YC Magazine, The Legacy Center - Dec 2020–Feb 2021

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Why the Surge in Vaping Marijuana?

DECEMBER 2020–FEBRUARY 2021

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WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY CHILD WHO IS BEING BULLIED? » Understanding and Addressing Anxiety » The Sleep Hygiene Quiz » Listen to Hear and Not Respond


People need help, not shame. Save lives. End stigma. Learn more: www.peer360recovery.org/chances-are.html @PEER360Recovery

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INSIDE DEC 2020–FEB 2021

FEATURES

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What Can I Do to Help My Child Who is Being Bullied?

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Understanding and Addressing Anxiety

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The Sleep Hygiene Quiz: How Do You Rate?

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Listen to Hear and Not Respond

Why the Surge in Vaping 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 / By the Numbers PRINTED BY

PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH

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

COVER PHOTO BY

Wandering Albatross Photography www.tlc4cs.org

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Director FROM THE

Bullock Creek High School juniors and seniors volunteered in their community this fall to help homeowners continue to repair their homes from the May flood. To see how you can still help this effort, go to: https://unitedwaymidland.org/ resources/flood-resources/.

Thank you for supporting Youth Connections Magazine.

ABOUT THE LEGACY CENTER The Legacy Center changes the trajectory of people’s lives as we help them reach their full potential. We help our neighbors build the reading and language skills they need to succeed. We equip young people to make responsible choices. We are a local collaborative partner committed to increasing the impact of agencies in Midland County.

2020, a year filled with challenges, is ending. I’m reminded of a quote I saw recently, “Give yourself credit for the days you made it when you thought you couldn’t.” This year, I think we have all learned we are stronger than we thought we were. Families have felt increases in anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. We decided to focus this issue on tools to help families power through the tough KATHRYN TATE winter months, especially during this particularly difficult period. According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 high school students were bullied at school and 1 in 6 were bullied electronically last year. With higher rates of screen time, cyber bullying is a real concern. We are thankful that Dr. Lanz offers handson, easy-to-use tools to help kids who may be experiencing bullying. Just like teaching your kids how to avoid drugs and alcohol, practice helps them build the skills necessary to stand up to bullying. The article gives specific words kids can use to prepare them for real-life encounters. In the hustle of everyday life, we often react to our children’s words without truly listening to them. We, as parents, want to jump in to fix everything when kids just sometimes need to be heard and understood. Kelly Ackerman has given us some great advice on how to build stronger relationships with our kids by truly listening to them to understand their needs. The pandemic has presented added stressors, so we felt it was important to focus on ways to help ourselves and our kids deal with stress and provide tools for success. Healthy sleep habits and coping skills will help all of us deal with the anxiety presented by the pandemic. This issue has an article on each of these topics. Lastly, we know that volunteering can help kids and families feel good about themselves. Even during a pandemic, there are ways to instill the value of volunteerism in your children. Helping others is a great tradition to start for the holidays. Here’s to a healthy and happy holiday season and New Year filled with hope! Follow The Legacy Center w w w.tlc4cs.org w w w.facebook.com/tlc4cs Support provided by the Alden and Vada Dow Family Foundations

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

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COUNSELING, EDUCATION, SUPPORT We provide free crisis services and affordable counseling on a sliding fee scale to families and people of all ages. Video and telephone appointments are available. Family Issues • Relationships • Bullying LGBTQ Support • Grief Counseling Substance Use • Pregnancy Support

Study agriscience in a whole new way at the Coleman Regional Agriscience Center. This Career-Technical Education (CTE) Program serves students from all Midland County schools and meets two hours daily.  Two-year and Early/Middle College Program  Earn high school and college credits plus industry certifications  Prepare for more than 250 high-demand careers

No matter what your concern, reach out. We can help.

 FFA Leadership Training Contact: Jennifer McCormack, Superintendent Coleman Community Schools jmccormack@colemanschools.net (989) 465-6060

Family & Children’s Services 989.631.5390 • fcs-midland.org

RECOVERINGYOUTH YOUTH FUTURES RECOVERING FUTURES YOUR

CHILD IS COUNTING ON YOU

THE

TIME TO INTERVENE IS NOW

We take the financial barrier out of treatment. If your child is struggling with substance use, please call for a free evaluation. 989.832.6855

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CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE

W

e asked a high school senior to tell us what would help your teen navigate this year as smoothly as possible. Senior year is hard. Granted, I’ve only been at school for about 15 days as I write this, but I stand by my ruling. I kind of expected the year to be a breeze, but early reports show that will most definitely not be the case. Not only do my classmates and I face the regular challenges of class, homework, tests, online learning, but now there are applications to fill out, letters of recommendation to organize, scholarships to research. What is a FAFSA and why do I need to finish it so quickly? Any time anyone mentions college or future plans, the room experiences a collective shutdown as students rapidly try to repress the surge of deadlines and uncertainty that rises with the topic. From what I’ve gathered, most of my peers feel this universal sort of panic. So what can you as parents do to help? ANSWER QUESTIONS AND OFFER ADVICE That may seem like an obvious one, as I don’t know any parent that would refuse to answer their child’s question, but hear me out. Speaking from personal experience and reflecting the feelings of my peers: we don’t know a whole lot about college. What kind of bachelor’s degree do I get, and how does it correlate with my master’s? What if I have no idea what courses I want to study? These questions seem relatively rhetorical in their simplicity, but can not be dismissed. Don’t assume that we know or understand the college process, because chances are, we don’t - at least, not completely. Having a sit-down talk about the different courses of action once in college can be a big stress reliever; understanding greatly reduces anxiety. In essence, offer suggestions that you would have liked to have known, and make sure your child understands the system he or she is getting in to. MAKE A TIMELINE This time of year is arguably one of the busiest of our lives, and it’s easy to forget about deadlines and due dates as others continue to pour in. Some schools do provide students with charts that

designate when things (such as applications, scholarships, or letters of recommendation) need to be completed, but such charts are very generalized, and don’t include specifics relevant to each student. My solution, and the one that has worked well for my peers, is write out a personalized timeline that includes due dates and when to work on college or scholarship applications. The structure is not only reassuring, but prevents the anxiety of forgetting a deadline, and simultaneously ensures completing work in a timely manner. Instead of rushing to get everything done shortly before it’s due, I break it up and work on it gradually, checking off every day I complete a task. For me, this structure allows me to visualize my progress and conceptualize the amount of work I still have left to do, greatly relieving the burden of unknown due dates. BE THERE FOR IT ALL Again, a relatively obvious one, but expressing interest in your child’s schedule and events makes a big difference. There is so much going on, and it can feel like we’re kind of alone in our struggle. A simple question like: “how is your ___ application going,” or “what is your schedule like this week,” really conveys support, while being an offer of your services as well. Just checking up on us every once in a while is very reassuring. Being involved and interested in the process helps with the stress students tend to feel when faced with this mountain of work ahead of them. So yeah. Senior year definitely is hard. For me and my peers, and our parents as well. Not only do they have to deal with a stressed out teen facing the biggest change of their life so far, but they also are left with the fact that this year is the last year we’ll be dependent on them, living under the same roof. I can only imagine how daunting that prospect is. These few pointers help parents and students alike limit stress and maximize efficiency, allowing families to make the most of their last few months together. As we prepare for the biggest adventure of our life, parents are preparing as well, and being involved in the process can be mutually beneficial in ensuring senior year is a smooth transition into adulthood. ■

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR STORY AT: ktate@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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what can I do to help m

WHO IS BEING

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It is tough being a kid and it can be scary being a parent, especially if you find out that your child is being bullied. There are a number of different strategies for dealing with bullies, but I would like to share just one that can make all the difference in the world.

A

s parents, we often give our kids advice, but the advice does not teach them skills for dealing with life. Our kids need to practice learning skills and you can be the teacher of those skills with this 3-step strategy. Actually, it’s just a game that can be a lot of fun. THE BULLY GAME Now, remember, this is a game. If your first thought is, “Isn’t there a therapist or someone who can teach this to my child?”, then my answer is, “Just give it a try!” Chances are, both you and your child can learn something playing this game. Once you try it a few times, it will make sense. Relax. It’s just playing around. It will be a learning opportunity for both you and your child and it can be a lot of fun. Really, the hardest part is not to smile or laugh when you are doing it. There are only a few rules while performing the game: face your bully directly, don’t smile, laugh or yell (but do project your voice). Why can’t we laugh or yell when dealing with a bully? Losing control of your emotions is what a bully wants. Smiling or laughing sends the wrong signal to the bully because dealing with a bully is not fun. Here are some examples of the 3 steps:

my child

BULLIED? By LEN LANTZ, MD

A bully walks up to you and slams shut your open locker. Turn your body to squarely face the bully and look them in the eye. 1. Say, “Please don’t close my locker door.” (You are nicely telling the person to stop a specific behavior.) 2. You open the locker and the bully slams shut the locker door again. Say, “Stop closing my locker door.” (Notice that the “please” was dropped. This is not asking – it is bluntly telling the person to stop.) continued on page 9

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Hope, Healing, & Connection

THE LIGHT SHINES in the darkness, and the darkness can

NEVER EXTINGUISH IT.

John 1:5

Growing together in faith toward the love and light of Christ.

