Friday, December 15, 2017

Irving Elementary School Chooses Kind

A huge thanks to CCA Mom, Alicia Boddy, who rallied her school with the support of her daughter, Jameson, to host an amazing Wonder screening and fundraiser for CCA. You will love these photos! 

Alicia says,

On Sunday, November 19, Washington Irving Elementary school in Oak Park, IL rented out our local theater for a private screening of Wonder

Over 350 students, parents, teachers, staff, and friends all came together to experience the joy and tears of our favorite new movie! 

We will also be making a donation to CCA on behalf of Irving school. We are still working out the final numbers for that but stay tuned. We are all so excited to support CCA! 

...and we are excited and so grateful for your support! Thank you Irving Elementary and the Boddy Family!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Family Spotlight: The Andersons

The Anderson family has been very busy since the Reston retreat this summer.  After getting home from the retreat, we took a second trip to visit family in Minnesota, and returned mid-July, to have Nathan’s second stage of his BAHA surgery.   Both of his Oticon processors were activated in late August, so he was able to start second grade with newly-integrated processors.  This was very exciting for him, as he no longer needs to wear the headband.  He is so proud of his new processors, and loves to change out the stickers on the sides of them to match his mood or the occasion.  

Owen attended Nathan’s surgery for the first time this year, and got to experience what it is like to be at the hospital.  He was an amazing support to Nathan both pre-op and afterwards, and like always, proved himself to be a true super-sibling, willing to do whatever is needed to keep Nathan comfortable during the day.

At the same time as all of the surgery, we decided this year that we would like to hold a second fundraiser for CCA. We set a goal of raising $5,000 on September 30th to end Craniofacial Acceptance Month with a bang.  Owen and Nathan decided that bowling would be a fun way to raise some funds, while providing something family-friendly, where the kids could be involved.  We spent the entire summer going to stores and local businesses, emailing companies, and reaching out to contacts to secure some amazing baskets to give out to raffle winners for the event.  Team Lentil also came into town to speak to two different schools and encourage the Choose Kind message to hundreds of children at these schools and at the event itself.  We are so proud to announce that between the bowling fundraiser and the online fundraiser, we were able to earn $9,000 to help CCA promote their message of kindness and self-advocacy for our children and adults in this association.  

As parents, Dave and I are so proud of both of our boys for so many different reasons. We hope that through these efforts, we are raising them to speak up for themselves and others, feel confident in who they are, and feel a need to help others who may need it.  We are so thankful to CCA for the bonds and the connections we have formed with other families and kids, and we want to share that message and feelings to those who have not yet experienced it.  Nathan and Owen spend their year talking about how excited they are to see their friends next year at the next retreat.  We hope that through our fundraising, someone else who hasn’t been able to, can feel that as well.  Here’s to an awesome end to 2017, and we can’t wait to see everyone in Salt Lake City!

#ThankfulThursday: Donate Your Car, Boat,Truck or RV

Donate your car, truck, boat, or RV to CCA today. You can include this donation on your 2017 tax return. If it's on wheels and you no longer want it, send it to us. Learn more at 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

#WonderWednesday: New York Elementary School Creates Wall of Wonder

The fourth graders at the Nassakeag Elementary School created a wall of "Wonder" featuring their guidance on how to #ChooseKind. The teachers and students took the opportunity to write their own precepts to make a powerful display at their school after reading the book thanks to excellent curriculum development by their teacher, Miss Donato. It is so heartening to see the impact that the book has on children. One school classroom at a time, the book positively impacts the hope for kindness in the present and future. Thank you Nassakeag Elementary. Keep up the great work.

To read more about this story, go to the Three Village Patch.

New Surgery Care Package Sign Up Form!

New link, new look for our surgery sign up. We are now using Google forms to capture your information for surgery care packages. If you signed up, send us another request through this new link, and we will send your son, daughter, or loved one a care package when they have surgery. 

Thank you so much for bearing with us through this transition. 

In the care package, your loved one will receive for a "Get Well" card, a care package, or a call of support for you, your partner, or your child! We will work to match your needs with our resources, to help you get through the experience feeling loved and supported. 

Dallas, TX Families: Lilly Pulitzer Event December 16th

Monday, December 11, 2017

Tuned In To Life: My Hearing Aid Adventure

By Kara Jackman 

I’m the proud owner of a hearing aid. I finally bit the bullet and bought one. I like it very much. My hearing continued to decrease, while my tinnitus decided to increase. I was left with no other choice. I had had more than enough close calls walking across the street, or with people coming up on my side and scaring the crap  out of me. Life just didn’t feel safe.

All of this started with what I thought was an ear infection to what has now graduated into hearing loss, pain on the right side of the face and ear, tingling, numbness, weird, uncontrollable facial spasming on one side of my face, and difficulty chewing because of the pain. 

