Aug 05

Budget Travel Tips for a Back-to-School Vacation

Posted on August 5, 2019 at 10:35 PM by Ashley Mock

kid in car traveling

By: Leslie Campos,

If you’re thinking about taking the kids away for a last whirlwind weekend, time is running out. But never fear, with the following tips, you can plan a quick getaway and still have money left over for back-to-school supplies. Traveling is an awesome way to open your children’s minds up to new experiences. As an added benefit, it will be a welcome respite from your summer routine and the perfect way to segue into the new school year.

Rethink Your Road Trip

If you have very little time to plan, a road trip is just what the doctor ordered. So, pack your bags, pick a direction, and start driving. If you want to save money on food, pack a cooler for the first day or two and bring along a picnic blanket and an assortment of snacks so you can get out, stretch your legs, and have a bite to eat before you keep trucking. Make the trip really interesting by skipping the interstates and big cities; there are plenty of small towns all throughout America that have plenty of unique roadside attractions. Chances are, the majority of your children’s classmates will never have an opportunity to experience these gems. Check out Roadside America to get an idea of what’s within a few hours drive of your home.

Entertain and Engage

As much fun as you’ll have on your adventures, there will be times when there’s nothing to do. For the kids, this is usually in the car. There is no shame in allowing them to use a device to while away the time, but stick with educational games. The LeapPad Glo is a great choice for the 3- to 9-year-old crowd and boasts a 1,000-plus strong library of e-books, videos, and learning games. At night, a plug-and-play streaming device is a must; assuming you have access to the internet, you’ll be able to let your children watch their favorite shows while you settle in. There are plenty of free apps to choose from (including PBS Kids). Remember, different devices have different features, so do your research before you hit the road.

Play Where You Stay

If you are on a tight budget, spend some time planning your excursion before you head out the door. One thing to consider is looking for a place that has on-site activities; this will cut down on the amount of money you spend staying entertained during the day. Even if you don’t want to go far from home, there are plenty of nearby options. Holiday Inn in Port St. Lucie is a great example and features an expansive swimming pool and waterfall. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and don’t mind a longer drive, the Travel Channel recommends these eight water park hotels, which are scattered across the country, from Virginia to Wisconsin.

Flying High

Sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and jet away. Unfortunately, air travel can be extremely stressful with younger kids — and some adults. However, it does not have to be. Make sure to book a day flight, as late-night flights and hyperactive toddlers are a recipe for disaster. Next, make sure you pick a seat close to the potty. You’ll also want to make sure that you have enough sippy cups and snacks to last for the duration of the flight. UpgradedPoints offers a ton of great information on how to reduce stress while flying with children.

Traveling is a great experience, and it doesn’t matter if you plan for months in advance or decide 20 minutes before you pull out of the driveway. If you haven’t got the kids out of town — or at least out of the house — this summer, these budget-friendly tips can help you make the most of your last few precious weeks before school is in session.

Image via Pixabay

Jun 19

Stories are Powerful

Posted on June 19, 2019 at 1:32 PM by Ashley Mock

Research tells us that communities with strong and stable families have lower crime rates, improved health, better educational outcomes, and higher earning potential. Locally, we know that in order to build those strong families, we need resources like Families of the Treasure Coast to empower and enable parents to improve the lives of their children.

Families of the Treasure Coast has one goal: to equip community members with the knowledge and tools essential to a happy, healthy and prosperous family. They are able to do that by reaching out to all parents to provide information, connect them to community resources, and facilitate parent development activities throughout the community. Some initiatives are even designed to increase communication among community resources, giving families access to services that they might otherwise not utilize.

Parent Teen Community Connection (PTCC) is the flagship program of Families of the Treasure Coast. By offering evidence based workshops, focused on strengthening positive parent/child communication, PTCC is able to help parents confront risky behaviors with comprehensive education and critical thinking skills.     

Below is a testimonial from a parent who recently participated in the Parent Teen Community Connection program:

The PTCC sessions have given me and my kids a great outlet, plus they get a chance to hear from other parents and their peers about what they are going through. As a single mom, I have always struggled to open up to my kids (a 6th and 9th grader) but now I have a new confidence in sharing.

My story is important and what I value as a mom must be communicated to my kids. My kids shared with me after a session that they thought it was so cool how I was able to share what happened to me back in the day. I was so excited. When I talk I want my kids to listen. PTCC has helped me see "how" I say something is just as important as "what" I say. The attitude behind my words are just as important as the words themselves.

 parents and children in a circle holding hands

We, as a family have put into practice "listening with full attention". It shows my kids what they have to say is important, especially to me. Whatever we are doing, we stop and give our undivided attention. Putting those skills to practice has strengthened our family and for that we are grateful.

E. Johnson

May 22

Learning to TRUST

Posted on May 22, 2019 at 3:59 PM by Ashley Mock

This current year, through our Strategic Short Term Funding, we are partnering with Tykes & Teens to offer the Teaching Resilience & Understanding Symptoms of Trauma (TRUST) program. The program provides training, technical assistance and therapeutic consultation to CSC's funded afterschool programs to help them recognize and respond to trauma symptoms with children in their programs.

The TRUST team trains afterschool program staff to understand the cause of a child’s behavior and offer ideas about alternative methods or tactics to reduce the negative impacts on that child. Often times, program staff's attempts to regulate behavior concerns do little to address the underlying issues that may have caused those behaviors in the first place. However, the TRUST program assists in creating an environment that involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma. 

Recently the Boys & Girls Club administration reached out to TRUST to have their clinical therapist, Belinda, work with staff to help them appropriately respond to children who had been impacted by recent gun violence in the community close to their homes. The therapist was able to respond quickly to provide support so staff could understand how traumatic events may affect the children and use language and strategies that would promote healing.

boys and girls club staff in trauma informed care training    IMG_0239

Below is a testimonial from a Boys & Girls Club staff member about the impact of the program:

Our partnership with Tykes and Teens has been extremely successful thus far. Belinda took an approach to first observe the work of our staff at Garden Terrace; how they run programs, dealing with member conflict and different behaviors during program time. Belinda also met with the staff to answer any questions the staff had about being a better mentor to our youth. My staff have learned a great deal from Belinda that there is a deeper meaning as to why a specific student is acting out in class. We are so quick to discipline a member that gets in trouble constantly without ever sitting down and talking through the problem with them and finding the deeper root cause to their actions. This is something that has really stuck with my staff.

Through Belinda’s mentorship, my staff and I now take the time to talk through any conflicts the members get into, find out why they made the decisions they did, and let the member figure out what would have been a better solution to the problem. Not only does this help the members talk through their own issues, it helps the staff and members build a positive relationship because the members truly feel like they are cared for by the staff and how they are feeling.

Kaitlyn Spera | Club Director Garden Terrace Unit
Boys & Girls Club of St. Lucie County