It’s not every day, or even every month that my son and I are infatuated with the same TV show, but the new Carmen Sandiego changes everything! I’m feeling pretty damn hip right now TBH because Netflix’s new re-boot of the iconic character has only been out for a few weeks and I have seen it all. Cutting edge — à la mode — Zeitgeist — finger on the pulse — that’s me.
The show impressed me so much, I’d watch it again. I can’t wait for the live action movie and the next season to come out! Season two is already confirmed! I’m becoming a total fan-girl and getting a red coat and fedora for my Halloween costume (maybe for everyday wear,) maybe even a temporary tattoo!
I don’t usually get this excited about a TV show. Is it nostalgia? Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego stands out in my memory as a show I used to watch on PBS when I was little. But all that’s left of it is the song and some vague notions about geography and maybe math?
So, how do I love this iteration of a character that has morphed from several game versions to TV and now streaming on Netflix?
Let me literally recount for you the ways:
- Carmen (Red), the eponymous hero, is a female main character who is confident, daring, whip-smart, talented, principled, and a kick-ass thief for a good cause. She has close trusted friends who all stick together, but none of them are perfect. They make mistakes, they experience conflict, they improvise as needed, and they learn.
- Carmen is Latina. Representation matters! There just aren’t enough strong mainstream female characters, let alone Latinas out there. Carmen is an Argentinian orphan who was raised on the Isle of VILE, the hideout/HQ for a secretive group of criminal masterminds and their crime school.
- Carmen Sandiego, the show, in addition to the hero, is Feminist AF. It gives feminism a well-deserved place in the spotlight with action, wit, intelligence, and equality all wrapped up in a trendy, modern bow for the viewing pleasure of children and adults alike. My six-year-old son LOVES this show and I am thrilled.
- Even though she leaves them behind when she realizes what they’re really up to, the people who raised her are highly diverse — villain representation matters too! There are three women and two men: a large, imposing, yet maternal white woman, an eccentric (possibly) Indian woman mad scientist, a glamorous countess, an Asian male martial arts master, and a pale creepy old psychopath guy.
- Good and evil isn’t portrayed as black and white. Carmen’s tech angel, Player, is a “white-hat” hacker. Carmen is a shadowy thief who steals from other thieves and returns the spoils of her work to their rightful owners. But she only becomes a “good” thief after she does some soul searching when she discovers that VILE’s mission hurts people and takes cultural treasures away from the masses. ACME functions “in the grey” or something to that effect is explicitly stated at one point.
- Zack is an admirably NON-TOXIC white man with a sensitive stomach who isn’t afraid to take orders from a woman and even to dress in drag to help execute a mission successfully. His older sister Ivy gives the viewer another positive representation on the femininity continuum with her more butch fashion choices, and demeanor.
- ACME, the super secret organization trying to stop VILE, is headed up by an unapologetically fierce black woman, Chief, who appears exclusively by hologram projection. She recognizes the intelligence of underling Julia Argent. When this happens, Argent claims she was not working alone and refuses to take all the credit for herself. Her deductions are almost always right on the money — as her name would seem to suggest.
- Agent Chase Devineaux, former Interpol agent turned ACME investigator, is a hyper-masculine, mansplaining, French douchebag, who rarely listens to his more thoughtful female subordinate, Julia Argent, and he frequently suffers the humiliating consequences of his stubbornness. (I’m married to a wonderful Frenchie who is nothing like Devineaux, for the record.) While he doesn’t change his behavior much, Devineaux seems to gain some consciousness of his problem throughout the season admitting that his assistant will probably be running ACME one day.
- Dash Haber is another refreshing male character. He may be working for Countess Cleo on the wrong side of crime, but his dandy/fop persona is deliciously non-binary.
- There is cool educational content: difficult moral quandaries, geography, problem solving, culture, humanity in general…
- It gets kids thinking. My son remarked to me, “That inspector should be able to follow the clues better if he’s an inspector. Argent is much smarter. Why would they choose him if he’s not good at the job?” I’m still swooning from his budding feminist powers of observation. Later he asked, “Did you know that Ivy is a girl? And that other one with red hair is a boy? So, there’s two girls and a boy?” I reminded him that player is a boy, too. He’s still way into categorizing as best he can to understand his world, but I love that he’s seeing multiple ways of being female, male, non-binary, good, bad, and somewhere in between.
