Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brookfield Zoo Asking Public to Help Name 4-Month-Old Gorilla Baby

On November 4, 2013, a very special birth occurred at Brookfield Zoo: a female western lowland gorilla was born to 18-year-old mom Koola. But the inquisitive little great ape still does not have a name. The Chicago Zoological Society,  which manages the zoo, is asking for the public’s help in selecting a name that she’ll go bananas over.

The primate staff and Stuart Strahl, Ph.D., the Society’s president and CEO, have selected four names. Those wishing to  help in the naming can cast votes on the zoo’s Web site at www.BrookfieldZoo.org/GorillaName. The names are:

  • Alima—which is a river in the Republic of Congo, where western lowland gorillas are native
  • Amelia—which means “industrious leader” or “flatterer”
  • Emma—named after Emma Stokes, a gorilla researcher who “discovered” a large population of western lowland gorillas in the Republic of Congo 
  • Nora—which means “light” or “honor”
The public can cast their vote from February 18, beginning at 9:00 a.m. CST, to March 3, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. CST. The name with the most votes will be announced on Tuesday, March 4, which is the same date the infant will be four months old.

“At nearly four months old, the infant is really starting to develop a personality,” said Craig Demitros, associate curator of primates for the Society. “Zoo guests will notice that Koola is still constantly carrying the baby, who has begun crawling on her mom’s belly. Also, the baby is becoming interested in her surroundings, is vocalizing more, is developing facial expressions, and has started to teethe.”
The public is encouraged to visit the unnamed infant at Brookfield Zoo during the contest period. The zoo is free on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays through February.

The Chicago Zoological Society inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for Brookfield Zoo's innovative, naturalistic, multispecies exhibits and for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. For further information, visit www.CZS.org.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hyde Park Day School to Hold Scholarship Fund Benefit

School Aims to Raise $250,000 to Assist Children with Complex Learning Disabilities

The Hyde Park Day School (HPDS) announced today that it is hosting an event to raise $250,000 for scholarships to help children with complex learning disabilities. The benefit, Making Bright Kids Futures Brighter, will take place on February 28th at the Glen View Club in Golf, Ill.

The HPDS is the only school in the Chicago area that specializes exclusively in addressing the needs of children of average-to-superior intelligence who have learning disabilities. The school educates these children whose complex learning needs cannot be served by traditional schools. The goal of the school is to provide a specialized learning experience so that eventually children can successful transition back to their home school community.

“More than a decade ago our school opened with five students. It now serves more than 100 children annually at two campuses, which speaks to the need for these types of educational options,” said Casey Crnich, executive director of HPDS. “Some children who are very bright have difficulty in a traditional school setting and need a different educational approach in order to unlock their learning potential.”

In 2000, the Leslie Shankman School Corporation at the University of Chicago established the HPDS to address the lack of educational options for children with complex learning disabilities. Just 14 years later, the HPDS has campuses in Chicago and Northfield, Ill. serving more than 100 students in grades 1-8 from all over the Chicago region, Indiana and Wisconsin.

“When we discovered our daughter’s learning challenges, we had hoped her public school could accommodate her needs. However, it became clear very quickly that they did not have the necessary resources for her complex learning issues.” said Catherine Daniels, co-chair of this year’s benefit.  “Hyde Park Day School was the only school that proved a fit for our intelligent daughter who learned in a non-traditional way. After transferring to HPDS our daughter transformed from having a defeatist attitude to one of confidence and an eagerness to learn, and she continues to develop the skills needed to succeed in life. She is now interested in becoming an inventor. Our son is also now attending HPDS and thriving as well. It is not an overstatement to say that the school has changed for the better the lives of our entire family.”

At HPDS, an individual learning plan is created for every student and is supported by a small class size (5 to 1 student to teacher ratio) and on-site specialists, including speech and occupational therapists.  Over the past decade, HPDS has successful transitioned 238 students back to their home school communities and 75 percent of all HPDS students go on to a two or four year college.
“Our scholarship fund is vital because approximately 35 percent of families at our school rely on some type of financial assistance to attend,” said Crnich. “We want to ensure that all families are able to benefit from the valuable educational services the HPDS provides.”

The Making Bright Kids Futures Brighter benefit will feature a live auction and performance by Jazz vocalist Tammy McCann. Bill Leff, midday host on WGN-AM 720, will serve as master of ceremonies and auctioneer.

HPDS is the premier educational organization for bright students who struggle with learning disabilities. In March of this year, HPDS is opening a brand new, state-of-the-art facility in Woodlawn that will expand the Chicago campus by 50 percent.

For more information about the HPDS or the Making Bright Kids Futures Brighter benefit, please go to hpds.uchicago.edu.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Family Bucket Lists e-book guides parents in designing their best plan for how they'll spend time as a family (now available in all e-reader formats and paperback). 

940 Saturdays plus 1,656 summer vacation days equals your kid's childhood. How are you spending that time?

Lara Krupicka, author of Family Bucket Lists: Bring More Fun, Adventure & Camaraderie Into Every Day, is helping parents key in on what they most want to experience as a family in order to maximize the days and years they have before their kids are grown. She sees bucket lists as the answer.

"Bucket lists are about dreaming together and setting off on adventure," says Krupicka. "They're about who we are and who we want to become."

Krupicka had noticed how once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and super-sized goals had encouraged her family to rally together and support one another. And she also experienced how going after her own life longings helped her ease back on pressuring her kids to perform.

When she began talking about family bucket lists, lists of experiences parents and kids want to share before the kids are grown, moms and dads took notice.

