Monday, October 19, 2009


Are you curious about Tuesday night's  FREE panel event "Detox Your Toy Box"  (7pm, October 20th, USM Abromson Center  -- parking is FREE) but worried that you'll be overwhelmed with scary information?  There is so much bad news -- check out this Bangor Daily News article  about toxins in the blood of Maine health care workers for a shock -- but feeling shamed, guilty or panicky often immobilizes us instead of helping move us toward action.

At this event, we are going to get the most up-to-date scientific information from David Bellinger, a Harvard researcher with a commitment to translating the science into ideas we can work with.  We're also going to celebrate the most recent community activism on this issue (take part NOW), and learn about upcoming opportunities for making change, with help from Kristine Jenkins of the Environmental Health Strategy Center

And, perhaps most important for parents and teachers, Nicole Borrasso, a teacher at FSP, is going to inspire us with stories about the ways that kids are engaged in environmental stewardship through outdoor play, education and  exploration.  They already have ecological intelligence  and we can partner with them to make cleaning the planet both a joyful and an ordinary everyday practice.  See David Sobel's article in YES magazine  for a teaser ... or this more recent YES article  about "place-based" education.  

More follow-up resources to come! 

Friday, October 16, 2009

BBC on Play Based Learning

I'm listening to an interesting NPR/BBC story about a new recommendation from the UK suggesting that kids should delay "formal learning" until the age of 6.  They suggest play-based preschool and kindergarten for young children but that children should not be taught reading or other formal content until at least six years old.  The BBC report includes counter arguments and some information about what happens around the world... 

How much is that what happens in our communities?  How structured should learning be in middle childhood? 

Interesting questions... here's the link to the BBC story and here's the link to the actual report

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FW: Wabanaki Perspectives and Human Awareness at UMA, Oct. 13-16

MAIN and Maine Equal Justice wanted to share with our members and friends this exciting opportunity to experience the rich culture of the Wabanaki People. We encourage you to participate in this free public event.  If you have questions or want to learn more, please go to: 
Wabanaki Perspectives and Human Awareness
October 13-16, 2009
University of Maine at Augusta

Several Wabanaki citizens have been working with staff and students from the University of Maine at Augusta to plan Wabanaki Perspectives and Human Awareness. 
This four-day event to take place October 13-16 will include presentations, films, demonstrations, and opportunities for socializing to share and to experience the rich culture of the Wabanaki People.  The events are free and open to the public. 
Week-long ongoing opportunities include: Talking Circles, Sacred Space, Bonfire by the lake, Music by native artists, Continual showing of films on university public monitors, Traditional foods available in the café, Arts displayed throughout the main buildings, and the sale of local Native books, DVDs, CDs, baskets, jewelry, clothing, & crafts.
This event will provide an opportunity 
+    For Native American Students attending UMA to gather and share their culture.  
+    To allow Wabanaki youth to meet and to celebrate their common heritage while sharing key aspects of Wabanaki nationhood and culture with the non-Indian population.
+    To allow Wabanaki youth to experience a campus environment and learn about the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine.
+    For non-Native American students to learn about the Wabanaki and participate in Wabanaki cultural activities.
For the public to learn about the Wabinaki and participate in Wabanaki cultural  activities; and
+    To provide a foundation for future intra and inter cultural interactions amongst university students, faculty, staff and the public.
To learn more about this exciting event and to see a schedule for each day, go to:

Margaret Wheatley in Portland on October 15th!

Margaret Wheatley is one of the most creative thinkers about leadership and organizational development around.  I just finished her book Finding Our Way : Leadership for Uncertain Times and will blog more about that later... I was surprised to find that she's coming to USM on October 15th.  Sadly, I'll have just returned from 3 days away from my family and likely will have to be home for bed time, but I hope someone I know will go and tell me all about it! 

Fwd: Registration Now Open CCFC's 2010 Consuming Kids Summit

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers

Praise for CCFC Summits:

"Just the right balance ofinfuriating info and inspiration."

"An amazing opportunity to meet and network with like-minded, motivated activists for change."

"I left thinking about what I can do in my own home to fortify the lives of my children (and myself)...I was so inspired...andwe had so much fun."

Register Now! 

