport, NY 14067 716-772-2211 U-Pick Fruit; Farm Market; CSA; Pies, Ice Cream; Animals; Educational Tours; A 127-Year Family Tradition! Visit Vizcarra Vineyards & Becker Brewing Co.!


TRAIL RIDES All Activities by Reservation

Guided Trail Rides through 100 acres of the beautiful Holland Hills.

Holland/East Aurora Area

Call 716-479-2020 Girls & Boys Gymnastics Tot H Parent & Preschool Age H School Classes Trampoline

H & Tumbling H Team program Boys & Girls all levels Open Workouts: Fri & Sat nights

Learni ng ‘N’ MOTION Preschool with a Twist!


70 Weiss Ave • West Seneca, NY 14224

Find this section ONLINE in our digital issue at

Family Medicine:


Conventus, 1001 Main St., 4th Floor Buffalo, NY 14203 • 716-550-8361 850 Hopkins Rd., Williamsville, NY 14221 716-688-9641 2465 Sheridan Dr., Tonawanda, NY 14150 716-835-9800 Accepting new patients and offering telemedicine services through UBMD CareConnect. See Our Advertiser Spotlight.



9270 Lapp Rd., Clarence Center, NY 14032 716-741-4239 U-Pick farm market and CSA. Produce, baked goods, animal barn and more.

Fencing Instruction:


485 Cayuga Rd., Cheektowaga, NY 14225 716-553-3448 Learn to fence. Instruction in classical fencing. Kids, teens, adults. Equipment provided. When you call or visit an advertiser, please tell them “I SAW YOU IN WNY FAMILY!”

Rolly Pollies

WNY’s Largest Locally and Family Owned Kid’s Gym!

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Rolly Pollies is WNY’s only gym for kids with a bouncehouse, trampoline, foam pit and more! For 15 years, Rolly Pollies has offered play with a purpose, through classes, open play, birthday parties, summer camps and more! Why Classes?   Rolly Pollies’s class schedule accommodates every family’s schedule with evening, daytime and weekend classes. Families are encouraged to have fun together with equipment built for everyone! A full session of classes gives children the opportunity to develop gross motor skills and friendships, learn socialization skills,

take directions from “Roll Models”, and see the same friends each week. Party With Us! Rolly Pollies offers WNYs best birthday parties, hosting only one party at a time: yours! Everyone is invited to play, no charge for adults, and the birthday child and their siblings are free too! This allows all families the ability to invite just as many friends. After all, it’s the people that make a party! Fun @ Home: Fit Kits and Play Packs! We have taken our expertise in our facilities and now offer our “Fun at Home” line. Purchase a Montessori based sensory or art Play Pack in seasonal themes for language development and independent play. Grab a gross motor Fit Kit that perfectly compliments the Rolly Pollies Fun at Home YouTube Channel for endless gross motor development opportunities. As part of the Rolly Pollies Mission, the Fun at Home line will assist you in developing your child’s cognitive, social/emotional, and physical skills with each unique Play Pack. Order online for shipping or pick up in store.  Open Play and Playgroups  Check our website for Open Play availability and schedules. Use Your Health Insurance Wellness Cards Raising heathly children is Rolly Pollies mission! Because of this, most area

health insurances will help pay for your Rolly Pollies classes and events. Simply give your insurance company a call to see if they will cover your child’s programs at Rolly Pollies. Three great locations: East Amherst, Orchard Park, and North Buffalo www. Keep the learning going at home with our YouTube Channel; RollyPolliesWNY.

Funtastic Fitness For Kids

Three great locations: 9630 Transit Road East Amherst, NY 14051


4058 North Buffalo Road Orchard Park, NY 14127


1669 Hertel Ave. Buffalo, NY 14216

716-833-3318 Paid Advertisement


See Listing Under “Party Resources”



3200 Elmwood Ave., Kenmore, NY 14217 716-877-2700 Gymnastics instruction for girls and boys, 3 - 18 years.


70 Weiss Ave., Orchard Park/West Seneca, NY 14224 716-677-0338 Infant-18 yrs., Tramp/Tumble, Learning in Motion, Open Time.


199 Park Club Lane, Suite 300 Williamsville, NY 14221 716-836-4646 Open MRI, Low Dose CT, 3D Mammography, Bone Density, Nuclear Medicine, PET/CT, Ultrasound, and now introducing Interventional Radiology.


788 Birchwood Dr., Lockport, NY 14094 716-439-8100 In Home Help from the HEART.


9630 Transit Road, Suite 100 East Amherst, NY 14051 716-689-6151 4058 N. Buffalo Rd. Orchard Park, NY 14127 716-662-7424 1669 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, NY 14216 716-833-3318 Children’s gym classes, camps, birthday parties, open play & more for ages 4 months - 9 years old! See Our Advertiser Spotlight.


136 Evans St., Hamburg, NY 14075 716-868-1525 Recreational Gymnastics (9 months 18 years), Competitive Teams, Cheer, Tumbling, & Birthday Parties.

Hair Salons (Children’s): SHEAR MADNESS

3316 Sheridan Dr., Amherst, NY 14226 716-248-1455 3455 Amelia Dr., Orchard Park, NY 14127 716-322-5332 100 Marketplace Dr., Henrietta, NY 14623 585-491-6555 Specializing in haircuts for kids, ear piercing, birthday parties and our unique toy store.


Part Time

Serving Northern Erie and Niagara counties

Home Help Services:

Horseback Riding:


IN-H ME Non-Medical Help

950 Amherst St., Buffalo, NY 14216 716-877-9295 Private and group lessons; ages 5 and up; year round; beginner to advanced.


East Aurora/Holland Area 716-479-2020 Guided trail rides through 100 acres of the beautiful Holland Hills.

Human Services:

Seniors Convalescents (recoverees)


Email Us:

Come Have FUN With Us This FALL FALL!!


525 Washington St., Buffalo, NY 14203 716-218-1419 Serving WNY with WIC, other basic needs; Counseling for all ages; Substance abuse treatment & more.


1522 Main St., Niagara Falls, NY 14305 57 Canal St., Suite 102, Lockport, NY 14094 716-285-6984 Domestic Violence, Youth, Parenting and Care Management Services.


960 West Maple Ct., Elma, NY 14059 716-805-1555 Transforming lives through creative opportunities and excellent supports for people with disabilities and special needs.





716-741-4239 GREGSUPICK.COM

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Indoor Recreation:

Music & Arts Education:

1333 Strad Ave., North Tonawanda, NY 14120 716-695-1248 Enjoy family-friendly fun in our indoor climbing center. Any age, no experience necessary.

6090 Broadway St., Lancaster, NY 14086 716-867-7177 Private vocal and instrumental lessons. Also group classes: Art, Music, Drama and more. All ages.



Museums & Attractions: AQUARIUM OF NIAGARA

701 Whirlpool St., Niagara Falls, NY 14301 716-285-3575 Visit WNY’s only aquarium. Sea Lions, Seals, Penguins and more!

WNY’s Original Rock Climbing Center!


2655 South Park Ave., Buffalo, NY 14218 716-827-1584 A tropical paradise featuring exotic horticulture treasures & so much more! Reservations required to visit.

Register Now for...

Homeschool & Youth Clubs


1333 Strad Ave., N. Tonawanda 695-1248

180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda, NY 14120 716-693-1885 Fun events and activities for all ages. Once Around Is Never Enough!

KENAN CENTER & ARENA Choose your favorite fairytale character to come celebrate with you! We bring the FUN... the LAUGHTER... & the HAPPILY EVER AFTER!

May all your dreams

come true!

716-725-3578 enchantingbirthdaysofwny

Pottery Painting and Glass Fusing Follow us on Facebook & Instagram

Now offering Pottery To Go Kits Individual Kits, as well as Parties to Go! Open for limited seating and private parties.

138 Grey Street, East Aurora, NY


433 Locust St., Lockport, NY 14094 716-433-2617 Visit our Kenan House gallery, Taylor Theater, Montessori pre-school and Kenan Arena.


203 W. 2nd St., Jamestown, NY 14701 716-484-2222 Fun and laughter for the entire family with a safe, touch-free experience.


New York Power Authority 5777 Lewiston Rd., (Route 104) Lewiston, NY 14092 716-286-6661 or 1-866-NYPA-FUN Experience powerful fun for all ages at the Niagara Power Vista. A USA Today “10 Best in Niagara.” 50+ interactive exhibits, including a 4D simulated ride. Always free admission and parking. For schedule and safe visit updates, see niagarapowervista. Discover Niagara Shuttle Service. Handicap accessible.

Music Instruction: 716 MUSIC & MORE

716-390-8347 Music classes for young children and their parents or caregivers.


Multiple locations - Buffalo, East Amherst, East Aurora, Lockport, Orchard Park, Snyder, Williamsville 716-656-4077 Caring for women of all ages and in all stages of life.


1020 Youngs Rd., Suite 110, Williamsville, NY 14221 716-632-8124 Providing access to patient services for high-risk pregnant women and their babies.


Multiple locations - West Seneca, Lancaster, Springville 716-675-5222 Offering women a wide array of routine and specialized OB/GYN care.


1020 Youngs Rd., Suite 110, Williamsville, NY 14221 716-636-8284 Conventus, 1001 Main St., 4th Floor Buffalo, NY 14203 • 716-636-8284 Care for every woman… for every phase of life.

Party Resources:

Matthew Walla, DDS & ASSOCIATES 716-832-1550 5 Convenient Locations: Amherst, Clarence, Depew/Lancaster, Grand Island & Williamsville.

3095 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14217 Email: American Ninja Warrior Birthday Parties, no per guest charges! Fun for all ages.


Paint Your Own Pottery: DESIGNING DISH

138 Grey St., East Aurora, NY 14052 716-655-4456 Where everyone is creative. Pottery, glass, pottery to go and much more!! FIND US ON INSTAGRAM FIND US ON FACEBOOK

Parenting Resources:


1021 Broadway St., Buffalo, NY 14212 716-332-4170 Supporting families of individuals with disabilities through educational resources, 1-on-1 support and events.



716-725-3578 Bring your child’s dreams to life with our Princesses and Superheroes.


See Listing Under “Hair Salons (Children’s)”

Performing Arts:


4231 Transit Rd., Williamsville, NY 14221 716-810-0551 Nationally award winning ATA; offering theatre, dance and voice classes to ages 4-18. See Our Advertiser Spotlight.

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AcAdemy of TheATre ArTs

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Giving Students the Opportunity to Shine

Winner of New York Theatre Guide’s “Best Theatre Program for Young Artists”; Academy of Theatre Arts is the only full-time, year-round theatre venue in Western New York created for the development and training of children and young adults in acting, vocal performance, and musical theatre dance. ATA provides an extensive year-long program for anyone between the ages of 3 and 18 who has an interest and passion for theatre arts. But beyond its excellent theatrical training, ATA uses theatre as a platform to teach and promote excellence in public speaking, self-esteem, confidence, and personal skills.

Each year, the students of ATA perform a major school showcase, which gives them the opportunity to shine on our ATA Theatre stage. ATA creates entertaining, professional shows consisting of smaller student casts and providing each child with more stage time in a much shorter show. In addition to regular classes, ATA offers special audition-only student companies where students get the opportunity to perform in their own musical, attend workshops, work with Broadway performers, and compete in festivals.

In addition to their year-round program, Academy of Theatre Arts offers summer programs to provide students with the opportunity to learn and perform in a full-blown musical in just 1-2 short weeks. While youngest students begin by learning about public speaking and how to feel comfortable on stage, older students learn about all aspects of a theatrical production: what it takes to put on a musical not only on stage but off stage as well.

4231 Transit Rd. Williamsville, NY 14221 (716) 810-0551 Paid Advertisement

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A Program of The Center For Handicapped Children, Inc. • Providing educational and therapeutic services to students with multiple disabilities, birth to 21 years of age • No tuition or transportation costs to families 1085 Eggert Road Amherst, NY 14226

(716) 831-8422

Learn More:

Do You Have Concerns About

How Your Child is Developing and Learning?

We Can Help!

