Thursday, February 23, 2012

Summer Camp: FREE Service to Help Parents find the Best Camp for their Child

Believe it or not, NOW is the time to start your summer camp search.

Especially if you are interested in teen travel camps, they can fill up very fast.

Not sure where to start, or what is available?  South Florida is home to Camp Finders!  Though they have assisted families thoughout the country, they are located here and know our community firsthand.

Since 1994, Camp Finders® has personally visited approximately 175 overnight camps and various teen programs. During this time period, Camp Finders™ has been placing children in sleep away camps and in the following teen programs: teen tours; wilderness camps & outdoor adventure; college enrichment; community service; sailing, SCUBA, & marine biology programs; foreign language programs and more.

Camp Finders encourages parents to think about the following questions when considering their child's summer experience:

*What type of community does the camp try to create? (this is an important question)
*What is the size of the camp?
*Is the camp more on the competitive or non-competitive bent?
*Is there a religious focus with the camp?
*How does the camp handle new campers, cliques and bullying?
*What is the communication policy for parents and their children?
*Connected with the communication policy, how do camps handle homesickness?
*What is the level of instruction in most of the activities (experienced staff/teachers)?
 Camp Finders® is a free service which matches children ages 6-17 with appropriate sleepaway camps and teen programs.Click here for your free information request.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Green Your School Challenge:

Going green for your community and the future!

Take it to your school and you could earn grants, scholarships and other great prizes! is challenging all schools from February 1, 2012 - April 22, 2012 to participate in the Green Your School Challenge!
  1. Register your school to take part in the challenge! Get your friends to sign up too.
  2. Browse projects ideas for your school to tackle to increase recycling, save energy, promote green agriculture, and more!
  3. Report back on your completed projects to be judged by our panel of celebrity and expert judges!
  4. Bring the challenge home! You don’t have to just green your school, you can green your home too!
This is a great opportunity have your school participate and be part of a national campaign to make a positive difference in the environment.

Greening your school has never been easier. They will you helpful tips, resources, and guides, to make your environmental effort seem effortless. The team that makes the biggest impact on their school could win big. HINT: What's white and green and on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave?
Text GREEN to 38383 to learn more. Watch the video.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Children of Alcoholics Week 2012

February 12-18 is designated to honor children of alcoholics.

An estimated 25 percent of all children in the United States are affected by or exposed to a family alcohol problem. SAMHSA supports the National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) during its Children of Alcoholics (COA) Week. COA Week celebrates the recovery of the many thousands of children (of all ages) who have received the help they needed to recover from the pain and losses suffered in their childhood, and it offers hope to those still suffering from the adverse impact of parental alcohol and drug addiction.

During COA Week, we acknowledge the millions of children affected by a parent’s substance use disorder and celebrate that there is hope and healing for these children now and throughout their lives. This week—and throughout the year—remember to ask, “What about the children?” when speaking about recovery from substance use disorders.

You can support Children of Alcoholics Week 2012 by visiting their site for more information.

About NAcoA (National Association for Children of Alcoholics):

The people hurt most by drugs and alcohol don’t even use them; they are the CHILDREN of alcoholics and other drug dependent parents.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) believes that none of these vulnerable children should grow up in isolation and without support. NACoA is the national nonprofit 501 (c) 3 membership and affiliate organization working on behalf of children of alcohol and drug dependent parents.

Our mission is to eliminate the adverse impact of alcohol and drug use on children and families.

• We work to raise public awareness.
• We provide leadership in public policy at the national, state, and local levels.
• We advocate for appropriate, effective and accessible education and prevention services.
• We facilitate and advance professional knowledge and understanding.
To help in these efforts, we:
• have affiliate organizations throughout the country, and in Great Britain, Germany, and Canada
• publish periodic online and print newsletters
• create videos, booklets, posters and other educational materials to assist natural helpers to intervene and support children
• host this site on the Internet with information about and ways to help children of alcoholics and other drug dependent parents.
• send information packets to all who ask, and
• maintain a toll-free phone available to all.

It’s the innocent children (1 in 4 under the age of 18) who suffer when their parents abuse alcohol and other drugs. The worst part is, they can’t help themselves. But you can. Join us in our critical work for these vulnerable children. Email or call us (toll-free) at 1-888-554-COAS to learn more about their daily plight and what small steps can be taken to make a great difference in their lives.

Join them on Facebook.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

College Applications: 5 Tips for Applicants and Parents

As second semester is sailing into spring, juniors are now prepping for their SATs, ACTs and looking at colleges.  This summer many are planning their trips to visit colleges they would like to attend for their next step in education.  A special guest post by Debbie Lawrence from has some very good tips for both parents and students to take advantage of.

5 Easy Ways to Help Prepare Your Kid(s) for College Applications

The end of junior year of high school is a time for both celebration and organization. While the end of the year allows students to breathe a collective sigh of relief, they don’t get to relax for too long before being submerged into the deep waters of the college application process. It can be an exciting time for students, who can finally see college on the horizon, but for many it can also be a daunting experience. This is why it’s important that parents play a supporting role in the college application process, whether their son/daughter likes it or not. While many students think that parental advice and encouragement is akin to nagging, students usually come to appreciate all of the help they received.

As a parent, you play a pivotal role in helping your student streamline the applications process and while it can be time-consuming, it is also worthwhile. There is an easy way to approach this nerve-wracking
experience though – it’s called thinking ahead.

Here are five simple ways to help prepare you and your kid(s) for the college application process without the unwanted stress:
  1. Help them make a checklist
College applications usually require a number of different pieces to come together, and that is often difficult for a high school student who has limited experience managing their time, which is where you come in. Don’t make the list for them, but help them make a list of all the different essays and transcripts and recommendations they will need to complete the applications. That way, when it comes time to actually submit the application, your student can refer to their list to ensure they aren’t missing a crucial part of the application.
  1. Research the financial aid possibilities with them
Let’s face it, unless your student is Justin Bieber or Dakota Fanning, the money for college is either going to come from you, from financial aid, or from a combination of the two. Also, most high school students understand the cost of college, but because they aren’t paying the bills themselves, cost is low on their list of priorities.  If you want your student to be fiscally responsible, involve them in the financial aid research and decision-making process, and work with them to guide their decisions.
  1. Use the common application for as many schools as possible.
According to its website, the common application now has 456 member schools in 46 different states as well as France, Germany, Italy, Scotland, and Switzerland. This means the chances are high that, if your student is looking at a bunch of schools, some of those schools are common application members. Gathering all the information that the common application requires is quite the undertaking, and most schools still have additional, school-specific requirements. But once you have collected all of the information, you can use that same information to apply to as many member schools as you want. This will save you and your student countless hours of tedious work and will make the application process more efficient.
  1. Discuss interests and options with your student
This can be tricky because some students will see this as nagging, but it is still important to get your student thinking about their future, especially because high school students tend to live in the present. Trying to push them towards a school or program will undoubtedly backfire, so just listen instead. Let your student decide what programs and extracurriculars he might be interested in, and then present him with some schools that fit his/her interests best. Moreover, this is a great opportunity to find a tutor in order to give them some SAT help or help them improve any weaknesses in subjects that they might be struggling with. 

5.      Always offer your help and be supportive of their decisions.
Some kids don’t want any help from their parents and respond negatively when they try. They want you to trust that they will do their own applications while also offering help if they have questions. Maintaining a positive atmosphere is essential when the deadlines are just a stone’s throw away and your student is experiencing all-time stress levels. Remember, you were there once too, and the same things you wish you had done differently could be the same things your child may regret in the future. We all know you just want the best for them, and they will have it, once this process is all over.

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