Monday, January 31, 2011

An ear for kids changes statistics

The Modesto Bee (Modesto, CA) January 31, 2011

"Sometimes the difference between a good kid and a suspended kid is just that one had an adult who cared, who listened.
For a student who doesn't have that someone at home, a mentor can make all the difference, said Fairview Elementary Vice Principal Lorena Ortega.
'Based on last year's lower suspension numbers, it's working. We're one of the largest elementaries, but we were one of the lowest on suspension rates. (Mentors) have really stepped up to the plate and come up here whenever we needed them,' Ortega said.
Fairview, with 899 students in 2009-10, had 118 suspensions that year, a 23 percent drop from 154 suspensions the year before. A suspended student is out of school for a week or less, and might be suspended several times in one year." Read More

Alcohol Drinking Popular Among Teenage Girls, January 29, 2011

"According to a government reports teenage girls under the age of 15 are found consuming alcohol upto 11.3 units in a week. This amount of alcohol is equivalent to six medium glass of wine or five pints of beer. The male counterparts on the other hand are drinking on an average of 11.9 units of alcohol per week.
The teenagers are found interested in drinking dangerous levels of spirits rather than drinking wine and lager. This report shows that the young women are only five percent behind their male counterparts.
These figures also depict the rapid rise of young women drinking alcohol. The cheap price of alcohol and their glamorous marketing in the super markets are causing the figures to rise." Read More

Let's Get Real About Mentoring

The Huffington Post, January 27, 2011

"It's the end of National Mentoring Month and there are 15 million kids on waiting lists across the United States who hope to have a mentor. This posting, however, is not the perhaps anticipated plea that you consider these numbers of desolate, waiting youth and finally take up the banner to become a mentor yourself (although you might want to!)
It is, to the contrary, a plea for a fundamental change in the American mentoring model. Certainly it should be clear by now that in a nation of increasing 'parentlessness' we are NEVER going to have enough adult mentors to provide all these youth with the positive attention and support they need so badly by adhering the one-on-one, adult-mentor to youth-mentee model." Read More

Stepping Stones Fights Bullying

Norwalk (Norwalk, CT) January 30, 2011

"It can start so early. Just Ask Arianna Bailey, a Brien McMahon High School senior who said bullies have already targeted one of her pre-school babysitting charges.
'It was really upsetting. The next day she didn’t want to go to school,' said Bailey.
All this because the youngster didn’t have the brand-name shearling boots that the other youngsters had.
To Bailey, who was picked on as a middle-schooler because she didn’t have a genuine brand-name athletic shoe, the scenario was all too familiar. The kind of constant torment that can wear someone down." Read More

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More tips to stop cyber-bullying

Miami Herald (Miami-Dade, FL) January 27, 2011

"Many of you e-mailed me regarding last week article on cyber-bullying as to what you can do as parents. You can start by talking to kids about the issue and teaching them the rules below, from that will help prevent cyber-bullying from happening to them or someone they know.
Here’s what kids need to know:
• Never give out personal information online, whether in instant message profiles, chat rooms, blogs, or personal websites.
• Never tell anyone but your parents your password — not even friends.
• If someone sends a mean or threatening message, don’t respond. Save it or print it out and show it to your parents." Read More

Anxiety, Not Social Phobia, Spurs Teens to Drink More, Study Shows, January 27, 2011

"A new study in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism highlights the complex relationship between mental health and substance use.
Although it was known that anxious teens often self-medicate with alcohol, a group of Finnish researchers, led by Sari Fröjd at the University of Tampere, showed those teens are also more likely to continue using alcohol two years later.
Fröjd found that 65 percent of teens with anxiety who reported drinking weekly at the study's start continued to drink weekly two years later, whereas 55 percent of those without general anxiety disorder continued drinking that often.
The study shows that 'general anxiety certainly exacerbates drinking frequency,' Fröjd said." Read More

High School Starts Campaign To Change Students' Misperceptions On Alcohol And Drug Use

The Hartford Courant (Haddam, CT) January 26, 2011

"In Haddam-Killingworth, most teens don't drink alcohol, use tobacco or smoke marijuana. This is a misperception by many teens. A social norms research based marketing campaign will aim to correct this misperception in the community starting in January.
The slogan 'What About You?' will be seen often on posters placed in locations throughout the school and the community for the next few months.
The posters will be part of the Haddam - Killingworth's Healthy Communities-Healthy Kids Coalition Social Norms Campaign. In addition, there will be a parent focus which will remind parents that it is important to know the whereabouts of their teen and who their teen is with.
All of the facts that will be featured on the posters are results of the 2010 H-K Search Institute youth survey conducted by the Healthy Communities-Healthy Kids Coalition. These facts will be featured on billboards, banners, and pens as well. The first parent billboard will be up on Route 154 from January through February." Read More

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Malloy leads other CT leaders on D.C. visit

The Hartford Business Journal (Hartford, CT) January 25, 2011

"Tuesday is a big day in Washington for Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other Connecticut policy and business leaders.
Malloy was invited as the daylong guest of Congressman John B. Larson, D-1st District, on Capitol Hill, before the pair attends President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night, a Larson spokesman says.
Malloy likely will meet with other Congressional leaders and may attend pre- and post-address receptions, spokesman Paul Mounds said.
Before flying back to Connecticut Wednesday morning, Malloy's office says the governor will meet with a candidate for the Department of Transportation commissioner post.
He also is scheduled to meet with Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney to discuss challenges, issues and concerns about Route 11 and other transportation matters in the southeastern part of the state.
Also in Washington Tuesday are leaders from The Governor's Prevention Partnership who are there to hear First Lady Michelle Obama provide the keynote address for The National Mentoring Summit.
The summit's goal is to develop strategies that leverage mentoring to increase graduation rates among America's youth and position them for success.
Participants from Connecticut include: Jill Spineti, CEO of The Governor's Prevention Partnership; and Roland Harmon and Diane Raffanello, both of The Connecticut Mentoring Partnership." Read More

