March has finally arrived and, after a cold and dreary winter, we’re probably all getting a little antsy for the warmth of spring, an increase in hours of daylight and, of course, spring produce! We love our root veggies and greens here at RelayFoods.com, but we’re more than happy for the transition to the lighter fare of spring. Check out our March Produce calendar for what’s in season this month!
I think we can officially say that the snow is over?! I am ready for some Sunshine!
March is a great time to start thinking about Summer, our camp guide will be adding more options as the programs confirm their options. We also have some Spring Break options. Many events our added to our calendar. Please be sure to check it regularly.
On the Bon Secours Website you can screen for a variety of health assessments, as well as find doctors, facilities and event arrange to chat with a doctor 24/7 on their new app.
If you are curious about the screenings, this link will take you to it. The choices they are offering info on, are:
Our league is growing leaps and bounds! With this growth, we are having to add an additional game to our season. First two game times have been altered just a bit! In adding an additional game…we will need additional coaches and volunteers! Please contact us if interested in stepping up to coach or to volunteer! Season begins April 9th!
Miracle League of Richmond Va Saturday Game times are now:
Come join all the fun! Register here.
As the parents of special needs children, we all want our kiddos to have happy and memorable childhoods. For many children, a large portion of that equation is the development of social skills and friendships with both their typical (and not so typical) peers. Along with play dates, activities, and sports clubs, part of the unwritten social contract entrenched within these friendships is attending and participating in each other’s birthday parties. For the parents of autistic children, this prospect can be bittersweet. The thrill of finding a birthday party invite in our child’s backpack can quickly turn to sheer panic as you envision the chaos and sheer pandemonium playing as a continuous movie loop in your minds eye. As much as you know the importance of participation and peer interaction social skills, the thought of your movie playing out in real time in front of others is way too daunting; so you reluctantly check the “respectfully decline” box.
The VCU Center for Sport Leadership and Sportable are partnering once again to bring you the VCU Paralympic Experience Day! This event exists to provide an opportunity for all of members of our community to participate together in a variety of adaptive sports, regardless of ability level. Please join us in trying out new sports, talking with current Sportable athletes, and hearing from special guest speakers from the adaptive sports community.
Part 2 of our series
In the public school system, students must learn to adjust to the teaching style of the teacher. Students must also successfully adjust to the curriculum, which in many states, is dictated by the Common Core or SOLs. These constant adjustments can be especially hard and stressful on students with diverse learning needs. There are options within the private school sector that cater to specific disabilities and giftedness. However, most come with hefty price tags, making it not an option for many families. If you are willing to consider a radical change in thinking about
what education looks like or what you want it to look like for your child, homeschooling may be an option. Here are the three biggest benefits I see for homeschooling a child with special needs, giftedness, or in many cases, a combination of both.
Matthew Aguirre worked at a behavioral center for children with special needs, where he helped his students learn life skills. The 27-year-old from Los Angeles noticed his students, who have autism or Down syndrome, could grasp most of the skills he presented them, but time and time again they struggled tying their shoes.
Editor’s Note-Kathleen Kern is a Physical Education Teacher at Deep Run High School. She is also the force behind bringing the Marathon Dance to Richmond. The Marathon Dance is a 27 hour dance-a-thon the students raise money for. In this interview we will learn more about Mrs. Kern and the dance and what it does for the community as well as the students. There will also be a directory of the non profits the students are dancing for this year at the end of the article. The Deep Run Community has raised more than $1.57 million in the last 9 years, let’s see what this year brings!
Tell us a little about you and your family.
I was born and raised in Upstate NY where I lived for 27 years before heading to Richmond VA. I have two older brothers Michael & Jeffery who still live up north. My younger sister Jill and her husband Jon live here in Glen Allen, VA and my wonderful parents just moved here 6 months ago. I have been married to David Kern for almost 7 years and we have two beautiful children Caleb, 5 & Abigail 3 who keep us very busy.
How did you decide to start the Marathon Dance here and what was that like for you?