“Supporting families and professionals to empower individuals with disabilities to reach their full potential”

Performing Arts cont.:


Southgate Plaza - 954A Union Rd., Ste 3 West Seneca, NY 14224 716-608-1010 A unique performing arts center with every style of dancing, singing, acting and creating the arts with playwriting, choregraphy and directing. Ages 1 to adult. FIND US ON FACEBOOK



Preschools/Montessori: FOUNDATIONS

6445 West Quaker, Orchard Park, NY 14127 716-667-9377 A private preschool offering an enhanced curriculum with progressive programs for 2-5 year olds.


See Listing Under “Gymnastics”

We provide 1-On-1 Support and Education on Disabilities, Special Education and Services. All services are free of charge. • (716) 332-4170

STAY POSITIVE and ALIGNED! Treating the Entire Family Family Discounts Available


E x pe r i e n c e, Q u al i t

y & Co

m pa s s i o


n S i n c e 19 8 7

Call 632-4476

6035 Main Street Williamsville, NY 14221

Open 7 Days A Week


• Programs for Infants, Toddlers, 2 & 3 Year Olds • 4 Year Old Pre-K Program • Award winning Gymnastics & Dance Programs available onsite


Call 568-1140

1639 N. French Rd. • Getzville, NY 14068


68 Eagle St., Williamsville, NY 14221 A premier early childhood Montessori experience for children ages 3-6.


8970 Main St., Clarence, NY 14031 716-545-8048 An education that understands and nurtures your child’s natural curiosity for knowledge.



2303 Kenmore Ave., Buffalo, NY 14207 716-710-3068 Serving grades K-12, open to all residents, no entrance exams.


1085 Eggert Rd., Amherst, NY 14226 716-831-8422 Quality educational, therapeutic & health services for students with multiple disabilities, 0-21 years. FIND US ON FACEBOOK

2 Lamarck Drive, Snyder, NY 14226 716-839-0473 Offering PreK3 - 8th grade. STREAM - In School 5 Days. FIND US ON FACEBOOK

4414 S. Buffalo St., Orchard Park, NY 14127 716-662-7572 Nativity: Where Faith Leads to Success.


5480 Main St., Williamsville, NY 14221 716-632-6146 “Our Tradition: An Education for the Future; Values for Life.” Schedule a private tour today! When you call or visit an advertiser, please tell them “I SAW YOU IN WNY FAMILY!”


3980 Main St., Amherst, NY 14226 716-835-2518 High academic achievement in a rich spiritual environment. PK3-8th grade.


1085 Englewood Ave., Kenmore, NY 14223 716-877-6401 Teaching Minds • Touching Hearts • Transforming Lives. PreK-3 to Grade 8

ST. MARY’S ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 2 St. Mary’s Hill, Lancaster, NY 14086 716-683-2112 St. Mary’s has a history of academic excellence and strong family values.


65 & 111 Great Arrow Ave., Buffalo, NY 14216 • 716-204-5883 A vibrant community of learners & leaders.


146 Reserve Rd., West Seneca, NY 14224 716-674-5353 Providing Christ-centered education for PK-3 through 8th grades since 1851. NLSA Accredited. See Our Advertiser Spotlight.

The unique partnership between General Physician, PC and OB • GYN Associates of WNY gives women of all ages access to the most comprehensive women’s health services in the region. Our specialists provide expert care to women from the teenage years to before, during, and after pregnancies and into and through menopause.

We offer everything you’ll need in our expanded network of providers – with the compassion and patience you deserve. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Genetic Evaluation by a Certified Genetic Counselor Ultrasound Screening, Including 3D/4D Diagnosis & Management of Fetal Anomalies Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling Fetal Non-Stress Tests Adolescent Wellness Gynecology Infertility Nutrition Counseling Preconception Counseling Lactation Consulting Midwifery Ultra Chorionic Villus Sampling Sexual Wellness Counseling Contraceptive Counseling Prenatal Screening & Diagnosis Management of Multiple Gestation Urogynecology Surgery Amniocentesis

General Physician, PC Women’s Health | 716.656.4077 • Buffalo

East Aurora • Orchard Park Lockport (716.433.1941)

• •

Snyder • Williamsville (41 Maple & 1000 Youngs) Williamsville (Wehrle 716.631.8212)

OB•GYN Associates of WNY | 716.675.5222 • | Lancaster


West Seneca

Northtowns Maternal-Fetal Medicine Center | 716.632.8124 • | Williamsville

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Care for you your growing family

33 WNYFamily_All-OBGYN-AD_7-32x10_09-2021.indd 1

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ids at Hea r



One Stop Shop for Kids and Kids at Heart

Store Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6 ~ Sun 12-5

Senior Housing:

Special Needs Services:

716-817-9090 People Inc. operates 19 Senior Living affordable apartment complexes throughout Western New York.

393 North St., Springville, NY 14141 716-592-9331 Center & community-based educational & therapeutic programming. EI & CPSE Evaluations. Serving children birth-8 years of age.


Eastern Hills Mall | Williamsville, NY 14221

(716) 632-4202

Breyer Horses • Plush Bruder Trucks • Science Puzzles • Games • and So Much More!


Exceptional School Exceptional Students Life Changing Opportunities A STREAM School STEM + Religion + Art

Full day Pre-K 3 & 4 Grades K - 8 2 St. Mary’s Hill Lancaster NY 14086

716-683-2112 Experiencing Back to School, Back to Work or Marital Stress due to Covid?

You are NOT alone


Skating Lessons (Ice): SKATE GREAT

2982 Lakeview Rd., Hamburg, NY 14075 3465 Broadway, Cheektowaga, NY 14227 75 Weiss Rd., West Seneca, NY 14224 41 Riley St., East Aurora, NY 14052 Canalside, 44 Prime St., Buffalo, NY 14202 716-580-3458 Email: #1 Learn-To-Skate Program in WNY. Over 20 classes per week. FIND US ON FACEBOOK

Sleep Consultant:


716-572-4276 Email: Infant and toddler sleep consultant. Custom sleep plan with individual support. FIND US ON FACEBOOK

180 Oak St., Buffalo, NY 14203 716-883-8888 Email: Helping people of all abilities reach their fullest potential.


547 Englewood Ave., Kenmore NY 14223 716-832-9334 Raising awareness of and enhancing the lives of people with Down syndrome. Find this section ONLINE in our digital issue at


sasi - 13339 Route 39 - PO Box 526 Sardinia, NY 14141 • 716-496-5551 Therapeutic horsemanship program serving individuals with disabilities.

MOVING MIRACLES DANCE STUDIO No Face Masks N e e de d Face to Fa ! Vir tu l ce Counsea ling

Specializing in ... • Marriage & Relationships • Infidelity • Infertility • Parenting & Coparenting • Grief & Loss • Anxiety & Depression

716-725-7158 | 716-689-3110 Ext. 1 1660 Hopkins Road, Suite 103 Amherst, NY 14068

Support Our Advertisers… Pull out and save this section for future reference. These great resources are available all year long!

sasi - 954 Union Road, Suite 1 West Seneca, NY 14224 • 716-656-1321 Therapeutic dance/movement program for individuals with developmental disabilities and special needs.


1219 North Forest Rd., Williamsville, NY 14221 716-817-7400 People Inc. is Western New York’s leading non-profit human services agency, providing services to people with special needs, families and older adults to achieve greater degrees of independence and productivity. Services include: Residential, vocational and supported employment, respite, senior services, health care and affordable apartments.

sasi - 954 Union Road, Suite 1 West Seneca, NY 14224 • 716-656-1321 An adaptive, small group personal training program for individuals with developmental disabilities.


CENTER FOR LITERACY AND READING INSTRUCTION (CLaRI) 17 Baldy Hall, University at Buffalo Amherst, NY 14260 • 716-645-2470 CLaRI provides diagnostic reading evaluations and individualized oneto-one literacy tutoring.

Christ the King School ~ Founded in 1929 ~

Urgent Care:


Toy Store:


636 Girard Ave., East Aurora, NY 14052 716-687-3300 We carry Fisher-Price® and Mattel ® products. Ask about our weekly specials.


4545 Transit Rd., Eastern Hills Mall Williamsville, NY 14221 716-632-4202 Toy Store and Playland. Games, puzzles, books, science, crafts, plush, educational toys.

2099 Niagara Falls Blvd., Amherst, NY 14228 716-564-2273 2497 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14216 716-874-2273 5014 Transit Rd., Cheektowaga, NY 14043 716-684-2273 3050 Orchard Park Rd., Orchard Park, NY 14224 716-675-3700 7616 Transit Rd., Williamsville, NY 14221 716-204-2273 For quick, quality treatment in an hour or less, 365 days a year visit WNY Immediate Care. On-site physicians and advanced practice clinicians provide cost effective treatment of coughs, colds, flu, allergies, and other non-life threatening injuries. With five convenient locations, we help you Get In. Get Out. Feel Better!™

Christ the King School offers faith based education in a safe, nurturing and challenging environment. Rigorous Academic Excellence plus Art, Latin, Spanish, Music, Sports, and Technology. A STREAM School & Academy MSA CESS Accredited.

Enrollment is now OPEN Private Tours Available CALL TODAY! 2 Lamarck Drive | Amherst, NY 14226

(716) 839-0473

TriniTy ChrisTian sChool

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Preparing Young Minds to Soar

The Mission of Trinity Christian School is to guide our children in faith, learning, character and leadership by nurturing their relationship with Jesus Christ and educating them for a lifetime of service to God and man. We are a Preschool 3 through Grade 8 nationally accredited (NLSA) school located at 146 Reserve Rd. in West Seneca. Our rigorous academic curriculum, STEM implementation, music, art, physical education and foreign language programs provide stu-

dents and staff with the tude of giving. Extracurricular opportunity to grow sports and athletics, school and learn together in a musicals, game clubs, and acasafe and loving, Christdemic enhancement opporcentered environment. tunities inspire students to Our graduates are welluse their gifts and interests for prepared for all high further growth and leadership. For more information, school settings.  The students at Trinity are in or to visit the school, please visit smaller classes that provide indi- our website thinktrinitychristian. vidual attention and are techno- com, or call 674-5353. logically current. They participate in many community service projects throughout the school year that encourage them to adopt an atti-

146 Reserve Road West Seneca, NY 14224

716-674-5353 Paid Advertisement

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 Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  ABUSE/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE n New York State Office of Children & Family Services prevention State Hotline: 1-800-342-3720 Report abuse/neglect of children. If you believe a child is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local police department. n New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence aboutopdv New York State Domestic & Sexual Violence 24 hour Hotline: 1-800-942-6906 According to Safe Horizon, a New York victims’ services agency, 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence; more than 3 million children each year witness domestic violence at home; without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse, and boys are more likely to become abusers of their partners and children as adults, continuing a cycle of violence seen in families all too often. n Haven House Child & Family Services 24-Hour Hotline: 716-884-6000 (for HELP & Shelter) For over 35 years, Haven House has been working to prevent domestic violence/intimate partner violence and promote peace in the home. Services are based on a continuum of care ranging from a fullyinclusive emergency shelter in a confidential location to long-term transitional housing. The continuum of care includes an extensive counseling and advocacy program for all individuals regardless of gender

that includes many satellite locations throughout Erie County. Who Should Call? Anyone involved in an intimate partner violence or family violence situation, including: domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, those in same-sex relationships, those with disabilities, male survivors, senior citizens, and immigrant and refugee victims of domestic violence. Friends, family members, co-workers, neighbors, or professionals with questions about domestic violence operates safe and secure emergency housing in a confidential location for women and their children, single women, and transgendered individuals identifying as female. Shelter supportive services include: Safety Planning, Individual Counseling, Support groups (including Art Empowerment), Advocacy. Referrals can call the hotline for information. Haven House housing assistance, Referrals to transitional housing, Food, Clothing, Crisis Intervention, and Children’s Programs. n Family Justice Center of Erie County 716-558-SAFE (7233) Offers free services for domestic violence victims and their children through an extensive collaboration with 13 partner agencies, all located at one secured, comfortable location, where victims can get all the services they need to safely escape abuse. They have the following locations but as of this issue’s print date, due to COVID, they are not currently accepting walk-ins or in-person meetings. They are still available by phone or through their website.

