John McGrew has been interested in the relationship between nature and wellness for decades. Richard Louv coined a term in his book Last Child in the Woods that gave John a name for what he was observing: Nature Deficit Disorder. Realizing that others shared his concerns that today’s children are growing disconnected from nature, he renewed his commitment to luring children away from the plugged in culture that preoccupies them and providing opportunities for them to enjoy the out-of-doors at farms, nature areas, and walking trails. The goal is better physical and emotional development for every child.
John is founder of Outside for a Better Inside, a Lawrence organization that is becoming a leader in the national Children and Nature movement. Outside for a Better Inside has sponsored annual Nature Education Days in Lawrence, often at the Rotary Arboretum in southwest Lawrence. They also commissioned Kelly Hunt, well-known R&B musician, to compose and record a song with the Lawrence Children’s Choir called “Let’s Go Outside for a Better Inside.”
The group’s current initiative is a walking trail to be built this summer in conjunction with the City of Lawrence. It will extend from an entry point northwest of Second and Indiana streets, go past Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Bert Nash, and Lawrence/Douglas County Health Department, continue along the Kansas River to the City of Lawrence Burcham and Constant Parks near Vermont and Sixth Street downtown. The trail has received funding from the Sunflower Foundation.
A few years ago as Emily became involved in the Lawrence community gardening program, she realized that many consumers—and especially children—had no clear idea of where their food came from other than a fast food restaurant drive-through or a convenience store shelf. National studies found that French fries were the most common “vegetable” that children eat at 18 months of age.
In response, Emily launched what is now known as Healthy Sprouts. This Farm to Preschool program teaches young children, their parents and their care-givers about gardening and about cooking and preserving the food that they grow. The goals are to instill healthy eating habits early, to increase access to local, nutritious foods, and to provide comprehensive food education.
To date, the initiative has started 42 gardens in childcare settings in the Lawrence area. Emily and her partner educator Melissa Freiburger work with twelve childcare centers, 30 home daycare providers, and over 1,000 children each year. Melissa pointed out that the Lawrence curriculum has received national recognition from the Farm to School Peer Leadership Group.
Healthy Sprouts is a program within the Douglas County Child Development Association. The initiative teams with Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the area and is funded by Kansas Health Foundation, Assists Foundation, and donations from individuals and businesses in the community.
Her presentation, which was based on a three-hour workshop that she conducts, listed ways to build a successful relationship.
“The fundamental premise is that there is no one right way to engage in a relationship except authentically,” she said. “Everything in a relationship is up for negotiation. Thus skills for authenticity and for various forms of negotiation are the building blocks for healthy relationships.”
Conflict in relationships usually is not true conflict but rather confusion about how to go about advocating well for ourselves. Saying that the more skills we have to negotiate the better, she listed three tools to use: personal respect, which nurtures a relationship; personal accountability, knowing what you want; and responsibility to respond effectively.
A personal awareness path, she said, starts with the five senses and how we interpret sensory responses. Emotions arise out of the interpretation, then longings and then intentions which we can choose consciously followed by conscious choice of action. Working with conflict resolution she said, our authentic selves are the only things we can bring to conflict resolution.
For more information about Dr. Gilbert check out her website at barbarajgilbertphd.com
For Sam Porritt, the Falling Forward Foundation is personal. Very personal. Sam told his own story of unexpected injury to members of Lawrence Central Rotary. In 2011, a fall during a “perfect” vacation in Italy left him paralyzed from the waist down. Thanks to the good fortune of holding an extraordinary insurance policy that paid—and continues to pay—for his therapy, he is now able to walk, spread the word, and advocate on behalf of those with less good luck.
The statistics are sobering. A million people each year live through a debilitating injury, illness, stroke, or other trauma and go to rehabilitation. Most insurance policies pay for 20-30 rehabilitation therapy sessions, the medical standard. For some people, 20-30 sessions is sufficient to regain a normal life. But for too many others, 20-30 sessions is just not adequate. Without recourse or funds, these patients must leave treatment before they have recovered as fully as possible.
Porritt reminds us that this type of accident can happen to anyone. His research declares that a dollar spent in rehabilitation can save society $11 in future disability payments. In the 5 months since launching the Foundation in August of 2013, they have funded the continued rehab of 5 patients.
Porritt asks that we spread the word about this need and consider a tax-deductible donation to Falling Forward Foundation. The organization has no operating costs, as Porritt is donating his time for advocacy and fund-raising. All money received goes directly to patient care at Lawrence Memorial Hospital Therapy Services and Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City.
For more information about the Falling Forward Foundation go to http://www.fallingforward.org/
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Lawrence Central Rotary club president Tobin Neis installed two new members at the January 29th meeting of the club. Charlie Bryan and Audrey Coleman were welcomed into membership and received Rotary pins and packets of information. Bryan’s was presented by his sponsor, Michael Steinle. Coleman’s stepfather, Olathe Rotarian Dennis Meyer, surprised her by coming to the Lawrence meeting and participating in her installation.
Neis interviewed the new members, asking questions about their occupations (Bryan is a Comunity Health Planner with the Lawrence, Douglas County Health Department. Coleman is senior archivist at the Dole Institute); their families (two young children each); their personal interests and their interest in community service (both have been active for years.)
We’re excited to have these two dynamic individuals as a part of our Rotarian family!