Youth Connections - Helena - September 2016

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The Truth About Marijuana

SEPT 2016




» The 40 Developmental Assets: Boundaries and Expectations » Restorative Justice at Home


» How to Talk to Your Teen About Consent

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what you can do tO save a lIFe

> If you see the signs, ask the person, “are you suicidal?” > Offer hope, don’t leave them alone, and tell others the person to the nearest eR, call the police, take them to > take a health care professional or > Call the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)



6 Take the Stress Out of Mornings 40 Developmental Assets: 14 The Boundaries and Expectations 16 Restorative Justice at Home to Talk to Your Teen 20 How About Consent 23 The Truth About Marijuana 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




TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE Coleen Smith: (406) 324-1032 COVER PHOTO BY Jill Amsk Photography




Sept 2016



Taylor Amsk (T.J.) is an 18-year -old senior in Helena. He attends Access to Success at Helena College. In his spare time, he works as an umpire and loves to play basketball and softball. T.J. enjoys spending time with friends and family and has a heart for helping others. He is a great big brother to three siblings (two of whom are special needs).

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


Sept 2016




Director FROM THE

e have a great Back to School issue assembled! Again, many thanks to the contributors for without their time and expertise this publication would not be possible. As always, please support the advertisers. Their generous support allows us to provide this valuable information to you for free. I love our feature article. I doubt we COLEEN could identify one parent who hasn’t SMITH had a morning they didn’t wish they could have back. I know I had plenty. The great advice on preplanning seems so simple, but when we’re living in the moment sometimes common sense and rationale fly out the window. We have always highlighted the 40 Developmental Assets in pictures, but now the magazine committee has decided to highlight one of each of the categories over the next eight issues more in-depth. These assets are so instrumental, and scientifically proven, to help our kids grow up in a loving and supportive community. I hope you’ll read them and refer to them often. Our kids are too important not to implement practices that are demonstrated to work. Speaking of ideas that have worked, we’ve dedicated this issue’s ”Confessions From the Kitchen Table” article to advice from moms. I find some of my best advice comes from those in the trenches, and who is in the trenches more than mom? Okay, dad, but this time we’re focusing on mom advice. I hope you’ll find a juicy morsel that you can copy to make your life easier. Another article I’m excited about is the one on effective restorative justice. It seems we get so caught up in making everything right for our kids that we forget there needs to be lessons so they can grow up to make wise and healthy choices. Restorative justice teaches them that their actions have consequences, without using punishment. Lastly, with the election coming up and different referendums surrounding marijuana on the ballot, we felt it necessary to get “the other side of the story” out about pot. We know legalizing it, in any way, has been detrimental to kids. Here’s to a successful and fun school year! CAN’T GET ENOUGH GREAT RESOURCES? FOLLOW US: Twitter: @Youthconx Facebook (for parents): Youth Connections Facebook (for kids): Find Your Spot

COLEEN SMITH, YC DIRECTOR Phone: (406) 324-1032

Home and community based intervention services for children with developmental delays or disabilities birth through age 18.


allows you to report illegal or unsafe activity discreetly and immediately to your School Resource Officer directly

BUCK HERRON CR Anderson: (406) 437-1868 BRYAN BENIGER Helena Middle School: (406) 980-0972 BRYAN FISCHER Helena High: (406) 949-3680 LOREN MARDIS Capital High: (406) 949-3683

Supporting families to promote development in their young children with special needs. 1212 Helena Avenue • Helena, MT 59601 406 443 7370 •


» When you feel unsafe, in school or outside of school » When you think someone else is unsafe, in or outside of school » With confidentiality if you think a crime may take place




Sept 2016




By law, use of tobacco products is not allowed on school property.

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why do kids misuse and abuse Rx drugs? A. To get high YC RX DRUG ABUSE B. To Deal with life C. To Attempt Suicide D. All of the above Please dispose of unused or expired medications to reduce the risk of them getting into the wrong hands. Drop boxes are available at: LAW ENFORCEMENT CENTER: 221 Breckenridge GENEVA WOODS (formerly Bergum Drug): 2600 Winne Ave