Mentor program seeks volunteers

The Day (New London, CT) January 26, 2011

"The city is looking for role models for its young residents.
'Help Them Get There' is a mentoring celebration that is slated to take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School cafeteria. It is sponsored by New London Anti Violence, the city and the public schools, and the Connecticut Mentoring Partnership.
Mentors and those interested in becoming mentors, as well as supporters of mentoring, are invited.
'We are looking for a significant showing of adults who want to make a difference in the lives of our young people,' said Curtis Goodwin, who is organizing the initiative along with Andrea Messenger of New London Anti Violence." Read More

Mentor program celebrates 25 years

The Hour (Norwalk, CT) January 26, 2011

"More than 300 people gathered at Norwalk's Stepping Stones Museum for Children Tuesday night to celebrate the Norwalk Mentor Program's 25th anniversary. During an awards ceremony, tributes were paid to those who have been integral in making the program a success.
Mentors, mentees and elected officials were among those who took to the podium to praise the work of the Norwalk Mentor Program. The program -- which pairs caring adults with local youths -- is a partnership between the Human Services Council and the Norwalk Public Schools.
Former Norwalk Schools Superintendent Ralph E. Sloane, who was involved with establishing the program in 1986, made a special appearance to honor Susan G. Weinberger, who founded the program." Read More

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Alcohol, Marijuana Cause Lasting Damage On Teenage Brains

Daily Health Report, January 24, 2011

"Often placing stress on parents, teenagers act impulsively and as if they are invincible. However, new research has discovered that teenagers are more susceptible to brain damage caused by early alcohol and drug use. These findings were unveiled at Neuroscience 2010.
Since brain development is still underway for teenagers, adding chemicals to the process like drugs or alcohol may potentially alter the development.
Cannabis has been shown to be present in a teen brain for up to a week. The drug causes more lasting effects for teenagers than adults, and this can directly harm development of brain function, memory function, and general cognitive ability.
A study at Harvard Medical School discovered that individuals who started smoking marijuana before turning 16 and used it frequently, also performed the worst on a test of the ability to change mental responses based on situational changes." Read More

Supersized Alcopops are Latest Public Health Threat

PR Newswire (San Francisco, CA) January 25, 2011

"Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, released model state legislation today to expand last year's federal ban on seven dangerous caffeinated alcoholic beverages by the Food and Drug Administration. The model bill also restricts the size and alcohol content of the newly reformulated products and other youth-friendly alcopops.
'The federal government action was a giant step forward to protect the public from products containing illegal stimulants such as caffeine,' said Michele Simon, research and policy director at Marin Institute. 'Now it's time for states to codify the federal ruling, as well as protect the public health and safety by restricting high alcohol content, supersized alcopops.'
The beverages in question include Anheuser-Busch InBev's Tilt brand, Phusion Project's re-formulated Four Loko line, United Brands' reformulated Joose line and some of Mike's Hard Lemonade products. These beverages are sold in supersized 23.5 oz, single serving cans, with up to 12% alcohol content—the equivalent of 4.7 standard drinks of alcohol. The supersized drinks are flavored malt beverages known as 'alcopops,' sweet, bubbly and fruity beers known to appeal to underage youth." Read More

Monday, January 24, 2011

National Mentoring Summit to Host Capacity Crowd, January 18, 2011

"The National Mentoring Summit being hosted January 25 by MENTOR, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Harvard School of Public Health and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has reached a capacity registration.
This event in the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., will bring together for the first time all major mentoring organizations in the country. Participants will include mentoring practitioners, as well as state, government and civic leaders to help identify challenges to bringing mentoring to scale and chart solutions to overcome those challenges.
The theme for the Summit is 'Achieving Academic and Social Success: Supporting Youth through Mentoring' to coincide with the nation’s current emphasis on increasing the graduation rate of high-school students and keeping youth out of trouble." Read More

Courage to Speak - Courageous Parenting 101 course to be offered beginning Tuesday

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) January 24, 2011

"A free parent education series, entitled Courage to Speak-Courageous Parenting 101® developed by the Courage to Speak Foundation will be offered by The McCall Foundation. The kick-off to this four-session course will be presented by nationally renowned speaker Ginger Katz, CEO and founder of the Foundation and author of Sunny’s Story, at 6:30 pm, Tuesday January 25th, Torrington High School, Torrington, CT and sponsored by the McCall Foundation and the CT Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. Her Courage to Speak Presentation empowers students, parents and educators to break the silence surrounding drug use and find healthy solutions.
The Courage to Speak-Courageous Parenting 101® series will be held, free of charge by McCall Foundation staff, on Tuesday evenings, Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, 8 and 15 at Torrington High School at 6:30 p.m. Parents will learn effective communication strategies; gain confidence to talk to their children about the dangers of drugs; understand how to set clear rules and boundaries with their children related to use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; and gain confidence in knowing how to deal with substance use among their children." Read More

