A resource for families in Santa Cruz County

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When Fiction Inspires Us to Be Our Best Selves…
A good storyteller can take a contemporary problem and place it into a story in such a way that makes consideration of it quite palatable and can cause the reader to see a facet which he might not acknowledge in today’s hyper-partisan culture.

You never cast the first stone nor did you notice the mote in your neighbor’s eye when you so clearly had a plank in your own.
Take Alexander McCall Smith’s most recent #1 Ladies Detective novel, Precious and Grace. Mma Ramotswe is driving her old white van along a road in Botswana and thinking about her categories of friends. Her mind takes her back to her childhood.

“…this last set was most delicate and troublesome, as it embraced those whom some might assume were enemies. That was not a word that Mma Ramotswe liked. She did not think of others in this way, as from an early age she had been imbued with the message that one should love one’s enemies. That message of love had been taught at Sunday School in Mochudi, when, along with thirty other children, the young Precious Ramotswe had been taught to recite the precepts of the good life.

You respected your father and mother, along with a large number of others including teachers, elderly people, government officials, and policemen. You were not greedy, envious, or impatient, although you might feel all of these with some regularity. You never cast the first stone nor did you notice the mote in your neighbor’s eye when you so clearly had a plank in your own. And of course you forgive your enemies.”
“And into the forest I go. To lose my mind and find my soul” ~John Muir

Have a great weekend with your families, Parmalee
An Exciting New Speaker Series
Considering Weighty Matters
Mount Madonna School has announced a new speaker series, one designed to stimulate our thinking about weighty matters in this world and to inspire us to find our own unique areas of interest where we and our children might find ways to make contributions.

Because the series links to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals it would be helpful to acquire an introductory exposure to the 17 goals and to find one or more which particularly interests us.

We may find that we each embrace, question or disagree with how to fix weighty matters. It's exhilarating when we bring our open, curious minds to seeking solutions. Parmalee


Mount Madonna School's Sustainable Development Goals Speaker Series begins February 25 at 7:00pm with “Shifting Perspectives: Adventures in Tech Policy and Beyond,” featuring Amita Kuttner, Ph.D., a 2008 MMS graduate.

“Artificial intelligence, automation, and other emerging technologies are upending our ways of life,” commented Kuttner. “Policy and policymaking are generally reactive, and yet with the changes coming due to technology we need proactive policy. Approaches to influencing policy, and political conversation are intertwined with the underpinnings of how our societies are structured. What we need now is to reevaluate how we approach living life, and how we see Sustainable Development Goal number 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.”

All of the events in the monthly series (six talks are currently scheduled) will be offered via Zoom. Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $20, and can be ordered via the seminar series website, sdgspeakerseries.org.

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believes a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. 
School News
February 12 Letter from Superintendents re phased re-opening of schools beginning in March. Details > > >

C.D.C. Draws Up a Blueprint for Reopening Schools - Amid an acrid national controversy, the agency proposed detailed criteria for returning students to classrooms. Details > > >

Schools Open in Santa Cruz County: Parochial ~ Private

Santa Cruz County Office of Education for information on public schools: Vaccine Plan for ALL Educators, Public & Private, in Santa Cruz County> > >
Santa Cruz Parent Calendar February
Clam Chowder Cookoff and Clam Chowder Restaurant Week! Tasting Flights sold out,but you can still visit restaurants serving clam chowder. Details
Free Clinics for Pets, February 19, 12 - 4pm, Healthy Pets for all is a free pop up clinic hosted by the Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter and supported by volunteer veterinarians and vet staff. Details
School Events: Open Houses, Tours by Appointment, Virtual Tours, Online Performances. Start with February and then move to March.
Parent Workshops - for parents of toddlers through teens. Find inspiration from local professionals who care! Virtual. Details
SPCA Rescue Readers: These cute, cuddly, judgment-free listeners enjoy the extra TLC while they wait for their forever homes. While we aren’t able to offer in-person Rescue Readers at this time, we are now offering it VIRTUALLY! Sign up: Details
Redwood Forest Steam Train Opens, 75 mins Daily, 12:30pm, Travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest. Details
Pick-Up Your Free Creativity Kit at the MAH, At the beginning of each month swing by the MAH to pick up a new, free crafting kit that includes supplies and step-by-step instructions. Details
Welcome to Ongoing Programs for babies, toddlers, kids and teens at our libraries (virtual) Details
Outdoor German Library, Saturday, Feb 20, 10am - 12pm. We have German books for readers of all ages, children, youth and adults! And since it’s February- heart cookies! Details
Aliens! Escape from Earth - Feb 27, 3-4, During a midnight meteor shower, something mysterious falls from the sky toward Earth – but it’s not a shooting star. Two kids venture out to investigate and soon find themselves mixed up with a family of visitors from another planet! Details
Boardwalk Winter Drivein Movies - Sat. Feb 27, 6:30pm, The Greatest Showman - If you have not yet done the "drive-in movies" evening, now is the time! Details
Teen Expo II Homegrown Careers - March 6 - Our first Teen Expo was such a hit, we’re back with the next installment. Meet successful Santa Cruz County creators, makers, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Come hear their stories and learn how they turned their interests, skills, and talents into careers! Limited spots. Sign up NOW! Details
Seven Ways to Build A Child's Resilience
During the pandemic, and long after
by Phyllis Fagell

For many children across the United States, the pandemic is the first time they’ve had to deal with a disruption of this scale, and some are faring better than others. As a school counselor, I know that parents of struggling kids feel powerless and worry about long-term emotional fallout. Although caregivers can’t always alter children’s circumstances or shield them from discomfort, they can offer a more enduring gift: tools to manage adversity.
“Resilience works like a muscle we can build through effort and repetition, and we want to keep our muscles strong and flexible, so we can think of many ways to solve a problem,” says Mary Alvord, co-author of “Resilience Builder Program for Children and Adolescents.” “At the core, resilience is the belief that while you can’t control everything in your life, there are many aspects you can control, including your attitude.”

Here are seven ways adults can help children cope with adversity and retain a hopeful outlook during the pandemic — and long after it ends.
A pandemic winter feels daunting. Parents can help kids cope > > >

Phyllis L. Fagell is a licensed clinical professional counselor, certified professional school counselor and journalist.