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Help Provide Smiles for Today, Hope for Tomorrow

(NewsUSA) - Marine Toys for Tots, which is traditionally known as the flagship children’s Christmastime charity, has evolved into a year-round force for good. The year-round assistance and emotional relief that the organization provides extends beyond the holiday season, because needs aren’t seasonal, and neither is Toys for Tots.

The Program’s year-round distributions reassure families who face adversity and exceptional circumstances that Marine Toys for Tots is committed to delivering messages of hope, restoring and building self-esteem, and inspiring youngsters to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

As schools close for the summer, vulnerable children are at risk of losing many of the educational skills they achieved during the school year because they don’t have access to books and other educational resources outside of the school system.

To help prevent summer learning loss and prepare students for the next school year, the Marine Toys for Tots Program continues its year-round impact through their Spring and Summer initiative – Smiles for Today, Hope for Tomorrow. This initiative provides children access to the learning tools they need to help them maintain their skills and prepare for the new school year.

Through this initiative, Toys for Tots is providing one hundred truckloads of toys, gifts, and educational resources to children in need in communities across twenty-six states, in partnership with sixty local nonprofit organizations. The support that Toys for Tots continues to provide beyond the holiday season is instrumental in reassuring underprivileged children that they are not forgotten. The Program stands ready to provide emotional relief, comfort, and hope for a brighter future to children in need through distribution events held by local organizations across the Nation. 

One such organization, My Joyful Heart, recently distributed toys, books, and games – provided by Toys for Tots – to 1,100 children in the greater Chicago area, along with clothing, hygiene items, and snacks.  Summer is often a difficult time for children who don’t have the safety net that school provides, so the items they receive remind them of their tremendous worth and value.

My Joyful Heart’s Director of Operations, Erin Burns, said, “The children will be overjoyed with their gifts, and more importantly, they will be reminded that so many people care.”

The Spring and Summer distribution events are part of Toys for Tots’ commitment to empowering children year-round – giving them gleaming smiles for today and renewed hope for a brighter future tomorrow.  

Visit to be a force for good this summer!


Top Water Safety Tips for Kids and Families this Summer

(NewsUSA) - Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 1-4 years, and the second leading cause of injury-related death among children up to 14 years of age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As spring and summer approach and water activity increases, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA) is raising awareness to educate parents, caregivers, and communities on drowning prevention strategies.

“There are so many misperceptions about drowning, particularly as it relates to children,” says Adam Katchmarchi, Ph.D., executive director of the NDPA. “Perhaps the most important to dispel is the myth that one strategy for prevention is enough. This summer, we want to change that by putting information about the need for Five Layers of Protection directly into the hands of parents and communities.”

According to Katchmarchi, “Among parents who have lost a child to drowning, the most common response I hear is ‘we didn’t know’ – didn’t know how prevalent it is, didn’t know how easily it can happen, and didn’t know that one strategy for water safety and drowning prevention just isn't enough.” 

The bottom line on drowning prevention: more is better. The NDPA has developed the Five Layers of Protection protocol with input from pediatricians, epidemiologists, and aquatics education professionals. They recommend following this protocol whenever a child is near open water.

The Five Layers of Protection for water safety include:

1.Barriers and Alarms. Physical barriers and audio alerts help keep children and unauthorized adults from accessing water unsupervised.

2.Supervision. Don’t leave the kids alone. Ensure close, constant, and capable adult supervision by a designated water watcher or lifeguard anytime children are in or around water.

3.Water Competency. Teach all children basic water safety skills to reduce the risk of drowning and aquatic-related injuries, regardless of their swimming skill level.

4.Life Jackets. Make sure children are wearing life jackets (tested and approved by the United States Coast Guard) to provide protection when they are near the water, including on a dock or in a boat.

5.Emergency Response Preparedness. Parents and adults supervising children near the water should have basic CPR training and water rescue skills. Plus, have a charged phone nearby to call 911 if needed.