Sept 2016




e thought we’d assemble some pointers from moms. Hopefully someone else’s experience can make life easier for all those involved. We received a lot of good advice and weren’t able to include everything. LET KIDS RECHARGE It took my husband and I several years to discover that our son shuts down when he gets overstimulated. After a full day of classroom activities, recess, and social interactions, he needs some quiet time to recharge. The first year of school was a struggle because we’d always be excited to hear about his day when we picked him up. His short responses and lack of eye contact were perceived as rude and disrespectful. However, after we learned more about his personality, we discovered that, if given 30 minutes after school to have a snack by himself, he would recharge his batteries and be ready to reengage with the family. While we had to discuss with him that it is not ok to blatantly ignore someone when they are talking to you, it is ok to say you need a few minutes by yourself before being ready to have a discussion. NO MORE FIGHTS I got tired of my girls always fighting and yelling “shotgun!” to see who could sit in the front seat, only to continue to argue after we got in the car. I started a rule that the child who was born on the even day (28th) would ride in the front on even days, and the

child with the birthdate on an odd day (13th) would ride up front on odd days. There was never a fight again. If your children are both born on even or odd days, the rule could be first born gets odd days, and second born gets even days. If there are more than two children, I would recommend a chart. (This is for children who are old enough to ride in the front seat safely.) RELAX! Enjoy your kids being kids because they aren’t that way for long. Many parents spend time making sure everything is a lesson and all the rules they found on Pinterest are strictly being followed. They miss out on a lot of fun and also teach their kids to be uptight and stressed out. Kids do need rules and structure, but it is ok to occasionally bend those rules. One rainy day Derek and I had nothing to do, and I was at a loss at how to keep him entertained without driving me crazy, so I decided the day would be “breaking the rules day.” We stayed in pajamas all day, watched too much tv, ate junk food, didn’t worry about the laundry, or that his room was messy. We cuddled, laughed every time we “broke a rule,” made cookies together, played games, etc. It was one-and-ahalf years ago, and he still talks about it. LISTEN When we are busy, we seldom take time to actually hear what is being said. If you’re not listening, you are not giving good advice. I always made a point to listen, let my kids

vent, not judge them for how they felt, then bring reality and advice, a hug or whatever was needed. Teenage girls always need to talk to their moms. It’s usually at bedtime and often a crisis of gargantuan proportion, at least to them. Before dismissing their concerns, remember what it was like to be their age and be grateful they still want to talk, no matter what the hour. TIME, NOT TREATS Don’t reward with food. Reward with praise, smiles, and activities. To this day I still associate food with good or bad actions. My mom used to say, “If you do this, we can go for ice cream.” KEEP IT REAL I have found one of the most useful tools is the ENFORCEABLE STATEMENT. Examples of UNenforceable statements might be, “You’d better brush your teeth or you will never get dessert again!” or “Clean your room this instant!” In the end we just end up teaching our kids that our words mean nothing, when we cannot follow up on an unenforceable limit we set. Instead, I describe what I will do or allow: “I’m happy to help people with homework when I feel like I am treated with respect” or “I’ll be happy to drive you to soccer practice as soon as your room is clean.” Enforceable statements are not bribes. They are simply a statement of what we are willing to do or allow. ■

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR STORY AT: 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.




Sept 2016


take the stress out

MORNIN By KATIE HARLOW, LCSW, Clinical Supervisor


Sept 2016






Now that summer is officially over, many parents find themselves settling into the structure and dependability of the school year while also being unsure of how to help kids continue to transition smoothly back to the school year routine. ids also experience a mix of emotions and can be caught in a state of uncertainty during this time; needing the comfort of structure yet struggling to adjust to the day-to-day routine. Children with academic or mental health struggles such as anxiety related to academic performance or peer relationships may even dread returning to the environment that increases their discomfort. We know that structure and routine are important because they bring a sense of safety and dependability to our lives and solve for a common fear: that of the unknown. Developmentally appropriate structure allows children to learn to constructively regulate and manage their emotions and behaviors. Which is to say that structure should grow and change as children grow and change to best support their development. A return to the school year also means a decrease in freedom that is often given during the summer and an increase in rules, expectations, and adult control over children’s lives. Teens especially tend to constantly be on the prowl for more freedom, and more opportunities to control their lives and environments. This time of life looks different child by child and family by family. In an ideal world, changes such as these would happen seamlessly, but here in the real world we know it often doesn’t. As much as people crave the dependability of routine we tend to also be resistant to change, which can make for some frustrating and stressful mornings trying to get kids out the door and to school on time. Feeling this stress might continued on page 9



Sept 2016



YMCA after school programming focuses on eight core content areas: arts & humanities, character development, health & wellness, homework support, literacy, STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math) service learning, social competence and conflict resolution.


Boys Grades 1 – 5

Rocket Into Scouting!

