Monday, June 29, 2009

How To Talk To Your Children About "Sexting"

(NAPSI)-Talking to children about relationships has always been a challenge for parents, but in recent years it has become even more so. Not only are children becoming sexually active at younger ages, but today's technology--computers, cell phones, etc.--tends to make youngsters feel more independent and grown up.

In this environment, the questions young people have about appropriate behavior are increasingly complicated. One common issue is "sexting," which is defined as the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photos electronically, primarily between cell phones. This can be a form of abuse.

According to the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), teens and young women are especially vulnerable to relationship violence. Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner. Females ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault, and people ages 18 and 19 experience the highest rates of stalking.

To help parents, coaches, teachers, mentors and others talk to children about healthy, loving, respectful relationships, the FVPF, with national support from Macy's, has developed RESPECT! Tools, a collection of tips, information and conversation starters. These resources include:

• 10 quick tips for parents on how to talk to your kids about healthy relationships;

• A guide for parents on how to talk to a child of any age about the importance of respect in healthy relationships;

• 10 "Dinner Table Topics" using everyday examples to talk about the importance of respect in relationships;

• A quiz for teens to help them determine whether or not they or their friends are in healthy relationships; and

• A list of warning signs that a child may be in an unhealthy relationship.

"As a mom, it's important to me that we teach children about building respectful and healthy relationships," said singer and RESPECT! Campaign spokesperson Christina Aguilera. "We all have the power to give respect and help create a world free from violence and abuse."

The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. For more information, visit www.GiveRespect.org or www.EndAbuse.org.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chick-fil-A Beefs Up Fifth Annual Cow Appreciation Day Celebration with Online Photo Contest for Cow-Clad Kids

/PRNewswire/ -- To celebrate its fifth-annual Cow Appreciation Day on July 10, Chick-fil-A will honor its Chick-fil-A "Eat Mor Chikin(R)" Cows by offering a free meal to any customer who isn't "too chicken" to visit any of its more than 1,440 participating restaurants fully dressed as a cow. To add to the celebration, the chain invites parents to enter photos of their cow-clad children as part of the "Show Us the Cow" online photo contest, for a chance to win a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond.

Between now and August 31, children ages 10 and younger are encouraged to work with an adult to submit creative photos of themselves, or with their siblings or friends, dressed as cows. The contest website, www.CowAppreciationDay.com, will provide details about uploading photos for the contest.

Once the pictures are uploaded, the public can vote for their favorite photo through August 31. When public voting closes, the twenty photographs receiving the most Internet votes will be named semifinalists. From the semifinalists, Chick-fil-A will select five finalists and one grand prize winner based on overall quality, appearance, originality, creativity and skill. The entrant's age will be taken into account for judging.

The grand prize winner will receive a United States Series EE Savings Bond with a maturity value of $1,000, a catered party for their classroom, free Chick-fil-A Kid's Meals for a year and a digital camera, among other gifts.

"We hope the 'Show Us the Cow' contest inspires parents and children to get creative and have a little fun together, while making their costumes, taking their photos and encouraging their friends and families to vote," said Angela Savage, senior consultant for the Chick-fil-A Kid's Meal Program. "Chick-fil-A is committed to offering children fun and educational activities, in addition to our tasty and healthy kids' menu options."

The contest details will first appear on the Kid's Meal bag in early June. In honor of Cow Appreciation Day and the chain's beloved bovines, each Kid's Meal from June 22 - July 25 will include miniature Cow figurines (while supplies last). One out of every 100 of these Cows will have gold spots instead of the traditional black spots and will be packaged with a card redeemable for a free Icedream(R). These limited edition Cows are sure to be collectibles.

Chick-fil-A has a long-standing commitment to providing premiums that promote adult-child interaction and that emphasize the importance of strong character and education. The 2009 Kid's Meal premiums include CD-ROMs, storybooks, and activities that encourage children to explore the world around them.

The photo contest is open to U.S. residents age 10 and under only. For official contest rules and information, please visit www.CowAppreciationDay.com.

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Creative Kids 6-12: The Next "Pop" Artists?

(NAPSI)-For youngsters with an artistic bent, a new contest could be described as being "totally tubular."

That's because, in celebration of a popular frozen snack's 50th birthday, kids have the opportunity to redesign its signature tube--and potentially have their artful creations adorn millions of packages nationwide.

To mark a half century of flavorful snacking, Nestlé Push-Up is launching Push-Up and Create, a search for kids who can create the next great work of "pop" art. Beginning February 2, 2009, children will have a sweet opportunity to demonstrate their creative talents through this unique art contest. Three winning kids will have their designs featured on millions of limited-edition Push-Up tubes.

