The Office on Children and Youth |

May/14

5

The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Teens across the United States will participate in the 2014 National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy on May 7th.  The National Day raises awareness about teen pregnancy and invites teens to think and talk about relationships and potential consequences of their actions.  On May 7th, students in high schools across the nation will be invited to visit www.stayteen.org to take the National Day Quiz, which provides an interactive avenue for teens to explore potential sexual pressures and consider how they might handle risky sexual situations.  The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Healthy Community Council’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention (HCC TPP) Action Team will be at Harrisonburg, Broadway, Spotswood, East Rockingham, and Turner Ashby high schools this year where volunteers will be encouraging students to take the quiz.  There will also be interactive booths at each of the five schools listed to give teens an opportunity to play games, receive accurate information about sexuality and sexual health, and talk openly about healthy relationships.

Students can visit the National Day website http://thenationalcampaign.org/event/national-day-2014 to learn more about The National Campaign, other events going on throughout the Month of May, and to take the National Day quiz online.  Visit The National Campaign’s sister site www.bedsider.org to receive additional information and resources for sexual health.

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May/14

1

Positive Youth Development: What is it?

Here at the Office on Children and Youth (OCY), we integrate different educational approaches to meet the diverse needs of youth in the community. One important approach and field of research that we use in Teen Pregnancy Prevention is Positive Youth Development (PYD)—the notion that all youth are resources and assets to be developed (Roth & Brooks-Gunn, 2003a,b). If you are a youth leader, a teacher, or a youth yourself, we want to take a moment to share with you a working definition of PYD; what it looks like, how it’s implemented, and why it is important.

The focus of PYD is to help young people gain the knowledge and skills they need to become productive and healthy adults.  PYD uses a strengths based perspective, meaning it builds on the strengths and the unique attributes and characteristics of each individual (NRCYD, 2014).  Programs that promote the strengths of youth, develop positive adult-youth relationships, engage youth in skill building activities, and help youth participate in leadership of community activities develop the “Five C’s;” competence, confidence, character, connection, and caring (Lerner et al, 2005).

Whether working with middle or high school students, there are a few practices that are crucial for a successful program. Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® and Draw the Line Respect the Line both pull heavily from PYD and in practice aim to provide or create:

  • Physical and psychological safety and security
  • structure that is developmentally appropriate
  • emotional and moral support
  • supportive adult relationships
  • opportunities to form relationships with peers
  • a sense of belonging and value
  • positive social values
  • opportunity for skill building
  • opportunities to develop confidence in their abilities
  • Opportunities to make contributions to the community

A crucial aspect of recognizing the individual assets of youth is working with curriculum that utilizes and respects the experiences and knowledge that youth already have, thus showing young people they have value and something to offer their peers, family, school, and community. There are various ways youth benefit from this approach. The research shows that many young people:

  • Gain skills they will need to become successful adults
  • Create new relationships with adults and peers, further connecting them to their community and enlarging their support network.
  • Gain a better understanding of the community and its diversity
  • Acquire a more positive stature in the community.
  • Gain a better appreciation for adults and the multiple roles they can play.
  • Begin to view the world, and their ability to affect it, in a positive way.
  • Feel needed and useful.
  • Feel enhanced power, autonomy, and self-esteem.
  • Increase grades and school participation
  • Decrease teen pregnancy rates

PYD is learner-centered, and seeks to validate the experience of youth participants by helping them articulate and understand their life choices, and the consequences of those choices. PYD benefits youth, but also creates strong relationships between youth, adults, and organizations.  We’ve found that centering youth’s experiences helps keep programming relevant to young people and lends itself to creativity by working with the sometimes unconventional and idealistic thinking of young people.

At the Office on Children and Youth we integrate PYD theory and practice throughout many of our programs. Teen Pregnancy Prevention and The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Youth Council are strong examples of this.  TOP® promotes positive youth development while teaching health-based information about pregnancy and sexuality.  It is our belief that when youth see themselves as valued and begin taking control of their lives, they are less likely to participate in unhealthy or risky behaviors. We hope this short report on PYD gives you insight into some of the theoretical basis and perspective for our work.

Lerner, R. M., Almerigi, J. B., Theokas, C., & Lerner, J. V.  (2005).  Positive youth development: a view of the issues.  The Journal of Early Adolescence Vol 5.

