Thursday, October 16, 2014

Meet the Child Care Council Staff

Introducing Casey G.

Belinda @ Kids Matter

Please say hello to Casey. She has been employed with the CCC for the past five years and is an Eligibility Specialist serving Scott County. Casey said she loves her job because, “… it allows me to reach families that need the childcare assistance the CCC provides and guide them to additional useful resources. I give them comfort when they need it, a shoulder to cry on, and ears just to listen to them when needed. I try to go above and beyond for all of my families every single day. I just love my families in Scott County.”

Casey is married to her wonderful husband of three years, Shane. In May, to celebrate their third anniversary, they took a trip to Gatlinburg (where they spent their honeymoon). They made this trip on a motorcycle. “Thank goodness for good weather,” she said. They rode the Tail of the Dragon, which is a “tourist thing” for people who have motorcycles. It’s an 11 mile stretch of road with 318 curves. Casey declared, “It was fun and scary all at the same time!” After venturing on to Nashville and back home, the whole trip was 1400 miles.

Casey and Shane love anything outdoors. She said, “We love to hunt, mostly for deer, during firearm and archery season, but each of us would love to go turkey hunting or bear hunting someday. We do lots of fishing, out of our kayaks, in the creek near our house. We show antique tractors and farm equipment all over the states of Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. We love to go camping as well; either while we are showing our tractors, or at the horse park with family. We love anything and everything we can do outside!”

Casey is a proud wife and dotes on her husband, “He is currently a volunteer firefighter for the community of Stamping Ground and is in the process of trying to become a career firefighter in Georgetown.” She went on to tell me about the sweetest thing he ever did for her, “He spent all week writing me a poem. On Friday, when I came home, I saw the poem with hand-picked wildflowers from our own land. The poem told me to get all dolled up as he was going to pick me up, like on an actual date. We had a very nice dinner and then he took me dancing.”

Oh, but that’s not all! Casey’s love for Shane shines in what she considers her greatest achievement in her life. She said, “It may not count to some people, but it counts for me. Marrying my amazing husband has to be my greatest achievement. He is a wonderful man, husband, protector, and provider. Not only does he promise to serve and protect me, but he also promised to serve and protect an entire community that depends on him along with the rest for the Stamping Ground Volunteer Fire Dept. He rushes from our home whenever the radio sounds to save someone’s life. He comforts the loved ones of the lost after he desperately tried to save them. It is dangerous for him and absolutely terrifying for me, but it is something that he loves to do and people count on him to be there. He completes me.”

They don’t have children but, they do have a six year old Australian Shepard, who is like their child, Molly Ann (pictured above). She has a pretty amazing story that I have to share. Casey said, “Molly rescued my husband and me when she was almost a year old. When my husband went to the home, he was not expecting to rescue a dog. But, when he got there, she was chained to a fence along with four other dogs.  The only thing they had eaten was some table scraps divided between the dogs. She was shot with a BB-gun every time she barked. She was underweight, dirty, and flea infested. Shane paid for her and brought her home. She has been our baby ever since and we could not imagine life without her.”

Casey said her dad is her hero, “He is always there for me when I need anything. He took care of his family by any means necessary, but would always leave work or stop what he was working on to come to my softball games, cheer competitions, or just play with me. Dad was, and is, always a part of my life. He is strong, caring, and would give the shirt off of his back to help anyone. I strive every day to be just like him. I am who I am because of my dad. He taught me a lot of things that have come in handy for me. I can just about figure anything out mechanically and I have a passion for working on cars, trucks, tractors, or equipment. I love being able to get in there and get my hands dirty.”
Casey has learned, from life, that you should always, “Reach for the stars, but don’t forget about the ones that helped you to reach them.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Help with LETTERS

Help with LETTERS

Belinda @ Kids Matter

Instead of throwing your hands up in despair, how about searching for fun ways to teach, those precious little ones, the letters of the alphabet? We have to remember that what works for one child, may not work for another. Children are like snowflakes; none of them identical. Sometimes teaching is more about the teacher learning, instead of the child. We always have to be willing to improve our teaching skills and that requires us to continually search for new, and better, methods. Below are some fun things to try with your child. Remember, patience is a wonderful virtue!

Hands on as We Grow – 50 great activities to try.

No Time for Flash Cards – 25 alphabet activities for kids.

Just Mommies – 10 creative ways to teach your child the alphabet.

Teach Mama - 10 fun ways of helping kids learn the abc’s.

I Can Teach My Child - 35+ Alphabet Activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers.

Your Child Learns – Alphabet adventures.

Fun-A-Day – Teaching children about letters.

Spoonful – 26 alphabet activities for kids.

My Life in Verbs - 21 ideas to help your child learn letters and letter sounds.

Ready-Set-Read - 14 ways to explore the letters in your child's name.

