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Kids View Online - August 2018

Parsons, Shawnee libraries outshine through CLICK partnership

As the statewide coordinator for the Period of PURPLE Crying®, KCSL relies on community partners to successfully carry out our CLICK for Babies campaign each year. This grassroots effort aims to bring awareness to the Period of PURPLE Crying® by delivering purple baby caps to parents with newborns along with educational materials. The Period of PURPLE Crying® is an evidenced-based prevention program that helps parents and caregivers understand normal increased infant crying and the dangers of reacting to crying in frustration by shaking or abusing an infant.

A few libraries in Kansas serve as collection sites creating a convenient way for volunteers to donate caps to KCSL. The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library acts as a receiving location through Kansas Library Express (KLE), the state’s interlibrary courier service. Local libraries can ship caps to Topeka through this system at no extra cost. Two libraries that have gone above and beyond for KCSL’s campaign include Parsons Public Library and Johnson County Library in Shawnee.

Parsons Public Library has been involved with KCSL’s CLICK for Babies since 2012, the year after the campaign first launched. The library collects hundreds and sometimes thousands of caps for KCSL each year. Staff often exhibit the caps in creative ways like on Christmas trees or in display cases.

“We absolutely love it,” said Samantha Graven, library director. “The caps that come in are so cute, and it’s neat to see the imagination of our community in a small hat.”

Parsons Public Library displays thousands of collected caps on Christmas trees. (2013)

Graven was on maternity leave with her first child when the library began participating in CLICK for Babies. As a new mom, she understood the purpose behind the Period of PURPLE Crying® on a personal level. After Graven returned to work, she felt it important for the library to continue its assistance with CLICK and helped build a close partnership with KCSL.

“It has been close to my heart since my daughter was born in 2012,” Graven said. “It’s very stressful having a newborn, especially when she would cry for hours for no reason.”

Another CLICK partner, Johnson County Library in Shawnee, started collecting caps about three years ago, which happened to be a perfect fit for the knitting and crochet group the Monday Needlers. This group of nearly a dozen members meets weekly at the Shawnee branch and began to make caps for KCSL and other local organizations. Melody Kazmi, information specialist at the library, formed the Monday Needlers and helps coordinate the library’s participation in CLICK for Babies.

“Some people don’t realize how stressful it can be to have a crying newborn, and they lose it,” Kazmi said. “The caps help them remember what they learned through Period of PURPLE Crying®.”

This partnership with the library has also led one of the Monday Needlers with a special link to KCSL back into a new level of engagement. Forty years ago, Claire Holland and her late husband John adopted a baby boy from KCSL named Robert. Ever since, Holland has shared praise of KCSL’s work to anyone who will listen. She was eager for the library and Monday Needlers to help KCSL each year with this campaign.

“It’s changed a lot since I adopted my son, but KCSL has been a wonderful place and still is,” Holland said.

Holland's biological son Richard holds adopted son Robert for the first time. (1978)

Last year, the Johnson County Library in Shawnee collected more than 600 caps for KCSL, more than 50 of which were made by the Monday Needlers.

If you would like to donate caps to CLICK for Babies, check with your local library to ask if they can ship caps to Topeka using KLE. Caps can also be dropped off at any KCSL location or mailed to our Topeka office at 3545 SW 5th St, Topeka, KS 66606. Please send all caps before Sept. 30. For more information about the campaign, visit clickforbabies.org or email Rachelle Soden at KCSL.



Success Corner

Araceli, Julio & Yaiden

Featured in Kids View Online April 2018

Although many 15-year-old girls feel like adults, most are enjoying their early teens adjusting to high school, spending time with friends and possibly dating. Araceli, however, had much more on her mind at this age. She was preparing to raise a child with her boyfriend, Julio.

“We felt very scared when we found out I was pregnant,” Araceli said. “We were shocked but once we saw the ultrasound, we got really excited.”

In the beginning, Araceli and Julio had very little support. They immediately started searching for local resources in Emporia to help them on their new journey of parenthood. When the couple learned about KCSL’s Healthy Families, they enrolled.

“Since I got pregnant at a young age, I had no clue what was coming,” Araceli said. “I didn’t know the basics of how to care for my own child.”

Although she admits Healthy Families has helped her family, Araceli still had her struggles. After giving birth to her son, Yaiden, she felt unmotivated and didn’t attend school for a few months. Lisa Harder, KCSL family engagement coordinator for Healthy Families and Araceli’s home visitor at the time, along with Julio and Araceli’s family encouraged her to continue high school. Eventually, Araceli decided to persist in her schooling and even graduated with her class in 2017.

“KCSL has taught me how to succeed and not give up,” Araceli said. “They give you a lot of opportunities and support. If you need help, they’re there for you.”

Now, Araceli and Julio live in their own home and feel confident in their abilities. Yaiden, now 2 years old, is ahead in his development, Julio works full-time as a carpenter and Araceli stays at home to take care of their son.

“They are receptive to Healthy Families information and education and have been very successful with the program,” Harder said. “They are self-sufficient and excellent advocates for themselves and Yaiden.”

Araceli, Julio and Yaiden were featured on local television station WIBW-TV in Topeka last month. The story highlighted two KCSL families who are outstanding examples of Healthy Families participants.

“It was exciting, sharing our story and being recognized as a successful family,” Araceli said.

As for the future, Araceli has applied to attend Emporia State University in the fall to pursue a nursing degree, and Julio has dreams of starting his own business one day. The couple also has plans to marry and is optimistic about Yaiden starting school soon. All three are set to graduate from the Healthy Families program later this year.

“I just want a happy life,” Araceli said.

Click HERE to learn more about Healthy Families.



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