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Parents: The Key to Kids’ Safety

DECEMBER 2016–FEBRUARY 2017

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DON’T SHOULD ON ME

» The 40 Developmental Assets: Social Competencies » Holidays in Reality » When Teens Try to Cope Alone

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DECEMBER 2016–FEBRUARY 2017

FEATURES

6 Don’t Should on Me 40 Developmental Assets: 14 The Social Competencies 16 Holidays in Reality 20 When Teens Try to Cope Alone 23 Parents: The Key to Kids’ Safety 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 PRINTED BY

PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH

TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE Barb Swierzbin: (989) 496-1425 bswierzbin@tlc4cs.org

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Director FROM THE

The Midland-based Community Alliance 4 Youth Success is dedicated to preventing teen substance abuse. The Alliance has adopted the Developmental Assets Framework as the foundation for its prevention efforts. Preventing alcohol, marijuana, and other drug use is no easy task, but the Alliance has demonstrated that when all sectors of the community come together, social change happens.

ABOUT THE LEGACY CENTER The Legacy Center provides evidence-based learning and developmental strategies, in collaboration with other organizations, to help individuals reach their full potential. Below are The Legacy Center’s program areas: LITERACY SERVICES: One-on-one tutoring in reading, spelling, math, and English as a Second Language enables people of all ages to reach their full potential. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT: We support initiatives and programs that ensure area youth excel and become productive members of society. The Center has adopted the concept of Developmental Assets, which immunizes youth against risk-taking behaviors. We also coordinate the activities of the Community Alliance 4 Youth Success, a group of local community leaders who are dedicated to preventing teen substance abuse. CONSULTING & EVALUATION SERVICES: Since its inception, the Center has helped local nonprofit organizations establish outcomes and evaluate their programs to determine whether and to what extent the program is effective in achieving its objectives. The results derived from these projects allow our partners to make program adjustments, retain or increase funding, assess community impact, engage collaborators, and gain favorable public recognition.

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he role of Developmental Assets in positive youth development is a frequent topic of conversation at The Legacy Center. We believe it’s essential that families, schools, agencies, businesses and community members work together to ensure that our youth experience as many asset-building opportunities as possible. Our recent survey of middle and high school parents indicated that 50 percent JENNIFER HERONEMA of the 1008 people surveyed are familiar with assets and, sadly, 50 percent are not. So it appears that we have work to do! In this issue, we are highlighting assets related to Social Competencies. These assets reflect important personal skills young people need to negotiate the maze of choices and options they face in the teenage years. They also lay a foundation for the development of independence and competence as young adults. Adolescence is a stressful time. It’s the perfect time for parents to teach their children positive coping mechanisms and problem-solving skills, both of which are necessary for them to become responsible and productive adults. Stress is unavoidable sometimes, so it’s important for children to develop good coping skills early on. Children who are taught refusal skills are more likely to make positive choices and avoid engaging in high-risk behaviors. Helping children set limits for themselves and say “no” to outside pressures increases their self-confidence. When children learn to stop and consider the consequences before responding to a request, as well as a variety of ways to say “no,” they become more adept at refusing to participate in anything that could harm themselves or others. Parents are one of the most important sources of information teens have regarding drug use, misuse and abuse. Youth who learn about the risks of drugs at home are at least 20 percent less likely to use drugs than those who do not hear that critical message from their parents. Thanks for the feedback you provided through the parent survey we conducted in August. We will use this information to guide the content of the magazine, as well as our activities throughout the community.

Follow The Legacy Center w w w.tlc4cs.org w w w.facebook.com/tlc4cs Follow the Community Alliance 4 Youth Success w w w.drugfreemidland.org

THE LEGACY CENTER FOR COMMUNITY SUCCESS Jennifer Heronema, President/CEO (989) 496-1425 jheronema@tlc4cs.org 3200 James Savage Rd, Ste 5 Midland, MI 48642


Scholarships Half a million dollars will go to Midland County students in 2017 through scholarship funds held at your community foundation. Students, apply online between December 1 March 1 at www.midlandfoundation.org

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Tools for Thriving Growth vs Fixed Mindset

A Fixed Mindset: Intelligence is a fixed trait A Growth Mindset: Intelligence is a quality that can be changed and developed

Midland Soccer Club Youth Recreational & Travel Soccer TOPSoccer (special needs) Adult Leagues

A growth mindset is a key tool for our youth to have and caring adults can help develop them by:

 Recreational youth leagues Ages u4 – u18  Developmental curriculum Ages u3 – u18

 Specialized goalkeeping training  Youth academies  College recruiting / coordinator  Host of two tournaments annually  Low club fees

www.midlandsoccerclub.org 989.832.0895

One Club. One Community. One Goal.

