Thursday, October 07, 2010
Finding activities for your child

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

I often have parents enroll their children in after-school activities to help support their child's self-esteem. There is a right and wrong way to do this. The list of activities is plentiful and includes sports, hobbies, arts and educational activities. There are several things to remember when selecting an activity. The most important is that the activity must be something that the child likes to do. Unfortunately, the only way to find out what that activity is, is to try different activities. One of the mistakes that parents often make is deciding that something they, the parents, would like to do is also what their child would like. Unfortunately, in other cases, parents may not have gotten the chance to do something when they were younger so they decide their children will do it for them. Another thing to remember is to select activities of various types. Some parents will settle on sports and their children will rotate from sport to sport. Their child might be a gifted pianist but they will never find out. We need to discover our children's talents which is a lot more difficult than you would think. There are so many activities and so many talents that this is a very difficult job. A third thing to remember is how much activities cost. It is important for children to learn the value of money. One of the ways we do that is by teaching them that there are things the family can afford and things the family can't. For example, travel baseball and softball are expensive propositions. If the family can comfortably afford them, then there is not a problem. If they cannot, they are simply teaching their children to live beyond their means. This may become future credit card debt in the making. A fourth thing is related to how much time activities take. Some activities can consume all of a child's free time. They no longer have the chance to be a child. The extreme is the potential Olympic athlete who trains for hours every day. Their families might even move across the country to locate themselves near a good coach. If the child goes to the Olympics, this may be worth while. However, if the child is not talented, they have missed a lot of their youth. Another thing I try to emphasize to parents is that it is important to find an activity for which the child's peers can show that they respect the child for it. That is an important point to boost self esteem. Along the same lines, children like to hear their parents brag about them. There is one thing that does not work. In fact, when it happens, it clearly means that the child is in the wrong activity. It should be fun for the child. When a child is involved in an activity and they are not having fun, a change is necessary. If it is because they do not like the activity, they need to change the activity. If it is because the parent expects too much and criticizes them, they also need to change the activity. Self esteem is important in children. There are many ways to build that self esteem. However, there are also ways to do it incorrectly. A child can have fun and use their God given talents. A child can build self esteem. All of these can be done through a variety of activities. The challenge is for parents to find the activity that most suits their children.

Corn maze Science has shown that exercise, fresh air and a positive attitude are keys to healthy living. You can get all three every weekend in October by having a fun-filled family outing at a one-of-a-kind corn maze presented by the Seaford Historical Society at the Ross Plantation. The maze will be open to the public every Saturday (10 a.m. - 5 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m. - 5 p.m.) in October.Admission is $5 over 12 years old and $3 for ages 6 - 12 (must be accompanied by an adult). A free Kiddie Maze is available. Use the main plantation entrance and follow the signs for parking. Added information is available at

Dr. Marzouk joins NMH Nanticoke Memorial Hospital welcomes Farouk Marzouk, MD to its active medical staff. Dr. Marzouk joins the Vascular Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, located on the grounds of the hospital next to the Wound Care & Hyperbaric Center, and is accepting new patients. Dr. Marzouk completed his training and his fellowship in Vascular Surgery at Staten Island University Hospital, N.Y. and received his medical license from New York; he completed his general surgery training and residency at Sound of Medical Center, New York Medical College, Westchester, N.Y.

Riekena named director at NHS Nanticoke Health Services welcomes Joyce Riekena to the position of director of Perioperative Services. Riekena will play a critical role in the delivery of patient care services in collaboration with physicians and other health care providers. This includes planning for strategic and operational needs, service design and resource allocation, and leadership of staff.She will also coordinate assigned care areas to maximize patient services and outcomes and improve service. Riekena graduated from a diploma RN program from an 850-bed hospital and began her career in the OR.She received a bachelor of science degree in healthcare administration from St. Joseph's College in Wyndham, Maine. Riekena also possesses a master's degree in business administration.

Alzheimer's Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's next Alzheimer's Support Group meeting is on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 1 p.m., at LifeCare at Lofland Park's, first floor resident lounge, 715 E. King St., Seaford. This group provides support and information about Alzheimer's and dementia to families, caregivers and anyone who is affected by this disease. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group. For more information, contact LifeCare at Lofland Park at 628-3000, ext. 8302.

State suspends doctor's license Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock and the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline have issued a suspension of a physician's Delaware license for engaging in activities which present a clear and present danger to the public health. Last month, the Maryland State Board of Physicians suspended Dr. George Shepard Jr. which triggered notification of all other states in which Shepard is licensed. Delaware's Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline then began the process of seeking immediate suspension of Dr. Shepard's Delaware license. Since September 2009, Dr. Shepard was involved in the oversight and day-to-day operations of American Women's Services (AWS) on East High Street in Elkton, Md. In August 2010, one of the abortions Shepard performed at the Elkton facility resulted in serious complications for an 18-year-old patient. The board found that Dr. Shepard placed patients at grave risk for harm or catastrophic outcomes by participating in a medical practice arrangement in which second trimester abortions were begun in AWS facilities in New Jersey and completed at the Elkton facility after the patients were instructed to travel from New Jersey to Maryland.

