LFW Parenting: Tots in the Fort
Feb19

LFW Parenting: Tots in the Fort

Toddlers and a Midwest winter: some winter days, the thought of spending onemoresecond at home with my two [adorable, hilarious, but work-intensive] toddlers makes me want to climb the walls. And then, simultaneously, the very idea of wrestling them into winter coats is enough to discourage all nonessential travel. Everyday winter outings with my toddlers have to pass a “worth the coat” test, which, for me, requires the destination to meet most of the following criteria: Indoors; cheap/ low-investment (there’s a chance we’ll stay for three hours or just fifteen minutes); safe, but physically exhausting; not especially crowded; and tolerant of chaos. If you’re looking for toddler-friendly winter activities, here’s a few stops that appear “worth the coat.” YMCA The YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne boasts impressive amenities for families, from fitness facilities and group fitness classes for adults, to toddler-friendly classes and a great child watch program. Parents can get a break (and a workout) while kids play at child watch, participate in free swim or free play, or let the kids participate in programming specifically designed for toddlers. Check out www.fwymca.org for facilities, class schedules, and activities. Jefferson Pointe play area Offers a great, free place for toddlers and small children to run, climb, and let off steam. Kids and their supervising parent must wear socks. Bring a picnic (and hand sanitizer). Java Mama Fort Wayne Java Mama offers free or low-cost playtime for the kids, quality food and coffee, and a tribe of other parents who have also been awake since 5 a.m. Open Play is free from 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and all day on Saturdays, with the purchase of a drink. There’s also a calendar of toddler-friendly classes, available for a fee. Allen County Public Library Most local branches of the ACPL include a weekday morning story time for babies and toddlers, with some including crafts or songs. More than Gymnastics Offers open gym for children under 5 on the first and third Fridays of every month, from noon-1:30 p.m., for $5 per child. Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Offers programming for toddlers starting at 18 months. There’s a Jack and the Neverland Pirate-themed event with pirate games, craft, and a treat on February 26 from 9-9:45 a.m.  for $17. Register here Artlink Contemporary Gallery Offers Early Art Exploration on February 20, 2016 (and later dates in the Spring) from 10-11:30 a.m,, which provides art projects for children ages 2-5. All of the creativity with no clean up duty! Cost is $10 for Artlink Members, $15 for the general public, with an additional fee of $5 for same-family siblings. Tickets available...

Read More
Join the Game with Joe Journeyman
Dec07

Join the Game with Joe Journeyman

It’s inside a converted truck bay in Warsaw, Indiana where Joe Journeyman, the only football player to play for all 32 NFL teams, comes to life. A product of IDNA Brands along with Sportula Products and StadiumViews, Joe Journeyman is an NFL certified search and find book where each page is a different NFL stadium and city to explore. But Joe Journeyman is so much more. Every inch of the Joe Journeyman book is hand drawn, everything from the characters to the text, by artist and co-creator Jed Bruce. It’s in his studio inside a truck bay that Jed is meticulously creating the second volume expected to be released in 2016. Amongst all the game day hype of each page, Jed includes not only Joe, his playbook, and his friends like Touchdown Ted and Pom Pom Polly, but also city landmarks, literal idioms, and hidden characters tucked into the pages. Readers can find Edgar Allen Poe in Baltimore in the middle of a Ravens game or Jed Bruce himself and his daughter as street artists in New York. With 500 things to look for, the Joe Journeyman book is a treasure-trove of entertainment for people of all ages. “We didn’t want readers to just look for a helmet or a football. When someone finds something, we think they should laugh,” writer and co-creator David Bazzoni told me as he pointed out a bald eagle getting his head shaved. “There’s power in laughter.” Jed Bruce and David Bazzoni made Joe Journeyman as a product for kids, benefitting kids. They stay true to their word, donating 10% of proceeds to children’s hospitals throughout the country and Joe’s Kids, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit children’s rehabilitation center providing therapy here in Northeast Indiana. “We want Joe’s success to help kids,” Jed and David told me. “It gives us purpose and motivation to do what we do.” But Joe Journeyman wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for sheer luck. The co-creators, Jed Bruce and David Bazzoni, went to school together in Warsaw until they parted ways in 9th grade. Jed Bruce briefly studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before working various jobs, always able to find work even though it didn’t use his artistic talents. But when the company he was employed with went out of business, Jed was out of the work for the first time in his life and with a daughter on the way. It was 13 years after they last saw each other, at a bar that no longer exists, that Jed ran into David who worked for IDNA Brands. David instantly recognized Jed from their childhood and he...

