Ralph Hollmon, president and ceo of the Milwaukee Urban League (standing in rear center) joined MUL officials in helping area children get a leg up on the school year by supplying them with back packs and school supplies at the 30th annual Health and Resource Fair held recently at the Fitzsimmonds Boys & Girls Club, 3400 W. North Ave. Many families took advantage of free health screenings for their children which included immunizations, blood pressure and vision tests. The free back packs were made possible by funding raised at the Urban League’s 30th Black and White Ball. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
National WIC Association and Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (MHSI) recently presented Congresswoman Gwen Moore with the 2012 Leadership Award at the MLK- Heritage Health Center location at 2555 N. MLK Drive. Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a national, mission-driven preventive public health nutrition program serving nearly 9 million mothers and young children, benefiting local communities and the nation. “The primary objective of this award is, to honor one of our leaders who has been and continues to be a champion for WIC during these uncertain times to help keep the program funded, so that it can continue to effectively improve the nutrition and overall health of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their young children in communities like ours across the nation,” according to Angie Wilks-Tate, WIC Project Director at MHSI.
MHSI is a Federally Qualified Health Center partnering with WIC to prevent children’s health problems and improving their health, growth and development. The mission of MHSI is to provide 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, 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 St.
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.
Studies Track Improvements in Grade School Language Studies
Article courtesy of News and Experts.com
It turns out dogs are not only good for our health; finding missing people; and helping disabled people live independent lives – they’re good for kids’ report cards, too!
Canines have been found to improve the immune system and reduce blood pressure, among other health benefits. They help rescuers and law officers, blind people and those with limited use of their hands and arms. Now we have another reason to celebrate man’s best friend.
“Dogs not only help children learn to read, they help children learn to love reading,” says Michael Amiri, coauthor with his wife, Linda, of the children’s book, Shellie, the Magical dog (www.shelliethemagicaldog.com). “And that’s true of for children with and without learning disabilities.”
A Minnesota pilot project called PAWSitive Readers finds that trained therapy dogs helped 10 of 14 grade-school participants improve their reading skills by one grade level. Additionally, a University of California study showed that children who read to the family dog improved their ability by an average of 12 percent.
Amiri discusses five reasons why dogs help kids learn to love reading:
• No embarrassment: “Most of us have memories of reading out loud in class,” he says. “Though we may have been proficient readers, the fear of stumbling on a word in front of everyone was a constant source of anxiety.” Dogs are excellent for unconditional, nonjudgmental love; they won’t laugh if and when mistakes happen.
• Confidence boosters: “I never had a dog while growing up, which is too bad because I think I would have had an easier time gaining self-confidence,” says Amiri. As an adult, he discovered the many benefits of dogs through he and his wife’s very special Maltese, Shellie. She’s often the center of attention in their community at pet-friendly restaurants, where she laps her water out of a martini glass. And she has a full-time job as the greeter at Linda’s hair and nail salon. “If a little dog can give me, a grown man, more confidence, imagine what it can do for kids,” he says.
• Polite listeners: Like humans, dogs are social creatures and most enjoy the sound of a calm voice speaking to them. Many – except perhaps the most energetic breeds – seem to enjoy curling up on a rug and listening to a story being read aloud. They don’t interrupt (except for the occasional ear scratch or to sniff a body part) and they often show appreciation for the attention.
• A fun approach to schoolwork: Too often, when children think of studying, they think of time spent hunched over a desk struggling alone to work out problems and memorize lists. Interacting with a lovable, fuzzy friend for an hour of homework is an appealing alternative.
• Win-win: A canine-student reading program is a great way to help service dogs-in-training learn patience and discipline. Dogs are trained to help veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, the blind, and people who use wheelchairs, among others. These dogs in training help children, while children improve a dog’s service abilities.
Michael Amiri grew up in New York City and became an actor in local theater productions and television commercials. Linda Amiri is an entrepreneur, the owner of a successful hair and nail salon. Their personality-plus Maltese, Shellie, is a popular community character, who puts in a full day of work every day as a greeter at her “mom’s” salon. She’s the inspiration for the first in a series of children’s books that will address topics and issues of concern to children.
Wisconsin’s senior U.S. senator honored with medal as a champion for children
The Milwaukee Board of School Directors and Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Gregory Thornton honored MPS graduate and retiring Wisconsin U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl Friday as a champion for children and their education.
“Senator Kohl has stood up for each and every child in Milwaukee,” Dr. Thornton said. “He’s done it for the children. He’s spent his time in office helping improve the lives of students in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and across the country.”
Kohl authored the legislation that expanded the school breakfast program, he helped fund strong after-school programs and he sponsored legislation that strengthened child support enforcement.
