by Michael R. Lovell, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
September is traditionally thought to be the back-to-school month. The reality at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is that we are looking to get individuals of all ages back to school throughout the year. Playing an important role in this constant effort is our Office of TRIO and Precollege Programs.
You can learn a lot about an organization by reading its mission statement, and that is certainly true for TRIO at UWM. Its mission statement reads:
“We are committed to providing educational access and opportunities to individuals and families without regard to gender, ethnicity, disability or socioeconomic status. We provide participants and their families information, support and academic services for postsecondary attendance. Our goal is to increase the number of diverse individuals to complete their high school education and attend and graduate from college. We believe that education empowers communities to inspire future generations to effect change.”
There is a great wealth of information about TRIO on its website: trio.uwm.edu.
On the website, you will see that a majority of our TRIO programs are designed for middle school and high school students. These courses seek to help young people develop the core skills that both help them be successful in their current classes plus get them ready for education beyond high school.
Among the TRIO and Precollege courses that serve an especially important role for high school-aged students are the ones that help young people prepare for the ACT test. Many of those courses take place starting in October.
In addition to programs for middle school and high school students, there also are programs that have been created for adults interested in starting or returning to college, and others for military veterans that help them become college-ready and get enrolled in appropriate college courses.
Especially informative are online versions of several presentations the TRIO staff has recently delivered to community groups. Many have a special focus on parents. If you were not able to see these presentations in person, they can be viewed at trio.uwm.edu.
Parents who would like to talk to someone about taking advantage of the programs available through the UWM Office of TRIO and Precollege Programs can call 414-229-2845.
Local Families Make Senior ‘Back-to-School Backpacks’ to Keep Elderly Active and Sharp
Article courtesy of 919 Marketing
This back-to-school season, local families are scrambling to prepare their children to head back to the classroom. But in busy times, senior experts urge us to remember our elderly loved ones who are often left out of the hustle and bustle, and can feel lonely, isolated and mentally stagnant. So, while Mom and Dad may have already filled their child’s backpack full of pencils and other school supplies, they may have forgotten to stuff one very important backpack – that of their aging parent.
That’s why Senior Helpers, one of the largest in-home senior care companies, with caregivers in your city, is helping local families create Senior “Back-to-School Backpacks” to keep elderly loved ones sharp and engaged. These backpacks are an easy, inexpensive way to keep seniors involved in activities that will keep their minds and memories sharp. According to the Mayo Clinic, seniors who engage in cognitive activities, play games or participate in crafts, have a 30-50 percent decrease in memory loss compared to those who did not participate in these activities. In fact, studies show that even the “diseased brain” has the ability to make new neurological connections when kept active.
“Families become so busy they can forget to include their elderly loved ones in all the activities. Studies show that without stimulating activity, seniors can lose memory, feel depressed and isolated and have a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” says Peter Ross, CEO and co-founder of Senior Helpers, an in-home senior care company with a local office of highly trained caregivers specializing in dementia and Alzheimer’s care. “That’s why these Senior “Back-to-School Backpacks” are a fun, easy way to keep the elderly engaged. If you can’t be there to join your elderly loved one in these activities, hire a caregiver who can take the load off you.”
Backpack items should include:
• Hand-held computer games (such as Connect Four or Scrabble)
• Books, magazines or crossword puzzles
• Do-It-Yourself birdhouse kit
• Fake flowers to arrange
• Deck of cards
• Etch-a-sketch (draw or play games such as Hang Man, Tic-Tac-Toe, etc.)
• Paint by numbers (model cars or other objects)
• Gardening seeds
Sources: Mayo Clinic (2009 study), Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, Best Alzheimer’s Products, Dementia Today
To learn more about how to care for your senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s through the Senior Helpers’ Senior Gems Program, please visit our website at www.seniorhelpers.com. There, you can also request a complimentary Senior Gems DVD.
Children’s back-to-school backpacks and other supplies may contain higher levels of potentially toxic chemicals than the government allows in most toys, a new study shows.
The study found that about 75 percent of children’s school supplies contain high levels of potentially toxic phthalates. New York Sen. Charles Schumer called for new laws to regulate the chemical while discussing the report, which was released by the advocacy group Center for Health, Environment & Justice.
“School supplies are supposed to help our children with their education, they shouldn’t be harming their health,” Schumer said in an emailed press release. “We don’t allow high levels of these toxic chemicals in children’s toys and we certainly shouldn’t allow them in back-to-school products. When kids take their lunch to school this fall, they shouldn’t be carrying it in a lunchbox laden with toxic chemicals.”
