Monday, June 30, 2014

Giants: Zak DeOssie Hosts Event for Newark-Based Mentoring Program

Star-Ledger (Jersey City, NJ) June 30, 2013

"Zak DeOssie has had plenty of mentors in his life, starting with his father, former Giants linebacker Steve DeOssie.

There were high school coaches, family members, teachers, friends and front office members all through college and the pros who helped the 30-year-old through a career where he's won a pair of Super Bowl rings and made two separate Pro Bowl appearances.

That's why he didn't think twice about joining the Newark Mentoring Movement, a program headed by executive director Aaron Martin, son of long-time Giants defensive end George Martin." Read more

Preventing Underage Drinking and Drunk Driving

WWLP 22 News (Springfield, MA) June 26, 2014

"Shocking numbers from the Centers for Disease Control. One in four high school students binge drank in the last month, and just as many got in a car with someone who had been drinking.

In Easthampton, parents are urging other parents to ask a few simple questions before their teen goes to a gathering where alcohol will be present, but chaperones will not be.

A few questions that may be tough to ask, but could save your teen-age child’s life. Who will you hang out with? Will there be adults? Will there be alcohol?" Read more

Danbury has Tougher School Discipline

News Times (Danbury, CT) June 29, 2014

"The city's middle- and high-school students will face tougher sanctions for bullying, truancy and failing to follow school rules when they return to class in the fall.

The Board of Education adopted the stricter codes of conduct Wednesday night.

The district has made bullying a high priority, Deputy Superintendent William Glass told the board.

'Bullying is our No. 1 concern in behavior,' he said. 'We're really ramping up the consequences.'" Read more

Friday, June 27, 2014

Alcohol And Teens Don't Mix

Reminder News, June 25, 2014

"Society today tends to view drinking alcohol as a rite of passage. Movies, music, and advertising portray drinking as a desirable, adult activity. Reaching age 21 and "being legal" are matters for special celebration. 

But especially at this time of year, when teenagers are marking other rites of passage, like proms and graduation from high school, underage drinking is widespread. Teens manage to sneak alcohol into their own celebrations, and sometimes parents are even complicit in providing alcohol to underage drinkers at house parties." Read more

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Woostock Academy First to Launch Bullying Prevention Initiative

Woodstock Villlager, June 20, 2014

"As part of a statewide project, Woodstock Academy will become the first school in Connecticut to launch an anti-bullying and harassment initiative aimed at creating a positive school climate for students with disabilities.

According to Exceptional Children, the educational journal focused on special education, students with disabilities are disproportionately targets of bullying behavior, and can also be initiators of the behavior. The effort hopes to provide a framework of understanding about students with disabilities and the additional legal protections that schools are required to follow." Read more (full story located on pg 7)

2014 Theme: A Message of Hope: Drug Use Disorders are Preventable and Treatable, June 26, 2014 

"By resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987, the General Assembly decided to observe 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse. This resolution recommended further action with regard to the report and conclusions of the 1987 International Conference on Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking." Read more

'Medical Issues' Hospitalize Boston Concertgoers

Stamford Advocate, June 26, 2014

"Three dozen people were transported to the hospital and as many as 50 others were treated or evaluated at the scene during a an electronic dance music show in Boston featuring Swedish disc jockey Avicii.

No one appeared to have life-threatening injuries, Boston EMS Deputy Superintendent Mike Bosse said, blaming alcohol and drug use for the problems at the Wednesday night show at the TD Garden.

All of those transported and treated appeared to be between 16 and 25 years old, he said." Read more

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Survey Shows CT Teens Outpace Nation on Risks

Danbury News Times, June 24, 2014

"Connecticut teens are more likely to be bullied at school, more likely to have tried heroin and more likely to have access to illegal drugs on school property than their peers across the country.

But the same national survey that showed these grim statistics also showed Connecticut high school students are less likely to drink alcohol before age 13, less likely to have had sexual intercourse and less likely to spend more than three hours a day watching TV or playing video games.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Youth Risk Behavior Survey, given last year to 13,600 high school students nationwide, included questions on alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, diet, nutrition and physical activity." Read more

Rancho Santa Margarita Could Become 1st California City To Outlaw Bullying

CBS Los Angeles, June 23, 2014

"Rancho Santa Margarita could become the first city in California to outlaw bullying.

