Tag Archives: southwest virginia

Hears to a New (Y)ear!

Top 5 things parents need to know about pediatric hearing loss 

Today, it seems almost impossible to avoid increased noise exposure– loud music, noisy toys, vehicles, snow blowers, TVs, drills, hairdryers and more! Especially during this time of year full of celebrations and gatherings, it is a good opportunity to make sure that the youngest members of your family are prepared for the additional noise exposure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5 million young people between ages 6 and 19 in the U.S. have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from noise exposure. Hearing is critical for a child’s safety and development of speech, listening, learning, and social skills, so it is important to start monitoring their hearing as early as possible.

Your child may have passed a newborn screening prior to leaving the hospital, but parent should still continue to monitor and protect their hearing. Moreover, if an infant fails a screening, it is crucial to follow-up with additional hearing tests no later than three months of age.

“Missed follow-up visits are rapidly becoming one of the most common reasons children with hearing loss miss out on critical interventions and support,” said Benjamin Cable, M.D., Pediatric Otolaryngologist with Carilion Clinic. “Those interventions work to keep a child on a normal developmental path.”

As a parent or caregiver, be aware that exposing a child over time to anything louder than 85 decibels can cause damage to sensitive structures in the inner ear.

“In practical terms,” explained Dr. Cable, “Any environment where the background noise would require raised voices or shouting to communicate could potentially be damaging to children who are exposed for more than short periods of time.”

Noise-induced hearing loss is usually gradual and painless, but can be permanent. Once sensory nerve cells are damaged, they do not regenerate.

As one might expect, the risk of permanent damage is higher with longer exposure. Damage also occurs more quickly with increasing loudness. There are also non-auditory consequences of repeated noise exposure, including increased stress and irritability with reduced relaxation and concentration.

What can parents do to reduce their children’s risk of damage?

  • Avoid or limit exposure to loud sounds when possible.
  • When not possible, use hearing protection.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones are best for babies and children. Consider the child’s age as well as weight, size, comfort level and the noise cancellation rating of protectors.
  • Kids two years and under need earmuffs that are lightweight and will not put strain on neck muscles and bones. They will provide the highest level of noise cancellation.

Hearing loss including noise induced loss can be detected with a hearing test conducted by an audiologist. No child is too young for hearing testing. Agencies in the Roanoke Valley providing audiological services include:

  • Carilion Clinic Otolaryngology (540-224-5170)
  • Hearing Health Associates (540-774-4441)
  • Jefferson Surgical Clinic (540-283-6023)
  • The Hearing Clinic (540-553-8626)
  • Roanoke Valley Speech and Hearing Center (540-343-0165)

Visit www.ehdipals.org  for a national web-based directory of facilities providing pediatric audiology services.

For more information check out the following:
www.sightandhearing.org
www.HowsYourHearing.org
www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/parents
www/asha.org/public/hearing/Noise/
www.tufitech.com/gadget/best-noise-cancelling-headphone-for-babies

About the authors: Debbie Williams, Molly Brown, Emily Guill, and Megan Harrison are speech-language pathologists at Carilion Children’s Pediatric Therapy.

 

Kindness Matters: House of Bread

To break bread is probably one of the oldest human traditions that continues to ignite the spirit of sharing. In the Christian faith, it is symbolic of the Eucharist, or Holy Communion. To make bread is the activity that unites women who are participating in job training sessions offered by the House of Bread, a new non-profit in Roanoke.

The House of Bread was created in January 2017 to help formerly incarcerated women gain skills to strengthen their confidence and hope. Over the course of a six-week session, women learn new skills through hands on training in the Local Environmental Agricultural Project Kitchen (LEAP kitchen located in the West End) and gain spiritual development while baking and selling bread alongside volunteers from the community.

In addition to learning basic kitchen and baking skills, the women in the program receive ServSafe food handler training, develop marketing and customer service skills, and partner one-on-one with mentors who shepherd them through a job search and resume building process. The students are given a $50 weekly educational stipend and are expected to attend a weekly class and sell bread with the organization once a week. They meet weekly with their mentors. Each session culminates with the ServSafe certification exam and a mock interview clinic where students practice their interviewing skills and receive feedback. The first clinic was staffed by attorneys, business leaders, and people in the restaurant industry.

The inaugural session kicked off in October 2017. Most of the first session’s participants were chosen through Transitional Options for Women or Total Action for Progress. Six women began the program, and four graduated, all with ServSafe certifications. Alongside women from the community, the students learned how to bake a variety of breads and sold over 350 loaves, often selling out in an hour.

What was the recipe for this success? The baking skills honed at home and shared in the LEAP kitchen by Lisa Goad (co-founder), the organizational finesse of former teacher and current seminary student Jordan Hertz (co-founder), and the vision of licensed professional counselor and seminary student Jen Brothers (co-founder). Sprinkle in a handful of motivated students, passionate volunteers and mentors, wide-ranging community support, and generous funding from church grants and private donations, and House of Bread was born.

