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Dangers of Electronic Cigarettes

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THE SECRET TO SUCCESSFUL KIDS » The 40 Developmental Assets: Positive Identity » No Means NO (and I Love You)

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Download the #LetsTalk app on any iPhone or Android phone. The #LetsTalk app provides youth with useful and relatable information about mental health and suicide prevention...all at their finger tips. This information is brought to you by Mountain-Pacific Quality Health. Partners include the Office of Public Instruction, Alliance for Youth and Speaking Socially.


JUNE 2018

FEATURES

6 The Secret to Successful Kids 40 Developmental Assets: 14 The Positive Identity 16 No Means NO (and I Love You) 20 Looking Behind the Screen to Talk: Dangers of 23 Time Electronic Cigarettes

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

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TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE Coleen Smith: (406) 324-1032 coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org COVER PHOTO BY Megan Lane Photography youthconnectionscoalition.org

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ON THE COVER

Ashley Carlson is a senior at Capital High. She loves being president of HOSA (Health Occupations Students of America) club in which they focus on learning medical skills. Her passion this year was captaining the high school soccer team and building lifetime friendships with her teammates. This year she picked up track and field and really enjoys long jumping along with many other outdoor activities, such as skiing and playing powder puff football. She also enjoys hiking, going to the lake, travelling, and playing soccer any free chance she gets. Next year, she plans on attending Carroll College, studying biology/pre-med, and continuing her soccer career by playing for the Lady Saints.

ABOUT YOUTH CONNECTIONS

Youth Connections is a coalition of over 1100 community members representing parents, educators, churches, youthserving organizations, businesses, and more who want to make Helena a healthy and supportive place for kids and families. Youth Connections recognizes the need to reduce negative behaviors including substance use and violence while also working to increase positive opportunities and mental wellness for all our local kids. So how do we do that? We know there is no silver bullet to making communities great, and so we do LOTS of things that we know make communities better. We support agencies and businesses who offer youth activities because we know kids who are involved in positive activities aren’t involved in negative ones. We support student mentoring relationships because research shows it helps kids stay in school and be successful. We also know that when kids know better, they do better, so we support classroom education in the areas of bullying prevention and substance use prevention. Youth Connections also understands we must support the adults in kids’ lives and therefore we provide training, education, networks, and collaborative opportunities for parents and professionals to connect with others who care about kids. Youth Connections is well known for its quarterly publication, YC Magazine, a resource for parents and the entire community. These are just some of the projects we’re working on to serve our mission of engaging our community to create environments where youth thrive and succeed. For a comprehensive list of activities, services, and ways you can get involved, please visit our website at www.youthconnectionscoalition.org.

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Director FROM THE

ow, summer is finally here – at least on the school calendar. We know that summer can be a great time to spend with family, enjoying all Montana has to offer. We also know that it is a time of increased drinking and drug use for youth. They have extra time on their hands, are not monitored as closely, and summer should be all about fun, right? COLEEN The magazine committee has SMITH assembled a series of articles that will help parents navigate the risky side of summer. There is so much research about what alcohol and drugs do to the developing brain that we need to be extra vigilant during this time. We hope everyone can take at least one nugget of knowledge to implement to help kids be safer and healthier. We are especially excited to involve some Carroll College students this round. What better way to find out what worked, what didn’t work, and what would have worked in our attempt to keep our kids drug/alcohol free than by asking college students? They reflected on their high school years and shared some tidbits with us. A big thank you to Gretchen Farkas for assembling the article, and Andy Turner for his insight as a Resident Assistant at MSU. We are thrilled to have a therapist from Intermountain share why it’s important to tell our kids NO. It can be so hard sometimes, but it really does benefit them in the end. In speaking with parents, it became apparent that not all of us have the same knowledge about social media, the internet, and gaming. Tina researched some terms that parents should know. She also got some first hand information from a gamer to give us a glimpse in to the life of a teenager and alert us about information we should know. Lastly, a shout out to our advertisers, who without their support this magazine WOULD NOT be possible. Please frequent their businesses and organizations and give them a big thank you! Have an awesome summer! Fingers crossed it’s a warm and lengthy one. CAN’T GET ENOUGH GREAT RESOURCES? FOLLOW US: Twitter: @Youthconx Facebook (for parents): Youth Connections Facebook (for kids): Find Your Spot Instagram: @Youthconx

COLEEN SMITH, YC DIRECTOR Phone: (406) 324-1032 coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org


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19th Annual Saturday, July 7 Kickoff for the Women’s game is 3 p.m. Kickoff for the Men’s game is 5 p.m.