Helping Families Grow and Thrive Preschool for three- and four-year-olds at four locations Childcare for children ages 12 and under After-school and summer programs for youth and teens Summer food program from the USDA for youth ages 18 and under Dow College Opportunity Program to support and mentor high school students Parent education and social services Community computer lab with Internet access Call us for details at 989.832.3256, or visit WMFC.org Located at 4011 West Isabella Rd. (M-20) 14 miles west of Downtown Midland

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CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE y husband and I are both in our second marriage, and we have no children together. We use our dog as our surrogate child. However, as “our” last child graduated from college, the empty nest started to set in, and I felt like I needed to still nurture someone. I became a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer, where I spend one lunch hour a week with my Little, but that still did not seem to be enough. Hence, the conversation about being a host family for an exchange student began. I had heard of horror stories from other families who had hosted selfish kids from privileged homes, and they counted down days until the brat left. Through Rotary, the commitment was only for three to four months, so I figured I could deal with anything for that long. Two and a half months in, and the newest member of our family has ruined us from ever hosting again. She’s so wonderful that anyone would pale in comparison! It’s like having a small child again, where everything is new and exciting. We are also looking at the world through a different lens. What was a normal day for us is a new experience now. Going to a football game was a normal Saturday occurrence; now it’s the excitement of the crowd, seeing the mascot for the first time, and learning when to cheer. Going to a national park was always exciting, but there’s an added anticipation of spotting a wild

animal that “Clara” has never seen before in her life. Even food that we consider normal has an added thrill. I never knew there was not corn on the cob in France! I started thinking – why are the “everyday” occurrences that we’ve experienced over and over so exciting now? I also wondered if we made them that exciting when our kids were little, or were we too busy being parents and living life that we missed a lot of things that actually develop the great memories. I took my kids to football games and national parks, and we had corn on the cob. We’re not doing anything different with our French daughter than we did with our own kids. I don’t know if being older makes us appreciate experiences more, or if we have the knowledge to live in the moment and cherish simple things. It’s caused me to really think back to make sure that I was living in the moment and enjoying every little thing I did with my kids. We always hope our kids look back on their childhoods with fond memories. Unfortunately when they’re grown and gone, we don’t get the opportunity to have a “do-over.” Perhaps that’s why grandparents are so much more laid back and truly enjoy the time with their grandchildren, because they know those times are fleeting and are meant to be savored and enjoyed. We now have a new appreciation of the holidays. I’ve always decorated for every one

but tapered back when it was just us. This year everything came out! We always carved pumpkins, and even did when it was just the two of us, but it was a bigger production this year. And pictures! Every little event has a picture – mostly so we can post them to social media so her family can see what she’s doing. But did we take pictures of our kids when they had their first corn on the cob? Every new experience should involve a picture! I remember my mom saying when I was born (I was the first) there were pictures of everything. When my brother came along 13 months later, she was too darned busy to get pictures of him so, unfortunately, his baby book is considerably smaller than mine. Are we doing that with our kids? Too busy running here and there – getting them to practices, doing homework, working, cooking, etc – that we forget to stop and take a picture? Even if it’s a mental picture. Are we stopping just a moment to enjoy the simple things – the good grade on a paper, a surprise stop for ice cream, the excitement of seeing a wild animal for the first time? We will greatly miss this newest member of our family, but I think we have a new appreciation for every little thing – whether it’s with our kids, our grandchild, or even with ourselves. Life is too short not to enjoy every corn on the cob. ■

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR STORY AT: jheronema@tlc4cs.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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DON’T sho ON ME

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ould

By KELLY ACKERMAN, Independent Parental Enrichment Educator

It has happened to all parents. Children come home and begin on the bad things that have happened in their day. It may be that the teacher was unfair. It may be that a kid was mean. It may be that a best friend didn’t invite them to an after school outing. Or perhaps it was that the grade on their test wasn’t stellar and the problem, in their opinion, was test anxiety, so the grade really isn’t fair. n swoops the well-meaning parent whose years of experience can be imparted in this one scenario to their child who is ripe for listening. This is the big moment when a true life lesson can be learned. After all, the child has brought this problem right to the forefront so she or he must want parental guidance. So, before the story has even been completed, the parent’s brain is swarming with answers just waiting to share this wisdom and knowledge from parent to child to make all things right in the world once again. Just as the child takes a break to breathe, out pops, “Well sweetie, you should (fill in the blank).” Just as “you should” leaves the gateways of the mouth, the ears of the child have just as quickly been shut to any further messages. Further, should the message actually squeeze through the closed ear drum to the brain, and the child chooses to act in the way the parent has recommended, the parent is fully responsible for the result. The parental superhero cape can be donned with pride as the day has been officially saved. continued on page 9

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EXPLORE ! CREATE ! DISCOVER!

Teen Study Week Tuesday, January 17 – Sunday, January 22 Come to the Library for individual and group study spaces.

Cram Night Grades 9–12, School ID recommended Sunday, January 22, 5:30pm–8:00pm Auditorium Entrance Teens only study session at the Library. Bring your laptops. Enjoy pizza, snacks and drinks while you study.

at Midland Center for the Arts Video Games, Roller Coasters & More!

Snack & Yak Teen Book Club Grades 6–9 Friday, January 13, 6:30pm–8:00pm Read Nimona by Noelle Stevenson and then join us for snacks and a book discussion. Registration Required.

Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

On Exhibit JAN 28 APR 30, 2017 Go behind the scenes and DZ_Logo_FullColor_Stacked.eps see how math is used in fun, creative ways.

Youth Services: 837-3466 www.cityofmidlandmi.gov/library

www.mcfta.org/designzone

RECOVERING YOUTH FUTURES

YOUR

CHILD ON

IS COUNTING

YOU

Since you first held that tiny bundle in your arms, you’ve wanted to protect your child from harm. Why stop now? Misuse of alcohol and controlled substances could harm your child’s health, impair judgment and even lead to criminal charges. The time to intervene is

NOW.

