Local Business Provides 78 Kids with Holiday Gifts

By Libby Considine, ECMC Group  |  2018-12-26

Through the Volunteers of America Holiday Angels Program

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Employees from local nonprofit ECMC Group spread holiday cheer last week by donating and delivering gifts for 78 children at Volunteers of America.

Employees purchased three gifts from each child’s wish list and delivered them wrapped and ready to open. ECMC Group has sponsored the Holiday Angels program at Volunteers of America for the past six years, making sure all children living at the transitional home will have gifts this holiday season. 

ECMC commits to making a positive impact on its communities through service, charitable giving and good corporate citizenship. ECMC Group is a nonprofit corporation with a mission to help students succeed through programs promoting financial literacy, college access and college completion.

Woo-hoo! It's Kids Day!

By Shelly Blanchard  |  2017-04-27

“Kids Day in the Park 2017 will offer more activities and fun than ever,” said Amy Hiramoto, Event Chair. “We have been hard at work putting together a wonderful day for families to come out with their kids and enjoy green grass, fresh air and a lot of fun.” 
-- Photos courtesy Cordova Community Council

There will be no shortage of giggles on Saturday April 29, when Kids Day in the Park celebrates its 28th Anniversary at Hagan Park in Rancho Cordova.

Presented by the City of Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, and a host of other sponsors, Kids Day will challenge kids to “Get Your Game On,” showcasing a wide range of youth sports and more than 100 free things to do.

The event also marks the Sacramento County kick-off for National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

Admission, parking and all activities are free of charge. Food will be available for purchase.

This year’s event takes kids and their parents into the wide world of sports, with plenty of hoops to shoot, balls to throw and more. Teaming up with Sports Stars Sports Jam, this year’s event will showcase dozens of sports and opportunities to play them at Kids Day and beyond.

Among the fun, free attractions will be off-road ATV simulators, a host of hands on sports games, Kids Zumba, rock climbing wall, obstacle course and more.

In addition to fun and educational sports attractions, kids can learn about bike safety at the popular Police Activities League (PAL) Bike Rodeo during which dozens of bicycles donated by the Sheriff’s Toy Project will be given away to lucky children, along with hundreds of free bike safety helmets.

While Kids Day is all about fun, children’s health is the primary objective. Organizers work with health providers from Sacramento County and the Folsom Cordova Unified School District to present free hearing, vision and school readiness screenings to help get kids off to a healthy start. Parents can get tips on how to prepare their children for school, how to obtain mental health resources, and how to access a wide range of public and private services for their kids.

More than 100 exhibitors whose focus is children and health will be providing free activities for children, keeping little hands busy while parents access information.

Kids Day runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday April 29 with no admission charge. Free parking is available nearby.

Pack a picnic lunch to bring with you to the event, or purchase lunch from among a variety of gourmet food trucks. A hot dog meal including chips and a bottle of water can be purchased for $3 from the RC Kiwanis.

“Kids Day in the Park 2017 will offer more activities and fun than ever,” said Amy Hiramoto, Event Chair. “We have been hard at work putting together a wonderful day for families to come out with their kids and enjoy green grass, fresh air and a lot of fun.”

Kid’s Day is sponsored by a wide range of community businesses, organizations and health providers, including: City of Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services, Folsom Cordova Unified School District, Cordova Recreation and Park District, Assemblyman Ken Cooley, Republic Services, Smile Kingdom Dental, Sunrise Orthodontics, Kaiser Permanente, Heritage Community Credit Union, Golden State Water Company, SMUD, Wells Fargo, Sims Metal Management, Councilman Donald Terry, Rotary Club of Rancho Cordova, Rancho Cordova Police Activities League, Raleys Bel-Air, Chick-fil-A, Rancho Cordova Travel and Tourism Corporation, California American Water, Michael Baker International, Mary Nesel Lyon Real Estate, B&J Towing, Ronnie & Julie Hagan Belka, Quick Quack Car Wash, Costa Vida, Bayside Church, Art of Popcorn, Grocery Outlet and New Life Church. The event is produced by the Cordova Community Council.

