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Off the Press: Teens in Nature, Ayesha Curry- No Kid Hungry

A new app from Palo Alto writer Betsy Franco, illustrated by her son Tom Franco, lets children think about midnight creatures and do gentle subtraction about which ones are hidden. “Moonlight Hide and Seek is an interactive picture book game,” says Betsy. “It teaches subtraction and logical thinking while introducing the intriguing world of night animals and telling a charming story.”

As Betsy describes it, “One by one, night animals, including mice, frogs, and skunks, come out to eat in the moonlight.  Children make choices about which animal appears and then guess how many animals are hiding.  

As the moon sinks, the animals return to their daylight resting places and wait for the next moonrise.” For instance, one drawing shows moths on a full-moon night. The text and narrator announce, “Five moths are out and about tonight. Two of the moths are by the porch light.” App users must figure out how many moths remain unseen in the honeysuckle.

“Working with Tom is always magical,” says Betsy. “In this case, he painted the illustrations — each is a piece of fine art. This gives the app the warm feeling of picture books I treasured as a child.”
The app is available for $1.99 at http://apple.co/1T0lJzV

Teens in nature

Huge props are due to the East Bay Regional Parks District for the continuing success of its Teen Eco Action program, created in 2007. This weeklong camp provides underserved teens from Oakland, Richmond and Bay Point the chance to go deep into nature — and just as importantly, it teaches them how to use public transportation to get themselves there. Learning that we need nature’s healing properties, and that we can make our own choices to get there, is a lifelong skill. The teens’ week is also spent learning about careers in the outdoors and environmental education...as well as just having fun. For this program, the California Parks and Recreation Society awarded the parks district a prize for youth development in the category “creating community.”

Another program was recognized: the Park Prescription (Rx) program, an innovative initiative in which over 500 patients have been bussed to a regional park and given activities and a healthy lunch. Dr. Nooshin Razani from UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland and Dr. Curtis Chan from the San Francisco Department of Public Health received the award, and were nominated by the parks district.

Free days at our national parks

Book a family trip and experience the majesty of Yosemite and other national parks! There’s free admission on the following days: Aug. 25–28 as part of the National Park Service Birthday, Sept. 24 for National Public Lands Day, and Nov. 11 for Veterans Day. For the small cost of $7.95, purchase the National Park Signs & Symbols activity book by Helen Colella, with 25 activities built around the signs and symbols found throughout the national parks.Visit https://www.createspace.com/6036769 for more.

The power of Main Street

Planners have long understood the value of a thriving Main Street in building city identity and community. In Richmond, high school students are working to improve downtown. They’re using the Y-PLAN (Youth: Plan, Learn, Act, Now) program based at UC Berkeley to strategize ways to make downtown Richmond a youth-friendly and vibrant area. At a recent meeting, students shared their proposals with stakeholders, educators and city officials. Bringing youth in to help design a brighter, relevant future is a brilliant tactic; we’re all looking forward to the results!

No Kid Hungry

Since healthy eating has always been a priority for both Ayesha and her family, she has recently become an ambassador for No Kid Hungry, a campaign dedicated to ending childhood hunger in America. Curry recently visited West Oakland Middle School in Oakland, California to demonstrate her commitment to both the organization and the cause stating, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! It’s important for us to make sure every child is energized to ensure better education! No Kid Hungry is doing that!”

One in four kids in California struggle with hunger. With the help of supporters like Ayesha, No Kid Hungry is setting its sights on the state to address this devastating problem starting with breakfast. Breakfast powers kids’ success. Without it, they’re less energetic, less healthy and less likely to do well in school. But less than half of kids who qualify for free and reduced-price school lunch in Oakland also get breakfast, making it the second-worst city in the country for feeding kids school breakfast. By making breakfast part of the school day, Oakland’s students will have more opportunity for success in the classroom.

Since No Kid Hungry launched in 2010, more than 2 million kids across the U.S. have been introduced to school breakfast. Cities like Los Angeles and New York City are successfully connecting hungry children with the food they need to learn and grow.

Learn more about No Kid Hungry’s work and school breakfast at www.NoKidHungry.org.


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