Tag Archives: www.neighborsforkids.org

“Nightmare of Child Abuse!” Kids need trusted teachers & mentors in school and after-school…

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Dr. Wills Neighborhood Podcast click here…

Thanks to psychotherapist, author, speaker and all-around terrific dude Dr. Will Miller, BeAKidsHero now is available as a podcast!

dr-wills-neighborhood-logo-w-convDr. Will has put together an online community of podcasts as part of his Dr. Will’s Neighborhood, where folks can join “the best conversation in town”… and he’s invited BeAKidsHero to move into ‘the hood’! 😉

An impressive lineup of expert guests will join me in discussing ways to protect children from sexual abuse and other types of maltreatment, as well as a host of issues related to child abuse. Parents, teachers and other caring adults will gain greater insight into child protection and exploitation issues that can impact kids of all ages from infancy through their teenage years.  Expert guests will offer insight, advice and tips that can help each of us make a difference and truly improve the world one child at a time.

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Ginger Kadlec, “BeAKidsHero,” is one of my early collaborative friends in our work on behalf of Children and Families in Life after Trauma.  I’m grateful for her support and caring friendship.  Ginger encouraged me to keep writing in my blog, speaking, and authoring books.  Our best collaboration is “The War Within: PTSD” by Ginger Kadlec, published by Project Eve. My years of heartfelt work with www.neighborsforkids.org and the children we serve has been at the center of my own personal growth and healing as well.

Dr. Will talks about “Refrigerator Rights” with those trusted friends, neighbors and mentors outside of the home as a powerful social interaction benefit to help children who become isolated as a result of child abuse and maltreatment.  I certainly recall the loneliness of my childhood back in the 1950’s when our home was scary.  It was even worse trying to talk about it, so we lied to our teachers, coaches, friends and mentors.  We siblings hung on to hope that our toxic life at home was normal and we were tough.  We had very few close friends as we moved so often as a post WWII and Korean War US Navy military family.

Please listen to the podcast, Dr. Will’s Neighborhood with Ginger Kadlec.  This is honest straight talk for parents, teachers, and mentors.  The conversation touched my heart and soul!

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1&2…click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, please!

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Mitigating PTSD Trauma Informed Care…Children & Families in Life After Trauma…

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Trauma Informed Care…

Dear Kindred Spirits:

As an author, blogger, and child advocate, my great passion in life during my retirement years is to help stop the stigma connected with mental health, especially as it relates to the painful tragedy of children growing up in toxic homes where parents suffer with post traumatic stress. Kids inhale the pain of parents and often suffer in silence while exposed to anger, depression, and anxiety over extended periods of time. Children make adjustments and are resilient, but eventually leave home carrying all the emotional baggage with them. Parents, mentors, and teachers can make a huge difference in mitigating the toxic circumstances and longer term emotional damage to children, by becoming sensitive to how youngsters are affected at very early ages. Family members often take on the same symptoms of post traumatic stress if exposed daily to a life of toxic behaviors from adults.

I write in my most recent book, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 2, how children can be saved from the emotional damage of growing up in a toxic home. I also write in my blog, 
www.survivethriveptsd.com about the same topic along with a focus on K-12 education. I served on the board of www.neighborsforkids.org, an after-school program in Depoe Bay, Oregon. I also have had the honor to serve the citizens of Depoe Bay, Oregon as City Councilor.

I advocate for children because my childhood was consumed by the challenges of growing up with parents who suffered severe emotional damage following WWII and Korean War. My awareness of the symptoms of PTSD was very limited for most of my adult life until deciding to confront my own demons when researching and writing my first book Reconciliation: A Son’s Story. We live in in world where generations of wars have torn apart families, leaving them ignorant of the long term damage of PTSD on children who carry forward the emotional pain and symptoms that can linger for a lifetime without treatment. It is never too late to break the cycle of pain and to begin the journey of healing. I waited until age 64, and now live with an high level of awareness, providing a peace of mind never before achieved. But treating the symptoms of PTSD and keeping the pain at a safe distance is a work in progress. For this reason, I continue to push forward making a difference for others by writing and speaking about post trauma stress, including the toxic circumstances and painful outcomes, which can be mitigated with open and honest communications. Stopping the stigma and denial of this painful and life threatening disease is the first step in healing. We now have the awareness and tools to provide “trauma informed care” and delivered at a local level to more quickly recognize mental health symptoms and identify alternative treatment strategies for those who suffer.