I think this could be happening because of the ruptured right ear drum, created by enduring a number of ear infections over my 38 years. I'm more prone to them because of the cleft lip and palate and maze-like sinuses I was born with many years ago. The worst thing about my current conditon, and the thing that continues to be my undoing, is the tinnitus.
If you don’t know what tinnitus is consider yourself blessed. When I tell people I have tinnitus they often ask what it is. Then like a schmuck at an auto repair shop performing that “sound-his-car-makes” for the mechanic, I try to squeal as high as the frequency in my ear, or I play the toner on my Cleartune app. Almost always people say, “It’s like that all the time,” to which I reply “Yes.”

In the last three weeks the tinnitus has worsened, gotten louder, and sometimes even throws out another frequency, attempting to harmonize with itself, albeit very, very poorly. Other symptoms from the last three weeks include, facial spasms. Like really wacky face spasms that I can not control all that well. Most of the day I expend an enormous amount of energy to keep it from happening. Then I get in the car to go home from work and let my face get it’s groove on to whatever music I’m listening to that day. We do agree on one thing, my facial spasms and I, “Hotel California” by the Eagles is a terrible song.
The tinnitus, hearing loss, and bouncing face are all a bit too much too handle so I thought I would take it easy (ahem...sarcasm) and start using a highly technical hearing aid. It is composed of two pieces, a receiver shaped like a pen, and corresponding in-ear device.
It took some doing to get used to it. The pen receiver has a carrying case made of leather. Someone asked me if it was a knife because of the little leather jacket it wears.  No. Thanks for playing, though.  Shelly, show them their consolation prize. Or others have taken the more direct approach of asking “What is that?” I answer honestly, saying it is a receiver for the hearing aid you cannot see in my right ear.
The receiver picks up the sound and directs it to the ear piece.  The receiver, or pen, is best used if placed out on a table aimed at someone speaking.  There is no discreet way of doing this, but I have devised a few. I leave it on my desk in my office, I hold it like a pen in my hand, and I put it in my purse or pocket if on the go. It helps tremendously in overriding the high pitched squeal in my right ear.
It has also improved my ability to watch TV. I love to eat and watch TV  I can do that now without the volume being on 20-24 on the TV volume meter.  My neighbors are thrilled. Now, I can watch whatever I want, including the super quiet Netflix dramas on five or seven with the receiver sitting at the base of the TV speaker system. Football, basketball game and I'm in the kitchen, no problem. I can hear the play-by-play.

Thanks to the hearing device, In a setting with lots of people around I feel more balanced out, as if there is sound entering both ears. Unfortunately, though I have to point the pen in the direction of whomever may be so lucky to speak to me. I do not want to look like a television news reporter getting the  “man on the street” perspective, I keep the pen in my pocket or my purse. I usually pick up the noise of my shirt moving around, or catch the receiver rubbing up against the items in my bag. Thus defeating the purpose of its use. Many times, I end up blindly agreeing to things that I hope do not get me or someone else in trouble.  Often I worry that I have said “Yes” to questions like “Would you kill someone for me?” Or “Do you like the Eagles’ “Hotel California?” More than anything, I hope the latter has not happened

The other cool thing about it is I can leave the room and still hear what’s happening in the room I just left. If the receiver happens to have been left behind, I’m hoping at some point to hear some juicy gossip or some stuff talked about me “behind my back.” It has not happened yet. I will keep you posted.

The sound transmitted is tinny and hollow sounding. However, this was the best of the three or four hearing aids I tried. The garden variety version just goes in your ear and amplifies everything. With the pen, I have some control over how loud or whom I get to listen to. It is nice. The Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid, or (BAHA) was not a fit because I did not love how it felt. I do know that the BAHA is a great hearing aid for a great many people in the craniofacial community. It’s just not my jam.
One would think that in 2017 with the advent of $1,000+ headphones and beats by Dre that the world could come up with a better hearing aid. Unfortunately, this is not true. However, if there were ever a person to get the mix, tone, and warmth of sound right, I strongly believe it would be Dr. Dre. I say this after listening to some of his music over the years, but mostly because I watched HBO’s The Defiant Ones. So get on it Dre, please. Don’t leave money on the table! These devices are not cheap.

I'm new to the hearing aid racket, but I like it. Sometimes you have to take some risks to make your life more livable. I am glad I made this decision. I hope that if you ever need a hearing aid, or already wear one, that you do so with pride. No more FOMO for you or me! We are all tuned in to life. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

#ThankfulThursday: North Park Gingertown Benefits CCA!

We are so thankful for Gingertown Dallas. Now in its eighth year, this display of gingerbread houses and other creations made of confections has helped Children's Craniofacial Association. Last year $20,000 was raised in Dallas through this incredible event.  