Shodair Children’s Hospital brings 80 of Montana’s best men and women high school soccer players to Helena to play in the 19th Annual Shodair Soccer Classic. The games will be played at Carroll College - Nelson Stadium.

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CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE eenagers face peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol all the time. On the flip side, parents often feel confused as to why their teens often partake in risky behaviors. We asked a group of Carroll College students for their opinions on what their parents shared with them a few short years ago that worked, what they said that didn’t work, and what they think would have worked in trying to educate teens on the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

that if they could go back and make different decisions they would because it had really put them at a disadvantage for many things.” Another stated, “As a teenager, my parents told me that drugs and alcohol were bad for the developing brain and could cause you to do stupid things that you normally would not think to do. I think simply telling a kid ‘no’ does not work because it doesn’t give reasoning behind why you shouldn’t...As a teenager you need more than just a ‘no.’ ”

WHAT WORKED Surprisingly, much of what the college students remembered actually had an impact. One student shared that her parents’ advice helped her to prioritize her values and goals: “Some words of advice my parents told me about avoiding drugs and alcohol is that if people have to have drugs and alcohol to have fun, then they probably aren’t the friends and people you need in your life to be the best you can be.” Giving teens the guidance to prioritize their values gives them a sense of control over their situation. Other students were grateful for their parents’ openness about the topic which made it easy to ask questions and understand the consequences of using drugs and alcohol. One student said, “My parents shared some of their usage of drugs and alcohol with me when I was a teenager. They talked about it with a lot of regret, and I think this had one of the biggest impacts on me. They told me

WHAT DIDN’T WORK For other students, using alcohol stemmed out of rebellion. One student felt that his parents’ strict rules and expectations made him want to drink even more. Another student knew that her parents would come get her if she found herself in a situation where drugs or alcohol were present. They promised that, should this happen, she would not face any consequences. While she appreciated this, she also said, “I believe that this helped me stay away from drugs and alcohol because it took away the urge to go against the rules. On the other hand, it also made it easier for me to convince myself that drinking was okay, since they wouldn’t punish me for my actions.” Another student felt that sheltering youth from the realities of drugs and alcohol has more harmful effects than it does positive. Clearly students felt that parents who are overprotective or sheltering can make teens even more curious about drugs and alcohol.

WHAT COULD HAVE WORKED Often teens feel that they are the only ones not using drugs or alcohol. “I think a lot of teenagers engage in drugs and alcohol because they are trying to fit in or find a commonality with a group of friends,” one student said. “I think it’s helpful to hear statistics that the majority of teenagers are not smoking or chewing or drinking, etc, and then to reflect if you’re a part of that majority.” Other students wished that their parents would have taught them more about the legal consequences of getting caught and felt that this would have instilled better knowledge and shown them the bigger picture. One stated, “I would recommend openness and honesty above anything else. Teenagers, though young, are not dense. We know when you are trying to shelter us from things, and often will try to rebel directly against what you are saying.” They would just remind parents to be open and honest with their teenagers and to take the time to explain the reasons why drugs and alcohol should be avoided. Set clear expectations, hold them accountable for their choices, celebrate success, but also allow for mistakes so they learn how to fail and become resilient. Don’t be afraid to push your teen to have difficult, yet mature and collected, conversations. After all, you want your advice to work so that milk at the kitchen table doesn’t turn to beer at the beer pong table. ■

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR STORY AT: coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.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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the secret to SUCCESSF By COLEEN SMITH, Prevention Specialist

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FUL KIDS

What does success for our kids look like? Is it graduating from high school with honors – or is just graduating a huge accomplishment? Is it getting “good grades” or is improving throughout the year more important? Is it going on to college, trade school, or finding a job out of high school? Is it being the best player on the team or even getting to play? Or is it that our kids live a long, healthy, enriched life? uccess can mean different things to different people and can be very child-dependent. But there is one key to increased success whether it’s academics, sports, activities, health, life, relationships, career, etc. The key to helping them be better at any part of life is this: help keep them drug/alcohol free. Because average first use is around 11 years old, this needs to start in elementary school, but it is never too late. Why is abstinence from substances important for youth? WHY Academics: Research shows that adolescents who regularly smoke pot will permanently lose 8-15 IQ points. Marijuana also affects their creativity, knowledge, and communication skills. It lowers their attention, affects their processing of information, and their memory – all skills needed to learn. Teens who drink have lower grades than those who don’t. Alcohol has a negative impact on cognitive functions (concentration, memory, and attention) for 48 hours, so it affects studying. Sport/Activities: Alcohol use increases youth’s chances of getting injured in sport by 50%. Research shows that one night of partying will erase two weeks of training. Male regular and heavy drinkers have testosterone levels the same as females, which affects building muscle. Marijuana continued on page 9