The CHEJ says phthalates are a class of chemical used to soften vinyl plastic that are hazardous at even low levels of exposure. Phthalates have been linked to birth defects, early puberty, infertility, asthma, ADHD, obesity, and diabetes.
For the investigation, scientists randomly purchased and tested 20 back-to-school items from New York City dollar stores and other retailers. They found Disney’s Dora the Explorer Backpack contained phthalate levels over 69 times higher than the allowable federal limit for toys. The Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox contained 27 times the federal limit, while the Disney Princess Lunchbox exceeded the toy limit by 29 times. Children’s rain coats, rain boots and 3-ring binders also were found to contain the toxins.
This back-to-school season, stock up on college funding advice
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Back-to-school shopping season means big sales for retailers selling pencils, backpacks, clothes and tech gadgets. Young parents know that as children get older, their back-to-school list grows with them. Eventually for many, that list will grow to include dorm necessities, textbooks and yes, college tuition. Parents, if blunt scissors and crayons are still on your child’s school supply list, now could be the right time to start planning your college funding strategy. Patrick Egan, National Retirement Spokesperson for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans offers this list of “school supplies” to help you, and your student, prepare for college.
529 plans are a tax-deferred way for anyone to invest in a child’s education. These accounts are controlled by your state or by a manager your state has appointed. Anyone can establish a 529 savings plan naming anyone as a beneficiary. Investments may be used at any approved private or public school. Earnings in this account are tax-deferred until withdrawn, and distributions to pay for qualified higher education expenses are exempt from federal and sometimes state income taxes. Check with a financial professional in your area to find out how a 529 plan in your state could be helpful to your college funding strategy.
This type of savings account allow you to build savings for any child meaning grandparents, relatives and friends could also set this up. While the child’s name is on the account, the adult custodian is responsible for overseeing it until the child turns the age of majority, usually 18 or 21. Once the child assumes control of the custodial account it can be used for any reason, meaning that if your savings exceeds the amount needed for tuition, your child could use it for living expenses or save it for something else.
The savings accrued in a Coverdell account can be used for approved expenses before your child goes to college, on K-12 expenses for students in private or public schools, as well as eligible post-secondary education expenses. A child can receive up to $2000 in annual contributions to a Coverdell account until age 18.
Other types of accounts
Contact an attorney to see if a trust could be right for you. Trusts can be used for education and other purposes and contributions to a trust have no minimum or maximum amount so saving can be done in many different ways.
While traditionally used for retirement savings, traditional and Roth IRAs allow you to withdraw funds penalty-free if used for qualified educationexpenses. Your contributions may be tax-deductible and grow tax-deferred until withdrawal. Contact a financial representative about using IRAs for college funding, as this could affect your retirement strategy and financial aid eligibility.
Permanent Life Insurance
If something should happen to you, a permanent life insurance contract can help ensure that goals like education can be met, even if the unthinkable happens. In addition, permanent life insurance contracts accumulate cash value that can be used during your lifetime and also provide additional flexibility for other funding avenues as well. Visit Thrivent.com for more information on types of life insurance to help you pay for college.
With so many options for college funding to choose from, selecting the best set of tools for your child can be difficult. A financial representative can help you decide which options are best for you to meet your family’s needs. Visit Thrivent.com to contact a financial representative, learn more about college funding options and even estimate your needs with a College Savings Calculator. College funding strategies, like back-to-school shopping, are all about preparation.
Hop on the bus to financial preparation by starting or building your college funding strategy today!
Area residents were invited to the Eighteenth Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Back To School Festival recently, to take place inside King Community Center Park. The park is located at 1531 W. Vliet Street (between 15th and 17th Streets along West Vliet Street).
This year’s theme was “The Dream Will Not Be Deferred, Celebrate the Goodness of Life, A Tribute to Daniela Matthews”.
Registered children were issued a wristband that they must wore until an authorized festival staff person removed it once book bag were given to them. In addition to the book bag giveaway, there will be activities for all ages, which includes a youth talent showcase, a gospel extravaganza, basketball tournaments, games, health and community vendors and many more.
One of the main reasons why mothers do not breastfeed or quit is returning back to school or work. On Thursday, August 9 the African American Breastfeeding Network will host its Breastfeeding Community Gathering to focus on supporting working mothers. Entitled “Prepare, Plan and Pump” 40 families will learn the value of breast milk, laws supporting working mothers and tips for returning back to work/school. African Americans have the lowest breastfeeding rates. Breastfeeding Community Gatherings are monthly sessions held at the Northside YMCA, 1350 W. North Avenue from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. We invite the media to learn how we are addressing this public health issue! For more information, contact Dalvery Blackwell at (414) 469-2684.
