Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 2
The Editor’s Desk EMPOWERED
For Today’s Young Parent
I remember when the idea for this magazine hit me. I
don’t recall what I was doing, but I do remember feeling an ex- Publisher/Editor/Photographer
citement I hadn’t felt in a while. The idea in mind, to me, was Angela Giles Klocke
sure to be a success, something that would reach more young par-
ents than before. Contributing Writers
Of course, then I got worried. What if I couldn’t pull off what I really Erin M. Blakemore, C.B. Calsing,
intended to be a good thing? What if I failed miserably? What if I simply Marifrances Conrad, Ursula Furi-Perry,
wasn’t cut out for it? Norma Jean Howland,
Steven Manchester, Melissa McNallan,
The truth is, this is exactly how I felt with each new child, especially
my first. When I was pregnant with Scott, I was only 14. I was sure, at first,
Mary Mitchell, Phyllis Edgerly Ring,
that I would be the perfect mother, as in, this was the role for me. Though un- Catherine L. Tully, J. Wallace
planned, this was a great idea! And then I got very worried. What if I couldn’t
pull off being a good mom? What if I failed miserably? What if I simply
EMPOWERED, founded in 2005, is a One
wasn’t cut out to be a mom?
Young Parent publication. Published bi-
14 years later, I still find myself questioning my abilities. I still won- monthly, it is free to be distributed in full to
der if I’ll do a good job. I still hope I don’t fail miserably. groups, organizations or individuals, either in
print or on disk. Permission is not required to
That’s what EMPOWERED is about, really. How to EMPOWER
share EMPOWERED, though all work is
yourself as a parent so that you will think those thoughts less often. copyrighted and may not be used in other for-
Oh sure, you’ll still wonder, but it is my hope that this magazine will mats without permission from the publisher.
help you grow and be the best you can be, each and every day. I hope you en-
joy it, use it, pass it around, and even let me know what you think. Reader Feedback
Write EMPOWERED to share your
thoughts. Published letters may be edited
Making Mom Time: Simple Solu-
IN THIS ISSUE tions to a Stress-Free You
for length and content/clarity. Writers may
request names be withheld from publica-
By Erin M. Blakemore—page 7 tion. Send letters to:
Helping Your Teachers Help You
By C.B. Calsing—page 3 Know Your Role Mail:
By Steven Manchester—page 9
Defying the Odds
By Mary Mitchell—page 4 Time Is of the Essence: Time Man-
agement Tips for Student-Parents
Great Credit 101 By Ursula Furi-Perry—page 11
By Melissa McNallan—page 5
9 Fun Family Activities That Won't
When Opportunity Calls
By Phyllis Edgerly Ring—page 6
Break The Bank
By Catherine L. Tully & J. Wallace—
IN EVERY ISSUE
Photo Brag Page—page 8
On the cover: Journaling: A Family Affair
By Angela Giles Klocke—page 13 COLUMN: Snakes and Snails & Sugar
Young mom Kati and Spice, Humor—page 10
Wallace cuddles her ROCK THAT INTERVIEW!
son, Cameron. Job Interview Techniques That Will You Said WHAT?! —page 10
Make Them Say, “YOU’RE HIRED!”
Photo by AGK
By Marifrances Conrad—page 14 Support Group Directory—page 17
Program Profile: Teen Parenting In Their Words:
By Norma Jean Howland—page 16 Advice From Teen Parents
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 3
when they see their teacher in a restaurant
Helping Your Teachers Help You or shopping at the mall. Teachers have
lives just like everyone else. They also
By C.B. Calsing expect you to have a kid. You have to have personality flaws, just like everyone
give patience to get patience; if you want else. Some may be judgmental, stubborn,
them to work with you and make some
O ne of the best things you can do allowances, then you have to be tolerant
or self-righteous. If you end up with a
teacher who, despite your best efforts,
to assure your children a bright financial of their ignorance. Educate them as to the still refuses to work with you, you need to
future is to pursue your education. This best ways to help you as a young parent. know the available choices. It will do you
doesn't mean having to finish high school.
little good to spend the entire semester
In California, you can take a test and get a 3. Let them know your childcare situa- beating your head against a wall. Ask
Certificate of Proficiency, then enter a tion. For parents, a problem with child- yourself these questions:
community college or trade school. In- care is probably the biggest cause of tar-
structors at these schools are more famil- diness and absenteeism at school. Let • Is there another section of the class,
iar when it comes to working with stu- your teachers know ahead of time, before taught by a different teacher, you can
dent-parents and non-traditional sched- the problem occurs. Do you use an out-of- switch to?
ules. Just one class a week could get you home provider? Do you have to wait for a
on track. Jeannine Nicole, a secondary spouse or loved one to get home before
teacher in New Orleans, gives another • Is there a different class that will ful-
you can leave for class? Do you have to fill your requirements (like taking
reason why education is important: take your child on the bus to his or her
"You need to work to make sure sociology instead of psychology)
childcare, and then catch another bus to
your child is going to learn from you," she your school? These are issues that should
says. "Don't give them an excuse to ques- • Can you test out of the class?
be explained to your teacher before you
tion your intelligence [as a parent]. You miss a class.
have to be able to have the wisdom to ad- • Can you put the class off until an-
vise your child about the different ave- other quarter or semester when you
4. Remember, teachers have as many as
nues of life." The best way to ensure you could get another teacher?
200 other students and can’t always
possess this wisdom is to continue your remember the exact situations of each
education. one. My suggestion for this is to give • Can you substitute a correspondence
Regardless of whether you decide to each teacher a cheat sheet they can put course from another school?
finish high school or try something differ- inside their attendance book, like a busi-
ent, it is important that you consider how ness card. On it, give the name and age of Most of these options are going
much information you should share with your child, his or her childcare situation, to be available to a college student,
your teachers. Here are a few hints that any medical conditions that may require whereas it might be more difficult for a
will help you get the most out of your you to leave class, and your contact infor- high school student. If you are still in
class time and your relationship with your mation. Having it all at hand will help jog high school, make sure to talk to your
teacher. your teacher's memory when you come in guidance counselor.
late for a class or have to take a [discreet] One young mother I spoke with,
1. Be honest! A few years ago, I taught at cell phone call outside class. who has been going to college on and off
a high school for at-risk students. There since her daughter was born, almost 12
was something going on with one of my 5. Keep an open line of communication years ago, had this parting advice: "Four,
girls, but I didn't know what. She was during office hours and via e-mail. five, six years goes really fast compared
bright, but missed class frequently, was There is a right time for everything! Don't to the rest of your life. If you desperately
tired, and didn't turn in assignments. come in late and try to explain your tardi- want out of a situation you're in, set goals
Eventually, my principal approached me; ness during class time; there is nothing and don't allow yourself to fall short of
he found out from her mother that this more irritating to a teacher or the class. them. Put a picture of a new car or home
student had a baby, but the student had Take ample advantage of office hours or on the fridge and think to yourself "I'm
refused to tell her teachers. There was a e-mail to keep in touch with your teachers going to have that someday"- and really
time when reasons existed to hide being a instead. They take the time to sit in their believe it."
teen parent, but today it is important to office and wait to see students, and stu-
tell your teachers the truth. That is the dents rarely come (except when there is a
first step to success. paper due or a test to complain about). C.B. Calsing grew up on the Central
Use those dead hours to create a positive Coast of California and holds a bache-
2. Understand that most teachers do relationship with your teacher and to get lor's in English and a teaching credential
not have a lot of experience with par- help. from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She now
ent-students. Although the world is resides in New Orleans, where she tutors,
changing, and more young people have 6. If a teacher won’t cooperate, know writes avidly, and edits the literary
children, most high school teachers won't your options. Students are surprised journal The Deconstruction Quarterly.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 4
In Their Words
Advice From Teen Parents
“Always kiss your
If it is done then live with it. Take every day with your child like it is
your last, because if you are a single parent, then you know you wake children goodnight -
up everyday with that fear. Shannon
even if they're
Concentrate on you and your child. Put the rest of the garbage out of
your mind. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Remember they grow up fast, so enjoy every moment. Holly -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
piness, despite our struggles. been a better path for either my
Defying the Odds Today, we live in our dream daughter or me, and I think, deep
By Mary Mitchell
home in an affluent community, my down, they know that.
