Guessing that the subject line of our email might have gotten your attention, we wanted to let our friends around the Bay Area know that on the day of the eclipse we had a great viewing meetup at our shop AND signed an agreement with our landlord, extending our lease another ten years. Retirement? Yes. By the time that lease is done we plan to be retired (68 and 69 years young). But, between now and then, we're planning to be right here in San Mateo helping you make the world more peaceful, sustainable and inclusive.
We signed that lease believing that you, our partners in peacemaking, want and need us to be here. Since the election we've heard from so many of you, how difficult things are these days, how frustrated, burned out, worried, outraged, tired, you are. That's one of the reasons we signed that lease, because we want to be an oasis of peace and hope and action.
So, for our Fall newsletter, we want to mention some of the ways we and you can be working together to make a difference. Ready?
"I Need My Mother! She's A Dreamer." That's the sign this boy is holding at an immigration rally in Redwood City on September 6th, the day after Attorney General Sessions announced an end to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).
Hundreds of people gathered, Dreamers told their stories, and local faith leaders pledged to stand by immigrants, even providing sanctuary from ICE should they come to deport our neighbors and friends. If you know of someone who needs sanctuary and don't know where to turn, come to us! We're connected with several local congregations and organizations that will do everything in their power to help, including rapid response teams that can be called on a moment's notice to show up where needed.
In the shop we have great books about immigration, an Immigration Myths poster that clobbers those pesky "alternative facts" some talking heads like to spout, and plenty of buttons and bumper stickers to help you spark important conversations.
From Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls to Elizabeth Warren's newest book to Girls Who Code, we've got a ton of resources demonstrating the power of women past, present and future.
And, we continue to offer products made by women's cooperatives around the world, including Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya, and Nepal. From worry dolls to beautiful scarves, we've got products you'll love to wear, use, and display and we'll make sure you can also tell the story behind each product, knowing that your purchase supports women and communities near and far while also empowering YOU!
With An Inconvenient Sequel in the theaters people are feeling the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle, more important than ever. We've got what you need to do that! Stop using paper towels, stop throwing away food, stop spraying aerosols to clear the air, learn how to eat for just $4 a day and be healthier for it! You can do all that and more by visiting our shop.
Check out the story we did for our booth at the San Mateo County Fair for more details on how you can.... wait for it.......... save $5,000 a year!
And... if you're inspired to do even more for sustainability, consider joining the Cool Cities team which meets in our shop once a month.
Reach And Teach was thrilled to support the opening of San Mateo's Pride Center (yep, San Mateo has a Pride center) with a donation of books and in addition to a bunch of posters the center bought we donated a few more! The center is up and running with wonderful programs, support services, terrific staff and volunteers, and is a friendly comfortable place LTBTQQI folks of all ages can simply drop by for a little bit of quiet time or social time.
Craig Wiesner is also on the San Mateo County LGBTQ Commission and invites anyone who is LGBTQ, living or working in San Mateo, to make their voices heard by taking a survey about what life is like in this county. Click here to visit the survey page which has links for an adult and youth survey in English and Spanish.
Craig also recently wrote an op-ed for the San Mateo Daily Journal on gay life in San Mateo and spoke at a County Board of Supervisors meeting where the board unanimously voted to oppose President Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military. Click here and select agenda item 9 to see Craig speak and the supervisors vote.
You canvassed, marched, clicked, wrote letters, phone banked, protested, prayed, watched, listened, tuned in, tuned out, hugged, cried, laughed.... Maybe you just need a few minutes of peaceful music, the sound of a gurgling fountain, a warm smile, a cup of tea and a taste of chocolate... maybe a child's laughter... you'll find all of those at Reach And Teach.
What's new? Lots! Today we got our first bunch of gorgeous Artifact Puzzles, made from environmentally-friendly plywood, laser cut, soy-based inks, from a teeny tiny company in Menlo Park (talk about local)! You have to touch the pieces to believe the quality and beauty of these puzzles.
So come in and check these out. Or just say hi.
We NEED YOU!