Buffalo 438 Main St., Suite 201, Buffalo 716-558-7233 (Monday-Friday; 8:30am-5pm) Southtowns Satellite 4383 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park 716-662-0259 (Wed. & Fri; 8:30am-5pm) Northtowns Satellite 330 North Forest Rd., Amherst 716-634-4309 (Mon. & Tues.; 8:30am-5pm) Grand Island Satellite 1801 Grand Island Blvd. Suite 3 Grand Island 716-507-0764 (Mon. & Wed.; 8:30am-5pm)

ADOPTION n Adoption Star 131 John Muir Drive Amherst, NY 14228 716-639-3900 Provides thorough and compassionate counseling to pregnant individuals, regardless of location, who are considering their options, including abortion, parenting, and adoption. Allows prospective adoptive parents and expectant parents to explore all the adoption options and to receive the appropriate information and education necessary to access those options. Provides counseling and support to birth parents and prospective adoptive parents. n Adoption Program Child & Family Services 824 ½ Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY 14209 716-882-0555 Specializes in promoting permanency through adoption for children of all ages in the foster care system. Staff work with children freed for adoption as well as families interested in adopting children. Provides support, training, and case planning services for the child and adoptive family.

and post-placement supervision. Offers WNY’s only Attachment and Bonding Center. Provides attachment therapy, evaluations, and treatment for children and adolescents using an evidencebased treatment approach.


MY FAMILY n Center for Family Development 5820 Main St., Suite 406 Williamsville, NY 14221 716-636-6243 Provides counseling for adoptive and foster families, adopted children, children in foster care (ages birth through adult), and adult adopters. Offers educational workshops for families and support groups; professional training and consultation; court ordered custody evaluations; pre-placement home studies

n For a very comprehensive list of more than 100 after school care programs in Erie County visit and enter “after school” in the search box. Information on programs in Niagara and other counties is also available through this site. If you do not have access to the Internet, call 1-888-696-9211.

BABY NEEDS There are a number of local “Baby Needs” programs that meet the emergency needs of infants and very young children by providing them with a supply of diapers, infant formula, baby food, and

baby care products. Limited quantities available; supplies may differ at each location. Get in touch with Baby Needs programs at the following locations which serve specific zip codes:

n Buffalo River Food Pantry 62 Republic Street Buffalo, NY 14204 716-856-8613 Mon-Thurs, 9am-11am. Serving zip code 14204. n North Tonawanda Inter Church Food Pantry 100 Ridge Street North Tonawanda, NY 14120 716-692-8552 Mon-Fri, 10am-12:30pm. Serving zip codes 14120 and 14150. – continued next page And, remember, you can also find it online at

Your Wellness, Our Mission

Endeavor is here for you.

Learn more at Call us today at (716) 895-6701.

The road to a healthy smile runs through busy lives—ones that are changing every day. From braces to Invisalign aligners, we deliver modern orthodontic treatment for kids, teens, and adults that does more than straighten teeth. It moves and aligns with your life.


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 Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  BABY NEEDS cont. n The Genesis Center 2161 Seneca Street Buffalo, NY 14210 716-822-1900 ext. 40 Hours by appointment only. Call to schedule. Serving zip code 14210 for parents with an emergency need; no residency requirements for children’s clothing. n Tri-Community Food Pantry 722 Terrace Boulevard Depew, NY 14043 716-949-0498 Tues, 12-4pm; Wed, 10am-1pm; Thurs, 6pm-8pm; Sat. 9am-12pm Serving Erie County. n Urban Christian Ministries 967 Jefferson Avenue Buffalo, NY 14204 716-882-9472 Tues & Fri, 11am-2pm; Thurs, 11am4pm. Serving zip codes 14204, 14208, and 14211.

BREASTFEEDING n La Leche League International La Leche League has several groups meeting in WNY as well as leaders who are available to answer your questions about breastfeeding. If you are unable to find a leader in your area, call 1-877-4-LALECHE (1-877-452-5324). Amherst • Cynthia, 716-989-7070; Cindy, 716-835-7504. East Aurora • Karen, 716-652-0225. Hamburg/West Seneca • Kimberly, 716-997-4662; Amanda, 716-220-1597 Niagara Falls • Christine, 716-523-1143.

CHILD SUPPORT ASSISTANCE n Child Support Enforcement (CSE) Erie Co. Dept. of Social Services

Rath Building, Room 230 Buffalo, NY 14202 Helpline: 888-208-4485 (8am-7pm) CSE can help locate the noncustodial parent, help parents establish paternity if either has any doubt about the identity of a child’s biological father, help the custodial parent file a petition in Family Court for an order of support, and enforces a child support order when the noncustodial parent does not pay. The child support enforcement program has legislative authority to collect overdue child support (arrears) and to obtain medical coverage through a variety of administrative procedures. Some administrative procedures can be put into action without going to court. Noncustodial parents who fail to pay child support can be subject to having the funds automatically deducted from their wages; unemployment payments, federal and/or state tax refunds, and lottery winnings can be intercepted; financial assets, including bank accounts, can be seized. Delinquent noncustodial parents can also have their NY State drivers license suspended and can be prevented from obtaining or renewing their passports.

For further information about Child Support Services in New York State visit


n NY State Parent Education & Awareness Program parent-ed/index.shtml Launched in 2005, and offered under the auspices of Catholic Charities of Buffalo here in WNY, this program is designed to educate divorcing or separating parents about the impact of their

breakup on their children. The primary goal is to teach parents ways they can reduce the stress of family changes and protect their children from the negative effects of ongoing parental conflict in order to foster and promote their children’s healthy adjustment and development. Four topics are addressed in the Parenting & Child Well-Being portion of the curriculum: 1) Creating and Maintaining Supportive Parent-Child Relationships 2) Providing a Stable, Supportive Home Environment 3) Maintaining Healthy Parental Functioning & Psychological Well-Being 4) Protecting Children from Ongoing Conflict Between Parents. An overview of the Legal Process is also included. In Erie County, there are “Our Kids: A Parent Education & Awareness Program” class locations in Amherst, Buffalo, and Hamburg; contact Michele Wittman, 716-896-6390 or email michele. In Niagara County, there are class locations in Niagara Falls and Lockport; contact Michele Wittman, 716-896-6390 or email At the present time, Zoom meetings are also being held. If you live in any other county, visit the website for a list of providers. n New York State Council on Divorce Mediation Divorce mediation is a voluntary, cooperative settlement process in which a neutral professional helps you make practical, informed decisions to resolve your differences. It is used frequently and successfully by separating and divorcing couples who want to plan their futures rationally, – continued next page

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Feeling stressed? Anxious? Concerned about a family member? We can help. Call us today at 716.831.1800 | Mental health & addiction | Virtual Counseling Services – continued next page


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 Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect. With the guidance of a trained mediator, you work together through a series of orderly steps to create a fair and reasonable agreement. Visit their web site to find accredited mediators in your area, or call 516-227-2595.

DRUG & ALCOHOL ABUSE n Partnership for Drug-Free Kids Get Help via text, email or by scheduling a call with their trained specialists by visiting Drug use remains a significant problem in the United States, however adolescent drug use is particularly damaging as such use can affect the physical and mental development of younger people and can impact their opportunities later in life. In 2018, approximately 30.4 percent of those in school grades 8, 10, and 12 had used illicit drugs at some point in their lives. More than 67,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2018, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. For the first time in history, a person is more likely to die from an accidental opioid overdose than from a motor vehicle crash. This national organization helps parents take effective action before their child’s drug use or drinking reaches a point where treatment is required. Research has shown that substance abuse problems can be reduced by intervening early. Encouraging parents to take immediate action is therefore a main goal of the helpline’s team of parent support specialists who offer expert advice to help parents plan a course of action and can supply a list of local resources or treatment facilities. Their website is an excellent one-stop resource where you can educate yourself about specific drugs, teen behavior, and ways to talk to your kids to prevent abuse from ever happening in the first place.

n UNDERAGE DRINKING TIPLINE 1-800-851-1932 Erie County Sheriff’s Office anonymous, confidential, and free hotline. Concerned adults, teachers, students and friends now have a number to call 24 hours a day, to report planned underage drinking parties; underage drinking parties taking place or other activities that may be harmful to the health, safety

and welfare of young people.

FOOD ALLERGIC FAMILIES n Greater Buffalo Food Allergy Alliance The mission of this local support group is to share information, tips, and experiences to ease the challenges of living with food allergies, as well as raise the awareness in the community; meets at the Orchard Park Library, 4570 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park. You can find more details on their website or Facebook page.


Among the many changes in society today is the growing incidence of grandparents raising their grandchildren, or other relatives or family friends taking on the primary role or raising a child in the absence of biological parents. Check with your church, your town’s senior services center, or your county’s mental health association for currently active support groups or counseling services. Here are several area resources: n Catholic Charities of Buffalo Kinship Preventive Services 20 Herkimer St, Buffalo, NY 14213 716-854-3622 The Preventive Services Kinship program serves Erie County families involved with the child welfare system by placing children under the care of relatives.

Staff conduct home visits to observe family interactions and provide referrals, as well as offer counseling and support for caregivers and biological parents in attaining child permanency, including filing for benefits and petitions in family court. In addition, staff are specially trained to work with families where children have been removed out of the natural home and placed in kinship care. All families must be referred through the Erie County Department of Social Services. n Child and Family Services 330 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202 716-842-2750 Child and Family Services Kinship Preventive Services Program works with kinship caregivers and parents to prevent placement of relative children out of their homes (foster care, residential), and works to expedite the return of children to their parents and/ or Article 6 custody to the kinship caregiver. The Kinship Preventive Services Program assigns a counselor who – utilizing a family systems, solution focused approach – assists parents and/ or kinship caregivers in solving problems, learning new ways of coping, and identifying other needed services. A majority of the service occurs in the kinship caregiver and/or parent’s home, however, some counseling sessions and group sessions will occur in one of several Child and Family Services offices. The kinship program offers the family case management, various workshops including support groups and parenting education. n OLV Human Services-Kinship Caregiver Program 790 Ridge Rd Lackawanna, NY 14218 716-828-9411 Provides services to caregivers in Erie and Chautauqua counties who have Article 6 or 1017 custody arrangements, as well as those

caregivers providing informal care arrangements for children not biologically their own. Services include family-driven case management provided by an MSW Case Manager. Additional services include monthly peer lead support groups and educational sessions for kinship caregivers, as well as interactive groups designed specifically for children in the caregiver’s household, and family engagement activities for all family members. n New Directions Youth and Family Services  Kinship Support Group 4124 Saunders Settlement Rd Sanborn, NY 14132 716-433-4487 ext. 493 This support group meets the 1st Thursday of every month (except July/August) from 10:00 – 11:30am at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES. The group is focused on caregivers who are raising youth who have been diagnosed with an emotional, behavioral, or mental health diagnosis. No documentation is needed to indicate so, but that is their target audience. n Non-Parent Caregivers: NY State & Erie County Department of Social Services Programs Non-parent caregivers — grandparents, other relatives, friends — who are caring for children without a parent living in their home, may be eligible for Temporary Assistance. Temporary Assistance for children not living with a parent is often referred to as “nonparent caregiver” or “child-only” grants, and includes Medical Assistance (MA). If the non-parent caregiver wants assistance only for the children, the non-parent caregiver’s income is not used to determine eligibility and there are no Temporary Assistance work requirements for the non-parent caregiver. Non-parent caregivers may apply for temporary assistance at their local social services office.


In addition to financial assistance, non-parent caregivers (also called kinship caregivers) often have a need for information and assistance related to food stamps, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), custody, guardianship, foster care, adoption, schooling, school enrollment, and other forms of assistance such as child care, social security, respite, case management and service programs. For information about services and assistance programs visit: www. - The NYS Kinship Navigator’s website offers legal fact sheets, state and local kinship resources, and other information. In addition, the Navigator operates a 24 hour toll free phone line at 1-877-454- 6463.

