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Posts by Toni Heineman

LET’S MAKE PRIDE MONTH LAST ALL YEAR

Being a kid can be hard. Being a foster kid can be even harder. Being an LGBTQ foster kid can sometimes be so hard that kids end up on the streets instead of protected by the agency that is responsible for their care. The child welfare system is charged—first and foremost—with providing for the physical…

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Valentine’s Day: Beyond Romance

Valentine’s Day: Beyond Romance Particularly this year, it is important to reach beyond flowers, chocolates, and heart-shaped gifts to the love that binds us to family, friends, and community. Too many among us now live in fear of losing those they hold most dear. Parents worry that they will be sent back to a country…

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When We Look Away

by Toni Heineman Monday morning brought news of another mass shooting. I was startled when I realized that I had silently sighed, “Well, only two dead this time.” Only two real people—teenagers with families, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, and scores of people who will never have a chance to know them—gone forever, for reasons that…

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Different AND Same

This Sunday at 2 a.m., a man walked into a packed nightclub carrying a rifle and a pistol. He killed 49 people and injured 53 others. His victims were primarily gay Latino men; it was “Latin Night” at the gay club, Pulse. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, and it was targeted…

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Child Abuse Prevention Month

  Although spring officially begins near the end of March, it is often the longer days of April and the transformation of buds into blossoming trees and flowers that make us feel that spring has really arrived. It is fitting that we turn our attention to the prevention of child abuse in the spring, with…

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FOSTERING ART REINCARNATED

For eight years we ran a very successful program in San Francisco for current and former foster teens and young adults. Classes met once a week through the school year to focus on photography and creative writing. At first they met in a community center and moved from classroom to darkroom. When digital photography became…

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SEX AND THE SUPER BOWL

Among those coming for the festivities will be some whose reason for travel is not for their own pleasure but for the amusement of others. These are the young girls and boys who have been caught in the web of sex trafficking. Their presence among the fans and partygoers may not be obvious; in fact,…

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HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

For better or worse, holidays highlight the unique dynamics, traditions, and culture of a family.  For many, getting together to prepare or share a meal is the centerpiece of holiday traditions. For others, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without the traditional athletic activity—whether everyone gathers in the outdoor air to play or inside, in front…

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UNABLE TO SERVE

Over two hundred retired generals and admirals have banded together to call attention to the alarming consequences of our failure to care adequately for this nation’s children. Mission: Readiness reports that 75% of the young adults who, in the past, have been the most likely to join the military are “unfit to serve” because of poor…

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THE NEW KID AT SCHOOL

It’s hard being the new kid at school. You don’t know what to wear or how to find your way to the cafeteria or the restroom. You don’t know which teachers have a reputation for kindness and which for meanness. You don’t know who will be your friend or who will make fun of you.…

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