Our modern way of living has brought us many conveniences and advances, but we also live amongst many more chemicals and other potentially harmful substances than ever before as a result. So this time we're exploring the ways in which we encounter toxics and chemicals in our daily lives. What kinds of effects can toxins have on women of childbearing age? Who is most at risk for complications in Alaska and why? And how can you – a caregiver and a consumer – be aware and make informed choices?
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining KTD Host Shana Sheehy in the studio to help sift through the stories, studies and scares surrounding environmental toxins are four experts and advocates.
• Marta Dina Arguello is the Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility - Los Angeles. She visited the state this year and spoke to Alaskans of her group's concerns about harmful chemicals in our environment and what individuals can do to keep informed and safe.
• Vi Waghiyi (Native Village of Savoonga, and Program Director, Alaska Community Action on Toxics) and...
• Andrea Carmen (Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council/Yaqui) both took part in a recent International Indigenous Women's Environmental and Reproductive Health Symposium held in Chickaloon Village in the Matanuska Valley in May, 2012. Participants developed a report that will be presented to the United Nations.
• Dr. Liz Snyder is an Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage. Her training is in environmental health and soil science, with a focus on characterizing the fate, transport, and risk of environmental contaminants.
Not only are these everyday toxins harmful to your family's health, they are also bad for your budget. We found this clean + economical list from Rodale.com.
What are your healthy, budget-friendly ideas for avoiding every day household toxins and chemicals? Tell us in the comments or write to us at mail (at) kidsthesedays.org.
- Media Literacy & Toxins - Many of us rely upon the news sources we trust to learn the facts about chemicals and toxins when it comes to protecting our family's health. For some insight on how to be a savvy news consumer while reading so many conflicting reports we asked Paola Banchero, Chair of the Journalism and Public Communications Department at UAA, for some media literacy tips. She spoke with KTD Producer Sarah Gonzales.
Relevent news articles:
Everyone knows that maintaining a good sense of humor is important in everyday life - and it can go an especially long way for parents raising children. On this program we'll explore how we can all insert more laughter (the best medicine!) into our day-to-day lives while learning to laugh more as a family. We'll find out why laughing is good for the bodies, minds and spirits of people of all ages and why.
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IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Host Shana Sheehy examines the therapeutic and educational benefits of laughing with two guests:
• Jason Martin is a third generation Alaskan and one of the founding members of Alaska's longest running comedy improv troupe, Scared Scriptless Improv. When not on stage he loves spending time kayaking and hiking with his wife and son. His 7-year old son is already funnier than he is proving there's more to nature than nurture, he says.
• Mary Kay Morrison is an international humor educator. She spent decades in the classroom and says she enjoys learners of all ages. For more than 20 years she’s worked as a keynote speaker and conference educator teaching today’s teachers and professional educators about using humor to promote balance and reduce stress. Mary Kay serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor. She joins us today from her home in Illinois.
LINKS FROM THIS PROGRAM:
- Knock Knock, Who's There?, Little Comedians! - KTD contributor Jessica Cochran visited Tenaina Child Development Center and Denali Montessori, both in Anchorage, to ask little kids, preschool to 3rd grade, to tell us their best jokes.
- The Science of Laughter - Could laughter really be the best medicine? To find out how laughter and positive emotions can effect the body and mind, we spoke with one of the leading researchers on humor in the medical community. Dr. Lee Berk is a professor of medicine at Loma Linda University in California and, as he told KTD producer Sarah Gonzales, he's serious about laughter.
- Laughter as a Traditional Inupiaq Value - At the end of the Seward Peninsula, one man’s family lives to laugh. They are Inupiaq and humor is taken pretty seriously in Inupiaq culture. As KTD contributor Emily Schwing reports from Fairbanks, it’s one of 17 values people live by and use to teach younger generations.
Sometimes life detours. Even the most organized plans can change and things don’t always happen as we expect. Especially when it comes to family life - a new baby, a marriage, a divorce, falling in love, a death - these are all things that can cause detours in our lives. This time on KTD, we’ve gathered touching, funny, amazing, heartbreaking and uniquely Alaskan stories from those who've experienced a detour in their life, learning how that detour ended up shaping them into the people they are today.