For more information, visit www.cordovacouncil.org or call the Cordova Community Council at 273-5704.

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Kids Day in the Park 2017 is Coming

By Shelly Lembke  |  2017-04-12

Action, food, games and a whole lotta fun at Kids Day in the Park, coming to Hagan Park April 29. 
--Photo courtesy of Cordova Community Council

The 28th Annual Kids Day in the Park is coming April 29th to Hagan Park in Rancho Cordova. Kids can play, run obstacle courses, win games and more, courtesy of the Cordova Community Council and their collaborating sponsors. This year’s event theme “Get Your Game On,” reflects the Council’s focus on sportsmanship and healthy bodies.

Kids can try their skills at football, baseball/softball, soccer, tennis, golf and rugby, in addition to the chance to win prizes.

“Kids Day in the Park is a festival geared to families of small children. A fun day of activities for small children and their families, it is also a health and resources fair with providers on hand to engage parents and provide information,” according to the CCC.

With free admission and free activities geared to beginners and elite players, this year’s event features a wide variety of sports and games to keep kids busy, but also provides free and easy access for vision, hearing and dental checks, as well as loads of free parent resources from major contributors like the Folsom Cordova Unified School District and the County of Sacramento.

Food and beverages are available for purchase from a selection of more than a dozen popular food trucks so that attendees can munch their way through the over 100 exhibitor booths.

The event lasts from 11 am to 3 pm, Saturday, April 29th at Hagan Park, 2197 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.cordovacouncil.org.

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California Family Fitness Teams Up with FCUSD to Offer Kids Fitness Program

Source: California Family Fitness  |  2016-11-24

California Family Fitness Trainers, Rancho Cordova Elementary School Principal Larry Mahoney, KCRA 3’s Tamara Berg and River Cat’s mascot Dinger award students for their performance in the Body Fit Kids program. 
--Photo courtesy California Family Fitness

As part of celebrating 25 years in Sacramento, California Family Fitness partnered with Folsom Cordova Unified School District to offer a Body Fit Kids Program, which is the first of many Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives that the organization commits to each year.

The program was born out of CFF’s commitment to building a healthier community and is designed to mirror CFF’s group training program, “Body Fit,” which offers a dynamic fusion of cardio and strength training in a small group format. CFF’s certified personal trainers trained 4th and 5th grade students from participating schools in the district.

In addition to participating at school, the program incorporates “homework” designed to engage the entire family in building and sustaining healthy lifestyle habits. Outside-of-school activities include taking a family trip to a local farmer’s market, a walk around the neighborhood and planting a vegetable in their garden. Awards categories for participating students include greatest improvement, most inspirational and many others. The first 20 participants who completed their activity cards with their family have the opportunity to go on an exclusive excursion to attend a Sacramento River Cats game, including a special meet-and-greet with Sacramento River Cats mascot Dinger.

“Our children are the future of the Sacramento region and California Family Fitness is proud to partner with Folsom Cordova Unified School District to provide education for students about how to live healthy lifestyles,” CFF President Randy Karr said. “It’s our hope that this program will grow to serve more students each year, and we’re thrilled to work alongside a group of educators and administrators that share a common commitment to providing learning opportunities for students that challenge not just their minds but also their bodies.”

The Body Fit Kids program is one of several initiatives kicking off this fall in collaboration with Folsom Cordova Unified School District.

“We know that when children are healthy, they are able to thrive to reach their full potential, and healthy and active lifestyles are essential to this,” Folsom Cordova Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Bettencourt said. “We are extremely grateful for the time and resources California Family Fitness is investing in our students to ensure they have the knowledge and tools to make smart choices and lead healthy lives.”

For more information about CFF’s 25th anniversary activities, its health and fitness centers and membership options, visit www.californiafamilyfitness.com.

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7 Ways to Keep Your Child Learning This Summer

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

(BPT) - When school dismisses for the summer, parents across the country worry about how much their children will forget over the vacation months. Will all those hours helping them with math and reading dissolve with the carefree hours spent at the pool or playground?

