Southern Oregon Classical Conversations

A classical Christian community of parents dedicated to educating our children at home. We support and encourage parents so that they can feel empowered to homeschool through High School. We desire “To know God and to make Him known.”

A homeschool community that meets in Ashland,  Central Medford, Central Point, and Grants Pass weekly during the school year.  During the year, we also offer informational meetings and some free parent equipping events.

official organization website

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The Family Connection

Great parenting doesn’t happen in isolation.
The Family Connection provides a regional parenting hub where parents can come together, learn effective parenting skills from certified parenting educators, be introduced to community resources and find support from other parents. Parenting is hard work!

As Southern Oregon’s Parenting Hub, The Family Connection and The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) were founded to help.
Please take advantage of our FREE parenting classes, workshops, and events!


Remember, great parenting doesn’t happen in isolation… Let’s get connected! We also provide organizations and agencies the ability to contract an evidence based parenting series or workshop for their clients.
Head to our online Parenting Education Community Calendar to sign-up for FREE parenting classes, workshops, and family friendly events in Jackson and Josephine counties.  

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Storytelling Guild’s Children’s Festival in Jacksonville

The Storytelling Guild presents Annual Children’s Festival every July  at the beautiful Britt Gardens in Jacksonville, Oregon. For many years, the festival has provided fun-filled summer days of affordable entertainment for the entire family!

The first Children’s Festival was in 1967 and began as a small storytelling program, billed as: “A Child’s Fun ‘N Fantasy Afternoon” and was held under the trees at Britt Gardens in Jacksonville. The turnout for this one-day event was so tremendous, 200 children, that it was repeated the next day for another 300 children!

It was apparent that this was an important program and plans were readied for a true Festival in 1968. The Storytelling Guild and the Jackson County Library began planning by recruiting volunteers from the mothers who attended the first Festival. Sixteen volunteers and the local chapter of the American Association of University Women planned for that second year.

The second festival drew 2,000 children. The third, 4000 and by 1981, the Children’s Festival was attracting 15,000 visitors!

At the festival, children and adults will enjoy a variety of booths with hands-on arts, crafts,  science projects and feeding of the litter eating dragons. All activities are included with the price of admission! Older children will enjoy activities such as: candle making, pottery and wood working, while younger children will have a chance to make their own puppet, sand and easel art, and have their faces painted. In addition to fun hands-on projects, you can sit back and enjoy storytelling, child focused entertainment and stage performances.

Admission is $3 per person per day (adults and children). Food is available for purchase inside the festival at the yummy Dragon Deli. The goal has always been to offer an amazing day of entertainment and education for a reasonable cost.


The mission of The Story Telling Guild and Children’s Festival is to expose children of all ages to the magic of imagination and to instill a love of books and the joy of reading.


For more information visit:

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Matching Grandmas2Go-Family Coaches with Struggling Families

We all know that babies don’t come with an “instruction manual!” What’s a mom or dad to do when they need help? The answer: … call Grandmas2Go-Family Coaches and be matched with a “trained and trusted” community volunteer Grandma!
The idea for this program came from Linda Otto, when she realized through her work as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), a Baby Cuddler at Asante Special Care Nursery, and a trained Postpartum Doula and Infant Massage Instructor, that parents today are stressed out, overwhelmed and need help. So, she decided to fill that need by starting a non-profit called Grandmas2Go-Family Coaches.
The mission of Grandmas2Go is to mentor, nurture and support parents, infants and toddlers during the critical years of childhood brain growth – from pregnancy to preschool. This multi-generational program is changing lives …not only for struggling families, but also for the senior volunteers who are staying active, engaged, and finding a new life-purpose!
In 2017, Grandmas2Go entered the national Generation to Generation Encore Prize Competition and was named one of the top five new, innovative, inter-generational programs in the country! Grandmas2Go has been featured in major local and national media including Forbes, MarketWatch, and Wall Street Journal. PBS’ online newsletter, Next Avenue, recently published an article: “Grandmas2Go Arrive with Love”. 
Volunteer Grandmas are ‘women of wisdom and experience.” We partner with local agencies to help all our children to thrive!  With families today facing a multitude of challenges, no wonder a father of twins stated, “I don’t know how we would have survived without Grandmas2Go!” A single mom wrote “My Grandma2Go helped me get through that dark period …. we love our Grandma2Go!” And from a mother of two, who was helped by her grandma-mentor to get her US Citizenship: “Thank you for helping me make my dream come true!”
Grandmas2Go is growing, replicating and scaling to serve communities throughout Oregon and across America! And we’re promoting this growth through our “Help Us Grow -“HUG” Campaign. Help us reach more families! Send your name and email address to [email protected] and receive an invitation to Help Us Grow!
We need community support to continue our compelling work. We invite you to join us … as a volunteer Grandma, a donor, or in helping spread the word by hosting a presentation in your neighborhood, church, or social club. 
As Linda, Founder & CEO, says, “We know that one caring adult can change the life of a child. Just imagine what a team of Grandmas can do!”
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Sleep in Heavenly Peace: Providing Beds for Children in Need

Sleep in Heavenly Peace began in Twin Falls, Idaho in 2012 when a group of people built a bunk bed as a service project. After building a second bunk bed with the leftover lumber, they offered it for free on Facebook with an overwhelming response. They soon realized that the need is out there for beds for children – the roots of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (SHP) were planted!

In February of 2018, Mike Rowe’s Returning the Favor Facebook video blog spot-lighted SHP and the rush was on. Since that time, as of early 2019, 12 chapters have grown to nearly 150 chapters throughout the country. There are chapters in both Josephine and Jackson counties that build and provide beds to children who have none. The process is simple and involves the entire community.

SHP receives money from local donors and receives no government assistance. We build beds during either Public or Private/Sponsored Build Days using volunteers from our counties.

Families whose children have no beds may apply for them through our national website,, or you may refer a family you know is in need. Our organizations deliver beds to their homes, free of charge, complete with a bed frame, mattress, pillow, sheet set, and a blanket or quilt for warmth –
ready to sleep on.

It is estimated that 3,000- 6,000 children in Southern Oregon are sleeping on the floor, on couches, with other children, or with their parents because families are unable to afford beds for them. After paying for a mortgage or rent, food, and clothing, many times there is little money left for what many of us consider a necessity, beds. Sleep in Heavenly Peace’s mission is NO KID SLEEPS ON THE FLOOR IN OUR TOWN!

How can you help? Please contact either Southern Oregon chapter for more information. We gratefully accept donations or sponsorship, small or large. We are always in need of new, twin size bedding. We welcome volunteers for our public build days and to help with chapter events. Watch our respective
Facebook pages for news!

Josephine County: Facebook: @SHPJoCo
Jackson County: Facebook: @SHPJacksonCo


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T1 Dynamite: A Southern Oregon group for youth with type 1 diabetes and their families

This is a support group for kids under age 25 who have type 1 diabetes. In the world of diabetes, type 2 diabetes tends to get most of the attention, leaving people with type 1 lost in the mix. Of the 26 million Americans living with diabetes, only 5% of that 26 million have type 1.
I have started a group for local youth with type 1 diabetes because I couldn’t find one in Southern Oregon. If you are 25 or under and have type 1 diabetes, please join us at one of our meetings!
This is an active group with each meeting focusing around an active activity such as bowling, swimming, or rock climbing. Being active is an important part of proper diabetes management, but managing your blood glucose during exercise can be difficult. Because of this, many people with type 1 diabetes are discouraged from joining sports teams or doing sports altogether. T1 Dynamite meetings are a safe place to be active, have fun, and learn that it is possible to play sports, even with type 1 diabetes.
Our Group’s Objectives:
1. To help young type 1s and their families connect;
2. To raise awareness about type 1 diabetes in our community; and
3. To be active and do fun things together where we all have type 1 diabetes, and where managing blood glucose is the norm!

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Down Syndrome Association of Southern Oregon

The Down Syndrome Association of Southern Oregon is a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide the means necessary to empower individuals with Down syndrome to reach their full potential. DSASO provides support and resources for persons with Down syndrome and their families. Additionally, DSASO seeks to provide the broader community with information and education to increase awareness and foster positive attitudes regarding people with Down syndrome. 
We welcome new and expectant parents, not so new parents,  individuals with Down syndrome, friends, family, educatorsmedical professionals and anyone seeking information about Down syndrome to explore our website!  You will find helpful information, activities and resources to enlighten and encourage you on your journey to build positive relationships with, and support for, the unique person in your life who has Down syndrome.
For more information please call 541-776-9805 or visit

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By Dana Nguyen Schmidl, DDS, MS

Orthodontists do more than just straighten teeth. We improve the harmony of the bite, mitigate issues associated with improper jaw alignment, and address aesthetic concerns such as facial symmetry and profile.

 As an orthodontist, the most common question I am asked by patients and dental colleagues is “At what age should a child be evaluated for orthodontic treatment?”

While braces are typically associated with teens, you may be surprised to hear that even children who are still donning some baby teeth may benefit from orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends for all children to be evaluated by an orthodontist no later than age 7.

There are several reasons for this recommendation. By age 7, the permanent first molars have erupted, establishing the bite. Also around this time, the permanent front teeth begin to emerge, allowing an orthodontist to evaluate if your child has crowding, spacing, an overbite or underbite. 

 Additional problems such as cross-bites, deep bites, open bites, and adverse dental habits can be detected.

While the majority of children do not need any orthodontic treatment at a young age, early detection can prevent more serious problems from developing and may make subsequent orthodontic treatment shorter and less complicated.

For example, detection and treatment of a prolonged thumb-sucking habit can prevent narrowing of the upper jaw, an open bite, and excessive protrusion of the front teeth.

 If a significant issue is identified during the initial examination, early interceptive (“Phase 1”) orthodontic treatment is recommended. Usually completed in less than a year, this treatment is typically done during the ages of 7-11 when children have a mixture of permanent and baby teeth. Children will then be monitored regularly and evaluated for a second phase of orthodontic treatment once all permanent teeth erupt, around age 12.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s dental alignment or bite, schedule a consultation appointment with a local orthodontist or ask your family dentist for a referral. Consultations are quick, painless, and often complimentary.  A beautiful smile is right around the curve.

For more information visit Schmidl Orthodontics at

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Parent’s Guide to Gangs

Parent’s Guide to Gangs

By Lieutenant Mike Budreau, Medford Police Dept.


Research indicates that parents can play a pivotal role in keeping young people out of gangs. Parents can protect their children from gang activity through taking positive actions, such as monitoring their activities, fostering close relationships with them, and using positive discipline strategies. However, parents often lack       factual information about gangs.

The early adolescent years (11-14 years of age) are a crucial time when youths are exposed to gangs and may consider joining a gang. Parents should look for common gang identifiers such as:

Gang Style Clothing and Dress:

Gang members often use a particular style of dress to identify with a particular gang. This might include bandanas worn or placed in the back pocket and are of a certain color that is representative of gangs. Other signs to look for are pants worn well below the waist, gangthemed t-shirts, and beaded necklaces.


Gangs use graffiti to mark their territory, brag about their reputation and threaten rival gangs. For this reason, graffiti can be very dangerous and should be removed as soon as possible.


Tattoos often show an individual’s loyalty to his/her gang. These tattoos often include the name, initials, or symbols of a specific gang.

Hand Signs:

Gangs often use specific hand gestures to communicate their affiliation with the gang and issue threats or challenges to rival gangs.

What Parents Can Do:

  • Talk to your children about gangs and ways to avoid them. Let them know you disapprove of gangs and do not want to see them hurt or arrests.
  • Tell your children not to:

– Associate with any gang members

– Hang out where gangs congregate

– Attend any party or social event sponsored by gangs

– Use any kind of hand or finger sign that may be meaningful to gangs

– Wear clothing that may have a meaning to gangs

  • Get to know your children’s friends and the friends’ parents. Be aware of their attitude towards drugs, alcohol and gangs. When children start to feel pressure to use drugs or join gangs, it usually comes from their friends.
  • Set firm limits with your children and teens. Children and teenagers need to know clearly what is expected of them and the consequences of their actions.
  • Do not rescue your children from the consequences of their decisions.Plan family time. Make time for your family to play, eat meals together, take trips (even to parks or activities), keep family traditions and have family meetings to talk about plans, feelings, and complaints.

If you have any more questions or concerns, contact your local School

Resource Officer (SRO), or your local police department.

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Guarding Against Online Predators

Are your children safe online? It seems like the online world is harmless right?

Most of the time your children are online in home and sometimes under your watchful eyes.
Did you know that one out of every five youth online is solicited? Did you know that one in four received an unwanted exposure in the past year to pictures of naked people or people having sex?

Very few of these incidents are reported to police and while many did not find these incidents disturbing, they were distressing to a good number of the youth involved. Of the people who participated in the research funded by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, only 17% of the youth and 11% of the parents could even name a specific authority or internet service provider to which they could even report an internet crime. This is
staggering. Do you know what to do if your child reports to you that he or she was sent pornographic materials on line? These crimes are widely under reported which means that we can’t fully understand the impact these crimes have on the children and families involved.

There are some signs that might be red flags that indicate your child may be connecting with an online predator. None of these signs are definitive but indicate that it may be time to talk to your child to further understand what
is going on. If your child becomes withdrawn or isolated from their friends and family you may want to check in with them. Other red flags include, finding inappropriate or disturbing material on the computer, your child
receives gifts, money, mail or phone contact from people that are not known to you or you see charges on your phone bill from numbers or people that you do not recognize.

If you think that your child is a victim of an on line predator you should reassure your child that it is not their fault. You should save the evidence.
Evidence might be emails, instant messages, or any pictures that might have been sent. You should contact your local law enforcement agency and make a report.

You can also make a report to the CyberTipline at or 1-800-THE-LOST and include all information available, even if you do not feel it is important information.
Guarding Against Online Predators

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