Tag Archives: Children

Senator Gillibrand visits Elmhurst to call for healthier school meals

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

As the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) is set to expire at the end of next month, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited Elmhurst on Monday to call for its renewal and defend the availability of healthy breakfasts and lunches at public schools across America.

Gillibrand, along with Congresswoman Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and hunger advocates, came to I.S. 5 seeking greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables at schools, as well as expanding the amount of students eligible for a summer meal program.

“Class hasn’t started yet but we are already hard at work to make sure our children receive nutritious meals they need to thrive, both during the school year and during summer break,” Gillibrand said. “It’s our responsibility to make sure our children are well-fed.”

The HHFKA will expire on Sept. 30, and as Congress prepares to debate renewing the programs within the act, Gillibrand is advocating for preserving the existing nutrition standards including the requirement of fresh fruits vegetables every day; improving student participation rates in the School Breakfast Program; strengthening the ties between farmers, producers and meal service providers by bolstering farm-to-school programs; and helping school nutrition professionals meet their standard requirements, support peer mentorship programs and provide grants for improved kitchen equipment.

The HHFKA was a landmark piece of legislation that required school lunches to contain at least a one-half cup serving of fresh fruit and vegetables in order to be eligible for federal reimbursement.

“As a mother of two young boys who attend public school in Queens and as founder and co-chair of the Congressional Kids Safety Caucus, I know firsthand how important the fight for accessible and proper nutrition is,” Meng said.

In addition, Gillibrand is advocating to give more children the ability to access healthy summer meals by expanding access to the USDA Summer Food Service Program, as well as reducing barriers and making it easier for existing afterschool meal providers to sponsor Summer Meal Programs.

“Here in New York there are 1.7 million children who rely on this school meal,” Gillibrand said. “And over the summer, less than one-third of our kids can actually access those meals.”

Gillibrand’s Summer Meals Act would lower the threshold to allow areas with 40 percent or more of students receiving free or reduced lunch to be eligible for the program, down 10 percent from the current threshold of 50 percent. This would add 3.2 million children into eligibility.

“Our free summer meals program provides every child in the city the chance to eat healthy, nutritious food every day and that is critical for their development,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said in a statement. “By offering meals free of charge at accessible locations throughout the five boroughs, we are meeting families where they are and helping children continue good habits over the summer.”

Gillibrand’s legislation would provide children with transportation to summer meal sites, offer the option of an additional meal to children who attend evening programs, as well as reducing the paperwork for meal program sponsors that want to participate in the program.

“What the senator is doing here is bringing national attention to the fact that if you don’t have the tools to succeed, if we don’t give children the tools that they need, and those tools are more than books and pens and a classroom with wonderful teachers,” Katz said. “Those tools are also the nutrition that children need in order to focus, in order to have attention, in order to be able to succeed in life.”


Queens children’s author visits students at Glendale school

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Students at Glendale’s P.S. 91 Richard Arkwright School got a special treat on Friday when children’s author Dee Ardelean came to read the first installment of her new short story series, “Pup: A Series of Short Tails.”

Principal Victoria Catalano was extremely happy to have Ardelean at the school because it was the kick-off event for a series of authors coming to P.S. 91.

“This is the first one of these that we’ve done,” she said. “It’s kind of exciting since we’ve never done this before.”

Catalano connected with Ardelean through one of the first-grade teachers, Janet Stojic. Stojic and Ardelean were childhood friends and grew up together in Ridgewood, so when she heard Catalano was looking for an author to come to the school, she reached out to Ardelean, who gladly accepted.

“It is important to give back to the community,” Stojic said. “It is important to acknowledge people who grew up in the neighborhood and what they have done and to grow a sense of community.”

Ardelean currently lives in Astoria and really loved growing up in Ridgewood.

“You are exposed to so many places of the world. There is a lot of culture here,” she said of her hometown. “I enjoyed it a lot.”

Ardelean started out by reading her book, which was the first one she has ever written, to the entire first-grade class who laughed along to the story. After the reading was over Ardelean answered questions from the students and asked them what they thought of the story and what might happen in the next book.

“I thought I would pass out but it was easy,” Ardelean said with a laugh. “I am very thankful.” This was her first time doing a book reading and had a mix of emotions.

