Friday, December 28, 2012

Bullying May Alter Gene Expression, Study Finds

Live Science, December 27, 2012

"Bullying may leave long-lasting scars on kids' DNA in addition to their psyche, new research suggests.
A small study found that bullied kids are more likely to have changes in the expression of a gene involved in mood regulation compared with their identical twin siblings who were not bullied.
'Since they were identical twins living in the same conditions, changes in the chemical structure surrounding the gene cannot be explained by genetics or family environment,' researcher Isabelle Ouellet-Morin said in a statement. 'Our results suggest that victimization experiences are the source of these changes.'" Read More

National Mentoring Month Only 11 Days Away!

MENTOR, December 20, 2012

"In less than two weeks, National Mentoring Month 2013 will be here, with the theme 'Mentoring Works!' and a host of ways — big and small — to get involved.
Established in 2002, National Mentoring Month (NMM) celebrates mentoring and the evidence-based, positive effect it can have on young lives. NMM’s goals are to:
- Raise awareness of mentoring in its various forms.
- Recruit individuals to mentor, especially in programs that have waiting lists of young people.
- Promote the rapid growth of mentoring by recruiting organizations to engage their constituents in mentoring." Read More

Overweight Teens Report High Rates of Bullying, Teasing

HealthDay News, December 26, 2012

"A new survey of teenagers in weight-loss programs found that 64 percent had been teased or bullied because of their weight, and although the lion's share of teasing came from their peers some of the perpetrators have included parents, teachers and coaches.
'Kids who are clinically obese are experiencing teasing and bullying, not just at school but at home. That means they have few sources of support or allies,' said survey author Rebecca Puhl." Read More

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nearly One-Third of Kids With Food Allergies May Be Bullied

HealthDay News, December 24, 2012

"Many children with food allergies may be bullied at school -- sometimes with potentially dangerous threats to their physical health, a new study suggests.
The study, of 251 families at a New York City allergy clinic, found that about one-third of kids said they'd been bullied specifically because of their food allergy.
The bullying usually happened at school and often took the form of teasing. But in many cases, the children said classmates threatened them with the food to which they were allergic -- waving it in front of them, throwing it at them or saying they would sneak it into their other food." Read More

Mentoring programs aim to change lives

News Times (Georgetown, KY) December 23, 2012

"Law enforcement officers have joined with school officials in Georgetown to try to make a positive impact in the lives of high school freshmen.
The Georgetown News-Graphic reports that city police officers and Scott County sheriff's deputies are volunteering to mentor ninth-graders who know they have problems and have requested help.
The officers will be paired with at least one of 10 students who requested to participate in the program. The Check and Connect program pairs volunteers and students so that they can build a relationship. The program is new to the ninth grade, although it is in its second year at the high school." Read More

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother': A Mom's Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America

The Huffington Post, December 16, 2012

"Friday’s horrific national tragedy -- the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut -- has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
While every family's story of mental illness is different, and we may never know the whole of the Lanzas' story, tales like this one need to be heard -- and families who live them deserve our help.
Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants." Read More

How To Help Kids Deal With Trauma Of Newtown Shootings

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) December 18, 2012

"In the aftermath of last week's mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, it's natural for children all over Connecticut be anxious and even frightened, not just about going to school but about life in general. Child guidance experts statewide say parents should not deny their kids' fears but should talk about them frankly and try to ease them with calmness, stability and love.
'Make sure you are honest. Don't tell them half-truths. Don't just say everything will be OK, because that will undermine their actual fears and coping skills,' says Nicole DeRonck, counseling coordinator for Newington Public Schools and a past president of the Connecticut School Counselor Association (CSCA). Read More

Friday, December 14, 2012

Patriots celebrate Mentoring, Exercise and Healthy Eating Volunteerism

New England Patriots News, December 13, 2012

"The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation continued the ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative with special weekly focuses on 'Mentoring Volunteerism' (Nov. 25 - Dec. 1) and 'Exercise and Healthy Eating Volunteerism' (Dec. 2 - 8).
The Foundation teamed with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest, Inc., Family Service, Inc., Latino STEM Alliance, Old Colony YMCA – Big Sister Big Brother, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, Raw Art Works and Springfield School Volunteers, Inc. for the week of Nov. 25. On Nov. 27, Patriot Devin McCourty and former Patriot Sterling Moore participated in interactive games with students and mentors from Old Colony YMCA Big Sister Big Brother programs." Read More