Call today to schedule a free, one-on-one evaluation. 989∙832∙6855

A substance use evaluation & treatment program for Midland County youth

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continued from page 7

Or is this really the case? Let’s examine an example of the parent taking responsibility for a problematic situation. For instance, “You should just tell your friend that if that’s the way you are treated, you just can’t be friends anymore.” If this works out and the friend apologizes, you will now get to solve all your child’s problems because you are indeed a superhero and problems become too much for the child to solve independently. If this does not work out and the friend abandons the relationship in a mess of hurt and resentment, it will be your fault and your child will become angry with you, not the friend who left. Truly, no matter what results, your child suffers in the end. This is not a time to don the superhero cape at all. First of all, in the life of a child, hearing the words, “you should” indicates that the parent has all the pieces of information about the situation needed for solution. In reality, parents do not. When a child voices a problem, they are sharing their limited perception of what has happened. If wise parents take a moment to realize that the teacher or other child may well be reporting the same problem to a parent, boss or spouse, this version of the same situation may sound much different. In this moment of reflection, a parent can understand that the depth and breadth of the situation is never as shallow or simple as the child is making it sound. Further, it is usually obvious in these instances that children and teens are ultimately struggling emotionally with the presence of sadness, fear, anger, or shame. At this moment of parental realization, remove the superhero cape, the need to find the answer, and fully listen to the emotional message. It is at these moments that children truly need to be heard. Though it feels foreign and unfinished, it is the proper time to simply let the child know that their

feelings have been received and affirmed. It may sound something like this: “Oh, my goodness. That is really terrible and frustrating.” In this small gift, the unconditional acceptance of the child has just been granted, regardless of the feeling they are expressing. This emotional connect is honestly the need of all children and teens – to be accepted by their parents for who they are and not what they do. Yet, sitting with a child in a painful state is easier said than done. Though necessary, it takes practice, patience, and perseverance. Second of all, allow your child the opportunity to problem solve independently. If, after the emotion has been acknowledged, the urge to slip on that superhero cape returns with the need to spew greatness in order to return your child’s emotion back to a more positive state, bite your tongue. In this moment of reflection, remember that the bigger picture of parenting is to coach and support children into being able to handle problems in the world on their own so that when they leave the nest, they can fly and feel confident in their ability to navigate through joy and through sorrow. In this moment, gently ask one question, “What do you think you will do?” This question opens a huge doorway of possibilities and communicates a great deal of confidence. If the problem belongs to the child or teen, and the message of confidence that it can be resolved is delivered in a gentle and loving way, the power to problem solve begins to develop. In addition, it paves the way to further communication as problems get bigger and trickier. A teen who has support to solve problems independently is more likely to continue engaging parents and adults who provide thoughtful support. Those teens who do not have this gift are likely to solve problems on their

own in potentially harmful or negative ways without seeking the support of others. Additionally, teens may shut down completely, thinking they are unable to handle the world at all, feeling lost, alone, and rejected. Sending the message of confidence while opening the doorway to further communication leads to healthy parent-child relationships in which parents have superhero powers that do not need capes, masks, or theme music. The power simply transfers to their children who are able to recognize problems as setbacks with solutions. It is important to recognize that in handing a problem back to a child or teen, the response may be a shrug of the shoulders indicating that she or he does not know what possibilities for resolution are available. It is in these moments that parents can ask permission to share some thoughts and ideas. However, it is essential that the phrase “you should” be left out of the conversation, or this process gets lost. Nevertheless, sharing similar experiences and ways in which problems were successfully handled, while discussing things in the third person, still leaves the door open. Taking great care not to move into lecture or diatribe, this may sound like, “When I was your age, I remember a similar situation.” Moving to the point of resolution in this story and being honest about whether the situation was resolved or not resolved is the golden opportunity to share this expertise that has been on the tip of your tongue. Follow up your message with the question, “How do you think that would work in your situation?” This allows the child/teen to engage in a bit of critical thinking. Here’s the gut wrencher: If your idea is rejected, do not take it personally. Your child knows the situation better than you do and your ideas or suggestions may not feel comfortable for www.tlc4cs.org

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him/her. When rejection happens, reiterate that you know they are struggling but that you believe they have the ability to handle this on their own, and that you look forward to hearing how it turns out: “This is a really tough situation. Even though my idea doesn’t sound like a good one to you, I know you have the ability to handle this. Let me know how it works out.” Again, leaving a situation unresolved feels uncomfortable for parents. Getting our children out of discomfort and distress is what feels good to all involved, but it sends the wrong message. Sitting in the discomfort, while offering authentic love and support, allows our children to experience and share their emotions, move through them with the company of those who love them, and gain confidence in their ability to handle their lives. Overall, children and teens can be supported in their journey to solve everyday problems. Yet, it is important to remember that there are difficulties that may be too big for kids. When battling mental health issues, bullying, addictions, etc., parents need to actively engage in the solution by finding and utilizing appropriate resources. Not every problem has a solution that is within reach for an individual and help is absolutely necessary. Notwithstanding these circumstances, for handling the day-to-day dilemmas of life, parents can hang up their “you should” superhero cape, replacing it with the often invisible cape that leads to true parental success by making the child the hero of his/her own world. Keeping the big picture of parenting in mind, that in the end, giving children the gifts of feeling emotionally secure while navigating, and finding power over life’s struggles, prepares young adults to live with self-assurance and independence, makes both the parent and the child true superheroes. ■

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Check out who’s standing out in our community. IS THERE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE? Please visit our website http://tlc4cs.org/faces-in-the-crowd/ and tell us why this individual has stood out in your crowd.