Ongoing Virtual Groups Available

MPC is here for you during this unsettling time and always. Have questions or just need to talk? Please contact us at Mempres.org or by calling 989-835-6759.

The Midland Area Community Foundation has over 250 scholarships for deserving students like you. With over $500,000 in scholarships up for grabs, the time to apply is now!

Apply online from December 1 - February 15 at midlandfdn.org/scholarships.

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continued from page 7

3. You open the locker and the bully slams shut the locker door again. Say, “You’re not listening. I’m leaving.” Turn and walk away. A BULLY WALKS UP AND TOUCHES YOUR HAIR. Turn your body to squarely face the bully and look them in the eye. 1. Say, “Please stop touching my hair.” 2. Bully continues to touch your hair. Say, “Stop touching my hair.” (If the bully has not stopped touching your hair, grab the wrist of the hand they are using and remove their hand from your hair.) 3. Bully continues to touch your hair. Grab the wrist of the hand they are using and remove their hand from your hair. Say, “You’re not listening. I’m leaving.” Turn and walk away. A BULLY WALKS UP TO YOU AND SAYS, “HEY, CRY BABY.” Turn your body to squarely face the bully and look them in the eye. 1. Say, “Please don’t call me a cry baby.” 2. The bully calls you “cry baby” again. Say, “Stop calling me a cry baby.” 3. The bully again calls you “cry baby” again. Say, “You’re not listening. I’m leaving.” Turn and walk away. DO YOU SEE A PATTERN IN THE ABOVE EXAMPLES? Why do you turn your body to squarely face a bully and look them in the eye? It shows that you are strong. Why do you not laugh? It shows that you are serious. Why would you turn and walk away (if needed)? It shows the bully that you are confident and decisive and that you will not put up with their crap. What if the bully then physically attacks your child? We will get to that near the bottom of this article. What if it doesn’t work? That’s okay. Give your child a hug, see if they know why it didn’t work and ask them what they would like to practice to prepare for future encounters. TIPS FOR THE GAME: • Don’t worry about following the steps perfectly. • In real life, you only move on to the next step if the bully persists with negative behavior. • Squarely facing a bully means turning your whole body and making your shoulders parallel to the shoulders of the bully. You do not want to move to a new location. You just need to pivot your feet in your current location to face them and look them in the eye. • Help your child practice speaking clearly and loudly so that their voice projects around you both (projecting their voice may bring them some help). • Take turns being the bully but let your child play the bully first. • Take notes – especially when your kid shows you how hard it is. • Prepare for your child to come back to you at some point and say, “it doesn’t work” and be ready to practice some alternative solutions through role play. • Use the game to determine if it is appropriate for you to take direct action right now with the facility/school where the bullying is occurring or with the bully’s parents (for example if the bullying is extreme or pervasive). The idea behind the above game is that you play it or practice it with your child over and over again until they feel confident doing it. You and your child alternate playing the bully role or playing them. Try roleplaying in different situations that they have witnessed or experienced. Let them play the bully the first few times until they are ready for you to

play the bully. Why? Your child needs you to experience what they are going through, and it will be less threatening for your child to play the bully first. This can also give your child a chance to feel what it is like for a bully to be denied. IF MY CHILD HAS TO TURN AND WALK AWAY, WHERE SHOULD THEY GO? The bully game can give you an opportunity to learn more about your child and talk about what comes after step 3. For example, you could say to your child, “Okay. So, you got to step 3. Where are you going to go?” You can talk about the pros and cons of where they plan to go. They may want some privacy if they feel tearful after the episode, but going somewhere alone is not a good choice. A school library at a table near school staff, a classroom full of other students, a trusted teacher-advisor or the school office are reasonable choices. Going into a bathroom or empty stairwell would not be safe choices. NOT JUST FOR BULLIES Hopefully, you and your child found it fun taking turns being the bully and being themselves in the 3-step bully game. Once you and your child have switched roles a few times and they feel comfortable, then you can expand the game to role-play other situations they are dealing with. If they are having difficulty with a teacher or someone else in their lives, they can try out a dialogue with you. If the dialogue turns abusive, then they can whip out the 3-step bully strategy. Again, it usually works best if your child starts out as the other person and you first play the role of your child. Remember, try not to be awesome at the game. Role play is fun for parents if you are willing to be bad at it. WHEN IT’S OKAY TO FIGHT BACK Let your child know when it is okay to fight back physically. If your child is being assaulted, give them your permission to physically fight back. You should also let them know when to back off in a fight, such as when the bully has stopped attacking them or has become disabled. Review with your child what usually happens when there is a fight at school. Even if they were acting in self-defense, they likely will be punished along with the bully. Let them know that you will have a serious expression and nod your head to the vice principal of the school as you, the parent, ask for details about the details of the fight and why it is school policy that your child is about to be punished at their school for physically defending themselves when there was no adult staff member present to supervise the children and protect your kid. Let your child know that after the meeting with the vice-principal (when you have some privacy), you will let them know how proud you are that they did their best to protect themselves when a bully was trying to physically hurt them. I’m not kidding when I tell you that if it were my child, and they did their best to stop a bully, I probably would take them out for ice cream. THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO SHINE AS A PARENT When you are willing to take the time and let down your guard in front of your child as you play the above game, they will appreciate you. You aren’t just telling them that you love them and care about their life, you are showing them. You are communicating to them that you are willing to learn with and from them. You are helping them learn life skills. Won’t it feel good to teach your child to be strong, confident and decisive when facing a bully, rather than being a victim? Imagine your child feeling more comfortable dealing with issues on their own, knowing when to get an adult involved and knowing when they need to fight back to defend themselves. It is an opportunity for you to get closer to your child, learn more about their lives and determine when it is appropriate for you to intervene. ■ www.tlc4cs.org