Orange County attorney and Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Pro-Tem Brad McGirr spoke to a crowd of schoolchildren about being bullied after a suicide resulted from a case of online bullying in part motivated him to write an anti-bullying ordinance.

'When I was your age, real briefly, I was bullied,' McGirr told the students. 'I was bullied a lot.'

The ordinance is set to go before the City Council on Wednesday. 'My goal is to create a conceptual ordinance that the City Council can discuss, that we can leap from, and say "Look, how can we help children," McGirr said. 'It’s not about me. It’s not about my city. It’s about my community.'" Read more

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Changing Face of Drug Addiction in Middletown

Middletown Press, June 19, 2014

"City police averaged more than one arrest a day for drug- and alcohol-related crimes and violations since June 2013.

The RAIDS online crime reporting database chronicled 306 narcotics complaints in the city over the last year. There were another 64 alcohol violations and DUI incidents in addition to the narcotics complaints.

The narcotics complaints are up slightly from 281 the year before, but far lower than the 429 complaints two years prior." Read more

Cyberbullied Teens Can Connect Online, In Person to Get Help

U.S. News & World Report, June 23, 2014

"The Web is where teens go to hang out and to socialize. It’s their virtual neighborhood, coffee shop or shopping mall.

But it provides no respite from the bullies who walk their high school hallways. A survey released this month by computer security software company McAfee found that 87 percent of youth have witnessed cyberbullying.

'Adults tend to now use the Internet for functionality,' says Dan Raisbeck, co-founder of the Cybersmile Foundation. The organization's mission is to tackle all forms of online bullying and hate campaigns.

'But for many young kids it is their life. They are socializing. They are growing on the Internet. They are making friends there. It's a completely different experience and we have to recognize that,' he says.​​" Read more

Monday, June 23, 2014

In Wake Of School Stabbing, Expert Has Advice On Dealing With Bullying

CBS New York (New York, NY) June 20, 2014

"When it comes to bullying, what is to be done if a parent takes all the right steps and it still doesn’t stop?

As CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported, one parent said it happened to him – and it ended in tragedy earlier this week.

The crime shocked the Mount Hope section of the Bronx earlier this week. Noel Estevez, 14, has been charged with stabbing 14-year-old classmate Timothy Crump to death Wednesday outside I.S. 117, at 1865 Morris Ave. in the Bronx.

In a statement Estevez gave to police, the teen claimed he stabbed Crump multiple times because he was being punched. But in court Thursday, defense attorney Eric Poulos said the bullying problems went back well before that." Read more

Educating Youth on Discrimination, Bullying

Bristol Press, June 21, 2014

"With the backdrop of Matthew Shepard as the screensaver on his computer, Corey Wright said the 21-year-old Wyoming man who was killed 15 years ago because he was gay is one of his motivating factors in speaking to young people on bullying.

Wright — assistant director of the Little League Eastern Region based on Mix Street — came out as gay to his friends and family when he was 18. Even though he was popular and had a lot of friends when he was growing up in Williamsport, PA., he was still bullied by classmates who perceived him to be gay." Read more

Friday, June 20, 2014

Bullying Prevention Initiative For Students With Disabilities

Hartford Courant, June 19, 2014

"Woodstock Academy will become the first Connecticut school to launch an anti-bullying and harassment initiative aimed at creating a positive school climate for students with disabilities. According to Exceptional Children, the educational journal focused on special education, students with disabilities are disproportionately targets of bullying behavior, and can also be initiators of the behavior.

'Woodstock Academy prides itself in meeting its mission of providing an inclusive outstanding education for all students. Our involvement in this partnership is just another example of how the Academy meets its mission,' said Christopher Sandford, headmaster at Woodstock Academy. 'We are very proud and honored to be partnering with such a great program with an outstanding reputation to provide all students who attend the Academy - now and in the future - an experience which will better prepare them to be strong and caring adults who will provide positive leadership to the region and more importantly the world.'" Read more

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Don't Be A Party To Underage Drinking

Bethel's HamletHub, June 18, 2014

"Graduation season is upon us. And that means lots of celebrations for graduates and their families and friends.

