Summer Camps 2018!

Hello RGV FANS. Summer is around the corner. Have you signed up the kiddos for Summer Camps? Looking for ideas? Well here are great selections for you to choose from!

Summer Camps kids 2018


Nadia’s School of  Dance-  Ages: 2-11. Mission, TX 956-534-0132


Language Success- Mcallen, TX 956-683-8810


Camp Invention- Mcallen, TX  1-800-968-4332


Albartos Colegio Infantil- Edinburg 956-683-1977 & McAllen, 956-928-1966



Danz Force Academy- McAllen TX 956-400-1068





Jing’s Gymnastics- Mission 956-585-4967 & Pharr 956-702-4967



Musical Living Academy- McAllen, TX 956-221-3145



All Star Basketball- McAllen TX – 956-627-0390



Susy’s Art & Summer Camps- McAllen, TX 956-617-6527 or 956-627-0677



La Quinta Mazatlan- McAllen, TX 956-681-3370




Art Connection- McAllen, TX – 956-330-4335



KinderMusik- McAllen TX- 956-624-9436



Framboyant Summer Camps- McAllen TX – 956-687-4697




Debi Lou Modeling- McAllen, TX – 956-454-0510



Little Paradise Summer Camps- Edinburg- 956-720-4340 & McAllen 956-627-1450


Sweet Boulevard- McAllen TX – 956-432-8047


Want to advertise your Summer Camps? Give us a call! 1-877-887-7816, ext. 701


summer camp filler new june



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5 Tips for Hosting a Child with Special Needs This Holiday Season

By Diane M. McCullom

For most people, the holidays are a joyful time spent with family and friends, though they can be quite stressful and demanding with party-attending, gift-buying and schedule-juggling. Families with children who have special needs face these same demands and more—wondering how their children will feel at social gatherings is just one of the many questions asked. If you have the privilege of hosting a child with special needs this holiday season, chances are you are wondering about some ways that you can help ease the process for these families and for yourself. We have a few ideas:

Check in with parents – Before your holiday gathering, check in with the child’s parents for a list of do’s and don’ts, traditions, food sensitivities and recommendations. This step can go quite the distance in ensuring that the child feels comfortable and at home in a new environment.

Be prepared – Organize your home in a way that provides few distractions: remove clutter, keep overstimulating items out of the central focus points of your home, have backup food that the child likes, and have fun, skill-appropriate activities and games available for the child in those moments when uneasiness or restlessness sets in.

Be flexible – You might have to throw all of that preparation out the window on a whim. And guess what? It’s OK! Be flexible enough to change your plans to meet the needs of your guests.

Teach your family – Use your experience hosting a special needs child as a teaching time for your own children or relatives to learn about awareness, difference, respect and acceptance.

Relax and have fun – A kid with special needs wants to be independent too, so let them attempt things on their own instead of immediately jumping in to help. Things might get spilled or kids might jump on your couch. As long as a safe and fun environment is maintained, don’t sweat the small stuff!

With a little preparation and an accommodating mindset for those special kids in your life, the holidays are sure to be a success for everyone this year!

Diane M. McCullom is the senior vice president of clinical operations at Dallas-based Epic Health Services, a leading provider of pediatric skilled nursing, therapy, developmental, enteral and respiratory services, as well as adult home health services, with operations in 21 states.

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Monster Jam Liners 2016

Monster Jam Liners

State Farm Arena

January 15-17, 2016


What: Monster Jam

When: January 15-17, 2016- 5 HUGE shows

            Friday- 7:30pm

            Saturday- 2:00pm   Pit Party (11:30am-1:00pm)

Saturday- 7:30 pm

Sunday- 2:00pm / 7:30pm

Where: State Farm Arena

How to get tickets: State Farm Arena box office, or charge by phone at 800-745-3000.


