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A L S O Break: Summer at Risk IsTeens it Incense, Potpourri, or is it Spice?



SOCIAL MEDIA & SELF ESTEEM » What is Sexting and Why is it Dangerous? » The Benefits of Board Games » Money Matters at All Ages


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July–September 2016






6 Social Media and Self Esteem 14 What is Sexting and Why is it Dangerous? 16 The Benefits of Board Games 20 Money Matters at All Ages 23 Summer Break: Teens at Risk 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


TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE Barb Swierzbin: (989) 496-1425


Wandering Albatross Photography




July–September 2016


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 for Community Success was established in 2004 to identify outside-the-classroom barriers to learning and development and collaborate with other organizations to provide interventions that allow children, youth and families to flourish and thrive. Below are the Center’s program areas: LITERACY SERVICES: One-on-one tutoring in reading, spelling, math and English as a Second Language enable all people of all ages can reach their full potential. MEASUREMENT AND 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. 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.


July–September 2016




ur community has been working together to build Developmental Assets in our youth for more than 10 years. And together we’ve made a lot of progress. Last fall, The Legacy Center partnered with local schools to measure the level of Developmental Assets and risk-taking behaviors among Midland County youth (12-18 years). The article on page 22 provides a recap of the results. JENNIFER HERONEMA We also care what parents have to say, so we’ll be surveying you later this month. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey, as your input will influence topics for future magazine articles and town hall meetings. Financial literacy is an important skill to learn. Children don’t become financially literate through a one-time lesson, but rather through a process of learning with a parent’s guidance. Start early! I never thought I’d see the day when kids would measure their self-worth by the number of “likes” they receive on Facebook, Instagram or other social media sites or, worse yet, send naked pictures of themselves to others. But it’s happening in our community, especially among 6th through 12th grade students. Parents should initiate conversations with their kids early and continue talking with them throughout adolescence. The desire to fit in is strong, and they need to know where to draw the line. We know that games can teach kids communication skills, but they don’t always need to be educational. A fun game of Monopoly, Yahtzee or Life can be a great way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time as a family. Your kids will be grown and flown before you know it. Just ask your friends, whose kids graduated this year and are preparing to enter post-secondary education this fall. So make sure you spend some fun, quality time with your kids this summer. Go for a bike ride. Take them for ice cream. Go to a ball game. Or attend an outdoor music concert. You won’t regret it!

Follow The Legacy Center w w w w Follow the Community Alliance 4 Youth Success w w

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

Grace A. Dow Memorial Library Teen Fab Friday Grades 6–12

August 5, 6:30–8:00pm Craft Night – Make a marshmallow shooter. Registration Required.



Read the Nominees for the National Teens Top Ten Books in 2016 and then vote. Go to:

Get Ready for School

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month Library Opens Sundays Starting September 11, 1:00–5:00pm Youth Services 837-3466

GREATER MIDLAND! visit our operating units:

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July–September 2016



Enjoy a snack, games, activities, and friends in an intentional and well supervised setting.


Meet in the cafeteria 2:40-5:30pm or Take the bus to The ROCK Underground


Meet in the small gym 2:40-5:00pm or Take the bus to The ROCK Underground


Join us at The ROCK Underground Transportation provided one way

ROCK UNDERGROUND at The Greater Midland Community Center

 

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Meet at GMCC 2:30-6:00pm Daily activities will vary including swimming, rock climbing, basketball, and more

The ROCK Underground is available for all middle and high school students


Homeowork help/tutoring with rewards! Parents and teachers communicate homework needs via



Dear Parents: It’s looking less likely that the ballot measure sponsored by MI Legalize, calling for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use, will make it on the Michigan ballot in 2016. However, we believe it’s only a matter of time before it does. So we want to ensure that when that time comes, parents have the information necessary to make an informed that’s in the best interest of our youth. A few months ago, we shared the results of the recent Midland County Youth Study, which, among other things, reflects marijuana usage and perception of risk. We also provided information about potency, addiction and the cognitive effects of marijuana. Going forward we thought it would be beneficial to share learnings from Colorado, where recreational use became legal in 2006. We’ve included prevalence of marijuana use by youth (2006-2015), marketing tactics that target youth, the impact on learning and the school environment, and the impact on traffic safety. We want all youth to reach their full potential, so we encourage you to visit our website to learn more.