Op-Ed: Fake Pot Threatens Children, Families

Westport (Westport, CT) January 21, 2011

"After successfully preventing the legalization of marijuana in Connecticut, we have a renewed fight on our hands: banning 'fake pot.' I began work on halting efforts to expand marijuana use after emotional appeals for help from mothers and fathers who had found their young children dead from drug overdoses after years of marijuana use. Along with a team of players, from law enforcement officers to drug treatment centers and two governors, we have been able to forestall legalizing this federally illegal and prohibited drug.
Now, we are confronted with a new popular smoke-able herbal plant which can produce marijuana-like high. It is undetected in a urine test, a most insidious aspect of 'fake pot.' This herbal bag of tricks is sold over the counter right here in Connecticut. The ingredient used to make fake pot products, known as spice, K2 and liquid gold, consists of plant material that has been coated with chemicals that mimic THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. Some effects of using this synthetic cannabinoid are euphoria, lapse of short term memory, dilated pupils, confusion, agitation, racing heart beat, mania, hallucination, elevated blood pressure and seizures." Read More

Fairfield Expert Aims To Dispel Drinking Myths

The Daily Stamford (Fairfield, CT) January 23, 2011

"Nobody needs to tell Janice Kessler the statistics about underage drinking and drug use. After all, she saw 175 students with such problems last year as coordinator of Sacred Heart University’s Alcohol and Other Drug Program. And she knows that the number of college students who die from alcohol poisoning each year has climbed from 1,400 to 1,825 in the 10 years she has had the job.
Yet Janice also knows that students such as Greenwich native Brian Macken, who died this week of an apparent drug overdose at Indiana University, are the exception, not the rule. And it’s part of her prevention program to make kids and parents aware of it.
'Almost always, the perception of how college students drink, and … perceive their peers, is much higher than what they actually report,' Janice says." Read More

Bullying a symptom of a deeper epidemic

The Republican-American (Waterbury, CT) January 23, 2011

"A Connecticut television station recently reported that a 12-year-old boy brought a BB gun and slingshot into school to protect himself from bullies. The report came just ahead of a state conference on bullying that concluded that a quarter of Connecticut students had been victims of bullying.
This, in the minds of many, is cause for alarm. Bullying is the current cause célèbre in American schools, right behind our souring scores in science and mathematics. If you're a parent who wants the attentive ear of the school administration, whisper the word 'bully' to the principal and watch the panic.
School administers have every right to be on high alert for bullying behavior. Victims are terrified, depressed, even suicidal. A young Irish immigrant girl, ceaselessly berated by merciless, prepubescent goons, killed herself in Massachusetts, evidently unable to endure the taunts. A gifted Rutgers University violist, whose roommate posted a salacious homosexual video of him on the Internet, plunged to his death from the George Washington Bridge. According to the National Crime Prevention Council, over 40 percent of all teenagers with Internet access have reported being bullied online. To many who have been the brunt of pranks and survived, such reactions may seem wildly out of proportion to the intimidation itself. But the pervasiveness, anonymity and range of the Internet amplify the assault, making it harder to deflect and almost impossible to ignore. Worse, the malice itself has become a poisonous game, in which the dosage is continually augmented to ensure the biggest yucks." Read More

REACH Team raises money to fight drunken driving

The Day (Old Saybrook, CT) January 24, 2011

"The Old Saybrook REACH team represented Old Saybrook at the 5k walk on Oct. 16, bringing in $344 to prevent drunken driving and underage drinking.
The Old Saybrook REACH team is a group of high school students spreading awareness of substance abuse. The REACH team has had many successful events and projects in the past two school years, including bringing presentations, bands, posters, and a group of role models in the school as well as advocating to the middle school, the community and much more.
Most recently, the REACH team raised $138 through the sale of red ribbons and candy canes to fellow students at Old Saybrook High School. The proceeds of these sales were donated by the REACH team to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)." Read More

Friday, January 21, 2011

Parent-Teacher Council To Host Mentoring Meeting

West Hartford (West Hartford, CT) January 22, 2011

"Sometimes even a minimal amount of effort can have a profound effect. We all lead busy lives, but if you’re looking for a way to make a real difference in the life of a child, you may want to consider becoming a mentor.
January is National Mentoring Month. Under the direction of Carol Wilkas, School-to-Career Coordinator for the West Hartford Public Schools, the mentoring program is alive and well. Wilkas has chaired the program since 2003, and credits it with making a significant difference in the lives of many West Hartford students. However, although 100 people currently volunteer as mentors, there is a waiting list of many additional students, in grades K-12, who could benefit from this type of positive relationship." Read More

Students standing up to bullying (Barrington, RI) January 20, 2011

"Quentin Boothman, a seventh-grader at Barrington Middle School, was visibly pleased with the results of a school-wide anti-bullying presentation that took place in late December, a day before the winter vacation.
Quentin, a member of the Razzmatazz Cluster at the school, shared smiles with his classmates and teachers following the 45-minute performance in the packed school auditorium. He and 70 of his cluster-mates created a video, performed a song, and acted out skits that were intended to shed light on the bullying issue at Barrington Middle School and beyond.
The message hit home for Quentin. He has witnessed bullying at the school. He knows what it can do. He knows how it can damage.
'Yeah, I’ve seen it here. There is some bullying. There was a kid who was saying some pretty mean things to another kid. He was calling him a dirty Mexican,' Quentin said." Read More

Task Force recommends no 2011 Spring Weekend for UConn

Mansfield Today (Mansfield, CT) January 21, 2011

"In a message to the community, Acting University of Connecticut President Philip E. Austin said Thursday (Jan. 20) that he accepts and supports a report submitted by a task force grappling with the many and unsavory issues engendered by the annual Spring Weekend tradition.
In May 2010, then-President Michael Hogan established a task force charged with coming up with strategies to 'de-escalate' Spring Weekend, which has become widely known for its massive off-campus drinking parties and violent incidents.
The Task Force, chaired by Provost Peter Nicholls included members of UConn administration, representatives of the town of Mansfield, and police." Read More