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Check out who’s standing out in our community. IS THERE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE? Please email ktate@tlc4cs.org and tell us why this individual has stood out in your crowd.

Addison Buda

BULLOCK CREEK HIGH SCHOOL, 12TH GRADE

Addison is a ray of sunshine who actively participates in her school and community. She serves as student council senior class vice president and plays volleyball, basketball, and soccer, both in school and on travel teams. “Addi is an incredibly hard worker on and off the court with a bright future,” according to her coach. She has been a dedicated member of the Midland County 4-H since 7th grade, showing livestock and pigs. She volunteered at Gladwin Hospital and currently volunteers at her church. Addi went on a mission trip, “Baja Bound,” to Mexico to help build houses. She plans to attend Delta College to study nursing with the goal of becoming a neonatal nurse.

Kenzie McCoy

COLEMAN HIGH SCHOOL, 12TH GRADE

Kenzie is a wonderful student who simply makes our school a better place! She has been involved in: National Honor Society, Student Council, Yearbook, Quiz Bowl, and is a Coleman Community Schools Board Scholar. She has also participated in robotics, band, drama, and bowling. This year, Kenzie was selected as our Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) representative on the basis of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism. She always has a positive attitude and is willing to help out when needed. She is thoughtful, respectful, and genuinely cares about others. “Kenzie is a great leader for our quiz bowl team. She is also a wonderful student! I wish I had a classroom full of Kenzie McCoys.”

Lauren Solinski

MIDLAND CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Lauren has been the Youth & Public Programs Manager at the Midland Center for the Arts for over a year. In this short time, Lauren has impacted thousands of youth through the creation and implementation of hands-on interactive programming, including: summer camps, early childhood workshops, school tours, and family events at the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art. Lauren’s passion for creating enriching and inspiring educational programs for youth in our region has made a true impact on so many. While we have faced a world of change over the last year, Lauren continues to adapt, redefine, and innovate in order to ensure that these opportunities remain available for the youngest members of our community.

Kim White

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER

Kim is a legendary figure when it comes to bringing out the best in kids. She has been a dedicated scout advocate for over 17 years, and has helped over 25 scouts reach the rank of Eagle Scout. She leads a high school youth ministry team, mentors young parents that have kids with disabilities, and is actively engaged in supporting educators in our schools. Helping people become their best, creating opportunity, and lending support are all at the core of who Kim is. Our community is better because she chooses to engage in so many different areas, positively affecting those around her.

West Midland Family Center

COMMUNITY PARTNER

West Midland Family Center (WMFC), was established in 1974 out of local community concern for young people. Since then, WMFC has grown to provide a multitude of programs which enhance lifelong outcomes for individuals, families and children of all ages. WMFC’s current youth programs: 3’s and 4’s preschool, childcare, afterschool, summer programs and the College Opportunity Program, provide activities to address the unique developmental needs of youth and families. Such programs, paired with recreation and family support services are holistic means to meet the needs of the youth they serve. With a focus on the future, WMFC’s vision: Helping each community member TODAY to reach their full potential TOMORROW, plays out clearly as they serve the members of their community.

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11 teens die every day

as a result of texting while driving - Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

The 24-Hour Digital Library

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

Turn the page to learn more! MIDLAND • 989.631.3511 boneandbailey.com The 40 Developmental Assets® may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only. Copyright © 1997 Search Institute®, 615 First Avenue NE, Suite 125, Minneapolis, MN 55413; 800-888-7828; www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.

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assets in action

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

1 SUPPORT

A family supports each other during difficult times

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.

