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Etai's Celebrates 10 Years in the Neighborhood this weekend!

[ Wednesday, August 26, 2015 | 0 comments ]
By Courtney Drake-McDonough

Etai's Cafe is celebrating 10 years in Stapleton. To celebrate, Etai’s is doing it up big all weekend, August 29-30 for everyone, whether you live in Stapleton or not! There will be giveaways, fun activities for kids, complimentary food and free beer from Crazy Mountain Brewing Company plus a few other surprises. All month long, Etai’s Cafe will be serving from a special menu of nostalgic dishes plus free cookies all month long.

 Enter for your chance to win a sandwich or salad each week for an entire year by liking Etai’s on Facebook. The contest runs through September and the prize can be used at any Etai’s location except for DIA. For more information, go here. 

For a full review of Etai's and to check out Courtney's Blog, click here
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Keeping Children Safe from Cyberbullying

[ Monday, July 27, 2015 | 0 comments ]

By Amy Williams

No one promised that raising teenagers would be easy.

The unpredictable mood swings, hormones, brain developments, and peer pressures are common complaints overheard from parents. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other factors like illness or trauma that can influence a teen’s well being and impact the role of a parent. One common problem facing our youth today is cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Defined

Victims are unable to escape the barrage of comments and mean posts hurled online or by text message. The advent of constant connectivity has taken bullying to a new level using digital means.

Bullying used to be contained to certain places or events away from the home. This allowed a victim access to safe retreats like home, friends’ houses, and more. Unfortunately, technology has banished these barricades- allowing bullies constant access to their targets.

Peers often “like” or add comments to increase the misery which often causes the underdog to feel that the world is against them. This “pile up” mentality eventually wears down a child and soon they feel isolated and depressed.

Cyberbullying Statistics

Evidence is mounting that something needs to be done to contain cyberbullying:
● According to recent bullying statistics, over 55% of all teens who participate in social media have witnessed cyberbullying

● 52% report being victims with 33% of them being threatened online

● 90% of children will not tell their parents or an adult when cyberbullying occurs

● 70% of teens have taken some form of action to hide online activity from parents

15% of high school students were electronically bullied in the past year

● 80% of teens regularly use cell phones which make them a common medium for cyberbullying

8 Strategies For Parents

The anonymity offered from technology, like Social Media or cell phones, is favored by bullies to harass or insult a victim. This might not seem like a big deal, but when you consider that there are over 23 million children between the ages of 8-17 using Facebook or 17 million connected with mobile devices you can see the larger picture.

Studies have found “only one out of every six pa
rents of adolescents and teens are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyberbullying”. That means that parental involvement can be the key to stopping the vicious cycle of aggressors and victims.

Listed below are strategies parents can utilize:

Know which social media sites and apps a child enjoys using.

Review social media etiquette.

● Know a child’s password and “friend” them on social media. Bullying behaviors might be deterred if Mom is watching. If cyberbullying is a problem, open and read messages together.

● Encourage your son or daughter to notify someone if they witness cyberbullying.

● Inform your child not to volunteer personal information online and be careful what images

they send.

● Document acts of cyberbullying. This will help families communicate with schools or officials regarding the problem. Save threatening emails, take a quick screenshot, and keep a log of
cyberbullying behaviors. It will help build a solid case if further intervention is needed.

Seek support from the school or community to help children who are involved in bullying. Working as a group will open up communications and draw attention to the negative consequences surrounding cyberbullying.

Monitor your child’s activity with an app on their smart phones and parental controls for the Internet.

Forging Ahead

Parents and teens are now armed with information to stop this epidemic of digital aggression. Our job as parents is still difficult and daunting as our children develop into adults. Thankfully, society has been raising awareness regarding the frightening aspects of cyberbullying.

With a little guidance and involvement, the potential impact cyberbullying has on our children can be greatly diminished.

Amy Williams, and I am a freelance journalist and mother of two teenagers. I am part of a parent advocacy group in southern California that helps parents struggling with raising troubled teenagers.