On days when the store is too quiet we sit and wonder... are we doing the right thing? Are we making a difference? Usually, within minutes of such thoughts, someone comes in the door, someone with a story to tell, someone needing a gift for someone very special in their lives, someone grieving a loss or celebrating something joyous, and they, you, remind us that yes, we are making a difference.
We'll keep on going then, for somewhere around ten more years now that we have a new lease. Come see us on 25th Avenue real soon! We'll be here, unless we get an urgent call to help one of our neighbors.
*** THIS CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO ACCEPT ENTRIES UNTIL AUGUST 20th ***
*** CONTEST WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON AUGUST 27th ***
What would you create if you had a Makey Makey, an invention kit for the 21st century. You could turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with programs on the Internet or write your own programs using Scratch. Makey Makey is a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between. AND, since we're including Makey Makey in our demonstrations at the San Mateo County Fair AND at the Northern California Home Schooling Conference, the wonderful creators of the product at JoyLabz have offered us an opportunity to give TWO away to the most creative inventors in town.... and that could be YOU!
If you've never heard of Makey Makey, check out this video to learn more about it. Then, read on about the contest and ENTER!!!
After watching the video, you can also get a really good introduction to Makey Makey from an Instructibles.com lesson. Click here to check that out. And, the fine folks at Makey Makey have TONS of great lesson plans and ideas on their web site. Click here to visit their lesson plans. (Teachers: You are welcome to enter this contest! Think of all the great ways you can incorporate Makey Makey into your classroom.)
What would you like to create with Makey Makey? Think of something really innovative, truly useful, educational, or entertaining, that utilizes recycled / upcycled materials, or maybe the controllers could be the ingredients for your lunch! Whatever you decide, make sure there's a super-cool factor!
Fill in the form below and tell us your idea and we'll be giving a Makey Makey to the best entry! No purchase necessary. Entries will be judged on the basis of creativity, use of upcycled materials, and clarity and completeness of the entry. Contest is open to U.S. residents only. If you're under 18 make sure you ask your parents before you sign up. Your information will NOT be shared with ANYONE except the judges at Reach And Teach.
Contest entries will be accepted from June 15th, 2016 through July 31st, 2016 August 20th, 2016. Up to TWO winners will be announced on this page on August 2th, 2016. The winner will also be notified by email.
Reach And Teach is thrilled to welcome Drew Durham back to our shop as Assistant Manager. A few years back Drew had worked for us as an intern as he started working on a Masters Degree at San Jose State University. Now... TA DA... he has completed his degree.
Over the last few years, while working on his degree, he has also been working at Linden Tree Books and will now be splitting his time between there and our shop in San Mateo.
Drew's specialty is Young Adult books and he'll be managing that section of our shop with his keen eye for excellent titles matched with his passion for a more peaceful and just world.
Drew has a really special gift for being able to listen to someone who is searching for something and matching them up with just the right item. So if you are on the hunt for something special, come on in and give Drew a try! His usual days at the shop will be Wednesdays and Fridays.
We're really glad to have Drew on the team and hope you'll stop by, congratulate him on completing his degree, and welcome him to 25th Avenue.
Irish revolutionary socialist, trade union leader, political theorist (1868-1916)
Sunday, January 24, 7:30 PM First Presbyterian Church PALO ALTO, Social Hall 1140 Cowper Street, Palo Alto Contributions requested. Wheelchair accessible.
“Until the movement is marked by the joyous, defiant singing of revolutionary songs, it lacks one of the most distinctive marks of a popular revolutionary movement” – James Connolly
Songs of Freedom is the name of the songbook edited by James Connolly and published in 1907. Connolly’s introduction is better known than the collection for which it was written, containing his oft-quoted maxim: “Until the movement is marked by the joyous, defiant singing of revolutionary songs, it lacks one of the most distinctive marks of a popular revolutionary movement, it is the dogma of a few and not the faith of the multitude.” Though most of the songs were of Irish derivation, the songbook itself was published in New York and directed to the American working class, explicitly internationalist in its aims.