I could go on…for a while. But instead, I’ll wish you happy viewing and let me know your thoughts.
Thanks for reading!
A slightly different version of this post originally appeared on www.livingimperfection.com.
Betsy and her late husband Chris Groody were honored for their dedication to the community
By KRYSTAL NURSE
Nestled in the children’s section of the Mullica Hill Branch Library is a playroom where a plaque honoring two lifelong Mantua residents resides.
Betsy Groody’s (nee Hengel) brother Joe Hengel photographed her and her late husband previously, and he and his partner, Allen Reese, decided to turn it into a plaque to honor the two and their dedication to the Mullica Hill and Mantua communities.
Besty, said Reese, came from a Mullica Hill family of nine siblings, and her husband Chris came from a Mantua family of one brother, Michael, and sister, Ann.
“Betsy and Chris are warm and kind people,” he said. “I wanted something for the both of them when Chris passed away, and we wanted him to be remembered for the guy he always was. It’s how we developed the plaque and the wording on it.”
Chris passed away in November 2018. He is survived by his wife Betsy, daughters Melissa, Kristina, Mary and Kelly, six grandchildren, siblings and other nieces, nephews, and in-laws.
The plaque reads, in part, “lifelong residents of Gloucester County, Chris and Betsy, have always shared their warm hearts, generosity and kindness with all who have crossed their paths.”
Reese added various children’s programs are being funded by his family’s fund through the Philadelphia Foundation because of how involved Chris was with his children and grandchildren.
Chris, Reese added, was active in the community from coaching his daughters’ various sport teams and the Clearview Youth Basketball team.
“His grandson always goes to the library and so we thought it’d be a great spot,” said Reese.
He said in his family’s foundation, they’re able to give away money each year to a family or organization in honor of a person or family, and it “felt fitting to do Chris and Betsy.”
The funds donated by his family’s fund, he said, will also go to remodeling the playroom at the library.
He went on to add Chris always listened to people and “wanted to know everyone’s story.”
“He was always there to help people if they needed help and he was always first in line,” he said. “Betsy is the same exact way. The two of them were perfect for each other and were kind to everyone they met.”
He said the two “couldn’t do enough good for people” with them always reaching out and spending time with people who were close, and strangers.
“I would say that they’re kind people who left the world in a better place than what they found it,” he added. “I can’t say enough good about him.”
I am in the business of rediscovering myself. I’m fascinated by my inner child. I like that girl. I haven’t like me for a very long time. So I’m trying to learn as much as I can about her.
This is me in December, 2016. I am visiting my Grandfather at my Father’s old home in Moscow. He arrived here when he started playing for CSKA. This apartment was given to him from the government. That is how things worked in the Soviet Union. You are rewarded for being someone. That was ingrained in me from childhood.
I am holding a picture of myself. I am around 7 or 8 years old. I’m in San Jose, California and if my math serves me right, this would be house # 9. I’m attending Challenger School. This would be school #4. This is the very same school which held me back a year for messing up the “other” name for a rabbit. Not bunny. Hare.
This is the wall in the main room of my Grandfather’s apartment. These are some of the medals and awards my Father has won. Please note that I used the word some. There are more. In fact, the most impressive ones are displayed in my Father’s office- the first room one encounters when entering my Family Home. Whenever I visit here, I stand and stare. This time is no different. I wonder, how do I come from someone who has done so much? How did he win all of this? What kind of superhuman is this man? And how do I carry his DNA and the Soviet mentality of “being someone”, yet I am no one. How could I have failed him?
This is what it looks like to be from a generation where things don’t happen if they’re not on instagram. He didn’t say this, but I will assume that my Grandfather feels that this is a bizarre concept. I too feel this way and I try to refrain from this but since I consider myself a story-teller, I cannot help but document all that is around me.
My Grandmother, his wife, aforementioned in previous posts, is no longer alive but he keeps up with her table-setting traditions. The silverware, the dish ware, the napkins, and the tablecloth. The kinds of food we eat. He is 90 years old and he washed the curtains for my visit. The place is clean as can be.
