Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 154: National Tennis Month

If you're a tennis player, you know how much fun it is to play tennis, and at the same time, to get a good aerobic workout. Tennis is also a great activity for moms, kids and families, which is why the USTA is sponsoring National Tennis Month with activities scheduled for nearly every day in the month of May. Not only is this a good opportunity to introduce the sport of tennis as a family sport, but the national program also uses this time to focus on positive activities for families.

In a united effort to support the growth of tennis, communities throughout the country will host tennis activities, including festivals, clinics and tournaments, during the month of May. Events include on and off court games for players of all ages and skill levels. This year, nearly 200 communities across the country will celebrate tennis at the local level.

Tennis has always been regarded as one of the most beneficial activities for both physical and mental wellbeing. It is a sport in which the whole family can participate. Tennis creates the perfect bonding opportunity between parents and their children, and provides great opportunities to teach physical activity, discipline and hard work.

City Parks Foundation (CPF) is the only independent, nonprofit organization to offer park programs throughout the five boroughs of New York City. They work in over 750 parks citywide, presenting a broad range of free arts, sports, and education programs, and empowering citizens to support their parks on a local level. Their programs and community building initiatives reach more than 600,000 people each year, contributing to the revitalization of neighborhoods throughout New York City.
CityParks Tennis presented by Chase, provides free tennis lessons to thousands of kids ages 5 to 16 each year in more than 36 parks throughout the five boroughs. The program promotes physical fitness while building self-confidence. The program is designed to make the sport of tennis freely available to those who want to learn the game in a fun, relaxed environment. CityParks Tennis lessons for kids are offered at all skill levels. Opportunities include free beginner lessons, tournaments, leagues, excellence programs and special events.

Donation $5

To support City Parks Foundation, please visit:  https://www.cityparksfoundation.org/

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 153: National Backyard Games Week

National Backyard Games Week (May 23 - May 30) Memorial Day kicks off the unofficial start of summer. But, kids can enjoy the outdoors for a whole week prior to the holiday. The 12th National Backyard Games Week begins the Monday before Memorial Day and ends the Monday of Memorial Day. The week-long celebration was introduced by Patch Products to promote physical activity among kids, parents and teachers through participation in backyard games.

If weather permits, play a different outdoor game each day of the week or enjoy several games on one day. From water games to group games, everyone can participate in National Backyard Games Week.

There are so many outdoor activities at all age and ability levels. Think back to your childhood. What were the games you loved to play? Do you remember kick-the-can? Red rover? Red light, green light? One of the many versions of tag? Or did you prefer to climb trees, chase butterflies and build forts with lawn chairs and blankets? Whatever you loved to do as a child, help instill a love and appreciation of movement and togetherness. Celebrate National Backyard Games Week. You’ll become a child again.

KaBOOM! is a national non-profit dedicated to saving play for America's children.
Their mission is to create great play spaces through the participation and leadership of communities. Ultimately, they envision a place to play within walking distance of every child in America.

Play is on the decline throughout America. Not enough play spaces are being built, and those that exist are often in disrepair. Fears surrounding lawsuits and safety are trumping common sense, resulting in sterile, uninspired play environments. Recess is being eliminated from our nation’s schools. Kids are overscheduled, and in their free time, many choose to stay indoors, lulled by television, computers and video games.

The deficit of child’s play is sad, since it means a world with less laughter and joy. And it has grave implications for our society and our future. KaBOOM! fights this troubling play deficit, and its many related problems, through three central strategies:

  • Constructing innovative, kid-inspired play spaces, using a community-build model that improves the well-being of the children we serve as well as the neighborhoods in which they live.
  • Sharing the knowledge and tools needed for anyone to find, improve, and/or build playgrounds on their own.
  • Building a broad movement driven by research, analysis, policy, and community engagement.
To date, KaBOOM! has built over 1,900 playgrounds, saving play for over 3.5 million children.

Donation $5

To support KaBOOM!, please visit:  http://kaboom.org/

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 152: Family Wellness Month

May is Family Wellness Month so spread the word about this important observance. Family wellness is something that impacts every one of us. While the medical health of families is important, Family Wellness Month strives for communities to stress healthy family lifestyles and habits as well. The healthier each individual family is overall, the healthier we can all be as a whole!

