Community News

Carnival Cruise Line and Los Angeles Dodger Kiké Hernández Bring Dr. Seuss to Kids

Carnival Cruise Line hosted a Dr. Seuss reading program on June 29, inviting more than 50 children from the Long Beach Boys & Girls Club aboard one of its ships in the Long Beach harbor. Aboard the ship, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Kiké Hernández donned a red-striped Dr. Seuss hat to read “What Pet Should I Get” to the excited youth. Before launching into character, Hernández asked the kids a...

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New Innovative Resource for Parents with Kids who Struggle with Learning and Processing Issues

Parents whose children are struggling with learning, processing, neurodevelopmental and social-emotional difficulties have a new resource to turn to. ChildNEXUS.com, launched in March, was created by pediatric neuropsychologist Karen I. Wilson, Ph.D., because of her passion to ensure that children and adolescents have the tools they need to realize their full potential. ChildNEXUS.com is a one-stop-shop for parents who are seeking information and who are considering services for their children....

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jake monaco

Jake Monaco: Composing Music for Kids and Cartoons

The next time your kids watch Amazon’s “The Stinky & Dirty Show,” Netflix’s “Dinotrux” or Warner Bros. Animation’s “Be Cool, Scooby- Doo!,” take note of the whimsical music that syncs perfectly with the characters and plots. Film composer Jake Monaco is the artist behind this music, and he has a knack for producing unique tunes from his signature collection of custom instruments, including a percussion table made from pots and...

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Neighborhood Gallery Offers More than Art

Families in the Arlington Heights area of L.A. have a hidden gem in their neighborhood. The Underground Museum, an unassuming storefront art gallery, serves as a community center, farmers market, yoga and meditation studio and outdoor movie theater. Founded by the late painter and installation artist Noah Davis and his wife, Karon Davis, The Underground Museum opened its doors at 3508 W. Washington Blvd. in 2012 as an exhibition space...

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YouthArts Winners

New Roads School Student Named 2018 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts

"Conceptual social justice artist" sounds like a title for an over-40 survivor of a hate crime to me, but given the political climate, the prevalence of school shootings and the exposure of hate speech on social media, I'm reminded that it's no longer far-fetched to see a teenager become and artist activist. Sanna Legan uses her mix of mini-corsets, beaded tampons, sketches and multimedia art to address the harsh bullying...

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Daditude

Chris Erskine: On ‘Daditude,’ Humor and Dealing with Grief

My eyes were a faucet, leaking tears that dropped onto the newsprint and merged with the ink that made up Los Angeles Times writer Chris Erskine’s first column about the death of his oldest son, Christopher, in March. I tried to imagine the columnist at his writing desk, crafting raw grief into words as clear and beautiful as crystal, yet warm and relatable to the readers peering into his shock...

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Resale Boutique Clubhouse Exchange Opens in West Los Angeles

A new resale boutique in West Los Angeles is adding community-friendly components to its flagship store. In addition to offering a collection of recycled high-end fashions for children up to 5 years old, the store will host enrichment classes. Subjects to be covered include mindfulness for children and parents, couples parenting, kids yoga and preparing for a second child. There is also a membership program that will allow parents to...

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Book Club Hits a Home Run Honoring African-Americans’ Achievements

As baseball season heats up, local children are catching up on some old school stats—specifically, the historical achievements of African American baseball players. Pop quiz: Which baseball player hit more homeruns than Babe Ruth in a single season? The answer is Josh Gibson. While his name may be unfamiliar to some, it’s etched in the young minds of Parents of African American Children (PAAC) Book Club members. PAAC was founded...

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breegan jane

Breegan Jane: Designing New Visions for Work and Family

In 2014, Breegan Jane had the kind of wedding that inspires dreams. With glowing skin and an adorable baby bump, she wore a gorgeous sand-colored gown as she and her groom stood barefoot on the beach. But since the couple’s marriage and Leona, a restaurant they owned, fell apart a few years later, she has spent her time fashioning a new life for herself, her sons and her work. An...

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Millennial Dad: Mother’s Day, Kate’s Way

Every Saturday morning, yard sales generously pepper neighborhoods across the Southland. From the colonial fences of San Marino to the drought-resistant gardens of Venice, Angelenos will eagerly haggle over your refuse. And as a card-carrying member of the minimalist movement, my wife, Kate, likes to host the occasional yard sale to get rid of our clutter. Here's my take on this year's Mother's Day in Los Angeles for Kate, my...

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crayon collection

A Moment on the Lips, a Lifetime in the Landfill

Sheila Morovati wants you to add one more word to the environmental mantra of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” “Refuse, refuse, refuse,” says the Malibu mom of two. What she wants you to refuse is that plastic straw restaurants plunk unbidden into the glass of water they bring you with your meal. That’ll be easier for folks in Malibu, where a citywide ban on single-use plastic straws, stirrers and disposable cutlery –...

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summertime with kids

Local Author’s Memoir Chronicles Summertime Joys and Woes

Summertime. Your kids love it, but do you? You don’t have to answer that. Instead, sit back and live vicariously through Kristen Hansen Brakeman, a La Cañada mom of three daughters and author of “Is That the Shirt You’re Wearing???,” a humorous book that chronicles her family’s shenanigans over two summers. “Normally, I would write when the kids were at school because my job was a freelance job, and my...

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baby box

The Baby Box Co. Aims to Put Babies to Sleep and Take Parents to School

New parents have many questions, and often turn to Google in their quest for answers. L.A.-based The Baby Box Co. and its global Baby Box University aim to supply information on parenting basics – and actual resources to help parents keep their babies comfortable and safe when theyare sleeping – in one handy package. Inspired by a Finnish tradition, longtime friends Michelle Vick and Jennifer Clary created the company. The...

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alex's lemonade stand

Alex’s Lemonade Stands Against Cancer

It’s that time of year again –  when the taste of lemons, sugar and water mixes with hope. But more than a kid hoping to line his pockets with the profits from lemonade sales, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF) aims to raise funds to help cure childhood cancer. During ALSF’s annual “Lemonade Days” campaign, which runs June 2-10 this year, families, schools, organizations and businesses host lemonade stands and events...

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Scootie Gootz Makes Indoor Play More Inclusive and Musical in Woodland Hills

When his twin sons, Ty and Micah, were little, Shawn Stockman, member of the Grammy Award-winning group Boyz II Men, played with them the way many dads play with their kids. “When Shawn would get home from being on tour,” says his wife, Sharhonda, “Micah would count off their usual game of chase: 1, 2, 3! Shawn would run around the house, calling out ‘Scootz and Gootz!’” That funny phrase...

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march of dimes

March of Dimes Los Angeles Selects March for Babies Ambassadors

The Jimenez Family of Bell has been selected as the Ambassador Family for the 2018 March of Dimes Los Angeles March for Babies. One of the largest annual fundraising walks in Los Angeles, March for Babies will bring together an estimated 15,000 people to raise critical funds to help tackle the biggest health threats to moms and babies. Evelia and Hector Jimenez first became involved with March for Babies after...

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helping moms

Jessica Patay: Helping Moms Be ‘Brave Together’

Rancho Palos Verdes mom Jessica Patay has always found joy and rejuvenation in what she calls “Ya-Ya-Sisterhood” gatherings – warm and hilarious get-togethers with girlfriends over dinner or at the spa or on weekend girlfriend trips. She didn’t let becoming a mom put an end to these outings, but when her middle son, Ryan, was born with a rare, genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) 14 years ago, Patay and...

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A Handful of Ways to Help Out on Earth Day

Earth Day is officially April 22, but there are many opportunities this month to give something back to Mother Earth. The 29th Annual Great Los Angeles River CleanUp will be held from 9 a.m.-noon three consecutive Saturdays. Help tidy the upper river including the Sepulveda Basin/Balboa Sports Complex and Glendale Narrows Riverwalk April 14, the middle river near Los Feliz Boulevard at Bond Park and Marsh Park April 21 and...

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toddler survival guide

Mike and Heather Spohr: Survival of the Fittest for Parents of Toddlers

If you love “The Walking Dead” but have young children at home, you’ve probably fallen behind in your consumption of the zombie show – or anything like it. Next time you tuck your tot in, get your fix via a hilarious parody of zombie survival guides: “The Toddler Survival Guide.” Written by husband and wife Mike and Heather Spohr, the book will get you cackling out loud and might give...

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Brunch in Los Angeles

Any Given Sunday: A One-Act about Brunch in Los Angeles

On Sunday, Kate and Isaac Parfrey are awakened by Leo, whose cry pierces through their Westside bungalow. Kate retrieves the 1-year-old and the squeal stops immediately. Silence. Beautiful silence. 6 a.m.: Kate: “Oh no you don’t. You’re getting up, too.” Isaac’s attempt to sleep in is thwarted. He rises and prepares two pots of coffee, one for each catatonic parent. 7 a.m.: Hank, a 3-year-old boy going on 16, approaches...

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free solar panels

Qualifying Families Receive Energy-Saving Solar Panels

As a hard-working mom of six kids (and expecting a seventh), Jessica Bolanos knows a thing or two about saving money – and not just for her family. She spreads the wealth-saving love to families across the L.A. area. As a representative for GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar installer and solar advocacy organization, Bolanos has helped about 400 families in L.A. save thousands of dollars a year on their electric...

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Compton/Woodley Los Angeles Enrichment Program Teaches Kids to Fly

On a recent chilly and rainy day at Compton/Woodley Airport, clusters of middle and high school students buzzed around the facility. Some hung out inside the airport’s Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum (TAM), staffing the front desk, lounging on couches or working on computers inside the experiential classroom. Others braved the weather and ventured outside. A few of them settled with ease inside the cockpits of single-engine airplanes. The tweens and teens...

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L.A. Parent Honored for Editorial Excellence

Just before Hollywood celebrated its biggest awards night – the Oscars – parenting publications across the country, including L.A. Parent, enjoyed our own festival of honors. And L.A. Parent brought home a little gold! At the Parenting Media Association’s annual banquet March 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla., the nonprofit organization for regional family magazines recognized excellence in writing and design in print and online. Up against magazines of similar size...

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john august

L.A. Parent Chat Room: Meet Screenwriter and Author John August

You may know L.A. local John August from his screenwriting credits, which include “Big Fish,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” But, now he’s notched up a new credit: middle-grade novelist. “Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire,” an engaging and exciting blend of magic, mayhem and mystery, introduces readers to 12-year-old Arlo, a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Col. Arlo soon makes friends and is invited to join...

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Calling All Sporty Moms in Los Angeles

As a child, I took to sports with enthusiasm and fortitude. While I was never the strongest member of my teams and I was usually the shortest, the one thing I had on my side was speed. My pint-size demeanor combined with a lifetime of walking twice as fast to keep up with the longer legs in my life to create an all-star soccer and softball player.   But that was...

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childhood cancer

Battling Childhood Cancer One Shave at a Time

In late 2002, Greg Doyle’s 4-year-old son was diagnosed with pleuropulmonary blastoma, a rare form of lung cancer. Doyle, a lieutenant with the Los Angeles Police Department, felt helpless.  “Being a first responder, I’m used to having problems that I can solve, and I couldn’t solve this one,” Doyle says. “I had to trust people I barely knew to take care of my kid and try to make him better.”  ...

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Club 42

Volunteer Coach-Turned Executive Director Leads Club 42

Imagine a 23-year-old – one who has no children – telling you how to raise your kiddos. That’s just what Erin Jones Wesley, executive director of a baseball and recreation nonprofit called The 42 Initiative, has spent a great deal of her time doing these last few years. “At 23, I said [to the leadership team]: ‘Guys, if we really want this program to take off, we really need to...

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mompreneurship

This Danish Mom’s Business Grew Organically

Caring for her young daughter while writing her master’s thesis on mompreneurship steered Cecilie Hammelev-Wethje in an unexpected direction.  The Danish native could have accepted Denmark’s yearlong paid parental leave. But with plans to move after graduation to L.A. with her American husband, Hammelev-Wethje researched her options for balancing motherhood and working in the U.S. “I realized I still wanted to do something besides being a mom, to contribute to...

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kindness and kids

Children’s Book Portrays Kindness as Heroic

There is something special about hearing the elders in your family tell stories. The sound of their voices, coupled with the way they journey through plot twists and describe past events and real-life characters, burrows into listening ears and, sometimes, plants the desire to captivate others with story. For children’s book author Marja Perren, the person who most nurtured her love of story was her grandmother.   “I was raised in...

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Los Angeles Nature Centers

Getting ‘Centered’ at L.A.’s Nature Centers

It has been one of those weeks of endless traffic, of arguing over screen time, of too much social media and disheartening news reports. So, on a crisp, clear Sunday, I head to Eaton Canyon Nature Center in Pasadena. It is a rare morning when I am alone, so I decide to scope out this location and its hikes to see if it would be a good place for my...

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garcelle beauvais

Garcelle Beauvais Shares Awesomeness with Kids at WeVillage in Sherman Oaks

It was an awesome day at WeVillage Flexible Childcare in Sherman Oaks recently as actress, producer and author Garcelle Beauvais met with pint-size fans of her children’s book “I Am Awesome,” which she co-wrote with Sebastian A. Jones. The book is part of Beauvais’s I Am Book series, which also includes the titles “I am Living in 2 Homes” and “I Am Mixed.” Beauvais says she was inspired to become...

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Sharing the Love of Reading from Cover to Cover

Children’s books have a magical quality. The great ones make you fall in love – with the characters, the story, the setting. Our childhood favorites made our world larger and our connections deeper. They reminded us that we weren’t alone and that endless possibilities were waiting for us. At L.A. Parent, we want every child to experience the magic that lives inside the pages of a special book. That’s why...

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MojaMoja Event Honoring will.i.am Provides STEAM Opportunities for Students

MojaMoja is celebrating a decade of music discovery and honoring pop and hip-hop icons at the Avalon Hollywood on Saturday, Feb. 10. This year’s honorees are Prince’s band The Revolution, will.i.am and DJ crew The Beat Junkies. The annual MojaMoja Brunch & Benefit Concert raises awareness and funds for the MojaMoja Innovation Fund at Liberty Hill Foundation, which supports nonprofits such as this year's charity partner, the House of Blues Music...

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Valentine's Day Events in Los angeles

Make it a Date with 15 Family-Friendly Outings in Los Angeles

February is the month for Valentines, hearts, flowers and dates with the one you love. We’ll trust you moms and dads to plan your own grown-up outings (or evenings in) – but why should you have all the fun? Here are 15 family dates you can enjoy with the kids. Bring on the Brunch For a cozy way to start the day, head to Home (www.homerestaurantla.com), with locations in Silverlake...

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millennial dad in Los Angeles

Millennial Dad in Los Angeles: Suds with my Bud: Kid-Friendly Craft Breweries

On a December afternoon, while the rest of the country was freezing its collective butt off, mine was planted on a picnic bench at Rock & Brews, a kid-friendly biergarten in El Segundo. I sipped craft beers and noshed on fries while my son Hank romped around in the kids zone. There are moments in the L.A. region where one is left wondering, “Should this be happening?” This was one...

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Little Leaders Vashti Harrison

Instagram Challenge Turns into Best-Selling Children’s Book

Rosa Parks was an icon in the civil rights movement that began in the 1950s. But that bold woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus was also once a child. A new book shares the stories of Parks and other female leaders from black history with illustrations that remind us of their quiet beginnings.  “I was a quiet, shy child, and I think it’s important to...

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this is us

Mackenzie Hancsicsak of ‘This is Us’: Tackling Big Issues With Her TV Family

On a recent morning, sandwiched between a hair appointment, a Golden Globes gifting suite and a wardrobe fitting at Paramount Studios is Mackenzie Hancsicsak’s interview with me at the L.A. Parent office in Woodland Hills.   The 10-year-old has grown used to the schedule that her role as young Kate Pearson on the Screen Actors Guild Award-winning NBC series “This is Us” demands – and to navigating a range of emotional...

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Los Angeles All-Stars and Globetrotters

All-Stars and Globetrotters: Hoops Fans Score Big This Month

This month, L.A. will be the epicenter of great basketball. On Feb. 18, the NBA’s finest take to the Staples Center court for the 67th NBA All-Star Game. But the big game is only part of the NBA All-Star Weekend action. The Rising Stars game and the All-Star Celebrity Game take place Feb. 16, followed by the NBA G League International Challenge, which pits the G League All-Stars against Mexico’s...

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Valentine's Day in Los Angeles

Make Some Hearts, Show Some Heart This Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles

Valentine’s Day may be Feb. 14, but, when it comes to family-friendly Valentine’s events, Feb. 11 is the big day. Families can head to the Norton Simon Museum (www.nortonsimon.org) in Pasadena and go on a “My Valentine Art Adventure Tour” from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Geared for families with kids ages 7-11, this workshop explores artwork that looks at love, family and friendship. Families can then create a valentine inspired by what...

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Tween Time: A Day of Service for Los Angeles Teens

Some kids might think of Martin Luther Day Jr. Day, which this year falls on Jan. 15, as just another day off from school. Others, however, consider it a “day on” for volunteering. MLK Day, which became a federal holiday in 1983, also was designated a National Day of Service in 1994. While people of all ages can participate, the holiday presents a particularly good opportunity for tweens and teens...

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family fitness in Los Angeles

Claudine Cooper to Parents: ‘Focus on Living Long’

Claudine Cooper’s high-intensity fitness classes are part boot camp, part sermon and part party. Folks show up early to stake a spot in the studio before it overflows. They endure Cooper’s yells to push harder. They bob their heads along to her always-banging music, even when that third set of burpees and lunges makes their muscles scream.   “I know you came to work hard, or else you wouldn’t be here,”...

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Lauren Potter Stars in Short Film About Acting and Disabilities

Actors face many challenges, including seemingly endless strings of auditions that may or may not pay off. A new short film starring Lauren Potter, the scrappy cheerleader from “Glee,” spotlights what that can look like for actors with disabilities. Called “Headshot,” the 5-minute film was produced in partnership with AbilityFirst, a nonprofit dedicated to looking beyond disabilities and expanding possibilities. The film was directed by Eva Ye and in the...

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lilladu exchange

Lilladu Exchange: Preloved Clothing Helps Cerebral Palsy Cause

We’ve all been there. The pants you bought your little one a few months ago are now rising over his ankles because he seemingly grew an inch overnight. The jacket your daughter used to love now elicits tantrums at the mere suggestion of her wearing it. Instead of envisioning your money being flushed down a drain over this unusable (or unwanted) clothing, consider donating to a company that’s aiming to help families living with cerebral palsy.  Founded by local moms Lindsey Dumais, Kyla Magnusson,...

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shark tank

L.A. Students Shine in Shark Tank and Math@Work Webisode

Dressed in their best, two teams of aspiring local student entrepreneurs recently marched onto ABC’s “Shark Tank” set to present their business plans to the “shark” panel.  Calm and poised, Lincoln High School ninth graders Crystal Reynaga and Angela Garcia pitched Find You, a GPS watch that tracks young runners and includes an app to help their parents keep tabs on them. And eighth graders Timothy Coleman and Mauro Palomo, who attend Hawthorne Math & Science Academy, delivered a pitch on how their website $tartup connects entrepreneurs and investors.  The four students fielded a series of...

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allstate foundation

San Gabriel Workers Get Allstate Foundation Grant for Youth Arts

Twelve Allstate agency owners, licensed sales professionals and financial specialists from the San Gabriel area recently came together and secured a $12,000 Allstate Foundation Helping Hands grant to benefit Asian Arts Talents Foundation (AATF). The grant will support AATF’s mission to offer scholarships and events for talented young Asians. The agency owners, licensed sales professionals and financial specialists earned $1,000 each for AATF by volunteering at the organization’s annual Asian...

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comedian e.l. smith

E.L. Smith: Finding Love and Family through Comedy

Stand-up comedian E.L. Smith wasn’t the funniest or most outgoing kid growing up. In fact, he was pretty reserved and practical. His plan was to pursue a career in sports management and settle somewhere near his hometown of West Palm Beach, Fla.  A high school crush changed all of that. With his heart set on asking out the girl of his dreams, Smith bought two $25 tickets to a comedy...

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young heroes

Young Heroes: Local Student Wins Gloria Barron Prize

When Ray Wipfli, bottom left, was 10, he left his La Cañada-Flintridge hometown to accompany his mother on an international work trip that would prove life-changing for him. Wanting to connect with the children he would meet in Uganda, Wipfli brought 250 pounds of soccer equipment as gifts. An avid soccer player, he was floored by the outpouring of excitement and gratitude the Ugandans showed him, and that experience transformed...

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holiday giving los angeles

LA Charity Roundup: More than One Way to Give

Long Beach resident Jonas Corona has been giving back to his community since he was 4, and by the time he turned 6, he had started his own nonprofit, Love in the Mirror. Through Love in the Mirror, Corona, now 14, has helped provide basic necessities and services to more than 50,000 homeless people in Southern California. And politicians and philanthropic giants have honored him for his work. While Corona’s...

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achieve la

Mayor Garcetti Announces College-Readiness Initiative in Support of Local Youth

It is now easier for LA youth to go to college, thanks to a new community partnership. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently joined California State University, Los Angeles and YMCA officials to launch Achieve LA, an initiative to create pathways to higher education for local youth. Achieve LA will leverage existing Cradle to Career Success Initiative programs at four YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles locations to inform youth about...

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the tincture of time

Elizabeth L. Silver: Dealing with Uncertainty in the NICU

When we bring our first newborn baby home from the hospital, we expect that we’ll be up at ungodly hours. We have been told by loved ones and strangers alike that our lives are about to change forever. In the midst of our nervousness and joy, we accept these night- and life-altering changes with chagrin and glee.  Three-and-a-half years ago, L.A. parents Elizabeth L. Silver and her husband, Amir, were...

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Kindness Will Headline Care Fair L.A.

With a mission of cultivating a culture of compassion and inclusivity in our city’s youngest dwellers, a local television journalist and mom has created an event that will focus on fun for the whole family, as well as anti-bullying, mindfulness, fitness and learning differences.  “Now, more than ever, it is important to teach our children how to be kind, empathetic and inclusive to all people,” says Donna Tetreault, founder and...