Please feel free to contact me with your questions and conversation. You can use my blog, author page, and purchase my books to learn more. My only disclaimer is that my background and experience is that of a trauma survivor who thrives…and not a mental health professional. 

With best wishes for your good health and happiness…

Steve Sparks

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

 

Boomers Turn Age 70! We 46ers ain’t done yet!

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Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”

Boomers Turn 70!  by Bill Newcott, AARP Your Life… Reference article and website, click highlighted text.

Excerpt from my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, published in 2011…Signalman Publishing, Orlando, Florida

A New Beginning!

Using words like summary for the end of this story seems off the mark. I have a hopeful outlook in writing this book after doing research and connecting the dots. Life can begin again at any stage in life, especially for those of us who are entering the golden years. Writing this story has given me energy, renewed confidence, and a much brighter look into the future. Finding peace of mind has been a huge benefit, but requires continued effort. I believe more now that when one reaches out for answers to big questions and becomes fully engaged in living in a proactive way, we find more peace of mind. My thinking has changed from thoughts of death and dying or old age to planning my next writing project, next adventure, and sharing more romance with Judy. It is never time to sit down and forget about it all. It is extremely healthy for the mind and body to be engaged, to discover, to learn, and to love. Living, learning and loving never ends until the day we actually leave this life for good and go on to the next life, assuming the faith that this is where we are headed.

“Retirement” means transitioning to new beginnings rather than stepping away from all the action. There is really more action in retirement if you are willing to take the leap of faith, and jump in and continue to make a difference in your life and the life of others. The more of my time spent giving to others feels like a gift. Continuing to share my life with soul-mate and wife Judy is comforting and exciting. Finding new friends and building new relationships is invigorating. Getting the most out of participating in the lives of friends and family, including watching my children grow along with the grandkids, is most gratifying. I can say life is as good as it can be as long as my feet stay firmly on the ground. Writing this book clearly represents a new beginning. I am very thankful for having the motivation to tackle this project and the many rewards it has and will produce in the future. I am ready for the next surprise and challenge life has in store for us!

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I didn’t know in 2011 how writing my first non-fiction memoir, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, would change my life.  It was at that moment in time that writing became a source of healing from childhood invisible wounds.   Kathleen Casey-Kirschling, First Boomer, “You only have the moment. You can’t live in the past, and you don’t know what the future is going to bring.”  These words really hit home for me at this time in my life as age 70 looms on July 6, 2016.  Wow!  This new decade for me was a scary beginning of the New Year until healthy change came into my life and our family.  When it is time for change, it is up to all of us to take action…we own it!  My major action was to clear away my agenda and all commitments that were no longer rewarding or fun.  It was my time and the opportunity to make a difference for myself and to focus on my family, especially my loving wife, Judy.  I set myself free to love more, explore and to innovate.  It is a new day in the Sparks home!  We are busy with new goals, planning, and excitement for the very special years ahead of us.  I feel blessed and thankful for good health and new energy at age 69.  “We 46ers ain’t done yet!”

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books, etc.

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

Neighbors for Kids…Annual Gift Appeal… “Megan’s Story…”

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Neighbors For Kids has provided quality after-school and summer programs for school-aged youth in Lincoln County for over 15 years. Click image for larger view…

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Neighbors for Kids…click image for expanded view…

Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon  Please go to the highlighted website and make a DONATION…  www.neighborsforkids.org

“Neighbors For Kids is an equal opportunity provider”

Neighbors For Kids, a 501(c)(3) public charity, EIN 93-1262846

November 27, 2015

Dear Family, Friends, and Followers,

As the end of 2015 nears, we write to ask you to make an investment in the future of our local youth and include Neighbors For Kids in your year-end charitable giving. In addition to providing USDA-sponsored food programs, recreational activities and one-on-one professional tutoring in reading and math, our after-school and summer programs also offer a diverse array of classes, focusing on the STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math).