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Come Shop Designer Styles at Outrageously Low Prices to Support Dress for Success!

[ Sunday, July 12, 2015 | 0 comments ]

By Stapleton Moms

The Summer is about to get Hotter!  For the first time, Dress for Success Denver's (DFSD) sixth annual BYOB (bring your own bag) sale is coming to Stapleton! The sale takes place on Friday, July 24th and Saturday, July 25th with proceeds benefitting at-risk, underserved women seeking jobs and job retention. Shoppers will view thousands of affordable designer clothing items and accessories, generously donated by local boutiques. Sale items are sold to raise funds for DFSD’s programs, which provides job training and other services to women, and to purchase appropriate interview and career attire for clients.

Boutique-quality clothing, jewelry, handbags (Coach, Michael Kors, Burberry and many more), shoes, boots, jewelry and accessories have been donated from retailers like Wild Blue Boutique, A Line, Steve Madden, Evereve, Bella Bridesmaids, Two Sole Sisters, Rags Consignments, Eccentricity, Inspyre, Semplice, Wish, 5 Green Boxes, Birds and Belles and White House Black Market. Donated retail items are marked up to 75% off and range from $2 - $200.

Grab a friend (or two!) and come shop to support this great local non-profit.

Friday, July 24 guests are invited to a VIP cocktail and preview party ($50) from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm, $35 General Admission (7:00 pm) and $40 tickets at the door. Saturday, July 25 is free and open to the public from 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased via at www.denver.dressforsuccess.org

WHERE: Northfield Stapleton
8316 Northfield Blvd., Denver, 80238.

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Cirque Du Soleil: No Scary Clowns!

[ Sunday, June 21, 2015 | 0 comments ]
By Jaime Travis

As we were making our way to the great circus tent that had risen up high over the Pepsi Center parking lot, I did my best to convince our 8 year old son, Jack, that no run of the mill "scary or creepy clowns" (my apologies to the clown lovers in the crowd) would be allowed to traipse unencumbered amongst the crowd. I did, however, neglect to mention to him that there would in fact be- a whole lot of French-Canadian acrobats decked out in their Steampunk finest- twisting and contorting in only the way a Cirque du Soleil performer can do. Added up, it promised to be a winning afternoon!

And it was. Cirque Du Soleil's newest show, Kurios, is one of the best incarnations of the storied franchise, and is absolutely an enchanting and charming romp. My 5 year old daughter, Lucca, could not contain her enthusiasm and stood and danced along to much of the show.  The music is reminiscent of 1930's French cabaret and the musicians, who perform live, are top-notch.  But, truly any Cirque show is marked by the mind-bogglingly talented acrobats whose death-defying feats never fail to thrill.  In particular, the a host of astonishingly high leapers that open the second act, who seem to defy gravity in their fishing-net like trampoline.  There is also a wonderfully simple "Theater of Hands" which consists of live video, projected onto an old-fashioned hot-air balloon, of the exquisitely adept and dancerly hands of members of the troop performing with props and on an audience member’s head.  Kurios is playing at the Big Top through July 26th.  Tickets start at just $40.  It promises to be a joyful and entertaining show and guarantees to please.  

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Eight Mistakes Parents Make around College Planning

[ Tuesday, June 16, 2015 | 0 comments ]
By Stapleton Resident, Scott Cody

1. No Overall Game Plan. Many clients we sit down with have done a realistic plan and      projection of what the real cost of college education is going to be for their children. With today’s software, you can actually go college by college (in state vs. out of state) to calculate the cost of college education. Are you looking at private school? Public school? In state? Out of state? Inflation adjustment? All of these are just a sampling of questions to help you figure out how much it is going to cost for college education, how much you need to save today, and what after-tax rate of return your money is going to need to earn to help you reach the goals you plan to achieve to give your children financial support. www.savingforcollege.com is just one website to go through this type of exercise.  

