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What Do You Think About the Flu?

By Katie Kern, mom of two elementary school kids and a healthcare communications expert for the Colorado Immunization Program

Wow, what a year. H1N1, or swine flu, raised its ugly oinking head and made many of us parents pretty scared.

It seems so long ago that world health officials declared the 2009 H1N1 flu a pandemic and many parents worried about what was on the horizon.

Beginning last summer, we saw camps closing and kids being sent home after flu outbreaks. Then as school started, we saw the number of H1N1 cases rise forcing some schools to close.

We taught our kids (and ourselves) the great art of washing hands, sneezing into our sleeves and using hand sanitizer like it was going out of style.

Many of us rushed to get our seasonal flu vaccinations and then waited, not so patiently, for manufacturers to get their H1N1 vaccines to the public. Then when H1N1 vaccine finally arrived we waited again to let those at highest risk get their vaccinations first.

Despite having a vaccine and our public health’s quick response, in Colorado we lost 12 children due to the H1N1 flu virus or complications from it. I can’t even imagine the anger and heartache those families must feel, losing a child to the flu?! Try for a moment to fathom that anguish and it’s easier to understand why health officials have been so concerned about this novel virus called H1N1 that hits our young people with such intensity.

I know many parents, myself included, are relieved that the number of flu cases has dropped off and we’re not seeing major outbreaks anymore. We certainly hope the worst is over but realize, as the flu experts remind us, we likely haven’t seen the last of 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu. The “traditional” flu season can last through April.

NOW is the time to get the second shot for children under age 9, and get you vaccinated too. There is plenty of supply and it’s often as easy as going to your doctor’s office or local pharmacy.

We can also feel reassured knowing that the vaccine is safe. The CDC says between 70 and 90 million Americans got the H1N1 vaccine and we know there have been few big problems or side effects. Just this month, researchers in California and the Centers for Disease Control released a study (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-02-08-Swineflu08_ST_N.htm) that found one in every 10,000 Californians who contracted H1N1 died. This is in stark contrast to the 13 million Californians who were vaccinated for H1N1 and only three people died (and those deaths were due to other health-related causes).

Right now, experts in the healthcare field are looking back to gauge the lessons learned about this very different flu season. We hope you’ll help us by taking this short survey for the Colorado Immunization Program at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GBNG36G

The surveys are anonymous. If you like, at the end you can enter to win a $250 gift certificate for the wonderful Tall Grass Spa and Salon in Evergreen for sharing what you think about the flu.

We sure hope we won’t experience another flu season like this one again, but your feedback will help public health officials in Colorado learn what worked and what needs to be worked on to protect our community if a similar challenge arises.

Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids Radiothon – Children’s Miracle Network

On February 17-19, 2010, Denver listeners will again be captivated and moved by the incredible stories of hope and triumph that will be featured on Alice 105.9. For three days, Alice will break from their usual format and broadcast live from the lobby of The Children’s Hospital in an effort to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network. Patients and their families will share their powerful stories about the care and treatment that they have received at The Children’s Hospital. Listeners will feel inspired to call in and share their own stories and experiences. This is guaranteed to be the most compelling and moving radio you have ever heard.

Alice’s 36 Hours for Kids is instrumental in raising funds and communicating the miracles that take place each day at The Children’s Hospital. During the 36-hour event, listeners are urged to call in and make a donation to Children’s Miracle Network. Over the last nine years, this incredible event has raised more than $9 million for Children’s Miracle Network. Don’t miss this year as we hear more remarkable stories from The Children’s Hospital and try to raise over $1 million in just 36 hours!

The families who share their experiences will touch your heart and make you proud to be a supporter of Alice and Children’s Miracle Network.

Donations can be made by calling 1-800-458-KIDS (5437) from 6am to 6pm Wednesday the 17th through Friday the 19th or anytime during this three day period at www.alice1059.com.

Mama’s Night Out at Sephora Redefines a “GHD” (Good Hair Day)

Every other month, Mile High Mamas throws a Mama’s Night Out to bring Colorado’s social media moms together to collaborate and connect.

And to party. Big time.

On Tuesday evening, the Sephora in Boulder hosted a pamper party wherein I experienced an unprecedented transformation. (Spoiler alert: some women equated my metamorphosis to that of Clark Kent.)

But first things first. A Mile High Mamas party is not a party without a great cause. We partnered with charity-minded Mom It Forward and all attendees donated make-up and beauty products to support SafeHouse of Denver, a women’s shelter that serves victims of domestic violence and their children.

