School decisions banning dodge ball and tag have re-ignited a broader debate on whether we are over-protecting kids. We discuss the need for letting go and letting children grow. But others say the world has changed, and parental involvement is needed today.
Lakes Region Community Services helps children with autism and their families through their early intervention program and autism center. Christian Lapierre was 15 months old when his mom, Denise, realized something was wrong and called Lakes Region Community Services.
Adopting a child is for many people the culmination of a dream. But it takes work, and money – international adoptions can run from $15,000 to $40,000, and involve years of vetting and paperwork. Still, things don’t always work out. A network of internet groups has become an underground market for advertising and discarding unwanted children – most of them adopted from abroad. The process is called “private re-homing,” and it involves little or no government oversight. It’s the topic of an 18-month investigation by Reuters. Megan Twohey is investigative reporter at Thomson Reuters, and among those who worked on the 5-part series and multimedia presentation called, “The Child Exchange.”
Girls at Work empowers girls by putting power tools in their hands, and teaching them how to use those tools. The girls build tables, sheds and bookshelves, but learn bigger lessons along the way. Hollie Brenton, 18, has worked with the program for ten years and says it has changed her life.
Statistically speaking, American foster children face a steep uphill battle. A 2010 study showed nearly 25 percent of foster care children end up homeless at some point after exiting the system, and teen girls in foster care were more likely to become pregnant than to get adopted. One fledgling foster care experiment has done away with the foster family system in favor of a mutually supportive group-home. The San Pasqual Academy is a $14 million dollar nonprofit based in San Diego that houses 180 foster kids. Natasha Vargas-Cooper is a freelance journalist who wrote about San Pasqual for Pacific Standard.
Kids Culinary Arts teaches kids cooking and nutrition during after school programs, vacations and summer camps. The organization works in school districts and towns to get kids cooking and eating healthy foods. Matthew and Nicole Heiter, 11 and nine years old, have become experienced hands in the kitchen. Their mother, Lauren credits Kids Culinary Arts.
Before moving to New Hampshire, Merhawi Wells-Bogue earned his living on the streets of the Ethiopian city of Mekelle. Years later, while studying journalism at UNH, he went back and spoke with other street kids, often hearing stories of neglect and abuse. He’s since graduated, and was awarded a grant from UNH to do research on similarly neglected children. He also launched LIFT Street Kids, an organization designed to help children living on the streets of Mekelle. He is raising money for a documentary film using the crowd-funding site Crowdwise. Merhawi was with us to talk about the many children either orphaned or abandoned and left to fend for themselves on the dusty streets of Mekelle.
The Great Bay Stewards work to preserve and protect the Great Bay estuary through education, land protection and research. Sharon Musselman, one of the educators, is recently a retired teacher who often brought her own classes here to explore this ecosystem.
"I'm excited to be here at Great Bay Discover center," Musselman said. "I brought my first grade class to Great Bay for 15 years because it is such a great experience for first graders."
Children’s books are delightful, colorful, and whimsical ways to introduce children to reading. Although parents may find it a wee bit annoying to repeat the same stories night after night, reading to kids is crucial to healthy childhood development and helps form their vision of a world outside of their own. A study released last year found that children’s books are woefully under-representative of cultural diversity. Jason Boog is editor of the publishing website GalleyCat – he’s working on a book about reading to kids, and has been keeping an eye on content for kids.
A leading expert finds a large drop in these cases and suggests likely factors include improved prevention and treatment programs. But there are several ways to interpret these numbers, and in some cases, they don’t match up with what child advocates see in the courts and elsewhere. We’ll take a new look at this longstanding issue.
If you have kids, odds are you’re trying to track down at least one hard-to-find toy this holiday season. Those in the market for high-quality educational toys might have to look a little harder. The toy aisle divide between big chain stores and smaller, independent retailers is growing, and it may determine whether or not you’re able to find the ideal gift for your child.