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philanthroparties

PhilanthroParties Show Teens How to Party for a Cause

Lulu Cerone grew up in the sweltering San Fernando Valley, so as a kid she became a lemonade stand entrepreneur, racking up cash as her thirsty neighbors sought out her homemade juice.  Eventually, Lulu’s mother, Lisa, encouraged her to turn her lemonade sale profit to good use – to look around her community and identify a social problem she wanted to help improve. But Cerone found herself transfixed by the...

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cookie cutters arcadia

Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids Opens in Arcadia

When it comes to haircuts, parents may be focused on a stylist's results or the proximity of a salon to work or home, but kids are all about the experience. For little ones in Arcadia, Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids just opened a location in the area. The salon creates a kid-focused oasis with playgrounds, toys, video games and fun fantasy chairs, not to mention special treatment for first-timers. Located...

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julia sevilla

Chess Champion from Granada Hills Charter High School to Compete in Uruguay

Julia Sevilla, 11th grader at Granada Hills Charter, is representing the United States in the World Youth Chess Championship held in Montevideo, Uruguay. The tournament began on September 16 and features 11 timed rounds. Winners of the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals and the players who place fourth through 10th will be announced by October 1st. To prepare for a tournament, Julia spends up to 16 hours per week playing...

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ROBYN STACK REAGAN

Robyn Stack Reagan: Coming Full Circle to Build Acceptance

Robyn Stack Reagan, program director of Circle of Friends – The Path to Inclusion, is mother to two adult children and has two grandchildren, one of whom just started kindergarten at the elementary school Reagan’s daughter, Ashton, attended. That first day of school brought back memories for Reagan. When Ashton started kindergarten in the 90s, she would not speak in class, had trouble making friends and was bullied. The family...

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melissa de la cruz

Melissa de la Cruz: On Being the New Girl and Writing Fiction

Bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz recalls ninth grade as the worst year of her life. That’s the year her family immigrated to San Francisco from Manila, Philippines. She spoke English, but the culture shock of moving to another country in the middle of her teens was a “weird adventure.” De la Cruz now lives in L.A. with her husband and 10-year-old daughter. She has written more than 40 books,...

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L.A. Neighborhoods

7th Annual Found L.A.: Exploring L.A. Neighborhoods

L.A. County is a mammoth of a place, with some 10 million people and counting. It is made up of more than 4,084 square miles of hills, valleys and highways. With its multitude of L.A. neighborhoods and famous and obscure sites, getting to know – really know –  this place can take a lifetime. If you and your family are ready to sink into the folds of the real L.A.,...

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toddler road trip

Tackling the Toddler Road Trip

It’s the stuff of teeth grinding and stress-induced headaches, a prospect that makes your average parent hysterically bargain for alternatives. Yes, I am referring to road trips with kids. I have an irrational fear of flying, so my young family – wife Kate, 2-year-old Hank and baby Leo –  and I take the challenge head-on. I live for the open road and freedom on terra firma. My family road-trip goal...

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Big Draw Events Unite L.A. In Art

Get ready to put pencil, pen or crayon to paper because Big Draw LA is coming to town. Organized by local nonprofit Ryman Arts, the event celebrates the simple joy of drawing a picture and promotes inclusiveness through the diversity of its projects and participants. There will be related events around Southern California throughout October. The signature event, “Make Your Mark in the Park,” will take place Oct. 8 in...

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diaper

Books and Babies: A Diaper Problem Leads to a Solution

When Michelle Franke and her husband had their first baby eight months ago, they assumed they had enough diapers to last them for months. But most of the diapers they received from their baby registry were newborn-size, and their son, River August, outgrew them – and the next few sizes – quicker than the couple had imagined. “He is our first, so we had no idea we would end up...

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chris pegula

Chris Pegula: The Diaper Dude

Armed with a degree from NYU, Chris Pegula began his career in pursuit of his dream of acting. But parenthood shifted Pegula’s perspective and family life became his main focus. The father of three is the creator of the hip line of Diaper Dude gear for cool dads and author of the newly released book, “Diaper Dude, The Ultimate Dad’s Guide to Surviving the First Two Years.” In the book,...

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beaches in los angeles

Be Part Of The Cleanup Community

If you head to the beach Sept. 16, leave the boogie board and sandcastle pail at home and bring your gloves and trash bags. It’s Coastal Cleanup Day.   Thousands of volunteers will pitch in and lend a hand at more than 50 L.A. County locations, from Malibu to San Pedro. Some events are community-based while others are organized by places such as the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org) and the Aquarium...

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tweens in los angeles

Tween Time: Pasadena Library Says ‘Yeah!’ to YA Fiction

Do you love YA fiction? Well, the folks at the Pasadena Central Library hear ya and will again host a day devoted to Young Adult literature. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 16, Pasadena Love YA brings more than 15 authors to the library for panel discussions, meet-and-greets and book signings. Amerie, Audrey Coulthurst, Cindy Pon, Emily Ziff Griffin, Daniel Sweren-Becker, Aditi Khorana, Jeff Garvin and E. Katherine Kottaras are among...

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rock climbing in los angeles

Getting a Strong Hold on Fitness and Fun

As I watch kids scramble up the bouldering walls at Stronghold Climbing Gym one recent morning, the words “no fear” come to mind. Up the sculpted gray walls they go, using the colorful hand- and footholds to stretch, push and pull their way to the top. The gym, located in Downtown L.A.’s Brewery Arts Complex and featured on this month’s cover of L.A. Parent, is pretty safety-forward, with plenty of...

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heather rigby

Ford Theatres’ Heather Rigby On Building Community Through the Arts

Heather Rigby is an L.A. native, born and raised in Studio City, who left the Valley to become a pre-med major at Harvard University. While adjusting to college life in Cambridge, she discovered that her true passion is the arts. For the past 11 years, Rigby has worked at the Ford Theatres, an historic 1200-seat outdoor amphitheater in Hollywood. Her job is to create dynamic programming that represents the rich...

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ucla meteorite collection

UCLA Meteorite Collection Rocks Your World

As you’re looking to fill the long days of summer with educational activities for the kids, we’ve got one to add to your list: the UCLA Meteorite Collection. The experience is free and open to the public most days of the week, offering hands-on learning opportunities about those crazy rocks that sometimes fall from the sky. On Sunday, docents are on hand to guide visitors. Bonus: it’s air-conditioned.  The entire...

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For Teens and Tweens, A Look Back at the Watts Riots

Our current crop of teens and tweens might not remember the Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992. Likewise, parents may not recall the Watts Riots, a monumental moment in L.A. history that took place 52 years ago this August. On that point, parents and tweens alike can get a history lesson courtesy of the new middle-grade novel from Karen English. “It All Comes Down To...

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Kids Can Pitch In to Help Shelter Pets

Whether it’s a stray cat, a lost dog or a baby bird that has fallen from the nest, kids love lending a hand to help animals in need. “There’s a movement of kids who want to help animals,” says Pasadena Humane Society President and CEO Julie Bank. “The Pasadena Humane Society gets calls on how kids can get involved, probably a daily thing, and we started to really listen.” The...

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Helping Shelter Pets During the Dog Days of Summer

As late-summer heat makes the great indoors (and the AC) look ever more inviting, SoCal programs are working to get homeless pets off the streets and into the arms of their forever families. The Wallis Annenberg PetSpace, which opened earlier this summer, gets creative in forming pet-person connections. The Playa Vista facility (at 12005 Bluff Creek Dr.; www.annenbergpetspace.org) has behaviorists on hand to help match adoptable animals with families –...

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Where to See This Month’s Solar Eclipse

Here comes the sun … and there it goes. For the first time in almost 40 years, L.A. families catch a glimpse of a solar eclipse from the comfort of their own backyards or other spots around town. From 9:05–11:43 a.m. Aug. 21, the moon will travel directly in front of the sun, covering more than half of the solar surface for viewers in the L.A. area. The L.A. County...

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P-22

P-22 Makes His Debut at the Natural History Museum

To get into the Natural History Museum’s new installation about famed Griffith Park mountain lion P-22, you have to cross the freeway. OK, it’s not really a freeway, but the 10 lanes of scaled-down moving traffic projected onto the floor at the installation’s entrance make an impression. “The Story of P-22, L.A.’s Most Famous Feline,” opening June 21, is a love letter to the big cat famous for crossing both...

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the COOP Woodland Hills

The COOP Woodland Hills Opens at The Village at Westfield Topanga

Parents looking for a place to cool off in the valley's hot summer weather just got a new place to tuck into. The COOP, a kids party and playspace, is now open at the Village at Westfield Topanga. The COOP is a fun indoor playground that offers an area for Moms to work with free wi-fi, but also has a number of different areas for kids of different ages. I was...

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The OC Fair Serves Up Farm-Fresh Summer Fun

The first Orange County Fair, back in 1890, included horse racing and a few exhibits. The 127th OC Fair (a few years were skipped here and there) features the Mexican horsemen of the Fiesta del Charro and the annual Clydesdale horses visit. But racing nowadays focuses more on motorcycles and pigs (the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs!). This year’s fair, with its “Farm Fresh Fun” theme, brings back favorite attractions such as...

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Lending a Hand at L.A. Kitchen = Cooking and Family Fun

Here are four reasons to bring your kids to Family Friendly Kitchen Prep at L.A. Kitchen, a nonprofit just north of Downtown that reclaims local food and provides healthy meals to those in need. 1. They’ll have fun (yes, fun) with fruits and vegetables. 2. They’ll learn about food waste. 3. They’ll help families in need. 4. They’ll get to cook without making a mess in your kitchen. The kids –...

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community news

Firefighters Bring Dollhouse-Building Skills Into Play

Any parent who has put together a dollhouse or play kitchen knows it can take skill and patience to make sure all the tiny doors and shelves are assembled just right. So when L.A. Parent and the National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA) decided to team up to build dollhouses and play kitchens for the kids staying at Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House, we knew just who to call – the...

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Seven Summer Activities for Learning in and Around L.A.

It’s a sweet synergy when you can have fun with your kids while they’re learning. Los Angeles is a big city with even bigger opportunities for families to discover and explore together, but you might not have heard of these lesser-known gems. Among them are a path-blazing center that rescues animals while helping kids connect with nature, a shop where you can go back and forth in time (or, rather,...

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fatherhood

Stephen “tWitch” Boss: On the Joys of Fatherhood

You might know him as the resident DJ on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” every so often showing off his awesome dance moves alongside Ellen herself. As a hip-hop dancer, entertainer, actor and former “So You Think You Can Dance” star, Stephen “tWitch” Boss has had some great gigs, but he is quick to admit that his favorite is being a dad. He married Allison Holker of “Dancing with the Stars”...

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hyperlinked

L2M Brings STEM to Life in YouTube Red’s Hyperlinked

Getting kids interested in STEM is going beyond the classroom. Instead of talking about careers in science, technology, engineering and math through parents and teachers, YouTube Red Originals is showing tweens how it’s done. The new show "Hyperlinked" launched in May and features tween music group L2M. The series follows five girls as they come together to create their own website by girls for girls. The mission of the website is to...

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16 Great Ways to Spend Father’s Day in L.A.

When I was a kid, my three brothers and I agreed that going clothes shopping felt more like a punishment than a pleasure. So, when my daughter asked me to take her clothes shopping at local thrift stores, the idea didn’t fill me with excitement. Still, off we went. During our first few stops, including Goodwill and Out of the Closet, I felt like Julia’s driver, biding my time until...

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Catch An Outdoor Film for Family Fun in L.A. This Summer

Feel like catching a summer film and a little family fun by a pool? In a cemetery? At a college? In a Bowl? You can do it at all four, and more! L.A. is blessed with multiple outdoor summer movie series – a few particularly worth knowing about. CSUN’s Summer Movie Fest happens Thursday nights on the university’s Oviatt Library Lawn (18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge; www.csun.edu/as/summer-movie-fest). June’s free films include...

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spa le la

Spa Le La Makes Me-Time Sitter-Free

As I parked, pattering hail created a strange white noise against my windshield. This probably helped all three of my children enjoy an extended nap in the back of my minivan. It was a week before Mother’s Day and there was no sitter in sight. None of this sounds like the start of a spa day, but alas things have changed. Enter Spa Lé La, a luxurious spa with a...

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Photographing Babies Who Are Worth the Wait

Amanda Naor is an L.A.-based newborn and family photographer, but she isn’t a parent – not yet, anyway. She and her husband have been on an infertility journey that began in June of 2015 and she is determined to tell their story to call attention to the plight of couples who struggle to get pregnant. If you needed medical help to become pregnant or have adopted a child because of...

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Kid Artists Lending a Hand and Trucking Our Streets Clean

  As Los Angeles Sanitation (LASAN) department trucks in South L.A. go about their business this month, they’ll be spreading messages about “Keeping Our Streets Clean, Every Day in Every Way” thanks to 10 students from the Los Angeles Unified School District lending a hand with their talent. Winners of LASAN’s Earth Day L.A. Artwork Contest, the students will have their art displayed on the trucks through mid-June. More than...

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community

Santa Clarita Teacher to Throw Out First Pitch on Dodger Day

Samantha Ford, Saugus Union School District physical education teacher, has been selected to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the 40th Annual City of Santa Clarita Dodger Day on May 20. Ford was selected because of the shoe drive she organized after noticing some of her students wearing run-down and wrong-sized shoes to class. She has collected hundreds of shoes and gained national attention. The Dodgers take on the...

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El Segundo Hockey Kids Ride Tour de Pier for Cancer Cure

Calvin Vachon, 11, is a goal keeper for the Jr. Kings hockey team in El Segundo. His favorite National Hockey League goalie is the Los Angeles Kings’ Jonathan Quick, but he also hopes to emulate P.K. Subban, who skates on defense for the Nashville Predators and has committed to donate $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Vachon began his own philanthropic journey last year, working with his teammates to...

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The Millennial Dad Takes on Alternative Transportation

I am sitting with Hank in a Nippon Sharyo (which literally means Japanese vehicle) cab, model P865. This pantographed workhorse – a Los Angeles Metro train with a electric-current-collector on top – is here because of years of painstaking negotiations and political savvy, an effort by L.A. officials to create a more attractive cityscape while simultaneously curbing carbon emissions and alleviating traffic congestion. I have fantasized about a train connecting...

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Shopping For a Mom’s Day Out?

Gather the gals for a Mom’s Day Out celebration at The Point and The Collection at Plaza El Segundo from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. May 13. The first 50 attendees to register (at The Point next to Superba Food + Bread) for the free event will receive an exclusive tote and a free ride at Soul Cycle. All attendees receive a VIP passport unlocking exclusive specials: Michael Stars: Mimosas, macaroons and...

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los angeles events

Big Sunday’s Big Month of Volunteerism Around Los Angeles

Big Sunday decided to have a special event every day in May 2016. The month was such a success that the L.A.-based organization is doing it again this year and calling it a Month of Big Sundays (MOBS). Among MOBS events where families can volunteer are beautification projects at Wilshire Crest Elementary School May 7 and Dymally High School May 21, and a makeover for MyCLUB Youth Center May 20. The no-kill dog sanctuary Beagles & Buddies is offering multiple dates when...

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los angeles teens

It’s Teen Time at the YMCA This Summer

Cure your teen's summertime blues with free fun at Los Angeles YMCA locations this summer. Ages 12-17 are invited to visit the Y during June and July for free meals provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District, part-time jobs through the city and county of Los Angeles and swimming, basketball, fitness classes, free Wi-Fi and exclusive teen programs. Enrollment begins May 1 at all Los Angeles YMCA locations. All teens enrolled must attend an orientation...

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Learning About Rancho History – and Service Dogs!

If your family is headed to one of the monthly Creation Station art workshops or other family events at Rancho Los Cerritos (4600 Virginia Rd., Long Beach; www.rancholoscerritos.org), keep an eye out for Marcia Harris and her canine companion. A longtime volunteer at the rancho, Harris also raises service dogs. Harris began volunteering at the rancho, an historic adobe house and surrounding property dedicated to inspiring curiosity about the past,...

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Millennial Dad: A Voyage of Selfie Discovery

What’s wrong with me? What am I doing clutching my 2-year-old in this chokehold as I attempt to aim my phone at our two duck-lipped faces? Can’t he have a normal “mirror” phase like any other pre-Kardashian child? Profound parental – no, human – guilt confronts me. I know this is wrong, base, tacky. But I need Hank to stare into my smart phone and smile. Smile! C’mon, smile! Instead,...

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power rangers

Power Rangers Cast Joins Yoobi to Donate School Supplies

This morning, the cast of Saban’s Power Rangers joined LA based school supplies company Yoobi in donating thousands of supplies to children at 116th Elementary School in Los Angeles. Yoobi, an innovative school, home, and office supplies company that gives back, lead the charge on the donation, kicking it off with an assembly featuring Yoobi’s Chief Giving Officer Justin Wolff, 116th Street Principal Tyra Henderson, and all five Power Rangers...

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parenting

Jill Simonian: On Being A Real FAB Mom

When I first received a copy of “The Fab Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby,” my first thought was, We don’t have enough pressure as moms? Now we have to be back to fabulous within seconds after giving birth? But author Jill Simonian’s message is about a different kind of fabulous. For Simonian, founder of the parenting and lifestyle website TheFABmom.com, FAB...

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Friendship In Flow

Lourdes Mack loves to dance, act, ski, play basketball and surf. And she’s done it all with her trademark enthusiasm and her bright pink wheelchair. Mack was born with spina bifida, a medical condition that damages the spinal cord and nerves. But Mack doesn’t want to talk about that – or her wheelchair. She’d much rather talk about playing a nun in Santa Monica High School’s recent production of “The...

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community news

Local Girl Scouts Bring Seniors Cute Puppies and Kittens

Melanie Marx and Hermela Amanuel, Girl Scouts from Troop 1615, partnered with Michelson Found Animals Adopt & Shop to bring cats and dogs to the Culver City Senior Center in February. The girls were asked to identify an issue they care about and to create a project to help raise awareness in the community. They chose the theme “The Health Benefits of Pets for Senior Citizens.” Through this project, titled ‘Pet-a-Pet...

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Why This Dad Is On Pokemon Go

Last year, Los Angeles TV producer Brant Pinvidic found himself equally baffled by two things. One was the exploding popularity of the smartphone game Pokemon Go, which in the summer of 2016 was played by millions of people, including his whole family. The other was how to find common ground with his 13-year-old daughter, who had become obsessed with catching its virtual characters to the point where he caught her...

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Painting a Different Picture of Camp

Summer camp is a place for kids to try out fun outdoorsy stuff, make arts and crafts (got lanyards?) and maybe learn a funny song or two. It’s also a place to meet other kids like them. But what if there aren’t many kids like them? At The Painted Turtle camp, kids who have had kidney transplants or are diagnosed with hemophilia, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, juvenile arthritis, IBD, cystic...

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community news

Honda’s Helpful Campaign Brings Snow to South LA

SoCal Honda received a special request on their Help Me Honda page from a counselor at Wallis Annenberg High School in South Los Angeles, where 95 percent of the kids are economically disadvantaged. Her request? To help them see snow for the first time:   “My name is Gloria Zelaya, I am a counselor at Wallis Annenberg High School a small high school in South Central Los Angeles. Every year...

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You Can Now Support Special Olympics When Filing Your Taxes

California taxpayers have long had the option to support causes near to their hearts at filing time – and this year a new organization with plenty of heart joins the list. Special Olympics Southern California and Special Olympics Northern California join 19 other nonprofits in the contributions section of this year’s state income tax form. “One of our great champions, Assemblymember Jim Frazier from Oakley, California, has been a longtime...

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Inclusive Pageant Spotlights Girls of All Abilities

Many girls dream of wearing a crown and being “queen” for a day, and the California Miss Amazing pageant gives girls of all abilities that chance. The day includes all the usual pageant pomp, from formalwear and interviews to tiaras and trophies, but the beauty here is more than skin deep. “One of the main impacts of the program is [for the girls] to realize their potential,” says Miss Amazing...

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Goodwill Jeans for Moms

Moms-to-be Can Do Good and Save on Maternity Jeans

Goodwill Southern California, a nonprofit social enterprise, and A Pea in the Pod, a contemporary maternity retailer, are teaming up to offer a special “donate and get a discount” deal to expectant mothers in the Los Angeles area. Donors are asked to bring in a pair of jeans and other clothing they no longer need to participating A Pea in the Pod stores, and they will get a 25-percent discount coupon...

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Date Night: The Pan Am Experience

Does anyone ever deliberately set out to eat airplane food? If that food is part of Air Hollywood’s Pan Am Experience, you definitely should! Avoid the crowds at LAX, leave your luggage at home and head instead to a cluster of warehouses off the 118 Freeway in San Fernando to board a Pan Am 747 for a flight to the 1970s. Pan American World Airways disbanded in 1991 and the...

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flexible childcare in los angeles

WeVillage Flexible Childcare Center to Open in Sherman Oaks March 2017

Childcare can be anything but flexible, especially for children 5 and under. WeVillage, providers of flexible, first-class childcare, is looking to change that. They will be opening the doors to their first Los Angeles, California location mid-March 2017. WeVillage is an award-winning, innovative, and revolutionary childcare concept that provides a playful, yet advanced environment, where parents feel comfortable leaving their children and where children never want to leave. The state-of-the-art play-based...

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north american athletic club

Families Get Fit Together at North American Athletic Club in Northridge

You may be familiar with sitting on the sidelines during your child's sports classes, but one gym is hoping to get parents back in the game. North American Athletic Club (NAAC) opened in December 2016 in Northridge and was designed by working families, for working families. NAAC offers a place where parents and their children can get fit at the same time at the same location. The founders, Theodore Theodosiadis...

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disneyland tickets

LBPD Officers Turn Disneyland Ripoff Into Birthday Gift

For many kids turning 5, Disneyland tickets are the perfect birthday gift. Joyce, a teaching aide at a Long Beach elementary school, had Eddie, a kindergartner, in mind when she was moved to a thoughtful act of kindness. After befriending the child on the playground, she learned his mother, Tiffany, was a single mom to four young children. Joyce took to an online app to buy tickets to the Happiest Place on...