“I was amazed when they reached out to me to come and read to the students,” she said. “I was both excited and nervous at the same time. It was a real honor being asked to come. I just felt thrilled.”

Ardelean has had a connection with writing since an early age.

“I always wrote stories while I was growing up,” she said. “It was a place I could get lost in and it made my imagination go crazy. I could express myself better.”

To become a writer, “I did it all independently,” she explained. “It is a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I get to be really creative with everything I do.”

Before the first-graders left the auditorium, they were each given a signed copy of Ardelean’s book as a souvenir. Both the kindergarten and second-grade classes also got to attend a reading session and received copies of the book.

Catalano asked Ardelean if she would come back and do this again for some of the older grades, and the author agreed. Ardelean announced that she is working on a chapter book for older kids.

Evelyn Santoro, the school’s librarian, set up the entire event and was excited to hear that Ardelean would come back and read more of her work for the students. The school also cannot wait for the next author to come and visit.

“It’s really great to have an actual author come to talk to the kids,” Santoro said.


David Blaine performs for children and staff at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

It’s magic!

David Blaine, one of the most famous illusionists in the world, came to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center on Tuesday to visit some of the children in the pediatric ward — and he wound up putting on a magic show for the hospital staff as well in a sign of gratitude for all they do.

The show lasted for an hour and was filled with all types of card tricks and mind-boggling acts. It was so “out of this world” that one doctor even said, “I’m going to pass out,” because he could not process how Blaine could pull off the tricks.

In one act, Blaine had a volunteer come up and place 10 cards in his breast pocket. He then asked for the man to cover his pocket with his hand so people knew he wasn’t cheating. Blaine proceeded to ask the man how many cards he now wanted in his pocket. The man answered “eight.” So Blaine flicked the deck of cards in his hand eight times and told the man he now had 18 cards in his pocket.


When the man pulled the cards out he counted 17. Already stunned, the man asked why there were only 17 cards in his pocket and not 18. Blaine then told him to check under his wrist watch,  where the man found the 18th card folded up. The man jumped and yelled, not understanding how Blaine pulled off the trick while the room filled with applause.

After the magic show, Blaine stayed to take pictures with the staff and sign some autographs. He then went back to visit more children in the pediatric ward. It was something that Ramon Rodriguez, president and CEO of the hospital, greatly appreciated.

“We [were] so grateful to have him here,” he said.


Cops looking for man after wife, two children found stabbed to death in Jamaica apartment

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook

Updated Monday, Jan. 20, 2:30 p.m.

Police are looking for the father of two young girls who were discovered fatally stabbed inside their Jamaica home Sunday night with their mother, police said.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 28, who is a suspect in the case, is known to drive a white 2001 Chevrolet commercial van with the license plate 22128MD and a white 1995 Dodge Suburban with the license plate  GHS2798, according to the NYPD.

Deisy Garcia, 21, and her children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1, were found just after 7 p.m. in a bedroom of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment, cops said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes



Street Talk: What do you think of Mayor Michael Bloomberg requiring flu shots for students?

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com




It makes sense, students who aren’t vaccinated pose a health risk to the other students.
Albert Sherman


I agree with the idea, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get flu shots.
Derrick Logan


I think the idea is good, but I’m not sure it’s his place to force vaccinations on students.
George Thomas


I don’t see why anyone would be against this policy; children are supposed to be getting their flu shots anyway.
Jaime Davis


I just feel sorry for people who might not be able to afford a flu shot for their children. What are they supposed to do?
Joann Banks


I think Bloomberg should just mind his own business. He’s on his way out of office soon anyway, there’s no point in starting this up now.
Kristina Ballard


I think it’s a good idea from a logical standpoint, because vaccinations are a good thing. But, it’s not right to force them on people who might not want to give their kids a flu shot for whatever reason.
Matt Clayton


On the one hand, I can see why it’s good for kids to be vaccinated, but on the other hand, it shouldn’t be forced on them, even though it’s for the best.
Stacy Palmer

How to talk to your child about tragedy

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

With the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut plastered all over the news, chances are that children are going to catch a glimpse of a television broadcast or overhear a conversation about it. Helaine Shahar, a Bayside-based Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), gave The Courier some insight into how to speak to kids about the horrific event.