LEAD POISONING SERVICES n Erie County Department of Health LEADSAFE Erie County 503 Kensington Avenue Buffalo, NY 14124 716-961-6800 Families with young children who want information about lead poisoning prevention can request an assessment of their pre-1978 home. A visual exterior and interior inspection by staff will identify any potential lead hazards and a lead education visit with the family will provide cleaning supplies and strategies for avoiding lead hazards. “Communities of Concern” have been designated in zip codes 14201, 14207, 14208, 14209, 14210, 14211, 14212, 14213, and 14215.

n New York State Division of Criminal Justice Missing Persons Clearinghouse 1-800-346-3543 Call local law enforcement first to report a missing child or adult. Call the hotline for case intake or to provide lead information. Electronically distributes missing child or missing college student alerts statewide and assists in investigation.

NUTRITION ASSISTANCE n WIC - Women, Infants & Children Women, Infants & Children (WIC) is a federal nutrition program that supports pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants and children up to the age of five to live a healthier life. WIC provides nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, prenatal and postpartum support, referrals and supplemental food vouchers. All of our services are free of charge. WIC is for all kinds of families married or single parents, working or not working. Fathers, mothers, grandparents, foster parents or other legal guardians of a child under five can apply for the child to receive WIC. WIC does not require US citizenship, social security number, green card or legal residency to receive benefits. Catholic Charities operates the program locally through a variety of locations. To reach any of the sites serving Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties, call (716) 2181484. Not all of their locations are open every day, please call for site schedules. You may be eligible for WIC if you: • Are pregnant, breastfeeding or post-partum, OR • Have an infant or child under 5 years old, AND • Receive SNAP (Food Stamps), Temporary Assistance (TANF) or Medicaid or meet the income guidelines below, AND • Live in New York State – continued next page

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 Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  Parenting Resources  check for a program in your area at Here are some examples:

You can also call NY State’s Growing Up Healthy Hotline toll-free at 1-800-522-5006 for further information about eligibility, etc.

Fellowship Wesleyan Church MOMSnext meets every 1st & 3rd Monday of the month at 6:15pm, beginning in September, at 1645 Southwestern Blvd., West Seneca.


Moms, we know how it is. We manage the house, the schedules, the lunch packing and dinner making. We’re there for homework, the big game, the school play, and we make it happen with a smile. Where’s that little dose of “me” time? Thankfully, there are some helpful organizations in our community just for moms. Whether you’re a new mom or a veteran mom, there’s a special place for you to connect, refresh and relax. n MOMS Club The MOMS Club is an international non-profit organization, started by a California mom. Several local chapters have formed which offer monthly meetings with speakers and discussions, park play dates, holiday family parties, outings for mothers and their children, and activity groups like playgroups, arts ‘n crafts, and a monthly MOMS Night Out. They also do community service projects. Find a local chapter through their web site. n WNY Mothers Of Multiples formerly Mothers of Twins Club of Buffalo This support group for expectant and current mothers of twins (and more!) meets on the 2nd Wednesday of most months at 7pm at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2669 Sheridan Drive, Tonawanda. In addition to their meetings which feature “meet and mingle” sessions, they organize activities such as moms’ nights out, toy/clothing sales, and a great vareity of other mom-oriented and family events. Download membership forms on their website.

n Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) MOPS is an international organization for pregnant women and moms of infants through pre-schoolers. MOPS meetings give moms and moms-to-be the opportunity to meet other moms and share the journey of motherhood. Here is a sampling of Western New York groups. A complete listing is available on the MOPS web site. Amherst Alliance Church 3915 Millersport Hwy., Amherst 2nd Thursday; 7pm-8:30pm Fellowship Wesleyan Church 1645 Southwestern Blvd., West Seneca 1st & 3rd Mondays (Sept-May); 6:15pm-8:15pm Winchester Community Church 909 Harlem Rd., West Seneca 1st & 3rd Thurs., 6:30pm-8pm Zion Lutheran Church 9535 Clarence Center Rd., Clarence Ctr. 1st & 3rd Wed.; 9:30am-11:15am or 7:30pm-9:15pm The Tabernacle 3210 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park 2nd & 4th Wed.; 9:30-11:30am Watermark Wesleyan Church 4999 McKinley Pkwy, Hamburg 2 Fridays a month; 9:15am11:30am n MOMSNEXT is a relatively new type of group, created by MOPS International for mothers of school-age children. You can

Zion Lutheran Church MOMSnext meets every 1st & 3rd Tuesday from 6:30-8:15pm, at 9535 Clarence Center Rd., Clarence Center. The Tabernacle MOMSnext meets the 2nd & 4th Wednesday, 9:30am-11:30am, at 3210 Southwestern Blvd., Orchard Park. Watermark Wesleyan MOMSnext meets at 4999 McKinley Pkwy., Hamburg. Get in touch for schedule.

POISON EMERGENCY n Upstate New York Poison Center 24 Hours A Day, 365 Days A Year 1-800-222-1222 Calls are answered by Specialists in Poison Information (SPIs), registered nurses, and pharmacists trained in toxicology. Specialists provide the most efficient and up-to-date poison information available. Physicians and toxicologists are on-call 24 hours a day for consultation purposes.

SPECIAL NEEDS For a complete listing of special needs organizations, visit the DD Info Link at http://www.211wny. org/search/ddinfolink/ which provides a multitude of resources related to developmental disabilities. The resources can be broken down by age group, and then by service types, such as daily living, education, in-home services, recreation, respite and more. If you do not have access to the Internet, call 1-888-696-9211.

n Parent Network of WNY 1021 Broadway Buffalo, New York 14212 Information & Referral: 716-332-4170 This community resource provides all the tools necessary for parents and professionals to take an active role in the education of children and young adults with special needs. They offer a wealth of seminars, workshops, information and referral services, a newsletter, family training services, all FREE of charge. If you’ve struggled to find the right services for your child, or are lost in the maze of rules and regulations in the Special Education System, these are the folks who can help. n Down Syndrome Parents Group of Western New York 716-832-9334 Provides support to persons with Down Syndrome and their families through information on educational programs and community services. A Parent Support Program connects new parents with volunteers who can share their experiences and provide support. A phone call, hospital or home visit is available upon request by calling Barbara at 716-983-2140. They host activities throughout the year. n Autism Society of Western New York 716-633-2275 living-with-autism/ Parent support coffees are held once a month but are currently on hold due to COVID. n Grand Island Autism Support Group Meets at Realty USA 2139 Grand Island Blvd., Grand Island, NY 14072

Contact: Vienna, 716-430-5118 Email: GrandIslandNYAutismGroup n Group for Parents of Children with ASD Meets monthly, 6:30pm-8:30pm Aspire Building, 7 Community Drive Cheektowaga, NY 14225 Contact: Jana Mertz, 716-323-6435 Email: jmertz@ Ask about their groups for parents of teenagers with ASD or Aspergers. n Niagara County Group for Parents of Children with ASD Meets monthly, 6:30pm-8:30pm Empower Children’s Academy 9812 Lockport Rd., Niagara Falls, NY 14304 Contact: Parent Network of WNY, 716-332-4170


n Family Help Center (formerly Joan A. Male Family Support Center) 24-Hour Parent Help Line 716-892-2172 Did you ever get the feeling that being a parent is a bigger job than you expected? The stress continues every day! Raising a family is a big job and sometimes it’s an overwhelming one! Since 1973, the Family Help Center has been providing services to families raising children and gives the support you can’t always get from family, neighbors, or even parents. They operate the only 24-hour, 365 day a year family crisis intervention and support service in Erie County, and offer immediate assistance with no application procedures, no eligibility requirements, and no waiting period. They provide in-home support services to all of Erie County, as well as a NY State licensed daycare facility. Their

Family Help Center Daycare, at 60 Dingens St., Buffalo, offers full day, before, and after school care, and school-age summer programs. n Crisis Services Serving Buffalo & Erie County 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 716-834-3131 24-hour Addiction Hotline: 716-831-7007 24-Hour Erie County Domestic Violence Hotline: 716-862-HELP For Shelter: 716-884-6000 Provides crisis intervention and supportive counseling to all callers in Erie County. Provides immediate assistance for people who are in acute emotional distress; who are or perceive themselves to be in life-threatening situations; who are a danger to themselves or to others; or who are hysterical, frightened or otherwise unable to cope with a problem that requires immediate attention.

n Crisis Services Kids Helpline: 716-834-1144 The Kids helpline is a part of the Crisis Services Counseling Program and is dedicated to serving school aged children, adolescents and parents by providing immediate and confidential support 24 hours a day, on a variety of issues related to youth and their families.

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose. This past season has been an extension of a challenging year on so many levels for everyone. The Elite Dance Company studio family, like everyone else, was hit hard by the pandemic, suffering losses of so much, not the least of which was their very special honorary dance dad. There was positive closure to a year and a half, filled with heartache and uncertainty when the EDC Company dancers and teachers traveled to Florida to compete at their first Nationals in two years. Emotions were high, like any other competition but this time was special. They were dedicating their Nationals, and a very special dance number, to their dance dad, Sam Fiorella. Sam lost his battle to Covid-19 in January. With more grief than imaginable, co-owner of the studio and Sam’s daughter, Stacey Friend, had a vision of a dance routine that would honor the man who always stood by her side. Thanks to his daughter’s creativity, watching this routine gave those who did not know Sam, a glimpse of the remarkable man he was and always will be in memory. “What A Wonderful World,” dedicated to Sam Fiorella, Sam Fiorella was selected to perform in the National Gala. Rehearsals were special too — sharing Wheaties with the dancers the night before the Gala “just like Dad did for his girls” before they performed. This one would be special — everyone felt it. Sam was present in spirit in rehearsals and that magical final performance. Elite Dance Company won the National Entertainment Award for “What A Wonderful World.” That achievement is for Sam, the man behind the story. It was an honor for those who participated in and witnessed it on stage. It was the most beautiful way to put closure to such a trying time and a tragic loss. Miss Stacey would like to thank those who extended their love, time, and unconditional support during one of her most difficult seasons. She and her family are forever grateful. Nationals was a fitting piece to the mission at EDC — instilling the value of perseverance in our students. Elite Dance Company is a competitive dance studio, in Bowmansville, whose focus is ensuring all dancers receive outstanding technical training in a positive atmosphere — respect, teamwork and experiencing the love of dance. Their goal is to ensure that each dancer has the proper foundations to dance to their fullest potential, whether their dream is to dance recreationally, competitively, in college or even professionally. Elite Dance Company was founded by Stacey Friend and Suzie Wrobel — while Stacey was in the midst of a battle with cancer. Overcoming adversity has always been at the core of what we strive to teach at EDC.

There’s still time to sign up and join our Dance Family. Go to our website,

5360 Genesee Street Bowmansville (716) 288-7868

to register. Paid Advertisement


rom the time we enter the world, we search out other people to connect with. We are social beings and making and maintaining friendships are a big part of our lives from childhood on. While making friends is of great importance, it doesn’t always come naturally to us. It can be difficult to find friends who are loyal and whom you can build a connection with. Parents can help their kids build social skills that help them make friends at any age.

Role Play

One of the easiest ways to teach kids is through play. As you are playing and interacting with your children, roleplay scenarios that they may encounter when meeting new people. You can use puppets, dolls, or even stuffed animals to practice social situations they may encounter. Through play, you can teach your child how to ask someone to play or how to join in on a game that is already started. Work out possible conflicts that may arise as they play with friends. After roleplaying, kids will be more comfortable when they face similar situations on the playground.

Set An Example

It is just as important for parents to build strong friendships as it is for kids. We have the opportunity to teach our kids through our example. “We move a lot so explaining how I have to make new friends and step out of my comfort zone just like they do helps a lot.” says Stephanie Loux, mom of three. Do you make time for friends in your life? Do you invite friends over or meet for coffee? How often do you step outside your comfort zone to meet new people? Our kids see how we interact with others. If the parent is involved with friends, shows empathy towards others, and helps friends in need, kids will learn that friendships are a priority and understand the natural give and take of a relationship. They will also watch how parents handle conflict and the normal highs and lows that friends experience.