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simon youth foundation

Simon Youth Foundation Offering College Scholarships to L.A. Seniors

The Shops at Montebello is once again offering scholarships to help deserving graduating high school seniors pay for college. Simon Youth Foundation, a national nonprofit that provides educational opportunities for at-risk high school students, is looking for qualified applicants who live near The Shops at Montebello and in the surrounding community. Each year, Simon Youth Community Scholarships are awarded in every community across the country that is home to Simon,...

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move the world

Taking the Stage to Move the World

They learn to dance and they dance to create change. The L.A.-based participants in the nonprofit Move the World, most ages 9 to 21, create and perform original dance works that spotlight causes from the health of our oceans to homelessness among our youth. “I wanted to teach the kids not only to love performing, but for there to be a purpose behind it,” says Move the World Executive Director...

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parenting - Margot Machol Bisnow

Margot Machol Bisnow: On Raising Entrepreneurs

Author Margot Machol Bisnow defines entrepreneurs not just as business owners but also as musicians who put together a band, actors who organize their own careers and activists working to create a better world. As a way to explore that spirit of resiliency, outside-the-box thinking and innovation, Bisnow interviewed 60 successful entrepreneurs and their moms to discover the parenting style that helped foster these confident and creative entrepreneurs. The result...

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parenting - Omar and Argelia

K-Love’s Dynamic Duo Share Their On-Air and At-Home Magic

Argelia Atilano jokes that Omar Velasco, her husband and morning radio co-host on K-Love 107.5-FM, was never really “her type.” “I only dated guys in suits,” she says with her trademark laugh. “Attorneys, businessmen. I would never date a DJ – but the magic happened.” “I knew she was out of my league, but I kept pursuing her,” says Velasco with a smile. This is the type of banter that...

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valentine's

Share The Love This Valentine’s Day for Families

Valentine’s Day is the day to spend with the people you love, but you can also extend your love to those in need of some TLC at Valentine-themed events happening around Southern California. Big Sunday will host its fifth-annual Valentine-making, bingo-playing community dinner from 4-7 p.m. Feb. 12 at 6111 Melrose Ave., L.A. The public is invited to spend a couple of hours creating cards and gift bags for shut-ins...

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kingdom day parade la

City Language Immersion Charter Marches in Kingdom Day Parade LA

Parade watchers at the 32nd Annual Kingdom Day Parade Jan. 16 came face-to-face with cultural icons including Langston Hughes, Golda Meir, Magic Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Amelia Hernandez, Muhammad Ali, Benito Juarez, Edith Cowan, Steve Jobs, Ella Fitzgerald, and even Cleopatra and Moses – thanks to students from City Language Immersion Charter School (CLIC) in L.A. Marching for their first time in the parade, the students came dressed as these...

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kids and media

Tara Sorensen: Creating Children’s Programming with a Mom’s Touch

One of Tara Sorensen’s favorite places to be is among books, children’s books in particular. “The Giving Tree” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” are a couple of her favorites. The L.A. mom of two and head of kids programming at Amazon Studios has always loved a good story with characters that leap off the page and into the imagination. It was her love of storytelling that led her into children’s television programming. Before joining Amazon, she was at National Geographic, where she was vice president...

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la parent cover kids

Check Out Our Newest LA Parent Cover Kids Winners

These cuties will appear on our covers in 2017 Back in September, we gathered more than 100 L.A. families at The Point at Rosecrans and Sepulveda in El Segundo for our annual Cover Kids contest. It was a fun and festive day featuring an “Imagine Station” from California Connections Academy @ Capistrano, free toothbrushes from Children’s Dental Fun Zone, food decoration by Galina and other fun activities. Books & Cookies,...

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los angeles events

Tween Time With Author Greg Pincus

Did you know California once had a law that banned homework? Don’t worry, parents, it was repealed more than a century ago. This obscure law, however, did serve as an inspiration for Greg Pincus’ new middle-grade book, “Homework Strike.” Pincus has brought back Gregory K., the main character from his last book, “The 14 Fibs Of Gregory K.,” and now has Gregory struggling with the trials and tribulations of life...

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Glam Boutique Spa Opens in Woodland Hills

There’s a new option for moms looking to get the spa treatment. Lindsay Faulk, an L.A. mom of four girls, has opened the doors to her luxurious day spa in Woodland Hills just in time for some holiday pampering. She sees it as a family business that her daughters can be proud of and a place where they will eventually be pampered. The spa offers spray tans, facials, lash extensions, waxing...

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cameron candace bure

Candace Cameron Bure: On Motherhood and her own Full House

As a fan of ’80s family sitcoms, I loved watching Candace Cameron Bure’s TV character, D.J. Tanner on “Full House,” navigate middle- and high-school drama, struggle through her Spanish class, crush on cute boys, fight and make up with her younger sisters.  For many of us, she was the big sister we wished we had as we watched her grow up on the popular ABC show, which ran from 1987...

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children's books

L.A. Dad Adds Gift to Princess Heroes Book Series

As the father of 9-year-old twin daughters, L.A. author Sanjay Nambiar is keen on writing stories that broaden the scope of how girls see themselves. “The Gift of Gift,” the second book in his Super Amazing Princess Heroes (SAPH) series, was released in November. “Girls need role models that are just as powerful as boy role models,” says Nambiar, who says the book aims to marry the feminine side of...

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7 Don’t-Miss Events for December

Check out these great family events happening in December. They are our top picks for family fun.

children's resale shops in la

Where to Buy, Sell or Trade Your Kids’ Clothes in L.A.

Buying used clothing for children makes a lot of sense, and if you can clear their closets of outgrown duds at the same time, it’s a no-brainer. I hit up the top resale shops in the L.A. area to find out what types of deals I could make. Here’s the rundown on these awesome spots! The Green Bean: This cozy, colorful Eagle Rock shop is run by Traci Green of...

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kids' haircuts

Kids’ Haircuts Get Playful at Snip-Its

There's a new children’s hair salon and spa in the San Gabriel Valley. Snip-Its Monrovia gives kids a fun experience while they get haircuts. Snip-It Monrovia Owners Yan Hu and Michael Brewer opened in late August. The salon specializes in services for infants, toddlers and pre-teens. The store is designed with kids in mind, with floor-to-ceiling murals, branded characters, games, tablets and books for children to explore. A magic box dispenses a prize at...

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Volunteer on Thanksgiving

Give a Little Back This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to consider the many things we are thankful for. It is also a time to become aware of those around us who are in need. Family Volunteer Day, a tradition for 25 years, offers opportunities to lend a helping hand in your community. And when parents and kids participate together, kids get to learn about volunteering and how much good a person can do in the...

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5 Turkey Trots for Your Thanksgiving Day Exercise

Thanksgiving is known as a day to feast. But before pigging out on turkey, you might want to get a little exercise in – just to balance out your day. Across Southern California, there will be a number of “turkey trot” events Thanksgiving Day where you can work off some calories before adding more on. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, many of these events also raise money for charities. The...

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community news

Come Face-to-Face with Hunger in MAZON’s Mobile Exhibit

In this season of thankfulness for what we have, we also try to remember those who struggle. That makes the “This Is Hunger” mobile exhibit coming this month to three local spots aptly timed – especially since it reminds us that often these people look just like us. Inside the exhibit, housed in a 53-foot-long semi trailer, visitors sit around a long wooden table with striking images of families facing food insecurity...

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Family Loss

Grief During the Holidays

If your family lost a loved one this year, the approaching holiday season might seem a little less joyful. And how your family approaches it can make a big difference – especially for the children. “Kids are going to take their cues from the adults,” says Lauren Schneider, clinical director of child and adolescent programs at Our House Grief Support Centers in West L.A. and Woodland Hills. Our House provides...

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parenting

Lisa Ling: Blending Motherhood and Investigative Reporting

Lisa Ling loves to tell stories. As a mom, she has a daily ritual of cuddling with her two daughters and reading their favorite books. As an award-winning journalist she has told hard-hitting, investigative stories from around the globe. For years, I have watched and admired Ling, who has been a correspondent for “ABC World News Tonight,” the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” co-host of ABC’s “The View” and is now the...

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community news

Recycling Clothes With Love

Imagine a world where moms and dads could clothe their children for just $7. In Long Beach, at Green Jean Kids, this is happening every day. Founder and CEO Rebecca Juarez explains that clients bring in 25 pieces of clothing that their kids have outgrown, then select 25 gently used pieces of clothing in their child’s current size from the shop, and they’re out the door for a charge of only $7. Juarez opened Green Jean Kids in 2015 and now serves 600 to 700 families all over Long Beach and the surrounding area, and as far east as the San...

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Valerie Confections Debuting New Chocolate Boutique in South Silver Lake

Celebrated Los Angeles chocolatier Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections just opened a brand new chocolate boutique last Friday, October 28 (fittingly, on National Chocolate Day) in South Silver Lake next to her flagship location. Retail will move into the new 1000 square-foot shop, and culinary operations will continue in the original space. A home-spun feel informs the boutique’s design, which features quaint seating areas, artful touches, and an air of discovery with chocolate samples and curated retail finds...

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school news

Granada Hills Charter Dancer Trains in Moscow

Sana Suzuki, Granada Hills Charter Class of 2020, has packed her ballet slippers and moved to Moscow to attend the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, one of the oldest and most respected ballet schools in the world. Suzuki was invited to study full-time at the academy after demonstrating her talent during the Bolshoi Summer Intensive in Connecticut this summer. Her acceptance is a source of long-awaited joy and celebration for Suzuki and her family...

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kids money tips

Sunny Lee: Raising Money-Savvy Kids

Sunny Lee, the youngest of four children, grew up in a small village in South Korea. Watching her parents, factory and construction workers, scrimp to just barely meet their basic needs, Lee decided early on that she would use education, hard work and sheer determination to become financially independent. The Rancho Palos Verdes resident began her career as a journalist and later became a financial advisor. Her vigilance about money...

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girlfriend getaways

Girlfriend Getaways: Moms’ Time Out

This Sonoma girlfriends’ getaway is perfect for pals with a personality. Repeat after me: “I deserve a break from my momly duties. My girlfriends deserve a break. We are awesome, therefore we should do awesome things on our break.” Of course, escaping your family’s hectic schedule is not easy, nor is coordinating a getaway with busy friends. And finding a location not too far from home with activities that appeal...

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A Play Date With littleBits

Play dates are always fun, but getting to play the super cool creative engineer on the Disney campus is especially fun! L.A. Parent joined littleBits last week at Disney’s Creative Campus for an exclusive play date to unleash our inner inventor. Ayah Bdeir, creator of littleBits, joined the kids and adults with her product development team for a hands-on exploration of the modular electronic circuit blocks that easily snap together...

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halloween

MOMS Club Collects Candy for Troops

Looking to get rid of extra Halloween candy? The MOMS Club of Glendale is collecting Halloween candy to send to our troops as part of Operation Gratitude. Members will be picking up candy from interested families and local businesses throughout the month of October as well as the first two weeks following Halloween. If you have candy to spare, either left over from handing out to trick-or-treaters, from parties, Halloween sales...

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girls dolls

L.A. Mom Designs Dolls Representing the Global Scene

You can learn a lot about a little girl by watching her play with dolls. Stacey McBride-Irby, a Gardena native, played out her love of fashion with Barbie dolls. That love never waned, and after earning a degree in fashion design from Los Angeles Trade-Tech College, she turned her childhood passion into a design career. McBride-Irby started as a design assistant for Barbie doll toy maker Mattel. “After an interview,...

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community news

Celebrating Some Worthy Kids

At the Union Rescue Mission in Downtown L.A., there is an island built on love. On this island, there are monthly birthday parties on the rooftop. There is a DJ named Boomer who stops playing his upbeat music and has kids and adults turn to one another and remind each other of this love by saying the words out loud: “I love you!” The party guests are all homeless children...

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special needs

Wiley Academy Opens Preschool for Kids on the Spectrum

L.A. Speech and Language Therapy Center has expanded. In September, the Wiley Academy for Specialized Learning opened with a learning environment tailored to children with autism spectrum disorders. The preschool program is for ages 3 to 5 and follows a language-based multidisciplinary curriculum. The emphasis is on whole-child development with daily exposure to activities that promote speech, fine motor, sensory and cognitive development. Alyssa Porter’s son, Jagger, 3, attends the preschool. “I toured other...

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Step Out to Raise Funds for UCPLA

How many steps do you take per day? Do you have 10,000 in you? Find out, get fit and raise funds and awareness for individuals with cerebral palsy during the “Out & About With UCPLA” fitness challenge Oct. 3-28. The money you raise will help purchase equipment such as adaptable tricycles and adaptable beach wheelchairs that help people with cerebral palsy reach their fitness goals. Kids who participate can also...

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community news

Laptops Equal Success for Students in Foster Care

As a UCLA student without a laptop of her own, Ashley Williams spent many hours waiting to use a computer in the library to complete assignments. “It was frustrating. It was a struggle to get my work done,” says Williams, who entered foster care at age 10. Getting her first laptop at age 20 changed Williams’ life academically and socially. “It lifted a weight off my shoulders. And having that...

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community news

Art Lessons That Think Inside the Box

When a friend bemoaned the limited art instruction options for her son in their school and community, Lauren Perelmuter, founder of Art to Grow On Children’s Art Center, sent the boy a Frank Lloyd Wright lesson in a box. His mom was so thrilled that she brought the program into her second-grade classroom, and The Art Box Academy was born. Art to Grow On offers mobile art classes in schools,...

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The Great Escape: Hollywood Edition

You’ve probably heard friends talking about the new Escape Room craze where you and a handful of fellow sleuths are locked in a room, left to your own devices to crack codes, riddles and puzzles to escape the room in one hour or less. I experienced my first Escape Room a couple months ago, and much like my childhood friend, Nancy Drew, I’ve become hooked on solving mysteries and jump...

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school news

South Bay Volunteers Clean Up Elementary School Gardens

More than 100 local volunteers ranging from lawyers and politicians to restaurateurs and thespians got their hands dirty to restore nine elementary school gardens in Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach as part of Beach Cities Health District’s inaugural “Beach Cities Volunteer Day.” Employees from 16 South Bay organizations, including Kaiser Permanente, UCLA Health, the Office of Assemblymember Hadley and Surf City Theater spent a hot August day building garden beds, pulling weeds...

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parenting

Chat Room: Super Mamas is Bridging the Culture Gap for Latina Moms

Family is an all-encompassing part of Bricia and Paulina Lopez’s world. The sisters grew up working alongside their two other siblings in their parents’ Oaxacan restaurant on Olympic Boulevard in Koreatown, and are now not only co-owners of the family business, but co-anchors of their own parenting podcast, Super Mamás, geared toward young, hip, Latina moms. Bricia and Paulina were born in Oaxaca, Mexico and immigrated to Los Angeles with...

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Rabbi Selilah Kalev Joins Temple Menorah’s Tuvia Preschool

  Rabbi Selilah Kalev has joined Temple Menorah as Director of its growing Tuvia Preschool. Kalev joins Tuvia to work closely with parents, teachers and synagogue leaders to further improve Tuvia's learning environment for children in the South Bay. With a strong belief that the ritual-based environment provided by Judaism allows children to thrive, Rabbi Kalev promotes a combination of learning, playing and community connection as a key component of her...

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Matt Asner Becomes Vice President of Development For Autism Society of America

Matt Asner will join The Autism Society as National Vice President of Development, Autism Society President and CEO Scott Badesch announced Aug. 23. “We are thrilled to have Matt as part of the Autism Society family. His passion, energy and wonderful commitment to helping give all diagnosed with autism the maximum opportunities to reach their highest quality of life, along with an amazing track record of success in all he...

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positive parenting

Chat Room with Rosalie Tucker: Creating Cultural Empathy Through the Arts

Rosalie Tucker grew up loving the spotlight. Her passion for dance and performing began at age 5 and continued through college. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree in World Arts and Cultures and Choreography at UCLA, she discovered another passion – arts education. For Tucker, dance and theater were always the gatewayS to explore the larger issues of social justice and cultural understanding. As the Head of School and Teacher Programs...

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school news

Thinking Globally: Lang Ranch Students Compete in Odyssey of the Mind World Finals

Everything was going great until the U-Haul arrived. After months of hard work, the fifth-grade Odyssey of the Mind team from Lang Ranch Elementary School had made it to the World Finals competition. The seven girls on the team had gathered at the school at 3 a.m. May 24 for their flight to Ames, Iowa. For two days, they had been at Iowa State University enjoying the festivities surrounding the...

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School News: Joyner Elementary Gets Turnaround Arts Grant

Congratulations are in order for South L.A.’s Florence Griffith Joyner Elementary. The school was recently named a recipient of the coveted Turnaround Arts program grant, the only Los Angeles-area school to receive one this year. First Lady Michelle Obama was on hand at the White House Turnaround Arts Talent Show in May, where new schools accepted into the program were announced. Joyner Elementary’s Principal, Dr. Akida Kissane-Long, and Turnaround Arts: California...

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community news

Burbank Pa Kua Martial Arts Offers After School Program

After-school care has a little more kick to it in Burbank. Burbank Pa Kua Martial Arts & Health(BPKMA&H) is offering a multifaceted program giving ages 6-13 access to multiple enrichment classes and homework help in one location starting August 15th. BPKMA&H teaches noncompetitive martial arts to develop discipline, fitness and flexibility in children as well as help them face their fears, show respect and cultivate community. The program includes martial arts classes...

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parenting

Parenting: Foster Care and Finding Forever Homes

Thousands of children desperately need a home, or even just a safe place to sleep tonight. And they aren’t in some developing country. They are right here in Los Angeles County. “There are 35,000 children in the foster-care system,” says Lynne Baumhoff, director of adoptions and foster care at Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, which provides adoption and foster care services in Southern California. “Some are in foster...

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community news

Gun Violence Video Contest for High Schoolers Extended

The Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles and the Violence Policy Center in Washington, D.C. recently announced that the deadline for the second annual Tony Bourbon Youth Scholarship Video Contest will be extended one month to Aug. 1, 2016. The video contest, open to high school students in Los Angeles County, invites students to submit films/videos on the negative effects of gun violence on youth and the positive actions youth...

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positive parenting

Ellie Knaus: Podcasting the Joys and Challenges of Parenting

Ellie Knaus wants to get to know you. The real you, control issues, neuroses, mommy guilt and all. And that’s exactly what she does each week through her popular parenting podcast, “Atomic Moms,” where she “celebrates and commiserates” with best-selling authors, parenting experts and parents all over the world. Her goal: share the universal story of parenthood with humor and authenticity. Knaus is a writer, actress and mom to 2-year-old...

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Meet Some Pint-Sized Plant Savers

A team of 6-year-olds from Notre Dame Academy Elementary School in West L.A. has garnered an international prize with their clever idea for preserving plants – and the insects that feed on them. This spring the team took the top prize in the ages 5-7 division of the Smithsonian-Cricket Media 5th Annual Spark! Lab Invent It Challenge. In this international contest, students had to identify a global health issue and create an invention to help...

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school news

Silicon Valley School Opens New Campuses around L.A.

Stratford School, a Silicon Valley-based group of independent private schools, is opening new locations in Altadena and Los Angeles. Stratford is recognized as a leader in early childhood STEM education, and both new Southern California campuses are scheduled to open in August for the 2016-17 academic year. One of Stratford’s core missions is to incorporate technology into the fabric of learning, says Cheryl Molenkamp, director of Lower School of the...

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Families Connected Program Launches in the South Bay

New Resource for Parents Targets Teen Wellness and Prevention of Substance Use The South Bay is connecting families on a whole new level. Thanks to the successful launch of South Bay Families Connected (SBFC) at Mira Costa High School, called Mira Costa Families Connected (MCHS FC), the free teen wellness and substance use prevention resource is now available to all South Bay schools including Manhattan Beach Middle School. “The Families...

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summer camp los angeles

My LEGO Party Turned Play-Well Engineering Workshop

I’m a LEGO purist. I love dumping the big box of hundreds of bricks that can be made into anything I imagine onto the floor. My child is the opposite. Mirae, my soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter, is dedicated to the completion of the predetermined project on the front of the LEGO box. This line between free play and instruction was one we had to consider in planning a LEGO shindig with...

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community news

Community News: Getting In the Swing of Things

Imagine a picturesque Sunday morning. A cluster of fluffy cumulus clouds peppers a saturated blue sky as the vivid sun slowly stretches its legs across the horizon. The sounds of chirping birds and the click of a distant water sprinkler wallows in your ear. It’s as if Ansel Adams is supposed to capture this moment, but it’s only you and your seven iron as a ball rests 145 yards from...

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community news

Community News: A Tween With An Open Heart

Noah Bella Michaelis may seem like your ordinary 12-year-old. She loves her pet dog, Finn, and pet tortoise, Escher; enjoys reading and collects miniature figurines. She was born with complex congenital heart disease and has had four open-heart surgeries since birth, but what is really extraordinary about Michaelis is her spirit. This indefatigable sixth grader has raised more than $65,000 for the Hopeful Hearts Foundation – a nonprofit that provides...

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positive parenting

A Family Legacy Worth Leaving Behind

It is a day I will never forget – Christmas 2013 in snowy Chicago, and my parents were visiting from Texas. Christmas carols were playing, festive food and decorated cookies were on the table, and I had buttery egg nog in hand and a big smile on my face as I sat to watch my then 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, open her first gift from under our tree. The first package...

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fun summer activities

Family Fun Yoga Festivals to Bliss up this Summer

So you are a yogi mom or dad and want to go to festivals and enjoy all blissful workshops by your favorite teachers, but you don’t want to have to get a sitter for the kids? I have the guide for you! At these family-friendly festivals, your kids will have just as much fun as you do. Wanderlust, July 14-16, Squaw Valley Featuring MC Yoga and DJ Drez, Gurmuk, Dharma...

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community news

Community News: The Dog Café Features Coffee Cups and Rescue Pups

Sarah Wolfgang’s eyes sparkle when speaking about her mission to find forever families for the shelter dogs in her care. Wolfgang is owner of The Dog Café, the first of its kind in L.A., which evolved from her big heart and desire to help the neediest dogs. The café focuses on rescuing dogs who have been at the shelter the longest due to health or behavioral issues and are at...