EMPOWERMENT

9

14

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 WMFC College Opportunity Program provides positive adult role models

Voice for Peace ROCK youth help clean their school grounds

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

CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME

Dow HS Marching Band’s first public performance of the season

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


If you or your child would like to submit a picture that represents one of the 40 Developmental Assets, please email ktate@tlc4cs.org with a picture and the number of the asset the picture represents.

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.

34 COMMITMENT TO LEARNING

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

POSITIVE VALUES

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

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.

Virtual celebration of Dia de los Muertos

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GMCA Construction Trade Camp teaches students about the electrical trade

BCHS students volunteer with flood home repair

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POSITIVE IDENTITY

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

Student recognition for a safe driving record

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understanding and addressing

ANXIETY By KRISTINA DUKART, LCSW, Intermountain Child & Family Therapist

H

ave you ever ridden a rollercoaster? Maybe you get excited standing in line, feeling the butterflies in your stomach before feeling a little tug in your chest as you sit down and buckle in. As the ride starts maybe you panic a bit, holding your breath as the car climbs higher. Then, as you plummet toward the ground, your breath comes out in a whoosh as you scream, in terror or delight. As the ride slows, so does your heart rate. As you unbuckle, your breath becomes steady and you find safety back on solid ground. If this scenario resonates, you have officially experienced anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety impacts roughly 40 million Americans a year. What you might not know is, our brains develop to have anxiety. That’s right! Anxiety is natural and is meant to keep us safe. WE ALL EXPERIENCE ANXIETY For early humans, constant vigilance was a must for dangerous surroundings – to escape threatening situations and to provide food and shelter. Because of this, our brains have learned to scan our surroundings for real or imagined threats to our physical and emotional safety. This has created a nervous system primed to keep us safe. HOW ANXIETY IS HELPFUL When experiencing a stressful event, our brain signals our body to fight, flight, or freeze. This response system is one of the first to develop while we are in the womb and helps us hit the brakes to avoid danger in our car or gives us an adrenaline boost to run from physical threats. When our brains never take a break - when they constantly perceive threats without allowing our thoughts or our body to relax, anxiety becomes an issue. WHEN ANXIETY BECOMES AN ISSUE If you or your family hadn’t experienced heightened anxiety before this year, it is likely you are experiencing it now. But how do you know if what you, your child, or a loved one is feeling, is anxiety? And if it is anxiety, how do you know when to seek help?

IN GENERAL If naming feelings out loud isn’t decreasing the anxiety, it might be a good time to practice some controlled breathing. Your brain needs oxygen to function and the physical manifestations of anxiety can inhibit oxygen flow to your brain and body.

When our brains never take a break – when they constantly perceive threats without allowing our thoughts or our body to relax, anxiety becomes an issue.

BOX BREATHING A great technique for controlled breathing is “box breathing.” Grab a pen and paper and draw a square box. If you don’t have a pen or paper just trace an imaginary box on a hard surface. Slowly counting to the number four along each line, trace the entire box with the pointer finger of your dominant hand. Once you have this movement and pacing down, add inhaling to the count of four while you trace one edge followed by holding your breath down the next. Breath out again on the next line and lastly, hold your breath for the count of four as you return to the corner where you started.

Balancing home and work may have increased irritability, difficulty concentrating, rapid heartbeats and fear. In children you may see increased anger, avoidance of specific tasks, difficulty focusing, and increased fears or nightmares. If allowed to grow, these life changes can increase anxiety to unhealthy levels. So, before you get there… HOW TO MANAGE ANXIETY One of the first steps to managing anxiety is naming it. Dan Siegel, Ph.D., co-author of The Whole Brain Child, calls this, “Name It to Tame It.” Emotions might be confusing for those whose brains and language skills have not developed enough to fully understand or express what they are experiencing. IN CHILDREN Helping your child, make sense of their emotions by assigning words to their feelings, while also trying to figure out what might have triggered those feelings, can help them to control their anxiety. IN YOURSELF Recognize your own emotions and call them out too. Model for your child how to name your feelings, out loud, and having a conversation with these feelings. This can further help your child understand their own experiences and give you both a sense of control over anxiety.

5-4-3-2-1 An evidenced based technique to slowing down rapid breathing or thoughts is 5-4-32-1. Use your sense of sight to notice 5 things around you. Then touch 4 things around you. How’s your breathing? Can you slow it a little while you listen for 3 sounds? Take a nice slow inhale through your nose to smell 2 things near you. Finally, notice 1 thing you can taste. Is it toothpaste or coffee? This strategy is great for calming anxiety to help you or your child stay grounded in the present. Engaging all five senses might be tough for younger children, so I modify this tool to 3-2-1. Ask them to identify 3 things they see, 2 things they hear, and 1 thing they can touch. WHEN ANXIETY NEEDS HELP If these strategies can’t dull racing thoughts, or if they only help for a few minutes, it might be time to schedule an appointment with a licensed therapist. A licensed therapist can help you discover what might be triggering continued anxiety while supporting you with additional tools to manage those triggers. ■