"You're far too young to be a mother." husband makes a six-figure salary, The "your marriage will
"You should get an abortion. It's just a blob of and we have two other beautiful never last" cynics must be in
tissue, after all!" children. shock each time my husband and I
"Your life will be ruined if you have this baby." All of the "your life will be celebrate another anniversary (15
"Your marriage will never last."
ruined" predictors can only shake and counting!) Not only has our
If you're a teen parent, these their heads in amazement when they marriage lasted, but it has also
words probably walk into my been rich and wonderful. We are
sound familiar. home, which, each other's best friends, support
Perhaps you've more often system, confidante, and soul mate.
also encountered than not is lar- I thank God every day for blessing
well-intentioned ger than their me with such a perfect union.
yet hurtful people own. Not to The "you're too young to
who think they sound proud, be a good mother" crowd surely
know what's best but you can't must envy the close relationship I
for you and your help but feel a have with my daughter, as well.
baby. I myself twinge of pride She knows she can tell me any-
heard them con- when those thing, and she does. Adults are
stantly when I that predicted amazed at her maturity, responsi-
found myself preg- your downfall bility and character. She is the
nant at the age of turned out to most sought after babysitter in our
16. be so wrong. neighborhood! Yes, I can proudly
But that was more than four- The "it's just a blob of tis- say I've done an excellent job as a
teen years ago, and guess what? They sue" naysayers are dumbfounded mother.
were wrong. Dead wrong. when they see the talented and de- The point of this is not to
Despite my own worries and lightful young woman my daughter brag about myself, but to offer
misgivings (could I really make it in has grown into. Star of her soccer you hope for your future and your
this world and keep my baby?), abor- team and straight-A earner, it gives children's futures. The next time
tion was never an option for me. I one pause to think. someone tells you that you cannot
knew that the life growing inside of Can they honestly look into succeed, that the child you may be
me deserved protection, and protect it her soulful brown eyes and not real- carrying is worthless, or that your
I would. ize it is this child's life that would've life will be ruined, turn your heart
I married my baby's father and been snuffed out had I listened to away from those voices and in-
things were far from easy for all of us. them? So much beauty and talent stead give it to your child. You'll
The one constant in our lives, how- sucked into the vacuum of a cold- be surprised by all that you will
ever, was love, commitment, and hap- hearted abortionist could not have achieve…together.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 5
volving debt is the almighty credit payments, one could purchase a
Great Credit 101 card. Owning one department store home. There are other factors, but the
By Melissa McNallan credit card or one general credit card four trade lines are a positive start.
(Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.) can Lenders often look for com-
H ave you thought about es- be beneficial to your credit score. It is pensating factors when trying to help
tablishing financial security for you not a necessary building block, an individual with a blemish on either
and your child(ren)? Building solid though. his or her income or credit. Job stabil-
credit is an essential part of establish- Having too many credit cards ity can be an important compensating
ing that security. There are some ba- can harm one’s score. Even if all pay- factor. Being at the same position,
sics that everyone should know about ments are made in a timely manner, preferably with the same company,
credit, basics that I did not fully un- too many credit cards can prevent a for at least two years helps establish
derstand until I was 26 and working person from making large purchases. stability.
in the mortgage industry. Having too many credit cards is like Once a consistent income is
The most obvious and diffi- tying a bunch of heavy rocks around established, a lender can then exam-
cult step to building great credit is to your body before jumping into a lake. ine one’s debt to income ratio or what
pay all of your bills on time all of the If you’re already drowning in debt, you make that others take. It is pre-
time. If that cannot be managed (I you certainly are not alone. It seems ferred that an individual pays no more
know, I’ve been there) try to keep any to be becoming an unfortunate fad. than 29% of his or her income on a
late payment from going thirty days Installment debt can be a house payment or rent for a maximum
late. great ally in building a solid founda- total of 41% of his or her income in
Late payments show up on tion of good credit. An installment debt.
credit reports in thirty-day incre- debt is any debt that has a definite end One of the best things one
ments. If your payment is received date and that has the same payment can do to boost lenders’ confidence in
and posted twenty-nine days late, it required each month. A student loan his or her ability to repay a debt is to
may not harm your credit. I do not is the best installment debt to incur, demonstrate an ability to save. If one
recommend the gamble, though. because lenders view student loans as is able to put down at least twenty
Do you know your credit investments in an individual’s future. percent of the total cost on a major
score and what your score means? If However, if one begins to struggle to purchase, a lender is much more
you don’t have a score, it shows that pay off his or her student loans, it is likely to look on him or her favorably.
you have either not had an opportu- time to have those payments deferred. Having an IRA fund, a 401k, money
nity to establish credit or that none of Both personal loans and car market, CD account or investments in
your credit history is positive. Any loans are forms of installment debt. A stocks and bonds in addition to a sav-
score between 400 and 500 is consid- personal loan from your bank can be ings account with money in it is also
ered poor. more financially beneficial than hav- beneficial.
Between 500 and 600, one ing a credit card. It is best to take out To begin building great
has some work to do but may be con- a car loan with caution. Keep in mind credit, sit down and examine what
sidered a worthwhile risk for a lender. when purchasing a vehicle that they you make that others take right now.
Anything from the mid-600s and up is quickly depreciate. Compare rates for Do you have current debt? If so, how
good. If a person has a score of 700 or car loans; your bank may be able to much money can be used to pay off
above, then it’s time for the lenders to get a better rate for you than the deal- that debt each month? How much
roll out the red carpet. ership. money can be put into savings? Also,
Another important step in es- Another way to establish figure out the debt-load that can be
tablishing great credit is to understand credit without incurring debt is with safely managed.
the difference between revolving trade lines. A trade line is any bill Set specific goals and execute
debt, installment debt and trade lines. paid on a monthly basis. A trade line them. It’s great to write them down
Which debt is best? What kind of debt can be a phone bill, electric, cable, on paper. It’s wonderful to intend to
do you need in order to earn the credit gas or garbage disposal bill. Health or follow through on what is written.
you require? car insurance, union dues, health club Mark Walsh, an Australian Entrepre-
A revolving debt is any debt membership payments can also be neur with a multi-million dollar cor-
that has no definite end date and that counted as trade lines. With four trade poration said that, “the road to Hell is
one can continuously borrow more lines established for at least twelve paved on good intentions.”