In addition to having their artwork showcased on this popular frozen snack, each of the three Grand Prize winners will also receive a $1,000 gift card that can be used for art supplies and a $2,500 donation to his or her school.

"Kids and kids at heart love the Nestlé Push-Up tube and its colorful designs," says John Harrison, official taster for the Nestlé Push-Up brand. "What better way to celebrate our 50th birthday than to invite kids to submit their own creations?"

Kids ages 6-12 are invited to design a unique "virtual" tube by visiting pushupandcreate.com, where they can use online design tools to create cool backgrounds, mix colors and sketch their own masterpieces. Think orange tree fields and grape-kissed skies, rainbow sherbet-striped puppies and sequined stars; the options are limitless and creativity counts. Young artists can also download a template from the Web site, print it out and design and mail their masterpiece to Push-Up and Create, P.O. Box 713, New York, NY 10013-0713. Entries must be submitted between February 2 and August 31, 2009.


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Youth Digging Up the Past Before an Underwater Adventure

Children ages seven to 11 are currently digging up the past at Clayton State University… but, it won’t be long before it’ll be time for an underwater adventure.

With the Clayton State Division of Continuing Education’s Youth University in the midst of its first 2009 session – Digging Up the Past – registrations are still being accepted for the second session – Underwater Adventure.

Youth University consists of a wide array of courses throughout the two, three-week long theme-based summer sessions. Each session includes daily classes in Reading & Writing, Math, Science and Social Studies, as well as exploratory classes in fields such as Music, Dance, Drama and Arts & Crafts. Children will also have the opportunity to participate in exciting field trips and interact with guest presenters throughout their time at Youth University.

The first session, geared towards encouraging children to become archeologists or historians, runs through Friday, June 26. The second session, Underwater Adventure, will run Mondays through Fridays from July 6 to July 24. The registration fee is $499 per child and a meal plan option will also be available, as will early morning care and extended evening care. To register, call (678) 466-5050 or go to www.conted.clayton.edu.

“It is our goal for Youth University to provide a well-rounded educational experience for your child that is both informative and fun!” says Clayton State Director of Continuing Education Janet Winkler.

Digging up the Past immerses students in cross-curricular units on dinosaurs, ancient civilizations, and Georgia history while they gain a head start for the upcoming school year with academic classes in Reading & Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies.

Underwater Adventure will help children learn about the amazing world beneath the waves. Throughout this three-week learning adventure, children will explore the fascinating creatures from oceans around the world, compare and contrast saltwater and freshwater environments, and much more. Diving into observation and discovery, children will learn to value our earth’s precious resources and learn what they can do to make our world a better place.

A unit of the University System of Georgia, Clayton State University is an outstanding comprehensive metropolitan university located 15 miles southeast of downtown Atlanta.
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Fayette: Community Invited to Brooks UMC VBS – July 13 – 17

CAMP E.D.G.E. VBS will be held July 13th through the 17th. It is not your typical stroll through the woods! It's an action-packed expedition that teaches kids that their strength and might come from God. VBS will meet from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm Monday through Friday. There will be a luncheon and a small closing program for parents on Friday that will begin at 11:30 am. Ages 3 – 5th grade are encouraged to join for an action packed week of fun. Call 770-719-7593 to register or email brookschurch@bellsouth.net. There is a $10.00 registration fee per child this year to help cover material costs. Brooks UMC is at 119 Morgan Mill Road in Brooks GA, just three miles south of Starrs Mill on the corner of Morgan Mill and 85 Connector.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stories in the Palm of Your Hand

For kids only (or grownups that refuse to leave childhood far behind) Friday June 26th and Saturday June 27th. Taught by Tootle, Tykie, and Froggie (Writer - Beverly Browning, Designer - Kathy Socha, Production Designer - Andi Kulp)

For educational specialists, this course is described as a supervised amalgamation of ancient art forms: puppetry and storytelling. But in reality, it's an insanely hilarious, rollicking free-for-all with glue and googly eyeballs and stick - on antlers and wings. Young puppet makers create a cast of characters...all with past. When the puppets meet each other at the end, the story they create together is outrageous and amazing. Guaranteed. The puppeteers take their puppets home. (Who would trust these puppets to stay together and behave in the gallery?).

Tykie and Froggie are award-winning designers. Tootle is a professional writer and editor. In spite of international credentials and a lifetime of achievement in professional realms, none of them has really ever grown up.

The event will be held at Generations Gallery.