Every new boy who joins before September 15th gets a free rocket! The countdown begins on September 17th at Hellgate Campground!


Sept 2016




continued from page 7

lead to yelling at our kids or constantly prompting them to “Hurry up!” This creates a negative start to the day as everyone leaves the house feeling hurried and frustrated, plus these kind of mornings usually follow up with a nice side of parental guilt. Rather than starting mornings off this way, wouldn’t it be nice for both parents and children to start the day calm, organized and on time? Sound too good to be true? There is no magic wand to guarantee there will never be another rushed or frustrated morning, but we can help kids start their school year off successfully by identifying where they need help implementing structure and routine, and by preparing them for the changes. Begin by thinking about each child and what is usually the hang up for getting them out the door smoothly each morning. Are they slow to wake up, so end up running late each day, or do they run around the house trying to gather their belongings or practice gear so they are ready for the day? Identifying where they struggle to be prepared will help support their growth and development in becoming more independent and having more successful mornings. If a child struggles to wake up and get going in the morning, try setting multiple alarms so that he or she is able to gradually wake up with the final alarm giving a cushion of time to get ready and out the door on time. Include them in this plan so they are able to participate in identifying what will work for them and learn these skills to use as they grow older. If they never seems to know where their clothes, shoes, homework, lunch, and other items are in the mornings then think about helping them learn organizational skills. This can

be as simple as a younger child planning their clothing the night before, or more complex like teaching a teen to utilize technology in a beneficial manner; using the calendar features on their phone for example. These are all small tools to help children succeed. Teaching these skills in age appropriate ways will help kids build independence and a mastery of new skills. This also builds feelings of competence in children and supports their

getting back to school. If left unaddressed, negative emotions about school may come out as frustration or resistance to attending school in the morning, and let’s be honest, that is the least likely time that we can stop what we are doing to help them process their emotions! Having these conversations ahead of time might provide some valuable information about the child. Do they dislike their new teacher? Dread having to take a certain class or see a certain

Begin by thinking about each child and what is usually the hang up for getting them out the door smoothly each morning. Identifying where they struggle to be prepared will help support their growth and development in becoming more independent and having more successful mornings. growth and development towards increased independence as they grow older. Beginning to build in routines such as getting backpacks ready or making lunches the night before will help mornings to feel less harried and rushed by eliminating the inevitable search of the house for a lost shoe or homework folder. By gradually and consistently building in these tasks or increasing their complexity, they will become routine, which will greatly reduce the potential for power struggles within parent-child relationships as these become just normal things that the family does each day. Have a discussion with the child about their feelings around

person each day? Scared to be away from mom or dad all day? This allows the opportunity to validate their feelings and potentially problem solve with them. This can also be a great time to normalize feelings of worry they may have; it is natural and healthy to have anxiety about new experiences. Creating connecting moments when emotions are not running high help to create a sense of safety for children, as well as reinforce that mom or dad are a positive support and can also be turned to when they are struggling. As the school year progresses, conversations can naturally transition to talking about their day. Ask specific questions that

can’t be answered with a blanket “fine” or “good” such as, “who did you eat lunch with today” or “what was the best and/or worst part of your day?” We also need to consider our own emotions about the return to school. Do we have feelings of apprehension or worry for our child’s transition? If so remember that our children pick up on what we feel and how we manage our emotions and behaviors. Being able to acknowledge emotions such as anxiety or frustration and then regulate ourselves using healthy coping skills- such as deep breathing or taking a five minute break shows kids that we can experience difficult emotions and be okay with them. These skills benefit both of children and parents; it is vital that we are able to care for our own needs as well as teach these important skills to our children. Finally, keep in mind that no matter how prepared things are, there will be days that don’t go as planned; days where the alarm doesn’t go off or someone is missing a shoe; days where patience is running thin and we yell or hurry the kids out the door, and everyone leaves the house looking like thunder clouds. No one is a perfect parent. View days like this as opportunities to teach children about repair. Sit down with them that evening and talk about what didn’t go well that morning, and own up to our part in the breakdown. Teaching our children that we also make mistakes and we can take accountability for our mistakes is an extremely valuable lesson. Engaging them in problem solving and what can be done differently in the future by everyone in the house will create a sense of connection and reinforce that there is not an expectation for them to be perfect kids. ! ■

Katie Harlow is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who currently serves as a Clinical Supervisor of School Based Services for Intermountain. Katie provides clinical leadership and oversight to teams of mental health professionals who provide therapeutic services in public school settings.




