Thursday, March 29, 2012
Are you teaching your children the importance of community?

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Every community in our country has a variety of service organizations. Many of us belong to at least one of these organizations. These organizations are essential in many communities. One may wonder what makes people volunteer their time to participate in such organizations. Sometimes it is related to a sense of giving back to the community. Other times it is just to help individuals less fortunate than we are. What is less obvious is where that sense of responsibility comes from. Like most things that we do as adults, the answer is often in childhood. Our children learn by watching what we do. If they go to church with us, they are likely to go to church as adults. If we do not take them to church, they are not likely to go to church on their own when they get older. The same is true for involvement in church activities. Children will do what they see their parents do. It is not a lot different than going to church in the first place. If their parents are involved in church activities, they will be involved too. Many people are under the perception that attending a service on Sunday fulfills their role. However, if everyone thought that way, churches would soon find themselves without any of their other efforts being accomplished. It is important for parents to get involved so that their children can learn the need for that kind of involvement. There are many fraternal organizations in most communities that do a lot of good things for the community. Some of them have youth groups. This is a good opportunity for parents to spend time with their children while working for the good of the community. There are organized groups for children to do community service. These groups include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H. These are all organizations that help teach community service. However, they do not do as much to teach it as the parents could do. Children want to be like their parents. It is not sufficient to send them to a Cub Scout meeting and think that they will learn the importance of community service from that alone. It needs to be reinforced by their parents. The bottom line is that if you live in a community, you need to give back to that community. Others depend on you. It may not be a lot of time. Whatever time you can give will add to that given by others. The result is that it makes a community vibrant. More importantly, it helps to teach your children how important that kind of commitment is. I have seen several organizations get concerned because they are not attracting younger members. Those younger members are young adults who have children. Those individuals sometimes think that chauffeuring their children to formal sports activities is the main role of parents. That is indeed a role. However, it probably should be a lot smaller role than it currently is for many families. Community service is a learned skill. It is not something that an adult wakes up one day and decides to do. We need to help our community. We need to teach our children the importance of doing so. Just like anything else that we expect of parents, it takes time to do this well. It is a lot of work to be the kind of parent that is able to teach a child all that it takes to be a part of society.

Autism Delaware summer camp Applications are available for Autism Delaware's summer day camp at the Children's Beach House in Lewes. Download an application at The completed forms must be received in the Autism Delaware office by April 24. This year's program runs from August 20 to 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Specifically designed to accommodate children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) who will be in grades 3 to 11 in the next school year, the program offers structured summer activities in a safe and supported environment. Activities include swimming, sailing, navigating a rope course, and enjoying arts and crafts. "Our day camp helps increase self-confidence and improve peer and social interactions while encouraging the campers to try new things," adds Dafne Carnright, M.S., L.P.C.M.H., Autism Delaware's southern Delaware service coordinator. "Our goal is to help each child have a fun and successful summer camp experience by making new friends, exploring new interests, and gaining independence." Autism Delaware's programs and services–including summer day camp–are supported through generous donations by individuals and corporations across Delaware. Statewide fundraising events, like Walk for Autism (April 21-22), also provide the income needed to make critical programs a reality. For more information on how you can help, visit

Alzheimer's Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Alzheimer's Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, at LifeCare at Lofland Park's first floor Resident Lounge, 715 E. King St., Seaford. This group provides support and information about Alzheimer's and dementia to families, caregivers and anyone who is affected by this disease. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8302.

MHA offers LifeLines program The Mental Health Association in Delaware is offering LifeLines, A Suicide Prevention Program to Delaware's private middle schools made possible by a grant from the State Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services. LifeLines is a comprehensive suicide awareness program for middle schools providing a whole-school program made up of three unique components: LifeLines: Prevention, LifeLines: Intervention, and LifeLines: Postvention. This trilogy of programs is the only existing model of its kind available for schools. The complete LifeLines Trilogy is based on over 20 years of suicide-in-youth research that indicates an informed community can help to prevent vulnerable teens from ending their lives. Schools may contact Emily Vera, suicide prevention project director to obtain more information at 302-654-6833. For more information about mental health or MHA in Delaware, call 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423 or visit their website at

State kicks off Blue Bow Campaign Government officials and child welfare advocates from public and private agencies are joining together for Delaware's third annual Blue Bow Ceremony at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 1, on The Circle in Georgetown in observance of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Blue Bow is the nationally recognized symbol of child abuse prevention and serves as a reminder of the hidden bruises and scars of abused children. Lt. Governor Matt Denn will discuss the connection between prevention and home visiting programs and improving mental health services for children in Kent and Sussex Counties. Patricia Dailey Lewis from The Attorney General's office Family Services Division and other child welfare advocates will speak, as well. Mayor of Georgetown Brian Pettyjohn will share a proclamation for the month of April. In 2011 over 14,000 cases of child abuse, neglect, or dependency were reported in Delaware. Each month, approximately 700 children are in Delaware's foster care system due to child abuse, neglect, or dependency. To report child abuse in Delaware, call the Child Abuse Report Line at 1-800-292-9582.

