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I CANDOANYTHING This has been one busy summer. Looking back to June, I can’t remember a busier month for our family. Between moving to a new house and dealing with a major surgery, it was, in a word, intense. The summer really kicked off when our son, Benjamin, went off to MDA Camp for a week. MDA Camp is held by the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I’ve talked about it in the past, and it’s something that means the world to Benjamin who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a neuromuscular disorder. The disorder can progress slowly, taking away different motor functions over time. It was April of 2017 when Benjamin was approved for a drug that essentially halts the progression of the disorder. While Benjamin has limited mobility, the hope is that he’ll be able to retain his current level of mobility. But at MDA Camp, limited mobility means nothing. When I look back, I can’t believe I was skeptical of MDA Camp. My wife and I were definitely overprotective of Benjamin. To have him gone for a week? We couldn’t bear it. Kids as young as 6 can attend MDA Camp (which is completely paid for by the Association, so parents don’t have to worry about the cost). When Benjamin turned 6, we didn’t even think about signing him up. A couple of years later when Benjamin and I went to an MDA conference in Washington, D.C. At the conference, we attended a panel of seven people who live with MD. Each panelist had a unique story. One traveled the world, one was a successful lawyer, one a successful entrepreneur, and so on. During the panel, one audience member asked, “How is it you’re so independent? What was your key to finding that independence?” Six out of the seven panelists had the same answer: MDA Camp. The seventh panelist, a college student, said she never had the chance to go to MDA Camp. Her parents never let her go, and she regretted it. That hit me hard. I had never really gotten it before. I was really into the research side of things and thought everyone should be supporting research initiatives. And while I’m still a big believer in the research, I’ve come to realize just how important camp was — not just for Benjamin, but for any kid who’s living with MD. That year, we signed up Benjamin for camp. We were super nervous about the whole thing; would he be okay for a week? When it came time to go to camp, we all packed up as a family to drop Benjamin off. At drop-off, we
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made sure his counselor knew everything he would need to know to look after Benjamin. After that, we said our goodbyes, went home, and nervously waited. A week later, when we pulled up to pick up Benjamin, we wondered just how much he had missed us — we had certainly missed him. It had been a hard week for Mom and Dad. Benjamin came up to me and the first words out of his mouth were, “Can I come back next year?” And he couldn’t stop talking about how awesome it was. Every child at the camp has a counselor assigned to them 24/7 to take care of all their needs. On top of that, the camp has every activity you would expect at any sleep-away camp: Archery, canoeing, horseback riding, rock climbing, zip lining — you name it. But every activity is designed so that any kid can participate. There are no limits at MDA Camp — Benjamin could do anything. Outside of camp, the world can often feel limited for someone with MD. It’s like there are walls around every corner. MDA Camp shows kids that those walls don’t really exist. Sure, it can be challenging, but you can learn the skills to navigate life and not feel limited. It’s life-changing to learn that you can do anything. Over the past few years at camp, Benjamin has learned so much about being independent. And we, as parents, have too! We don’t need to be as overprotective as we were. This year, after camp, someone asked Benjamin if he would rather spend a week at Disney World or at MDA Camp. We’ve been to Disney World a couple of times and had a blast. Benjamin’s answer was easy: MDA Camp. That’s incredible.
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Learnmoreabout ourAugust promotion tohelpchildrenwithmusculardystrophybyvisiting mometrix.com/mda
TAP INTO THE BACK-TO-SCHOOL SEASON SCHOOL’S BACK!
As you load up the family for some final summertime adventures, preparing for the upcoming school year is likely one of the last things on your mind. Instead of shopping for school supplies, your main focus might be finding the best place to position your lawn chair around the campfire for optimal marshmallow roasting! But the back to school season is coming up, and families need to begin the expensive task of purchasing items for school. According to the National Retail Foundation, back to school shopping amounts to 17% of total annual sales. That’s a nearly $76 billion industry that your business could be cashing in on. However, when you only offer a special or sale because of a particular season, you are not tapping into the full capacity of the market. You need to make the offer something people actually want or need, be it chiropractic adjustments for kids carrying too many books or discounts on vehicle services for carpooling families. For example, if you sell and service computers, you must do more than offer 10% off all technology services for the back to school season. Provide a sale on installing and updating programs for students or provide a gift with the purchase of a laptop for college students on the go. This makes your offer more appealing to your customer base, which will guarantee you happy and returning customers. Not every subject comes naturally to us. Whether you’re a student, a tutor, a teacher, or simply an independent learner, chances are you’ll struggle with at least one subject (maybe more). But when you recognize the challenge, you can then seek to overcome it. When you’re learning a tough subject, flashcards can be invaluable. They have been proven to be an effective study tool. A study published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest noted just how effective flashcards were among participants. They were able to retain more information more readily. Flashcards work because of their repetitive design. Repetition is one of the most effective ways to retain and recall information. Flashcards take advantage of “active recall,” a type of learning that works well with the way the brain works in terms of memory and information retention. Flashcards make learning quick and easy. Plus, you can customize your flashcard deck to focus on areas where you feel you need the most improvement. That way, you’re not spending excess time on areas you are already confident in.
There’s also a key demographic in the back to school market that often gets forgotten: teachers. Thousands of dedicated teachers across the U.S. have a classroom budget, and some must dip into their bank accounts to keep their classrooms stocked. Offering “thank-you” discounts and sales for teachers will bring more business through your door and help you support your community. Teachers can also serve as a direct marketing tool for your business. Whether it’s via mailers or in-person during open house nights, August is full of teacher- to-parent communication that could include coupons or recommendations to your business. The back to school season isn’t just for the big-box stores or retail providers. You can tap into this powerful market and make this last summer stretch a lucrative business season.
