Archives for January 2017

Cooking Tips for Special Kids

Chef Darrell “DAS” Smith has been a dad for less than a year, but he already knows a thing or two about picky eaters. That’s because in October, he became director of food services at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services. The organization serves nearly 400 children with special needs related to learning differences, autism spectrum disorders and other cognitive, behavior and social challenges. Smith and his team in the Vista Del Mar department of food services and hospitality cook lunch for the 400 students and staff on campus during the school day and breakfast and dinner for the...

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Four Reasons Educating Students With Learning Differences Matters

Have you heard the buzz about the on-the-job construction worker from Toronto secretly recorded while dancing to a hit song by Ariana Grande? The video went viral, boasting tens of millions of viewers, after his wife posted it on social media. Although this was a humorous and entertaining break from the onslaught of political banter we have been overwhelmed with, I long for a world where life-impacting concerns, significant to all of society, become as viral and news breaking as what the Kardashians had for dinner last night. There is need for greater awareness and understanding of and community involvement...

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Film, Music and Autism Come Together In This Lab

Lots of local folks took their films to last month’s Sundance Film Festival, but one has a particularly fun story behind – and above, below and all around – it. “Use Your Imagination,” which premiered at Oculus House at the festival Jan. 22, is a virtual reality musical created in collaboration with, and starring, artists with autism. The film was made with a grant from Oculus VR, makers of virtual-reality equipment. The Oculus VR for Good program paired 10 filmmakers with 10 nonprofits to champion the nonprofits’ social missions and tell their stories. From among 600 submissions, Spectrum Laboratory, an...

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tweens in la

Tween Time: Sleeping Beauty, Slides and Sand

This month’s Tween Time is brought to you by the letter S. First comes “Sleeping Beauty,” which the Russian National Ballet Theatre will perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 4 at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (12700 Center Court Dr., Cerritos, The ballet company has received critical accolades for its versions of such classics as “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker.” This full-scale production presents colorful costumes and memorable sets as these talented dancers bring Tchaikovsky’s grand score to life. Tickets are $30-$55. Slides, specifically vintage slides, become more than just old photos in the hands of local humorist...

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engineering our world

Join Us For Coffee and Big Dreams!

We’ve partnered with the California Science Center to host a special advance screening of the new IMAX film “Dream Big: Engineering Our World” from MacGillivray Freeman Films, and we’re inviting you and the kids. The film celebrates engineering marvels – large and small – that help create better lives for people around the world, as well as the engineers whose compassion and creativity made them possible: Menzer Pehlivan, a Turkish-American who grew up wanting to be a movie star until a huge earthquake revealed another way to make a major impact on the world (engineering buildings that keep people safe)...

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black history month

Celebrate African American History at These Six Spots

Since 1976, February has been designated as African American History Month (or Black History Month) and there are a number of opportunities to celebrate it around Southern California. STAR Eco Station (10101 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City; will host its 17th annual African American Art Festival from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 11. This free event is filled with singing, dancing, drumming, poetry and educational exhibits. The 15th annual African-American Festival at the Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach;, taking place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 25-26, includes performances by jazz musicians, Mardi Gras second-line dancers, interactive...

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kids and money

Teaching Kids About Money: Spend, Save and Give Jars

When I told my daughter, then 4 years old, that I didn’t have money to buy her a toy, she said, “Just go to the bank and they'll give you money.” I frowned at her and tried again, explaining that I had only a $10 bill and what she wanted cost $20. She said, “It’s OK, just use your card.” I realized she had no idea about the value of money. I really couldn’t blame her because I was never great at managing money as a little girl. I was careless and would leave my purse behind at a restaurant...

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school news

Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance Makes History in Gardena

Students, parents and teachers at Executive Preparatory Academy of Finance (EPAF), a nonprofit public charter high school in Gardena, have reason to celebrate. As the school prepares to graduate its first class of seniors, it is making history. Not only will the entire senior class graduate, but each student has received early acceptance into a four-year college or university. The school is in its fourth year of operation. "This was the goal we’ve worked towards since we opened our doors, and our kids have surpassed all expectations," says Founder and CEO Omar McGee. EPAF is the only Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) public charter high school...

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school news

EPA Awards Moorpark Unified School District $25,000 for Cleaner School Bus

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $25,000 to Moorpark Unified School District in Ventura County to replace an older diesel school bus. Funded through EPA’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act, the new bus will emit less air pollution. Moorpark is one of three California school districts receiving a combined $200,000 to replace or retrofit 11 school buses. "Reducing exposure to diesel pollution particularly benefits children, as their lungs are still developing," said Alexis Strauss, Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. "This funding will improve air quality for students as they travel to and from school." EPA has implemented standards...

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7 Don’t-Miss Events For February

We’ve got a great roundup of events in the coming month. On stage you’ll find Alice in Wonderland, Golden Dragon Acrobats, a WWII cat and a vintage circus. On the basketball court, The Harlem Globetrottoers. And festivals this month include Cookie Con and the Ooey Gooey Weekend. Enjoy!

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