Category: Featured Articles

Why Do I Need To Drink Enough Water?

By Juhee Shah, Team Manager and Health and Fitness Coach for Greatness Fitness


Health Benefits of Water:

About 60% of your total weight is made up of water. Two thirds of the total water in the body is inside the cells and the rest of it is outside the cells so that the cells can move around and the other chemicals floating around in the body, such as vitamins, minerals, hormones, electrolytes, etc. can get into the cell. Water is needed for many physiological processes and biochemical reactions, including: Read more →

Ate A Bite Of Pie

By Mike O’Hern, Center Director of Mathnasium of West Knoxville



My dad was a really funny guy with a quick wit and dry sense of humor.  But he also loved the groaners.  You know, the old joke that made you groan because it was so corny.  For example, he’d say that he used to be in a fraternity: Eta Bita Pi.  That one came to mind because I was helping a high-schooler with trig and they seem to find that one humorous, and I can’t really think of anything else about trig that’s humorous. Read more →

Fighting Childhood Obesity: Part 2

By Juhee Shah, Team Manager and Health and Fitness Coach for Greatness Fitness


Last month’s article discussed the prevalence of childhood obesity, habits that can lead to obesity, how obesity affects the lives of children, and recommendations for physical activity. This article will discuss how parents can help prevent obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle for their children.

As a kid, I remember my parents shuttling my sister and me from activity to activity. We both participated in many sports, such as tennis, Tae Kwon Do, cross country, track and swimming. To this day, a healthy lifestyle holds importance in both our lives. We continue to be physically active and eat a nutritious diet. Our experience was a direct result of our parents exposing us, from a young age, to an active lifestyle and healthy eating habits. Parents can have a huge impact on their children’s habits by creating a healthy and active home environment and leading by example. After all, actions speak louder than words. Read more →

Fighting Childhood Obesity

By Juhee Shah, Team Manager and Health and Fitness Coach for Greatness Fitness


It is a sunny day and the street in front of my house is full of neighborhood kids riding bikes, throwing frisbees, and playing fetch with their dogs. This is a re-occurring scene from my childhood. Most evenings and weekends, my friends and I would be outside engaged in physical activities. In this scene, I do not recall seeing one obese kid. Today, childhood obesity is a serious global public health problem, and we do not often see scenes like this anymore. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30% of children and teens in the United States are overweight or obese. According to the World Health Organization, the number of overweight or obese infants and young children is 42 million globally. These numbers reflect the habits and environment of the youth today: Read more →

The Cerebral Development Of Teens

By Tracey Matthews Wynter, Supervisor of the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department

Untitled-13The process of developing maturity can be difficult for both parents and teens, but by better understanding how the teenage brain works, a world of difference can be made for everyone.

In past parenting models, parents have been encouraged to “hold their breath” and wait out the teenage years of rebellion. The problem with this parenting style is that it can foster a negative expectation of teens. While some teens will figure things out on their own and discover the ability to make good decisions early on, others rely heavily on their parents’ experiences, understanding and guidance. Read more →

A Life-Saving Decision For Animals

By Jeff Ashin, CEO, Young-Williams Animal Center. Photo by: Young-Williams Animal Center



Pet owners face many day-to-day decisions that affect the health and welfare of the animals they love. What kind of food is best? How much food? What kind of exercise will be most beneficial? However, the most important decision pet owners face affects not only the pet, but the community as well. Read more →

Has Social Media Replaced The “Gift” Of Time

By Tracey Matthews Wynter, Supervisor of the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department

Tweets, posts, tags, likes, pins, chats, PMs and snaps…just a few terms that describe how connected we have become in the 21st Century, but do we know how to disconnect in order to spend quality time with others?  Is social media actually making us more anti-social?  Is it time for a “digital detox?”

Social media and networking sites are playing an increasingly important role in our lives, especially with young people.  The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that children age 13-17 spend at least two hours a day on social networking sites, and more than 60 percent of these teenagers have at least one “profile” on social media.  Additionally, according to a recent Pew Research Center report, 57 percent of teenagers have met a new friend online.  Social media and online gameplay are the most common digital venues for meeting friends.

What happened to the good old days of sharing the “gift” of time with those with whom we are closest?  I know, I know…everyone is incredibly busy these days. Considering how technology has made our lives more automated and fast, we should actually have more time today than we’ve ever had in the past. Take, for example, the concept of a “drive-thru.”  Now, there are not only drive-thru restaurants, but drive-thru car washes, drive-thru markets, and even drive-thru zoos and wedding chapels. In Los Angeles, the Robert L. Adams Mortuary offers “drive-thru viewing” and displays the deceased in a glass window where loved ones can pay their respects from the street.  The Kocian Law Group in Connecticut offers drive-thru legal advice, and in Houston, Texas the Succeed in Life Center offers advice and prayers from a drive-thru window! This phenomenon is happening in many places so clearly, time is not the issue.  Making quality time for others, is.