Make learning fun, not only for the child, but the teacher as well. There is plenty of time for worry, stress, and rush, later on in life. Brighten a child’s day by spending time teaching and playing with them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Introducing Charity through a Book

Introducing Charity through a Book

Belinda @ Kids Matter

Do you remember your favorite book as a child? What about your child’s favorite book? Is there anything as sweet as watching a child’s eyes light up as a story is read to them? It’s like we are making a whole new discovery in the world. Reading opens doors to the most wonderful adventures in life. Imaginations soar upon the clouds chasing dragons and befriending fairies. Oh for the joy of freedom in our own little piece of the world.

I found the most awesome website. And beyond that, it inspires reading in a child… it is FREE and inspires charity and teaching your child to give and help others. I can’t think of a more worthy cause to support. Please go to We Give Books and start your journey with your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, student, or neighbor.

The books are laid out by age. There are so many to choose from. “Together with the Penguin Group, the Pearson Foundation has launched We Give Books, a digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online. By reading one of the Penguin or DK books online, you are assisting the Pearson Foundation in donating a book to a child in partnership with one of the exemplary international, national, or local literacy organizations that the We Give Books program helps to support. Just think, by allowing your child to read online, you are helping another child who doesn’t have that opportunity. It’s a win/win situation.

The We Give Books site also offers parents the opportunity to:

Explain how a child can help people by his or her actions.

Speak about the volunteering and charity they do.

Talk to the child about how his or her actions make other people feel.

Discuss goals.

Encourage opinions.

Tell children that you are proud of them.

Explain the importance of giving to others.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meet the Child Care Council Staff

Introducing Hygia P.

Belinda @ Kids Matter

Please say hello to Hygia (Gia). She has been an Eligibility Specialist with the CCC for the past two years. She serves the counties of Breathitt, Johnson, Knott, Magoffin, and Perry. I asked her how she came to work for the CCC. She replied, “I was looking for a job, and a friend sent a link to a job listing for an Eligibility Specialist with the CCC. I thought this was something interesting and applied. I started on my 28th birthday… it was a good birthday present.” What does she love most about her job? “I like to help families better their situations,” she replied.
Gia, is a fun, caring, and friendly person. She can be found at home, when not working, in her comfy PJ’s with her eight year old son, Zack. In her spare time she loves to catch up on all of her recorded shows. She is an avid Facebooker, Tweeter, and Pinterest user who uses social media to keep up with her friends and family. Her favorite hobbies are gardening, cooking, baking, playing with her cat Muffy, and riding motorcycles. Her least favorite thing is doing all those dishes from the cooking and baking. I think a lot of us can agree with that statement!

Gia received an AAS and AA from Hazard Community College and a BA in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University. She is an avid sports fan and is excited about the upcoming football season. Her favorite team is the New Orleans Saints. Her favorite vacation, thus far, was a week-long stay at Disney World.
I asked Gia for her best advice to parents on raising children. After sincere thought she replied, “Teach children respect, kindness, honesty, integrity, and values when they are young. It’s the parent’s responsibility to raise the children right. Raise your child right the first time because there are no second chances.” She also had advice for children in regard to understanding their parents, “Children should understand that parents do the best they can to raise their children with what they have. Parents will say no or give advice that the child is not wanting or willing to hear. Later, the child will realize it was probably the best advice.”

Monday, September 29, 2014

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking

Belinda @ Kids Matter

Ok, I have to ask… did you just read that quote, look at the picture, and think “WHAT!”? Or, did you possibly just accept it for what it said? Now, if you apply critical thinking here, the first thought that pops into your head is that there was no internet during Abraham Lincoln’s lifetime. Correct? Secondly, is that a picture of Abraham Lincoln? No, it’s out first president, George Washington. Learning about critical thinking could save you a little embarrassment down the line.

What is critical thinking?

According to The National Council for Excellence, critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. Simply put, it is the opposite of seeing, hearing, and accepting information without questioning it.

What does it take to be a critical thinker? (As provided by

1.     Be open-minded and mindful of alternatives.

2.     Desires to be, and is, well-informed.

3.     Judges the credibility of sources.

4.     Identifies reasons, assumptions, and conclusions.

5.     Asks appropriate clarifying questions.

6.     Judges the quality of an argument, including its reasons, assumptions, evidence, and the degree of support for the conclusion.

7.     Can develop and defend a reasonable position regarding a belief or an action, doing justice to challenges.

8.     Formulates plausible hypotheses.

9.     Plans and conducts experiments well.

10.   Defines terms in a way appropriate for the context.

11.   Draws conclusions when warranted – but with caution.

12.   Integrates all of the above aspects of critical thinking.

What can you do to implement critical thinking in your daily life?