Friday June 26th from 2-4 pm
Saturday June 27th from 10am - 12 noon

Recommended for children ages 6 to 10

All supplies provided, a donation of $5 per child is requested, but not required.

www.TheVillageatIndianSprings.com/gallery 770-227-4002 weekdays and 770-775-7916 Weekends

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Monday, June 8, 2009

Everyday wisdom for families of kids with diabetes

(ARA) – Parents are masters at juggling. But if you are a parent of a child with diabetes, you have to learn to juggle in a whole new way. When a child is diagnosed with a chronic disease like diabetes, everyday moments like finding a babysitter, taking a vacation or starting a school year become more of a challenge.

That’s why the American Diabetes Association developed a free, interactive resource to help families of children with diabetes live happily and healthfully with these unique challenges. The toolkit, called "Everyday Wisdom," provides helpful strategies for families of children with diabetes to work together in support of the child. Among the strategies, families will learn how to prepare for a new school year, a slumber party, a babysitter or a plane trip.

It takes the whole family to care for and provide personal support for a child with diabetes.
Everyday Wisdom includes specific guides for children with diabetes, parents, teens with diabetes and siblings. There is even an interactive game for the whole family to play together that helps families learn more about diabetes, while opening up lines of communication on topics that may be hard to talk about.

Everyday Wisdom also includes an informational and inspirational DVD, juggling balls, and the Diabetes Dictionary -- all in an insulated lunch bag.

This interactive toolkit was designed for families of kids with diabetes ages 8 and over. It was made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Eli Lilly and Company.

Everyday Wisdom addresses a wide range of topics such as:

* Family communication: There is a fine line between caring and nagging, so what is the right balance for a parent? How does the family handle conflict related to diabetes? Tips include reacting calmly, setting realistic expectations and keeping an open-door policy.

* School: Children spend most of the day at school and are likely involved in school activities. How do you work with your school to ensure your child is able to fully and safely participate in all the school has to offer?

* Driving: Getting that first driver’s license is a huge milestone for your teen, and making sure that he or she stays safe behind the wheel is every parent’s No. 1 priority. Learn ways to ensure your teen knows how to manage his or her diabetes before getting into the car.

* Sibling rivalry: When one of your children has diabetes, it affects your other children, too -- in ways you may not even realize. When special accommodations need to be made, how do you make sure that everyone understands exceptions that are about health, not fairness or favoritism?

Everyday Wisdom is one component of the American Diabetes Association’s Family Link. Through Family Link, the American Diabetes Association connects parents of children recently diagnosed to parent mentors who have been there and can provide personal support. Family Link also includes a variety of touch points through which families of children with diabetes can connect to informational tools and personal support.

To order a free copy of Everyday Wisdom and to get more information about Family Link, call (800) DIABETES (342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org/families.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Student-grown watermelons, pumpkins to be judged

Growing gigantic award-winning watermelons and pumpkins takes skill, patience and time. Young gardeners across the state are encouraged to plant their seeds now if they plan to win either the annual Georgia 4-H Pumpkin or Watermelon Growing Contest this year.

Gaining knowledge and winning money

The Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association sponsors both contests. First place gets $100. Second and third receive $50 and $25 respectively. The first 50 entrants to each contest receive a contest T-shirt.

The goal of the contests is to get Georgia students interested in agriculture and in growing their own crops, said Lindsey Fodor, a Georgia 4-H program assistant and the contests’ coordinator.
Any watermelon variety may be grown, but University of Georgia Cooperative Extension experts highly recommend the Carolina Cross variety.

Monica Walden of Grady County won first place in the 2008 watermelon contest. Her Carolina Cross melon weighed in at 127-pounds.

When it comes to growing pumpkins, UGA experts suggest growing varieties like Atlantic Giant, Big Max, Big Moon, Prizewinner and Connecticut Field. All of the 2008 winners grew Atlantic Giant pumpkins.

Carroll County 4-H’er Matthew Adams made Georgia 4-H history in 2007 when he won the pumpkin contest with a record-setting 580.8-pound pumpkin. He didn’t break his record in 2008, but he still won first place with a 468.8-pound pumpkin.

Weighed by county agents

To enter, a 4-H’er must grow the watermelon or pumpkin and have it weighed by their local UGA Extension agent. The deadline for watermelon contest submissions is Aug. 1. The pumpkin contest deadline is Oct. 1.

The top three state winners for each contest are required to submit a photo of themselves with their humongous harvest. Information about the contests, including photos of the past winners, can be found online at www.georgia4h.org/public/edops/nationalfair/pumpkincontest/.

