Dalton, Joan — Dogs in Juvenile Hall

I once had the good fortune of seeing “If Animals Could Talk,” a movie made by Jane Goodall.  A segment was about The MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility in Woodburn, Oregon. The boys incarcerated there have committed serious criminal offenses; some of them are given an opportunity to train dogs, develop relationships with the dogs and in doing so learn responsibility, patience and respect for other living creatures. There is a zero recidivism rate among the juvenile inmates who spend time training dogs at MacLaren.

Joan Dalton is the founder and executive director of Project Pooch, a non-profit corporation linked with MacLaren, where incarcerated youths train shelter dogs and find them homes. We visited by phone from her home near Portland, Oregon on February 15, 2010 and began our conversation when I asked her to tell us how Project Pooch came about and then about Project Pooch itself.

The books that Joan Dalton recommends are “Children And Animals: Exploring The Roots Of Kindness And Cruelty,” by Frank R. Ascione and “Rescue Ink: How Ten Guys Saved Countless Dogs and Cats, Twelve Horses, Five Pigs, One Duck,and a Few Turtles,” by Rescue Ink and Denise Flaim. 

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Dr. Martha Richmond : Lead In the Blood – Dangers And How To Protect

Approximately 500,000 children in the United States between the ages of one and five suffer from lead poisoning as a result of lead in their blood above the level for which public health action is recommended.

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified and lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.   This results in short and long term adverse consequences in the exposed children and to society in general.

The level of lead in the blood of children is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. Martha E. Richmond, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Director of Environmental Science, at Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts.

Dr. Richmond’s work has centered on lead poisoning in children and involves assessment of environmental regulation to effectively protect public health, including the effectiveness of regulations for air pollutants, and protection of children against lead toxicity.
When Dr. Richmond visited with me by phone from her home near Boston, Massachusetts, on October 19, 2014, she began with a description of the issues surrounding lead poisoning.
The book Dr. Martha Richmond recommends is    Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children, by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner.

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Sylvia A. Harvey: The Sting of Separation – An Uncomfortable Truth

The sting of separation and the wearing of an uncomfortable truth is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious. The 2.7 million children of prison inmates in the United States are losing their visitation rights.

Sylvia A. Harvey, an investigative journalist, is our guest. Her story about the diminishing opportunities for children to visit their incarcerated parents was published in The Nation magazine on December 14, 2015.

Some of Harvey’s most cherished childhood memories are the times she was able to visit her father while he was an inmate at Soledad State Prison, in California when she was between the ages of 5 and 16.

When Sylvia Harvey and I visited by phone from her home in New York City, on January 18, 2016, we began with her personal experience and how now absence of not being able visit a parent in prison affects 2.7 million children.

Instead of recommending a book, Sylvia Harvey recommends the song “Ain’t Got No,” by Nina Simone.

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Cantu, Dr. Robert — Concussions: The Impact of Sports On Kids’ Brains

Concussion injuries to our children is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious as we visit with Dr. Robert Cantu, the author of “Concussions and Our Kids”.  Dr. Cantu’s medical career centers on neurosurgery and sports medicine and is dedicated to addressing the concussion crisis through research, treatment, education and prevention.

Dr. Cantu writes that the genetic inheritance of a child begins to control his or her athletic skills at about age 14.  This is similar to the evolutionary influence that compels young teenagers to set a mark and establish status and belonging within their band or tribe, often through athletic prowess.  In the evolutionary history of our species this was necessary for basic survival.  Now in the 21st century, many of our children do the same thing, many times with strong family support, yet at the same time, subjecting themselves to radical injury.  Dr. Cantu and I spoke by phone from his office near Boston, Massachusetts, on September 24, 2012.  I began by asking him to comment on his analysis.

The book Dr. Robert Cantu recommends, which was also made into a movie is “Head Games,” by Chris Nowinski.

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Nawa, Fariba — Child Brides & Drug Lords

Imagine Darya, a twelve year old girl in a remote village of Afghanistan. Her father forces her to marry a drug lord as part payment for an opium drug trade. Her father is not home and she is about to be taken from her family. Desperately, her hands trembling, she implores you, a complete stranger: “Please don’t let him take me.”

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Fariba Nawa, author of “Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords and One Woman’s Journey Through Afghanistan.” Fariba Nawa was ten years old when her family fled Afghanistan shortly before the Soviet invasion in 1979. Eighteen years later Fariba Nawa met twelve year old Darya when she returned to her native Afghanistan as an Afghan-American investigative journalist. Her book tells Darya’s story, and reveals what the Afghan opium drug trade is doing to her native land in the midst of war.

Fariba Nawa and I visited by phone from her home near San Francisco, California on January 23, 2012. We began with her description of coming to the United States and flight from Afghanistan.

The book Fariba Nawa recommends is “Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love and War,” by Annia Ciezaldo.

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Richmond, Martha — Lead in the Blood: Dangers and How to Protect

The level of lead in the blood of children is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious.  Our guest is Dr. Martha E. Richmond, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Director of Environmental Science, at Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts. 

Dr. Richmond’s current work centers on lead poisoning in children and involves  assessment of environmental regulation to effectively protect public health, including the effectiveness of regulations for air pollutants, and protection of children against lead toxicity.