Read More
Give Kids an Early Start in Music
Dec30

Give Kids an Early Start in Music

Fort Wayne is a great place to get kids involved in music at an early age. We have everything from pre-school programs to college degrees that propel students from the very basics to becoming teachers in classrooms. Here are some of the options the Summit City has to offer! If you have a small child and want to get him or her involved in classical music, check out our Suzuki talent education programs. For violin, viola and cello, look into the Fort Wayne Suzuki Talent Education program, run by Bill and Janet Guy-Klickman. The Fort Wayne Suzuki program offers private lessons, group classes, music theory and orchestra courses for young ones starting around the age of three to five years old. Parents are an integral part of this education system, and they attend all lessons and classes, especially when the children are quite young. According to the Suzuki philosophy, the teacher teaches during the lesson and the parent coaches during the home practice sessions, creating a triangle of support between the child, the teacher and the parent. Don’t worry – parents do not have to be experts in music. Parents just need to be willing and dedicated to helping their child progress at his or her own pace through this ear-training system. Suzuki piano lessons are also offered by Mrs. Carol Hahn, who is based out of the Indiana University-Purdue University campus. Her studio, located within the Rhineheart Music Center, is open to young children and their parents. It’s a common sight to see a child and mother hurrying with music books in tow, up the stairs to Mrs. Hahn’s studio. For education in pop or electronic music trends, Sweetwater Sound has Sweetwater Academy of Music and Technology, where students can learn drums, vocals, guitar, songwriting, keyboard, and recording/DJ techniques. Just log on to the Sweetwater Academy page to scroll through the many different options that they have. Families are definitely welcome to come along, and if they have to wait for a lesson to begin, they can hang out in the ‘arcade’ where they can play pinball, tossing games, electronic golf, ping pong, pool – you name it. It’s free and kids and their (usually) dads like to compete. If you get hungry, there’s the Downbeat Diner, where you can purchase snacks and meals. Oh, and a really neat perk of taking lessons at Sweetwater is that student recitals and concerts take place in their state-of-the-art theater, which has a fantastic sound system and comfy, upholstered chairs. It’s like walking into a special room in Star Trek’s Enterprise – little lights and futuristic accoutrements are everywhere. Of course,...