from. The most common form of re- months without any thirty-day late
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 6
When Opportunity Calls
By Phyllis Edgerly Ring swirled around me when I was a young
mom. This little scene exemplifies what I
find myself wanting to urge so many
I recently witnessed some master- parents to do – slow down and simply be
ful parenting in action. present with your kids, because you have
I was sitting in a café when a young no idea how fast the time will go. Yes, I
mother entered with two preschool children know this sounds cliché to young par-
and, while she placed their order at the ents. And yes, there are unquestionably
counter, the children went to find a table. This days when it feels as though life pur-
provoked a disagreement that made one of posefully slows to a crawl to stretch us
them very upset. It’s always challenging to out on some torture rack of parental hell-
respond to such things as a parent, tougher still on-earth. Those moments when kids
in public places. What struck me most was this reach their limit and spew it out in the
mother’s presence of mind in the moment, as most public places aren’t ones we want told me the magazine was buying my story.
well as where her priorities lay. to preserve in mental snapshots for later view- I wanted to call six friends to share
While showing consideration for ing. They’re definitely a time when we feel this hoped-for news, but I had more important
those around her, as well as her other child, pulled into survival mode. business at the table where my son sat looking
she stopped what she was doing and gave her Yet, this mother in the café didn’t. miserable. I joined him and asked, more gen-
troubled son such authentic attention that, sit- Forgoing her personal reaction in favor of sim- tly than I might have minutes before, why
ting several tables away, I felt a wave of com- ply being present for her child, she also man- he’d done what he had. It became obvious this
fort myself. She didn’t seem worried about aged to bypass the explosive kind of scene that hadn’t been an act of malice toward anyone.
appearances, or how she was going to head could have ensued, although I don’t think that From his small perspective, it was his first
this off, or whether or not to give him what he was her primary motive. brave attempt to use the phone – what we’d
wanted. She simply focused on responding to Around the time our son was about been encouraging him to do – and he appeared
his feelings. the same age as hers, I was anxiously awaiting to have failed dismally.
I wish I had a photograph of what a call from the editor of a well-known maga- That nice editor had provided an
this looked like. It would say more than whole zine. He’d agreed to a look at a manuscript of entrée to a different kind of interaction with
chapters about effective parenting, and I think mine, and when, after a long time, I’d heard my son. “The man told me he was sorry you
many of us would feel some younger, smaller nothing further, I summoned up the courage to didn’t stay on the phone so that he could say
part of ourselves longing to receive such treat- call and ask about it and was told he’d return ‘hello’ to you,” I told him. Then we talked
ment. my call when he came out of a meeting. about why telephone courtesy helps everyone
She dropped gently to his eye level At that time, our son was nearly tele- feel friendlier.
in the most unthreatening manner and drew phone-phobic. Even when invited to speak “I’m sorry, too,” he said. When
close to him. With empathy in her eyes, she with a grandparent or other loved one, he’d asked whether he’d like to tell the caller him-
rested her hands on him as he shook with his run screaming from the receiver and nothing self, he looked uneasy, but nodded, and I sug-
teary tale of woe. we tried seemed to make any difference, so we gested he find paper and pencil.
His body language reflected exactly didn’t press it. “Crayons, too?” the young oppor-
what happens when someone gives us such You can imagine my surprise when, tunist asked, and I figured, why not.
sincere attention. The sadness under his upset as I prepared dinner while listening for the He sat at the kitchen table and wrote
was able to surface and he looked like some- phone, I saw him dash toward it suddenly a note that filled one side of a sheet of station-
one who feels acknowledged and safe. when it rang. Stunned, I watched him pick up ery with a single sentence of irregular letters
When she moved away and left him the receiver, look at it briefly, put it to his ear, nearly an inch tall: “Dear Mr. ____, I am sorry
for a bit, he didn’t insistently force his issue. and say cheerily, “Hang up, will ya?” before I hung up and I will be more polite next time.
He’d been able to receive attention for his replacing it firmly in its cradle. Your Friend,” and added his name. Preferring
feelings without having to turn volcanic, had- Those were long, frozen seconds visual art over the written word, he embel-
n’t had to swallow them because of threats or during which our eyes met in ominous silence lished this with several small drawings.
shame. before the phone rang again. I remember say- About a week later, he received a
She set some sort of limit that kept ing without too much emotion, “You will sit postcard with a photograph of the magazine’s
him at that table on his own for a little longer over there and wait for me until I’m finished.” headquarters and a very nice message. My son
as he finished working through his difficulty. I’ll never forget the uncertain fear in his eyes, LOVED getting mail. He eventually came to
But a perceptible companionship surrounded the way he looked alone and confused. He feel better about phone calls, too.
him as she and the other child sat at an adja- would later tell me, “I wanted to help you be- On far too many occasions, I let
cent table and included him in their conversa- cause you were busy.” preoccupation distract me from being present
tion. His quiet sobs faded, he began to eat the I never expected humor from the for my child first, from responding in a way
snack she’d bought him, and he eventually caller. “After hanging up your manuscript so I’d feel better about today. But at one juncture
joined them at the other table. long, I probably deserved that,” he joked. He at least, life offered a chance to assess and act
Being a nearly-empty-nester, I no- asked whether this was common behavior in on my priorities, and, thankfully, I not only
tice and respond to such things much differ- small children (he was a new father), or sim- managed to take it, but to see it in the first
ently than when two small children of my own ply a customary greeting at our house. He also place.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 7
Making Mom Time: Simple Solutions to a Stress-Free You
By Erin M. Blakemore ing the ground, if possible. Relax your Every morning, take an affirmation
upper body, stretch those fingertips and slip from your jar and read it to yourself
feel the gentle stretch through your lower in front of the mirror. Repetition of these
T hree in the afternoon and your back. positive messages will help you face each
eyes just won't stay open. The baby is new day and its challenges with relaxa-
screaming for his fifth nursing of the day. Cat Stretch: Loosen up your neck and tion and confidence.
Your body aches as you drag yourself spine with this feline stretch. Start on
over to the crib. How are you supposed to your hands and knees, making sure your Journaling: Everyone has something to
take care of this new baby when your knees are underneath your hips and your say – especially you! A journal can be a
body and mind are trying desperately to elbows line up with your wrists. Breathe great place to record your emotions, plan
recover from pregnancy and labor? in, raising your head and pushing your your future or just vent. Decorate an inex-
All too often, a baby isn't the spine up towards the ceiling. Pull your pensive spiral notebook or blank book,
only thing a young mother brings home abdominal muscles toward the spine and and pick up a pen. Your journal is for you
from the hospital. Physical and emotional round it upward before returning to a neu- and only you – even five minutes a day
strain often follows as well. The series of tral position. can help relieve stress and help you re-
life-changing decisions and transitions flect on how far you've come. You can
that begin with pregnancy don't end with Time Out write without limitations or worries about
your baby's birth. Luckily, even teen spelling or grammar – just "talk" on paper
moms have inexpensive, natural solutions You thought the journey of preg- and give your emotions a safe place to
available to prepare you for life as happy, nancy would never end, but now you've rest.