July–September 2016




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CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE y daughter is learning fractions, reading Dork Diaries, and practicing handstands when my doctor enters my exam room, kicks the door shut and pronounces the word cancer. Non-Hodgkins double-hit B-cell lymphoma, stage IV. The doctor points at the CT scan image. This is tumor. This is tumor. Here… here… here… It’s as big as a trout, pushing the organs against my spine. All I can say is: “I have a nine year old.” This was my invitation into a world millions inhabit: living with young children and major illness at the same time. While I can’t recommend it, the experience can dropkick you into a deeply intimate, tender place you might not otherwise get to on your own. I tell the doctor, “Just tell me what I have to do. Don’t tell me anything else.” I don’t want a prognosis; I want a pathway. My husband and I decide to wait to tell our daughter until we know for sure what to say. It takes a few days to learn my treatment plan: I’ll be hospitalized for week-long chemo drips, lumbar injections, steroids, and various cocktails of medications to protect my organs while the chemo attacks the cancer. At dinner the night before I check into the hospital, we tell her I have cancer. “Will you die?” she asks me. All of her grandparents have died already. “I am going to try very, very hard not to,” I tell her.

My private, sensitive daughter is silent for a while, then asks us quietly, “Can I say the s-word?” So the three of us take a deep breath and yell the s-word as loud as we can, holding hands, shouting our grief and hope out across the darkening landscape. After that, we tell her everything. She and my husband move into my hospital room. He sleeps in the fold-out, she right in my hospital bed where she learns not to lie on the IV lines. She names the pole that holds my chemo bags “Bob.” She does math on my bedside table, and brushes her teeth in the ladies room. Every morning she waves goodbye to the nurses on her way to school as her dad walks her down the hall. Love becomes our landscape, laughter our coping method. My daughter rubs my bald head and starts calling me Baby Hedgehog. Her favorite nurse blows up hospital gloves into balloons for her to draw faces on. “I always know when you’ve checked in,” a nurse tells me. “You can hear laughter all the way down the hall.” Life becomes surprisingly normal. The chemo poisons away, but my family’s physical presence is my medicine. This is the first lesson cancer teaches us. Sofa, ER or hospital bed—as long as we are together we are home. While my body expels its tumor, we all join in the spirit of letting go. First go social obligations, work deadlines, my sense of myself in the world. My hair; most foods.

Then I lose my capacity to sing, take walks, and eat at the dinner table. Everything I thought I was—professional, creative person, caretaker—slips away. This becomes the second lesson of my illness: Letting go is not only possible, it really helps. Quibbles take too much time. Expectations—way too much effort. Fear— takes up too much space. During our second stay in the hospital I am next door to a teenager. One afternoon her room grows crowded and oddly quiet— hospital language for nothing good. A few hours later I hear a deep howling moan: the cry of a mother’s grief. “What was that?” my daughter asks. I tell her I think the girl next door has died. We are silent for a long time and then my girl asks me to call a friend for a playdate. My daughter is private, always has been. Should we worry about her? Press her to talk her feelings out? We decide not to; we know what she’s feeling. We often take our misfortunes personally: why me? But hardship touches every family. All around us there are people sick, scared, saying goodbye. And always we are surrounded by beauty, grace, reasons to laugh. I believe all healing requires laughter. Laugh together. It’s the only way to survive. My daughter seemed to know this at the age of nine: Accept what’s true, and be sure to get a lot of play time in. This is a lesson I will use for the rest of my life. ■

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




July–September 2016


social media



July–September 2016






Like it or not, social media is here to stay, but be warned of the dangers. he variety of platforms - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine, and Flickr - will inevitably change, but the ease of continual communication that they offer won’t. Adults and teenagers alike are entrenched in this technological age of nonstop social media interactions, and therefore it’s wise to navigate in a healthy manner. Social media has become a primary gateway to connect with friends or a daily ritual to be a digital voyeur. These interest interactions begin as harmless virtual experiences, but for some can be a fast-track to depleting self-worth and the way we perceive others – especially for young people searching for a sense of belonging. Experts say that social media gives us a false sense of belonging and fosters connections that are not built on real-life exchanges. The dangers are real. Social platforms are a playground for sexual predators, a canvas for those fluent in the disgusting language of bullying, and an easy escape for those looking to leave behind troubles of real life. Many young people have made online mistakes they regret or typed words they’d never speak to someone’s face, but are becoming increasingly savvy to the risks. “I have a hard time imagining life without social media,” says Aaron Fossedal, a junior in high school and creator of the Facebook page, “Saving HHS.” Fossedal, who is openly gay, said he created the awareness page after his school community experienced three suicides in a relatively short time. “Enough is enough,” he said. After he launched the “Saving HHS” Facebook page, “There were over 20 likes in an hour, over 1,000 the first day, and most of those likes were adults.” Today, at 2,400 likes and with the help of a friend, the page focuses on acceptance and tolerance of others, suicide prevention, and an online outlet for mental health topics. The bottom line is that people are using social media, some good and some bad. continued on page 9