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Keep Baby Safe in the Sun Infants 0-6 months:

Keep baby out of direct sunlight. Baby’s skin is too sensitive for sunscreen. Plan outdoor time before 10 AM & after 4 PM. Dress in wide-brimmed hat and clothes that cover arms and legs, even while in the water.

Babies 6-12 months:

Continue with the above practices. It’s now safe to use zinc oxide sunscreen (at least SPF 30). Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside.

www.LewisAndClark.org

Join the Circle!

Connect facebook.com/PFLAGLewisAndClarkCounty Write LewisAndClarkPFLAG@gmail.com Meet 6pm, 3rd Tuesday of each month at the Lewis & Clark Library

Advocacy for policies to help LGBTQ+ people

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Empowerment to proudly embrace one's identity

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Education about LGBTQ+ issues

Support for LGBTQ+ people & allies

building a pro-LGBTQ+ community


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use slows reaction time and speed. Seeing that only 2% of high school athletes will compete collegiately, their high school career is their limited time to shine. Why reduce the chances of success by using? Health: Kids who start drinking before the age of 15 are four to five times more likely to have issues with alcohol as an adult. Drinking lowers the immune system, so they’re more likely to become sick. Marijuana increases depression and anxiety, and heavy use can cause psychosis. Research shows that marijuana users are 2.44 times more likely to become opioid misusers. Approximately 70% of heroin users started with opioids. Career: Substance use increases the chance of drop out and decreased academic achievement, which affects college performance and graduation. Employers report students are not ready to enter the workforce. Marijuana lowers initiative. Relationships: Drug and alcohol use increases risky behaviors to include increased chance of physical and sexual assault, teen pregnancy, and dating violence. Life: Drug and alcohol use affects brain development, which brains continue to develop until a person is in their mid-20s. This includes both brain structure and function. One in seven drivers ages 16–20 involved in fatal crashes in 2016 had alcohol in their systems. Approximately 17% of individuals who smoke pot before the age of 12 become addicted. Now we know why they need to be drug/ alcohol free, but HOW can we ensure that? HOW We always hear we need to talk to our kids, but what is the secret on how to do it? 1) Set expectations. 2) Explain the consequences. 3) Follow through. This can be used for any behavior that we want repeated – from toddler to teen. Research shows if we do these three things, we know there’s an 80% chance we’ll be effective in helping them be successful in a myriad of things. Ultimately it will make our lives as a parent easier too. Wouldn’t it be great to reduce the fights and power struggles, the second-guessing if we made the right choice or said the right thing, and even the guilt trips we as parents are so good at putting ourselves on for usually no good reason? The secret here is to be very clear and concise. Have the consequences fit the behavior. And the hard part… follow through!

SETTING THE EXPECTATION From early on, we need to set the expectations: “I expect you to not drink or do drugs,” “I expect that you will graduate from high school,” “I expect that if you are going to be late you will call and let me know where you are.” Whatever it is, the expectation needs to be very clear. Just like adults in the ‘real world,’ we need to know what our expectations are. At work we are expected to show up on time, complete tasks as required, and even clean up after ourselves in the kitchen. Kids are no different; they need and even WANT to know what is expected of them. Children thrive if parents set clear expectations for behavior and enforce them in a consistent manner. Even as an adult, how do any of us know how we are doing if we don’t have expectations in which to strive? None of us wants to get in trouble for something we did or didn’t do – especially if we didn’t know it was expected of us! One idea to keep this front and center is to put the expectations and consequences in writing and place them somewhere in the home where everyone can see them. Then there is no surprise what will happen if someone breaks the rules. As kids become tweens/teens, it can include a contract that the parents and child agree to and sign, especially outlining the expectations of no drug/alcohol use. By doing this, the expectations and consequences are clearly laid out so there are no grey areas. Many of us need to know why a rule is in place. The ‘why’ is seemingly important in the teen years. Educating our kids that we want them to get enough sleep because it affects their health and ability to concentrate in school goes a lot farther than just saying they need to go to bed early. The same goes for drugs and alcohol. Just telling them not to do it will not carry as much weight as explaining the detriments that substances do to their developing brains, like permanent IQ loss from regular pot smoking as an adolescent, losing two weeks of training after one night of partying, and reduced speed and reaction time in sport from using substances. EXPLAINING THE CONSEQUENCE Again, this step needs to be very clear and concise. Just saying they’ll be in big trouble does not explain what the consequence will be. The consequence also needs to fit the un-met expectation. Taking the car away for not making a bed doesn’t make much sense. However, getting caught drinking and losing the car privileges makes a lot of sense. Taking the phone away for forgetting to take the garbage out doesn’t connect with the expectation as much as taking the phone