Community Conversation on Cultivating Character This Weekend

Newtown (Newtown, CT) January 21, 2011

"Newtown Public Schools will host a 'Cultivating Character' community conversation on Saturday during which community members, parents, school staff and students will discuss character development in Newtown.
This is the third community conversation in Newtown. Prior conversations have been on Bullying and Mean Behaviors and Underage Drinking in Newtown.
Funding for the program comes from the William Graustein Foundation, a nonprofit with a goal of improving education for Connecticut students. The fund was started by a businessman, Archibald Graustein, and named in honor of his brother who died in a car accident." Read More

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Newark teen thankful for lessons learned, after his mentor's death

Newark Advocate (Newark, NJ) January 20, 2011

"Cody Richards didn't want his mother to tell the story, but she did anyway:
It happened not long after Bill Westerfelt's funeral Jan. 4, when Kathy Baker was within earshot of her 15-year-old son as he sat with Westerfelt's dog, Buckaroo, in Poplar Fork Cemetery.
'Once I get my driver's license,' she heard Cody say to the long-haired Chihuahua. 'We're gonna hafta go visit your dad.'
Westerfelt, of Heath, was only 36 when he died suddenly from a brain aneurysm Dec. 29.
His family remembers Westerfelt as a humble man with a good sense of humor and a big heart, who overcame personal struggles to give his best to others -- especially Cody, his 'Little.'" Read More

Underage Drinking Campaign Underway

The Heights (Boston, MA) January 20, 2011

"Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino recently announced the launch of a month-long underage drinking prevention campaign, in an effort to remind businesses and individuals not to serve or provide alcohol to minors.
In partnership with Patrón Spirits, the 'We Don't Serve Teens' campaign, as it has been coined nationally, is sending a message by placing 50 billboards throughout the city, 10 of which are in Allston-Brighton. In both English and Spanish, the billboards read, 'The City of Boston reminds you: The legal drinking age is 21. Thanks for not providing alcohol to teens.'
The citywide initiative includes advertising materials from the national campaign, sponsored by a team of public and private organization, including the Federal Trade Commission, according to a report by the Allston-Brighton Tab." Read More

Mentor a child, Plymouth residents are urged

The Bristol Press (Plymouth, CT) January 20, 2011

"'Kids need you! Care. Share. Mentor!'
That’s the theme this year for the Connecticut Mentoring Partnership. January is National Mentoring Month.
As a partner program, the Plymouth Mentor Program is urging residents to become involved in a young person’s life by volunteering to be a mentor.
'It’s a great time to think about young people in our community who could benefit from a relationship with a caring adult,' said Lisa Aiudi, Plymouth’s School to Career coordinator.
'Mentoring is not just a feel-good strategy,' she said. 'It has proven results for both the children and adults who care enough to make the commitment of just one hour a week.'" Read More

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teens who saw tobacco ads more likely to smoke

CNN Health, January 17, 2011

"A study of German teens finds that those who were exposed to more cigarette advertisements during a nine-month observation period were more likely to take up smoking. The study is published in the journal Pediatrics.
Researchers looked at the role that any kind of advertising, including cigarette advertising, plays in influencing teens to begin smoking. Researchers showed advertisements to 2,102 German teens who had never smoked. The ads included six cigarette advertisements, and eight ads for other products including candy, clothes, cell phones and cars.
Students also answered surveys about how frequently they had seen each ad, as well as questions about smoking behaviors among their parents, peers, and their attitudes toward rebellious and sensation-seeking behaviors." Read More

Genetics Could Play Role in Teen Drinking

HealthDay News, January 18, 2011

"Genetics appear to play a role in teens' use of heavy drinking to cope with negative feelings, a new study suggests.
Researchers collected DNA from 282 teens in the Netherlands who had consumed alcohol at least once in their lives. The teens were also asked about their reasons for drinking and the degree of alcohol-related problems they had experienced.
The study found that binge drinking and alcohol-related problems among the teens were strongly associated with drinking to cope and variations in the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) gene, which is involved in the brain's reward pathway." Read More

A forum on bullying to be presented in Norwalk (Norwalk, CT) January 18, 2011

"Bullying is a serious issue that impacts children of all ages and Stepping Stones has made a commitment to bring families together to help young people develop some strategies and skills to deal with it. 'Bullying and How To Prevent It' Youth Forum will take place Sunday, January 30 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm in the museum’s new state-of-art Multimedia Gallery.
Organized by the Leadership Team of the Youth Enrichment Program at Stepping Stones, the young people will serve as both moderator and panelists, creating an open dialogue with audience members. To add to the program, this event will include guest speakers Elaine Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Children and Dickon Pownall-Gray, President and Founder of Surviving Bullies Charity.
Ms. Zimmerman lends to the Youth Forum her invaluable experience with children’s legislation. As the Executive Director of Connecticut Commission on Children, Ms. Zimmerman has been a leader in advocating children’s public policy. Author of a report on bullying, she guided the legislature through the passage of the Safe Learning Act, providing dollars for schools to create a whole school culture change on safety." Read More

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teens charged with 'fake Facebook' account and stalking (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) January 17, 2011