These programs foster interest and engagement in the STEAM subjects and ensure that youth in our coastal communities have pathways to achieving college and career readiness in STEAM.  Many of your neighbors, family members, and friends everywhere are already supporting our programs, but we need your help as well if we are to further our mission and accommodate the needs of the additional youth who continue to sign up each month to take advantage of the life-altering programs we offer. Perhaps you think your gift won’t matter. If that’s the case, permit me to share with you just one of the many personal success stories that were made possible in part by the generous past support of other local residents just like you:

Megan’s Story…

Megan, who is now 13 years old, has attended our programs for the past four years. She joined NFK’s Kids Zone program at age 9 when she came to live with her grandmother Kim. Earlier in her life, Megan suffered child abuse. Her mother went to prison, and she was in foster care off and on. As a result, she had no stability in her early years, and, as her grandmother states, “She felt like she had no voice.” But happily, the Kids Zone program changed all that. Again, in Kim’s own words:

“Kids Zone was the first place to give Megan unconditional love and a place to be where there was no judgment. Before entering the program she was shy, withdrawn, depressed, and had very low self-esteem. The Kids Zone alleviated her anxiety, and she could finally speak her mind, her voice could be heard. She now realizes she has a voice, she values it and knows it matters. She has been able to develop confidence.” Megan now has all A’s and B’s in her classes. Although she is in the 8th grade, she is taking high school level classes. She is in the Talented and Gifted program, takes part in an extra curricular science club called GEMS (Girls Engineering Math & Science) and is part of Save Our Shores, researching and studying the ocean and behavior of whales along the Washington and Oregon coasts. She also surfs, plays volleyball and softball. When asked how she feels NFK’s programs have changed Megan’s life, her grandmother sums it up this way:

Neighbors For Kids gave her the right circumstances to not only thrive but also to excel in her life. She always knew she’d be safe and taken care of at the Kids Zone. She knows Kids Zone Afterschool Program is a consistent and  safe place to be, and it has been a second home for Megan.  She has been able to develop skills and passion for music, art and science. She’s been able to work on her intellectual side but also have opportunities to just be a kid and have fun!”

NFK’s nationally-acclaimed enrichment programs fulfill a critical need in our local communities by supporting the academic and social development of our area’s youth. Studies show that students who participate in effective afterschool and summer programs like those provided by NFK show an increased interest in school and express greater hope for the future. They earn higher grades, have improved attendance, develop better communication skills, demonstrate higher social competence and are more apt to graduate than youth who are left alone and unsupervised during out-of-school hours.

We hope you’ll make a tax-deductible gift to NFK this year so we can put your contribution to work helping other students like Megan develop the academic, social and personal skills they need to achieve their greatest potential.  Please take a moment right now and click on www.neighborsforkids.org and make a donation.   Or, if you prefer, simply call 541-765-8990 to contribute.

Many thanks and best wishes for a happy New Year!

Cordially,

Bob Houston, NFK Chair

Steve Sparks, NFK Vice Chair

P.S. Your gift is essential to ensure the success of our programs and the impacts they have on the youth we serve. Please be as generous as you can.

 

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November 20th Universal Childrens Day…”Be A Kids Hero!”

 

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Be A Kids Hero…click image for larger view…

Universal Children’s Day  Guest Post by LAURIE A. GRAY, JD http://sumo.ly/cNqo via @GingerKadlec  Click the highlighted text link for more…

“November 20 is Universal Children’s Day.  The date marks the day the United Nations (“UN”) adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

Within a year of its enactment, 130 nations ratified this treaty guaranteeing certain fundamental human rights to children. Today the UNCRC stands as the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. With Somalia and South Sudan ratifying the treaty in 2015, only one nation has refused to stand with the rest of the world to protect children: The United States of America.

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I am a proud member of Ginger Kadlec”s “Be A Kids Hero”   As an author, blogger, and child advocate for many years, it is an honor to help advance awareness of the rights of children of all ages, especially child abuse and maltreatment.  My great passion is supporting the education of children through my work with Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon.  As parents, teachers,  and mentors we should be more aware of the steps we can take to protect our most precious asset, the children of all ages everywhere.