These are the results of my incessant documentation. There are few things in this world that make me happier than Russian Bread, Russian Butter, and Russian Caviar. All together. All at once.
The phone rings and reveals that my Father is calling. He says it’s a total coincidence. We all take turns speaking with him, and I realize that I am amongst the Larionov men.
My favorite part of my visits is the time when we can dive into old photographs and newspaper cuttings. My Grandfather is a collector, like me. As I have boxes of memorabilia, so does he. Pictures have notes written on the back of them. Dates. Locations. Descriptions. Details to keep the memories alive. I dive headfirst into time traveling through my relatives lives. I see a younger Grandfather. I see a younger Uncle. I see a younger Father. I watch through a series of photographs as he matures into the man he is today.
I peak over to the wall on my right. It is a constant reminder of who I am not. But in seeing my Father’s life story, I am able to understand that our paths do not have to align. I start to release my self-made pressures of BEING somebody. I start to have empathy towards the struggles he must have faced in finding himself. I wonder if the Soviet System was the reason he is so hardened. I feel lucky that I do not have to abide to any particular societal laws. I can choose to be the woman I want to be. I am free. And through that thought process comes a moment of healing. I let go of the expectations which weigh heavily on me. I am a separate being. I don’t have to be anybody except for me.
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A year ago yesterday was opening day of little league. We were probably running late. I was probably trying to tightly tie my son's cleats while nursing a barely three-month-old baby while simultaneously trying to convince the four-year-old that watching her brother play baseball was fun to do on a cold Saturday morning in March. And it was just as we were throwing that baseball bag in the car that I got the phone call: Grandpa died.
I knew it was coming. We all did. He had the stroke and got a little better, then a little worse again and then he stopped eating and communicating and it was just a matter of time. So, since right now, opening day of little league, had to be the time, I chose to go hardcore mom. I asked my son if he had his hat, told everyone to buckle up, put on a smile and got through the day. Then I came home and I wrote this. I read it at his service, through very shaky tears, for a small group of family and friends. I remember the last time I saw him, my baby, Sloane, was barely two months old. He hadn’t been awake in days but when we walked in the hospital room, he was actually awake. I took the baby out of the carrier and my Dad held her up and said “This is Sloane, Dad. She is your new great-granddaughter” and he looked at her and smiled. I’d like to believe he knew who she was at that moment and it made him happy. So I am sharing what I said about him today because I would like to think if there is even the slightest chance he could see this, he would read it and it would make him happy.
If you’re an Andersen, you know what it means when I say, “fifteen, two, four, and there ain’t no more,” “count your measley,” and “do you smell a skunk?” If you are an Andersen, you know that the hearts are the best part of the chicken gizzards and dumplings stew. If you are an Andersen, you know that the “peach room” is where all the toys were, and the best hiding places for kick the can were on the roof and up the telephone pole. If you are an Andersen, it wasn’t weird that you slept in the shed on Thanksgiving. If you are an Andersen, you know that the cookie jar will always be full, and you know that the best kliners west of Racine, Wisconsin can be found in Auburn, California. If you are an Andersen, you have said this phrase countless times:
“Last name is Andersen, with an S-E-N.”
These are just a handful of memories that have pushed their way to the front of my brain over the past few days. There are so many more from all the times spent with him and together as a family. When I think of them, I always come back to one common theme that binds all the memories together: Pride. My grandpa was so very proud of all he’d accomplished throughout his 97 years. Proud of the little things like his cribbage game. He was proud of his cooking, his kliners, and his home. But mostly, he was proud of his family and proud of his name.
I remember when my oldest son, Charlie, was a baby and we were up visiting him, sitting around the dining room table chatting and eating a variety of snacks (including but not limited to mayo and onions on toast, and smoked oysters in a can), and grandpa looked at me and the baby and said, “You know what is such a miracle? That one single sperm and one single egg made that perfect little boy.”
Now I am not a religious person and I don’t pray in the Christian sense of the word, but at that moment, I prayed. I thought to myself, “Oh dear lord help me because my grandfather is talking to me about sperm.” I wasn’t sure where this conversation was going, and quite frankly, I wanted it to stop. But he went on and I nervously listened for what was to come next. He went on to say, “And if it hadn’t been for me, you know, there would be no Charlie.”