This summer, the NDPA’s #WaterSafetyChampion campaign includes working with social influencers across the country to reach parents and families; collaborating with a children’s swimwear designer to include an NDPA hang-tag with water safety information; and creating a downloadable Water Safety Season Toolkit with pre-produced content and assets for parents, pediatricians, and partners to share the message about the Five Layers of Protection and help save lives.

Visit for more information about water safety and drowning prevention.

Marine Toys for Tots Brings Joy to Children in Foster Care

(NewsUSA) - May is National Foster Care Month, and the Marine Toys for Tots Program continues to expand its support beyond the holiday season to deliver emotional comfort and gifts to children living in Foster Care.

Children living within Foster Care face tremendous uncertainty, often lacking a permanent, nurturing family to love and guide them in their formative years.

Toys for Tots’ initiative, Champions for Those in Foster Care, provides toys, books, and other gifts to foster children with the assistance of local organizations across the country. “These children often leave their homes with only a small plastic bag of their belongings. Marine Toys for Tots wants to give Foster Care children not only something tangible to take with them as they move, but also some tools and hope for a brighter tomorrow,” says LtGen Jim Laster, CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. 

These children are placed temporarily in group homes, residential care facilities, emergency shelters, and supervised independent living homes. Toys for Tots provides resources that help these children during extremely stressful and trying times with the goal of reducing their anxiety and making a positive impact in their lives.

In 2022, the Program joined forces with Houston County, Georgia, Toys for Tots Coordinator, Wendy Chadwell, to distribute bookbags filled with toys, books, and school supplies to foster children in the local area. This initiative was the kickoff of Toys for Tots’ newly established Foster Care initiative that would support children living in Foster Care year-round.

Wendy has a strong connection with the Foster Care system—she serves as the Child Protective Services (CPS) Administrator for the Houston County Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) year-round. Wendy’s DFCS connections along with her volunteer work as the local Coordinator gave her a strong platform to host the first Foster Care distribution event. She and volunteers in Houston County packed over 400 backpacks and distributed them to local District Foster Care Coordinators that represented eleven surrounding counties and directly provided the backpacks to the children in the local Foster Care Program. “[I was honored] to take on this type of responsibility and tackle this endeavor. The counties have been very appreciative, and the foster parents have been even more appreciative, as well as the kids,” Ms. Chadwell recalls.

This initiative highlights how Marine Toys for Tots is a year-round force for good, positively impacting children beyond the holiday season. In 2022, the Foster Care initiative supported over 447,000 children in the Foster Care system.

In 2023, Toys for Tots will provide toys and books to children living in Foster Care throughout local communities across the Nation – to include Buena Park, CA (assisting approximately 400 children); Quincy, IL (assisting approximately 400 children); Mt. Laurel, NJ (assisting approximately 200 children); and Tucson, AZ (assisting approximately 2,100 children) – as part of the organization’s year-round support to children in need.

These events are part of Toys for Tots’ commitment to empowering children in Foster Care and supporting their foster families throughout the year to renew their hope for a brighter future.

Visit to donate today and become a force for good for children living in Foster Care!

Resources and Tips to Promote Kids’ Emotional Health

(NewsUSA) - Instilling healthy habits for both physical and emotional wellbeing begins during childhood, and, according to experts, one of the best ways to promote emotional wellness is through play.

With recent data suggesting that today’s children are more emotionally stressed than ever, The Genius of Play, a non-profit initiative dedicated to helping parents raise healthy and happy kids through the power of play, has developed a new “Emotional Wellness Playbook” for families.

“Studies show that children with high emotional intelligence earn better grades, stay in school longer, and make healthier choices overall, so it is more important than ever to talk about emotional development and how parents can help their kids build the skills needed to successfully navigate the increasingly complex world,” says Anna Yudina, senior director of marketing initiatives at The Toy Association™, which spearheads The Genius of Play.

