Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Roundtable Reality Check: prescription drug abuse among teens

On Wednesday evening, November 16th, Youth Connect will present Dr. Barbara Swan, local physcian, who will facilitate a discussion entitled "Roundtable Reality Check: Teen Prescription Drug Abuse". The format for the event is a brief overview of what drugs are typically abused, how children are gaining access to them, and what risks are associated with abuse of prescribed medications, followed by a Question and Answer session moderated by Dr. Swan.

NIDA, or The National Institute on Drug Abuse (, states that, among youth who are 12 to 17 years old, 7.7 percent reported past-year nonmedical use of prescription medications. According to the 2010 Monitoring the Future survey, prescription and over-the-counter drugs are among the most commonly abused drugs by 12th graders, after alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. Youth who abuse prescription medications are also more likely to report use of other drugs. Dr. Swan will help parents and other concerned attendees understand the nature of prescription drug abuse, especially as it relates to middle and high school students.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Sewickley Public Library, 500 Thorn Street, in Sewickley, starting at 7 pm. 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.

For more information on Youth Connect and the upcoming presentation on prescription drug abuse, email

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bully-Proofing for Successful Learning and Living

What does bullying look like in the schoolhouse? What strategies can you teach your student to prevent bullying behavior in your neighborhood or harassment in high school?

To address these topics, Quaker Valley School District has invited back ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jim Bozigar to be the keynote speaker for two anti-bullying presentations for parents and community members on October 26, 2011.

Two sessions, each an hour and a half in length, have been scheduled to accommodate parents’ schedules, 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM. The afternoon session will be presented at the Sewickley YMCA on Blackburn Road, Sewickley. The evening session will take place at Edgeworth Elementary School, 200 Meadow Lane, Sewickley.

Learning about bullying is not just for those parents who suspect their child may be too aggressive on the playground. It is for all adults, especially those who interact with students on a regular basis in their homes, during scouting, or in carpool, for example.

Following Mr. Bozigar’s presentation based on the successful Olweus method, attendees will participate in breakout sessions where school counselors and administrators will conduct interactive discussions for parents focusing on the elementary, middle and high school age students. Quaker Valley discussion leaders will provide input as to what bullying may look like including online bullying, and how it is handled at each building level. Attendees will learn how adults can help young people with this issue. Time will be allotted to address specific questions by attendees.

“Last year, Mr. Bozigar’s presentation was so well received, we are inviting him to return and expanding the program in an effort to make it relevant for parents and community members. This is everyone’s problem and we want as many people ‘armed’ with good information and strategies,” Leah Wells, QVSD school psychologist, explained.

This anti-bullying presentation is just one component in Quaker Valley’s district-wide initiative to address bullying and School-wide Positive Behavior Support. The district understands that students cannot learn if they feel vulnerable or unsafe. A positive culture and safe environment are essential to learning and student achievement.

From our colleagues at Sewickley Academy--

Hello, everyone! You are all invited to the first Sewickley Series event of the year which takes place next Friday, October 21, at 7 pm in Rea Auditorium.

More to Live For is an inspiring and educational documentary told through the stories of three individuals all affected by bone marrow cancer. Each individual’s story is unique and demonstrates the many sides, options, challenges and hopes when dealing with blood cancer or leukemia. Seun Adebiyi – graduate of Yale Law School and winter Olympic hopeful – is one of the individuals in the film. He will be here to share more of his story and answer questions after the film.

In addition to the film, Sewickley Academy is hosting an open to the public blood and marrow drive on Friday, November 4.

For more information and to register, visit

Brain Power

Parents and representatives from the community, QV, Montessori Children's Community, the Sewickley Y and others participated in Laughlin Children's Center's "Smart but Scattered" workshop on Monday, October 10th. The workshop featured authors Peg Dawson and Dick Guare, whose best-seller explains executive dysfunctions in children, and the ramificiations on school and homelife. Executive functions are those skills that allow us to break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Or organize our time efficiently. Or help us remember where we left our backpack full of books. Some kids are naturally more adept at these executive functions, while other kids are not. Dawson and Guare gave the audience of almost 100 strategies and tips to help children all along the executive function spectrum, in a variety of settings.

This recent online article from National Geographic also looks at the brain and our kids. Powerful food for thought...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

School Year starts back up! Check out these activities!

Opportunities for Teens in the Quaker Valley area:

AFTER-SCHOOL "DROP-IN" PROGRAMS FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS: The popular “White House” teen center at the Presbyterian Church, Sewickley will continue to be open from 3 to 5 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays. New this year, the YMCA will also provide an after-school program for middle school students and teens, Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 5 PM, located in the Community Activity Center near the Y’s upper parking lot. A YMCA membership is not required. QVSD provides transportation to both programs, which include snacks and adult supervision. For information, contact Rev. Scott Hoffman, 412. 741-4550, for the “White House” program and Karen Hallisey, 412.741.9622, for the YMCA Teen Center program.

FLOYD FAULKNER, COMMUNITY YOUTH WORKER FOR THE QUAKER VALLEY AREA, continues his work connecting students to the resources and afterschool programs in our community. During the past two years “Mr. Floyd” has been highly effective in developing relationships with students , parents and community resources that have been helpful to students and parents alike. The Community Youth Worker position is coordinated through Youth Connect, administered by Quaker Valley School District, housed at Laughlin Children’s Center, funded by a community collaborative of organizations, and advised by a committee consisting of representatives from the community. Students and parents may contact him at or call Laughlin Children’s Center at 412.741.4087.