CCFC's 7th National Summit:

Consuming Kids:  Market Values, Human Values, and the Lives of Children

April 8-10, 2010

Wheelock College

Boston, MA

The values children learn in the marketplace - excessive consumption, impulse buying, and unthinking brand loyalty - are antithetical to healthy development, independent thinking, spirituality, community, and democracy. What happens to childhood - and society -- when market values trump human values? How can we make a difference?  What role can parents, educators, public health professionals, faith communities, and policy makers play in stopping the proliferation of market values, and in nurturing positive values, in a commercialized world?

Join CCFC and leading activists, scholars, and authors for the only national conference devoted to stopping the commercial exploitation of children. Register by November 1st to take advantage of recession-busting, super early bird rates and to beat the rush.  Our last summit sold out early! Register now at:

Confirmed speakers already include:

Enola Aird, founder, Mothers for Human Future - Tim Kasser, author, The High Price of Materialism - Sharon Lamb & Lyn Mikel Brown, authors, Packing Boyhood & Packaging Girlhood - Lenore Skanazy, author, Free Range Kids  Nancy Carlsson-Paige, author, Taking Back Childhood  -  Allen Kanner, co-editor, Psychology and Consumer Culture  Diane Levin, co-author, So Sexy, So Soon, Susan Linn, author, The Case for Make Believe  - and many, many more to come!

Scholarships available - please visit for more information.

Can't make the summit? Help someone else attend by supporting CCFC's summit scholarship fund.

Unsubscribe | Donate | CCFC Events | Forward to a friend |CCFC on Facebook | Contact CCFC 

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
A Program of the Judge Baker Children's Center
53 Parker Hill Ave
Boston, MA 02120

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fwd: Play Date for Equality - Please join us!

I know many of us wonder how to best respond to the mean spirited Yes on 1 commercials that vilify families we live in or families we care about... here's one way (also, vote now - absentee ballots can now be requested online --  and  give money ) 

Dear friends:
Please join us for a Play Date for Equality on Columbus Day, October 12.
The No on 1 / Protect Maine Equality campaign is hosting a Play Date for Equality for Maine families to show their support marriage equality. We have invited the media to show them the rich diversity of Maine families who support marriage equality.
We will provide cider and cookies; you bring yourselves, toys/balls/frisbees for the park, and your kids, grandkids, nieces/nephews, neighbors, etc. We'd love to have older kids too who may have outgrown play dates but who want to show their support.
It will not only be a fun afternoon, but an important one too. On that day we will be just 19 days from election day and showing the diversity of support for marriage equality is a critical part of our campaign.  
Please RSVP if you plan to attend, by emailing or calling me. And bring all your friends!
Thank you.
What: "Play Date for Equality"
When: 1:00-3:00 pm on Columbus Day (Monday, October 12th)
[rain date: 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 17th]
Where: The playground at Deering Oaks Park in Portland
Who: All families who support marriage equality
Please pass this on far and wide, even if you cannot attend! Thank you.
Betsy Smith
Executive Director
207-939-7769 cell

Monday, October 5, 2009

Paul Solman at Bates College (tonight and Wednesday)


Paul Solman
Economics Correspondent
The News Hour with Jim Lehrer

The Divided Self: Money, God and Neighbor

Lecture I
Monday, October 5, 7 p.m., Chase Hall Lounge
Spending Beyond Our Means And Are We Screwed If We Don't?

Lecture II
Wednesday, October 7, 7 p.m., Chase Hall Lounge
IS Money The Root Of All Evil?

Sponsored by the Multifaith Chaplaincy and the Department of Economics

--  The Rev. Bill Blaine-Wallace, Ph.D.  Multifaith Chaplain Bates College 161 Wood Street Lewiston, ME. 207.753.6906 Fax: 207.786.8282  "A mosaic is a conversation between what is broken." Terry Tempest Williams

Friday, October 2, 2009

FW: Add Verb hosting Q&A Writing Workshops at The Telling Room

alt web photo
Sign up for Add Verb Workshops at
The Telling Room
Q&A PerformanceThe Telling Room and Add Verb Productions are teaming up this fall
to work with students on a project that has national attention.

Proud to be an Ally: Playwriting for Queer and Allied Youth Activism
Students will create original performance pieces to address how allies can make schools and communities safe and caring. Bring your passion for writing, your creativity, and your friends!
Sign up today to make a difference in your school. 