"Cyberbullying, stalking, bullying, teens and Facebook can point you to jail!
No state knows the effects of bullying better than Florida. South Florida especially splashed many media outlets all over the country with two teens that were nearly bullied to death.
Michael Brewer was literally doused in alcohol and set on fire by other teens. Josie Lou Ratley, after a text rage with another teen, became the victim of his steel toed boots and as she was nearly stomped to death. You can't forget the adorable special needs 13 year-old girl from Central Florida that was taunted on her school bus - with condoms!
Florida is home again to another bullying story, this time cyberbullying that is making national news." Read More

Bullying on social network sites can affect school work

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 17, 2011

"Like many of her peers, Hempfield Area senior Ali Weatherton uses the social networking website Facebook nearly every day.
'The first thing I do when I come home is check Facebook,' said Weatherton, 17, who called the site 'addictive.'
But though Facebook makes it easy to keep in touch with friends, Weatherton has discovered that the constant connection has its downside.
For most of her junior year, Weatherton was harassed online by a jealous former friend and her allies, who posted insults on Facebook and made fun of the clothes Weatherton wore to school.
'It got really embarrassing,' she said.
Though the bullies did most of the tormenting through Facebook, their reach was not confined to the Internet. The stress caused Weatherton to suffer seizures, and she was afraid to attend school activities." Read More

How to fight bullies

The Washington Post, January 16, 2011

"AWAVE OF legislation and proposed legislation in statehouses across the country has followed high-profile incidents of children being bullied, some to their deaths. These bills bring welcome attention to the problem and represent an implicit indictment of schools for failing to deal with it. Bullying has long been seen as a normal rite of growing up and not as the unacceptable abuse that it is. But while we applaud efforts to strengthen policies, we have to question the wisdom of a proposal in Virginia that would criminalize bullying.
Del. Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) is sponsoring a bill that would make egregious bullying a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. The measure would define bullying as 'recklessly or intentionally endangering the health or safety of a student by exposing the student repeatedly, and over time, to physical aggression or intimidation, whether through direct physical contact or through the use of information or communication technology, resulting in bodily injury or other harm to person or property.' It would also give victims the right to sue those who have bullied them." Read More

Friday, January 14, 2011

Red Flags of Bullying

Larchmont-Mamaroneck (Mamaroneck, NY) January 13, 2011

"Over the past couple of years, I've met five children who, at one point, expressed suicidal thoughts because of bullying. All of them were under the age of 10.
Many parents I meet admit that they didn't necessarily recognize the signs—at first.
Some symptoms are more obvious, like depression, constant missing or damaged clothes or personal items or unexplained bruises. Those are red flags. If this is the case, get help immediately. There is no choice here.
But there are many signs of being bullied. Here are a few that are easily overlooked, or could be considered typical childhood conduct." Read More

Survey Tracks Local Students Use Of Drugs And Alcohol

The Hartford Courant (Enfield, CT) January 13, 2011

"After five years of engaging in positive prevention efforts in Windsor Locks, the Windsor Locks Substance Abuse Prevention and Action Council (SAPAC) and the Town of Windsor Locks have partnered with New Directions Inc., a not for profit substance abuse treatment and prevention agency of Enfield, under a grant from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) to assess the extent of substance abuse in the community and develop strategies to reduce the use of alcohol and other drugs by Windsor Locks youth.
This partnership involves collaboration and support from the Windsor Locks Police Department, Windsor Locks Public Schools, and Windsor Locks Youth Services.
As part of this initiative, the East of the River Action for Substance Abuse Elimination of East Hartford was hired with grant funds to administer a student substance use and related behavior survey to Windsor Locks middle and high school students in June 2010, analyze the survey data, and create a report based on these results. The official results of the survey were released on January 13 at the Windsor Locks Board of Education meeting. Highlights from the survey include." Read More

Teens seek plastic surgery to combat bullying

WLS 890 AM (New York, NY) January 13, 2011

"There is a small but growing number of teenagers who say being teased or bullied prompted them to consider or even undergo cosmetic surgery. Nearly 90,000 teenagers had cosmetic surgery in 2007, and doctors say the numbers are growing.
'I do see a fair amount of parents coming in with their child because of bullying and teasing and feelings of self-consciousness,' Dr. Michael Fiorillo, a cosmetic surgeon, said. 'My preference is, of course, to work out the issues first, the bullying, the teasing. But there are certain situations where people are mature enough. And surgery is a final resort.'
Popular cosmetic surgeries for teenagers include nose jobs, breast reductions, breast augmentations, ear tucks and Botox injections." Read More

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Synthetic Marijuana Ban Mania Continues, January 11, 2011

"The reflexive response of state legislators to respond to new, uncontrolled substances by banning them continues unabated this year as bills to proscribe synthetic marijuana have been filed in Nebraska and Indiana. Another synthetic pot ban bill is pending in Connecticut, and Washington state bureaucrats acted at year's end to ban the substances there.
Sold under names like K2 and Spice, the products contain synthetic cannabinoids that produce psychoactive effects roughly similar to marijuana. While about a dozen states and numerous municipalities moved against synthetic cannabinoids last year, the substances remained unregulated at the federal level until the DEA imposed an emergency ban that took effect on Christmas Eve." Read More

Survey: Exposure to Anti-Drug Messages Among Teens Drops Dramatically by Two-Thirds as Drug Use Goes Up