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THE SLEEP HYGIENE QUIZ:

how do you rate? By EMILY C.T. HANKINS

W

e teach our kids to brush their teeth, comb their hair, and change their underwear. This is basic hygiene, after all. And hopefully these habits are ingrained in their brain by the time they hit kindergarten. But is there another kind of hygiene we are forgetting? Taking care of sleep is important, too. Like all hygiene practices, good sleep habits start young and affect all areas of our lives and wellbeing. However, 90% of families are pressed for adequate sleep during the school week. Is your family achieving stellar sleep hygiene? Take the quiz to find out.

1. AN HOUR BEFORE BED WE ARE:

5. AT BEDTIME, I HEAR ________

A) Starting to wind down.

B) “Can I just finish this last thing?”

A) “Ok. Goodnight.”

B) Eating dinner.

C) “No way! It’s too early.”

C) Still at practice.

6. MY CHILDREN WAKE UP:

2. BEDTIMES ARE:

A) Well rested and ready to take on the day.

A) Set in stone. B) Usually around the same time, but is subject to change. C) Whenever we crash. 3. THE KIDS ARE: A) Very active and exercise often. B) Get out and play a bit. C) More likely to choose stationary activities. 4. WHILE WAITING TO FALL ASLEEP MY KIDS USUALLY: A) Read a book.

B) Tired, but it always comes together. C) Grouchy as can be. Getting everyone up is stressful. 7. WHEN IT COMES TO THE WEEKEND: A) Our bedtime routines are basically the same as on weekdays. B) This is our time to catch up on sleep. C) We stay up late, and everyone sleeps in late. 8. IN OUR HOME: A) Bedtime routines are sacred.

B) Watch TV.

B) Bedtime routines are flexible.

C) Check their social media.

C) What bedtime routines?

Emily C.T. Hankins is the Founder and Chief Consultant at ECT Education and the co-author of The Summer Before Kindergarten

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MOSTLY AS You and your family have your sleep hygiene down! By championing great sleep habits like having a schedule and minimizing distractions at bedtime, you are supporting the natural circadian rhythms (natural sleep cycles) that children need to be happy, healthy, and rested. Your kids get the full nine hours of recommended sleep and it shows. Keep in mind that high school students are at the highest risk for poor sleep habits due to academic pressure, busy social lives, social media usage, and changes in their circadian rhythms. Be sure to offer extra support to your pre-teens and teens as they grow. MOSTLY BS You know sleep is important, but life gets in the way. Take heart, you are not alone! Nine out of ten families struggle to get enough sleep on school nights. Unrested children are more prone to anxiety, academic struggles, obesity, depression, and even suicide. There are ways to combat this. Aim for your elementary age students to hit the hay by 7:00 or 8:00, middle schoolers to be in bed by 8:00 or 9:00, and high school students should be asleep by 10:00 or 11:00. As a family, discuss ways you can work together to simplify activity schedules and to keep evenings calm. Continue to implement helpful strategies like limiting screen time, especially in the evenings. MOSTLY CS You know your family’s sleep is important – or you wouldn’t be taking this quiz – but you find yourselves struggling when it comes to sleep hygiene. As a family, discuss what new sleep routines would be helpful and realistic. Start with little changes that will make a big difference, like charging tech overnight in the kitchen to keep screens out of bedrooms. Reflect on how you can make sleep spaces more relaxing and conducive to good sleep. Are bedrooms too light? Too noisy? Too hot? Caffeine and other stimulants can interfere with a good night’s rest, too. Identify what keeps you and your family from restful sleep and go from there.


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What can my kids/family do to volunteer during COVID that is safe? Great question! We want to help neighbors in need but don’t want to put others at risk. We know that kids who are involved in community service activities have a sense of community, a sense of purpose, and feel useful thereby increasing selfconfidence. Research also shows that kids who volunteer increase their empathy for others. In addition, with the holidays upon us, many families like to find ways to give back and it’s a way to change children’s focus from “I want this, I want that” to “what can I do to help others?” We have developed a list of ideas and reached out to partners who provide opportunities and encourage their communities to volunteer. • Send cards to deployed military members or people who are homebound. • Rake leaves/shovel snow for a neighbor. • Bake cookies and leave on neighbor’s front door. • Become an online reading buddy. • Pick up trash on playgrounds or trails. • Write positive messages on sidewalks with chalk or paint on rocks and leave around the neighborhood. • Leave a positive message for delivery person or mailman/woman. • Donate food or items for those in need. • Set up a little library in your neighborhood. • Set up a little pantry outside your home and fill it with toilet paper and non-perishables. • Donate at the food bank, homeless shelter, or animal shelter. • Teens can volunteer to help younger students with schoolwork. • Offer to do shopping or run errands for elderly neighbors. • Help a single parent by watching his/her child(ren) while he/she runs errands. • Organize a neighborhood food drive. • Encourage children to clean out their toys and donate ones in good condition. • Make a thank you note for a teacher. • Assemble personal care kits for homeless shelters. • Offer to clean your house of worship. • Donate gently used board games to a domestic abuse shelter or senior center. • Walk an elderly neighbor’s dog. • Check with a long-term care facility on ways to help – can you set up virtual scrabble or card games? • Teachers are really struggling trying to teach in person and virtually, basically doing double duty, ask if you can help.

