Teen drivers learn to ‘Start Smart’

Traffic collisions continue to be the leading cause of death for young people ages 15-20 years old. As a result, the CHP invites new drivers and their families to attend its free workshop, called Start Smart. This course discusses traffic law, the dynamics of traffic collisions, ways to avoid crashes and the many responsibilities drivers have. The presentation is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 9 at the Aptos branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library, at 7695 Soquel Drive. For information and to reserve seats, call 831-662-0511. Taking a break Ms. Street Smarts is taking a break the month of February, returning Monday, March 2. For the past four years, I have been on quite a journey to adopt my two young cousins. Finally, on Feb. 9, my quest will be fulfilled. To explain briefly, in 2011,the boys, ages 4 and 6 at the time, found themselves in a foster home in Riverside County due to domestic abuse, neglect and other unsafe living conditions. From December 2011 to February 2014, I made monthly 800 mile round trip road trips to the far reaches of Riverside County -- first to reintroduce myself to them as I hadn't seen them since they were babies, then with them in tow to, under court order, continue their relationship with their birth mom. Having many health issues and being on disability means she cannot come here to visit the boys. Their dad, my cousin, has all but removed himself from their lives. In April 2013, I became a single mom as the boys came to live with me as relative foster children. Both had been diagnosed with ADHD, with the oldest having signs of autism. Also, both were terribly behind in their education. The youngest could neither recite the alphabet nor recognize numerals to dial a phone number. Now, after many months of counseling and tutoring, applying proper nutrition with supplements, having clear rules to generate accountability, and using tough love with lots of hugs and kisses, we proved that the kids were a product of their environment. At this time, both boys are being weaned off their ADHD meds, the oldest has been declared not autistic and both are catching up to their peers in the classroom. It has been a long, bumpy road. February will be about celebrating our success. Thank you so much for your support -- past, present and future. To 2015 and beyond!
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