away for the reason homework wasn’t done because the child spent the entire evening on social media or playing games. The consequence also needs to be substantial enough to deter future unwanted behaviors, but not so outlandish that it could never be applied. The threat of ‘never getting to leave the house again’ will be impossible to enforce and so the consequence is not seen as valid. But saying that there will be no activities with friends for two weeks is much more realistic, and a teen can actually conceptualize that consequence. FOLLOWING THROUGH This is the hard one. It’s hard enough to clearly explain the expectation, then find a relatable consequence, but following through is where we as parents often drop the ball. It’s especially hard when the consequence may inconvenience us. If we take the car away, that means we’re back to playing taxi service. Ugh. However, a week or two of being inconvenienced would certainly be worth instilling that unmet expectations do have consequences, and may even ensure the health and safety of our child if it were because of substance use. It is important to remember that we need to use a caring response when enforcing the consequence. While they might be in trouble for getting caught drinking or doing drugs, we ultimately want to teach them why we don’t want them to do that – their health and safety is our top priority. Our goal is to help them reach their full potential. OVERCOMING OUR EXCUSES We can’t let the fact that maybe we used substances when we were growing up as an excuse not to enforce an abstinence policy with our kids. There is so much more research on the effects of drugs and alcohol on the developing brain than when we were growing up, that we really have science on our side. The argument that, “I did it when I was younger and I turned out just fine” isn’t effective either because in the case of marijuana it is a VERY DIFFERENT drug now. If our kids try to say that the good athletes in school or professional sport use, the question is ‘how much better could they be if they didn’t’? And if we think they’re just going to do it anyway, we’d be wrong. Kids live up to (or down to) the expectations we set for them. Oftentimes they use substances because we’ve given them the message that it’s okay. Let’s make their health a priority and tell them it’s not. While this is a tough subject to broach with our kids, there are lots of resources that can help walk us through it. Ultimately our goal is the health, safety, and success of our kids. ■

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Check out who’s standing out in our community. IS THERE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE? Please email coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org and tell us why this individual has stood out in your crowd.

Marti Nichols

FACES IN THE CROWD

SMITH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 2ND GRADE

Marti stands with Foundation Director Keith Meyer (left) and CEO Craig Aasved (right). Marti’s mom, Melissa Nichol, is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Shodair. “Marti talks about the patients at Shodair a lot,” Mom said. “She says she is sad they have to be away from their families and is glad I’m working there to help them.” Marti’s donation of more than $15 was for toys and money she collected over the past months. Marti likes reading, taking ballet, and playing with her guinea pig, Rusty. Whenever Marti has the opportunity to make a wish – birthdays, 100th day of school, or a wishing well – she wishes that all the kids at Shodair have a better life.

Rylie Schoenfeld

EAST VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL, 8TH GRADE

Rylie is seen by staff and students as someone who goes the extra mile on a daily basis to make her school a better place. She serves as Student Body President and has consistently demonstrated her ability to be a positive leader, student, and mentor to others. In addition to acting as President, Rylie maintains a 4.0 grade point average, participates athletically in cross country, basketball, and track, serves on student council, and is an accomplished pianist and saxophone player. She serves as a volunteer through her church and is always willing to help others at school. EVMS thanks you, Rylie!

Norris Blossom CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL, 11TH GRADE

Norris is currently the Student Body President at Capital High. He is involved in a wide variety of academic, extra-curricular activities and sports – always with a smile. He is the founder of Bruins Help Bruins and is a LINK Crew leader for incoming freshmen. He is also on the National Honor Society and takes many Advance Placement classes. He competes on the Speech and Debate team and has volunteered at Touchmark to make speech presentations. He plays soccer and tennis, and participates in chess, math, and Key Club. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and rock climbing. Norris plans on attending college when he graduates in 2019. Thanks for being such a great role model, Norris!