July–September 2016


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July–September 2016




continued from page 7

Fossedal has accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, but he deleted his personal Facebook account about a month ago because he recognized it was heavy to his spirit. “I feel a lot better without having a Facebook account,” he said. “It’s helped me back off that urge to seek approval there and I’m more confident within myself.” Fossedal acknowledges that social media is viewed as a place to get to know someone, but notes that it’s not a way to truly understand them. It’s unrealistic, in his opinion, for parents to tell their children not to use it. In reality, forbidding use may just propel young people into opening accounts without parental knowledge. RIGHT AGE Officially speaking, the minimum age to open an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Kik, and Snapchat is 13. For Vine, Tinder, and Yik Yak it’s 17. YouTube requires account holders to be 18, but a 13-year-old can sign up with a parent’s permission. Despite these clearly published age restrictions, there is a huge population of children using these platforms. Diana Graber, co-founder of, wrote an article last fall for the Huffington Post citing a study by that found approximately 59% of children have already used a social network by the time they are 10. Facebook has the most users under the age of 13. Kids easily make up fake birthdays and use their parent’s iTunes account to download Instagram to their own devices. NAVIGATING DIGITAL WATERS Emily Harris got a Facebook account her sophomore year in high school and now has accounts on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snap Chat. She’s in her final year at Seattle University and expects to graduate in June 2015 with a degree in American Politics and Women’s Studies. Harris knows that social media is incredibly important for her future professional career either working on a campaign, a non-profit advocating for youth, political engagement, or public policy. “I have learned what is appropriate to share with the public and things I wouldn’t want a future employer (or a parent) to see,” she said. “It’s also taught me how very few things are totally private and to be very careful about how I present myself.” She admits that social media “absolutely” has negatively impacted her self-esteem. “Girls can get very catty over social media

and, since it’s such a public forum, everyone can see the harassment, which can be very humiliating and degrading,” said Harris. “It gets better when we grow up, but social media as a young girl is tough.” Harris says the best test of whether it’s appropriate to post is to ask ourselves if we would want our grandmother to see it. Another check is to consider how a future employer may interpret a photo or a post, especially if there is underage drinking involved or something sexual. “Just be conscious and smart,” she said. “Social media is an incredible tool for networking and staying in touch, but it can also be very dangerous.” Gage Gibson is in his first year of college at Pacific Lutheran University and competes on the varsity swim team. He’s been on Facebook since ninth grade and says all social media has impacted his life in some way, even if it’s learning new things. He said, “I’d say social media negatively impacted my self-esteem at a younger age. The way love, relationships, and fitness is portrayed has made me look at those areas of my life from the third person. I’ve overcome most of those impacts, though.” Gibson says individuals just starting their social media presence should not let anything viewed or read change their life, but rather provide an opportunity to have an opinion. “Focus on what you need to do for your own life, such as school and family, but do not beat yourself up over not having or being like what/who you read on social media, because it often portrays unnatural life expectations” he said. Francie Tupper, a high school freshman, offers a similar perspective, and says children under the age of 10 really can’t understand social media. She says posting selfies that young suggests beauty and potential is based on “likes” or complimentary comments. She feels social media can be useful because it broadens horizons by providing a window into a variety of lifestyles and perspectives of others. It’s been useful in her own life by providing an avenue to meet like-minded people her own age. “Without it, I never would have met other friends who play soccer but live in another town, or even be able to keep in touch with my family outside of the state,” she said. “It has also allowed me to become closer to my friends, tagging them in posts, reminiscing on an old inside joke. However, a lot of the other social media is just for entertainment.” While Tupper said she’s not had any drastic bad experiences or been targeted, she’s not proud of all her behaviors. “We were mean to

a completely harmless girl, whom we were all probably just jealous of,” she said. “I realized that she had found out and I noticed just how much I hurt her. I ruined a perfectly good relationship with an amazing person just because I wanted to feel better about myself. Looking back on that I would have never made that choice. I regret it every day. Although the other person and I have made up, it is not the same and never will be. I learned to be careful what I say, everywhere, not just on social media. I also learned that my worth is never as much as the worth of a beautiful relationship.” These students overwhelming agree that social media affects girls and guys differently. Maybe it’s the age-old double-standard. Maybe it’s that girls are generally more selfconscious. Or, maybe it’s all about perception and subjective to the individual. These students also agree that love of ourselves starts within. “Don’t listen to any negativity,” Tupper said. “If someone tells you you’re ugly, delete the comment and block them. Life is too short for you to dwell on the negativity in the world and what others think of you. What matters most is what you think of you. Your life does not depend on others. The only thing it depends on is you.” PARENT INVOLVEMENT MATTERS Having engaged and involved parents better arms children in all aspects of life. That’s a shared belief from local educators, child development specialists, and law enforcement. They all agree too that it’s important to be mindful of quantity of screen time, but it’s equally, if not more important to know what kids are playing, who they are chatting with, and what they are seeing. Conversations between children and parents about the potential dangers, opportunity for bullying, and inappropriate content should be ongoing. If young people are old enough to use a computer, then they are also old enough to understand rules and consequences. There’s no reason for adults to be super sleuths if expectations are clear, talk is open and honest, and model desired outcomes. And, as with all parenting; sometimes techniques and approaches need adjusting for optimal results. For young people, being online feels like real life. While, there are indeed events and stories about real people shared there, it’s far from real life. Let’s treat social media as the complex communication platform it is, while recognizing that our actions impact others in all realms of life. ■

Alana Listoe is a freelance writer living in Helena, Montana, with her family, is an advocate for children, and engages in a variety of social media platforms.