Well, Grandpa, I thought to myself, that is not exactly how this all works. But what he meant (and liked to remind us of often) was that it’s because of the choices he made and the paths he took in life that got us all here, including my son. Obviously, he left out some other very important factors, namely the role Charlie’s father played in the whole thing. Perhaps it was an oversimplification of how we all came to be, but in some ways, he’s a little bit right.
It’s because of him that we are his family. It’s because he came to California. It’s because he “convinced” (or as he often said, “nagged”) my grandma to marry him. It’s because he looked out the window one day at Shoreham Park and convinced my Dad that Allison Blair was someone worth fighting for. It’s why I’m here. It’s why my kids are here. And that is just my story. We all have one that comes right back to Grandpa.
I’m terrible at cribbage. I’ve never made kliners. And I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pay my kids to eat chicken gizzard stew. But I do know that despite this, my grandpa was proud of me. He was proud of all of us and proud to call us his family. And no matter the challenges we faced or the mistakes we made his pride and love for us never wavered. And I find comfort in that knowledge. Because no matter who I become, or where I go, I know my grandpa would be proud. Because thanks to him I am here, and I’m an Andersen. With an S-E-N.
Every time I write the letter ‘y,’ I’m reminded of my father. That letter, in particular, I write the same as him. As I’ve matured and grown older, I’ve often weighed and considered the characteristics I hope to keep that I’ve subconsciously been passed down from him and also those that I’ve needed to define on my own. To me at least, it’s unclear why I write this letter the same. Perhaps, when I was a child I noticed it looked distinctly different from how others wrote it (similarly, I often write my capital ‘Js’ the same way he does) or maybe it’s just that I saw it often enough on notes scribbled in-between the pages of his Bible or the pencil marks on 2×4’s used to build many of the houses we lived in. It’s entirely possible I only wanted to be like him; who’s to say why I’ve been gifted this trait and not others.
We’re similar, him and I, and it wasn’t too noticeable until I struck out after high school and had been on my own for a few years, but we are. There have been seasons of embracing this reality and others of running from it. However, I’m distinctly his. We each have hair that curls up along the tops of our necks when it gets too long, and our body shapes and heights are nearly identical. The faith in Christ I hold so dear is because of him. Although my faith and journey have looked entirely different than his, it’s without a doubt a credit to him for bringing me up under a roof and fatherly protection that sought after God. When I was a teenager, I didn’t care to be like him. I often saw his outlook on my life to be in direct opposition to my own and my desires for it. To be fair, we were in direct opposition at times. Our love looked more like a tennis match that never resolves due to the aggravated batting of hurt and frustration toward the other until our bodies give way to defeat from exhaustion, not resolution.
There were a handful of instances I embarrassed him, brought discomfort, and disappointed him. He felt how he felt though and faulting him for those emotions is something I can’t do. The thought that he perhaps stopped loving me never crept into my mind or heart, but in hindsight, I’m able to see that I wasn’t mature enough to consider him having emotions like you, or I or anyone else has emotions. It’s strange how easy it is to think parents are like robots and function only to provide and discipline, but not feel. My interests weren’t his, or at least not how he pictured them developing, and I get that. Thinking about having children myself one day, I, of course, want them to care about what I care about. I desire that connection. The relationship existing between a parent and child is never secure, and only speaking from the viewpoint of a son, I’m confident my understanding will be destroyed and rebuilt on this topic over and over once I walk into fatherhood.
Throughout each up and down that every parent and child go through, and now that the dust has settled, I see so much of him in me. Despite my previous rejections of this possibility, I am filled with thanks and gratitude for it now. It’s easy not to pay attention to or understand how challenging it is to be a single parent in an expensive town or make career decisions that build equity in the bank of relationship and not self-indulgence & personal security. No parent is perfect, and for many, parents aren’t a part of the equation at all, which is devastating. The simple choice is never to consider what others have done for us and pretend that we’ve made it on our own; or, that each problem or deficiency is a result of wounds brought on by others, often by those who raised us. There may undoubtedly be truth running through those veins, but in this moment, on this misty mid-afternoon day, I’m thankful for both the strikes and the gifts bestowed upon me by him. I am his, and he is mine; tied together by DNA but not without love and friendship.
