If you have a baby, getting the little one to "latch on" within the first 60 minutes after birth might not be your first priority after hours of labor. But that is one of the most important ways to help a newborn baby establish his or her immune system, according to Amita Graham, a health educator with the Pima County Health Department.
Graham said lots of new moms might not have the backing and knowledge they need to get their babies successfully suckling.
"In a society where moms are used to it, it's easier to get babies to latch on," Graham said. "But in American society, where we have a lot of bottle-feeding, moms might not get all the support they need from family, dads and hospitals."
That's why lactation specialists like Graham will be on hand at The First Hour: Save One Million Babies breastfeeding walk and health fair on Friday morning--to help new moms out when it comes to getting babies to breastfeed.
Graham said the goal of Global Breastfeeding Week is to save 1 million babies by getting moms focused on making sure their newborns get the colostrum--the first breast milk--which Graham said provides antigens, nutrients and all kinds of good stuff that can help a baby's delicate immune system fight off disease.
There will be educational booths from University Medical Center, Tucson Medical Center, St. Joseph's Hospital, the El Rio Birth and Women's Health Center, Teen Outreach and other organizations. Lactation consultants will be available to give advice to new moms who want to breastfeed their babies. There will be free food from Bruegger's Bagels and Starbucks, as well as live music by Combo Westside.
The event starts with a walk at 7:30 a.m., and the fair begins at 8:30 a.m. --T.M.
Some 37 high school students, from Tucson and around the world, spent the last month training with professional instructors and directors from the Arizona Theatre Company during the company's Summer on Stage program--and the students are capping their experience with a series of performances this week, said ATC education manager Alison C. Terry.
The students applied with a personal statement and a reference, Terry said.
"Arizona Theatre Company has been doing Summer on Stage for 11 years. The program is an introduction to professional theater," Terry said. "The students are introduced to instructors and directors who live in that world."
The monthlong program begins with an audition, during which students present their acting, dancing and singing skills. The program includes lessons on voice, physical comedy, stage combat and improvisation techniques, Terry said. The activities lead up to the productions at the Temple of Music and Art.
"We try to give the kids as diverse a schedule as possible," Terry said. "We push growth."
This season's productions were directed by professional actors. Lynn Ahrens' and Stephen Flaherty's Lucky Stiff, a musical, is directed by Mark McCarthy; Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lindsay-Abaire's Snow Angel is directed by Lisa Rothschiller, said Terry.
"The students have fun while learning and get the chance to perform two fully mounted productions," Terry said.
Snow Angel plays Friday, Aug. 3, and Lucky Stiff plays Thursday and Saturday, Aug. 2 and 4. All performances are free. For more information, visit www.arizonatheatre.org. --L.H.
Luckily for us, the winds of political and social turmoil have blown the summer performance school run by Guillermo Gómez-Peña's La Pocha Nostra from its usual spot in Oaxaca, Mexico, to the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Tucson.
Gómez-Peña describes the San Francisco-based La Pocha Nostra's pieces as interactive performance art with the human body as the site of creation. For one piece, he locked himself in a cage for three days. For another, he crucified himself.
"Every project is different," Gómez-Peña said. "The audience is always part of it, not just as witnesses, but we find ways to make it interactive for them."
Gómez-Peña will be signing copies of his new book, Bitacora del Cruce (border-crossing diary), a story of his journey from one side of the border to another. Gómez-Peña tells the story of his trip from Mexico City in the 1970s north across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Gómez-Peña will also be giving a mini-performance, which might offer a peek into what the artists attending La Pocha Nostra's summer school held at MOCA will be working on.
Admission to the book signing is free for MOCA members and $5 for nonmembers.
Gómez-Peña and other members of the troupe--Violeta Luna, Michéle Ceballos and Roberto Sifuentes--are teaching the 11-day, intensive performance school to 25 national, international and local artists who will show off what they've learned in a performance at MOCA from 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11. Admission to each performance is $5 for MOCA members and $10 for nonmembers.
With a surge in preservative-free pet food and recalls on certain brands, pet owners should be on alert when it comes to their pets' health, said Muttropolis district manager Darrin Sellers.
The pet-specialty store will host a health and wellness event encouraging pet owners to think twice about the food and treats they serve their cats and dogs.
"Our staff has done the work to highlight the best food for pets," Sellers said.
Pet owners can fill out a pet profile regarding their pets' health, age and any current symptoms--like allergies or joint support--at the store or muttropolis.com. Those who fill out the survey will receive a goody bag at the event, with appropriate vitamin supplements and samples for the pets' specific needs, Sellers said.
"The event is a great time to look at what you are feeding your pet," Sellers said. "The profile can gear the nutrition specifically to the pets' needs."
Muttropolis will also provide pet nutrition experts, and pet owners can ask questions about the quality of their pets' life. Sellers says that based on a dog's or cat's particular diet and health history, the nutritionist can provide samples of dental treatments and other supplements to help the pet.
"These products increase the quality of life and lifespan for the pet," Sellers said. "It also enhances the ability for the pet to enjoy being with their owner."
The event is free. For more information, visit muttropolis.com. --L.H.