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BR Parents May 2021

As Education and Community sections editor, I wrote pages pages 14-21  and page 26 of the May 2021 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine. See the web layout on the magazine's website.

BR Parents - Thrive: The Girl Who Doesn’t Give Up

Originally posted on the Baton Rouge Parents magazine website . A nine-year-old second grader, Piper Walters loves Frozen , her dog Amelia, and riding her bike. Despite the challenges that come with living with cerebral palsy, Piper makes the most of her life. “She likes to dance, she actually takes ballet and tap,” says Tessa Walters, Piper’s mom. “She likes to ride her bike.” Piper’s bike is a giant tricycle with harnesses and straps to help keep her safe while she rides, and she received it in 2018 from the McLindon Family Foundation.  “Piper’s (bike) is so important to us, and not only allows her to have fun, but it’s good exercise and coordination. And those bikes are very expensive,” says Tessa. Giving back is important to the Walters family, which includes Tessa, Piper and her dad George. They often participate in fundraisers to support other children who live with disabilities. Before the pandemic, the family worked with Louisiana Hogs on Hogs, now called Sout

BR Parents Blog: The Comeback Kid: Celebrating the Return of Birthday Parties

 Originally published on the Baton Rouge Parents magazine website . My poor five year old, with her spring birthday, has now had two COVID-style celebrations. However, this year we made the festivities incrementally bigger. Instead of a family-only celebration and the half-hearted drive-by party of 2020 when she turned four (which we piggybacked off an older church friend who has her same birthday), this year we invited one (1) friend to come play. Basically we hosted a playdate party like her 3rd birthday , but much, much smaller. In the year of COVID, a playdate became her heart’s desire, and it was so sweet to be able to fulfill that request that used to be so minor and has come to feel so risky. This year, when her age became a whole hand, we rented a bouncy house for the backyard to make things feel more special and a little different than just a playdate, although having a friend at our house was a novelty in itself. Now that we know COVID is less likely to spread

BR Parents: April 2021

  As Education and Community sections editor, I wrote pages pages 14-21 (except for Parkview and East Iberville briefs) and page 26 of the April 2021 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine. See the web layout on the magazine's website.

BR Parents - Thrive: Life with Down Syndrome: Shouting His Worth

Originally published in the April 2021 issue of Baton Rouge Parents magazine and on its website . When he was born seven weeks before his due date, prematurity seemed to be the biggest obstacle facing Gideon Schroeder. His parents, Marianne and Greg, were completely surprised when Gideon was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. “We had the option to do (prenatal) testing, and we discussed it, and we said, you know, ‘It is what it is,’” Greg says. Heart tests came out perfect, and the facial characteristics associated with Down Syndrome typically seen on ultrasound didn’t show up.  “It was unexpected,” says Marianne, now a stay-at-home mom with a background in education. “It was tough at first. It changes your whole perspective on what you thought was going to happen.” The Schroeders didn’t have much experience with Down Syndrome, although Greg had a cousin who lived with the condition.  Gideon spent his first three months in the hospital, unrelated to Down Syndrome or his pre

BR Parents - One Amazing Kid: Annie Engholm

  Originally published in the Baton Rouge Parents magazine's April 2021 issue and on its website . While most kids took advantage of additional screen time when quarantining in 2020, Annie Engholm used her extra time at home to craft. She turned her hobby into a lucrative Etsy shop and has given away all her profits. “I wanted to get rid of COVID, and I was feeling like everyone else wanted to do that as well,” says Annie, a 10-year-old fourth grader at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge. “I thought of the store to raise the money to do it.”  She launched Annie’s Ever After Etsy shop ( in March 2020, and has since raised more than $500, which she has donated to Baton Rouge General. “My goal is to give a thousand bucks to them,” she says. Annie sells jewelry, keychains and an original creation called click clack clams, “two clams that are painted and decorated by pretty tape and googly eyes and you can click them together.”  Her pare

BR Parents Blog - We Are All Irreplaceable: Deciding to Get My COVID Vaccine

First published on the Baton Rouge Parents magazine website . I am someone who loves science, at least as a bystander and beneficiary. I even wrote about the benefits of animal research in my high school English class for our persuasive essay assignment, convinced science was critical to my survival of jaundice as an infant. Right now, I am in awe of science and particularly amazed at the work that’s gone into so quickly creating successful vaccines against this pandemic-causing novel coronavirus. When my turn to get a vaccine for COVID-19 came up, I did not hesitate. I had already been looking to get vaccinated via waste lists at local pharmacies–several moms I know in my circles had success that way. A waste list is filled with people who are willing to come at a moment’s notice to get a vaccine should there be one that’s otherwise going to be wasted or expired. But when Governor Edwards expanded eligibility to include people 16-54 with certain health conditions that m