The Art of Conversation

For kids with the gift of gab, conversation may come naturally but for others, a little practice and a few tips can go a long way. Part of making and maintaining friendships is being able

Helping Kids Make Friends at Any Age — by Sarah Lyons to take turns speaking, listening, and responding with empathy when appropriate. Parents can teach kids how to have conversations during daily life by simply modeling this skill. It can also be taught during roleplaying or simply giving them some tools to start a conversation. For example, kids should be reminded to look the person in the eye, greet a friend as they arrive, respond when asked a question, and ask follow up questions so their friend knows they are listening. It takes some practice but it will be worth it.

Teach Proper Etiquette

Being polite can go a long way in building friendships. Kids who are polite, say please and thank you, pick up after themselves, and treat others respectfully are more likely to be invited to their friend’s homes. Kids who take turns, share, and let guests go first are also easier to be around. You can model good etiquette for your child and give them gentle reminders during play dates and social interactions.

Encourage Healthy Conflict Resolution

All friends experience conflict. What is important is how you handle it. Door slamming, stomping feet, the silent treatment, yelling, and hitting may release anger at the moment but can be damaging to a friendship. As kids mature, it is important to encourage them to talk about their feelings, come up with a solution, or ask an adult to help. As much as possible, have the kids work out their conflict. However, being available to help them come to a resolution both friends can live with is important.

Be Social

One easy way to encourage your kids to make friends is to provide them the opportunities to socialize. Allow your kids to invite friends over to play or to meet at a park. Hosting a playdate that encourages mutual interests helps build friendships as well. If your child is interested in animals, invite a friend with mutual interests to meet you at the zoo. Sports and extracurricular activities are another great place to find friends with mutual interests. “Helping them say hello to other kids at parks and school events helps,” says Loux. “I also make an effort to go to all class birthday parties so they have more time with friends.” Simply being around other people helps your child build social skills and make friends. It is important to remember that everyone has a different personality, which will affect how they react in social situations. Some children love to be the center of attention and thrive off of being around others. Other children may be more reserved and shy. They may enjoy being around other people but prefer to sit back and observe the situation. Remember that it’s important to cultivate your child’s social skills based on what they feel the most comfortable with, even if that is different from your own. It is also important to remember that your child does not need to be the most popular person in the class, they really only need one or two close friends to feel accepted and connected to their peers. Sarah Lyons is a Kansas-based freelance writer whose work has been published in KC Parent, Georgia Family, Austin Family, Creative Child and over 140 other parenting publications. October 2021 WNY Family 45

lake and it is just a mile long and a halfmile wide. It is crystal clear, and no gas motors are allowed. One of my favorite Mirror Lake experiences is swimming out in the middle of the lake on a perfect summer afternoon — the only lake where I would feel safe doing this because there are no jet skis or motorboats.

Visit Legendary

Lake cid Pla FAMILY TRAVEL — by Deborah Williams


ere’s a good Jeopardy question: What is the only U.S. community that has played host to the Winter Olympics twice? Hint: it is in New York.

mountains, big views, and big history. It is very much a year-round destination, but leaf peepers extol the splendid views of mountains and lakes ablaze with color in the fall.

If you guessed Lake Placid, in the heart of the Adirondacks, you would be on the money. It hosted the games in 1932 and 1980. The village has long been known as an Olympic training center and bills itself as “America’s first winter resort.”

The weather is still warm enough for playing outside — biking, hiking, boating, or viewing the breathtaking show of leaves. Just be prepared for sometimes dramatic changes in weather. On one memorable October visit we were wearing shorts in the morning and by the evening there was a dusting of snow.

In this unusual year, when last summer’s Olympic games will be followed just seven months later by the winter games in February, the Olympics are definitely on the world stage. The Olympic Development Authority operates many of the major facilities and they make it easy for even the nonathlete to get a taste of Olympic sports. Lake Placid is legendary for big

46 WNY Family October 2021

The biggest attraction for me has always been Mirror Lake, one of the magical gems of the Adirondack Park. The village of Lake Placid overlooks the

The lake’s name comes from its resemblance to a mirror. When gazing out on the glimmering waters you will easily be able to see the reflection of the mountains and village, as well as the sunrise. And what other lake has a public toboggan run that ends up on the frozen lake in winter? Next to Mirror Lake is the larger Lake Placid, on the northern side of the village. It is five and a half miles long and two and a half miles wide. The best way to experience the lake is to take a tour with Lake Placid Boat Tours. Our captain and narrator was Aaron Cook who filled us with fun lake lore as we cruised along the 16mile route on the pristine waters. We learned about the 35-pound lake trout recently caught here. “It was a record and estimated to be 70 years old and is back swimming along,” Cook explained. We passed the late John Bogle’s (founder of the Vanguard Group) great camp as well as the late singer Kate Smith’s massive camp with one of her gleaming wooden boats still in the boathouse. We paused in front of Whiteface Mountain — the most prominent on the lakeshore.

“We have more than 200 wooden boats on the lake — the most of any other lake on a per capita basis,” said Cook. Hiking trails abound in the area from the 2.7-mile flat path around Mirror Lake to expert level mountain trails. The Adirondacks are home to the largest trail system in the nation. They are also home to New York’s highest lake: the poetically named Lake Tear of the Clouds. It lies in a pass separating Mount Skylight and Mount Marcy, the state’s highest mountain. It is also the highest water source to feed the mighty Hudson River. Whiteface Mountain fits the bill if you want a summit view of the high peaks but would rather have your car do the work. It’s the fifth highest of the high peaks (4,867 feet) and the only one accessible by car. A battle raged after World War I between environmentalists and the American Legion over the creation of the highway. The Legion felt that at least one peak should be accessible by car and that the highway to it should be dedicated to New York’s war dead. The eight-mile-long Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway (a toll road operated by the Olympic Authority) stops 500 feet short of the summit. The last five miles are the most spectacular as the road winds upward through a changing forest and an alpine summit environment. At the summit parking area, take a short hike to the very top or hop on the in-mountain elevator for an amazing 360-degree view of the surrounding wilderness. There’s a restaurant and gift shop in the castle building near the top. On a clear day you can see forever or about 125 miles. To the north you may be able to spot the skyline of Montreal. To the east, across Lake Champlain are the Green Mountains of Vermont. And everywhere there are more mountains, lakes, and streams. Lowell Thomas, the late, legendary world traveler and writer, once described the view from on top of Whiteface Mountain as “one of the great scenic vistas of the world.” On a clear day it is hard to argue with his assessment. The Olympic venues are undergoing renovations and improvements. The continued on page 48 October 2021 WNY Family 47

FAMILY TRAVEL continued... project is designed to prepare the sites for hosting the 2023 World University Games. The Olympic Jumping Complex offers everyone the chance to experience the view that Olympic ski jumpers and hopefuls see during their training and competitions. Hop on board the 8-person Skyride, a gondola, followed by a ride on the glassenclosed elevator 26 stories high. Once on top, there is a small display area inside with videos of Olympic competitions. As someone with a fear of heights I was nervous about venturing outside and up the stairs to the actual ski jump. But I did it and I will never watch ski jump competitions the same way again. The view was truly awesome. Next door we watched as Olympic hopefuls practiced their flips by jumping from a tower and ending up in a pool. Over at the newly transformed Mt. Van Hoevenberg check out the new lodge, The Mountain Pass where you can relax, get tickets, enjoy the views from expansive windows and watch the mountain activities. There are miles of cross-country ski trails and a state-of-the-art combined skeleton and bobsled track. But what draws visitors now is the new Cliffside Coaster. This is a coaster with a difference. Once you reach the top you have the ability to go as slow or as fast as you would like.  “We are incredibly excited to give our guests their exhilarating experience,” said Mike Pratt, president and CEO of the Olympic Regional Development Authority. “The coaster follows the alignment of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Bobsled track as it descends the mountain. The views are amazing and the curves get your heart pounding. Everyone will feel like they deserve a medal.” Hockey fans everywhere retain a special place in their hearts for the famous 1980 “Miracle on Ice” when the young American team beat the heavily favored Russian team to win the gold medal. The 1980 Herb Brooks Arena where that game was played is undergoing major renovations.  The Olympic Museum and Olympic Center Store is open for free on the second level of the Conference Center during the construction project. The museum is the second largest collection of winter Olympics in the world. Learn about Lake Placid’s connection to the anti-slavery movement at John Brown Farm State Historic Site, just outside the village. This is both the home and grave of abolitionist John Brown who was tried and executed after his attempted raid on the U.S. Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia on Oct. 16, 1859.  Many know the song “John Brown’s body lies a mouldering in the grave,” but don’t connect it with this simple farm in the Adirondacks. Brown’s goal was to capture the arms and use them in his campaign to free the slaves in the South. Admission is free and there are hiking trails as well as tours of the house and barn. Lake Placid boasts the largest array of accommodations in the Adirondacks, a legacy of the Olympics. The Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort is the perfect choice for families including children and dogs. All are welcome and it occupies a choice spot on Mirror Lake and Main Street.  48 WNY Family October 2021

Many rooms on the first floor open to the beach and an array of complimentary kayaks, paddle boards, water bikes, canoes and beach toys that are waiting. It’s hard to beat an early morning paddle across the lake. There’s an indoor pool for cooler weather and all rooms have refrigerators and microwaves. Sam, my Labrador retriever, quickly made both canine and human friends, including five-year-old Georgia who was visiting with her family from Cheektowaga.  “This was our first visit but we will be back — it has been wonderful for the whole family,” her mother said. Travel Tip of the Month: For information on the Lake Placid area visit or call 518-523-2445. For information on the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort visit or call 844-209-8080. The Lake Placid Boat Tours close for the season on Columbus Day and many of the summer Olympic activities end the following weekend on Oct. 17. Capacity is limited for some Olympic activities such as the Cliffside Coaster and purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. Deborah Williams is a veteran travel writer whose work has appeared in national and international publications. She lives in Holland, NY and is the recipient of the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Gold Travel Writing Award. October 2021 WNY Family 49

I didn’t look at the hours on the road together as a form of torture, instead I looked at it as some much-needed bonding time for Andrea and me. Between working and trying to keep order in the house, sometimes it feels like we don’t have any time to sit down and catch our breath, or just talk to each other. This trip was the perfect time for us to catch up and to check in on each other, which is really important.

Traveling with Violet


Part Two

o, with weeks of high expectations and a little bit of anxiety, I’m happy to report that after traveling a combined 11 hours and 28 minutes and 706 miles, our second trip this year from New York to New Jersey was a success. Prior to the trip, I couldn’t stop worrying about how things were going to play out — the anticipation was getting the best of me. I wasn’t hoping for a crisis by any means, but I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t preparing for at least one disaster. Wanting to make sure things went as perfectly as possible, we copied how we prepared for our Pennsylvania trip, hoping the odds would be in our favor. The only thing we did a little differently was how we packed. We went just a little heavier this time around because we were staying for three nights. After I finished cramming the last of our bags in my car, there was a part of me that thought maybe it just wasn’t quite enough. But ready or not, we got on the road and hoped for the best. The total bag count included two suitcases, three large reusable bags full of toiletries, toys, and road snacks, a collapsible 50 WNY Family October 2021

pack-n-play, one hot pink plastic car to replace her bulky stroller, and one insulated duffle bag containing three days of frozen breast milk. Andrea and I were particularly excited to make it to Jersey because we were meeting my niece, my brother’s daughter, for the first time, and he and my sister-in-law were going to meet Violet for the first time. I also hadn’t seen my brother in two years. Between COVID and our demanding work schedules, visiting each other was near impossible. It was going to take five and a half hours each way to get there (not including rest stops), so to insure an enjoyable and safe ride for everyone, we made it a point to make a minimum of three stops each way, this way Violet could get out, crawl around, stretch her legs and get some fresh air. It was also a good way for Andrea and me to keep our sanity, as well. We packed a picnic blanket so we could sit and have lunch together; sometimes we sat behind a gas station parking lot and one time behind a Burger King. We stopped for about 40 minutes at a time; a bite to eat, cup of coffee, Cheerios and water for Violet, and back on the road it was.