Ethan White

FACES IN THE CROWD

MIDLAND COUNTY EDUCATIONAL SERVICE AGENCY, 10TH GRADE

Ethan is a polite, outgoing and charming individual who has overcome his share of obstacles, including living with Tourette’s. He enjoys working in The Hub at the Midland County Educational Service Agency, and his customers love the high level of customer service he provides. Ethan is well-known in his community, often being asked to present to groups about his personal journey while offering insight on how to overcome bumps in the road. Outside of school, he enjoys being a puppeteer and has produced a couple shows with MCTV. He won a Regional Award for his first show.

Josh Hilliard

COLEMAN JR./SR. HIGH SCHOOL, 11TH GRADE

Josh is an active member of his school community. He is a member of National Honor Society, Coleman Board Scholars and the Coleman Comet spirit club. Josh is a role-model and leader among the student body. He has enjoyed much success as a student athlete, as well. Josh is a member of the varsity basketball and baseball teams. He is a diligent student and maintains a 3.7 Grade Point Average. Josh is currently involved in the Great Lakes Bay Region Youth Leadership program run by Saginaw Valley State University. He is looking forward to attending college after high school and studying for his degree.

Nancy Hoefer

BULLOCK CREEK HIGH SCHOOL, TEACHER

Nancy is a Spanish and English teacher at Bullock Creek High School. She has taught in the district since 1999. Nancy is co-advisor for Creekers for a Cause. Over the years, the club has raised and donated approximately $40,000 to help families in need from the Bullock Creek community. Most of the money is raised through pledges earned by completing a Sanford Lake Triathlon/Duathlon each year. Nancy also helps to coordinate many volunteer opportunities for the members including: Breakfast with Santa, Midland Epilepsy Stroll, and ringing bells for the Salvation Army, to name a few. Her caring spirit is evident in the many, many hours she devotes to Creekers for a Cause.

Memorial Presbyterian Church

VOLUNTEERS

This fall, a group of middle school youth and their advisors participated in the Midland Area CROP Hunger Walk. They joined more than 200 other participants to raise funds and awareness about hunger issues. Alejandra Brenes, Andrew Brenes, Anthony Brenes, Wil Kuper and Madelyn Schacher took the message of the walk to heart. For two years, they have enthusiastically volunteered to carry two buckets of water on the 5K walk with them. Five kilometers is the average distance people in parts of the world must walk daily to find safe water. This act of the youth carrying buckets of water is a tangible representation of these struggles and a powerful reminder to us all about taking action to help.

Grace A. Dow Memorial Library

ORGANIZATION

In January, the library will celebrate 62 years of service to our community. Over the years, the library has evolved to meet changing needs of local teens. More than 800 teens participate in the annual Summer Reading Program, and another 50 have volunteered at the library. Volunteering gives them the opportunity to act as role models for younger patrons and gain experience. The SAT Practice Test gives high school students the experience of taking the college entrance exam without the pressure of having their score recorded. On Cram Night, teens have access to the library after hours to prep for exams. The library also offers book discussions, Fab Friday game and craft nights and other events throughout the year.

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The Legacy Center is looking for volunteer to support our adult and youth literacy programs. Our next training session is scheduled for January 23, 25, 30 and February 1, 2017 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.

If you or anyone you know might be interested, contact Kristi or Lorna at 989-496-1425 for more information.

You can make a difference! Call us Today! (989) 496-1425 www.tlc4cs.org

Serving Midland, Bay, Saginaw and Isabella Counties

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

Literacy Tutors Needed

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

Volunteer as a family and change the life of a child, for the better, forever! www.bbbsgreatlakesbay.org (989) 631-5360

Turn the page to learn more! www.tlc4cs.org

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assets in action

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

14 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.

Zombies take part in 5K Trail Run/Walk

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 Creekers show support for their teacher

It’s Zumba time at the Siebert Elementary Walkathon

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

Midland High Band members participate in Relay for Life

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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 submit the information through http://tlc4cs.org/assets-in-action/ with a picture and the number of the asset the picture represents.

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.

22 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.

Dow High students participate in Bot Bash 2016

POSITIVE VALUES

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

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Midland Reformed Church Club 45 enjoys pizza after volunteering

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.

This student believes all children deserve healthy food choices

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An ACEA student participates in College Decision-Day event

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.