As moms, we were deserving of a few indulgences of our own and Sephora invited some of their leading vendors to help us in our primping process. Bare Escentuals and Urban Decay gave make-up demos. Bliss and Nude Skincare both did express skincare consultations. We found out why the Clarisonic skincare cleansing brush is their top-selling item in the world of skincare with mini-facials, and massage therapists from the Boulder Country Club gave 10-minute chair massages.

Ace photographer Aimee Giese took professional headshots of the women and Tiara Training made everyone feel like a princess by distributing tiaras.

Talking to kids about the horrors of the Haiti earthquake

Talking to children about tragedy is a job most parents would love to avoid. If only our children did not need to hear about things like this week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. But of course, they do hear. And they are full of questions: Could this happen to me? What’s going to happen to the children? Can I do anything to help the children I see on TV?

World Vision US, a Christian humanitarian relief organization with hundreds of staff on the ground in Haiti, suggests eight ways to make a tough job a little bit easier.

1. Start by listening.

Find out what your kids already know. You can then respond in an age-appropriate way. The aim is not to worry them with the devastating details, but to protect them from misinformation they may have heard from friends or disturbing images they may have seen on television.

2. Provide clear, simple answers.

Limit your answer to the question asked and use simple language.

3. If you don’t know the answer, admit it.

If your child asks a question that you can’t answer, tell them so, and then do some research to try and help them sort it out. If they ask “Why did this have to happen?” don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” If you are part of a faith community, the reassurance offered there can be invaluable in helping your child sort through the awful truth that awful things happen.

4. Follow media reports or

Talk to Santa and Mrs. Claus on the “Ho Ho Hotline”

Santa may be in the North Pole but a group of local volunteers are bringing him closer to home.

For the fourth year, residents, staff and volunteers from the Colorado Lutheran Home in Arvada are answering phone calls from children hoping to talk with Mr. or Mrs. Santa Claus. Kids can call (303) 403-3150 for free from now until December 23rd to share their Christmas wishes.

Cathy Callahan of Exempla Colorado Lutheran says that a child will occasionally call whose parent is serving in the Armed Forces overseas or has lost a parent through death or divorce. “One of the Home’s social workers holds a training session for those answering the phone to help them deal with these difficult questions,” she says.

Phone lines are open daily from 2-6 p.m.

Mile High Mamas Gather For Fun Evening to Benefit a Great Cause

On Tuesday night, Colorado’s most influential social media moms were on a mission.

A large group of Mile High Mamas gathered at Morton’s steakhouse to sample their delicious new Bar Bites menu (shameless plug: these delicious appetizers are only $5 from 5-6:30 p.m and 9 p.m-close).

Our charity-driven partner Mom It Forward assisted us in presenting Seventh Generation’s Million Baby Crawl, a cause that will demand stronger protection from toxic chemicals in our homes. This nationwide event will take place on November 18th at Flatiron Crossing’s Nordstrom Court from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Mamas received eco-friendly Seventh Generation product samples, a Hasbro card game, free Sara Lee bread coupons and Steve Spangler’s Insta-Snow (the first and original instant snow polymer that actually erupts).

**A special thanks to Morton’s for hosting Mile High Mamas and providing complimentary Bar Bites. Our next event will be a fabulous makeover night at Sephora in Bouder, with partner Downtown Boulder. This event will be open to all Denver moms so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates.

Fight Child Abuse With The Tennyson Center’s ’50s-style Benefit

If there is any cause that tugs at our heartstrings at Mile High Mamas, it is child abuse prevention.

That’s why we are grateful organizations like the Tennyson Center for Children are making a difference in the treatment and education of abused, neglected and at-risk youth. Step back in time to the 1950s with “All I Have to Do is Dream,” Tennyson Center’s 32nd Annual Denver Dinner.

WHEN: Saturday, October 24, 2009
Reception: 6 p.m.
Dinner & Program: 7 p.m.

WHERE: Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street, Denver
Denver Dinner 09 logo
WHAT: The evening begins with a doo-wop reception and cocktail hour featuring a “Rat Pack” martini bar. The fun will continue with a dinner program featuring a game show starring kids from Tennyson Center, as well as a Johnny Carson-style interview with Bob Cooper, Tennyson Center’s president and CEO. The role of “Johnny” will be played by Denver’s own Gary Shapiro, 9News. After dinner, attendees will be invited to dance the night away to live music by the Heartbeats.

