Monthly Archives: July 2009

Capa de Cuentos

According to the library’s online description, “Los Nietos presents a bilingual series of short Latin American stories, along with live music, ancient history, shadow puppets and traditional costumes. For ages 3-adult.” That brief description does not do justice to the animated songs, tales, poignancy, and audience participation that took place in the meeting room of the High Point Branch of the Seattle Public Library today.

Starring FamilyWorks’ very own Mayra Castanos, cast as a child who is sad because she misses her deceased grandfather, and is looking for his soul, a cast of three acted, danced, sang, and fielded questions and interruptions from the most demanding of audiences: children. A small row of seats lined the back of the room, and the rest of the space was filled with carpet squares for little ones of all ages. As Mayra worked her way through tales with morals like our hearts can see things that our eyes cannot, she was greeted by two wizards and three people wearing capes, each of whom had a story to tell. Layers upon layers of stories included marionettes (the horse was a crowd favorite), shadow puppets (including a multicolored, jointed lizard), and music. There were songs, there was dance, and there were questions asked. The children excitedly help Mayra find each of the people wearing capes, informed her that they spoke English, and told stories of their own great-grandparents.

Unlike so many children’s plays, even those of us who were there to support friends rather than bring our own small children learned from the play. Immersed in a society in which talk of death and dying are almost taboo, we were reminded of the importance of remembering the dead while celebrating life, of remembering that we know the sun is there even on days when we can’t see it, and of keeping the memories of those we love alive. While the children mostly wanted to share their own experiences during the question and answer session following the play, more than a few adults had questions about Day of the Dead, about altars, and about remembrance.

Admittedly, this particular show occurred on one of the hottest days of Seattle’s latest heat waves, in the overly-air-conditioned Seattle Public Library, but even if it’s a gorgeous and not oppressively-warm day, this play is a great way to spend an hour of your afternoon, and to provoke thought and discussion about death, dying, and life. There are plenty more dates at various branches of the library in which to see Capa de Cuentos. Congratulations to Mayra and Los Nietos for bringing such an important topic to life, and for inspiring the children, who all rushed to help move a table on the set and find boxes for the altar!

We highly recommend checking out the Seattle Public Library and its Summer Reading Program (for both kids and adults). For all the photos and even a VIDEO from the event, please check out our Facebook Page!

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The Associated Press: 1 million more Americans volunteered in 2008

Food Bank Staff and Volunteers

Food Bank Staff and VolunteersAt FamilyWorks we rely heavily on volunteer support to nourish and strengthen families at the food bank and resource center.  If this inspires you, please contact Kate to learn about the volunteer openings at FamilyWorks.

 

The Associated Press: 1 million more Americans volunteered in 2008.

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Workin’ it for BikeWorks

On Saturday, FamilyWorks staff Kate and Lauren pedaled 50 miles (okay more like 60 for Kate, 55 for Lauren) in the Seattle Century, a fundraiser for BikeWorks. They whizzed down hills (okay, well, Kate did; Lauren gripped the brakes), passed certain macho men in blue jerseys on the way up the hills, and averaged a more-than-respectable pace on the flats. It was a morning well-spent!

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“Nacidos para Aprender”(“Born to Learn”)

Yesterday we had  a workshop called “Nacidos  para Aprender” (Born to Learn), presented by Angelica Cardenas from Chilcare Resources. Here is our review in Spanish:

El dia de ayer tuvimos el honor de tener a Angelica Cardenas de Childcare Resources aqui en Family Works, para presentar la charla “Nacidos para Aprender”. En este seminario, Angelica explico  el desarrollo del cerebro en los cinco primeros anos de vida de los ninos y tambien de la importancia del juego a esta temprana edad.

Madres de familia, nanas y hasta un abuelito, estuvieron atentos y participaron recordando sus infancias, aprendiendo nuevos conceptos, y refrescando sus memorias de como simples juegos y canciones pueden hacer en un chiquitin, una experiencia maravillosa y llena de aprendizaje.

Como siempre, Family Works se preocupa por brindar a la comunidad herramientas  que puedan fortalecer lazos familiares y afectivos. En esta ocasion le toco a la comunidad de habla hispana!

Gracias a todos nuestros participantes, a nuestra fabulosa expositora y a nuestras voluntarias en el cuidado de ninos: Alena y Erica, que hicieron un trabajo maravilloso entreteniendo a los chiquitines.

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Cukes, Zukes, and Fava Beans

What do you think of when you think of food banks? Potatoes, rice, maybe boxed cereal and beans? Perhaps some spoiled milk? If so, consider touring the FamilyWorks food bank. You may be surprised to see all kinds of fresh produce, year-round, gourmet breads, organic pastas and beans from PCC, fresh eggs and milk, meat, ice cream, and many of the things you might normally buy in a grocery store. How does a food bank acquire all these foods? We have a network of community partners – grocery stores, P-Patches, and other donors. During the summer months, one large source of donations is the Wallingford Farmers’ Market.

