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FAMILY   -   FAMILY FEATURES
Family Time
February, 2016 - Issue #136
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Foster or
Foster-to-Adopt
a Child

Los Angeles County's foster care population exceeds 21,000 children with 450 foster children waiting to be connected to a family that will adopt. Children's Bureau offers a comprehensive foster care and adoption program that brings families together for a lifetime. Children's Bureau Resource Parents protect and nurture children, meet children's developmental needs, support children's relationships with their birth families and do all of this as a member of a professional team. Qualifying families receive training, certification and support. A monthly information meeting is being held Saturday, January 30 from 10am to 12pm at College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Room 222.
RSVP required. 208-4212

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"Our family wanted a place where we could take our daughter Bella to develop as an actress. Like many parents, we were skeptical about the process and who to trust. We signed her up at Santa Clarita School of Performing Arts (SCSOPA), driving in from Bakersfield several times a week. SCSOPA provided us with the guidance and the opportunity to tryout before entertainment agents and managers. Mike and his staff are well connected and there are reputable talent agents at the school every week. Three months after signing Bella up at SCSOPA, our daughter was represented by both a top talent agency and management group. As we type this testimonial, Bella has appeared as a co-star in an ABC sitcom called 'Mixology,' she just finished filming a promotional commercial for Disney/Pixar, and in January 2016 Bella will be co-starring in a new sitcom on TV Land called 'Teacher.' If your child really wants to pursue acting and you are willing to fully support this endeavor, SCSOPA will give you the key foundational building blocks to start this process. We are very grateful to Mike and his team for providing my daughter with great opportunities,"

Serena Stine

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courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Spring 2016 Family Bucket List
by Therese Edwards

Dig for Million-year-old Shark Teeth
Last summer, I took my three children - then 15, 8 and 6 - to the Ernst Quarries Public Digging Site to find million-year-old shark teeth. The Ernst Quarries, located near Sharktooth Hill around Bakersfield, are home to the largest deposit of Miocene marine fossils in the world. The property sprawls over 260 acres and comprises of three distinct quarries. Each quarry yields fossil specimens of various colors and varieties. Together, they offer a unique natural history experience not found anywhere else. The road into our dig site provided a fun bumpy ride (I advise you to take the highest-clearance vehicle you have.) and the dig itself was magical, despite the dust and high temps. Each child left with over 10 ancient shark teeth they mined themselves, some larger than their thumb. They can't wait to go back - and I can't wait to schedule the next trip during spring instead of during the height of summer's desert heat.
www.sharktoothhillproperty.com

Go to the Grunion Run
The first time I saw millions of silver slivers of fish wiggling on the shore, I thought my eyes were playing tricks. Spend a night sitting on San Pedro's sandy shores watching the sardine-size grunions laying their eggs after the high tide and you'll have a new appreciation for Mother Nature. The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium hosts family-geared lectures on the topic and will introduce you personally to the little guys at their Grunion Run events scheduled March 11 to July 21. www.cabrillomarineaquarium.org

Pick your own Produce
Located in Moorpark and opening in March, Underwood is the place where children and adults can reconnect with the source of their food. Wander through neat veggie rows on this working farm, pulling a cart to carry your tasty finds. You'll pay for your produce by the pound, just like at the grocery store, but these self-harvested delicacies are much more fresh and flavorful than what you can find under buzzing florescent lights. Tip: Bring snips so that you have an easier time separating, say, your broccoli from the momma plant. Not everything is as easy to harvest as carrots and strawberries!
www.underwoodfamilyfarms.com

courtesy of Shutterstock
courtesy of Shutterstock
Sharing the Love on Valentine's Day
Send a Valentine to a Soldier
Send children's V-Day cards - and some lollipops and conversation hearts, too! - to our military personnel for a welcome taste of home. Mailing is easy when you read the "How to Send a Care Package" link on
www.adoptaplatoon.org. There's still time to get messages of love and support to those serving overseas.

Stick a Heartfelt Message of Hope
in a Care Bag for the Homeless

Help children assemble simple Care Bags for the homeless - suggested items to include are clean socks, hand wipes, granola bars, beanies, apple sauce packs, a few dollars, gloves - and then slide in a message of love before sealing the bag. Cards can also be attached with safety pins to used blankets and jackets, too. Keep your Care Bags in the car and distribute when your paths cross with someone who could use it.

Treat a Neighbor, make a Friend
Chances are, there's someone living on your street who would greatly appreciate a sweet sentiment from your little sweeties. It's probably the older gentleman who waves to the kids or the single mom who looks like the weight of the world is on her shoulders (Because it probably is.). Know where they live but don't remember their names? Not a worry. Here's your chance to make a real connection. Have the kiddos create cards and decorate a few cookies, then head on over. Prep your kids to introduce themselves first; your neighbor will probably respond with their name in kind, saving you the embarrassment.

Share a Sweet Sentiment with a Senior
Grandparents, great aunts and uncles deserve Valentine's Day love, too! Make your sentiments as personal as possible by having kids list some of the reasons they love the senior in their life.
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