Archive for Parenting

Free Hearing Screening – October 24

The Evanston Children’s Rummage Sale – October 14, 2017

This sale is FREE to enter and will take place on Saturday Oct. 14th from 8-3pm. The donations will be accepted until that Friday the 13th at Robert Crown.

All proceeds will be donated to Friends of Crown in support of the new recreational and ice-skating facility.

Donations are tax deductible and volunteers will receive discounts at checkout.

Volunteers can sign up online and the incentives are as follows:

2 hrs  receive 10% off
4 hrs  receive 20% off
6 or more hours receive 30% off

Guest Post – Keeping Your Teens Safe and Sober When School’s Out – By Frank Lawson

Keeping Your Teens Safe and Sober When School’s Out

By Frank Lawson,


Summer is the time for fun and relaxation for your teens, but it can also be the time for engaging in risky behavior. Thanks to the ample free time and minimal supervision that teens enjoy over the summer months, many adolescents find themselves in troubling situations they don’t encounter during the school year.

Every day during summer vacation, 11,000 teens drink alcohol for the first time, 5,000 have their first taste of nicotine, and 4,500 try marijuana. This is a huge jump from school year rates, so make sure you talk about the dangers of drugs and alcohol before the last school bell rings. You might feel like your words of caution will have little impact, but statistics show that teens who believe their parents disapprove of substance use are less likely to experiment.

Summer break is also the most dangerous time for teen drivers — teens get into 16 percent more accidents and eight teens die every day during the 100 days following Memorial Day. Since nearly 60 percent of those accidents involve a distracted teen behind the wheel, institute strict rules for your teen drivers. Restrict them to one passenger at a time and take a zero tolerance approach to texting and driving.

One thing you shouldn’t take a zero tolerance policy on is underage drinking: While you don’t want your kids drinking before it’s legal, it’s more important to ensure they don’t drink and drive. Explain to your children that, despite your disapproval, you’ll pick them up if they ever need a safe ride home. That way, you can keep your teen from joining the 23 percent of teens who admit to driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana.

The good news? Teens are less likely to be a victim of assault during the summer months. However, physical violence against teens peaks when the school year begins, so summer break is a good time to talk to your child about conflict resolution, de-escalation, and when to turn to an authority figure.

Conception rates among teens also plummet during summer vacation. This makes summer the ideal time to broach the talk with your teen, since they’re less likely to be on the defensive. Be sure to cover consent, contraception, and healthy relationships so your child is prepared for what the next school year throws at them.

With these numbers, you’re probably wondering how you can keep your kids safe this summer without resorting to locking them indoors. The best strategy? Keep them busy. Teens who are occupied with fun extracurriculars and family activities are less likely to find themselves in trouble. However, getting teens busy over the summer can be a challenge. Teens can be restless, and toys and trips to the pool don’t quite entertain them like they used to.

Get your teens involved in summer camp for a structured activity and positive role models in the form of college-aged counselors. Camp will help regulate your teen’s schedule so they’re not staying up all night and sleeping all day, and it also keeps them learning so they face less of a struggle when classes resume. Whether you choose drop-in camp sessions, day camp, or sleepaway camp will depend on your family’s summer schedule and budget, but any option is a great way to keep your teen happy and out of trouble.

Volunteering may not be the most appealing option for your teen at first, but volunteering at the right organization can help your teens make friends, learn about potential careers, and build a resume that will impress college admissions officers. Look for opportunities with other engaged young people, like a nature trail clean-up day or peer tutoring program.

Plan family vacations. Time away and free from distractions can help you reconnect with your teen. Building a strong parent-child relationship is central to keeping your teen on the right path. It may also alert you to concerning behavior changes that you hadn’t noticed in your busy everyday life.

No matter what approach you take to keeping your children safe this summer, make sure you find time to talk to your teens about risky behavior, peer pressure, and how they can protect themselves.

Image via Unplash

Let The Children Play! – Playwork Workshop – March 8 – Please note the time change!

Parents, early (and not so early) childhood educators, park and rec staffers, children’s librarians, nature and forest educators, play therapists, and anyone interested in livable and child-friendly environments – come and hear about this unique professional approach to children’s play!

