Saturday, July 10, 2010
By Katie M
It's my pleasure to introduce you to another great mom today: Latasha Denay Myers. I first met Latasha when she contacted TSP about her summer camp Learning & Adventures camp. As you might remember from our smarty summer camp directory, Learning & Adventures camp was created to address the unique characteristics and learning styles of young boys ages 6 - 12, and includes a special program for boys with disabilities called Bright Light Enrichment. It sounded like a great concept for a camp, and after meeting Latasha, I thought she was pretty smarty for pioneering and overseeing such a a great program, especially as a busy mom with a big family!
Latasha and her husband Alonzo have four children: Shikeaya (9), Josiah (7), Lewis(3), and Camden-Alexander (1). She's lived in the Triad her entire life, and besides running her summer camp she also provides in-home daycare and tutoring. When she's not busy teaching and caring for children, Latasha enjoys spending time cooking, and working with youth at her church. And despite the fact that she suffers from severe fibromyalgia, she is determined to participate in the upcoming Rambling Rose Triathlon this August in Winston-Salem as a way to celebrate her weight loss and fitness goals. You go, girl!
Let's meet Latasha!
What inspired you to start a camp specifically for boys with learning disabilities?
I started a program for boys because gender-based education is my undergraduate research platform and my future graduate school platform as well. I have been doing summer camps for several years and parents of children with disabilities always seem to have limited options for summer, so I decided to create a program for special needs children that offered both academic enrichment (to allow them to continue to work on a variety of skill sets), as well as summer camp fun.
You have a child with disabilities. Tell us more about that.
Lewis is a three-year-old ball of energy. He is busy from the time he wakes until he goes to bed at night (typically he does not nap during the day). Lewis had speech and hearing impairments that we have worked diligently to correct. He has made great strides and no longer receives therapy or early intervention. Lewis also has some sensory issues, but most doctors say he may be as old as 8 before he receives a formal diagnosis because of the nature of the condition and current medical practices and testing. Without a diagnosis there is no treatment, so we are forced to work on skill sets at home. I have done research papers for school on different sensory disorders in order to not only complete the required assignment but to also get a better understanding of how we can help my son. Sensory disorders mirror some of the same symptoms as ADHD and often children are misdiagnosed.
Patience is the most important element in working with Lewis. He has changed my attitude and outlook on education tremendously. This fall he will leave the nest and the comfort of being taught at home and begin half-day preschool at Kingswood Preschool. I am both excited and nervous.
What kind of tips can you offer other busy moms like yourself?
Don’t stress out about the small things and laugh as much as possible (cry when necessary to)! Don’t compare yourself or your children to others, just be the best mom you can be, and raise your kids based on what you feel in your heart is right.
How about some tips on balancing your work and home life?
Working from home, I do not have some of the same struggles as moms who work an outside job, but I still run into the issue of balance. As a work from home mom, work is always with you and often times it is difficult to escape the tons of things that need to be done because they are constantly staring you in the face. In order to have some sort of balance I have become the queen of multitasking. I teach my boys colors by separating the laundry (they love it); in the day care we take lots of nature hikes at the local park so I can walk; I garden to eliminate grocery cost; to eat healthy and to teach science we recently started our own worm farm for fertilizer and for trash composting (LOL!)
Great information (although not sure what to think about your worm farm!). Ok, now on to some lighter topics...
Favorite place to get a good deal on kids clothes?
The Children’s Place
Favorite place to splurge on kids clothes?
What is your favorite family activity?
Techno Night. We turn off all the lights and turn on a strobe light. All of the children have glow sticks and they dance to old school music. My husband is the DJ and I dance along with the kids. We usually make a fruity drink for refreshment, this past weekend we make fresh watermelon lemonade.
Favorite “mommy-time” activity?
Best place to eat lunch and/or dinner with the kids?
Favorite date place?
Funniest thing your child has ever said?
My children are ages 10, 7, 3, 1. Recently the 3-year-old saw a picture of my stomach while I was carrying him. He had lots of questions so I tried to explain to him, in an age-appropriate way, that he was in my belly in that picture and I tried to get him to remember when his younger brother was in my belly as well. That evening after giving him a bath I let him out the tub and wrapped him in a towel. He threw the towel down and tried to climb inside my shirt. I asked him what he was doing, he said “I’m going back in the belly where it is warm, I’ll come back out tomorrow for breakfast”.
Favorite park in the Triad?
Mini-van or SUV?
Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
A large percentage of my family resides here so we are involved in a lot of family events. My parents live 10 minutes away and offer support and advice and are awesome grandparents!
Best kept secret in the Triad?
Chicken pot pie from Cherrie’s Restaurant in Clemmons
Best mom secret YOUR mom has shared with you?
To pick my battles. There are some things that I just need to breathe deep about and give in, like my three-year-old dressing as Batman 80% of the time including wearing a cape in public. (Sorry, Latasha, but I am laughing out loud right now. That is so cute! :))
Best birthday party you have attended?
We threw my two-year-old a Sponge Bob Squarepants Extravaganza and we turned our back yard into Bikini Bottom complete with jelly fish fields, glove world, goo lagoon, the Crusty Crab and all of the characters.
Best book you’ve ever read?
The Coldest Winter Ever
Smartiest way you stay organized?
I am terrible at staying organized, but one thing that helps me is to carry a large bag. I throw everything and anything in it.
Who is your hero?
I could not live without my... Blackberry!
Thanks for these answers, Latasha! I love your Techno Night and Spongebob party ideas, and I can't wait to try the chicken pies at Cherrie’s in Clemmons!! So glad we met, and best of wishes with your training and upcoming triathlon. Keep us posted on how it goes!
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