2016 Monster Jam logo


  • Kids seats start at just $10! Tickets increase $2 on day of show- so buy your tickets early.
  • Opening night supervalue adults are just $15!       Opening night discount valid for the Friday night show only.
  • Pit party is 11:30am-1:00pm on Saturday, February 6! Pit passes are available at participating Metro PCS locations starting December 28th or for purchase through the State Farm Arena box office.
  • Want more value? Pick up your discount coupon at participating Pueblo Tires locations starting December 28th!
  • Trucks scheduled to appear include: Grave Digger, Team Hot Wheels, El Toro Loco, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Zombie Hunter, Captain’s Curse, Doom’s Day and Mad Scientist.


Event Description:


Welcome to Monster Jam, an incredible family-friendly experience starring the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Jam monster trucks.  These twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to your feet, racing and ripping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over – OR smash through.  Monster Jam provides a massive night’s entertainment tailored perfectly for your family’s budget, and these colorful, larger-than-life beasts are sure to capture the hearts of both young and old.


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Sharkey’s Hair It Is

Sharkey's Hair It Is specializes in parties for little girls.

Sharkey’s Hair It Is specializes in parties for little girls.

The main floor of Sharkey's.

The main floor of Sharkey’s.

Walking into Sharkey’s Hair It Is is a visually stimulating experience.  With Hollywood lights lining the stylists’ mirrors, bold colors on the walls, a couple of televisions playing popular shows with options to play the Xbox, and pop culture music—both old and new—playing on the speaker, your attention is captured.

Originally based  in Connecticut as “Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids”, Sharkey’s Hair It Is was created to cater to the whole family.  With locations mostly in the East Coast US, and as far away as Ireland and Egypt , it is the first of its kind to show up in South Texas.  Owner of the local franchise, Marcos Saldivar, says, “My vision is to have one in each city here in South Texas.  We’re all about customer service.  When you come in, we treat you like you’re walking into somebody’s house.  We offer water and want people to feel comfortable.”


This pink room is a popular party venue for little girls.

When asked what the secret of their three years of success has been, manager Mary Valdez commented, “We have good customer service for the kids.  A lot of parents tell us their children are requesting to come and get their hair cut here.  We treat the whole family.  They leave very happy.”  The aforementioned Xboxes, she notes, are there for whoever wants to play them, whether it be a child or an adult.

A popular venue among little girls, Sharkey’s offers two different birthday party packages.  One is for 12 girls for two hours at $375, and includes a hairstyle, make-up and nails.  They also get to dress up and play planned games in between.  Sharkey’s provides drinks and pizza, and parents have the option of bringing a cake.  The smaller package is for 6 girls for an hour and a half and includes all the same perks for $275.


Two examples of the cars children can choose to sit in while getting their hair done.

Party Coordinator and stylist Karie Recio noted, “[Parents] like the space because they don’t have to do everything.  We have enough people to take care of the kids; it’s adapted for them, especially little girls.  They enjoy dressing up and being with the ladies.”

Haircuts for adults are $18, and $15 for children.  All haircuts come with a shampoo, and girls can get their nails done for no extra charge.  Children receive a balloon and a lollipop when they are done, and have the choice of sitting in a special car of their choice while being treated.

With great customer service and clientele, it looks like Sharkey’s Hair It Is is here to stay.

For more information on Sharkey’s, please visit their website or Facebook page.

Local Sharkey's manager, Mary Valdez, is very helpful and committed to her clients.

Local Sharkey’s manager, Mary Valdez, is very helpful and committed to her clients.


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Holiday Village Brownsville

The Holiday Village is sure to get visitors in the Christmas spirit.

The Holiday Village is sure to get visitors in the Christmas spirit.

With a crisp, wet breeze in the air, and Josh Groban singing, “O Holy Night,” on the loudspeaker, the Holiday Village in Brownsville is excitedly ushering in the Christmas season.

The, "Find Fritter the Elf," Challenge.

The, “Find Fritter the Elf,” Challenge.

Nestled in between the Camille Playhouse and The Children’s Museum of Brownsville, the village is lined with cottages sporting various themes and adorned with lights.