Stay up-to-date with all of my writing as well as things I’m currently into and what I’m finding inspiring on my site iamcartermoore.com
From understanding my mother’s tough disciplinarian stance to appreciating her as the world’s greatest friend — the journey to knowing my mother has been tremendously rewarding — and as today marks a new chapter of her life (she is 71 years old), here is hoping that the woman who birthed me and has lived a remarkable life, finds all the joy the world can bring for her.
There are so many stories to tell about my mom and I don’t even know where to begin. Do I start from the time she called me on the phone at 5 a.m to wake me up for my 6 a.m appointment while she is in Ibadan and I in Abuja? Or do I tell the story of that time I called her, my teeth chattering, to tell her how cold I was in a foreign country and her response, laced with genuine concern, being: “would you like to take the next available flight home if that place is too cold for you?” I laugh every time I remember that time in my life.
I could start with that time, 30 years ago, when she threatened to report me to father because I had done something wrong. I don’t remember what the offence was, but I do remember the terror of being whopped by father (not that he had ever at the time) and the way her face softened after she must have realized I was shitting myself.
Going back in time, I can now see the undeniable and undying love my mother has for me, I was just too stupid to realize it sooner, and for that I am very sorry. I am truly sorry for the grief I caused her, and for the disappointment she must have felt with each and every stupid decision I have ever made in my teenage and early adult life. But I hope today, that she looks at me and she’s proud of me.
I have always known my mother as a tough disciplinarian who never took no for an answer, and at those times, I never imagined that she loved me. Yes, I was stupid, I know; I said that already! Our mother was so tough that it never occurred to us, her three daughters, to disobey her even in her absence. If she told us to do something before she got back, we did it and if she asked us not to do something while she wasn’t there to watch over us, we just didn’t do it, at all. For instance, growing up, the standing rule was never to eat out. God help you if you thought you were going to die of hunger and someone — even a family friend — offered you food and you ate it. One time in Ibeto, Niger state, a couple we had gone visiting came home with us, packed jollof rice in tow, to report my sisters and I for refusing their meal. It’s hilarious now thinking about it, it wasn’t back then.
At certain phases of children’s lives, they begin to think they know better than their parents, and I was one of those children. Naturally, life became a lot more contentious between my mother and I but in all of that drama, she never failed to love me desperately. There are no in-betweens with my mother, and so was the time of love she has for us, for me, especially because if I am being honest, I was an atypical first daughter a conservative African woman would raise.
The very first time I saw my mother in a different light, as a friend more like, was one of the darkest period of my life. Prior to this, I’d always seen her as a formidable disciplinarian, a woman who you could not mess with. Don’t get me wrong, she is as steadfastly caring as they come, at the same time, she’s relentlessly demanded of highest form of discipline, something I struggled to live up to. Consequently, we would fight bitterly. But on this day, something shifted from the way I saw my mother; the strongest woman I have ever known.
“Mum, Oluyomi is dead” I sobbed, crumpling into her arms. It must have taken her a minute to process what was going on. For instance, “who is Oluyomi and what did he mean to you, my daughter?”, were possible questions that must have raced through her mind. But she didn’t ask. She just sat there, with me in her arms, my heart threatening to tear itself out of my body.
Oluyomi was the man I had planned to spend the rest of my life with, the man I planned on introducing to her, my mother. He had been killed in an accident, it was so sudden, his death felt brutal. I still can’t explain why my mother’s reaction to my sadness was a defining moment in my relationship with her, but for me, it just is. I mean, this was a woman who had stood steadfastly behind me like a rock when I had my son (out of marriage I might add), the woman who gave me her shoulders to stand on when the world was unspeakably overwhelming. This was a woman who forgave me time and time again, and never failed to amaze us with the strength of her deep commitment to her family and the world she lives in. If anyone was to judge the events of my life differently, they’d pick the time she stood with me as I brought a whole human into the world as on obvious choice, not when one was taken from me.