July–September 2016


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

Clayton Wishowski



Clayton is a kind and considerate student with a positive attitude and great sense of humor. These qualities are a big reason why he was chosen to be a member of Lancer Leaders, a school group that promotes positive student behavior. Outside of school, Clayton works on his family’s agriculture farm, growing corn, sugar beets and black beans. He also shows beef cattle. His involvement in farming is driving him to find and join a Future Farmers of America group in the area, if possible. He would like to study welding and earn a degree in agriculture.

Ryan Swierzbin


Ryan displayed his Chemic Pride proudly during his four years at Midland High. He participated in Varsity Soccer, Marching Band, Symphonic Band, Symphonic Orchestra, French Horn Choir, Science Olympiad, Track, Midland Community Center Basketball and Midland County Youth Leadership. These activities helped him develop leadership skills. He tries to lead by example and enjoys giving back to his community. He served on the Community Alliance 4 Youth Success Youth Committee for three years; assisting with youth events and working to find ways to prevent youth drug use. Ryan will be attending Grand Valley State University this fall. Congratulations, Ryan, and here’s to a successful future!

Greg Smokovitz


There are certain people that you always associate with Bullock Creek, and Greg “Smoke” Smokovitz is one of them. He has led the Bullock Creek band program for the past 28 years. In that time, he created a program that brings the best out of his students. Not only does he teach music, but he also teaches pride in knowing who you are, who you represent, and that you have more in you than you think you do. Greg is well respected in the community and across the state. Bullock Creek always receives compliments for their band’s talent and also for how well the students represent themselves and the school. Greg is part of the Lancer Legacy.



Joey is a 2-year-old chocolate Labrador who is trained to support and comfort children when they are required to testify in various criminal and family court matters. Aside from helping the office to meet with children and prepare them for court, Joey actually goes and sits with the children during their testimony. This not only reduces their anxiety level, but allows them to be better witnesses for everyone concerned. He is specially trained to have great empathy for people under stress, especially small children. He was trained by Leader Dogs for the Blind and began working in the prosecutor’s office in August.

Blessed Sacrament Parish


Blessed Sacrament Parish shook things up during the 40 days leading up to Easter this year. The challenge, focus on the 40 Developmental Assets for the 40 days of Lent. Each day of Lent, The Parish highlighted an asset and shared practical ways community members could become asset builders. A Proactive Parenting event was hosted where parents learned about assets. The Legacy Center shared results from the recent Midland County Youth Study. Guest speakers hosted breakout sessions for Parenting with Love and Logic, Managing Social Media and Understanding Anxiety. The response was clear: parents wanted more. Thanks to our friends at Blessed Sacrament Parish for doing their part to spread the word about assets. More to come this fall.


July–September 2016




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Upcoming Events 40 Developmental Assets are essential qualities of life that help young people thrive, do well in school, and avoid risky behavior. We utilize 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.

Turn the page to learn more!




July–September 2016


assets in action


5 Siebert Elementary students hang out with SRO Jai Mahabir.


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.




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 Midland High School students compete in the 2016 Science Olympiad

Local band students march in the Memorial Day Parade


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.


Student council members landscape at Bullock Creek High School


July–September 2016




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 with a picture and the number of the asset the picture represents.

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.


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

2016 Leadership Midland participants show their enthusiasm and creativity



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.


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.

Youth Action Council members stay positive

Jefferson students participate in MATHCOUNTS competition



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.

The Project 111 team promotes good choices and safe driving



30 |

July–September 2016




hat is ‘sexting’? Almost all of us have heard the term, especially in the last few years or so. Thanks to social media sites, emails, and text messaging, ‘sexting’ is one of the hottest topics in our school systems, especially for 6th through 12th grades. Would anyone have thought back when ‘bag phones’ became popular, that we would have this problem? Unfortunately, the rapid spreading of this crime is effecting too many of our youth. As a result, at least 20 states in the U.S. have adopted laws that address ‘sexting.’ ‘Sexting’ occurs when someone sends a request for pictures of the other person, specifically, pictures that show that individual either fully or partially nude. ‘Sexting’ also takes place when a person under the age of 18 takes a nude or partially nude picture of him or herself and sends it to someone else using some sort of electronic means. This ‘sharing’ can be done through text message, email, chat rooms on the internet, or social media. The scary part is this: if teens are participating in this dangerous act over the internet, they have no way of knowing who is actually receiving their picture. In our current world of smart phones, sexting has become as easy as snapping a picture and texting it out – an action that takes two minutes, tops. New


