A ?safety Net? for Tough Times –

July 27, 2010

DATELINE:  IRVINE, CA… Every year, infant formula is one of the most shoplifted items throughout the country.  This brings into focus a problem faced by increasing numbers of families with a new baby as the economy tanks.

Parents of new babies who wondered “how am I going to afford this” before their baby arrived, are now losing part or all of their income and/or home. Now what? There’s no real answer for them, other than cutting back and trying to replace the lost income. If they don’t have luck with replacing that income, things can get steadily worse.  With a baby screaming due to hunger and no money to pay for infant formula (which runs $50 per week), the temptation for a father to steal it from the local market is understandable.  Yet, it is not an option.  Dad being arrested for shoplifting will only add to the economic nightmare for a young family. 

According to Greg Bishop, founder of Boot Camp for New Dads, a non-profit orientation program for fathers-to-be, operating in more than 260 hospitals, clinics, schools, fire stations and churches around North America and internationally, and author of two books on fathering, there are alternatives available for feeding baby and family.

Bishop explained, “Every community has a ‘safety net’ for families falling off the economic ladder and they generally give priority to children. Dad will need to learn how to navigate this network, which can be very frustrating, particularly now when there is growing competition for limited resources and each community has a unique arrangement of resources and organizations involved.”

But, assistance is out there.  Boot Camp for New Dads provides some basic guidelines to follow:

·     Look for support early when it becomes apparent you may need it.  There may be waiting lists, or an eligibility period, etc. Connect with the local information and referral system.  Don’t know where to start?  Ask at a church, county welfare, a senior citizen center or food bank.

·     Start with a local food bank to supplement your family’s meal costs.  They can also provide a wealth of information (talk to others in line and staff as well) for anyone accessing the “safety-net” for the first time.

·     Check into your family’s eligibility for food stamps.  The national program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service is now known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).  The SNAP program provides families with an electronic card, similar to an ATM card which may be used for groceries.  In general, families with an income of less than $2000 per month for a family of four are eligible.  (Visit www.fns.usda.gov/FSP)

·     Housing is tough due to limited resources.  Homeless shelters can be a temporary fix, but they are not set up for families.  Subsidized housing may be an option that is available to you and your family, but waiting lists are involved, so investigate this option as soon as you know you may need it.

·     You may be eligible for help with your utility bills, especially heating oil.  Check with your local referral system.

·     Temporary income assistance may also be available from your county welfare office.

·     If you lose your health insurance, check out local health clinics for the uninsured for both treatment and information on insurance alternatives (like Medicaid for your child).

·     Look for odd jobs to pay something. 

Bishop continued, “When times are tough, the man who does whatever is necessary, in an honest way, to take care of his family, is a man in its truest sense.”

Tips, Advice, Instructions and more

Greg Bishop offers strategies from more than 200,000 new dads that have gone through the Boot Camp for New Dads program in his second book, Crash Course for New Dads:  Tools, Checklists and Cheat Sheets.  His first book, Hit the Ground Crawling, covers work balance, being a dad, caring for a new mom and much more.  Both books are available online at www.DadsAdventure.com.


New Dads Learn What to Expect at Boot Camp Workshops

Dads-to-be will be better equipped to face the challenges and opportunities of fatherhood after attending a Boot Camp “hands on” educational workshop. Men attend the class when they are expecting their first baby, and are joined in the workshop by “veterans” who had previously attended and have returned with their two to four-month-old baby in tow.  They are able to give the dads-to-be a realistic idea of what to do and what to expect when their first baby comes.  For many men attending, it’s their first time holding a baby.

Boot Camp for New Dads        

Now celebrating their 18th year, Boot Camp for New Dads is nationally acclaimed as the “Best Practice” for preparing men to be fathers and has been named a U.S. Navy Model Program.  Boot Camp for New Dads has prepared more than 200,000 men for fatherhood over the years. 


With more than 4.1 million births (National Center for Health Statistics) and approximately 1.5 million men becoming new dads every year, it’s more important than ever for fathers to realize that being a “good provider” is only part of the very central role they have in their children’s lives. 

For more information about Boot Camp for New Dads, visit www.bcnd.org, or to visit Dads Adventure, go to www.DadsAdventure.com.  To arrange an interview with Greg Bishop, please contact sdubin@prworkzone.com, (781) 582-1061.

