Category Archives: Poppyseed

Tackle Reading

We believe that one of the most important things you can foster in your child’s life is a love for reading. It serves as the foundation for developing skills that will serve them in every facet of life. Recently, we were ecstatic to learn that Kathryn Starke, author and native of Richmond, Virginia, is helping parents and educators everywhere achieve that goal.

Starke has experience teaching multiple grades in elementary schools, and served as a literary specialist for over a decade in Richmond and Chesterfield’s public school systems. Her multicultural children’s book, Amy’s Travels, is used in schools in over twenty countries.

Tackle Reading COVER 6x9.inddTackle Reading, her most recent book, combines her expertise with advice from valuable community mentors and resources including NFL players, celebrities, and authors to inspire children, parents, and fellow educators. It includes lesson plans, activities, and guidance to improve literacy for all children.

The impact of this book is just beginning. Thousands of copies of Tackle Reading were donated to inner city elementary schools nationwide thanks to charitable giving and sponsorship. Regardless of your role in a child’s life, it can be a great tool to nurture their love for reading. To purchase your copy and learn more about Starke, visit www.creativemindspublications.com.

Wellness for the Family

Intercept Youth Services began in 1996 when its founder, Mark Bogert, decided that he wanted to redefine the group home experience. That year, he opened a group home for children with eight beds. Now, twenty years later, the company has grown to provide 14 group homes and 32 services for entire families and individuals across the state. They average around 1,200 clients each week.

“I came here because of the company and our values,” says Natalie Elliott, Senior Director of Program Development. “When you work with a population that is affected by mental illness and children who come into foster care, it is important to be innovative and collaborative. You have to be able to meet the needs of the community.”

There are several parts that make up Intercept’s full continuum of care. This includes Crisis One, a program that allows patients to call Intercept whenever they are in need of brief therapeutic interventions to achieve mental stability. It offers immediate response—24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mobile counselors will travel to children, adolescents, and adults that need help.

“Crisis don’t always happen between the hours of 8 am and 5 pm,” says Natalie. “We are not an 8 to 5 agency. Services have to be worked around families.”

Additionally, Intercept offers LifeBridge Counseling, an outpatient treatment that allows individuals (of all ages) with a variety of insurance providers to get the help they need. Through a partnership with Carilion, they have also opened True North Health Clinic. In this facility, doctors and physician assistants provide medication management for patients. Not only is this beneficial for adults, it helps meet a need for children in our area as well.

“There is a severe shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists,” explains Natalie. “In many cases, they could wait as long as six months to see a doctor. True North gives patients the option of seeing a physician within three weeks.”

Intercept clients go through True North, but once they cease a service with Intercept they can continue to receive medication management without attached services. The ultimate goal is to make psychiatric treatment easier to attain. In an effort to achieve that, Intercept launched a program last month called Open Access. This allows patients to walk in, be assessed for services, and connected with those that can help them based on what they need and how the treatment plan matches with their insurance.

Essentially, what began as a group home has grown to meet the needs of entire families. This goes above and beyond serving children once their lives are in crisis, working to stabilize their environments before things get out of hand.

However, there are around five thousand children in foster care every day in Virginia. Intercept continues to offer many services for these children in addition to group homes throughout the state. Those who live in Intercept’s group homes attend public school and blend right in with their peers—exactly what they are meant to do. The company also works with local departments of social services to place children in foster homes. They take matching children to families very seriously, citing that it is imperative to helping them be successful in youth and as adults.

As these children get older, many of them become eligible for independent living services offered by Intercept. Young adult participants, between the ages of 17-21, live in supervised apartments and practice the skills they need before they go out into the world. After they leave custody, they can return to the program to receive additional services as needed. This reduces the likelihood that they will not have good outcomes once they age out of foster care.

Visit www.interceptyouth.com for more information on the myriad of services that Intercept offers, their involvement in the community, their values, and more!

Warm Up Your Heart on December 13

This week, Alex from Member One Federal Credit Union helped kids from the Community Youth Program make hot cocoa to sell at their their craft sale on December 13 from 6-8 pm. The event will take place at St. John’s Episcopal Church, and all of the proceeds will benefit the church.

fullsizerender-3The Community Youth Program began 17 years ago through the efforts of parishioners at the church. Today, it continues to encourage learning and the development of a positive self-image and to provide a network of support for 4th-8th grade students and their families. This upcoming sale is part of their financial literacy programming and will tie into their family night event. These events are designed to support community bonding and conversations by hosting a sit down dinner with families from the program.

For more information on The Community Youth Program, visit www.cyproanoke.org or www.memberonefcu.com.

Holiday Gifts: Little Books About Important Things

With the holidays right around the corner, mastering up the perfect gift list can be a challenge. If you are looking for fun but educational present than we’ve got you covered!

516VTewo3vL._SY497_BO1,204,203,200_Little Books About Important Things explores the importance of feelings, friendship and safety. Each important topic is broken down in an individual book which is included in the set. Readers learn how to express themselves, how to make friends, and and learn tips to stay safe.

Use these quick and easy books to help introduce important principals to your little ones!

 

Written by Kristi Hall

DIY Chore Charts

Attention Parents! Do you often have a hard time convincing your kids that chores can be fun? If so, consider taking on one of our easy DIY chore charts to get your kiddos more involved!