In Hartford, Using Shakespeare To Teach About Bullying Behavior

Hartford Courant (Hartford, CT) December 13, 2012

"Thalia Rodriguez needed a few moments to calm her middle-school nerves before taking the stage at McDonough Expeditionary Learning School.
After all, the 12-year-old was tasked with cooling a rivalry dating back to the 16th century.
'No! Violence doesn't solve anything,' Thalia asserted, hands on her hips, demanding and receiving apologies from the grown actors playing mortal enemies in a scene from William Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet.'" Read More

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Adderall addiction: Students misuse drug to gain boost while studying

Iowa State Daily, December 8, 2012

"The United States is 4 percent of the world’s population but produces 88 percent of the world’s legal amphetamine. Adderall, also known as the 'study drug,' is in high demand across the nation and has increasingly become highly abused by college students who claim Adderall is the key to academic success.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine and is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, and narcolepsy.
The combination of the two drugs increases attention and decreases restlessness in patients who are overactive, cannot concentrate for very long, or are easily distracted and have unstable emotions." Read More

Facebook 'Compliments' Pages Crop Up to Fight Bullying Online

The Stir, December 10, 2012

"Amid the increasingly prevalent stories about Facebook being used to bully teenagers or apply negative pressure against organizations comes a refreshing new trend: all over the U.S. and Canada, high schools and universities are setting up pages where students can give each other anonymous compliments.
Imagine, if you will, a social media world where instead of attacking each other, students leave each other notes like, 'This is an appreciation post dedicated to your hair. Let us all marvel at its beauty.'
It's being called reverse trolling -- or cyber-graciousness, if you prefer -- and there are nearly 100 pages like the one set up by Queens University, which asks students to 'Spread happiness!' by sending in nice words about each other." Read More

Glastonbury Forum Tackles Underage Drinking

Hartford Courant (Glastonbury, CT) December 12, 2012

"The question was asked over and over again in different ways at a community forum on underage drinking Wednesday: What is the best way for youths to resist alcohol?
Stephanie Consoli had a good answer: 'You just surround yourself with the right people who do the right things,' the Glastonbury High School junior said.
Consoli and three other students, all of them members of the Glastonbury Youth Advisory Council, were joined on a panel by Dr. Wayne Paulekas of Prime Health Care and police Officer Allison Collard." Read More

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Two-Time Gold Medalist Aly Raisman And Her Parents Join Underage Drinking Initiative

PR Newswire, December 10, 2012

"Three-time Olympic medalist and U.S. Women's Gymnastics Team Captain Aly Raisman and her parents, Lynn and Rick Raisman, joined The Century Council and its Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix program to encourage parents and kids to have active discussions about the dangers of underage drinking. In addition to promoting an ongoing dialog between parents and kids, the program aims to embolden youth to 'say YES to a healthy lifestyle and NO to underage drinking.'
The Century Council recognizes the importance of these discussions and understands they are sometimes difficult for parents to have. We've all seen it: the roll of the eyes, a heavy sigh and a "not again Mom!" Like many conversations between young teens and their parents, it is difficult to tell if kids are listening to what their parents have to say. Earlier this year, The Century Council released survey results that showed kids really are listening to their parents when they discuss underage drinking. The partnership with Aly, Lynn and Rick emphasizes the entire family should be involved in these discussions." Read More

Young Binge Eaters Prone to Illicit Drug Use: Study

Health Day News, December 10, 2012 

"Tweens, teens and young adults who routinely overeat appear to be more likely to experiment with marijuana or other drugs, new research suggests.
The observation stems from a decade-long research effort, during which nearly 17,000 boys and girls were tracked to assess eating and drug-use patterns.
The bottom-line: Drug use increased among all overeaters, regardless of whether that behavior took the form of relatively controlled overeating or binge-eating behavior, which involves a loss of eating control." Read More

Glastonbury Youth Advisory Council Sponsoring Forum on Teen Drinking

Glastonbury Patch (Glastonbury, CT) December 10, 2012

"In an effort to cut down on alcohol abuse and dependence, the Glastonbury Youth Advisory Council is sponsoring a community forum on preventing and reducing underage drinking at the Riverfront Community Center Wednesday night.
Teen alcohol use kills 6,000 people each year, and alcohol is the leading cause of death for individuals under 21, according to the council.
The council event will host keynote speaker Corey Sharken, who will relate his story of alcohol addiction. Sharken’s presentation will be followed by a youth-led panel discussion and a question-and-answer session." Read More

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Are some teens wired to binge drink?