Written in collaboration with Talia Filippelli, a leading mental health expert, founder of Starr Therapy, and Certified Holistic Health Coach, the “Emotional Wellness Playbook” features a variety of play-based activities to help kids ages 3 and up develop emotional intelligence and learn to express their feelings in a healthy way while having fun.

“Play and toys are some of the most effective tools to help kids learn and practice the five key components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills,” says Filippelli. “What’s more, play provides the stress reduction and relaxation both kids and adults need to promote emotional wellbeing.”

The playbook's simple, yet effective activities help children develop their emotional skills in a variety of ways. Emoji Bingo offers a twist on a favorite game that helps improve emotional self-awareness by teaching kids to label their emotions and, therefore, not become overwhelmed by big feelings when they occur. Calming Bottle is a DIY activity that can help those who struggle with self-regulation. Puppet Play helps kids practice empathy and social skills and Vision Board helps build their motivation and self-confidence.

Families looking to capitalize on the emotional benefits of play can visit to download the “Emotional Wellness Playbook” for free.

Families Discover Advanced Home Purification 2,400x Faster Than HEPA Filtration

(NewsUSA) - Puradigm, a global leader in a new category of product, -- simultaneous air and surface purification -- has launched a residential version of their robust charged particle purification technology. Health-conscious families are taking notice.

In a University of Florida study, Puradigm proved to be more than 2,400x faster than traditional HEPA filtration when eliminating SARS-CoV-2 (COVIDd-19). Extrapolating from this study, a typical HEPA filter could take 40 minutes to remove the number of harmful pathogens from an average cough size. Puradigm purified the same amount of pathogens in less than a second.

In another study in hospital patient rooms, Puradigm was shown to be up to 8x more effective at reducing pathogens than manual cleaning of contaminated surfaces.

A growing number of families have found a way to keep safe in the wake of COVID-19 and mutating coronaviruses with Puradigm's offering of HOME and HOME+ purifiers. By installing Puradigm, they are also investing in their good health by using the technology to reduce mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), viruses and bacteria, as well as harmful chemical off-gassing from synthetic household items. Puradigm has been certified as an organic product.

"The Puradigm HOME was an absolute game changer for our family! Our son had suffered for over a decade from environmental irritants, and within 30 minutes of setting up the Puradigm HOME, he felt better. This product really works, and we are so grateful," says Robert M., a Puradigm customer and father of two in Southern California.

Puradigm purification is trusted by major clients around the world to protect their workers and customers, including the Vatican, United Airlines, Lockheed Martin, and the Texas State Capitol building. Dr. Jawad Shah, MD, a neurosurgeon for Insight Surgical Hospital, utilizes Puradigm in his surgical suites and patient rooms and has seen tremendous success in reducing hospital-acquired infections. Puradigm has now made this amazing technology available for home use.

Puradigm technology works by converting air and water vapor into charged particles. These charged particles are distributed throughout the home environment, attacking hard-to-reach pathogens simultaneously in the air and on surfaces, and continuously around the clock. This natural, safe and effective purification process has been proven to work thousands of times faster than conventional air filter systems for easy and complete protection throughout the home.

The Puradigm system is quiet and non-invasive, as well as energy efficient, with an estimated power consumption of less than $0.05 per day. The system is easy to use via in-home touch panel controls or remotely, with options for wall mounting or free-standing installation. Systems are available to suit a range of indoor living spaces, including single-family homes, apartments and garages so families can enjoy peace of mind in any setting.

To celebrate their new residential purification option, Puradigm is currently offering 25% off of its HOME and HOME+ products. Just mention this article with promo code NEWS25 during checkout.

For more information and test results, visit

BookTrib's Bites: Cold Case, Murder Case, Christianity, Casino Legend


Hooker Avenue "Hooker Avenue"
by Jode Millman

 Amid a violent Hudson Valley thunderstorm, Jessie Martin discovers a woman lying unconscious in a roadside ditch. The badly beaten victim, Lissie Sexton, a local prostitute, claims she's escaped the attack of a killer.

