People working to benefit families in L.A.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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L.A. Mom’s Photo Exhibit Explores Student Stress

Pamela Mayers-Schoenberg’s photo exhibit, When Did it Stop Being Fun, is much more than an art show. It’s a personal statement from a mom on a mission. Mayers-Schoenberg, a Los Angeles-based photographer and mom of three kids ages 11-17, has witnessed firsthand the academic and extracurricular stress and anxiety that has become part of our children’s lives. Starting in elementary school, students now work to build a résumé that will...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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LAUSD Teacher Makes National Award Finals

Daniel Jocz, who teaches at Downtown Magnets High School and is a 2016 California Teacher of the Year, has been selected as one of four finalists nationwide for the 2016 National Teacher of the Year award. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the selection this week. “Daniel is a dedicated, passionate, and innovative educator who incorporates popular culture and music in the teaching of history and social studies in...

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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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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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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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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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Sabrina Carpenter is darling as Wendy in Peter Pan and Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas. PHOTO BY F. SCOTT SCHAFER

“Girl Meets World’s” Sabrina Carpenter Visits Neverland

Sabrina Carpenter has a lot to be excited about. The 16-year-old stars in the popular Disney Channel comedy “Girl Meets World,” and earlier this year she put out a major-label CD, Eyes Wide Open. But at the moment she is most excited about playing Wendy in the Lythgoe Family Production of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell – A Pirates Christmas at the Pasadena Playhouse. “I’ve always wanted to do theater....

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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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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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Actor Taye Diggs attends the Mixed Me Book Launch + Multiculti Mixer on October 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Mixed Up Clothing, Inc.)

Actor Taye Diggs Celebrates Diversity With New Children’s Book

Helping kids of mixed race and culture celebrate their uniqueness with confidence was the focus of a recent Multiculti Mixer in West Los Angeles featuring a special appearance and book reading by actor Taye Diggs. The event was hosted by Multiculti Corner, a culturally diverse community of people with the intention to recognize, embrace, and celebrate what it means to be a part of a blended family. The co-host of...

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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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Kip’s Celebrates 70 Years of Toys and Smiles

Don Kipper started working at his father’s toy store, Kip’s Toyland, when he was 9 years old. Besides dusting and organizing shelves, his main duty was tying strings to balloons. Balloons and flags were the main items sold at Kip’s Toyland when it first opened in 1945. Don’s father, Irvin “Kip” Kipper, had just returned home from serving as a U.S. Army Air Corps pilot in World War II. During...

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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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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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A Conversation with “Humpback Whales” Director Greg MacGillivray

10-year-old Theodore is a student in the San Gabriel Valley. He was chosen as the winner of this year's Kid Critics Challenge hosted by L.A. Parent, the California Science Center and  MacGillivray Freeman Films. As the winner, Theodore was given the opportunity to interview the director, Greg MacGillivray.  By Theodore - Age 10 Like an ocean-based Ansel Adams, veteran filmmaker Greg MacGillivray uses the latest in visual technology to offer viewers a glimpse...

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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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Dara the Bow Girl: Master Chef Jr. Finalist and Kid Cook

MasterChef Junior premiered in September 2013, and while contestants aren’t asked to wear the traditional chef’s toque, one did sport some distinctive head gear. Dara “the Bow Girl” Yu, who went on to become the runner-up that season, was there with her trademark hair bow, dazzling the judges with dish after dish. Yu, who started cooking when she was 7 or 8 and is now 14 and taking advantage of...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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LA Education

L.A. Teachers Selected for Raytheon-Engineering is Elementary Scholarships

In a boost for LA education in the area of science, technology, engineering and math, five L.A. teachers have been awarded scholarships to attend a workshop at the Museum of Science, Boston. The workshop will help them implement the museum’s Engineering is Elementary STEM curriculum in their classrooms. Winners were selected based on the innovative methods they use to teach engineering concepts and to create enthusiasm among students. Among the...

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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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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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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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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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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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Panorama City Kids Get a Farmers’ Market Field Trip With a Local Doctor

Panorama City physician Carlos Mendez, MD, led a walking field trip with third-grade students, parents and staff from Ranchito Elementary school to the Kaiser Permanente Panorama City Farmers Market Nov. 19. Along the way, Mendez showcased interactive booths at the Farmers Market and chatted with the families about the benefits of physical activity and filling their plates with fresh fruits and vegetables. The field trip, part of Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Mario Lopez poses with Saint Anne’s students Saamera Jamai, Grade 5; Karla Lazaro, Grade 5; Ricky Diaz, Grade 3; Reiland Bruskotter, Grade 2; Andy Diaz, Grade 3 and Jack Evans, Grade 2. Each ran more than 100 miles this school year under the Marathon Kids 26.2 Mile Challenge. PHOTO BY KATHERINE DELAGARZA

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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WAVE Awards Honor Venice Teachers

By Elena Epstein We all know the tremendous impact a teacher can have on a child’s life. In Venice, a group of parents and community and business leaders has created an annual tradition celebrating the dedication and passion of the educators in their community. The 4th Annual WAVE Awards, held May 8 at the Rose Café and Market, brought together 17 local schools and organization for a fun evening of...

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Dina Kimmel rocks the spectrum with husband Tim, son Gabriel and daughter Sophia. PHOTO COURTESY WE ROCK THE SPECTRUM

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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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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This Local Girl Will Bop

This Local Girl Will Bop Around the World

New Kidz Bop kid Ashlynn Chong, from L.A., dishes about being new to the crew. by Michael Berick Ashlynn Chong is proof of the adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” When she was 9, she auditioned to be in Kidz Bop Kids – the youth singing group that has sold more than 14 million CDs worldwide. She didn’t make the cut. Last year, the 12-year-old Los...

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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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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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