On Wednesday afternoons, the parking lot at the Wallingford Center is converted to a festival of local and fresh foods, pastas, cheeses, hummus, ice cream bars, and even tamales (half-price if you’re unemployed!). You will also find a community resource booth, at which FamilyWorks will hand out goodies (maybe chocolates, pencils, or stickers) and ask you to complete a survey about community needs. Sometimes you may see the John Stanford International school raising money for its new playground, Seattle City Light distributing free sustainable light bulbs, or the Wallingford Art Walk.

Just as the market is drawing to a close at 7 PM, you’ll see vendors filling crate after crate, donating their wares to people they may never meet. Just yesterday, vendors of all sizes donated fresh-baked bread, raspberries by the flat, bunches of sweet onions, unidentifiable (to me anyway!) purple roots, carrots, lettuce of all types, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries (both red and Rainier!), corn on the cob, cauliflower, and fava beans galore! To be exact, there were 332 pounds of food! Today, the food bank is distributing these colorful, healthful, and above all tasty items to our clients. Thus, when you enter the FamilyWorks Food Bank, you’ll see a lot more than you may have imagined would be at the food bank.

What does one do with fava beans, you may ask? I was none too sure either, so I asked the farmer who donated two crates worth of them. He told me to shell them, then either boil or blanche the beans. Then the bean-casing comes off quite easily, and you just eat them or put them in salads or with pasta. It seemed like a lot of work to me, so I asked about the casing – turns out you can eat it if you don’t mind extreme bitterness.

What’s your favorite farmers’ market recipe, fava beans or otherwise? Please share by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook page. And thank you once more to all the donors who make our food bank so inviting and healthful!

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How To Behave In A Restaurant (not!) | Jannie Funster

Ever felt like you’re alone when your children decide to act out in public? These photos should help you realize you’re not (more on the blog linked below).

How To Behave In A Restaurant (not!) | Jannie Funster.

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Filed under Just for Fun, Parenting, Parents of School-Aged Children (5-12), Parents of Young Children (Ages 0-5), Teen and Young Parents

Jane Fonda: Community-Based Doulas: A Good Investment in the Future

This movie and article showcase the potential societal gains from connecting teen and young parents with doulas, who often act as parenting coaches throughout the first year or two of the child’s life. Jane Fonda comments and argues that doulas should be part of the WIC program.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Homelessness Suburbanizes

End Homelessness – Change.org: Suburban, Rural Homelessness Jumps in 2008.

Statistics show near stability in total homelessness, but an increase in suburban/rural homelessness. Worse yet, the number of homeless families increased by 9%.

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PCC Packing Party

Just before 7 this evening, the library was closed, the building was closed, and only a single door directly to the food bank in the back of the building was open. But six volunteers recruited by PCC found us. There were some regulars who’d been packing every other month for longer than the two staff members, and there were a couple newbies, and even a ten-year-old who was there “to help feed people.” FamilyWorks food bank employee Jesse, known affectionately to some of us as Bubbles after he helped clean up a rather large spill of bubble soap, had already set up a line of metal carts, each with a large plastic bin, a pile of clean plastic bags, twist ties, and food labels. Richard, a long-time veteran who used to pack food in Fremont in the 1980s and has been a regular at FamilyWorks for close to a decade, began moving food from 25-pound bags on a pallet to our bins. And we began packing. One food label in the bag first, two to three scoops of black beans, then a twist tie and into the crate goes a bag. We also discussed everything from the labor movement in San Diego to recently-read library books to P-Patches to community playgrounds. We were a diverse bunch, all there for a couple hours with a common purpose, and it was inspiring to see how much we all accomplished. RIchard shared with me that we were a lean bunch of volunteers; frequently we actually have more than a dozen. On those nights, Richard and another volunteer will continuously fill bins and move the food, while others pack, and others stuff labels. Tonight, we all pitched in and did a little bit of everything. Over and over and over – until we had packed over 1100 pounds of black beans, blueberries and cream granola, brown rice, rolled oats, and cous cous! All in all, it totaled 32 crates worth of staples for our families. By 9:15 PM, the food bank was empty of all but Jesse closing up, and no one would have known just how much scooping had been occurring a few minutes before.

Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who came out even in the busy summer months, and thank you to PCC for donating all that food! For photos of the event, please check our Facebook page (our Flickr account reached its maximum with the parade photos on the weekend). PCC Packing Parties are open to volunteers and occur at 7pm the 3rd Wednesday of every other month.

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FamilyWorks On Parade!

Many members of the FamilyWorks community joined us for our spot in the FamilyWorks Kiddies Parade today! We marched down 45th St. with bubbles, music, cheers of “Fam-lee-works! Fam-lee-works,” streamers, decorated musical instruments, and all kinds of costumes from pirates to giant flowers to fairies to ladybugs. The sun was shining, the kids were smiling, and all in all, it was a wonderful time. Thanks to Mayra for putting it together, and to Curtis for carrying one of our decorated poles, as well as to all the community members who were able to join us. Be sure to check out a small sampling of photos from the event on our Flickr page, and for the full set, become a fan of FamilyWorks on Facebook!P7110169

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