healthy parents. Try these easy tips to turned onto an even scarier road: the life-
lighten the load of new motherhood: long role of motherhood. As a new Meditation: Quiet time isn't just for gu-
mother, you're experiencing a roller rus. No matter what your religion or spiri-
Stretch for Stress coaster of emotions – excited one mo- tual path, meditation can provide a quiet
ment, irritated and frightened the next. time that will leave you centered and re-
Sneak away for a quick stretch The best gift you can give yourself and freshed for your tasks as a mother. Five
and reap benefits to body and mind. Your your baby is the gift of a stress-free, posi- quiet moments in the morning or just be-
body needs help recovering, and gentle tive mother – and you can use these easy fore bed are a great way to get on track,
motion will help you ease into a healthy tools to give you the peace and confi- even when you face financial or emo-
recovery from pregnancy and childbirth, dence you deserve. tional challenges in your life as a parent.
and these simple stretches can be per- Light a candle or just close your eyes,
formed anytime, anywhere! Affirmations: One of the most powerful breathing in and out steadily and focusing
tools you have at your disposal is the on your breath. Focus on a positive affir-
Shoulder Shrugs: This exercise is great power of positive thinking. The "tapes" mation, try to quiet your thoughts, or just
for stressful moments – a proactive solu- we play to ourselves in our minds affect let them wander. Say a prayer or recite
tion to the stress that can collect in your the outcomes of all of our actions. By us- your favorite poem. Relax and think
shoulder blades and upper back. Breathe ing simple affirmations, or positive state- about what it feels like to be you, today.
in and scrunch your shoulders up towards ments, you can change the soundtrack of
your ears. Contract your stomach muscles your days as a new mom from something Making mom time is like starting a
as hard as you can and hold your breath downbeat and negative to an optimistic savings account – every investment you
for a moment before releasing both your and constructive reflection of your goals make in yourself will yield lifelong bene-
breath and your shoulders. and skills. Make an "affirmation jar" out fits to you and your new family. Stress
of a coffee can or cleaned jar that you and fear is normal in any transition pe-
Child's Pose: Connect with the relaxa- decorate with ribbons or magazine cut- riod, but you have the resources you need
tion your baby felt in the womb and get outs. Then fill out slips of paper with "I to get through it.
ready to stretch the lower back and thighs. can" and "I am" affirmations like these:
Come onto your hands and knees, bring- Erin M. Blakemore is a freelance writer
ing your big toes together and moving based in San Diego, California. Her work has
• I can face each day with
your knees slightly wider than your hips. appeared in San Diego CityBeat and the San
confidence. Diego Free Press. In addition to her work
Now move back towards your heels, • I can make my own decisions. with the local independent media movement,
stretching your arms forward in front of • I am patient and calm. she volunteers as a reproductive health and
you. Your buttocks should rest on your
• I choose happiness. goals mentor to at-risk teens through the
heels and your upper body should stretch BRIGHT Families Program. She is currently
• I can accept change.
across the floor with the forehead touch- completing her first novel.
• I can!
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 8
Share your favorite photo with us!
Send your photo and you could see it
on our Brag Page, featured in every
issue. Please include your child’s first
name only, age when the photo was
taken, and why you like the photo so
much. By sending your photo, you
grant EMPOWERED the right to
publish your photo on this page, one
time only. Please only send photos Kati Wallace shares Cameron trying to lift his head at three months old.
you have permission to send. Do not Photo by AGK Photography
send copyrighted photos (i.e. photos
taken by studios or school).
Your Brag Photo HERE!
Angela Giles Klocke shares her favorite
photo of her second son, Brian, when he was
one year old. He is now 10.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 9
mean, who’s raising whom? With the ero- “What’s the story with children
Know Your Role sion, or collapse, of the church in the raising their voices to their parents? I was
By Steven Manchester daily lives of our kids, where else can we taught that if you can’t respect your
afford to fail? Children NEED to take re- mother, then whom could you respect?
sponsibility for their actions. This, unfor- And with that attitude, you’re destined to
M ax had taken enough. Jackie tunately, must be taught. But there’s no live a lonesome existence anyway. Who
was completely self-absorbed, had a real time, right? Today, it takes the average would want to share your company? Peo-
bad attitude, and was incapable of being family a double income to survive. Kids ple who are completely self-absorbed do
taught anything because she knew it all. don’t see their parents all week, so when not enjoy a successful life because life is
In short, she was a normal, healthy 11- they do, parents are too guilt-driven to be mostly about peacefully co-existing and
year-old. Max finally told her, “You want anything but friends. ‘I don’t see my little learning to compromise. But what if you
to run the show, then run it. For the entire girl enough to be yelling or disciplining were never taught? Is it your fault, or
day, whatever you say goes, OK?” her.’ And I can’t imagine a better way to your parents’?”
Paula didn’t like it, but he cripple a kid who needs these things to The lack of routine was starting
needed to make the point. He added, become a healthy, normal-functioning to make Jackie feel uneasy, but she stayed
“And all you have to do is listen to me for adult.” strong. “Everybody goes to bed late!”
ten minutes every two hours, OK? As they wrecked the house in Paula cringed. Max could only smile. He
Jackie nodded. The deal was play, they ate piles of junk food, giving threw on a horror movie and made an-
sealed. Paula grinned and shook her head every fallen crumb an extra smash into other bowl of popcorn. It was going to be
at the craziness. Max was confident that it the carpet. a long night.
wouldn’t take long to make his point. “It’s become nothing more than “The Bible says, ‘The man who
Jackie ordered, “No school or role reversal,” he said. “Children are now holds back the switch on his children,
work today.” They didn’t go. ‘entitled’ and express themselves at will. does not love them.’ Today, people con-
Max took his ten minutes. It’s a heavy price to pay, though. In pay- fuse child abuse with discipline. They
“Without knowledge or experience, kids ment, they’re cheated structure, discipline hold back, take the easier road, and then
now call the shots and lead their parents and a solid sense of security. Yet, without wonder later why their children are in se-
around by their noses. If that isn’t bad experience or knowledge, they think rious trouble. Why not! Consequences are
enough, outsiders now have a say. If you they’ve become the boss and act as such. a new idea. ‘My child would never do
discipline a child who needs it in a gro- Know your role, I say!” that’ is the last thing a parent should ever
cery store, there’s a fine line before some- Jackie knew her role for the day, say. Sheltering and protecting is not the
one may say something and speak out and called the shots. They did everything same as making excuses and cheating a
against it. This may prove a wonderful she wished. It was frightening. young person out of personal growth and
opportunity to hammer a lesson home to a “Independence, strong- a taste of reality; reality as they’ll have no
kid, but it’s also a way to get the cops mindedness and similar characteristics are choice but to face in a few short years.”
questioning you on abuse. Today, lawyers not a fair trade-off for failing to learn re- Jackie looked green. She
are pleading for kids to sue their own par- spect, honor and self-discipline. Trust me, groaned. “Can I go to bed now?”
ents. I mean, think about it: Whatever the ‘one man show’ is a bad rerun. I “You’re the one calling the
happened to the days when you stole mean, it’s insane! When did we become shots, right?”
something from the farm stand, got our children’s peers, their friends? When She stood, kissed her weary
caught by your parents, and were forced did we stop being their guides and teach- mother and turned to Max. She grinned.
to go back and confess your dirty deed to ers, even as hard as that can be some- “OK Max, I surrender.”
the farmer himself. Back then, the whole times? At one time, not so long ago, it “Good,” he said. “Now, let us
village really reared children. But not to- was said that children were seen and not do our job and you do yours, OK?”
day. Today, the villagers are too busy heard. Though I don’t agree with that ap- She kissed him and as she
worrying about themselves to take the proach either, today, those same-aged walked away, Paula whispered, “I think
time and effort. Whatever happened to the people DEMAND things. I don’t get it? you taught her good.”
days when people took responsibility for Where’s the happy medium?” He smiled. “Well, that’s good,”
their every action? And they say we’ve By the time dinner rolled around, he whispered back, “but it wasn’t Jackie I
made progress?” Max had been injured while horsing was talking to.”