But with research suggesting written goals provide 33% greater success[1], Krupicka also emphasizes the need for families to put their ideas to paper and regularly talk about them. Her workbook provides a framework for those family conversations.

Readers have seen the difference.

Says Sharla Fritz, "This past summer I put Lara Krupicka's Bucket List principles to work and ended up having one of the best seasons of my life. As I checked off completed projects, fun adventures, and precious family experiences, I realized...I did not end up with empty regret. Instead I had a season full of beautiful memories."

Lara Krupicka hopes more and more families will join the ranks of those being intentional about their Saturdays and summer vacations by documenting and enjoying a family bucket list tailored to their family's interests and character. Family Bucket Lists is a tool for them to create a more authentic and fulfilling list than they would come up with on their own.

About Family Bucket Lists (http://larakrupicka.com/family-bucket-lists-e-book/)
Family Bucket Lists (Wordcrafter Communications, May 2013) offers a guided approach to planning bucket lists that take parents, kids, and families beyond stereotypical destinations and extravagant escapades. Learn how to create a personalized, meaningful list for the 18 years with children at home - and longer. Tips for troubleshooting a family list, along with suggestions on how to incorporate bucket lists into everyday family life, and ideas for commemorating accomplishments, make this a great companion for every family's adventures.

About Lara Krupicka
Lara Krupicka is a family bucket list advocate and parenting journalist with dozens of articles published online and in parenting magazines across North America. Lara is best known for her Bucket List Life Manifesto and Family Bucket Lists: Bring More Fun, Adventure and Camaraderie Into Every Day. She blogs at www.larakrupicka.com.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Save the Date: Healthy Children Conference and Expo Comes to Rosemont, IL, March 8-9, 2014

By The American Academy of Pediatrics

Parents, grandparents and caregivers in the Chicago region can learn from the nation’s most respected pediatric experts at a live educational event hosted by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Healthy Children Conference & Expo -- March 8-9, 2014, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. – offers both in-depth educational sessions and an interactive expo floor.
A full conference agenda, as well as registration information, is posted at http://www.healthychildrenexpo.org. 
Attendees can learn about the latest recommendations in nutrition, fitness, behavior, development and mental health, as well as up-to-date advice in managing chronic conditions like asthma and allergies. The expo will feature four pavilions of interactive displays and demonstrations, including:
  • Healthy Living – Information on children’s nutrition, fitness, oral health and emotional wellness;
  • Safety and Prevention –  Tips to keep children safe at home, on the road and at play, and advice on immunizations;
  • Family life – Information on family dynamics, parenting, and managing your family’s health;
  • Health Issues – The latest advice on common health conditions facing children today, including allergies, learning disabilities, obesity, eating disorders and acne.
“We know parents want the most up-to-date information to keep their families healthy, and this event gives them the chance to interact one-on-one with some of the top experts in pediatrics,” said pediatrician Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP. Dr. Shu, who is the medical editor of the AAP website for parents, HealthyChildren.org, will present two sessions at the expo, including a seminar on the latest recommendations in caring for newborns.
The show will feature an active play area for kids, a learning zone, family-friendly cooking demonstrations, and live family entertainment. Special programming is planned for children and child care providers. The expo floor will include children’s hospitals, parks, retailers, service providers, camps and more, with many product giveaways and raffles.
Produced by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the largest medical organization dedicated to the health of children, the expo is anticipated to draw more than 5,000 families. All conference sessions are free to attendees with paid admission.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014



Chocolate Fest Features Live Music, Kid Activities, Cooking Demos, 
Bake-off Samples and Delicious Baked Goods

The Village of Homewood proudly presents the 12th Annual Chocolate Fest on Saturday, Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the H-F Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road. Homewood Chocolate Fest features live music, baking demonstrations, children's activities, vendor booths and a variety of sweets, desserts and gourmet baked goods. Back by popular demand is the annual Chocolate Bake-Off Contest for amature bakers to compete for title of "Home Sweet Homewood's Master Pastry Chef". Admission to the 12th Annual Homewood Chocolate Fest is free and open to the public. For information visit www.HomeSweetHoemwoood.com.

"This festival is a great way to get out and see neighbors and sample delicious treats in the middle of the winter," said Village Marketing Manager Rachael Jones. "This year we will feature one of the oldest Chicagoland confectioners in the area; Mitchell's Candies and Ice Cream as they unveil their new look and introduce their party packages. Homewood has been a destination for dessert for over 50 years, and our Chocolate Fest and Bake Off is a great showcase for the creative and talented cooks who live in the area."

At Chocolate Fest, attendees will be treated to several baking demonstrations including introductions to The Cottage on Dixie's premier pastry chef. In addition, Mitchell's will be highlighted as they relaunch as Chicagoland's premier confectioner and supplier of all ice cream for Ed Debevics, Eduardo's and Gino East Pizza.

The Community Relations Commission will host the Chocolate Bake-Off Contest. This is a spirited contest for amateur bakers and confectioners to compete for recognition as "Home Sweet Homewood's Master Pastry Chef". A panel of judges sample each entry and select three winners. Once the winners are recognized, the public samples each entry in exchange for a small donation to benefit a local not-for-profit.

Homewood's 12th Annual Chocolate Fest is Saturday, February 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the H-F Park District Auditorium, 2010 Chestnut Road. For additional information visit  www.HomeSweetHomewood.com.

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The 12th Annual Homewood Chocolate Fest is sponsored by the Village of Homewood.