– Look out for behavioral changes.

Children struggling with emotional turmoil often have difficulty sleeping, isolate themselves for others and tend to refrain from engaging in conversation as much as they used to. Gauge their behavior on a scale of one to 10. If their level of activity is usually around a five or six and rockets to a nine or plummets to a two, something is up.

– Find out what they need first.

Some kids who have never had a serious discussion about emotions may feel awkward suddenly opening up about such a sensitive topic. It’s important to find out what the child needs from you before you hand out information that might be overwhelming.

– If kids don’t know about it, you don’t have to tell them.

There’s no use upsetting a child, especially if they are very young. If they don’t know what happened and you feel it’s best they remain in the dark, that’s OK.

– If they do know, it’s important to understand what they understand.

According to Shahar, if a child is aware that a tragedy occurred, one of the best things to do is ask them what they think happened. “If they say they’re afraid, that’s OK,” said Shahar. Make sure you normalize the day and let them know it’s not something that happens on a regular basis.

– Be clear about your own feelings.

Parents have to be clear about how they’re feeling themselves. Otherwise, their feelings might spill over to their children. “If children see their parents being upset, they have to be able to explain their own behavior,” said Shahar.

– Talk about it more than once.

It’s important to have several conversations. Continue to check in, even if it’s just to ask how they’re feeling or if they thought about the incident. Even if they didn’t think about it that particular day, keeping a dialogue about the incident lets kids know you are still open to discussing it if it does upset them.

What’s the key to your child getting a good night’s sleep?

| Brandpoint@queenscourier.com


As a parent, do you dread the evening hours because bedtime is such a struggle? Do your children do everything they can to delay turning the lights out? Do they experience fear and anxiety when you leave the room? These all-too-common scenarios play out in countless households every evening, leaving mom and dad wondering what they can do to help their kids get the sleep they need without a flood of tears.

Toddlers need an average of 12 to 14 hours of sleep. But, two-thirds of all children younger than 10 experience one or more sleep problems at least three nights a week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Difficulties range from stalling or resisting going to bed to snoring and sleepwalking. Desperate parents are left frustrated as they simply want their little ones to get the sleep they need.

“Kids really need to have that sleep in their bodies to have enough energy to make it through the day, think smart thoughts and grow properly,” says Jennifer Waldburger, a family sleep therapist from Sleepy Planet and consultant for The Jim Henson Company’s “Pajanimals” children’s series. “The idea is to get the child to visualize the process, to understand that it’s normal, healthy and OK to fall asleep.”

Establishing a regular bedtime routine is key, says Waldburger, and anyone putting the child to bed must be on that same schedule.

“Stay consistent. Make sure you stick to that routine and schedule,”stresses Waldburger.

Some simple steps that can be part of a good bedtime routine include:

* Quiet, calm play on the floor. Avoid stimulating toys that are noisy or have flashing lights.

* Rocking and reading story books. Try making up a story together that feels very calming and relaxing and happy for a child. Sing together or listen to calm music.

* Start a favorite ritual, such as saying good night to the stuffed animals or the moon.

* Turn on white noise such as a fan.

* Offer a transitional object and a brief cuddle before leaving the room.

A transitional object is something your child can use to feel safe and comfort himself – such as a small blanket or stuffed animal – and that reminds him of you. It can be especially useful during times of separation, such as at bedtime.-

To thwart your child’s worries about going to sleep alone, try using a transitional object, such as a small stuffed animal starting around the age of one. Recognizable objects can help provide a high level of comfort, although what the child ends up choosing is up to him or her.

How to help kids adjust to sleep schedule changes

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

(BPT) – As a parent, you know how important a routine can be in keeping your children happy and well-adjusted. However, there will come a time where your tried-and-true routine must be adjusted to handle life’s circumstances.

Whether it’s every year at daylight saving time, the start of the school year or holiday travel, you’ll often be faced with the challenge of adjusting what time your child wakes up and goes to bed. But there’s no reason to panic when sleep schedules change. With a few helpful tips, you can have your children back on a routine and feeling rested as they adjust to their new schedules.