From the rollicking welcome of “A Festive Song” to the defiant battle cry of “Watchword of Labor,” Songs of Freedom accomplishes the difficult task of making contemporary music out of old revolutionary songs. Far from the archival preservation of embalmed corpses, the inspired performance turns the timeless lyrics of James Connolly into timely manifestos for today’s young rebels. As Connolly himself repeatedly urged, nothing can replace the power of music to raise the fighting spirit of the oppressed.
Giving expression to Connolly’s internationalism, musical influences ranging from traditional Irish airs to American rhythm and blues are combined here in refreshing creativity. As for the songs themselves, nine have lyrics by Connolly, three were written about Connolly, and one, “The Red Flag,” was chosen by Connolly to be in the original Songs of Freedom songbook of 1907, subsequently becoming a classic song of Labor.
Mat Callahan is a musician and author originally from San Francisco, where he founded Komotion International. He is the author of three books, Sex, Death & the Angry Young Man, Testimony, and The Trouble With Music. He currently resides in Bern, Switzerland.
Swiss vocalist Yvonne Moore burst onto the scene in a major way with her debut release Walkin’ the Blues, where she was heralded as the “best blues voice in Switzerland”.
We LOVE it when folks come into our shop and tell us about someone special in their lives for whom they are trying to find the perfect gift. The feedback we've gotten over the years is that we do a pretty good job at that. If there's someone in your life for whom you are looking for just the right gift but you can't visit our shop in person, please use this form and we'll do our best to help you. Even if we think there's something someone else has to offer, we'll point you in the right direction.
Santa Claus is coming to 25th Avenue in San Mateo and will be hanging out at our shop on Saturday December 5th from 1pm to 3pm. Stop by and tell Santa your wishes and also take a photo or two. FREE
We are also collecting new toys for Bay Area kids in need through San Mateo's Samaritan House holiday project. Bring along an unwrapped toy and put it in the barrel and we'll make sure it finds a very happy home.
Thoughtful Christianity: Book Talk with Ben Daniel November 14th
MEET THE AUTHOR OF: THOUGHTFUL CHRISTIANITY: FAITH AND ACTION IN THE WAY OF JESUS
REACH AND TEACH BOOKSTORE SATURDAY NOV 14TH AT 4PM 144 W. 25TH AVENUE SAN MATEO CA 94403
We are thrilled to have friend, pastor, and all around great guy Rev. Ben Daniel speaking about his newest book at our shop! Please join us for what promises to be a wonderful converstation about thoughtful Christianity. Snacks and beverages will be provided and there will be copies of the book available for purchase and signing.
"The next revival must be an awakening in the intellect of Christians ready to mark the life of the church and of the broader society with a thoughtful faith."
Thoughtful Christianity provides a guide to Christian faith that honors tradition while embracing modern thought and valuing critical reflection. Daniel examines the extreme polarization of Christianity in the last century and argues that American Christians are in need of an awakening of the mind. He suggests a way of life that includes commitment to education, high value placed on curiosity, and instruction from "those with the courage to be corrected." Divided into three parts, the book explores how science can inform faith, the marks of a thoughtful life, and some suggestions for living a thoughtful life. Daniel shows us how we can move forward, unbound by labels, to know and serve God better.
About the Author:
Ben Daniel is pastor of Montclair Presbyterian Church in Oakland, California. He is a regular blogger for the Huffington Post and provides commentary for KQED FM, the largest NPR affiliate in the United States. He is the author of The Search for Truth about Islam: A Christian Pastor Separates Fact from Fiction and Neighbor: Christian Encounters with "Illegal" Immigration, named Religion Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews.
Click here to order your own copy of the book from Reach And Teach.
Reach And Teach is excited to have the authors of Who Is A Chimpanzee coming to our shop to do a book reading and discussion on Tuesday May 5th at 7pm. The Half Moon Bay review wrote a story about the authors and the book that helps tell their story so well that we'll share part of it here (and you can read the rest there).
The authors will read from the book, have a brief discussion and Q&A, and will have the book available for sale and signing. This is a family-friendly event so bring the kids! Light refreshments will be served. FREE
HALF MOON BAY REVIEW STORY:
It all started in La Honda in the 1970s, with Jeff the chimpanzee, bears, bobcats, a mountain lion or two, a wolf, Wally the wallaby and more.
