Share the Upstate Experience with Your Teen This Summer

Teen Volunteers helping in the Golisano Children's Hospital Art Gallery

by Arielle Spears

Searching for a rewarding and educational experience for your teen this summer?

Immerse your teen in the hospital environment through Upstate Medical University’s Summer Teen Volunteer Program. For more than 13 years, Upstate’s Downtown and Community Campuses has been successfully offering this unique hands-on opportunity to Central New York schools. The program will allow teens to enhance the lives of members of their community, while exploring career possibilities, and learning about adult healthcare.

Upstate’s Summer Teen Volunteer Program application acceptance has begun. The Downtown Campus program will feature two, three-week sessions. Orientation for the first session will be held July 7. First session teens will volunteer from July 9 to July 29. Orientation for the second session will be held August 4. Teens participating in the second session will volunteer from August 6 to August 26. Upstate’s Community Campus Summer Teen Volunteer Program will be from July 6 to August 21.

“During summer, the teen volunteer play a large role in providing a positive hospital experience for patients and their families,” said Rhonda Butler, manager of Upstate’s Volunteer Initiatives. “Through our program teen volunteers gain a better understanding of not only responsibility, but the importance of supporting and caring for others.”

Teens selected for volunteer roles will assist more than 20 inpatient and outpatient Upstate departments by performing essential l tasks, such as providing comfort care at bedside and escorting discharged patients. Teens will function in the Monday to Friday hospital setting, where they will learn the layout of the hospitals and daily operations.

Upstate’s Volunteer Services members will teach teens about wheelchair guidelines, patient confidentiality policies, improving patient satisfaction, customer service skills and more.

Teen volunteers must have working papers. Downtown Campus volunteers are required to complete a minimum of 36 hours and must volunteer two full days a week or four mornings a week.

Schools, such as Fayetteville-Manlius, Christian Brothers Academy, Baldwinsville, Cicero-North Syracuse, West Genesee and 18 other area school districts are an important part of Upstate’s Teen Volunteer program. We thank them for their contribution in making our communities better and healthier.

Upstate’s Downtown Campus will be accepting a total of 80 teens. Teens who wish to join Downtown’s volunteer program need to apply at Those wishing to join the Community Campus apply at

The deadline for all applications is April 13, 2015.


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What to do about a Picky Eater

By Rosanne Jones MS RD CDN Pediactric Outpatient Dietitian, Center for Development, Behavior and Geneticis

Your baby is a good eater. When he was born, he took breast milk or formula without problems. He grew and progressed through all the baby foods and textures eating like a champ. Now, he is eating all types of table foods.

Until one day you plop a piece of lasagna (lasagna is just a fictional dislike, it could be any food) in front of him. The lasagna is a no-go; the nose squinches up, the eyebrows furrow and there is an expression of pure disbelief on his face that you have given him this food to eat. He gazes into your eyes as if to say “”help me!””

What do you do? Do you get up from the table to make him a grilled cheese sandwich or open a can of spaghettios? What happens the next time you make lasagna? Will you never make lasagna again? Do you make a second meal right from the start so that your child doesn’t have to eat that delicious nutritious lasagna? The answer is a resounding NO, NO and NO!

Babies grow very fast in the first year, tripling their birth weight, and then the rate of growth slows down from age 2 to the years before puberty. Quite naturally their appetite decreases during the periods of slower growth and increases during growth spurts. The valley between growth spurts can look like picky eating because the food they used to like, they no longer will eat, they pick at their food or they don’t want to try new foods anymore. The truth is they may just be growing more slowly and don’t need as many calories so they eat less.

The real advice is to consistently serve the meals made for the family to everyone in the family. In the wise words of Ellyn Satter, who devised the idea of The Division of Responsibility, ‘‘……trust in your child’s ability to eat what he needs and in his ability to grow in the way nature intended. Once you have done your feeding job of providing nutritious food, it is up to your child to eat what and how much he needs……’’

Other tips for health eating habits:

Pay attention to portion size Kids 5 years old and under require portion sizes about half the size of an adult portion size.