Approximately 500,000 children in the United States between the ages of 1 and 5 suffer from lead poisoning as a result of lead in their blood above the level for which public health action is recommended. 

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified and lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized.   This results in short and long term adverse consequences in the exposed children and to society in general.

When Dr. Richmond visited by phone from her home near Boston, Massachusetts, on October 19, 2014, she began with a description of the issues surrounding lead poisoning.

The book Dr. Martha Richmond recommends is “Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children,” by Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner.

Click here to listen or on the media player below.

Bishop, Becky — Reading Dogs

This radio program is about reading. Learning to read is often confusing and frustrating. Parents and teachers sometimes create stress that flows from their personal angst to the frustration of the child trying to read. Reading to a nonjudgemental creature, who never comments and always appears to pay attention, often helps to create reading fluency.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with Becky Bishop, founder of Reading With Rover, a program to help children learn to read. Becky Bishop also operates Puppy Manners, a dog training school located in Woodenville, Washington, about thirty miles from Seattle. Becky Bishop relies on the close bond between children and dogs that creates calm moments and encourages a learning environment. Her organization, “Reading With Rover” couples children who have difficulty reading with a dog who has no trouble listening. 

When Becky Bishop and I visited by phone from her home in Washington on February 22, 2010, we discussed why dogs are better listeners than teachers or parents, and we began with Becky explaining how dogs help children to read.

The books Becky Bishop recommends are “Living Life As A Thank You: The Transformative Power Of Daily Gratitude,” by Nina Lesowitz and Mary Beth Sammon, and “Walter the Farting Dog,” by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, Elizabeth Gundy, and Audrey Coleman. 

Click here to listen to the program or on the media player below.

Arkin, Ron & Kirchiro, John — Lack of Trust: Youth and Substance Abuse Part Two

Lack of trust is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious, the second of a two part series with Ron Arkin and John Kirchiro. 

Ron Arkin is a Family Empowerment Facilitator with Mendocino County, California, Child Protective Services.  John Kirchiro spent 13 years working as a Crisis Counselor, Intervention Specialist and Substance Abuse Counselor in multiple school districts throughout Mendocino County before becoming the Director and Principal of the Willits, California, Charter School, Grades 6 to 12. 

Their counseling work focuses on youth from families where abuse of drugs and alcohol is common, often among both the parents and children.  This abuse frequently results in serious family dysfunction and lack of trust, making school and home life more than difficult.

In part one, recorded on March 21, 2014, we began with John Kirchiro’s description of the substance abuse problem in rural northern Mendocino County. 

In part two, we begin with John Kirchiro’s description of his counseling work, known as the “Laytonville model.”

The book Ron Arkin recommends is “YOU: The Owner’s Manual: An Insider’s Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger,” by Michael F. Roizen and Mehmet C. Oz.

The book John Kirchiro recommends is “The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time,” by Matthew Fox. 

Click here or on the media player below to listen to part two.

Arkin, Ron & Kirchiro, John — Lack of Trust:  Youth and Substance Abuse Part One

Lack of trust is the topic of this edition of Radio Curious, the first of a two part series with Ron Arkin and John Kirchiro. 

Ron Arkin is a Family Empowerment Facilitator with Mendocino County, California, Child Protective Services.  John Kirchiro spent 13 years working as a Crisis Counselor, Intervention Specialist and Substance Abuse Counselor in multiple school districts throughout Mendocino County before becoming the Director and Principal of the Willits, California, Charter School, Grades 6 to 12. 

Their counseling work focuses on youth from families where abuse of drugs and alcohol is common, often among both the parents and children.  This abuse frequently results in serious family dysfunction and lack of trust, making school and home life more than difficult.

We begin part one, recorded on March 21, 2014, with John Kirchiro’s description of the substance abuse problem in rural northern Mendocino County. 

In part two, John Kirchiro and Ron Arkin discuss the counseling work they do, known as the “Laytonville model.”

The book John Kirchiro recommends is the “The Warrior’s Journey Home:  Healing Men, Healing the Planet,” by Jed Diamond. 

The book Ron Arkin recommends is “The Soul’s Code:  In Search of Character and Calling,” by John Hillman. 

Click here or on the media player below to listen to part one.

Fogg, Laura — Traveling Blind

The ways different creatures, especially us humans, use our senses to guide ourselves through life has long attracted my curiosity.   I’ve often wondered how blind people seem able to orient themselves, and also wondered about their dreams. 

From time to time, over the years, I would see an attentive woman walk past my office window next to a young person of student age.  They would walk together talk, and the young person almost always carried a white cane with a red tip. 

Laura Fogg is this woman, the author of “Traveling Blind:  Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers,” and our guest in this archive edition of Radio Curious.  

Laura Fogg worked as a Mobility and Orientation Instructor for the Blind in Mendocino County for over 35 years beginning 1971.  She pioneered the use of the red tipped white cane with very young blind students some of whom had multiple impairments.  She traveled long distances over the rather spectacular back roads of Mendocino County to work with each student his or her home.

When she visited the studios of Radio Curious on December 1, 2008, I asked her about the lessons that she learned that have changed her life. 

The book Laura Fogg recommends is “My Year of Meats,” by Ruth Ozeki. Published in 1999.

Click here or on the media player below to listen.