86 ;e Costco Connection AUGUST 2014
COSTCO MEMBER Pattie Fitzgerald
aims to stop child predators in their
tracks. She’s the founder of Safely Ever
After ( www.safelyeverafter.com), a Los
Angeles–based company that educates parents,
how to keep children safe.
In 2001, as an
outreach coordinator for the child
Megan’s Law, Fitzgerald realized that
there were misconceptions about what
sexual abuse looks like. “It’s not
stranger danger,” she says. “Instead
it’s about the need to be aware of
‘tricky people’ in your own familiar circle. It’s about watching out for red-flag
warning signs when someone you
know is trying to trick you.” She notes
that children between the ages of 7
and 13 years old are most vulnerable
to sexual abuse.
Fitzgerald tailors her presentations
to young school-age children, tweens
and teens, and talks to parents and
students, conference attendees and
even prison inmates.
As a parent, Fitzgerald sought to
teach her daughter common-sense
safety tips and strategies “with a
mom vibe,” so the information wasn’t
too scary or clinical. “The concepts
and strategies for young kids still
apply to my daughter at 16,” she
adds, including the ability to recognize
“that uh-oh feeling when something
isn’t right.”—Maria Bellos Fisher
COSTCO MEMBER Rich Santoro has been
planting and growing up to 10,000 flower
bulbs a year in his San Jose, California, yard
since 1985, when his sister-in-law and a
neighbor introduced him to the hobby.
“My goal is to make bulb gardening water-cooler conversation,” says Santoro, a concrete
salesman, who promotes gardening under the
alias The Bulb Guy ( www.the-bulbguy.com).
Every August, Santoro visits his local
Costco warehouse to find a variety of bulbs,
which he stores in a cool place until he can
plant them from September through January.
“Why would I spend [$1.10] for a bulb when
I can get it for 20 cents?” he asks.
Santoro plants 40 varieties of tulips, daffodils, ranunculus, freesia, paper whites,
anemones, muscari and snowdrops in various
colors and waits with anticipation for their
bloom in the spring.
“Literally, as it’s blooming, I’m sketching
out next year’s garden to make improvements,” he says.
When the bulbs are in bloom, usually
from the end of March through the beginning
of April, he takes a vacation from work and
opens his quarter-acre yard to visitors.
“Last year I had 14,000 people walk
through in nine days,” says Santoro.
YOU MAY HAVE seen Gary Gruber’s work in in-flight magazines—
they’re those analogies, number sequences, math problems and
vocabulary quizzes tucked beside the Sudoku puzzles.
Gruber ( www.drgarygruber.com) creates these mind-challeng-ing games, as well as books with SAT strategies, to promote
critical thinking and to illustrate the excitement of learning.
Gruber’s own passion for critical thinking started after
he scored a disappointing 90 on an IQ test in fifth grade.
He became determined to figure out how to not only
improve his score, but also understand the process
needed to gain that improvement. By focusing on the
strategies used while taking the test, rather than on
various facts and figures, he steadily improved his IQ
score to 150. He claims he isn’t any smarter—he
just developed different thinking strategies.
These days Gruber is taking that message to
schools across the country. “[Many teachers] teach
memorization instead of strategies,” he says. One
example: Teaching root words can help students
understand vocabulary they have never seen before.
Giving students the knowledge to discover answers
can be far more beneficial in real-world applications than
memorizing answers, he says.—Peter Sacotte
Rich Santoro and some
of his colorful blooms.
We want to hear from you!
If you have a note, photo or story to share about
Costco or Costco members, email it to connection
@ costco.com with “The Member Connection” in
the subject line or send it to The Member
Connection, The Costco Connection, P.O. Box
34088, Seattle, WA 98124-1088. Submissions
cannot be acknowledged or returned.