It was that moment in unimaginable grieve that I knew my mother was my friend all along, I had just failed to see it sooner. Today, I am living a life close enough to what my mother had imagined for me — a happy and successful life, that is — and I hope she sees me today and she is happy that the daughter she birthed nearly four decades ago is turning out to be who she wanted her to be.
Happy birthday, mom. I, your daughter, call you blessed. And I love you so steadfastly.
Essay by Jordan Magill. The views expressed are the opinions of the author.
A little foreknowledge, plus about $50, and my daughter would have lived to see 13. The amount keeps me awake. Many of us spend more each month at Starbucks. Not pocket change, it’s not enough to change your life. Or so I thought. Like every parent, I’d received a dumpster full of child-rearing warnings. The warnings started with pregnancy. They continue to the present day. Why then is my daughter not in her room texting friends, but in the cemetery? It was the warning never given.
To begin near the end, one morning last May while I was showering, my wife burst into the bathroom. Our daughter, then 12, wouldn’t wake up. I ran downstairs, naked and dripping, and found her on the floor, unresponsive. I pulled her into the middle of the floor, began pounding on her chest. Our other daughter dialed 911. The EMTs pulled me — still dripping, still naked — off her and rushed her to the hospital. The ER doctor, a soft-spoken woman who looked half my age, put her hand on my shoulder. My brilliant, bubbly daughter showed “no brain function.” Ever full of life, she was dead.
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My wife and I pieced together the course of events from the autopsy report. A day earlier, sometime around 5 p.m., our daughter swallowed a palm full of my prescription anti-depressants, more than 10 times my daily dosage. Right after, she vomited. That evening, she told her friends and us about vomiting. Like any parent, we took her temperature (normal), got her some fluids (ginger ale), and put her to bed early. She never told us about the pills. Critically, this particular drug is time-release. Once capsules rupture, the medication cannot be purged. Vomiting does nothing to rid the body of the poison, a fact to which we are sure she was ignorant (since we were). The same pharmaceutical magic that allows for steady time release holds the black dog of my depression at bay — tiny particles of slow-dissolving medication designed to pass with ease and rapidity into the intestines — makes them unpurgeable. Irony, meet tragedy.
Our daughter plainly expected to wake up in the morning. Last texts with friends speak about weekend plans. She wrote with youthful excitement about an upcoming trip. My wife tucked her in, gave her a kiss. During the night, she slipped into a coma. A massive seizure. And she was dead. The crazy parental nightmare: tucking a child in bed, finding her dead come morning. So many questions.
We will never know what she was thinking. Why she took those drugs. Why she vomited. These unknowns haunt us. Her social media was unremarkable, rife with all the usual drama of adolescents. We will never know that “why.” The question haunts us, and still we have no idea.
Much of what we do know applies to every adolescent: Her brain was a teenager’s brain. Despite abundant cleverness, she lacked an adult’s grasp of consequences. Mature decision-making was still eight to 12 years away. Emotional tumult often rules teenagers’ lives. Things that, for an adult, might seem minor, even trivial, can provoke terrible actions. The possible act, not the incendiary, is the grave risk. That’s why many parents who don’t own guns choose not to, why gun-owning parents lock up weapons.
But few parents think about the pharmacy in the bathroom. Few are ever warned. The pediatricians tell everyone of dangers: grapes (halved!), electrical sockets (covered!), promiscuity (don’t!), screen time (not too much!). Sure, we read brochures about toddlers mistaking pills for candy, and kept caps well secured. That, however, was years ago. Yes, we knew of the danger of opioids (and therefore kept none in our house). No one mentioned securing other pharmaceuticals from adolescents and teens. Our medicine cabinet, the unlocked arsenal of our family tragedy. Now, at a friend’s house, spotting a vial of medicine for convenience sake left on a windowsill is enough to bring a panic attack. Medicine bottles on their bathroom counter look like shotguns.
Statistics quash any notion of this as hyperbole. Children suffer staggering death and injury rates from legal prescription medications. In 2013, according to the CDC, almost 60,000 children arrived at the ER due to overdoses. More than 1,700, in 2014, based on NIH research, died due to prescription drugs. These rates are all rising.