At the end of the first spiel, around, Paula was exhausted beyond ex-
Jackie served candy bars for breakfast. planation, and Jackie had vomited twice When not spending time with his sons,
As Max finished his third choco- from all the sweets she inhaled. Collec- writing, teaching, or promoting his pub-
late bar, he further explained his frustra- tively, they were sick and miserable. The lished books/films, Steven Manchester, a
tion and logic. “If a child chooses to ex- house was a disaster, and people were Massachusetts author, speaks publicly to
press him or herself at the risk of being starting to call, concerned. Max forged troubled children through the “Straight
disrespectful to others, is it worth it? I on. Ahead” Program.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 10
Snakes and Snails & Sugar and Spice—Humor
And again, they smiled po-
A Column By Angela Giles Klocke
litely while nervously You Said WHAT?!
playing with invisible lint
and tugging at their shirt- “Don’t let me lose this race!”
We continued talk-
ing as things seemed to
I was in full-blown la-
bor with my third child, and the
quiet down in the bed-
room. pain medication that had been
"Kids are really so given to me was really kicking
funny," one of the guests in. So much so that I was un-
commented. This was able to keep my eyes open. I
coming from someone who was aware and unaware, all at
didn't have kids and had the same time. I could hear in
never had the pleasure of the background the Sunday
being humiliated by one in NASCAR race, and before I
Be Careful What You Say public before. knew it, the words, “Don’t let
I agreed that they are so me lose this race!” came out of
E very parent knows to
funny and tried to steer the conversa-
tion elsewhere. About that time, my
my mouth. I knew I said it, but
watch what he or she says. Once a
daughter started up again.
I couldn’t seem to stop myself
child becomes of speaking age, they from saying it.
"I have had it! When you're
will repeat anything. And they will “Honey, this isn’t a
18, you are out of here!"
only do it at the most embarrassing race,” said one of the nurses.
I just bowed my head. It was
times. “I can’t lose!” I said.
true. I had said those very words and
A few weeks ago, I had com-
other variations for years, except I felt someone pat my
pany visiting. These visitors didn't
never in an angry tone, as my daugh- hand. “It’s going to be OK…” I
really know how my children are or,
ter was now using. I have told my don’t think they had any idea
in fact, how I am as a parent. They
oldest son on more than one occasion that I could hear the race and
were quite shocked when they heard
that I was going to be at his high instead they thought I was de-
my daughter playing by herself in her
school graduation with his bags
room. lirious. And maybe I was.
packed, ready to see him off to col-
"You sit right there and eat or
lege. Who knew the little one was
I'll lock you in the closet!" she fussed
to her dolls. What do you remember saying
My guests left that day acting
I looked at my guests and while you were in labor?
as if nothing out of the ordinary had
smiled painfully. "I don't lock them in What’s your funny story?
happened, but the looks on their faces
closets, I swear."
were a dead giveaway. They thought I
They smiled back politely and
was the worst parent of all time. And Mail to:
acted as if they completely under-
I haven't heard from them since.
stood. INFORMATION REMOVED
If there's a lesson in this, and
"That's it! One more word
there always is, I know that I should
and I will put tape on your mouth!" Be sure to include your name, if
definitely watch what I say from now
she screamed. you wish for it to be published
on. Here I thought I was doing well
Again, I faced my guests, my with your short story.
by not cursing, but I've been proven
face getting more and more heated.
wrong. More than anything, though, I
"OK, once I did put tape on
would love to be around when my
one of their mouths, but it was a joke
guests have children. Wouldn't that be
and we laughed about it. Really," I
said, trying so hard to convince them.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 11
Time Is of the Essence: Time Management Tips for Student-Parents
By Ursula Furi-Perry friend—one week, you’ll take her list and Turla says. “Look at balance as a series of
shop for both households; the next week, investments. Some days you overdraw
Y our homework’s waiting pa- you’ll have the ex- your bank account,
tiently. Your children are not. Of course,
by the time you finish feeding, bathing,
tra time to study. “Balancing your educa- and other days you put
Form a babysitting extra money into it.
tutoring, singing and reading to your co-op in your tion and parenting Look at long-term
whole family, you’re too tired to do
schoolwork. Who has the time to go to
nating weekly and
responsibilities is a tough trends to make sure
you ultimately aren't
school and parent? allowing all partici- task, especially if full- or going broke.” While
Balancing your education and
parenting responsibilities is a tough task,
pants to have an
part-time work is added you may not spend an
equal amount of time
especially if full- or part-time work is
added to the mix. Donald Wetmore, J.D.,
the kids. When all to the mix.” on each area every
else fails, ask for day, it’s important to
MBA knows the experience first-hand: he help—family and friends may be more allocate some time to each. “If any one of
attended law school and business school receptive to helping out than you think! these is out of whack, it will interfere
simultaneously, all the while running his with the others,” Wetmore warns. “For
own business and raising his small chil- Plan ahead when possible example, health problems due to lack of
dren. “I learned quickly that there’s little “All time management methods require a sleep may cause lack of productivity at
correlation between the quality of time little structure and discipline,” Turla says. work and school, as well as lack of enjoy-
spent on different aspects of one’s life Keep track of your school assignments, ment of one’s family and social life.”
and the output received,” says Wetmore, work-related deadlines, and any family
now President of the Productivity Insti- events and activities you’ll attend. Have Keep the rewards in mind
tute in Stratford, Connecticut. “I learned at least two calendars: a weekly calendar “There’s no intrinsic reward to anything
that success doesn’t have to mean spend- to track your everyday activities and a you do unless it is important to you and
ing more time.” semester-based calendar to keep track of gets you where you want to be,” says
In fact, the key is to use avail- the big picture. “Block out the big, impor- Wetmore. “Think ahead to the last day of
able time effectively. “A few high qual- tant stuff first and see how much time you your life—in each of the seven vital ar-
ity minutes one-on-one with the kids at have left over for the rest of your priori- eas, where do you end up?” Think of life
bedtime can make up for many low qual- ties,” Turla recommends. as a book, Wetmore explains: every day,
ity minutes in the same room with them,” you’re writing the story of your life and
says Peter “The Time Man” Turla, time Watch for signs of burnout adding a new page. Consider what you’d
management expert and author. Consider “One cause of academic failure is lack of like to accomplish in order to end up with
using “down-time” to boost your produc- time and energy,” says Wetmore. Lack of a balanced, healthy, successful, and joyful
tivity: chat with your kids while making time, rest and sleep can quickly add up to book.
dinner, study while doing laundry, make physical, mental and emotional burnout.