New cottages are added each year, and the events schedule is full of local elementary school, dance studio and middle school choir performances.  Admission is free.  Every Friday and Saturday evening, children are invited to visit with and take pictures with Santa Claus in the photo booth at no cost.

The Home Sweet Home Cottage, sponsored by Parra Furniture (2014).

The Home Sweet Home Cottage, sponsored by Parra Furniture (2014).

Most recently, the village added a “Find Fritter the Elf,” adventure, with Fritter hiding in a different house each evening. Participants are encouraged to find Fritter, take a picture in front of the host cottage, and post the photo on the Holiday Village Facebook page.  They are then entered into a drawing to win prizes from Krispy Kreme.

“I like taking my grandchildren because they add a new display every year.  It’s like a parade of lights, and the miniature homes spark their imaginations,” says Brownsville native Rosie Hatley.  “It’s nice to take a stroll with your family and enjoy the scenery and entertainment,” added Hatley.

The village is also a fun place to visit during the day, as it sits in Dean Porter Park and in close proximity to the Gladys Porter Zoo.  Holiday Village Hours are Sunday –Thursday, from 8:00 am–10:00 pm, and Friday and Saturday, from 8:00 am–11:00 pm.  For more information, please visit their website or their Facebook page.

A schedule of December's musical performances is on display at the Holiday Village.

A schedule of December’s musical performances is on display at the Holiday Village.

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The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art

The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art is a gateway of opportunities.  Rounding out the Mitte Cultural District and located next door to Gladys Porter Zoo, it is an ideal place to visit for residents and tourists alike.  “A lot of people don’t know we’re here in the Mitte Cultural District,” remarked Brianda Manrique, BMFA Administrative Assistant and IT Coordinator.


Mr. Lieck instructs two of his art students.

The museum features pieces done by different local and international artists in its permanent collection, and also offers art classes, community events and poetry talks.  Throughout the year, the museum hosts a number of exhibits and educational tours, with the most recent and successful one being King Tut.  Art teacher and director, Karl Lieck, observed, “Many of the students in Brownsville [that visit] have never been to a museum.  In turn, they bring their parents.”

“We are trying to promote art here in our community,” added Manrique.  During the month of October, the museum’s goal was to create the largest a de los muertos altar in the history of south Texas.  Día de los muertos is celebrated on November 2nd, and is a day to remember the lives of loved ones who have passed on.  “We live on the border and have lots of Mexican people,” shared Manrique, “and for us, the altar is to honor and remember our loved ones.”  Altars typically include pictures, decorations like flowers and skulls, and food.  Visitors to the museum this last month, received two sugar skulls to decorate, one to leave at the large altar, and the other to take home.

An example of an altar.  This one was made for Selena Quintanilla, a Tejano legend.

An example of an altar. This one was made for Selena Quintanilla, a Tejano legend.

In the summer months of June – August, the museum offers 10-week art and music classes.  The music classes include instruction in violin, guitar and piano.  The hours are  Monday–Friday, 10–4, with the camp providing supplies and lunch for the children.  Since the Brownsville Farmers’ Market is held right outside the museum year round on Saturdays, entrance to the museum on Saturday mornings from 9–12 is free.

They are open later than usual on Wednesdays (until 8) and offer 50% off the regular entrance price on those days.  To commemorate día de los muertos, the museum will have free admission on November 1st and 2nd.  To learn more about BMFA, please visit their Facebook page or website.

Giana Gallardo Hesterberg is passionate about many things, including being a wife, mother, teacher, speaker, blogger, gardener and friend. You can follow some of her adventures on her blog


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Journey Preschool Pumpkin Patch

The Journey Preschool Pumpkin Patch

The Journey Preschool Pumpkin Patch

Located on East Harrison Avenue in Harlingen, the Journey Preschool Pumpkin Patch brings a glimpse of autumn to the Rio Grande Valley.  With an enclosed batch of pumpkins, a playground, stacks of hay and a corn crib, families enjoy a unique cultural experience and great place to take pictures.