Roth, J. L. , & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003a). What is a youth development program? Identification and defining principles. In. F. Jacobs, D. Wertlieb,& R. M. Lerner (Vol. Eds.), Enhancing the life chances of youth and families: Public service systems and public policy perspectives: Vol. 2.

http://www.nrcyd.ou.edu/youth-engagement/positive-youth-development

http://www.theinnovationcenter.org/files/CreatingYouth-AdultPartnerships.pdf

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Apr/14

29

The Teen Health Fair: Information for Youth

On Wednesday April 23rd, and Thursday April 24th, The Office on Children and Youth hosted the 17th annual Teen Health Fair at Turner Ashby and Spotswood High schools. The purpose of the health fair is to provide local high school students with objective and accurate health information.  Representatives from over twenty five local youth-serving and health agencies were present providing high school students with important information regarding what is available to them in the community; information that will give them the tools they need to make the most beneficial health decisions for themselves. The participating vendors represented a number of different health services including: health information, diagnostic services, therapeutic services, and support services.  It was a successful two-day event with a lot of positive feedback from students, teachers, and vendors alike. A big thank you to all of our vendors and volunteers for taking time out of your busy schedules to help make the fair a success!

We also thank our kind sponsors: Aramark, Jimmy Johns, Dominos Pizza, Salad Creations, Mr. J’s Bagels, Cargill, CCAA, Golds Gym, and Boston Beanery

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Apr/14

1

Lucky Duck Race Fundraiser a Success!

On Saturday, March 29th hundreds of people gathered at Massanutten Water Park to support the Office on Children & Youth and our annual Lucky Duck Race, a fundraiser where thousands of rubber ducks are sent down the lazy river in a race to the finish.

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This weekend’s race was a complete success!  Thank you to all of our amazing supporters and community members who bought tickets and came out to the event.  With your help we were able to sell more than 2,300 duck tickets!  Your donations help support important youth services and programs in the community such as:

The Reading Road Show – Gus Bus: a mobile literacy program and bus that provides an opportunity for children and families in low-income communities to share story time, participate in a book exchange program, and build literacy skills.

The Migrant Education Program: provides supplemental instructional services and advocacy for highly mobile migrant children in order to help students reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma or GED.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Provides positive youth development in middle and high schools in Harrisonburg, Page and Rockingham to prevent risky behaviors with our community’s youth.

Harrisonburg/Rockingham Youth Council: A youth-led community service group that empowers area youth to make healthy decisions and create a difference in their community.

A special thanks to all of our amazing sponsors who made this event possible, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Massanutten Water Park, Massanutten Resort, The V, Cargill, Digico, Farm Credit Country Mortgages, Daily News-Record, BotkinRose PLC, My Valley, WHSV3, Commonwealth One Federal Credit Union, The Valley’s FOX,  Massanutten Realty

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Mar/14

11

Students Report Back: TOP® in Action

Written by Page County High School TOP® students Mariana Comer, Heather Andrews, and Brittany Shook. The Photographs and projects reported below were entered into local Shout Out! photo contest, winning second and third place.

 

Untitled2Our FCCLA Chapter and TOP® Club at Page County High School recently held a “Hang Up Heart Disease” campaign to benefit the American Heart Association. Members held a Half-Court Shoot contest during halftime of our high school basketball game. For $1, fans took a chance at shooting a basket from half court. If they made the first shot, they could take a $50 prize, or take a chance at another basket. $100 was to be awarded for making the second half court shot. A local Tax Service sponsored the $100 prize. No one made 2 shots, so we awarded $50 to the person who made one half-court basket! We also sold sponsor hearts to fans for $1 each. We raised a total of $100 for the American Heart Association!

The Page County High School TOP® Club and FCCLA also carried out a “Cupcake Buffet” project to benefit the “Share Our Strength, No Kid Hungry” campaign. The No Kid Hungry campaign connects kids in need with nutritious food and teaches their families how to cook healthy, affordable meals. The campaign also engages the public to make ending childhood hunger a national priority.

