Bulletin Board

Calendar Helps in the Battle Against Prostate Cancer
A locally produced calendar uncovers the facts and figures about prostate cancer by uncovering 12 male models. Sort of. The men, most from Orange or Alamance counties, Durham, Chapel Hill or Carrboro, pose semi-clothed, but covered in key places, in 2008’s “Calendar Guys.” Money raised through sales of the calendar will go to prostate cancer research and education.

The idea for the calendar, which serves as a monthly reminder to men to be screened for the disease, developed during a cookout among a group of friends. Many of those gathered had experience with prostate cancer either through a friend or family member. They decided to create a calendar like the one featured in the movie Calendar Girls.

Each month’s picture features a man whose life has been touched, directly or indirectly, by prostate cancer. The final product reveals Misters January through December in everything from judicial robes to strategically placed tool belts. As Mr. April says in the calendar, “For all our sons, let’s find a cure.”

“We wanted to keep it light-hearted,” says Sherry Ratzlaff, one of the volunteers involved in the calendar’s production. “We wanted to get men thinking about it.”

Ratzlaff explains that the men photographed are average guys. “The kind of guys who get prostate cancer,” she says.

The calendar is available for $15 with proceeds benefiting the Prostate Oncology departments at Duke, UNC, Alamance Regional Medical Center and the Prostate Cancer Coalition of North Carolina. For more information, visit www.prostatecalendarguys.com.

DVD Winners
Congratulations to the following winners in a Carolina Parent giveaway of a Veggie Tales DVD:
Dalton Clowers, Clayton, 2
Sophia and Ian Johnson, Selma, 4 and 1
The Shpurker Family, Raleigh
Nolan Mullens, Franklinton
Marsha Hancock, Fuquay-Varina

Time Deficit Management
The less time busy families have, the tougher it can be to manage it. The calendar people at Day Runner have a new idea to help — color code your kids. And your spouse. And that might help everyone keep track of schedules.

A new line of family-oriented products aim to help moms, dads and kids keep up with each other with a quick cue from the hue that represents each person on a wall calendar, wire-bound family appointment calendar, and even nifty erasable door reminders that allow notes to hang from the door knob, making them harder to miss.

MeadWestvaco, the company behind Day Runner, created the products based on research conducted with honest-to-goodness busy families. Among the findings: communicating changes in schedules, communicating details from one person to another, and knowing whom was with who where and when were the three most difficult items to track. By tracking Brian in blue, Ginny in green and Patrick in purple, remembering everyone’s schedule might be a little easier.

Items from the Day Runner Family Matters line are available at Office Depot and through www.dayrunner.com/familymatters.

Book Nook
If your family has resolved for a healthier New Year, there are several new books that could help.

Keeping up with everyone’s medical details and health records just got easier with Your Family Health Organizer by Jodie Pappas (Robert Rose Books, $19.95). This three-ring binder provides space for recording everything from birth information to fingerprints, insurance details and the like. It also includes charts of developmental milestones, a list of medical resources, and pockets for stashing notes and cards from the doctor or dentist.

Two local authors discuss the national problem of obesity in The Fattening of America: How the Economy Makes Us Fat, If It Matters, and What to Do About It (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., $26.95), due to be released mid-January. Eric Finkelstein, Ph.D., and Laurie Zuckerman, both of Chapel Hill, look through an economist’s lens at the underlying causes of the American problem with weight, including how economic considerations drive more eating and less exercising in the United States. While the subject matter is serious, the writing can be humorous and engaging. Chapters and sections include “I’ll Take a Deep-Fried Coca-Cola” and “A Full Pound of Sausage, Bacon, and Ham: Have a Meaty Morning.”

Dr. Robert Sears weighs in on the childhood immunization debate with The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child (Little, Brown and Company, $13.99). Based on 13 years of research, Sears, a board-certified pediatrician, offers advice on how vaccines are made and what their ingredients are; potential vaccine side effects along with how to recognize, treat and prevent them; which brands and types of vaccines are safest; and how to tailor a child’s shot schedule to minimize risks while satisfying safety requirements.