PR Newswire (New York, NY) January 12, 2011

"The University of Michigan's Monitoring the Future study (MTF) – the largest survey on teen drug abuse tracking over 46,000 8th, 10th and 12th graders – found a huge falloff in teens' recalled exposure to drug abuse prevention messages over the past seven years. The new data from the MTF study have been released at a time when teens themselves report finding the drug-prevention messages to be effective.
Comparing 2003, the year in which kids and teens' recalled exposure to drug prevention messages from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)'s National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign (NYADMC) peaked, to today, the proportion of 8th graders that reported daily/or more often exposure dropped from 54 percent to 18 percent, a dramatic decrease of two-thirds among the youngest group surveyed. Similar declines occurred among 10th graders (50 percent in 2003 to 17 percent in 2010) and 12th graders (32 percent to 10 percent). According to Lloyd Johnston, the principal investigator of the study, the rates of teens' recalled exposure of drug abuse prevention messages are lower in 2010 than they have been since his research team began tracking all three grades nearly two decades ago." Read More

Connecticut Bill Proposes Sunday Liquor Sales

NACS Online (Hartford, CT) January 13, 2011

"An Enfield, Connecticut lawmaker has proposed allowing liquor and grocery stores to sell alcohol on Sundays, a measure that proponents maintain would boost state tax revenue, the Journal Inquirer reports.
Rep. Kathleen Tallarita said the current Sunday ban affects towns such as Enfield, as residents typically drive to neighboring Massachusetts to purchase alcohol.
'It’s really not about the alcohol,' Tallarita. 'It’s more about the fairness.'
Tallarita said studies have estimated that Sunday sales could generate up to $18 million between the sales tax and excise tax on alcohol.
'It’s true revenue,' she said. 'It’s not just a gimmick — the money’s there.'
A similar bill failed in committee last year, and Governor Jodi Rell had threatened to veto it anyway." Read More

Mentoring Program Turns Cameras on Its Young Clients

The New York Times, January 12, 2011

"For the first time in its more than 100-year history, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is actively seeking donations, through a nationwide campaign, to underwrite its work with children at risk.
The outreach is part of a new public service advertising initiative that was created with the help of the Advertising Council and is being announced Thursday, as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of National Mentoring Month.
Called 'Start Something,' the campaign uses traditional as well as social media to illustrate the positive impact the adult volunteers of Big Brothers Big Sisters have on children’s lives, and to solicit both volunteers and financial support." Read More

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

ER Visits Increase for Prescription Drug Use

Youth Today, January 10, 2011

"If hospital emergency room visits are any indication, prescription drugs are replacing illicit drugs as America’s preferred vice.
A new government report shows the number of hospital visits involving prescription drug abuse or misuse has doubled over the past five years, with patients aged 20 or younger accounting for nearly 20 percent of all drug-related emergency room visits in 2009. For three years in a row, the number of hospital visits due to abuse or misuse of these pharmaceuticals – with Alprazolam (Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug), oxycodone products (pain relievers), respiratory system drugs and antidepressants used most prevalently by youths – has surpassed visits due to illicit drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
The information comes from the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and has helped fuel an Obama administration crackdown on prescription drug abuse." Read More

High school coach arrested in Simsbury

The Simsbury News (Simsbury, CT) January 11, 2011

"David P. Olson, a Simsbury resident, was arrested by Simsbury police early New Year’s Day on charges related to an underage drinking party at his home.
He was Avon High School’s freshman football coach, and according to Jody Goeler, interim superintendent of Avon’s public schools, 'Mr. Olson resigned from the position effective Jan. 2.'
Olson’s only role in Avon schools was the coaching job; he was not a teacher, Goeler said.
Simsbury police 'received information' about the party and upon arrival at Olson’s 16 Springbrook Lane home, 'found an underage party involving individuals under the age of 21,' Lt. Fred Sifodaskalakis said." Read More

Teenage Drug Abuse: The Dangers of Pharming Parties January 9, 2011

"Teenage drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States. One out of five high school students (9th-12th graders) have abused a prescription drug not prescribed for them by a doctor. Millions of teenagers are getting high using drugs from their parent’s medicine cabinet! Prescription drug abuse is a dangerous teen trend.
For example, teens love going to pharming parties. When I first heard about these, I was shocked. Do you know what a pharming party is? Here’s the scoop:
Pharming is when teenagers raid their parents or their grandparent’s medicine cabinets. They take handfuls of pain medication, anti-anxiety medicine, stimulants, and antidepressants. Sometimes, they even take heart pills including blood pressure medicine! Teenage drug abuse usually involves a teen trying to get high fast (and cheap). Nothing is cheaper or easier than stealing from your parent’s drug supply." Read More

Conn. group seeks mentors for at-risk children

CT Post (Hartford, CT) January 8, 2011

"A Connecticut organization says it's trying to recruit more mentors for thousands of children.
The Governor's Prevention Partnership says about 190,000 at-risk children in Connecticut need a caring adult in their lives, and it wants to find scores of qualified mentors.
The organization's effort comes as President Obama has proclaimed January 'National Mentoring Month.' Gen. Colin Powell is the campaign's spokesman." Read More

Communities Team Up for Drug Collection

Farmington (Farmington, CT) January 8, 2011

"Saturday’s Drug Give Back event, held in the Simsbury Commons parking lot, was a resounding success. It didn't just get unwanted prescription medications out of medicine cabinets and off the street, but it also raised awareness of drug abuse by young people in the Farmington Valley.
This multi-dimensional operation was a joint effort between the police departments of Avon, Canton and Simsbury, as well as the State of Connecticut Drug Control Division, pharmacies in all three towns, Substance Free student groups, and the Canton Community of Concern organization." Read More

DOT Statistics: Accidents With Injuries Caused By New Drivers Down

The Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) January 9, 2011

"The typical crash caused by a 16- or 17-year-old driver in Connecticut doesn't involve a car careening off the road during a boozy, late-night joyride.
In fact, following too closely was the most common 'contributing factor' in crashes caused by the state's youngest drivers from 2000 to 2008, and most of them happened during the day, state data show.
Department of Transportation statistics obtained by The Courant provide a detailed look at trends involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers who caused collisions from 2000 to 2008. The numbers appear to hold some good news, such as a drop in the number of accidents with injuries and the small fraction that involve alcohol." Read More