National and International Locations

Boot Camp For New Dads locations include ALASKA (Anchorage); ARIZONA (Chandler, Flagstaff, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sun City); ARKANSAS (Jonesboro, Paragould, Springdale); CALIFORNIA (Apple Valley, Bakersfield, , Fresno, Garden Grove, Irvine, Laguna Hills, Madera, Merced, Mission Hills, , Oakland, Orange, Pomona, Port Hueneme, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Barbara, , S. Lake Tahoe, Travis, Valley Springs); COLORADO (Aurora, Boulder, Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Fort Carson, Greeley, Longmont, Thornton, Wheat Ridge); CONNECTICUT (Bristol, Danbury, New London); FLORIDA (Brandon, Clearwater, Hollywood, Jacksonville, North Palm Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Sarasota, Tampa); GEORGIA (Atlanta, Elberton, Gainesville, Marietta, Savannah); HAWAII (Pearl Harbor, Schofield); ILLINOIS (Aurora, Carbondale, Champaign, Chicago, East St. Louis, Evanston, Freeport, Geneva, Great Lakes, Highland Park, Libertyville, Moline, Oak Park, Rockford, Springfield, Urbana, Winfield); INDIANA (Anderson, Bluffton, Hammond, Indianapolis, Jeffersonville, Kokomo); IOWA (Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Jefferson, Sioux City); KANSAS (Junction City, Topeka); KENTUCKY (Paducah); LOUISIANA (Covington); MAINE (Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Brunswick, Ellsworth, Waterville); MARYLAND (Annapolis) MASSACHUSETTS (Beverly, Ipswich, Lowell, Nantucket, Plymouth, Weymouth, Springfield); MICHIGAN (, Ann Arbor, Bay City, Centreville, Iron Mountain, Ithaca, Kalamazoo, Niles, St Joseph, Ypsilanti); MINNESOTA (Brainerd, Duluth, Robbinsdale); MISSISSIPPI (Tupelo); MISSOURI (Jefferson City) MONTANA (Billings, Helena, Miles City); NEBRASKA (Kearney, Lincoln, Omaha); NEVADA (Las Vegas) NEW HAMPSHIRE (Manchester, Portsmouth); NEW JERSEY (Princeton) NEW YORK (Glens Falls, Little Falls, Mineola, Rome, Utica); NORTH CAROLINA (Burlington, Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Concord, Ft. Bragg, Greensboro, Monroe, Raleigh, Shelby); NORTH DAKOTA (Grand Forks); OHIO (Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, East Cleveland, East Liverpool, Garfield Heights, Lima, Lorain, Mayfield Heights, Middleburg Heights, Orange Village, Portsmouth, Toledo, Warren, Westlake, Youngstown); OKLAHOMA (Claremore, Oklahoma City, Tulsa); OREGON (Corvalis, McMinnville, Salem, Silverton); SOUTH CAROLINA (Columbia, Pickens, Walhalla); TENNESSEE (Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis); TEXAS (Amarillo, Dallas, Fort Hood, Longview, Lubbock, Plano, San Antonio, Texarkana, Waco, Webster); VERMONT (Barre, Brattleboro, Middlebury); VIRGINIA (Charlottesville, Chesapeake, Hampton, Richmond) WASHINGTON (Everett, Fairchild AFB, Longview, Olympia, Puyallup, Yakima); WEST VIRGINIA (Wheeling); WISCONSIN (Florence, Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, Watertown, Wausau); JAPAN (Atsugi, Yokosuka), ITALY (Sicily); UNITED KINGDOM [a.k.a. Hit the Ground Crawling] (Birmingham, Liverpool)

The Hotel At Times Square New York

May 27, 2010


Our first encounter came a few years ago when a travel agent, who helped my husband and me plan a cross-country trip, booked us into the Hotel El Tovar. The Hotel At Times Square New York  I couldn’t help but be a little distressed when I found our room–a sprawling space with a dark wooden floor–lacked a private bathroom. The trek down a lonely hallway did not provide the interior ambiance I had anticipated.

But later that afternoon my disappointment in the accommodations turned into fascination when my husband and I strolled the path edging the rim of the Grand Canyon. All around us magnificent canyon scenery glistened and vibrated with light, creating images that attract photographers and artists from all over the world.

That evening we dined overlooking the unforgettable vistas of the Grand Canyon. Before our eyes, sheets of light drifted and danced in rainbow hues across the rocky canyon walls.  The resulting incredible color displays whetted my appetite to return in a few years with our children.  They also inspired an entire series of paintings created from photographs taken that day and on other visits to the canyon.

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Today the Hotel El Tovar looms like a vigilant guard on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Renovations a few years ago added private baths to rooms that previously lacked them. Although the hotel facilities have changed, the wonder of the canyon has not. We can thank the United States presidents who signed documents that protected the forests and game of the Grand Canyon and created the National Park in 1919. The El Tovar, brought about when the Santa Fe railroad reached the canyon, opened its doors in 1905.

The El Tovar is the hotel that inspired me to begin writing HOTELS TO REMEMBER. Our visit to the “edge of wonder” prompted my quest to find, photograph, and write about wonderful old hotels everywhere. Newspaper and magazine articles as well as the book resulted from that quest.

Whenever a journey westward takes us near Flagstaff, Arizona, we go back to the Grand Canyon for yet another visit. Each trip provides “a snapshot in time” and a new motivation to paint.

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