Just as he’s worked to protect children and improve their lives in his public role, the senator’s private philanthropy has also helped ensure students reach their full potential. The Herb Kohl Educational Foundation Achievement Award program provides $400,000 in grants for Wisconsin high school seniors, teachers and schools each year.
As the superintendent presented a medal to the state’s senior senator, Dr. Thornton recalled that Sen. Kohl was among the first people to call when the superintendent was named to his post in 2010.
The senator has been a strong ally in the ongoing effort to improve Milwaukee Public Schools, Dr. Thornton said, helping connect the district with resources in Washington that improve the lives of Milwaukee’s children.
The superintendent said he’s honored to call Sen. Kohl a friend – and a friend to the district.
Sen. Kohl is stepping down after serving four six-year terms in the U.S. Senate. He was first elected in 1988.
Milwaukee Public Schools is Wisconsin’s largest school district, serving 80,000 students in more than 160 schools across the city. U.S. News and World Report named MPS’ Rufus King International School and Ronald Wilson Reagan College Preparatory High School the two best high schools in the state and among the 200 best in the country in 2012. In the past year, Milwaukee Public Schools posted a growing graduation rate 17 points higher than the rate for 2000, growing math standardized test scores representing 10-point growth in the last six years and growing ACT scores.
Offers Tips for Raising Kids to Succeed
Welfare may seem like a charitable measure for struggling families. But it’s a self-perpetuating trap when it becomes the only way of life parents know how to teach their children, who then know nothing else to teach their own children, says Virgil Brannon, founder of the non-profit I Am Vision Inc.
“Living on entitlements becomes a way of life for recipients when it’s handed down from one generation to the next because the family loses any tools it might have once had to forge a life based on self-discipline, achievement and challenging,” says Brannon, author of Democratic Coma (www.DemocraticComa.com).
“It’s no different from the child who grow up being given material thing he wants, along with excessive praise that’s not deserved. One child may be from a poor family and the other from an affluent family, but both are at risk for growing up without the skills necessary for success.”
Brannon’s non-profit organization mentors disadvantaged children, helping them develop the values, understanding and knowledge they need to be motivated and equipped to succeed. He has found that coaching children to manage their lives as they would a business helps them not only develop good habits and skills, it also teaches them some essential business lessons:
• Your life is your business: Our business is how we act, speak, the way we dress, how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. Like any other business, it is expected to grow and prosper and to do that, we must invest in it. Part of that is feeding the mind with the information needed to make good choices.
• The people you meet and the friends you make are your clientele: Treat all people with the respect you would any customer or potential customer. Our relationships can elevate us if people feel their treated fairly, honestly and with respect.
• The more you provide or produce, the more you advance: Business involves providing a service or product. Business people do not care about excuses; they care about what you have to offer them. It doesn’t matter where you come from or what color you are, if you have something they need – and a reputation for integrity — they will come to you for it.
• Your appearance means everything: You must look the part to get the part. The secret is to look as though you already have it to obtain what you want.
Parents should teach their children to be business-like and to think like a professional, Brannon says.
“That includes giving them the best education possible, including learning at home about history, civic duty and different cultures,” Brannon says. “In business, people are expected to display good manners and to communicate with others, from a firm handshake to looking others in the eye and speaking clearly and correctly.
“That is the most important investment we can make.”
About Virgil Brannon
Virgil Brannon is a private investigator and the founder of I Am Vision Inc., a non-profit program that embraces and empowers youth with academic and leadership challenges. His goal is to promote the personal growth of socio-economically disadvantaged youth and their families by encouraging their dreams and providing members with a roadmap for success. Brannon attended Shepherd’s Care Bible College and received his master’s and doctoral degrees in ministry religious counseling.
Ten Signature Charities Announced; 20 Others To Be Randomly Drawn In December When Final Fundraising Total Announced
Potawatomi Bingo Casino kicked off its 19th-annual Miracle on Canal Street Wednesday by announcing exciting changes to the program that will increase anticipation for December’s fundraising total announcement.
Miracle on Canal Street is Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s signature charitable program. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for children in southeastern Wisconsin. Through funds raised from special bingo games and the generosity of Potawatomi Bingo Casino guests, the program focuses the joy of holiday giving onto those who are the hope for the future. Thirty local children’s charities will take place in this year’s program.
In a major change from years’ past, 20 of the 30 charities participating in the program will be randomly chosen on the day the fundraising total is announced – Friday, Dec. 14. Prior to this year, those charities were randomly chosen and announced to kick off the program in August.
“This year’s big change will give us a chance to learn and develop relationships with many more great charities that are doing important work throughout the area. With nearly 150 children’s charities applying and eligible for Miracle on Canal Street this year, the level of participation and engagement in the program will be bigger and more sustained than ever,” said Potawatomi Bingo Casino Bingo Director Melanie Martin. “This is an astonishing program, and our Bingo guests are the ones responsible for making it an overwhelming success year in and year out.”