Gingertown, started in 2006, by David M. Schwarz Architects "is a unique holiday initiative which brings together talent from local design, urban planning, engineering, and construction firms for a live build competition to help spread joy and hope during the holidays." We are thrilled that all these firms come together to help raise awareness about CCA Kids at a place where so many people come together to purchase presents for their friends and family. 

There are Gingertown's across the United States in Washington, D.C., Nashville, TN, Dallas, TX, and Atlanta, GA. The one located in Dallas benefits CCA, while those in other cities benefits hospitals, nonprofits, and other organizations. If you wish to become a sponsor for Gingertown 2018 in one of these cities, please contact Schwarz Architects at 

Thank you all for your hard work in raising funds and awareness for craniofacial conditions through your building talents. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Nurturing Emotional Intelligence For Kids

Amy Williams is a freelance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety.

By Amy K. Williams
As children go through their day, it is inevitable that they will experience a wide array of emotions—the ones they feel as well as those expressed by others. Emotionally intelligent children have an ability to recognize these feelings and make good decisions accordingly. What’s so great about this is that emotional intelligence can be learned, and such learning often starts at home. For parents who want to nurture emotional intelligence in their kids, here are a few suggestions that can ensure your child develops this very important life skill.

Empathize with Your Child

The ability to empathize is an important quality that demonstrates emotional intelligence. Children will readily emulate what they see at home, including whether or not they empathize with others. Much of a child’s behaviors are based upon what they have learned from their parents. This is why it is so important for parents to empathize with their children if they want to encourage them to be emotional intelligent. It is more likely that children will empathize and be kind to others when they have received this from those who are most important to them. For instance, parents can routinely acknowledge their children’s feelings and let them know you care. As a result, the child will feel understood and will learn to display these same empathetic behaviors when they interact with others. This will in turn, strengthen their emotional intelligence skills.
Allow Your Child to Freely Express Their Emotions

Another great way to nurture emotional intelligence in children is to allow them to freely express themselves. Parents should openly accept the full range of emotions that their children display on a daily basis. From bouts of anger and disappointment over not getting something they wanted, to squabbles with siblings, allow your child to express what they are feeling. Unfortunately, minimizing or denying a child’s emotions will send them the wrong message. Such a message will tell them that what they are feeling is not important and that they should suppress their emotions. While a child may learn to hide their feelings, these feelings do not just disappear. Instead, encourage emotional intelligence in your child by acknowledging their emotions—whether good or bad—and letting them know that it is okay to feel that way given the circumstances.

Teach Children to Reflect Back on Their Feelings

Also, teach children early on how to think back on how they were feeling. Children of all ages can greatly benefit from learning how to name and identify their various feelings. As an example, if a child throws a tantrum over something, a parent can say to their child, “I know that you felt frustrated over not being able to do what you wanted. It is okay to feel frustrated over this. What is another way you can respond next time?” Such encouraging words will help the child to recognize their emotions, understand them, and make better decisions in similar situations. In this manner, parents who want to nurture emotional intelligence can Help their children manage their emotions and regulate them going forward. This also means that children can learn how to calm their emotions in tough situations which will give them a chance to think back on the emotions they were experiencing.

Nurture and encourage emotional intelligence in your child by being empathetic towards them, by allowing them to express their emotions and by teaching them how to reflect back on what they have been feeling. Parents can teach children emotional intelligence everyday by displaying qualities of emotional intelligence themselves. From recognizing and understanding the emotions and feelings children are experiencing, to encouraging children to do the same with others, emotional intelligence can bring many benefits towards a child’s well-being, with parents being their children’s greatest teachers.

A Note From the Hudson Family

Wonder mania continues. Program director, Annie Reeves received a message from Mike Hudson last week. The local volleyball team and some students from a neighboring high school joined him for a screening of the movie "Wonder." He looks like he is having the time of his life with all these lovely ladies. Not only did they go see the film, but Carolyn, Mike's mom also raised money for Children's Craniofacial Association on Facebook for her birthday. She raised $630! Wow! Thank you so much Hudson family. 

You can donate your birthday, too. Contact Annie to find out how you raise money on your special day. 

Check out the message Annie received from Carolyn Hudson below...

Hi Annie, 

I just wanted to share some good news 

1. This is a picture of Michael and some of my students /volleyball players that went to see wonder together. 


It was such a special moment plus I thought it was special when a close friend took a picture alone with her group of students 


Plus for my birthday on Facebook. We did a fundraiser for CCA and raised $630. Plus, we are trying to get this dollar account matched. . 

I just wanted to let you know the good things that have occurred. 

Thanks for all you do

Sign Up For Surgery Care Packages!

Is your child having surgery? CCA wants to be there for you and your family.

You can sign up on this page for a "Get Well" card, a care package, or a call of support for you, your partner, or your child!

We will work to match your needs with our resources, to help you get through the experience feeling loved and supported.