Sleep expert Kim West, licensed clinical social worker, also known as The Sleep Lady, offers the following tips for making a seamless transition to new bedtimes.

Daylight saving

During the fall we change the clocks back an hour late at night while we sleep. The next morning let your child wake up at his natural time – which according to the clock will be an hour earlier. Schedule your day according to the new clock time. If your child’s bedtime was 7:30 p.m. the clock will say 6:30 p.m. Make sure your child is well napped so they can make it to at least 7 p.m. the new time. If your child is too tired the first day and you fear they will miss their sleep window then put them to bed at 6:30 p.m. and try to gently push their bedtime later the next day. She may wake up early for a few days but then she’ll adjust.

New school or day care schedule

Changes and transitions can be stressful for small children who don’t always understand why they are happening. It’s not uncommon to see your child suddenly have more difficulty separating than usual whether it’s at drop-off at school or saying good night at bedtime. There may be more stalling and cajoling to keep you in their room at night or even more frequent nightmares. It’s important to make sure that your child doesn’t get sleep deprived which can make the changes more difficult.

Holiday travel

It can be hard for children (and adults) to fall asleep in a new place. To help make it easier, bring along a lovey and pack a night light, and go ahead and take along favorite books and toys. You want your child to have items that feel and smell comforting and familiar.

Bedtime preparations should be in your child’s room, not all over the house. Include stories, songs, or games that soothe, not stimulate. Make sure the rules for how many stories, or how long you will read, are completely clear and non-negotiable. Leave plenty of time, at least a half hour, for her to unwind, and to get the attention from you she needs. If she starts bargaining for an even longer time with you, tell her the clock says you have to stop reading at 8 p.m., so you have 10 minutes. If two parents take turns at bedtime, you don’t have to follow an identical script but you should have a similar routine, style and response to bedtime power plays, fears or manipulation.

Many children may not be comfortable in complete darkness, but darkness is important to a restful night of sleep as it allows the body to initiate the melatonin secretion process that’s key to restorative rest. Toys designed to help your children sleep can help soothe your child and provide a dim light to put him more at ease as he falls asleep.

By consciously making an effort to help your child adjust to a new schedule, you’ll help ensure that sleep-filled nights will continue for everyone in the family. The small changes you make will have big effects, as everyone will be happier when they’re getting a good night’s sleep.

Most common car seat mistakes

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


(BPT) – Four million babies are born in the United States each year and that means more than 4 million new car seats are being installed. While great strides have been made to ensure that every infant rides in a car seat, unfortunately, parents are making five critical, but fixable, mistakes when using car seats, according to new data announced by Safe Kids Worldwide and the General Motors Foundation.

“Correctly used child safety seats can reduce the risk of death by as much as 71 percent,” said Kate Carr, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. “Engineers are working hard to ensure cars and car seats are designed to keep kids as safe as possible. But it’s up to every parent to take full advantage of these innovations by making sure car seats are used and installed correctly.”

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death to children ages 1 to 13. In a nationwide effort to educate parents about the importance of car seat safety, Safe Kids and the General Motors Foundation are asking every parent to take 15 minutes for an at-home car seat checkup using the Safe Kids downloadable checklist.

The checkup provides the following important tips that will help parents begin to ensure their car seat is used and installed properly:

* Right seat. Check the label on your car seat to make sure it’s appropriate for your child’s age, weight and height. Like milk, your car seat has an expiration date. Just double check the label on your car seat to make sure it is still safe.

* Right place. Kids are VIPs, just ask them. We know all VIPs ride in the back seat, so keep all children in the back seat until they are 13.

* Right direction. You want to keep your child in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible, usually until around age 2. When he or she outgrows the seat, move your child to a forward-facing car seat. Make sure to attach the top tether after you tighten and lock the seat belt or lower anchors.

* Inch test. Once your car seat is installed, give it a good shake at the base. Can you move it more than an inch side to side or front to back? A properly installed seat will not move more than an inch.

* Pinch test. Make sure the harness is tightly buckled and coming from the correct slots (check car seat manual). Now, with the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, you’re good to go.