“While a break from the long days of school is needed, studies show that most kids lose up to two months of their math skills between school grades,” says Dominique Ciccarelli, Ed.M., education specialist for Kumon North America. “The brain is like a muscle and needs a regular dose of exercise to stay strong. Connections in your brain multiply when you learn new topics, and through this process, you get smarter.”

Added to this concern is how much time over the summer parents will be able to commit to helping their children retain and reinforce what they learned during the previous school year. While millions of children are eager for the freedom of summer, parents are coming up with plans to keep the learning momentum going.

Here are seven fun ways to keep your child engaged over the summer with enriching experiences.

Have a scavenger hunt at the museum. One way to turn a visit to the museum into a fun and educational experience is to make it a scavenger hunt. If you’re going to an art museum, your list can include things you might see in paintings or sculptures from a certain country. If it’s a natural history museum, you can include dinosaurs and animals.

Find the right learning program. For families with children looking for enrichment activities, the right learning program is invaluable. With nearly 1,500 centers throughout the United States, Kumon uses an individualized approach that helps children develop a solid command of math and reading skills. To help students continue learning through the summer, Kumon is offering free registration in June at participating centers.

Develop their green thumb. Gardening allows children to not only play and build something - as they might do in a sandbox - but learn about the life cycle of plants and the importance of nutrition. One way to make this more exciting is to try to grow something giant, like a huge squash or zucchini that will provide an end goal to the entire experience.

Let them be your travel agents. Before you set off on your summer vacation, get your children involved in the planning process. Let them help you search for lodging within your budget and in the area you want to stay. Together, you can learn about nearby attractions and plan your visit accordingly. The entire process not only builds confidence, but serves as a finance, geography, history and social studies lesson all wrapped in one.

Have adventures in reading. Reading is one of the most important skills to maintain and develop. Reading to your children each day establishes a positive association in their mind and makes them excited to read on their own. Be sure to stay up to date with the activities at your local library, which provides fun and sociable learning opportunities.

Make something. While there are plenty of kits out there to promote STEM learning skills, you can encourage your children to use their creativity and knowledge to build projects from common household materials. Some classic examples of this would be making a raft out of empty milk cartons or plastic bottles, a homemade volcano using vinegar and baking soda or a homemade electromagnet.

Become a collector. A great way for children to get hands-on knowledge of the natural world is for them to build a collection while discovering the outdoors. Rocks, plants, bugs - these are the things that excite a young mind. Search for different kinds of leaves to press at home, then work with your children to identify their types.

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Genetic Conditions All Pregnant Women Should Know About

Brandpoint  |  2016-04-21

March is Trisomy Awarenesss Month. Please go to natera.com/awareness for more information.

March is Trisomy Awareness Month

(BPT) - You’ve probably heard of Down syndrome, but did you know:

  • About one in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with this condition?

  • A 45-year-old woman is 10 times more likely to conceive a child with Down syndrome than someone who is 35 years old?

  • Down syndrome is only one of several chromosome abnormalities called trisomies, and that two of the others, Trisomy 18 and Trisomy 13, are much more serious?

“Most women know very little about their risk of giving birth to a child with Down syndrome. Many know nothing at all about other trisomy conditions that cause the majority of miscarriages, and are much more life-threatening to the baby,” says Dr. Jill Hechtman, medical director of Tampa Obstetrics. “With today’s highly accurate, non-invasive prenatal genetic screening tests (NIPTs), they can find out as early as nine weeks from a simple blood draw if their unborn child is at risk.”

What is a trisomy?

A trisomy condition means that some or all of a person’s cells have an extra chromosome.  How a trisomy affects a person will depend on which chromosome is affected and other factors. Health issues associated with the condition can range from mild intellectual and developmental disabilities and physical abnormalities (learning differences or infertility) to life-threatening problems with the heart or other organs.

What are the most common trisomies and their risks?

Trisomy can occur with any of a person’s 23 pairs of chromosomes, but the most well-known syndromes are:

Trisomy 21, more commonly known as Down syndrome.