1.     STOP! Think about what you read, saw, or heard.

2.     Ask questions for clarification.

3.     Ask yourself, does it make sense? Why or why not? What knowledge do you personally have on the subject?

4.     Be open-minded and open to seeing from another point of view.

5.     Do research.

6.     Don’t take the word of just one person or website. A general rule is getting three opinions and comparing the three.

7.     Ensure you are using reliable resources in your research.

8.     Never rush to a conclusion. Give yourself time to think it through.

“A critical thinker is able to deduce consequences from what he knows, and he knows how to make use of information to solve problems, and to seek relevant sources of information to inform himself. Critical thinking should not be confused with being argumentative or being critical of other people. Although critical thinking skills can be used in exposing fallacies and bad reasoning, critical thinking can also play an important role in cooperative reasoning and constructive tasks. Critical thinking can help us acquire knowledge, improve our theories, and strengthen arguments. We can use critical thinking to enhance work processes and improve social institutions,” says Hong Kong University’s open courseware on critical thinking.
Do you consider yourself a good critical thinker? Try this quiz to check your skills. You might be surprised at the results. Yes, some of the questions sound silly but the purpose here is to get you thinking outside the box. If you miss a question go back and try to figure out why you missed it. Honing your critical thinking skills is great practice.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meet the Child Care Council Staff

Introducing Beth G.

Belinda @ Kids Matter

It’s my honor to introduce Beth, a 16 1/2 year veteran of the CCC. She is an Eligibility Specialist serving the counties of Woodford, Anderson, and Washington. Beth started her career teaching kindergarten. She then owned her own childcare center, where she met her husband and worked as director in a couple more centers. She also taught at the college level and says after that experience, “… give me little kids anytime!!” After a while, she decided that she needed a change. She still wanted to work with children and families, but in a different capacity. Along came the position with the CCC and the rest, as they say, is history.  Beth said, “What I love most about my job is the satisfaction that I get from helping families attain a better quality of life. It makes me feel good to be able to remove some of the barriers that our clients meet.” Ultimately, Beth said, “… the greatest job is the one that gives you a feeling of satisfaction; one that you look forward to every day, and offers you an opportunity to help others. One that makes you feel that you are making a difference in people’s lives. I can honestly say, I truly enjoy my job. And, although there are a few days that I would rather be on a beach somewhere, I like coming to work and feeling such a sense of accomplishment.”

When asked about her home life, Beth beamed with pride as she replied, “As of this September, I will be have been married to my husband, Gary, for 33 years. We have three children, all BOYS. Jason, 34, who served in the Army National Guard and was in Iraq for one year, is married to April. They are parents to our first grandchild, Wade, who is almost three years old, and our pride and joy! They are also expecting a baby girl, Sybil, around the middle of November. Brian is 31 and he and his wife, Sheneda, are expecting a little boy, Harrison, around the first of November. Aaron is 23 and busy working and interviewing for positions with area police departments. We are also the proud parents of a 12 year old Schnauzer, Zelda, who is the sweetest dog ever.” She said her greatest achievement thus far is, “My family, no question about it. My husband and I have raised three wonderful young men who are not only kind, but also thoughtful, and caring, and a lot of fun to be around.   As we watch our sons go out into the world as productive members of society forming relationships, becoming husbands, becoming fathers. We can be nothing but proud of the amazing individuals they have become. And, as our little family continues to grow with each addition that comes to us, we are truly blessed.”

Beth is a born and raised Kentuckian. Her father was employed with the University of KY Agriculture Department as a County Agent. Beth, her sister, father, and mother lived in Inez for a few years.  They moved to Prestonsburg, and from there to Ashland where they lived until 1980 when her dad was transferred to the big city of Lexington. It was the biggest place they had ever lived. She was terrified of all the traffic and roads going in all different directions. It took her quite a few years to get used to the hustle and bustle, but Lexington became home. Both of her parents are gone now, but they still like to visit their roots back home, from time to time. Beth says she is who she is because of two things in particular, “Number one, my parents and the morals and beliefs they instilled in me. My parents always supported me in everything. They gave me the opportunity to make my own choices and were always there with advice and support. I knew that I could always depend on them for anything. Number two, my life experiences and those who have shared them with me, whether the experience was good or bad, they played an important part in my becoming the person that I am today.”
Beth told me about one of her most favorite vacations. It’s such a tribute to friendship that I just have to share. She said, “One of my favorite vacations has to be the trip that we took to Oahu, Hawaii, to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. The thing that made this trip so very special was that our best friends, Doug and Rosemary, went with us as they were also celebrating their 25th anniversary. (Not sure how many people know this but Rosemary, from the billing department, has been my dearest, best friend for 32 years.) We spent a whole week just cruising the island in a Mustang convertible, taking in the beautiful scenery, trying some interesting foods, and returning to our little beach house to enjoy the hot tubs and a few cool and fruity beverages. There is nothing better in the world than having lifelong friends to share the good times and the bad, and believe me; we have shared lots of both!”