It was members of the Class of 2007 that begged and pleaded for me to start a dance at Deep Run after I opened my big mouth and told them about the South High Marathon Dance that I participated in all through high school. I was going on and on about how awesome my high school was for holding this Marathon Dance every year and how lucky I was to be a part of it for 4 years. My intial response to the kids was “no way…. You guys are out of your mind…. There is no way I am taking on that type of project. The begging and pleading continued for weeks…. I finally said I would think about it. I contacted Mr. McCarthy, my art teacher from high school who started the South High dance, and told him that I was considering starting a Marathon Dance at Deep Run. He responded with: “Are you out of your mind” and I replied “Apparently”. The students of Deep Run wouldn’t let it rest and next thing I knew…. I was planning the first DRMD! The whole experience was daunting and I didn’t really know what I was doing. I looked to the people in NY who plan their dance every year for help and advise. It wasn’t until I attended the South High Marathon Dance, which I hadn’t been to in over 10 years, when I realized I was in way over my head. I guess you could say that I had an emotional nervous breakdown at their dance… I began hyperventilating and panicking knowing that our first DRMD was only 2 weeks away and I thought that there was no way I was going to be able to pull it off. That’s when complete strangers from my home town reassured me that everything was going to be okay. Before I left NY that weekend, I was told that 13 members of the SHMD crew were planning to come down to Richmond to help me run the first DRMD and they did….. and they’ve been with me ever since J
Tell us about the dance, I know the students dance for 27 hours and so much goes into making
this happen, tell us a little more.
The student committee first meets in October to prepare for the March event. They meet every Tuesday & Thursday for 1 ½ hours before school and then again for an hour during lunch. ThatWe have over 30 fundraisers that we hold throughout the year to help raise money for the 12 charities the students choose. The dance consists of four different costume themes (this year we have #FlashbackFriday, Neon Glow Stick Rave, Disney vs. Nick, & Media Madness) in which we give out prize buttons to the most creative and fun costumes, games & competitions (frozen t-shirt competition, limbo competition, dance-off), lip-synch battles, yoga to wake you up in the morning, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack breaks, a 21/2 hour sleep break, and of course the amazing finale in which is the culmination of all the hard work and effort that so many put into organizing the event.
This is the 10th year you and your husband are doing this, is it any easier? What have you
learned in this process?
Shockingly I’ve learned that it doesn’t get any easier…. I work just as hard now as I did when I first started. The biggest thing that I take away from the whole experience is that I am definitely making a difference in the lives on not only the organizations that we help, but the lives of so many students who have walked the halls of Deep Run HS
What are some of the things that the students gain and learn in sharing in this?
I have spoken with so many of my former students who have said the dance had a profound impact on their lives. Many of them have changed the major in college to non-profit because of the impact DRMD continues to have on them.
These local agencies all provide such important services, I am sure they are incredibly touched
to have been selected, it must be tough for the students to decide, tell us a little about that.
The process of choosing the charities every year teaches these kids things that they would never learn in a classroom. Life is full of decisions…. Some are easy… many are hard… They learn to work together as a group and make decisions that are very difficult to do. Every organization that applies is beyond worthy of being selected. The students become very emotionally enthralled in the process… there are arguments… kids advocate for certain organizations that are important to them for whatever reason. They learn to stand up in front of their peers and speak from the heart which is very difficult for most of us to do. Every year there are tears, there is excitement, and there is disappointment. But in the end, they all accept the decision and move forward excited to learn more about what each organization provides for the community. Once the 12 organizations are selected, we create teams (one team assigned to each non-profit) and it is their job to visit their organization and learn about the services that they provide and how they are making a difference in our community.
What has been a significant memory for you, I am sure there are many, but any that just stand out?
Well, I have to say that one memory that stands out happened at the very first dance. I was so unbelievably nervous and had a lot of anxiety about everything going smoothly that I completely forgot to eat anything through most of the dance. I felt sick to my stomach and lightheaded when I finally headed to my office to lay down. My sister, who is the DRMD clinic head nurse, came in and basically force feed me food until I felt a little better. And then, a first year teacher named David Kern knocked on my office door and came in with care package of things that he ran out to the store to get in hopes of making me feel better. One of the things in the bag was a large bottle of grapefruit juice that he said I should drink because it would definitely make me feel better. I opened it up in front of him and took a big gulp. One thing that he was not aware of at the time was that I despise grapefruit juice. My sister however was well aware. After he left my office, my sister started hounding me saying “you like that guy”. Very defensive I responded with “no I don’t”. She looked right at me and said “You never drink grapefruit juice… you hate grapefruit juice”. I had no response…. I just stood there and thought… I do hate grapefruit juice…. What was that? Now that first year teacher is my husband!!!
Anything else that you would like to share?
If anyone is interested in donating to this year’s dance they can send a check made payable to Deep Run HS to the attention of Kathleen Kern or they can stop by the dance at any time and leave a donation if they’d like to