Bay Area organization offers free birthday parties to homeless kids, cake and all

Habitot Children's Museum in Berkeley, California is making an unusually generous offer to the families of homeless kids. They are providing them with the opportunity to celebrate their child's birthday at their facility for free. Their free birthday party offer includes all the standards: decor, pizza, juice, cake, and even goodie bags for the guests. Plus, they gift the birthday child something special.

Now, I'm not sure the age limit for the eligible children but, according to their site, the museum serves infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Want to learn more? Email the museum's Family Programs Manager at familyprograms@habitot.org. Also, if you have the means, please consider donating to Habitot so they can keep the magic going.

photo by Yoshika Mcalister Read the rest

Meet Helen, 5, detained by Trump, forced to sign away her rights in court.

“On Helen’s form, which was filled out with assistance from officials, there is a checked box next to a line that says, “I withdraw my previous request for a Flores bond hearing.” Beneath that line, the five-year-old signed her name in wobbly letters.”

What the Trump administration is doing to these thousands of children is morally repulsive. We have to stop it. Read the rest

Austistic boy hates being in photos, mom lets him wear T-Rex suit for family pics

Photographer and mom Samantha, aka Roaming Magnolias, shared this incredible gallery of photos on Reddit/IMGUR today. One of her sons is autistic and hates being photographed. His sibling does not mind it. Mom's creative parenting solution, and some amazing images, below. Read the rest

Couple jailed after abusing child and selling him to pedophiles

A German 48-year old citizen and her 39-year old partner have been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of repeatedly raping her son. If that’s not enough, the filth also sold the boy to pedophiles she found on the Dark Net, who further abused the child and filmed it, over a two-year period. It goes without saying that Germany, and most anyone else that’s heard about it, has been horrified by the case.

From The Guardian:

In Tuesday’s verdict, the couple was ordered to pay €42,500 (£38,000) in compensation to the boy and another victim, a young girl.

Local authorities have been accused of failing to protect the boy, who now lives with a foster family. The mother’s partner was supposed to be banned from having contact with children. Officials removed the boy from the family in March last year, but a local court sent him back weeks later.

According to The Telegraph, six others were jailed for their involvement in the sexual abuse of the boy. Because of the way that Germany handles criminal cases that involve rape, none of the parties responsible can be named by the media.

I can’t even begin to imagine the life-long harm that’s been done to those kids in the name of self-fulfillment and greed, nor can I understand the how a system designed to protect society’s most vulnerable failed them them so completely.

Image via Flickr, courtesy of Blogtrepreneur Read the rest

Brazil's ambitious anti-poverty initiative engages its youngest citizens

New research suggests that a key cause of poverty is poor parents' lack of engagement with neonates and toddlers. Brazil is trying to change that by showing parents the importance of interacting meaningfully with young children through eye contact and activities. Read the rest

Ohio judge: transgender teen lacks "maturity, knowledge and stability" to get a name change

The slow eroding of autonomy for trans youth continues apace in Ohio, where a judge denied a legal name change to a trans teen who has taken all available social and medical steps required to do so. Read the rest

Beach Toy Library: Borrow a sand toy, leave a sand toy

There have been all kinds of neat alt-libraries, places where you can check out things other than books. There are ones for tools, American Girl dolls, and musical instruments (and undoubtedly lots more).

Here in Alameda, at the entrance of a charming estuary on the west end of town called Crab Cove, there's a Beach Toy Library. You can "check out" a sand-friendly toy to play with out of the wooden box, or leave one that you found. I love the spirit of this but given the condition of the toys in the box, I suggest people leave some new toys they "find" at the store.

photos by Rusty Blazenhoff

(I Love Alameda) Read the rest

Here's exactly how to make amends for past biased reporting on transgender people

Donna Minkowitz wrote one of the most important pieces about the murder of Brandon Teena, the transgender man depicted in the film Boys Don't Cry. A quarter century later, she does what few journalists have the courage to do: she acknowledged the botched the story with biased reporting. Read the rest

A young caged teen in a Texas immigration camp is teaching other kids to change caged toddlers' diapers

At Ursula, an immigration facility in McAllen, TX, 500 children separated from their families are crammed 20 to a cage. It's home to kids of all ages, from toddlers to young teens (once a teen turns 18, they are magically converted into a criminal and moved to the adult facility). Read the rest