Jessie's more than a casual driver who passes by; she's a criminal-defense attorney. And Lissie is more than an ordinary hooker; she's the key witness in a cold case under investigation by Jessie's estranged longtime friend, Detective Ebony Jones. And now Ebony can't find her witness. Jessie's new boss has sent Lissie into hiding. If Jessie reveals Lissie's location she compromises her client, her firm and her professional ethics. If she doesn't, she risks alienating not just Ebony, but the entire police department backing her. Purchase at

To Kill a Ghost"To Kill a Ghost"
by J. Warren Weaver

When Erik's grandfather is murdered on the front steps of his home, Erik is forced to put medical school on hold and deal with his grieving family. When the case runs cold and things don't seem to add up, Erik finds himself leading his own investigation into the grisly murder.

As Erik becomes embroiled in escalating acts of violence, a message from beyond the grave activates his hidden skills -- a set of skills carefully planted in him by his grandfather, Victor. By the time Erik realizes what is happening, he is involved in drug-dealing, kidnapping and organized crime. Unexplained murders seem to follow him, but the deepest secret is still to come. Can Erik face the truth about Victor's past and how it affects his own future? Purchase at

Awake Beloved and Arise"Awake Beloved and Arise"
by Linda Huntzinger Calhoun

From a variety of voices, "Awake Beloved And Arise: Transforming Suffering Into Strength" tells compelling true stories of the difficult challenges life can bring. It explains why life is sometimes so hard and provides powerful inspiration to help us deal with our own trials and be stronger because of them.

From CEO to high school dropout, each of us faces unique challenges on our personal journey. Drawing on her experiences as a leader in Personal and Professional Development, as a Christian spiritual instructor at the County Jail, and from her own life as a single mother while suffering a disabling illness, the author gives practical tools and motivation to help us develop into the person God wants each of us to become. Purchase at

If Not You, Then Who? We're?Going Green!"If Not You, Then Who? We're Going Green!"
by David and Emberli Pridham

The Inventor's Fair is finally here, and this year's theme is "Going Green!" Noah has been tinkering for weeks but he's worried: can one invention make a difference? Join Noah to learn about the different ways we can all go green and make the world a better place.

If you like fun, informative, and factual kid's books such as "The Magic School Bus," then you'll love the new STEM series "If Not You, Then Who?", a recent Amazon bestseller geared for four- to eight-year-olds. The books are fun to read for both adults and children and can be read on multiple levels. Purchase at

NOTE: BookBites is presented by

Diveheart Adaptive Scuba Diving Trip Transforms Filmmaker's Life

(NewsUSA) - Scuba diving can be an exotic and enriching activity for anyone, but for individuals with a range of physical or cognitive disabilities, the unique weightlessness of the underwater environment allows them to exercise, relax, have fun and gain confidence like no other experience. Children and adults with challenges, including traumatic brain injuries, amputation, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and blindness can enjoy the physical and psychological benefits of scuba diving.

Diveheart, a Downers Grove, Ill.,-based nonprofit tax-exempt organization, has been helping youth, veterans and others with disabilities through adaptive scuba and scuba therapy since 2001.

Last year, Los Angeles filmmaker David Marsh accompanied a Diveheart team on a scuba trip to Cozumel, Mexico, to make a documentary about the organization and its mission. For Marsh, the experience was life-changing, as he completed the trip and his filming despite the tragic personal loss of his son to a drug overdose just one week earlier.

On the last day of the trip, Marsh shared his loss with the Diveheart team.

"David Marsh is amazing and awesome. Despite his loss and grief, he soldiered on and captured the spirit, love and hope that emerges from every Diveheart trip," says Diveheart's founder and president, Jim Elliott.

"He captured the essence of our mission and shared the real-life experience of what Diveheart does to help those with disabilities experience freedom underwater."