In order for all to be safe here in Bethel and beyond, if you don't already know, now would be a good time to familiarize yourself with the laws regarding alcohol and teenagers.

Serving alcohol to minors is a serious, criminal offense. According to a press release from the Governor's Prevention Partnership, even allowing underage youth access to alcohol (without directly providing it) violates Connecticut's social hosting law. In addition, parents who provide or allow underage youth access to alcohol open themselves up to significant financial liability. Beyond legal ramifications, it's important to remember that young people who start using alcohol before age 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life." Read more

Getting a Jump on Bullying in Sports

Greenwich Time, June 17, 2014

"Bullying in sports. It's what former Greenwich High School Athletic Director Garland Allen calls 'the next big problem,' and it is the reason why 150 professional athletes, coaches and athletic directors gathered Monday at New York University for a program titled 'Character, Respect, and Civility in Youth Sports: Ending Bullying, Improving Performance.'

'We were behind the eight ball when it comes to concussions,' said Allen, who was GHS's athletic director for 18 years before becoming an advisory board member for NYU Sports and Society, the organization that held the conference. 'Three, four, five years from now, we're going to realize that the damage that can be caused by bullying can be long term, and people are going to be held accountable.'" Read more

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

N.E. Governors Convene, Discuss Opioid Abuse Crisis

BrandeisNOW, June 17, 2014

"Following a meeting that brought the five New England state governors to the Brandeis campus, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced that Brandeis’ Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) Center of Excellence will partner with the New England states to analyze data from each state’s prescription drug monitoring programs and recommend best practices to assist in the region’s fight against opioid abuse." Read more

Middletown Students "Link Up" Against Bullying

Hartford Courant (Middletown, CT) June 16, 2014

"More than 700 students of Woodrow Wilson Middle School and Farm Hill Elementary School on Monday created a symbolic link between their two schools to highlight a common goal of ending bullying.

The 'Links Up Against Bullying' event was created by the Woodrow Wilson Pride Patrol – and with more than 18,000 paper links the two schools covered the short distance between their buildings.

Each link contained a personal message from a student as the chain stretched from Farm Hill, down Newtown Street and to the front entrance of Woodrow Wilson on Hunting Hill Avenue. The police and fire departments closed the streets to traffic for the event." Read more

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Anti-Overdose Drug Becoming an Everyday Part of Police Work

New York Times, June 12, 2014

"Amid the weeknight bustle of a Walmart parking lot in Centereach, N.Y., a young woman in a pickup truck had lost consciousness and was turning blue.

Her companion called 911. Possible drug overdose; come fast.

A Suffolk County police officer, Matthew Siesto, who had been patrolling the lot, was the first to arrive. Needles were visible in the center console; the woman was breathing irregularly, and her pupils had narrowed to pinpoints." Read more

A Heroin User's Story: Naloxone Gives a Mother Back Her Son, But Can't Cure Addiction

Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2014

"Peter Ruhry got what many other drug abusers never get: a second chance.

Mr. Ruhry grew up in Nassau County, in a home without drugs. He started using drugs in April 2007; two years later, in May 2009, he overdosed on heroin, said his mother, Angie Ruhry.

He was 21 years old, taking summer classes at Mansfield University in Pennsylvania.

At some point between his home and the hospital, first responders gave Mr. Ruhry a shot of naloxone, a medication that is an antidote to opioids found in heroin and some prescription drugs, his mother said." Read more

Norwich 13-Year-Old Rallies Peers to Anti-Drunken Driving Cause

Norwich Bulletin, June 16, 2014

"Since last fall, 13-year-old Shenandoah Baker and almost 200 other Kelly Middle School seventh-graders have shown up to class with a very important accessory to their uniforms.

'In the beginning, I thought there weren’t going to be a lot of volunteers. In the long run, I got 146,' Shenandoah said of the anti-drunken driving awareness initiative she brought to the school after witnessing a disturbing sight on Halloween night.

She and her mother were driving past a house in Waterford. 'As I turned my head to look the other way, I saw a group of stumbling teenagers. And I turned to my mom and said, ‘What if one of them got into a car?’ And that’s led to SADD,' Shenandoah said." Read more

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meriden Teens Plan to Create Mural to Combat Bullying

Record-Journal (Meriden, CT) June 16, 2014

"Thirty Meriden teenagers have banded to form the Anti-Bullying Coalition, a coordinated effort between the Meriden Boys & Girls Club and Girls Inc.