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community news

Community News: For the Family That Plays Together

Kid athletes and their parents are used to being separated, with the kids off to their practice and programs and Mom and Dad off to the gym. Sports Academy, which opened in Newbury Park in May, aims to change that. “We are here for the athletes of all ages and abilities,” says Chief Executive and former Kansas State football player Chad Faulkner. “Our parents get to train at the same...

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community news

Tour the Hyperion Treatment Plant and Environmental Learning Center

Who hasn’t wondered what happens after you flush the toilet? You and the kids can find detailed answers – and even see for yourselves – at the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant near Dockweiler Beach. If that sounds like a less-than-appealing prospect, consider this: The Hyperion facility processes 340 million gallons of wastewater daily and is one of the largest treatment plants in the world. The scale alone makes this marvel...

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community news

The Music Center’s Spotlight Program Crowns SoCal Teens

The Music Center recently named 14 Southern California high school students as grand prize finalists in the 28th annual Spotlight program, a free nationally recognized scholarship and arts training program for teens. Two grand prize finalists were named in each of seven categories, including acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental. All finalists will receive $5,000 scholarships and appear in a ticketed Grand Finale...

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parenting

Our 2016 Dad Hero: A Full-Throttle Father

In July of 2003, a man crashed his car through a barrier blocking off part of Arizona Avenue for Santa Monica’s bi-weekly farmers market, plowing through the crowd of shoppers and killing 10. Eric Castellanos was working as an Emergency Medical Technician for an ambulance company, and was one of the first responders that day, directing help for the 63 people injured. The California State Assembly later honored him with...

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los angeles events

Chat Room: Sandra Tsing Loh is Using Comedy to Lower the Bar for Moms

For years, I’ve enjoyed Sandra Tsing Loh’s hilarious commentary on public radio and witty writing about juggling work, life, marriage and parenthood. The Pasadena mom of two teen daughters is known for her books, including “A Year in Van Nuys” and “Mother on Fire,” as well as her weekly 89.3 KPCC radio segments “The Loh Life,” and “The Loh Down on Science.” I was excited to chat with her about...

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Toyota and L.A. County Lifeguards Host Water Safety Event with Boys & Girls Club of Gardena-Harbor

To remind the community of key water-safety tips as families head to local beaches this summer, carmaker Toyota and the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Division, hosted an interactive water-safety event for the Boys & Girls Club of Gardena-Harbor in May. Toyota is the official vehicle sponsor of the LA County Lifeguards, and the company considers staying safe at the beach key to having a great time this summer....

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school news

School News: Granada Hill Charter Students Rack Up Awards

Shannel Tejuco, Granada Hills Charter culinary arts student, won a full-ride scholarship valued at $122,584 after cooking her way to first place at the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) earlier this month at the Jonathan Town Club in downtown Los Angeles. Granada Hills Charter High School (GHCHS) sent six talented young chefs to the C-CAP competition and each won scholarships, totaling $136,484 out if the $739,000 awarded. Shannel has been working...

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community news

Manhattan Beach Student Honored with President’s Environmental Youth Award

An L.A. tween water conservationist recently received an award from the The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The extraordinary 11-year-old, Joshua Cigoianu, of Manhattan Beach, earned the 2015 President’s Environmental Youth Award. The national award is presented each year to exceptional students who demonstrate creativity, innovation and leadership to address difficult environmental challenges. “During a severe drought, finding ways to conserve our precious water is everyone’s responsibility,” said Jared Blumenfeld, Regional...

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community news

Fresh Films Giving Teen Filmmakers a Shot at Stardom

For any teen who has ever dreamed of making a Hollywood production, this summer that dream can become a reality! Fresh Films is calling all teens (no experience required) to apply for its free summer program presented by SUBWAY® & Best Buy to work on sets here in Los Angeles and seven other major cities across the country to produce new episodes of a kids’ TV show! More than 200 teens will be...

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A New Career as a Volunteer

Meet our 2016 Amazing Mom, Julie Weinstein To illustrate the icy cold of the Arctic described in "Eve of the Emperor Penguin" from the "Magic Tree House" series, Julie Weinstein taught her second-grade book-club readers to make their own ice cream. The students learned how a liquid can freeze into a solid – and that book club can be really fun. For a science project on insects, Weinstein brought ladybugs...

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essay contest

NuVision Essay Contest Offers Big Bucks for High Schoolers

NuVision Federal Credit Union recently announced the launch of the first annual Think.Tank.Challenge., an educational essay contest with $20,000 in prize money to be awarded to local high school students and participating schools. NuVision’s Think.Tank.Challenge. will take place at Carson High School, Lakewood High School, Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Schurr High School in Montebello. Kick-off assemblies are being held at each of the schools. The contest will challenge students...

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Family Road Tripping Goes Global

Rebecca Bernard wants your family to go to camp. Together. And bring your passports. Bernard is founder and chief culture officer at FamilyGo, a company offering group travel curated for kids, parents and even grandparents to enjoy together. Bernard calls her program a “camp on the road.” Groups of families visit a destination, and the children are immersed in local camp programs from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. – giving the adults...

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Saugus Schools Implement Mindful Leading at Recess

For several mornings, Lisa Storaker, a campus supervisor at Mountainview Elementary School in Saugus, noticed a second-grader leaning against the wall near the playground watching the action around her, but not participating. Storaker became concerned. “I started chatting with her to get to know her better,” says the mom of five, who has been a campus supervisor for the Saugus Union School District for five years. “I asked her what...

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WE Day Rewards Local Teens For Giving Back

Sixteen thousand teenagers flocked to the Forum April 7 to see performances from Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Big Sean. However, this wasn’t a concert – at least not an ordinary one. These kids were getting a day off from school as a thank you for their involvement in community service or social activism as part of the year-long WE Schools program. The program was developed by ME to WE,...

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parenting

L.A. Parent Recognized for Writing and Design Excellence

L.A. Parent was recognized with seven awards at the annual Parenting Media Association Editorial and Design Awards Competition April 20 in Indianapolis, IN. From among 645 entries submitted, L.A. Parent was singled out for bronze awards for the design of the 2015-16 “Education Guide” cover and the excellent writing in the 2015 “Your Child With Special Needs” publication. In addition, the article “They Won’t Be Kids Forever” in “Your Child...

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Big Sunday Just Got Bigger

Big Sunday really isn’t just a “big Sunday.” It has evolved in recent years into a three-day weekend of lending a hand and volunteer activities that ranks as one of America’s largest regional community-service efforts. This year, Big Sunday is growing again. The organization is turning May into “A Month of Big Sundays,” with volunteer projects taking place every day from May 1 through May 31. The public will be...

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The Container Store and Goodwill Want to Help You Kiss Clutter Goodbye

The Container Store is teaming up with Goodwill Southern California to help customers Kiss Clutter Goodbye. Through May 15, The Container Store is encouraging customers to de-clutter, donate and do life organized. The spring campaign includes item-donation weekend events April 23-24 and April 30-May 1 at The Container Store’s locations, as well as a call for monetary donations to Goodwill Southern California through May 15. “In partnership with Goodwill, we’re...

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marathon kids

Marathon Kids Celebrate Year With a Mile in LA

Local students were given the Nike treatment for their running feats April 9 at the LA Marathon Kids Miler held at Miguel Contreras High School. Kids were encouraged to live healthier and happier lives through running at the event, which offered Nike incentives such as t-shirts, shoe laces and finisher bracelets. The event recognized the accomplishments of more than 2,000 students across LA  who have been running throughout the school year. Through its program, Marathon Kids...

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national scrabble day

Culver City Middle Tweens Win Scrabble Championship

Two Los Angeles tweens have taken home the title of 2016 North American School Scrabble Champions just days before National Scrabble Day. The annual championship was held April 9-10 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, home of the NFL New England Patriots, and now, top Scrabble-playing students. After two days of competitive play, Jem Burch and Cooper Komatsu took home the Championship trophy and $10,000 grand prize. The win comes just...

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la opera

LA Opera’s Great Opera Choruses Has Families Sing Along

Going to the Opera is an experience many of us don’t get until later in life. Whether it’s the cost, the etiquette required, or having multiple kids, the traditional opera experience is anything but family-friendly for families with young children. Thank goodness the LA Opera is continuing their effort to meet families in the middle. LA Opera is introducing opera to L.A. families of all ages and music abilities through...

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Working On a Dream

Their cell phones are never quiet and seem to vibrate simultaneously. During a recent afternoon, their oldest daughter, Avivah, is trying to coordinate a ride on Lyft from her high school in west Los Angeles to their home in the San Fernando Valley. Matt Asner takes care of the logistics while his wife, Navah Paskowitz, answers a text from their son. They’re frazzled, but definitely in sync. Asner and Paskowitz...

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Crayon Collection Hosts Nationwide Crayon Drive

The Crayon Collection is asking teachers, students and parents nationwide to participate in the largest national crayon drive in history on National Crayon Day, March 31. By redistributing discarded crayons to children in underserved schools, participants are also eliminating tons of waste destined for landfills. Proceeds will support the Crayon Collection's distribution of crayons to more than 1,000 Title 1 Schools and Head Start Centers across the country. This relieves...

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South Bay Moms Can Work Out – And Give Back

Baby Boot Camp has long relieved moms of an excuse for not working out by letting them bring their kids and baby bumps along for some exercise. Now three locations in the South Bay are giving them some extra incentive as well. This supportive community of moms working out with their kids in tow has partnered with Sweat Angels, which allows businesses to use Facebook check-ins to donate to charity....

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belvedere middle gets fitness center

UCLA Health Gives Belvedere Middle Fitness Center, Hope

The damning statistics about childhood obesity are not as much fun to report as good news about programs that support physical activity for kids' health. This good news comes courtesy of UCLA Health's Sound Body Sound Mind, which just donated a $50,000 state-of-the-art fitness center to Belvedere Middle School in East Los Angeles. Belvedere is one of seven L.A.-area schools chosen to receive a new fitness center this year. The program...

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Pam Lyn King: Coaching From the Heart

Pam Lyn King knows first hand what life is like for a special-needs family. Her younger sister, Kristol, was born with Down syndrome and autism. When Kristol died three years ago at age 20, King felt a profound void that she wasn’t sure how to fill. Landing a new job as an administrative specialist in the communications department of Kaiser Permanente in 2014 opened her heart in ways she didn’t...

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LA Kids Get Active for Charity with UNICEF

UNICEF's Kid Power Los Angeles, which launched last month, is a school-based program that uses a fitness band to track students’ physical activity and allows them to earn points that unlock therapeutic food packets for severely malnourished children around the world. The therapeutic food packets contain a specially designed protein and vitamin-rich peanut paste, which allows children who are severely malnourished to be treated in their communities. UNICEF is calling the...

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Peter Walsh: Making DeCluttering a Family Affair

It starts with the baby shower and grows to invade our living rooms, closets and kitchen counters. Under the weight of all the baby gear, toys, art projects, school announcements, awards and books, we wonder whether it is even possible to de-clutter when you are parenting kids. Peter Walsh, an L.A.-based organization expert, best-selling author and a contributor on “The Rachael Ray Show,” says the answer is a definite yes! But...

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special needs -Flydra Project Passion

Animation Contests Seeks Artists With Special Needs

L.A.-based Flydra Creative is an animation studio launched by a group of young up-and-coming animators. They’ve worked at places like Cartoon Network, studied cinematic arts at USC, been YouTube sensations and won awards. Now they want to give other young animators – animators of all abilities – a shot at seeing their ideas for a cartoon character and animated series come to life. The studio has launched “Project Passion,” an...

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Moms’ Nonprofit Brings Joy to Kids in Crisis

Typically, when moms and their children flee their homes (often in the middle of the night) because of domestic violence, they have to leave their possessions behind. The nonprofit organization Present Now aims to bring comfort and joy to children living in transitional and crisis domestic violence shelters by providing them with fun and useful gifts to replace some of these possessions. Erica Fisher and Melanie Neumann, who each have...

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Teenlife Live Highlights Out-of-Classroom Learning

Looking for a way to give your teen some perspective on their future? Teenlife.com is going live. Jan. 31 from noon to 6 p.m., their first “TeenLife Live Virtual Fair,” will kick off online. The fair will give teens, parents and educators an opportunity to learn more about experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom. Attendees will hear from 12 presenters and over 30 exhibitors about colleges, study abroad programs,...

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Operation Shower Hosts Shower For Military Moms-To-Be

Television host, sportscaster and military spouse Leeann Tweeden is helping bring joy to 40 Los Angeles-area military moms-to-be when she serves as guest host of a group baby shower in their honor.  The event is scheduled from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 16 in the clubhouse at The Riviera Country Club during the PGA TOUR’s 2016 Northern Trust Open.  The moms are active-duty service members or the spouses of deployed members...

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L.A. Students Take On Skechers Los Angeles Marathon

Students Run LA will have more than 2,800 students running in the Skechers Performance Los Angeles Marathon on Feb. 14. After six months of training, this Valentine's Day run becomes a symbol of accomplishment for many students who have learned to love themselves by recognizing the power within. "I will never give up on myself again." Gizelle Pompa, 11th Grade "I realized I serve as my only obstacle in achieving...

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Santa Clarita Celebrates High School Artists

We love seeing young artists exploring their creativity. Kudos to the City of Santa Clarita for dedicating a Community Wall to celebrate local artists. The newest exhibit, at the Westfield Valencia Town Center, features a talented group of Valencia High School art students. Students gain valuable hands-on experience by installing the art themselves. They are then treated to a free reception hosted by the city. The art is rotated quarterly,...

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education - Greg Whiteley

Filmmaker Greg Whiteley: Focusing on the Future of Education

When filmmaker Greg Whiteley became a parent 14 years ago, he developed a “full-time preoccupation” with finding the best schools for his children. In his new documentary, Most Likely to Succeed, Whiteley examines our current education system through the eyes of students, parents, teachers and administrators. Documenting the experiences of students at the innovative High Tech High, a San Diego public charter school focused on project-based and collaborative learning, the...

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Scholarships

Simon Youth Foundation Seeks Scholarship Applicants

By Carolyn Richardson As you wait for your teen's college acceptance letters, you’re probably also worrying about what their college decision means for your pocket book. Thank goodness for scholarship programs to help you bridge the gap. Simon Youth Foundation(SYF) is continuing its annual giving to students earmarking over $1 million for scholarships nationwide. Simon Youth Foundation Community Scholarships are for students graduating in the class of 2016 and living...

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The Klub Gymnastics’ Big Time Move

After 9 years in Silverlake, The Klub Gymnastics is moving to a 40,000-square-foot space opening Feb. 1. Not too far away in Frogtown, the big move makes The Klub one of the largest gyms in Southern California. The cornerstone of the Klub’s offerings is its recreational gymnastics classes for toddlers to adults, voted Best Children’s Recreational Gymnastics five times by LA Hot List. The possibilities beyond gymnastics include Kamp, Klub...

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Foster Youth on Display as PBS Readies SoCal Initiative

Southern California boasts one of the largest foster youth populations in the country, and PBS SoCal is poised to share their stories. The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation recently awarded PBS SoCal a $1.7 million grant for a three-year foster youth initiative. The goal of the initiative is to start a dialogue among stakeholders, such as schools, agencies, and community leaders to find creative solutions to the tremendous challenges many foster...

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USC Telehealth Offers Free Help For Special-Needs Caregivers

Mary Ann Frattarole thinks it was early 2012 when she started getting desperate calls from parents and caregivers of children and adults with special needs. “I got some heart-wrenching calls from parents that had a special-needs child,” she says, including one mom who also had a husband with a disability for whom she was the only caregiver. “She said, ‘I don’t know how I can make it another day. Can...

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Finny’s Screen Time Initiative Gives Parents a Say

How to control and monitor screen time while preventing device addiction is a constant balancing act for parents. A Santa Monica-based app company is helping turn screen time into teachable moments and giving back at the same time. Finny recently released its parental engagement app with the goal of increasing awareness around device addiction making it easier for parents to control their child's smartphones, but also make their screen time better....

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$1,000 Prize Offered In Dad Essay Contest

The DADLY Rally is coming to L.A., and is looking for moms who want to brag about the dads in their lives. Prior to its March 19 Los Angeles event at Kellogg Center at Cal Poly Pomona, the DADLY Rally is holding an essay contest with a $1,000 prize. Moms first register the dad they want to brag about through the DADLY Rally website (www.dadlyrally.com), then submit a 250-word essay...

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Wellness, Didi Hirsch

Local Center Wins Grant For Disaster Distress Helpline

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ Suicide Prevention Center, one of only three in the U.S. with 24-hour English- and Spanish-speaking crisis counselors, won a highly competitive federal grant to continue operating the national Disaster Distress Helpline. The free, confidential helpline provides 24-hour crisis support services for people struggling emotionally because of natural or man-made disasters, including earthquakes, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe storms, drought and incidents of mass violence. The...

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Los Angeles Events Honor MLK Day

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the second holiday of the year (after New Year’s Day) and a chance to learn about history, do some good – and even have a little fun. MLK-related events will begin Jan. 16, even though Martin Luther King, Jr. Day officially falls on Jan. 18. Acclaimed local storyteller Michael D. McCarty will visit Children’s Book World (10580½ W. Pico Blvd., L.A.; www.childrensbookworld.com) at 10:30...

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Congratulations to Our 2016 Cover Kids Contest Winners!

The heat was on at The Original Farmers Market Sept. 27 as dozens of families gathered for the L.A. Parent Cover Kids Contest. But despite the toasty temperature, there were plenty of smiles for our photographers to capture, and plenty of fun rounded out the day. Our editorial, photo and design team poured over the great photos of the kids who entered, and these are our three winners: Here are...

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Hot Wheelers Comes to Outside the Box

Wheelchair accessibility and new classes are part of the learning center’s expansion. Outside the Box opened its first 500-square-foot storefront in 2009. The center, devoted to sensory activities that contribute to brain development for ages 8 weeks to 6 years, has expanded a couple of times over the years, and always made good use of the space. There were bubbles. There was paint. There were musical instruments, giggles and squeals....

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Kid-Founded Charity Lets Siblings Know They Count

When one of your children is diagnosed with a terminal illness, you know your family dynamic will change, but mom of four Catherine Miller could never have imagined the good that would come from such a scary situation. In 2013, her son Cameron, then 13, was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer (a low-grade glioma astrocytoma) on his brain stem. This meant regular hospital visits for chemotherapy for Cameron. For Cameron’s...

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She Battled Cancer With a Smile

If Vivian Bui follows her chosen career path of becoming a pediatric oncologist, establishing empathy for her patients should not be a challenge. She knows exactly what cancer patients experience. At 15, Bui has gone through five rounds of chemotherapy and 39 rounds of radiation to treat nasopharyngeal carcinoma, a cancer of the upper throat behind the nose. She began her battle with cancer a year after being diagnosed with...

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BARK Dogs Help Children Fetch New Reading Skills

Between 1997 and 2006, Long Beach resident Josie Gavieres raised six puppies to work with Guide Dogs for the Blind. The last dog she raised, Groucho, had an especially sweet temperament, but didn’t qualify for the program. Gavieres decided to take advantage of his gentle disposition in a different way. “I had always wanted to be a first-grade teacher because I think reading is so important,” Gavieres says, “so I...

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Club Grants Christmas Wishes to Santa Monica Families

Some children in Santa Monica didn’t wish for toys or luxuries for Christmas. Instead, they wished for basic necessities, like beds. To make the season brighter for these struggling families, board members and volunteers from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica delivered beds and other household items to several needy Club families just before the holiday, as part of the Club’s Family Assistance Program. Other presents given to...

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Granada Hills Charter Student To Attend Science Congress

Granada Hills Charter High School senior Matthew Nelson was selected by American astronaut Buzz Aldrin to attend the annual Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders coming up June 29-July 1 in Boston. Nelson will join Nobel Prize winners and chief executive officers of leading technology firms at this historic gathering that introduces high school students to inventors, professors, futurists and other scientific professionals. A member of the class of...

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How To Get Your Baby’s Eyes Checked – Free

“Ten fingers, ten toes,” are often the words you hear from the delivery room nurse, telling you there are no serious problems with your baby's health. Whew! The baby's crying. The lungs are fine. The nurses go on with their routine physical evaluation, making sure your baby has made it through the birth process in excellent shape. Once your new family is back home, you start to track your baby’s...

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Mary McNamara: A Mom With a Critical Eye on TV

Mary McNamara took on her job as television critic at The Los Angeles Times in 2009. The mother of three – Danny Stayton, 17; Fiona Stayton, 15 and Darby Stayton, 9 – had been a features writer and editor at The Times for 18 years when she was offered the job. “My question was, ‘Can I work from home?’ And they said, ‘Oh yeah, you’ll have to.’ If I didn’t...

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Los Angeles events - Grand Park NYE

Grand Park Is L.A.’s Hometown New Year’s Celebration

For the third year, Grand Park and The Music Center bring the New Year home. And this year the celebration promises to be the biggest yet, with more entertainment options and new opportunities for Angelenos, family and friends to connect with each other. Grand Park + The Music Center’s N.Y.E.L.A., which takes place from 8 p.m. Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day, will cover 90 acres from...

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Fun ideas for kids - Communigift

CommuniGift Helps Birthday Boys and Girls “Gift Back”

Most children who attend The Salvation Army’s Los Angeles Day Care Center downtown don’t expect a big party and a pile of presents on their birthdays. The center serves low-income children, many with parents who spend long hours working nearby in the Fashion District. So, 4-year-old Henry was shocked and delighted to receive presents courtesy of a secret birthday buddy who decided to “gift forward” some birthday presents through an...

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This Holiday Shopping Keeps Vacation Dreams Afloat

Since 2006, Autism on the Seas has organized and staffed vacations (on cruises and at resorts on land) for families with children and adults with a variety of special needs – from autism to Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other types of challenges. Now the organization has launched a nonprofit arm that will help fund these vacations as well. The Autism on the Seas Foundation will award varying amounts of...

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A Happy Home For Unwanted Decorations

Planning to change your holiday tree theme this year from candy cane red to icicle blue? Tired of that 10-pack of snowman wrapping paper you bought last year? Ready to retire those strings of retro lights? Richstone Family Center wants to give your unwanted ornaments, decorations and wrapping paper a new home for the holidays. Richstone Family Center in Hawthorne is dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse and trauma;...

