It is estimated that during World War II nearly 50% of the citizens in the United States had an immediate family member serving in the military in some capacity. Today fewer than two percent of Americans have an immediate family member serving in the armed forces. We live in an age of specialization, where so many of us have a niche and we don’t have occasion to connect with those outside of our particular vocation. Those who serve in the military are sometimes far enough removed from us that we don’t really get a chance to see, let alone appreciate, their sacrifice and dedication to our country.
Meeting Staff Sergeant Preston Crossman a few weeks ago made a tremendous impression on me. I met Sgt. Crossman at my daughter’s gymnastics class. I was walking into watch my daughter’s practice and I saw Sgt. Crossman with his two young sons who were both getting ready for their tumbling class. He was dressed in his fatigues and it was obvious he had just come from work. Sgt. Crossman told me he had recently returned from a one year tour of duty in Afghanistan. As we talked for a few minutes I was struck at the sacrifice he and his family have made, and I was so thankful for men and women like him who sacrifice time away from their families to make it possible for most of the rest of us to be at home with our families.
Sgt. Crossman is part of the 1-211 Cavalry who are stationed at the Clark County Armory. He appears on the cover of this month’s ParentsGuide with his two sons and represents all the faithful military families who serve each of us without fanfare. Thank you all for your service.
“Famous” Wayne Schulatz is a cartoon vision. Dressed in black with a bright orange tie and shoelaces, he immediately commands attention when he walks into a room – any room – specifically rooms filled with screaming kids looking to be entertained. And entertain he does. Famous Wayne is one of Las Vegas’ best kept secret weapons in the world of kids’ party entertainment and he’s looking to amaze your kids. Posing as a mild-mannered middle school art teacher, Schulatz is no stranger to keeping young minds engaged. “Kids want to learn,” he explains. “They want to explore ideas and be challenged.” It was this notion of challenging their perception that lead him to magic. Having been a long time fan of the art himself, he started a small club at his school. The club quickly grew in size, as did Schulatz’ own interest. Before long, he was picking up weekend gigs at various family fun centers, entertaining for birthday parties and other special events. It wasn’t long before his 10 minute act before the cake cutting blossomed into a fully customizable 45 minute spectacular, which can include gifts to the birthday child, simple trick teach-in sessions and full on audience participation. And that audience also expanded – he makes sure all the adults in attendance are entertained as well. Now, Schulatz is entering his 3rd year as Famous Wayne and things are really coming together. He’s just released a book of magic tricks for kids (which he gives to the the birthday child and has available for everyone else) and is branching out. Recently he’s performed more sophisticated magic as an emcee for a number of awards banquets and even on stage at a Las Vegas hotel on the strip.
And he’s available for you. You can find him on the web at www.FamousWayneMagic.com or at 702-629-5150. But only call if you want the most unique children’s entertainer in the valley.
Harvey J. Simon, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Even though it’s only September, it’s not too early to think about the flu. We all remember the outbreak of the novel H1N1 flu in 2009. This flu behaved very differently than the usual flu viruses. Instead of having a winter outbreak, this flu attacked in the spring and the fall. There was a very large outbreak last fall. Children and young adults were affected more by this flu than the usual flu. Therefore since fall is approaching, it’s time now to think about protecting your children from the flu.
The vaccine for the 2010-2011 flu season has now been released. Last year we needed two flu vaccines, one for the usual flu and one for the novel H1N1 flu. This year there will be only one flu vaccine which will protect against both types of flu.
Two types of flu vaccine are available, the inactivated virus given by injection, and a weakened live virus given as a nasal spray. How many doses your child needs and what type of vaccine should be given depends on whether your child had previous flu vaccine and the age of your child. You should consult with your child’s physician to make these decisions.
Having your child immunized against the flu is the single most important thing you can do to prevent the flu. You should remember that getting the flu is associated with an increased risk of ear infections, pneumonia and dehydration. The flu is especially dangerous if your child has chronic health problems like asthma, heart disease, diabetes and neurological problems. The risk to your child from the flu vaccine is minimal.
