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“Quackles” is our entry in Duck Race for Hunger

Quackle'sWhat does Quackle’s our duck have to do with hunger in Anne Arundel County?

Here we are in the year 2014 and according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations there are 842 million who do not eat enough to be healthy.  That is a figure that equates to 1 out of 8 people on Earth that go to bed hungry every night.  One third of all children under the age of 5 in developing countries die from malnutrition.

But never believe that this is a problem just for southeast Asia or the deserts of Africa.  In the state of Maryland – the fourth richest state in the USA – one in ten children live in poverty.  In Anne Arundel county we are experiencing a growth of over 26% in applicants for food stamps to supplement the food for families.  However please note that if you make 14,000 a year for a family of four – there is no assistance for you.  If you may 12,000 you get $113 a month to feed your children.

That is why with over 1100 students in our county who are homeless, we are aware of the need to help others.  I personally am a member of the South Anne Arundel Rotary Club who provides food on the weekend for over 90 students in South County schools during the school year.  The first question I am asked is what about the summer.  Yes I know that is a problem and we are currently working with others looking for a way to address that issue.  But for now we are feeding during the school year over 90 families that would otherwise have much less or no food in their house.

You can help by supporting our Quack for Packs Family Fun Day on June 1 at Camp Letts in Edgewater.  By buying a duck for $10 you will help feed 2 families on a weekend.  I personally would invite you to come to Camp Letts between noon and 3 PM for the Duck Race, good food, fun games and music and help us feed these families on the weekend.

Balanced Life Skills is a Title Sponsor this year and we will be there to have a good time with you too.  I hope many of you are able to attend!  “Quckle’s is our Duck in the race.  Join our efforts to win the Golden Duck Trophy!


Student stress over getting into “good” schools

130830170410-angry-father-daughter-laptop-story-topThe struggle is on between parents and young adults. The struggle is about college. Not, should I go or not go to college. The struggle is debt or no debt, is this school the best for me, will I be able to get a job if I choose this school over that school.

Having 4 children myself and watching the results of many more going to school, getting out and working on using what they learned – one thing I do know is that the stress level prior to going to the school of your choice is greater than the stress of writing the papers and finishing the assignments the student gets after getting to the school of their choice.

My biggest concern is about the pressure that our students feel about getting in to a “good” school. Bottom line – Go to any company and you will see that those employed there come from a variety of colleges. While there may be a particular position in a particular company that might be more available to a student from a single school – people do not generally hire based on what school you went to. They hire on who you are, your attitude and skills.

The experience in college is simply what you make of it, what you do when you get there – no matter where you attend. Why is this important to understand.

Being stressed out is one of the risk factors that we see over and over again in youth suicide. Want to learn more of the risk factors and what you can do to protect the youth in your life?

Attend the QPR training on May 3 – 10 AM at Balanced Life Skills. Learn more here.


The JNP Project – children finding “Inner Awesome”

For the past year I have been working on an advisory board with a project called “The JNP Project”. This project is a movement promoting the understanding and education of self confidence, self esteem and character building for children. It will be done interactively with books, web resources, and more. There are lesson resources for parents and teachers and they align with Common Core State Standards for Grades 1-4.

JNP_iBOOK_STORING-ENDING-GROUPWhile I have been involved for the last year, there are also many people who have been involved across the world – all of whom have a passion for helping parents and teachers help children to find their “Inner Awesome”. The project is in its infancy and not born yet – but our goal is to have it ready for everyone in June. Having an inside track though, I would like to share where we are with the project at this time with you. So here is the link to the site and please stay tune:

This project ties so closely to everything that we are working on at Balanced Life Skills with all of our students. I look forward to sharing more with everyone as we progress with the JNP Project. Thank you Dona Rudderow Sturn for inviting me to be a part of your vision and a big thank you to all of those individuals around the world who share this vision for the children of the world.


Humane Education – In Vieques, PR

beach-horses-juntos-mission-IMG_0861I have just returned from vacation in Vieques, PR – a small island with much the same problems that many of the islands have, well really many areas have.  As a member of the Rotary, I attended a Rotary meeting, just as I did this past summer, to see one of their projects doing very well.  The local Rotary, along with other concerned citizens of Vieques started an education program for the students called “The Vieques Humane Education Program“.

What is humane education?

Humane Education allows people of all ages to understand the importance of living in a world where all life is revered and respected. It can indeed change the way people perceive themselves, their surroundings and other life.

I was so impressed with this work that I asked if I could bring back an opportunity to support the work with me to our area.  The group in Vieques is doing a raffle drawing for a 3 day trip to the island.  The trip will include:

  • accommodations
  • private concierge
  • transportation from the main island of PR
  • rental car
  • two dinners for 2 and cocktails
  • more…

The trip is redeemable from April 25 – November 27, 2014

I have 17 tickets available and can get more.  There will be 400 tickets sold for this raffle at $20 each.  If you are interested stop by or give me a call.  Want to learn more and Humane Education?  Here are some links.

Learn about the Vieques programJuntos Humane Education Program  You can donate direct online here:

Learn   What is Humane Education?


Girls “Kick It” at BLS


On January 10th, BLS girls had an awesome time Kickin’ It at the all-girl Focus Group in preparation of the February 7th workshop!

Register for the workshop by following THIS LINK or call Ms. Ariel at 410-263-0050


After a good warm up (including 20 push ups!), we split into teams for an obstacle course and a game of dodgeball. Then we circled up for a discussion of how girls fit into the martial arts world.

The girls had awesome input about their feelings of being a female martial artist, what BLS could do to be more appealing to girls, and how they feel about martial arts in general!


This focus group was designed to introduce BLS girls together and gauge their interest in an on-going all-female program, Kick It! 
They love the idea! The girls are very enthusiastic and eager to hand out invitations for the Kick It Workshop!

During Kick It at Balanced Life Skills, girls will have an opportunity to develop and strengthen  friendships, and they will have a safe space to lay the groundwork for positive self-esteem and how to identify exceptional role models.


Of course, this workshop will be equally as full of fun, laughter, games, and martial arts — you know, girl stuff! Ms. Jen and Ms. Ariel are really looking forward to seeing all the BLS girls, ages 7-12, on February 7th for the workshop, along with a few of their friends! 
Click the image below to print it out!
Kick It WKSHP invite