Keeping with the spirit of the evening, attendees are invited to come in 50’s attire – poodle skirts or Rita Hayworth cocktail dresses for the women and, for the men, leather jackets with jeans or blazers and skinny ties.

The event is free (that’s right – no ticket or table sales), but all guests are encouraged to make generous donations to the Tennyson Center. Reservations are required, so please RSVP to Tennyson Center at 720-855-3416 or via e-mail at tera.prim@tennysoncenter.org. Web site: http://www.childabuse.org/events.html

Project Glean: A Great Way for Families to Help Feed People In Need This Harvest Season

I am a firm believer that a family that serves together grows together. This fall, Colorado families are out in full force supporting Project Glean, a fantastic harvest effort that helps feed people in need. Mile High Mamas sat down with Kate Waggoner, a Parker-dwelling mom of three great kids, and Greg Morton, Director of Marketing and Communications for COMPA Ministries.

Q: Tell us about Project Glean.

Greg: Gleaning itself comes from the Old Testament in the Bible (Leviticus 19:9-10). For many years, COMPA has enjoyed a special partnership with several local farmers through Project Glean. On weekends during harvest season (September – October), volunteers can harvest Colorado-grown produce that is then donated to COMPA and distributed to the many hunger relief agencies we support through our Farm Market program or packaged and prepared in our vacu-seal operation for distribution in those times of the year when fresh produce is hard to find.
glean
The produce that we glean on any given Saturday is brought back to the COMPA warehouse where it is sorted (by volunteers) and distributed the next week in our Farm Market program. Farm Market is a system we developed that gets fresh produce out to those that need it most within 24 hours of it coming it for no cost, in order to maintain its freshness and quality.

In addition to Project Glean, COMPA helps homeless and low-income individuals reach a given level of self-sufficiency through vocational training programs. According to the most recent study, there are more than 11,000 homeless people, and 200,000 working poor or “at-risk” people in the metro area.

Q: How did you get involved and how long have you been helping?

Kate: This is the third season that my family has gleaned. The first year, we went with a group from our church. We had two small kids and wanted to do a service project where we could include our little ones. We found it to be a perfect way for people of all ages to help those in need. My husband and I decided after the first experience that we would make it a family tradition every fall. This was the first community service project that I found that is conducive to families of very young children,

Helping Feed Hungry Families with Quaker and Food Bank of the Rockies

[photopress:food_bank.gif,full,pp_image]Tuesday evening, Aimee and I had the opportunity to spend a couple hours at the Food Bank of the Rockies warehouse, packaging orders for community charities as part of the Quaker GO Project – dedicated to helping feed hungry families all over the country.

In addition to being a valuable resource for these charities, the Food Bank of the Rockies is a really neat operation. The warehouse contains pallets and pallets of boxes, categorized by their contents and organized numerically so that they’re easy to find. The boxes contain everything from paper products and personal care products to canned fruits and vegetables. There’s also a huge walk-in refrigerator and identical freezer. Items are donated primarily by grocery and supermarket chains, and the Food Bank charges a minimal per-pound fee for most items, while some items – such as bread and produce – are free.

We accompanied charity representatives, reviewing their orders and pulling the corresponding boxes. Some items were apparently in high demand, such as canned fruits and vegetables, and no boxes were left. Others, like paper products, don’t have the same contents in every box. However, each box weighs the same amount, so the cost to the charity can be calculated easily.

While sorting through some as-yet unopened boxes, looking for bread items for one representative, we found

Win a $25 Applebee’s Gift Card and “Bee a Sucker for Kids” to Prevent Child Abuse

Congratulations to Jane Munroe and Karen Sagert, winners of our Applebee’s gift cards! [photopress:childabuse.jpg,thumb,pp_image]If there is any cause that tugs at my heartstrings, it is child abuse prevention. And April just happens to be National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Applebee’s just kicked off its sixth annual “Bee a Sucker for Kids!” campaign to support Tennyson Center for Children, one of the Rocky Mountain region’s leading treatment and education centers for abused, neglected and at-risk youth.

Continuing through May 3, Applebee’s guests are invited to “Bee a Sucker for Kids!” and make a donation in the amount of their choice to Tennyson Center. Donors will receive a paper cut-out in the shape of a sucker that they can write their name on and hang on a wall in the restaurant.

Applebee’s has been