NVIGATING REAL LIFE DIVERSITY – February 6 at Family Focus

Navigating Real Life Diversity with Our Kids:
Communicating and Acting with Awareness and Bravery
Have You Had the Talk…
About What Racism Means to All of Our Children?  
February 6, 2017, 6:30 PM-8:30 PM
Family Focus, 2010 Dewey Avenue
Presented by Corrie Wallace
Free and open to the public * Spanish translation provided * Childcare provided
Do you know what our children are talking about at school? Come listen to ETHS students voices and engage in the conversation as we work to build the Evanston we hope to be. 
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How To Be a Patient Parent – Guest Blog

We’ve all been there – struggling to fake the resemblance to a sane person, a calm and composed parent, all while gritting our teeth exactly 2 seconds before all hell breaks loose. Eva, a mother of 4, and a creator and owner of Kid Minds, has a wealth of experience in how to “stay cool” and she shared it with her readers in the blog post  How To Be a Patient Parent – The One Simple Trick You Need In Your Life.


The Young & the Restless Storytime – Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center – December 9

epl_storytimeThe Young and the Restless Storytime New at Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center. Bring your infant, 1 or 2 year old to this fun monthly sing-a-long storytime led by Ms. Martha, at Evanston’s newest cultural center, just northeast of Evanston Township High School. Friday, December  9, 10 am, Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St, Evanston IL (This same program is offered every Thursday at 9:30am at the Main Library.)

Book Launch for Screenwise – Weds. Nov. 16

Book Launch for Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner

Many parents feel that their kids are addicted, detached, or distracted because of their digital devices. Media expert Devorah Heitner, however, believes that technology offers huge potential to our children–if their parents help them. Screenwise offers a realistic and optimistic perspective on how to thoughtfully guide kids in the digital age.

Heitner is the founder and director of Raising Digital Natives, a resource for parents and schools seeking advice on how to help children thrive in a world of digital connectedness. An experienced speaker, workshop leader, and consultant, Dr. Heitner serves as a professional development resource for schools wishing to cultivate a culture of responsible digital citizenship.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 – 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Bookends & Beginnings
1712 Sherman Avenue, Alley #1
Evanston, IL 60201

Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World Cover Image

Parent Seminars on Gifted Children – Oct. 22-Nov. 12

This fall, Center for Talent Development and Rush NeuroBehavioral Center are presenting a special series of parent seminars on the complex cognitive and emotional needs of gifted children. The seminars will be offered in Evanston and Lake Bluff on Saturdays October 22-November 12.

Learn more at:

Navigating Parent-Teacher Conferences Workshop – Sun. Oct. 16

pt-conferencesEstablishing a rapport with your child’s teacher is a crucial partnership. When having limited time at a parent-teacher conference of 10 or 15 minutes you must prepare to get to the heart of the matter.

Join Felisha Parsons, Ed.D., for a few hours of unlocking the keys to a more meaningful parent- teacher conference. Learn to effectively navigate through the conference:

* Key questions that lead to answers
* Claim your presence and power
* Be an engaged participant
* Communicate your expectations
* Seal the collaborative partnership

When: Sunday, October 16, 2016
Where: Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, 1655 Foster Street Time: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Cost: Free & Open to Public
Light Refreshments Served

Young and Restless Storytime – Fri. Oct. 14

image003The Young and the Restless Storytime: New on the West Side.

New! Once a month, bring your infant, 1 or 2 year old to this fun, free, dynamic, sing-a-long storytime led by Evanston Public Library’s energetic Young and the Restless leader, Ms. Martha, at Evanston’s newest cultural center, just northeast of Evanston Township High School. Home providers and center classes welcome! Pie and lunch available for purchase.