2.  Choosing Right College Savings Account. There are many different vehicles today for saving money for college education. Once you have built an overall game plan within your financial plan, you should have a better idea on exactly which college savings plan makes sense for you. Should you take out the popular 529 plan? It is a good idea to a Coverdell IRA? Perhaps taking a look at the notion of doing an UGMA or an UTMA? There are various other methods including Savings Bonds, Roth IRA’s, and Life Insurance. You need to clearly look at the tax ramifications of each plan, cost, investment choices, and more to determine which one is right for you. Making the wrong decision here can be a disastrous mistake.  

3.  Not Matching Your Investments to Your Time Horizon. Most people we meet for the first time, truly don’t understand the how the money is being invested for your children’s education. More importantly, a big mistake we see is not matching the time frame of those investments to the type of investment where the money is located. A great example of this is seeing parents whose child is going to college in one year, yet 100% of the money is still invested in the stock market. Many parents felt this pain a few years ago when the stock market crashed, and are now having to experience finding other alternatives on where to come up with money to pay for college. Each year that draws closer, the overall balance of stocks and bonds should become more conservative. If you don’t have an appropriate time frame (recommended at more than 5 years) you may not want to consider being in the stock market with college education money due to the risks involved.  

4.  Underestimating Inflation on College Tuition. With normal inflation rates historically being in the 3% range, college education costs have been in the 5% to 6% range which is double normal inflation. At 6% inflation, this means the cost of college will literally double every 12 years. This is where parents may want to consider plans such as Prepaid Tuition Plans or other vehicles that may allow you to keep pace with that rising inflation. You need to consider carefully the pros and cons of these plans, but this is a major miscalculation when most parents do goal setting for saving for their kid’s education.  

5.  Using Your Retirement Account to Pay for College. This is up at the top of the list of the biggest mistakes I see parents make when it comes to paying for college. In general, I believe it is a big mistake to sacrifice your retirement for your kid’s college education. It can become even more of a financial wreck if you get involved in taking loans from your 401k plan or other type (s) of retirement plans. This can cause a major hiccup in the time value of money in your own retirement account, and can be very difficult to recover in the later years of your life.  

6.  Raising the Expected Family Contribution. With so much hitting a parent’s household around college education, it is important to keep a close eye on the calculations around the expected family contribution. The EFC is really around how much of your income and savings you’ll need to spend before financial aid will kick in for you. Seeing where your income is going to be, how assets are titled, and what other assets you are going to sell are serious considerations around these calculations. Make sure you understand what counts for your name and your kids name when it comes to what assets you will have to use for college. 

7.  File FAFSA Annually In January And Research Your Ability For Federal And State Aid. Two-thirds of all full-time undergraduate students receive some kind of financial aid, so odds are you are eligible, too. The federal government has a formula that determines the amount your family is expected to contribute to your college costs. Any costs above that have a chance to be covered by financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is required to be considered for federal student aid. It can also be requiredby colleges, state agencies, and some scholarships. Complete the FAFSA for the first time as early as you can during the spring semester of your senior year of high school and every year thereafter that you are in college. The new FAFSA form is updated and available each year in January, and the sooner you apply, the better your chances are to receive the maximum amount of financial aid for which you are eligible. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov for more information. (from the Sallie Mae website)  

8.  Not Setting Realistic Expectations with Your Kids. No matter which path you set out with your kids around college, be realistic about what is affordable in your family budget. You should also be clear around things such as whether they will have to get a job while going to school, what you can afford if anything around spending money at school, and what your household can afford overall. While a 4 year private school may be the dream school for your child, the cost of a 4 year public school may be more than what your house can afford. Make sure they know what you can realistically help them out with so they can plan their future for the next four years. The more clearly you set expectations, the better the journey will be in college. 

If you’d like to talk to us about college education planning or overall financial planning, please contact Latitude Financial Group at 720-881-8742 or visit us at www.stapletonadvisor.com. 
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