Violet didn’t sleep as much as she did when we drove to Pennsylvania, but she did find the time to get some in. And when she wasn’t snoring away, she did great entertaining herself with the assortment of toys and gadgets we provided her. There were only two moments, one on the way down and one on the way back, when Andrea and I had to sit in the back with her and calm her down. I think it was a combination of her being overtired, mixed in with a little cabin fever. The closer we got to Jersey, I kept thinking the ride down didn’t seem so bad, that is until we made it to the hotel; I idiotically picked one with no elevator. After making four trips from the car to our second-floor room with luggage and chasing Violet around a very non-baby proofed hotel room, exhaustion kicked in for the both of us and we just wanted to get some sleep. Violet was not on the same page as us when it came to sleeping. The next day we made our way to my brother’s house after getting only three hours of sleep, but it was totally worth it when I finally got to meet my niece. Spending valuable time with family is so important and I would have driven across the entire country just to have that first experience again.

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.

— by Kirsten Hawkes


Making Media Entertainment An Easier Choice For Families


Rating: PG-13

WALT DISNEY DVD Release: September 21, 2021


VIOLENCE: (C+) There are frequent scenes of a girl being bullied at school: she’s pushed and dropped from a height. She responds by punching and throwing a ball at a boy’s crotch. A dog bites a man’s ankle. People are repeatedly knocked to the ground by overzealous security guards. Fierce dogs menace people in several scenes. Dogs jump people. A woman sets fire to her own cloak for dramatic effect. A woman retaliates violently when grabbed by security guards. There are frequent scenes of vehicle theft and reckless driving, resulting in multiple collisions. Dogs are kidnapped. People are swarmed by insects. A woman discusses making coats from dog skin. Characters are tied up. A person commits arson, leaving someone to die. A character steals a vehicle and drives it through the doors and walls of a police station. Spoiler warning: A woman is heard ordering the disposal of her newborn child. There are scenes of people being pushed over a balcony to their deaths. SEXUAL CONTENT: (A-­) There is a brief scene of a woman in labor: she is screaming. LANGUAGE: (A) A minor swear word is seen on a sign.

ALCOHOL / DRUG USE: (C) There are frequent scenes of main characters drinking alcohol in social settings. A minor character consumes alcohol on the job. A main character is shown drinking hard liquor straight out of the decanter and is shown drunk and later on, hungover. A few people are briefly seen smoking. For additional information on this film’s content, visit


rilliant, bad, and a little bit mad” is Cruella De Vil’s assessment of herself and generations of Disney fans are sure to agree. Notorious for her obsessive desire to kidnap Dalmatians and turn them into dog skin coats, Cruella has never been a sympathetic character. Until now. As it combs through its catalogue, Disney is getting maximum mileage from familiar stories and characters. The Mouse House has produced not one but two stories rehabilitating Maleficent from her draconic role in Sleeping Beauty, turning her into a sympathetic guardian of nature and defender of diversity. Now the studio’s story geniuses have whipped up a backstory for Cruella — but the results are far more morally ambiguous than for the horncrowned Maleficent. The movie begins with young Estella (played by several child actors) — clever impulsive, and distinctive for her black and white hair. Her mother keeps telling her to “be Estella not Cruella,” the name they have given her hot-tempered alter ego. Estella tries her best, even when her mother dies and she runs away to London, full of grief and guilt. For a decade, Estella (now played by Emma Stone) and her friends, Jasper and Horace (Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser), support themselves with petty theft, although Estella never stops dreaming about becoming a designer. Then she gets her big chance, going to work for the Baroness (Emma Thompson), head of the city’s top fashion house. The Baroness is glamorous, heartless, and ruth-

less and pretty soon Cruella re-emerges, ready to upstage her boss with her own avant-garde fashions and wild publicity stunts. But Cruella has more than just professional one-upmanship in mind… Cruella is a brilliant spectacle to watch. It’s packed with drama and excitement, the visuals are excellent, and the costumes are a work of art. Cruella and the Baroness both have exquisitely detailed wardrobes that reinforce their characters, accelerate the story, and make fashion aficionados drool. Throw in an irresistible 1970s soundtrack, and this is the kind of movie you want to watch on the largest possible screen. Please don’t watch it on a phone. Where you watch Cruella is less important than who you watch it with – it’s definitely not suitable for children. The movie is rated PG-13 and that rating should be taken seriously. Not only does the show contain lots of violence — murder, attempted murder, and arson, for a start — but it shows main characters drinking alcohol and even becoming intoxicated. On top of that, the film

frequently excuses assault, theft, revenge, and other anti-social behaviors, sometimes using them as comic fodder. This is a dark film with an angry anti-hero as a protagonist, and it attempts to make her reckless, sometimes violent behaviors sympathetic. The movie also has a few other flaws. At over two hours, it’s far too long and definitely needs tighter editing. And setting a prequel decades after the original is a time-bending exercise that feels unnecessary. The 1970s aesthetic is fun, but the film would have been just as effective set in the 1950s — and Cruella’s outrageous fashions even more disruptive. Flaws aside, Cruella qualifies as a guilty pleasure. If you’re having a bad day and want to get a vicarious thrill from watching a whole lot of rule-breaking, this movie will fit the bill. It’s exciting, audacious, and a bit unnerving. Hopefully your teens won’t see it as an aspirational tale… Talk about the movie with your family... Does this movie change how you feel about Cruella De Vil? Why or why not? Do you think she’s a villain or a victim? Do you think Cruella’s life experiences justify her choices? What other choices do you think she could have made? Do you think she would have been happier if she had made other choices in her life? October 2021 WNY Family 51


aising children in a technology-rich culture has radically changed the types of issues that parents may face. Sexting, cyberbullying, and privacy issues are just some examples of the challenges faced by modern parents. Many of those issues surround a child’s access to technology. More specifically, “What exactly is the right age to give your son or daughter a smartphone?” This is one of those questions that seems to come up almost every time I have a conversation with a group of parents around technology use. My wife and I continue to have this discussion in our own home as well. We have three children, all under the age of twelve. Our oldest received a phone when he was ten. Ten years old initially seemed a bit early to us. However, after doing some research, we discovered the average age for getting a smartphone in America is 10.3 years. Age is just a number, though, and it should not be the deciding factor in such a significant decision. After thinking, researching, and speaking with colleagues, age shouldn’t be part of the conversation at all. Nevertheless, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. Let’s look at all of the factors that come into play when considering a smartphone for your child.

RAISING DIGITAL KIDS — by Mike Daugherty

When Should You Give Your Child a Smartphone? child can be used by predators who seek to communicate or even harm a child. These are just a few of the ways this decision can impact your child’s life. This isn’t meant to scare you (although it should). Instead, it is a reminder that this is not an easy decision to make.

Do Not Take This Decision Lightly

Questions to Ask Yourself

As adults, we often forget how powerful a smartphone can be. We have become so accustomed to having one that panic quickly sets in when your phone goes missing, even for the briefest of moments. Parents need to be overwhelmingly clear about the magnitude of this decision.

There are countless resources online that give guidelines for parents who are considering getting their children a smartphone. However, common themes arise when you take the time to read through all of the material available.

While using a smartphone, your child can create and distribute images, videos, and text to a global audience even without a cellular data plan. Creating and sending a video to a friend could easily result in that same friend uploading the video to Twitter, YouTube, or any number of media outlets. The thrill of getting likes or hits online can be too tempting to pass up. The distribution is virtually unlimited, and once content has been placed online, it can be nearly impossible to remove. Posting videos or images online can lead to more significant bullying, shaming, and similar concerns. Also, the GPS and location data along with the potential for unintentional oversharing by your 52 WNY Family October 2021

 How does the child handle tablets and gaming systems now? When asked to wrap up, do they comply with ease, or is it a constant battle? Do they appear to obsess over electronics now? If the relationship with technology isn’t healthy now, providing them with a smartphone will only compound the problem.  A smartphone is an avenue for quick and easy communication with their peers. Is there a positive social benefit for this in your household?  Does your child lose things quickly? A smartphone is an expensive item to misplace.  Have you taught your son or daugh-

ter about the ethical, responsible use of a smartphone? For example, do they know not to use the phone to belittle or embarrass others? Do they understand the implications of bullying, sexting, and oversharing?  Are you going to use an application or device to monitor the usage? (Hint: YES!) These questions are designed to help parents begin to think through the decision. I would encourage all parents to do additional research through sites like Common Sense Media and ConnectSafely.

Next Steps You’ve done the research, had the hard conversations, and have decided to give your son or daughter a smartphone. Now what? Here are some next steps to consider before handing over the device.  Create a set of rules together. Sit down with your soon to be smartphone owner and develop a set of guidelines for using the device. There are several templates online that can be used as a starting point. It is essential to include your child in the creation of these rules and the consequences of an infraction. Encouraging them to be a part of the process will lead to them having buy-in to the plan. The rules and outcomes for misuse may differ for each child in

your household, and that’s okay. The guideline should be tailored to the individual instead of a one-size fits-all approach. Lastly, be mindful of flexibility when creating these guidelines. Don’t be too rigid. Give them room to grow and adapt over time.  Model the behavior you expect of your kids. For example, if the rules you create stipulate no smartphone use at the dinner table, you need to put your phone away during that time as well.  Finally, don’t allow the smartphone to take away from quality, face to face interactions with your children. This is some of the best advice I found when researching. It is far too easy to allow a text message’s quick back and forth convenience to replace real dialogue. Remember to focus on the quality of conversations you’re having, not the quantity. In my opinion, one strong interaction is much better than ten weaker ones.

In Conclusion The question “What exactly is the right age to give your son or daughter a smartphone?” is misleading. The answer doesn’t lie in the age of the child. The better question to ask would be, “Is my child developmentally ready for this responsibility?” Smartphones have become part of everyday life. As parents, you need to educate your son or daughter on appropriate, ethical smartphone use. Everyone involved needs to understand the potential risks when going down this path. Parents should work with their young adults to develop a flexible set of rules and consequences to ensure correct usage. Providing your son or daughter with a smartphone can be positive for everyone in the house when the proper support strategies are in place. 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.

BPO Family 4-pack Ticket Giveaway 4 Winners will be selected 1 winner will receive 4 tickets to Elf in Concert - Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 1 winner will receive 4 tickets to Jingle Bell Jam - Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021 1 winner will receive 4 tickets to Tales from the Movies - Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022 1 winner will receive 4 tickets to Peter and the Wolf - Sunday, May 1, 2022

ENTRY DEADLINE: Wednesday, October 27, 2021 YES! Enter Us In “BPO KIDS CONCERT(S)” Drawing!