The Miracle on Canal Street game will be played during every bingo session at the Casino from Aug. 15-Dec. 13.
The casino also announced Wednesday the 10 signature charities chosen by the program’s media partners to participate in Miracle on Canal Street this year. These 10 charities will also share in funds raised through the Miracle bingo game. The theme for this year’s program is “Making sure children have a place to sleep, eat and play.” All signature charities chosen were required to serve children in these capacities. This year’s signature charities and their media partners include:
Adoption Resources of Wisconsin – presented by Lamar Outdoor
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum – presented by Entercom Radio
Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee – presented by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Boys and Girls Club of Washington County – presented by Clear Channel Media + Entertainment
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin – presented by Clear Channel Outdoor
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin – presented by WITI FOX 6
Milwaukee Bicycle Collective – presented by OnMilwaukee.com
Penfield Children’s Center – presented by Milwaukee Radio Group
Pathfinders – presented by WISN TV 12
Special Olympics Wisconsin – presented by Journal Broadcast Group
“We feel blessed to be a Miracle on Canal Street charity in 2012,” said Genise Lindner, Development and Communications Manager at Pathfinders. “The money we receive through this wonderful program will go a long way in helping our community’s homeless and runaway children by giving them the necessary shelter, food and support services they need to overcome the traumas they’ve endured.”
Since its inception in 1994, Miracle on Canal Street has contributed more than $11.5 million to more than 375 non-profit organizations. In 2011, 30 children’s charities in southeastern Wisconsin shared in funds totaling nearly $1 million.
Last year, Miracle on Canal Street funding improved the lives of children in our community by addressing multiple needs – from educational services to emergency shelter, from clothing needs to after-school enrichment activities.
Eligible charities applied during a call for entry period which closed in June. Eligible organizations must have 501(c) (3) status, serve a primary client base of children younger than 18 and be located within Milwaukee, Racine, Washington, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Dodge, Jefferson, Kenosha, Sheboygan or Walworth counties. A complete list of submission guidelines is available at www.paysbig.com/miracle.
Local Families Do Their Part to Reach Global Goal of Helping 9 Million Children in 2012 and Over 100 Million Since 1993
There are tens of millions of children in developing countries who have never attended school. (Source: UNICEF) While a number of factors contribute to a lack of education among children in developing nations, one key component is access to basic school supplies.
However, this back-to-school season, Milwaukee parents, kids and teens are looking beyond their own school supply lists and making a difference in the lives of needy kids overseas. By maximizing back-to-school sales, Milwaukee families are stocking up on items for Operation Christmas Child, a year-round project of international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse, headed by Franklin Graham. Participants fill shoe boxes with school materials, toys, necessity items, and letters of encouragement for children in poverty around the world.
This shoe box packing effort, requiring months of organization and preparation, is expected to bless over 9 million children this year suffering the effects of natural disaster, disease, war, terrorism, famine and poverty. In 2012 Operation Christmas Child anticipates reaching a milestone—collecting and delivering shoe boxes to more than 100 million children since the project began in 1993. Through the power of a simple gift and the message of hope through Jesus Christ, children learn they are loved and not forgotten. For many of these children, the shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.
HOW CAN I HELP NEEDY KIDS WORLDWIDE?
PREPARE – Help enlist families, churches, scout troops, community groups and businesses to take advantage of back-to-school sales by collecting school supplies for shoe box gifts.
PACK – During National Collection Week (Nov. 12–19), fill shoe boxes with school materials, toys, necessity items and a letter of encouragement and drop it off at a collection site near you. Step-by-step shoe box packing instructions are available at www.samaritanspurse.org/OCC. By using special tracking technology, participants can “follow” their shoe box and discover the country in which their gift will be hand-delivered to a child in need. To register your shoe box gift, use the “Follow Your Box” form online.
VOLUNTEER – Volunteers are needed year-round. For volunteer opportunities visit www.samaritanspurse.org/OCCand click on “Volunteer” for more details and information.
For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 612.359.7025 or visit www.samaritanspurse.org/OCC. National Collection Week for gift-filled shoe boxes is Nov. 12-19; however, shoe box gifts are collected all year at the Samaritan’s Purse headquarters in Boone, N.C.
Parents of children seeking a preschool for the coming school year will have the opportunity to register those children plus have them get free health and dental screenings.
The Head Start program coordinated by the Social Development Commission (SDC) will hold a pair of Registration and Health Fairs for the public. The first will be held Tuesday, August 21st from 8:30 am to 3 pm at Northcott Neighborhood Head Start located at 2460 N. 6th Street. The second will be Thursday, August 23rd at the same time at the SDC Head Start site at 6682 W. Greenfield.