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Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Promoting ‘Conscious’ Parenting

Becoming a parent changes us in the most profound and irrevocable ways, and it is often our children who motivate and inspire us to grow into our best selves. Through everyday interactions and ordinary moments, we have the opportunity to create a meaningful connection with our children and nurture a deep sense of resilience, tolerance and self-acceptance in them. But first we need to better understand ourselves, says Shefali Tsabary,...

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school news - Flintridge Prep backpack drive

Backpack Drive Supports Pasadena Kids In Need

This fall, Flintridge Prep students are hosting a Community Backpack Drive to support the children who are part of Pasadena Families in Transition, an organization within the Pasadena Unified School District. In a recent homeless population count done in the city of Los Angeles, there were 4,727 homeless individuals in the San Gabriel Valley, including many families with young children in the Los Angeles school districts. The goal of the...

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Team G Offers Hope and Tennis

Gerald Mathews is head tennis coach at Calabasas High School and owner of Team G tennis, where he works with nationally ranked junior and college players. Hope Gardens Family Center in L.A. is an unlikely spot to find such an elite coach. Part of Union Rescue Mission, the center is a transitional living facility offering shelter and services for mothers and children experiencing homelessness. Mathews’ wife, Cassandra Walker, has been...

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Find Your Pretty at Blushington

There’s a new beauty spot at The Village at Westfield Topanga in Woodland Hills. Blushington Makeup and Beauty Lounge recently opened its doors, adding a new location in addition to stores already in West Hollywood, Newport Beach, Dallas, and New York City. Founder and CEO Stephi Maron opened the first store in 2011 in West Hollywood. Joined by her sister, Nicki Maron who is Chief Marketing Officer, their goal was...

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Christopher Fulton, Ph.D.: Helping Anxious Teens (and Parents) on the Road to College

In the last two decades, there has been a noticeable shift in the level of academic and extracurricular expectations placed on college-bound teens. A 4.0 or above GPA and top SAT scores must be accompanied by demonstrations of leadership at school, volunteering in the community and “passion and commitment” to an activity. Pressure to be accepted into the “best” college has created a new type of education “hysteria” among parents...

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13-year-old Chef Cooks With Food Greats at Autism Speaks Gala

By the time Chase Bailey was 10, he was hooked on cooking shows. He discussed best methods for caramelizing onions with his mom and filled the family DVR with recipes for pizzas baked in brick ovens and tortillas filled with mahi mahi and mango-radish salsa. At 11, he started his own cooking blog, followed by his YouTube channel, “Chase 'N Yur Face.” And in October, the Irvine 13-year-old, who is...

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Get Last-Minute Costumes At Goodwill’s BOO-Tique

Are your kids still deciding what to be for Halloween? Check out the Halloween BOO-Tiques at Goodwill Southern California’s 80 Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino county retail stores. Personalized costumes you create at Goodwill are the opposite of cookie-cutter packaged costumes found at big-box or party stores. And with prices so good, you can afford to buy a different costume for each party the kids plan to attend. With...

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Actress Fran Drescher Leads Summit Urging Focus on Cancer Prevention

She is best known for her humor and signature voice, but actress Fran Drescher is using her star power to raise awareness about potentially cancer-causing toxins in our food, cosmetics and cleaning supplies. Drescher, a cancer survivor and comic actress best known for hit TV series “The Nanny,” hosted the inaugural Cancer Schmancer Women’s Health Summit at Oct. 13 at Skirball Cultural Center. The day-long conference included panel discussions on...

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Cure Cancer In Costume

The L.A. Cancer Challenge, taking place from 7 a.m.-noon Oct. 25 at Warner Center Park in Woodland Hills, isn’t your typical fundraising event. Organized by the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, this 5K/10K Walk/Run really gets into the Halloween spirit. Participants are encouraged to come in costume, so if you aren’t a stellar athlete, you could still win a prize for costume design. (No need to worry about running...

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Kids Help Kids With Your Golden Ticket

Community involvement and philanthropy are common dinnertime conversation topics for the Woods family, so it’s no surprise that Lisa and Josh Woods of West Los Angeles fully supported their children’s decision to start their own nonprofit to help less-fortunate kids. Created by 11-year-old twins Ryan and Jack, and their 8-year-old sister, Marley, Your Golden Ticket gives disadvantaged youth an opportunity to experience the excitement of live events such as ball...

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School of Rock Opens in Venice

School of Rock, a performance-based music education program, opened an new Venice location at 12300 Venice Blvd. Oct. 3. It is located across the street from well-known music shop Timewarp Music, and next to A Kid’s Place Preschool. The School of Rock music program continues to drum to its own beat with its newest location in Venice. With programs available for kids as young as 3, this franchise sets itself...

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New Occupational And Speech Therapy Clinic For Children Opens In West Hollywood

The founders of OT Studios, which opened in July, believe that every child deserves to live life to the fullest, regardless of their challenges. Here is what you and your child can expect to find at the facility: Highly trained and qualified therapists Sensory integration, occupational therapy and speech therapy services An intimate and creative atmosphere! A fun studio space and perfect setting to work on motor and sensory development...

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MVP Pediatric & Urgent Care Opens Its Doors In Tarzana

MVP Pediatric & Urgent Care (www.mvppediatric.com), a state-of-the-art clinic that offers pediatric urgent care medical services to the San Fernando Valley pediatric patient population, opened to the public in May. Located at 18555 Ventura Blvd., Ste. B, Tarzana, the clinic is equipped with highly trained board-certified pediatricians, pediatric nurses, mental health professionals and other support services to evaluate and treat non-life-threatening emergencies. Open seven days a week, including all major...

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The Village at Westfield Topanga Opens with New Restaurants and Shops in a Beautiful Outdoor Setting

With much anticipation and excitement, The Village at Westfield Topanga kicked off their Grand Opening weekend with a festive cocktail party on Thursday night featuring a wide array of drinks and food, fireworks, live entertainment and 30 Batala drummers. Invited guests joined Westfield and city officials to celebrate the opening of the new outdoor mall in the San Fernando Valley, which has been under construction for the past 18 months....

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Cool Stuff From Kid Entrepreneurs

How did these kids spend their summer? Most likely developing marketing plans, organizing shipping schedules and perfecting designs and product lines. The companies they founded offer amazing products (as gifts, they're fun ideas for kids) and give back to the community. That’s an A+ in our book. In the Pocket Sydney Loew (pictured, left) took the skills she learned in a seventh-grade entrepreneurial course to a new level when she...

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Learn To Install Car Seats Correctly

No child in L.A. avoids riding in a car for long, but despite massive outreach efforts, most of them still ride in car seats that are either wrong for their size or improperly installed. “The incorrect-use rate is still over 90 percent,” says Stephanie Tombrello, executive director of SafetyBeltSafe USA, a Torrance-based national nonprofit devoted to car-safety education. Tombrello says the range of car seat models – including convertible seats...

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A Different Kind of Carpool

Need to get each of your three kids to a different place at the same time? HopSkipDrive (www.hopskipdrive.com), a ride service started by three L.A. moms tired of struggling to get their children to various activities, could be the answer. No, this isn’t Uber for kids. HopSkipDrive is more like an extension of your child’s caregiver. Drivers will follow your pick-up and drop-off instructions, walking in to sign your kids...

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DEAFestival 2015 Comes to Grand Park

The 17th annual DEAFestival, a free daylong family event offering resources, entertainment and community building, will take place at Los Angeles City Hall and Grand Park (200 N. Spring St., L.A.) from noon-4 p.m. Oct. 3. The event will feature a deaf talent show, a T-shirt design contest, a fashion show, information booths, art workshops, child safety seat classes and free car seat giveaways. At the “Once Upon a Sign”...

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Yoobi Kicks Off a Season of School Donations

One week after starting the new school year, children at Jackson Magnet STEM Dual Language Academy in Altadena got a “kick start” on a year of learning Aug. 24 thanks to a donation from school and office supply company Yoobi. After a morning assembly, Yoobi founder Ido Leffler, Chief Giving Officer Justin Wolff and a crew of Yoobi staffers delivered 29 boxes full of free supplies to classrooms, enough for...

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Finding a Home For treehaus

Saralynne Lowrey Precht and Michelle Pedersen met at an early-intervention therapy program at the Cheerful Helpers Child and Family Study Center in L.A., not long after their sons were diagnosed with autism. Over play dates, family dinners and therapy sessions, they found they shared a common childhood vision of owning a boutique. As they mulled over how to make it happen, they researched how to navigate L.A.'s Fashion District, work with artists...

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Kids World LA Opens In Oak Park

An exciting new indoor playground for the entire family, Kids World LA opened the doors Aug. 12 at its new Oak Park location (618 Lindero Canyon Rd Ste. A), boasting a wide variety of fun-filled activities and an all-around events space for all ages. The 15,000-square-foot entertainment complex offers state-of-the-art features such as the “AtomicRUSH,” an immersive virtual game that uses the latest in-touch and LED technology, programmed with unlimited...

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APEX Play Space Offers a Fresh Take On the Kids’ Gym

It’s long been Ed Sais’s dream to open his own kids’ gym. His first jobs were as a lifeguard and swim instructor for children. Then, for 14 years, he ran the classes at Bright Child, a much-loved kids’ gym and play space in Santa Monica. After Bright Child closed, many parents whose children grew up attending and loving Sais’s classes encouraged him to open a place of his own. Sais...

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Charity Hike It Up

Hike It Up Collects School Supplies For Kids In Need

On Aug. 16, more than 1,000 backpacks were stuffed with supplies for local homeless children living in poverty and in shelters. This was another fun community event hosted by the charitable organization Hike It Up (www.hikeitup.org), a Studio City-based nonprofit that seeks to create change in our community. The event brought everybody out on Sunday and made it so easy to help. Kids were welcomed to help as well, or...

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Meet Our Shooting Stars Photographers

One of the great things about the L.A. Parent Shooting Stars Cover Kids Contest is that it gives children from all over L.A. the chance to be photographed by some of the best photographers in the area. These are the people who make the images that grace the cover of the magazine, and who photograph events, celebrities and families throughout the region. Here is a bit of information on the...

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Local Fundraiser to Benefit UCLA Intervention Program

The father of a former student at the UCLA Intervention Program, a school focused on helping children with disabilities, has launched a fundraiser to increase awareness and raise money to support the school. Michael T. Ward says he recognizes the immeasurable value of the program to the community, and more specifically to the children and families it serves. In an effort to ensure that the program is around for generations...

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12-year-old Seeks Cystic Fibrosis Cure In Style

You could say that 12-year-old Grace Rose Bauer does everything in style, including trying to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. Born in New Orleans and diagnosed with the disease as an infant, she moved with her family to L.A. after Hurricane Katrina. Bauer and her mom, Leah, who is a fashion designer, have hosted an annual fashion event to raise funds for cystic fibrosis awareness and research for the...

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Disney Devotees Will Flock To D23

Do you like to sing “Let It Go” – in 10 different languages? Can you name all of the current and former Disneyland rides? Do you daydream about Pixar’s next picture? Then the D23 Expo – 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 14-15 and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug. 16 at the Anaheim Convention Center (800 W. Katella Ave.) is the second happiest place on Earth for you. This biennial extravaganza, one of...

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Mario Lopez: A Dad With Something Extra

Mario Lopez is host of the Emmy award-winning entertainment news show “Extra,” and has his own radio show, but he’s also an L.A. dad who fits in plenty of family time. Parenting his daughter, Gia, 4, and son, Dominic, 1, isn’t always easy in a profession and a city known for its hustle and bustle, but with the support of his wife, Courtney Mazza, they make it work. A typical...

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica Teen Wins National Award

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America recently named Jamie Hinojosa of Mar Vista as the national winner for the 13-15-year-old age group in the film category of the Digital Arts Festivals and ImageMakers National Photography competition. Hinojosa’s original film, “I’m Not Afraid to Be Uniquely Me,” tells the story of how she overcame her social fears by remaining true to who she is. Hinojosa, a 14-year-old student at Marina Del...

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PHOTO BY PHOTOSTOCK

NBC4 Helps Clear the Shelters in August

If your family has been considering adopting a pet, now you’ve got one more reason to go ahead. NBC4 is urging viewers to help “Clear the Shelters” as part of a two-week campaign. The station will be working with animal shelters in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, which will offer a flat reduced adoption fee of $20 per pet on Aug. 15. NBC4 will air 30-minute...

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Daniella Guzman & Whit Johnson: Anchored to Family

Like most parents with careers, Daniella Guzman and Whit Johnson fit two full-time jobs into each day, juggling their work responsibilities as co-anchors of NBC4’s “Today in LA” and the work of parenting their young kids. But their work days have an usual twist: They start at 1:30 a.m. Because their news show airs live from 4:30-7:30 a.m. weekdays, the co-hosts’ morning alarms go off when most of us are...

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special needs canine companions Lionel

A Boy and His Dog Share Love and Therapy

Eight-year-old Daron, of Van Nuys, has a tight knit family. They have been through a lot together. Daron has cerebral palsy and needs a lot of support, but his parents, Hagop and Armine, and his older sister, Ani, are devoted to him. They will do just about anything to make Daron smile. That is why the family applied for an assistance dog for Daron from Canine Companions for Independence. The...

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New High School Offers STEM Curriculum for Students with Social and Learning Differences

STEM3 Academy is a new, innovative high school opening this fall, designed for students with social and learning differences and a passion for science and technology. The school, operated by The Help Group in the Valley Glen neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, offers a rigorous curriculum in science, technology, engineering and math to students in grades 9 through 12. “There is a growing realization that we are short of...

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Disney Store Opens New Location In Thousand Oaks

Disney Store will celebrate the grand opening of the next in its line of Los Angeles attractions, a new store at The Oaks in Thousand Oaks (390 W. Hillcrest Dr.) July 25. The event will begin at 10 a.m., when one lucky child will be invited to “unlock imagination” and open the store. The celebration will feature a festive song, composed specially for Disney Store and performed by the store...

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New Tool Let’s Swimmers Know If Beach Water is Safe

The unusual rainstorm over the weekend means lots of water washing through L.A. storm drains and down to the ocean, where the bacteria and pollution the storm water brings with it makes the water unsafe for swimming. Currently, local health agencies use laboratory analyses of water samples collected at the beach to determine if it is safe for recreational use. Unfortunately, it takes 24-48 hours to collect the samples, transport...

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Hundreds Get in Shape Through Free Cedars-Sinai Exercise in the Park Program

Every summer, hundreds of people participate in Cedars-Sinai’s free Exercise in the Park program led by health educators at two locations in underserved neighborhoods in the West Adams district. The workouts — a combination of stretching, calisthenics and dance moves — attract many regulars who have participated since the program started in 2012. They show up Mondays through Thursdays with bottled water, enthusiasm and commitment. One young mother, who works...

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things to do in L.A. - PINZ

PINZ Bowling Center To Debut Refurbished Lanes and Community Program

PINZ Bowling Center in Studio City will host a ceremonial “first bowl” to break the ribbon on a $250,000 revamp of its 32 lanes, and launch a new “Bowling Birthdays Are Best!” program to raise charitable contributions to benefit kids and families in the San Fernando Valley. The festivities, kicking off at 3 p.m. Aug. 5, will include civic and community leaders, Los Angeles police officers and firefighters, and an...

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Parenting : Candace Parker at home

Candace Parker: An All-Star at Work and at Home

Candace Parker’s athletic résumé is almost unmatched. She led the University of Tennessee Lady Vols women’s basketball team to back-to-back NCAA championships in 2007 and 2008, leading the team in scoring (20.6 points per game) and rebounds her final season. She was named the 2007 and 2008 John R. Wooden Collegiate Female Player of the Year, State Farm Player of the Year, Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Year...

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Yoobi X Usher Collection Mixes Street Smarts With School Smarts

Los Angeles Events: Launch Party Held for New Collection Yoobi recently announced its latest collaboration with musician Usher. The launch of the new Yoobi X Usher collection was celebrated at Siren Studios in Los Angeles, where Usher was present. “Giving a child an education is by far one of the most important investments we can make – and it starts with the right tools,” says Usher, who shares Yoobi’s belief...

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L.A. Moms Who Blog

A new blog is created somewhere in the world every half second (if you believe what you read online). When I was pregnant with my first child, back before I knew enough to appreciate all that private time, I too, decided to start a blog. But after my son was born, regular showers and sit-down meals became fond memories and the only “me time” available was during naptime, during which...

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Los Angeles schools - Albert Einstein Odyssey Academy

Albert Einstein Odyssey Academy Opens in Beverly Hills

The Albert Einstein Odyssey Academy, a new Beverly Hills charter school serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade, will begin its inaugural year Aug. 24. The school, which will serve 300 students, is accepting applications for enrollment and will continue the process until the school is full. This school’s curriculum offers a project-based teaching approach designed to allow students to actively engage in learning, with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering,...

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Isabel Garretón: Mixing Family and Fashion

While many entrepreneurs start their businesses with customers in mind, Isabel Garretón started out thinking about her suppliers. Twenty-five years ago, she created her self-titled upscale children’s apparel line to give underprivileged moms from her native Chile an opportunity to raise themselves up through the work of their hands. And what beautiful work it is. Garretón now employs more than 100 artisans who specialize in hand embroidery, hand smocking and...

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Local Teens Honored for Projects Helping Day Laborers, Schools and Kids In Need

Shira Alcouloumre, 16, of Laguna Beach; Emmi Eisner, 16, of Encino and Riley Gantt, 14, of Sherman Oaks, were just announced as recipients of the 2015 Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Awards, a $36,000 award that recognizes teens for their commitment to social good and volunteer service. Alcouloumre began Laguna Friends in Need, a project to support Hispanic day laborers. When a young Alcouloumre complained about having to eat a peach...

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Local Students Give a Hand To Elephants

Your average kindergartner or third grader dwarfs in size compared with an elephant. But at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, these little guys are helping elephants in a big way. The students, selling notecards featuring their art, have raised more than $2,000 to donate to an elephant sanctuary in Tenn. All students at the school participate in an annual service project, and kindergarten teacher Jan Schlossberg says this project started...

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In-Home, Post-Natal Newborn Service Launches In Southern California

Orange County Mom Creates Non-Medical Post-Natal Newborn Service “Uccellino” to Assist New Parents with Newborn Care in the Comfort of their Own Home Newborn babies typically don’t come with instruction manuals, but thanks to a new service created by the personal experiences of an Orange County mom, “motherly” advice and support can now be just a phone call or home visit away. Uccellino, which in Italian means “little bird,” is...

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Mr. C Beverly Hills Debuts “Little C” Family-Friendly Amenities

The Venetian-inspired Mr. C Beverly Hills (1224 Beverwil Dr., L.A.) is recognized for providing guests with luxury experiences and packages — from access to high-end Italian sports cars, premium Colnago bikes or tickets to the L.A. Opera. But why should the adults have all the fun? Just in time for summer, the family-friendly boutique hotel lets kids in on the action by offering “Little C” amenities. These child-friendly perks can...

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Parenting A de Activista

Martha Gonzalez: Parenting As an Activist

Born and raised in East Los Angeles, Martha Gonzalez is no stranger to diversity. Her love of music – she is the lead singer, percussionist and songwriter for the band Quetzal, a 2013 Grammy winner for its album “Imaginaries” – and passion for social justice and activism have guided her through her academic and creative journey. Known as a “Chicana Artivista,” Gonzalez is Assistant Professor in the Intercollegiate Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies...

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TV Host Mark Steines On His Role as Joyful Dad

It’s 2 p.m., and all day Mark Steines has been the picture of a dialed-in dad. The co-host of the Hallmark channel’s “Home & Family” has made sure his sons introduced themselves to visitors. He has talked them through a photo shoot. During breaks, he has opened his laptop and queried them about school reading assignments and upcoming field trips. Now, as we chat, he is making them lunch –...

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Positive Parenting : Project Giving Kids

The New Kid in Town: Project Giving Kids

Have your children considered volunteering, then hesitated, not knowing where to begin? Project Giving Kids (www.projectgivingkids.org) makes positive parenting easier with age-appropriate volunteer opportunities around Los Angeles. Founded in Boston in 2013 and newly launched in L.A., the service is designed specifically for kids. “Kids can drive the whole process by learning about causes they relate to and choosing fun, rewarding ways to help support those causes,” says founder Molly...

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Kidsave to Host 15th Annual Miracles Gala

Kidsave had their first mission in the summer of 1999. The organization sent 177 older children from orphanages on summer vacations with American families. As a result, 97 percent of those children were adopted. On June 13, Kidsave will continue funding its work through its 15th Annual Miracles Gala at Vibiana, 214 South Main St. in downtown Los Angeles. For 16 years Kidsave has helped more than 16,000 orphaned children...

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Meet 2015 L.A. Parent Dad Hero William Evans!

For the second year in a row, L.A. Parent collected nominations from families across L.A., looking for a Dad Hero. We even wrangled celebrity judge and L.A. dad Mark Steines to offer a dad’s parenting perspective. We finally settled on Willam Evans, a father of two from Hollywood. Here’s what his wife, Johanna Voutounou, had to say about the father of her children: My husband works 12 to 14 hours...

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Boys & Girls Clubs’ Inaugural Breakfast Benefit Raises More than $50,000

To honor the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica’s recently launched campaign, Back-a-Youth, an inaugural event, Great Futures for Kids Breakfast, was held at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. More than 100 guests were in attendance to hear speaker Azim Khamisa share his story. In 1995, Khamisa’s only son was murdered by a 14-year-old partaking in a gang initiation. Khamisa spoke about forgiveness, breaking the cycle of...

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Waterworks Swim School Opens in Woodland Hills

In addition to 17 new locations, Waterworks Swim School, a premier indoor swim school, has opened up a location at Woodland Hills’ L.A. Fitness located at 6401 Canoga Ave. California is one of 10 states in which drowning is the leading cause of death for children under 15 years of age. In an effort to reduce this statistic while promoting water safety, Waterworks’ mission is to educate and motivate people...