business calls in-between classes, and That will not only set you up for failure, it Say goodbye to perfection
take a nap during your commute may also have other detrimental effects, “If something is worth doing, it's often
(provided you’re not driving, of course!) like causing fights with your loved ones better to do it poorly than not at all,”
Both Turla and Wetmore believe that and alienating you from friends and co- Turla says. “Instead of demanding time
speed-reading saves hours on reading as- workers. One good rule of thumb is to ask management perfection from yourself,
signments, and Turla recommends re- those you trust to keep an eye on your simply demand progress.” Perhaps you
cording class lectures, then downloading well-being. “If people around you are didn’t get everything done on your list
them into your computer to save time on feeling your burnout, chances are, you yesterday, but you certainly continue to
note taking. need to [take it easy,]” Wetmore recom- add to your list of accomplishments every
You may also buy extra time by mends. day. Let that progress propel you through
delegating some tasks. “Buying grocer- the tough experience of being a student-
ies and cleaning the house may be neces- Try to maintain balance parent despite having little time on your
sary tasks, but you don’t necessarily have “There are seven vital areas which need hands.
to do them yourself,” Wetmore says. to be balanced in our lives,” Wetmore
“Hire a college associate, a ‘gofer’ to do says. “They include health, family, and Ursula Furi-Perry is a nationally pub-
menial tasks for you.” While your assis- finances, as well as the intellectual, so- lished freelance writer and adjunct col-
tant mows the lawn, you’ll be able to cial, spiritual and professional compo- lege instructor. She attends the Massa-
study for your exams. If money is tight, nents.” How you balance those areas, and chusetts School of Law and is mommy to
consider a compromise. For example, any others you may deem important, is up a toddler son. She can be reached at
trade off grocery shopping with a to you. “Balance is not a constant state,” firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 12
9 Fun Family are another yummy
setting a time limit. It's a fun exercise in
creativity that will get them excited and
maybe even discover some hidden talents.
Activities That Won't 3. Dust off those un-
wanted items that are
This can also be done indoors--you could
even model for them.
Break The Bank
taking up space and
round up the out- 7. Check out the calendar of events at lo-
grown clothes to sell cal zoos, museums, art galleries and other
them off at a yard or attractions. Many offer free days or re-
By Catherine L. Tully & J. Wallace garage sale. If you don't have a yard or duced prices depending on the time of
garage, check with your neighbors. You day or year. Some of the smaller art gal-
S pending quality time with the can always pool your resources and have
one big sale if someone is willing to pro-
leries ask only for a donation as an en-
trance fee, and there are often plays at
family is important, but when money is
vide the space. The kids can help price parks and other areas that are offered for
tight finding ways to stretch your dollar
the sale items and put them on display. free.
while still having fun can be tough. In
The money you make can pay for a night
spite of the high cost of family entertain-
out to get ice cream with the family, or 8. Do you have a green thumb? Set aside
ment these days, there are still ways to
you can start a vacation fund by putting it a nice spot outside for a family garden.
have fun without spending a lot of money.
all in a special savings account. There are many inexpensive plants that
What follows are ideas that are either free
are easy to care for, and everyone can
activities for your family, or low-cost
4. Everyone loves an outdoor picnic, but help to get the garden going and take care
things to do. Many of these activities will
why not have one inside on a rainy or of it. Herbs, tomatoes and lettuce are just
get you out of the house for a while, and
really cold day? An indoor picnic is just a few of the plants that can actually save
some of them are designed for those win-
the ticket to ease the kids' disappointment you money once they start thriving. If you
ter days where you are stuck inside and
when they have to stay inside during bad live in an apartment, why not try some
can't get outdoors. Even though these
weather. Roll out a blanket for a picnic container gardening? You can set it up
things are fun, most have good, educa-
area. Make sandwiches and cut them into indoors or on a patio or balcony.
tional aspects about them, too.
fun shapes. You can use a cookie-cutter
or just a knife to cut stars, squares and 9. Collect old magazines and newspapers
1. Local animal shelters need a lot of vol-
circles. Keep the TV turned off, sing to make collages by cutting out pictures
unteer help to socialize the many dogs
songs, and eat off of paper plates (no and words and gluing them to a piece of
and cats that come through their doors in
cleanup!). You can even put away a few heavy paper or cardboard. Don't have
need of a home. This free activity is not
special items that you only bring out for many magazines handy? Ask a local sa-
only great fun for the kids, but it also
these "picnics," such as a bottle of bub- lon or doctor's office to save some of their
helps make the animals more adoptable—
bles or a favorite game. old copies for you. Each person can make
cats and dogs need to be around people or
his or her own, or you can do the cutting
they don't make good pets. When you go,
5. A trip to the local park is nothing new, and let the kids paste. Non-toxic glue
talk to the staff at the shelter and ask them
but a scavenger hunt for things found in sticks work especially well for this pro-
to teach your kids the best ways to give
nature is a fun game you and the kids can ject.
attention to their new animal friends. This
play together. Make a big list that in-
will help them learn how to play with cats
cludes things like pinecones, fallen leaves You don't need a ton of money
and dogs safely.
of a certain color, rocks, or whatever to have a terrific time with the family—
items the kids can find outdoors where just a little imagination and a few ideas to
2. It's a childhood ritual: the good old-
you live. When they have found every- get you started. Try some of these activi-
fashioned lemonade stand. This can be an
thing, you can examine your finds and ties, or use them to brainstorm your own.
exciting venture for kids, especially if you
talk about the hunt. You can also have a You can make them a family tradition,
join in. Have them help with all of the
special surprise for them if they find eve- and have a fantastic time!
setup—making the sign, putting up the
rything on the list.
stand and making and selling the lemon-
ade. One of the best learning experiences
6. Why not try some art? Grab some pa- Catherine L. Tully and J. Wallace are
is making change for customers. By stay-
per, crayons, colored pencils or washable freelance writing partners who met in
ing outside with them, you can make sure
markers, and pads of drawing paper. Find Japan. Both have enjoyed all of the ac-
the day is safe and fun for everyone. Be
a nice scenic spot somewhere and let the tivities in this article—either with kids or
sure to make a special batch of home-
kids set up. Have the kids draw what they as kids—so they know from experience
made lemonade just for the family to en-
see. You can make it more fun by bring- what a good time can be had by all.
joy. You don't have to limit yourselves to
ing a kitchen timer or watch with you and
lemonade, either—home baked cookies
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 13
Journaling: A Family Affair
By Angela Giles Klocke
In this day and age, families are
constantly on the lookout for ways to
spend quality time together. Some real
quality-time projects take real thinking.
Family trips are great, but not everyone
can afford to take them all the time. But
when you do, whether it is to the park or
on a mountain hike, you can work to-
gether to preserve the memory.
My family keeps a family jour-
nal. After returning from family outings,
everyone gathers together and takes a turn
jotting down their day and what they
thought of it. We list the pros and cons of
each outing, and makes notes on whether • Family photos Journal writing time isn't just
we would like to return again and what, if • Binder limited to after taking trips, though.
anything, we have learned. • Blank Photo Pages We work on our journal after fun days
The journal is made accessible to • Pens of school, interesting days of work, etc.
the whole family so they can look through This helps the family also keep up to
it at any time. Once pictures from our date with how each other's days went.
outings are developed, we place them in Rather than just talking about our days,
the journal also. • Scissors (for trimming photos)
we are working together on a fun pro-
ject and making memories to last.