The fairs will provide a chance for parents to learn about the free preschool program and to register for the next school year. Parents are encouraged to bring birth certificates for their children plus documentation of family income. In addition to registering for Head Start, attending children can also get a physical and dental exam, height and weight measurements, and screenings for vision, blood pressure, and blood lead.
The SDC Head Start program is free for income eligible Milwaukee County children between ages of three and five. For more information on the nationally recognized program, call 414-906-2777 or visit the SDC website at www.cr-sdc.org, click on the “Programs” page and then on the link for “Head Start”.
Support Young Readers with Donation to Be A Reader Virtual Book Drive
To help nourish young minds, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and the Buddig Be A Reader campaign have partnered with Marquette’s College of Education to support local children’s literacy initiatives. For a second year the lunchmeat brand will donate a minimum of $100,000 to RIF. RIF motivates young children to read by working with them, their parents and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. Last year RIF distributed more than 100,000 books to nearly 40,000 children in the Milwaukee area through its Books for Ownership program. Marquette supports local childhood literacy, in part, through the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center, which provides tutoring to inner-city children in Milwaukee.
The Be A Reader campaign is calling on compassionate friends to join the cause by giving through an online Virtual Book Drive this summer to provide free, new books to underserved children. Help give them a head start by donating to the Be A Reader Virtual Book Drive at http://www.buddig.com/be_a_reader.aspx. In addition, for everyone who visits rif.org/like and “Likes” Reading Is Fundamental’s Facebook page during the month of August, Buddig will make a $2.50 donation matching up to $5,000 to support local RIF literacy programs.
“Access to books and early literacy resources is critical to improving reading proficiency among Milwaukee’s at-risk youth,” said Dr. William Henk, dean of Marquette’s College of Education and professor of literacy. “Today there’s an average of just one book for every 300 children in low-income neighborhoods. The Be A Reader campaign is helping Reading Is Fundamental to close that gap.”
As students head back to school, RIF and Dean Henk offer these timely tips for raising readers of every age:
- Start reading to your children when they are very small and make this time together a special time without everyday distractions. Continue reading aloud to children even after they’re reading on their own.
Choose books carefully and ask your kids what they like and don’t like. Your children’s input will help you guide them to good books.
- Encourage your child to read aloud to younger brothers, sisters, family members or friends.
- Make a commitment to read aloud at least once a day. Even 15 minutes of daily reading can make a big difference in your child’s reading comprehension and literacy development.
- Set a good example by reading frequently and sharing your enthusiasm for reading. Talk about the books you read and your favorite authors.
Visit http://www.buddig.com/be_a_reader.aspx to make a donation of $5 or $10 and you’ll receive a coupon from Buddig lunchmeats. Larger donations could earn you an insulated lunch bag or backpack. Funds raised through the Be A Reader Virtual Book Drive will be used to purchase new books for participating RIF youth.
As the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, RIF has provided 400 million books to more than 35 million children since its founding in 1966. Due to RIF’s loss of federal funding last year, corporate funding and consumer advocacy have become important keys to achieving the organization’s mission.
To learn more about the Be A Reader campaign visit www.rif.org or www.buddig.com.
About Marquette’s College of Education
Consistent with Jesuit tradition, the College of Education programs at Marquette University prepare teachers, school counselors, counseling psychologists, community counselors, and administrators to demonstrate a commitment to social justice through their work. Through their efforts, students develop strongly held ideals of care, respect, and advocacy for the well-being of all humankind under the guidance of faculty who are exceptional teachers and mentors, prominent scholars, and exemplary models of service. The College of Education advocates strongly on behalf of the Milwaukee Public Schools through volunteer service, offers new models for post-baccalaureate teacher certification, assists community groups in exploring alternative schools, and seeks both to create a sharper focus on Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics education and to develop a K-12 human rights’ curriculum.
About Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF)Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF’s highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year. For more information and to access reading resources, visit RIF’s website at www.rif.org.
About Carl Buddig & Company
Carl Buddig & Company, based in Homewood, Ill., has been nourishing families for more than 100 years with the very best in taste, variety and convenience. Now Buddig is nourishing young minds as a proud supporter of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). Carl Buddig & Company is a family-owned, privately held company managed by the third generation of the original founder. The Buddig family business got its start as a butcher shop on Chicago’s south side in the 1880s. Since 1940, Carl Buddig & Company has offered thin-sliced lean meats for sandwiches, snacks and special recipes. Visit www.buddig.com for more information about Carl Buddig products.
© 2012 Carl Buddig & Company
Reading Is Fundamental and RIF are registered trademarks/service marks of Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.