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Pouches' Community Corner

Postpartum Support Virginia

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression.

While “baby blues” after childbirth is common—characterized by mood swings, crying spells and anxiety—it becomes postpartum depression when it lasts longer than two weeks.

The thing for mothers to remember is postpartum depression isn’t a flaw or weakness. It does not make you an inadequate mother. It’s a sign you may need additional resources and support.

For new and expectant mothers in the Fredericksburg area, Postpartum Support Virginia stands as the help and support for women and their families who are experiencing postpartum depression.

Founded in 2009 by Adrienne Griffen, Postpartum Support Virginia offers one-on-one support, free peer-led groups, a robust site of information including screening and diagnosis overviews, fact sheets, and training sessions.

Griffen, who struggled after the birth of one of her children, created Postpartum Support Virginia to help other women when she couldn’t find information she needed. Since 2009, the organization has helped hundreds of moms and families get help, support, and healing through this joyous time that can sometimes turn dark.

a newborn baby is held by her dad as he kisses her cheek rK0IP9RSiWhile it’s associated with mothers, men can get postpartum depression, too. Some of the many signs of postpartum depression in men include:

• isolation
• irritability
• increased use in alcohol or drugs
• impulsivity or risky behaviors
• loss of interests and productivity
• feeling emasculated (“I don’t feel like much of a man”)
• Violent and/or suicidal thoughts

A full list of symptoms can be found at Postpartum Men (postpartummen.com), a website dedicated to helping men with postpartum depression.

To learn more about postpartum depression, treatment options, or to find support groups in the area, visit Postpartum Support Virginia’s website at postpartumva.org.

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Bragg Hill Family Life Center

Since opening its doors to the community in 1997, the Bragg Hill Family Life Center has served low-income and underprivileged families and at-risk youth families in the greater Fredericksburg region.

Dr. Joseph D. Henderson, Sr. and Dr. Doris S. Henderson, former residents of Bragg Hill and founders of the Bragg Hill Family Life Center, envisioned a place where people in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city could find refuge. Once they opened the doors, this former youth detention center went from a place of despair to a center of hope for people seeking to gain the knowledge and tools necessary to overcome their socioeconomic setbacks.

Bragg Hill Family Life Center’s goals are threefold as it aims to fulfill its mission to build people:

  • To provide opportunities for mental, moral, spiritual, and educational growth.
  • To serve as an outreach organization for the community and a referral source for individuals needing assistance from local agencies.
  • To be committed to family empowerment.

“This is a great role model for how we can be addressing these issues nationwide.” – Fmr. U.S. Senator Jim Webb

The Bragg Hill Family Life Center achieves these goals through programs geared towards educating adults and seniors, offering assistance through its food pantry, providing emergency and holiday assistance, and hosting annual community events throughout the year for people of all ages.

As a community partner, Bragg Hill Family Life Center emphasizes youth programs aimed at helping the present generation of kids flourish in today’s society, through programs such as sports, academics, or arts and crafts. The directors of the Center also encourage other community organizations to use its facilities to host events and meetings in an effort to make the community better for all people.

What: Brag Hill Family Life Center
Where: 400 Bragg Hill Dr., Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Contact: Danielle Henderson, Program Specialist - (540) 371-3662

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Engineering For Kids

“I believe that all children are natural engineers. They are curious, creative and kinetic. Engineering For Kids wants to help nurture and develop those minds, to help children better understand the world they live in, so that they can one day make it better.” – Dori Roberts

In 2009 while teaching engineering courses at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford, Virginia, Dori Roberts realized a growing need for more S.T.E.M.-focused enrichment for her students. “I knew the world economy would increasingly require the skills and expertise of S.T.E.M. jobs. To help fill this skills gap, I was the advisor for a Technology Student Association chapter at Colonial Forge High School.”

S.T.E.M., an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, allows students access to advanced science and technology with the aim of making them more competitive in those fields the future.

