Monday, January 25, 2010

Laughlin to offer help for teens with anxiety

As a follow-up to the teen stress event, Laughlin Children's Center announced that it would be offering a series of small group sessions for girls aged 13-16 who who show signs of anxiety, are socially isolated, or get so emotional at times that they shut down, can’t think clearly, or misbehave impulsively. The goal of the group, led by one of Laughlin’s licensed psychologists, Dr. Lenore Melmeyer, is to provide the participating teens with techniques to calm emotions, develop new perspectives on themselves and others, and improve their communication skills.

The group will run for eight sessions, and will meet at the center, which is located at 424 Frederick Street in Sewickley. Each weekly session will be 90 minutes. Additional sessions will be available as needed. The teen participants can expect to experience the group as a time of sharing and support, as well as a chance to learn better ways of functioning. Some of the topics that will be worked on include mindfulness, interpersonal skills, problems solving, and techniques for overcoming distress.

Before entering the group, each participating teen and her parents will meet privately with Dr. Melmeyer, a therapist specializing in adolescents, for an opportunity to discuss the details of the group and for an assessment; families will have a chance to ask questions about the group at this initial intake meeting. Handouts will be provided to parents each week, reviewing what topics were covered in the group session.

The group will meet on Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 pm, starting on 3 March and running for eight weeks. All initial meetings with families must be completed before the start of the group, and the group size is limited to no more than 10 girls, aged 13 through 16. Due to expected high demand, interested families are urged to contact the Center at 412.741.4087 or as soon as possible to schedule the initial intake.

The cost for the eight sessions is covered by most major insurance plans. For interested families without insurance coverage, details about payment can be discussed when the appointment for their intake is made. Financial aid is available for those self-paying families who qualify.

Laughlin Children’s Center has been providing educational supports to children and families from Western Pennsylvania for over 50 years. The staff of licensed and certified clinicians help children discover learning success through a variety of services, such as individual and small group instruction, speech therapy, counseling, and early childhood services, including The Village Preschool. For details on the center’s programs, log onto or call 412.741.4087.

Teen Stress Event a success!

The teen years are filled with stressors: Not enough time in the day for school, homework, sports, and extracurriculars; social pressures; college decisions; relationships…the list goes on and on. On Thursday night, 21 January, teens and adults met to discuss this topic.

Eleven teens from QV Voice added to their stressful lives by spending time with us to share their thoughts about stress and how adults can help them. The meeting was kicked off by Amy Keller, counselor at Quaker Valley High School, with a brief overview of brain development for parents, focusing on how different the teenage brain is from the fully-developed adult brain. With this perspective, parents are better able to understand and help their teens navigate through their stresses.

The majority of the evening was then spent hearing from teens. They shared their thoughts about what stresses them, and descriptions of how parents succeed (or sometimes fail) at helping. The most valuable message that came through again and again to parents is that it is very important that they make every effort to listen to and hear their teens – and NOT to try to fix everything for them. As many of the students pointed out, they are learning how to navigate the stresses of their lives, and a sympathetic, rather than a judgemental, ear, helps them greatly.

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Reading Group!

Youth Connect and The Penguin Bookshop partner to present a new book club! Teen Reads for Adults will meet at 9:30AM Tuesday, February 16th at Penguin Bookshop, 420 Beaver Street in Sewickley.

Teen Reads for Adults is a book club for adults and parents where Young Adult books will be discussed. The book selected for discussion will be a current book written for teens and will explore serious issues related to modern teen life. The purpose of this book club is to provide an opportunity for adults to discuss a teen book with other adults, including school counselors and a teen librarian.

The first book we will be discussing is Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson:

Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms
with her best friend's death from anorexia
as she struggles with the same disorder.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Skaters, Unite!

From our friends at the Teens @ Sewickley Library blog:

Local residents Ty and Nancy Musser have been working with the Sewickley Borough Council to plan a Sewickley Skatepark. They have gotten a lot done in a short amount of time and have already found land that could be used for the skatepark.

There will be a meeting between Ty and all interested Sewickley skaters on Monday, January 25 at 6pm in the Sewickley Public Library Community Room.

It is important that as many people as possible show up for this event, so the community will recognize the need for a skatepark. Please, please tell your friends and bring them along to the meeting. Snacks will be provided, as they are at all Teen Events! Post any questions as comments or get in touch with me, Kelly, at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

21 January 2010--Teen Stress Forum!

Youth Connect will present an evening workshop for parents about teen stress on Thursday, 21 January 2010 at Edgeworth Elementary, 200 Meadow Lane, Sewickley. Parents can join a discussion about the myriad stressors that today's teens deal with. The event offers an opportunity to learn first-hand about what stresses teens out, how they handle it, and what the adults in their life can do to help.

Over a dozen local high school students will share their concerns and coping skills as part of the moderated panel discussion, which will be preceded by a short presentation on stress from Amy Keller, one of Quaker Valley School District’s Guidance Counselors. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 pm. For more details, email


Steve Forbes Book Signing on Wednesday, January 13th 3:00 PM at The Penguin Bookshop

How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets Are the Best Answer in Today's Economy

Penguin Bookshop
420 Beaver Street
Sewickley, PA 15143

For questions or to reserve copies of the book call 412-741-3838 or e-mail

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

LIVING WITH DIVORCE: Strategies for Survival

We’ve all heard the statistics: approximately 50% of first marriages end in divorce. But just because it is commonplace does not make it any less painful or disruptive. Concerned parents often wonder what they can do to help their children manage this life change. At 6:30 pm on Thursday, February 25th, Youth Connect will present “Living With Divorce,” a talk and discussion led by Donna Bednarek, Ph.D.

Dr. Bednarek, a certified school psychologist and licensed therapist, is acting director of the Psychology Department at Laughlin Children’s Center, where she works with children and families on issues surrounding adjustment and learning.

The purpose of this talk on divorce is to help parents understand the questions and concerns that divorce typically evokes in children of different ages; provide practical suggestions regarding how parents can effectively respond to help their children cope; and assist in gaining a perspective on what a successful adjustment to divorce requires of parents.

Drawing on her years of experience as a therapist and evaluator, Dr. Bednarek will present real-life suggestions for families struggling to adapt to the new reality of divorce, as well as help those families already impacted by divorce to function in more healthy ways. The talk is free and open to the public, and takes place at Laughlin Children’s Center, 424 Frederick Avenue, Sewickley.

Youth Connect is a group of concerned adults and students from schools and organizations in the Sewickley area working to provide the information, resources, and support our young people need to avoid risky behaviors and enjoy their teen years.

The evening program is open to all community members. For more information on Youth Connect and the upcoming presentation “Living With Divorce”, email