ROSES to Andrew Lester and the Children's Amputee Foundation, which encourages children with missing limbs to participate in physical activities.Lester, who is missing his lower right leg, is an elite athlete who competes in paralympic track events throughout the world and set a world record in the 1,500-meter run. He and two other high-achieving amputees --triathlete Kelly Bruno of Durham and UNC student and Morehead Scholar Stamp Walden of Vass -- played games and spoke with 10 child amputees at an event last week at the Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill.They told -- and showed -- the kids that they could do pretty much any sport or physical activity they like, in spite of missing limbs. Bruno, for example, has swum, run track, done martial arts and played soccer, baseball and basketball. Children with amputations sometimes fall into sedentary lifestyles -- lifestyles often inadvertently reinforced by their parents, who fear the kids might get hurt if they push themselves to do physical activities.But as Lester and company made clear, there isn't much that kids with amputations can't do. At the event at Trinity School, the trio led the youngsters in activities including jump-roping, kickball, basketball, freeze tag and foot races.The children had a great time, laughing and yelling with delight. More important, they learned that they can stretch their limits further than they ever knew.
ROSES to the Kidzu Children's Museum, which opened its first original exhibit last month and watched the public respond by flocking to experience it.A record attendance of nearly 4,000 visitors filed in during the first month of the KidZoom exhibit. That was well above expectations, and every indication is that the visitors enjoyed what they experienced.Before the KidZoom exhibit, Kidzu featured a series of traveling national shows. While they were excellent, they weren't tailored specifically for Kidzu or the local community.KidZoom, on the other hand, reflects this place through, and for, children's eyes. It features art and hands-on displays by local artists -- it includes, for example, a fanciful model of Franklin Street and a Garden-to-Table feature based on the Carrboro Farmers Market.The exhibits are all interactive; they're designed to be played with, changed and experienced, not just looked at. It's a first-rate exhibit. The crowds filling Kidzu's space are testimony to that.
ROSES to Chapel Hill Tire Car Care Center, which is offering free soccer balls to children participating in Rainbow Soccer -- and while we're at it, Roses to Rainbow Soccer, too.Rainbow has been one of the treasures of this community for many years. It has introduced countless local kids to the pleasures of soccer in an all-fun, no-pressure way. Chapel Hill Tire, another venerable local institution, supports Rainbow Soccer with funding and also with its annual Soccer Ball Giveaway program. Kids playing Rainbow get a certificate they can redeem at Chapel Hill Tire for a free soccer ball so they can practice and play on their own.