August Is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month!
Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (MHSI) hosted its 6th Annual Back to School Wellness Festival on recently at their Isaac Coggs – Heritage Health Center, 8200 West Silver Spring Drive. The national theme is “Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Powering Healthier Communities”. This year’s festival will celebrate delivering Quality Care in a Culturally Compassionate Manner to benefit our patients, families and community. Congresswoman Gwen Moore and many local elected officials will be in attendance.
The Back to School Wellness Festival is free and open to the public and will include various health screenings, education, food, and entertainment. Children will receive backpacks and school supplies, while supplies last, as well as have the opportunity to participate in games and activities. Community leaders and exhibitors, representing community-based health and social service agencies will be in attendance. MHSI physicians and clinicians will be on hand to answer primary healthcare related questions.
The main objective of the Back-To-School event is, “to increase the attendees awareness of various community agencies and empower them to take action through the utilization of services and resources provided”, said Crystal Logan, MHSI Community Relations Manager.
The Back to School Wellness Festival is made possible through sponsorships and donations from various organizations. Last year’s major sponsors were: United Healthcare Community Plan, Everest College, Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, Children’s Community Health Plan, Community Connect Health Plan and food was donated and prepared by Gumboman Catering Services. You can help Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. with this event by becoming a sponsor or making a donation. Please contact Ms. Logan at 414-267-2650 or email: [email protected] for more information.
Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. is one of four Federally Qualified Health Centers located in the city of Milwaukee. The mission of MHSI is to provide affordable, accessible, quality primary and related health care services to Milwaukee residents, with the continuing emphasis on medically-underserved families and individuals. MHSI operates the Martin Luther King, Jr. Heritage Health Center at 2555 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, the Isaac Coggs Heritage Health Center at 8200 W. Silver Spring Drive and the MHS Convenient Care Clinic located in the Midtown Piggly Wiggly at 4061 N. 54th Street.
WI School Nurses Urge Early Vaccination for Children Heading Back to School
Scheduling immunizations now will help protect students and communities from disease and avoid expected rush as Wisconsin’s 1 million students prepare to return to school
The Wisconsin Association of School Nurses (WASN), representing more than 260 members statewide, today urged parents to plan ahead and have their children vaccinated early before sending them back to school. August is National Immunization Awareness Month.
“Wisconsin has been especially hard hit this year with whooping cough and measles outbreaks and we fully expect a busy time for doctors and nurses administering vaccinations statewide during late August, but we want people to know they should not wait until the last minute,” said Louise Wilson, president of WASN and Health Services Supervisor in the Beaver Dam Unified School District. “Getting kids in early for their updated immunizations helps remove some of the back-to-school stress that builds as the start of school nears. This year in particular, parents of children in kindergarten, 6th and 12th grades need to pay special attention to immunization requirements. Kindergartners will need additional doses of several vaccines, 6th graders will need Tdap (which protects against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis [whooping cough]) and 12th graders who have not had chickenpox will need a second dose of varicella.”
WASN offers tips to make back-to-school vaccination preparation easy, including:
Check the Wisconsin Immunization Registry at http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/publicaccess.htm to review your child’s current immunization record.
Consult your family doctor on what vaccinations your child still needs and make an appointment soon.
Call your city or county health department to see if they have free immunization clinics in your area. Local school nurses also have this information and some schools even hold their own on-site vaccination programs during school registration.
Go to www.cdc.gov/vaccines to see additional facts from through the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Wisconsin law requires K5 through 5th graders to be immunized within 30 days after school starts or they can be excluded from school for up to 10 days or the parent fined. Wisconsin requires children be vaccinated against chicken pox, measles/mumps/rubella, hepatitis B, polio and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus. Waivers are available for religious, personal or medical reasons. WASN indicates that while not required by state law, college and military bound individuals are also being encouraged to get an additional dose of the meningitis vaccine, which was originally administered only once to children.
“Vaccinations save lives and getting them done early this year will help keep everyone safe,” said Wilson.
The mission of WASN is to strengthen and support professional school nurses as leaders in building healthy school communities that promote a successful learning environment. For more information please visit www.wischoolnurses.org.
Emmaus Lutheran School located at 2818 N. 23rd St. will be hosting a Back to School Rummage Sale in the gym on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 8-10am. Books, tables, chairs, equipment, and other miscellaneous items will be labeled with a price or sold for best offer. We gladly accept cash, money orders, or cashier checks. For more information please call 414-444-6090