Rachel Dober AMERICORPS VISTA

Rachel is an Americorps VISTA serving with Youth Connections and the YMCA. She is a graduate of Hope College in Michigan and plans to go into Nonprofit Management. She has been a great asset to both organizations. For YC, she has been getting the Pure Performance program up and running in the middle schools. For the YMCA, she has been writing grant applications, and she is an invaluable support person for the Summer Literacy Academy and Day Camp. In her spare time, she is very involved in two churches, she loves the outdoors, and she has embraced all that Montana has to offer, being open to any new adventure. Thank you, Rachel, for all you’ve done for kids in the Helena area!

Helena Youth Soccer Association

ORGANIZATION

We are highlighting the Helena Youth Soccer Association for all their work in keeping kids active, supporting their love of soccer, and encouraging good sportsmanship. HYSA strives to provide a fun, safe environment to develop children from local communities into well-rounded athletes who are enthused to contribute on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. We are thrilled to partner with them on the Last Day Bash, as they are donating the Siebel Fields so teens have a safe place to go and have fun on the last day of school. Thank you, HYSA, for your commitment to our youth!

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40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

Be careful what

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, we will continue to be a place where Great Kids Make Great Communities.

Turn the page to learn more!

The 40 Developmental Assets® may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only. Copyright © 1997 Search Institute®, 615 First Avenue NE, Suite 125, Minneapolis, MN 55413; 800-888-7828; www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.

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assets in action

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

5 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.

Kessler carnival for kids and families

EMPOWERMENT

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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

Lyla reaching her goals after setting high expectations Our Redeemer’s youth preparing for the annual Passion Mime

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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

Kiddo enjoying the Helena High Science Circus

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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.


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

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.

31 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.

Winners from the “Talk Back to Tobacco” billboard contest

POSITIVE VALUES

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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.

Slade saves up his money and donates to animal shelter

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.

Drew helping clean his school

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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.

CHS Speech and Debate enjoying a post-season moment

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positive IDENTITY By KELLY ACKERMAN, Parent Educator

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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 risk-taking 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.

consequences. So if they feel that their increased effort in school results in better grades, they have control over the outcomes. If they feel that achievement is because of luck or chance, they will feel they have no control over the situation. Studies have shown that having a feeling of control protects youth from social and emotional risk. One idea to help kids realize what strengths they have to cope with adversity is have them write down answers to these three questions:

POSITIVE IDENTITY This Asset encompasses the following aspects:

2) What protects you, or what has protected you?

1. PERSONAL POWER

3) What inner resources or strengths do you have?

2. SELF-ESTEEM 3. SENSE OF PURPOSE 4. POSITIVE VIEW OF PERSONAL FUTURE Identity development is one of the central tasks of the adolescent period. It focuses on how youth view themselves – their sense of purpose, worth, and promise. Without a positive sense of who they are, they may feel powerless, without a sense of direction or initiative. These assets represent how comfortable a youth is in being him/herself and whether they feel they have control over, and reasons for engaging in all aspects of life. It also signifies whether they are optimistic about the future. Personal Power This is defined as the adolescent feeling like he/she has some measure of control over things that happen. It also includes youth understanding that their choices have certain

1) Who protects you, or who has protected you?

It helps to show them how to choose their own attitude about themselves, and to focus on the positive rather than the negative. Self-Esteem Self-esteem pertains to the way an individual views his/herself and is thought to be an important aspect of overall well-being. Low self-esteem was a significant predictor of loneliness for males, but not for females. It could be because males’ friendships are more group oriented and center around activities, and female friendships are centered around friendship and intimacy. However, physical appearance is an important predictor of overall self-worth for females. They tend to be more dissatisfied with their appearance than males, which takes a toll on their selfesteem. A benefit of self-esteem is that it can reduce a young person’s susceptibility to peer pressure, so it’s important to nurture it. Ideas to help build self-esteem are public recognition for a job well-done. It could be in front of the class, at the dinner table, or in front of a small group at church or extra-

