Executive Director's blog
Confusing messages being presented by popular culture, media, proponents of “medical” marijuana, and political campaigns to legalize all marijuana use perpetuate the false notion that marijuana is harmless. Read our Alliance newsletter on this issue and please offer your feedback, comments and suggestions.
Ok, I know that this summer has been a very hot and humid one. For those of us fortunate enough to have air conditioning, we can survive this sticky weather!
I remember my youth and when school was out for the summer, so was I along with all of my friends! From morning till well after the dinner hour, we were out and about. Riding bikes, playing games, building forts, playing school (what was that all about?) and finding creative ways to just be kids. Anyone else have those great childhood memories?
I now live in a very nice neighborhood where there is only one way in and out of our plan. Sidewalks throughout, great woods behind many of our homes, flat streets and LOTS of children! But something I noticed: no kids to be found ANYWHERE so WHERE ARE THEY? OK, again I state that it's very hot out but what about when the sun goes down? Still no kids out and about.......
One good thing to do during these hot summer days is to walk the shopping mall. So that's when it all hit me one day as I was walking through the Ross Park Mall and had to dodge the many teens who were too busy "texting" and not watching were they were going! Talk about a challenge: not only to avoid collisions but the urge I had to stop one or two of them and simply ask; "Just what the heck are you doing"?
Has our world become so "tech driven" that we can't survive a minute without constant contact with our electronic devices?
So maybe THAT"S where all the kids are this summer.........
Sitting in the comfort of their air conditioned homes improving their typing skills as they hold conversations with their friends for hours on end. Forget picking up the phone and actually speaking live when it's so much more fun to send and receive via text.
Or maybe they are all busy playing their favorite video game and have only 30 something levels more to play before crowning themselves the champion!!!
Here's a challenge for all parents: can you get your kid's to take a break and go outside even if for just an hour or so? It would be so nice to hear the voices of kids from time to time. This neighborhood for sure is just too quiet! Where's the sprinklers and the slip and slides and the street games and catching fire flies at night? I MISS THOSE and would truly appreciate if we could bring just a little bit of that back to life!!!!
What say you all?
Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs
The Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs (BDAP) is urging our treatment and prevention professionals to take a formal stand against the release of an upcoming video game developed by Checkerboard Studios called "School Shooter: North American Tour 2012."
The purpose of the video game is to kill unarmed students on a school campus. Players use weapons modeled after those used in the shootings at Columbine High School and Virginia Tech, with the goal of preventing school shootings by satisfying violent urges in its players, according to the game's creator. Players have the option of committing suicide in the game at the end of their shooting spree. A clip of the game can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R4_mYYBO3s%3chttp://t.lt01.net/q/6NyvqHok07lwk6JI_y2n3r3D9tZgsKY3vo_9YQL3SqC4Fj0GOyCdL_db6> and additional information about the game's creator, Checkerboard Studios, can also be viewed: http://checkerboarded.com/schoolshooter/%3chttp:/t.lt01.net/q/waazQJuuwBgN8SkWsl7bJCS56GRrETwkz6sWwISWVFcO0XMGkpylSMlyS>.
The impending release of this game is already generating a great amount of concern among education professionals, as well as law enforcement and suicide prevention organizations. Given the increase of school shootings within the last decade, the release of this video game is particularly harmful to the efforts of schools and communities working towards decreasing violence and suicide rates.
We feel this is a serious threat to the health and safety of students and campuses. Acts of violence and suicide are linked to alcohol and substance use. We believe this game does not contribute to a safe learning environment, especially if students are experiencing any pre-existing mental health issues. As part of our mission, BDAP advocates for stronger prevention policies and this would include supporting efforts to prevent this harmful and dangerous video game from being released.
We strongly encourage you and your organization to contact your local, state, and federal representatives with your concerns.
For a copy of our formal letter requesting your assistance regarding this matter, please access the following link: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/document/1056729/
Contact Person(s): Kimberly Fitzpatrick, 717-783-8200 or mailto:email@example.com%3cmailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
This morning, I received an article that offered a viewpoint on two schools concerning their school environment and the impact of bullying within their buildings.
It brought to mind the years that I spent working as a student assistant counselor in both the North Hills and Fox Chapel Area High Schools. Since I have a strong opinion on this subject, I would like to share that with you.
I have witnessed the benefit of faculty presence in making a significant difference........
In the Fox Chapel Area High School, at the change of classes, every teacher is out of their classroom and in the hallways interacting with students and observing for any potential issues. I'm not sure if they are still doing this but certainly hope they are as I have sung their praises for supporting this initiative. I believe that ALL schools should require their faculty to do the same. While standing in those hallways: can we help our students to feel safe while they walk the halls of their schools? Can we intervene when we over hear discussion of weekend parties, students being harassed by their peers or mention of other risky behaviors? The simple act of standing in the halls can make a significant difference don't you think?
But here is another initiative that our teachers and especially our school counselors could and should do:during the lunch periods, walk the cafeteria and interact with the students. Students who eat alone need to know that they are not alone.
Looking to create support groups? The cafeteria is the perfect opportunity to gather students together that would benefit from participating in a supportive group. The lunch hours are a critical time in which our faculty: teachers and counselors need to be seen among the student population and not sitting among themselves in a seperate location.
We all have the responsibility to take an active role in our student's lives. Isn't that why we're in this business in the first place?
Thank you for visiting my blog page on our newly configured website! A very special thanks to Don Houk who has assisted us with improving and updating The Alliance’s web site. Now that I have a forum in which to express my thoughts, I hope to provide updates that are beneficial to all that read them.
Both Kay and I had a busy summer season preparing for this year’s Alliance programs. We had an opportunity to visit most all of our member schools and faith based institutions to schedule parent/student programs we will be offering over the course of this school year. I am very pleased to announce that the majority of our member schools will be offering our “Listen” parent/5thgrade student program, and our faith based community will be offering parent/middle and high school students with Alliance programs as well.
With the introduction of our newest prevention video: “Teen’s Talking”, we will create a special workbook for parents and students along with talking points for continued discussion at home. These new tools will be the focus for our student leadership workshops later this school year and for a parent/middle and high school student program (currently a work in progress) that will become a follow up to our “Listen” program.
Also being developed this coming year is a new prevention video being created by the office of the Pennsylvania Attorney General addressing prescription drug abuse. This video will be an excellent addition to our video of the month program. Speaking of which, we will be kicking off the video of the month program mid October. All of our member schools and churches will be participating in this program by providing their families with a direct link from their website to ours. We anticipate that during this year’s video of the month program, thousands of families will view our library of prevention videos. Dr. Wille will monitor the “hits” to this site and I’ll keep you updated on its progress.
We kicked off this school year with 2 special Alliance programs in September: an Administrators training lunch and a community resource fair. Both were well attended and hopefully will become programs that are offered annually. I wish to give a very special thanks to the community agencies that supported our fair by providing a booth, and to Mr. Bill Sanders for his uplifting keynote address that was an inspiration to all. I would also like to thank the many school and church leaders and faculty, as well as the parents and student leaders that attended as our guests. I’m hopeful that you all found the day’s program rewarding.
Thank you for visiting my page. I hope you will return often to our website to watch for updates on programs the Alliance will be hosting across our communities, and will take a few minutes to read my updates. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our community and always have an ear for those in need.