The at-home checklist is meant to be a first step. Parents are encouraged to read the vehicle and car seat instruction manuals to help with the checklist. Parents are also encouraged to bring their car, car seat and child to certified child passenger safety technicians, who are waiting to help. Safe Kids hosts car seat inspection events across the country throughout the year.

To download a Safe Kids Car Seat Checklist or to find a car seat checkup event in your area, visit www.safekids.org.

What children teach us about happiness

| ejoycoaching@gmail.com

If you know where to look, children can teach us a lot about happiness. Here are 13 ways based on an article by Melissa Sher, blogger, mammalingo.com.

1. They make friends fast. No one is a stranger to my son. Wherever we are he says hello and automatically makes the “stranger” his friend. In the play area of Chick-fil-A he welcomes new children with “Hello, I’m Jonah do you want to be my friend?” I’ve never seen a response other than a resounding “YES!”

2. They don’t hold grudges. When it’s over, it’s over. They don’t gossip about what happened and they aren’t mad for days.

3. They’re curious – about everything. “Why?” is Jonah’s favorite word and he’s not asking to be a wise guy, he is really curious. “Why is the moon out only at night?” We would all be better off by being more curious and less judgmental. Life is so much more interesting and wondrous that way.

4. They’re confident. “Look how high I can jump!” “Look how strong I am!” They never question how wonderful and capable they are. As Melissa says and I agree, we start out filled with confidence and then ever so slowly it leaks out like helium from a balloon. Search for ways to regain your confidence. Take note of your strengths and celebrate them!

5. They play – no matter where they are they make play a priority and not just to check it off the list or put it on a resume. They take their play seriously, enjoying it wherever they are.

6. They’re not afraid to show their feelings – the good, the bad and the ugly. The ugly can lead mom or dad to make lame excuses like “he hasn’t eaten today” or “she missed her nap.” But children let it out without concern about what anyone else thinks. How can you let your feelings out? Hopefully not with temper tantrums (although those won’t hurt anyone in the privacy of your own car) but finding a way to let them out will make you a happier person.

7. They don’t mind getting dirty. I love watching my kids eat ice cream. They are always wearing it afterwards and they are smiling ear to ear. Exploring in the dirt or sand? Always fun just like finger painting (with their whole body).

8. They’re uninhibited. They have no problem going to the market in rain boots, shorts and a fireman hat if that brings them joy or belting out a song in the aisles. They don’t worry what others think about them, they follow their hearts. How can you forget about what others think and follow your bliss?

9. They don’t care about price tags. Whether it’s a designer outfit or a Target special, if Jonah loves a shirt, he loves it. He doesn’t care what it costs and he doesn’t care what labels his friends are wearing either.

10. They’re cheap dates too. Sure, Jonah enjoyed the primo seats at a Coldplay concert but he is just as happy going for a scoop of ice cream or spending hours at the park. His imagination takes him on great adventures without leaving the house!

11. They’re funny – very funny! Their laughs are contagious. Just try and keep from smiling when a child (or baby) is laughing. They love to laugh at their own jokes and they may not even make it to the punch line since they laugh from beginning to end.

12. They see the best in people. Cynicism does not exist in preschool. They may be gullible but they love with ease and enjoy the company of people from all walks of life.

13. They’re honest – when they tell you that you are the most beautiful mommy in the world, they really mean it.

As you can see, there is a lot to learn about happiness from a child. Why not take this fall/winter and start putting some of their lessons into action. Let me know how you do at it and how much happiness it brings you.

To life!


Tips for inspiring young readers

| ara@queenscourier.com

It’s never too early – or too late – to help your child discover the joy of reading. In fact, reading aloud to your child helps build important vocabulary and language skills that last a lifetime. Despite the considerable evidence of a relationship between reading regularly to a child and that child’s later reading development, six out of 10 babies and five out of 10 toddlers are not read to regularly by parents or family members.

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and the Buddig Be A Reader campaign offer scores of activities, tips and resources for raising readers of every age:

* Start reading to your children when they are very small and make this time together a special time without everyday distractions. Continue reading aloud to children even after they’re reading on their own.

* Choose books carefully and ask your kids what they like and don’t like. Your children’s input will help you guide them to good books.

