Texting while driving doesn’t work, young drivers learn

Students Try Texting and Driving. See how they did

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Archbishop McCarthy High School wins state title

For the 3rd year in a row, the Mavericks have won the Class 6A title McCarthy is only the second team in history to take 3 consecutive state titles. The only other team to do so was Miami Westminster Christian in the 1996-1998 seasons. Archbishop Mccarthy’s victory came in a close 4-3 match against Port St. Lucie’s Pace High School.

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Nova’s University School receives runner-up for GSA of the year award!!!

 The attached essay by Mason Roth’s to Glsen illustrates the power of advocacy in changing school climate. They have created a model ALL schools can emulate! GLSEN Contest Blog Entry When tolerance isn’t enough, activism must happen. This year, that phrase transformed University School into a school that accepts all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, religion, socio-economic background, or gender. From the founding of the school’s      Gay-Straight Alliance, to the theater department’s interpretation of The Laramie Project, to the inaugural Summit on Human Dignity, the school’s administration, students, and faculty have proven to be active supporters of the LGBTQ communities and equal rights. The Summit on Human Dignity takes place during the last week of October and emphasizes acceptance of all people. This year’s inaugural Summit focused on respect and acceptance of the LGBTQ community. We hosted several guest speakers for the student population, including  Kevin Jennings (he founded the first GSA at the school in which he taught in Massachusetts; he was the first executive director of GLSEN; he was the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the Department of Education under Barack Obama), Judy Shepard (she was the mother of Matthew Shepard, the boy on whom the Laramie Project was based), Jessica Lam (one of the most prominent transgender individuals in the country, she has been on the Larry King show and on 20/20.), Jessica Herthel (a hate-crime legislation attorney), and Jenny Betz (education manager at GLSEN. Additionally, teachers geared their curricula toward focusing on LGBTQ rights (English teachers would focus on LGBTQ literature, social studies classes focused on the history of gay rights, and science and math classes learned of gay mathematicians and scientists such as Alan Turing). There were question-and-answer booths set up during lunch to educate students on LGBTQ issues. Several students also made presentations about LGBTQ rights and displayed their presentations during their classes. The effects of the Summit have been evident throughout the year. Many students (including those who are not involved with the GSA) have been correcting other students who utter homophobic slurs—such as “faggot”— or ignorant comments—such as “no homo.” Significantly fewer students have been making sexually ignorant comments since the Summit, and many students have joined the GSA in support of equal rights. Along with the Summit on Human Dignity, the GSA hosted various fund-raisers for LGBTQ causes. We had a booth at our school’s carnival and organized a bake sale to raise money for SunServe (a local, non-profit charitable LGBTQ organization). We donated a computer to SunServe’s computer drive for its LGBTQ youth center and sold wristbands to benefit the Human Rights Campaign, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and SunServe. The GSA’s efforts have contributed to University School’s improved environment of acceptance. These efforts have inspired students to take a stand for equal rights and respect for all. Being a finalist in GLSEN’s contest has given us more motivation to continue our efforts in years to come. Based on our success this year, I have tremendous hope and expectations for our GSA. Mason Roth, President and Founder of University School GSA GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.

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Teenspace Recognizes Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week! The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health declares the first full week in May (May 6 – 12, 2012) as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to increasing public awareness about the triumphs and challenges in children’s mental health and emphasizing the importance of family and youth involvement in the children’s mental health movement! The National Federation invites all our chapters and statewide organizations to use the week of May 6-12, 2012 to promote positive mental health, well-being and social development for all children and youth.  Join the National Federation in sending out the following messages: Mental health is essential to overall health and well being. Serious emotional and mental health disorders in children and youth are real and treatable.  Children and youth with mental health challenges and their families deserve access to   services and supports that are family driven, youth guided and culturally appropriate.  Values of acceptance, dignity and social inclusion should be promoted throughout all   communities for children, youth and families. Family and youth voice is a valued asset in determining appropriate services and interventions.

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Report Calls Adolescent Substance Use America’s #1 Public Health Problem

