“I Worry About the Kids” A new post-trauma growth project! by Steve Sparks


Dear Family, Friends, and Colleagues,

“I Worry About the Kids!”  is my new creative non-fiction publishing project!  Please click on the highlighted text to review my project proposal, and the personal video clip of a previous talk on behalf of the Chinook WindsCelebration of Honor at the Lincoln City Cultural Center.  Please support this important work and project on behalf of Children and Families in Life After Trauma.  A big shout out and thank you to all my family members, friends, and colleagues who have supported my work over the years.  I’m very grateful for your compassion, sensitivity, and support!

Following is an excerpt from, I Worry About the Kids, Chapter 1, Introduction… 

“Although children are resilient and adapt to their immediate surroundings and their broader environment—good, bad, indifferent, and ugly as it might be—kids inhale the pain of loved ones, especially parents they look to for love, support, and security. Parents don’t always see or even think that toxic behaviors in the home, school, and neighborhood will have long-term implications on the healthy growth of their children. Parents who suffer from severe post trauma stress are fully engaged in their own world of emotional pain, a private agony that can strike at any moment by haunting triggers from the past. Outbursts of anger, panic attacks, and irrational behaviors represent a trauma-affected adult who is expressing grieving emotions from past traumatic events. When these scary events occur in the home, kids become frightened for their safety. Children are often silent and try to stay clear of threatening violent behaviors, but they never forget. They live and cope with whatever happens around them just like adults. I’m often asked why I worry so much about babies and young children when thinking and writing about post-traumatic stress and the toxic circumstances that surround a family when a parent suffers from it. I worry because even unborn babies can be damaged from post-trauma family dynamics. And I worry about the kids because the longer the delay in paying attention to them, the more permanent the damage. Where do I find these children? The terrible answer is I find them in every social strata, every economic level, in every neighborhood, everywhere. Children exhibiting the signs of post-traumatic stress often live in military families that include a parent who served in hard combat but came home fueled by anxiety, depression, and anger. They are children of 1st responders whose work places them in the midst of terrible violence and chaos, and they can’t help but bring some of their despair back home. They are homeless kids sleeping wherever they can lay their head for the night. Sometimes their parents are with them, sometimes not. They are the children of alcoholics and drug users. They are kids living among convicted criminals who need supervision of their own. They are the children of chronically depressed parents. They are undernourished kids living in poverty. They are kids with limited access to education—for whatever reason. They are children who have witnessed a murder, or a gun accident, or pulled the trigger themselves—you read about these stories in the newspapers way too often. They are children who found a parent dead of suicide. Or who was in the room when their mother was raped. They are foster children taken from parents who abused or neglected them, only to end up in another abusive situation. They are kids whose father or mother skipped out one day, never to return. They are children living with their grandparents because their own parents are dysfunctional or violent. They are children at the mercy of adults—stepfathers, pastors, relatives, neighbors—with sexually deviant personalities. Our society is experiencing an epidemic of children suffering from post-traumatic stress right this minute.” 

Can’t we do more?  We must do better!

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate


Neighbors for Kids, “Kids Zone Classic Charity Golf” July 18th, Chinook Winds Golf Resort, Lincoln City, Oregon

Chinook Winds Golf Resort, Lincoln City, Oregon


Class of 2000 Linebacker >>> 6-3, 241 (Boise Junior College, Oregon) 1964-1974 San Francisco 49ers

David Wilcox. . .Third round draft pick, 1964. . .Also drafted by Houston (AFL). . .Nicknamed “The Intimidator” for aggressive style of play. . . Considered by many to be finest outside linebacker of his era. . .Particularly effective at keeping tight ends from getting off line. . .Prided himself on not allowing opponents to block him. . .All-NFL five times, second-team All-NFL three other times. . . Named All-NFC three times. . .Elected to seven Pro Bowls. . . Born September 29, 1942, in Ontario, Oregon.

Kids Zone Classic with Dave Wilcox, NFL Hall of Fame, San Francisco 49rs!  Click on this link to register!