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Montebello Shops Award Scholarships to Students

The Shops at Montebello awarded scholarships to five Montebello Unified School District students who completed a three-week We Care For Youth. The program is designed to prepare students to enter the workforce by offering job skills. The Shops at Montebello held an Achievement Ceremony at the center, recognizing 32 local high school students who completed the special program. Of the students in attendance, Hugo Zavaleta Rojas, Alexis Serna and Francisco...

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Young Voices Wanted!

The West Valley’s MUSYCA (pronounced MUSIC-ah), which stands for Musical Youth of California, is holding auditions for the 2015-2016 season. Children ages 5 to 18 who love to sing are encouraged to audition. No previous choir experience is necessary. MUSYCA members most recently performed at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books with the cast of "Matilda the Musical" and at Disneyland performing Fauré's "Requiem" with the Burbank Chorale. They have also...

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NVISION Clubs Expand Learning

When Ana Lorena Hernandez enrolled her 4th grade daughter JV Ruvalcaba in the Woodcraft Rangers NVISION after-school program at Huntington Park Elementary, it didn’t ever occur to her that her daughter would be programming robots. “She came home one day excited about how she can make a robot move,” says Hernandez. With the help of NVISION, Hernandez was able to see her daughter program robots and how she made them...

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L.A. Kids to Attend Juvenile Diabetes Conference

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is sending four young students from the Los Angeles area to Washington, D.C. July 13-15 for the JDRF Children’s Congress. As California delegates, they will address members of Congress to lobby for continuing research into a cure for for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Jackson Blair, 7, Madeleine Redmond, 10, Clair Haslett, 11, and Grace walker, 17 will join children ages 4 to 17 from across...

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Jennifer Jones: Raising Awareness for Kids With Special Needs

Jennifer Jones never thought of herself as a community activist, but when her 15-year-old son, Dylan, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder 11 years ago, Jones’ course in life took a profound turn. The mom of two was working as a graphic and product designer and first became involved with Autism Speaks as a parent wanting to connect more with the autism community. She is now director of field development...

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Music Method and Performing Arts School Celebrates 10th Anniversary and 1000th Student

In 2005, Shiho Yamamoto, a Los Angeles-based musician originally from Japan, developed ColorSoundation, a methodology to teach children the fundamentals of music. The school she founded, the Conservatory of Performing Arts located in West Los Angeles and the South Bay, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. This school recently welcomed its 1000th ColorSoundation student, Swara Amare, 4. ColorSoundation is offered in select schools across the U.S. and in parts of...

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Positive Parenting: Kind Families at the LA Zoo

On May 16, KIND Snacks held a Kindness Safari at zoos across the country, including the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. KIND team members set up a booth by the entrance of the zoo and welcomed families to join in on the fun. Kids were given a scavenger hunt booklet to complete, noting all of the wonderful things at the zoo, writing special messages and drawing their favorite animals. Once...

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Diagnosis: Hope

Race to Erase MS founder Nancy Davis talks about how parenting with MS can be done, and why May is the month to wear orange. I was a mom with three young children when I got the news. An avid skier, I had been on the slopes in Aspen. There was an accident, and I wound up in a local hospital. Three weeks later, I began to experience numbness in...

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Highland Hall Student Receives to National Youth Orchestras Conducting Apprenticeship

Shira Samuels-Shragg, a junior at Highland Hall Waldorf School, has been awarded a conducting apprenticeship with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA). Samuels-Shragg, a classical pianist, adept violist and budding conductor, was only 6 when she began her musical career with piano lessons. She has conducted Highland Hall’s school orchestra under the guidance of music teacher Erick Bluske, who has been involved in Samuels-Shragg’s musical...

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Zingy Launches Dog Walking Valets at Popular Farmers Markets and Shopping Centers

Zingy, an app-based on-demand personal dog walking service will now have valet stands for dog owners available at select farmers’ markets, shopping centers and office complexes starting May 23. With the traditional Zingy model, walkers come to a dog owner’s home, office or other location, with the new valet service, called DASH, dog owners just open the app when they’re near a DASH Stand and instantly arrange a walker. DASH...

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There is a New Shop in Town: Haggen Supermarkets Open Throughout L.A.

A new supermarket chain is opening with several L.A. locations and a wide selection of locally grown and organic produce. Haggen, founded in the Pacific Northwest, will open 83 new stores throughout Southern California by the end of June, with 18 in L.A. County. The company has bought and is converting various Albertsons and Vons markets into Haggen’s own brand. During a recent visit to the new Haggen location in...

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Local Teacher Tunes In To History

Around 24 years ago, Jeff Lantos was two years into his teaching career and realized that his U.S. history lectures were being met with a sea of blank faces. His students just weren’t engaged. “There were too many complex ideas, trying to teach the Constitution,” says Lantos, who teaches fifth grade at Marquez Charter School in Pacific Palisades. He decided to try something new, unique in Los Angeles schools. That...

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South Bay Honor Band to Host Music Intensive for Students

Created by Steven Allen Fox, the South Bay Honor Band will host a music intensive, May 16 at Marymount California University, to provide students in 8th through 12th grade with an opportunity to take part in a day of musical experiences with a focus on film, television and video game music as the new “symphonic” music of this generation. Eligible students will take part in an intensive musical experience under...

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A Festival That Salutes Life In Santa Monica

The 24th Santa Monica Festival (www.smgov.net/festival), coming to Clover Park May 9, serves up an innovative array of activities, performances and demonstrations that reflect life in its city the way few Los Angeles events can. From 11 a.m.-6 p.m. the free community event, with a theme of “Connect, Create And Celebrate,” lets families learn to live in a more Earth-friendly manner in the Eco Zone, exercise at the Active Stage,...

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Sycamore School to Open in Malibu

The Sycamore School, an independent elementary school dedicated to collaboration, innovation and learning through play and creativity, opens in Malibu Sept. 1, initially serving 20 students ages 6 through 8. “We are very excited to bring an alternative option for elementary education to Malibu families,” says co-founder Tedd Wakeman. “The world we live in now demands a different approach to education. Students need a learning experience that is continuous, future-focused...

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La Cañada Girl Competes in National Chess Championship

Last year, when she was 11, Annie Wang became the nation’s youngest female chess master. She earned the title of Women’s International Master after taking first place in the under-18 girls section of the North American Youth Chess Championship. The La Cañada resident made community news by going head-to-head with some of the best chess players in the world, which she says is the hardest part about competing at this...

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Meet Our 2015 Amazing Mom Makeover Winner

The moment Wil Carson met Holly, his wife of almost 10 years, he says he knew he had found a girl who was smart, ambitious, resilient and resourceful – “a force of nature.” If he had ever doubted this, two years ago she proved him right. It was in 2013 that Wil’s doctor told him he had stage IIIB colorectal cancer, and the girl he met while in graduate school...

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Of Fonzie, Family and Parenting

Henry Winkler is on a mission. The actor, director and producer, best known for his role as Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli in the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” wants to make every child smile. And he has a plan, based on his 44 years as a father (he has a son, a daughter and a stepson) and his five years as a grandparent. Winkler was a newish dad of three when...

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Village Glen Robotics Team Takes Rookie All-Star Award, Heads to Nationals

The students at Village Glen School are extraordinary in a number of ways – and their Knightrise robotics team is no exception. Village Glen, part of The Help Group, is made up of students who have special needs and challenges in socialization, communication and peer relations, but also natural ability in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math. The school’s STEM initiative includes classes in computer programming, digital arts,...

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Children’s Law Center Celebrates 25 Years of Advocacy

Protecting and advocating for children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned in Los Angeles County has been the core mission of the Children’s Law Center of California (CLC) for the past 25 years. The nonprofit law firm was created by the Superior Court in 1990. In July 2011 they opened a second branch in Sacramento and now serve as appointed counsel for all abused and neglected children in Los...

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Cyclists Pedal the Pier to Send Kids to Camp

On May 31, more than 100 stationary bikes will be placed on Santa Monica’s iconic pier and more than 400 riders will bike 100 miles in five hours for the Harold Robinson Foundation, a nonprofit working to improve the lives of impoverished children by providing them with a camp retreat. The goal of this year’s “Pedal on the Pier” is to raise $500,000 for the foundation. That’s enough to send...

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Los Angeles Events Mutasia

Mutasia Characters To Make Local Visits

On the fictional island of Mutasia, all of the inhabitants are a mix of two or more different animals. And here in the real land of Los Angeles, the creators of this wacky island – and the series of children’s books, animation, music and toys based on it – will be paying a visit or two. At the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books April 18 and 19 on the...

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L.A.’s Biggest Baby Shower

Soon-to-be moms and dads gathered at the Skirball Cultural Center last month for a baby extravaganza: Big City Moms’ annual Biggest Baby Shower Ever. Hundreds of expectant parents came to see, test and learn about the latest baby gadgets, gear and accessories. More than 100 companies were exhibiting. The event also included seminars exploring a variety of parenting topics, from healthy eating to sleep safety. Pregnant moms were also treated...

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Henry Winkler’s Dyslexia Mission

Henry Winkler knows what it’s like to feel different. He knows the good, and the not so good. The actor, director and producer, whose career has spanned more than 40 years and who is best known for his role as Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli in the 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” struggled in school because of dyslexia. Dyslexia is a developmental reading disorder that occurs when the brain does not properly...

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Gilbert W. Lindsay Soccer Fields Get Updates

On March 16, in celebration of two newly refreshed soccer fields at Gilbert W. Lindsay Recreation Center, hundreds of community members gathered to enjoy the park’s restoration at the Coca-Cola Family Field Day, a free event of fun featuring field day challenges, games, music, and dancing. The restoration was made possible through an initiative sponsored by Coca-Cola and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, to create...

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Breaking Bad’s RJ Mitte On Growing Up With CP

As a child, actor RJ Mitte had a clever trick for keeping his legs – which were in casts – cool during the hot summer months growing up in Austin, Texas and Lafayette, Louisiana. He froze pennies and quarters and then dropped them into his casts. “The problem was, I couldn’t get them out. So when I walked, you would hear the ching, ching,” says Mitte with a laugh. Diagnosed...

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Los Angeles Events: Ice Skating in April

It might be April, with spring in the air, but you can still enjoy some wintery action at a couple of great Los Angeles events. This month brings two different ice skating extravaganzas to sunny Southern California. The Stars On Ice tour lives up to its name with a cast populated with world champions and Olympic medalists. Gold medalists Evan Lysacek, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Meryl Davis and Charlie White as well...

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Nonprofit Plants a New Summer Camp in L.A.

Kids can cook garden-inspired dishes and learn about composting and garden science at a new camp launching in L.A. this summer. The Garden School Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to creating interactive garden-based learning experiences for kids in underserved communities, is offering City Seedling summer camp Los Angeles at its 24th Street Elementary School garden. The program is an expansion of GSF’s popular “Seed-to-Table” curriculum, according to Executive Director Cassie Martinez....

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Music Video Debut: “I Like You” by Earthworm Ensemble

Earthworm Ensemble, a Los Angeles-based children's band, is debuting their song "I Like You" from their new "Backyard Garden" album. As an exclusive video debut partner, L.A. Parent is sharing it with you first! In the video, band mate Denny Moynahan is the featured singer, shown with his two young daughters, enjoying a fun weekend in LA. Take a look! Want to hear more by the band? Click here to listen to three more songs.

Spring & Summer Fashion for Kids

By Deanna Zaccari  Smiles, shy glances and giggles were the main accessories as little models walked – and sometimes ran – the red carpet runway at Youth Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer Fashion Show, held in early March at the Radisson Grand Ballroom in Los Angeles. One word to describe the show, which benefits The Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD) Foundation: adorable! The runway featured styles for boys and girls from toddlers to...

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Granada Hills Charter Takes State Academic Decathlon

Long standing rivals, El Camino Real Charter and Granada Hills Charter went head to head in this year’s Academic Decathlon. It was a close match, with Granada winning this year’s California State Academic Decathlon championship. Only one winning team from the California competition was able to advance to Nationals this year, while in previous years, two teams from each state were given the opportunity to compete. Last year, El Camino...

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Five Acres Celebrates 127 Years

Over 125 guests were moved to tears March 11, as special guest speaker Mark Medley shared the story of his Five Acres journey. Through the nonprofit child and family services agency dedicated to strengthening families and preventing child abuse, he was introduced to the Adoption Promotion Support Services, which helped him adopt his 8-year-old son, Victor. Medley and other respected guests gathered at the Altadena Town and Country Club to...

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Breaking the Sound Barrier for Children Born Deaf

Almost immediately after she was born, it became apparent that Angelica Lopez was deaf. Her parents, Julie and Santos, learned sign language and started making the heartbreaking, but necessary, adjustments to their daughter's special needs. Last summer, they learned of a device called an auditory brainstem implant (ABI), still in the testing phase, that might help recover Angelica’s hearing. Hearing aids and cochlear implants cannot help children like Angelica, because...

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Mommy-and-Me Is the Goal of This Program

Soccer Routes, a soccer program for ages 2 to 18, is planning to get some new players onto the field – 18-month-olds and their moms! The program is designed to help kids learn the basic movements involved in soccer, following their parents and coaches with every step. Simplified warm-up techniques help develop motor skills and, as children progress, they learn more complicated soccer techniques. “The aim is to create tuned...

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“Your Child With Special Needs Monthly” Wins Best Newsletter

"Your Child with Special Needs Monthly" recently won national recognition as the best e-newsletter for families by the Parenting Media Association (PMA) during its Editorial and Design Awards Competition, which recognizes excellence in journalism, photography and design. Professor Daryl Moen of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism coordinated the annual contest. A panel of judges reviewed 630 entries from member publications across the country. “The purpose of the PMA...

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CHALK Preschool Opens Third Location in L.A. with My Gym Partnership

CHALK Preschool will be opening in September at its third location in Manhattan Beach. My Gym enterprises, a long-standing CHALK partner, will furnish their curriculum for the new location, bringing My Gym equipment into the classroom. The two organizations constructed a fitness-conscious learning program for children ages 2-5. “My Gym’s Healthy Lifestyle Preschool Curriculum” covers a variety of tools for physical and emotional wellbeing, also introducing life values such as...

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Dawn Barnes Karate Kids: Inspiring Respect, Patience and Focus for 20 Years

To receive black-belt recognition in karate is a major accomplishment, requiring three to five years of consistent practice. For students enrolled in Dawn Barnes’ Karate Kids studios, earning a black belt also means learning and practicing the following pillars: Try Your Best, Show Good Respect, Focus, Learn from Mistakes, Protect your Circle of Power, Live Honestly, Make Healthy Choices, Act as a Leader, Stand Tall and Share a Smile. Dawn...

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Olive Garden and My Gym For Kids Pair Up for ‘Date Night’

Want to give your positive parenting a boost by taking a break with an affordable date night? Feb. 20 might be the chance you’ve been waiting for. Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden has paired with My Gym for Kids to offer parents free childcare while they enjoy dinner together that evening as part of their second annual Parents’ Night Out celebration. Mom and Dad get a quiet meal, while the...

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The Life of a Disney Mom

Leigh-Allyn Baker got pregnant, then got her first Disney Channel gig Leigh-Allyn Baker is on a film set in Montreal, confronted with a destroyed pair of shoes that just isn’t right. “They were supposed to be exploded, but someone had just cut them in half,” says Baker, who most recently starred as Amy Duncan in the Emmy-nominated Disney Channel series “Good Luck Charlie.” As an actor in the film –...

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Molly Sims to Host Baby Shower for Military Moms-to-be

As a thank you to women facing parenting at a particularly tough time, actress, author and expecting mother Molly Sims will host an Operation Shower group baby shower for 40 military moms-to-be whose spouses are currently deployed – a few of whom are active-duty military themselves. The event will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 17 at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades. Hosted by Northern Trust and...

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Those Two Warm-Up Guys: Warming Hollywood Hearts

If your kids have talked you into being part of a studio audience for one of their favorite TV shows, one of those common Los Angeles attractions, you might have spent time with hilarious, high-energy local dads Darrin Butters and Ezra Weisz, better known as Those Two Warm-Up Guys. For the past 12 years, Butters and Weisz have warmed up studio audiences for family television shows including “Wizards of Waverly...

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LEGO Monuments Come to Glendale Galleria

If you have LEGO bricks all over your family room and kids who love to spend hours constructing castles, forts, helicopters and trucks with these colorful pieces, head to the Glendale Galleria for a special treat. The LEGO Monument Tour will leave you and your kids in awe of what you can build with standard LEGO pieces. The Glendale Galleria is the first stop of this multi-city national tour, and...

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Santa Monica’s New Parenting Store

Located on Main Street in Santa Monica, Caro Bambino is a unique store created by husband-and-wife duo Nicole Desgroux and Andro Korlaet. The boutique features a wide variety of natural and eco-friendly furniture, toys and body-care products for Baby and Mom. Caro Bambino also offers hard-to-find baby items such as high-end car seats, strollers and high chairs from Orbitz, bloom and Sena. “Don’t expect an overwhelming selection at Caro Bambino,”...

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Millennial Parents Explores Modern Parenting, One Click at a Time

When L.A.-based writer Jake Greene became a father in 2011, he was faced with the challenge of being a present parent while staying current in popular culture. His realization that previous generations had given no thought to this impossible task became the impetus for his web series Millennial Parents, co-created with writer Natalie Irby. The series, now in its second season, is steadily growing in viewership and exposure. The two-minute...

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Things to do in LA Yoga at the Grove

Athleta at The Grove Offers Free Yoga For Moms and Kids

We’re already past the point in the year when many New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned, but if yours involved fitness or yoga, athletic apparel and gear shop Athleta at The Grove is giving you a chance at a comeback. On Jan. 24, they’ll host the New Year, New You Fitness and Wellness Event in The Park at The Grove. This will include hourly fitness classes for all levels from...

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LA education advocate Jeannie Kamm

LA Education Advocate Jeannie Kamm: Taking Back Her Neighborhood School

When Jeannie Kamm and her husband, Jason, bought their house in Encino two decades ago, they assumed they would send their kids to the local public school. But the young couple soon learned that Lanai Road Elementary was barely keeping its doors open due to low enrollment. The school, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, looked neglected, with overgrown weeds and no enrichment programs. Kamm was determined to...

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Los Angeles Events: Bowl-a-thon

Local Teen Actress to Host Bowl-A-Thon For Ronald McDonald House

Calabasas High School student Jordan Van Vranken will host her fifth annual bowl-a-thon to raise money for kids fighting cancer Jan. 18 at the newly renovated Corbin Bowl, 19616 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana. From 7-10:30 p.m., the event will feature bowling; live music from Kailey Swanson, Laci Kay and Lauren Dair Owens; a red carpet, raffle, food from Lyfe Kitchen, a magician and a silent auction – all to support Ronald...

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Chocolate Bar Book Children's Health

8-Year-Old Raises $1 Million for Best Friend’s Rare Disease

Proceeds From Book Will Benefit Children’s Health By Combating GSD Los Angeles 8-year-old Dylan Siegal is self-published author of the children’s book “Chocolate Bar.” He wrote and illustrated a vibrant and thoughtful picture book as part of a children's health campaign to help raise money to find a cure for Glycogen Storage Disease, a rare liver disease that Jonah, his best friend, suffers from. Children born with this illness lack...

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Spoiled Opens on Melrose

Opening its first physical location in late January at 8178 Melrose, Spoiled is a “reclaimed,” high-end store for kids clothing. Parents can explore shelves featuring brands such as Gucci, Armani, Tom Ford and Burberry for greatly discounted prices. Most items sell for under $50 and Spoiled also welcomes parents to sell their children’s used clothing in the store or online. Spoiled has available a wide variety of clothing for kids...

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Our 2014 Dad Hero On Vacation

At L.A. Parent, we get to hear about a lot of great dads, and admire their positive parenting skills. In 2014, we decided to shine a spotlight on one terrific father – and do something special for him and his family. We were delighted at the flood of submissions in our Dad Heroes essay contest, and even more delighted to find Joe Stoop, a father of three who fits our...

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L.A. County Parks After Dark Program Garners Award

For the past five years, the L.A. County Department of Public Health has partnered with the county departments of parks and recreation, social services, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and a variety of other agencies to keep parks open after dark on summer evenings in under-served communities, providing a variety of recreation opportunities and social services, and promoting positive parenting. Those efforts were recognized Dec. 4 when the department was...

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Oksana School of Music Expands

Russian-born pianist and composer Oksana Kolesnikova, owner/founder of Beverly Hills-based Oksana School of Music, is expanding her school to serve Valencia and surrounding areas. Kolesnikova, who performed daily for nearly seven years at the Beverly Hills Hotel’s legendary Polo Lounge, has traveled the globe in concert on behalf of the U.S. Armed Forces and United Nations. She has performed for musician Sir Elton John, TV personality Oprah Winfrey, actresses Jennifer Lopez...

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Shooting Stars Winners Revealed!

It was a busy day for all of us at L.A. Parent as we stepped out to Plaza El Segundo Oct. 11 to meet more than 200 families looking for fun things to do in L.A. who entered our annual Shooting Stars Cover Kids Contest. But we were all smiling as the photographers snapped away and families enjoyed all the fun activities available at the event. After the event, the...

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Mark McKee Chosen To Head Viewpoint School

Following an international search, Mark McKee has been unanimously selected by the board of trustees as the new Head of School at Viewpoint School in Calabasas. McKee began his journey in education at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, serving as an English teacher, Director of Technology and Director of Summer School. He also served as the Head of Upper School at Chase Collegiate School and currently holds a position as the...

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Jack Black To Ride Rose Parade Float Honoring Teachers

On Jan. 1, actor Jack Black will join his former teacher, Debbie Devine, atop the Farmers Insurance float in that favorite among New Years Los Angeles events, The Rose Parade. The “Dream Big: World of Possibility” float is designed to honor teachers nationwide for their hard work. Black and Devine will be joined by five winners of the Farmers’ Thank A Million Teachers Dream Big Teacher Challenge. Launched by the...

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The Joy Maker Challenge Donates 2,000 Toys to L.A. Kids in Need

On Dec. 6, cast members of NBC’s “Parenthood,” generationON celebrity youth ambassadors, the office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the office of Congressman Adam Schiff, and Assembly member Jimmy Gomez participated in an annual toy giveaway of 2,000 toys in L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood. The toy drive benefitted more than 1,200 local families in support of The Joy Maker Challenge from generationOn and Hasbro. While toys were being handed out to...