Brothers realistically anticipated some attrition, and it did happen in the case of one student, who relapsed after finding herself in an unsafe living situation. Her mentor did not give up, saying she wouldn’t leave her until she was ready to stand on her own two feet. She connected her mentee with resources to help her regain her footing and start a new job.

Currently in its second session, the House of Bread has big projects on the rise.   Transitional Options for Women, a recent recipient of a Roanoke Women’s Foundation grant, will open a coffee shop this January on 13th Ave. It will be staffed by TOFW residents and House of Bread graduates. A former HOB student and current House Manager at TOFW will manage the shop. HOB plans to rent a space beside the coffee shop to host meetings, hold interviews, and allow for greater connectivity to the neighborhood and its residents.

Brothers wants to hold the graduates together in community and is currently working on organizing weekly “soup nights” where program graduates, volunteers, and friends come together to break bread and share in storytelling and prayers, with local ministers presiding over a simple round table Communion service.

House of Bread fills a unique niche in our community, offering hope to those who may have lost it along the way and the tools to rebuild a life and become a healthy and productive citizen. It also allows for the formation of friendships across neighborhood and socio-economic divides. House of Bread actively seeks volunteers, donations, and customers. To learn more about House of Bread please visit www.houseofbreadroanoke.com.

Written by Kate Ericsson

 

Cultivating a Meaningful Life

Featured photo by Bill Hazlegrove.

Theresa Dorlini, co-founder of Circle Design Studio, takes meaningful connections seriously. As Principal Interior Designer and Creative Director, she works closely with both residential and commercial clients to “develop a cohesive design concept that reflects their personal style or branding.” She has made quite an impression on the design community over the course of her 20-year career, and has even taught design at James Madison University and Arizona State University. Her recent achievements include seven first place awards at the Virginia Interior Design Excellence Awards in Richmond. Many of these awards were the result of projects she and the Circle Design Studio team completed in the Roanoke area.

Perhaps this recognition is due, in part, to the fact that Theresa and her team approach each new project with an open mind. They aren’t afraid of challenges like removing load-bearing walls, and they don’t shy away from difficult topics like decluttering. Their goal is to define the problems and find solutions that will change their clients’ lives for the better.

Decluttering is only part of the equation in residential projects, but it is an important part. A recent a trend in America, it has taken some adjustment in a country known for consumerism. Theresa wants clients to find the things they’ve collected over time and see how they can fit those things into their space. However, she does not believe purchasing decor for the sake of having a lot of stuff.

“There is only so much you can do by adding stuff to a space. I grew up in Asia, and there is something about minimalism that I really love,” she explains. “You are still able to collect things that mean something to you, but not over collect. The bones and interior architecture should set the stage, but the items you put in it should mean something to you.”

Photo by Rebekah Vos

In addition to using her design experience in projects, she also uses her observations as a mother to help create spaces that are stylish and functional for families. She and her husband/co-founder of Circle Design Studio, John Dorlini, are raising four children under the age of ten. Things aren’t always perfect, she admits, but it is possible to have quality family time and pursue professional ambitions. Teamwork, at home and at the office, makes things easier. Ultimately, it is also about being open, honest, and forgiving yourself for the speed bumps along the way.

“We have a successful business, and I do work really hard. However, we are deliberate about how we include the kids. They come and do their homework here at the conference table after school,” she says. “You have to have support. I never want people to sit there and think, ‘You have it all together. Why don’t I have it all together?’”

The fact that the balancing act between professional and personal is not always perfect is something that Theresa wants parents to feel more comfortable discussing. Even if you are not ready to redesign your home or business just yet, her blog is worth exploring for multiple reasons. In her new section, “Designer Mom,” Theresa is candid about her experiences as a professional and a parent, which is refreshing in an age where social media leads us to believe in a definition of perfection that does not always exist. Find more information on Theresa’s accomplishments and a link to her blog on Circle Design Studio’s website.

 

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Warm and Cozy Winter Nights

Looking for a fun way to get through these cold nights? Never fear! Our new intern, Lilith, shared a few of her favorite winter night activities with us. Check them out below!