The coalition has received two grants totaling $6,500 from the Kiwanis Club to combat bullying in schools and form a support system for victims. The group met last Monday at the Boys & Girls Club at 15 Lincoln St, to share their research and pitch their plans to erect a community mural.

Michelle Bourdeau, executive director of Girls Inc., said that during the preliminary planning stages of the project 'the conversation always seemed to steer back to bullying,' something all of the teens had experienced." Read more

Mass Murders in Schools and Bullying: What We Can Do to Help Stop the Carnage

Huffington Post, June 13, 2014

"The mass shooting at the University of California Santa Barbara less than two weeks ago has reignited the national debate over access to guns and mental illness. It has been well reported that, like so many other mass killers, Elliot Rodger, the perpetrator who killed six innocent young men and women on that campus, had demonstrated extremely disturbing behavior for quite a while and had been under the treatment of therapists for a number of years. Yet, despite his obvious psychological problems, he was still able to easily obtain a number of handguns and a large supply of ammunition." Read more

Survey Offers Peak into Behavior of Connecticut Teens

The Day, June 13, 2014

"A 2013 survey of the state’s public high school students showed a decrease in teen alcohol use and binge drinking, over-the-counter drug abuse, physical fighting, and some risky sexual behaviors.

The survey also showed that Connecticut teens were less likely to be daily soda drinkers - 14 percent - than their peers nationwide - 27 percent.

Data released by the state Department of Public Health Thursday also revealed that Connecticut youth were less likely than their peers across the country to receive at least eight hours of sleep every night - 24.2 percent compared to 31.7 percent. It also showed that while fewer used illegal drugs, Connecticut high schoolers reported having access to these drugs at school at a higher rate than the national average, 27.1 percent compared to 22.1 percent." Read more

Friday, June 13, 2014

Chasing the Heroin Resurgence

USA Today, June 12, 2014

"The United States is in the grips of one of the worst heroin epidemics in its history, due in part to a flood of cheap doses of the drug, which can be had for as little as $4 apiece, ordered on dark corners of the Web and delivered to your front door in the suburbs. In some regions, such as the Great Lakes states, heroin is deemed "highly available" by local police in more than three times the number of communities as it was just seven years ago.

Expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act because the state badly needed the included federal help to treat an overwhelming surge of heroin addicts." Read more

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Police Talk To Parents About Rising Heroin Use In Darien

Darien Daily Voice, June 12, 2014

"Heroin is a problem in Darien that is not often publicly addressed, but a group of police officers met with parents at the Depot to show them how to recognize the signs of drug abuse and to seek help.

The workshop held Tuesday night, June 10, was the second that the Darien Police Department has held at the Depot in the past month. Officers discussed how heroin use has been on the rise in Connecticut and throughout the nation, and how heroin addiction often starts with prescription drug abuse." Read more

From Network To Networth: How Coaches Make A Difference

Forbes, June 10, 2014

"The strong are not only those whose veins bulge from their perfectly-sculpted biceps. Nor are the resilient merely those who return to the game upon being injured. The greatest and often most overlooked athletes are not those who run back and forth on a field, but those who have managed to survive in the tech arena. Entrepreneurs are the most tenacious athletes. The muscles they build are blind to the eye, the reward for labor never a guarantee, and no glamour or fanfare awaiting them after a hard day’s work." Read more

East Lyme Confronts Heroin Use

The Day, June 12, 2014

"It's happening here — and in other small towns and cities, both rich and poor, across the state and nation. 

That was the message Wednesday afternoon at a community forum on heroin addiction and the need to do more to address it.

Police, town officials, school principals, residents and health representatives filled the Town Hall meeting room and candidly shared why they attended.

