Hickory Ridge girl, 11, to be honored for help in toddler's rescue

NEIGHBORS

June 29, 1994|By LARRY STURGILL

An 11-year-old Hickory Ridge girl is one of three people who will receive a commendation from Howard County Fire and Rescue Services for rescuing a drowning toddler Thursday at the Hawthorn Community Pool.

Kate Nairn, a sixth-grader at Harpers Choice Middle School, pool manager Matthew Goode and Meenakshi Khatta, a pool member and critical care nurse at the University of Maryland Medical vTC System, will receive "Gift of Life" commendations during a ceremony in the near future, said Battalion Chief Donald Howell.

The incident began shortly before 5 p.m. when Kate jumped off the diving board at the Hawthorn Pool and noticed 3-year-old Justine Stevens of Hickory Ridge floating face down in 3 1/2 feet of water.

"There was this girl there, floating under the water," Kate said. "Her bottom was up and her head was down. I turned her over and her lips were blue."

Thinking quickly, Kate pulled the youngster to the side of the pool, where Mr. Goode and Ms. Khatta began performing CPR. Within a few minutes, Justine began breathing on her own. However, paramedics transported her to Howard County General Hospital, and later St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore for further tests and evaluation before she was discharged, Chief Howell said.

Justine "certainly owes her life" to her rescuers, Chief Howell said. "We feel the heroics of all three, starting with Katie . . . turned a certainly tragic situation into a happy situation."

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Parents are both blessed and cursed, and we rear our children in hope that the joys of parenthood will outweigh the many adversities we are sure to face.

To help parents understand, and better prepare for, the trials and tribulations of parenting, Slayton House in Wilde Lake Village Green is offering summer seminars.

The seminars are taught by Eva Skrenta, who holds master's degrees in education and family counseling. The sessions are based on the Adlers-Driekus philosophy of parenting, which emphasizes the use of democratic principles.

"Children should be considered as social equals," says Mrs. Skrenta. "They are entitled to the same degree of dignity and respect as we are, but because they are children, not necessarily the same privileges and rights. You can show a child dignity and respect by giving them a choice and making them aware of the consequences of their choice."

She says that teaching the child through effective communication is better than a system of punishment or rewards. When confrontational situations arise, it is essential that parents maintain self-control and display some degree of wisdom and understanding. However, as every parent knows, this is often very difficult to do.

"Parents are the child's leaders from birth. They are teachers who guide, set limits and discipline," she says. "I don't believe that discipline should be given in the form of physical and/or verbal abuse. Discipline can be maintained by establishing limits, and giving a child freedom within those limits."

Are there simple solutions to the problems faced by parents? "No," says Mrs. Skrenta. "But, some parents seem to be naturals, and they encounter very few parenting problems. However, such parents are few and far between. Most of us struggle, always in search of an answer."

Encouragement may be the key. "Encouragement is the most powerful parenting tool we have," she says. "By building upon the positive, we can continually build a child's self-respect and give them hope."

The seminars are designed to give parents insight into various methods for managing and understanding parental problems, whether your children are toddlers or teen-agers.

There are five two-hour seminars, from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and each session highlights a different concern.

* July 7: Understanding the hidden goals of children's behavior and how to redirect misbehavior.

* July 14: Learning the art of encouragement and how to enhance children's self-esteem.

* July 21: Dealing with anger, and how to avoid and get out of power struggles with your children.

* July 28: Discipline, and how to use natural and logical consequences instead of punishment and reward.

* Aug. 4: How to communicate effectively with children and adolescents and how to listen, give feedback, negotiate and set limits.

The cost of each seminar is $12, or $50 for all five sessions. And, if you bring your spouse, they get in at half-price.

To register, or for more information, call Slayton House at 730-3987, or Eva Skrenta at 730- 6371.

*

If you can spare a few hours, the Florence Bain Senior Center, on Cedar Lane, needs volunteers at the center's front desk and to answer telephone calls.

Volunteer typists, hand printers, studio floor managers and other positions are also needed to help with "Spotlight on Seniors," a local cable program produced by seniors.

If you think you can help out, or would like additional information, please call Betty Frey at 313-7213.

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All young children love puppets. The success of the various traveling puppet shows, which visit the Columbia area regularly, attests to their popularity.

On Thursday, July 7, the Howard County Central Library will present "Mother Goose," a puppet program for kids ages 3 and up. There will be two shows, from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Registration may be made in person at the library, or by calling 313-7880.

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