Who Should Attend:  Open to ages 12-24

Dates:   October 15 & 29 and November 5, 12, & 19

Time:  3:00-5:00 PM

Location:   The Telling Room, Downtown Portland, Maine

Contact Add Verb Productions via email: or call 207-772-1167.

*This program is made possible by support from the Maine Community Foundation Equity Fund, the Maine Arts Commission, and the Mukti Fund.

About Add Verb Productions: Theatre for Health & Wellness Education  
Add Verb Productions addresses health and social issues through live theatre, with the goal of building stronger, healthier communities. Add Verb's three nationally touring plays, The Thin Line, You the Man, and Major Medical Breakthrough, address the complex issues of eating disorders, interpersonal violence, and the health care sector's underutilized role in violence intervention, respectively. Each performance is followed by a panel discussion comprised of local advocates, counselors, and medical experts that allow audience interaction and community discussion. The productions have been presented across the country at middle schools, high schools, colleges, community centers, medical schools, military bases, and conferences. 
For more information, visit

Want to keep updated on all of Add Verb's Events?  

Bates screening of 'Food, Inc.' with Stonyfield Farm chairman

Food safety seems to be one of the most challenging parenting issues we face, as a generation of parents that can't trust the FDA or big business that feeds us, but we can't all homestead either.  I saw 2/3 of this movie (a childcare emergency pulled me out before the hopeful part) and it has changed some of my eating habits, and also revealed places for collective action.   Plus, how fun to see it with energetic college students (who eat the most amazing food around)... 

 All are invited...

Stonyfield Farm chairman to speak at Bates screening of 'Food, Inc.'
Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Olin Arts Concert Hall


A Bates College screening of the food-industry exposé Food, Inc. will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the director of Bates Dining Services and with Gary Hirshberg P'13, head of organic yogurt producer Stonyfield Farm.

The screening begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, in Olin Arts Concert Hall, 75 Russell St. The film is 90 minutes long.

Hirshberg appears in the film, which scrutinizes the food we eat and how it is produced. He'll be joined in the Bates event by college Dining Services Director Christine Schwartz. The event is open to the public at no cost. For more information, please call 207-786-6476.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

For Your October Calendar - Detox Your Toy Box, FREE Panel Discussion, Oct 20th, 7pm. USM's Abromson Center

Friends School of  Portland
1 Mackworth Island
Falmouth, ME  04105
Phone 207 781-6321
Fax 207 781-6320

The School has assembled a panel of experts to discuss hopeful and concrete actions for maintaining the health of families and stewardship for the Earth

Portland, Maine September 22, 2009 – Friends School of Portland (FSP), an independent Quaker day school for grades preschool-8, today announces its fall, 2009 Parenting for Peace event, "Detox Your Toy Box."

This event will be held on Tuesday, October 20, 2009, from 7-8:30 PM at the University of Southern Maine, Hannaford Hall, in the Abromson Community Education Center in partnership with the Maine chapter of Physician's for Social Responsibility.

Taking a proactive approach, "Detox Your Toy Box" will explore current research linking environmental toxins to children's health. We will learn about the most urgent problems we face and opportunities for personal and collective action.   The panel will also share strategies for engaging children in making healthy choices for themselves and their planet. This event is free and open to the public.

Experts from diverse, yet connected fields come together as a panel and include:

·     David Bellinger, PhD, Professor, Harvard Medical School—will inform the audience of the latest scientific research linking environmental toxins to children's developmental health.

·     Nicole Borrasso, Teacher and Seasoned Outdoor Educator, FSPwill help us consider the best way to engage children in caring for the environment and their own bodies without scaring them (or the parents!).

·     Kristine Jenkins, Environmental Health Organizer, Environmental Health Strategy Center—will share stories of successful community clean-ups / social change and engage us in a conversation about public policy initiatives on the horizon.

The panel will be moderated by local pediatrician, parent and FSP Board member, Jeff Peterson.  A question and answer period will follow the panel presentation. Resource tables will be available in the lobby.
FSP is pleased and proud to offer Parenting for Peace as a community service to the Greater Portland community.
About FSP
The Friends School of Portland challenges and empowers students to develop their intellectual, physical, emotional, creative and spiritual potential. We honor our students' natural gifts as they learn to enter the world with confidence, competence, joy and a sense of purpose. We are guided by the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, stewardship, and truth.