Archive for the ‘parent’ Category

“Aging and Caregiving with Dignity” Advocate Offers Hilo, Maui Workshops

May 22nd, 2015

Author and educator Frances H. Kakugawa will conduct a series of book signings and presentations in May and June, speaking on how to revise our view of Alzheimer’s caregiving as a burden and instead see it as a gift. Kakugawa travels the country speaking to health organizations, medical school programs, and caregiver and community groups about caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s or other debilitating, long-term illnesses.

Frances Kakugawa. Photo by Jason Kimura.

Frances Kakugawa. Photo by Jason Kimura.

Her message: that bringing dignity to the caregiving process makes the experience less stressful and more rewarding for both patient and caregiver. Kakugawa also advocates the power of poetry and creative writing to help ease the demands of caregiving—and to allow the caregiver to come to terms with the emotions of the situation, thereby building a healthier relationship with the patient.

In Hawai‘i, although many families share multi-generational homes, caregivers often have difficulty finding effective ways to care for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s. The experience can be stressful and frustrating, as well as confusing for young children, and Kakugawa strives to help families better accept the changed “new” person in their lives.

Art courtesy: Watermark Publishing

Art courtesy: Watermark Publishing

This is the driving concept behind her latest book, I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving (Watermark Publishing, 2014), in which Kakugawa presents a new vision of caregiving—a world that recognizes that a loved one with Alzheimer’s is an evolving individual who may have their own reality. The book is a reminder that both loved one and caregiver deserve compassion, respect and a life with dignity.

I Am Somebody is Kakugawa’s fourth book on caregiving. Her previous works include Watermark Publishing titles Mosaic Moon: Caregiving Through Poetry and Wordsworth Dances the Waltz, a children’s book about families living with grandparents with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses (a Mom’s Choice Award® Silver recipient), and Breaking the Silence from Willow Valley Press of California.

The award-winning author of eleven books, and a regular column in The Hawai‘i Herald, “Dear Frances,” for caregivers, Kakugawa helps others embrace caregiving and, through writing, discover their own humanity.

Kakugawa was born and raised on the Big Island of Hawai‘i in Kapoho, a plantation village covered by lava flows. During her years as an educator, she taught in Hawaii, Micronesia and Michigan and lectured at the University of Hawaii. She is the recipient of the Hawai‘i-Pacific Gerontological Society Award for her work with the elderly and appears in Living Legacy: Outstanding Japanese Women of the 20th Century in Hawai‘i.

Event schedule follows (all events listed are free and open to the public):

Sat., May 23; 9 AM – 11 AM Hale Mahaolu Elima Community Hall 11 Mahaolu St., Kahului, Maui For more information call Lynsey at 808-242-8636 or Kathleen at 808-871-5804. No reservation required.

Sat., May 30; 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM Basically Books 160 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo

Books will be available at her events and are also sold at bookstores and other retail outlets and by online booksellers, or direct from the publisher at

Puppet shows, free oil pastel lessons, therapy dog help, and more at Hawaii's libraries

May 21st, 2015

Be Clean Water Heroes! Find out How at Selected Oahu Libraries

"The Journey Home," a free puppet show based on the City & County of Honolulu's popular children's book about water pollution, will be performed at four selected Oahu public libraries in May. Follow lovable o'opu fish Apoha and his companion ninja opae shrimp Holokai as they struggle through common stream pollutants on their journey to return to Apoha's home stream.  Watch as they teach Malia and Keoni how we all can be everyday clean water heroes!

The show features three original songs including a catchy sing-along "Clean Water Hero" that reminds listeners to keep our streams and oceans clean. The puppet show was developed under the direction of Mark Branner of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Theatre & Dance, Theatre for Youth Program. "The Journey Home" booklet was written, illustrated, designed and printed by City & County of Honolulu personnel.

Courtesy: City & County of Honolulu, Storm Water Quality Division

Courtesy: City & County of Honolulu, Storm Water Quality Division

See "The Journey Home" puppet show at the following libraries:

* May 28 (Thursday), 10:30 a.m. at Waipahu Public Library (675-0358)

* May 31 (Sunday), 2 p.m. at Kaneohe Public Library (233-5676)

Kaneohe Library Presents Special Performers and Screening of "Jurassic Park"  

Kaneohe Public Library will present an encore performance by Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band, a Fairy Grandmother Storytime and a screening of "Jurassic Park" in May.  All programs are free:

* May 27 (Wednesday) at 5:30 p.m. - "Jurassic Park," Bookmobile Garage.  Relive the excitement of the original "Jurassic Park" before the next installment "Jurassic World" is released in theaters on June 12.  In this adaptation of Michael Crichton's best-selling novel "Jurassic Park," an age-old fantasy becomes reality as dinosaurs are genetically re-created for the ultimate theme park.  The adventure begins in wonder and  excitement for the park's first visitors, but soon takes a suspenseful turn as the dinosaurs break out of their carefully constructed environment and begin to wreak havoc.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, Universal Pictures' "Jurassic Park" is rated PG-13 and stars Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough, and Samuel L. Jackson.   All children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.  Free popcorn and refreshments will be provided.

Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band. Courtesy: Wayne Watkins.

Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band. Courtesy: Wayne Watkins.

* May 28 (Thursday) at 10:30 a.m. - "Sing-Along with Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band," Children's Section.  Back once again by popular demand, Uncle Wayne and the Howling Dog Band will perform classic children's songs as well as original tunes in this highly-interactive program.

The Friends of Kaneohe Public Library is sponsoring this 45-minute event that is recommended for the whole family.  Contact the Library as soon as possible if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed for these programs.  Kaneohe Public Library is located at 45-829 Kamehameha Highway.  For more information, please call the Library at 233-5676.

Keiki Can Learn to Draw with Oil Pastels at Makawao Library  

"Drawing with Oil Pastels," a free Saturday afternoon program series, will be offered at Makawao Public Library on May 30, and June 6 and 20 in the Children's Section.  Children ages 5 through 10, accompanied by a parent or caregiver, are invited to register for these programs which will be presented from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Local Maui artist Shirley Dumo will conduct the programs and demonstrate drawing techniques using oil pastel and pencil on paper. Dumo will discuss shading, color blending, perspective and contrast.    Children will be encouraged to use their imagination to tell a story by drawing pictures using oil pastels.

Children will have an opportunity to show their work and discuss ideas.  All supplies will be provided.   The Maui Friends of the Library is sponsoring this special program series. Reservations are required due to space limitations.

Contact the Library as soon as possible if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed for the programs.       Makawao Public Library is located at 1159 Makawao Avenue.  For more information or to register for a program, please call the Library at 573-8785.

Keiki Can Read to Therapy Dog at Wailuku Library on First Thursday of Month

"Paws for Reading," a free on-going program for keiki in grades 1 through 5, will be offered at Wailuku Public Library on the first Thursday of the month from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Literacy Room.        Assistance Dogs of Hawaii, a non-profit organization that provides people with physical disabilities specially-trained dogs to assist them in living more independent lives, will present the program, which is said to improve children's reading and communication skills.

Therapy puppy-in-training Roxy. Courtesy: Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

Therapy puppy-in-training Roxy. Courtesy: Assistance Dogs of Hawaii.

Reading to a Therapy Dog can help build a keiki's reading confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and is a lot of fun. Parents should contact the Library to sign up their children for 15-minute reading sessions. Pre-registration is required. All children must be on time for their session and accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Contact the Library as soon as possible if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed.

Wailuku Public Library is located at 251 High Street.  For more information or to sign-up for the next available reading session, please call the Library at (808) 243-5766.

See "Eyes of Hawaii" Photo Display at Hawaii State Library

The Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club will showcase a variety of photos in its ninth annual exhibit at the Hawaii State Library through May 28.  This colorful photo exhibit will be on display in the Lobby. The exhibit is suitable for all ages, and may be viewed during normal library hours.

Photos by Lance Wong. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

Photo by Lance Wong. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

In 2001, the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club was established by a group of enthusiastic photography students at Kaimuki Community School for Adults. Today, the club has grown to more than 100 members and provides programs and activities to enhance members' photography skills.

Photo by Jerry Anaya. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

Photo by Jerry Anaya. Courtesy: the Eyes of Hawaii Photography Club.

The Club presented its inaugural photo exhibit in 2004 at the former Sam Choy's Diamond Head Restaurant. Since then the Club's photos have been featured at the Hawaii State Library as well as several other Honolulu venues. As a registered non-profit corporation, the Club also provides photographic support to many community service and educational organizations.

The Hawaii State Library is located at 478 S. King Street.  For more information, please call the Library's Art, Music and Recreation section at 586-3520.

Most Popular Baby Names in Hawaii for 2014

May 15th, 2015

 The Social Security Administration announced the most popular baby names in Hawaii for 2014.  Emma and Noah topped the list.

The top five boys and girls names for 2014 in Hawaii were:

Boys:                                       Girls:

1)   Noah                                 1)   Emma

2)   Liam                                 2)   Mia

3)   Mason                               3)   Sophia

4)   Aiden                                4)   Aria

5)   Alexander                         5)   Lily

Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced last week that Noah and Emma were the most popular baby names in the U.S.  How does Hawaii compare to the rest of the country?  Check out Social Security’s website -- to see the top baby names for 2014.