“In the United States we now acknowledge that corporal punishment inflicted on one’s spouse is a form of domestic violence, but about 70% of parents still cling to the belief that hitting, slapping, and other forms of violence intended to inflict physical pain on a child are appropriate.”  UNCRC. Article 37(a) states, “No child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”  The United States needs to ratify the UNCRC Treaty to join all nations who provide children with the same protections under the legal system as adults.  Please take quality time to become more aware of the UNCRC Treaty and encourage your congressional delegation to act on behalf of America’s children.  “Be A Kids Hero” and do your part in recognition of Universal Children’s Day…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and ordering books and Amazon.com products…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

Neighbors for Kids and Kids Zone Presents “BeatlesFest” at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, Lincoln City Oregon, Saturday Nov7th…Doors Open 630pm…

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Neighbors for Kids 3rd Annual Music and Fund Raising Event “BeatlesFest” at the Lincoln City Cultural Center, Lincoln City, Oregon Saturday November 7th

Neighbors for Kids, “BeatlesFest” at the Lincoln City Cultural Center  Quote from this link…

Take some great songs and make them better at the Kids Zone BeatlesFest

 

Story & photos by Patrick Alexander

Oregon Coast TODAY

Let it be known that the sounds of the Beatles will fill the auditorium of the Lincoln City Cultural Center on Saturday, Nov. 7, as Neighbors for Kids holds a fund-raising music festival honoring the Fab Four.

All you need is love in your heart, a spring in your step and $15 in your pocket to enjoy BeatlesFest, an evening packed with classic hits, great food and gourmet whisky tasting.

All proceeds go toward the group’s Kids Zone education enrichment program in Depoe Bay, where dedicated staff put in a hard day’s night eight days a week, providing supplemental art, music, math and science activities for kids of all income levels.

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I could not be more proud of the work of Neighbors for Kids and our signature “Kids Zone” after-school program.  My 6 years serving on the NFK Board has been a heartfelt and personally rewarding experience to watch us grow and make a huge difference for the children and families of greater Depoe Bay and Lincoln County Oregon.

For a non-profit business enterprise, we must become great at fund raising along with value added program development.  Otherwise, we would be unable to sustain the operations expenses connected with providing excellent programming by retaining professional staff and the many volunteers who help us each and every day of the year.  The diversified funding from grant makers, individual donations, and fund raising events, like the upcoming BeatlesFest, including the tireless work of board members, staff, and volunteers is the “magic sauce” of our continued success.  We are kindred spirits with a common goal and passion to provide children in our community the very best in education, mentoring, and a healthy life style.

Thank you for your continued support!  Join us on November 7th at the Lincoln City Cultural Center for a fun evening for a great cause, Kids Zone…  Order your tickets to BeatlesFest from our website highlighted below, or just show up for the event.

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate…

Vice Chair, Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate

 

Children’s Trust of MA is a Gift for Children & Families…Protect & Preserve the Journey of Childhood…

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The Gift of a Smile from your Child…

about the children’s trust

The Children’s Trust is Massachusetts’ leading family support organization. We strengthen the Commonwealth by funding and managing parenting support programs designed to help families raise physically and emotionally healthy children.

With support from the Children’s Trust, young children across Massachusetts can grow up in nurturing families and communities, healthy and ready to succeed.

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I signed up to receive daily Twitter messages on my smartphone from https://twitter.com/trust4kids in 2011 when my first book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, was published by Signalman Publishing.  It was at this time that my life changed forever.  My own journey of healing in life after trauma kicked in like no other time in my life!

Since then, the daily Tweets, including the above “Childhood is a Journey” graphic, come to me from @trust4kids as an instant reminder of why it is critical for parents, teachers, and mentors to give the gift of childhood to our kids from the very moment of birth, especially in those early years to age 6.  The research and practical experience shows that after age 6, children have a wired framework for moral values.  Once a kid reaches age 6 and beyond, changing behaviors from a toxic world to a healthy disposition is a retrofit challenge for a very long time…  In my case, it took 64 years of my life to labor through depression, anxiety, and anger to achieve a lasting peace of mind.