(ONE entry per family/address. No photocopies accepted. No purchase necessary.) NAME __________________________________________________________________ STREET ________________________________________________________________ CITY _______________________________ STATE ________ ZIP _________________ PHONE __________________________ Kids ages: _____________________________

If you would like to receive our FREE Digital Issue, please provide your email (optional). Email: __________________________________________________________________ MAIL ENTRY to: WNY Family, 3147 Delaware Ave., Suite B, Buffalo, NY 14217

To enter online, visit October 2021 WNY Family 53

DEAR TEACHER – by Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts

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

Attending Conferences Is a Must This Year


arents: Hopefully, you were able to attend Back to School night at the start of the school year. It should have given you a good picture of what your children will be studying this year. Soon you should be receiving information about upcoming Parent/Teacher Conferences. This year, these conferences are likely to return to in-person ones or could remain virtual. It makes no difference, as you must attend to find out some specific information from the teacher. You need to know exactly where your child is academically at the start of this school year. While you participate in a conference, be sure to keep the focus on your child. It is very important to avoid lengthy discussions of subjects not related to the purpose of the conference. And be sure to make it clear to teachers that you want to work with them to help your child succeed in school, You should expect the teacher to give you the answer to these questions: 1) Is my child performing at, above, or below the expected grade level in all of his or her classes? 2) Does my child need special help in any academic subject? What help will be given? How can we help at home? 3) When will my child take state standardized tests this year to evaluate his or her progress in school? 4) How would you describe my child’s work habits? Does he or she regularly complete homework and classwork? 5) What goals are appropriate for my child this year? Above are the questions you need 54 WNY Family October 2021

answers to before your conference time expires. If there is time, it would be helpful for you to also get answers to these questions: 1) How well does my child get along with his or her classmates and teachers? 2) Are there any discipline problems? How can they be improved or eliminated? 3) Can we look over some of my child’s work together? I would like to see specific areas where my child needs improvement or excels. Before the conference you should definitely talk to your child. You need to hear first-hand exactly what he or she thinks about how the school year is going so far. Your child might give you specific issues that should be discussed with the teacher. Another key step is to make sure that you have looked over your child’s work; the quality of the work should not be a surprise to you. And you certainly should be aware of whether your child’s grades have improved, gone down, or remained the same since last year. As part of your conference preparation, jot down anything that you want to talk over with the teacher, from too much homework being assigned to your child’s difficulties with word problems. Try to limit your list to items that are vital to your child’s success in school. At the end of the conference be sure that you and the teacher sum up together any decisions that have been made about your child. Also, remember to thank teachers for all the help that they are giving your child. If necessary, you can schedule an additional conference. Your job is not done when the conference ends. Don’t just forget about the conference once it is over. Be sure to discuss it with your child’s other parent if he or she was not able to attend. And talk

about the conference with your child. Begin by pointing out all the strengths brought out by the teacher. Then talk about the suggestions that were made for improvement. Agree with your child on a plan of action to improve any problem areas. Did the teacher suggest that your child needs a better study schedule? Did you agree to find a tutor to help your child in certain areas. Start to carry out these plans.

Computer Work vs. Paperwork in the Classroom! Question: Our school stayed in person for most of the Pandemic, yet there was a time when almost all of our children’s work was done virtually on the computer. This year at our children’s school, almost all assignments are still being done on the computer. Are there any good arguments for them to do some of their work on paper? — Paperless! Answer: We are definitely in the digital era! And educators appear to want to get as many computers and as much work on computers as they can into classrooms. Also, many of the millennials think that computers are a superior way for their children to learn. Here are a few arguments for doing work on paper rather than computers: 1) Parents are more likely to help their children with homework that is done on paper. 2) Universities are finding out that students who write their class notes by hand retain the information better than students who take notes on their computers. This is probably true for students at all levels. 3) Students universally admit that the biggest challenge of working online is the temptation to look at something else like Facebook updates, Instagram, or photos. 4) Also, students type at very different speeds. So, writing a timed essay may put slower typists at a disadvantage. Parents should send questions and comments to and to learn more about helping their children succeed in school visit the dearteacher website.

Choosing The Right Family Pet


hoosing Spend time THE FAMILY PET the right around the pet or pet for similar pets before your family is very committing to be important. Above their forever home. all, you want to Ask if you can visit make sure all memwith the animal, bers of your family foster them, or take are safe. You want the pet on trial. Disto find a pet you will cuss what options be able to live with you have if your happily for that pet’s home isn’t right for entire lifespan. Here either of you. are some things you 5) How will need to think about before adding a pet all members of your family including to your family. current pets react to the new addition? 1) What is your pet budget? How much can you reasonably afford to pay for the pet, any needed food, equipment, and routine veterinary expenses, as well as emergency care if your pet gets sick or injured?

Does your current dog or cat actually like playing with other animals or prefers to be alone? Is your current cat easily stressed? Think about how you will manage pets if they don’t get along or try to eat each other’s food.

2) Are there any restrictions on the kind of pet you can have now and in the future? If you live or plan to move to an apartment, condo, or dorm, there will likely be limits on the size, kind, and number of pets you can have. Many towns limit the number of dogs per household.

Bring all family members to select/ meet the pet. Make sure the animal is gentle with your children and elderly relative and doesn’t trigger any immediate allergies. Ask if you can bring your current pet to meet the prospect and carefully observe their interactions.

3) How much time do you have to devote to a pet? A young or high-energy dog or a parrot will require much more time training and exercising than a cat or fish. Consider time for walks several times a day, cleaning up after your pet, and any grooming needs. 4) What is your experience with this type of pet? If you have never had a dog before, research different breeds before choosing your new best friend. If you want a bird, reptile, or small mammal investigate a bit and ask your veterinarian if the species you are considering is appropriate for a beginner.

6) What will you do when you travel, or if something happens to you and you are hospitalized? Who will care for the pet? Are there boarding facilities nearby or friends willing to care for this animal? Whenever possible, select a pet from a reputable breeder, shelter or rescue group. Avoid pet stores and puppy mills and be cautious with reptile shows. Pets should never be given as a total surprise. The individuals who will be caring for this pet for its entire life need to be prepared and involved in choosing them to make sure they are best for your situation. October 2021 WNY Family 55

Could Your Child’s Reading Difficulty Be

At home:  Consider tutoring. Individual help from a tutor can really give your child a boost in their reading skills because it can be tailored to your child’s needs and learning style.  Early intervention has been proven to help kids struggling with dyslexia. As soon as you notice a problem, talk to your child’s doctor.


hildren learn to read at their own pace but if your child is struggling to make significant progress as compared to their peers, it may be possible they have a reading disability called dyslexia. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how to relate to letters and words. Dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.” Symptoms of dyslexia may include:  Speech delay, trouble learning words, problems forming words correctly or reversing sounds or words that sound alike  Reading well below the expected level for age, difficulty with spelling, difficulty reading aloud  Trouble remembering sequences or identifying rhyming words, reversing letters or numbers  Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading and writing or avoiding these activities. People who struggle with dyslexia have normal intelligence and can succeed in school and careers with proper tutoring and support. So, how do you go about helping your child succeed?

At school:  Ask for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 plan. In most states, schools are required to provide specialized support for kids diagnosed with dyslexia. 56 WNY Family October 2021


Ability Inspire Advocate

Special Needs Potential Thri

Growth Strategies Talk to your child’s teachers about setting up a meeting with educators to help your child be successful at school.

 Keep in contact with your child’s teacher. If parents and teachers work together, it is easier to support your child through the challenges they may be facing when it comes to homework and school. Check in often with your child’s teacher regularly and encourage them to reach out if the interventions put in place don’t seem to be helping your child make adequate growth.

 Encourage reading. Take turns reading aloud to your child, model good reading habits, and add reading to everyday activities (cooking, games, or instructions). Turn off electronics and add reading time to your day.

Be supportive  Encourage your child’s efforts and be supportive of them as they work through challenges.  Talk to them about what they are struggling with and discuss ideas that will help solve problems they may be facing.  Join a support group or see a counselor. Having people around you that understand what you are going through and offer support can be a big help as you learn how to be a support for your child.  Support learning at home. Provide a clean, organized, and quiet place to study and offer help as needed. If you believe your child may have dyslexia, talk to your doctor about testing, resources, and support. There is no single test that can determine if your child has dyslexia. Your doctor may use a combination of questionnaires, medical history, psychological evaluations, and academic testing to determine if your child has dyslexia. Early intervention and a good partnership between parents and teachers are key to helping kids feel confident and successful in school and in future careers. Sarah Lyons has been published in KC Parent, Georgia Family, Austin Family, Creative Child and many other parenting publications.

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  October 2021 WNY Family 57

know that you worked for the money and get to spend it guilt-free.


3.How to talk to strangers.

The customers you encounter at your place of employment will not be as kind or forgiving as your grandmother. They are total strangers who need your help to get them something or solve a problem. You will learn to appreciate the patient ones and to gently calm and redirect the difficult ones.

— by Pam Molnar

Ten Life Skills You Learn

4. Todon’tworklike. with people you

by Having a High School Job


ccording to the U.S. Department of Labor, only 20 percent of today’s high school students work year-round, part time jobs. This has been on a steady decline since 1979 when 58 percent of high school students were employed. Advocates in support of working teens believe today’s high school students who don’t work are at a disadvantage if they wait to get their first job after college. These ten life skills are not taught in a traditional classroom, but can only be acquired with on the job training.


Time management. With 168

hours in a week, you will figure out how to fit in classroom time, homework, sports, as well as social and family commitments. You will not only learn how to work smarter and more efficiently, but also learn to prioritize and discover that it’s okay to say no to things that are not that important to you.


The value of a dollar earned.

When you see something that you really want – from a Starbucks coffee to a car of your own – you feel a combination of pride and happiness to

This isn’t a class assignment where you choose your partner or sports activity where you have known the other players for 10 years. These are people who may handle things differently than you do, who may have different morals, or who do not work as hard as you do.

5. Having a job means work.

Work is not always fun, even for people who love their jobs. Paperwork, maintenance, and cleaning is part of any job. You will learn to do it efficiently so you don’t have to do it over.


How to work under pressure.

Stress on the job comes from the never satisfied customer, a rush order, broken equipment, a co-worker who stands around, and sometimes, all of that at once. The trick is to not take it person-

How a Part Time Job Prepares you for College and Beyond Having a part time job shows college admissions that you can handle the extra responsibility that comes with a job. You have proven that you can balance your time with your schoolwork, preparing you for the independence of college life. Working with co-workers and irrational customers will be a bonus when trying to negotiate with roommates or in other group settings. If working in high school was more of a necessity instead of a way to feed your Starbucks habit, it will show you are serious about your education since you have some skin in the game. The Common App allows you to list part time jobs under activities, in case you had to give up some extracurriculars to work. If you were lucky enough to work in your field of study during high school, for example, in a veterinary clinic, you will probably have a jump start on your classmates. But even if you just held a job flipping burgers, you have real work experiences, mistakes and solutions that you can build on for the rest of your life. 58 WNY Family October 2021

ally as you work through the problem at hand.

7. Keep your cool.

Although you would like to scream, “Hurry up and decide lady! There is a line of people behind you,” it will probably not go over well. Instead, you learn to take a deep breath and work with the customer until she is satisfied. The same goes for co-worker conflicts. A rational conversation about the issue will be more effective.

8. Treat people like you want to be treated.

My son recently came home and complained about the people who don’t tip. Regardless of the fact that a large tip jar sits by the register in many establishments, a lot of people ignore them, thinking they are already paying enough for the product or service. When you rely on tips as a part of your pay, you find that you become a better tipper when you are out.


The skills required at the job. Depending on where

you work, the skills you pick up may be used later in life. You will learn how to count change without relying on the register, what temperature food needs to be in for the safe zone, or how to pack and stack boxes so they won’t shift in transit.


Hard work pays off.Giving 100% at work may get you a raise, an opportunity to advance or learn new skills, and even get the better shifts. The work ethic you develop at your first job will shape the type of employee you will be in the future.


Exploring Educa tion A Special Pull-Out Section

Pam Molnar is a writer, business owner and mother of three. Pam, as well as her husband and kids, all navigated school and sports alongside a part time job in high school.

Want to reach local parents who VALUE the EDUCATION of their children? We reach 55,000 of them each month! Showcase your school, organization or education-related business to tens of thousands of WNY parents in this annual pull-out section. Editorial content focuses on various aspects of education in WNY, targeted to elementary grades and higher, including college.






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October 2021 WNY Family 59


The Single Parent’s Most Precious Commodity


ane, a single mother of three children, wakes up at 5:30am every morning. Each of her three children attends a different school — she has one in elementary, one in middle, and one in high school — so there are different departure and arrival times for them all. Her 9:00-5:00 job is across town, through the worst rush hour traffic, and she is attending school two nights a week so that she can get rid of the low-paying job she has now and make more money, with more flexible hours. The problem is, says Jane, that by the time she gets a degree and more time, she’ll have an empty nest! Sound familiar? Single parents are understandably motivated to better themselves and their families, especially since statistics show that income levels and standards of living for custodial parents decrease significantly following divorce. Yet, they are typically doing the job of two people just to stay afloat, which even for some twoparent families, can be difficult these days. How far should single parents go with the precious time they have? That’s the question that keeps many guessing. Marion Peterson and Diane Warner, in their classic book Single Parenting for Dummies (2003, Wiley Publishing), says “It all comes down to priorities.” They suggest that saying “no” to things that do not matter may be the only way to survive while moving forward. “Every time you say ‘no’ to others, you’re saying ‘yes’ to your kids and yourself.” You can choose to focus on everything and get nothing accomplished or 60 WNY Family October 2021

SINGLE PARENTING — by Diane C. Dierks, LMFT focus on one thing and get something accomplished. If you want to accomplish something, try narrowing your focus. This may require you to set boundaries that, up to this point, have not been comfortable for you. But with a little practice, it will become easier to simplify life by saying “no” more often. The first step is to make a list of all the things you absolutely must do to live. Working to pay bills, eating, sleeping, and caring for your children’s needs are the most common. After listing these, you may realize you have no time left! Here are some questions to ask yourself about the list: 1) Are you working your job as efficiently as you can? Simplify and organize so that you are not having to work late or on weekends. If you have a long commute, are there other job opportunities that could cut that time in half? Are you in a job that is right for your style and interests? If not, find one that fits. Our jobs are our biggest time robbers, but they’re necessary to living. So, find one that feeds you in more ways than one. 2) Are you getting enough sleep? Sleep deprivation can cause a snowball of physical and emotional problems. Make sure you are taking care of that very basic need.

