Missoula Carousel collecting items for silent auction

There are many ways to support A Carousel for Missoula. One way – the most fun way – is by riding the carousel a lot. Introduce it to out-of-town visitors, spent time with friends and family there, plan birthday parties at the carousel.

Another fun way to support the carousel is coming up next month, on Sept. 19, when the carousel will “celebrate its 19th year of going in circles” with a benefit dinner.

Sponsored by Missoula Textile Services, the dinner will start at 6 p.m. in the Caras Park pavilion and include entertainment provided by Headwaters, food provided by Taco Sano and a bar provided by the Badlander.

The dinner will also include a silent auction – but first, the carousel needs some items to put in the auction. Which brings up yet another fun way to support the carousel.

Clean out those basements, attics and storage units and if you find anything that would make a good donation item, give Carousel Director Theresa Cox a call at 549-8382 or send an email to ponykeepr@gmail.com.

You can also call that same number – or just stop by the Carousel – for tickets to the dinner; $10 for kids and $20 for adults.

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Work hard, play hard

The Silver Summit all-abilities playground is taking shape after three years of hard work and anticipation!

Volunteers work Thursday to install playground equipment at Silver Summit all-abilities playground.

Parent of a son with a motor disability and the driving force behind the project, Jenny Montgomery, said she can’t wait to get out and play at the new site slated to open in mid- to late-August — and neither can I!

Her excitement about a playground where all children (and adults) can play regardless of their physical capabilities was contagious as she gave me a tour Thursday.

Features include a merry-go-round, rain wheel, tunnel, climbing structure, sand box, play cabin, overlook area, and much, much more. The playground’s also spacious so that kids who get overwhelmed can take a break in the shade on the fringe and then come back to play more instead of having to go home.

Montgomery said she also hopes Silver Summit help build community and support networks.

While the play structures and features began to take shape Thursday, more volunteers to help install the playground are needed to fill 3-hour time blocks on Friday and Saturday between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.  Volunteers should be at least 14 years of age, and will need water, snacks, gloves and closed-toed shoes.
If you’re interested, call or email Meg Rogosienski at 552-6271 or mrogosienski@ci.missoula.mt.us.

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Climb out of the Darkness to raise awareness about postpartum mood disorders

Last week I got a note from Samantha Hines about an event called Climb out of the Darkness Missoula. It’s aimed at raising awareness of postpartum depression and other mood disorders, and Samantha very kindly pointed out that it’s coming up on June 21.

That’s a Saturday – and the official start of summer. In short, a wonderful day to show up at the Mt. Sentinel M trail at 11 a.m. Bring a picnic lunch afterward, at noon, to the Oval.

And register – it’s free but required – here: http://www.crowdrise.com/samanthahines-COTD2014

Here’s the description provided on Crowdrise:

Climb Out of the Darkness is the annual awareness raising and fundraising event for Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit focused on supporting pregnant and new moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders like postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, postpartum psychosis and pregnancy depression. Also, Climb Out of the Darkness kicks ass. Just so you know.

For more information, send Samantha an email at samhines@gmail.com.

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Support healthy pregnancies and March for Babies

Chances are you’ve heard of the March of Dimes. Have you heard of the March for Babies?

It’s coming up on May 31, as this guest column in yesterday’s Missoulian explains. The piece also has a list of ways to reduce the risk of preterm birth. And here it is!

  • Quit smoking before or early in pregnancy.

  • Eliminate elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation; in other words, those that are not medically necessary.

  • Exercise regularly, take prenatal vitamins and eat a variety of healthy foods – particularly fruits and vegetables – before and during pregnancy.

  • Promote early access to prenatal care; it serves as a critical tool to educate women on how to take good care of themselves throughout their pregnancy.

  • Early prenatal care, in the first 8-10 weeks, also identifies and manages women’s risk factors and health conditions.

  • Screen for anxiety and depression in early and mid-pregnancy.

  • Support women with substance abuse problems in getting the help they need to stop abusing drugs and alcohol.

  • Educate women on the early warning signs and symptoms of preterm labor so that they seek medical attention early.

  • Encourage the use of stress management and relaxation techniques (stress hormones can increase risk of preterm birth).