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GETTHERE Mentoring & Tutoring Now Open In West L.A.

GETTHERE Mentoring & Tutoring, now open in West Los Angeles, offers a unique educational mentoring program geared toward teenagers and young adults seeking college admission. The program works with students starting as early as their freshman year in high school to assure they become competitive college applicants by the time the application process rolls around. Each student in the program meets regularly with a mentor who has a Master’s degree...

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North Pole Bound  

Children from PS ARTS and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles attended Delta Airlines' 4th Annual Holiday in the Hangar last week at LAX. These mini passengers were transported via a Delta jetliner to the “North Pole,” and greeted by L.A. Lakers' alumnus A.C. Green, Laker Girls, and DreamWorks Animation characters Toothless and Penguins from Madagascar. Festivities included sports games provided by the L.A. Lakers and Los Angeles Kings, music provided by the...

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Talented Animator is Making His Way UP

I had the pleasure of sitting down with author, illustrator and children’s media entrepreneur Trevor Lai while he was in Los Angeles speaking at the World Animation/VFX Festival. We chatted about his Shanghai-based company, UP Studios, his dedication to quality children's entertainment and his natural business acumen, which blossomed early. JK: You launched a couple of successful companies when you were just in your teens. Where does that entrepreneurial spirit come from and what inspired...

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Get a Little Wellness – Give Some Holiday Help

Families out shopping and looking for things to do in L.A. can make the holidays brighter for those in need through the Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy Holiday Gift Bag Donation Program. The pharmacy chain offers traditional pharmacy services alongside natural and complementary health solutions, including natural health and beauty products. Throughout December, Pharmaca customers can purchase much-needed wellness and personal-care products for a chosen local charity. In 2013, Pharmaca stores across...

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Brooklyn Abbott: Blogging For Colitis Awareness

Not many people fully understand what it means to struggle with Crohn’s Disease or colitis (forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease) on a daily basis. Symptoms can range from pain to anemia, severe fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite and joint pain. December is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month, so we talked with Brooklyn Abbott, a former L.A. television producer, patient with colitis, single mom, advocate and popular blogger who gave...

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Julius Jr. and Blick Art Materials Supports Donation for Imagination

Julius Jr., the award-winning preschool series, has teamed up with Blick Art Materials to launch “Donation for Imagination,” an art supplies drive at five L.A. Blick stores. Fans of Julius Jr. and Blick shoppers are encouraged to donate new and gently used art supplies to local children’s art non-profits. “Donation for Imagination” was established in order to provide children with inspiration to create, providing art supplies and essentials to nonprofit...

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L.A. Parent’s Special-Needs Fair Connects Families With Resources

  L.A. Parent hosted its first Special Needs Resource Fair at the Zimmer Children’s Museum (6505 Wilshire Blvd., #100, L.A.; www.zimmermuseum.org) Dec. 7, attracting more than 200 L.A. families including children with special needs. Children enjoyed on-site activities, games and giveaways and played their way through the interactive museum. More than 20 exhibitors that provide services for families with special needs participated, connecting with guests, sharing information and answering questions....

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Hospital Play Rooms À La Cart

Oscar Litwak had already made it through one hospitalization for the cancer in his kidneys that was diagnosed when he was 4 months old. As an 18-month-old toddler, he was back in a hospital in Washington, D.C., for inpatient treatment. His sessions took 10 hours to complete, so sometimes he wanted to play. “In the outpatient center, the only thing they had were chairs with TVs,” says Oscar’s mom, Sharon....

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Young Artists Pitch In On Vintage Mural

Once upon a time, driving down Whitsett Avenue in North Hollywood meant a trip through orchards filled with orange trees, with the occasional billboard adding color and excitement. The orange groves are long gone, and for years the stretch of Whitsett between Sherman Way and Saticoy became an area of blight. A lengthy community clean-up and planting effort that began in 2013 transformed the area into a clean and green...

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Baby2Baby Offers Kids in Need Some Holiday Cheer

I attended my first holiday party of the season Nov. 10 at the headquarters of Baby2Baby, a nonprofit organization that provides low-income children with basic necessities such as diapers, clothing and other day-to-day essentials. The headquarters were transformed into a winter wonderland where 40 tiny guests of honor were treated to an afternoon of holiday magic with crafts, refreshments, music, a performance of The Nutcracker, and even a visit from...

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The Honest Company Donates $41,442 to the MaxLove Project

The MaxLove Project, a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting childhood cancer and other life-threatening conditions, has received a donation of $41,442 The Honest Company. MaxLove was inspired by SuperMax Wilford, a 7-year-old battling brain cancer. Through a social media campaign, The Honest Company – purveyors of eco-friendly yet affordable products for families – donated $1 throughout the month of September, National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, to the MaxLove Project...

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Celebrities Doin’ Good

Hollywood actors, recording artists and news anchors gathered Nov. 16 to create a charitable assembly line for kids in foster care during the third annual Celebrity Stuff-a-thon at Hotel Angeleno. The event, sponsored by Wells Fargo, is presented by the National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA), which helps connect parents with the best family products. NAPPA partners provided the toys, books, music, DVDs and other essentials that went into duffel bags...

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CNF Hosts Benefit to Honor Scott Family

The Child Neurology Foundation (CNF), a national nonprofit working to ensure optimal care for children living with neurological diseases, held A Heroes Dinner benefit Nov 8, to honor John and Laurian Scott. The Scotts were awarded the “Hero of Promise Award” for their contributions to the field of child neurology, which paved the way for discovery of a rare gene associated with Brown-Vialetto-Van-Laere (BVVL), the disease that resulted in the...

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Have a Handmade Holiday With Crafting Community

A day of art and family fun is coming to L.A. from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 13, when Crafting Community hosts its “Handmade Holiday” event at the historic Lombardi House in Hollywood. Families will be able to make five different crafts at the various stations, including personalized ornaments, holiday cards and leather wrap bracelets. In addition to the crafts, families can enjoy a festive holiday market, snacks, cookie decorating, photo...

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Meet Boy 5A: Representing 20,000 L.A. County Kids Who Need Families

By Elena Epstein The reception room inside Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Arts was filled with community supporters, families, and employees of Five Acres, a nonprofit organization focused on finding safe and permanent family solutions for children in L.A. County. But, the most anticipated guest remained under cover most of the evening. Boy 5A, a four-foot sculpture of a boy representing the 20,000 children currently living in foster care in...

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Light Up Your Holidays!

No matter how you choose to celebrate, twinkling lights are a festive part of the holiday season. Delight your kids with an outing to one of these local favorite illumination locations. The Mission Inn Festival of Lights, 5-10:30 p.m. Nov. 28-Jan. 6, 3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside; www.missioninn.com/festival-of-lights-en.html. Take a photo with Santa Claus and see this display of more than 4 million dazzling lights. FREE. Christmas Tree Lane, beginning...

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Chanel Boutakidis: Finding Safe Homes For Kids In Need

Tucked away 
on a tree-lined street in
 Pasadena, Five Acres 
is a beautiful sanctuary devoted to giving voice 
to children in foster 
care. The 126-year-old nonprofit, once an orphanage, has evolved 
into an organization devoted to finding safe 
and permanent family solutions for more than 8,000 children and their families throughout L.A. County. As the chief executive officer, Chanel Boutakidis, MA, MFT, is a tireless advocate for children in need...

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TriMathlon Raises Cash For Local Schools While Making Math Fun

Conejo Valley students put their math skills on display Oct. 18 and 19, earning money for local schools and winning prizes for themselves in the Mathnasium of Oak Park 2014 TriMathlon contest. In the U.S. and Canada, Mathnasium TriMathlon participants raised about $40,000 for local schools. “Our Mathnasium of Oak Park TriMathlon contest was a big success with students and parents alike this year, demonstrating clearly that math can be...

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More than 3,000 Kids Read For the Record

Every year, the folks at national early education organization Jumpstart encourage parents and kids to read together – and maybe set a record for the largest shared reading experience – through their Read for the Record celebration. This year’s local celebration took place Oct. 18 at the Lakeshore Learning Store (www.lakeshorelearning.com) in West L.A. – and at 59 other Lakeshore Learning Stores across the U.S. The official book for 2014...

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Archer School for Girls Opens Saban IDEALab

Leslie Castenada, a seventh grader at the Archer School for Girls in Brentwood, is excited to explain the video game she created for school fitness classes using the SCRATCH computer programming tool. At the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school’s new Saban IDEALab, Castenada shares her enthusiasm with visitors, including Amy Wakeland, wife of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Saban IDEALab, the physical hub housing Archer’s Integrated Design and Engineering...

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Travels With Charlie, For a Diabetes Cure

“I remember those big, blue eyes looking at me, saying, Dad, why are you hurting me?” says Kevin Wehrenberg. Those eyes belonged to Charlie, Wehrenberg’s son, who was 3 years old at the time. They were at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where Charlie had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes the day before. Two nurses were holding Charlie down, and Wehrenberg was giving him an insulin shot for the first...

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Beach Cities Kids Ride the Walking School Bus

More than 3,000 elementary students and parents in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach are expected to skip the carpool in honor of International Walk to School Day Oct. 8. But for these students, walking to school isn’t a once-a-year novelty. Each week, they choose leg power over horsepower as part of Beach Cities Health District’s “Walking School Bus” program. Last school year, students who regularly walked in the...

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Disney Celebrates Halloween Early

October has arrived, which means it’s time to celebrate the change of season and get ready for the festivities that await. To kick off the month, Disney Consumer Products hosted a VIP Halloween Event Oct. 1 at its campus in Glendale. Celebrity guests included actor Jon Heder, Constance Marie Lopez from ABC Family's Switched at Birth, Angel Parker from Disney XD's Lab Rats, model/actress Jaime Pressly, actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and several...

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Local Scout Stands Tall Despite Challenges

Spencer Gates, a high school senior, has a condition that makes it difficult for him to walk more than a few steps, but he didn’t let that stop him from running with his passion for helping the community through Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts of America, Los Angeles Area Council (LAAC) serves more than 13,000 boys in 570 scout units in Los Angeles and 56 surrounding communities, from South Pasadena...

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Katy Perry and Staples Help “Make Roar Happen”

Katy Perry and Staples joined forces to show their support for teachers and education across North America by launching the “Make Roar Happen” initiative. Approximately 350 music teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District received $1,000 DonorsChoose.org gift cards courtesy of Staples, so they can create their own custom music lesson plans. At her concert on Sept. 19, Perry honored L.A. teachers backstage. Two of the honorees, Sarah Fuller...

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Happy Anniversary, PathPoint

PathPoint, a nonprofit organization focused on assisting adults with disabilities or disadvantages to live and work as valued members of the community, is celebrating 50 years of service to people with special needs at the Grammy Museum Oct. 18. “This is a special event for us here at PathPoint as we celebrate our 50 years of service,” says Marielle DeFazio, Vice President/Director of Ventura and Los Angeles counties. “But what’s...

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It’s a Festival for All Families!

Families with children of all abilities are invited to Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, 3200 Motor Ave., from noon-3p.m. Oct. 19 for the 3rd Annual Festival of Families Fall Carnival. Vista Del Mar works to provide comprehensive, family-centered social, educational and behavioral health services that encourage children, adolescents and families to lead self-reliant, stable and productive lives. The carnival’s festivities will include arts and crafts, a petting zoo,...

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Disney Star is King at Helping Kids

Benjamin King has been acting for 20 years and now stars on Disney Channel’s Liv and Maddie. Getting to this point has not been so easy, though. At 15, King was diagnosed with proctitis. At 25, his diagnosis escalated to ulcerative colitis, and in 2009, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. After coming to terms with the fact that he has what he describes as a “chronic lifelong situation,” King...

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SUREFIRE Girls Conference to Bring Local Teens Together for a Day of Leadership and Life Skills

As a teen growing up in Idaho Falls, Heather Mason says she was shy and not very sure of herself. She credits several key adults in her life, who became her mentors, with teaching her the life skills she needed to push through her insecurities. “I was so lucky to have a high school history teacher who pushed me to take on leadership roles and join the debate team and...

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Homeboy Has a Big Heart

Homeboy Industries, the gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program hosts its fifth annual 5K run/walk and community event Oct. 18 in Downtown L.A. The event, called “Every Angeleno Counts,” raises funds for Homeboy programs that help formerly gang-affiliated and previously incarcerated men and women transform their lives. Jesuit Priest, Father Greg Boyle founded the nonprofit 25 years ago, in response to the gang violence he witnessed in his Boyle Heights...

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Wilmington YMCA Makes a Splash!

Jump in at the Wilmington YMCA (1127 N Avalon Blvd.) from 9a.m.-3p.m. Oct. 4 as the brand-new indoor heated pool officially opens to the public. Olympic Medalist and World Record Swimmer Jessica Hardy will be at the opening, signing autographs and conducting swim clinics for children and adults. Wilmington YMCA, built in 1996, is a nonprofit organization that serves more than a quarter-million families each year. The organization offers programs...

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Welcome Home, Baby

Three years ago, babies born prematurely generally spent their first three weeks of life in intensive care. Now, Cedars-Sinai’s Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit, part of the Maxine Dunitz Children's Health Center, has shortened the average stay to 17 days, sending premature babies back home to their families much sooner. In recent years, notable medical advances in nutrition, nonsurgical procedures and delivery protocols have helped improve the health and shorten the...

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Auggie Meets L.A. Parent

Boy Meets World’s Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) and Topanga Lawrence (Danielle Fishel) are all grown up. They are married, have two kids and a spinoff show! Disney Channel’s new hit series, Girl Meets World, follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley (Rowan Blanchard), as she navigates school, friends and family, just as her parents did more than 10 years ago. August Maturo plays Auggie Matthews, Cory and Topanga’s son. He is...

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Denise Grande: An Advocate For Arts For All

The arts are slowly but surely reappearing in school curricula across L.A. County, thanks in large part to an initiative called Arts For All. Launched in 2002 by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the organization is helmed by Director Denise Grande, a passionate advocate for including the arts, from visual to performing, in K-12 education. Grande explains exactly what Arts For All is, and how it works. What...

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A Good (Green) Beginning

Green Beginning Community Preschool in L.A. is a recipient of Green America’s “People & Planet Award,” which recognizes innovative small businesses that deeply integrate environmental and social considerations into their strategies and operations. The award comes with a $5,000 prize. Green America is a green economy organization that provides economic strategies, organizing power and practical tools for businesses and individuals to solve social and environmental problems. This round of the...

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Back To School For Healthy Habits

At Sunrise Elementary School in Boyle Heights, teachers were noticing their students having fried food and a Coke for breakfast, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and another Coke for lunch. They knew a change had to be made. This inspired bariatric surgeon Gregg Kai Nishi, M.D., and his partners at the Khalili Center for Bariatric Care in Beverly Hills to volunteer at LAUSD schools to teach kids about obesity awareness and...

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A Healthy and Helpful Halloween

Halloween can often mean sugar, cavities, and weight gain, but this year, Halloween can mean a healthy treat and comfort for a soldier overseas. Kids love to go trick-or-treating, but they often bring home more candy than they need. With the help of the Halloween Candy Buy Back program, in which local dentists “buy back” kids’ Halloween candy, those treats can bring a Happy Halloween to U.S. troops overseas. As...

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Giving is Always Fashionable

In L.A. County, 16,000 homeless students lack basic necessities such as clothing. This staggering statistic motivated West Valley sisters Megan and Phoebe Stoeckel to launch their student-run nonprofit, Operation Dress Up, in 2009. The sisters will continue to give back by collecting new or gently used clothing at Spectrum Athletic Club – 22235 Sherman Way, Canoga Park – from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 20 All donations are delivered...

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Freddie’s At the Film Festival!

Not only do local kids have the opportunity to walk the red carpet, they can walk with Freddie Benson from iCarly! Nathan Kress, best known for his lead role in Nickelodeon’s iCarly, is hitting the red carpet for photo opportunities with local kids at the first ever 168Kids! event, a new family-friendly segment of the Annual 168 Film Festival. The event is designed to transform young people into VIPs for...

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Listen to Your Heart

When people imagine heart disease, they usually think of older people. In reality, children of all ages can be affected by heart disease. Sudden cardiac arrest is the top cause of death among children on school property nationwide. That is why the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation (CCF) has named September as Children’s Cardiomyopathy Awareness Month, and why national lawmakers are getting involved. Children’s cardiomyopathy is a chronic and potentially life-threatening heart...

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Teens: Are You Up For the Challenge?

H&R Block is taking a novel approach to teaching high school students about personal finance- using real-world experiences, not textbooks. H&R Block created the Dollars and Sense initiative to increase teen financial literacy, and has now developed a curriculum that addresses personal finance. The program, called the H&R Block Budget Challenge, simulates an adult’s financial life- paying bills, investing in retirement, managing loans and more. To receive a high score,...

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Go Green!

Calling all environmental enthusiasts! Grades of Green is now collecting applications for its 2014-2015 Youth Corps Student Leadership Program. The environmental education nonprofit encourages kids to go green by selecting a group of students to create and implement a yearlong Green Project in their school community. The team receives regular guidance and leadership training from passionate Grades of Green staff and a supportive peer network of fellow Youth Corps students....

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Free Training: It’s Safe to Talk

The death of actor Robin Williams is a reminder that anyone can be at risk for suicide. The Child and Family Guidance Center (CFGC) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality mental-health care, supportive social services and linkages to needed community resources – has decided to do something about it. CFGC is hosting a free suicide prevention training session, called safeTALK, from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 2. SafeTALK is essentially...

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A Party and A Portrait

Two L.A. moms have joined forces to open a boutique photography business with a twist: 30-minute portrait parties. Jennifer Howard and Kim Butan, both graduates of the UCLA Photography Certificate Program, created the fun photography concept to capture more spontaneous moments, rather than focusing on the “smile for the camera” type of images. The idea started as a school fundraiser and has evolved into a fun business. The team schedules...

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Kids Take On the Cancer Challenge

Registration has hit the ground running for the 17th Annual LA Cancer Challenge (LACC) 5K/10K and Kids Can Cure Fun Run. The annual family-friendly charity event benefits the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, which is dedicated to finding a cure for pancreatic cancer and improving early-detection methods. To date, the LACC has raised over $5 million for pancreatic cancer research. The Halloween-themed event includes the Fit Family Expo, a...

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Happy Anniversary, Lakeshore!

Lakeshore Learning Materials has had one focus for the past 60 years: listening to customers and learning what they need. This year, Lakeshore is celebrating 60 years of learning and making real connections with customers. Lakeshore produces hundreds of new products every year for infants and toddlers, preschoolers and elementary-age children- covering a variety of subjects, from language to science to arts and crafts. The company’s product developers are all...

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One Note Can Go A Long Way

Wesley Wells, 9, of Mar Vista, does something that not all 9-year-olds do: he plays the violin. Wesley also did something that even fewer 9-year-olds do: he met famous violinist Joshua Bell. After seeing a YouTube video of Wesley playing violin, he was offered tickets to Bell’s July 8 concert at the Hollywood Bowl and backstage passes to meet the violinist following the show. Bell introduced himself to Wesley, encouraged...

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This Sale is Splendid (and Ella Moss)!

What is a mom’s favorite four-letter word? SALE! L.A.-based lifestyle brands Splendid and Ella Moss are excitedly announcing their warehouse sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 5 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 6 at the Cooper Building. The sale will include styles for women, men, tween, toddler, and baby. There will also be special pricing on both Splendid and Ella Moss kids’ clothing. Leggings and bloomers...

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Art Advocates, Unite!

Calling all art enthusiasts! Arts for LA has launched ACTIVATE, a new arts education advocacy leadership initiative. The goal of ACTIVATE is to improve opportunities for students. This free program is open to anyone in the Los Angeles area: parents, teachers, community advocates and others who want to make a difference in education. Arts for LA is looking for people to train as arts advocates. Participants will connect with other...

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How a Modern Daddy Does Work

For too many people, the stereotypical image of fatherhood is still either the bumbling dad who can’t do anything right or the uninvolved breadwinner who kicks back with a beer and leaves the tough stuff to Mom. Fortunately, these stereotypes no longer apply to many modern dads. Nowhere is this more apparent than with Doyin Richards, a Los Angeles father of two girls who has taken his love of fatherhood...

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You Got to Move it, Move it!

Time to lace up those sneakers! September is National Self-Improvement Month and to help us make some improvements around the mid-section, Spectrum Athletic Clubs is waiving their $100 enrollment fee and giving a $100 credit to new members for training or club services throughout the month. With eight locations in the Los Angeles area, these full-service fitness facilities also provide a variety of classes such as Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, African...

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Local Kids Awarded $9,000 In Scholarships For Charity Efforts

Lila Copeland, 12, from L.A., created the Earth Peace Foundation and has educated 1,500 people about species equality and a clean plant-based food supply. Noah Crouse, 11, from Rancho Santa Margarita, started an organization called Magical Missions, which organizes magic shows in his community. He has raised more than $1,500 for Oklahoma tornado relief. They are two of the nine L.A. area kids chosen to receive the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship...

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New Kids’ Club Offers Lots of Fun Activities at the Glendale Galleria

The Glendale Galleria has a fun new Kids’ Club featuring different activities from 10 a.m.-noon every Tuesday. Presented by the Zimmer Children’s Museum, the free activities and entertainment are designed for children ages 10 and younger. Activities include theater skits, craft projects, interactive sing-alongs, musical performances, carnival games and much more. For a listing of Kids’ Club events, visit: http://www.glendalegalleria.com/events/kids-club-at-glendale-galleria The Galleria is also working in collaboration with the Glendale...

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Spread a Little ‘Starlight’ and Help Sick Kids Heal

Have you ever wished on a star? More than 500 pediatric medical facilities are wishing – through the Starlight Children’s Foundation’s Starlight Wish List. And you can help. Launched in beta one year ago, the Starlight Wish List program allows hospitals, clinics, respite houses, hospices and camps to publish customized wish lists of critical unmet needs on Starlight.org. People who want to help – and the facilities registered with Starlight...

