Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Teach your children about good money management

(ARA) - Children learn the basics - math, English and science - at school. But when it comes to learning about saving and spending money wisely, the lessons begin at home.

"Helping children understand finances is very important, so that when they graduate and live on their own, they can fend for themselves and be financially secure both in their daily lives and their future," says Nick Fyntrilakis, assistant vice president of Community Responsibility for MassMutual, at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Springfield, Mass.

According to a National PTA article on, "money gives people -- both young and old -- decision-making opportunities."

"Educating, motivating, and empowering children to become regular savers and investors will enable them to keep more of the money they earn and do more with the money they spend," the article says.

Here are some tips to help you educate your children about good money management:

* Help them establish a savings account.
Children accumulate money in many different ways - ranging from birthday presents to jobs they've organized like walking a neighbor's dog or mowing lawns. But putting that money into a piggy bank doesn't do anything. Explain about interest, and find a bank or credit union that offers accounts that don't charge monthly fees, don't require a minimum account balance, have good interest rates and are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC) or the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF).

* Set a budget - both for yourself and your children.
Children follow by example, and you can make a good impression by showing them how you stay within a budget - whether it's for food, utility bills or fun activities. Help your kids establish a budget, and explain the differences between needs and wants.

* Make it fun with an app.
Check out Save! The Game, a free app parents can help their children download from iTunes for a fun "needs vs. wants" game. Also, consider speaking to children about establishing a savings plan, and how much of their income they should put away for the future. This is a good time for them to plan for larger upcoming expenses like owning a car, paying college tuition or renting an apartment.

* Discuss ways your children can add to their income.
Determine if you want to establish an allowance, or encourage them to be an entrepreneur and start their own business: set up a lemonade stand, wash cars, mow lawns and rake leaves, clean garages, babysit, etc. Helping them develop a good work ethic when they're young will also help them foster excellent employment skills when they join the real world as adults.

* Encourage them to contribute back to society.
Children may have an organization close to their heart or family they want to support. Visit MassMutual's Time for Kids website ( to see how they can narrow down the list of numerous non-profit organizations in the United States to just a couple they might have an interest in.

"Talking with your children at a young age about money matters will help them establish good financial skills before they're ready to enter the world as an adult," says Fyntrilakis.

Visit MassMutual's family finance website ( for more education tips you can pass on to your children, and for up-to-date tips and calculators for adults as well.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Don't Take a Vacation from Good Nutrition This Summer

/PRNewswire/ -- During June Is Dairy Month, Dairy Council of California reminds moms that milk provides the nutrition kids need when they're out of school and not benefiting from the essential nutrients found in school breakfast and lunch programs.

By design, school lunches provide one-third of the recommended daily allowances of protein, vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and calories that kids need for healthy development. However, only a fraction of children have access to food programs over summer vacation. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service agency, of the 18.5 million children who received free or reduced-price breakfast or lunch during the 2008 school year, only 3.5 million children had access to summer food programs.

"Parents should take extra care to plan healthy meals and snacks this summer because good nutrition should never take a vacation," said Andrea Garen, M.A., R.D. and Project Manager with Dairy Council of California. "The tools and resources on our free meal planning website make it easy to keep kids healthy with nutritious meals and snacks all summer long."

Milk is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D and a good source of potassium, protein and vitamin A. Garen recommends that parents visit the website for recipe ideas and an interactive Calcium Quiz to make sure kids are drinking milk and getting the nutrition they need during summer vacation.

About 30 percent of all children ages 4 to 8, 90 percent of preteen girls and 70 percent of preteen boys don't get the recommended amount of calcium in their diets. Parents can use milk, yogurt and string cheese to provide affordable, convenient and good-tasting snacks and meals that provide the nutrition kids need year-round.

For a cool summer snack that's loaded with important nutrients, Garen recommends that moms and kids make a Strawberry Vanilla Shake. For each serving, blend one-half cup low-fat milk, one-half cup of low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt, 1 cup frozen strawberries and one-half teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth and enjoy.

Visit for more nutritious and convenient breakfast, lunch and snack recipes that kids will love. is a free family nutrition and meal-planning website staffed by registered dietitians and sponsored by Dairy Council of California. Healthy Eating Made Easier®

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Parents: Help Your Teens Party Right at Graduation

/PRNewswire/ -- Graduation...

Graduation is a time to celebrate. But before your graduates party, take the time to talk with them about alcohol -- it just may save a life.