Some of them were there for rehab. But all of them became unofficial but effective educators for the wildlife awareness program School Jungle Safari.
For about a decade, School Jungle Safari, owned and operated by BettyLynn Egan and husband Lou, was populated by animal ambassadors that promoted environmental awareness for endangered species.
The animals and the program aren't there any more, but their legacy will live on with the creation of the first of a planned series of books called "School Jungle Safari Real Safari Tales."
At Reach And Teach we try our best to be mindful of our impact on the planet every day. We're always looking for ways to lower our footprint, save a little money, and feel good about the choices we make.
Way back when co-founder Derrick Kikuchi was at Hewlett-Packard, engineers were always encouraged to think about the person sitting right next to them, at the "next bench," whenever they were working on designing a product. Thinking about someone you know, sitting right next to you, and basing your decisions on what impact the product will have on her life, her work, her planet, can help you make better decisions and design better products. Also, think about the impact your design decisions will have on you if you were to be the user of the product. We apply that thinking at Reach And Teach, seeking products that we will personally use and which we think will benefit you, our neighbors.
Earth Day is April 22nd but we like to think of every day as Earth Day. With that in mind, in this post we'll share some of the ways we reduce, reuse, and upcycle. And... in doing so we're more frugal (saving money), green, and happy! We invite you, our neighbors on the next bench, to join us.
A Problem: How to Store Leftover Food
Here's the deal...... we love to cook. And, when we cook, we like to make enough to last several meals and we end up using a lot of plastic wrap. Whether we're wrapping rolls of sushi or lasagna or bread.... we want to keep what we've cooked large batches of so that we can have meal after meal after meal after meal. Every time we take that wrap off something we've cooked and saved, we toss it right into the garbage. What else can you do?
So, this year, we asked ourselves if there was any way we could find to use less plastic wrap and..... good news!!!! We discovered Bee's Wrap!
The Solution: Bee's Wrap
Here's how the fine folks at Bee's Wrap describe themselves.
Good food has always been central to our home life here in Vermont. We grow and preserve most of our vegetables, we milk goats, raise sheep, pigs and chickens. Our family life revolves around the garden and kitchen. But all of this food needed to be kept fresh and growing concerns about our environment and the health safety of plastic, made plastic no longer a viable option for food storage. As a stay at home mother of three I was also interested in bringing in additional income while staying home and available to my children.
This is where Bee's WrapTM enters. Enchanted with all the shades of muslin, old flour sack, scraps of trimmings, lace, yarn, and given some invaluable suggestions from family and friends, I found that by coating it all in beeswax my creations became functional!
The combination of fabric infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin made for the perfect alternative to plastic for food storage. The antibacterial properties of beeswax and jojoba oil help keep food fresh and allow Bee's Wrap to be used again and again. Bee's Wrap evolved into a basic food storage product that was easy to clean and use, that we could make available to many people, not just our own households.
The comforting and uplifting scent of melting beeswax filled our home for months. Now, Bee's Wrap is made in its own shop by myself and some wonderful women. We are thrilled to be able to share this new product with you and hope you find it as useful and enjoyable to use as we do!
So, stop using and tossing all that plastic wrap and try Bee's Wrap. Click here to buy some from Reach And Teach.
A Problem: Life Is Messy
If you had to guess what made up one third of all landfill waste what would you guess? Go on, take a few moments and think about that one. Believe it or not, the answer is..... paper towels! Wait what? But.... I only use a few of those a day, you might say. Nope. The average person uses 100 rolls of paper towels a year. When we were working on "greening" Reach And Teach, we looked at all of our daily habits at work and at home and one of the things we quickly realized was how often we went for the paper towels for quick cleanups. Why? They're convenient, relatively cheap, and we figured we could toss them in the compost bin. If only.