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A Camp That Demands An Encore

Bravo! As a mother of three – and former drama student – I require each of my children to participate in a theater production. Do I want them to become professional actors? God, no. But theater builds character. It teaches self-confidence. It quells the emotion of embarrassment, which hinders so many of us from living in the moment. Theater teaches us to let go and not to take ourselves so...

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Superheroes Wash Windows, Lift Spirits At Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA

A team of very special “grime fighters” turned out Aug. 13 to tidy up at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. And the results were just super. Building window washers dressed as Batman, Captain America, Spiderman and Wonder Woman – all from the hospital’s window-washing vendor, Sunland Window Cleaning – descended on their cleaning platform from the hospital roof down to the fifth-floor outdoor Chase Child Life terrace, where they joined pediatric...

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Backpack Party Gets El Nido Students Off to a Good Start This School Year

Kaiser Permanente volunteers were on hand at the Pacoima Community Center July 31 to help a group of students get their school year off to a good start. They handed out backpacks stuffed with school supplies to more than 800 families served by El Nido Family Centers, which provide child abuse prevention and treatment, youth development, teen parenting, and parent education programs for families throughout L.A. County. At a backpack...

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9-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Tours the Country To Bring Hope

Kenny Thomas of Carson is 9 years old, and he is on tour. But Kenny isn’t a child actor or a member of a boy band. He’s a cancer survivor, and he is touring as a Hyundai Hope On Wheels National Youth Ambassador. He and fellow ambassador Ashley Burnett, 10, of North Carolina, speak at ceremonies throughout the U.S., sharing their personal stories of living with cancer and helping distribute...

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‘Break It Down’ Total Sports Offers Special-Needs Fall Soccer Program

“Break It Down” Total Sports, which launched in June in Hermosa Beach, is gearing up for its second session of sports for young athletes with special needs. The program has a mission to teach children with special needs sports skills in a positive environment and to develop their motivation to participate using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) teaching strategies. The fall session, which begins Sept. 6, will focus on soccer. Co-founders...

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Brookshire Park Opens In Downey

In mid-July, the city of Downey celebrated the grand opening of Brookshire Park. Picnic tables, playgrounds, a walking trail and happy children fill this two-acre attraction. A grant from the nonprofit First 5 LA’s Tot Parks and Trails program helped fund the park, and it was designed and constructed by LA Corps, an innovative job training program for at-risk young adults. “Our City parks add value to our community and...

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Be a Wine and Food Explorer at Terranea Resort

Plan a grown-up getaway where you can explore wines from around the world in a gorgeous Rancho Palos Verdes setting. Terranea Resort’s inaugural Celebration of Food and Wine, Aug. 10, will feature seminars and wine tastings led by renowned winemakers and experts, along with bites from Terranea chefs, a wine paired luncheon and an evening reception and dinner. The event, which is expected to become an annual celebration, offers four...

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Girls, Get Ready to Run

L.A. girls, lace up your running shoes and sign up for Girls on the Run L.A. County, a 12-week after-school program designed to help activate your potential and push you to boldly pursue your dreams. In addition to running and physical fitness, the program – for ages 8-14 – addresses bullying, healthy eating, body image, community service and other important issues. It ends with a celebratory 5K event. “Girls on...

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How Music Can Build a Child’s Self-Image

We all know the power music has to move us physically. The right beat can make even the most solemn nod their head to the rhythm, and a sweet melody will cause even the most static to sway back and forth. However, music has an even more potent power – the power to move us emotionally. Many children are acutely sensitive. A chaotic home life, being teased at school, and...

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Paint My Teez Offers New Way to Get Creative for Kids and Adults

If you like having fun while getting creative, there is a new place in town just for you. Paint My Teez is a painting studio for t-shirts. You can grab some girlfriends for a fun moms’ night out or take the kids to create wearable masterpieces. Paint My Teez prints t-shirts and uses the front room as its studio. They provide painting birthday parties, wine and t-shirt nights and mom’s...

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The Shops at Montebello Awards $9,500 in College Scholarships to Local High School Seniors

Twenty high school students from the Montebello Unified School District were awarded $9,500 in scholarships through The Shops at Montebello’s Scholarship Awards, meant to recognize graduating seniors in the community and help them continue their education. The scholarship program was created in 1985, when the center opened, as a way to assist local students in recognizing their educational goals and to provide initial monetary support to achieve those goals. “We’re...

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Olympian and L.A. Mom Lisa Leslie To Enter Basketball Hall of Fame

Congratulations to L.A. mom and L.A. Parent cover model Lisa Leslie, who will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015. The ceremony will take place in Knoxville, Tenn., June 13. Leslie and her basketball leadership academy for kids were profiled in our September 2013 issue. The Lisa Leslie Basketball & Leadership Academy, which Leslie runs with her husband, Michael, is a hands-on program housed at Viewpoint School...

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Lauren Kaye: Kidspace Mom

Kidspace Children’s Museum first opened at Cal Tech in 1979 and, after stints at two other locations, moved into its present home in Pasadena’s Brookside Park in 2004. Lauren Kaye joined the staff in 2007, in time to be an integral part of the museum’s current expansion campaign – which so far has included the addition of the Galvin Physics Forrest in 2012, the Imagination Workshop “maker” space last November,...

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Being On Stage Is a ‘Miracle’ For Teens On the Spectrum

I don’t know much about autism, but I’m hearing phrases such as “on the spectrum” and “high functioning” more and more often. When I gave birth to my first son in 2008, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was reporting that one in every 150 children had autism. Today that number is one in 68. Parents of children on the autism spectrum might worry about their child’s differences,...

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Celebrity Fashion Designer Debuts New Collection at the 16th Annual DesignCare to Benefit the HollyRod Foundation

By Elena Epstein Holly Robinson Peete and the Peete family hosted celebrities and friends at The Lot Studios in Hollywood for the 16th annual DesignCare, a celebration of fashion, philanthropy and music that benefits the HollyRod Foundation. Guests enjoyed a cocktail reception, silent and live auction, a runway show by fashion sensation Michael Costello and a special musical performance by Naturally 7, an a cappella R&B group known for their...

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A New Reason To Cheer In Canoga Park

Ready? Okay! Spring on down to Impact Cheer & Tumbling, a new gym in Canoga Park featuring cheer and tumbling classes for ages 2 to 18. Learn sportsmanship, leadership and confidence in a fun and safe environment from coaches who are CPR and first-aid certified, members of the U.S. All Star Federation and credentialed in All-Star cheerleading Levels 1-4 and in tumbling. Come to their grand opening from 11 a.m.-2 p.m....

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Disney Store’s Summer Play Days Take Off

Disney Stores offer cool fun for kids through Sept. 1 with their Summer Play Days, where ages 3 and up can enjoy story time, show time and Disney trivia, and learn a bit about the art of animation – all free. On a recent morning at the Disney Store at the Glendale Galleria, my 6-year-old daughter, who is a big fan of the first Planes film, joined a team of...

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Free L.A. Opera Tickets Available July 15

Each summer, LA Opera offers a two-week, in-depth camp for ages 9-17, sponsored by the Opera League of Los Angeles. Camp culminates with fully staged public performances at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre (4800 Hollywood Blvd.L.A.). Admission is free. This year, LA Opera Camp presents “The White Bird of Poston,” an opera set in a Japanese internment camp during World War II that tells the story of a special friendship between...

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Kole Kodimer: A Westhills Champion

A baseball league for kids with special needs that started as an 11-year-old boy’s Bar Mitzvah project has, in just two short years, developed into a family and community passion. Guaranteed to make you smile, the Westhills Champions baseball league has become a point of community pride. The athletes, whose physical and mental limitations vary, play baseball and form life-changing bonds with local teen volunteers. The league was launched by...

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Local Pediatrician Brings Contemporary Styling to Hospital Scrubs

Pediatrician Neela Sethi Young, M.D.,was always sketching glamorous fashion designs as a little girl. With a penchant for maxi dresses and heels, the young pediatrician found the wide-cut, unisex blue scrubs she had to start wearing during her clinical rotations in medical school not quite up to her aesthetics. “As I put my first scrubs on, I thought they gave me the wrong one. These must be for a man....

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A New Place to Play in the West Valley

There is a new kids gym in town. KidZone, located in West Hills, features 3,000 square feet of fun for open play and private parties for children ages 12 and under.   The gym offers lots of different activities including a trampoline, zip line, building blocks, puzzles, craft table, rope wall, library, puppet stage, swings, and interactive games on Xbox with Kinect. There is also a parent lounge with HDTV,...

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Chesebrough Park in Santa Clarita Gets A Fun Make-over

Santa Clarita residents now have more reasons to enjoy Chesebrough Park. The City of Santa Clarita recently added some fun features to the popular community park.   The new and improved play area now includes bongo drums, a new Hot Wheels track, a climbing wall, Tech Deck fingerboard pool, sand box, and a shape puzzle designed for kids two to five years old.  A new slide, climbing tube and swing...

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Earth Baby Offers Eco-friendly Products

Earth Baby is a cute new boutique on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks, offering an array of eco-friendly products including a large selection of cloth diaper brands, babywearing accessories, organic baby and maternity care products, and eco-friendly toys.   The boutique also offers classes on such topics as babywearing, essential oils, and diapering while traveling.   The boutique is the brainchild of mom of two, Renee Kennedy Powers. Her husband,...

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Food On Wheels For Four-Legged Friends

Some food trucks serve hot dogs, and some serve all dogs. This Fourth of July Weekend, come join Milo’s Kitchen food truck on their patriotic weekend stops. We all treat our dogs like family, and the folks at Milo’s Kitchen believe dogs deserve to eat delicious treats set to the same standard as the rest of our family’s snacks. They’ve created treats made with 100 percent domestically sourced meat, with...

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Soldier Mom Goes Back To Boot Camp For Postpartum Depression

By Mike Rothschild For new mother and former soldier Ashley Campos, diagnosed with PTSD from a combat deployment in the Middle East, depression on both ends of her pregnancy led to a dangerous spiral. Campos was 18 weeks pregnant and recently separated from the Army when her husband, also in the Army, was transferred from Texas to Southern California – where Campos had no friends, family or support system. “I...

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Santa Clarita To Serve as Special Olympics World Games 2015 Host Town

The City of Santa Clarita has been officially selected as a Host Town for the Special Olympics 2015 World Summer Games. Before the games begin on July 25, 2015, more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries will be welcomed to Southern California through the “Host Town” program, which includes 100 communities from San Luis Obispo to San Diego. Host towns provide the athletes with hospitality, and treat them to a...

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Julius Jr. Toy Launch Party: More Fun Than a Barrel of Monkeys

By Rina Baraz Nehdar When I was offered an invitation to go to the Julius Jr. toy launch party June 24 at The London West Hollywood, I jumped at the chance. Not so much because I am such a big fan (although I do like that cute little monkey), but it’s summer and I have two very demanding munchkins at home who need constant entertainment. This seemed to be the...

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Target and The Honest Company Team Up

  Westwood Target shoppers got an “honest” surprise June 25 as they stumbled upon an in-store launch event celebrating the chain’s new partnership with The Honest Company (www.honest.com), a brand that offers natural, non-toxic family essentials. Six interactive stations, including a fun photo booth and a trivia board, were set up around the store. Each provided guests with the opportunity to learn more about the Honest Co. collection now available...

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Los Angeles Students Win Grand Prize at 48th Annual California Media Festival

Three Los Angeles schools were the Grand Prize Winners at the 48th Annual California Student Media Festival. During the June 7th awards ceremony, held at the Harmony Gold Preview House, 87 awards were presented to 47 elementary and secondary schools from across the state. The festival, presented by on PBS SoCaL and CUE, as well as support from eighth-year presenting sponsor, Wells Fargo, is the nation’s oldest student media festival....

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SoCal Dad To Cycle Cross-Country To Help Hungry Children

Luke Mysse, his wife and two sons are packing up their lives to begin a three-month, 5,000-mile journey across America with Cycle Cause, a campaign to raise money and awareness for Stop SAM, an organization Mysse co-founded to aid children dying from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Mysse’s Cycle Cause campaign takes off June 20, in San Diego, where he will begin heading up the west coast to Portland and then...

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South Bay Baby Boot Camp Now Covered by Insurance

The South Bay chapter of Baby Boot Camp (http://babybootcamp.com/CA-LA-South-Bay.aspx), a fitness program where current and expectant moms bring their children to workouts, has teamed with Manhattan Beach-based medical center The Wellness Bank (www.thewellnessbank.com) to pave the way for participants’ health insurance to cover the cost of the program. Baby Boot Camp moms will also be able make payments through their Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts and have them...

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Mark Steines: DIY Dad

Mark Steines, Emmy Award-winning journalist and father of two, has found his niche as co-host of Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family.” After 8 years as host of “Entertainment Tonight,” Steines, a DIY and photography enthusiast who refers to the show as a live “tutorial for your life,” enjoys “Home and Family’s” refreshing family atmosphere. The show is shot in an actual house on the Universal Studios lot, where he and...

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Spinning and Stretching To Beat Cancer

Kimberly Fowler wears many hats. She’s an entrepreneur, fundraising philanthropist, fitness guru – and brain cancer survivor. And she’ll combine all of these roles June 22 when she hosts the fifth annual YAS-A-THON, a spinning marathon that raises funds for cancer research. Participants in the YAS-A-THON will ride stationary bikes for three continuous hours, with proceeds to benefit ThinkCure! [www.thinkcure.org] at City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The...

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Nintendo Hosts Kids Corner at E3 2014

By Annette Covarrubias   A select group of lucky kids had quite an experience at this year’s E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo), where Nintendo hosted the very first Kids Corner. Visitors had the exclusive opportunity to preview nine never-before-seen titles for the Wii U console and Nintendo 3DS family. Tsunekazu Ishihara, president and CEO of The Pokémon Company, came by and demonstrated Pokémon Art Academy, which is scheduled to launch in...

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Drink-up: Kids Encouraged to Choose Water

The kids at the Burbank Community YMCA had a special treat June 11 when actress Eva Longoria, representatives from Brita water filtration systems and television camera crews took over their play yard as part of Brita’s nationwide summer kick-off campaign to encourage kids to drink more water. Brita has teamed up with the national YMCA to donate water filtration pitchers and dispensers to locations throughout the country. During Wednesday’s kick-off...

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Santa Monica Students Complete Marathon Kids Challenge

More than 100 elementary students from Santa Monica’s Saint Anne School were honored June 6 by Mario Lopez, host of TV’s “Extra,” for completing the Marathon Kids 26.2 Mile Challenge and running the equivalent of a marathon over the course of the school year. The awards ceremony was held at Whole Foods in Santa Monica. Lopez, father of two, presented the students with Marathon Kids medals. Parents, Saint Anne School...

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Local Nonprofit Seeks L.A. Foster Families

By Kimberly Rogers A Social Worker is sitting in her cubical, her hair roughly clipped out of her face in the tousled look that signals the end of the day. She skipped lunch again and will likely be working well past what should be quitting time. She is dialing number after number, her leg bouncing up and down under the desk while she drums at her papers with a pen....

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Handing Out Hats and Hope

Love Your Melon, a team of college students from across the country traveling throughout the US visiting hospitals dressed as superheroes to personally deliver a hat and a smile to children in treatment, just wrapped up the SoCal leg of their West Coast tour with visits to Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach June 2, Mattel Children’s Hospital June 3 and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles June 4. The organization has been traveling throughout the western U.S. on a...

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Rocking the Spectrum (and Life) With Dina Kimmel

By Robin Heinz Bratslavsky Dina Kimmel rocks, proving daily that this mother’s love knows no bounds. When her daughter, Sophia, was born in 2004, everything went as planned. Sophia developed normally, was an early talker (at age 1) and interacted appropriately with children and adults. Dina and her husband, Tim, were easing into parenthood. In 2007, the Kimmels welcomed son Gabriel. Sophia was happy to be a big sister, and...

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Tree Musketeers Helps Trees and Community Kids Grow Strong

Last year, Utsa Parikh, a newcomer to El Segundo and the South Bay, was looking for volunteer opportunities. She discovered Tree Musketeers, an El Segundo-based national nonprofit that offers young people the opportunity to take the lead in implementing environmental programs. She volunteered at a few tree care events, watering, mulching, pruning and weeding trees in the community,then learned about the organization’s leadership classes, called LEAD. The Youth Manager Series,...

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LAUSD Students Use Video Skills to Clear the Air

In honor of Asthma Awareness Month in May, some creative students from Robert F. Kennedy New Open World (NOW) Academy in L.A. have produced a set of videos they hope will help the whole LA Unified school district breathe a little easier. LAUSD Nursing Services and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety collaborated with media students to put together PSAs to help their peers avoid common asthma and allergy...

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Local Kids Win Benihana Contest

Abigail Martinez of Los Angeles, Katelyn Shen of Irvine, Alexa Meraz of Lakewood and Mya Picazo of Torrance were selected as winners of Benihana’s 2014 Children Helping Children Coloring Contest, part of the restaurant’s Children’s Day program. The students’ efforts helped Benihana raise $50,000 in support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. More than 17,000 children submitted artwork to this year’s contest, and Abigail, Katelyn, Alexa and Mya were selected...

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Ekata

Family Fitness and Fun

Ekata Training Center, recently opened in Santa Clarita, is part martial arts studio, part gym and part spa. Open to both children and adults, the facility takes a family approach to fitness offering group classes, a childcare center and a study center with volunteer tutors to help kids fit in homework time after school. The center offers a wide variety of classes, from martial arts to hip-hop dance. Massages and...

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Steve Everett-Power(ful) Soccer Role Model 1

Steve Everett: Power(ful) Soccer Role Model

Steve Everett plays and promotes power soccer, where adults and kids play together from their power wheelchairs, and learn powerful lessons. by Christina Elston When Steve Everett talks about the sport of power soccer, played in power wheelchairs, he makes it sound fun. “We have these guards on the front of our chairs. They almost look like snow plows,” he says, “and when we spin in a circle, that’s how...

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Cara Natterson

Cara Natterson, M.D.: Keeping a Healthy Conversation Going

This L.A.-based pediatrician and mom updated a seminal book about tween girls and their bodies, and wrote a sequel for older girls. by Elena Epstein Cara Natterson is an L.A.-based pediatrician and author and mom to Talia, 10, and Ry, 8. A graduate of Harvard University and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Natterson recently teamed up with American Girl to revise the popular tween book, “The Care and Keeping...

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Sandra Graham

Sandra Graham: School Diversity Advocate

Sandra Graham, Ph.D., believes that more research will help encourage education policy makers to promote more diversity. by Melanie Gaball For 10 years,  Sandra Graham, Ph.D., Presidential Chair in Education and Diversity at UCLA, has been working on a study to evaluate how diversity in middle schools affects students’ social interactions and success. She hopes her findings will help encourage policy makers to promote more diversity in K-12 schools, and...

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Shannon Abdulwahab, right, doesn’t let epilepsy stand in the way of being a wife to husband Andy, left, and a mom to son Chase, daughter Farrah, and daughter Drew. PHOTO COURTESY SHANNON ABDULWAHAB

Shannon Abdulwahab: Empowered by Epilepsy

This mom of three juggles family life and advocacy with the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles. by Lisa Castillo The alarms rings at 6 a.m. and, like most moms of young children, Shannon Abdulwahab hits the ground running. There are meals to prepare, kids to dress, teeth to brush and dogs to drop off (at doggie daycare, of course), all before 8:15. Sound familiar? The difference is that, through...

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Coffee With Kids In Sliver Lake

Visit this fun neighborhood with the kids for coffee, shopping, snacks and play. by Erin Mahoney Harris Silver Lake might have a reputation as a hipster haven, but it’s become increasingly welcoming to families with young children as well, particularly with the opening of the lovely Silver Lake Meadow and the proliferation of family-friendly boutiques, coffee houses and cafes. LAMILL Coffee Boutique (1636 Silver Lake Blvd.; 323-663-4441; www.lamillcoffee.com) has been...

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Home And Family with Christina Ferrare

Home and Family with Cristina Ferrare

The ex-supermodel and current television host advises working moms to “forgive yourself when you can’t do everything.” by Melanie Gaball Cristina Ferrare has had an accomplished career as a supermodel, a TV host and a New York Times best-selling author, but the mother and grandmother has never put a job before her family. “There are a lot of things professionally that I missed out on because I put my home...

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Mike Chat

Mike Chat: Xtreme Martial Artist and Granter of Wishes

This XMA founder has trained many homegrown celebrities and now is helping grant wishes to moms with breast cancer. by Melanie Gaball Xtreme Martial Arts founder Michael Chaturantabut, better known as Mike Chat, has trained many homegrown celebrities at XMA World Headquarters in Studio City. Now the man who guided the Twilight saga’s Taylor Laughtner through on-camera fight scenes is focused on a new project initiated by two of his...

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Samantha Kurtzman

Samantha Kurtzman-Counter: The Mother Company’s Mom

Samantha Kurtzman-Counter co-founded The Mother Company, which produces the “Ruby’s Studio” books, apps, shows and activities, after her son Jack was born. by Elena Epstein Samantha Kurtzman-Counter was enjoying a successful career as a television and film producer and director when she became a mom. “I thought I would return to work within three weeks of having my son,” she says. “But, once Jack was born, I quickly realized I...

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Noreen Fraser

Noreen Fraser: Using Comedy To Fight Cancer

The powerhouse behind the Noreen Fraser Foundation is living with stage IV breast cancer, and has raised more than $12 million to help save women’s lives. by Lisa Castillo Cancer is no laughing matter, but Noreen Fraser believes that comedy can help us come closer to finding a cure. Fraser is a breast cancer survivor living with stage IV metastatic breast cancer, co-creator and co-producer of Stand up to Cancer...

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Basketball

Lisa Leslie’s Layups and Leadership

WNBA Star’s Academy Goes Beyond Basketball By Elena Epstein Hannah Martin, 13, doesn’t mind waking up early on Saturday mornings to drive from Los Angeles to Calabasas for a basketball clinic. Like the other boys and girls enrolled in this program, she’s fueled by an extra dose of adrenaline stemming from the opportunity to learn from WNBA legend, Lisa Leslie. “I’ve learned so much,” says Hannah, who started playing basketball...

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