Sept 2016


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

James Fox



Spunk, humor, creativity, and authenticity come to mind when thinking of James Fox. His creative juices flow forth in the stories he tells, the award-winning compositions he arranges, and the short stories he writes that are turned into plays. He certainly has much to offer our world through his creative work. Although his amusing spirit may be the first aspect to be noted about this young man, he possesses an authenticity that makes him a true friend! His true nature makes him a natural encourager who is kind and compassionate. James loves to embrace the outdoors of Montana and enjoys all outside activities.

Olivia Huber


Olivia is an Honor Roll student and her favorite classes are math, science, and Peak. She loves ballet and dance and says, “Ballet is really hard work, but the best part is you get to see that hard work pay off in a great performance. Sometimes we rehearse for over 20 hours a week for months for just for one performance.” She also enjoys track and field, basketball, playing piano, and waterskiing/swimming at the lake, but also finds time to volunteer at Intermountain and ChildWise. She loves her three cats and dog. She thinks her great group of friends from Broadwater Montessori are a big part of doing well and having fun at HMS.

Matthew Wintersteen


When Matthew wants to learn to do something, he demonstrates amazing focus until he shows mastery. Over the years, he has diligently taught himself to ride a unicycle, play on a slackline with ease, rock climb, and grace the stage with his amazing acting and singing abilities. Matthew truly exhibits the ability to set a goal and persevere through the steps it takes to achieve his greatest ambitions. As a rock climber, he encourages and coaches the younger climbers to challenge themselves to reach new heights. He is an amazing role model for setting high expectations and achieving them!

Brad Knox


Brad is an amazing educator who always has his students’ best interest at heart. He arranges for middle school students to experience and volunteer in the community to expand their compassion and knowledge, tying the service to lessons in class. Many students volunteer to go. They visited The Friendship Center and stuffed packets. They played board games, painted fingernails, and performed for the residents at the Big Sky Care Center. They worked in the kitchen at God’s Love, helped prep meals for the young moms at Florence Crittenton, and danced with developmentally challenged clients at a Peers function. We are lucky to have such a caring teacher supporting our kids. Thanks, Mr. Knox!

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church


St. Paul’s has helped advance the conversation about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) to help Helena become a trauma-informed community. They were a partner for the first screening of Paper Tigers, and hosted the second. They’ve organized several mission trips abroad that have included youth. Their “God After Hours” group is looking at ways to support the LGTBQ community by hosting a Rainbow Café so young people have a safe place to hang out. In addition, they are a host site for Family Promise families, donate diapers to Good Samaritan, and donate money for bus tokens for patients of the health department. Their Endowment offers grants to local organizations including Myrna Loy Center, 6th Ward Garden Park, and Festival of Trees. Thanks for supporting Helena!


Sept 2016




BBBS Helena needs school based BIGS for Eastgate, Radley, Rossiter, Warren and Jim Darcy Elementary Schools. Call 442-7479


Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death in Montana women. Talk to your doctor about getting screened. If you can’t afford a mammogram, call our Cancer Screening Program, 457-8923. Be Active • Eat Smart • Get Screened • Be Sunwise • Be Tobacco Free


Do you have 45 minutes a week? Would you like to get out of the office to have lunch and inspire a child?

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

Turn the page to learn more!




Sept 2016


assets in action



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.

Families line up to start YMCA Firecracker Race




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 Learning skills and having fun at Grandstreet camp

Youth performing a Words by Kids short story

Students spend time with Big Sky Care residents

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.


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.

9 12

Sept 2016




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

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.


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.

4-H members showing the animals they raise



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.

Learning about equality at Justice Outreach Project


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.

Lyla found a great place to read

34 39


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.

Racing in the Montana Mucker to support Intermountain




Sept 2016


40 THE


boundaries and EXPECTATIONS By KELLY ACKERMAN, Parent Educator


Sept 2016




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 the first 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. BOUNDARIES AND EXPECTATIONS This developmental asset consists of the following six aspects: 1. FAMILY BOUNDARIES 2. SCHOOL BOUNDARIES 3. NEIGHBORHOOD BOUNDARIES 4. ADULT ROLE MODELS 5. POSITIVE PEER INFLUENCE 6. HIGH EXPECTATIONS As community members, we all have a role to play in setting boundaries and expectations within our community for young people. As the old adage states, “It takes a village.” Research clearly evidences that children and adolescents thrive within the context of clear boundaries and expectations. However, it is also necessary for consistent and clear consequences to be established especially within the home and school. Control is not at the crux of this issue, as giving kids control over things that have little consequence or that allow them to make mistakes and experience consequences is part of their healthy development. However, asserting discipline in a consistent, clear, and warm fashion when boundaries have been severed is the basis for preparing children to become accountable and responsible contributing members of society.