  • Make some tea or hot cocoa and then bring out the board games! A board game night is a good way to hang out with a large or small group of friends and include everyone in something. My friends and I love this activity! Over the summer, we collected some of our favorite board and card games; now at least once a week we like to get together and get a little competitive. I know it might seem lame at first, but it can lead to fantastic memories and is an easy way to spend a night with friends that doesn’t have to include trekking out into the cold weather. Some of our favorites to play are Clue, Ultimate Werewolf, and Cards Against Humanity.  SIDE NOTE: Get a little adventurous and see if there’s a Dungeons and Dragons group in your area!
  • This one is classic! Binge watch Game of Thrones or put on Moana, either way just make sure you grab your closet friends. Start the movie, order a pizza, pop some popcorn, and curl up on the nearest couch for a lazy night. Too basic? Try out a new baking recipe to have a treat while you watch your favorite movies! You’ll need something sweet to balance out the pizza and popcorn anyway!
  • With the cold weather drying out my skin, I think this is a very beneficial and fun way to spend a winter night! Try your local drug store for some premade face masks. Or if you want to get more creative, make your own for a little DIY action. Want more? Try doing nail art! Any drug store will have plenty of nail polish and nail tools. Get adventurous! Combine all this with a sappy romance movie or put on some good music and you have yourself a winter night well spent. Perfect for hanging out with friends or a relaxing night in by yourself!!

P.S. We hear that wintry weather may be returning next week, Bella girls! So stock up now, and be prepared for a fun, safe time indoors with family and friends.

 

Written by Lilith Turman

Virginia Made: Shop Local!

Cozy. The word itself evokes images of crackling fires and hot chocolate with extra marshmallows. Cold days are here and snow is on the horizon. Extra blankets are thrown over beds, winter decorations adorn the walls and scarves are a must. The season for all things cozy and warm has arrived.

Simple and classic. That’s how Chandy Haskins of The Nifty Needles describes her knitting style. Taught at a young age by her oldest sister, the 24-year-old has turned a hobby into a business. Palettes of navy, gray, and cream come to life in her downtown historical Danville apartment. There Chandy creates puffy cloud-like blankets using super soft bulky yarn. “I am definitely the cat lady of the family, known for my love of naps and carrying my own blanket to the movie theatre.” When she’s not knitting Chandy is likely to be hiking, reading with her cat, or watching old movies. That is, if she’s not travelling the world.  (Find Chandy on Instagram @theniftyneedles. This month, she is giving away a 45×65 Bulky Knit Blanket to one lucky Bella reader! She has also provided a coupon code for free shipping:SHIPMEFREE12.)

Under over, under over, under over. As a working mom of two young children, Christine Dwyer is no stranger to stress. Looking for a creative outlet from her day to day job in public relations, Christine discovered the meditative process of fiber arts. Learning through books and tutorials, a class with Maryanne Moodie along with a nudge from friends and family, inspired her to start Copper and Fringe. The unique wall creations are made on a frame loom using cotton, wool and alpaca yarn for varying textures and are customized to order. “Advice starting a business? Don’t rush into it. Take it slow, hone your skill, and invest time. The rest will come.”
Christine enjoys weaving, teaching classes and spending time with family in the Virginia Beach area. Find her at West Elm and somewhere between avoiding seafood and grooving to Landslide by Stevie Nicks.  (Email Christine at copperandfringe@gmail.com, or find her on Instagram @copperandfringe! This month, she is giving away a free custom small weaving to one lucky Bella reader.)

The Minted Evergreen is more than just the name of a business. For Kasie Chapman it brings back memories of her childhood home in Michigan surrounded by blue spruce trees and camping amongst evergreens. Kasie is a self-taught maker of knits, crochet and macramé in Lynchburg. She enjoys working in earth tones and neutrals with a pop of color to create stylish knitwear and home décor. “I’m a wife, mama, believer, maker and wanna-be homesteader.
Making and Jesus are what help keep me sane. Well, those and date nights.” Kasie and her husband hope to own a farm one day. In the meantime, homeschooling her wildlings, gardening, and tacos will have to do. (Find Kasie on Instagram @themintedevergreen. This month, she’s giving away a $50 credit to her Etsy shop to one lucky Bella reader, and offering a coupon code: MEETMINTEDINBELLA for 15%off!)

 

Written by Faith Jones of The Hill City Handmade and Faith Inspired.

Six Ways to Optimize Your Tax Refund

According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the average taxpayer received a $3,000 refund in 2017. This chunk of change—depending on how you allocate it—could make a big impact on your bottom line. Before you’re tempted to spend it on impulse buys, consider these options for maximizing your tax refund.

Boost your emergency fund. Financial experts say you should have three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved in an emergency fund to protect yourself in case of a job loss or another unexpected financial hardship. Stashing your tax refund into an emergency fund could get you well on your way to reaching that dollar goal.

Pay off high-interest debt. Doing this results in an instant return on your investment because you’re saving yourself from paying interest to the lender. If you have several debts to tackle, aim for the one with the highest interest rate first. If you can’t pay off the entire balance, look into transferring the remaining debt onto something with a lower interest rate, like a credit card or personal loan.

