Thursday, April 26, 2012
How to nurture your child's dreams

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Recently I conducted a program for the fifth graders at the Seaford Music Academy. One of the things I asked was what their future plans were. I was surprised at the number of questions that I got related to that inquiry. Most of the questions were very specific. Some of them were expected. I was asked how much training it took to become a doctor. I was asked about how long someone would have to go to school to become a physical therapist. Others were less expected. They included questions about becoming a fashion designer, an artist and a famous singer. The thing I pointed out to the students was that there were two parts to every dream. The first part was having the dream and the second part was getting there. I then realized that I was reiterating the plot from the show Glee the night before. The show had dealt with the same questions for its high school senior class. The real question to be answered is what role do parents play in creating these dreams and making them come true. Two of the students indicated that they were going to be professional football players. They said they were going to play for the New England Patriots and told me what position they would play. They even indicated what number they would wear. I was curious as to whether their parents knew that plan and if these parents had a discussion with them about the reality of those dreams. The day after I went to the school I had a patient come into my office. She had written two poems that she showed to me. The poems were good. The patient's dream was to be a poet. I spoke to her mother about what they might do to look at that dream. I explained that I once had a patient interested in play writing. This patient entered a play in a national competition and it was selected as one of the 10 best out of 1,700 entries. While they were in the office, we did an Internet search on poetry writing competitions for students. There were many competitions and the advantages of entering were multiple. Competing would allow her to get critiques of her poetry so she could improve. Competing would also allow her to see how her poetry compared to poetry written by her peers. Competing would allow her to have some short term goals. When I went to the school, one of the students asked me about becoming an artist. I indicated that there were art schools that she could look into. She informed me that her parents were going to send her to an art camp for the summer. This is the kind of action that parents can take to foster that kind of interest in a child's dream. Even if kids change their mind over time, there will likely be some value in broadening their horizons. The main reason that I went to speak at the school was to talk about my interest in music. I use music when I see patients. It might be to tell them about a song related to their name or to something they just said. I also use music to do some local entertaining with a group of doctors. This allows me to have a hobby using the music that I grew up with. My parents spent time fostering that interest as I was growing up. The basic concept in all of this is that like many other things parents have a major role in helping their children realize their long term dreams. It is not something that just happens one day when kids graduate from high school. It is something that needs to be recognized at an early age and fostered. It is something that needs to have an interjection of reality if the dream is too outlandish. Parents need to foster backup dreams in case there are issues with attaining their child's big dream. Parents also need to be able to change their direction as the dreams inevitably change. As with many other things that we do as parents, helping children with their dreams is not easy. However, it is as much a part of parenting as feeding and clothing. It is time to start asking your children what their dreams are. That is the first step in what will be a fun and interesting journey.

Milford Memorial Hospital Fair The Bayhealth Milford Memorial Auxiliary sponsors the 55th Annual Milford Memorial Hospital Fair on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the grounds of Milford Middle School. The entire family will enjoy a Civil War re-enactment, the 4th Annual Tricycle Race, children's games, stock car track, strolling entertainer, rides and inflatables, a petting zoo, great food, crafts, and vendors' booths, as well as a full schedule of entertainment throughout the day that includes the Milford's Got Talent Show. There will also be a special tent offering free health screenings and the Planetree Carnival showcasing Bayhealth's Planetree model of patient-centered care. The kick-off to the 55th Annual Milford Memorial Hospital Fair will be a pulled pork or chicken dinner plus flower and book sales on Friday evening, May 18 from 5:30 to 7. To purchase tickets for the dinner, call George Caccamise at 302-422-6815. The Hospital Fair Raffle will give you the chance to choose from three prizes - a two night stay for two at the Atlantic Sands Hotel in Rehoboth, dinner for two at Back Porch Cafe, and massages for two at Bad Hair Day; an original 11 x 14 framed photo "Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, Italy" from photographer Bob Connelly and dinner for two at Bonz Restaurant; or dinner for two from five local restaurants - Abbott's Grill, Bethany Blues, The Buttery, Georgia House and Restaurant 55. Raffle tickets are $2 each or six tickets for $10 and may be purchased in the Reflections Gift Shop at Milford Memorial, Retail Shop at Kent General, EcoChic Boutique and Dolce in downtown Milford or by calling 302-233-8448. Winning tickets will be drawn at the end of the fair. Net proceeds from this year's fair will be used to purchase equipment for the surgical units. Visit for more information. For questions about the fair, call Kim Wilkins at 302-430-5719.

Advanced medical billing and coding Training programs in the health professions continue to provide students with the skills to start a career in this high demand area. The Sussex Tech Adult Division is offering a variety of programs to prepare students for successful careers. Space is still available in the Advanced Medical Billing and Coding class that will begin on May 17. Students will learn more advanced skills and coding using the ICD and CPT Coding. Charting and more detailed applications are included. Basic Billing and Coding is required prior to enrollment in the advanced class. Classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday evening from May 17 through June 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. Cost of the course is $399. For more information, contact the Sussex Tech Adult Division at 856-9035 or visit

Annual Hear We Go 5K The 4th Annual Hear We Go 5k Fun Run/Walk will be held Sunday, May 6, on the grounds of Nemours Mansion & Gardens, the largest formal French garden in North America. Registration begins at noon and the race starts at 1 p.m. The goal of the Hear We Go 5K run/walk is to raise awareness about the importance of proper and timely diagnosis and management of hearing loss in children in order to facilitate their language development and improve the quality of life for these children and their families. Proceeds benefit clinical and research programs related to pediatric hearing loss and hearing conservation at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children and Nemours Biomedical Research. To date, this event has raised over $40,000. Cost is $20 for those who register before 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 3 and $25 thereafter. Register as an individual or form a team. For more information, call 302-651-6839 or visit www.nemoursorg/hearwego.