As Roberts’ Technology Student Association grew to 180 students, they saw success in multiple state championships. During a trip to the national TSA conference in Orlando, Florida, Roberts brought her young children, 6 and 8 years old.

“A funny thing happened on the way to Epcot...my children were becoming as interested in what the student engineers were doing as they were The Magic Kingdom. They were drawn more to the roller coasters being made than the ones being ridden. And then the idea came to me: Engineering For Kids.”

Operations for Engineering For Kids began out of a single classroom and has since grown into a successful franchise, reaching over 300,000 students worldwide.

In Fredericksburg, Engineering for Kids provides a suite of programs and events for kids aged 4-14. “Subjects range from Electronic Game Design to Aerospace Engineering, Robotics to earth-friendly Environmental and Marine Engineering. Engineering For Kids is devoted to one sole purpose: to inspire the next generation of engineers.”

If you are interested in getting your kids involved, Engineering For Kids is offering the Fredericksburg area workshops and Spring and Summer Camps.

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Fredericksburg All Ages

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Created in 2006 by young musicians seeking a venue to perform, Fredericksburg All Ages empowers young musicians across the area by providing a platform by which they can listen to and share their art. Adam Bray, founder of FAA recalls its beginning.

“I moved back to Fredericksburg after finishing grad school and started working part time at the local guitar shop, Apple Music, while job hunting in D.C. At Apple Music, I kept running into teenagers who were really into music, taking guitar lessons and starting bands, but who had never played music in front of anyone. And, some of them had never been to a concert before,” he says.

During that time, the only performance venues for live music were from the 21 and over crowd. This got Bray’s wheels turning. He met five area youth and organized a show they put on-stage at "The Loft" (which is now Mian Noodle House) on September 10, 2006. The event was comprised of two high school bands and two bands from the University of Mary Washington.

“It was a Sunday matinee. Turnout exceeded all of our expectations. The show sold out with 130 people showing up - primarily high school and college students, but also parents and other family members coming to support their kids who were performing at the show,” he remembers.

Now 13 years later, FAA has “put on over 300 events with thousands of attendees and dozens of teenagers taking up leadership roles and running the program” and hosts a semi-annual 24-hour filmmaking competition and supports a theater program, Proof of Youth Theatre.

For parents wanting to get their youth involved with FAA, Bray has this to offer.

“Come to a show and talk to us! When you come to an FAA concert, you'll see young people taking money at the door, selling merch, running sound, and coordinating all the logistics. They're the best people to talk to and they're nice!” he says.

Learn more and involved with Fredericksburg All Ages at fredericksburgallages.org.

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Team River Runner

Pouches Learns About the Power of Play

TRR

Healing PTSD can be a challenge for veterans of Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam. In Fredericksburg, Lance Sharp, Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator for Team River Runner, has launched a local chapter of Team River Runner to make water sports on Fredericksburg’s beautiful Rappahannock River and nearby lakes available to anyone with a visible or invisible injury.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” says Sharp. “We have 35 vets paddling, kayaking and canoeing, along with 85 volunteers to assist them. We also take any nonmilitary with disabilities in the area.

“We do everything from casual paddling to experienced white water paddling. Many veterans especially enjoy the adrenaline rush from white water kayaking or paddling. We like to keep a 2-to-1 volunteer to participant ratio and we adapt to any physical or mental injury. The team meets once a month for open water exercises and three times a month at the pool at the Ron Rosner YMCA in Spotsylvania from 8:30 to noon.”

All equipment is free, funded by the VA, the national Team River Runner organization and local fundraising.

Team River Runner’s mission is to provide all veterans and their families an opportunity to find health, healing, community purpose, and new challenges through adventure and adaptive paddle sports.

For more information or to donate, contact Lance Sharp at 229-507-8787 or email at Fredericksburg This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please visit: fredericksburgva.wixsite.com/trr-fc and teamriverrunner.org

"TRR has brought so much joy to my stay at Perry Point VA Medical Center! I found my love for Kayaking and being on the open water and having those few hours of serenity and fun to forget about my difficulties and disability!” —Jen McGowan

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