What else can you do to protect your child against the flu? Remember that the flu is spread by airborne droplets and by the virus living on surfaces like walls. To protect your child:
- have your child avoid close contact with anyone who is ill, especially with coughing and sneezing;
- have your child wash his hands frequently with regular soap because you do not need a disinfectant soap;
- have your child avoid touching her eyes and nose after possible contact with the flu virus;
- have anyone at home who is coughing or sneezing avoid spreading their germs in the house, by covering coughs and sneezes and frequent hand washing;
- provide healthy foods for your child;
- have your child sleep enough;
- encourage your child to be physically active; and
- avoid getting the flu yourself since you can give it to your child, especially if you have an infant at home. You need the flu vaccine also.
Dr. Simon is Chief Medical Director of Good Night Pediatrics, which provides urgent care to children every night of the year from 5 P.M.to 5 A.M.
ParentsGuide of Las Vegas recently sat down with Matte Blackham, owner of Healthy Kids LV, to talk about its up-andcoming lunch program, which is spreading rapidly throughout the valley. She smiles politely as she fidgets with her iced tea and I can’t help but notice her attention is really across the street at the line in a fast food restaurant.
PG: Amazing how long people will wait in line for a 2000 calorie lunch, isn’t it?
Blackham: Beyond amazing. I understand when I see adults, who have a limited amount of time on their lunch break to grab a “quick bite,” but it’s the cars packed with kids that drive me crazy. I understand taking kids to a fast food restaurant on occasion, but the sad part is that, for most kids, this happens each and every day. This is exactly what prompted me to start Healthy Kids!
PG: Tell me more about Healthy Kids.
Blackham: Healthy Kids LV restores healthy, balanced eating habits to children today. The world has changed since I was a kid. Now, parents are both working. Due to the economy, some parents are working multiple jobs and cooking a full meal at home is not practical for a lot of families. They wind up ordering pizza or in a drive through lane. My mission is to ensure that children get at least one well-balanced meal each day, while they are at school. Kids shouldn’t grow up thinking that life is all about chicken nuggets and burgers.
PG: If given the option, do kids like and eat healthy foods?
Blackham: Yes! They do. Multiple studies show kids are more likely to eat their vegetables when their peers are. I have had parents insist that their kids will not eat broccoli. Well, we serve steamed fresh broccoli with our mac and cheese- and guess what- the kids eat it! It’s such a victory to get these kids eating their veggies. It’s why we do this.
PG: Who is “we”?
Blackham: I’m so glad you asked. “We” is my amazing staff that makes Healthy Kids happen every day. They are parents, just like me. I like to hire people who can emotionally connect to our cause.
PG: That’s nice. You hire parents who know the struggle to get kids to eat right- first hand?
Blackham: Parents in Las Vegas are facing so many issues right now. People are struggling to pay their bills, and the focus may not always be on whether the kids are eating their vegetables. This is why I hire parents who are out of a job and need the work to take care of their children. We also took our plight to some of the local businesses out here. They have been great.
PG: What types of local businesses have gotten involved?
Blackham: Several local businesses and some pretty big names in the food manufacturing industry have worked with us to sell us product way below cost so that we can provide the quality of product we do at the prices we do. We are serving kids premium, restaurant-quality food for less than a parent could pack a lunch.
I am guilty of packing sack lunches, too. I have cruised the aisles swiping up every single packaged convenience item my children plead for. Puddings, Frozen “crustless” PB &Js, granola bars, fruit snacks shaped like Sponge Bob… Three months later I am purging expired Dora shaped graham crackers and iCarly yogurt sticks that my kids suddenly are no longer interested in.
PG: Not to mention the early morning hassle of trying to throw together a lunch while you are already running behind.
Blackham: …and the garbage truck is racing down the street. My mind instantly flashes to that RUN of shame in my PJs, trying to get the garbage can to the curb as the neighbors look on with sympathy.
PG: Or worse, making the lunch and-
Blackham: …and forgetting it! Yes!
PG: How do parents find out if your service is available at their children’s school?
Blackham: Well, they can visit our website at www.HealthyKidslv.com to see a list of schools and daycares.
PG: And if it’s not listed can parents still get the lunches?
Blackham: Absolutely. We deliver all over the Vegas valley. We do need permission from the school, so I encourage them to speak with their principals, school directors and PTA committees. I also encourage parents to contact me directly. The number of parents who want better food at their child’s school is why our program is expanding so quickly. I am very proud of the quality and taste of our food.
PG: Do you deliver to adults?
Blackham: Only if they are willing to repeat the fifth grade!