July–September 2016



research shows that about 20 to 30% of teens have sent and/ or received a sext. In a study published in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch found teens who sext may be more likely to engage in sexual behaviors. They found that over 75% of teens who were propositioned to sext admitted to having had sexual intercourse. And 68% of girls were asked to send a sext compared to 42% of boys. One part of the problem with sexting is that most of the individuals sending and receiving the pictures or ‘pics’ are not yet 18 years old. The peak age for engaging in sexting is between 16 and 17 years of age. The laws are very specific when it comes to these violations. It is illegal to make a request of someone less than 18 years old to take and/or send out a nude photo. There are specific statutes in each state that cover child pornography. Under these statutes, Child Pornography is a felony which is punishable by several years in prison and fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000, or more, depending on the state. In addition, offenders could be required to register as a sex offender for as long as the remainder of their lives. Some states have options for law enforcement when it comes to violations of sexting laws. One of the options is called a Formal


Station Adjustment (FSA). FSA is used in lieu of the offender going to court and having a permanent record. There are assorted consequences that can be put in place for the minor to complete. Possible consequences of the FSA or adjudication include, but are not limited to:

» Ordered to obtain counseling or other supportive services to address the acts that led to the need for supervision; or

» Ordered to perform community service; or

» Ordered to have no

further contact with the other individual(s) involved; or

» A period of curfew and/or home confinement.

If the option of a FSA is offered and accepted, once the minor successfully completes the program, he or she would not have a criminal record since formal charges would not be filed through the State’s or District Attorney. The first part of stopping this epidemic of sexting is to know what the problem is. We must now take the time to stop these actions. In many schools, education is provided by a School Resource Officer, social workers, or other faculty. On a more personal level, parents should sit down with their children and have a

conversation about why it is wrong to request or send nude or partially nude images. Be open and honest with them as you would with any other parental advice-giving conversation. A two-way dialog usually opens the door for a productive conversation. Explain to your youth what it means to be arrested, have a criminal record, and what it means to be a registered sex offender. Explain to them the legal consequences, home consequences, and social consequences and let them know you are there for them if they have questions. Remember, if one picture is sent to one person, then that person shares it with three friends, those three share with five of their friends…before the end of the hour a majority of students in the school have seen that picture. With a quick click of a button a picture can be distributed to many people instantaneously—and once it’s out there, there’s no going back. What would that do to a teen knowing that many other classmates have seen nude photographs of them? The devastation a young girl or boy could feel may have a life-long impact. Taking a moment to discuss these consequences and realities with your children can have nothing but a positive outcome for everyone. It’s never too late to have that conversation with your child and always worth it! ■

New research shows that about

20-30% of teens have sent and/or received a sext




July–September 2016



benefits of


July–September 2016




BOARD GAMES MAY SEEM LIKE JUST FUN AND GAMES, BUT IT’S A GREAT WAY TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILD WHILE BUILDING SKILLS. onopoly teaches money management skills. In the game of Life they can see how important a college education is for their future. Battleship teaches them to think strategically. All games can teach social skills, such as communicating verbally, taking turns, sharing and waiting. But games don’t always need to be educational. Playing a game is a great way to spend unhurried, enjoyable time together. Smaller children love to play games with parents, but it’s also a good way to spend important time with teens too – even if it appears they don’t want to at first. A recent study at Penn State University shows teens who still spend time with their parents benefit by gaining better self-esteem and social skills. If your teen is really into video games, sit down and join in. It’s a great way to help him/her open up, and you may find some neat things about their lives. Research has demonstrated that teaching methods that a child thinks are fun are more often effective than techniques without a fun factor. David Pierfy, a professor at Rider University, found that playing games of skill resulted in better retention over time than traditional classroom instruction methods. Playing games teaches skills such as counting and colors when

Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble, Checkers, and Risk are the top five most popular games in the world.

children are younger, to strategizing and cause/effect for older kids. Of course game players of all ages learn not to give up. Most of us think of board games as a winter activity, but it can be fun to pull out a game to play on the patio on a warm summer night. Many of us take cards or games when we go camping. Any game done by flashlight is more fun and a great way to pass the time. Games encourage conversation to learn about each other,

whereas watching TV only has us learning about the characters on the show. To find out what games kids like, we did an unscientific poll of a second grade class. Their top three favorite games were Sorry, Mouse Trap and Monopoly. When we asked around at a middle school, their choices were Monopoly and Checkers. High school students said they enjoyed Monopoly and Clue the most. There are so many new games out there, it’s interesting that


a tried and true one (from the early 1900s), Monopoly, was still the top choice of kids of all ages. According to the website, Monopoly is the most popular game in the world. Others that made the top five are: Chess, Scrabble, Checkers and Risk. No matter what game you play with your children, be assured you’re helping them to learn important skills as well as build self-esteem. But the most beneficial part about playing games is the time spent together. ■ YC MAGAZINE