National Volunteer Week Nanticoke Health Services joins communities across the nation in celebrating National Volunteer Week, April 15 - April 21. According to Jean Baldwin, director of Volunteer Services, "Nanticoke Health Services will show their appreciation to the hundreds of community members who actively volunteer their time and talents and spread their kindness to the patients, visitors, and staff of Nanticoke Health Services each and every day." The highlight of Volunteer Week will be the Volunteer Appreciation and Recognition Banquet on April 19, at 5 p.m. held at Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville where many of Nanticoke's volunteers will be recognized for their dedication and commitment. The theme for this year is Nanticoke Health Services Volunteers: Touching Lives, Lifting Spirits. The extremely dedicated volunteers of Nanticoke Health Services gave over 42,000 hours of service during 2011. To learn more about becoming a Nanticoke Health Services volunteer, call 629-6611, ext. 2475.

'Understanding Hoarding' lecture Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center will hold a Lunch Bunch Lecture on "Understanding Hoarding," with Dr. Angela D'Antonio, on Friday, April 13, at the Delaware Hospice Center, 100 Patriots Way, Milford, from noon to 1:30 p.m.

Those who hoard have limited insight into the seriousness of their living situation, experience extreme anxiety when asked to part with their possessions, and are strongly resistant to getting help. Judging those with this crippling disease is never helpful. Understanding what drives this behavior is the first step in being able to address it. This workshop will explore the causes of this compulsive behavior, ways families can intervene, the resources available and therapeutic approaches generally used to treat hoarding. Lunch Bunch Lectures are organized by Delaware Hospice's Family Support Center and are open to the public. Registration is required as seating capacity is limited, and the cost of lunch is $5 per person. Register by Wednesday, April 11, by contacting Vicki Costa, associate director of the Family Support Center, at 856-7717, ext. 1129, or

HealthFest on March 31 PRMC and the Wicomico County Board of Education invite everyone on the Peninsula to join them for HealthFest: An event for all ages, on Saturday, March 31 from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at James M. Bennett High School on College Avenue in Salisbury. Joining HealthFest as the event's guest speaker is three-time Olympic gymnast, gold medalist and health advocate Dominique Dawes who will speak at 11:30 a.m. on fitness, exercise and staying healthy. Over 30 different and free health screenings will be available. Some require advance registration or fasting. ABI-Lower Body Circulation Screening and Prostate Screening require advance registration. Registration will be open from 9 a.m. to noon each day until all available appointments have been filled by calling 410-543-7139. Also available will be Total Cholesterol and Blood Glucose (blood sugar) tests, which do not need advance registration but do require all participants to have nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours before the screenings. For more information, visit or call 410-543-7137.

NMH offers CPR classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child, or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends, and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants ages 12 and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospice's "New Beginnings" bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program. The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. "New Beginnings" luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

NAR-ANON support group "Take Heart, Be Strong" is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delaware's newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depression to find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware's BluePrints for the Community program.

Walk MS 2012 on June 1 The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society seeks volunteers and participants to help out during the annual Walk MS season. A walk will be held on June 1 at twilight at Heritage Shores. Registration starts at 5 p.m. and the walk kicks-off at 6 p.m. "Our volunteers provide valuable assistance setting up, registering walkers, monitoring the route, managing snack locations, and cheering on the walkers. It's a fun and easy way to help your neighbors, friends and family who are living with MS, as well as a great opportunity to help the MS Society in its mission to end the devastating effects of MS," said Holly Maddams, development director, MPA, CFRE. To register, visit or call 302-655-5610. Walks are approximately 3 mile courses. Join as an individual or team, or create your own team. Raise at least $100 and get a free Walk MS t-shirt.

'Heart & Sole' Run/Walk April 28 How can a business owner or manager get fresh air, exercise, camaraderie, valuable brand name exposure, feelings of personal reward for less money than a family outing to a pro sports event and a tax deduction to boot? Sponsorship of the April 28th 5K "HEART & SOLE" Run/Walk (starting at West Seaford Elementary School) provides your business with all of these benefits and the potential for long-term name exposure. Sponsor logo shirts and banners are about to be printed, and sponsorships are limited, so download the sponsorship form online now at Participants may also download entry forms online. Participants get shirts, free food and beverages, and chances to win dozens of unique awards. Run/walk awards will be given out for overall female and master's winners, as well as for the top three male and female runners in ten-year category age groups - from 14 and under to 70 and over. 5K walk awards will be presented to the top three male and female finishers. Medals will be given to all "Healthy Kids" race finishers. Results/photos will be posted at Run/walk participants will follow a five kilometer path around the Hoopers Landing Golf Course, beginning at 10 a.m. (rain or shine). A special "Healthy Kids Run" for children, ages 8 and under, is scheduled to start 10 minutes earlier at 9:50 a.m. Entry registration is $20 until April 23; $25 after April 23, and on event day. Registration on race day starts at 9 a.m. The Healthy Kids registration is free. Registration forms are available by calling Ray at 674-3213 or by email You can also register directly online at The "Heart & Sole" 5K Run/Walk is a TriSports Events Ultimate Challenger Series Event.