5 Ways to Re-Engage High School Dropouts

For Christine Wilkins, now 16, freshman year of high school was an ordeal. The same students who bullied her in middle school were at her new high school. Just approaching the school entry filled her with angst. One day, instead of going in, she turned around and went home.

“The idea of walking through those gates gave me so much anxiety,” she says.

Christine hated school. Unable to focus or dedicate herself to her schoolwork, she made C’s, D’s and F’s.

Eventually, Christine stopped going to school and dropped out.

Tackling the dropout issue

There are many reasons students drop out of high school. Poverty, pregnancy, homelessness, bullying or just losing interest are some of the many issues that cause students to skip a day of class, a week and eventually drop out altogether.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, missing just three weeks of school is enough to threaten a student’s chance to graduate.

What can be done to help these students?

As each person is a complex individual, there is no single solution that can reach the multitude of different students.

This is why Learn4Life, a nonprofit dropout recovery program, takes a dynamic approach to reengage students.

The average student who enrolls in Learn4Life has been out of school for 11.4 weeks. Through different methods, such as personalized learning, mentoring and job skills training, the program has been highly successful in reengaging dropouts and keeping them in school.

These are the five effective ways they reach out to these students.

1. Dealing with issues outside of the classroom. Whether it’s counseling to help students come to terms with issues they’re facing or a mentoring program that builds confidence, helping students deal with non-academic issues is a way to give them the stability they need to succeed.

2. Meeting students where they are. Not every student is at the same emotional, academic or mental level as their peers. Through one-on-one attention, personalized learning and academic planning, students can get help where they most need it. This personalized approach is designed to find a solution that’s best for the individual.

3. Removing obstacles to learning. Sometimes it’s something as simple as not having proper transportation or childcare that prevents a student from returning to complete their education. Giving students flexible schedules, help with transportation and access to teachers or mentors at different hours of the day can make a big difference in their ability to learn.

4. Making them feel safe. It’s an unfortunate fact that schools are not always the safe environment they ought to be. Creating a respectful and safe place to learn is essential for removing social anxieties and fears that can hinder learning.

5. Helping them see a future. Through job skills training programs, students can prepare for a future beyond a diploma. As a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) partner, Learn4Life offers courses in work-readiness skills, career exploration, writing cover letters and resumes, completing applications and interviewing.

The effectiveness of Learn4Life’s approach can be seen in the fact that when students enroll, only 15 percent of them come to school regularly, but as the year goes on, that number jumps to 86 percent.

Concluding Christine’s story

After six months out of school, counselors at Christine’s old high school pointed her to a Learn4Life program at Desert Sands Charter School.

She enrolled and by participating in an internship with Pacific Gateway, part of the YouthBuild WIOA program at Desert Sands, Christine gained experience in customer service and Microsoft applications.

Currently, Christine attends school and is getting all A’s and B’s in her school work, and has a full-time internship. At the end of the internship, she will receive certificates in customer service and Microsoft Office.

“I’m dedicated because I’m getting knowledge and experience for a life outside of school,” Christine says. (BPT)

The Ice Ball 2017 Host Committee: Having A Ball

Written By Big Brothers Big Sisters

Christine and Blake Absher, Ice Ball 2017 Event Chairs

Christine and Blake Absher, Ice Ball 2017 Event Chairs

As the Texas summer heats up, there’s one cool thing you can count on – Big Brothers Big Sisters’ 2017 Ice Ball gala set for August 26 at the J.W. Marriott in downtown Austin. The Ice Ball Host Committee has been hard at work making plans and preparations for this major event – one of the largest fundraisers for the organization.

Christine and Blake Absher are chairing this year’s Ice Ball gala and have been involved with the organization off and on since 2008. “Our connection with BBBS began in Austin when I was a Big Brother for about 4 years,” said Blake, Austin market president of BB&T, the Diamond sponsor of this year’s event. “We moved to Houston for a few years, and then, when we returned to Austin, we knew we wanted to be involved with BBBS in some way. The Ice Ball Host Committee sounded interesting, and we’d never done anything like that before.”

Now, having been involved with Ice Ball for several years, Christine and Blake felt the moment was right to become even more involved in the event. “2017 is a great time to be event chairs,” Blake continued. “The agency has great momentum, the organization’s program metrics are at an all-time high, and we’ve been groomed for the last couple of years to further carry the Ice Ball baton.”