This week we take a detour and depart from our usual format as we present a collection of unique stories about our families, friends and Alaskan neighbors...Check back all this week when we post each story separately, many with photo albums.
• Detour: Mongolia to Alaska - An Alaskan novelist gave us the idea for this program a few months ago. She wrote to us to pitch a number of story ideas and she ended the list with this: I can imagine an entire show about life detours, including ones that ended happily, which must be a strong Alaska theme, given how people often wind up here in surprising ways. Andromeda Romano-Lax, author of The Detour, read an original essay on her life's biggest detour so far - from Mongolia to Alaska, a pregnancy, a death and a move. [LISTEN TO JUST THIS STORY]
• Detour: Suburban Ohio to Alaskan Homestead - Meet Jon and Karin Nierenberg, owners of EarthSong Lodge and Dog Sledding Adventures and find out how unexpected love detoured a single mom in suburban Ohio to move north to marry a dog musher she saw in a magazine. And how she, her rugged mountain man, three teenagers and dozens of sled dogs all came to live together on a remote Alaskan homestead. [LISTEN TO JUST THIS STORY]
• Detour: From Family to Foster to Family - The major detour in Cha'ron McCray's life happened a long time ago. Imagine being faced with a choice about who would raise you? And being given that choice when you were a still a child? Today, Cha'ron is a thriving, capable and beautiful young woman. She's a proud member of her family and a newly-minted East Anchorage High School graduate of achievement. [LISTEN TO JUST THIS STORY]
• Detour: From Juneau to Anchorage with Twins - Meet Dave and Amy Newman. For them, it was the decision to start a family, to try to get pregnant, that led to a major life detour - a move to a new city, and plenty of unexpected complications. [LISTEN TO JUST THIS STORY]
• Detour: From Dreams & Expectations to Reevaluation - We spoke with one young woman who isn't where she thought she'd be at age 32: she had every intention of being married and having children at this point in her life. Rebecca Lien is currently in the middle of a major life reorganization and she told us how it feels to lose almost everything - except hope.
Image via CallanX.com
• Detour: From Olympics to Injury to Olympics Again - Snowboarder Callan Chythlook-Sitsof, 23, competed in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver (the first Alaska Native to do so), then followed with her best season yet in 2011 and is now looking forward to the 2014 Olympics. We spoke to her to learn about handling all the detours that come with being an elite, international competitor and how family plays a big role in being a successful athlete. [LISTEN TO JUST THIS STORY]
• Detour: From Well Prepared to Emergency Handled - Even though we can't always anticipate life's detours, we can prepare for some things that might come up - like minor incidents when we're out and about in the Alaskan summertime. Dr. KTD, Michelle Laufer, helps us stock our First Aid kits and more.
With Father's Day coming up, we at Kids These Days! thought it the perfect time to explore the role of fathers through history. How have dads changed, and how have they stayed the same through wars, civil rights movements and shifting economic times? We'll learn about the growing Alaska Native Fatherhood Movement and the groups that advocate for an active, engaged father (or father figure) in every child's life - and why it matters. Join us for this discussion that spans decades, cultures and a country as we look at dads in the USA, then and now.
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy to discuss all things dad are two special guests - both fathers, these professionals have made it a focus of their careers to focus on the topic of fatherhood.
• Patrick Anderson is the father of three children, Ashley, Alexander and Austin. He is Tlingit Indian (Eagle moiety, Thunderbird Clan, from Yakutat) and Alutiiq (from Cordova). His Tlingit name is Daakudein. He is the Executive Director of the Chugachmiut Native corporation, and considered one of the founders of the Alaska Native Fatherhood Movement. Read more about Patrick here.
• Dr. Ralph LaRossa is father to two sons, Adam and Brian. He is professor of sociology at Georgia State University and an internationally-recognized scholar who has written extensively on the history of fatherhood in America from colonial times to the present. His most recent book, Of War and Men: World War II in the Lives of Fathers and Their Families (University of Chicago Press), examines the effects of the war on the culture and conduct of fatherhood and the diversity of men's experiences throughout the war and after. He joined us from the studios at WABE-Atlanta. Read more about Ralph here.