East Lyme has had two fatal heroin overdoses in the past year, police Sgt. Wilfred Blanchette said, and emergency personnel have responded to an overdose call at least every other week." Read more

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

5 Tips to Help Parents With the Underage Drinking Conversation

Huffington Post, June 10, 2014

"Let's face it: Talking to your teens about drinking, regardless of their age, can be difficult and awkward. We want you to know that this conversation doesn't have to be impossible, weird or fraught with tension. Chances are you're probably already finding some ways to relate to your kids, which is great. Now is the time to prepare yourself for this conversation and use this trust to open up a dialogue about alcohol.

I myself have learned that just starting the conversation (as awkward as it feels sometimes) is a critical step. A parent who communicates expectations and concerns makes an impression, and that goes a long way. Also, it's important to recognize that kids are listening, even if they roll their eyes or laugh at you." Read more

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

BBB Mind Your Business: Keeping Kids Safe Over The Summer

Fox CT, June 9, 2014

"Bullying and harassment – This is most likely to occur through social networking sites or through email or text messages. It’s important to listen to your children and encourage them to discuss their fears and feelings about such incidents. The online safety website has a page of resources to help you deal with cyberbullying.

Reputation-harming online posts – Children may not understand that “online is forever.” Posts can haunt them at some point in the future and may be saved by someone, even after it has been deleted. Be sure your kids understand this, especially as it applies to photographs. Take the time to use a search engine to check up on what has been posted by or about your children." Watch video

Project Seeks to Drown Out Bullying and Violence

New Britain Herald, June 9, 2014

"Whenever and wherever she can, Nelba Marquez-Greene talks about Ana Grace. The six-year-old daughter of Nelba and husband, Jimmy Greene, lost her life that fateful day in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The vision of Nelba, Jimmy and their son, Isaiah has been to turn their family loss into a positive. Nelba, a licensed marriage and family therapist at Klingberg Family Centers and her employer are on a mission. It’s to remember Ana Grace’s life twice as loudly as the circumstances of her death.

Facing their loss with courage, hope and love, Nelba and Jimmy are honoring their daughter with an ongoing project fueled by the words, 'Love Wins.'" Read more

Monday, June 9, 2014

Keeping Kids Safe this Summer

WTNH's CT Style, June 9, 2014

"Mary Kate Mason from The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services talks about the Governor’s Prevention Partnership on keeping kids safe from underage/binge drinking and substance abuse during the summer months.

Connecticut youth drink alcohol at rates higher than the national average. Underage drinking is a national and state health crisis.

DMHAS provides funding in every town in the state to address underage drinking using strategies for community change. The Governor’s Prevention Partnership offers prevention resources for parents, concerned adults and community members to help keep kids safe, successful and drug-free." Watch the video here

Tech Startup to Help Bars Prevent Underage Drinking During Summer’s “100 Deadliest Days”

NY Daily News, June 6, 2014

"Cheers to this: A local tech startup will be giving its potentially life-saving app away for free to bars this summer.

Bar & Club Stats, whose app verifies IDs, has launched a promo that piggybacks on New York State's proposed "Hard Card" legislation, Bar & Club Stats CEO Ben Silbert told the Daily News.

The law, if passed, could provide a boost to the fledgling tech company.

Among other things, bars and other establishments caught selling liquor to minors would have to purchase an ID scanner or be hit by a $2,000 fine." Read more

Why Criminalizing Bullying Is the Wrong Approach

Huffington Post, June 6, 2014

"The concept of an "eye for an eye," as a form of justice, suggests that an aggressor deserves to be hurt just as much as the injured. This is why the calls for criminalizing bullying have only grown stronger in recent years. With the continued sensationalization of bullying-related suicides and homicides in the media, of course we want to blame and punish someone. But consider what Mahatma Gandhi once said -- "an eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind." We cannot solve bullying by punishing it away; we must work instead to restore relationships and environments, change attitudes and behaviors, and heal those harmed." Read more

Friday, June 6, 2014

New Haven Youth Employment Program Receives Donation from Edible Arrangements CEO

New Haven Register (New Haven, CT) June 5, 2014

" Thirty students will be given the opportunity to obtain a summer job for five weeks after the Youth Services Department received a large donation from the CEO of Edible Arrangements.

Tariq Farid, founder and chief executive officer of the successful fruit arrangements company, donated $35,000 to the city’s Youth@Work program.

The program provides paid summer employment and job experience for youth who are city residents between the ages of 14 and 17.