Many studies have shown that kids who have this predictability of expectations and discipline at home and at school participate in less risk taking behaviors during adolescence than those kids whose home and school environments are erratic or unpredictable. In addition, knowing who kids are with, what they are doing and where they will be are all important for communicating that the adults in their lives care about them. Taking the time to know children’s peers personally while showing an interest in what they are doing, where they are doing it, and how long they will be doing it models a healthy demonstration of adult-child relationships. It also allows promotion of positive peer influence which over time becomes as or more important than parental influence. Adults who insist on getting to know their children’s friends have great influence over who spends time with their children as well as provides a positive influence as a role model to those same peers. Though adolescence is a time for identity seeking and allowing for time and distance between parents and children is necessary, relationship and limits continue to remain an essential building block on the road to successful growth and development. Although many of the boundaries and discipline occur in the contexts of home and school, it is also necessary for “neighbors” to be involved in monitoring young people. Children are not always within the confines of home and school where parents, teachers and administrators are watching over them. It is neighbors and adults who are willing to acknowledge young people with a warm greeting who communicate that the community is a safe and friendly place to be. In addition, taking a stand and asserting authority when children are getting out of control or instigating trouble within the neighborhood or greater community confirms that boundaries are set throughout society and upheld to aid in further positive development. As well, personal involvement with youth individually, in a group, or at a community level allows them to have adult role models. Kids learn far more from modeling than they do from lecturing or discipline. It is important that community

members be committed to being positive role models as children learn what they live. Finally, setting high expectations is clearly evidenced in encouraging kids to do well. When expectations are high within the context of boundaries and expectations, kids will strive to reach or exceed those expectations. When the bar of expectations is lowered, results are lowered as well with poor behavior choices in risky behaviors such as drinking, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. However, if the community acts together to consistently maintain high expectations, kids strive to reach those benchmarks because the message they internalize is that they are fully capable. It is important that all levels of our community work together to set and maintain these boundaries while supporting each other in universally upholding them so that our children thrive. Things we can do to support kids and create environments where they can thrive include:  Set

and enforce clear, respectful, and fair values and limits

 Expect

and help kids to do and be their best

 Be

a role model

 Challenge

kids to succeed and comfort them when they fail

 Learn

more about the assets by checking out Search Institute’s website at

 Post

the Developmental Assets on your refrigerator or at the office

 Be


 Deal

with problems and conflicts while children are still small

 Talk

about your values and priorities, and live in a way that is consistent with them

When we all work together as a community including parents, teachers, coaches, neighbors, churches, and businesses, we have the ability to lay a foundation for many wonderful things to happen. ■

Kelly Ackerman is a parent educator of evidence-based practice programs.




Sept 2016


restorative justice at home By KELLY ACKERMAN, Parent Educator

estorative justice is a theory used within the justice system that focuses on repairing the harm done through a criminal behavior. This method acknowledges that crime exceeds simply breaking a law to include the fact that further harm has been done to others or to the community. According to the Centre for Justice and Reconciliation, restorative justice includes the ideas of repair, encounter, and transformation. Repair is an acknowledgement that crime causes harm and requires specific repair. The encounter element requires the parties that are affected to communicate with the offender in order to work together to find an acceptable solution. This allows everyone to truly encounter each other and allows relationship building as well as vested interest. All parties must practice skills of forgiveness and reconciliation so that the final element of transformation can take place. Through making amends in a concrete way individuals can encounter community in a new and more positive fashion. When accountability and responsibility falls on the criminal while a chance for communication and repair to occur, true transformation can take place within the individual. This same system can be applied in the home. Research has continually proven that authoritarian parenting practices are the most effective in producing adolescents and young adults who are well prepared to enter the world independently. In authoritarian homes the demandingness is high, meaning high expectations are consistently held while limits are firmly set and upheld. However, within this highly demanding home, there is a great level of warmth. Respect for each other, use of calm tones, and responsiveness to children’s needs are clearly demonstrated. It is this warmth that