In accepting the leadership role, they’ve found themselves working with a great team. “The Ice Ball Host Committee is made up of an extraordinary group of people,” said Christine. “And they’ve become family. They are creative and selfless, giving out of the goodness of their hearts. They’ve been so inspiring and their enthusiasm is contagious. For many of them, this is their first connection with Big Brothers Big Sisters. They are raising money for a cause they’ve just come to care about, and they’re doing it so well.”

Team members heartily agree. “The members of the committee are focused, engaged and eager to contribute to the success of this year’s event,” said Connie Nelson. She and her husband Bill have been a Big Couple since 2011, worked as bid spotters for the Ice Ball that year, and subsequently served as Ice Ball Chairs in 2014 and 2015.

“Bill and I are honored to be serving on this year’s Ice Ball Host Committee,” Connie remarked. “The Ice Ball is SO important! It’s the largest BBBS fundraiser and monies raised help get kids off the waiting list and into the life-changing mentoring relationships they deserve. Guests attending the Ice Ball walk away with greater appreciation for everything BBBS does for Central Texas’ youth. Our 2017 chairs, Blake and Christine, are natural leaders with a passion for BBBS.”

Lauren Petrowski, news anchor for Fox 7, shares that passion for the agency and the event as well. “I look forward to the Host Committee meetings, seeing the other committee members, and knowing we’re making great things happen,” she said.

Lauren served as a Big Sister for 5 years and is still in contact with her Little Sister. “I was fortunate to have two loving, supportive parents growing up. Not every child has that, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the same opportunities to be happy and successful in life. Even with two parents, many kids can benefit from having additional positive influences in their lives. That’s what BBBS provides through mentorships, and I’m honored to help support an organization that does that.”

“As part of the Ice Ball Host Committee, it is also incredible to see the community and local businesses stepping up to help BBBS.”

Joanna Just of RSM, a Gold sponsor for the event, adds, “Ice Ball is a signature event that has grown over the years. To see where the event started and what it has become, is astonishing.  Ice Ball supports the wonderful things that BBBS does for children in our community.”

Not only is the team working to raise more dollars, new community connections are being made as well. “There are a lot of new people involved in this year’s event,” Christine continued. Blake agreed, adding, “We have a significant number of new donors. We are grateful for donors who’ve supported this event for years. It’s also a testament to the 2017 Host Committee members’ efforts that they have reached out to their own personal networks and friends to establish new relationships on behalf of the gala and BBBS.”

“I appreciate how the committee members have come together to support this event personally because of their dedication to Big Brothers Big Sisters’ work,” Joanna added.

This year’s Ice Ball not only has new sponsors, it also has a new location at the J.W. Marriott. “There’s an excitement and a freshness with the new venue and the move downtown,” Christine said. There are also new live auction packages and new programming.

And make no mistake, it is a fun night for all involved. “It is such a fabulous night. Without a doubt, you’re going to have a good time,” Lauren said. “But for me, I love to see the room full of hundreds of people all coming together because they care about kids in our community having the best opportunities, and the brightest futures, possible.”

“The Ice Ball is the coolest place to be in August,” Connie added. “Great food, entertainment, incredible silent and live auction packages, and so much more. Bill and I love seeing friends at the Ice Ball year after year, and meeting new people who will enjoy a wonderful evening and learn more about BBBS!”

How does the Ice Ball differ from other galas around town? “Every dollar raised impacts children and families here in our community,” said Christine. “The fundraising is so local.” “It’s all about supporting underprivileged youth, having a positive impact on children’s lives, and educating people about BBBS” Blake added.

After months of planning and preparation, the night itself is a culminating celebration. “The event is a crescendo of a lot of work,” Blake said. “At the gala itself you reminisce about what everyone has done to make the event happen. I enjoy visiting with all of these amazing people and sharing what we’ve done collectively. It’s like going and seeing 800 of your closest friends,” he laughed.

In a word…

“Ice Ball is unforgettable,” said Lauren.

“It’s amazing,” said Joanna.

“It’s inspiring,” said Connie.

Don’t miss this cool, spectacular, life-changing event set for August 26, 2017 at the J.W. Marriott.

Austin’s Ah Sing Den Debuts NEW F&B Program

Photography courtesy of Rachel Wilson.