This month was established to raise awareness of family wellness and lifestyle changes that must be made to ensure the health and safety of the family circle.  Family Wellness Month was developed to empower and educate parents with solutions, resources and specific services to achieve or maintain a healthy family lifestyle. 

Empowering parents to make important decisions about the health of their children is essential.  Not only do parents need to maintain physical health of their children, but they also need to help maintain emotional and psychological wellness of their child.  An unhealthy family life, such as one including violence in the home, is detrimental to a child’s health and wellness. 

Children who witness domestic violence in the home can experience anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and engage in self-destructive behaviors.  Statistics show that witnessing violent behavior as a child has a strong correlation of transmitting violence from one generation to the next. To end the cycle of violence in children, Hubbard House, a certified domestic violence center, offers a variety of outreach programs and services to provide guidance for children. 

Domestic violence is an epidemic that affects thousands of women, children, and men in Duval and Baker counties each year and can impact generations to come. There are four main types of abuse in domestic violence situations: physical, emotional, economic, and sexual abuse. Domestic violence is often more than an isolated incident. It is a recurring cycle of violence that often increases in severity over time. Unfortunately, many people do not realize the abuse they are living with is domestic violence and, as a result, do not seek help. Others know they are living in fear but do not know help is available.

The mission of Hubbard House is Every Relationship Violence-Free. Their priorities include providing safety for victims and their children, empowering victims, and social change through education and advocacy. Every woman, man, and child who go to Hubbard House finds support,  counseling, and education as they begin the difficult and dangerous transition to safety and peace. Victims of domestic violence and their children are not charged for the life-saving services they receive at Hubbard House.
Hubbard House has been and continues to be an award-winning pioneer in the field. In all they do, victim safety is their top priority. They value the experiences of survivors and learn from them. They shelter approximately 90 victims and their children each day and provide services to over 5,000 victims a year.

Donation $5

To support Hubbard House, please visit: http://hubbardhouse.org/

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 151: Armed Forces Day

Many Americans celebrate Armed Forces Day annually on the third Saturday of May. It is a day to pay tribute to men and women who serve the United States’ armed forces. Armed Forces Day is also part of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May.

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country. On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense.

Many events across the United States take place on Armed Forces Day to honor Americans in uniform who served their country in times of war and peace. Those who are honored on this day include people who serve the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in May because of their unique training schedules. Events and activities may include:
  • Multi-service military displays in areas open for the public.
  • Various educational activities that teach children about the armed forces.
  • “Support the Troops” themed motorcycle rides.
  • Large parades and other local celebrations.

Certain types of music are also played at Armed Forces Day events, including at memorials and at cemeteries, as a way to respect those in the armed forces who died for their country. For example, buglers have played a bugle call, known simply as Taps, on Armed Forces Day in recent years. Taps is usually sounded by the United States military at events such as flag ceremonies, memorial services and funerals.

Since its founding in 1925, the VFW National Home for Children has grown from an old frame farm house to a sprawling campus with playgrounds, park areas, and multiple buildings, including single-family homes, a community center and gymnasium, child care center, guest lodge, chapel and administrative offices. The National Home’s services have also evolved to meet the changing needs of America’s military and veterans’ families. Through their Helpline and their on-campus programs, they are able to help families and children through times of crisis, both on their beautiful campus and in their communities nationwide.

“Small town America” is one way to describe the National Home’s campus of forty homes and many support buildings. The idyllic and serene setting provides the perfect backdrop for children to grow and families to heal. 

Donation $5

To support VFW National Home for Children, please visit: http://www.vfwnationalhome.org/

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 150: National Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month

From May 15 to June 15, the Tourette Syndrome Association (TSA®)—the only national, voluntary health organization for people with Tourette Syndrome (TS)—joins the hundreds of thousands of families affected by TS to help raise awareness of this baffling disorder during National Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month.

Marked by involuntary body twitching and vocal tics, it is estimated that some 200,000 Americans have the disorder, with millions more manifesting associated conditions. National Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month, which was first established by TSA in 1997, provides an opportunity for the TSA, its chapters and others in the TS community to educate the public about this much misunderstood and misdiagnosed neurological condition.

Throughout the month, local TSA chapters across the country will work to raise awareness, increase education and reduce stigma associated with TS. One such event is Government Relations Awareness Week from May 31 to June 4. During this week, TSA chapters and families hold district meetings with elected officials and community leaders to raise local, state and federal elected officials' awareness of issues impacting families living with Tourette Syndrome.