Social Security has a new addition this year too, Social Security Matters, the agency’s newborn interactive blog located at

Social Security Matters, the agency’s new bundle of joy, launches as it celebrates 80 years of serving the American public. It also is a place where the public can engage in conversations with the agency about what matters most. The blog encourages discussion and offers important solutions.

The birth of a child is a special time for families. While having fun with the baby names list, Acting Commissioner Colvin encourages everyone to visit the agency’s website and create a my Social Security account at www.socialsecurity.govmy Social Security is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing throughout the time they receive Social Security benefits.

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries can have instant access to their benefit verification letter, payment history, and complete earnings record by establishing a my Social Security account.  Beneficiaries also can change their address, start or change direct deposit information, and print a replacement SSA-1099 online.

Individuals age 18 and older who are not receiving benefits can also sign up for a my Social Security account to get their personalized online Social Security Statement.  The online Statement provides workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information, and estimates of future benefits they can use to plan for their retirement.

In addition to each state’s top baby names, Social Security’s website has a list of the 1,000 most popular boys’ and girls’ names for 2014 and offers lists of baby names for each year since 1880.

To read about this year’s winner for the biggest jump in popularity and to see how pop culture affects baby names, go to!/post/5-2015-1.


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Mother's Day 2015

May 13th, 2015

I love Mother's Day because I love being Olivia's mother, and I love my own mother.

Mother's Day is really for the kids, I have come to realize. Olivia took great pleasure in making and giving me gifts, and since seven-year-olds can't keep a secret, I got to hear all about it in the week leading up to it.

That was like a gift to me too - I love hearing her get excited about what she's planning for me. In her art class, she made a coin purse for me with a potpourri sachet inside. I'm required to wear this on my purse.

photo 1

Later in the week, I got a beautiful, hand-made note pad holder. The night before, she laboriously wrapped four gifts for me in secret in her room. JUST - SO - CUTE.

Sunday morning, so woke up early and got her dad out of bed so they could make me breakfast. I was instructed not to come into the kitchen until they called me, which is a little funny since my weekend habit is to have a cup of coffee and wake up slowly while I drink it. I don't usually eat for a while until I have had coffee. So I'm skulking about my room waiting to be told I could come out.

Olivia had taken such great care to make everything perfect and set the table with my place setting in the middle of the counter. She glowed in my praise for her attention to detail, thoughtfulness, and creativity.

photo 2

I remember doing similar for my mother, and it always being such a lovely moment. The daily grind of parenting has its challenges but a day like this reminds me of why it's well worth it!

How was your Mother's Day? I hope it was a good one!

Encouraging Your Child’s Artistic Side

May 4th, 2015

Activities such as coloring, drawing and painting are part of most children’s lives. Exploring visual arts is an enjoyable activity for kids, and has proven brain-boosting benefits. In fact, making art is the perfect example of learning through play. (In fact, Olivia and I have started to sketch together just this year, and through this I've developed a liking for drawing!)

Stuff I draw

Stuff I draw

Stuff Olivia draws

Stuff Olivia draws


“Creating art can play a crucial role in strengthening the brain’s attention system, and helps children to develop fine motor and memory skills,” says Richard Peterson, Vice President of Education for childcare educator Kiddie Academy. “In addition to the cognitive benefits, parents can boost a child’s self-esteem and encourage more art activities by proudly displaying their children’s creations in an ever-changing at-home art gallery.”

Here are five tips for adding more art to your child’s daily routine:

1. Think beyond the white sheet of paper or a coloring book and crayons. Provide a wide variety of mediums for drawing and creating, including newspaper, felt, foam, aluminum foil, wax paper, sandpaper, printed paper, laminated paper, chalkboards and whiteboards.

2. Utilize imaginative drawing materials, such as finger paints, chalk, shaving cream, colored pencils, vegetable stamps and foods such as pudding in addition to the standard crayons and markers. Adding a new way to draw can spark a child’s imagination.

3. Encourage your child to use both scissors and non-toxic glue (with supervision) when creating their art projects. Cutting and pasting are two skills every child needs in school, and each take practice in order to master.

4. Repurpose printed materials you already have to give your child more exposure to the printed word and strengthen literacy skills. Junk mail, catalogs, magazines and coupons are perfect starts for many creative projects.

5. Allow for messy play on occasion. Not every day needs to involve a bath following an art project; however, messy activities can be both educational and memorable for your child. Whenever possible, move messy art project outside to allow for easier clean up.

For more creative art and play ideas, parents can visit Kiddie Academy’s Pinterest page at, where you’ll find multiple boards full of educational activities, art projects and even recipes for DIY art materials.