Women far outpace men in their use of opioids. Surgery is one gateway to dependence.
Nine in 10 patients receive opioids to manage post-surgical pain
The issue isn’t good kids vs. bad kids. It isn’t whether your kid is smart. Or kind. Or behaves. The issue is young brains being undeveloped. A kid at home with an unsecured medication might just as well be left with a loaded gun. No child should be so vulnerable. Nor can you assume “I’d know if it were my child.” Research shows that, contrary to conventional wisdom, almost 25 percent of suicide victims go from decision to attempt in a mere five minutes, and 70 percent take less than an hour. One impulsive moment explodes into tragedy. We secure guns. Likewise, we should secure medication. Because it isn’t just opioids that can kill.
Two children now sleep in my house, where once slept three. A locked medicine chest now sits beneath my sink. The price online was $48.99. Not having it earlier — that was the real cost. It is a price no parent should pay.
Jordan Magill is a writer living in Silver Spring, Md.
This essay originally appeared in The Washington Post.
Welcome | How to Use The Playbook | Overview
The Family Engagement Playbook is a collection of promising research-based approaches to strengthen individual competencies and organizational support for meaningful family engagement. The playbook offers ideas, models, and tools that can be easily integrated into training, continuing education, and organizational learning opportunities. All of the methods put families at the center―especially those that are most marginalized in our society―and hold the promise to change individual mindsets and organizational policies and practices.
We developed the playbook to create a dialogue about a question we raised in our report Joining Together to Create a Bold Vision for Next-Generation Family Engagement:
How do we work with families and communities to co-create the next generation of family and community engagement?
The playbook pulls together the information shared with us over many years by faculty members, practitioners, community leaders, and researchers. It is designed to be used by those who seek new ways to co-create family engagement practice.
We encourage you to share your ideas and practices and contribute to making this a living document.
How to Use The Playbook
The playbook is divided into three section:
- Change Mindsets
- Build Relationships
- Transform Organizations
Together, they present a framework to build the capacity of people and organizations for family engagement.
- Use the framework to design courses, workshops, and continuing education.
- Refer to the section on approaches to apply them singly or in combination to achieve learning goals.
- Learn more about the approaches from the resources found at the end of each description.
- Contact us at info@globalfrp to share innovative methods and approaches.
Family engagement is a shared responsibility and partnership. It is about the many ways families promote their children’s learning: as guides and mentors, co-learners, and advocates for better educational opportunities for all. It is also about schools and communities supporting these roles and providing opportunities―in and out of school―for family engagement in children’s learning.
We believe that capacity building has to do with the spread of effective skills and practices among those who serve families and organizational processes that commit to learning, testing, and improving family engagement. Given widening educational opportunity gaps and the new research confirming the existing knowledge base about the benefits of family engagement, the Family Engagement Playbook is designed to be a resource for those exploring new possibilities to enhance the teaching, learning, and practice of family engagement. The playbook focuses on changing mindsets, building relationships, and transforming organizations.
I’ve always been a more tactile person needing to understand how things work and how to create. My father was a major source for that, as were many of my early influencers and mentors. He was a Cinematographer and I wanted to follow in his footsteps… but this was beacuse my father could do anything!
You see, my father is somewhat of a renaissance man. He taught me from a young age that to be successful you need to learn many skills, especially if you’re looking to get into the entertainment industry. His direct approach to just about everything was grounded in his confidence that he could do anything. As such he was a carpenter, mechanic, handyman, pilot and many other things in addition to cinematography. Most of those other skills were what actually paid the bills… and still are for him.
I took every chance I could get as a child. I used to rummage through reel to reel tape decks, cameras, tools and general oddities and learned how to use most of it… By thirteen I had fixed my older sisters car (the carb needed to be tuned and the timing was off), I was creating short videos (Long live Betamax!) and radio programs, helping on construction projects, etc…
Flash forward to now… Im currently looking for a new adventure in my career and while searching I have built a guest house, a custom composite deck, consulted on digital strategy & development, volunteering at my daughters school, repairing golf carts & electric boats for my neighbors…
I am confident that I will find the right fit, hopefully sooner than later, but grateful for having a father that taught me the importance of diversification.