Mayor Toni Harp said the donation is a silver lining of a dark cloud for students who need to be engaged in positive activities." Read more

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Students from Bridgeport Middle Schools Participate in Anti-Bullying Rally at Hall Neighborhood House

News 12 Connecticut (Bridgeport, CT) June 4, 2014

"More than 200 students from Waltersville and Barnum middle schools in Bridgeport attended an anti-bullying youth rally Wednesday.

The rally was held at the Hall Neighborhood House in the city's East End. It featured classroom workshops and group activities to raise awareness about the consequences of bullying.

The students also heard from several speakers, including a current inmate who grew up in Bridgeport." Read more and watch video

Heroin Has Expanded Its User Base

Scientific American, June 4, 2014

"In the last half century, heroin contributed to thousands of deaths, from Janis Joplin to Philip Seymour Hoffman to legions of people now remembered only by their friends and families.

But compared with 50 years ago, the drug’s consumers look strikingly different now. Back then, a typical user was often an inner-city minority male whose first drug experience was with heroin, at about the age of 17. Today’s users are mostly non-urban white men and women in their late twenties whose gateway drug was a prescription opioid.

The findings come from surveys of some 2,800 heroin users who self-reported demographic information and other data when they entered treatment centers. The results are in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. [Theodore J. Cicero et al, The Changing Face of Heroin Use in the United States: A Retrospective Analysis of the Past 50 Years]" Read more

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Inside Marcus Mariota and Oregon Duck Teammates' Most Satisfying Offseason Work: Mentoring

The Oregonian (Eugene, OR) June 3, 2014

"Outside the scratched, neon green walls of this after-school clubhouse, Marcus Mariota, the football player, is known as one of country's best college quarterbacks.

Inside the Boys & Girls Club of Emerald Valley's boisterous game room on a recent Friday, however, Mariota the mentor and volunteer doesn't get nearly the same adulation on the pool table.

After Mariota pockets two balls in a row, Damon Brooks, 9, raises his left eyebrow before rating Mariota's pool skills a seven on a scale to 10." Read more

'It's Not too Late to Change': Former Bully, 7, Now Campaigns against Bullying, June 3, 2014

"It’s not often you hear about an admitted bully trying to make things right, so a second-grader’s efforts at making amends are getting national attention and melting hearts.

Seven-year-old Cameron Thompson, a student at Tournament Hills Elementary in Beaumont, California, got in trouble recently for making fun of another boy who brought a Barbie doll to school for show-and- tell. 'I didn’t really mean to tease him so much that I made him cry,' Cameron told TODAY.

After the incident, Cameron had to write a letter to apologize to his classmate, while his mother expressed her regret to the boy’s parents.

That family was touched and impressed by the apologies, they said. But Cameron felt he needed to do more, his mom recalled." Read more

Sleep Problems Equal To Binge Drinking, Marijuana Use In Predicting Poor Academic Performance

Huffington Post (Minneapolis, MN) June 3, 2014

"While the temptations to stay up late are many, a small new study suggests a very good reason for college students to hit the hay. Those who are poor sleepers are more likely to get worse grades and to withdraw from a course, according to a new study. In fact, the effects of poor sleep were about as strong as binge drinking and marijuana use on a student's academic performance.

The researchers analyzed data from over 43,000 students included in the spring 2009 American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment (NCHA). After controlling for potentially confounding factors that might predict how a college student fares academically, like clinical depression, feelings of isolation or chronic health problems, the researchers found that getting poor sleep was a strong predictor of problems at school." Read more

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Buddy Benches Battle Bullying

Ridgefield Press, June 3, 2014

"Now even benches can help battle schoolyard bullying.

With the materials purchased, ordered and shipped on their way to town sometime next week, Scotts Ridge eighth grader Nathan Pereyra waits to install Buddy Benches in three of Ridgefield’s six elementary schools in an effort to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship on the playground.

'If kids can make friends on the Buddy Bench, then they can have someone to turn to and go to when they feel hurt or when they feel alone,' Nathan said. 'It hurts to be called names and to be teased, especially when you don’t know who it is.'