HAVE A QUESTION? ktate@tlc4cs.org

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

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NUMBERS 421

The number of words Scotland has for the word “snow.”

189,819

The number of letters in the longest English word.

56,000

The number of eggs an octopus lays at one time.

25

The percentage of the Sahara Desert that is sandy.

5

The percentage of cats who are allergic to humans.

1500

The average number of PB&J sandwiches a child will eat before graduating from high school.


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PREVENTION INTERVENTION AFTERCARE

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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.

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How can I help?

How do I know if someone is thinking of suicide?

I want to learn more!

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Space for teens to gather and connect virtually STEM activities, games, crafts, wellbeing experiences, social and emotional learning, homework help, & special interest clubs 3:00-6:00 pm, Monday-Friday therockc4yd.org/virtual | sams@therockc4yd.org 989-835-2542

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listen to hear

AND NOT RESPOND By KELLY ACKERMAN, LCPC

T

o be seen, heard, and understood is at the heart of feeling secure, the essence of being loved, the core of being accepted, and the foundation of trust. Though there are many aspects to this foundation, so often the struggle within a relationship is the missing art of listening. Desperately, parents seek to have their kids listen to them. It is a battle shared by a large majority. And yet we learn, as children, to listen by witnessing the adults around us. Often the lesson learned is to be heard or the last to speak. We learn by watching that to listen means we need to have a reaction, an answer, an anecdote, a comparison, a correction. And while we are busy reacting to what our children are attempting to communicate with their limited words and their mixed-up emotions, they receive a message that they have not been heard. So many children (spouses, employees, students, etc.) cry out “YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME!” Let’s stop to consider that they just may be right. To teach a child to listen benefits us by helping us learn the fine art of listening, practicing it, and employing it consistently first. As we do, a level of trust develops, and though not all problems are solved, we find ourselves well on our way to deep, meaningful connection. Though many books have been written on this topic, I challenge you to consider one simple question: What is your motive? Many people would consider themselves good listeners. However, only an estimated 10% of people are good listeners, which means the vast majority fall outside of that definition. Since we have learned from those before and around us, we likely have acquired the importance of a good response. So much of the time someone is talking, we are preoccupied with our own response that we do not dedicate the attention and focus to what is being said because our brain is busy working on the response. The Greek

And while we are busy reacting to what our children are attempting to communicate with their limited words and their mixed-up emotions, they receive a message that they have not been heard. So many children (spouses, employees, students, etc.) cry out “YOU ARE NOT LISTENING TO ME!” Let’s stop to consider that they just may be right. philosopher Epictetus so obviously stated, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak,” and still centuries later, we are practicing the art of speaking by preparing our response. We work so hard at this that we send the message to those we love that we do not hear them, or that their message is not worth hearing because what we have to say is more important. In doing this, we break relationship and trust. To listen to understand requires mindfulness, a slowing down and considering what our intention really is. As we challenge ourselves to listen, we can take in the whole message that consists of emotion, tone of voice, facial expression, body language, and allow it to settle. Our

ears capture words, but our attention captures the meaning sometimes hidden in the words. When a girl returns from school with her eyes downcast, shoulders slumped and responds slightly muffled to your question, “How was your day?” with, “It was OK… [long pause]…my friends hid my lunch box at school and I couldn’t find it. They thought it was funny.” Responding could be, “Well that’s a crappy thing to do. I hope you told them off. When I was a kid and my friends were mean to me, I just found new friends!” And then the opportunity to connect to her hurt, embarrassment, and loneliness is missed and she begins to stop talking, slowly turning inward and adopting an internal voice that says she is not good enough. Listening to your son who comes home with a fierce entrance, rapidly and loudly yelling, “My boss sucks! He always blames me for things going wrong. I QUIT,” might require a, “Whoa, that sounds like a terrible experience!” rather than an equally charged, “You better not quit because you have car insurance to pay for and quitting is not responsible.” The second comes from an immediate need to respond to your own emotional trigger and will likely increase the chances that you become a target of the anger and a full-blown argument ensues. The art of listening takes time, practice, and an intentional approach to be aware of your own feelings that are triggered, while focusing on the message being presented and aligning with the person talking. As soon as we lose that alignment, we have lost the art and the connection that creates security. Of course, there is much more to learn about listening, but I challenge you to begin with asking yourself these two questions: Am I a good listener? Is my intention to understand or to be understood? With time and practice, you can find yourself in a connected, secure relationship in the top 10%. ■