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Members made approximately 300 gourmet cupcakes to sell at our school. We sold out in just over 2.5 hours, raising $300 for Share Our Strength. Coming together for this great cause was a lot of fun! We had to use teamwork and problem solving skills in baking and icing all of the cupcakes. The students at our school gave us great feedback about each of the flavors and asked us to have another event. We are planning the next cupcake buffet, with the goal of making $500 for a PCHS student needing a kidney transplant

During November and December, we carried out a service project called, “Blessing Bags”. We wanted to help the homeless population have a better holiday. We used extreme couponing and solicited donations to gather personal care products, such as shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste, to create our “Blessing Bags” We prepared approximately 130 bags. They were delivered on Christmas Eve during a dinner at which our members helped serve. It turned out to be a blessing for us also to be part of this wonderful holiday celebration! Untitled7

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Feb/14

24

OCY Teen Health Fair

The Office on Children & Youth will hold our 16th annual Teen Health Fair on Wednesday, April 23rd and Thursday, April 24th at Turner Ashby and Spotswood High Schools. The central purpose of the fair is to provide area high school students with objective, accurate health information while exposing them to agencies and resources from the surrounding community. We are excited to engage over 1,500 students during the fair. Representatives from over thirty community organizations will be present providing health, wellness, and career information to area youth. Our diverse vendors and agencies provide insight and professional knowledge on a variety of health related topics including domestic violence, public safety, nutrition, teen pregnancy prevention, and mental and physical health. We are proud to be sponsored this year by the CCAA (Community Coalition on Alcohol Abuse), Aramark, Jimmy Johns, Cargill, and Dominos.  Interested in volunteering? Please contact Jamie Sherman by email, shermaji@dukes.jmu.edu for any questions related to the event.

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March 29thth, 2014 at 4:00pm, Masanutten WaterPark

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We are excited to announce this year’s Lucky Duck Race Fundraiser, a fun and easy way to support the programming and work of OCY. How it works: Buy a Lucky Duck ticket, get $15  off your Massanutten WaterPark general admission pass and a chance to win huge prizes, including a chance at winning $25,000*!! Each ticket you purchase corresponds with a rubber Lucky Duck that will be sent down the Lazy River at Massanutten WaterPark. The first three Lucky Ducks to cross the finish line win great prizes. Bring the family the day of the event to enjoy your WaterPark discount, but there is no need to be present to win.

By purchasing a lucky duck ticket, you are supporting important programs like:

The Reading Road Show – Gus Bus:  a mobile literacy program and bus that provides an opportunity for children and families in low-income communities to share story time, participate in a book exchange program, and build literacy skills.

The Migrant Education Program: provides supplamental instructional services and advocacy for highly mobile migrant children in order to help studets reach challenging academic standards and graduate with a high school diploma or GED.

Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Provides positive youth development in middle and high schools in Harrisonburg, Page and Rockingham to prevent risky behaviors with our community’s youth.

Harrisonburg/Rockingham Youth Council: A youth-led community service group that empowers area youth to make healthy decisions and create a difference in their community.

Get your tickets soon!!! To purchase a ticket, or to volunteer to sell tickets, contact Jennifer Rea at reajl@jmu.edu or 540-568-2559.

*The first ten ducks that cross the finish line will be entered in an automated online system to match a preselected duck number and win $25,000.  A $25,000 winner is not guaranteed.

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OCY’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program implements Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® (TOP®), a positive youth development program whose core component is Community Service Learning (CSL). CSL builds strong youth and provides valuable contributions to surrounding communities. Over the course of nine months youth participants choose and plan at least 20 hours of community service or community-oriented projects. Since starting our Harrisonburg, Rockingham and Page County TOP® clubs in September and October 2013, several groups have experienced a “Taste of Service.” These opportunities acquaint them with service and get them thinking about creating their own projects. Here are some highlights so far!

HHS members feeling good after their work with the Boys and Girls Club.

HHS members feeling good after their work with the Boys and Girls Club.

In October, two groups from Spotswood High School traveled to the New Community Project’s Sustainability House in Harrisonburg to help prepare their gardens for cold weather. The teens learned about the various programs there, and worked together with other volunteers to cover and protect young plants from the fall frost.

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Spotswood members getting ready for their service work with New Community Project

 

 

 

 

 

Our Second Home Child Care Center group in Harrisonburg consisting of 6th and 7th graders walked to the Explore More Discovery Museum one brisk afternoon to help prepare for the annual downtown event, Halloween on the Square. They made 150 bracelet packets for the museum to distribute.