The Neighbors for Kids Board of Directors is proud and honored to present the “Kids Zone Classic” in our 6th year as one of the most recognizable and popular charity golf tournaments on the Central Oregon Coast.  I remember as a new NFK Board Member 6 years ago when we started with dreams of building a charity golf event that would become a classic in the years to come.  We are grateful for the support of Chinook Winds Casino & Golf Resort, and PR manager, Heather Hatton, who is also the Taft HS golf coach.  Heather helped jump start the idea of promoting the best of Lincoln County’s HS golfers by donating green fees for selected students from each of the Lincoln County School District HS golf teams.  The NFK Board really felt that we should make our annual charity golf event about the K-12 kids we serve by recognizing young and aspiring golfers from our local community.  We then asked new NFK Board Director, Liz Martin, with a long history of golf experience from Agate Beach Golf Course in Newport to help us achieve lofty goals to become the very best charity golf event on the Central Oregon Coast.  Liz has done a truly amazing job chairing the event each year.

Since 1999 the success of Neighbors for Kids and signature after-school program “Kids Zone” has been a labor of love by the community as a whole.  With the passion and commitment from our staff, volunteers, and the NFK Board of Directors, we can now call ourselves the “Kids Zone Golf Classic!”  We are especially thankful to Chinook Winds Casino & Golf Resort and our many sponsors who have help make this event NFK’s largest fund raiser of the year.  The proceeds all contribute to a continued effort to offer the finest after-school, and summer camp education and enrichment programs on the Central Oregon Coast.  NFK is also a partner of the LCSD 21st Century Community Learning Center.

I can’t wait to get out on the course on July 18th in a foursome with my neighbors from the community of LIttle Whale Cove in Depoe Bay.  We all look forward to the fun and camaraderie of our entire community sharing in this amazing annual event to benefit “Kids Zone” in Depoe Bay, Oregon.

Steve Sparks, Vice Chair, Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Former Oregon Duck and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts urges “safety in sports” at the 5th annual Neighbors for Kids Charity Golf Tournament Saturday, July 19, at Chinook Winds Golf Resort…

From the left, Logan, Steve, Janie, and Gray at Chinook Winds Golf Resort, Lincoln City, Oregon on July 19, 2014… Neighbors for Kids (NFK) 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament… Click photo for larger view…
Steve, with Logan, Gray, and Janie, sinking a redeeming putt on the 16th hole! Click photo for larger view…
Dan Fouts during the 5th annual Neighbors For Kids Charity Golf Tournament Saturday, July 19, at Chinook Winds Golf Resort… Photo / Joe Janvoksky
Judy Sparks, Dan Fouts, and Lyn Morgan at Chinook Winds Golf Resort…Neighbors for Kids 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament…


Pablo Arellano

Soul Searching…Beautiful Piano Solo… click highlighted text to listen and relax…

I have been away from my office and the joy of writing this blog for awhile…  My day job and passion in retirement is vice chair of Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  We held our 5th annual charity golf tournament at Chinook Winds Golf Resort in Lincoln City, Oregon, on Saturday, July 19, 2014…The charity event was a fabulous success with over 100 players, including 12 top high school sponsored golfers.  Dan Fouts, NFL Hall of Fame, 1993, San Diego Chargers played in the event again this year and urged safety in sports during an interview  with the Lincoln City NewsGuard…  (click highlighted text for more)

I was very proud and honored to have played in NFK’s 5th Annual Charity Golf event yesterday.  The kids in the photo above in my foursome include, from the left, Logan, (Steve), Janie, and Gray.  Logan is age 12, from Taft, and plays like a future Tiger Woods!  Both Janie and Gray, HS seniors from Newport, are very good on the course.  All three are exemplary kids and young adults…  I was able to redeem myself from time to time with some great shots, especially on the 16th hole pictured above.  It was one of the best times in my life on the golf course…  The experience touched my heart deeply…

This year’s tournament was also a defining moment for Neighbors for Kids.  The photos above make a powerful statement of who we are as we go forward making a huge difference for kids and the community we serve. We are so very grateful for the overwhelming community support for this event!  There is so much to be thankful for as we celebrate and appreciate the heartwarming work we do for children and families in Lincoln County, Oregon.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…  Click highlighted text for my author page…

Neighbors for Kids (NFK) 5th Annual Charity Golf Tourney at Chinook Winds Golf Resort on July 19th…Bid to play in Dan Fouts foursome…

Judy Sparks with Dan Fouts at Chinook Winds Golf Resort for “meet & greet” evening before NFK Golf “Fore” Kids Charity Tournament in 2011. Click photo for larger view…
Click here to register as a player or sponsor…
dan fouts
Dan Fouts, HOF ’93 San Diego Charges & CBS Sports
Signed NFL Football Auctioned at NFK Golf Tourney in 2013.