Here's the lowdown on paper towels in the good old USA:
13 Billion Pounds of Paper Towels Are Used Each Year
One third of All Landfill Trash is from paper towels
Average Person Uses 3,000 Paper Towels Each Year
100 Rolls Per Year Per Person @ $150 Per Person, 100 Trees and 125lbs of Carbon Dioxide
Replace w/Skoy Cloths for just $15 a Year
A Solution: Reusable Towels
Wait, what? There's an alternative to paper towels? Of course. Many public bathrooms have replaced paper towels with air dryers. Around the kitchen you can use a sponge, a rag, or.... Reach And Teach is pleased to offer, Skoy Cloths! We've secretly substituted our paper towels in our kitchen and in our soap refilling station area with Skoy Cloths and we like them so much we're offering them to our customers. Four cloths to a package, at just $7.20 each, can save you a lot of money and help the environment, including saving lots of trees. It takes ONE TREE to make a roll of paper towels, not to mention the energy, water, transportation....
The Skoy Cloth is an innovative cloth that comes in an array of colors and designs and takes the place of your paper towels, sponges, rags, dishcloths and more.
It is a European made product packaged in the U.S. and 100% biodegradable when properly composted because it is made from a natural cotton and wood-based cellulose pulp. The Skoy Cloth is a chlorine-free, unbleached, and non-GMO product using water-based colors and inks. After an independent composting test, Skoy Cloth broke down completely within 5 weeks.
The Skoy Cloth is a durable product due to the reusability factor and can last months.
The Skoy Cloth has an absorption factor of 15x its own weight. As a result, producing the most superior cloth product available. Imagine using 15 sheets of good-quality paper towels at once... This is how a wet Skoy Cloth will feel in your hand.
The Skoy Cloth is long-lasting because of the wash-ability feature. It dries quickly, so it is not a breeding ground for bacteria. Have you ever used your sponge, then smelled your hand and it reeked of horrible bacteria? That will never happen again if you microwave your Skoy Cloth regularly. It is also dishwasher and washer/dryer safe. Cleaning your Skoy Cloth will keep it healthy and germ-free.
If you'd like to try Skoy Cloths for yourself, click here to visit our web store.
A Problem: Quick Trips to the Grocery Store And... Bags!
There's a big, giant, bag in our garage, filled with... plastic bags, the kind we used to get all the time at the supermarket, before we became enlightened enough to start carrying our own reusable bags everywhere we went. A few years ago when Cool Cities San Mateo began meeting in our shop one of their big goals was to get a law passed requiring merchants to charge ten cents for every bag a customer needed. Just ten pennies, one dime, could make people stop and think and learn new habits. Cool Cities succeeded and judging from the number of people saying "no" when we offer them a bag for a dime, and more importantly the number of people who always carry a reusable bag with them, the law is truly a success.
Here are some startling statistics:
100 Billion Plastic Bags Used by Americans Each Year
Average 600 Bags Per Person Per Year
2.2 Billion Pounds of Fossil Fuels and 3.9 Billion Gallons of Fresh Water to Produce
Costs $4 Billion Dollars a Year (Retailers/Consumers)
Creates 1 Billion Pounds of Solid Waste and 2.7 Million Tons of C02
Takes 1,000 Years for Plastic Bag to Decompose
100,000 Sea Turtles and Other Marine Animals Die Each Year Because of Plastic Bags
And, in case you are wondering what to do with your giant bag full of plastic bags from the bad old days before you were enlightened, most supermarkets have recycling bins for those bags. Typically, they CAN NOT go in your normal big blue bin at your house. Those bags require special handling so please find a place that truly does have the ability to get them recycled.
A Solution: Reusable Bags
Way back in the day, when we first started Reach And Teach, we were speaking at a gathering of seniors (folks in their 70's and up) about our new venture and the person who invited us told us it was a bring-your-own-bag lunch, but that we shouldn't bring our own, she would provide our lunch. She'd made us delicious sandwiches, home-made cookies, and she gave us our lunch in something we'd never seen before... a ChicoBag. Andy Keller, who invented ChicoBags, is one of the people we credit with helping to educate the public about the environmental harm caused by single-use bags. He created a bag that you could always have with you, that folded up into its own attached pouch, and with the addition of a carabiner (metal loop with spring-loaded gate), allows you to attach your bag to your belt or purse so it is always handy.