BACKTOSCHOOL Make Learning Easier With Flashcards
memory or matching game. For many people, turning a study session into a game aids in the retention of information in a way that simply going through the cards in a standard fashion doesn’t. It’s fun! Today, there are flashcards for just about every subject under the sun. If you need to tackle a subject or you know someone who is struggling with a subject, chances are you can find flashcards that can help. You can learn more about what flashcards are available at Mometrix.com/products and before you know it, you’ll be ready for whatever that next test throws at you.
However, one of the greatest attributes of flashcards is the fact that they can be turned into a game. Just about any flashcard deck can be turned into a
4 STEPS TO IMPROVING YOUR FOCUS
There’s no worse feeling than the cocktail of stress and anxiety that brews in your stomach when you have a test looming but can’t seem to sit still long enough to study. As many of us know well, the ability to concentrate isn’t something most people are born with — it’s a skill that takes time and patience to perfect. If you find your eyes straying from your flashcards or notes, try these simple steps to get back on track. Take a Break This one seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes you have to hear it. If you’ve been staring at the same sentence for an hour without taking in a word, it’s time to reset your brain. Take a walk or grab a snack, then return to your task refreshed.
Silence Your Cell Phone If your phone is buzzing in your pocket or on the desk beside you every few minutes, it’s no wonder you’re not getting anything done. Take a second to turn your notifications to silent, or even better, stash the phone out of sight. That way, Facebook will leave you and your flashcards alone. Involve Your Senses According to Psychology Today, getting as many of your senses involved in the act of learning as possible will help you stay on task. If you’re reading a textbook, try taking notes to mix things up. The tactile element should help you concentrate. Create a Distraction To-do List This interesting idea comes courtesy of the website The Art of Manliness. Apparently, research shows that every time we get distracted by an idea, it takes a full 25 minutes on average to return to the task at hand. Instead of leaping into action to find the answer to every question that floats into your brain, try writing them down for later. These solutions are all immediate, but there are lots of things you can do to improve your concentration in the long term. Some of those strategies include practicing mindfulness, spending more time outdoors (research suggests that just looking at greenery can boost your focus), and redesigning your work space.
Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine ROASTEDCORNSALSA
2 medium ears of corn, shucked 1 jalapeño or Fresno chile, seeded and thinly sliced
• • • •
1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, sliced 1 large tomato, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
LEARNMORE ABOUTOURAUGUST PROMOTIONTOHELP CHILDRENWITH MUSCULARDYSTROPHY BYVISITING MOMETRIX.COM/MDA
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 red onion, diced
Kosher salt, to taste
1. Heat a cast-iron skillet to high. Char corn, turning occasionally, for 10–14 minutes, until they begin to blacken in spots. 2. Using a sharp knife, remove corn kernels from cobs and transfer to a large mixing bowl. 3. With a wooden spoon or potato masher, gently crush corn to release starch and juices. 4. Add jalapeño, onion, tomato, and cilantro. Mix to combine.
5. Top with lime juice and season with salt. 6. Serve alongside your favorite tortilla chips.
... CONTINUEDFROMCOVER The week after camp, we drove Benjamin to Houston for major surgery for scoliosis, which had been getting increasingly severe. He needed to have two metal rods attached to his spine. Since the surgery in mid-June, Benjamin has been resting and recovering. He’s been getting a little better every day, and he’s thrilled that he’s 2 inches taller and can sit more comfortably. And he can’t wait to go back to school. He loves to read and to learn, and of course, going back to school means he’s another day closer to going back to MDA Camp, where he can do anything. –Ja y Willi s
Our son, Benjamin
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INSIDE 1 2
Anything Really Is Possible
Get the Most Out of BTS Season
Make Learning Easier Than Ever Before
4Steps to ImprovingYour Focus
Roasted Corn Salsa
Promoting Children’s Eye Health and Safety
Children’s Eye Health and SafetyMonth
Our five senses help us interact with the world around us, and children are especially aware of their world through touch, taste, sound, smell, and sight. To ensure kids can learn from their surroundings, it’s important to take them for an annual eye exam. August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, and if your kids haven’t had an eye exam, now is the perfect time. A Child’s First Eye Examination According to All About Vision, a child’s first eye examination should take place at about 6 months old. When the child turns 3, eye exams should become more frequent to ensure their eyes are healthy and that they have no vision impairments. Similar to doctor or dental visits, taking a child to a trusted children’s eye doctor will detect vision problems such as astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. If any problems are found, they can prescribe lenses to correct their vision and keep their eyes healthy. Protecting a Child’s Eyes Keeping up with eye exams will ensure a child’s eyes are healthy, but safety is also important. If a child is outside, make sure they wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays or provide shade if they are in a stroller. With the new school year starting up, kids will be joining sports teams and
engaging in classroom activities. Students should wear safety glasses when participating in chemistry projects and the proper gear for their athletic activities. Get Your Kids Involved You can observe the holiday by teaching your kids the importance of eye safety and health. The National Eye Institute has useful information and activities for your kids to enjoy. They provide videos such as “Ask a Scientist” where they explore and explain colorblindness, nearsightedness, farsightedness, eye-related myths, and much more. You can visit their website at Nei.nih.gov/kids.
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