Prepay your mortgage. Putting extra money toward your mortgage payment is a great way to save money over time. Use your tax refund to make one additional, full mortgage payment. If you do this every year, you could shave off thousands in interest, shorten your repayment years, and build equity faster.

Fund an investment account. If you’re new to investing, a great place to start is at your local financial institution. Many offer competitive, low-risk investment options like money market or share certificate accounts. You could also consider putting your tax refund toward a Roth or traditional IRA, which can be great ways to save for retirement.

Save for the future. The IRS allows you to split up your refund into several accounts. Consider putting some, or all, into a special savings account to help fund a future purchase, like a vacation or next year’s holiday gifts. This is also a great opportunity to jump-start a college savings fund for your child.

Make home improvements. While your refund won’t cover an entire kitchen or bathroom remodel, you could make minor improvements such as painting cabinets, updating hardware, or installing a new backsplash. Look into replacing old appliances for more energy-efficient models or installing new windows to save on heating and cooling bills.

 

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

 

 

 

Managing Your Blood Pressure

Managing blood pressure can be difficult, especially during the holidays and winter months. A change in routine, family visits, traveling, illness, holiday menus and financial concerns can all conspire to derail your best efforts at keeping chronic conditions, like high blood pressure, under control.

If you are one of the millions of American adults with high blood pressure, it is vital to keep your blood pressure stable. Drastic changes can put you at risk for heart attack or stroke.

Here are three ways to control your blood pressure throughout the holiday season from the American Heart Association:

Be wary of decongestants
Decongestants are in many over-the-counter cold and flu medications, but they have some harmful side effects. They can raise blood pressure and decrease the effectiveness of some prescribed blood pressure medications. It’s best to use them for the shortest duration possible and avoid in severe or uncontrolled hypertension. Consider alternative therapies, such as nasal saline, intranasal corticosteroids, or antihistamines, as appropriate.

Keep track of medication
The winter months tend to bring an increase in both heart attacks and strokes. According to research from the Journal of the American Heart Association, a 4.2 percent increase in heart-related deaths occurs away from a hospital from December 25 through January 7.

“Factors like cold weather, sudden increase in activity like shoveling snow, stress and dietary indiscretion can contribute to a chain of events leading to more stress on the heart during the winter months, potentially triggering a heart attack or other cardiac event,” says Jorge Plutzky, M.D., director of Preventive Cardiology at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a volunteer with the American Heart Association.

It is vital to keep track of your medication and take it as prescribed by your doctor to decrease chances of heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association’s Check Change Control Tracker is one way to monitor your health, as it allows you to set up text message reminders, text in blood pressure readings, connect with volunteers or providers, and receive messages from volunteers or providers.

Maintain healthy eating habits
The holidays can be a bad influence on healthy eating habits. However, it is important to stay active during these times and continue eating healthy. While you are enjoying holiday feasts with family, be aware of sodium, often found in seasonal foods like bread, cheeses and prepared meats, which can increase blood pressure. Don’t feel like you can’t indulge a little, but make sure to incorporate healthy meals.

Staying active while traveling can also be a challenge. Try bringing simple exercise equipment like a jump rope or resistance band with you. Consider walking to sights or restaurants nearby, or finding a local park or indoor walking path.

For more information and tools about blood pressure management, visit heart.org/hbp.

Bayer’s Consumer Health Division, maker of Coricidin HBP, is a sponsor of the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure website.

 

Chatting with Stephanie from Yarid’s

How long have you been with Yarid’s?
I am in my ninth year. Yarid’s is a fantastic company. 2018 will be our 100th year. I think what is so fantastic is that it is almost impossible to find a small, locally-owned business that’s been open for 100 years. They are obviously doing something right. It’s exciting for me to be part of that.

What impact do you hope to have in the lives of your customers?
Trust is a big deal to me. Sometimes that means you may not get the sale necessarily, but they are going to come back because they trust you and what you’re telling them. We want our customers to go out, represent us in the community, and look good doing it!

What styles are you most excited about for 2018?
Everyone has been excited about 2018. We’ve had a couple of stale years style-wise in my opinion. This year, everything is luxe. Embroidery, velvet, and so many rich fabrics are showing up. Any heel goes. There is not necessarily a height or shape of heel that is more popular. It makes it wearable for everyone.

What do you like to do to give back to the community, and what are the causes closest to your heart?
Animal rescue takes up a large portion of my time. I have found that I really enjoy the hands-on, in the trenches volunteering best. I do media appearances for the SPCA, and I also volunteer with Franklin County Humane Society. I spend most of my time there actually rescuing animals and bringing them into the shelter.  

Do you have a quote that inspires you as a store manager?
“I work hard so my dogs can have a better life.”

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My mom. She is a breast cancer survivor and she has somehow mastered the “live in the now.” She has the most positive attitude, she’s always having a good time, and she has great style.