In addition to robust social media resources, local early childhood and after-school or out-of-school programs like Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon help children and families build a healthy kick-start for kids.  My work and passion in life is advocacy for the healthy minds and bodies of children.  Give your child the gift of peace of mind in the beginning by nurturing emotional strength, early learning opportunities, and healthy social interactions with peers and adults.  It definitely takes more than one parent and one family to build a healthy foundation for all children…it is in a healthy community where kids thrive…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

SteveSunriver

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

Please Help Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon…overflow parking required by zoning laws…

 

GoFundMe…Neighbors for Kids overflow parking is required by City of Depoe Bay zoning.  Our 7600 sqft community education and recreation center needs additional parking to hold special events for children and families…and for earned income opportunities and fund raising…

A donation of any amount is most appreciated…Thank you!

Steve Sparks, Vice Chair, www.neighborsforkids.org

 

Vote Steve Sparks for Depoe Bay, Oregon City Council, Position 5… Read this important blog post!

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Steve Sparks, Author, Leadership Coach, US Navy Veteran & Children’s Advocate

 

Community Building  Click for more on my recent article, “How to Treat “Silo Disorder,” a Detriment to Community Growth and Vitality…  Quote from article…by Steve Sparks

“I was asked again yesterday, what is meant by my reference to a rural community sickness coined by me as “Silo Disorder.”  For starters click on the highlighted text link that defines a “silo” mostly connected with a farming community where grain is stored in tall cylinder structures close to rail transportation.  My work over the past 25 years in rural community building projects reveals that the greatest challenge and obstacle to overcome at the beginning of any project for the “greater good” is to get our neighbors and community leaders to talk to each other, build relationships, discover teamwork, and find common ground…  We often refer to this process as leadership, but I don’t believe defining leadership initially helps…it is too subjective.  Leadership means different things to folks and the dots are rarely connected unless there is a reference to something tangible and attention getting like “silo disorder.”  If we all stay in our tiny sheltered world of self interests only, we never see the light of day or the bigger picture of what we should be talking about to build community vitality where new opportunities are discovered…where innovation happens…where we begin to find new social investment capital never before realized by creating public private partnerships (PPP)… click for graphic images…”

Depoe Bay, Oregon…”World’s Smallest Harbor”  Click on highlighted text for more…

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Entrance to Depoe Bay Harbor…Click for larger view…

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Depoe Bay “Fleet of Flowers” Celebration… Click on highlighted text for more…

 

Following is my candidates statement found on page 21-11 of the Voters’ Pamphlet… Click highlighted text for Oregon General Election for November 4, 2014…

“I believe in the empowerment of community building and outreach strategies through collaborations and partnerships with local, state, and federal government, public private non-profits, private sector, and volunteers, all critical partners for community growth and vitality. Effective team building and collaborative commitments in Lincoln County have proven to be a successful enterprise, enhancing the quality of life for children and families, especially in education.

As a US Navy veteran from the Vietnam era and a post WWII military child, I am passionate about caring for veterans and families as a commitment to their sacrifice of service to protect our freedoms during all wars past and present. We have an eternal obligation and debt that can never be fully paid back to those who have served America in the military, as a first responder or in  public service.  We can never thank appreciate enough the service of the hundreds of volunteers in Lincoln County who work tirelessly and passionately to make a difference in our community.  The spirit of volunteerism is ever present right here in Depoe Bay.

As a City of Depoe Bay Councilor, I promise to be fair, objective, and compassionate about community service with the goal of achieving the very best quality of life and economic growth for all citizens for generations to come. It is my duty and heartfelt honor to serve!!!

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click highlighted text for my author page…

 

Don’t miss Neighbors for Kids Annual Fall Music Fest II… Eden Hall, Gleneden Beach, Oregon Oct 18th 7pm…

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2nd Annual Fall Music Festival flyer – 2014

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June Rushing Band, Click highlighted text for YouTube music clip…

 

Neighbors for Kids 2nd Annual Fall Music Event!  Click on highlighted text for more…

Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon is holding its 2nd annual music event on October 18th at Eden Hall, Gleneden Beach, Oregon.  Our first annual music event last year was a big success, so we decided to put this fund raiser on our calendar again this year by popular demand.  Please come out and enjoy The June Rushing Band (click highlighted text for video music clip) and other local bands for an evening of dancing and fun to benefit children and families of Lincoln County Oregon…

Steve Sparks, Vice Chair, Neighbors for Kids