Youth First Announces Board Chair, New Members

    

YOUTH FIRST ANNOUNCES BOARD CHAIR, NEW MEMBERS

Youth First, Inc. is pleased to announce that Angela Brawdy has been named Board Chair effective July 1, 2017. Angela is Director of Compensation and Benefits at Shoe Carnival. She has been a Youth First Board member since 2012.

The following individuals have also been named to the Youth First Board of Directors:

  •  Danielle Falconer, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Communications – Field & Main Bank
  •  Dennis Lamey, Retired Business Executive, Banking Industry
  •  Stacey Lloyd, Human Resources Manager, Shoe Carnival
  • Ann Muehlbauer, Tax Director, Berry Global
  • Kyle Wininger, Vice President, Harding Shymanski & Company

They join 27 other Board members who are responsible for setting the organization’s direction, developing resources and providing the oversight necessary to ensure Youth First meets its mission.

 

* Understanding Social Bullying

By Tiffany Harper, LCSW, Courier & Press, July 11, 2017 –

When people think of bullying, they often picture physical bullying, such as knocking books out of someone’s hands, tripping them  or intimidating them.  Bullying can also take other forms, however.

Social bullying, also known as relational aggression, is a form of bullying that has grown with the boom of social media and cell phones.  It is relational in nature and causes harm by damaging someone’s social status.  It is often done covertly to avoid detection by adults.

Examples of social bullying are:

  • Posting about someone on social media, directly or indirectly naming the victim
  • Texting rude or negative comments
  • Excluding someone from a peer group
  • Refusing to allow a peer to sit with one’s group
  • Convincing others not to be friends with a peer
  • Starting and/or spreading rumors
  • Indirect communication directed at a peer such as eye rolling, laughing

This type of bullying is more common in females and can start as early as kindergarten. Today’s society has displayed social bullying as entertainment in movies such as “Mean Girls,” where it is glorified but then neatly resolved in the end. This does not usually happen in real life.

Victims can struggle emotionally with negative effects, including depression, social anxiety, hostility and low self-esteem.  There can be large shifts in one’s social network, as this type of bullying often results in loss of friends.  This can be devastating to a young person, as their focus shifts from family to friends during adolescence.

If you find your child in a situation like this, be aware that the innate desire to protect your child could cause you to act quickly and impulsively and ask questions later.  Since it is important to develop and maintain an open and trusting relationship with your child, it is imperative to react slowly and carefully. Whether you found out about your child’s bullying on your own or your child opened up, your response can be instrumental in getting them to talk further.

Listening with empathy is the  first  step.  Allow your child to tell you what has been going on and try to ask any questions you have with controlled emotion.  Avoid placing blame or giving your perspective right away.

* Teen Employment Has Many Benefits

By Dianna Miller, Courier & Press, July 4, 2017 –

Should your teen have a part-time job? There are pros and cons, but there are many benefits to getting some early work experience during the high school years.

On average, teenagers report the highest rates of unemployment. According to Labor Force Statistics, in early 2017 the youth unemployment rate for individuals ages 16 to 19 was around 14.7 percent. The unemployment rate for individuals 25 years and older was 3.6 percent. Indiana has a 10 percent unemployment rate for ages 16-24.

Interestingly, according to a recent study from Career Builder, from 2001-2014, the number of jobs held by teenagers decreased by 33 percent. Over 1.7 million jobs teens held were cut during that 13-year window.

The loss of teen jobs appears to be correlated partly to the fact that a growing number of people ages 55 and older are not exiting the labor market at the pace they used to. More individuals are retiring from their current job and transitioning to entry-level positions.

In this study from 2001-2014, the number of workers 55 years and older increased by 40 percent. These days, the workforce tends to favor experience over education.  Even though college is very valuable, it becomes even more valuable when paired with a resume full of experience.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, for every year a person works in their teens, their income raises 14-16 percent in their 20s. When teens choose to have a job, employment teaches responsibility and good work habits, improves time management and organizational skills and helps them save money.

Working also gives teens an opportunity to establish contacts with adult employers that can serve as a future reference.  As teens work a part-time job they learn how capable they are, which in turn builds confidence and self-reliance. This can help teens feel more independent and have the confidence to further their development with a sense of responsibility.

Some research indicates youth who are Hispanic, black or economically disadvantaged who balance school and a job are less likely to drop out of high school than those who do not work during their high school years.

Having a summer job is linked to an increase in the chances of youth graduating from high school and reducing the risk for involvement in criminal activity and the juvenile justice system.

In order to effectively balance the stress of academics and work, studies indicate that 20 or less hour per week is an optimal amount of time for a high school student to work. Some studies indicate that students who balance 10-15 hours of work per week during the school year earn higher grades than students who do not work.

