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Dear Reader: Happy Mother's Day!

by Vaun Thygerson
Contributing writer and mother of three

I feel like I am living a typically Augusty, Back-to-School month during the wrong time of year. My boys, in their freshman and junior years at Liberty High School (LHS), recently went back to campus for school and resumed their sports. I have done something I have never done before I went to LHS football games in April. It was weird, like "Twilight Zone" weird. There are some advantages to having sports in the spring that are typically in the fall, but I really do like the crisper, colder air that signals the start of football season. I am thankful to the coaches and parents who worked so hard to make sure the boys, especially the seniors, were given a chance to play. They even had pictures and put out one program for a keepsake.

Back-to-school does look different some kids have chosen to continue with Zoom, so it's not as crowded. Teachers have really had to step up their routines and make so many accommodations. I have to give a shout out to the LHS teachers who have really gone the extra mile this year for my boys. It has not been an easy year to engage these teen minds, but so many teachers have done it seamlessly.

The Kern High School District came up with unique ways to ensure the students adhere to the school's mask and COVID 19 rules. In fact, Golden Valley's English teacher Cory Olague made up a mnemonic to help the students wear their masks. The campaign is MASK up and it stands for the following: M = Morning Assessment; A = Arrive Early; S = Social Distancing; and K = Keep Masks On. I know masks can be annoying, but it's fun to see everyone doing their part. LHS came out with unique school-themed masks and most of the high school sports teams have their own variation. Masks have become a way to make a fashion statement and become part of your outfit, but I admit that I will be happy when we can walk around without a mask like it's 2019!

Teachers deserve so much appreciation, not just during the pandemic, but also because they are the ones who made sure our kids gave us handmade Mother's Day gifts! And one thing that hasn't changed is that May is the month to celebrate mothers! But what's better than just celebrating for one month? In the article, "11 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day All Month Long," Callie Collins gives creative ways to appreciate the mother figures in your lives all year. Some of the suggestions include writing a letter, sending flowers, and framing a picture. To read all 11 ideas, turn to page 10.

Special thanks to Amy Baldovinos for sharing her talents and her commitment to the community in the Hello, Happy Mama article, "For the Better: Amy Baldovinos Shares Her Optimism in Community Through Faith, Hope, and Charity," written by Callie Collins on page 18. Amy works at The Mission at Kern County with her husband Carlos, the executive director. They've been married 22 years and have two teenage sons, Samuel and Jacob. Check out this article to learn more about her personal life and the powerful transformation The Mission at Kern has made in countless lives.

In this month's feature article, "Generations of Readers: Local Non-Profit Helps Families Learn, Read, and Lead," on page 12 you'll learn about the Kern Literacy Council and its executive director, Laura Lollar Wolfe. Callie Collins writes about how a culture of literacy in the home can affect generations. She also says that volunteering for two hours a week can really make a difference to those the non-profit serves.

As you enjoy this Augusty May and maybe attend a sport outside of its usual season, try not to be too weirded out, and just enjoy a little bit of normalcy after more than a year in quarantine. After all, we have learned that we are resilient and there are many people who have helped us navigate this pandemic, from healthcare workers to teachers to essential workers to so many more. Some of the biggest helping hands out there are those amazing mother figures in our lives!

Happy Mother's Day!!!

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Tags: Food & Home, Maternity, Parenting

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