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40 THE

DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

social

COMPETENCIES

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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 the second in a series to highlight the eight categories of assets in order more fully engage families, schools, agencies, businesses, and community members in ensuring our children experience as many assets as possible. SOCIAL COMPETENCIES This developmental asset consists of the following five aspects: 1. PLANNING & DECISION MAKING 2. INTERPERSONAL COMPETENCE 3. CULTURAL COMPETENCE 4. RESISTANCE SKILLS 5. PEACEFUL CONFLICT RESOLUTION Young people need the Planning and Decision Making skills to interact effectively with others, make difficult decisions, and cope with new situations. These are life skills that will help them be independent, capable, and competent. How many times have we learned at eight o’clock at night that a major project that was due the next day? Providing daily planners for children can help them organize their homework, tests, and after school activities. We can teach them to plan and make decisions on the steps necessary to complete the task on time. If it’s a presentation, do they need poster board or additional supplies? Asking ‘what if’ questions help them think about what needs to be done and identify

powerful motivator for youth. By talking about how their peers mark life changes, like hazing, gambling, sexual activity, and substance abuse, skills and plans can be developed before a child is confronted with the situation. Talk about the importance of thinking for oneself and encourage them to believe in the value of their own good choices. Teach them nonviolent resistant skills like walking away, being assertive but not passive or overly aggressive, and where to find a trained peer mediator to help. Kids need to have the skills to deal with conflict that won’t send them to the principal’s office or interacting with law enforcement. Mostly, affirm when teens make good choices. They need to hear that they’re doing the right thing. Peaceful Conflict Resolution teaches kids to seek to resolve conflict nonviolently. A great tool to use is the stoplight: red – I’m too angry to talk right now; yellow – I’m not as upset, but I still don’t have a clear head; green – I’m calm enough to discuss the situation. Anyone in the family has the option of identifying with a color. It’s not a way to dispense with the issue, it does need to be dealt with, but it’s put off until both parties can speak calmly and with a clear head. Lastly, we need to know when to tell our children that we’re sorry. It needs to be honest and sincere, and we must avoid the temptation of soothing our own conscience by offering gifts. Things we can do to support kids and create environments where they can thrive:

possible consequences. All these skills will help them become better students, and eventually good employees. Interpersonal Competencies give a young person tools to have empathy, be sensitive, and have good friendship skills. We can do this by reminding them they need to treat us with respect, which includes saying please and thank you, and acknowledging our presence. Often kids are so involved in their technology that they can become oblivious to everything around them. On the flip side, we as parents can be the same way. When conversing with our kids, we need to use active listening, which means asking good questions, paraphrasing what they’re saying to make sure we understand, and showing empathy. This will go a long way to building meaningful relationships with our kids, as well as letting them know we truly care how they feel. We also need to teach them how to share their feelings with words, rather than actions. Modeling and explaining “I statements” will give them the skills to tell us what is going on, rather than getting frustrated and shutting down. “I statements” are “I feel ____ when you ____, because of ____.” It avoids statements that may solicit a defense, for example, “You make me so mad.” Cultural Competencies allow a young person to be knowledgeable and comfortable with people of different cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. We need to pay attention to what we say and how we say it about people. Kids are like a sponge and will absorb and pick up on our comments. We need to teach kids that everyone has personal values, even if they are different from our own. We can teach them to respect differences by attending cultural events and even talk about the subtle messages given in a TV show or movie by discussing if all characters look, sound, and dress a certain way. Resistance Skills give kids tools on how to resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations. Peer pressure is a

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 Expose

them to new people and things

 Model

and teach the skills that they need

 Challenge

them to use their skills

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. ■

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HOLIDAYS IN REALITY:

What Happens When the Holidays Don’t Look Like They Do in the Movies? By CHAPLAIN CHRIS HAUGHEE, Intermountain Residential

look back on those memories of childhood with a clarity we didn’t have then. Behind the bows and lights, and hidden in the dark corners where the candlelight didn’t reach, there were all the stresses and hurt I feel now as an adult. I am sure my parents were missing their loved ones who had passed, just as I miss my dad who passed last year. The running around from school program to church service to the mall for Christmas shopping undoubtedly tempered their enthusiasm for our celebrations. There were substance abuse issues, strained marriages heading to divorce, and dire health diagnoses that existed throughout my childhood that were as ever-present as our family gathered to share meals and make memories. That’s why my expectations of the holidays, shaped by the movies to conclude with a happy ending despite any difficulty, leave me confused and always a little melancholy as an adult. Intellectually, I recognize how silly it is to mourn the loss of an ideal holiday that never truly existed, but my heart longs for that happy ending and saccharine sweet Hollywood storyline. So, what should we do when we are stressed out, disappointed, or depressed at the prospect of the holidays with no sign of immediate relief ? I have a few suggestions that have proven helpful for me. First, name false expectations out loud. Sometimes just speaking the words, “I can’t have a great Christmas unless [fill in the blank]!” helps you see how silly it is. Our joy shouldn’t hang on the outcome of the

hile far from ideal, my childhood provided me with great memories of the holidays. I recall special days of decorating cookies with my Aunt Shirley, sharing a bowl of homemade Chex mix with my Grandpa Haughee while watching football, attending candlelight services at church, and enjoying special meals where family came together. We were a firmly entrenched middle-class American family, and one of the few times of excess and celebration centered around the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seemed a time when it was “all about the kids,” and being a kid, therefore, was pretty great. Through my adolescence and young adult years, music and movies took a significant role in shaping my images of the holidays. I still love to crank up Bing Crosby’s Christmas album and watch the Christmas classics when they come on TV. One of the best parts of moving from the Pacific Northwest to Montana a decade ago was that I could sing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” with an expectation that my “dream” will actually come true! I love the lights and the decorations and can honestly say that the holidays are my favorite time of year. This is despite the fact that they are also the hardest time of the year for me. Try as I might, my holidays don’t look like they do in the movies. Only as an adult can we appreciate the stress that the holidays must have brought our own parents. It is as if, through our own experience as parents and adults, we can