July–September 2016




Q. Bullying has been around forever. How has it changed over the years? A. Gone are the days when bully meant the

stereotypical image of a taller, stronger boy standing over a smaller, weaker one and taking his lunch money. Today’s bullying covers a wide range of behaviors from both genders, with emotional attacks causing as much damage as, if not more than, physical ones. Choosing to exclude a person from a group can be devastating to the target of exclusion. Gossiping, expressing hurtful opinions, and spreading rumors are common bullying practices. Modern technology has made it easier for bullies to abuse their victims—allowing them to say online what they might hesitate to say face-to-face. It also enables them to communicate at a rapid rate to an extremely wide audience. Through the Internet, social media, and cell phones, young people are in constant contact with one another. As a result, targeted youth can never get away from bullying, not even when they are at home, where they should feel safe.


The number of toilet-related injuries reported in the United States each year.


Average number of times a child laughs daily, compared with 15 times for adults.


The number of miles a typical lead pencil can draw a line.

0.5 billion

The amount of money North American kids spend annually on chewing gum.


- The Editor


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

The number of glasses of milk a cow will give in her lifetime.


The number of pounds of skin an average human will shed in a lifetime.


July–September 2016




Celebrating 45 Years

FUN too!

out these amazing events!

The game of life isn’t all child’s play. It starts out of curiosity. A cigarette after school. Sneaking one of dad’s beers. The game keeps you hopping. Needing to try more. You leap forward to liquor. It is getting easier to jump to the next. Marijuana. OxyContin. Heroin. Where will it end?


OCT 15, 2016 - The aca-perfect concert!


NOV 1, 2016 - See what all the noise is about!

ONE-MAN STAR WARS™ TRILOGY MAR 17-18, 2017 - For fans ages 6 to Yoda!

Photo © Lois Greenfield

If your drug or alcohol use has you worried where you’ll land, call us. We understand this risky game, and can help you land safely. For confidential help, please call 631 -0241.

Kids want to have

Disney’s BEAUTY & THE BEAST MAR 25 - APR 2, 2017 Midland’s own Center Stage Theatre presents the ultimate family adventure!


See more family fun events at

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 Located at 4011 West Isabella Rd. (M-20) 14 miles west of Downtown Midland




July–September 2016



MONEY MATTERS at all ages

Children can learn the basic life skill of financial literacy at a young age and continue learning through adulthood. Children don’t become financially literate through a one-time lesson, but rather through a process of learning with a caregiver’s guidance. By ALANA LISTOE, Montana Credit Union Network


July–September 2016




PRESCHOOL & ELEMENTARY he sooner children understand the correlation between what money buys and money’s real source, the more likely they will grow into financially wise adults. It’s a gradual process that begins very early and is dictated by a child’s ability to comprehend and a parent’s ability to act as a good role model. It’s no surprise that small children often believe a square piece of plastic can buy them anything. They witness this simple purchasing process most every day: pick out goods at a store, swipe the card, and take the merchandise home. These credit/ debit transactions leave our preschoolers misunderstanding the value of quarters, dimes, and dollar bills. “Children are not actually seeing money, since we are almost a cashless society,” says Karen Smith, executive director of Montana Credit Unions for Community Development, a non-profit working to increase financial literacy across the state. Even at age three, children often receive birthday money or get to keep the change found in the couch. Smith says having a piggy bank with a way to section off their coins and bills is a great way to get preschoolers thinking about spending, saving, and giving. “Children become more aware when they understand it’s their money,” she says. Money management should be taught in stages and in various ways, therefore opening a saving account at an early age is a good idea. Involve children in the process of opening the account; it can be an exciting and memorable occasion. Many local financial institutions have incentive saving programs for youth. Keep in mind, children younger than 18 may need to include a parent or guardian on the account. Some experts recommend including children in family household discussions, or at the very least, not to be secretive about them. Parents whispering about money could be because they are embarrassed about the state of their finances and if not, it can give this impression. The best advice is to keep it simple without sending a message that