It's always best to try to work on
What will you need? the journal the same day as your trip, if
Just as baby books are great
for reading once children grow up, a
feasible. If not, make sure you do it as
• One (or a few) regular notebooks family journal will always evoke fond
soon as you can. Little ones tend to forget
OR; memories of the times in the past, as
their excitement or what they saw if too
• Loose-leaf notebook paper well as the time spent putting it all to-
much time lapses before they get to tell
• Construction paper gether. It will always be a cherished
you their thoughts.
In Their Words
Advice From Teen Parents
I gave birth to my daughter on 12/9/00 at 28 weeks. I had just turned 19. My advice for teen parents is to
have faith. There will be many people who don't think that you can be a good parent. However, you need to
gain your support from those who do support you. Most of all, you need to believe in yourself. If you be-
lieve with all your heart that you can be a great parent, then those doubts that others may have in you will
have little if no effect at all on you. Don't let anyone get you down because you're young. You can show the
same amount of love and compassion for your child as a person who is older can. People in this world need
to realize that it isn't just teen parents who are unfit to be parents; there are many people considered "of
age" that shouldn't by any means have children. People need to stop stereotyping teen parents and making
them feel like they can't succeed because in all truth, they can. A teen can love their child and work hard to
achieve great things. If anything they are learning more from their child/children because they are working
hard against society to make it in today's world. All in all, HAVE FAITH, YOU CAN DO IT!!! Karley
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 14
ROCK THAT INTERVIEW! tion, no matter how unjust, that she might
not know the unwritten laws of proper
behavior on the job, either.
Job Interview Techniques of employee who will call in sick all the What do I mean when I say,
time because of your kid, or who will de- "dress conservatively?" Well, for women,
That Will Make Them Say, mand too many scheduling accommoda- that means wearing a suit jacket with a
“YOU’RE HIRED!” tions because you lack reliable child care. skirt or with pants, low-heeled shoes, ho-
By Marifrances Conrad It's not fair for employers to be so judg- siery, minimal jewelry (take out the eye-
mental, but unfortunately, they are. brow and nose rings), and just a trace of
Don't worry—once you're hired, makeup. Cover any tattoos. If you wear a
Oh, those pesky job interviews. most employers will be delighted to allow skirt, it should be at your knees or below.
You took the time to research the open your child to visit your workplace. They If you wear pants, they should pass the
position. You spent what seemed like can fall in love with your cutie after "penny test." If your pants feel too tight
hours creating a resume and filling out a you've landed the job. when you bend over to pick up a penny,
long, boring job application. Now you they're too tight to wear to a job inter-
have to pass a nerve-wracking job inter- TECHNIQUE NUMBER THREE: RE- view.
view. SEARCH THE COMPANY For men, a suit is always best to
As a librarian and professional One of the interview questions wear to an interview. However, everyone
theater director, I've interviewed hundreds you'll be asked is, "What do you know understands that good suits are expensive.
of teens, including teen parents, for em- about our company?" There's no getting If you can't wear a suit, don't worry -- a
ployment. I've seen the techniques the around it—you've got to know some pair of dress slacks with cuffs, dress
brightest and the best teens used to make facts, or you're sunk. shoes, dress socks, a button-down shirt
themselves stand out from the rest and At the very least, you should with a collar, and a tie are just fine to
convince me to hire them. know when the company was founded, wear to an interview. Men should also
Let me share some of these help- what the company specializes in, and any remove facial piercings and cover tattoos.
ful (and easy) techniques for you to use to special awards or notoriety the company I can hear you saying, "But I
at your next job interview: has received. You can find this informa- don't have a fortune to spend on all these
tion using a Google search and the com- clothes!" So do what even celebrities
TECHNIQUE NUMBER 1: TAKE pany's Web site. have admitted to doing -- go to the thrift
NOTES DURING YOUR INTER- Don't have a computer? Go to store. Clothes and shoes at thrift stores
VIEW the public library and use a computer are cheap, cheap, cheap, so everyone can
It might feel weird, but if you there, or ask a reference librarian for help. afford to buy.
whip out a pad of paper and a pen and It's free!
take notes during your interview, you'll TECHNIQUE NUMBER FIVE:
vastly increase your chances of being SECRET NUMBER FOUR: NOT STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD
hired. Why? Because taking notes during EVERYONE IS AS COOL AS YOU As an interviewer, it's happened
the interview gives the impression that ARE -- DRESS CONSERVATIVELY! to me—I interviewed so many people for
you are serious about wanting the posi- a job that they all blurred together and I
tion. It also lets the interviewer see that I once worked at a library where couldn't remember who was who. Oops...
you are a diligent person who will pay a very talented teen mother interviewed that made it hard to decide whom to hire,
attention on the job. Taking notes is one for a clerk job. Everyone thought she had didn't it?
of the easiest, yet most overlooked, tech- wonderful qualifications, great references, It's not just me having a blonde
niques to acing a job interview. and a winning personality -- so why didn't moment, though. I've heard many other
she get the job? hiring managers say, "We interviewed so
TECHNIQUE NUMBER TWO: Unfortunately, she was dressed many people that we can't remember any-
LEAVE YOUR CUTIE AT HOME! way too cool at the interview. one!" What did they do? They hired the
I have seen this faux pas enough All organizations expect an in- person who made the strongest positive
times to be able to tell you...please don't terviewee to come to an interview dressed impression. That's what I have ended up
bring your kid, no matter how adorable, conservatively. The young lady in ques- doing as well; when confronted by hun-
to a job interview. tion above flunked her interview the mo- dreds of job applicants, I've hired the per-
Bringing your child to an inter- ment the branch manager saw that she son who stood out the most.
view gives the impression, however inac- was wearing a mini-skirt and a nose ring. So, how can you stand out from
curate, that you don't have the time or re- Nobody cared that she looked fabulous -- the rest of the teens who interviewed for
sources to dedicate to a job. An inter- what everybody cared about was that she that dream job you want so badly? Two
viewer will get the idea, no matter how seemed not to know the unwritten laws of words—follow up.
unfair it may be, that you will be the type job interviews. And that led to specula- continued on page 15…
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 15
ROCK THAT INTERVIEW continued ...
Following up is easy. The first thing
you should do is send a “thank you” card to MORE QUICK TIPS TO ROCK THAT INTERVIEW!
the person who interviewed you (ask your
interviewer for a business card at the end of
the interview so you'll have the correct ad- 1. All interviewers will ask you if you have any questions. Have at
dress). Yes, a “thank you” e-mail is accept- least three questions prepared in advance or you'll be caught with
able, but be warned—it doesn't make as
your mouth open and nothing to say.
much of an impression as a card.
Next, you should send a short email
or letter to your interviewer giving a specific 2. Smile, smile, smile -- even if it's fake! It's a proven fact that inter-
reason why you are such a great match for viewers respond more positively to applicants who smile than to ap-
the open position. Tell the employer about a plicants who don't.
recent accomplishment of yours, or a facet of
your personality that would make you a win- 3. If you don't have enough money to buy interview clothes at a
ner in the job you're trying to get. Don't thrift store, don't give up. Explain your situation to the manager of
sound boastful, but do sound confident the thrift store -- many stores will donate clothes to you free of
I assure you, these five techniques
charge if you can prove you can't afford to pay.
are quick and easy ways to make your next
job interview a successful one. Put these
techniques into practice and you will auto- 4. Practice job interviews with a friend or relative, and have them
matically become a cut above the competi- ask you tricky questions. That way, you'll be prepared and stay cool
tion. It really is that easy. if the interviewer throws you a curve ball at the interview.