LINKS FROM THIS PROGRAM:
- Fatherhood Movements in Alaska - Search the internet for “fatherhood” and you come up with a lot of efforts aimed at keeping dads more involved in their kids lives – the National Fatherhood Initiative, the National Center for Fathering. It all adds up to a Fatherhood Movement. KTD Contributor Jessica Cochran set out to find out about what Alaska's fatherhood movement efforts look like.
- Dads on TV Through the Ages - Since the 1950's we've seen all kinds of dads on television. Good or bad, these characters have helped to define what the American Father looks like, acts like and how he treats his family. Those who study the influence of pop culture say that it does matter how dad is portrayed in the media - and for a very good reason. KTD Producer Sarah Gonzales spoke with the National Fatherhood Initiative's Vincent DiCaro to learn more...
Adolescence is a period of growth that is distinct – so just what is going on between the ears of your teenager? New technologies are giving us an unprecendented view of the inner-workings of our brains, so this time on Kids These Days!, we’re talking about how brain development during a child’s teenage years could account for the odd or risky behavior teens can exhibit during this time. Could it just be normal adolescent brain development?
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Adolescent development expert and author, Dr. Laurence Steinberg & UAA’s Dr. John Petraitis join host Shana Sheehy to discuss this week's topic.
• John Petraitis, Ph.D. has been a social psychologist at UAA for 20 years, having come from a research center in Chicago that focused on attempts to improve the health-related behaviors of people, many of the behaviors being things that start or peak in adolescence, like smoking, substance use and unsafe sex. More recently, he has focused on the potential evolutionary explanations for why adolescent and young males take so much risk, doing research in Alaska's outdoors. Although in his 50's, he describes himself as an incurable adolescent male.
• Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. is the Distinguished University Professor and Laura H. Carnell Professor of Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. Dr. Steinberg is Past-President of the Division of Developmental Psychology of the American Psychological Association and a former President of the Society for Research on Adolescence. One of the world’s leading authorities on psychological development during adolescence, Dr. Steinberg’s research has focused on a range of topics, including adolescent brain development, risk-taking and decision-making, mental health, family relationships, after-school employment, school achievement, and juvenile justice. Dr. Steinberg is the author of more than 300 articles and essays on growth and development during the teenage years, as well as a number of books on adolesence.
LINKS FROM THIS PROGRAM:
- When I Was Young: Teenage Risk - We asked adults in Anchorage and Kodiak what was the riskiest thing you did as a teen, something that now, as an adult, you would never do?
- Josh Shipp Connects Adults & Teens - 30-year old Josh Shipp is a teen behavior expert, an author and a TV show host whose work is all about "getting through to teens". He's been called "Dr. Phil for teens" and the "teen whisperer", and he shared some of his "getting through" strategies with KTD producer Sarah Gonzales on a recent one-day visit to Anchorage.
- Dr. KTD: Teen Smell - Anchorage pediatrician Michelle Laufer, M.D. fills us in on another pressing question about teenage development - just why does your teen smell like that?
Looking for love, companionship and a life partner means dating – for better or for worse. So this time on Kids These Days! we’re exploring what happens when mom or dad start dating again after a divorce or death of a spouse, and we’ll also turn an eye to teens and dating - how are the kids these days doing relationships (or not)?
What's the best relationship advice you ever received, moms and dads? Share it in the comments below!
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio are two professionals with personal experience on the topic.
• Ashley M. Barrera is a marital and family therapist in Anchorage who holds master’s of science in human development and family studies from Iowa State University. She is in private practice in Anchorage where she works with individuals, couples and families on topics related to relationship enhancement, divorce, remarriage and blended family therapy. Ashley is a proud member of a blended family herself, who enjoys sharing her life with her fiancé and his six year old son.
• Kyle Bradford is the man behind ChopperPapa.com, a blog of observations on single fatherhood, divorce, relationships, dating, manhood, and other subjects he lovingly calls "intellectual roadkill". A divorced dad for 7 years, Kyle is profoundly familiar with what it means to be a parent in the "modern family". He resides with his children, ages 8 and 10, in Atlanta, Georgia where he joined us from the WABE studios.