makes the difference between the positive outcomes associated with authoritarian homes and the negative outcomes that are associated with authoritative homes (high demands and low warmth). Authoritarian homes can practice restorative justice on a daily basis as kids grow up making mistakes. This can start when children are very young and test the very limits that are placed on them. When a young child decides to throw their meal on the floor, a warm parent can start with empathy using statements such as, “Oh darn it, this is such a bummer.” This allows the child to understand that the parent is on the side of the child and the process moves on to the repair and encounter phases where communication occurs. When a child is too young to adequately clean the mess, the two can do it together. There can be further recognition that when the adult helps, that requires time which may mean more repair is required. Perhaps the child can then do another job the parent now does not have the time to complete, such as wiping the table or taking dishes to the dishwasher. The conversation must remain effective while communication includes both parent and child. “Now that I have helped clean up this mess, it caused me to be late in getting the rest of the dishes done. I think you could help by either clearing all the cups or all the plates. Can I count on you to do that for me?” When all is said and done, a parent should refrain from further lecture or explanation. The repair and encounter have taken place. To end with a lecture will cause the child to be resentful toward the parent as opposed to internalizing the responsibility onto themselves where transformation is at work. Ending with a statement such as, “I am glad we could work that out together. I love you,” in addition to a hug would be most effective.

Moving toward the regularly scheduled routine without further delay will allow for a full experience where once repaired, the child can move on with life as normal. This system works for older children and teens as well, though the earlier the process is begun the more effective and productive it is. Although it is quite painful for parents to allow consequences in their children’s lives, especially outside of the home, it is far better that they learn that all actions have consequences (either positive or negative) while they are young and still under parental guidance. When a child forgets their homework at home, breaks a neighbor’s window while playing with friends, or steals a pack of gum from the store, utilizing restorative justice in the home or supporting the restorative justice system of the neighbor, teacher, or store manager is absolutely necessary for raising kids who are able to take responsibility. In these situations, it may be necessary to find a quiet place to breathe and decompress so that anger and rage do not take center stage. Anger and rage do not facilitate communication and often shut down the opportunity for learning. Repaying the neighbor for the window with cash or through agreed upon acts of service over a period of time will allow the child to experience full accountability and responsibility while maintaining a healthy relationship with the neighbor. At the same time, the parent can save their energy for positive parenting and enjoyment! Allowing children to experience restorative justice engages an internal voice within them to ask, “I wonder how this next choice will affect my life?” Children who think this way are far less likely to participate in dangerous and unwise behaviors as they grow into young adults. Therein lies the greatest parenting reward. ■

Kelly Ackerman is a parent educator of evidence-based practice programs.


Sept 2016





Allowing children to experience restorative justice engages an internal voice within them to ask, “I wonder how this next choice will affect my life?”





Q. I heard there are some changes to the way


students apply for federal financial aid. What do I need to know to make sure my child doesn’t miss out on funding for postsecondary education?

The average number of sheets of toilet paper a person uses per day.

A. Students accustomed to completing the Free Application

for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at the beginning of the calendar year may now fill out this important form in the fall. In September 2015, President Obama announced that change to the federal student aid process, along with the opportunity for families to use income information from their “prior-prior year’s” taxes to complete the FAFSA. “This is a big change and school administrators, counselors and financial aid officers are revising their processes to address the new circumstances of the FAFSA,” said Rhonda Safford, statewide coordinator of Reach Higher Montana College Goal, previously College Goal Montana. “While the change will cause some confusion in this first year, we believe it will make filling out the FAFSA easier and less stressful for families across the country.” As part of the FAFSA changes, this form – which allows students and families to access federal student aid for the 2017-18 academic year – will be available on Oct. 1, 2016 rather than on Jan. 1, 2017. This accelerated time schedule will result in new priority FAFSA filing dates at U.S. postsecondary institutions. Students should confirm priority filing dates with their respective schools. “This shift in timing better aligns with college application efforts, providing students and families with the ability to tackle both of these tasks at once rather than separately,” Safford said. In addition, she is particularly encouraged that FAFSA filers this fall will be able to use their 2015 tax information (prior-prior year) to fill out the form. “Many FAFSA filers who were trying to meet the priority filing date on the previous system were unable to take advantage of the IRS data retrieval tool because they hadn’t completed their taxes,” Safford said. “By allowing the use of tax information from the prior-prior year, more families will be able to use this tool that automatically populates information in the FAFSA.” Safford emphasizes that the FAFSA process for the 2016-17 academic year remains the same, but students and parents should keep their eyes and ears open for additional information about the changes in store for 2017-18.