  • chore-chartThis chore chart can simply be made out of cookie sheets, paint, ribbon tape and magnets!
  1. First, you will want to spray paint your cookie sheets (the more colorful, the better)! Next, you will want to divide your sheet into two sections with the ribbon tape – for a do and a done section.
  2. To complete the project, cut scrapbook paper in squares big enough to write each chore. Add your magnets and once a chore is complete tell your little ones to move it to the done section! Also, adding homemade reward coupons (for example: you pick the movie for movie night, dessert for dinner, etc.) to each chore is a great way to encourage your kids to get their chores done.
  • jarOr, go green by making a fun chore jar from recycled popsicle sticks! All you need is popsicle sticks, markers and a jar or can. This chore jar is perfect for a family with multiple children considering each child can have their own color. Once the chore is completed, having another mason jar for completed chores is a good motivator!

Have any other successful ideas for getting your little ones involved in helping around? If so please share them with us in the comments below!

Written by Kristi Hall

Love Your Melon

Some of the most important people in this world are those that go out of their way to help children in need. That’s why we want to recognize the amazing team at Love Your Melon.

Brian_Zach_Superheroes_1280x500_900pxFounded by two friends, Zach and Brian, Love Your Melon has been on a mission to improve the lives of children battling cancer since October 22, 2012. It was founded on the simple concept of putting a hat on every child battling cancer in America. They also sell hats, shirts, and accessories committing fifty percent of net proceeds on every Love Your Melon product sold to the Pinky Swear Foundation and CureSearch.

“On December 18, 2012, we got to go to our first hospital donation event and it was then that we knew how cool this idea was. Seeing the smiles on the kids faces that day was incredible so we kept making the hats,” says co-founder, Zach.

To date, more than 2,500 college students from over 225 different schools across the nation have signed on as ambassadors to sell and donate hats. This includes a group of students at Virginia Tech.

You can help too! Visit www.loveyourmelon.com for more information or to purchase a hat, shirt, or accessory of your own. Portions of the proceeds from your purchase will go to help cancer research initiatives and provide immediate support for families impacted by childhood cancer.

A Little Fall Reading

Poppyseed readers: This book is great for older teenagers (and young adults) about to go to college or enter the workforce. It contains minor profanity throughout, but addresses important issues of which we should all be aware. Use your discretion to determine whether it is appropriate for your child.

518wtxsqFAL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_Trashed, a graphic novel by Derf Backderf, is loosely based off of the author’s own experiences working as a garbageman. The main character, Derf, is a college dropout who has moved back in with his mother. She convinces him to inquire about an ad for a job she sees in the local paper. You can almost hear the disillusionment in his voice when he says, “I would have preferred something with AC.”

Early on, Derf tells his friend and coworker that if he receives some sort of “sign” he will quit the garbageman job and go back to school. Immediately, he tumbles out of the truck on to some trash bags. Yet he doesn’t quit his job. Even after verbal abuse from his boss and rejection from a girl he knew in high school, he forges on and continues to learn the ropes of garbage collecting.

This provides an interesting commentary on the financial and overall instability that young adults face as they enter the work force. In the aftermath of failure, surrounded by frustration, it can be a lot easier to make plans for change rather than follow through with them.

Backderf does sprinkle in a little humor throughout the book, along with really important facts and insight into how much trash we produce annually as individuals. He gives readers a visual representation of the depth of landfills and encourages us to curb our garbage addiction before it is too late. Additionally, he discusses how our disposal methods have changed over the years.

If you can tolerate a little profanity here and there, this is a book that will entertain you and make you think about your place and the impact you have on the world around you. At the very least, perhaps it will inspire you to thank your garbage collector.

Putting the Fun Back in Family Road Trips!

On family road trips, do you spend the entire drive listening to the music your kids prefer, playing their favorite games and generally doing everything you can to keep them content – and peaceful – in the car?

It happens with the best intentions, but too often parents sacrifice their own enjoyment to keep the kids happy, thinking they can’t please everyone. Fortunately, with some creativity and the right travel “tools,” it’s possible for everyone to enjoy the drive.

Here are some ways parents can reclaim their fun on the family road trip:

* Expand musical horizons. Sure, you want everyone to connect with each other in the car and enjoy all the sights they’ll see. But it’s also okay to set aside some non-talk time. Pop in music they’ve never heard of and introduce the kids to different musical genres. There are a variety of songs out there that are kid-friendly. Do some research before your trip– you may even find a few new songs to enjoy yourself!

* Find an audio book that appeals to all. Bestsellers, non-fiction, self-help and children’s titles – audio books offer a great way for everyone to participate in the fun, including the driver. Look for material with age-appropriate content if you’ll all be listening together. “Borrowing” books through an exchange service is a great way to access a variety of titles. Cracker Barrel offers a service that allows you to get an audio book at one  location and return it at any other Cracker Barrel in the country. When you return the audio book, you’ll receive a full refund less an exchange fee of $3.49 for every week you kept the book. Visit www.crackerbarrel.com to learn more.

* Introduce kids to games from your childhood. Playing games is a great way to pass time in the car, but if you dread the thought of playing one more princess- or shape-shifting-robot-themed game, why not introduce the kids to games you loved as a child? Many require nothing more than your imagination, like group storytelling or license-plate bingo. Others like the low-tech classic peg game or Simon, the original electronic memory game you played as a kid, travel well in the car and provide challenging fun for all ages.

* Pack a snack bag with everyone in mind. Everyone will get hungry on the road, so if it’s not yet time for a stop, a snack bag can save the day. Pack with balanced nutrition and broad appeal in mind. Travel-friendly options like fruit and whole-grain snacks can be appetizing and satisfying. Be sure to toss in a few sweet treats for some extra fun. Look for nostalgic options that will appeal to kids while reminding adults of their own childhood, like Moon Pies or Cracker Jacks. 

Whether you are packing up to go visit a family member over the weekend this fall, or preparing early for a holiday getaway, these tips are sure to help your trip be a little less stressful for everyone involved!