Ah Sing Den, East Austin’s opium den-inspired cocktail lounge and restaurant, has announced the launch of a brand new food and beverage program featuring delectable brunch and dinner menus, as well as completely revamped craft cocktail and all-natural wine lists.

Named after the world’s most famous opium den from Victorian times in East London where Charles Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, and other creatives derived inspiration, Ah Sing Den’s new food and drink offerings invite guests to adventure beyond tradition with flavor profiles inspired by local seasonal ingredients and the culinary delicacies of China and Southeast Asia.

“We are excited to announce the launch of Ah Sing Den’s new food and beverage program, where guests can experience beautifully crafted cocktails and craveable food in an inviting cocktail lounge atmosphere,” said Wynn Aiden, Bar Manager of Ah Sing Den.

Guyanese Sour

Guyanese Sour

Ah Sing Den’s new cocktail menu thoughtfully incorporates familiar flavors with unique ingredients. Patrons can sip on tipples such as the Maria Victoria, which combines mezcal, lime, toasted Thai pepper syrup, and cilantro; the Josephine, which features tequila, Aperol, lime, raspberry, orgeat, and peach blossom syrup; and the Burmese Mission, which combines gin, lime, Thai basil and clementine togarashi. In addition to a new cocktail program, the restaurant just debuted an all-natural wine list featuring a curated selection of brands and varietals such as Goat Boy’s Andrea Calek, Rezabal Txakoli, and Carafoli’s Lambrusco.

The Patio

The Patio

“We wanted to create an authentic and culturally relevant, yet light hearted concept for cocktail enthusiasts and foodies alike,” said Mickie Spencer, owner of Ah Sing Den. “Our ultimate goal is to honor talented local mixologists and chefs and offer guests a distinctly creative food and beverage program in the heart of East Austin,” she continued.

Poke Nachos – wonton chips, smashed avocado, sashimi tuna, house tri sauce, cilantro, shishito dust, and lime

Poke Nachos – wonton chips, smashed avocado, sashimi tuna, house tri sauce, cilantro, shishito dust, and lime

The establishment’s new dinner menu, served from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., features craveable, shareable dishes such as Poke Nachos – wonton chips, smashed avocado, sashimi tuna, house tri sauce, cilantro, shishito dust, and lime; Fried Gyoza – slow-braised pork thigh, Boston Bibb lettuce, carrots, and house-made potsticker sauce; Thai Curry Soba – green tea soba noodles, coconut curry broth, vegetables, and cabbage; and Burmese Fried Rice Bowls – spiced rice with stuffed avocado, seasonal vegetables and a fried egg.

Chai tea French toast with vanilla brulee

Chai tea French toast with vanilla brulee

Ah Sing Den’s new brunch menu follows suit, featuring a variety of sweet and savory fusion items such as the Leicester Square, Chai tea French toast with vanilla brulee, and the On a Wing & Waffle, crispy sweet potato waffle, fried chicken, and red chili maple syrup. The brunch cocktails, especially the restaurant’s signature Kimchi Bloody Mary and ever-changing Brunch Punch, are not to be missed either. Brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about Ah Sing Den’s new food and beverage program, happy hour specials and more, please visit www.ahsingden.com or call 512-467-4280.

Ride Safe

Bus Safety Tips for Back-to-School

While school safety is of the utmost importance to parents, millions of school-age children begin and end their days with a bus ride. To provide some measures for parents to help increase safety going to and from the bus and during the ride, the National Association for Pupil Transportation offers these tips.

Before the Bus Arrives

  • Ensure backpacks are packed securely so papers and other items don’t scatter as the bus approaches.
  • Create a morning routine that puts kids at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled pickup time. This helps avoid a last-minute rush, when safety lessons are easily forgotten, and ensures kids are safely in place for boarding.
  • Encourage children to wear bright, contrasting colors so they can be seen easier by drivers.
  • Walk young children to the bus stop or encourage kids to walk in groups. There is safety in numbers; groups are easier for drivers to see.
  • Instruct children to walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk, advise them to stay out of the street, walk single-file, face traffic and stay as close to the edge of the road as possible.
  • If kids must cross a street, driveway or alley, remind them to stop and look both ways before crossing.
  • Verify that the bus stop location offers good visibility for the bus driver; if changes are needed, talk with nearby homeowners or school district officials to implement changes. Never let kids wait in a house or car, where the driver may miss seeing them approach the bus.
  • Remind children that the bus stop is not a playground. Balls or other toys can roll into the street and horseplay could result in falling into the path of oncoming traffic.
  • Instruct children to stay at least three steps away from the road and allow the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching it.