Gender creative kid mocked by James Woods named Pride Parade Grand Marshal

Last year, C.J. Duron and parents attended O.C. Pride, prompting various trolls to mock the family online. This year, C.J. is the youngest grand marshal in Pride Month’s 48-year history. Read the rest

Indigenous Canadians sue the Canadian government over decades of secret, involuntary, inhumane medical experiments

For more than a century, the Canadian government pursued a policy of forcibly removing First Nations people from their homes and imprisoning them in largely church-run "residential schools" where violence, rape and other forms of abuse were rampant. The last residential school closed in 1986. Read the rest

New York City: Kick off the weekend by buying cookies from these homeless Girl Scouts

Do you live in New York City? Do you like cookies? Are you into cookies so hard that you carry cash with you, just in case the opportunity to buy cookies arises while you're going about your day?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, read on.

The girls of Girl Scout troop 6,000 all have one thing in common: They all live in homeless shelters in New York City. Troop 6,000 came into being back in March of 2017 thanks to a partnership between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York and New York City's Department of Homeless Services. Currently, troop 6,000's membership includes kids from 15 different homeless shelters in the NYC area. This year, the girls of the troop are selling Girl Guide cookies for the first time:

From Eyewitness News 7 NY:

"The biggest impact that we see and when you talk to the girls you'll hear them say, is that they belong to something, they have a sisterhood within the other Girl Scouts," said Meredith Maskara of the Girl Scouts of Greater New York. "They talk to other girls who may be in their same situation who feel alone, and they feel like they have a stronger sense of community and belonging overall."

Buying any Girl Scout cookies, which are the crack cocaine of sugary treats, is a win. Buying them from troop 6,000? That's way more cool: not only will doing so help to grow the bonds of friendship and belonging in a group of disenfranchised children, the cash you fork over will also help those kids to take part in amazing experiences that may have been all but unattainable to them, otherwise. Read the rest

Raising Dion, sci-fi comic about child with superpowers, greenlit as Netflix series

Raising Dion released a trailer and comic in 2015 (previously). Now Netflix has ordered 10 episodes about raising a 7-year-old son with superpowers. Read the rest

Advice on raising resilient kids by author Adam Grant

In this Atlantic video, organizational psychologist and dad of three Adam Grant shares why helicopter parenting isn't helping our kids in the long run (duh) and shares advice on raising more resilient kids. I think his advice is spot-on, even if you aren't a parent. It's a good reminder of how we all can weather life's setbacks and "bounce back" stronger.

Related: Late last year, Grant gave a TED Talk that asked the question, "Are you a Giver or a Taker?" that's really worth a watch. It inspired me to read his 2013 book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, which validated my lifelong love of being a "giver." Read the rest

Watch these parents get tattoos that their kids just drew

No one ever said parenthood was easy and this video proves that point, in a really bizarre way. It feels a little bit like an episode of Jackass but with small children calling the shots.

Here's the premise: Three brave parents agreed to let their kids design tattoos for them. They also agreed to have that design, no matter what it was, immediately inked on their body.

And they agreed to have the whole thing captured on camera, of course.

It's a good watch.

(Seriously tho, "Mr. Hot Dog" is pretty rad. He's got a Mr. Peanut vibe with that top hat and cane.)

Previously: Some brutally honest kids share their family secrets with this illustrator Read the rest

Julia, the muppet with autism, joins Sesame Street's TV show

Julia, the muppet with autism, will join the Sesame Street TV show in April. She appeared last night on 60 minutes during an interview segment with Sesame Street writer Christine Ferraro. From NPR:

"The character Julia, she has wonderful drawing skills. She's like a little budding artist," said Rose Jochum, director of internal initiatives at the Autism Society of America, which characterizes itself as the nation's oldest advocacy group for people with the disorder. "You know — autism — it brings wonderful gifts..."

"It's not like there is a typical example of an autistic child, but we do believe that [with] Julia, we worked so carefully to make sure that she had certain characteristics that would allow children to identify with her," (Sesame Workshop executive vice president Sherrie) Westin said. "It's what Sesame does best, you know: Reaching children, looking at these things through their lens and building a greater sort of sense of commonality."

Here's the 60 Minutes segment script.

And more about puppet designer Rollie Krewson.

Read the rest

Say good morning to Do Bee!

I remember watching Romper Room religiously, perhaps that is what happened.

Wasn't it awesome we got morality lessons from a surreal bumble bee with a 420 friendly name? I think I liked Mr. Don't Bee better.

Romper Room may also explain my hatred of mirrors. Read the rest

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