Easter Seals recognizes fundraisers Easter Seals would like to thank the 2012 CAI/Easter Seals Volleyball Challenge teams who raised over $359,000, with more funds still coming in. The funds raised will help Easter Seals Delaware and Maryland's Eastern Shore provide programs and services to people with disabilities and their families. To learn more about Easter Seals, call 1-800-677-3800 or visit

Medication take-back event DNREC's Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances and Office of Community Services have partnered with Nanticoke Health Services for a medication take-back event to be held in conjunction with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Medications including prescription drugs can be handed in for safe disposal from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at the Mears Health Campus, 200 Rawlins Drive (formerly Health Services Drive) in Seaford. The take-back event is open to all households who have unwanted, unused or expired medications they want to turn over for safe disposal. Aerosol sprays and syringes will not be accepted. Unused medications that are flushed down the toilet can enter our waterways and drinking water supply. If thrown into the trash or discarded haphazardly, these medications also can be retrieved by persons other than the prescription holder to be abused or illegally sold. Handing in unused medications for safe disposal is completely anonymous, with no identification required. For information, visit or call 1-800-882-9539.

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings Residents living in and around the Bridgeville community can be screened to reduce their risk of having a stroke or bone fracture.

Union United Methodist Church will host Life Line Screening on Friday, May 4. The site is located at 2 N. Laws St., Bridgeville. Screenings identify potential cardiovascular conditions such as blocked arteries and irregular heart rhythm, abdominal aortic aneurysms, and hardening of the arteries in the legs, which is a strong predictor of heart disease. A bone density screening to assess osteoporosis risk is also offered and is appropriate for both men and women. Packages start at $149. All five screenings take 60 to 90 minutes to complete. For more information regarding the screenings or to schedule an appointment, call 1-877-237-1287 or visit Pre-registration is required.

Walk for Autism Autism Delaware's weekend-long Walk for Autism continued on Sunday, April 22, in Lewes. Autism advocates raised awareness and funds by walking a three-mile route through picturesque Cape Henlopen State Park. The statewide event began on Saturday, April 21, with a two-mile walk through pastoral Bellevue State Park in Wilmington. This year's goal was to raise $200,000 for the programs and services needed by the growing number of families affected by ASDs throughout the state. For more information, visit

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. 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.

Brain injury awareness competition The Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD) is hosting a competition for Delaware's high school seniors. The organization will be accepting short video submissions spreading awareness about brain injury with a deadline of April 30. After submission to BIAD, videos will be posted to BIAD's YouTube channel - and the senior who receives the most "Likes" by May 31, will win a $150 college book voucher, donated by members of BIAD's Board of Directors. Any Delaware high school senior may enter the competition, and BIAD encourages competitors to get creative with the video - students may document their own awareness activities or tell a story with their video. BIAD reserves the right to reject inappropriate submissions. Competition guidelines are available on BIAD's website at

Free vascular screenings offered The Guerrieri Heart & Vascular Institute at Peninsula Regional Medical Center will sponsor free vascular screenings for people 55 or older on Thursday, May 10. Screenings will be performed by Peninsula Regional medical professionals in the medical center's Vascular Lab between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Fourteen, 30 minute screenings sessions are available on a first come basis. Appointments are required. The free screenings will include testing for carotid artery blockage, peripheral artery disease and also abdominal aortic aneurysm. The screening will be offered to individuals who exhibit at least three prominent risk factors or one symptom. Risk factors for vascular disease include smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, heart disease and a family history of vascular disease. Symptoms include leg pain when walking, numbness in the leg or foot, stroke-like symptoms (numbness, weakness, dizziness and difficulties with speech or vision), a family history of aneurysm and unexplained abdominal or back pain. Those currently under a physician's care for vascular or arterial health issues and those who have participated in this screening in the past are not eligible to participate. If you are 55 or older, call the Guerrieri Heart & Vascular Institute at 410-543-7123 to find out if you qualify for the free vascular screenings and to reserve a date and time.

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.

Stop child abuse awareness month Child advocates and legislators have launched a statewide, month-long awareness campaign to stop child abuse in Delaware. Coinciding with April as National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month, the efforts focus on encouraging citizens to recognize the signs of abuse and promoting the 24-hour child abuse and neglect report line number people should call to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect. Last year in Delaware, over 14,000 reports of child abuse, neglect, and dependency were received by the Division of Family Services. Sadly, research shows that as much as 75% of incidents of child abuse go unreported. To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the 24-hour Report Line at 1-800-292-9582. For more information, visit or

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.

Girl's Night Out benefit Don't miss Milford's first ever Girls Night Out, benefitting the DE Breast Cancer Coalition and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Milford (CCGM). Enjoy a night of shopping complete with dancing, door prizes and fashion displays on Friday, May 4 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Carlisle Fire Hall. Tickets can be purchased to win an all-inclusive Girls Weekend Getaway and Spa Package at the Atlantic Sands Hotel, on the boardwalk in Rehoboth. For your chance to win the getaway or to purchase admission tickets ($20 before May 3 or $25 at the door) contact the CCGM at 302-422-3344 or visit

'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.