* Consider books with big, bright colorful illustrations and pictures of familiar objects for infants or very young toddlers. Preschoolers like playful animals, both real and imaginary. Add “how-to” and craft books for young readers ages 6 to 11.

* Encourage your child to read aloud to younger brothers, sisters, family members or friends.

* Make a commitment to read aloud at least once a day. Even 15 minutes of daily reading can make a big difference in your child’s reading comprehension and literacy development.

* Set a good example by reading frequently and sharing your enthusiasm for reading. Talk about the books you read and your favorite authors.

* Set up a home library. A few books on a special shelf are a great start to building a book collection your child will treasure for years.

* Visit your local library, bookstores, yard sales and thrift stores to find good books new and old to read together. Not sure what book is right for your child’s age group or reading level? The American Library Association and the Library of Congress publish lists of recommended books to guide parents in making selections.

* Check out RIF’s monthly activities calendars for engaging reading and writing activities in English and Spanish and get reading.

* Visit the RIF Reading Planet for games and interactive activities your child will love to enjoy at home or on-the-go.

For additional tips to help your child discover the joy of reading, visit www.RIF.org.


What to do with the kids this weekend

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Friday, August 24

12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., Take a whale and dolphin watching cruise, leaving from Riis Landing in Rockaway. Reservations required.

5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Come to an evening of dancing under the stars at Gorman Playground. There will be music, face painting for children, and a raffle drawing.

Saturday, August 25

11 a.m., Children between the ages of 6 and 11 at Central Library’s Science Lab will execute awesome experiments, learn something new, and enjoy an hour of educational fun at this wonderful weekly lab.

11 a.m. – 2 p.m., Children explore innovative art mediums and a variety of subject matter at Socrates Sculpture Park’s free Kids Sculpture Workshop, including paper making, bike decoration, mask making, and more.

Noon – 4 p.m., Children of all ages can participate in a free afternoon of crafts, games, music, inflatables, pony rides and more at Family Day at St. Albans Park.

4 p.m. – Midnight, Help renowned visiting Canadian artists Thomas+Guinevere transform Socrates Sculpture Park into a field of freestanding, larger-than-life, glowing, sculptural scarecrows.

Sunday, August 26

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Engage with your children in discussions about art in The Noguchi Museum’s galleries, and work together or individually to make your own works of art. This program is for families with children ages 5-11.

Saturday, August 25 & Sunday, August 26

11 a.m. – 4 p.m., At the last New York Hall of Science’s Maker Weekend of the summer visitors can build a fort using cardboard, PVC pipes, fabric while collaborating with other museum-goers. Free with museum admission.

Around NYC

Friday, August 24 – Sunday, August 26

Sited on Madison Square Park’s expansive Oval Lawn, Pet Sounds will introduce a snaking network of vibrantly colored pipe railings creating new paths as they wind across the urban oasis. As these railings converge around a common seating area, each railing begins to grow into a unique fantastic form.

Saturday, August 25

Noon, Tykes will have a ball watching a slew of kiddie musicians at this J&R sponsored Kids Music Fest. Among the day’s featured performers are Bari Koral, Karen K and the Jitterbugs and Hot Peas ‘N Butter. Once they’ve gotten their musical fill, kids can participate in free activities from MoonSoup and the Craft Studio. Free. All ages.

4 p.m., Enjoy Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke at a free kids concert in Carroll Park.

Sunday, August 26

10 a.m. – 5 p.m., The three stages at the Brighton Beach Jubilee feature Russian entertainment, rock and roll music and dads competing in an arm wrestling competition for the title of the “strongest arm in Brooklyn.” Sandy the Seagull, the Brooklyn Cyclones’ mascot, will make an appearance, and children can take a spin on kiddie rides and get their faces painted. Free. All ages.

12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m., Kiddie Cruise: A Princess and Pirate Adventure is an all inclusive fun-filled family event that sails for two hours on the Hudson River. Guests enjoy a puppet show, magician, face painting, arts and crafts, live music while soaking in the sights. All guests receive a healthy bagged lunch and unlimited juice and soda. Kids are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Princess or Pirate. The boat leaves from Pier #40 West Side Highway in Manhattan.

2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Families are invited to the historic Brooklyn farmhouse to rewind time—and get their hearts pumping—with such fun throwback activities as potato sack races and spoon races. Free. Ages 5 and up.