On the Bus Ride

  • When boarding the bus, items can get bumped and dropped. Caution children that before picking anything up, they should talk to the driver and follow instructions to safely retrieve their possessions.
  • Teach safe riding habits: stay seated with head, hands and feet inside at all times; use a seatbelt (if available); keep bags and books out of the aisle and remain seated until the bus stops moving. Also instruct children to never throw things on the bus or out the windows and to never play with or block the emergency exits.
  • Remind kids that yelling and other loud noises are off limits as they could distract the driver.
  • If cell phones and other electronic devices are permitted, instruct children to mute the sound or use headphones so as not to create a distraction for the driver or other riders.

Leaving the Bus

  • Remind children to look before stepping off the bus. If they must cross the street, teach them to do so in front of the bus by taking five big steps from the front of the bus, making eye contact with the driver and waiting for the signal that it is safe to begin crossing.
  • For parents who meet their kids at the bus stop, remember that in their excitement kids may dart across the street. Eliminate the risk by waiting on the side of the street where kids exit the bus.
  • Make the bus ride part of your daily “how was school?” discussion. Encourage kids to talk about the things they see and hear on the bus so you can discuss appropriate behaviors and, if necessary, report any concerns to school administrators.

Discuss the Bus

Join the discussion (or start one) on school districts exploring a switch from diesel buses to cleaner alternatives by downloading resources including fact sheets, videos and more at BetterOurBuses.com.

A Safe Transportation Option

Beyond teaching safety precautions around the bus, there is another option to ensure kids are transported safely to and from school each day. Many school districts are moving away from noisy, pollution-inducing and expensive diesel buses in favor of buses powered by an alternate fuel, like propane, which offers numerous benefits for school districts and their students.

Safety: Jenna Bush Hager, a teacher, author, journalist and parent of two, has partnered with the Propane Education & Research Council to educate parents and school districts about the benefits of propane school buses.

School buses powered by propane offer numerous safety advantages. Propane school buses are quieter than diesel buses when operating, making it easier for drivers to hear both inside and outside the bus. This can have a direct impact on student behavior, and many districts have reported fewer disciplinary issues as a result. An interactive audio quiz detailing the difference between the types of buses can be found at QuieterSchoolBuses.com.

“As a former teacher, I know parents often overlook how the ride to and from school can impact a child’s performance in the classroom,” Hager said. “A child’s attitude or behavior before they arrive at school can set the tone for the whole day.”

In addition, these buses meet rigorous U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and each is equipped with an automatic shut-off feature that prevents fuel flow to the engine when not running.

Another safety consideration is the health implications of older diesel buses. The shorter height of younger students can put them face-to-face with a black cloud of diesel smoke every school day. With propane buses, however, students aren’t exposed to the harmful particulate matter in diesel exhaust, which is known to aggravate asthma and has been identified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen. However, “low-NOx” propane engines are 75 percent cleaner than current federal emissions standards require.

Savings: Not only is propane consistently less expensive than diesel fuel, the buses themselves don’t require the same expensive repairs and replacement parts that today’s modern diesel buses demand. Saving money on transportation costs puts schools in a better position to appropriate budget toward meeting students’ needs in the classroom and other areas, such as fine arts and athletic programs. (FamilyFeatures)

Join Us for the Austin Originals 6th Annual Benefit Concert on August 19

Austin Child Guidance Center (ACGC) is proud to present the 6th Annual Austin Originals Benefit Concert and Live Stream on Saturday, August 19, 2017 featuring ten time Grammy Award winners, Asleep at the Wheel. We are proud to announce that our emcee for the evening will be Terry Lickona, Executive Producer of Austin City Limits.

Guests will enjoy the Austin Originals Tasting Grove presented by Lexus of Austin & Lexus of Lakeway and an open bar during the reception.  The Austin Originals Tasting Grove features: The Austin Artisan, Chez Zee, Café Blue, Cojo Unlimited Catering, Roaring Fork, Gregorio’s Catering, Winflo Osteria, Gusto’s Italian Kitchen, Kellie’s Baking Co., and The Capital Grille.

We will present the 6th Annual Phyllis Richards Austin Icon for Children Awards to Ryan Therrell in the Community Activist category and Dr. Libby Doggett in the Community Professional category.

