April 2020

Foster Fail Julie Benz from Foster Boy talks about how the film exposes abuse, corruption in the foster-care system in the U.S. Tell us a little about the movie Foster Boy. Foster Boy is a legal drama about corruption in the for-profit foster care system. It is based on true events. Foster Boy was written by an attorney and is based on his experience as a top litigator in Chicago. How do you think his first-hand knowledge and experience really lends to the credibility of this film? Jay Paul Deratany was able to bring his real-life experience as a top litigator to the page. It adds an incredible richness to the film. As a litigator, he prosecuted numerous child welfare cases against for-profit foster-care companies and won. His screenplay pulls together a number of the cases he has prosecuted in order to tell an extremely compelling story and illuminate the bigger issue of corruption in the for-profit foster-care system. Foster Boy has been described as “Art Activism.” What does that mean to you? Wow. That’s a powerful and accurate description of Foster Boy. To me, ‘Art Activism’ means the ability to inspire change through art. And that’s exactly what this movie does. It holds up a mirror to a very corrupt system in our country and forces you to look at it. It leaves you wanting to make a difference for these innocent children and to fight for reform. Why do you think it’s so important to highlight the abuses within the foster-care system in the U.S.? Foster children are the forgotten children in our country. There are 430,000 children in the foster-care system at any one time. The statistics show that the majority of foster children are abused, neglected and denied basic services.  And over half end up homeless, unemployable or incarcerated after aging out of the foster-care system. What’s your take on for-profit foster care? It doesn’t work. Profits are frequently prioritized over a child’s well-being. These companies are hard to regulate and are not always transparent with their data. It’s heartbreaking because it’s the children that suffer at the hands of these greedy companies. There’s an incentive to make the placements for these kids to intentionally fail so the company can make more money. It’s criminal. You play Pamela Dupree in the movie. Can you tell us about your character? Pamela Dupree is a representation of what it’s like to be a social worker in a for-profit foster-care system. Through

5 Tips to Help Your Teen Learn at Home The shift to remote learning has been a challenge for everyone – teachers, parents and students, alike. No one has mastered it, so don’t be too hard on yourself and expect that you should have this figured out. This might be helpful advice to share with your teen too. Here are five tips to make the transition a little easier on you and your teen: Set a routine and create a plan for success together. It’s important that you and your teen sit down and map out a schedule and goals for learning. Make sure to get their input rather than impose a schedule on them. They are likely already feeling anxious, so this is an opportunity to give them a sense of control over something. Your teen will feel empowered and motivated when they feel they have a voice in the decision-making. Be clear that the schedule can be changed in the future as you both learn more about their school’s approach to remote learning. The environment at home is very different than school, so it may be hard for your teen to get motivated. Help your teen set up a space at home to mimic the school day. Setting up a designated area for learning will help them transition into a mindset for learning. Using a timer like the bell at school can help your teen know when to move on to a different subject or assignment. If your teen struggles with attention, try setting a timer for 15-minute increments (to start) to help them focus. Teach your child how to be an independent learner. Staying focused, organized and on-task are skills that are crucial to be a successful learner remotely. Look at the assignments and schedule online (if their school has switched to distance education) and show them how to create a weekly or monthly calendar for any upcoming deadlines. Discuss how they can break each project down and plan their time accordingly. The calendar is a great guide to create daily to-do lists as well. Encourage your teen to reach out to their teacher if/when they have questions versus you doing it for them. Connect your teen with a tutor online. If the change from parent/child to teacher/student is causing any stress or frustration, sometimes it’s best to call in a third party to support your child with their

Top Chef Canada's Contestants on Cooking Up Their Careers If life in quarantine has you flipping channels in a neverending search to find something suitable to watch with your teen, you can now put the remote safely down for at least an hour a week. Food Network Canada's Top Chef Canada Season 8 has just started wherein 12 chefs from every corner of the country compete in the most prestigious cooking competition in the country, battling it out for the biggest prize in Top Chef Canada history and the coveted title of Canada’s Top Chef. Yes, they're in for a wild ride but we wanted to talk to the competitors about their lives BEFORE Top Chef. They were open and honest about their journeys that led them to the kitchen (they weren't all as smooth as butter), the importance of family support (one contestant's father STILL won't tell people his son is a chef) and their advice for teens looking to start a life in the kitchen. Adrian Forte When did you know you wanted to be a chef? I was always cooking as a teenager, but I decided to pursue cooking professionally the summer before Grade 12. I had realized I wasn’t going to be a professional athlete and I was already extremely passionate about all things food. I enjoyed being in the kitchen, so I thought to myself, “why wouldn’t I want to do this all the time?” What did your family say when you chose a career in the culinary arts, which can mean a lot of long nights and tough work? I come from a whole bloodline of chefs. My mother, grandmother, aunts and uncles all spent some time in the kitchen. My grandmother had seven children and it was a rite of passage in our household for every one of her kids to learn the craft. The tradition has been passed down for generations, so when I decided to pursue cooking professionally, my entire family was ecstatic about my career choice and they continue to support me. What do you wish you knew back then that you know now? Nothing. I believe life is a lesson and experience is the teacher (it’s sort of my mantra). I’ve always learned from my failures and mistakes, and I apply what I’ve learned to the next situation, endeavor or business venture. I’m a firm believer in trial by fire or sink or swim. Trials and tribulations develop

Parenting Expert Alyson Schafer's Best Tips on Living with Teens During COVID-19 We’re all in this crazy COVID-19 era together and for those of us with tweens and teens, it can be especially hard. Fights over time spent on devices and arguments over the importance of social distancing can be on the daily. Our teens are staying up late and sleeping till noon and it’s driving us crazy! Take a deep breath, parents. This is a crazy time for us all —especially for tweens and teens who may not understand or appreciate the seriousness of this virus. That’s why we chatted with parenting expert, Alyson Schafer, to get her best advice on living with teens during this time of social distancing and quarantine. How can we motivate our teens to get off their devices and do something — anything! —without having to nag them all the time and start an argument? Coach don’t manage: Teens do not respond well to orders or directives.  Instead, you want to have a discussion about how they would like to see the next few weeks and months unfolding.  What makes a good day? What do they want to accomplish? How do they want to feel? What does a balanced day mean to them? These are curiosity questions that make them think.  Then you could ask them what they might do to accomplish this? Ask them if they need any help from you.  At the end of the day/week, you can review how the day went and how they felt about it. Ask what would they would like to do tomorrow to move closer to their goals? Let them know what your expectations are for them, that may include some chores to help out, their presence at mealtimes and some time spent on a family activity (bike ride/card game). Keep inviting (not nagging) your teen to join you when you are doing an activity and let them know you enjoy their company whenever they do show up and participate. Brainstorm with your teen over things they enjoyed doing on the last family holiday together. Do you have any suggestions for activities to keep tweens/teens busy throughout the day, while still social distancing? Every teen has their own unique interests; your job as a parent is to look for those interests and talents and then assist and inspire them to elevate it to the next level.  If they like cooking, can they