HAVE A QUESTION? We cannot guarantee all questions will be published; however, we will do our best to respond to all questions submitted.


Sept 2016





The number of pieces of wood in a violin.


The number of slices of pizza consumed each second in the U.S.


The length in inches of a giraffe’s tongue (so it can clean its ears).


The number in miles of DNA contained in the human body.


The length of time in minutes the shortest war lasted (between Zanzibar and England in 1896).

high school students has or will be in an abusive relationship

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Sept 2016



consent By ABBIE CHERMACK, Outreach and Education Coordinator, The Friendship Center


Sept 2016




Stanford. Vanderbilt. Steubenville, Ohio. St. Paul’s Prep School. What is something all of these have in common? They were recently in the headlines for sexual assault cases and highlighted the important issue of consent.

ne in six women will be a victim of an attempted or completed rape during their lifetime; female college students between the ages of 18-24 are three times more likely to be a victim of rape. So how do we protect our children from these troubling statistics? Communication. It’s important to talk about consent with your child starting at a young age and to talk openly about sexual consent starting in middle school. Consent is much more than the old adage “No Means No”. Consent is about communication. Consent is saying yes and feeling fully comfortable with what is happening. Share with your teen that consent is an ongoing dialogue about a specific activity between two people that can be revoked at anytime. This means that consent is verbal. Just because someone hasn’t explicitly said no does not mean they’ve said yes. It is very important to ask for consent every time for every activity. This means asking questions before any activity takes place, such as “Can I hold your hand?” or “Can I kiss you?” A yes to hand-holding does not imply a yes to a kiss. By checking in with their partner, your teen can learn to ensure that consent is still being freely given and either partner can change their mind at anytime and this is okay. Sometimes starting the conversation about consent can seem daunting, especially with your teenager. If you’re struggling with how to start the conversation, an easy opener is asking “Are your friends dating?” and then exploring how your child feels about their friends’ choices. Another great way to engage your teen in conversations around healthy relationships is making the most out of teachable moments. Use the news. Sexual assault and consent are too frequently in the headlines but offer great opportunities for engaging your teen in conversation. It’s important that the conversation happens with both sons and daughters. Hearing a song on the radio or watching a tv show or movie together can offer a

great opportunity to talk about healthy relationships, trust, respect of self and others, and peer pressure. Another great way to start the conversation is to read a young adult book together. A new resource called SVYALit Project can give parents and teachers reading ideas and the information to discuss sexual violence and consent. Once the conversation is started, keep it going. Offer space for your teen to explore their own feelings and values around relationships. Talk openly about your

Recent studies have shown that teens are waiting longer to engage in sexual activity. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to continue the conversations about sex and consent. In fact, one study showed that while 85% of parents surveyed thought they were having conversations about sex ‘very often’ or ‘often’, only 41% of teens felt the same way. own values and if you have any specific expectations for them as they start to date. Recognize that you may have differences in opinion, but differences can be used as a place for a healthy debate to help your teen think critically. Learn the age of consent in your state and

relate that information to your teen. Explain that if either party is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, passed out, or asleep they cannot consent to sexual activity. Sometimes your teen may not be willing to talk at the time we feel ready to talk to them. Recognize that and try again another time. They may also have questions that you can’t answer at the time. Let them know that you don’t have all the answers but you will help them explore and work through any questions they may have. Recent studies have shown that teens are waiting longer to engage in sexual activity. That doesn’t mean we don’t need to continue the conversations about sex and consent. In fact, one study showed that while 85% of parents surveyed thought they were having conversations about sex ‘very often’ or ‘often,’ only 41% of teens felt the same way. Peer pressure continues to be felt by teens. It’s important to talk about your child’s own behavior and putting themselves first. Explain that friends or partners who pressure them are not good friends. No one should do anything they don’t want to do or feel uncomfortable doing. There are many great online resources for both you and your teen to help conversations about healthy relationships, peer pressure, and consent. and are two great websites full of information for both parents and youth. is a website created for teens that covers many topics of sexuality and relationships. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network ( has information about sexual assault. If you are looking for consent specific information, has a funny video with tea as a metaphor for consent. Talk with your teen and tell them that if their partner is pressuring them to engage in activities that feel uncomfortable to them, that relationship may not be healthy. Help them know that you are there to listen to them, help them, and support them in the ways they need. ■




Sept 2016



Monday, September 26 Monday, September 26 7:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. HMS HMS Auditorium Auditorium

Learn to help your student excel in sport, competition, and life! John will discuss the imLearn to help your student excel in sport, competition, and life! John will discuss the importance portance of of sleep, sleep, nutrition, nutrition, and and what what drugs/alcohol drugs/alcohol do do to to the the adolescent adolescent body body and and brain. This is a DO NOT MISS high energy event for parents, students, and coaches! brain. This is a DO NOT MISS high energy event for parents, students, and coaches!