Click on the image below for a printable flyer detailing these youth-oriented opportunities!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meeting TOMORROW evening!!

While we had great attendance at our “My Child Would Never…” drinking and drugs event in April, several people expressed a desire for an evening event, since daytime conflicts prevent them from being able to attend. Youth Connect is therefore offering a follow-up discussion the evening of Wednesday, June 1, 7:00 pm at the Sewickley YMCA Community Activities Center. (The building at the paddle courts, upper side of the Y parking lot, on the edge of War Memorial Park.)

If you missed the event, please consider joining in this always-needed discussion! And if you did attend, and want to talk some more, you’re welcome to join in again!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Y and Sweetwater partner to teach drawing skills!

Click the poster below for a full-sized version. Ka-POW!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Presentation by local experts on drinking and drug use

On Wednesday, April 13, Youth Connect will host a presentation by local experts that continues the group’s on-going conversation about the dangers, ramifications, and consequences of underage drinking. Entitled My Child Would NEVER… A Presentation for Parents on the Drinking and Drug Party Scene, the event will feature Dr. Thomas Pangburn from Heritage Valley Emergency Services, Judge Robert Ford, Sewickley Chief of Police Jim Ersher, and John English, Edgeworth Chief of Police. These professionals deal with the fallout from teen drinking and drug use on a local level, and can help parents learn how to make a difference in the lives of their children. The event runs from 11 am till 1 pm at the Sewickley Valley Y Community Center, located near the Paddle Tennis courts off Blackburn Road. There is no cost, and the presentation is open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch; beverages will be provided. Click on the image below for a printable flyer.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sewickley Valley Y to present on Head Injury

In light of the growing concern over concussions and other related head injury, our friends at the Y are presenting a Wellness Workshop on the topic, March 10th at 7 pm. Click the poster for more details!

Friday, February 18, 2011


At its monthly membership meeting on February 11, 2011, The Child Health Association of Sewickley was pleased to award a grant for $11,350 to Youth Connect to support the Community Youth Worker project. This funding came from the proceeds of the 2010 Annual Child Health Ball. Janet Kovac, president of Child Health, presented the check to Dr. Joseph Clapper, Superintendent of Quaker Valley School District, Susan Kaminski and Joan Murdoch, Youth Connect Board members, and Floyd Faulkner, the community youth worker. The Sewickley Valley Community Fund will match this donation.

In accepting this award, Joan Murdoch, cited the history of Child Health and praised the organization for its vision in providing support to local children. At its inception, one of the earliest service projects of the organization was to provide free milk for area public school children to combat malnutrition. Mrs. Murdoch said, “Now nearly 90 years later, the Child Health Organization has taken the initiative to fund another valuable program that enhances the basic needs of youth in our community.” She commended Child Health for its major funding role in piloting the Youth Worker position, along with The Presbyterian Church and the Grable Foundation in 2009-10.

With the mission of providing the information, resources, and support needed to give our young people the best chance to enjoy their teen years while avoiding risky behaviors, Floyd Faulkner, was hired as the community youth worker in August 2009. During the presentation, Faulkner thanked Child Health for their support and said, “Since the beginning of Youth Connect, collaborative efforts in the community have helped young people overcome the problems they encounter.” Quaker Valley School District administrators managed the hiring process of the community youth worker and are overseeing the program, allowing Faulkner access to the schools for interaction with the students, parents, and teachers. Dr. Clapper noted that benefits from the program have been seen since Day 1.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Author speaks on teen sexuality

It’s almost here…the rescheduled “Before They Know It All: Talking to Tweens and Teens about Sexuality”, led by author Alan Carson. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, February 23, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm at the Sewickley Valley YMCA Community Activities Center. This event is free and open to the public, but, if desired, you can also pre-order lunch and/or a book for $10 each.

Please register for the event by calling the YMCA at 412-741-9622 or via the website (however, as of 10 am today, the site is experiencing difficulties) . If you have questions, please contact Marianne Cibulas at Further information is included in the attached flyer.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Youth Connect partners featured on WQED TV

Laughlin Children's Center and Quaker Valley School District were recently featured on "Pittsburgh 360," a new local-news program on PBS' WQED TV. Watch it here. Laughlin's clip begins at the 11:37 minute mark, and QV's starts around the 19:50 minute mark.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

RESCHEDULED! Author to lead discussion on sexuality

On Wednesday, 23 February 2011 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, Youth Connect will present "Before They Know It All: Talking to Tweens and Teens about Sexuality," a thought-provoking discussion on teen culture and the vital role that parents play in helping their tweens and teens make healthy decisions. The event is free of charge, led by author Alan Carson, and is appropriate for parents of students in grades 4 - 9.

With a reservation by 21 February, a catered lunch by MixStirs Café is available for $10. In addition, a copy of Mr. Carson's book is available for pre-event purchase at the special discounted price of $10, courtesy of Penguin Bookshop (book price after the 21st, including at the event: $17.95). To register for the event (require), or to purchase lunch and/or Mr. Carson's book at the Penguin's discounted price, visit or call 412-741-9622.

Mr. Carson's presentation will be held at the Sewickley YMCA's Community Activities Center. If you have questions or for further information, contact Marianne Cibulas at or 412-749-6010.