New director to tackle substance abuse in Milford

CT Post (Milford, CT) January 7, 2011

"The city's new substance abuse prevention director has one goal, but it is an ambitious one: to change the way the community views drug use.
'Kids, and even some parents, may think that it is a rite of passage and that everybody is doing it, but that is not the case,' Tanya L. Schweitzer said Friday. 'That mentality just perpetuates the problem.'
Schweitzer, an adjunct professor of psychology at Sacred Heart University, was hired with a federal grant of $125,000 per year with five years guaranteed. The grant also will pay for a part-time assistant, materials and administration." Read More

Big Brothers Big Sisters seek volunteers and donations during National Mentoring Month

West Hartford News (West Hartford, CT) January 8, 2011

"As we ease into January, National Mentoring Month, there are more than 400 children on the statewide waiting list compiled by Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, Connecticut's premier youth mentoring organization.
'A large percentage of these children are boys,' said Gloria Talbot, Nutmeg's Vice President of Program and Operations. 'And many of these boys are African-American and Latino. That's why we're especially in need of volunteers who are from those ethnic/cultural groups .'
Children on Nutmeg's waiting list are between the ages of 6 through 14. Most are between 8 and 14. They live in urban, suburban and rural locations. Most come from single-parent and no-parent homes. Like all children, they have great potential. Unlike a lot of children, they exist in environments and situations that tend to hinder their potential." Read More

Friday, January 7, 2011

Survival Tips for Raising a Teen

Psychology Today, December 28, 2010

"Is your house more of a battlefield than a home? Is your teen driving you insane? If so, then let's set the record straight.
According to your Teen...
1. You know very little if anything at all.
2. You could never understand how they feel. See link at the end for a humorous music video from the past 'Parents Just Don't Understand.'
3. Your rules are stupid and are meant to be broken.
4. When you speak they hear the teacher from Charlie Brown talking. 'Wah, wah, Wah, wah, Wah.'
5. You have a very weird concept of time. For example, you say 'NOW!' they say 'in a minute...' and you flip!" Read More

NJ governor signs tough law to fight bullying

The Washington Post (Trenton, NJ) January 6, 2011

"New Jersey's governor has signed an anti-bullying bill that gay rights advocates say is the toughest law of its kind in the nation.
The issue has gotten more attention since a Rutgers University student killed himself this fall after his roommate allegedly captured his liaison with another man on a webcam.
The law requires anti-bullying programs in public schools and requires college codes of conduct to address bullying. It updates a law that's been on the books in the state since 2001. Gov. Chris Christie's office has confirmed that he signed the bill Wednesday." Read More

Avon Freshman Football Coach Resigns Amid Charges Of Hosting Underage Party

The Hartford Courant (Avon, CT) January 6, 2011

"Avon High School's freshman football coach resigned this week after police charged him with hosting an underage drinking party.
David Olson, of 16 Springbrook Lane, Simsbury, was charged with permitting a minor to possess alcohol at 1:40 a.m. on New Year's Day and with violating a town ordinance prohibiting underage drinking parties, according to Simsbury Police Lt. Fred Sifodaskalakis.
Officers came upon a number of cars parked in the road and found that underage drinking was taking place at the party at Olson's home, Sifodaskalakis said. Olson, 51, was home and aware of the party, at which 'several youths' were present." Read More

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prescription Drug Abuse Sends More People to the Hospital

The New York Times, January 5, 2011

"The number of emergency room visits resulting from misuse or abuse of prescription drugs has nearly doubled over the last five years, according to new federal data, even as the number of visits because of illicit drugs like cocaine and heroin has barely changed.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found there were about 1.2 million visits to emergency rooms involving pharmaceutical drugs in 2009, compared with 627,000 in 2004. The agency did not include visits due to adverse reactions to drugs taken as prescribed.
Emergency room visits resulting from prescription drugs have exceeded those related to illicit drugs for three consecutive years, said R. Gil Kerlikowske, President Obama’s top drug policy adviser." Read More

FDA Launches Review of Tobacco Products

Healthday News, January 5, 2011

"Tobacco products introduced or altered since February 2007 must be reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration if they are to remain on the market, the agency announced Wednesday.
This effort, one aspect of the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is meant to keep more addictive products from the hands of consumers. Any new or revised tobacco products must be substantially equivalent to products sold on or before Feb. 15, 2007, the agency said.
'Up to now tobacco products have been the only mass-consumed products for which users do not know what they are consuming,' Dr. Lawrence R. Deyton, director of FDA's Center for Tobacco Products, said during a Wednesday morning news conference." Read More

Family charged in death of teen in Madison; Police say party hosts allowed alcohol, tampered with evidence

New Haven Register (Madison, CT) January 6, 2011

"The sister of a West Haven teen who died last summer after a night of drinking says justice is being served now that members of the family that owns the home where the party was held have been arrested in connection with his death.
Jaquell Jackson, 18, died June 19 after a party at the home of Richard and Susan Kos at 18 Green Springs Drive.
'Being angry with other people about it is not going to help,' said Jackson’s sister, Anika Stewart. 'I definitely wanted justice and wanted people to see the consequences of certain things. I’m glad the wheels of justice are starting to turn.'
Richard Kos, 53, is charged with conspiracy to tamper with or fabricate evidence, second-degree reckless endangerment and permitting minors to possess alcohol." Read More