weather, our family’s gratitude, or getting that item on our Christmas list. Joy comes from within, not without. Take a deep breath. It will be okay, and okay is good enough. Secondly, manage moments and take time for people, not tasks. Some of the greatest moments during the holidays can be found in chance encounters. If you rush around getting tasks done, you’ll miss these moments of joy. Plan for connection with people, realizing that being together is what’s important — whether it’s over a store-bought cookie or one you spent six hours baking in your kitchen. It’s about being fully present at your child’s concert or performance, not capturing it for Instagram or other social media. Third, get outside yourself by serving. When our holidays are about our experience and how we feel about them, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment. But, if we look for opportunities to serve someone else and brighten their day, lightening their load, we shift our gaze from our expectations to another’s need. It just may tap us into a deeper reality behind the holidays. Lastly, if you take good care of yourself as a parent this holiday season, you’ll be better equipped to provide that wonderful holiday you want for yourself and your family. Your children will thank you for it, and they will appreciate the tradition you build around a more balanced and relationally-focused holiday more than any present you could buy them. ■

The Reverend Chris Haughee is a licensed minister of the Evangelical Covenant Church and has served since 2012 as chaplain of the residential services at Intermountain in Helena, Montana. An adoptive father to two, Haughee is an advocate for greater inclusion of foster and adoptive families in the life and ministry of local congregations. You can follow his ministry at www.intermountainministry.org or learn more about Intermountain’s many services for children and families at www.intermountain.org.

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BY THE

NUMBERS

Q. How do I overcome having a high ACE score? A. Having a high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score

– or any ACE score for that matter – is only one component of understanding how childhood adversity may affect us. Second, ACE scores are not “apples and apples.” I may have an ACE score of two, and you may have a score of five. Yet, how I experienced my two ACEs has resulted in more significant negative health and/or social outcomes than how you experienced your five ACEs. The key word is experienced. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study is rock-solid, data driven, deep research that is sweeping the nation and changing how we think of ourselves and those around us. It is probably the largest public health study ever, and its implications will result in elevating the well-being and futures of our children and families. How the human brain develops is heavily influenced by what we experience. The ACE Study shows us that abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction can result in toxic stress, which is when the stress response system (primarily the hormones/chemicals cortisol and adrenaline) is activated frequently or prolonged. These chemicals can actually become toxic in a child’s brain. And when they do, they can impair proper brain development, which may result in serious negative health and social outcomes throughout one’s lifetime. They may result – not necessarily do. Adversity is not destiny. Which is why my two ACEs may hurt me more than your five. The most powerful component in dealing with ACEs (no matter the score) is a healthy, consistent, nurturing adult relationship. That is what we all need to be for all of our children. If you’re an adult, pretty much the same thing…it’s all about healthy relationships. Yes, your ACE score may have had negative effects on your physical and social health. What do you do? Find your ACE score (www.WhatsYourACEscore.com), then find your Resilience score (www.elevatemontana.org/resiliencetest/). Learn about ACES and resilience, not just your scores. Next, find a trusted person you can talk with. Forgiveness is a huge component. Let the blame and shame melt away. Learn about mindfulness. Consider this book: Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal by Donna Jackson.

HAVE A QUESTION?

email: jheronema@tlc4cs.org We cannot guarantee all questions will be published; however, we will do our best to respond to all questions submitted.

3000

The number of different bacteria on every dollar bill you touch. www.funfactz.com

3

The number of ounces a human hair can support. www.funfactz.com

15

The number of minutes a Crayola crayon will burn for when used as a candle. www.funfactz.com

2740

The number of years it would take to go broke if you had $1 billion and spent $1000 every day. www.funfactz.com

70

The number of straight days the longest game of Monopoly lasted. www.funfactz.com

576

The number of megapixels the human eye would have if it were a digital camera. www.funfactz.com

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Change a Teen’s Life: Become a Midland Mentor!

EEing FR pcom

U ams Progr

r

te

Win

Exploration Days

Dec 17, 2016Jan 8, 2017

Mon-Sat 8 am-5 pm Sun and select holidays 12-5 pm

A variety of indoor experiments, fun facts, crafts & scavenger hunts! Fri & Sat, April 7 & 8

www.midlandkidsfirst.org

W

For more information contact: Sue Landis, Program Director slandis@co.midland.mi.us (989) 837-6255

n

We are seeking volunteers for our Midland Mentors program at the Juvenile Care Center. As few as two hours a week can make a huge difference in a teen’s life. No experience necessary. Training provided.

Winter SolsticeC Celebration

Sat, Dec 17 | 6-8 pm

Tickets on sale Jan 6! • • • •

Roll a beeswax candle Try candle dipping Make an evergreen wreath Hear solstice stories

Nature’s New Year’s Eve • watch for nocturnal animals • finger foods and a sparkling juice toast Sat, Dec 31 | 7-8 pm

www.chippewanaturecenter.org /cncmidland Facebook “f” Logo

CMYK / .eps

Facebook “f” Logo

CMYK / .eps

400 S Badour Rd, Midland • 989.631.0830 •

Feeling sad, confused, hopeless?