Friday, October 14, 10 am, Gibbs-Morrison Cultural Center, 1823 Church St, Evanston, (Also Friday, November 11 and Friday, December 9)


Parent Circle Swap & Sale – Sat. Oct. 15

The Parent Circle of Evanston will have its Fall Swap and Sale for gently-used infants’ and children’s clothing, maternity/nursing clothing & items, children’s books, toys, and gear on Saturday October 15th, 11am –1pm at Northminster Presbyterian Church Basement 2515 Central Park Ave, Evanston ($2 admission).  For more information visit

Clear out your closets and pick up the kids’ new wardrobes and gear! Invite all your friends! Rummage sale prices for gently used items – most items Newborn to 5T.

Volunteer ( and earn swap coupons to use toward your purchase, plus shop early!

Just come to shop, or donate gently-used items the week of October 8th – October 14th  to earn swap coupons worth $1 or for discounted The prices are “yard-sale low”; clothing, for example, is $2 for most items.

Donation is not required for shopping.

Remaining items are offered to families from 6 different community partners that serve children and families in need.


Evanston CASE Parent Connections Support Group – Thurs. Sept. 8

Evanston CASE (Citizens for Appropriate Special Education) will begin holding Parent Connections Support Group meetings in September.  This supportive and informative service will be offered monthly from September to May on the 2nd Thursday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the CASE offices 1940 Sherman Ave, Suite A in Evanston. Our first meeting will be held on Thursday, September 8th from 7-8:30.
We are offering a new program this year called the Drop-in CASE Clinic.  Bring your special education concerns or questions about your child’s IEP to receive a free consultation with CASE professional staff.  If needed, CASE can provide referrals for more in-depth services.  
The drop-in will be held every third Thursday from September to May at the CASE offices. Our first session will be on Thursday, September 15th from 11:30-1:00 pm.  
Evanston CASE and the Evanston Public Library are holding our 2nd Annual Special Needs Resource Fair on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 from 11:00 to 3:00.  Stay tuned for details in next month’s newsletter.

District 65 Parenting Workshops

Supporting Our Families
Join us this fall for a series of free classes and workshops open to all District 65 family members! Classes will be held from the week of September 19, 2016 – December 12, 2016. Class sessions have limited availability.Please register by September 12, 2016.
PARENTS AS EDUCATION PARTNERS (PEP) – Families play a critical role in their child’s success in school! Learn how to better advocate for your child and feel more comfortable participating in their education. Get practical advice and learn skills for navigating your child’s school and district programs and services. Learn how to form a strong partnership with your child’s teacher(s) and develop relationships with families around the district. Two of the sessions will help strengthen parents’ communication skills in English leading to greater school involvement.

UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP CLASSES – Parents will prepare for the U.S. citizenship exam by reviewing all the questions included in the test, through conversations and written material (printed version of the U.S. citizenship test).

Mondays from 6-7pm
Oakton Elementary (436 Ridge Avenue)
Instructor: Kathy Graves
Thursdays from 6-7pm
Family Focus (2010 Dewey Avenue)
Instructor: Kathy Graves
Thursdays from 9:30-10:30am
Washington Elementary (914 Ashland Avenue)
Instructor: Ellen Urquiaga
Thursdays from 6-7pm
Dawes Elementary (440 Dodge Avenue)
Instructor: Ellen Urquiaga
UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP CLASSES Wednesdays from 9:30-11:30am
Dewey Elementary (1551 Wesley Avenue)
Instructor: Manuel Aleman
Click here to register (en Espanol) or call 847-859-8095.
*Childcare will be available for the evening sessions. District 65 instructors speak both English and Spanish.
Questions? Please contact Izzy Nuñez, Family & Community Engagement Coordinator at nunezi@district65.netor 847-859-8095.

Manuel Aleman

Bilingual Parent Liaison

JEH Education Center


 Kathy Graves
Child Parent Center Liaison
 Ellen Urquiaga
Child Parent Center Liaison

FAN Event – Civil Rights Leader Rep. John Lewis – Mon. Aug. 29

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Andrew Aydin, co-authors of the March trilogy, Monday, August 29, 2016, 7:00 PM at Evanston Township High School Auditorium, 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston, 60201. Free and open to the public, no RSVPs required. Suitable for youth ages 12+. INFO:

When John Lewis, the U.S. Representative for Georgia’s 5th District and an American Icon known for his role in the civil rights movement, was a college student in Nashville, Tennessee, he attended a workshop on nonviolence that changed his life. Based on the principles of Gandhi and the recent Montgomery Bus Boycott, it also included a comic book — Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story — as a take-home study aid in nonviolent resistance. “That little book became like a Bible for us,” says Rep. Lewis. Fifty years later, he teamed with co-writer Andrew Aydin, his Congressional Digital Director and Policy Advisor, and artist Nate Powell to adapt his own incredible life story into a 3-part series of award-winning graphic novels, entitled March. The March series is a #1 New York Times-bestselling phenomenon, earning a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, becoming a popular selection for university reading programs, and prompting the Washington Post to write, “There is perhaps no more important modern book to be stocked in American school libraries than March.”

Rep. Lewis first joined the civil rights movement as a seminary student in Nashville, organizing sit-ins and participating in the first Freedom Rides, which challenged illegal segregation at bus stations across the South. He soon became the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and one of the “Big Six” national leaders of the movement, alongside such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. and A. Philip Randolph. As SNCC chairman, Lewis was an architect of, and the youngest featured speaker at, the historic 1963 March on Washington, and was a key figure in the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer. Together with Hosea Williams, he led the landmark “Bloody Sunday” March in Selma, Alabama, where police brutality spurred national outrage and hastened passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Despite physical attacks, serious injuries, and more than 40 arrests, John Lewis has remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. His subsequent career has included voter registration activism, service on the Atlanta City Council, and over 25 years in Congress. Lewis was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011, and was the first recipient of the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stay Informed, Meet Other Parents

Here are a bunch of ways to find other families and keep up with the goings on around our community.

Facebook Groups

  • Raising Children in Evanston
    How do we define success? How do we achieve balance in our homes, schools, and communities? Inspired by the movie Race to Nowhere, organize and take action to preserve childhood for our children in Evanston.
  • District 65 Parents and Guardians
    A group for parents of students in Evanston/Skokie District 65 or for those interested in following D65.
  • District 65 Dyslexic Support Group
  • ETHS Parents and Guardians
    A group for parents of students attending Evanston Township High School.
  • Evanston CASE Parent Connections
    A private group for Evanston parents of children and teens with special needs. Share resources, ask questions, receive and provide support with others navigating the special education system.
  • Evanston Mamas
    This is a place where Evanston Mamas can share ideas, concerns, questions and build community. You can post services to share or offer, events that you think other mamas might like to know about, freecycle stuff here, maybe even meet another mama in your ‘hood that you never knew was there!
  • Evanston Foster Families
    This group connects people who are interested in foster care in the Evanston area, including current, past, and prospective foster parents, foster children, adoptive families, and people who work in the child protection system.

Playdates & Meetups

Mothers Thriving, Babies Surviving – Tues. June 14

Join us to learn how a group of breastfeeding mothers in the Chicago suburbs became a worldwide movement to provide practical information and support to mothers and their infants, and how the local initiatives of women and medical professionals to establish a human milk bank is resulting in better health outcomes for vulnerable newborns in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Marian Tompson a founding member and past president of La Leche League (now LLL International)

Marissa Grossenbachboard president of Mothers’ Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes, a nationally certified human milk bank serving Illinois and Wisconsin

1560 Sherman Ave – One Rotary Center, Evanston, IL 60201
More information and registration

The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting – Tue. June 7

Evanston Township High School will host “The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting” with Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D. on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:00pm, in the school auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Author of the New York Times bestseller The Conscious Parent, Dr. Shefali Tsabary presents a transformative new approach to parenting, one that focuses not on how we can change our kids, but on how we can change ourselves so that we can become our children’s biggest supporters and resources. Oprah Winfrey called the book “the most profound book on parenting I’ve ever encountered.”

In her most recent publication The Awakened Family: A Revolution in Parenting, Tsabary explains that connecting with our children, showing them that our love is unconditional and not tied to external success, praise, or validation, allows them to develop their self-worth and resilience. She presents a path to more effective, rewarding parenting, and gives parents the tools to tune into their own needs and challenges in order to better accommodate their children’s needs.