Special Thanks to the events Honorary Co-Chairs, Colin Pope and Heather McKissick!

Click HERE to purchase tickets for the Mezzanine and Floor Sponsorships.

Please visit ACL Live Calendar for balcony tickets-which only includes entrance for the music portion of the event. Doors open for balcony tickets at 8:30pm. All proceeds from balcony tickets go directly to ACGC.

For sponsorship opportunities or more information contact ACGC’s Director of Development, Renee Hanson Malone.

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour Coming To Austin October 13 – 15, 2017 Tickets on Sale Friday, August 18 at 10:00 A.M.

Lexus Broadway in Austin presented by Texas Performing Arts

The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour

October 13 – 15, 2017

                        Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. & 7 p.m. 

Bass Concert Hall | 2350 Robert Dedman Drive | Austin, TX 78712

Tickets start at $30.Tickets are available at BroadwayinAustin.comtexasperformingarts.org, the Bass Concert Hall ticket office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060.  For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804 or email Austin.groups@broadwayacrossamerica.com.

(L to R) Danny Harris Kornfeld, Kaleb Wells RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

(L to R) Danny Harris Kornfeld, Kaleb Wells
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

Ticket buyers are reminded that the Bass Concert Hall ticket office and all Texas Box Office Outlets are the only official retail ticket outlets for all performances at Bass Concert Hall. Ticket buyers who purchase tickets from a ticket broker or any third party should be aware that Bass Concert Hall is unable to reprint or replace lost or stolen tickets and is unable to contact patrons with information regarding time changes or other pertinent updates regarding the performance.

(L to R) Skyler Volpe, Kaleb Wells RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

(L to R) Skyler Volpe, Kaleb Wells
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini’s La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The show received its world premiere off-Broadway at New York Theatre Workshop on February 13, 1996 to ecstatic reviews and transferred to Broadway on April 29, 1996. RENT is winner of the 1996 Tony Award for Best Musical as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It is one of only six musicals to win both awards.

Based on the original direction by Michael Greif (Tony and Drama Desk Nominations, RENT), Evan Ensign restages this 20th anniversary tour.  Marlies Yearby (Tony Nomination, RENT) serves as choreographer.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour
RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Carol Rosegg, 2016.

The RENT 20th Anniversary Tour is produced by Work Light Productions, whose other touring productions include CinderellaMAMMA MIA!, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Vocalosity, and Crazy For You.

TEXAS PERFORMING ARTS is situated on the main campus of one of the largest and most prestigious research universities in the country.  Texas Performing Arts serves The University of Texas at Austin campus and the Austin community at large through a diverse season of world-class fine arts performances, educational activities, and collaborative partnerships.  Texas Performing Arts presents an international season of music, theatre, dance, and conversation in our multiple venues, as well as the best in touring Broadway productions and concert attractions. As a university-based arts center it is also committed to serving the academic mission of the College of Fine Arts by supporting the work of our students, faculty and staff on our stages, classrooms, studios and production shops; and in the educational outreach programs it provides for the Austin community.

BROADWAY ACROSS AMERICA is part of The John Gore Organization family of companies, which includes Broadway.com, under the supervision of 9 time Tony-winning producer John Gore (Owner & CEO). Current and past productions include Beautiful, Cats, Dear Evan Hansen, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Hairspray, Million Dollar Quartet, On Your Feet!, School of Rock and The ProducersBroadwayAcrossAmerica.comBroadway.com

Presented by Texas Performing Arts. Broadway Across America provides production services for Texas Performing Arts. Sales tax exempt pursuant to Texas Tax Code Section 151.3101(a)(3).

Top Tips for Making Back-to-School a Success

Summer days are getting shorter. Summer fun is winding down for the season. Bedtimes are starting earlier. And parents seem to be oddly excited.

Back to school is right around the corner.

For most kids, the thought of going back to school can be a drag. But it doesn’t have to be.

Marley Dias, 12-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, knows a thing or two about balancing extracurricular activities and back-to-school readiness.

According to Marley, preparing for back to school is the key to success. “Tweens know, going back to school can be stressful and to conquer it with a smile takes guts,” said Dias. She offers these seven simple tips for parents to help make a smooth transition back to school.