Pumpkins range in size and price, starting at $2.

Pumpkins range in size and price, starting at $2.

Unloaded on Saturday, October 17th, the pumpkins hail from a company in New Mexico that employs Native Americans on a reservation.  “We get them right after they’re harvested, so they’re fresh,” says Michaela Buddle, Assistant Director of Journey Preschool and Pumpkin Patch coordinator.  The First United Methodist Church has hosted this annual fundraiser for 13 years, with the preschool taking ownership of it the last 3.  “The proceeds go to our new toys, items in the classroom, and this year, we are hoping to give a little Christmas bonus to the teachers,” added Buddle.  A portion of the earnings also go back to the Native American farmers.

All of the sales workers for the fundraiser are volunteers, like Journey parent Katarina Pierani, a Brazilian transplant.  “I love Journey.  They are awesome here and do a great job.  They do so much for the kids, I wanted to do something for them,” Pierani shared.

Parent volunteer, Katarina Pierani, enjoys the corn crib with her daughter.

Parent volunteer, Katarina Pierani, enjoys the corn crib with her daughter.

On Wednesday evenings, the patch hosts movie night at 6 pm.  The events held in the patch are always free and open to the public.  There is also a concession stand in the event that attenders want to purchase snacks.  “It’s a safe environment with a playground where the kids can come without you worrying about them running out to the street.  It’s like welcoming fall; it’s a different activity to do with the children.  They have so much fun in the corn crib,” commented Buddle.

With scheduled field trips from mostly local schools, volunteer storytellers also make an appearance to read books about fall.  The students then get to pick their own pumpkin to purchase, and end their visit with a game.

On October 31st, Journey usually has leftover pumpkins, and adopts a “take a pumpkin and please leave a donation” policy.  Local farmers gladly take the rotten pumpkins.  Hours of the pumpkin patch are Monday–Friday, 8:30 am–12:30 pm, then 3:00 – 8:00 pm, on Saturdays, 8:30 am–8:00 pm and on Sundays 12:30–8:00 pm.  For more information on this fun, family friendly excursion, please visit their website.

The pumpkin patch provides many photo opportunities.

The pumpkin patch provides many photo opportunities.

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The Children’s Museum of Brownsville

Pictured here is part of the outdoor portion of the Children's Museum: the painting wall and xylophones.

Pictured here is part of the outdoor portion of the Children’s Museum: the painting wall and xylophones.

Children shop at an HEB made just for them.

Children shop at an HEB made just for them.

The Children’s Museum of Brownsville sits in the heart of the Mitte Cultural District, surrounded by the picturesque Dean Porter Park.  Established in 2005, the nonprofit is celebrating 10 years of serving the community.  Executive Director, Felipe Peña, has plans to grow and expand.  “We are adding a 3,000 square foot learning garden in our outdoor space,” he commented.

Tomorrow evening the museum will host their 8th Annual Night at the Museum, with the theme, “Fabulous Las Vegas.”  The funds raised will go towards finishing the second shade structure that will be part of the outdoor garden.

Stepping into the children’s building, little ones and adults alike are met with bright colors and an array of discovery zones.  “Children don’t want to leave,” said Peña, “And they also learn.  They learn how to share, compromise and work together.”

With a medical section, an HEB grocery shopping area, reading nook, construction and fishing zones, each child is sure to find an activity that stimulates them.

Hours of the Children's Museum are Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m, and Sunday, 12:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

Hours of the Children’s Museum are Tuesday–Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m, and Sunday, 12:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Inclusive and encouraging, the museum has different programs that cater to their growing population.  Bright and Special Spot is art therapy that is open to anyone who has a special needs child.  Allowing for 20 participants, a teacher leads the class every Saturday morning from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

The last Thursday of every month is Free Community Night from 5:00–7:00 p.m.  Participants enter for free and get to enjoy the exhibits as well.  “Everyday we get people who visit for the first time,” Peña added, “there is still a lot of exposure that needs to come.”