Beware of short order cooking This is food your child will usually eat but is not as nutritious as the meal you have prepared. If your child gets to eat this alternate meal each time, he may not grow as nature intended.

Avoid the idea of kid food You want them to grow up on the same diet as yours.

Be a good role model try new foods in front of your child.

Make dinner conversation about anything other than the meal itself.

So when you do serve that lasagna, put a small portion on your child’s plate along with a favorite veggie. Put something else with the meal like a piece of bread and a glass of milk. Your child will not go hungry if they have all that to choose from. Then button your lip about what he or she is eating or not eating. Relax, serve yourself some and talk about the weather.

Check out Ellyn Satter’s website for other recommended stratigies to work with feeding your child.

Books to help you with a picky eater recommended by Mary Laverty Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital

Everyone Eats! by Julia Kuo 2012. A colorful board book using familiar but hury animals to introduce young children to foods like apples, honey and carrots.



More Peas Please by Kate Di Prima and Dr. Julie Cichero 2009.A must-read guide to finding nutritious solutions for fussy eaters from first foods that won’t be spat out to lunch box fixes the envy of the playground. More Pea Please is an across-the-board guide to helping children learn to happily eat a variety of healthy foods. It examines the importance of feeding kids a balanced diet, helping them overcome negative responses to certain foods, and the significance of early feeding experiences on speech development. It also contains loads of easy, fuss-free recipes for delicious, family-friendly meals.




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Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Kids from Golisano Children’s Hospital

by Mary Laverty, Family Resource Center MLIS, CAS TESL

Kids like to make New Year’s Resolutions just like adults. Involving the children in this fun holiday tradition can be an opportunity to discover shared interests and start conversations. Here are a few healthy resolutions suggested by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The doctors, nurses and staff of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital wish all the children and caregivers in New York State, across the United States and our patients from around the globe a Happy Healthy New Year!

Preschoolers can be successful when they make personal resolutions:

I will clean up​ my toys and put them where they belong.

I will brush my teeth twice a day, and wash my hands after going to the bathroom and      before eating.

I will not to tease dogs or other pets – even friendly ones. I will avoid being bitten by keeping my fingers and face away from their mouths.

I will talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I need help, or are scared.

I will be nice to other kids who need a friend or look sad or lonely.

Kids, 5 to 12 years old can achive these healthy resolutions:

I will drink reduced-fat milk and water every day, and drink soda and fruit drinks only at special times.

I will put on sunscreen before I go outdoors on bright, sunny days. I will try to stay in the shade whenever possible and wear a hat and sunglasses, especially when I’m playing sports.

I will try to find a sport (like basketball or soccer) or an activity (like playing tag, jumping rope, dancing or riding my bike)  that I like and do it at least three times a week!

I will always wear a helmet when riding a bike.

I will wear my seat belt every time I get in a car. I’ll sit in the back seat and use a booster seat until I am tall enough to use a lap/shoulder seat belt.

I’ll be friendly to kids who may have a hard time making friends by asking them to join activities such as sports or games.

I will never encourage or even watch bullying, and will join with others in telling bullies to stop.

I’ll never give out private information such as my name, home address, school name or telephone number on the Internet. Also, I’ll never send a picture of myself to someone I chat with on the computer without asking my parent if it is okay.

I will try to talk with my parent or a trusted adult when I have a problem or feel stressed.

I promise to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.

Teens, 13 years old and older, can see heathly success by making resolutions like these:

I will try to eat two servings of fruit and two servings of vegetables every day, and I will drink sodas only at special times.

I will take care of my body through physical activity  and eating the right types and amounts of foods.

I will choose some non-violent television shows and video games, and I will spend only one to two hours each day – at the most – on these activities. I promise to follow our household rules for videogames and internet use.

I will help out in my community – through giving some of my time to help others, working with community groups or by joining a group that helps people in need.

