Children

Anthony Kelly via flickr Creative Commons

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.”

Cheryl Senter

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.

loveiswritten via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Cheryl Senter

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.

Lift Street Kids Blog, Merhawi Wells-Bogue

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.  

Cheryl Senter

When Kat Morris's eldest daughter asked to try out for a play at The Winnipesaukee Playhouse, she could not have guessed the effect community theater would have on her entire family. 

Cheryl Senter

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."

rbrucemontgomery via Flickr Creative Commons

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 diversityJason 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.

Angry girl on a couch.
meaganmakes via Flickr/Creative Commons - http://www.flickr.com/photos/meaganmakes/6980624734/in/photostream/

Siblings fight. Almost any family with children knows this- and yet what we know about the effects of that fighting may be changing.

A new study from the University of New Hampshire shows that sibling aggression may leave deeper marks on children than we’ve previously understood.

iStock Photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: My kids just want to play videos games and watch TV all day. Do you have any tips for getting them outside to appreciate nature more?-- Sue Levinson, Bowie, MD

d o l f i via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Guests:

theloushe via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

  

Four alternative slices of American Life

Part 1:

Free-Range Kids!

Sep 28, 2012

We talk to the author of a new book who says that today’s hovering, hyper-safety-conscious parents are doing their children no favors. In fact, she says, overprotective adults have created a generation of fragile kids who fall apart once they hit the real world.  We’ll examine why American childhood has become so restricted, and one mom’s crusade to restore its freedoms.

Lenore Skenazy is the keynote speaker at this year’s N.H. Children in Nature Coalition conference, Oct. 4, at the Castleton Conference Center in Windham, NH.

Zebra Crossings

Jul 21, 2012

Zebra Crossings provides opportunities for kids with chronic health conditions to expand their experiences and grow their independence. Heather Hesse-Stromberg’s eight-year-old daughter, Haiden, has asthma.

Haiden: It’s a chance for kids to do activities they don’t usually get to do and it’s a chance for kids to make new friends.

At first, Deborah Kogan of New York says, she thought it would pass. Her 4-year-old son's fever had been on the rise for hours, and he was looking puffy. Kogan took Leo to the pediatrician, who thought it might be strep throat. It wasn't.

A few days later, Leo "woke up, and he looked as if he was one of the characters in The Nutty Professor. His face ballooned about twice its normal size." She posted a photo of Leo on Facebook. That's when the crowdsourced diagnosis took shape.

Roxboroughsports / Flickr/Creative Commons

New research finds that younger athletes are more susceptible to head injury than once thought, take longer to recover, and are more at risk for suffering second concussions. Now, New Hampshire may join a growing list of states asking coaches and trainers to monitor these injuries more closely.  We talk with experts on head trauma in youth sports. 

Guests:

There have been hints that the obesity epidemic's rise has slowed a bit among certain populations, but for the most part, it continues to dominate American health. One third of children and teenagers are now overweight or obese. And researchers forecast as many as half of our nation's population could be obese — not overweight but obese — by 2030.

Lots of kids get bullied. But kids with autism are especially vulnerable.

A new survey by the Interactive Autism Network found that nearly two-thirds of children with autism spectrum disorders have been bullied at some point. And it found that these kids are three times as likely as typical kids to have been bullied in the past month.

Imagine you're a happy baby, off with your folks to visit the doctor.

"They're probably thinking, 'Oh hi everybody, hi!' and suddenly — boom! A shot," says John Harrington, a pediatrician in Norfolk, Va.

Who wouldn't scream at that?

But Harrington says that the same techniques used to soothe a fussy baby can also help an infant overcome the pain of vaccinations.

Photo by Jackie Finn-Irwin via Flickr Creative Commons

We talk with NHPR's Dan Gorenstein about a new summer camp program being launched for kids of state prison inmates.

Dan's original story. 

First in a four-part report

On a sunny weekday morning, Diane Hinson pauses at the door of a generic office park in Northern Virginia. It's a routine work appointment for her, but a potentially life-changing event for her clients.

"I'm here today for the transfer of embryos," she explains.

Our series, Shifting the Balance, is focused on exploring the positive impact environmental and policy changes can make on the fight against obesity. For those of us who struggle to carve out an a few hours a week for the gym, healthy living can seem out of reach– but for kids, it’s often less about finding time to play than finding a place to play.

Not long after the start of the school year, Monique Sanders, a teacher at Nathan Hale Elementary School in Manchester, Conn., realized many of her students were going to bed hungry.

"It was very bad. I had parents calling me several times a week, asking did I know of any other way that they could get food because they had already gone to a food pantry," Sanders says. "The food pantry only allows you to go twice per month, so if you are running low on your food stamps or you didn't get what you needed and you're not able to feed your family, that's very stressful."

There are plenty of pop culture references to the dangers of a close mother-son relationship. From the myth of Oedipus to the movie Psycho, narrative after narrative harps on the idea that mothers can damage their sons, make them weak, awkward and dependent.

But for millions of men, the opposite has turned out to be true, author Kate Lombardi tells NPR's Laura Sullivan. Lombardi — a mother herself — is the author of the new book, The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger.

The Obama administration is calling for major changes in Head Start, the 46-year-old early childhood education program that helped launch President Johnson's War on Poverty.

President Obama says too many children today aren't learning, and too many education programs are mismanaged.

"We're not just going to put money into programs that don't work," the president announced late last year. "We will take money and put it into programs that do."

In The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, four exceptional children wind up going on the adventure of a lifetime after answering a rather strange ad. The ad appears in a newspaper in a fictional place called Stonetown. It reads, "Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?"

Dozens of children answer the ad and try to conquer a series of mind-boggling tests. But only four are able to pass. All are orphans, and each is a genius in his or her own way.

Spanking in school may seem like a relic of the past, but every day hundreds of students — from preschoolers to high school seniors — are still being paddled by teachers and principals.

In parts of America, getting spanked at school with a wooden or fiberglass board is just part of being a misbehaving student.

"I been getting them since about first grade," says Lucas Mixon, now a junior at Holmes County High School in Bonifay, Fla. "It's just regular. They tell you to put your hands up on the desk and how many swats you're going to get."

Teacher Dave Rowlands is talking to his students in a kindergarten class at Imagine Japan, an English-language school in the Miyagi Prefecture of Sendai City. The school is just a short walk from pre-fabricated homes built for families who lost more than just property in the earthquake and tsunami last year.

"What came after the earthquake, was what?" Rowlands asks. "A tidal wave. In Japanese, what do we say? Or in English, actually, tsunami is now used around the world in many languages. Tsunami. We kind of leave the 't' off of there."

It's hard to imagine Hillary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice and Lucille Ball as part of the same club. But they were all, at one time, Girl Scouts. Founded 100 years ago in Savannah, Ga., the Girl Scouts now count 3.2 million members.

Girl Scout cookies have become as much of an American tradition as apple pie. At a busy intersection in Brookline, Mass., a gaggle of Girl Scouts stand behind a folding table piled high with boxes of Thin Mints, Samoas and Shortbreads.

"They are really, really good," the troop collectively assures a prospective buyer.

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