Read More
Fort Wayne Offers Vacation Bible School Options
Jun05

Fort Wayne Offers Vacation Bible School Options

With summer in the city of churches, comes lots of Vacation Bible Schools (VBS).  All are either free of charge or have a small fee, and so much fun for the kids!  Even if you are too old for VBS, there are ample volunteer opportunities at each of the VBS programs.  They’re happening all summer long so you have many programs to choose from! Here is a list of just a few around town (in order of date).  Please be sure to check out a church near you! June 7-11:  Kids aged 4 through 5th grade can experience the ‘Jungle Safari’ at Aboite Lutheran Church, or volunteers are welcome for those aged 12 and above. June 15-19:  Christ Hope Ministry hosts ‘Weird Animals’ for those kids aged 3 through 5th grade from 6:30-8:30pm. June 15-19:  ‘Weird Animals’ VBS is at Concordia Lutheran Church for kids age 3 through 6th grade from 6pm-8:45pm. June 16-20:  Join Memorial Baptist Church in the ‘International Spy Academy’ if you are between grades K-5 from 6pm-8pm. June 16-20:  Saint Joseph United Methodist Church will be hosting ‘Weird Animals’ for children 3 years old through 5th grade from 9am-3pm. June 16-20:  ‘The Chapel’ will be hosting ‘Weird Animals’ for those aged 4-2nd grade (9am-11:45) and 3rd through 5th graders 9am-2:30 pm (M-Th), 9am-12pm (F). June 16-20:  Emanuel Lutheran Church (downtown) will be discovering Jesus’ one-of-a-kind love through ‘Weird Animals’.  Ages 3-K will be discovering Jesus from 9:15-11:45am and 1st graders-5th grade will be discovering Jesus 9am-12pm.  Registration is required and deadline is June 6th. June 22-26:  Join Resurrection Lutheran Church from 6:30-8pm for their VBS program. June 23-24:  For kids who have completed grades K-4th, ‘Camp Kid Rock’ at Pathway Community Church from 9am-12pm. June 23-25:  Our Lady of Good Hope will be hosting their VBS program from 9am-12pm with a skating party on June 26, 6-8pm at Bell’s Rink. June 23-27:  Join Wallen Baptist Church VBS program ‘Connect’ for those K-5th graders from 9am-12:30pm. June 23-27:  For a small fee, Saint Joseph Catholic Church will be hosting ‘Weird Animals’ for 3 year olds through 5th grade from 9am-12pm. July 10-14: ‘Pandamania’ will be held at Grace Point Church of the Nazarene’s VBS program from 6pm-8:30pm. July 21-25:  ‘Discover, Decide and Defend’ at Northridge Baptist Church’s VBS from 6:30pm-8:30pm for kids aged 3-12 years old. July 22-25:  North Christian Church will be hosting their VBS program from 6-8pm. July 28-August 1:  Plan to attend the ‘International Spy Academy’ at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church. July 29-August 1:  Let your Pre-K through 6th grade knights and fair maidens get equipped with the full armor of God at Southwinds Church of Christ during their ‘Kingdom Chronicles’ from...

Read More
TRACK: Using the Power of Art to Combat Child Abuse
May24

TRACK: Using the Power of Art to Combat Child Abuse

Can artistic expression change the lives of children in Fort Wayne? Three Rivers Art Center for Kids (TRACK) is a new non-profit organization that is calling attention to the issue of child abuse through the arts. TRACK founder Terry Doran has been involved with the arts and non-profits in Fort Wayne for over 30 years. As children, he and his brothers were both victims of mental and emotional abuse by their mother. Doran sat down for an interview recently after a TRACK benefit concert in remembrance of his brother Rick who died in 2000 after a subsequent and lingering battle with depression. Since Rick’s passing, Doran took these experiences and focused them into a community dialogue about child abuse with a small group of volunteers, and founded TRACK in late 2012. The dialogue continues next month, as Katherine Reddick will be discussing child welfare at the Allen County Public Library – Main Branch, Meeting Room A at 2 pm on Saturday, June 28. Reddick, an educator from Texas, received international exposure in 2013 after writing a “scathing” newspaper obituary with her brother about their abusive mother to shed light on the issue of child abuse. Reddick will also be holding three workshops on foster care and challenges associated with it. The entire event will be free to attend. “She really wants people to leave with a feeling that they can do something,” said Doran. Funded by a Cable Fund Access Board grant, outreach events like this have been the focus of the organization since its founding. Past outreach includes the benefit concert for Rick, two public awareness programs with Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne and an award-winning dance performance on the issue of child abuse by the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. “The shows have been successful in terms of quality,” said Doran. The organization has had issues with a tight budget and no permanent space, which has limited its ability to work directly with children. Recently, Byron Health Center, a senior care facility north of Fort Wayne, reached out to Doran and offered use of its recreation center, free of charge, to do classes, events, and activities for kids. In the long term, TRACK would like to be downtown as part of the downtown revitalization efforts, but, getting started, Byron should serve its needs well. “TRACK is not just for abused kids, it’s for all kids. I believe that you need to have healthy kids interacting with kids that have problems, and I think that will benefit both of them.” TRACK wants to start up new classes for children and get people interested in volunteering in sharing any artistic...

Read More