Two groups from East Rockingham High School cut, ironed, pinned and sewed tote bags for Peak View Elementary School children. The TOP® students put to use their blossoming sewing skills to help out youngsters in their own community!

This month, Harrisonburg/Rockingham Youth Council members have already planted trees at Brookside Park in Harrisonburg with help from The Natural Garden. They also planned and led a panel of local community volunteers and leaders to help them understand how youth can address local civic and community needs. Youth Council members will take what they learned from the panel and create their own community service activities.

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Youth Council members after planting some tress at Brookside Park

An afterschool group from Harrisonburg High School recently spent time at the Boys and Girls Club at Spotswood Elementary School. They played with children there and helped them discuss bullying. Prior to going, the group researched the aims and objectives of the Boys and Girls club and identified what talents they personally brought (ex: good at basketball/soccer, have patience, experience with kids etc.) and were able to put those talents to use with the young people at Spotswood. It was lots of fun!

Last but not least, our Page County High School group raised $1,250 for breast cancer research that they will donate in person to the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center at UVA! To raise cancer awareness and raise these funds, 35 students and teachers signed up to dye their hair pink or shave their heads if they raised a certain amount of money. TOP® members said they “learned so much from this experience, especially how teamwork is essential to the success of this type of project.” This project named “Zero to Hero” will soon be highlighted in the Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program® national newsletter.

Page County members raising money for cancer research.

Page County members raising money for cancer research.

Together these groups of teens and pre-teens have already contributed over 200 service hours to help communities around them. And they’ve only just begun! We’re excited to see what else our young people come up with the rest of the year!

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Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 2.42.10 PMAre you a high school student who wants to get involved in the community? Want to meet new people, have fun, and figure out what’s important to you?  Then the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Youth Council is the place to be!

Youth Council, a Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program®, is an outlet and space where youth plan and implement community service projects, have fun, and figure out how to make those hard decisions in life! Perhaps more than anything it’s a place where young people can build positive and caring relationships between peers and adults.

If you are interested in learning more about Youth Council come out to our annual Kickoff Picnic at Purcell Park on Thursday, September 26th at 6:00pm, shelter number 1. We will have games, free food, giveaways, and talk more about the Youth Council and ways for YOU to be involved.

Beginning October 3rd, we will meet EVERY Thursday from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Blue Ridge Hall in room 309 (across from Costco on University Blvd.).

Questions? Contact Josh Diamond at 540-568-2571 or at diamonjn@jmu.edu. Find us on Facebook by searching Harrisonburg-Rockingham Youth Council.

The Office on Children and Youth is a Certified Replication PYouthCouncil_poster2013kickoffYouthCouncil_poster2013kickoffartner of Wyman’s Teen Outreach Program ® (TOP®). TOP® is a comprehensive, evidence-based youth development strategy that promotes the positive development of adolescents through a combination of curriculum-guided group discussion and volunteer service learning.

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Aug/13

29

Save the Date!

Designer Handbag Bingo Fundraiser!

 

Mark your calendars October 19th for the annual OCY Designer Handbag Bingo fundraiser – featuring COACH, Dooney & Bourke, and Vera Bradley bags! We have beautiful, elegant bags this year and you don’t want to miss it! Join us for a fun evening in support of local youth and children’s programs! All proceeds support direct service programs of the Office on Children and Youth.

Where: Weyers Cave Community Center

When: Saturday, October 19th. Doors open at 3:00, games begin at 5:00

How much: Pre-sale tickets = $10 (for 1 card);Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 3.45.51 PM

Tickets at the door = $15 (for 1 card)

*Each person only needs one ticket. Additional bingo cards can be purchased at the door for $5 each or 5 cards for $20.

*Get your tickets early for special pre-sale only games and door prizes!

Thank you to our sponsors!

Major Event Sponsor – The Printing Express

Sponsors:

First Bank and Trust

SmileMakers

Chick-fil-A

Which Wich

Call 540-568-5814 or email Natalie Duda at dudanv@jmu.edu for more information and to order tickets today. Interested in sponsoring a bag or the event? Contact Natalie.

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