Nine out of 10 Americans who meet the medical criteria for addiction started smoking, drinking, or using other drugs before age 18, according to a national study recently released by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University. The new CASA Study “Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Public Health Problem” reveals that adolescence is the critical period for the initiation of substance use and its consequences. The CASA report finds 1 in 4 Americans who began using any addictive substance before age 18 are addicted, compared to 1 in 25 Americans who started using at age 21 or older.  The CASA report underscores the fact that addiction is a disease with adolescent origins. The underdeveloped teen brain makes it likelier that teens will take risks, including using addictive substances that interfere with brain development, impair judgment and heighten their risk of addiction.  The report reveals that: • 75 percent (10 million) of all high school students have used addictive substances including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana or cocaine; 1 in 5 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction. • 46 percent (6.1 million) of all high school students currently use addictive substances; 1 in 3 of them meets the medical criteria for addiction.  Also, the report noted that alcohol is the preferred addictive substance among high school students:   • 72.5 percent have drunk alcohol; • 46.3 percent have smoked cigarettes;  • 36.8 percent have used marijuana; • 14.8 percent have misused controlled prescription drugs; and • 65.1 percent have used more than one substance.   “Addiction is a disease that in most cases begins in adolescence so preventing or delaying teens from using alcohol, tobacco or other drugs for as long as possible is crucial to their health and safety,” said Susan Foster, CASA’s Vice President and Director of Policy Research and Analysis. “We rightfully worry about other teen health problems like obesity, depression or bullying, but we turn a blind eye to a more common and deadly epidemic that we can in fact prevent.”  The report finds that American culture, broadly defined, actually increases the risk that teens will use addictive substances. A wide range of social influences subtly condone or more overtly encourage use, including acceptance of substance use by parents, schools and communities; pervasive advertising of these products; and media portrayals of substance use as benign or glamorous, fun and relaxing. These cultural messages and the widespread availability of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and controlled prescription drugs normalize substance use, undermining the health and futures of our teens.  Forty-six percent of children under age 18 (34.4 million) live in a household where someone 18 or older is smoking, drinking excessively, misusing prescription drugs or using illegal drugs.  Less than half (42.6 percent) of parents list refraining from smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, using marijuana, misusing prescription drugs or using other illicit drugs as one of their top three concerns for their teens; almost 21 percent say that marijuana is a harmless drug.  In addition, the report finds that many teens with other challenges such as a family history including a genetic predisposition, a co-occurring health problem, or a victim of trauma are at even higher risk of substance use and addiction. Another finding declares teen smoking, drinking, misusing prescription drugs and using illegal drugs to be a public health epidemic presenting clear and present dangers to millions of American teens, and severe and expensive long range consequences for our nation.  Adding to the heightened risk of addiction, consequences of teen substance use include accidents and injuries; unintended pregnancies; medical conditions such as asthma, depression, anxiety, psychosis and impaired brain function; reduced academic performance and educational achievement; criminal involvement and even death.  The report finds teen substance use is the origin of the largest preventable and most costly public health problem in America today. Immediate costs per year of teen use include an estimated $68 billion associated with underage drinking and $14 billion in substance-related juvenile justice costs. Total costs to federal, state and local governments of substance use, which has its roots in adolescence, are at least $468 billion per year – almost $1,500 for every person in America.   A list of recommendations includes:  • Educating the public that teen substance use is a public health problem and addiction a medical problem that in most cases originates in adolescence.  • Preventing or delaying the onset of substance use through effective public health measures.  • Identifying teens most at risk through routine screenings.  • Intervening early to prevent further use and consequences as with any other public health problem.  • Providing appropriate medical treatment to teens for substance use disorders.   For this study CASA conducted nationally representative online surveys of 1,000 high school students, 1,000 parents of high school students and 500 school personnel; in-depth analyses of seven national data sets; interviews with 50 leading experts in a broad range of fields; five focus groups with students, parents and school personnel; and a review of 2,000 scientific articles and reports.   To download the report, “Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Public Health Problem,” go to: http://www.casacolumbia.org/templates/NewsRoom.aspx?articleid=631&zoneid=51   SOURCE: The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University—CASA News, June 29, 2011.

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Facebook aims to help prevent suicide

Facebook is making it easier for people who express suicidal thoughts on the social networking site to get help.   By BROOKE DONALD A program launching Tuesday enables users to instantly connect with a crisis counselor through Facebook’s “chat” messaging system. The service is the latest tool from Facebook aimed at improving safety on its site, which has more than 800 million users. Earlier this year, Facebook announced changes to how users report bullying, offensive content and fake profiles. “One of the big goals here is to get the person in distress into the right help as soon as possible,” Fred Wolens, public policy manager at Facebook, told The Associated Press. Google and Yahoo have long provided the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as the first result when someone searches for “suicide” using their sites. Through email, Facebook also directed users to the hotline or encouraged friends to call law enforcement if they perceived someone was about to do harm. The new service goes a step further by enabling an instant chat session that experts say can make all the difference with someone seeking help. “The science shows that people experience reductions in suicidal thinking when there is quick intervention,” said Lidia Bernik, associate project director of Lifeline. “We’ve heard from many people who say they want to talk to someone but don’t want to call. Instant message is perfect for that.” How the service works is if a friend spots a suicidal thought on someone’s page, he can report it to Facebook by clicking a link next to the comment. Facebook then sends an email to the person who posted the suicidal comment encouraging them to call the hotline or click on a link to begin a confidential chat. Facebook on its own doesn’t troll the site for suicidal expressions, Wolens said. Logistically it would be far too difficult with so many users and so many comments that could be misinterpreted by a computer algorithm. “The only people who will have a really good idea of what’s going on is your friends so we’re encouraging them to speak up and giving them an easy and quick way to get help,” Wolens said. There have been high profile incidents of suicidal expressions on Facebook. Last month, authorities in Pittsburg, Calif., said a man posted a suicide note on Facebook before he killed his wife and in-laws then himself. In July, police in Pennsylvania said they believed they were able to help prevent a man’s suicide after the man’s friend in California alerted police about a distraught Facebook posting. Police met with the man, who was committed to a hospital. Nearly 100 Americans die by suicide every day, and 36,035 a year, according to U.S Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s office. “We have effective treatments to help suicidal individuals regain hope and a desire to live and we know how powerful personal connections and support can be,” Benjamin said in a statement. “Facebook and the Lifeline are to be commended for addressing one of this nation’s most tragic public health problems.” The Lifeline currently responds to dozens of users on Facebook each day. Crisis center workers will be available 24 hours a day to respond to users selecting the chat option. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9RJJJLO0.htm http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

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Lindsay Urban Farms adds peace to garden during Choose Peace Week

Adding peace to urban garden gives more purpose to two youth farmers

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Express Yourself


Got something to say about any of the topics covered on Teenspace211? Send us your photos, and photos of your artwork, videos, stories and poems you’ve written and we’ll consider posting it as one of our featured stories. Have an idea? Know of something going or something  you’d like to see more about? Just email us at infoteenspace@211-Broward.org and we’ll see if we can put your ideas into action.

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Do You Know What Bullying Is?

Check in with “Trouble” and learn how bullying hurts everyone.  Trouble learns his lesson in this video.

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