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Dear Reader: Happy Birthday America!

by Vaun Thygerson
Contributing writer and mother of three
Photo by Elisha Terada on Unsplash

This July seems completely different from last year for many reasons. First of all, my boys get to play sports! My rising Sophomore is already in the middle of football practice for Liberty High School's fall season. And my soon-to-be senior (stifled cry) is traveling to all kinds of lacrosse tournaments. I am so thankful they get to play this summer because being part of a team and learning from a great coach helps our children succeed in life.

I read a quote once that said, "A good coach can change a game, a great coach can change a life." I have seen this proven over and over again with not only great coaches, but teachers, mentors, leaders, and bosses. My sons recently had to say good-bye to their Mustangs Lacrosse coach, one of the best coaches they've ever had, as he relocated to Missouri. Even though he won't be on the field coaching them next year, the lessons he taught them will still be in play. Throughout the years, he was not just preparing the boys for their lacrosse games, but he was teaching them to become great men.

Kern County has no shortage of people making a difference in others' lives. In this month's "Hello, Happy Mama" article, on page 14, Lisa Elzy Watson shares her personal mission of faith, hope, and life through Casa Esperanza, "Hope House." This non-profit will give women, with or without children, a place to stay and a helping hand modeled after the Alexandria House in Los Angeles. Located at the corner of Panorama Street and Haley Drive, the house is being remodeled and will have its soft opening in 2022. You can find out more about Casa Esparanza at www.esperanzabakersfield.org.

For your monthly dose of humor, Julie Willis writes in her Humor At Home article, "Yes Day: Outsmarting the Smart TV," about how having a family day, even if you don't say "yes" to everything, can still be a beautiful day where family memories are made together! To find out what they did as their version of the family fun, Netflix-original movie, "Yes Day," turn to page 16.

Sometimes during the summer months our routines relax and become non-existent, especially adhering to a normal meal plan. Callie Collins wanted to help give you some ideas to keep family mealtime a priority with the article, "Family Dinners: 11 Ways to Make Meals Happen, Even in Summer," on page 12. The ideas range from making it a family affair to changing up the environment and providing interesting, distraction-free memories.

It's that time of year again for KCFM's Cutest Pet Photo contest. You can submit dogs, cats, birds, fish, farm animals, or anything that is legal to own in the state of California. All you have to do is upload your pet's cutest photo and fill out a short form at http://bit.ly/2021kernpets and then encourage all your friends to vote (once per day). For complete details, turn to page 13.

July is such a fun month when we can enjoy all kinds of water activities, sports, play dates, and fireworks! Just remember that whatever you're doing, there are always little ones watching you and learning from you. Whether you are an official "coach," mentor, or a friend you can make an impact on someone's life. Happy Birthday America!

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Tags: Food & Home, Parenting, Party and Entertainment, Pets

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