Tourette's syndrome is a neurobehavioral (brain-based) movement disorder characterized by motor and vocal tics. Beginning in childhood, it causes those affected to make movements and noises they cannot control. Additionally, many are plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder, oppositional behavior and other disorders. Although medication may help control the symptoms, as of yet there is no cure. The Tourette Syndrome Association of Texas, one of the largest chapters in the country, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. They raise funds to directly assist Texas area families and children in crisis, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The Tourette Syndrome Association of Texas, as an affiliate of the National Tourette Syndrome Association, strives to improve the quality of life of individuals with Tourette's Syndrome and their families. To this end, they provide on-going community services, practical assistance and support research efforts to cure this devastating disorder.

Donation $5

To support  The Tourette Syndrome Association of Texas, please visit:     http://www.tourettetexas.org/

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 149: Boy's Club and Girls Club Day

Boys and Girls Club Day celebrates the invaluable Boy's Clubs and Girl's Clubs around the country. There are clubs all over America providing safe recreational activities for our youth. They teach values and citizenship. They help to keep kids out of trouble and off of the street.

Today is a day to recognize the importance of these groups for our children and to the community. With more and more parents at work, and broken families, these groups take on added importance.

You can celebrate Boys Club and Girl's Club Day in a variety of ways:
  • Learn about your local Boy's and Girl's clubs
  • Encourage your children to join them
  • As parents and adults, volunteer your time
  • Make a donation
  • If there is no club in your area, play a role in starting one.

This holiday celebrates Boys & Girls Clubs of America, an organization that aims to "enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens." The first Boys' Club was started in 1860, and since then has grown to employ 50,000 people. Denzel Washington, who was once a club member, is now the organization's spokesperson. So if you care about kids, or Denzel Washington, take today to find out how you can support your local Boys & Girls Club.

Formed in 1906, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (B&GCA) serves more than 4.8 million youth in more than 4,300 club locations. B&GCA works to enable all young people, especially those who need it most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens. B&GCA has a lineup of tested and proven nationally recognized programs that address today's most pressing youth issues, teaching young people the skills they need to succeed in life. National programs are available in the areas of education, the environment, health, the arts, careers, alcohol/drug and pregnancy prevention, gang prevention, leadership development and athletics.
Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii (BGCH) is a non-profit organization dedicated to inspiring Hawaii's youth to become responsible citizens. BGCH currently operates 12 sites on Oahu and Kauai, where BGCH members can access a multitude of programs and services.

Known as “The Positive Place for Kids,” BGCH's clubhouses and outreach sites provide guidance-oriented character development programs six days a week for children 7-17 years old. Key programs emphasize character and leadership development; education, technology and career development; health and life skills; the arts; and sports, fitness and recreation. Annual membership is $1.

BGCH is a subsidiary of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and has been operating in Hawaii since 1976. The organization touches the lives of nearly 4,800 members and provides services to an additional 5,000 youths each year, many from disadvantaged circumstances.

Donation $5

To support Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii, please visit: http://www.bgch.com/

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 148: Turn Beauty Inside Out Day

Is beauty only skin-deep? Not if you turn it inside out. This day serves as a reminder that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty. On this day people challenge the usual definition of beauty as portrayed in popular media and advertising by recognizing the wonderful actions and attitudes of people who are beautiful on the inside.

Today is Turn Beauty Inside Out Day, a national initiative launched in 2000 by New Moon Magazine and coordinated by the non-profit organization Mind on the Media. This is a collaborative effort to foster participation, discussion, and awareness of girls' images in the media. Also, promote healthy body image and expand the definition of what makes people beautiful!

Turn Beauty Inside Out is a grassroots celebration of healthy media images created in 2000 by a group of girls ages 8-16, the Girls Editorial Board of New Moon Girls. They invite people everywhere to celebrate Inner Beauty with them; the beauty of conviction, caring and action. Girls and boys need a definition of beauty that focuses on who we are and what we do, not on how we look. Turn Beauty Inside Out is a counterbalance to the damaging and unhealthy messages about beauty that bombard us in media, film, advertising and music every day.

