Stop Bullying, Like Milla

9 year old Milla did something that would be impossible for most adults. She completed an obstacle course, known as the Bullfrog, designed for Navy Seals. Milla did it in six circuits, and her coach who is also her father says he is very proud. However, despite how strong and determined Milla is, she says she was bullied at school. She wanted to stop the bullying, not through violence but through inspiration. She said she ran the course as a way to inspire all children who are victims of bullying. states that-

  • Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression. (Center for Disease Control, 2015)
  • Students who engage in bullying behavior are at increased risk for academic problems, substance use, and violent behavior later in adolescence and adulthood. (Center for Disease Control, 2015)
  • Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied. (Center for Disease Control, 2015)
  • Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches. (Gini and Pozzoli, 2013)

Active Lifestyle, Children on the Go

“Regular physical activity helps to prevent the development of heart disease [1], type 2 diabetes [2], obesity [3, 4] and some cancers [5] and is also associated with improved mental well-being [6]. Among children and adolescents, physical activity has been associated with a lower body mass index [7] and lower mean values for cardiovascular risk factors [810]. Sedentary time, i.e. when people are not active has also been associated with increased adiposity among children [11]. Sedentary time does not, however, provide information about the activities in which a person is engaged and therefore there have been recent calls to focus on sedentary activities as specific behaviours that are related to health outcomes [12]. The most studied sedentary behaviour is TV viewing and higher levels of TV viewing have been associated with higher body mass among youth [7, 13, 14]. Many children and adolescents do not meet physical activity guidelines and exceed TV viewing recommendations [1518]. Children’s physical activity levels decline steeply with age, particularly into adolescence [1921] with the end of primary school (10-11 years of age) being a pivotal period of change [20, 22]. Therefore, in order to prevent the development of cardiovascular and associated diseases there is a need to understand the factors that influence children’s physical activity and TV viewing at this key transition age,” says BioMed Central.

LiveStrong states that, “Children and adolescents need to perform moderate or vigorous intensity aerobic activity for at least one hour every day. Children should also participate in strengthening activities at least three days a week. The best way to get your kids moving is to set a good example. Incorporate physical activity into family time, and encourage children to participate in physical activities that they enjoy, such as team sports, martial arts, dance lessons or simple playground activities.”

Need some ideas? Check these out from Princess Pinky Girl

A Doctor for Good

Local chiropractor Derek Prado is planning on going to Fiji. Perhaps, you imagine, he will be going to enjoy a nice vacation, to sit on the beach. For Dr. Prado, this trip means so much more. He is going to serve children and families who have, in some cases, never had a medical exam before.

Derek has done this work twice previously; once as a student and once again after becoming a chiropractor. He stated that, “any and all contributions (to his GoFundMe page) will help the PPO Team provide free healthcare, and in some cases free life changing surgery, to those less fortunate.”

The PPO website says, “In 2010, Dr. Bhogal created a non-profit foundation called Peak Potential Outreach.  This organization’s primary goal is to provide comprehensive healthcare to underserved and impoverished communities around the world.  In the past 10 years, Drs. Bhogal and O’Neill have coordinated trips to serve the people of Haiti, Jamaica, Fiji, India, and Morocco. Peak Potential Outreach embarked upon it’s inaugural service trip to Fiji in March 2012 and followed up with the second in June 2013.  Multidisciplinary healthcare teams provided care to over 600 underserved patients.  Peak Potential Outreach is now affiliated with Shriner’s Hospitals for Children and provides a direct referral and support for those who may be in need of more complex care.”

Its wonderful to see a local provider involved in such wonderful work!

The need in Fiji, which Derek will be directly addressing, is great. states that, “The quality of health services varies significantly in Fiji. In the outer islands health care is not easily accessible and the nearest clinics often involve an expensive sea journey. Poor sanitation systems and a lack of fresh water supplies can be a cause of severe sickness. According to the Asian Development Bank, only 50% of the population in Fiji has access to safe water and proper sanitation. The level of access to sanitation is 75% in urban areas, but only 12% in rural areas.”

I am…

photoWe thought this was so beautiful!


I am young.

I am small.

I am fragile.

I am messy.

I am a handful.

I am a daughter.

I am a sister.

I am your friend.

I am unique.

I am kind.

I am curious.

I am funny.

I am love.

I am strong.

I am smart.

I am an explorer.

I am a dreamer.

I am a forgiver.

I am brave.

I am growing.

I am learning.

I am confident.

I am important.

I am an opportunity.

I am possible.

I am worthy.

I am a lock.

You are the key.

I am your future.

I am.

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Not Legal? No Lawyer! Is that about to change?

“A 4-year-old boy from Honduras approached a police officer in Anzaldulas Park earlier this year after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico in Mission. Child welfare advocates have predicted the number of unaccompanied children entering the U.S. could reach 60,000 this year, attributing the influx primarily to a growing “humanitarian crisis” caused by rampant gang and cartel violence in Central and South America. Photo by Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle”

MSN News’ article states that, “Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California knew what would happen as hundreds of thousands of children fled to the United States on their own over the last few years.