Tsabary received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Columbia University and has written three books. She is an expert in family dynamics and personal development and runs a private practice in New York City, specializing in the integration of Western psychology and Eastern philosophy. She is also a keynote speaker who has presented at TEDx, Kellogg Business School, the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, and other conferences and workshops around the world.

ETHS is located at 1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston, 60201. The auditorium is wheelchair accessible. Guests should plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to 7:00pm to find parking and seats. Parking is available in the lot across from the main entrance, off of Dodge Avenue, or in the lots behind the high school. Parking is also available along Dodge Avenue according to posted City of Evanston signs.

For more information about FAN events and sponsors for the 2015-16 presentations, visit

Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World

District 65 parent and Digital Citizenship expert Devorah Heitner’s book Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World is ready for pre-order with copies in the mail in early September. Devorah is happy to speak to local groups and she can share excerpts and her ebook in advance.

For more information, contact Devorah’s at

FAN Events May 11-13, 2016

“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance”FAN
Angela Duckworth, Ph.D.2013 MacArthur Fellow Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania Author, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
12:00 PM Loyola University Chicago School of Law Corboy Law Center, Ceremonial Courtroom, 10th Floor 25 E. Pearson St., Chicago, IL 60611 Space is limited, RSVP Required Here!

3:30 PM Northside College Preparatory High School, 5501 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, IL 60625

7:00 PM New Trier High School, Winnetka Campus, Gaffney Auditorium385 Winnetka Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093 Free and open to the public.

These events will NOT be videotaped. Suitable for ages 12+

Family Action Network (FAN) celebrates the return of one of its most-acclaimed speakers, Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., upon the publication of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, her first book. She is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. More recently, with Dave Levin, co-founder of the KIPP schools, and Dominic Randolph, Head of Riverdale Country School in New York City, Dr. Duckworth co-founded The C h a r a c t e r L a b , a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development in children. An expert in non-I.Q. competencies, she has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Prior to her career in research, Dr. Duckworth taught children math and science and was the co-founder of a summer school for low-income children that won the Better Government Award from the state of Massachusetts. She completed her B.A. in neurobiology at Harvard, her M.Sc. in neuroscience at Oxford, and her Ph.D. in psychology at Penn.“The Power of Storytelling and the Importance of Identity”
Sherman Alexie National Book Award-winning author, poet and filmmaker Author, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Reservation Blues, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and the upcoming children’s picture book, Thunder Boy, Jr.

Friday, May 13, 2016 7:00 PM North Shore Country Day School Auditorium, 310 Green Bay Rd., Winnetka, IL 60093Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award for Short Fiction, a PEN/Heningway Citation for Best First Fiction, and the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, Sherman Alexie is a preeminent Native American poet, short story writer, novelist, and performer. He has published 25 books, including his brand-new first picture book, Thunder Boy, Jr., and a young adult novel, The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian; a book of poetry, What I’ve Earned, and his classic stories, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and Reservation Blues. “Smoke Signals,” the movie he wrote and co-produced, won the Audience Award and Filmmakers Trophy at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. An acclaimed performer of his own work, Mr. Alexie held the World Heavyweight Poetry title for four years. He continues to perform many of his poems at poetry slams, festivals, and other venues, and has received praise for the energy and emotion he brings to his work.

A Spokane/Couer d’Alene tribal member, Mr. Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Willpinit, Washington. He is best known for his exploration of Native American culture throughout the body of his work. A recurring theme in his work is the search for identity. In Thunder Boy, Jr., he celebrates the special relationship between father and son in this story of a young boy trying to discover what his Indian name should be. Like his protagonist, Mr. Alexie was named for his father. He states, “When you talk about the Native American search for identity, it’s almost always a story about loss and pain. I wanted to write a picture book in which a kid goes on a search for identity in the context of a lovely family.”
Mr. Alexie attended Gonzaga University and graduated from Washington State University. He is one of the most frequently banned authors in America, but he is also one of the most celebrated. The New Yorker named Mr. Alexie as on of the top 20 writers for the 21st century. Time magazine named The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian the best young adult book of all time.
More information is available on the FAN website: