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ALSO

Youth and E-Cigs: A Dangerous Mix

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HELPING KIDS FINISH STRONG » The 40 Developmental Assets: Commitment to Learning » Tuning in Your Teen » How and Why Teens Self-Medicate

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MARCH 2017

FEATURES

6 Helping Kids Finish Strong 40 Developmental Assets: 14 The Commitment to Learning 16 Tuning in Your Teen 20 How and Why Teens Self-Medicate 23 Youth and E-Cigs: A Dangerous Mix IN EVERY ISSUE

2 From the Director 5 The Kitchen Table 10 Faces in the Crowd 11 40 Developmental Assets 12 Assets in Action 18 Q&A and By the Numbers BROUGHT TO YOU BY

PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH

TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE Julie Brenner: (248) 221-7101 jbrenner@achcmi.org

COVER PHOTO BY

Megan Lane Photography

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ABOUT THE ALLIANCE OF COALITIONS FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES The Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities (ACHC) formed as an extension of the successful Coalition of Healthy Communities (CHC) network. CHC was founded in 1993 by four local coalition groups seeking to strengthen their existing collaboration through the creation of an umbrella organization. In 2003, CHC members, with the support of Oakland County’s Office of Substance Abuse Services, launched the ACHC to begin the next phase in Oakland Prevention. Today, the Alliance has grown to include eighteen community prevention coalitions serving over 42 local communities and an Oakland County Families Against Narcotics chapter with eight dedicated regions to increase supportive environments and decrease the stigma of addiction. Working together, and in a collaborative environment, the ACHC strives to bring quality, evidence-based prevention, wellness, support, and recovery programs to all community members.

MISSION To strengthen collaboration among community partners and mobilize community-wide efforts to promote a healthier Oakland County through prevention, recovery, and support.

PURPOSE • Prevent alcohol and substance use by youth • Prevent alcohol and substance abuse by adults • Create, sustain, and recognize partnerships that promote health and wellness • Promote a continuum of care that embraces prevention, treatment, recovery, and support efforts • Improve access to resources and opportunities through education and advocacy

Director FROM THE

ith spring right around the corner, the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities (ACHC) has been busy! Just fresh from meeting with approximately 3,000 community leaders at CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) 27th Annual National Leadership Forum held Feb. 6-9, 2017, at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center JULIE in National Harbor, Maryland, the ACHC BRENNER attended the largest training event for the prevention field. The Forum kicked off with the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Prevention Day; featured 75+ training sessions covering topics ranging from the marijuana legislation landscape and tobacco cessation to the opioid epidemic and underage drinking; met with members of Congress on Capitol Hill Day; and we introduced three of our local youth from our youth collaborative, PEEPS (Peers Empowering and Educating Peers), to hundreds of likeminded youth as they took part in CADCA’s National Youth Leadership Initiative to learn how to become effective community leaders. “CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is more than a training event; it is the culmination of what we work towards every day. It’s a national movement that brings together federal and state officials and community leaders from across the country to find solutions to our nation’s substance abuse problems,” said CADCA Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean. “Attendees leave our Forum more knowledgeable and inspired to go back home and implement strategies for a safe, healthy and drug-free community.” And we are inspired! We hope you enjoy the pages of this edition. We encourage you to talk to your children, reach out and connect with your local coalition and help make prevention work in Oakland County. To learn more about the ACHC, please visit us at www.achcmi.org. Have a child who is doing great things in your community? Please nominate him/her to be highlighted in our next edition of Youth Connections by going to: http://achcmi.org/student-nomination-form/ Together we can make a difference!

FOLLOW US Website: www.achcmi.org Facebook: www.facebook.com/allianceofcoalitions Twitter: @achcmichigan

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ALLIANCE OF COALITIONS FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES Julie Brenner, Executive Director (248) 221-7101 jbrenner@achcmi.org 895 N Opdyke Rd, Ste D Auburn Hills, MI 48326


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CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE hen my family was struggling with the onset of our teenage daughter’s mental illness, stigma made us reluctant to “come out.” It was too late before we realized we weren’t as alone as we thought. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, just over 20 percent (or 1 in 5) children have a seriously debilitating mental health condition. By staying silent, we perpetuated stigma and prevented ourselves from finding the best available help. Sadie lost her battle with mental illness, and I lost my daughter. Through this heartbreaking experience, I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes. I’m sharing my newfound knowledge with you—parent-toparent—with the hope that even one of these suggestions might prevent another lost battle.

can that provide information, support, and research updates. Talk with trusted friends, colleagues, and family. I know this is hard, but you will be surprised at how many people open up to you about their challenges. Help may come from the most unexpected places.

Accept Your Child’s Diagnosis For many parents, their child’s diagnosis is difficult to process. You want so badly for your child to have a normal, happy life that it’s easy to believe, on good days, that they have overcome their challenges. Accept that the way their brain works is a unique part of who they are. Help your child find a new normal—one that leverages their strengths, interests, and capabilities. Build a normal, happy life that fits them.

Call a Crisis Line If you or your child needs information, resources, or someone to talk to during difficult times, make a call or send a text to: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Get Educated and Network Read as much as you can. Get on the distribution list of as many mental health organizations you

Listen and Don’t be Judgmental Instead of focusing on your child’s behaviors, try to understand their feelings. Rather than asking “why” questions, which can sound judgmental, ask “how” or “what” questions. Consider taking effective communication training. After Sadie died, I volunteered to work on a crisis line. I learned how to defuse anger, connect with people, and partake in collaborative problem-solving. I’ve always felt as though these skills would have helped me communicate with Sadie more effectively.

NAMI HelpLine: 1-800-NAMI (6264) or email info@nami.org Crisis Text Line: Text NAMI to 741-741 Don’t Let Shame Interfere with Getting Help If your child had a physical condition, you would seek medical help. Do the same for your child if they have a

mental health condition. Find a mental health specialist who provides the right kind of therapy, is highly recommended, and is someone your child connects with. As your child grows, their mental health condition may change or evolve. Consider requesting a periodic assessment of their diagnosis. To identify the appropriate treatment, a good diagnosis is critical. Empower Your Child Teach them positive lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise, regular sleep, and mindfulness. Talk about the dangers of self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Link your child with legitimate resources that provide help and community for youth. Have a Discussion About Suicide Find out whether your child is having suicidal ideation, and if they have plans to act on those thoughts. Talking openly and showing genuine concern are key elements in preventing suicide. Make sure they have crisis phone numbers saved to their phone. Also, have a crisis plan prepared for them. Have Hope Remember that new developments are happening every year. Don’t give up, because your child’s life may depend on your perseverance. NAMI also offers a class—NAMI-Familyto-Family—that might help you to better understand your child’s condition. These classes can help learn all I’ve learned, and more. ■

This article first appeared on NAMI.org. Karen Meadows, is author of “Searching for Normal: The Story of a Girl Gone Too Soon.” After a six-year battle with her teenage daughter’s depression and subsequent suicide, Karen Meadows left behind her successful career in the energy industry to immerse herself in mental health issues. She spent years reading about mental illness and reading her daughter’s extensive writing. She volunteered on a crisis line and at homeless youth centers, and serves on the Oregon Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Board of Directors. Meadows lives with her husband and two cats in Portland, Oregon. If you would like additional information about Karen or about her journey through her daughter’s mental illness, visit her website www.karenmeadowsauthor.com. Her book can be found on Amazon.

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR STORY TO: jbrenner@achcmi.org For many of us the kitchen table represents the typical family experience. We have laughed while having family game night. We have cried over our children’s choices. We have blown out the candles on many cakes. We have argued our way out of doing the dishes. We have struggled through those “three more bites.” We have learned hard lessons and celebrated many deserved successes. One thing is for sure though – if our kitchen tables could talk, there would be plenty of stories! So often it is in relating to others’ stories that we realize there isn’t always one answer, or even a right answer. Parenting is hard work! If you have a story of lessons learned, we invite you to share it with our readers. Sometimes, knowing we aren’t the only ones struggling to find the answer is all the help we need.

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helping ki

FINISH ST By KELLY ACKERMAN, Parent Educator and Consultant

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ids

TRONG

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining, the days are getting longer, the green grass is poking out, and the thoughts of young brains everywhere seem to have drifted out the window, far away from any classroom. Spring fever has set in, leaving parents and teachers pulling out their hair to figure out how to engage those checkedout minds. ven more, those same parents and teachers would rather allow their own minds to drift off into sweeter, warmer places, as well. Crossing the finish line of this race seems impossible, but with some plans in place, not only can it be done, it can be enjoyed with great fun and enthusiasm! It is easy to allow spring fever to sneak up and pounce when the parental guard is down, leaving parents without a plan and without time to give much thought to action. This, of course, creates a defensive parental posture which will typically lead to giving up or becoming the dreadful drill sergeant who is all work and no play. However, spring happens each and every year so, like Christmas and birthdays, a proactive, prepared stance can be achieved. In preparation for this time, communication is especially important and trains kids to prepare for spring fever now and into the college years when much more is riding on the line. Meals and car rides or moments between activities are times when meaningful communication can be had. After gaining the attention of the children, bring up the idea of spring fever. Ask what each child loves the most as the season changes, taking time to listen closely to the answers. Transition to allowing each child to consider his/her struggles that prevent a strong finish to school, activities, and home contributions. It may be surprising that children differ in their struggles, so continued on page 9

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parents should not try to slap on a one-size-fits-all solution to the spring fever dilemma. Once the conversation wheels are started, planning as a family can begin. Utilizing a balanced approach to consistency and change while keeping in mind “The Big Picture” can replace the exhaustion from harping, ranting, and fighting, with a renewed energy to think and behave positively. First, as with most times of transition, consistency is an important key for everyone involved. Remembering that all children, including teens, need healthy adult supervision is essential to standing firm with a loving attitude. Sleeping well and eating well are included in basic consistency throughout the lifespan. The benefits of these habits set the foundation for successful daily living, yet they often are the first to be sacrificed. A minimum of eight hours of consistent and quality sleep helps the brain and body to reset, restore, and recall most efficiently. Getting to bed and waking at the same time each and every day (after that minimum eight hours of sleep!) allows the necessary recovery needed for general success in life. Concentration and focus are enhanced. As well, this is the time when learned material begins to be stored in long-term memory so those finals seem less daunting. Also keep in mind that with sleep comes the discipline of turning off technology (TV, computer, and phone screens) at least 90 minutes before lights out. The light from these devices mimics sunlight, causing a delay in necessary restorative sleep cycles. Additionally, healthy eating habits aid in alertness, focus, energy, and mood regulation. Plenty of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and healthy grains should be planned for daily living so that the lure of processed and fast food can be resisted. Including the kids in practices of packing lunches and planning enjoyable, healthy meals is a sure way to encourage each other in the efforts. Also included in the consistency department is

setting enforceable limits, implementing accountability, and limiting technology. Some of these factors can be combined together for maximum benefit. For instance, “You may have full use of your phone in the common living area of the house, when your chores and homework are completed,” is an enforceable statement that includes accountability for work and limiting technology at the same time. Though technology alone is an article unto itself, it is distracting at the least and can

to embrace the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Include a healthy amount of social time with friends so that the rewards of spring are not forsaken but instead are embraced. Evaluate the schedule and make sure it includes time for relaxation and enjoyment of the inviting spring days. This could be a time to cut back on some of the scheduled activities to allow for this type of flexibility so that children do not feel starved for freedom to enjoy and author their own time. Robbing free time can worsen spring fever symptoms as

IDEAS TO MIX UP THE FUN FOR SPRING Not warm enough for a picnic? Have one in the living room – complete with a blanket and paper plates. Plant some seeds in starter pots that can be planted in the garden when it warms up. Get rid of old, tired school supplies. Buy new spring colored pencils, erasers, notebooks. School is more fun with new things. Develop a calendar with holidays and events that kids can look forward to and visualize that they’re in the home stretch. Leave notes on mirrors telling kids how great they are and encouraging them to finish strong.

create pathways in the brain that mimic those of drug and alcohol addictions within a developing adolescent brain. It is important to set some limitations on the screens that children can access. Further, maintaining curfews, family rules, and ensuring homework and assignments are being completed on time are all part of the necessary consistency of parenting no matter what the age of the child or the time of year. Second, take a step on the wild side and mix up the routine a little. Notice, this is not a contradiction to consistency, but allows for some creative flexibility in accomplishing daily tasks. For instance, indulge in the great outdoors that are calling by moving homework time a little later in the day, or move homework time outside

children long for some control in their lives, which includes control over their schedules. Outside also provides the opportunity to double up on fresh air and exercise. Include activities that are limited by winter and more enjoyable as the weather warms up, like bike rides, hikes, jogs, frisbee, tag, and leisurely walks. Have fun, enjoy, and indulge a little! Finally, keeping in mind “The Big Picture” allows for peace of mind and perspective on spring fever. This is where some fun goal setting and incentive planning can come into play in a way that is not reduced to destructive bribery. Ask kids how they want to finish school strong. If straight As are important to them, help them set specific, measurable goals to encourage them through this

time. If a GPA of 3.5 is the goal, do the same. It is the child’s ownership in goal setting that gives it proper motivation. In addition to setting the goals, allow kids to create their own incentives, as well. This does not equate to big ticket items, money, and grandiose trips. Make a weekend plan for some added fun or free time, give them a foot rub on Friday night for reaching all the deadlines of the week, or plan a special dinner for acing the exam s/he studied so hard to pass. Involve the kids to creatively establish meaningful incentives to acknowledge little goals made along the way. However, choose the wording carefully because incentives can easily turn into bribes. For a kid who has decided that 30-60 extra minutes of video games for the weekend would be the incentive of choice, use, “I think indulging extra video game time sounds like a reasonable reward for your hard work this week. I know you can do it!” This statement is much different than a parent saying, “If you turn in all your assignments this week, you can have 30 extra minutes of gaming on Friday.” Allow kids to set their own goals and incentives within reason. Remember, little accomplishments along the way can be celebrated as long as they are reasonably proportionate to the goals. Furthermore, not all goals need an incentive. Again, we are celebrating hard work, dedication, and perseverance, not every action of the child. Finally, as a parent, join in the fun by setting some personal goals and incentives as well so kids can see that this is fun for people of all ages. After communicating and planning with active participation from the kids, a proper plan can be created to fully enjoy all that spring brings. Spring is a time to restore positive parenting skills while still holding onto time honored family values. Spring fever will not necessarily go away, but it will be embraced in a new and refreshing way! ■

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Check out who’s standing out in our community. IS THERE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE? Please visit http://achcmi.org/student-nomination-form/ and tell us why this individual has stood out in your crowd.

Malorie Parker

FACES IN THE CROWD

HOLLY HIGH SCHOOL, 10TH GRADE

She joined the ACHC this year at the National Youth Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. She has been involved with youth prevention activities since she was in 4th grade and has continued to be a growing supporter of the Holly Coalition in many ways. She consistently shows leadership skills, compassion for fellow students, and a willingness to learn and teach others. Malorie is always willing to help the Youth Action Board, whether it is going to trainings, putting up campaign materials, organizing, or spending time with younger students. She understands that a true leader doesn’t just boss others around but is the perfect example of what a servant leader should be in her willingness to help.

Laurel Lyngklip

DETROIT COUNTRY DAY, 9TH GRADE

Laurel is a young person who is able to navigate life quite well and is wise beyond her young years. She excels in academics, athletics, other community serving organizations, and school activities, yet she makes time to make the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition’s Youth Action Board a priority in her life. Last year, she brought Middle School Transitions program to her entire 8th grade class. She is the co-Vice President on the YAB, involved in ACHC’s PEEPS, and volunteers with Summer in the City. Last year, Laurel shaved her head to raise more than $2000 for childhood cancer research. This year, she started a group to knit hats and quilts for chemo patients for Warm up America.

Stephanie Green

BIRMINGHAM GROVES HIGH SCHOOL, 11TH GRADE

She joined the ACHC this year at the National Youth Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. Stephanie is a student leader on the Birmingham Bloomfield Community Coalition’s Youth Action Board, serving as Vice President last year, and President this year. She has been a member of NHS since 2016. She is a distinguished member and a student leader of the Groves Orchestra, earning Division 1 rating at state solo and ensemble. She volunteers with the ACHC PEEPS, with Groves Interact Club, African Americans Changing Tomorrow, and Summer in the City. She is the voice and the face to stand up, raise awareness, and educate her peers and others about drug and alcohol use and abuse.

Libby Cunningham

LAKE ORION HIGH SCHOOL, 12TH GRADE

She joined the ACHC this year at the National Youth Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. She is an active member of North Oakland Community Coalition’s Teens in Action and a strong PEEPS advocate. Libby exudes both leadership and ambition while showing empathy, compassion and a genuine concern for others that is remarkable for a young lady of her age. Libby has been an exceptional example to her peers, as well as the younger students that are newer to the group, always offering valuable ideas, thoughts and visions for the work we do. She plays on the LOHS varisty tennis team and hopes to go in to the field of occupational therapy.

Kenny Spear

ACHC AT RISK YOUTH COORDINATOR

Kenny has been heavily involved in community outreach for the past four years. He has been the lead youth speaker for the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities, Oakland County Families Against Narcotics and the Director of Youth Development at the Regional Youth Initiative. He has been the keynote speaker at hundreds of events, and has spoken to tens of thousands of students and community leaders throughout the country. His mission is to provide young adults a sufficient substitute to harmful behavior thru connectivity and community. In January he was selected as the At Risk Coordinator for the ACHC, and we are excited to have him on the team!

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40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

40 Developmental Assets are essential qualities of life that help young people thrive, do well in school, and avoid risky behavior. Youth Connections utilizes the 40 Developmental Assets Framework to guide the work we do in promoting positive youth development. The 40 Assets model was developed by the Minneapolis-based Search Institute based on extensive research. Just as we are coached to diversify our financial assets so that all our eggs are not in one basket, the strength that the 40 Assets model can build in our youth comes through diversity. In a nutshell, the more of the 40 Assets youth possess, the more likely they are to exhibit positive behaviors and attitudes (such as good health and school success) and the less likely they are to exhibit risky behaviors (such as drug use and promiscuity). It’s that simple: if we want to empower and protect our children, building the 40 Assets in our youth is a great way to start. Look over the list of Assets on the following page and think about what Assets may be lacking in our community and what Assets you can help build in our young people. Do what you can do with the knowledge that even through helping build one asset in one child, you are increasing the chances that child will grow up safe and successful. Through our combined efforts, our community will continue to be a place where great kids make great communities.

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assets in action

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

7 SUPPORT

1. Family support: Family life provides high levels of love and support. 2. Positive family communication: Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s). 3. Other adult relationships: Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults. 4. Caring neighborhood: Young person experiences caring neighbors. 5. Caring school climate: School provides a caring, encouraging environment. 6. Parent involvement in school: Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.

1st Annual Color Run in Holly embracing youth energy!

EMPOWERMENT

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White Lake youth working together to create some beautiful art

7. Community values youth: Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth. 8. Youth as resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community. 9. Service to others: Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week. 10. Safety: Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.

BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition, a great neighbor

17 Clawson youth staying focused on prevention together

11. Family boundaries: Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts. 12. School boundaries: School provides clear rules and consequences. 13. Neighborhood boundaries: Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior. 14. Adult role models: Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. 15. Positive peer influence: Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior. 16. High expectations: Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.

CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME

17. Creative activities: Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts. 18. Youth programs: Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community. 19. Religious community: Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution. 20. Time at home: Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.

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If you or your child would like to submit a picture that represents one of the 40 Developmental Assets, please email jbrenner@achcmi.org with a picture and the number of the asset the picture represents.

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.

21 COMMITMENT TO LEARNING

21. Achievement motivation: Young person is motivated to do well in school. 22. School engagement: Young person is actively engaged in learning. 23. Homework: Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day. 24. Bonding to school: Young person cares about her or his school. 25. Reading for pleasure: Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

POSITIVE VALUES

26. Caring: Young person places high value on helping other people. 27. Equality and social justice: Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. 28. Integrity: Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs. 29. Honesty: Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.” 30. Responsibility: Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility. 31. Restraint: Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.

Lake Orion High School students excelling on school project

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Waterford youth educating on the dangers of tobacco use

SOCIAL COMPETENCIES

32. Planning and decision making: Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices. 33. Interpersonal competence: Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. 34. Cultural competence: Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds. 35. Resistance skills: Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations. 36. Peaceful conflict resolution: Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Troy youth putting food boxes together for local families

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POSITIVE IDENTITY

37. Personal power: Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.” 38. Self-esteem: Young person reports having a high self-esteem. 39. Sense of purpose: Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.” 40. Positive view of personal future: Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.

Huron Valley youth with a purpose!

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40 THE

DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

commitment TO LEARNING By KELLY ACKERMAN, Parent Educator and Consultant

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YC Magazine highlights 40 Developmental Assets in each issue. These assets are evidence-based to positively contribute to the development of children across their lifespan.

esearch clearly shows that the more assets a young person has, the less likely they are to participate in risktaking behaviors during adolescence including drug and alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. Sadly, the average young person has less than half of these assets according to Search Institute. This article is one in a series to highlight the eight categories of assets in order to more fully engage families, schools, agencies, businesses, and community members in ensuring our children experience as many assets as possible. COMMITMENT TO LEARNING This developmental asset consists of the following five aspects: 1. ACHIEVEMENT MOTIVATION 2. SCHOOL ENGAGEMENT 3. HOMEWORK 4. BONDING TO SCHOOL 5. READING FOR PLEASURE The commitment to learn is an internal asset developed within each individual, but can be encouraged and empowered by outside influence. It is built and nurtured through thoughtful, influential, loving relationships that inspire young people to develop the love of learning. These relationships come in various forms with all community members taking part in investing in the healthy development of children. Parents and family members are the most immediate relationships, and teachers are naturally a part of this development. But friends, neighbors, coaches, parents of friends, and all community members have the ability to nurture this asset in the children they meet. Achievement Motivation is a young person’s motivation to do well in school.

Children are born with a natural curiosity. When this curiosity is fed throughout their lifespan, the motivation system is rewarded. Search Institute reports that young people want to see others be excited about what they’re sharing/teaching. For teachers, this may be the excitement of exploring another country, using math in a practical, purposeful way, or exploring the emotions of a character in a book. As a community member, it may be sharing your interest in a career or hobby. Excitement truly is contagious, and it helps reinforce the joy that is experienced in our daily lives through what we do. School Engagement equates to a young person actively engaged in learning. Learn, remember, recall, and repeat is only one form of learning which engages rote memory. Yet, through much research, learning is enhanced by engaging the senses: seeing, hearing, bodily movement and touch, and experiences. For example, learning about the history of prejudice and oppression can effectively be done through a history book. However, listening to the personal story of someone who has lived it brings the tragic story to life and inspires hope. Taking that story and writing or drawing about what was most interesting allows for internalizing the concept where the power of empathy takes root. This type of engagement takes some planning and preparation, but engaging our young people in multifaceted ways allows for meaningful engagement in school and into the community as the child grows and matures. Homework, in terms of developmental assets, consists of a young person doing at least one hour of homework every school day. Engaging in the learning process outside of school continues the love of learning, especially if someone meaningful takes an interest in this process. Asking about the subject matter and engaging in conversation allows for the school-home connection to be made. When adults take an active role in school with the child, a shared experience creates a positive reward system. This school-home connection enhances both home and school life. Parents can actively

do this as well as after school providers, librarians, and any caring adult who will take the time to simply ask. Bonding to School takes place when a young person cares about his/her school. This mirrors adults bonding with a community, developing a sense of pride along with a deep sense of commitment. When kids have a vested interest in their school, it becomes a place they want to be and a community in which they want to participate. Search Institute reveals that young people would like school to be more like a community. When active bonding occurs, the reward system once again reinforces the pleasure centers of the brain. Schools often offer a way to be involved including sports, clubs, organizations, or after school programs. Engaging in one’s school is a healthy activity that benefits the individual and the greater community. Some young people will naturally jump into participation and bonding, while others may hesitate. A personal invitation is the best way to assist in getting kids involved. Being recognized and invited is a simple action that makes a big impact. Reading for Pleasure for an hour three or more times per week contributes to the commitment to learning. Regardless of whether the material is fiction or nonfiction, book or magazine, reading activates and engages the mind in learning and imagination. Reading itself sets the stage for success in academics, but also creates a foundation for critical thinking, building emotional capacity, fueling imagination and experiences that could not otherwise be encountered. Book clubs, discussing current events, modeling pleasure reading, and offering books of interest are all ways to encourage this habit. Within all these factors is an opportunity for engagement in meaningful, encouraging relationships. Though this asset is an internal one, it is fostered, strengthened, and developed through the interaction with caring adults and through caring relationships in which we can all take part in a daily basis. Our young people and our community depend on us to be vested in this way. ■

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TUNING IN YOUR TEEN

Heading Off the Most Permanent Decision By KATIE HARLOW, LCSW, Intermountain Clinical Supervisor of School Based Services

hese days there are many words that elicit an immediate, gut reaction in parents—words that can create an instant feeling of fear or powerlessness. Topics like suicide can create such fear or anxiety in us that many of us find it easier to ignore the topic with thoughts of, “This doesn’t apply to my kid” or “I would know if my child was suicidal.” Or maybe we have begun to worry that not everything is right in our child’s world. We shouldn’t let fear keep us from reading further. Suicide is real and very present in today’s teen population. I would hazard to guess that many families affected by a suicide death would tell you that they did not imagine it happening in their family, or perhaps they knew something was wrong but did not know how to approach their child or how to help them. We need to empower ourselves with this knowledge and plan to never need it. Across the country, suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12. These teens were also found to be more likely to have engaged in many other risky behaviors, like not wearing seatbelts or riding in the car with someone who has been drinking, and less likely to have been physically active or gotten at least eight hours of sleep on an average school night. These statistics tell us that we have a growing problem that needs our attention. So what can parents do? We need to start with having a connection to our teens. If we provide an environment for them that is stable and safe both physically

and relationally, the foundation is laid for knowing what is happening in their world. We need to spend time with them where we have the time and space to really listen to what they are saying, both through their words and through their body language. Teen brains work differently than adult brains. They are more impulsive and make decisions based on emotion rather than logic, so we may have to interpret or de-code what they are telling us. This creates an emphasis on encouraging a healthy expression of emotion by a teen. Due to the way their brains develop, teens often appear moody, but encourage them to share their emotions, both positive and negative, so we can help contain them. Practice being supportive rather than directive or advice-giving; we see teens at this age put minimal stock in the opinions of their parents, so while we have good intentions, it is likely our advice is going in one ear and out the other. Next, be on the lookout for potential warning signs that are related to suicide. Watch for changes in behaviors such as a persistently depressed mood, agitation, changes in weight, changes in daily hygiene or dress, increases in time spent sleeping and changes in their usual pattern of spending time with friends. It is important to know that some of these things will change over the course of normal development, so if changes are noticed in a teen’s normal functioning, be aware and talk to them about the changes being seen. Be watchful for discussions or writing about death or dying, beginning or increasing drug or alcohol use, expressing feelings of hopelessness or no purpose, and talking

about or threatening suicide. Lastly, be prepared to take action. If concerning signs are recognized in teen behavior, be ready to talk with them about how they are feeling. If you think they might be suicidal, then ask them! It is a myth that bringing up the topic of suicide increases the risk that someone will commit suicide; seeds are not planted by asking. Remember that there might be an extreme emotional reaction when a teen experiences a significant event in their life, like a break up, changes in family, an important test at school, etc. It is also important to remember that what seems like the end of the world to them won’t match what would solicit that same reaction for a parent. Teens don’t have the advantage of life experience that adults do to help them have perspective about the impact their experiences will truly have on their lives. They tend to view issues as all-encompassing. Providing support and empathy before a teen moves into a state of despair could potentially head off suicidal thoughts. Access help outside of family or support system when needed. This could come in the form of seeking help from a mental health professional, family doctor, or seeking resources provided at school. Other resources are the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or text GO or HELLO to 741 741. In addition, there are many apps for smart phones like ASK, Lifeguard, and Lifebuoy, to name a few. Make sure all these are loaded into a teen’s phone so they have help and resources at their fingertips. ■

Katie Harlow is a Clinical Supervisor of School Based Services for Intermountain in Helena, Montana. Katie provides clinical leadership and oversight to teams of mental health professionals who provide therapeutic services in public school settings.

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BY THE

NUMBERS

Q. What should I ask my doctor if s/he wants to

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prescribe pain killers to my child?

A.

Every patient should ask questions when getting a new prescription. This is especially important when your doctor, dentist or other health care professional prescribes you or your child an opioid, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, or morphine. 1. Why does my child need this medication? Let your doctor know you aren’t looking for the fastest route to relief but one that provides the most benefit for the least risk. Be sure to tell about all medications that your child is taking, especially those prescribed to treat anxiety, sleeping problems, or seizures. Ask if there are non-opioid options to relieve the pain. Other options might work just as well or better, like physical therapy, behavioral therapy, alternative medicine, and non-opioid painkillers.

The number of muscles you use by taking one step. www.funfactz.com

150

The number of years it would take to drive a car to the sun.. www.funfactz.com

2. How can we reduce the risk of potential side effects? Remember that opioids are extremely powerful and stimulate the same brain centers as heroin. Share if there is a family history of addiction or if your child is dealing with a mental health issue such as depression, because the addiction risk increases. Alcohol use can cause serious side effects and may even be deadly. 3. What should we look for as far as side effects? Take medicine exactly as prescribed by the health care provider. Learn to identify serious side effects (such as excessive sleepiness or craving more of the medication) so you will know when to call a doctor or go to the hospital. Ask your pharmacist for a Medication Guide (paper handouts that come with many prescription medicines) for more information. 4. How should we store this and what should we do with leftover medications? If you have children at home—from a toddler to a teenager—consider a lockbox for your medications. Even one accidental dose of an opioid pain medicine meant for an adult can cause a fatal overdose in a child. Also, teenagers and others in the home or who are visiting may seek out opioid pain medicines for nonmedical use. They may look in bathroom medicine cabinets for a chance to steal these medicines. Dispose of expired or unused medications at permanent drop locations or drug take back events. The FDA has created a list of opioid pain medicines they recommend you flush down the toilet when no longer needed. That list and additional resources can be found at: www.ReduceRxAbuse.com.

40,000

The number of toilet related injuries in the U.S. per year. www.funfactz.com

30

The gallons of water that a thirsty camel can drink in 15 minutes. www.factsd.com

9

The weight in pounds of an elephant’s tooth. www.thefactsite.com

Information from fda.gov

HAVE A QUESTION?

email: jbrenner@achcmi.org We cannot guarantee all questions will be published; however, we will do our best to respond to all questions submitted.

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The feet per second a fart travels. www.funfactz.com


Let your teen experience be known and your voice heard! We are looking for drawings, paintings, photography, sculptures, mixed media, pottery, writing pieces, poetry, videos, fashion design, dances, monologues, and songs created by YOU for a COUNTY WIDE art exhibition Fall 2017. ANY and ALL type of art accepted!

FINAL SUBMISSION DATE: JUNE 5, 2017 1st Place – $500 2nd Place – Payment for an art class in the county up to $250 rd 3 Place – $100 Gift card to art supply store Email mtiernan@achcmi.org on how to get involved. Please note that pieces submitted containing illicit content will not be chosen for the show. Please contact the above email address if you have questions about| YCyour piece. www.achcmi.org MAGAZINE | March 2017 19


HOW AND WHY TEENS

self-medicate By ART BECKER, Licensed Addictions Counselor

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Teens and even young children have their own ways of handling their idea of difficult situations. Mom and dad are arguing – go to my room and listen to music. No friends in my neighborhood to play with – draw or play video games. Meatloaf for dinner – fake illness or exaggerate interest in the rest of the food on the table, etc. All of these forms of coping/distraction appear to be healthy methods of problem solving, and they are. However, there is a point in these difficult developmental years where an adolescent turns to self-medication.

his self-medication is different than the aforementioned coping because it is not only an escape from a perceived difficulty, but it is also enhances emotions. Self-medication is normally associated with substance use, and we will get to that, but initial adolescent self-medication takes a very different form. Socialization is the first form of adolescent self-medication. Socializing brings about ideals regarding popularity, acceptance, attraction, and, most importantly, an overall sense of self-worth. Now, we aren’t going to throw these perceptions solely on adolescents; most adults perceive the same benefits of socialization and pursue them relentlessly. During early adolescence, socialization is a double-edged sword. On one side is the ability to feel good about yourself and prosper in adolescent politics, and on the other side is the possibility of complete humility and utter intrapersonal destruction. Socializing becomes a form of self-medication for all negative emotional states. Feeling insecure—go hang out with friends. Feeling like mom and dad don’t understand me—go hang out with friends. Feeling nervous about asking that boy/girl out on a date—go hang out with friends. Socializing makes adolescents feel better cognitively, emotionally, and socially. Socializing is a nonthreatening form of self-medication that brings not only contentment but also belonging and, at times, happiness. The danger of progressing to other forms of self-medication comes with the blending of established social groups. Social groups develop a foothold in early adolescence. These social groups are founded in shared interests/similar capabilities. In early adolescence, the newly developing social groups are still somewhat benign. However, social groups soon become cliques, and cliques quickly establish biases against one another. Once this happens, socializing takes on an abrasive and awkward light that was not present before. Socializing is still the form of self-medication, but now it is uncomfortable. Without warning, substance use enters in social settings, and substance use provides an uncomfortable adolescent with an emotional buffer. A miracle substance that takes away insecurity, promotes laughter, and inspires false confidence holds great appeal to an adolescent struggling with feeling disliked. Now, it needs to be made clear that socialization is still the selfmedication at this point and substance use is a means to an end. The danger is the effectiveness of this means to an end. Substance use presents no perceptions of danger. In fact, substance use actually brings about perceptions of happiness and confidence. Enter teenage drama, and self-medication can quickly shift from socialization to substance use. A break-up or an argument with parents could lead an adolescent to feeling absolutely horrible.

Blame it on raging hormones, if you will, but I see this happen with adults all the time as well. Along comes a peer quick to offer relief through drinking or getting high and, presto, instant happiness or at least relief. The association made between substance use and relief on this one occasion can lead to further efforts of relieving negative emotions through substance use. At this point, socialization is no longer the self-medication; substance use is. This does not mean that the adolescent will develop a dependence/addiction to substances, and it also does not mean that they are incapable of coping with negative situations without substance use. What it does mean is that they believe they found the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building, so why struggle up the 86 flights of stairs. This is where a substance use disorder could begin to develop and here are five ways to help an adolescent avoid that:

1. If they come home and isolate (I know this seems like the only constant in their lives) pick an activity that you know they enjoy and offer to do it with them. 2. Show legitimate interest in what they have going on (not ‘how was school’) by asking them specific open ended questions about their interests. 3. Communicate your emotional struggles (currently or in adolescence). It’s hard enough going through emotions let alone judging yourself for having them because you feel like no one else struggles with them. 4. Balance their social pursuits with mandatory family time (game nights, movies, etc.) 5. Don’t rely on luck. Address any concerns you have rather than hoping they resolve themselves. This helps resolve problems rather than letting them build, and it also establishes a precedence of open communication in your family.

Healthy role-modeling by parents and other adults, and active participation, can help an adolescent develop healthy social skills rather than relying on substance use, which could possibly lead to future struggles. Seeking acceptance and belonging are normal pursuits for all people, as is the discomfort in doing so. Helping an adolescent develop the necessary social skills to stick with in these situations can help them avoid using substances as a form of self-medication. ■

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YOUTH AND E-CIGS A Dangerous Mix By SARAH SHAPIRO, Tobacco Prevention Health Educator

arning! A new Surgeon General’s report has concluded that electronic cigarettes are not safe for young people. Electronic cigarettes, also known as “vapes,” “e-cigarettes,” or “hookahs,” are devices used to inhale nicotine, flavor, and other additives into the lungs. They come in different sizes and colors and often don’t resemble typical tobacco products. They also may contain other drugs, like marijuana. Nicotine and other chemicals in electronic cigarettes are dangerous to everyone, but especially to youth, pregnant women, and fetuses. That’s because nicotine has been shown to harm the developing brain. According to the Surgeon General’s report, no amount of nicotine is safe for youth. The report also states that electronic cigarettes contain “ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs, flavorants such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease, volatile organic compounds, and heavy metals, such as nickel, tin, and lead.” The aerosol from electronic cigarettes is harmful to bystanders as well as to those who use them directly. Even though research shows that electronic cigarettes are

dangerous, they are still the most commonly used nicotine product among youth. “In 2015, more than 3 million youth in middle and high school, about 1 of every 6 high school students, used e-cigarettes in the past month,” the surgeon general wrote. “More than a quarter of youth in middle and high school have tried e-cigarettes.” Research is proving that youth who use electronic cigarettes are also more likely to move on to traditional cigarettes later in life. Yet tobacco companies intentionally increase the appeal of e-cigarettes to youth by using bright colors, flavors (such as bubble gum and root beer float), putting them on easily accessible shelves in stores, and discounting prices. These brightly colored and fruity-flavored electronic cigarettes are hooking our youth into a lifelong battle with nicotine addiction. As parents, it is important that we learn the risks and talk to our children about them. We don’t need to know everything. Being willing to talk with our children about the dangers is most important. Let’s keep the conversations going and spread the word in the community about this threat to our children’s health. ■

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To keep our communities and waterways clean Dispose of unused, unneeded or expired medications For disposal locations and information www.oaklandsheriff.com or call 248 858 1947

South Central Region 2nd Monday of every month @ 7:00 pm Woodside Bible Church 2830 Middlebelt Rd, Farmington Hills, MI

Working to reduce the stigma of addiction and provide support and education to families and community members who love someone struggling with the disease of addiction. We spread awareness through real people telling real stories of strength, hope and encouragement. Everyone is welcome. For more info go to achcmi.org or email fan@achcmi.org

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Walled Lake Region 2nd Wednesday of every month @ 7:00 pm Grace Community Church 3275 Martin Road, Suite #129, Commerce Twp, MI North East Region 2nd Thursday of every month @ 7:00 pm Woodside Bible Church (inside Canterbury Village) 2500 Joslyn Rd, Lake Orion, MI South East Region 3rd Monday of every month @ 7:00 pm Clawson Municipal Building 425 N. Main St, Clawson, MI Holly and North West Region 3rd Tuesday of every month @ 7:00 pm Karl Richter Community Center 920 Baird St, Holly, MI Young People Sober and Safe Hang Out - Ages 18-29 3rd Thursday of every month @ 7:00 pm The District 4005 Baldwin Rd, Lake Orion, MI Central Region 4th Tuesday of every month @ 7:00 pm McLaren Oakland Hospital 64 N. Saginaw St., Conference Room 1A Pontiac, MI

Knowledge saves lives...

Grief Support Group 1st Monday of every month (except holidays) @ 7:00 pm Royal Oak Community/Senior Center 3500 Marais Avenue, Royal Oak, MI


ALLIANCE OF COALITIONS FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

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Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities 895 N. Opdyke Road, Suite D Auburn Hills, MI 48326

YC Magazine | Oakland | March 2017  
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