Finally, please remember: everyone
is different. At an interview, have enough 5. Take a trip to the local library and ask the reference librarian for
confidence in yourself to allow your true and some books about job interviews. The more you learn about inter-
unique personality to shine through. Employ- viewing, the smoother you will be.
ers want to hire people with personalities, not -Marifrances Conrad
Good luck and happy interviewing!
Marifrances Conrad is a professional stage actor, director, and writer. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband and their
four cats. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University
of Pittsburgh. She has worked with teen parents in libraries and theaters for many years.
Does Reading Matter? them, in that same sing-song voice. It always seemed to
I began reading to my Now that they are older, the magic words in
first child while he was still in this house are "who wants to read a book?" They all
the womb. Now, fourteen come running, even though they can all read on their
years later, we still read to- own. Not only do they adore the one-on-one attention,
gether. Surrounded by him and but no one can read a story like a parent, I'm told.
his siblings, we always enjoy a Read to your children. And let them read to
few books every day. you. Take the time to sit with them and spin a tale. This
I believe I instilled is the quality time they need ... not that which many
my children with a love for the spend in front of the television. TV has its place, but
written word by starting so not when reading a book together could be done in-
soon. Not only do they under- stead.
stand the stories they hear, but they are learning a wider vo- Last, let your children see you reading. Not just when
cabulary. And my oldest has become a small spokesperson for you read to them, but for your own pleasure. Let them know the
the world of reading. He reads faster than any child I have ever worlds they will visit, the adventures they will take, and how
seen. much better they will be for having done so. Never let them think
Children need to be read to. The earlier one can start, reading is boring or unimportant, even if you don't like to read.
the better. My method of reading to mine while in the womb Children build some of their greatest academic skills from read-
was because I knew they could hear my soothing voice. And ing.
once they were born, I would read anything and everything to Have you read to your child today? -AGK
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 16
SUPPORT FOR TEENAGE PARENTS
Program Profile: Teen Parenting creating such a program is doing intensive who are concerned about the issue and
By Norma Jean Howland research. "Research, research, research," willing to lend a hand.
says Hermus. It is important to obtain Once the program is up and run-
The Teen Parenting Services demographics for your area to find out if ning, it is also important to keep track of
Program in Kingston, New York has been you can apply for funding. The statistics your own statistics, which could help with
helping young parents get their lives back on actual numbers of teen pregnancies future grant monies. For instance, in
on track for over 25 years. The program will be an important element in determin- Kingston, the Your Birth Program has
operates out of the YWCA and has served ing eligibility for funding. made strides in preventing premature la-
thousands of teenage parents since its in- Depending on your location, bor among teens. The program, which
ception in 1977. Today the program con- there will be different sources for fund- provides home visits by a nurse, helps
tinues to serve about 200 teens a year. ing. The program in Kingston receives pregnant teens with prenatal care and of-
"Some teen parents funding from fers advice about what to expect in preg-
are out on their own," says the Youth nancy and delivery. Up until 2003, the
Nan Hermus, Director of Bureau, the program had a 100 percent success rate
Youth and Family Services at
the YWCA. Although paren-
“There is no United Way
and the De-
with premature labors. However, the pro-
gram had one premature birth in 2003.
tal support can be very im-
portant for teenage parents, dry run for partment of
"Not one of those births (up until
this time) had been under birth weight,"
Hermus notes that not all vices, for says Hermus, who notes that this is no
families are supportive.
"They don't have a lot of re-
being a teens who
are on public
small feat considering the high risk of low
birth weight babies among teens, largely
sources. For some this is it." assistance. due to poor prenatal care and insufficient
Both moms and dads
are welcome in the Teen Par-
parent..." There are
weight gain. Pregnant teens are 50 per-
cent more likely to deliver babies weigh-
enting program, and the sites that can ing less than 5½ pounds.
youngest mother is just thirteen. Teens be helpful in gathering information. For When it comes to teenage par-
receive assistance with prenatal care, par- statistics on teenage pregnancy, those can ents, there are no easy answers, but a pro-
enting skills, childcare, emergency sup- be found at the census bureau Web site, gram like this can make a difference. Of-
plies, job training, schooling, as well as www.census.gov, which will help deter- ten, teens that suddenly find themselves
counseling to help with life decisions. mine demographics for your area. An- parents feel isolated and cut off from
Teens are encouraged to stay in school other good site is the NOAPPP, National friends because they are faced with enor-
and given the opportunity to work in the Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, mous responsibilities that their peers just
childcare center to experience first hand Parenting and Prevention, Inc., www. don't understand. A program like this can
how to care for babies, in an effort to re- noappp.org, and AGI (Alan Guttmacher help them feel like they are not alone. It
duce child abuse, such as shaken baby Institute), www.agi-usa.org. Both sites can also offer much needed encourage-
syndrome. To prevent repeat pregnancies, offer a wealth of information pertaining to ment and support to help them be good
the program offers education and encour- teen pregnancy, as well as federal facts parents.
ages dialogue between partners about and links. "There is no dry run for being a
birth control. The program also does out- "If enough of the population parent," says Park, adding that the pres-
reach to the community to prevent preg- needs services, there are several good sure of parenting is greater when you
nancies, through education in the schools, sources on the Web," says Hermus, who yourself are still a child. "I never met a
and works in conjunction with YES, says the Web can also be useful in locat- teen who didn't want to be a good parent,
(Youth Empowerment Series). ing other successful programs to use as a but it is difficult for them to do that and
Something else the program model for your area. take care of themselves. They all want a
aims to do is help teen parents learn better After you have compiled infor- better life for their baby than they had,"
communication skills. "We help them be mation and decided on which type of pro- says Park.
good advocates for themselves," says An- gram might be best suited for your area,
drea Park, Executive Director of the the next step is to talk to the community.
YWCA. "You can pick up the phone," Call up schools and community programs INFORMATION REMOVED
says Park. "We show them their rights." to find out what funding options are avail-
Hermus, who talks about how able for a program like this. Talk to com-
important this type of support system can munity leaders and get support for your
be for teen parents, says the first step in project. Most likely you will find others
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005 Page 17
SUPPORT GROUP DIRECTORY Classifieds
Place your classified ad with
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Mail to: INFORMATION REMOVED
Parenting Support Group for Teens
Albert Einstein Medical Center
5501 Old York Road, Philadelphia, PA
This support group requires registration
prior to attending. Please call
1-800-EINSTEIN to register.
Ohio State Extension Office
Teen mom mentor program, parenting.
Contact: (937) 372-9971
Program for Early Parent Support
(PEPS) King County
4649 Sunnyside Avenue North, Suite #324
Seattle, WA 98103-6900
Contact: Laura Farwell, Volunteer Resource
Manager, (206) 547-8570 ext.15
Web site: www.pepsgroup.org
It is much easier to become a father than to be one.
-Kent Nerburn, Letters to My Son: Reflections on Becoming a Man, 1994
Volume 1, Issue 1 — February/March 2005
Before you were conceived I wanted you
Before you were born I loved you
Before you were here an hour I would die for you
This is the miracle of life.
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INFORMATION REMOVED INFORMATION REMOVED