This Blog Thingy

My internship supervisor thinks this blog thing was a cool idea to have as a requrment that my program has all it’s senior students do. Now my classmates and I were on the little iffy side of doing this. But hey I like it now that I acutally have stuff to post on here and I read some really great articles. Anywho, the point I wanted to make was that this isn’t so bad and my supervisor Amber is thinking of implementing this idea to future interns….Now how awesome is that :)!



This shoot today will involve 3 families and their children who are in both of these program. The types of things I will be recording : Tummy time and baby lifting heard up, Holding rattle, Climbing on the playground, walking , stacking blocks, drawing and play in the park. Along with these shots I will be getting the parents talking and interacting with the children as well as each other.

If you are curious on more bout what my internship does follow the link below or read about the programs.


Questionnaires to Inform You

Connections families receive a series of age-specific questionnaires, called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire. These questionnaires enable parents to track their child’s development. Play activities are used to encourage healthy development and identify any concerns which we, in turn, will follow up on. Here are some examples of questions you’ll be asked to answer with a “Yes”, “Sometimes”, or “Not Yet”.

  • When in front of a large mirror, does your baby smile or coo at herself? (6 months)
  • Does your child stack three small blocks or toys on top of each other by himself? (18 months)
  • Does your child jump with both feet leaving the floor at the same time? (30 months)

Trained workers provide parents with feedback including whether there are any developmental concerns to follow up on. Once enrolled, parents receive an ASQ every two to six months along with developmental newsletters and playtime ideas for infants and young children. Click here to see a sample ASQ.



Get Great Support

Kent County Healthy Start gives mothers and fathers the support and encouragement they need. Our goal is to make sure you’re getting the most out of your child and your child the most out of life!

Receive encouragement from our parent coaches over the phone, or we can come to your home. Healthy Start also provides helpful brochures, online resources, and a survey known as the Ages and Stages Questionnaire to make sure your child is on-track and making good progress. Any parent in Kent County with a child under three months old is eligible to sign up for Healthy Start.

A Lifetime of Results for Your Child

Healthy Start is about strengthening the bonds between parent and child. And it’s working. Last year:

  • 346 families were served
  • 95% of children served were on-track developmentally
  • 93% of children completed their immunizations per AAP recommended schedule
  • 100% of children had a primary care physician


According to the Grand Rapids 2008 Youth Survey, the issues affecting teens were: pressure to have sex, concerns about sexual harassment, teen pregnancy, school violence, and sexually transmitted infections. Teens may not always recognize the risks that come with relationships. RAVE uses the Safe Dates model. Highly engaging and interactive, Safe Dates helps teens recognize the difference between caring, supportive relationships and controlling, manipulative, or abusive dating relationships. The end result? Teens gain the skills needed for healthier relationships. RAVE is free to schools, offering after-school and summer programs serving middle and high-school students in Kent County.

Yesterday, I had a shoot with some of the students in this program down at Grand Rapids Community College. The students were a little apprehensive about the shoot but with the help of their RAVE instructor all their nerves went away. As the shoot progressed later in the day the teen became very open and helpful with the shots I needed for this shoot. On this shoot was my intern advisor Amber and the new summer intern Grace.

Why I Still Need My Mom

No Cigarettes, No Bologna

mom_jess_weddingIt was 7:00 the morning of Emma’s First Communion, and I already had been up for two hours prepping for the intimate gathering sacramental bender for 65 people following the ceremony.

My mom arrived earlier in the week, and we had been prepping ever since. We sipped coffee as our eyes scanned the room, our list-making brains doing their thing.

“The succulents don’t look right in that planter – they aren’t raised up enough or something.” I mumbled quietly to myself. Or so I thought.

But in the time it took for me to park Phoebe in front of Frozen, my mother had abandoned her coffee and disappeared. I looked out the kitchen window and there she was, in my backyard wearing her nightgown and robe, gathering bricks from my garage. Sweet Jesus. She’s collecting bricks to raise up the succulents.


My mom is a fixer, a do-er, a…

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Inside TV Audience Testing

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

TD00428I visited Las Vegas this week with my sister to see Britney Spears’ show at Planet Hollywood, but we had to find stuff to do the rest of our three-day stay because neither of us likes gambling. Good news! It’s fall-pilot-testing season for the broadcast networks. And CBS and NBC reps were out in force recruiting people off the Las Vegas Strip during the day to watch some shows and answer survey questions about them. Oh, and they were offering anywhere from $20 to $50 for opinions, depending on the length of the show and the intensity of the questioning. Brilliant! Now we could “win” money in Vegas and lose nothing. We couldn’t present ourselves to the recruiters fast enough.

Both of us are TV nerds, so we loved this idea. I’ve always wondered about the mythical testing process, which is an integral part of any great show’s origin story…

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A Collection of Daguerreotypes

The Consecrated Eminence

Philopogonian Don Carlos Taft Philopogonian Don Carlos Taft

2014 marks the 162nd anniversary of the graduation of the Class of 1852. I wish there were a nice name for a 162nd anniversary — perhaps somebody can concoct one. In the meantime, the consolation I offer is that their septaquintaquinquecentennial is only 13 years away. Mark your calendars.

This blog has featured the Class of 1852 before – they are the Philopogonians. In addition to that entertaining bit of history, the class also left us a nice photographic record of their presence in the form of a composite daguerreotype showing 42 daguerreotypes as well as the 42 individual, well-identified daguerreotypes shown in the composite.

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Maya Angelou: A Hymn to Human Endurance


When Maya Angelou was 16 she became not only the first black streetcar conductor in San Francisco but the first woman conductor. By the time she was 40 she had also been, in no particular order, a cook, a waitress, a madam, a prostitute, a dancer, an actress, a playwright, an editor at an English-language newspaper in Egypt, and a Calypso singer (her one album is entitled “Miss Calypso.”) It wasn’t until 1970, when she was 41, that she became an author: her first book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, told the story of her life up to the age of 17. That remarkable life story ended today at the age of 86.

In her last years Angelou’s work became associated with a certain easy, commercial sentimentality—she loaned her name to a line of Hallmark cards, for example—but there was nothing easy about her beginnings. She was…

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