Don't know what to do?

It's OK to “Ask4Help!” 1-800-273-TALK Text Line 741741 ide om of Suic barb@aol.c s r o v i sos Surv ed by nfo contact r o s n Spo or i nings i a r t yellowribbon.org r Fo www.tlc4cs.org

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WHEN TEENS TRY TO

cope alone By JOELLE JOHNSON, LCSW, LAC, Intermountain Co-Occurring Therapist

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Identify and talk about the problem

Spend time outside and exercise

ecently, a young girl was brought to my therapy practice by her mother. The girl had attempted suicide a week earlier, which was a sudden and traumatic alert that her daughter was struggling with depression. The first therapy session held more surprises as the daughter revealed she had been feeling very depressed for over a year. With both genuine shock and concern, her mother asked why she had never told her mom about her feelings. The hopelessness so often prevalent in depression shone through the young girl’s response; “I didn’t talk about my feelings because I didn’t think it would help.” For over a year, this young girl attempted to cope with her depression as well as her overwhelming hopelessness on her own. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have witnessed this interaction between parent and child in my therapy office. Parents are sometimes caught off guard by the extent of their teen’s emotional challenges and attempts to cope with these challenges. Often, teens are confused by their own emotions, have difficulty putting their experiences into words or knowing how to ask for help. Trying to communicate their emotional struggles — or even understand them — teens often attempt to cope in isolation. They may withdraw from important people and activities that are creating anxiety. Ongoing feelings of sadness may been seen through increased irritability, conflict, and even aggression. They may begin to use substances to numb or dull the intensity of emotions. Self-harming behaviors such as cutting or burning on the body are also sometimes used to create physical pain as a distraction from intense emotional pain. And though these attempts are unhealthy and often downright dangerous, they can also be understood if we compare them to our own attempts to cope with physical

Eat well and get enough sleep

Get professional assistance if needed

into the problem, the simple act of reaching out to another person to share emotional struggles can be therapeutic in and of itself. Feeling cared about, understood, and experiencing the compassion and concern from another person can lessen the intensity of feelings of anxiety or depression. Parents are in the perfect position to provide this support to their children. When teens share emotional difficulties, open communication by asking them, “How can I help?” They may want a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, or they may want advice — let them guide the response. Wonder with them about specific stressors or fears that may be impacting their mood, but if they aren’t able to identify anything specific, don’t get stuck there. The biological component of a mental health challenge may make it difficult to identify situations or reasons for experiencing emotional shifts. A continued focus on identifying “why” will likely shut down communication from a teenager. An empathic response will help a teen to feel understood, opening the door to identifying any underlying issues and effective coping strategies. Strategies may include increasing activities that produce dopamine and endorphins such as spending time outside, exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep. Relaxation techniques or taking planned and frequent breaks from stressful or anxiety producing tasks may also be useful. Above all, parents should continue to support and encourage an ongoing conversation with their teen about their emotional health. Parents also need to be aware of when their teen may need professional assistance. Two weeks is a good guideline, meaning, if a teen is experiencing feelings of depression, hopelessness or anxiety lasting two weeks or more, a referral to a mental health professional is warranted. ■

pain. Think of having a sore back. We may be able to shift our sitting or standing position to offer some temporary relief, but if the pain is being caused by a slipped disc or pinched nerve, the pain will return and will likely intensify and worsen if measures to address the underlying issue are not taken. A more effective approach might be going to the doctor for an examination and then following through with recommendations like physical therapy or surgery. Obviously, while having

When teens share emotional difficulties, open communication by asking them, “How can I help?” They may want a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, or they may want advice — let them guide the response. much more positive and lasting outcomes, these measures also will take more time and effort. Additionally, we cannot fully execute these measures on our own, but will need the partnership of a medical professional and also likely the support of friends, family and co-workers to effectively heal. Effective coping for mental health challenges is much the same. Often the first step toward healing is to identify and talk about the problem. Besides clueing others

Joelle Johnson, LCSW, LAC has over ten years of experience treating adolescents with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse issues in outpatient and correctional settings and served as the project director to help shape the unique co-occurring treatment program at Intermountain in Helena, Montana.

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THE LEGACY CENTER Mental Health Tops List of Parental Concerns By JENNIFER HERONEMA In August, The Legacy Center, administered an online survey to solicit feedback on topics that matter to parents of teens. More than 1,000 people responded to the survey, and we have begun using the feedback to direct our town hall sessions and articles in YC Magazine. We were not surprised that youth mental health and wellness was top of mind for parents. Our kids are experiencing an ever-increasing amount of stress.

bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and online. Teens need adult guidance to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. When a teen’s moods disrupts their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that needs attention.