Personally Reconnecting With Those We Love

Step 1:  List all optional activities in which you make time to enjoy (e.g., going to a movie theater, watching television, going out to dinner, surfing your social media pages or the Internet, reading for pleasure, listening to music, going shopping for fun, etc.).

Step 2:  Next to that list, list the virtual “friends” with whom you would like to more personally connect or reconnect.

Step 3: Once a week, perhaps, intentionally plan to exchange one of your optional activities for personally connecting with a significant friend or loved one with whom you have primarily relied on social media to maintain your relationship.

Alternatives to Social Media

Send an actual letter or card (rather than an e-card), and include phrases such as, “I made time for you. You are very important to me.” Send a few, and maybe start with those serving in the military.

Phone a friend – texting is great because we can go back and read messages as many times as we wish.  However, hearing someone’s voice can be even more special.

Surprise friends by planning a personal visit or make arrangements to spend quality time together.

When friends are ill or in the hospital, actually go and visit them and take a card, flowers or crossword puzzles to show your concern.

Take a small batch of baked good to your friends and neighbors who are not users of social media

Take Inventory

QualityTime is a relatively new app for Android smartphones that helps manage your “digital diet.”  It allows the user to monitor and get real time reports on how much time is spent on your smartphone, whether it be social media or other favorite apps.  It tracks total usage, screen unlocks and individual apps with hourly, daily and weekly summary reporting options.  Users will have the ability to curb habits by setting up time restrictions such as alerts, the “take-a-break” function and scheduled breaks.

Am I bashing social media networks?  Not at all!  Social media is one of the best connection tools we have on the planet.  We should use social media to enhance the personal relationships we already have…not replace them.

Please share your success stories, related tips, and/or topic suggestions for future articles by contacting Mrs. Tracey Matthews Wynter, Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department Supervisor, 865-594-9525, For more information and resources available to Knox County Schools’ students and families, please visit us online at



Coats for The Cold

Coats for the Cold is an annual community drive to collect thousands of coats for those in need in our communities. The 2015 distribution date is Saturday, December 5 at Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) Stores Clearance Center, 4302 Asheville Highway (in the Holston Shopping Center). If you would like to “give back” after receiving a coat, KARM will need volunteers to help pack up the remaining coats on December 7th and 8th.  Visit , select “Get Involved,” and then “Events,” for more details!

For additional local resources, contact Mrs. Tamekia Jackson, Knox County Schools Family Resource Center Director,, 865-594-1192.

Happy Holidays!

Tracey Matthews currently serves as Knox County Schools’ District-wide Family and Community Engagement Supervisor. In this position, Tracey has been entrusted with the responsibility to facilitate the district’s course toward building stronger and lasting partnerships between families, schools, and the community. For more information, please visit the Family and Community Engagement at

Thankful For Our Community’s Care For Animals

By Monica Brown, Director of Shelter Operations, Young-Williams Animal Center



Although Wiley can’t talk, the lively Border collie shows her gratitude in her own way. Her tail wags continuously and her brown eyes sparkle. If she could talk, Wiley would tell you that this Thanksgiving season she has much for which to be thankful.

Wiley first came to Young-Williams Animal Center as a stray in October of 2014. The 5-year-old collie was extremely malnourished and covered in ticks.  She walked with a bad limp to protect her right front leg which was clearly causing her a great deal of pain. An X-ray showed the leg was broken but with medical care, rest, and rehabilitation, she would be fine.  Read more →

Reading Knoxville: Delta Fragments

Book by John Hodges, Reviewed by Michael K. Smith, Ph.D.



“Taken as a whole…these fragments are my best effort to lay bare the soul and emotions of a community coming to self-understanding, even as I take that journey along with them.” John Hodges grew up in the Mississippi Delta, in the town of Greenwood, Mississippi, in the 1940s and 1950s. Mississippi counties at that time had large proportions of African-Americans who suffered from high poverty levels and almost no political representation. “It is amazing, furthermore, that a place with such high illiteracy should also be the home of some of the greatest writers in the world.” The Mississippi Delta was home to writers like Richard Wright and William Faulkner and such blues artists as Robert Johnson and B. B. King. In Delta Fragments: The Recollections of a Sharecropper’s Son, Hodges shares his journey from the strife of civil rights struggles in the 1950s to his eventual position as a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Tennessee. Read more →

Bonding Through Book Clubs

By Kathryn Rea Smith, PH.D.


Reading and talking about books with your child, whether formally in a book club or informally at home, is a great way to strengthen the bond between a parent and child and open the door to discussions about all manner of interesting topics. Read more →