Talking to young children about race

There is variety in every living thing, and our brains can sort and distinguish among these differences very early on. Children can, and do, sort by race at a very young age. Studies show that children show familiarity with their own race consistently by 6 months of age (Katz & Kofkin, 1997). By the age of 2, toddlers attribute people’s behaviors to their racial categories (Hirschfeld, 2008).

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Mental illness is not a crime

It pains me when we hear about a mass shooting and immediately blame mental illness. I confess I’ve done the same. Until now. Over the past year, I’ve walked with a family member through a mental health diagnosis. It’s been gut-wrenching and eye-opening.

To quote a friend who works in the health care industry, “When people talk about mental illness in derogatory terms like this, it just reinforces negative stereotypes and makes illness seem like some sort of moral failing. The majority of those with mental illness are not violent. The social stigma of mental illness is one of the reasons why people who are experiencing symptoms avoid treatment for their illness.

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Standing in the gap for children

When you walk into the Henderson County Guardian ad Litem office, you’ll see two walls. One has hearts with the names of children who have been removed from their home due to abuse, neglect or parental dependency (substance abuse), and whose future will be determined by the courts. The other has hands with the names of volunteers who stand in the gap for these children, representing them in court and speaking for them because they cannot speak for themselves. Right now, there are 30 young hearts in need of a hand.

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Heath care for kids is a priority

In 2007, our community gathered to set priorities for children who live and grow up in our town. We were challenged to think of doable, local solutions to our children’s greatest needs.

Our top priority was to increase the number of school nurses, creating better health care access. Not having nurses on-site at each school means school employees often provide medical interventions for children with chronic illnesses or injuries. Our commissioners made it a priority to add school nurses until our nationally recommended ratio of one nurse for every 750 students is met.

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Aiding Transition to Adulthood

The Children & Family Resource Center will celebrate as 20 teen parents, who have been in our Adolescent Parenting Program, walk across the stage to receive their diplomas. This is our largest ever graduating class. Graduation day is a significant achievement for every student, and given the obstacles some of these teens have had to overcome, we are particularly proud.

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Resilience Helps Avert Child Abuse

I keep running across this story of resilience where a young woman is telling her mother about some problems in her life. While she is talking, her mother boils three pots of water. In one pot she places carrots, in another she places an egg, and in the third coffee beans.

After twenty minutes of boiling, she asks her daughter to tell her what she sees. The carrots went into the water hard but had turned soft. The egg looked the same but had become hard inside. The coffee transformed into something delicious and aromatic — better than it was before. All three experienced the same situation of heat, trauma and 20 minutes in boiling water.

The mother told her daughter that her trials were like the boiling water…. Click here to continue reading.

A resolution on behalf of kids

Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to tuck 2016 away for the memory book. The year was full of loss mingled in with blessings. That’s just life, I suppose. I’m choosing to focus on the latter.

For a variety of reasons, this isn’t always the most magical time of year for me. Even though I long ago gave up making resolutions, every time I usher in a new year, I’m convinced THIS will the year of great things for me — when I correct all my flaws, life will go as planned, I’ll be skinny and fit, a perfect mom and friend, happy in love, out of debt, and run a home that never gets messy. You, too?

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Help a family this holiday season

As I type this, I’m still basking in the glow of an excellent Thanksgiving. I didn’t know what to expect going in — except I knew it would be different with my family scattered here and there. Different turned out to be excellent.

We were nonstop and in six short days shared Thanksgiving, moved my son into his first home, decorated for Christmas, squeezed in Charlie Brown, Frosty and the Grinch, celebrated my daughter turning 18 and went ice skating. I’m exhausted and my house is a wreck, but my heart is full.

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Transportation equals opportunity

Thank goodness I looked down at my gas gauge! When I saw the words “0 miles to empty” glaring up at me, I was thankful I could see a gas station up ahead.

I have a couple of bad driving habits. Nearly running out of gas is one of them. When the “50 miles to empty” warning sounded, maybe my sunroof was open or the music was turned up. I never heard it.

I heard a story last week that makes me incredibly thankful and a little embarrassed that I can just zip around with little thought about fuel. I was at The Free Clinics where I learned about a man who walks four hours to and from Mills River to get his medication each month. Four hours! I can’t imagine walking four hours to get medication every time I needed it, especially if it were a monthly prescription. But you and I have a friend and neighbor who does.

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Critical issues affect local kids

Last month, the Children & Family Resource Center hosted a dinner conversation for local pediatricians and family practice doctors to talk about what they were seeing firsthand as some of the biggest concerns for children and families in Henderson County.

Several pediatricians and doctors (representing all three pediatric practices in Henderson County, Blue Ridge Community Health Services, the Health Department and two family practices) and our team of early childhood professionals discussed what concerned doctors most often found parents struggling with (outside of health concerns that caused their visit to the doctor’s office), and what trends in child development they were witnessing.

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