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EAT DRINK & BE MERRY

responsibly The holidays are a great time for celebrating and enjoying quality time with loved ones. After a year like this one, everyone is excited to ring in 2021. Remember to celebrate responsibly and look out for one another. Here are some helpful tips & tricks to ensure your holidays are safe and enjoyable:

One

for

One

and

Fun

for

All.

Drink a nonalcoholic drink in between every adult beverage. Nonalcoholic drinks help counteract the dehydrating effects of alcohol and slow the rate of alcohol absorption. Eat

all

the

Dessert.

Food can reduce the peak level of alcohol in the body by about one-third. Food can also minimize stomach irritation and gastrointestinal distress the following day. Make

a

Plan.

Stick

with

it.

Don't drink and drive. Do we need to say more?

Remember: You're their role model. Practice drinking responsibly in front of children and never provide alcohol to a minor. They learn from you. Tips & Tricks retrieved from niaaa.nih.gov/


why the surge in

VAPING MARIJUANA? By YOUTH CONNECTIONS STAFF

L

ocal therapists report seeing a rise in teens vaping marijuana. According to DrugAbuse.gov regarding the 2019 Monitoring the Future survey of youth nationwide, “Past year vaping of marijuana, which has more than doubled in the past two years, was reported at 20.8% among 12th graders, with 10th graders not far behind at 19.4% and eighth graders at 7.0%. Past month marijuana vaping among 12th graders nearly doubled in a single year to 14% from 7.5%– the second largest one-year jump ever tracked for any substance in the history of the survey.” WHY THE SURGE? 1) The number one reason youth state they vape marijuana is because they want to experiment. 2) The number two reason is they like the flavors, which are developed to target kids. Flavors like birthday cake, tutti frutti, and bubble gum attract young users. 3) The third reason, which explains the concerning increase in use, is because they’re hooked to them. Often youth will say they want to quit, but they can’t. 4) Parents and teachers can’t identify use by the pungent odor. There is no marijuana smell when vaping marijuana/THC. It’s very easy

to use without getting caught. 5) Vape pens can look like USB drives, pens, markers, and now there is even clothing to hide use. Hoodies look like a normal piece of clothing but the vape device is concealed in the drawstrings. They are easy to carry and to hide. 6) Media has normalized and glamorized e-cigarette use. Challenges posted on social media encourage kids to post videos, like getting a teacher to unknowingly charge their vape device or vape in class undetected. According to JAMA, “Marijuana vaping produces significantly greater physiological and psychological effects compared with traditional smoking methods at the same tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels, raising concerns about potential health effects…including lung injury when using black market products.” Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse stated, “there is a big concern that through the use of this vaping devices teenagers may be modifying their brain. What we yet do not know is what are the consequences that maybe for more subtle effects, that may take years to emerge, which may relate to the fact that you are delivering very high temperature vapor into your lung, that with repeated use and regular use and frequent use, may lead to harm.” ■ www.tlc4cs.org

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R E OL E M O R O H O 5 H C P L KS X ES E RAD

G

skills.

Join us for virtual workshops! Each month we will explore science, art or theater topics with interactive demonstrations and hands-on exploration!

oppo

or High School Students in

Contact GMCA today to nd out how we can BUILD your future!

REGISTER TODAY! midlandcenter.org 989.631.8250

reers.

ies. ca

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gmcami.org

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The Legacy Center is proud to announce the launch of a monthly podcast that features candid conversations for a stronger community. So many of life's lessons do not include directions. It’s a live and learn situation, especially when it comes to raising strong families and creating healthy communities. Together, we will discuss tough topics that help make us better people and overall, a better community.

Episodes Now Available!

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No matter what stage of life you’re in, the health of your muscles, bones and joints impacts your ability to get around and enjoy life. So, where do you go when you’re experiencing pain and discomfort? You don’t need to go far, because you have a go-to orthopedic surgery team ready to serve you at MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland. Your go-to team has one goal in mind, to help you reach your highest level of function or performance. This experienced team offers advanced minimally-invasive treatment options and includes experts in general orthopedics, foot and ankle surgery, and hand surgery; as well as surgical and non-surgical sports medicine. For more information, visit www.midmichigan.org/midlandmsk

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