NATIONAL NATIONAL DRUG DRUG TAKE TAKE BACK BACK DAY DAY & & SCHOOL SCHOOL COMPETITION COMPETITION Saturday, Saturday, October October 22 22 10a—2p 10a—2p YMCA and Shopko Bring Bring expired expired and and unused unused medications medications to these locations for proper disposal. The Helena area elementary school Helena area elementary school with the highest percentage of participation will win a family family swimming/pizza swimming/pizza party. party. See See school newsletters for more details.

SCREENAGERS A movie movie about about growing growing up in the digital age A Thursday, November November 3 Thursday, 7:00 p.m. p.m. 7:00 St. Paul’s Paul’s United United Methodist Methodist Church Church St. See the the trailer trailer at at See

Presented by by Presented 22

Sept 2016




"It's a MUST SEE for anyone with kids in their lives!"

THE TRUTH ABOUT MARIJUANA There is a lot of conflicting information about marijuana. Here are some facts to dispel the myths. By KENZIE ANTILA, Prevention Fellow, Prevention Resource Center

MYTH Legalizing marijuana for adults doesn’t affect kids. FACTS  In past 30 days usage of marijuana by youth aged 12 to 17 years, Colorado leads all 50 states.  Teen admissions to treatment for marijuana at Arapahoe House

treatment network in Colorado has increased 66% between 2011-2014.

potency marijuana include anxiety, increased irritability, muscle twitching and limb spasms.  In Colorado, marijuana-based treatment programs are exceeded

only by alcohol treatment numbers, with ages 21-25 increasing the most of the last several years. Marijuana is the most commonly cited drug among primary drug treatment admissions in Montana.

 Marijuana-related poisonings have increased 153% for 0-5 year

MYTH Kids will be kids; it’s not that big of a deal

MYTH I did it growing up and I turned out just fine.

FACTS  Marijuana use during adolescence and early adulthood results in impaired neural connectivity in several areas of the brain including the hippocampus, a critical region associated with learning and memory.

olds from 2012-2014 in Colorado.

FACTS  Modern marijuana has been genetically modified to be more potent – six to 10 times higher in THC.  Typical THC content of marijuana today averages between 12

to 13% compared to 3% to 4% in the 70s and 80s. States with legalization have much higher THC content averages; in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, THC content averages around 24 to 26%, but is often seen as high as 36%.

MYTH Marijuana isn’t addictive and doesn’t hurt anyone. FACTS  50% of those using high-potency marijuana daily will experience withdrawal symptoms including poor sleep, decline in appetite, possible vomiting, and stomach pain. Side effects of this high

 Developmental problems associated with regular marijuana use

during adolescence include reduced IQ scores, poorer school performance, higher school dropout rates, as well as decreased attention and impaired cognitive and verbal performance.

 Daily users of marijuana younger than 17 are 60% less likely to

complete high school or get a degree than those who do not use marijuana. Teens who are daily users of marijuana are seven times more likely to attempt suicide and are eight times more likely to use other drugs later in life.

 Adolescents who use marijuana have a two-to-four fold increase

risk of developing psychosis.*

 Youth who use marijuana heavily have up to an eight-point drop in

IQ, which has not been proven reversible.* ■





Sept 2016


Don’t let it slow you down.

asthma Asthma triggers such as animal dander, smoke, and pollen, are different for different people. Therefore, it’s important to know your triggers and your medications. See your doctor regularly and have an updated asthma action plan.

Creating a stronger Community for loCal kids. 24

Sept 2016




406.457.0000 | | Helena, MT

Youth Connections 1025 N Rodney Helena, MT 59601

Do more. Be more. Reach Higher Montana guides, prepares, and supports students and families in their effort to attain higher education through offices located in:  Billings  Bozeman  Butte

 Great Falls

 Helena  Kalispell  Missoula We offer:  Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion help  Scholarship search and application assistance  Financial education  Support and advice for pursuing your goals for higher education

To connect with our knowledgeable advisors, call (877) COLG4ME or visit Follow us




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