curricular activity. Notes in a child’s lunch bag, school bag, or notebook go a long way in building self-esteem. Sense of Purpose Youth report that their lives have a purpose. We all want to feel like we’re here for a reason, but kids especially. It’s associated with psychological well-being. Research shows that youth who have a sense of purpose have increased self-esteem and decreased emotional or behavioral problems such as depression and sexual risk taking. One community set up a “Vocations On-site.” They had youth who were taking vocational classes serve senior citizens at a nearby care facility by using skills they had learned. Residents were given manicures, culinary students prepared lunch, and students in public services made presentations on fraud and safety tips. What a great experience for both the youth and the senior citizens, and how valued they both must have felt. Positive View of Personal Future Researchers found that emotional distress and suicide were associated with a youth’s lack of a positive view of personal future. Kids who feel they do not have a future may be at risk for a number of different behavioral and emotional problems. It’s important for youth to look at the positive aspects of their future. This can be done by helping them identify what things they want to accomplish and the steps to reach those. Studies have shown that school-based efforts may nurture feelings of selfworth in both children and adolescents. It’s important that parent, teacher, and community be involved in fostering selfesteem among youth. We can all play a part in increasing our youth’s positive identity which can help them be optimistic about their personal future. ■

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No Means NO (and I Love You) By STEFFANI TURNER, LCSW

Well, it happened again last night . . . and we both went to bed feeling terrible. I said NO! Again. For the umpteenth time. It seems like I say NO every day, all the time, in fact. One little, teeny word is so powerful.

aying NO feels like it creates a rift in the relationship between you and your child, a rift that sometimes becomes an insurmountable mountain that you precariously traverse with a rock pick in hand. Along the way, you get harsh words, yelling, tantrum, pouting, “I hate you,” and all the other heart-puncturing weapons thrown at you to dissuade. It almost makes you want to quit, back down, take another path, an easier one, one where your child is smiling and hugging you! Why is that little word so important to all human wellbeing? Well, for a moment, let’s imagine a world where we were never told NO. Those stop signs around town? They would be meaningless – just suggestions, really. Being told NO, gently, by our parents and teachers taught us to wait our turn. Think of all the ways adults tolerate NO on a daily basis: Doing a project for your boss when you don’t agree with the premise. Fixing the lawnmower for your spouse when you would rather go fishing. Stopping after only one cookie when your inner child is telling you to have another. As parents, I think we struggle with NO for a lot of reasons. We are tired. It’s a crazy-busy world. You may be exhausted, insecure in your parenting role, or afraid of how your child will react, especially in a public place. (I swear Walmart is the best place to throw a tantrum.) We are afraid of

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how our children will feel about us, if they will be mad at us. We are afraid that it will stifle their creativity – they won’t be such free thinkers. The reality is, learning NO is all a part of the human condition. It is a part of learning boundaries and limits, how far to go, and how much to have. We are survivalists by biology. It is how we were engineered (or we would probably have died out long ago). We take what we can get when we can get it. But we also learn societal rules, because you don’t want to be left out of the clan when the saber-tooth tigers are out hunting. We learned that by being together, we can do more, but we have to have rules or we don’t accomplish anything. Weirdly, NO is good. NO makes us feel safe. NO makes our children feel like we love them and care about their wellbeing. NO is extremely important. I had to say NO to my son again today, but I did it with a kind word and an understanding that he will be upset because he doesn’t like my NO. NO, a well-balanced NO, is not a punishment. It is meant to teach a child frustration tolerance, disappointment, self-regulation. As adults, not only do we get told NO in some way a 100 times a day, we also have to tell ourselves NO. If not, we would spend all our money, not pay bills, eat to excess, and make terrible decisions with our relationships. But mostly we have learned to self-regulate, which is the outcome of being told NO as a child. A good NO must be couched with a firmness (so the kid knows you won’t give in) and a kindness (so they know you are

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not just punishing them because you want to be mean). This helps them focus on what is important – what lesson we want them to learn with this NO. One of my favorite examples of a good well-balanced NO is from a few years ago when my child was four. He went through a phase where, every day, about 15 minutes before dinner, he would ask for a cookie. I took it to heart and tried really hard not to do what I had experienced (a lot of yelling and screaming on my mom’s part to get out of the kitchen). It was hard! But I was able to use kindness, saying “I’m sorry, honey. You cannot have a cookie. We are going to eat soon,” while still using firmness and standing by my NO. I worked hard not to waver, as he cried and pled, even threw a tantrum a time or two. But eventually, he no longer asked for a cookie and, if he needed a snack, he had a carrot stick instead. In this one instance, I could really connect to why my son was hating NO so much – who doesn’t want a cookie pretty much anytime? All of this aside, what I want most for my children is that they will grow up kind and caring people. This is real success. Hearing NO is just one step in that direction. Look for opportunities to tell your children NO in a safe and caring manner, where the price tag is low and where you are there to help them learn frustration tolerance and self-regulation. Be ok that they get upset at the NO, and help them with that feeling. Practice having kindness and firmness – it’s not an easy combination! It’s hard for us all. Go out there and love your kids with a big well-intentioned NO! ■