Because being present in the U.S. illegally is a civil offense, there is no right to an attorney during immigration or asylum proceedings. That means many children stand alone before an immigration judge when they ask to stay in this country.

Lofgren said it’s a problem she has fought for years. In the 1970s, she practiced immigration law and taught at the Santa Clara University School of Law. She knew that many who came fleeing violence would be sent back home because they lacked legal representation and had no one to advocate for them.

Now the San Jose Democrat and 54 of her House colleagues have put forth a bill to argue that, at a minimum, children and people with certain disabilities should have government-appointed attorneys to help them navigate the asylum process. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where Lofgren is the highest-ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.

“You’ve got a 10-year-old who speaks Spanish, and they’re in a courtroom facing a trained prosecutor making the asylum case. It’s not going to work,” Lofgren said in an interview in her Capitol Hill office. “The consequences of being unable to make your case are severe.”

Since October 2013, more than 132,000 Central American children and teens without legal status have been caught near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It isn’t yet clear whether that trend will continue this year, or if federal deportation efforts have caused it to slow.

A child who goes before an immigration judge without an attorney has a 1 in 10 chance of being allowed to stay, while about half of children with an attorney get U.S. protection, according to a study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. About half of unaccompanied children get an attorney, the analysis shows.

Although being in the country illegally is a civil offense, being caught crossing the border can lead to federal criminal charges.

Opponents of the bill argue that American taxpayers shouldn’t pay for an attorney to represent a person who came to the country illegally. Jon Feere, legal policy analyst for the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, wrote in a March 15 blog post on the center’s website that if immigration groups want an attorney for people in the U.S. illegally, being in the country without legal status should be made a criminal offense, not a civil one.

“It can be a difficult situation for children, no doubt, and it’s unfortunate that the parents have put them in that situation. And it’s unfortunate that the Obama administration has encouraged people to risk their lives crossing the border, but that is precisely what Deferred Action has done,” Feere said. “There’s already a way to make sure all illegal aliens receive an attorney during their immigration proceedings: criminalize immigration law.”

Lofgren said concerns about cost shouldn’t trump due process. She argued that providing access to attorneys could help avoid delays and streamline the process, which would save money. Several nonprofit groups provide free legal representation to migrant children, as does a Justice Department program, though many still end up in court without an advocate.

Many immigration judges delay and postpone hearings as they look for an attorney to represent children seeking asylum, Lofgren said.

“Not having a lawyer gums up the works,” she said. “That costs money and time. You translate those delays and the cost with those delays over 50,000 cases, it’s a lot of money.”

When a child is detained, Department of Homeland Security asylum officers perform an initial screening to determine whether the child may have a valid claim for asylum and should go before an immigration judge.

“These kids, most of them, over 90 percent, were found to have valid claims by the trained asylum officer. But of course if they weren’t represented, they were unable to actually articulate that when it came to court,” Lofgren said.

Whether the government must provide attorneys for children and people with special needs is a question pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The American Civil Liberties Union and immigrant rights groups want to require the government to provide appointed counsel for every child who cannot afford a lawyer in immigration court proceedings. The Justice Department is contesting the lawsuit.

In a recently unsealed deposition, Judge Jack Weil, an assistant chief immigration judge for the Justice Department, made the case that migrant children as young as 3 are capable of representing themselves in deportation hearings. Weil’s job includes coordinating training for other immigration judges and court staff.

“I’ve taught immigration law literally to 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of patience,” Weil said. “They get it. It’s not the most efficient, but it can be done.”

Lofgren said the statement was absurd.

“If you are a mother, it’s hard to say how it’s fair that a small child should be left on their own in an important proceeding,” she said. “There’s no other area of the law where that happens.”

A group of immigration lawyers made the same point recently in a video in which they asked children questions that they would hear in court.

Lofgren understands her bill may not move far…


“We have a moral obligation to ensure these children and other vulnerable populations seeking our nation’s protection receive due process, and are not merely deported back to the dangers and the terrors they risked so much to escape,” she said.

Lofgren says she sees her own kids, now grown, in the faces of children who came to the U.S. alone.

“When they were 5 they could not have gone into court, faced off with a trained prosecutor and made a coherent case for asylum in a language they didn’t speak,” she said.”

But this is not a new phenonmenon…

According to, “An unaccompanied child migrant was the first person in line on opening day of the new immigration station at Ellis Island. Her name was Annie Moore, and that day, January 1, 1892, happened to be her 15th birthday. She had traveled with her two little brothers from Cork County, Ireland, and when they walked off the gangplank, she was awarded a certificate and a $10 gold coin for being the first to register. Today, a statue of Annie stands on the island, a testament to the courage of millions of children who passed through those same doors, often traveling without an older family member to help them along.”