Annual membership for a family of four is $100, which includes discounts on summer camps and in the gift shop.  The larger membership is $140, and allows access to hundreds of children’s museums all over the country.  Long time member, Amanda Sampayo, had the following to say about being a member:  “We’ve seen the progression of our son’s playtime.  Coming here is a way to have community.  It’s inside, safe and cool.  It’s clean and [the children] are allowed to explore.”

Regular fees are $6 per person.  For more information on the Brownsville Children’s Museum, please visit their Facebook page or their website

Children enjoying exploring this boat and fishing.

Children enjoy exploring this boat and fishing.

Giana Gallardo Hesterberg is passionate about many things, including being a wife, mother, teacher, speaker, blogger, gardener and friend. You can follow some of her adventures on her blog

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The Brownsville Farmers’ Market

Located at Linear Park in the heart of the Mitte Cultural District, the Brownsville Farmers’ Market is an exotic blend of vendors, flavors and goods.   A quick glance around reveals quality produce, smiling faces and acoustic entertainment.  It is a weekly community event where you can meet the people growing your food.  “We don’t charge our vendors, and we invite anyone who is growing non-pesticide and non-chemical produce to participate.  We provide tents and tables obtained through grants,” says Farmers’ Market Manager, Veronica Rosenbaum.  “We started off in 2008 with six to twelve vendors, and now we have over thirty.  We are growing!”  Her long-term vision is to fill the entirety of Linear Park.

Locals shop at the Brownsville Farmers' Market.

Locals shop at the Brownsville Farmers’ Market.

A vendor since its beginning, Debbie Cox, affectionately referred to as “The Herb Lady,” enjoys the overall atmosphere.  “It’s a gathering place, great for families,” she said, “You can bring your pets and enjoy the music while you do a leisurely shop around.  It’s really just a lot of fun.”

With fresh honey, herbs, coffee, tamales, smoothies, vegetables and snacks, the market has something for everyone.  Located right off of the Brownsville Historic Battlefield Trail, a family can bike to the market from different points in the city.  Surrounded by grassy areas, children can safely play while caregivers peruse.  Part of the Brownsville Wellness Coalition, the market encourages families to make nutritious choices.  Alice Abbott sold her healthy baked bread at the market for the first time in 2008, and sold out in 20 minutes.  “As a result of the Farmers’ Market, I have a commercial kitchen.  It’s a great thing for the community.  I believe in buying local.  This is just a positive, healthy thing.”

A display of local honey and homemade jam.

A display of local honey and homemade jam.

The phrase, “healthy tamales” may sound like an oxymoron to some, but not to Israeli-born Avi Schwartz.  “Our tamales are made with olive oil and pure corn.  We cook our own and blend it with natural and fresh ingredients.  We use fresh chicken, not frozen, as well as pork.  We are the only ones with specially made cheese, with a higher creamy content and less salt,” he revealed.

“Our falafel is a specialty item.  Falafel is more popular in the Middle East than tacos in Mexico!  My recipe is an Israeli recipe.  We use dried garbanzo beans we soak overnight and cook the next day, cilantro, parsley and Middle Eastern spices.  We grind it and cook it in canola oil.  Our falafel is unique because it is made from scratch.  The only thing that comes out of a box is the salt and black pepper.  The result is a very soft and tender inside, with a crispy outside.”

No stranger to being a transplant, Dallas native Graham Sevier Schultz offers individual servings of coffee as they are ordered.  “I make every drink as it’s ordered, so the ingredients are fresh.  Anything that uses syrup, I make the syrup myself, and anything that uses fruit juice, I squeeze it myself.  I order the beans from a restaurant in San Antonio, so they are never more than two or three days old when I get them.”  He added, “We make good expressos, but are bringing in new ideas of coffee, called Third Wave Coffee: a lighter roast with quality ingredients and special attention to detail.”

