Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
I never expected that at age 5, my daughter, Leli would be invited to be a keynote speaker and Young Entrepreneur Honoree at a scholarship luncheon in New York City.
It all started when my parents bought Leli the sewing machine that was on the top of her Christmas list, complete with “fabik” (fabric), her second request, and thread. Just two days after unwrapping it, she made nine pillows with button faces, fancy stitches, and mixed fabrics. Soon after, Leli’s Magical Stitches was born. (She came up with the name herself.)
To tell you the truth, I didn’t want her to have that sewing machine. Small hands, big needle – not the best combination; especially considering the fact that she still hadn’t even learned to tie her shoes. As we watched the instructional DVD together, I was quietly brainstorming strategies to deal with the frustration that I knew the sewing machine would inevitably cause; but after just one watch, Leli sat at that machine and sewed her first pillow.
After a week on the machine, Leli came up with pillow purses – two pillows stitched together on three sides with straps at the opening. Though I always insist on placing the buttons under the needle for safety, Leli doesn’t need my help with any part of the process.
I put pictures of Leli’s pillows on my personal Facebook and Instagram pages, and friends and family asked to buy them. People were sharing her pictures with everyone they knew, and since Christmas, Leli has received 100 pillow orders from friends, family, and a handful of people we’ve never met.
One of my family members shared Leli’s pictures with a member of an organization called The Old Field Planters, Inc., which provides scholarships to students with limited resources who are in pursuit of a college degree. They extended an invitation for Leli to be a Young Entrepreneur Honoree and keynote speaker at their annual scholarship award luncheon this weekend. She’s even been asked to sell her pillows at the event.
I couldn’t resist taking her to the garment district to rack up on fabric after receiving the exciting news. We also picked up three piggie banks, which we labeled “Save,” “Spend,” and “Share.” We plan to divide the money that she earns between the three – the savings for college, the spending for new materials and any treat that she might want, and once the sharing bank fills up, we will donate it to Prevent Child Abuse New York.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that my daughter has identified a passion at such a young age. I remember myself in elementary school telling my fourth grade teacher that I was going to be a journalist when I grew up. My picture in my middle school yearbook is captioned “Amanda Nesbot – wants to be a successful journalist,” and here I am today, a product of the same parents who bought Leli her first sewing machine, writing about her on Parents.com.
It scares me to think that if my parents hadn’t taken a chance and gotten Leli that sewing machine,I may have been the first person to make her doubt her own abilities by refusing to let her try at all. Leli, like all children, is free of the burdens adults carry around as mental roadblocks that inhibit them from dreaming big and pursing those goals. She taught me that my role as her mom is simply to shower her with support, and then sit back and watch her inspire the world.
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Thursday, January 20th, 2011
Does your kid have amazing art talents? Enter him or her in the fourth annual ‘Doodle 4 Google’ logo competition. This year’s theme is “What I’d Like to Do Someday…” which encourages kids to “dream about future possibilities” and “exercise their creative imaginations.”
The contest is only open to students in the U.S. While kids from kindergarten through 12th grade can enter the contest, just one national winner will be chosen to have the winning doodle displayed on the Google homepage on May 20, 2011. Plus, the chosen winner will win a $15,000 college scholarship and a $25,000 technology grant for the school he or she attends. Three national finalists, 40 regional finalists, and 400 state finalists will also be chosen to receive various prizes.
Parents can help kids register for the contest by March 2, 2011 and all entries (one per child) must be submitted by March 16, 2011. This year’s judges include celebrities such as actress Whoopi Goldberg, Garfield comic strip cartoonist Jim Davis, children’s book authors Beverly Cleary and Jeff Kinney, Olympic ice skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek, and more.
Inspire your kids to start dreaming and start creating!
Read more details about the ‘Google 4 Doodle’ Contest:
More about art on Parents.com
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Monday, November 29th, 2010
Your kids can star in their own story as cartoon characters by using Crayola’s new and free web app, “Story Studio.” By uploading photos of themselves, kids can be transformed into animated versions or even create new characters using the face editor. They can also customize their characters with costumes, accessories, backgrounds, graphics, and text.
The best part? Kids can then choose from six storylines to feature their cartoon characters: The Daring Race, Dragon Trouble, Pirate, The Ride, The Big Game, and Rock Star. Plus, Crayola is offering Parents readers an exclusive online code to print out “Story Studio” creations as coloring books. Use the code PR7CFMDY at Crayola’s other web app, “Lights, Camera, Color,” to get 6 months of free printing access. You can also purchase certain boxes of Crayola crayons (48 or more) with the special online code.
Help kids become more creative and imaginative the next time you buy a box of crayons!
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Friday, October 22nd, 2010
Parents: How to raise a creative genius: Exposure to creative pursuits early in life is key to helping children get motivated to do creative things themselves, said Shelley Carson, a psychologist at Harvard University and author of “Your Creative Brain: Seven Steps to Maximize Imagination, Productivity, and Innovation in Your Life.” [CNN]
Recall of contaminated celery may expand: Texas health officials shut down the SanGar Produce & Processing Co. plant in San Antonio and ordered a recall of all of the produce that had passed through the plant since January. The plant is linked to contaminated celery that sickened at least six people this year, four of whom died. [MSNBC]
Teachers, students and Facebook, a toxic mix: The New York Post reported this week that three New York City teachers are accused of inappropriate “friending” — and worse. One teacher left comments like, “This is sexy,” under girls’ pictures, school officials told the paper. Others made lewder comments, and some even used Facebook to initiate real-life relationships with students, it said. All three have been fired. [MSNBC]
A mother’s suicide, more than a father’s, predicts her offspring’s likelihood of attempting suicide: In the life of a child or adolescent, a parent’s sudden death is an event so psychologically devastating, it’s hard to imagine it could get any worse. But when that sudden death is self-inflicted, the psychological fallout definitely does mount, possibly compounded by the effects of genes and a parent’s behavior in the years leading up to his or her suicide. And when the suicidal parent was Mom, there’s an even greater likelihood a child will go on to make a similar attempt than when Dad was the one to kill himself. [Chicago Tribune]
Prosecutor proposes jail time for parents who miss teacher conferences: A county prosecutor in Michigan is proposing a law that could punish parents with jail time for repeatedly missing their children’s parent-teacher conferences. [CNN]
Is that right? Scarrots for trick-or-treaters?: As part of a multi-million-dollar “Eat ‘Em Like Junk Food” campaign, and just in time for Halloween, the carrot farmers — identified as “A Bunch of Carrot Farmers” and led by the big Michigan grower Bolthouse Farms — have packaged baby carrots in multi-bag packages that are purposely reminiscent of trick-or-treat candy packs. These “Scarrots” are available at stores such as Walmart. [Washington Post]
Study: Young people less empathetic [MSNBC]
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