By Sharon Dowdy
University of Georgia

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Junior Achievement Forms Alliance With Veracity Payment Solutions to Create The Achievers Alliance Network(TM) Where Small Change Becomes Big Money

Junior Achievement Forms Alliance With Veracity Payment Solutions to Create The Achievers Alliance Network(TM) Where Small Change Becomes Big Money For Georgia's Students

/PRNewswire/ -- Junior Achievement of Georgia, Inc. /Augusta District, and Veracity Payment Solutions, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is pleased to announce the partnership and development of a new program, The Achievers Alliance Network(TM), to benefit Junior Achievement in the CSRA district area.

"Forming a partnership between Junior Achievement and Veracity Payment Solutions is a natural fit given our shared belief in community driven initiatives and our commitment to honesty, integrity, and excellence in the markets we serve," said Anthony J. Walsh, vice president of business development at Veracity. "Our objective is very simple, to assist Junior Achievement in reaching their financial goals to help them empower our future leaders of tomorrow."

Focused in the CSRA District, the Achievers Alliance Network (AAN) is a referral program for local businesses and merchants. Veracity will donate a portion of their transaction revenue to Junior Achievement every time a merchant and/or business joins the program through Veracity's payment processing service.

"The Achievers Alliance Network will give Junior Achievement a consistent revenue source to assist in our ongoing efforts to educate young people in financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness," said Laurie Cook, executive director of Junior Achievement of Georgia, Inc. /Augusta District. "We are grateful to Veracity for its commitment to support Junior Achievement's mission to inspire young people to dream big and succeed."

Merchants in the Achievers Alliance Network will receive community recognition for their efforts, special payment processing savings, and AAN Scholarship Recognition for the benefit of their local schools.

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace...What?

/PRNewswire/ -- MS -- It's no secret young people growing up today are more technologically advanced than older generations like the Baby Boomers. In those days, communicating with friends was done primarily by talking on the telephone, writing a note or speaking face-to-face. There was no e-mailing, text messaging, IM'ing (instant messaging) or posting comments on each other's personal Web pages.

In schools today, instead of just passing notes, students can send text messages on their cell phones and communicate online with their bff (best friends forever) or with people they don't know, and this makes it difficult for parents to monitor their child's online activities. In addition to e-mailing and text messaging, communicating via social networking sites is becoming more common for both older and younger generations. In fact, in January 2009 Facebook alone reported that they had 150 million active users. In addition, according to Common Sense Media, 55 percent of teens have an online profile on social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace.

"Social networking sites can be great resources for staying in contact with people, reconnecting with old friends, meeting people with common interests, and getting questions answered, but unfortunately not everyone who uses the Internet and social networking sites has honest intentions," said Jay Opperman, Senior Director of Security and Privacy at Comcast.

What does this all mean? It means that parents should: 1) become familiar with online social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace; and 2) talk to your children about the importance of being safe and smart while communicating online.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when talking to your teens about the Internet and social networks:

TIP 1 -- Choose your pictures wisely: Pictures can say a thousand words. If you decide to post a picture of yourself online, be very cautious about what you post.

"Do not use a picture that will embarrass you five years down the road because even if you delete the picture, it will never go away. What goes online, stays online," said Opperman. "Think about these questions: If I post this picture, could it prevent me from getting a scholarship or a job in the future? What if the person or persons I share my picture with, shares it with others?"

TIP 2 -- Don't talk to strangers and use privacy settings: Sometimes people aren't always who they say they are and the Internet provides an additional means of being anonymous. Remember, everyone in the world doesn't have your best interests at heart and some people are looking to prey on children and teens online. Social networking sites have privacy settings so you can control who can see your personal page. The settings can't protect you 100 percent, but they are helpful so make sure you set up a privacy setting so only your friends can see your page.

TIP 3 -- Keep your personal information personal: Don't share personal information such as your last name, parents' or siblings' names, phone number, address, social security number or where you like to hang out. People with dishonest intentions can use this information to find you or steal your identity.

TIP 4 -- Don't be a cyberbully: Don't bully people online or in person. You wouldn't appreciate a schoolmate or even a stranger posting embarrassing or harassing information about you or threatening you online so don't do that to someone else. Online, this is called cyberbullying, and now more and more states are passing anti-cyberbullying laws.

TIP 5 -- Go outside and stay active: Technology is fascinating and it keeps us connected in so many ways, but don't let the Internet disconnect you from other things that are important in life. Spend time with family and friends in person. Walk the dog, learn how to play an instrument, get involved in sports and other extracurricular after-school activities. Real life connections with family, friends and those most important to you should be one of your top priorities.

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