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Effort to Stop Cycle of School Bullying

NBC Washington (Washington, DC) January 4, 2011

"The federal government is putting its sizable muscles into a fight against bullying.
'I need your help,' said Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez. 'Every student has the right to go to school without facing threats, intimidation or harrassment.'
Perez is with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. He joined students at James Hubert Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., Tuesday to talk about bullying and harrassment in schools and what the department is doing to protect the civil rights of all students
But he also asked students to participate and not look the other way." Read More

Bullying by peers can contribute to psychotic symptoms

Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA) January 4, 2011

"Bullying in childhood and adolescence is a scourge in sore need of effective solutions. Studies have already revealed the toll that bullying takes on kids' mental and physical health. Now new research suggests that bullying by peers can increase the risk of the victim developing psychotic symptoms later in life.
The new study, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, used valuable data from the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, which follows 2,232 twin children and their families. Mothers of the children were interviewed and, at age 12, children were asked about bullying experiences and psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions or paranoia. The presence of psychotic symptoms was verified by a doctor." Read More

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dr. Drew on teen Rx drug use

WTNH News-8, January 4, 2010

"It's time to make Smart Moves, Smart Choices.
Teen prescription drug abuse is a growing concern. One in five high school students has taken a prescription medication that was not prescribed for them by a doctor, and more teens abuse prescription drugs than illegal drugs except marijuana.
In 2008, 4.7 million teens reported that they had abused a prescription drug at some time in their lives.
Since 2009, addiction expert Dr. Drew Pinsky has partnered with Smart Moves, Smart Choices to educate the public about the dangers of teen prescription drug abuse." Read More

Parenting 101 adds class in Spanish

The Hour (Norwalk, CT) January 3, 2011

"The Courage to Speak Foundation will bring its teen drug prevention program -- this time in Spanish language -- to West Rocks Middle School on two separate dates next month.
The foundation will roll out 'Courageous Parenting 101' in Spanish at West Rocks Middle School at 81 West Rocks Road at 7 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 16. The program will give parents the knowledge to keep their children safe from substance abuse and other risky behaviors.
'We are excited to work with the Courage to Speak Foundation (that) is focused on the health and well-being of Hispanic families,' said Lynne Moore, principal at West Rocks Middle School, in a press statement issued by Courage to Speak. 'Latino parents, like so many other moms and dads, need important information to keep their children safe.'" Read More

Monday, January 3, 2011

President Obama Proclaims January 2011 As National Mentoring Month

Harlem World (Harlem, NY) January 3, 2011

"This month marks the 10th anniversary of National Mentoring Month, an annual media campaign designed to recruit volunteer mentors for young people. Although research has shown that mentoring plays a significant role in reducing risky behaviors, there remains a gap between the number of mentors and the number of young people who need a mentor. This gap is even more significant in the African American community, as organizations struggle to recruit black male mentors for young black boys.
In observance of National Mentoring Month, we will highlight those working behind the scenes to narrow this gap, and those who work in the field of mentoring throughout the month." Read More

School district tackles bullying

The Wilton Bulletin (Wilton, CT) January 3, 2011

"The State of Connecticut defines bullying as 'any overt act by a student or group of students directed at another student with the intent to ridicule, harass, humiliate or intimidate the other student while on school grounds, during school-sponsored activities or on a school bus, which acts are committed more than once against any student during the school year,' Superintendent Gary Richards told the Board of Education last month.
'We recognize that acts of meanness occur at all levels of our school system,' he said, 'and we know that most of it occurs in covert ways. Students are generally smart enough not to do it in front of adults.'
Bullying is also not restricted to school, Mr. Richards said. 'The dark side of technology, as many of us know, is that it can be used as an instrument to perpetrate meanness.' And many instances can go unreported to school officials for a variety of reasons." Read More

Binge drinking ''ups future depression risk in teens'' (Washington, D.C.) January 2, 2011

"Researchers have warned that binge-drinking teenagers are more likely to have mood disorders such as anxiety and depression in adulthood.
Researchers at the Loyola University Health System have found that exposing adolescent rats to binge amounts of alcohol permanently altered the system that produces hormones in response to stress.
This disruption in stress hormones 'might lead to behavioral and/or mood disorders in adulthood,' researchers reported." Read More

5 Myths about bullying

The Washington Post, January 2, 2011

"From schoolyards to workplaces and now in cyberspace, it seems that bullies are everywhere. New efforts to stop them and to help victims cope - such as the It Gets Better campaign - are gaining attention and popularity, but are they the best ways to protect kids and others from the worst forms of bullying? For them to have a fighting chance, let's first dispense with a few popular fallacies about getting picked on.
Most bullying now happens online.
Cyber-bullying has received enormous attention since the 2006 suicide of Megan Meier, an eighth-grader who was bullied on MySpace. The suicide of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi - who jumped off the George Washington Bridge near Manhattan in September after his roommate streamed video of a sexual encounter between Clementi and another male student online - also grabbed headlines.
As tragic as they are, these high-profile cases should not distract from more traditional - and more prevalent - forms of bullying." Read More

Students Turned on to College Through Mentoring

NBC Connecticut (New Britain, CT) December 30, 2010

"New Britain High School junior Karina Velez loves to help her peers.
'We have a lot of students with different backgrounds, different stories and everybody deserves to have someone support them,' she said.
Karina is a CFES Scholar, part of national program called 'College For Every Student' that focuses on three core practices: mentoring, pathways to college and leadership through service.
The non-profit organization works with 140 K-12 schools across the country and choses scholars through teacher nominations." Read More