The federal minimum wage has been raised 22 times since 1938 when it was set at 25 cents per hour. Currently, our minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

If your teen is looking for a job, snagajob.com and groovejob.com could be great starting points for them. The most popular time of year for teens to look for jobs is from April to July. Point out the many benefits and encourage them to take advantage of the opportunity to gain experience, learn to balance their time, and make a little extra money.

* Helping Teens Make Responsible Choices

By Kelli Chambers, MSW, Courier & Press, June 27, 2017 –

The teenage years can be some of the best, and hardest, years in a person’s life.  During this stage of life, teenagers are often faced with difficult situations and struggle to make healthy and safe choices.

It can be challenging (and even scary) for parents to protect their teen from potentially harmful situations.  There are some basic guidelines to follow, however, to assist your child in the decision-making process.

As your child gets older, parenting becomes less about control and more about offering guidance.  According to parenting guidelines on the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s website (pamf.org), the more controlling parents are, the more rebellious teens tend to become.

Providing a solid foundation of trust and love allows for an open dialogue of sharing experiences and values while spending time together.  It is important to remember it is normal for teens to challenge their parents’ values, beliefs, and practices.  This is an exploratory time for teenagers to develop their own autonomy.

Here are some quick tips to help parents convey their support while allowing the teen to make their own decisions:

  • Allow your teen to describe the problem or situation in their own words.
  • Talk with your teen about choices.
  • Help your teen identify and compare the possible consequences of all of the available choices.
  • Allow your teen to make decisions and carry them out.
  • Later, ask your teen how things worked out.

Helping build your teen’s self-esteem and self-respect can positively influence their decision-making process. Parents can help by:

  • Allowing the teen to voice their personal opinions
  • Involving the teen in decisions that may affect the entire family
  • Listening to his or her opinions and feelings
  • Helping the teen set realistic goals
  • Showing faith in his or her ability to reach those goals
  • Giving the teen unconditional love and demonstrating it
  • Being supportive, even when he or she makes mistakes
  • Being open and understanding whenever your teen needs to talk to someone

Teens need reinforcement from important adults in their lives.  This applies to the good decisions being made, too.  It helps teens feel they are on the right path.

It is easy to focus on bad decisions being made, but both good and bad decisions need to be discussed.  The best prevention tool is to start early with an open and honest dialogue.

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” – Ann Landers

* Life Skills Every Child Needs

By Christine Weinzapfel-Hayden, LCSW, Courier & Press, June 20, 2017 –

Many of us remember that when we graduated from high school we were not truly prepared for “real life” outside the classroom.  Sure, we probably learned basic history, math and English skills, but we may not have mastered some of the other concepts we needed to be successful in life.

Summer is a great time to work with your child on some of these essential life skills.  Successfulstudent.org provides a list of important basics to teach our children:

  • Saving: We need to spend less than we earn.  Teach your child at an early age to put part of the money received or earned in the bank.  Help your child set a savings goal, work toward their goal and then make the purchase of the saved-for item.
  • Budgeting: Teach your child the simple skills involved with establishing and following a budget.  Practicing this concept early on will make budgeting easier when they are an adult.
  • Charity: Encourage your child to give to charity – money, time and talents — as they are able.
  • Critical Thinking: Introduce critical thinking, the objective analysis and evaluation of a situation or issue in order to form a judgment.  Teach your child ways to look up information if they have a question that requires a thought-out answer or opinion.
  • Positive Thinking: It is important to have a positive outlook on life.  By helping your child find solutions instead of just registering complaints, they will learn to believe in themselves and block out negative self-talk and thinking.
  • Motivation: Teach your child that motivation is the key to reaching a goal.  Help them learn different strategies for self-motivation.
  • Compassion: Help your child put themselves in the shoes of someone else.  Help them understand and find ways to ease others’ suffering.
  • Listening: Children need to learn to listen attentively and respectfully, understand what is being said and empathize with others.
  • Basic Auto Mechanics: Both boys and girls need to know the basics of how a car works, what might break down and how it can be fixed (how to pump gas, check the oil, change a flat tire, etc.).
  • Household: When you are fixing things around the house, explain the process to your child.  Basic understanding of home repairs and maintenance can prepare your child for living on their own.
  • Cleaning: Teach your child how to do laundry, clean a house properly and keep living quarters clean and uncluttered.  Show them how to set up a weekly and monthly cleaning routine.  Instead of just telling them what needs to be done, teach them the process and then encourage them to do it on their own.
  • Be present: Live in the present and enjoy life.  Develop a close relationship with your child and model appropriate relationships with your spouse, family members and friends.  Teach them the skills for developing these types of close relationships and the importance of working through the bumpy parts as well.

Through modeling, teaching and being present with your child you are helping them prepare for the classroom outside of school – life!