When I feel angry or stressed out, I will take a break and find helpful ways to deal with the stress, such as exercising, reading, writing in a journal or talking about my problem with a parent or friend.

When faced with a difficult decision, I will talk about my choices with an adult whom I can trust.

When I notice my friends are struggling, being bullied or making risky choices, I will      talk with a trusted adult and attempt to find a way that I can help them.

I will be careful about whom I choose to date, and always treat the other person with respect and without forcing them to do something or using violence. I will expect to be treated the same way in return.

I will resist peer pressure to try tobacco-cigarettes, drugs, or alcohol.

I agree not to use a cell phone or text message while driving and to always use a seat belt.


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Celebrating the Holidays with Food Allergies

By: Stacey Messé, Pediatric Dietitian, RD, CDN, CNSC

With the holiday season here, we all have a lot of things on our minds.  The holiday season can be filled with joy and laughter, but it can also be filled with stress and worry.  For parents of a child with allergies, this can be a particularly challenging time.  The holiday season is filled with parties, family gatherings, and other special occasions, which usually revolve around food and indulgence. These special occasions present many unknown challenges for a parent trying to manage their child’s allergy. Many holiday foods are laced with peanuts, wheat, eggs, milk, soy and other allergenic foods.

Some simple tips to help ease your mind and make the holiday season more enjoyable:

 If your child will be attending a party, contact the host or person in charge of the gathering.  Come up with a plan to ensure your child’s safety.  You could also offer to bring a dish to pass that your child can have to share with others.

 If your child has a holiday event at school that involves the sharing of food, speak with the teacher in advance or get involved in the planning committee to ensure there are allergen-free options available.

 Pack safe food alternatives for your child so your child doesn’t feel left out if there aren’t allergen-free options provided at a holiday event.

If you are preparing a holiday food or meal yourself, involve your child in the planning, shopping and preparation.  This will be a great opportunity for your child to learn safe cooking techniques, research recipes and check ingredients.

Get creative.  Try fun new recipes to help celebrate the occasion.  There are many cookbooks and recipes that alter or offer helpful ideas on how to accommodate for your child’s dietary restrictions. Try these websites for allergy free recipes and other great resources:  and .

Ensure that your child understands that restricting food allergens is a full time job and the holidays aren’t an exception.  Discuss the risk factors with your child and prepare them to speak up when they recognize unsafe foods.  This discussion should be had in advance to help minimize temptation and improve compliance.

Encourage meaningful non-food traditions.  A holiday craft project can be a nice distraction from the common emphasis on food.

If you will be traveling for the holidays be sure to plan ahead.  Verify an airline’s allergy policy if your child has a severe allergy to ensure safety.  Pack snacks and non-perishable foods to eat while traveling.

If your child has a life threatening allergy always have an EpiPen on hand in case of emergency.

Recommended books for young readers about Food Allergies by Mary Laverty, Family Resources and Services Coordinator, MLIS, CAS ESL, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital

Medikidz explain Food Allergies: Superheros on a Medical Mission (2009) by Dr. Kim Chilman-Blair. Young readers learn what to expect, how to react and how food allergies are treated in this graphic novel. A great book for older kids and teens. Includes glossary, further resources, and index.


Kylie’s Special Treat: A Food Allergy Fairy Tale (2012) by Letizia Barbetta. A  fairy tale about a girl who loves to paint, dreams of a prince, and has a food allergy. One day she receives an invitation to cook the prince a special treat. She happily bakes him her favorite dessert. Of course, it doesn’t include any of the foods she’s allergic to (milk, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts). Kylie shows the reader how she manages her food allergies with poise and confidence, follows her dreams and goes on to live happily ever after. A simple baking recipe, food allergy tips and resources for adults are included.
The Peanut Pickle: a Story about Peanut Allergy (2012) by Jessica Jacobs. Living with a peanut allergy is hard, and peanuts are everywhere! Ben ate peanut butter when he was young and he had a bad allergic reaction. At first he was too scared to speak up about his allergy and tell people that he couldn’t be around peanuts. Now, he knows that speaking up is very important, since he encounters food with peanuts at school, at T-ball practice, at birthday parties, and during the holidays. The Peanut Pickle will help children learn how to tell others about a food allergy and explain that they need a safe environment. It will teach them how to deal with difficult and awkward situations that inevitably arise when a child has a life-threatening food allergy. It also includes a guide for parents to help their children with food allergies.