1. Get Back to a Routine

A healthy routine is essential to getting your body clock back on schedule. A week before school starts, the family should wake up early and eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. For that week, everyone should try to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

2. Power Your Inner Potential

Seventy percent of the immune system is located in your gut. I take a daily probiotic like Renew Life Ultimate Flora Kids Probiotic to stay healthy and operate at my best. Probiotics help keep my gut healthy, which improves my sleep, mood and memory, all important aspects to being a good student, especially during the first few weeks when you still feel sluggish from summer.

3. Reconnect with Friends

Your kids’ friends have been away at camp, on vacation or visiting relatives all summer long. Chatting with friends gets kids excited about the new school year and helps avoid the back-to-school jitters.

4. Set Goals

Having your kids set goals helps them attack the school year with purpose. Challenge them to improve at a subject, try a new sport or make a new friend. Ask them to write down their social and academic goals; you can’t get anywhere without a plan!

5. Shop!

Indulge in a new outfit or cool locker supplies for your kids. Buy those fun items, but also the functional ones that last throughout the year.

6. Getting Organized at Home

Getting organized now helps them tackle all of those upcoming assignments. Help them review old work to jog their memory. Plan outfits the night before. Pre-pack lunches and snacks. Post all assignments and activities in a visible spot in the house. And lastly, set up a home homework space. Kids need a dedicated place to focus.

7. Pick a Place to Just Breathe

Pick a peaceful spot at home where kids and parents can practice deep breathing and relaxation. The school year is a hectic time. Take a moment to push pause on all electronics. This quiet moment will help each member of the family prep their mind and body for everything the school year brings.

Getting back into a routine after summer takes guts. Make sure yours are up for it. To help keep your complex digestive system thriving and restore good bacteria, visit www.RenewLife.com. #beinghumantakesguts (BPT)

5 Must-Have Gadgets for Heading Back-to-School

Summer is almost over and the school bell is about to ring. To make sure you and your family are set up for success, equip your home with the best technology devices on the market. Consider this your gadget guide for the best school year yet.

Big Sound

Studies show that listening to music while studying can help with concentration. The new Sonos Play:5 is small but packs a powerful punch, giving your kids a soundtrack to homework time. The Sonos Play:5 streams over WiFi, not Bluetooth, so the music never stops — unless, of course you want it to.

Wi-Fi That Works

With a bunch of new gadgets and more time spent on the internet, you’re going to need a strong Wi-Fi signal to make sure everything works properly. Gone are the days where a basic spider-looking router was the go-to networking solution. With smartphones, laptops and all kinds of connected home devices, it’s crucial to purchase a robust Wi-Fi system that will support all your gadgets. With the eero Home WiFi System you never have to think about Wi-Fi again. It ensures every room is covered with a fast, reliable Wi-Fi signal. Additionally, it comes with parental controls built into the smartphone app so kids won’t get distracted when doing their homework. eero also released eero Plus, a subscription service that at $9.99 a month (or $99 a year), offers enhanced security and advanced parental controls. As the number of connected devices in the home increases, so does the potential for network insecurities. eero Plus protects users from viruses, malware and phishing scams and allows parents to have confidence that their children can’t access anything inappropriate while surfing the web.

Dependable Computer

With a new school year comes book reports, research projects and presentations. Gone are the days of notebook paper and library books, now it’s all about online resources. It might be time to invest in a new computer, like a MacBook Pro. It’s razor thin and feather light so your kids can easily transport it to and from school, plus it’s even faster and more powerful than before.

Home Assistant

The newly released Amazon Echo Dot is just the sidekick you need to help get you through the school year. With a built-in speaker, it functions as an alarm clock in the bedroom, a homework assistant in the office and it can even order you a Domino’s pizza in the kitchen for your kids’ study sessions. The Echo Dot controls many of your smart home devices, makes calls, sends and receives messages, and provides information so you’ll never question the capital of California or how many centimeters are in an inch again.

Watchful Eye

Now that school is back in session, it’s likely that your kids will be coming home while you are at work. To help give you a little more peace of mind, install Ring, the video doorbell that allows you to see, hear and speak with visitors at your front door, all from your phone, tablet or computer. Now, at 2:45 p.m. you can actually see your kids walking through the front door. (BPT)

Actress, Model, and Philanthropist Gena Lee Nolin is Someone You Should Know

Photography courtesy of ShandrewPR.

We have the pleasure of Featuring Superstar Gena Lee Nolin in our July / August 2017 Issue.