One of the most damaging habits Americans have fallen into is the use of plastic water bottles. You've seen folks walking out of your local supermarket with literally hundreds of plastic bottles of water, or maybe you've actually been one of those people. We've got to admit, there were a few events in the last five years where that seemed like the only good option for making sure folks had access to water. The impact of plastic water bottles on the planet and on our wallets is staggering.
Our friends at Klean Kanteen support the important work of 5 Gyres Institute. To understand the impact of plastic pollution, 5 Gyres studies the five subtropical gyres by sailing through them. Unlike other ocean conservation organizations, 5 Gyres doesn't just take scientists out into the ocean, they take artists, writers, musicians, journalists, students, teachers - anyone who will serve as a 5 Gyres Ambassador for change. The goal is to give stakeholders from all walks of life an authentic vantage from gyre central. Check out their video.
Here are just a few of the facts about plastic water bottle use to consider:
Americans use 50 Billion Plastic Water Bottles Per Year
That's 1,500 Plastic Bottles Per Second
Americans Spend $22 Billion Dollars A Year Just for the Water in Plastic Bottles
That's $346 Per American Per Year (versus $0.48 cents for tap water)
80% of Plastic Water Bottles that Could Be Recycled STILL End Up in Landfill
2,500,000 Tons of Carbon Dioxide Are Produced Manufacturing Plastic Water Bottles
90% of Ocean Trash is Plastic Bottles and Bags
A Solution: Reusable Water Bottles
A Klean Kanteen water bottle costs just $20 and the water you'd need to fill it from your tap (even filtered) over and over and over again all year long is just $0.48 cents.
Frugal + Green = HAPPY!Whether you're heading out for a short hike or giving a big presentation at work, the 18oz Kanteen® Classic holds enough to keep you hydrated, but is also fits easily into your bag, pack or briefcase. Available with the Sport Cap 3.0; featuring a soft silicone spout, 25% higher flow rate and "chirp" free hydration.
Klean Kanteens are made from high quality, 18/8, food-grade stainless steel; totally free of BPA and other toxins. Because stainless steel itself is safe, Klean Kanteen doesn't need to coat the inside of the bottle with a plastic or epoxy lining, one of the main differences from aluminum bottles.
Click here to visit our Klean Kanteen ordering page.
A Problem: Stinky Places
We have a dog. We have a bathroom, We have a laundry room. We have some stinky places. For most of our lives we've used various sprays to get rid of, or cover up, odors. Here's the problem with most of those sprays. They only work for a short time, they're expensive, the containers they come in can't be reused, and the science is not very clear on whether they are bad for the environment and our health. But..... we don't like stinky places! So, what can we do?
A Solution: Reusable Odor Absorbers
After finding it at a gift show, we tested out a Moso Natural air purifying bag when we noticed that our car was beginning to smell way too much like our dog. Following the simple instructions that came with the bag, we put it out in the sun for a few hours and then popped it into the back near the kennel and when we got into the car a few hours later, no more dog smell! We were sold. We've had the bags in various sizes available in our San Mateo shop and have gotten great feedback from lots of other customers. "My son's room was really bad. I put the Moso Natural bag in the sun for a few hours and then carefully opened my son's bedroom door and tossed it all the way in. The next time I opened the door, I could breathe!
The Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag is the easiest way to maintain a fresh, dry and odor free environment. Without using batteries or wires, the Moso Bag will work continuously to remove odors, allergens and harmful pollutants from the air. In damp, musty environments the Moso Bag will absorb excess moisture to prevent mold, mildew and bacteria from forming.
The Moso Bag is a safe alternative to air fresheners that are filled with formaldehyde, petroleum and fragrance, which can be carcinogenic and lead to numerous health problems. The Moso Bag is filled with non toxic, chemical free and fragrance free moso bamboo charcoal that allows your family and pets to breathe safely.
To use, simply place the Moso Bags in or near the effected area. Within a short time (usually less than 1 day) the effected area will be fresh, dry, and odor free.