A visit to the Brownsville Farmers’ Market leaves people with happy bellies, eager to return for more.  As a place that encourages families to make healthy choices and buy organic, it is already a Brownsville legacy.  For more information on the market, visit their Facebook page. Hours are 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., every Saturday year round.


Giana Gallardo Hesterberg is passionate about many things, including being a wife, mother, teacher, speaker, blogger, gardener and friend. You can follow some of her adventures on her blog

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The Village Play Cafe

The scene:  A strip mall off of Price Road in Brownsville.  You walk in and immediately question if, somehow, you have been magically transported to Austin, Texas.  Bob Marley is playing and a cute barista greets you with, “Hi, welcome to The Village.”  Hipster at its core, a quick glance around reveals chalk art advertising, choice pastries and a children’s soft play area.  That’s right, it’s a coffee shop and a fun place where children can play.  The place is a paradox.  And that’s exactly what owner and creator, Jessica Lopez, originally had in mind for The Village Play Cafe.

Owner and creator, Jessica Lopez, chats with guests while serving them.

Owner and creator of The Village Play Cafe, Jessica Lopez, prepares a Dandy Blend Mocha.

“This place is for the moms, the parents, the caregivers,” she explained.  “From the research that I’ve done, I know that some of the most important years in a child’s life are the first 3-5.  But it’s also one of the loneliest times for the parents, especially the mothers.  This is a place that caregivers can enjoy.”  A mom of young children herself, Lopez recognizes the change that occurs when transitioning from adulthood to parenthood.  She wanted to create a space where parents could connect with one another without having to worry about getting a babysitter.  “When people bring their children here, the children think it’s all for them.  But really, it’s for the parents.”

Filled with bright colors and large shapes, the soft play area is incredibly stimulating.  Geared specifically towards children ages 0-4, the space invites them to explore, create and jump around in their socks without worry of injury.  The objects can be stacked, and, though little visitors have yet to discover this, are held together by pieces of velcro.  Inspired originally by her very active first-born daughter when she was one-year old, Lopez noticed that parks and parties were not always safe areas.  “It became work for me, whenever I took her to a park or party; I never really got to sit down and take a break,” she noted.  The daughter of a school teacher, Lopez also wanted The Village to be inclusive for special needs children and their families.


A couple of children enjoy the soft play area.

Everything, from the floor, to the walls, and the toys themselves, is soft.

Everything, including the floor and the walls, is soft.

A big visionary, she has abstract art by local artists displayed on the walls, and plans on alternating them seasonally to give new talent exposure.  Older siblings are allowed to play on the mats as long as they are respectful.  There is also a homework nook towards the back of The Village where students can work on school work or other projects.  Free wi-fi is also available.  Plans for the month of September include getting photographers to conduct mini-photo sessions for families in attendance.  Future plans include bringing in yoga instructors, jewelry makers and masseuses.  Lopez and her sister, Karen Ramos, want to collaborate with other local businesses.  They hope that The Village Play Cafe becomes a, “Mother Hub.”

Though there are available day passes, Lopez strongly encourages getting a membership.  Children 0-4 can have a day pass for $12 (siblings in the same age group get a 50% off discount), and everyone else gets in free.  Monthly membership is $60.  Both day passes and membership allow for guests to stay as long as they want.  Pastries, sandwiches and a variety of high quality coffee are available for reasonable prices.


A local mom, Viviana Medina, works on a school assignment

A local mom, Viviana Medina, works on a school assignment.

As you walk around the play cafe, it is booming with brilliance and potential.  It is well on its way to being the support system Lopez envisions for its members:  a village.  For more information, please visit their website: You can also look them up on Instagram: @thevillageplaycafe

Giana Gallardo Hesterberg is passionate about many things, including being a wife, mother, teacher, speaker, blogger, gardener and friend.  You can follow some of her adventures on her blog


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