What it takes to make school a safe place for students with diabetes

| brennison@queenscourier.com

(ARA) – When children head off to school, it’s assumed that they’ll be in a safe place where they’ll be well taken care of. For the most part, that’s the truth. But for children with diabetes, the school environment can pose a serious health risk if there’s no one on site to help them manage their disease.

It’s important for schools to make diabetes safety a priority, as 215,000 children in the U.S. under the age of 20 are living with diabetes. Safe schools are those that have staff who are properly trained in caring for children with diabetes and work with parents and students to manage their disease.

“It’s not only important for a child’s health to have a plan in place that designates a school nurse and other trained staff to help manage his or her diabetes at school, but it’s also essential in ensuring children with diabetes are treated fairly and have the same educational opportunities as their peers,” says Linda M. Siminerio, RN, Ph.D., co-chairperson, American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School Working Group.

The American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School campaign works to educate and train school personnel and parents on how to effectively help children manage their disease at school. According to the Association, effective school-based diabetes management requires three things:

1. Basic diabetes training for all staff

All school staff members who have responsibility for a child with diabetes should receive training that provides a basic understanding of the disease and the child’s needs, how to identify medical emergencies, and which school staff members to contact with questions or in case of an emergency.

2. Shared responsibilities for care, with leadership by school nurses

The school nurse holds the primary role of coordinating, monitoring and supervising the care of a student with diabetes. However, in addition to a school nurse, a small group of school staff members should receive training to provide routine and emergency diabetes care, so that someone is always available for younger or less experienced students who require assistance with their diabetes management and for all children with diabetes in case of an emergency, including administration of glucagon.

3. Self management is allowed in all school settings for students with capacity

Children possessing the necessary skills to do so should be permitted to self-manage their disease in the classroom or wherever they are in conjunction with a school-related activity. Such self-management should include monitoring blood glucose and responding to blood glucose levels with needed food and medication.

Safe at School offers many resources for both school personnel and parents that can help in formulating a care plan for children with diabetes and individual expert help in resolving school diabetes care problems when they occur at www.diabetes.org/sas, or by calling 1-800-DIABETES.

In addition to providing educational resources though the Safe at School campaign, the American Diabetes Association also works to advocate for better policies to help children with diabetes. For example, the Association recently successfully advocated for the passage of laws in Connecticut, Louisiana and Georgia that ensure that children get the care they need, whether it’s provided by the school nurse or another trained school staff member. In addition, these new laws permit capable students to self-manage their diabetes.

The Association also provides assistance to families whose children are not getting care at school – such as Latesha Taylor’s nine year old daughter Loretta, a Washington, D.C., public school student, who was made to stay home whenever the school nurse was absent. The Association is now in the process of resolving the Taylor complaint and working with her school system to develop a district-wide policy to ensure that D.C. Public School students with diabetes will be able to attend and receive care at school even when the school nurse isn’t there.

Before parents of children with diabetes send them off to school, it’s important to communicate with school staff to make sure written plans are in place. The American Diabetes Association is ready to help parents to develop care plans to make certain that your child is getting the proper care and treated fairly at school, which will provide your child the best chance for good health and educational success.


[UPDATE] 30 injured in Queens school bus crash

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Thirty people — including children — were involved in a school bus crash in Fresh Meadows this morning, the fire department said.

The accident occurred at approximately 7:45 a.m, according to officials.

The bus was taking children to Yeshiva of Central Queens.

There were no injuries, except one minor cut, said Principal Rabbi Mark Landsman.



‘Where Wild Things Are’ author Maurice Sendak dead at 83

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Maurice Sendak, the children’s book author and illustrator who saw the sometimes-dark side of childhood in books like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen,” died early Tuesday. He was 83.

Longtime friend and caretaker Lynn Caponera said she was with him when Sendak died at a hospital in Danbury, Conn. She said he had a stroke on Friday.

“Where the Wild Things Are” earned Sendak a prestigious Caldecott Medal for the best children’s book of 1964 and became a hit movie in 2009. President Bill Clinton awarded Sendak a National Medal of the Arts in 1996 for his vast portfolio of work.
[New York Post]