When a student feels isolated and sits on the bench, the goal is for others student to approach him or her and ask to play, talk or walk." Read more

Cyberbullying Triples According to New McAfee "2014 Teens and the Screen Study"

Wall Street Journal (Santa Clara, CA) June 3, 2014

"McAfee, part of Intel Security, today released findings from the company's 2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying. The annual study examines the online behavior and social networking habits of U.S. preteens and teens. The most significant finding from this year's study reveals that 87% of youth have witnessed cyberbullying versus last year when 27% of youth witnessed cruel behavior online. This behavior was perceived to result in anger and embarrassment, leading to a broader theme about how online behavior is impacting their offline lives. The study highlights how risky online activity can follow them offline and possibly make them even more susceptible to cyberbullying. 

'Parents must discuss online activity with their children to better ensure their safety and security offline,' said Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer at McAfee. 'Whether a child is a victim or an instigator of cruel behavior such as cyberbullying, the negative behavior can deeply affect their identity and their reputation.'" Read more

Synthetic Drug Use Skyrocketing, Targeting Young Users

Psychology Today, June 3, 2014

"Quick: in 15 seconds, name as many drugs as you can. What did you come up with? Does the list include heroin, marijuana, and meth? Maybe you also thought of cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, alcohol, or the wide variety of prescription drugs. But what about Spice, Molly, Bath Salts, Krokodil, and K2? A recent report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that the manufacture and use of synthetic drugs is skyrocketing – in 2008, about 80 synthetic psychoactive substances had been reported; by 2013 that number had grown to 348. And it’s kids who are widely using these drugs. For example, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2012, 11.3 percent of high school seniors reported using synthetic marijuana (mostly Spice) within the past year." Read more

Stapleton: Story of Bullying 'Brought Tears to my Eyes'

Greenwich Time, June 2, 2014

"Your May 25 front page, featuring the article, "A Boy Lost," stopped me in my tracks and I felt compelled to read this most tragic tale of the short, horrific life of Bart Palosz. I can't begin to understand all that he went through but his story brought tears to my eyes and profound shock that this could happen here in my hometown of Greenwich. Perhaps in New York City, Los Angeles or another large metropolitan area but then again, why not Greenwich? Bullying, as we all know, cuts across all socio-economic, racial and ethnic lines." Read more

Monday, June 2, 2014

Google Diversity Report and Unleashing STEM Mentors

Huffington Post, May 30, 2014

"The cats out of the bag...

Google's big news about the diversity of their workforce is sending shockwaves through corporate and nonprofit America this week in a bold announcement by Google's SVP of People Operations Laszlo Bock who shared on PBS that 17 percent of tech jobs at Google are filled by women and under 3 percent by minorities.

In an industry where the competition is showing similar lack of diversity, Google made a bold move to share the sobering news at a time when most tech companies are not divulging such intel (... we hear Facebook plans to do the same). Bock shares that Google is openly trying to right a wrong and decrease social and gender bias that's rampant in Silicon Valley and in many STEM industries." Read more

CEOs Counsel Young Professionals at Speed Mentoring Session

Middletown Press, May 30, 2014

"For a young professional, what a great opportunity it is to have the ear of a local chief executive officer of a company. That’s the idea behind the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society’s upcoming event, 'Speed Mentoring,' on June 5.

At this speed networking-style event, young professionals will have the unique opportunity to network with established and successful leaders in our community. You will have the opportunity to sit down in small groups of two to four to ask questions and learn about their career path and community involvement. We hope you will walk away with some great advice for your personal and professional live as well as be inspired by these incredible leaders.

We are so grateful to have the support of many local leaders who are serving as mentors, including Mayor Dan Drew, and the CEOs of Liberty Bank and Middlesex Hospital, Chandler Howard and Vin Capece." Read more

Police Cracking Down on Underage Drinking at Concerts

WFSB Channel 3 (Hartford, CT) May 31, 2014

"Hartford police are cracking down on underage drinking, which has been taking place before concerts.

Just last year between 100 and 200 people were arrested at every concert in Hartford. Many of those were underage drinkers, according to police.

Dozens of police officers were out at the XFINITY Theater on Saturday for the first country concert of the summer. They are working to get the word out that the risk of underage drinking isn't worth it.

Rascal Flatts are playing in Hartford tonight and while many are going to enjoy the concert, other might take it too far." Read more