Our Favorites for 2005

December 19, 2005
It's that time of year at Connect for Kids, when we look back and take stock. A major redesign of our web site brought welcome changes in how we keep you informed about kids, with more live chats, more audio presentations, and more chances for you to weigh in and be in touch. And we’ve continued to work to bring you interesting stories from the world of children. Here are some of our—and your—favorites from 2005.
Louisiana’s Pre-School Champion
by Andrea Grazzini Walstrom

Why we like this article: This is a great story about strides made in early education, from a state that has had more than its share of trauma in 2005. We’ll need to check back with Louisiana to see if the momentum for quality early education can be recaptured post-Katrina! - Cecilia Garcia, Executive Director
Driving Forces
by Robert Capriccioso

Why we like this article: Young people behind the wheel can be contentious issue. On the one hand you have the need for teens to learn the art of driving and their desire for freedom. On the other you have disastrous and sometimes fatal car accidents caused by inexperienced drivers. This article covered the measures one community was taking to curb the latter. Adults looked to programs like graduated licensing, increased penalties, car pool restrictions and more. Young drivers themselves argued for increased education, rather than curbs on driving privileges.

My family experienced first-hand the devastating impact a seemingly minor decision by a young driver can have. My cousin, Lance, passed away at the age of 17 while driving along a well-traveled road close to his home.

Reducing the number of such accidents will probably take a combination of better education and training of young drivers, and stricter laws. - Jeremy Isett, Webmaster

Family Ties, Through Prison Walls
by Chris Dickon

Why we like this article: This story brought to life the experiences of people most of us don’t think about: mothers in prison and their children left behind. It also demonstrated what one determined person can do to make a tough situation a little bit more bearable for children. - Jan Richter, Advocacy Director
Dragon Slayers, the Sequel
by Holly St. Lifer

Why we like this article: This is one of the few times Connect for Kids has been able to look back at an earlier story—2003’s Angels in the Snow—and find out what’s happened. It was inspiring to learn that the Dragon Slayers, an all-girl team of volunteer emergency responders in Aniak, Alaska, had not only taken the experience and confidence they gained through the program on into higher education and good-paying jobs, but that several had chosen to do that while remaining in their small Alaskan village, rather than heading for what some might see as greener pastures. - Susan Phillips, Editor
Cartoon Politics
by Rob Capriccioso

Rob’s story about making political cartooning a part of the middle-school learning experience – in effect, taking maximum advantage of young teen’s predilection for doodling – was the most-viewed article for 2005.
Cyber Bullying: No Muscles Needed
by Joan E. Lisante

Clearly, we’re not the only ones concerned about how new technology gives kids an anonymous, wide-reaching tool for bullying and harassing their peers. This story about the phenomenon of cyber bullying, and ways schools and parents can help protect kids, was the most e-mailed article of 2005.