The Midland County Youth Study conducted by The Legacy Center in December 2015 showed that depression, suicide attempts and eating disorders have risen significantly over the past five years:  

Mental health problems affect nearly every family. Yet, as a community, we have too often struggled to have open and honest conversations about these issues. Misperceptions, fears of social consequences, discomfort associated with talking 17% (917) said they felt sad or depressed about these issues with others and discrimination most or all of the time in the past month all tend to keep us silent. With help, most people 14% (798) said they attempted suicide one or with mental illness can and do recover and lead happy, productive and full lives. more times

15% (855) said they had engaged in bulimic or A group of community leaders came together this year to focus on increasing mental health services anorexic behavior in our schools. The team partnered with the The study also showed that Developmental Assets University of Michigan to develop a webpage— that focus on young people's view of themwww.classroommentalhealth.org—which lists selves—their own sense of power, purpose, locally available resources for parents of teens, worth, and promise—also have decreased. teachers and other school professionals. Simply Without these Positive Identity assets, young go to the page, click on resources, then choose people risk feeling powerless and without a sense MI—Midland from the dropdown menu. This page of initiative and purpose. is updated on a frequent basis with new information. It’s not unusual for young people to occasionally experience "the blues" or feel "down in the More information about efforts to improve dumps." Adolescence is always an unsettling time, mental health services for Midland County with the many physical, emotional, social and residents of all ages will be available over the psychological changes that accompany this stage next several months. of life.

Unrealistic academic, social or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things "never go their way." They feel "stressed out" and confused. To make matters worse, teens are

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Jennifer Heronema is President & CEO of The Legacy Center for Community Success. She can be reached at jheronema@tlc4cs.org. More information about Developmental Assets and the Midland County Youth Study can be found at www.tlc4cs.org/youth-development.

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PARENTS: The Key to Kids’ Safety By MACKENZIE ANTILA, Prevention Fellow, Prevention Resource Center

arents are one of the most important sources of information teens have regarding drug use, misuse, and abuse. Although 34% of parents believe there is little they can do to prevent their kids from trying drugs or alcohol, that is simply not true. Youth who learn about the risks of drugs at home are at least 20% less likely to use drugs than those who do not hear that critical message from their parents, (2013 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study). Know and explain to children the levels of prescription drug abuse. Improper use is taking someone else’s prescription to self-medicate. Misuse is taking a prescription medication in a way other than prescribed, such as in higher doses or mixing it with other substances. Abuse is taking a prescription medication with the intention to get high. Just because it was prescribed by a doctor, doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous. Prescription drug abuse is over 15 times deadlier than meth, heroin, and cocaine use combined when comparing overdose death rates. Get educated on the slang terms teens use. Prescription medications with the highest abuse potential are: OPIOIDS Prescribed to treat pain, include Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet. Slang: Vikes, Roxies, Oxy, or Cotton CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DEPRESSANTS Used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, include Valium, Xanax, and Ambien. Slang: Benzos, Z-bars or Downers

STIMULANTS Often prescribed to treat ADD and ADHD, include Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvance. Slang: Vitamin R, Candy, Addy, or Speed OVER-THE-COUNTER (OTC) MEDICATIONS Include cough and cold medicines such as Benadryl, Sudafed, and Robitussin. Slang: Robotripping, Tussin, Skittles, or Dex Nearly 70% of prescription drug abusers get their drugs from friends or family, and most are getting them for free. They may be given these prescription medicines or often they are stolen out of medicine cabinets, bathrooms, and purses. When medication is no longer needed, it is best to remove it from the home by safely and responsibly disposing of it. There is a drug drop box in the main hall of the Law Enforcement Center at 2727 Rodd Street in Midland. It is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Community Alliance 4 Youth Success also hosts several Dump Your Drugs! events throughout the year at various locations. Disposal is anonymous and serves only to remove expired, unused or unwanted pharmaceuticals to reduce risk of them being improperly used or stolen. By properly disposing of unneeded medications and speaking to your children about the dangers of abusing medications you can greatly reduce the chances of them getting involved in drugs or alcohol. ■ www.tlc4cs.org

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#suicideprevention

{

STAY WITH THAT PERSON LISTEN, REALLY LISTEN GET THEM TO HELP OR CALL SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP NEVER KEEP A SECRET ABOUT SUICIDE. IT IS BETTER TO LOSE A FRIEND THAN FOR A FRIEND TO LOSE THEIR LIFE.

{

 

 

 

www.cmhcm.org ∙ 800.317.0708

At MPC we believe that YOU ARE SPECIAL and we would like to invite you to one of our youth programs designed specifically with YOU in mind. In these groups we encourage SHARING life stories with one another, GROWING our faith as individuals in a safe environment, and LIVING THE GOOD NEWS of Jesus together. Visit mempres.org for more information.

1310 Ashman Street I Midland, Michigan I 989-835-6759 I mempres.org

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We provide a healing environment through peer support to children, teens and their families who are grieving a death

www.childrensgriefglbr.org


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The Legacy Center for Community Success 3200 James Savage Road, Suite 5 Midland, MI 48642

SUPPORT FOR

LOCAL ATHLETES

PLAY TIME WITH DAD In addition to injury prevention, MidMichigan Health’s WellSport program is designed to help expedite the assessment, referral and treatment of athletes of all ages suffering from strains, sprains, contusions, fractures, joint injuries and concussions. The program focuses on injury prevention through education and training, helping injured athletes return to play as safely and quickly as possible, and managing medical conditions that can affect performance.

For more information, visit midmichigan.org/wellsport or call (989) 837-9350.

YC Magazine - Legacy - Dec/Jan 2017