It's About Your Teen...

A teenager's brain is still developing and it is very sensitive to alcohol's effects on judgment and decision-making.

Alcohol Can Be Tricky...

If your graduates drink, they may temporarily feel elated and happy, but they should not be fooled. Ask them to consider these risks.

Their inhibitions and memory soon become affected--so they may say and do things that they will regret and possibly will not remember doing at all.

Their decision-making skills are also affected. They may become restless and aggressive. They may be more at risk for having an alcohol-related traffic crash, getting into fights, trashing a house, or making unwise decisions about sex.

Then there is what happens to their physical control--loss of balance, slurred speech, and blurred vision. Normal activities--even crossing a busy intersection--can become truly dangerous.

Too Much Alcohol Becomes a Deadly Poison...

If your graduates drink enough, they will eventually get sleepy and pass out. Reflexes like gagging and breathing can be suppressed. That means they could vomit and choke to death or just stop breathing. They may even be at risk for alcohol poisoning.

Before the celebrations begin, take a few minutes to talk with your graduate about the dangers of alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex, which prevents choking. Someone who drinks a fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop breathing. Even if someone survives an alcohol overdose, he or she can suffer irreversible brain damage. Rapid binge drinking (which often happens on a bet or a dare) is especially dangerous because the victim can drink a fatal dose before losing consciousness.

A person's blood alcohol concentration can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after someone stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the blood-stream and circulate throughout the body. A person who appears to be sleeping it off may be in real danger.

Critical signs of alcohol poisoning include mental confusion, stupor, coma, or the person cannot be roused; vomiting; seizures; slow (fewer than eight breaths per minute) or irregular (10 seconds or more between breaths) breathing; and hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, and paleness.

Know the danger signals. If you suspect someone has alcohol poisoning, don't wait for all the critical signs to be present. If you suspect an alcohol overdose, call 911 immediately for help.

Think About It!

If graduates drink too much, it can mean trips to the emergency room, arrests, and sexual assaults. They could put themselves and their friends in real danger. Ask them to consider this: Is that any way to celebrate?

Talk With Your Graduate...

Research shows that parents do make a difference. Talking with your graduate about alcohol now could prevent serious problems later.

Tell your graduate to play it safe and party right at graduation.

For more information, please visit

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anti-Bullying Workshop Set for May 20 in Fayetteville

Bullying is an unfortunate reality for many school children. Around 160,000 students miss school each day for fear of being bullied; 77 percent of children are bullied mentally, verbally and physically; and 3.2 million students in 6th-10th grade say they are victims of bullying each day.

These statistics are why the Fayette County Public School System, in partnership with local law enforcement and the Association of Village PRIDE, is offering an anti-bullying workshop on May 20, 7:30 p.m., at the Sams Auditorium on the campus of the LaFayette Educational Center.

The focus of the workshop will be on prevention and how to decrease bully/victim behavior at home and school. Participants will become better informed and equipped to access, manage, and respond to bullying behaviors and situations. Parents of elementary and middle school students are encouraged to attend.

Michael R. Carpenter, PhD and author of “Waging Peace,” will conduct the workshop. Carpenter is a nationally certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program trainer, as well as a violence, drug, and student assistance consultant who lives in metropolitan Atlanta. The workshop will include a panel of local experts and a parent panel for questions and answers.

Tickets are available through the school system’s elementary and middle schools for a $5 donation each. They are also available at the Fayetteville and Peachtree City public libraries and at the door. All proceeds will be donated to Promise Place, which prevents domestic violence through awareness programs, educational training, and providing safe environments for victims and their families by utilizing legal advocacy, emergency shelters and transitional housing.

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Join PTC First Presbyterian for an Experience of Discovery June 21-25

The First Presbyterian Church of Peachtree City invites all gradeschool children to an exciting week of discovery at the SonQuest Rainforest Vacation Bible School June 21-25.  Be sure to register now for this delightful experience the children will love. 

To register, click on and go to the Events tab.  For more information, please call the church office at 770-487-7757.

The VBS discovery takes place:
June 21-25
9 am - 12 pm
First Presbyterian Church
206 Willow Bend Rd
Peachtree City

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Georgia State University offers summer camps for youth

Area K-12 schools will soon be dismissed for summer, but Georgia State University offers a variety of programs to keep students learning and having fun during the break.