Futurity, (London, UK) December 4, 2012

"A gene variation may help explain why some teenagers are more likely than others to binge drink.
Alcohol and other addictive drugs activate the brain’s dopamine system, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Recent studies have found that the RASGRF2 gene is a risk gene for alcohol abuse, however, the exact mechanism involved in this process has, until now, remained unknown.
'People seek out situations which fulfill their sense of reward and make them happy, so if your brain is wired to find alcohol rewarding, you will seek it out,' says lead author Gunter Schumann from the Department of Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry at King’s College London.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides the most detailed understanding yet of the brain processes involved in teenage alcohol abuse." Read More

Brookfield Police Install Prescription Drug Drop Box

Brookfield Patch (Brookfield, CT) December 4, 2012

"Brookfield Police, in cooperation with the Brookfield Substance Abuse Coalition and the Brookfield Health Department, has installed a 24-hour drop box for prescription drugs in the lobby of the police department. Residents can deposit unwanted or expired drugs anonymously in the drop box, which operates under a license from the Connecticut Department of Consumer protection with the approval of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)." Read More

Parent's Guide to Drug Prevention Gets an Update

School Leadership 2.0, November 30, 2012

"Today's adolescents and teens face a much different drug landscape than did those raised in the late 1990s, which is one reason the U.S. Department of Education and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) updated an in-depth guide for parents.
'Growing Up Drug-Free: A Parent's Guide to Prevention (2012)' is a 55-page booklet covering an array of topics to educate parents and caregivers about how to address this issue with their children. Originally published in 1998, the revised publication gives parents ideas about how to talk with their children about drugs, and what to do if families believe their children are using illicit drugs and alcohol." Read More

Bullied Teens May Suffer Lingering Trauma

HealthDay News, December 4, 2012

"Bullied teenagers can develop post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, according to a new study.
The findings suggest that victims of bullying may require long-term support, said the researchers from the University of Stavanger in Norway. 
They looked at almost 1,000 teens, ages 14 and 15, and found that one-third of those who said they had been bullied had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, such as intrusive memories and avoidance behavior." Read More

American Eagle Outfitters Partners With Big Brothers Big Sisters This Holiday Season To Create One Million Moments Of Mentoring

Daily Markets (Philadelphia, PA) December 4, 2012

"American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) is creating 'one million moments of mentoring' through holiday gift card sale donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and wardrobe makeovers for some of the national mentoring organization’s most deserving teen and tween mentees.
Of every gift card sold from December 1 – December 24, $.15 — up to $150,000 — will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. In addition, American Eagle is teaming up with the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers and other NFL franchises to give deserving middle- and high-school aged 'Littles' a $200 gift card to use during a private shopping experience with some of their favorite local professional athletes." Read More

Monday, December 3, 2012

MENTOR Named to New Index of 100 High-Impact Nonprofits

MENTOR, November 27, 2012

"The Social Impact Exchange has named MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership to the first-ever index of 100 top-performing, evidence-based nonprofit organizations in the United States.
Known as the Social Impact 100 (S&I100), this list represents two years of collaborative work within the Social Impact Exchange and offers confidence to donors, foundations and others that they are contributing to organizations that consistently deliver impact and have the potential for continued growth." Read More

Underage drinkers targeted at CCSU

New Britain Herald (New Britain, CT) November 30, 2012

"Police issued nearly 50 underage drinking tickets after a crowd of Central Connecticut State University students attempted to flee a large party on Allen Street Thursday night.
Officers on the CCSU underage drinking detail showed up to investigate a large, loud party in progress at the second floor apartment at 402 Allen St. and discovered dozens of kids fleeing and more inside still partying, police said.
About 30 people ran from the building when officers arrived and no one would answer the door, according to police reports." Read More

East Granby Resident to be Featured on Univision Show

East Granby Patch (East Granby, CT) November 30, 2012

"East Granby resident Javier Soto will be a guest on the Saturday, Dec. 1, edition of Univision's 'El Show de Analeh.' In his interview segment, airing at 11 a.m., Soto discusses youth mentoring and its impact on him, on the child he mentors, on the child's family and on the community in which the child lives.
Soto, a native of Puerto Rico and an engineer at Pratt & Whitney in East Hartford, has been a Big Brother (adult mentor) in the Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based program for the past five years. He has also been a member of the organization's Latino Advisory Council. This past April, Soto was one of only five 'Bigs' who were presented with Exceptional Mentor Awards at Nutmeg's annual Volunteer Recognition Event. In July, he was featured in a Hartford Courant article that reported on his 5-year match relationship with a boy from East Hartford named Alex." Read More