With simple maintenance the Moso Bags are reusable for up two years! Most common air fresheners, in addition to being ineffective, don't last more than 45 days. Once a month, place your Moso Bag outside. The UV rays from the sun will clear out the pores of the bamboo charcoal, making it ready to absorb again. After two years as an air purifier, the Moso Bag makes a wonderful addition to your garden. Simply cut open the Moso Bag and sprinkle the bamboo charcoal into the soil, where it helps plants absorb moisture and nutrients. This completes its lifecycle as a product that comes from the earth and ultimately gives back to the earth.
Click here to learn more about and purchase Moso Natural bags.
A Problem: We Recycle But What Really Happens to That Stuff?
We love our blue bin but we know that in reality a lot of stuff that's supposed to be recycled never actually gets used to make anything else. Or, stuff that we recycle here has to get sent as far away as China and the fuel required to send stuff all the way there and products all the way back.... well, that's not really very good for the environment.
A Solution: Upcycled Products
Over the last few years we've found more and more wonderful products that are upcycled, cool new products made from recycled materials. Among our favorites are Green Toys which are made in our own backyard near San Mateo, from recycled milk jugs, which are BPA-free making them safe for kids and the planet. We also have upcycled jewelry, wallets made from recycled inner tubes, purses and glass cases, and more.
As always, we're grateful to all of our partners in peacemaking who help us on our journey towards a more peaceful and sustainable life! If you're in the San Mateo area, stop by our shop, Reach And Teach, at 144 West 25th Avenue any time and we'll be happy to give you a tour and show you the latest things we've discovered AND please let us know about products you use that help you lighten your footprint on the planet.
"Tolerance is over-rated. We don't want to be tolerated, we want to be accepted. Even better, we want to be valued." That was the way a gay rights activist started a presentation about the work which eventually led him to the White House and meeting with the president. As we approach April, I'm reminded of that lesson as I update this post which was originally titled "Autism Awareness Day."
April is Autism Acceptance Month and April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day and Reach And Teach is joining with thousands of organizations and individuals around the world to do a shout-out of love, acceptance, support, and yes, for those who aren't aware of how many people are impacted in some way by autism, we hope to spread some awareness. If you happen to have arrived at this page with little awareness about autism, you can click here to get a quick definition.
A Boy Walked Into A Bookstore...
We had a teenaged boy and his mom in our shop one day and after they had spent some time looking through some of our bookshelves the boy came over and asked "What have you got on autism?" I showed him some books but none really clicked. He said "I'm looking for something that has more data, more statistics, because I'm doing a report on autism for school." I then found the perfect book and he and his mom came to the register and made their purchase. I asked him what had sparked his interest in autism as a subject. He looked at me and said "I'm autistic."
Having read quite a bit about autism a quote from one of the books came to my surprised mind. "If you've met one person with autism, you've met ONE person with autism."
This year one of her friends created his own graphic and idea for April, going beyond "awareness" and moving towards acceptance and respect. We're all for that! And, while we're at it, we'd like to share some information on how many people in your midst could use a little acceptance, respect, and love!
About 1 in 68 children (or 14.7 per 1,000 8 year olds) were identified with ASD. It is important to remember that this estimate is based on 8-year-old children living in 11 communities. It does not represent the entire population of children in the United States.
This new estimate is roughly 30% higher than the estimate for 2008 (1 in 88), roughly 60% higher than the estimate for 2006 (1 in 110), and roughly 120% higher than the estimates for 2002 and 2000 (1 in 150). We don't know what is causing this increase. Some of it may be due to the way children are identified, diagnosed, and served in their local communities, but exactly how much is unknown.
The number of children identified with ASD varied widely by community, from 1 in 175 children in areas of Alabama to 1 in 45 children in areas of New Jersey.
Almost half (46%) of children identified with ASD had average or above average intellectual ability (IQ greater than 85).
Boys were almost 5 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. About 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls were identified with ASD.
White children were more likely to be identified with ASD than black or Hispanic children. About 1 in 63 white children, 1 in 81 black children, and 1 in 93 Hispanic children were identified with ASD.