money is “for adults only.” Smith says this is an ideal age to delve into financial education. One of the biggest mistakes parents make, she says, is excluding children from basic money decisions and financial conversations. One of the most challenging lessons for parents and their children is financial literacy and fiscal responsibility. Regular routines and errands offer many teaching opportunities. Children often accompany adults to the grocery store, and instead of letting them quietly observe, engage them in decisionmaking processes. They can learn that there is a difference between living in the moment when chocolate donuts look so yummy and planning for the future when the family needs milk and eggs for the next seven days. Elementary students should be able to set goals about money they’ve earned from doing household chores, money they received for a holiday, or allowance. “As they learn math in school, they begin to understand the value of money,” Smith says. Smith suggested being thoughtful about word choice, since children are so literal. For example, instead of saying, “No we can’t afford it,” say, “I don’t want to spend my money on that today.” It’s also imperative to talk about how uncontrolled debt has enormous negative consequences, yet stores everywhere are eager to lend, and instant gratification fuels easy credit, but children must be warned that debt can be crippling. “Just talk about money,” Smith advises. “It’s been so taboo, but it’s a basic and necessary life skill.”

MIDDLE SCHOOL Tweens in the U.S. spend about $15 million of their own money every year. It’s a time when young spenders begin to have their own money, are learning what a good value is, and have the opportunity to make more choices. Even though laws in the U.S. say adolescents can’t have a full-time job until the age of 16, there are opportunities to have part-time jobs at 14 or 15, and even

younger. This is when youth are able to start making their own money by mowing grass, babysitting, or earning an allowance. This is also an age when kids gain a greater understanding of “wants” versus “needs.” It’s a time when setting some long term goal helps them understand economics and how to make it work for them. And, let’s not forget, board games like Monopoly have engaged young people in a non-electronic way in learning about money for many generations.

HIGH SCHOOL & BEYOND Oh, the excitement of high school: jobs, prom, cars, and, ever-growing freedom. By this time, young adults could be making online transactions, receiving direct deposit paychecks or even making car payments. It’s also a time when making a poor spending decision can be more effective than any book or lesson, and will hurt less than maxing out a credit card and getting caught in the payday loan trap as soon as they turn 18. The inability to appreciate the difference between a want and a need is where most of us go wrong with finances. This is often a time when young adults purchase their first car and paying at the pump becomes a reality. Seize those opportunities to help these young adults create a budget. Higher education is the ticket to the middle class in the U.S., but the ticket comes at high cost that only continues to increase. According to US News & World Report, a college education ranges from about $7,000 to attend a community college to $35,000 or more for a private school per year. A great advantage is for parents to start saving early with a 529 Plan, an educational savings plan with favorable tax treatment. One of the best ways to prepare to pay for college is for a family to pick a financial institution that cares about their best interests. There, financial advisors can guide each family member through different stages of their life. ■

Some interactive websites with games and activities for kids (and parents) of all ages: / / / / / Children need to be able to tackle age-appropriate tasks with the freedom to make some financial choices. Parents can give children the tools they need through family discussions or shopping trips so they can develop a working relationship with money and the ability to cope with that harsh reality to make smart financial decisions when they are on their own.




July–September 2016


THE LEGACY CENTER Looking Back: 10 Years of Asset Building By JENNIFER HERONEMA The Legacy Center partnered with local school districts last December to conduct the Midland County Youth Study, the third such study in the past 10 years. Participating districts included the Academic and Career Education Academy, Bullock Creek, Coleman, Meridian, Midland Public and Windover. The study measured the level of Developmental Assets and risk-taking behaviors among our youth population. Nearly 6,700 6th12th grade students took the survey, resulting in an 87.6% participation rate. The survey is repeated every five years because, let’s face it, youth constantly change and so do the challenges they face. Five years ago, we didn’t have to worry about the explosion of social media, the proliferation of e-cigarettes, the growing concerns about student safety, the surge in anxiety and depression levels, the rise in academic expectations, the growth in opiate use among the young adult population (24-35 years) and the “normalization” of marijuana. Today, we do.

Unfortunately, the study also showed a reduction in assets related to Positive Identity, including Personal Power, Self-Esteem, Sense of Purpose and Positive View of Personal Future. And there was a corresponding increase in the number of students who reported Eating Disorders, Depression and Suicide Attempts. Substance use trends are going in the right direction...down. Reported use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and prescription drugs was 16 percent, 6 percent, 8 percent and 4 percent, respectively. All are better than national levels.

Research shows the more assets youth have, the less likely they are to engage in life-changing risky behavior. From 2011 to 2016, the average number Leaders from all sectors of the community have been working together to build Developmental Assets in our youth for more than 10 years, and we’ve made notable progress. The majority of our youth are acquiring the building blocks they need to become successful, contributing adults. Over the next several months, we will come together to identify gaps revealed by the study and determine a path forward that will ensure all youth have the opportunity to succeed. If you are interested in participating in these discussions, please contact us. of assets among our youth population increased from 21.1 to 21.9. Average assets among 6th graders increased from 24.8 to 25.4 and from 19.1 to 20 among seniors during that same period. This means that our youth are entering adolescence with a higher number of assets and maintaining a high level throughout their high school career.