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Discussing Ebola with Your Children

By Dr. Jana Shaw, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and the American Academy of Pediatrics webpage

Editor’s Note: This page will be updated with new information as it becomes available.

Ebola has been a focus of daily news since the first infected patient arrived in the US in September. Given the severity of the illness, the news can be frightening to children. Hence it is important that parents and caregivers are prepared to discuss Ebola with their children to alleviate their fears.

It is much easier to catch to the flu or other respiratory viruses than Ebola. For example, based on the Ebola statistics we have right now, it is likely that flu will cause far more illness around the globe than Ebola will.

News Coverage Understandably, there is heavy coverage in the media about the spread of Ebola. However, it is a good idea to limit young children’s exposure to news stories about it. This way, parents can decide what information they want to share based on their child’s level of understanding. Here are some things to remind your children if they are concerned:

  • They are safe.
  • Our health care system is among the best in the world for taking care of sick people.
  • Ebola is rare and does not exist everywhere. When cases are found, the person with the infection is taken to a safe place to be cared for so that he can get better and not make anyone else sick.
  • Doctors and scientists who know a lot about Ebola are working hard to find ways to prevent or cure this illness.

Social Media With many children and teens spending a lot of time on social media, there is also the risk that they could read something online about Ebola that they do not understand and may become unnecessarily alarmed. Pay close attention to what your children are seeing online. Talk to your children and help them avoid graphic exposure to the media.

Keeping Calm News about the spread of diseases can be alarming, even for adults. Keep yourself well informed so that your own fears are under control. Talk with your children in ways that make sense to them so they don’t become overly concerned or afraid.​

Important facts for parents when explain Ebola and other viruses

What is Ebola? Ebola is a viral infection, yet it is very rare and is not easy to transmit from person to person. There is a serious outbreak in West Africa, however, in part due to lack of virus prevention and access to adequate medical supplies.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of Ebola? Ebola typically starts suddenly with a fever but symptoms can also include a severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarreah, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising. The time from infection with the virus to the onset of symptoms is from 2 to 21 days (with 8 to 10 days being most common). A person with the Ebola virus can infect others as soon as they begin to have symptoms. Early-stage Ebola disease may be confused with other infectious diseases (e.g., flu) because the initial symptoms are similar to those seen with other viral infections.

How is Ebola Spread? Unlike the flu, Ebola is not spread through the air or water. The chances of you or your children becoming infected are slim. Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person or from objects like needles that have been in contact with infected body fluids. This means it does not spread through air, food, water, or by touching things like money and keyboards.

Can You Get Ebola From a Dog or Cat? At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or being able to spread Ebola to people or animals. The chances of a dog or cat being exposed to Ebola virus in the United States is very low as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a symptomatic person sick with Ebola.

Can Ebola Be Prevented? Yes, killing the virus is easy. The Ebola virus can be killed with soap and water, heat, or a disinfectant or sanitizing agent.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), washing your hands frequently or using an alcohol-based hand sanititzer is a good precaution. This is perhaps the most important message for children to learn and share.

Because people in West Africa may not be able to follow these precautions and may not have access to soap and water, Ebola has continued to spread.

A book explaining viruses and infections

Recommended by Mary Laverty, UGCH librarian

Infections Diseases by Anne Rooney 2011 published by Smart Apple

Kids will learn about the bacteria, protists, and viruses that have caused some of the world’s most wide spread infectious diseases as well as about important scientific advancements in the treatment of these diseases and the individuals who invented the cures. Young readers will walk away from this book with a deeper understanding of how diseases spread and how to combat them.






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