In the documentary, every day embraces a theme; day one is trust, day two is freedom and day three is adapting. Audiences will see how Marsh translated the feelings of the adaptive divers, who shared their losses, struggles, fears and hopes.

"We are so grateful to David for capturing Diveheart in action," Elliott emphasizes. "My hope for this documentary is to raise awareness to Diveheart's mission: to revolutionize rehabilitation by using zero gravity underwater to help those with everything from mobility issues to chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder. We help our participants find that self-confidence, personal strength and independence, and we will continue to do so in the years to come."

The documentary, "Adapting To Dive," premieres at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 18, 2022, at Classic Cinemas Tivoli Theatre, 5021 Highland Ave. in Downers Grove, Ill.

Visit for more information about Diveheart. To see a trailer of the documentary, click here. Tickets are $12 for general admission and accessible seating.

For more information about the documentary and tickets, click here.


BookTrib's Bites: Captivating Stories, Two Books to Help Children


Halfway to Schist"Halfway to Schist"
by Peter Bridgford

Red Rogers is the daughter of two geologists, so her childhood has been overshadowed by all things having to do with the rock cycle, plate tectonics and glaciation. When her mother commits suicide, Red and her father embark on an adventure to restore an old family fishing lodge on an island. Along the way, Red must navigate around the submerged hazards resulting from the friendship with a local boy, and an Anishinaabe man and his grandson -- all the while trying to fit in with the rich teenaged crowd at the local hotel.

With each misadventure Red encounters, her mother's journal continues to teach her how the lessons of geology and glaciation are as applicable to human beings as they are to her beloved rocks and ice. Purchase at

Rex's Journey"Rex's Journey"
by Dr. Ambroes Pass-Turner

A kid's emotional landscape is full of hills and valleys. Rex has been struggling with understanding why and how he feels. From angry one minute to sad the next, he just wants to be a kid. What's so hard about that? But we can't always control how we feel, especially not as kids.

Follow along with Rex's journey as he learns to cope with his emotions in a safe and healthy way: something we all can learn from. One Amazon reviewer calls it "a beautiful and timely story. We need more books like this! This book showcases the journey of a little boy who had to go to a counselor. Very well done." Purchase at

by Jana Eisenstein

Fueled by cheap vodka and low standards in her twenties, Jana naively assumes that "happily ever after" is just a dark, sweaty nightclub away. In this memoir, Jana meets men … lots of men. But with every face-licker, toe-sucker, and internet creep, it becomes clearer that hers is a ghost story and not the fairytale she expected. Still single in her thirties, she realizes she'll need to adjust her approach or risk being haunted by the mistakes of her dating past and a future of shirtless bathroom selfies.

Though "Ghosted" depicts the struggle to find lasting love, at its heart it's a story about learning to accept that when it comes to dating, there are scarier fates than ending up alone. Purchase at

Crossing the Pressure Line"Crossing the Pressure Line"
by Laura Anne Bird

Twelve-year-old Clare Burch wonders whether her feelings of sorrow over her grandfather's death will ever go away. A special request sends Clare on a journey from her home to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She knows she must honor Grandpa Anthony's last wishes.

Clare heads to rural Alwyn with her little blind dog and a duffel bag full of worries. What will she do without her best friends? Who will take her fishing and spoil her with candy now that her grandfather is gone? And is she strong enough to let him go? She stumbles upon the answers, learns to listen to the courageous voice inside and discovers just how tough she really is. Purchase at

NOTE: BookBites is presented by

Learning Resilience from Military Kids

(NewsUSA) - Military kids are known for being resilient as they often adapt to change and overcome challenges associated with military life. What can all kids learn from military kids when it comes to building resilience? Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a national not-for-profit network of mental health clinics for post-9/11 veterans, service members and their families, has three strategies parents can utilize to foster resilience in their children.


See full-sized image here.


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