Less than half (44%) of children identified with ASD were evaluated for developmental concerns by the time they were 3 years old.
Most children identified with ASD were not diagnosed until after age 4, even though children can be diagnosed as early as age 2.
Black and Hispanic children identified with ASD were more likely than white children to have intellectual disability. A previous study has shown that children identified with ASD and intellectual disability have a greater number of ASD symptoms and a younger age at first diagnosis. Despite the greater burden of co-occurring intellectual disability among black and Hispanic children with ASD, these new data show that there was no difference among racial and ethnic groups in the age at which children were first diagnosed.
About 80% of children identified with ASD either received special education services for autism at school or had an ASD diagnosis from a clinician. This means that the remaining 20% of children identified with ASD had symptoms of ASD documented in their records, but had not yet been classified as having ASD by a community professional in a school or clinic.
Here's a problem, though, when you see these three amazing kids... you also have to think about stereotypes... Stereotypes can cause you to either expect a child somewhere on the spectrum to be incapable of anything or... a prodigy. The truth is, like any other group of people, identified as a group because of some common thing, people with autism are on a spectrum, individuals with unique gifts, talents, challenges, personalities... and the key for them, like anyone, is for them to have the opportunities and freedom to become the very best individuals they can possibly be. That's where understanding, community, love, support, encouragement, patience, and so much more come into play. Every child, every person, deserves wild cheering, standing ovations, hugs, outpourings of love, so that every single child can shine.
That's why we want to light up the world in blue EVERY DAY, to help each and every individual thrive.
Given that we've just said how important it is for you to consider each person individually we'd still like to lift up a resource that can help people get a quick introduction to what many children on the spectrum would like YOU to know. Ellen Notbohm wrote this book and has made a short review of these ten things quickly, easily, and freely accessible from this link. I love the very last part of her article, which I'll share here:
View my autism as a different ability rather than a disability. Look past what you may see as limitations and see my strengths. I may not be good at eye contact or conversation, but have you noticed that I don't lie, cheat at games, or pass judgment on other people?
I rely on you. All that I might become won't happen without you as my foundation. Be my advocate, be my guide, love me for who I am, and we'll see how far I can go.
"View my autism as a different ability." That's what's happening at a very special car wash. Check out this video.
From Awareness to Acceptance And Beyond!
Our friends Len and Libby Traubman have helped lead a Jewish/Palestinian living room dialogue group for over two decades. Their key to peacemaking, which they now teach to people in conflict all over the world, is listening to other people's stories. "The shortest distance between two people is a story." "The difference between an enemy and a friend is a story." Those are the lessons they've taught to so many people. But, what if it is difficult to hear someone's story? People on the spectrum often have a very difficult time communicating so it may take a lot more work on our part to "hear" their stories. The effort, however, will be worth it.
Each year, I meet April with a bit of existential dread. Each April, I am once again made aware that to most people, autism means broken, defective, a victim of a fate worse than death, a problem, a disease, something that needs to be fixed, cured, and changed. This has been the predominant view of autism for decades.
That needs to change.
The world doesn't need more awareness of Autism, it needs more acceptance of Autism. Acceptance is understanding. Acceptance is building on a person's strengths to enable growth and independence, not viewing a person through the confining lens of ableism. Acceptance means acknowledging that different is not defective. Acceptance requires work. Acceptance is an action.
I am different, but I am the same as you in every way that matters. I think. I feel. I triumph. My differences make some things more difficult, but they do not make me less than you.
Get started by checking out the resources at Autism Acceptance Month. Also, our friend Patricia Tilton has reviewed a lot of wonderful books over the years in her Children's Books Heal blog related to autism. Click here to visit her Autism Acceptance Month page.
Reach And Teach Resources
Among our friends and colleagues there are many who have children somewhere on the ASD spectrum. Because of our connection to autism and our belief that inclusion, respect, acceptance and support for people on the ASD spectrum and their families is a social justice issue, we have collected some great resources on autism. Those are shown below. Please let us know about other resources you love, including web sites, books, organizations... Click here to email us with your suggestions.