Gena Lee shares with us her perspective on the Power of Taking Changes, the Appeal of Media, why Family is Power, and her Powerful Words of Wisdom

Read Gena Lee’s inspiration InNetwork Features in our July / August 2017 Issue here.

Understand What You Need to Do to Stay Healthy Over 65

 If you are 65 or older, you may be at increased risk for potentially serious disease, even if you are healthy. Talk to your doctor about staying up to date with the CDC-recommended adult vaccinations and help protect yourself. 

If you are 65 or older, you may be at increased risk for potentially serious disease, even if you are healthy. Talk to your doctor about staying up to date with the CDC-recommended adult vaccinations and help protect yourself.

Today’s Boomer generation feels young at heart. They’re living an active lifestyle, they have no intention of slowing down, they’re booming. Many Boomers feel that because they are healthy and taking care of themselves, they are not at risk for potentially serious infectious diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia. But if you are over 65, even if you are healthy, you are at increased risk. August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and a great opportunity for anyone over 65 to learn about the myths and facts of adult immunization and to get a new attitude toward vaccine-preventable diseases.

“Every year thousands of adults in the United States suffer from serious illnesses, are hospitalized or even die from diseases for which vaccines are available,” said Dr. Otha Myles, Infectious Disease Physician at Medical Specialists of St. Luke’s Hospital in Saint Louis, Missouri. “But adults can reduce this threat by talking to their doctor about the facts of adult immunization and about their personal risk of catching a potentially serious disease.”

According to a Pfizer Inc survey of adults aged 65 years and older, 67 percent describe themselves as taking an active role in maintaining their health.[1] However, many misconceptions about adult immunization still persist, preventing Boomers from taking the important step of vaccinating against serious diseases.

Read below for 5 Common Myths and Facts about Adult vaccination:

Myth: Vaccines are for children, adults don’t need to get vaccinated.

Fact: While many are familiar with the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) vaccination schedule for children, the CDC also has recommended immunizations for adults depending on their health and age. All adults, even healthy ones, should talk to their doctor about the potential risks and the importance of staying up-to-date on CDC-recommended vaccinations.

Myth: Vaccination is only for the very elderly.

Fact: The immune system naturally weakens as people get older, putting even healthy and active adults as young as 65 at risk[2] for diseases such as pneumococcal pneumonia, a serious and potentially life-threatening illness that can strike anyone over 65, anywhere, anytime.

Myth: Healthy adults don’t need to get vaccinated.

Fact: The young at heart may not feel they are at risk for vaccine-preventable illnesses because they live an active lifestyle and take good care of themselves. But our immune system naturally weakens as we age, and adults 65 and older are at an eight times greater risk of being hospitalized with pneumococcal pneumonia compared to adults younger than 50.[3]

Myth: Vaccines are not proven to be effective.

Fact: According to the CDC, vaccination is the safest, most effective way to protect yourself.[4]

Myth: Adults only need to get the flu vaccine.

Fact: The CDC recommends several vaccinations for adults dependent on their age and health-factors.[5] However, flu season is a good time to speak to healthcare providers about staying up-to-date on CDC-recommended adult vaccinations. Beyond just getting the flu vaccine, adults, particularly those 65 and older, should discuss vaccination against other potentially serious diseases, such as pneumococcal pneumonia, with their doctor.

This National Immunization Awareness Month, take the opportunity to speak with your healthcare provider or pharmacist about getting vaccinated. For more information about immunization and vaccination options, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines. Visit KnowPneumonia.com for more information about pneumococcal pneumonia.

[1] Omnibus survey, sponsored by Pfizer. September 8-12, 2016.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pneumococcal Disease: Risk Factors & Transmission. http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/risk-transmission.html. Accessed March 27, 2017.

[3] Jain S, Self WH, Wunderink RG, et al. CDC EPIC Study Team. Community-acquired pneumonia requiring hospitalization among US adults. N Engl J Med 2015;373(5):415-427

[4] Center for Disease Control and Prevention Fast Facts. (2015). http://www.cdc.gov/pneumococcal/about/facts.html. Accessed March 23, 2017

[5] Vaccine Information for Adults. (2017, January 30). Retrieved July 06, 2017, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/adults/rec-vac/index.html

PP-PNA-USA-2645 © 2017 Pfizer Inc. All rights reserved. August 2017. (BPT)