For those interested in how the external world can affect a child’s insides, Libby McDonald has written The Toxic Sandbox: The Truth About Environmental Toxins and Our Children’s Health (Perigee, $14.95). The book is designed to help parents sort through hype, propaganda and misinformation to determine what is and isn’t a threat to children’s health. Topics include what pesticides children are ingesting and whether eating organic keeps them safe; what can be done to stop the childhood asthma epidemic; and how children can be protected from mercury poisoning.

A quicker read comes from nurse practitioner Barbara Dehn, who has produced a series of women’s health guides on fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause (Blue Orchid Press, $8.95). The slim pamphlets could fit in most purses and are designed in a time-starved reader-friendly format with charts, graphics and lists of useful Web sites for additional information.

Be It Resolved
Talking to children, especially about serious topics, isn’t always easy. But the Partnership for a Drug Free America is urging parents to work harder at just that. Along those same lines, the Partnership offers “10 Resolutions to Show Your Kids You Care” in 2008 and beyond. Among them:
– Be patient, not just tolerant.
– Ask them what they need from you — and do whatever you can to meet those needs.
– Listen to them, a lot. Avoid interrupting.
– Keep the promises you make. If you do not keep your word, acknowledge it. Help them understand the circumstances or choices that precipitated the change in plans.
– Answer their questions and be consistent. When you notice behavioral changes in them, make yourself available and encourage them to talk about what is going on in their life.

For more suggestions and resolutions, visit www.timetotalk.org.

Kids Outvote the Grown-ups
They may not be old enough to vote for real, but youth participation in Kids Voting Wake County was higher than registered voters for the October and November 2007 municipal elections. While about 11 percent of eligible voters took part in those elections, more than 14 percent of Wake County Public School students did. Compared to previous municipal election totals, three times as many children voted as before.

“Wake County children outdid their adult voting counterparts this year,” says Pete Cotter, board chair of Kids Voting Wake County. “Voting is not only a right, but it is our duty. But we think it can be fun, and this year’s results show more children are eager to take part and cast their vote.”

Kids Voting Wake County is a private, nonpartisan and nonprofit grassroots group that works through the county’s schools to develop lifetime voting habits, create an informed electorate and increase adult voter turnout. On election day, the organization sets up voting stations for youth in precincts around the county, and in 2007 made a push to provide classrooms with ballots so that more children could participate as voters.

Vote for a Hometown Hero
Nicholas Marriam, a 14-year-old from Clayton, is one of 10 top hometown youth heroes from around the nation to be recognized at the 6th Annual Volvo for Life awards. As a semifinalist, he’s now in the running to win up to a $25,000 charitable contribution.

Diagnosed with lymphoma as a 6-year-old, Nicholas recalls feeling scared and alone. He and his cousin have since started the Nickelby Project, which brings gifts and hope to children diagnosed with cancer. Through donations from friends, family and the community, they have put together gift bags for children undergoing treatment for cancer to let them know they are not alone.

To win, Nicholas needs votes. Visit www.volvoforlifeawards.com by Jan. 7 and click on “Butterfly” to vote for a hometown hero.

If You Know a Poet
The North Carolina Poetry Society’s annual contest for students and adults is underway. Young people in grades 3 through college undergraduates can submit entries postmarked not later than Jan. 10. Prizes include trophies, certificates, cash awards and publication. For more information, visit www.ncpoetrysociety.org.

Tips for Healthier Kids Begin with Healthier Lunches
For parents faced with filling that lunch box, again, the Just One More For Healthy Living Campaign wants to help meet the challenge of keeping lunch tasty, healthy and varied.

The idea behind the campaign is to add one more vegetable or fruit daily and one more lean protein, such as tuna, weekly, to help ready children to live a healthier future. Along with recipes, the campaign also offers tips such as:
– Aim to eat the rainbow at every meal — a fun way for kids to get the nutrition they need with color as a guide.
– Instead of using jelly, add sliced, fresh fruit like banana, apple or mango to a peanut butter sandwich.
– Pack mini kebabs of low-fat cheese cubes, apples and grapes.

For more ideas, visit www.eatjustonemore.com.