Dr. Shepard's status has been updated on the Division of Professional Regulation's online license verification service. This tool lists the status of 71,000 professional licensees in Delaware and can be accessed by visiting and clicking "Verify License Online."

First Aid classes Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community First Aid classes to anyone interested in learning first aid on Tuesday, Oct. 12, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., at the Nanticoke Training Center, Water Street, Seaford. Participants will learn basic first aid that will enable them to administer help during the first few moments until emergency responders arrive. Classes are open to participants age 13 and up. The course covers cognitive learning, role-playing and skill practice. Cost is $30. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations (if seating is available) will be an additional $5 fee. To register, or for information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919.Pre-registration is required.

Look Good...Feel Better program Women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer can now receive free professional help to cosmetically disguise the appearance-related side effects of their treatments. Look Good...Feel Better, a program developed by the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association Foundation, the American Cancer Society, and the National Cosmetology Association, trains volunteer cosmetologists to help women with cancer, conceal loss of hair, skin problems and other side effects that can result from cancer therapy. The next program will be hosted by the Cancer Care Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital on Monday, Oct. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Cancer Care Center's second floor conference room. The program is free to all patients in active cancer treatment. Registration is required and space is limited. To register, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital's Cancer Care Center at 629-6611, ext. 2378 or 2588.

Pink Ribbon Tea at Nanticoke On Friday, Oct. 15, at 2:30 p.m., breast cancer survivors are invited to attend an afternoon of fellowship and celebration being put on by the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, the Wellness Community, the American Cancer Society, and Nanticoke Health Services. If you are a breast cancer survivor and wonder how to continue your journey toward wellness, we invite you to attend this special pink ribbon event.A cancer survivor from each group hosting the event will speak briefly about their organization. Light refreshments will be served.Seating is limited, so RSVP by Oct. 8. During October, Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Campus and Mears Health Campus will be "turning Sussex County pink." Several activities are planned to promote cancer awareness including a vigil walk scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m.This walk is open to the community and begins at Nanticoke's Cancer Care Center and ends at Gateway Park in Seaford. Featured speaker for this event is Mrs. Markell, First Lady of Delaware and breast cancer survivor. To register for the tea and for more information, call 629-6611, ext. 2378.

NHS Tribute awards Nanticoke Health Services has announced the recipients of the 6th Annual Nanticoke Tributes for Healthcare Leadership. Nanticoke Tributes awards individuals who have made significant contributions to the provision and improvement of health care in the communities of Western Sussex County. The awards will be presented at a dinner and reception on Thursday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Heritage Shores in Bridgeville. The Founders Award will recognize two new inductees, Sister Rosita Alvarez and the Soroptimist International of Seaford. The Charles C. Allen, Jr. Philanthropy Award is being presented to Rex L. Mears who is being recognized for his dedication and commitment to Nanticoke Health Services. The Nanticoke Tribute Awards also recognizes a new inductee into the Nanticoke Physicians Hall of Fame. This year, Louis F. Owen, Jr., MD will be presented with the Hall of Fame Award. Tickets are $100 and may be purchased by calling Nanticoke Health Services Foundation at 629-6611, ext. 8944 or

Cancer Support Group The Wellness Community-Delaware offers a general cancer support group for people affected by cancer and their loved ones held at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. The monthly support group meets in the second floor conference room of the Cancer Care center on the third Monday of each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The next meeting takes place on Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m. The Wellness Community, an affiliate of the Cancer Support community, is dedicated to helping people affected by cancer enhance their health and well-being through participation in a professional program of emotional support and hope. Facilitators are trained mental health professionals with a master's degree or more. Call 645-9150 for information or to register for this program. All support groups offered at the Wellness Community are free of charge. This program is made possible by the support of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. The program is facilitated by Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center professional staff - Terri A. Clifton, MS, NCC, Cancer Care coordinator; Mary Brown, RN, DSN, manager Cancer Care Center; and Wendy Polk, nutritionist - with assistance from Lois Wilkinson, DBCC special projects manager, who helps facilitate the program at Bayhealth. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCC's Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided. Delaware Hospice support group Delaware Hospice's Bereavement Counselor, Paul Ganster, LCSW, will lead an eight-week grief support group on "Grieving the Loss of a Loved One," on Thursdays, from Oct. 14 through Dec. 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford. There is no fee for this service which is provided as a community outreach by Delaware Hospice. To register, call Paul Ganster, LCSW, at 357-7147, or send him an email at