Girls Incorporated is a nonprofit organization that inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through a network of local organizations in the United States and Canada. With local roots dating to 1864 and national status in the U.S. since 1945, Girls Inc. responds to the changing needs of girls and their communities through research-based programs and advocacy that empower girls to reach their full potential and to understand, value, and assert their rights. In 2009, Girls Inc. reached over 900,000 girls through Girls Inc. affiliates, our website, and educational publications.

The Girls Inc movement started in New England during the Industrial Revolution as a response to the needs of a new working class: young women who had migrated from rural communities in search of newly available job opportunities in textile mills and factories.

Girls Inc develops research-based informal education programs that encourage girls to take risks and master physical, intellectual and emotional challenges. Major programs address math and science education, pregnancy and drug abuse prevention, media literacy, economic literacy, adolescent health, violence prevention, and sports participation.

Donation $5

To support Girls, Inc., please visit:  http://www.girlsinc.org/

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 147: National Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 1–31. A month to promote better hearing and audiology awareness across the nation. More than 36 million American adults have some degree of hearing loss and around 12 million Americans have hearing loss as a result of exposure to noise, noise-induced hearing loss.

For over 75 years May has been designated as Better Hearing and Speech Month -- a time to raise public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of the various forms of communication impairments to include those of hearing, speech, language, and voice. Communication impairments affect the most vulnerable in our society -- the young, the aged, the disabled, and the poor.

Helen Keller once noted that of all her impairments, she was perhaps troubled most by her lack of speech and hearing.  She elaborated, that while blindness separated her from things, her lack of speech and hearing separated her from people -- the human connection of communication.

With hearing loss becoming more common in the United States as younger people lose hearing due to noise exposure and the baby boomers age, Better Hearing and Speech Month has become even more important as a means of reaching those reluctant to have their hearing tested. In 2000, HLA launched the first National Day of Hearing Screening (NDHS) in May.

John Tracy Clinic (JTC) was founded by Louise Treadwell Tracy in 1943. Mrs. Tracy compassionately established programs to educate and offer emotional support to parents and their preschool deaf youngsters, free of charge. By encouraging parents to build a foundation of communication with their young children during the critical language development stage from birth through age five, the Clinic has enabled thousands of boys and girls to master the challenges of oral communication. John Tracy Clinic provides, worldwide and without charge, parent-centered services to young children with a hearing loss offering families hope, guidance and encouragement.

The Yucca was chosen as the symbol for John Tracy Clinic because it blooms with great beauty in difficult conditions, as do the parents and students who attend their Clinic. Like sturdy yucca plants, deaf children eventually "blossom." They are able to share all of their talents and gifts with the world through a foundation of communication and listening skills developed during their early years.

Donation $5

To support John Tracy Clinic, please visit:  http://www.jtc.org/

Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 146: National Mental Health Month

May 1st kicked off National Mental Health Month (NMHM) continuing the long-standing tradition of encouraging awareness of mental and emotional health. Originally created in April 1949, National Mental Health Week was observed to focus public attention on mental health concerns. In the late 1960’s Mental Health Week expanded to a month-long effort to increase the public’s understanding of mental health issues. During May, the National Mental Health Association or Mental Health America (MHA) takes time to promote health and wellness in homes, communities, and schools. Mental health encompasses a variety of health conditions, from Alzheimers to depression, and as many as 1 in 4 Americans suffers from a mental health condition, reports Mental Health America. Most mental health conditions are treatable with medication, counseling, healthy living or any combination of these.

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. Mental disorders can also affect children. According to the National Mental Health Association (NMHA), mental health problems affect one in five young people. An estimated 22.1 percent of Americans ages 18 and older-about 1 in 5 adults-suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.

Recognizing the signs of mental illness is important. Feelings of sadness, anxiety, worry, or sleep problems are not uncommon. However, when these feelings get very intense, last for long periods of time, or begin to interfere with school, friendships and other relationships, it may be a sign of a mental illness. Depression, attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and anxiety, conduct, and eating disorders are all types of diagnosable mental disorders found in children. Although mental disorders in children are appearing more often, great advances have been made in the areas of diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.
KidsPeace is a private charity dedicated to serving the behavioral and mental health needs of children, families and communities. Founded in 1882, KidsPeace provides a unique psychiatric hospital; a comprehensive range of residential treatment programs; accredited educational services; and a variety of foster care and community-based treatment programs to help people in need overcome challenges and transform their lives. KidsPeace provides emotional and physical health care and educational services in an atmosphere of teamwork, compassion and creativity.