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Give Local today

Today is Give Local Missoula Day!

Ninety local non-profits are included in the 24-hour fundraising blitz that encourages people to give to the organizations that make Missoula the town we love.

The goal is $100,000, and “lounges” are set up around town with snacks and beverages and conversation with non-profit reps.

Details here.

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What you can do to help abused and neglected kids in MT

This month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, is almost over. The Missoulian’s been featuring a series on the topic for the past several weeks, and today we published our own entry. Hopefully, it’s at least as helpful as some of the other columns written by the experts on child abuse prevention in western Montana.

The editorial is aimed at encouraging people to at least get started thinking about the hurt children in our community and how to help them. To consider becoming a foster family or a court-appointed special advocate, or perhaps lending some volunteer time, extra household supplies or monetary donations to one of the several organizations that provide support to families at risk.

The long-term aim is to stop the cycle of abuse and give children the best possible start in life. The immediate result is making a real difference in the life of a kid, right here in Montana, who needs to know that he’s not alone.

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New Montana Down Syndrome Association is just getting started!

Happy Friday! And a happy Friday it is!

This morning I read the most wonderful news on Facebook. I’m copying it below in full. It’s from Jessica Kryzsko Crowley, who lives in Missoula with her family and who is a great photographer. In fact, she’s the one who took that beautiful picture of my family in the About Missoula Mom section of this website.

Here’s her message:

Good morning, everyone! I am Jessica Kryzsko Crowley, and I have a beautiful 6 (soon to be 7) year old who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth. He is precious and teaches me lessons in love, acceptance and patience everyday. Last night I went to the very first meeting of what will be the group Montana Down Syndrome Association. So far we are just trying to get our legs under us, gather ideas, hopes, expectations, needs to be filled, and information from families who have children or adults with Down Syndrome. We don’t want to miss anyone for our Buddy Walk mailing list this year, and one of our main goals is connection and communication. While legally we cannot request any personal information from doctors, educators, therapists, or many other professionals, we can ask you as parents, advocators, and loved ones to share with us any contacts and information you wish to help make our group and society more aware, effective, productive and inclusive! If you are uncomfortable sharing here, feel free to message my personal page. I look forward to hearing from each and everyone of you! May God bless you all. Thanks!

Interested in getting involved? Message Jessica on Facebook or, if you don’t do Facebook, you can send me a message and I’ll make sure it gets to her.

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Jeff Bridges in Montana to fight childhood hunger

No, for reals.

Jeff Bridges – The Dude himself – will be in Montana – Darby and Billings, of all places – to help draw the spotlight to a national program that fights childhood hunger.

The Governor and First Lady will be there too, along with the founder of the D.C.-based program, Share Our Strength.

Read on for the details:

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Plan ahead, sign up to help feed hungry children this summer

Thanks to Missoula’s breakfast and lunch programs, school-age children in low-income families don’t have to worry about going hungry during the school year.

It’s a different story in the summer months – unless people step up to help out with programs like the Summer Food Service Program. The program is actively looking for sponsors to help it get its ducks all lined up before the end of the school year.

Check it out, below:

Sponsors Needed for Summer Food Service Program

Help End Childhood Summer Hunger

Helena, MT— Now is the time for communities to start making plans to sponsor a Summer Food Service Program. The Montana Office of Public Instruction (OPI) is accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Food Service Program from public and private nonprofit schools as well as local government agencies and private nonprofit organizations that are interested in sponsoring a Summer Food Service Program.

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How to give all of Missoula’s children a merrier Christmas

This editorial ran on the Missoulian’s Opinion page yesterday. It talks about the recent toiletries drive for needy students in Missoula County Public Schools. And it describes the ongoing need for other items – diapers, cleaning supplies and extra athletic clothes in particular – as well as how to provide those items if you’re moved to help.

School buildings will be closed through the break but the Administration Building at 215 S. Sixth St. W. will be open during its regular hours after Christmas Day. That’s Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m. After the holidays, give Kennedy a call at 728-2400, ext. 1080 or send her an email at sskennedy@mcps.k12.mt.us to find out which supplies are most needed right now, and where to deliver them.

Something to think about as we enjoy all the riches of the season on this Christmas Day. Merry Christmas,  everyone!

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