GSU’s College of Education, for example, will host a “Mystery Festival: Who Done It?” camp during the week of June 7-11 for students in grades kindergarten through 8th grade.

Presented by the Saturday School for Scholars and Leaders – the college’s yearlong program to provide educational enrichment for gifted students in metro Atlanta – the “Mystery Festival” camp will give students a chance to do forensic science tests of “crime scenes,” sort through evidence and use critical thinking skills to solve mysteries. Students will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day on the GSU campus.

“Our camp gives students hands-on activities and creative problem solving skills they may or may not be getting in the regular classroom,” said John Kesner, associate professor of early childhood education and director of the Saturday School for Scholars and Leaders.

The camp costs $295 per student. For more information on the “Mystery Festival” camp including an application, visit:

For musically-inclined students, Georgia State’s School of Music is hosting the “Jazz Orchestra Atlanta Summer Camp” for rising 8th graders through high school seniors who want to grow their brass, woodwinds or rhythm section skills.

The camp will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 21-25 on the GSU campus and will be taught by nationally recognized faculty, such a Gordon Vernick, associate professor of music and coordinator of jazz studies at Georgia State. The camp is MARTA accessible and lunch will be provided by Chick-fil-A. Special guest artists will also present master classes for students. Cost of the one week camp is $240 per student. A limited number of camp scholarships are available. Information and registration forms are available at or by calling 770-992-2559.

For students interested in leading the band, the School of Music and the GSU Marching Band are hosting the first “Student Leadership Institute” that will focus on developing the leadership skills for the state’s top band students in an exciting and interactive environment.

Students will participate in seminars, workshops and experience downtown Atlanta during June 4-5. Registration is $95 per student, but group rates are available upon request. The registration deadline is May 7. For more information, contact Mariel Reynolds, coordinator of community music programs, at 404-413-5902 or

Georgia State’s athletic coaches for football, baseball, men’s and women’s basketball and soccer offer youth camps as well. For more information and registration, visit:

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How To Keep Children's Minds Sharp During Summer

(StatePoint)  School may be out for summer, but that doesn't mean your children should take a vacation from using their brains.

Kids need to keep their minds sharp or risk what is known as summer learning loss -- the erosion of academic skills gained during the school year. According to several studies, children lose the equivalent of one to three months of reading and math classes if they stop using these skills over the summer.

"That old refrain about no more pencils and no more books shouldn't hold true if you want your children to stay mentally active and keep up with their peers," says Susan Bolotin, editor-in-chief of Workman Publishing, publisher of the "Brain Quest" educational card game series. 

"The best way to maintain academic skills is to make reading and math fun through enjoyable activities," she points out.

Here are some ways to avoid the dreaded summer slide:

* Let Kids Run Wild -- In the Library: Take your child to get a library card and make regular trips to check out books. Let kids pick anything they want, so long as it's age-appropriate. Experts say reading four or five books over a summer will maintain reading skills. Just make sure book selections are challenging enough. 

As a special treat, let your child choose a book or two from the bookstore to keep permanently. Any topic works, so long as the books get finished!

* Use Educational Games and Workbooks: Play together at home using educational reading and math games and workbooks that reinforce skills learned at school. Mix things up to keep kids interested.

You should also include younger pre-school children, so they don't feel left out. Try playing with re-usable card games, such as "Brain Quest Write & Erase" sets. Geared to give little ones a leg up on writing, reading and using numbers, these new educational games prepare kids for kindergarten by focusing on the alphabet, numbers, phonics, shapes and colors.

* Take Learning Adventures: Take excursions to museums, national parks, zoos or aquariums. Try a hike focusing on birds, plants or any special theme. Read about this theme in advance, so your child will connect real life to reading. Or take the family to a concert -- it doesn't matter the type of music, as long as everybody enjoys it.

* Make Car Trips Educational: Turn family car rides into learning time. Play games counting animals, cars or buildings, or matching shapes or colors that go by. And bring along educational toys or games, such as crossword puzzles or a "Brain Quest For The Car" trivia deck, which focuses on America and its people, geography, nature and history.

* Encourage Personal Interests: Have your child keep a journal or start a collection -- be it stamps, seashells, baseball cards or anything else. Collecting involves counting and reading, allowing children to connect the real world to educational skills.

For more educational games and activities, visit

"The summer is great for getting kids to learn in relaxing settings, using approaches that seem more like playing than learning," says Bolotin.

By making summer learning fun, your kids can be ahead of the curve when its time for school.

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