About 400,000 Americans have Down syndrome and about 6,000 U.S. babies are born with this condition each year. People with Down syndrome usually have mild-to-moderate intellectual and developmental disability and heart abnormalities. They also are at risk for hearing and vision loss and other health conditions. Although children with Down syndrome will need extra medical care, most will live into their 60s.

The chance of having a child with Down syndrome increases as the age of the mother increases. At 35, a woman has about a one in 350 chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome. But by 40, the chances are one in 100, and at 45, they go up to one in 30.

Learn more at National Down Syndrome Society

Trisomy 18, also called Edwards syndrome.

This is the second most common trisomy syndrome and occurs in about one in 7,000 live births each year. Babies with trisomy 18 have severe intellectual disabilities and birth defects that typically involve the heart, brain and kidneys. A small number of infants (more often girls) with the condition are able to live into their 20s and 30s, although they require full-time caregiving because of their significant developmental problems.

Only about 50 percent of babies who make it to term will live longer than one week and about 5-10 percent will live past one year. As with Down syndrome, trisomy 18 is more prevalent among older mothers.

Learn more at Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders

Trisomy 13, also called Patau syndrome.

This condition occurs in about one in 10,000 live births. Trisomy 13 infants will have severe intellectual disabilities as well as physical disabilities that could include heart defects, brain and spinal cord problems, and extra fingers and/or toes.

Although about 5 percent will survive the first year. More than 80 percent of babies with Trisomy 13 have birth defects that may involve the heart, brain, kidneys and other organs. Survivors experience severe intellectual disability.

Learn more at Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13 and Related Disorders

How can I find out if my child is at increased risk for Down syndrome or other trisomies?

Prenatal genetic screening tests from a simple blood draw that can be done in a physician’s office can determine your chance of having a baby with these conditions or other abnormal or missing chromosomes is increased or decreased.

Keep in mind, however, that not all NIPT tests are the same. For example, the Natera Panorama screening test is the only one currently available that can differentiate between mom and baby’s DNA.

Genetic screening tests are not replacements for diagnostic tests such as the CVS or amniocentesis. It is important to discuss all test results with your health care provider and obtain any recommended follow-up testing.

For more information on prenatal as well as other genetic tests, go to natera.com/awareness.

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Sugar Gliders, Pangolins & Foxes, Oh My! New Novel Entertains for Earth Day

NewsUSA  |  2016-04-19

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - Just in time for Earth Day, a new book introduces young readers aged 7 to 11 to a whole new world of unique and compelling endangered species, environmental awareness, teamwork and, best of all, a rollicking, outlandish group of characters that entertain the whole family.

The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions, by Tracey Hecht, focuses on a group of animals who form an unlikely team to solve the mystery of why other nocturnal denizens of their forest are disappearing. Dawn the fox, Tobin the pangolin and Bismark the sugar glider embark on a fantastic adventure that takes them to the depths of the earth and places their survival at stake.

R.L. Stine, author of the bestselling Goosebumps children’s series, describes the book as “an enchanting story about a group of animals who band together to protect their friends and find adventure. The characters are delightful, and the nighttime landscape is captivating. It was just as I expected -- because the best stories always take place in the dark!”

The book is aimed not only at children, but at their parents, and is written with an ear toward being read aloud to educate all ages about the importance of protecting animals and the environment. The story combines snappy dialogue with plot twists and action, and slips in education about different types of animals and how they live and behave.

Author Tracey Hecht noted in an interview that the benefits of shared reading aren’t limited to pre-readers.

“I didn’t stop reading aloud to my kids -- I still haven’t -- and it’s the best part of my day,” she said. “I keep books everywhere and I think of reading like a conversation -- just have it. Just pick up a book and have it. You’ll be amazed at how well it bridges the gaps,” she emphasized.

Children, parents and teachers can visit www.nocturnalsworld.com for more information about the book, including a sample chapter that introduces the main characters. In addition, the website offers bonus animated shorts, activities and educational materials, including a Next Generation Science Guide, templates for animal trading cards and library resources including guidelines for middle grade book clubs.

...Read More!