KidsPeace offers services in Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.
KidsPeace is accredited by The Joint Commission in Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.  KidsPeace does not discriminate in regard to admissions in terms of sex, race, creed, color, national origin, LEP (Limited English Proficiency), religious beliefs, disabilities or handicapping conditions.

Donation $5

To support KidsPeace, please visit:  http://www.kidspeace.org/

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 145: National Family Month

National Family Month is celebrated between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. This is a good time to reflect on family and how to make it stronger. Strong families share many of the same qualities.

Build Trust
Strong families build trusting relations by following through with promises.
Show Commitment
Strong families feel like a team. They share traditions through commitment to the family by making time for family events and making sacrifices for one another.
Members of strong families talk to one another about important decisions and daily plans. They discuss feelings as well as day-to-day activities at school or work.
Grow Through Crises
All families experience crises. Strong families use these experiences to learn and grow.
Spend Time Together
Strong families spend time together, talking, reading, playing games, taking walks, cooking. Some special times involve closeness, like reading a good-night story and tucking children into bed with a kiss.
Have Fun as a Family
Strong families know that having fun is important and make plans to have fun together. They plan family trips or parties.
Show Love and Affection
No matter what children say or do, they need to know that their parents love them. Strong families show caring in many ways. .

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii (RMHC-HI) was created in 1997 to expand the positive impact of Hawaii's Ronald McDonald House on the communities served. The House, which opened in 1987, has been and will always be RMHC-HI's cornerstone program. The mission of RMHC-HI is to provide a home-away-from-home for seriously ill children and their families and to develop programs and partnerships aimed at improving the lives of children in Hawaii and the Pacific. RMHC-HI operates three facilities to assist families that have children with serious health conditions. Two residential facilities are located on Oahu and the third facility is an in-hospital respite center - the Ronald McDonald House Family Room - which serves immediate family members of inpatient children at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children.
Honolulu’s two Ronald McDonald Houses are in continual operation 24-hours, 365-day-a-year.  Each is a “home-away-from-home” for families that must come to Oahu seeking specialized medical treatments for their children’s catastrophic illnesses.  Ronald McDonald Houses keeps families together during this, the most trying of times.  Both of our Houses provide a warm, dignified and supportive environment for our families, and are located in lower Manoa Valley, near Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children and Shriners Hospital.

Donation $5

To support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hawaii , please visit: http://www.ronaldhousehawaii.org/

Day 144: National Teen Self-Esteem Month

National Teen Self-Esteem Month was established to create awareness about the negative effects poor self-esteem causes among the teen population. During this month, parents and guardians are encouraged to act as positive role models, help stop negative self-images, and improve confidence and security among adolescents. Many adolescents and young adults in America struggle with negative self-images and low self-esteem, which may affect several aspects of their daily lives. Evidence shows that negative self-esteem hinders learning abilities and also increases the risk to develop eating disorders, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts. A negative self-image is also often a characteristic among adolescents involved in teen dating violence. This behavior has been shown to be more common among high school students than previously thought.

Males with low self-esteem are more likely to become perpetrators of dating violence, while females with low self-esteem often become victims. Other risk factors include alcohol and drug use, depression, violent peers, learning difficulties, lack of parental supervision and support, and previous exposure to violence in the home or in the community.

There are many approaches that can be taken when trying to prevent poor self-esteem, or repair/build self-esteem. An organization that is addresses building self-esteem of teen mothers is New Moms.

New Moms serves a population that is highly at-risk—overlooked, underserved, and under-funded.  Most often, participants arrive at New Moms with nothing more than a baby in their arms and a trash bag full of their belongings.  97% are either Latino or African-American, between the ages of 13 and 21, with children 5 years old or younger.  When these young women come to us, approximately 80% have dropped out of school, and are operating at an average 4th grade educational level.  Only about 25% have ever held a job.  Almost all are multi-generational welfare recipients, or have no income at all.  100% are living in extreme poverty (200% or more below the poverty threshold).  Over 75% do not live with immediate family members.  Most have no permanent home, and report “couch surfing” from one potentially dangerous, transient living situation to another, children in tow.  Many are officially homeless, living on the streets with their children.  Most are survivors—or continuing victims—of abuse, neglect, abandonment, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence.

Donation $5

To support New Moms, please visit:  http://www.newmomsinc.org/