Posts Tagged “Black History Month”

Puppets in Pasola Park with Lady Hawke Storytelling

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NJ Parks: Fasola Park

by Deborah McMaster

NJ Parks: Fasola ParkLady Hawke Storytelling jumped off the page to me from the Gloucester County Freeholders’ 2015 Park Events Guide. New to the area, this brochure was a welcome surprise in my mailbox. I grabbed my Sharpie to circle interesting ideas for my daughters and me to do with the four youngest grandchildren this summer. Several possibilities on every page – what a great family-oriented place to live!
Friday, July 24, 2015 I took off work for five of us to have some Family Fun at Fasola Park (Where’s that?…Answer: Deptford, and easy to find). A beautiful hot summer day, Laura Kaighn (Lady Hawke) was telling her stories under the pavilion. The children sat on the floor at her feet as she told us about the mischievous Raven Child. Next a story about holding up the sky – the favorite of all three of my grandchildren. Lady Hawk in Fasola Park, NJThen my favorite about a special grandmother gift to Laura when she was a child. Remarkable was that there were no children neither wandering around nor running. Of Cherokee and Celtic heritage, and with a degree in education, Lady Hawke has been capturing children’s attention for 20 years!
After the stories Laura allowed the children to see and touch various artifacts such as shells or rocks, puppets, and the “grandmother gift” itself that she brings to display. Alissa and Marissa especially liked the bunny fur. Some books were available for purchase so we got the one with Lady Hawke’s collection of short stories. Marissa began reading it as soon as we left the storytelling area.
As you can see upon visiting the website, Laura is passionate about “getting the word out” in many forms, especially enhancing education in children and young adults. Her affinity for Native American culture, nature and positive messages came through in her choice of stories for this event. We certainly hope to hear more of her!

NJ Parks: Fasola ParkI must add a few words about the Fasola Park – we love it!! There is a water-sprinkler area. Restrooms are inside a building. There are swings, including a larger plastic one with rubber padded ramp underneath for a handicapped or wheelchair-bound child! There are colorful things to climb on and in, made of a plastic or rubber material that doesn’t feel hot to touch even with the sun beating down! Better than monkey bars for smaller fry, some pieces are wide with foot-holes and more solid surface space to climb on. Most with the rubber padded surface underneath.  All in all, this is a top-notch family play spot in South Jersey.

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Honoring Black History Month at Home

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Black History Month (February) is highlighted and taught in schools across the country – but as parents we can take advantage of this nation-wide theme to include lessons on love, acceptance, patience and diversity. We can also introduce our children to African American role models and influence that perhaps aren’t emphasized in school. As much as it is important to tell the stories of Martin Luther King Jr and Rosa Parks – there are so many others worthy of an honorable mention as well.

Consider these four amazing African Americans from our culture. They offer inspiration and positive influence with their diverse backgrounds, accomplishments and passions.

Ella Fitzgerald

Ms. Fitzgerald was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also awarded with 13 Grammies. Click below for a taste of Ella’s jazzy magic. Here’s the official website for fun facts and bio:

Fredrick Douglas

Mr. Douglas was a former slave, an escaped slave who’s life’s work was devoted to human rights and the abolitionist movement.  He led the first all black regiment, 54 MA Infantry, was an published in 1845, and public speaker for anti-slavery.  There’s so much more to his bravery and story.  Watch the clip below to learn more or visit

Lonnie Johnson

Mr. Johnson invented the Super Soaker.  He was influenced by another famous and important scientist and inventor, George Washington Carver.  Mr. Johnson’s story is interesting for children because of his curiosity to learn how things worked and interest in toys – his father taught him to make his own toys.  Here’s more on Lonnie Johnson’s career as an inventor:  Click here for a coloring sheet on Lonnie Johnson and other inventors.

Mae Jemison

This woman has almost done it all… a doctor, a dancer and an orbit into space.  Dr.  Mae Jemison is  former NASA astronaut and in 1992 she was part of the crew to go into orbit on Space Shuttle Endeavor. She’s held a television career and remains a large inspiration for our young generation and parents alike.  Here’s a quick bio on the never-bored, truly inspiring Dr. Jemison.

And here’s another well worth the 26 minutes… she really touches on the ways parents can influence and encourage children. She says creativity and exploration are key. “When we ask how do we get our children to find that – it’s really we have to keep them from losing it.” She speaks about ways to foster the inner scientist in our children. Attached here is an interactive coloring page for your children to enjoy and here is an informative print out coloring sheet.

Lastly check out this cool online Black History Quiz.  Enjoy celebrating diversity and some of the most amazing contributors to humanity.

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