Jennifer Heronema is President & CEO of The Legacy Center for Community Success. She can be reached at More information about Developmental Assets and the Midland County Youth Survey can be found at

| | Provided Especially for Your Community Content

July–September 2016



TEENS AT RISK By KIM YORK, Project Success Counselor

ummer is here! Our kids have been dreaming about summer break from school, experiencing warm weather and free time. We know that although this is the dream of most teenagers, it can be a worrisome time for parents. Because there is a lot of unstructured and unmonitored time over the summer months, parents have the right to be concerned. During the summer, the rate of accidents involving teens is higher. Alcohol drinking and substance abuse rises by over 70 percent, not to mention a higher number of car accidents. How can parents keep their children safe during the summer and yet allow their teenagers some freedoms? The answer involves parents knowing they have the right to manage the unsupervised time of their children. Using the rules of the four Ws is one successful strategy. Who are you going to be with? Where are you going? What are you going to be doing? When are you going to be home? Along with the four Ws comes the parental responsibility of following through on enforcing them. It is not unreasonable to show up at the “Where,” call the parent of the “Who,” follow up on the “What,” and set the limit of “When” to be home. Additionally, parents need to be aware of other risks out there to which their teen may be exposed. Unsupervised bon fires, lake parties,

Alcohol drinking and substance abuse rises by over 70% during the summer months. overnight stays, and other get-togethers where alcohol, marijuana and other drugs are present are not uncommon in the summer. “Rave” events advertised through social media are held frequently throughout the summer. These events have music and a party atmosphere where access to illegal substances is prevalent. There are numerous concerts and summer events where unsupervised youth have the opportunity to access drugs as well. Expecting your teenager to contribute to the household chores, find a job, volunteer, or participate in summer camps/activities are also part of the mix. We know that a teenager who is busy has less of a chance to socialize in an unhealthy way. Parents who are pro-active in their teenager’s activities during the summer months, have better outcomes when it comes to keeping their adolescent safe. Discussing the 4 Ws, providing accountability, and keeping teens busy are strategies that are proven effective. ■




July–September 2016


A Positive Adult Role Model Today

row G n re Child

d’s Love o G n ing i



Suzanne Landis

Midland Mentors/Midland Kids First (989) 837-6255 or

Sunday Morning Nursery Care

Babies and toddlers enjoy time with excellent caregivers.

Bible BLAST Sunday School


Children ages three to grade five explore God’s word and grow in God’s love through games, music, science, art, and mission.

Movin’ Up Club

Once a month, this special fellowship group for fourth and fifth graders focuses on relationships and community service.

Family Fellowship

Once a month, families share a meal and friendly conversation.

Summer Rainbow Reader Program

Children read ten books representing this summer’s theme, “In the Garden with Beatrix Potter.”

We are looking for volunteers to mentor

local youth. A few hours a week can make a huge difference in the life of a child. Please call me as soon as possible. Thanks! Sue

1310 Ashman Street • Midland, Michigan • 989-835-6759 •

For good. For ever. Grants. Scholarships. Events. Leadership. Philanthropy. Your community. Your foundation. Learn how you can give back at


July–September 2016





American Dream F O R ST UD E NT S AGE S 11-18

We help go-getters grades 6-12 identify their passions and transform their ideas into actual companies, teaching them the skills they need to succeed in business—and in life. YEA! students launch their own real businesses, gain access to entrepreneurs and business professionals, pitch to investors for funding and develop lifelong leadership skills along the way. This fun, hands-on program meets after school weekly from November 2016 through May 2017. Class space is limited—Apply today!

For more information or for an application, visit or contact the Midland Area Chamber of Commerce at (989) 839-9901 or email Tina Lynch at




July–September 2016


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

Schedule Your Sports Physical Today


emember to schedule your school sports physical early! Michigan

requires every student to have an annual sports physical in order to participate in middle or high school sports. The physical must be completed after April 15th of the previous school year. In other words, it’s time now to schedule your students’ sports physical for the 2016-17 academic year. Ideally, your child should complete their physical at least six weeks before their official practices begin. This allows time to evaluate and address any concerns without delaying their participation. If your child has a primary care provider, we encourage you to schedule their sports physical with their own provider. If they don’t have a primary care provider or their provider is not available, sports physicals are offered at a discounted rate of $25 at MidMichigan Health’s WellSport locations.

Locations MidMichigan Medical Offices - Campus Ridge 1 4401 Campus Ridge Drive, Midland MidMichigan Health Park - Mt. Pleasant 4851 E. Pickard Street, Mt. Pleasant To schedule an appointment, call (989) 837-9350. 

YCMag Legacy July 2016