NUMBERS PLEASE HELP! My parents keep embarrassing me at my games because they are always yelling at me and the coach. What should I do? Dear Mom and Dad, Please read this quote from John W. Gardiner: “The toughest thing kids have to face is the unfulfilled lives of their parents.” You have the most important role of being the parent so let the coaches coach, let the officials officiate and let the kids play. In this way everyone is doing their specialty. – Jim: activities administrator Dear Athlete, Find a time to talk to your parents about how you are feeling. What you could say to them: I am extremely proud that you support me in my athletics; however, you need to release me to the game that I love and allow me and my teammates to play the game without added pressure and criticism. Please don’t allow your pride for me and our team get in the way of you enjoying me playing the sports that we love.

18.3

The cost to make Darth Vader’s suit in real life, in millions.

3

The number of species on earth capable of laughter – humans, chimpanzees, and rats.

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– Justin: athlete, coach, and parent of athletes Dear Athlete, I would suggest sitting down and talking to your parents about the yelling. Let them know that this embarrasses you. Maybe suggest that no doubt they will get caught up in the game, etc. but that the yelling is not going to accomplish anything. If they do need to tell you something, ask them to wait until after the game when you are home or at least in private and done constructively. If they cannot control their emotions, you could ask your parent to sit farther away. – Donna and Jay: parents of student athletes

The number of years an ant can live.

2016

The weight in pounds of the largest turtle ever recorded.

A recent study stated that the number one reason a child quits a sport is the ride home. We as parents need to make sure we’re supportive, but not overbearing, and most of all don’t undermine the coach. Granted, there are some times it is justified, but that’s more the exception than the norm. Sport is supposed to be fun. It’s a great way to meet new friends, get exercise, learn a new skill, and relieve stress. Let’s make sure we make it a positive experience for our kids.

189

The number of people named Lol in the U.S.

– The Editor

HAVE A QUESTION?

coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.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 most children born to one woman.


HELENA ORTHODONTICS Affordable care in a comfortable, fun environment

Special thanks to Youth Connections for all you do for the youth of our community!

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looking

BEHIND THE SCREEN By TINA EBLEN

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In today’s world, we have to do more as parents than just worry about our children playing outside and getting hurt. We now have to worry about the real issues that come with modern technology. How much do we need to know about social media? What can we do about exposing our children to social media yet keep them safe from the danger lurking behind the screen?

f you can, prior to getting your child a smart phone or allowing them on a device, have a discussion about social media apps and the internet. It is never too late to start talking to your child about technology and the dangers lurking behind the screen. Regular conversations with your children can help your child feel comfortable coming to you when things get difficult. Having conversations in the car is a great way to open door to a real discussion about technology. IMPORTANT INFORMATION Here are a couple vital things that are important to the safety of your child: Location sharing: Explain to your children the importance of not tagging their location on their pictures and not turning on their location finder on Snapchat. Friending strangers: It is important to have conversations about who to accept as a friend, especially on social media sites like Snapchat, Kik, or Instagram. There are online predators who try to connect with unsuspecting teens to exploit or even gain confidential information that can be used to extort teens. Children should be told to never connect to anyone who they physically don’t know as a friend. It doesn’t disappear: Children need to know that anything posted on the internet is permanent. Even though Snapchat photos seem to disappear after a short timeframe, they never really disappear. Teaching our children how to use technology is very important. Most of us were not raised with the presence of the internet or smartphones, so we have nothing to compare this new social norm with; however, we can start by talking with our children. The more we have conversations with our children about the positives and negatives of social media, the more likely our children will ask questions or talk about the issues they are dealing with online. IMPORTANT TERMS Here are some important terms parents should know: Catfishing: A person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes. Clickbait: Clickbait is a term to describe marketing or advertising material that employs a sensationalized headline to attract clicks. They rely heavily on the ‘curiosity gap’ by creating just enough interest to provoke engagement.

