Archive for Parenting

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. 
tree pic.png

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:

Raising Black Boys – Thurs. May 5

Raising Black Boys – A Panel Discussion
May 5, 2016 | 8:00 PM Central


Raising Black Boys is an honest dialogue about some of the tough realities and complex issues that Black children may experience and how their parents can guide, support and prepare them for a society that is far from color blind.

Adoption Learning Partners is offering a webinar with a moderated panel featuring African American men from all over the country and from varied backgrounds. Some were transracially placed as young children. All are distinguished in their respective fields.

They will share openly and honestly about the types of discussions that are taking place in their own homes, as well as the everyday fears they have about their sons’ safety and how they are raising them to become strong Black men. We will pose to the panelists the concerns we have heard from adoptive families who are raising Black boys.

Concerns such as:

  • How to have a conversation about racism without hurting a child’s self-esteem
  • How to protect young Black boys from the hurt that stereotypes and exclusion can bring
  • How to address and confront the insidious forms of racism transracially formed adoptive families of Black boys are now aware of since adopting their child
Live Webinar Details:

Thursday, May 5, 2016
8:00PM Central
Q&A: 9:00PM

Click here to learn more and register

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis – Fri. April 29

FAN-Putnam“Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis”
Robert D. Putnam, Ph.D.
Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard University
National Humanities Medal and Skytte Prize recipient
Author, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and
Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

Friday, April 29, 2016, 7:00 PM
Evanston Township High School Auditorium
1600 Dodge Ave., Evanston, IL 60093

Free and open to the public.
This event will NOT be videotaped.
Suitable for ages 12+

Sponsored by the James B. Moran Center for Youth Advocacy, Roycemore School, and Youth & Opportunity United (Y.O.U.).

Racial Identity in Adoption – Sat. April 16

trans racial adoption

When deciding to adopt a child of a different racial background than your own, it is hard to imagine how this will play out through the years — both for you as parents and for your child.

Different questions come up at various ages and stages. Talking about racial differences, for instance, may seem rather easy. But discussing racism and racial stereotypes could feel daunting.

And then there are the teen years. The time when many, adopted or not, same race or not, will withdraw from their parents as they try to figure things out more independently. For some transracially adopted teens, this can add a layer of what feels like culture shock as they may realize that there are varying assumptions of who they are based on what they look like. Some of these are based on their being adopted; some based on their race and ethnicity.

For this workshop, Judy Stigger, LCSW, will be joined by adult, transracially placed adopted persons as we discuss:

  • How to talk about racial differences, racism and stereotypes at different ages and stages.
  • Ways to stay a part of the conversation as your child explores what various aspects of their selves mean to them.
  • What adoptees see that their parents did well and what they wish had been done differently.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
10:00 – 11:30AM
Location: The Cradle, 2049 Ridge Ave, Evanston, IL, 60201
Judy Stigger, LCSW
Fees: $20 per person per workshop, $10 for second family member; $5 per child for babysitting; all fees are non-refundable. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. DEADLINE FOR BABYSITTING: April 13, 2016

1.5 DCFS Training Hours

Register here