Neighbors for Kids 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament!  Click here to participate as a sponsor or player… Neighbors For Kids                                                           Contact:  Executive Director Toby Winn Depoe Bay, OR                                                                                                            541-765-8990 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                      director@neighborsforkids.org July 7, 2014 Neighbors For Kids 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament That time of year is here again! Sign up for Neighbors For Kids’ 5th Annual Charity Golf Tournament on Saturday, July 19, at Chinook Winds Golf Resort. Registration will begin at 8:00am, with a shotgun start at 9:00, for an 18-hole scramble.  Entry fees are $100 per player/$400 per foursome, which includes green fees, golf cart, continental breakfast, catered lunch, golf goody bag and an opportunity to win prizes and awards. Golf fans and NFK supporters came out in record numbers to last year’s event, and we look forward to a fun day of golf, friends, prizes, and more! Neighbors For Kids is excited to announce that NFL Hall of Fame Quarterback Dan Fouts will be playing in the tournament this year.  Chinook Winds Resort will host a “Meet and Greet” reception with Dan on Friday evening, July 18, from 5:00 to 7:00.  Guests will have an opportunity to visit with Dan and place a bid to play on Fouts’s team. A putting contest will be held from 6:00 to 7:00pm. Men’s and women’s teams will be competing for KP, long drive and gross scores, and student teams, sponsored by Chinook Winds, will also be playing.  Offered again this year is the Hole-in-One prize of a custom-built Shelby Cobra Replica, sponsored by Duane Silbernagel of Waddell and Reed.  Other sponsors include: North Lincoln Sanitary, the River House Inn, Chinook Winds Casino Resort, WorldMark by Wyndham, and CoastCom. All participants will have the chance to bid on silent auction items at this fundraising event. Non-golfers are invited to join in for lunch at 1:30 pm at $22 per person. Beth Unverzagt, executive director of OregonASK, Oregon’s statewide network for out-of-school-time services, will be our luncheon Keynote Speaker this year. Organized by the Neighbors For Kids Board of Directors, the golf tournament is our largest fundraiser of the year, part of the annual campaign to raise funds to promote and support the educational and enrichment programs at Kids Zone, NFK’s signature after-school and summer programs in math and reading, visual arts, music, computer technology and science education; to provide state-of-the-art equipment and facilities; and to foster positive youth development through mentoring. Neighbors For Kids was established in 1999 by a group of concerned Depoe Bay citizens to provide youth with a safe and productive place to go after school.  For more information and to register individually or as a team, visit www.neighborsforkids.org  and follow us on Facebook.

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Dan Fouts signed football as shown above sits in my office.  I enjoy being reminded of the many years Dan played for the San Diego Chargers and his record breaking passing game…”becoming the first player in history to throw for 4,000 yards in three consecutive seasons.”  I rarely missed a Chargers game, especially when they played my home team, Seattle Seahawks…always an exciting shoot-out to the end… The best part is Dan Fouts  (click highlighted link) loves kids and our community on Oregon’s beautiful Central Coast.  He is a long time supporter of Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay and our annual charity golf tournament.  We are most grateful for Dan’s support and participation at this year’s charity event at Chinook Winds Golf Resort.  Dan will also be with us on Friday evening July 18th for a “meet and greet” at Chinook Winds Aces Sports Bar & Grill…5-7pm, including putting contest and prizes. See you all there for this great cause and charity event to help support NFK’s “Kids Zone” after-school program and the children and families of our community… Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1, and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… Click the highlighted text for my author page… Vice Chair, Neighbors for Kids