Foster Parenting: Challenging? You Bet. But Worth the Effort.

© Lisa Shara; Published at North State Parent

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Senta Burton is passionate about advocating for families. She stands for children, but also for parents – both birth parents and foster parents. A mother of six, Senta’s four younger children are adopted, initially joining her family as foster children.

As parent educator at Counseling Solutions in Butte County, Senta works with birth parents whose children have been removed from their care. She teaches a 16-week “Nurturing Parenting” class the parents are required to attend. She also works with the county’s Supporting Our Families’ Transition (SOFT) program, which offers parents support and access to resources, assisting them as their cases conclude and their children are about to return home. The program’s goal is to help parents create a stable home in an effort to prevent the possibility of having their children reenter foster care again in the future.

Senta and her family. In front, Destiny. Next row: Theo, Lila, Marah and Tanika. 3rd row: Parents Charles and Senta. In back: Chas.

Senta and her family. In front, Destiny. Next row: Theo, Lila, Marah and Tanika. 3rd row: Parents Charles and Senta. In back: Chas.

Senta additionally teaches a variety of parenting classes for the Butte Foster Kinship Care Education program, including Foster Parent Preservice; Nurtured Heart Approach; Nurturing Parenting; Parenting the Special Needs Child; and Understanding the Alcohol and Drug-Exposed Child. Everyone is welcome to attend Butte Foster Kinship’s free classes and workshops: parents, non-parents, people thinking about becoming a foster parent, parents whose children are currently in foster care, teachers, social workers and other community members.

What inspired Senta to become so deeply involved with families? She first became a foster parent in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 20 years ago. In her first year, dozens of children came and left her home. “It broke my heart to see the fear and confusion on their faces as they were moved from one strange home to another,” she says. “It became clear that moving children from home to home – which often happens in foster care – was taking a toll on them, often making them feel they weren’t loved or wanted.” Continue reading

A Rhumba Of Rattlesnakes – New Children’s Book by Kristen Lape

A prickle of porcupines? A lounge of Iguanas? A delightful new children’s book, featuring whimsical yet scientifically accurate illustrations of animals, is written in a fun A-Z format that teaches the names of animal groups … like “a zeal of zebras.”

Written by local author Kristen Lape, My Love is bigger than a Rhumba of Rattlesnakes is targeted for ages preschool through elementary school – and is likely a fun read for any age.

Lape (Lape rhymes with grape) grew up in Butte County and spent her initial college years at California State University, Chico, before moving to Santa Cruz where she serendipitously met Sylvie-Marie Drescher, Rhumba’s talented illustrator. Drescher’s animal illustrations, showing animals in their natural habitats, were a perfect fit with Lape’s book idea.

art-1115-rattlesnakes2Lape’s idea for Rhumba was first inspired by her two sons. “When they were small, we read a lot of books about animals and spent a lot of time outdoors in nature.” In her work as an elementary school counselor for Chico Unified School District, Lape has often been reminded of how much children love animals. And she has a related concern: “A lot of the world’s animals and habitats are being destroyed,” Lape says. “I think about that too.” Continue reading

Bending the Oar – Club Strives to Make Rowing Accessible to North State Youth

© Lisa Shara; Published at North State Parent.

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Jade Bennett, 12, and Jordan Bennett, 13, were in for a big surprise when they signed up for a recent rowing camp held at Forebay Aquatic Center in July. Their mom, Julee Bennet, says: “I had to encourage them to try the sport out. They didn’t really know anything about rowing, and had assumed they wouldn’t like it. However, from the start of camp, they had an amazing time and were more than eager to go back each day. On the last day, they both jumped in the car all excited and said, ‘Mom, we are totally doing this next summer! This rowing thing is awesome!’”

[sws_pullquote_right]It’s a great art, is rowing. It’s the finest art there is. It’s a symphony of motion and when you’re rowing well, why it’s nearing perfection. You’re touching the divine. It touches the you of you’s, which is your soul.” –George Pocock [/sws_pullquote_right] “We want participants to be safe on the water and have a great time at camp being a kid,” says Nate Sandoval, an assistant rowing coach for California State University, Chico, and summer manager at Forebay Aquatic Center. “Rowing builds discipline, focus and technique, and it’s fun because you are helping each other move fast in a totally unique environment. In camp, team-building mixes with meeting new friends. It’s a fun way to learn a new sport.” Continue reading

Localicious: For the Love of Ghee

© Hannah Kraemer and Lisa Shara. Published at North State Parent.

