By Francoise Shirley
Olympic mom Kristi Yamaguchi opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop (www.celebritybabyscoop.com) about her two daughters — Keara, 9, and Emma, 7 — and the joys of motherhood. She goes on to discuss the Always Dream Foundation and the importance of having an eco-friendly household.
Q: What’s new with your Always Dream Foundation? Tell us all about the program and how it is helping people.
A: We launched a couple of different reading programs in schools that focus on early childhood literacy. For one of the programs, we partnered with an organization called “Raising A Reader.” It’s a book bag program where children get five books a week in a book bag to take home and it involves the parents’ engagement at home, really just sitting down and encouraging the love of books and the love of reading at a young age. Our foundation provides the technology side of that program by providing tablets and ebooks, in which some of the titles correspond to the hardcover books they take home. This makes it so the children can see the different ways they can view books. It also helps them gain knowledge of technology and where that is going today.
The second program we launched is a language arts software program. Again it is on a tablet. It utilizes the classroom’s reading curriculum. It is very hands-on and everything that the child does on the tablet is recorded. It’s really great to see the progress and to see where the child actually might need help.
Q: How are your daughters doing? What are they into these days? What do they do to make you laugh?
A: They are doing great, thank you. They are keeping busy with school obviously, and their various other activities. Our older daughter Keara is into softball. She is starting that in a couple of weeks and it is her second season doing that. She is also in a Polynesian performing arts group and she is a competitive hula dancer. She also plays piano. Our younger, 7-year-old daughter Emma, has been skating for about a year. She does that a couple of times a week at the recreational level, and she also loves soccer.
Everything they do makes me laugh. The two of them together is pretty hilarious. They create their own languagethey make up words that mean certain things to them. I have to ask them, “what does that mean?” (laughs) I think the interactions they have together are fun to watch. They are silly together. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.
Q: What’s been your biggest challenge in motherhood? Greatest reward?
A: I think there are challenges everyday. You just face them with open arms as a mom. You try to take each challenge as it comes. Obviously, it’s a different lifestyle having grown up as an athlete in an individual sport, where my life was really just centered around me the whole time. It’s hard to say, but it is a very self-centered lifestyle. When you become a mom you really understand that unconditional love is and you really want to do something for someone else.
I don’t know what my greatest reward in motherhood is. Every day I think there is something that I feel so lucky about in being a mom. It’s hard to say just one thing. I think one of the most emotional moments was when I saw my older one, who was probably only 2 ½ years old, try so hard and finally get her sister to smile at her and start to interact with her. Seeing that was amazing as a mom.
Q: Do you and your family celebrate Earth Day? What are some of the ways you teach your girls to be eco-friendly?
A: At school my kids do activities for Earth Day. We don’t really celebrate it but we talk about it and how we can be more Earth-friendly around the house. For example, we are cautious of turning off lights when they are not in use, recycling and unplugging things that aren’t being used.
Q: What’s up next for you?
A: I don’t know I am looking forward to summer vacation. (laughs), Not much. I think that I am working on a third children’s book. Other than that, just keeping up with the kids’ schedules and seeing where that goes.
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