3) Are your children at an age when they are ready to take on more responsibilities for themselves? Teach them how to wake up to their own alarm clock, make their own breakfast, pack their own lunches, and do their own laundry. Too often, we do too much for our kids and deprive them of learning important personal skills. Get them to help you with all the necessary household and personal care chores. Next, make a list of all the things you do on a weekly basis that are not necessities of living. Items on this list might be trivial ones like ironing, watching television, surfing Instagram, watering the houseplants, folding bath towels, talking to telemarketers, etc. Or they may be more significant things like volunteering at your favorite charity, having lunch with a friend, or singing in the church choir. Once you’ve made this list, put numbers to the left of each one based on priority (1 for very important and 5 for unimportant). To the right of each one, mark how much time each activity takes out of your week. You may have to keep a journal for a week to determine this. Calculate the total amount of time taken by all of the activities that you did not rate as top priorities. You may be surprised at the number of hours you spend on unimportant things. Figure out how to cut these things out of your schedule. Buy clothing that needs no ironing, hang up on telemarketers, use a timer to limit your internet time, buy silk houseplants that need no watering, and throw all of

your clean bath towels in a basket (who says you have to fold them?)! Now, look at your top priorities. Keep the ones that are dear to your heart and that add to your personal or spiritual growth. If they don’t, say “no” to keeping them on your list. Your daily activities should reflect your personal goals. Keep in mind that your goals need to be realistic and attainable. Rather than having a long list of goals you are trying to focus on at once, set a main theme goal for the year and focus on that until you accomplish it or develop the right habit to accomplish it. Then next year, devise a new theme goal and add activities that complement your theme. This way, you will evolve and grow slowly and deliberately, rather than always taking three steps forward and two steps back. For example, last year, I decided my main goal was that I wanted to nurture my friendships because I had gotten so busy the year before, that I lost track of a very important support system. I committed to having lunch with a friend once a month and to text or call one at least once per week. Now, that I am in that habit and my friendships have gotten much stronger, I can now focus on a new goal for this year and add activities that fit with my new theme. The key to making the best use of your time is prioritizing your activities and saying “no” to things that don’t matter to you. Once you’ve simplified your life, you will then have time to begin focusing on making changes or adding activities that feed your soul. A parent whose tank is full has something significant to give his or her children. Empty your tank of the crud and fill it with the stuff that matters. Diane C. Dierks is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also author of The CoParent Toolbox (2014 Aha! Publishing) and Solo Parenting: Raising Strong & Happy Families (1997 Fairview Press). For more information visit her website is

4 Ways Single Dads Can Play a Bigger Role in the Lives of their Children Dads’ Resource Center offers tips for how to help Dad be more involved and valued


ccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of children living with a single parent has been steadily rising for decades. Today, nearly a quarter of all children in the country live with just one of their parents, which is more than three times more than other children around the world. A lot of the attention of single parents goes to the moms, leaving single dads forgotten and overlooked. Most dads do want to play a larger role in the lives of their children, but they are not sure how to make it happen. The good news is that there are things that can be done to help make it possible. “More than any other project or cause that society needs to work on, we must work with passion and urgency to eliminate the systemic barriers to single-father involvement in the lives of our children,” explains Dr. Joel N. Myers, founder of Dads’ Resource Center. “We must make the time to educate everyone about the overwhelming evidence — backed up by thousands of years of anecdotal evidence and numerous studies over recent decades — that shows children develop much better when both of their parents are actively involved in their lives.” Dr. Myers, a father of eight, founded Dads’ Resource Center to help combat the issues associated with children growing up without their fathers in the home. At its heart, the center is a child advocacy organization that aims to ensure that each child has the appropriate involvement and contributions from both parents. Here are four things fathers can do to play a bigger role in the lives of their children: Make Their Children Their Primary Focus – Whatever complications or challenges may exist, the safety, health, happiness and well-being of their children should be any parent’s primary concern. This should be displayed not only in words but consistently through actions. Respectfully Co-parent – Separated parents should always communicate with one a other in a polite and courteous manner at all times. They should make every effort to accommodate reasonable adaptations to parenting plans, never knowingly portray the other parent in a negative light and do their best to support the relationship between their ex and their children.  Ensure the Basic Needs of Their Children – Every parent’s number one priority is guaranteeing the safety and welfare of their children. This means making sure that their financial, medical, educational, and developmental needs are always being met.  Commit to Being the Best Father Possible – All parents should continuously work to spend quality time interacting with their children. They should role model and be a positive influence for their sons and daughters. They should mentor and teach them and strive to be the best person possible in order to model for them.  Dads’ Resource Center has been established to benefit children of separated or divorced parents by advocating the importance of fathers having adequate opportunities to fulfill their role of fatherhood. The group helps get information regarding the issues out to the public and work with fathers to help make improvements. To get more information, visit the site at: October 2021 WNY Family 61


rom crispy treats to ghosttopped cupcakes, marshmallows are a classic go-to for baking spooky sweets, but the ingredients in those marshmallows don’t need to induce nightmares! Dandies brand marshmallows are vegan. Most people don’t think marshmallows have animal products, but the majority contain gelatin, an animal based product. Produced in the company’s dedicated vegan and nut-free facility, the treats are also free of the common allergens wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, and tree nuts, along with being vegetarian-friendly, certified kosher, and NonGMO Project Verified.

Dandies also makes yummy, little Pumpkin Marshmallows! They are perfect for adding fall flair to dessert recipes or a cozy cup of cocoa. Their plant-based and vegan mini marshmallows are made with clean ingredients like natural pumpkin flavor and vegan cane sugar to deliver a delicate touch of autumn sweetness. They make an ideal topping for sweet potato casserole. Packaged in new 5oz snack-size bags, Dandies Pumpkin Marshmallows will be available September through November. You can find Dandies at local supermarkets or online. Follow this link for more information and recipe ideas:

Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potatoes One (10 ounce) package of Dandies® Mini Marshmallows (original or pumpkin) 2 Sweet Potatoes — cut in half inch slices 5 Tbsps. Vegan margarine 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar 1/2 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika 1/4 tsp Ground Clove 1/4 tsp Cinnamon 1/4 tsp Allspice Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and spices. Layer the sweet potato slices in a baking dish and sprinkle the spice mixture on top. Drop the Tablespoons of vegan margarine over the sweet potatoes and stir with a spatula. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Poke potatoes with a fork to make sure they are tender. Remove foil and sprinkle on Dandies® Marshmallows. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the Dandies begin to puff up and turn golden. Enjoy!

If you have any questions about our column, e-mail Kathy at allergy@ For further information about food allergies, contact FARE, 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. 62 WNY Family October 2021

Witch Hat Crispy Treats These cute little witch hat crispy treats are the perfect Halloween treat! Makes approximately 6-8 treats. 1 bag Dandies Marshmallows 5 cups cocoa crisp rice cereal 2 tablespoons coconut oil 2 tablespoons vegan margarine Vegan candies First make marshmallow cream: In a microwave safe bowl, combine marshmallows, margarine, and coconut oil. In 30-second intervals, with a quick stir between each, microwave until marshmallows are fully melted. Stove top option: In a medium pot on very LOW heat, combine margarine, coconut oil and marshmallows. Stir until fully broken down. To make witch hats: Mix cocoa rice cereal into marshmallow cream and stir until thoroughly coated. Take a golf ball size of crispy mixture and shape into a disk. Take another handful of crispy mixture and shape into a cone, stick two shapes together. Bend the top of the cone to make the hat look flopped over. Press one of the vegan candies in the middle of the hat. Repeat with rest of the crispy mixture. Let cool and enjoy!



— by Barbara Blackburn

J’s is a very friendly place offering a kiddie menu, with no age limit, according to our super server. Breakfast, lunch or dinner come with milk or juice (or a soft drink) in the range of $4.50 to $5.50. Our server said that seniors are welcome to order from the Kiddie Menu. Available for breakfast at any time are Silver Dollar Pancakes; Egg, bacon, sausage links or ham, and toast; or French Toast with Maple or Boysenberry syrup. Lunch or Dinner on the Kiddie Menu lists Hot Dog on Roll with French Fries, Burger with fries, Grilled Cheese Sandwich with fries, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Pizza with applesauce, Peanut Butter & Jelly with applesauce, Chicken Fingers with fries, and Macaroni and Cheese with applesauce,

ZJ’s Family Restaurant

140 Pine Street Hamburg, NY 14075



The board on the entryway wall announced my pick: 3 Sliders (classic burger, Texas style, and BBQ). With it came onion petals — what a treat! This special was a few dollars cheaper than the regular burgers ($12.00 and $13.00). My favorite was the one with the Texas hot sauce. Dad did a dinner ($15.50) of Filet Tenderloins of Beef, served with choice of potatoes or rice pilaf, vegetable, chef salad or cup of soup, and dinner rolls. His choice included mashed potatoes with gravy, peas, and dinner rolls, preceded by topnotch clam chowder. It’s always nice when the tenderloin is tender! Dad even enjoyed his canned peas, which reminded me of childhood meals. We usually opt for the more fused exotic choices, so that it’s a treat to get something from another era. ZJ’s offers many choices out of the past in its categories, like good old fashioned and unpretentious Liver with Bacon or Onions, homemade Meatloaf with Gravy, and Veal Cutlet with mushroom

Gravy (each $14.50). Yet, into the modern era, Friday Seafood Specials highlight Coconut Shrimp and a category of Souvlaki Dinners ($18.00), including The Best of Everything — Chicken, Beef or Gyro. There’s much authentic Greek here at ZJ’s. In the sandwich choices the specialty is the Reuben/ Kinkaid ($12.50). These two triple deckers differ in that one has corned beef and the other turkey, along with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut or coleslaw, partnered with Thousand Island dressing. What they share in common is that both are deliciously toothsome.


A salad eater can explore seven regular combinations, plus a simple Chef Salad, along with the special, which was Chicken Walnut, served with pita. Many pictures populate the menu, one of which is the Pittsburgh ($16.00), a meeting of chicken, pan-seared shrimp or filet tenderloin of beef, served with warm Riviera dressing. Quite a few other categories include a special of the week. There’s quite a selection with thirteen omelettes plus a surprise specialty in the omelette section. With the omelettes, you can enjoy toast and home fries or pancakes or French toast. The Greek touch shows up in the modestly priced desserts, with Homemade Rice Pudding ($3.50). We’ve noticed that restaurants that keep long hours and serve breakfast at all of them usually have rice pudding and some other Greek favorites, along with the all-American fare, and so it is with ZJ’s. Incidentally, Zigfried and Jeff form the name of this restaurant, which has tables, booths, counter, high chairs, and boosters. This is a very accommodating place for casual cuisine and comfort, with a touch of gourmet and grandma.


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Profile for WNY Family Magazine

October 2021  

It’s our October issue and here comes Halloween! We have some spook-tacular ways to create your family’s best-ever pumpkin and tips to keep...

October 2021  

It’s our October issue and here comes Halloween! We have some spook-tacular ways to create your family’s best-ever pumpkin and tips to keep...

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