DMs: Direct messages – also referred to as “DMs” – (can be a noun or a verb) are private conversations that occur on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Both parties must be following one another to send a message. ebook: An ebook is an electronic version of a book. However, most ebooks are not actually available in print (unless you print them). These are typically published in PDF form. For marketers, ebooks commonly serve as lead generating content – people must fill out a form to receive their ebook copy. Ghosting: The practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication. Lurker: A lurker online is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion. Snapchat Streak: This means a person and your Snapchat friend have Snapped each other every day for more than three consecutive days. Troll: (Can be a noun or a verb.) A troll or internet troll refers to a person who is known for creating controversy in an online setting. They typically hang out in forums, comment sections, and chat rooms with the intent of disrupting the conversation and adding nothing of value. They are often rude and make fun of other people. GAMER ADVICE (FROM A GAMER) Generally, if a gamer is using lingo, it’s in reference to the goals of the game. The real worry should be words people know of already. A lot of gamers use derogatory terms (racial, gender, sexual preference, mental capacity) and curse words like they’re nothing and mostly for trash talking. If not monitored, it ends up becoming part of everyday talk and the teens don’t recognize the effect these words can have on people of different communities. Micromanaging or controlling might only make youth more sneaky about what they’re doing. If you hear a teen using these words, remind them how using them or certain words in negative ways can impact certain people or communities in major ways and that they were made to make people feel less than human. And though it may be a bit grim, for some students regular use of these words are sometimes the tipping point for suicide. ■

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HELENA FAMILY YMCA DAY CAMPS•OVERNIGHT CAMPS SWIM LESSONS•SPORTS CAMPS TRAINED & CARING STAFF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE helenaymca.org or 406.442.9622 for more information or to register

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TIME TO TALK:

Dangers of Electronic Cigarettes By SARAH SHAPIRO, Tobacco Use Prevention Health Educator

ttention parents! Corporate Tobacco once tried to convince us that cigarettes were ‘safe.’ Now, it’s using some of the same tactics to try and trick your kids into believing that electronic cigarettes are safe. Electronic cigarettes – also known as vapes, e-cigarettes, or hookahs – are devices used to inhale nicotine, flavor, and other chemicals into the lungs. They come in different sizes and colors and often don’t look like typical tobacco products. They also may contain other drugs, like marijuana. Electronic cigarettes come in a variety of candy flavors that attract youth. According to the 2016 National Youth Tobacco Survey, 31 percent of students who use electronic cigarettes say they do so because of the flavors. One popular new electronic device for teens is called JUUL. It’s a cartridge that’s heated to create an aerosol, or mist. JUUL looks like a flash drive, which makes it easy to hide and carry. JUUL and other electronic cigarettes don’t produce harmless water vapor. The liquid, usually propylene glycol or glycerin, contains

nicotine, as well as various kinds of flavoring and other chemicals. Most electronic cigarettes contain nicotine. According to the Truth Initiative, a nonprofit public health organization dedicated to ending tobacco use, a single JUUL cartridge is roughly equal to a pack of cigarettes, or 200 cigarette puffs. Research shows that nicotine harms the developing brain, which isn’t completely developed until about age 25. The number of students who use electronic cigarettes and JUULs is alarming. New research shows that using these devices can lead to using conventional cigarettes. A 2017 research study that looked at tobacco use among 12th graders found that “non-smoking youth who use e-cigarettes are 4 times more likely to try conventional cigarettes than the non-smoking youth who do not use e-cigarettes.” Don’t fall for Corporate Tobacco’s tricks! These new electronic devices may look different than cigarettes, but let’s not be fooled. The variety of flavors, brightly colored packaging, and inconspicuous styling are all marketing tactics to hook our youth. Let’s start the conversation and educate our community to make healthy decisions. ■

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Rule No 9

date nights Relax together. Laugh together. And make a Lucca’s date night a priority.

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Congratulations, Helena High School, for your 1st-place entry in the 2018 Talk Back to Tobacco BillBoard Design Contest! 457-8900 • LewisAndClarkHealth.org Be Active • Eat Smart • Get Screened • Be Sunwise • Be Tobacco Free

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To schedule an appointment, please call (406) 442-7920.

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Outpatient Services: Kimberly Gardner, LCSW, LAC; Phillip Quinn, MEd, Licensure Candidate; Steffani Turner, LCSW; Craig Struble, LCSW, LAC; Amber Andriolo, LAC, Licensure Candidate; Kristina Dukart, Licensure Candidate


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YC Magazine, Helena - June 2018  
YC Magazine, Helena - June 2018