LINKS FROM THIS PROGRAM:
Books recommended by Ashley:
- Alaska's Favorite Matchmaker - Editor and founder of Alaska Men magazine, Susie Carter has been helping people find each other for almost three decades and, in that time, she's learned a lot about love and making relationships work. She shared her perspective on looking for love in the last frontier with KTD producer Sarah Gonzales.
- Teens Discuss Dating, "Drama" & "Hooking Up" - How do kids today "go out" or "hook up" -- what do those terms even mean? We talked to a few teens about the world of dating in high school and college.
- KTDontheGO: Date Night for Parents - Married couples also need to get out now and then for a little one-on-one couple time. Our AKontheGo blogger Erin Kirkland suggests skipping the traditional "Date Night" for something a little more adventurous.
Whether you graduated last week or 30 years ago, chances are that there was a standout teacher at some point in your school career. What was it about that person that made them significant? Perhaps they had a unique teaching style. Maybe they took extra time or showed you extra kindness? They may have seen the potential in you earlier than anyone else did. So on this program we celebrate and appreciate those educators who have made us all better people as a result of their work.
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining KTD host, Shana Sheehy, in the studio to discuss the importance of teachers and the legacy they can create are three of Alaska's most honored educators.
• Carol Comeau is the outgoing Superintendant of the Anchorage School District - a position she’s held for 12 years. Her career with ASD started in 1974 as a noon-duty attendant, from which she transitioned into various teaching and administrative positions. She is retiring this summer and moving to Bellingham; from there she’ll get to see her grandchildren and their parents a whole lot more.
• Lorrie Heagy is the music teacher and librarian at Glacier Valley Elementary School in Juneau. Lorrie has 15 years of classroom experience and started the Juneau, Alaska Music Matters and Art is Elementary programs. She was honored to represent this state’s teachers as the 2011 Alaska Teacher of the Year.
• Patricia Truman is the Executive Director of the Professional Teaching Practices Commission for the State of Alaska as well as the Alaska Teacher of the Year Coordinator. She is a 30-year retired teacher whose career included teaching in the Yukon Flats, Fairbanks North Star and Matanuska-Susitna School Districts. She is the 2001 Alaska Teacher of the Year.
RESOURCES FROM THIS PROGRAM:
"Status of Teachers" story links:
- The Status of Teachers - Generally speaking, parents and communities tend to have favorable opinions of teaching and yet somehow, teachers are not held in as high regard as other professionals and they’re not paid as well. So how does this affect who chooses to teach? And what will the teaching workforce look like in the future? KTD contributor Jessica Cochran spoke with some people who study the teaching profession and learned about some surprising trends.
- My Most Inspiring Teacher - Kindergarten through high school - that's thirteen years - and chances are there is one teacher who stands out above the rest. KTD producer Sarah Gonzales asked a few high school and college students to recall the one teacher who was especially inspiring and why.
- Power of One: Stephanie Burgoon - "Ms. B" saw the hydroponic equipment confiscated from a drug bust in her small town of Whittier, Alaska as an opportunity to help one of her struggling students grow into something beautiful. KTD host Shana Sheehy has this installment in our Power of One series, highlighting those who make a big difference in the lives of kids.
Child obesity is a heavy problem in the country and our state is no different - one in three children in Alaska enter kindergarten overweight. Kids who are fat can have serious, even fatal, health conditions, they get picked on and they don't feel good about themselves. Sick and teased with low self-esteem - that's no way to be young! That's why this time we're talking about preventing childhood obesity and overweight, plus we'll look at eating healthy in the bush and staying active throughout the year.
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy in the studio are two guests this time.
• Dr. Gary Ferguson serves as the Director of Wellness and Prevention at the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC). He also is a staff doctor at Avante Medical Center. He obtained his doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine in 2001, and has been working in the Alaska Tribal Health System for the past 11 years.
• Karol Fink is the program manager for the State of Alaska Obesity Prevention and Control Program. She has been a Registered Dietitian for almost 20 years and has a Master of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Washington. She started her public health career 16 years ago at Providence Seward Medical Center.