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What’s better than butter? Butter made from organic, pasture-raised cows already has a dense profile of health-giving nutrients, and it’s hard to deny the love for a food that leaves a warm and satisfying taste. Perhaps the question is: how can we make butter better?

The answer is ghee. Take butter, melt and simmer it to naturally purify it, and ghee is what you get!

Originating in India, ghee is a type of clarified butter that has been around for centuries. Although the production may vary from place to place, ghee is valued as a necessary staple in the typical Indian diet. In India and Tibet, ghee has been long revered for its healing properties. Continue reading

A Dog In The Family – A Guide To Knowing If The Time Is Right

© Lisa Shara

Dogs! They offer the qualities of affection, loyalty and a sense of adventure, and can be a great addition to your family…but when? Your kids may think the right time is now, but how do you really know if your family is ready for the responsibility of a new canine member?

Before deciding to bring a new dog into the family, here are some things to consider:

Continue reading

Angélique Kidjo – Enough Energy, Passion & Focus to Influence the World

This article first appeared in North State Parent magazine in March 2008; © Lisa Shara

On March 15th, 2008, the legendary Angélique Kidjo came to Chico’s Laxson Auditorium Angelique Kidjo Cover to share her world-renowned music. Kidjo is also known for her role with UNICEF, her association with Oxfam, and for the organization she founded and holds close to her heart: Batonga Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to expand secondary school opportunities for poor and orphaned girls in sub-Saharan Africa.

Even in the flurry of activity following her recent Grammy win for Best Contemporary World Music Album for her 2007 release Djin Djin, Kidjo took time to speak with us about her passion for music, education, and for making a difference in the lives of children and teenagers.

Continue reading

VermiComposting – Your Garden’s Best Friends at Work

Mark Purser of The Worm Farm in Durham, CAEarthworms are fascinating creatures, and are certainly one of the most active and commonly known members of the soil food web. They are major players in the realm of decomposers, breaking down organic waste and recycling nutrients obtained from bacteria and fungi growing on decaying matter. They are certainly all-stars in the garden. Continue reading

Doctor Noize and his Friend Mr. Beethoven – Youth Concert with North State Symphony

Dr. Noize with young fans
On September 24th and 25th, 2009 award-winning children’s music artist Dr. Noize will be appearing in Chico and Redding, CA  in collaboration with the North State Symphony, in two special concerts geared for youth. North State Symphony Executive Director Keith Herritt encourages all parents to attend this fun musical experience with their children.
When asked what’s special about the upcoming concert Herritt chuckled, “It’s exciting because this will be the most ambitious, fun and original youth concert we’ve done to date-it’s the first time we’ve reached out to involve a guest artist like Dr. Noize. We’ll be playing some very familiar selections like Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and we’ll also be playing short original works written specifically for the concert by Dr. Noize. It’s a great way to introduce kids to symphonic music.”

Dr. Noize & charactersAbout Dr. Noize

Dr. Noize (Cory Cullinan) performs across the country in family-oriented shows, sharing music in all its varieties with young audiences. He was raised and began his career in the San Francisco Bay Area, and more recently moved to Colorado with his wife and two young daughters. Continue reading

Chico Guild Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary and 43 Year History with North State Symphony Young Artist Auditions

art_0509_guild.jpgThe Chico Symphony Guild, founded in 1959, is celebrating its 50th anniversary year. Now called Chico Guild-North State Symphony, its mission has always been to both support the North State Symphony (NSS), and to nurture young talent.

One way the Guild enacts their mission is through their support and production of the Young Artist Auditions (YAA) event held annually in Chico, and open to junior high, high school and college students of the North State.

Held each February at the CSU, Chico Performing Arts Center, the public is always welcome to watch the audition process, from the Guild’s welcoming address to NSS Maestro Kyle Wiley Pickett’s outline of the audition procedure, to enjoying each contestant’s performance of their selected piece (accompanied by a musician of their choice). All instruments and voice are represented. Continue reading