These standards do not hold true in Boone County in Juvenile Abuse/Neglect proceedings. All children, regardless of their immigration status, receive a GAL appointment. In fact, our program often does not know if the child/family is here legally or not. Those questions just are not as important as, “Has this child seen a doctor recently?” and “Has the child been fed and clothed regularly?” Each child is assigned a case number, a CASA advocate/GAL, and receives the services provided by a case worker. If needed, a bilingual worker and (we try!) a bilingual CASA will be working the case. If a bilingual CASA is not available, then someone serves as a translator for the advocate.

A trend we are aware of is children who are citizens by birth but have undocumented parents. This can make for very complicated issues within the family, especially if a parent is facing deportation. To see how this can effect a family (and the child welfare system) check out the video below.

Genie; A Study into Severely Isolated Children

“James Kent, another researcher on Genie’s team, thought her condition would improve if she could form meaningful relationships with people. He began feeding her breakfast in the morning and tucking her in at night with a story and a kiss. But “doctors aren’t supposed to love their patients,” he said.

Initially, Genie didn’t respond to his efforts. Then, one day, Genie frowned and pulled Kent’s arm when he tried to leave. She didn’t want him to go…

She developed a passion for hording items, especially glasses and containers — behavior exhibited by many other severely abused children…

Genie’s rehabilitation continued. She could read and started to attend nursery school. Her team began to think and hope she might fully recover…

Unfortunately, the National Institute of Mental Health revoked funding for Genie’s treatment and research in the Fall of 1974. Because of the blurred lines between foster family and research team, no one could produce well-kept records or steadfast findings. Alleging the research damaged Genie’s recovery, her mother even sued the team and hospital for excessive testing…

Genie returned to live with her mother, acquitted of all charges. But her mother soon found taking care of Genie too difficult. Genie made the rounds to foster home after foster home where she experienced abuse and harassment.”

To see the whole article click here.

But, unknown to many, Genie had a sibling who also suffered terrible abuse.

“John Wiley was 6 years old when he stood helplessly on a California street, on his way to buy an ice cream, when an out-of-control pickup truck slammed into his grandmother and dragged her mangled body down the street.

The loving woman had taken the boy into her California home when he was only 4, believing that her son — Clark Wiley, a demanding taskmaster of a father — was an unstable parent.

Two of John’s older siblings had died mysteriously as infants: a 2-month-old sister died after her cries prompted Clark to wrap her in a receiving blanket and leave her in a bureau drawer in the garage. And a brother died shortly after birth.

John’s life was spared by the hit-and-run driver in 1958, but the event condemned him back to the home of abusive parents — a nearly blind, mentally ill mother and tyrannical father, who in 1970 would be charged in one of the most horrific cases of child abuse in modern history. He has spent most of the rest of his life estranged from his family, with little support to heal the scars of his childhood.

“I was left out in left field and no one came to my rescue,” Wiley, now 56 and living a modest life as a house painter in Ohio, told in his first-ever interview about a life spent recovering from the tragedy.

“I am a living dead man.”

To read the full article click here.


Liv Life and Give

Have you heard about the local foundation Liv Life? It was named for local principal Jacob Hubert’s daughter, Liv, after receiving her diagnosis of Sanfilippo Syndrome. Liv is now eight years old after being diagnosed at 2 1/2. Her parents continue to support her and celebrate her life, which they encourage you to do as well.

Another child living with Sanfilippo has been in news lately. Her name is Eliza O’Neill and her parents started the #SavingEliza movement. They have been living in self imposed isolation, hoping that their sweet girl will be chosen to be part of experimental trials of a new, single injection treatment for children suffering from the lysosomal storage disease.

Liv’s mother, on her blog, explains Sanfilippo Syndrome, “I want you to picture your clothes dryer.  It’s a machine that most of us use everyday.  Now imagine this dryer as your body.  All dryers have lint trap vents or doors.  This “lint trap” is what we have in our bodies called heparan sulfate (an enzyme).  Kids with Sanfilippo Syndrome do not have this lint trap (or the missing enzyme heparan sulfate.)  In our bodies that have that functioning “lint trap,” we can safely remove that lint trap, pull it out and dispose of the lint like we are suppose to (or in real anatomy, we pee it out).  That lint that I’m referring too, in our bodies, is called glycosaminoglycans or GAGS.  Like in Livia’s body, if a dryer is missing that lint trap, the lint (or GAGS) has no where to go but in places that we don’t want it to be.  Can you imagine running your dryer over and over again and all that lint going into the exhaust pipe, or the motor, or other critical parts of your dryer that makes it run?  Eventually, your dryer isn’t going to work properly due to all of that lint build up.  Unfortunately, this is exactly what is happening to children that are diagnosed with Sanfilippo Syndrome.  Those GAG’s (or lint) are building within their systems in all the places that we don’t want that build up.  Just because one little part is missing, but, it’s a critical part.  These GAG’s are building in their organs, tissues, joints, but mostly brain and central nervous system.  This build up is what has caused her to stop talking, feeding herself, motor issues, seizures, swallowing difficulties, and eventually death.”

Eliza’s Story recently posted this- Eliza's Story

If you or anyone you know would like to donate, buy a Liv Life tee, or be part of the 50 State Challenge click on the links above.