Fit 4 Mom- Los Angeles

Helping moms make strides in fitness, motherhood and life

Meet Our Moms

on September 29, 2012
Beth (aka Charlotte’s mommy) is one of our LA Striders!   It’s women like you who make Stroller Strides one of the best mommy & me activities in Los Angeles.  We love working out with you & Charlotte.  Thank you for letting us get to know you!
1.Who are the members of your family? Where are you from?  Me (Beth), my husband, David, Charlotte our 16 month old and Lucy our adorable mutt.  David and I met when we were both living in Chicago.  I’m originally from Northern Minnesota and he’s lived in 14 states, growing up as an Airforce Brat.  I didn’t realize how Midwestern we were, until we moved out here 🙂
2. What is or was your career?  I originally went to school for Elementary, Special and Deaf Education and transferred half way through to a Theatre Conservatory in Chicago.  I loved acting in Chicago, but had a hard time balancing family and theatre (and David used to tour in a rock a capella group – which was extra hard), so I turned back to my original love – kids.  I’ve been a nanny for more than a dozen years.  I currently work with a family with school aged kids in the afternoons and evenings.  Charlotte comes with me and the kids all adore one another.
3. How long have you been a member of Stroller Strides and what has it done for you?   I’ve been attending for a few months.  It’s inspired me to set health and weight goals – as a reward for meeting those goals, I get to go clothes shopping after Christmas!  I’ve loved the supportive atmosphere and the ability to actually push myself physically because of all of the other strong mamas around me!  I’m also loving meeting new mamas, and expanding my community.  It’s been wonderful!
 4.  Other than Stroller Strides, what is your favorite thing to do with your child in L.A.?  Gosh, it’s a toss-up between swimming – anywhere really, Charlotte loves to play in water, and Aiden’s Place.  Aiden’s Place was the best park when Charlotte was just a crawler and we’ve continued to love it as she grows.  We love that Lucy can run around there, as well.
5. What is something that has surprised you about motherhood?  Probably how unrelenting it is… I should have known better :).   But, also how much joy those snuggles, giggles and middle of the night peeks in on our Charlie-pants would bring.  It’s been especially wonderful watching my husband grow into such a loving and dedicated father.
6. Favorite quick & easy dinner that your family enjoys eating.  Anything on the grill!  We like to buy organic meat in bulk when we can find good prices, and keep it in the freezer for a quick and delicious dinner anytime.
7. Favorite website(s)?   Nothing too terribly exciting, I’m sorry to say.  I don’t get a lot of  “screen time” between Charlotte and the big kids that I nanny for.  I love Facebook for keeping up with friends and family – I recently joined Westside Swap on there, which has been great for finding and selling baby and kid stuff.  I love You Tube for finding American Sign Language videos for Charlotte to watch while I “just finish that one last line” of an email :).  I especially love the Baby Bundles videos – they have kids doing the signs, an adult teaching the sign, cartoons of the word they’re signing, real life images – Charlotte LOVES it and signs along with the videos – too cute!  I loved using You Tube when I was shopping for bigger ticket items like strollers, too.  There were some great product reviews by people who actually use the stroller day in and day out that were immensely helpful!
8. What’s your current obsession?   I was trying to think of what my obsessions are – and I realized that what I’ve been putting most of my free time and effort into (other than keeping the darn house some modicum of clean!) is this and a homeless shelter for women and children.  We’re participating in a 5K run/walk this weekend to support CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates – for Foster Children).    My friend has been active in this organization for years and recently alerted me to it.  I feel strongly led to do whatever I can to encourage action on behalf of foster kids, and nowhere is such action needed more than here in Los Angeles.  L.A. County is home to more foster children than any other county in the country (more than 20,000 at last count) and their outcomes are heartbreaking.  Rates of everything from teen pregnancy, to high school graduation, to unemployment, to imprisonment are all horrific.  Currently, an astonishing 70% of California prison inmates come out of our foster care system.  In Los Angeles, nearly half of the foster kids who “age out” of the system are homeless within 6 months.
I believe this is a true justice issue.  We are taking children out of their homes based on a judgment that we — as a community — can provide a better, safer childhood, and we are routinely failing these children terribly.  For some, the need for removal is heartbreakingly clear, but this is not always the case: 80% of children in California are removed for neglect, not abuse.  Neglect can be extraordinarily serious, of course, but there are also huge overlaps between neglect and poverty.  And it’s not just the neglectful parent/s from whom the child is removed, but often their siblings, their friends, their neighborhood, their school, their pets, sometimes their cultural and religious practices, etc.  In other words, their whole world.  There is *so much more* we could be doing to support families and children in the first instance, thereby reducing the number of children in foster care, and better serving the ones who unquestionably and unfortunately must be there.  As of now, 74% of children in long-term foster care in Los Angeles have been moved through 4 or more placements, and 21% have been placed in 11 or more different homes/facilities.  Eleven or more homes!  How can a child possibly put together a life for themselves under these circumstances?  How can they ever learn to forge connections — much less trust — amidst such instability?  I *know* we can do better for these children.  (But please know that this is not a critique of the many incredible social workers, etc., who do their very best day in and day out for foster children — there are a host of systematic issues beyond their control and beyond the scope of this posting!).
So how does CASA help?  CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates.   Anyone in the community can become a CASA; no particular background is required.   After receiving special training (and ongoing support) from CASA of Los Angeles, CASA volunteers are paired with a foster child and tasked with learning everything they can about that child’s life: Might the family be safely reunited with the help of supportive services?  Are there relatives who can help?  Is the child failing at school?  Are medical issues being attended to?  Armed with such knowledge, CASAs are authorized to advocate for the best possible course of action for that child  in court, in school, etc.  wherever a strong, vested, and stable voice is needed. They’re like mentors on steroids; they can truly make incredible, meaningful change happen in the life of a child, because they have the support and authority to do so.
Independent research demonstrates that children with a CASA volunteer are substantially less likely to spend time in long-term foster care, are more likely to receive needed services, and are less likely to re-enter foster care once given a permanent placement or safely reunified with family.  In 2009, the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Children in Foster Care urged that “state funding for CASA programs be expanded to allow for appointments in all cases.” Unfortunately, California’s budget crisis has led to the opposite result: CASA of Los Angeles recently lost its state funding, and it must reach out to the greater Los Angeles community to continue its critical advocacy work.
Here’s a link to our fundraising page for the walk this weekend!  http://www.active.com/donate/justicejog2012/santamonicaquakers

9. What is your child’s favorite thing about you or favorite thing that you do?

Charlotte loves to just BE with me.  She’ll sit on the floor and smile up at me and tap the floor repeatedly with her index finger inviting me to just sit with her and enjoy.  It’s irresistible 🙂
10. Before I was a mother I swore I would never… Buy this many toys!  I swear I have a harder time resisting adding to our collection than she does! 🙂
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