CHILD OBESITY LINKS:
Alaska-specific resources -
National resources -
- Farm-t0-School Changing Lunchtime in Alaska - School lunches are designed to meet federal nutrition guidelines, but plenty of parents consider them far from healthy. Across the state, efforts are underway to try to get more fresh, local food incorporated into school lunches, increasing the health value, the taste and the market for local food producers. KTD contributor Jessica Cochran has more.
- Healthy Futures Alaska is Active this Summer - Your kids may have brought home their exercise logs at some point during this last school year - it's all part of the Healthy Futures Program and although the school year is wrapping up, we found out that they are keeping up the activities all summer long. KTD Producer Sarah Gonzales spoke with the program director, Cindy Norquest.
- Chef KTD: Lighter Mini-Cheesecakes - We asked our Chef KTD Liz Madsen for a "healthy version" of a kid-friendly dessert recipe and she showed our producer, Sarah Gonzales, how a few key substitutions can make for a healthy mini-cheesecake with berry compote - with less fat and minimally-refined sugars. [Recipe, photos + audio here]
Our Mother’s Day special explores how motherhood has evolved since the Greek and Roman times. We’ll be looking at moms through the ages as well as discussing modern trends in motherhood today. It’s a fascinating discussion on family structure, societal expectations and the importance of moms.
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy to discuss moms throughout time is guest Dr. Shari L. Thurer, author of Myths of Motherhood: How Culture Reinvents the Good Mother (Penguin, 1995), and The End of Gender: A Psychological Autopsy (Routledge, 2005). Dr. Thurer joined us from the WBUR studios in Boston.
LINKS FROM THIS PROGRAM:
- Teen Mom/High School Student - In Anchorage, some teen moms attend Crossroads - a high school just for pregnant and parenting teens. Some of them are also enrolled in Kids Corps Early Head Start program. The program has an in-home program, one that offers child development information, developmental screening and general support to these young moms. KTD contributor Jessica Cochran spoke to the woman who does those home visits, Tundra Paulson.
- Zen & the Art of Motherhood - We've all heard that practicing yoga and meditation can have profound effects on our bodies and minds; KTD contributor Paula Dobbyn explores the effects they also can have on practicing motherhood.
Preparing for college can be an entire family affair, not to mention the teachers and counselors who all pull together to help a young person get ready to succeed in higher education. This time on KTD we're talking about what it takes to get to university - and once accepted - how to do one's best during those college years. We're focusing on Alaska's higher learning institutions for this discussion.
IN-STUDIO GUESTS: Joining host Shana Sheehy to dicuss all things college prep are two college graduates from Alaskan schools who each now work at their alma maters.
• Brittany Hales is an Undergraduate and Early Honors Admissions Counselor at Alaska Pacific University. Born and raised in Alaska and an alum of Polaris K-12 school in Anchorage, her love of Alaska and the natural environment led her to pursue a degree in Environmental Policy and Planning at APU.
• Winston Montecillo is the the Communications Coordinator for the Department of Recruitment at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. A graduate of Ketchikan High School in 2006, he was awarded a UA Scholar scholarship that he used towards earning his BA degree in Psychology.
LINKS FROM THIS PROGRAM:
- Finishing in Four - For the University of Alaska statewide, about 30% of full-time, degree-seeking students get a degree within 6 years. The University is trying to increase that number – by creating what they call a “culture of completion” among students. KTD's Jessica Cochran reports.
- Mentorship is Key to College Completion for Rural Students - After receiving the U.S. Department of Education’s Alaska Native Education Grant in 2010 the Koniag Education Foundation set a goal to reduce the dropout rate among its Alutiiq shareholders currently in college over three years' time. Instead they reached their goal in just two years - the college dropout rate fell from 20% in 2010 to 3% in 2012. Executive Director Tyan Hayes credits the power of mentorship for the success. She spoke with KTD producer, Sarah Gonzales.
- Dr. KTD: Teens and Sleep - Whether still at home or off at college, your child's sleep schedule still matters. Board-certified pediatrician, Michelle Laufer reminds us that young brains continue to develop through the mid-20's and sleep is essential to that function.