Wednesday, December 19, 2012

QV Provides Resources for Family Response to Tragedy

In light of the Sandy Hook school tragedy last week, Quaker Valley Superintendent Dr. Joseph H. Clapper is encouraging families in the district to discuss the tragic event with their children. He has provided some valuable resources in order to aid these talks.  Family discussions are an important part of grieving, healing, and understanding. Knowledge is a vital tool to prevention and safety for the future.

Talking with Kids about News
Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting
Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers

Quaker Valley encourages students and parents to feel comfortable and obliged to share any threatening or troubling information with teachers, counselors, school administrative officials, or law enforcement officials.  Communication is essential in fostering safety in this community.  Anonymous reports can be given to the school district's tipline at 412-749-3633.

In a recent parent letter, Dr. Clapper said, "The events that unfolded on Friday are deeply troubling- especially for young children. Although we cannot makes sense of such a violent act against children, we must do our very best to provide care and reassurance. Please watch your child carefully for any indications that he/she may be struggling emotionally. Our school counselors are here to help our students as well as their parents as we work together to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Heroin Addiction Has A New Face in Pittsburgh

Heroin addiction is a disease that has been described as "the silent killer".  A stereotype exists which says that heroin users are only found in poor, crime-ridden inner-city neighborhoods.  However, this stereotype is no longer a true reality. The Allegheny County Health Department recently reported that in the past ten years, the number of drug overdose deaths, including heroin, have tripled in the Pittsburgh region.  Overdose deaths have taken 261 lives this year so far.  The bulk of these statistics actually come from the suburbs of the city, not urban locations.  The face of heroin use is changing, as the drug is now crossing class, culture, neighborhood, and age demographics.

Heroin is an extremely addictive and destructive drug that is becoming increasingly easier to obtain.  It is defying all former stereotypes as a "gang drug" and is growing in scope and danger.  Many strains available on the streets today, brought into the country from Central Asia, are significantly stronger and more dangerous than the heroin that was on the street in recent years.

Raising awareness about the spread of the disease of heroin addiction can only help families in our region.  Dr. Neil A. Capretto, medical director of Gateway Rehabilitation Center, reported that there have been more heroin overdoses this year than at any other point in Western Pennsylvania's history.  So far there have been over 90 heroin-related deaths in Allegheny County this year.  Of this count, 60% came from the Pittsburgh suburbs.  Regardless of where these deaths are coming from, each is avoidable and efforts should be made to stand against heroin abuse, whether that is in the city or in the suburbs.

It is necessary to address the fact that heroin is a real danger to this community, especially for at-risk youth.  It is our responsibility to raise awareness about the danger of heroin, as well to take practical safeguards and precautions to prevent any more overdose deaths from occurring.  The face of heroin is changing, as should our action against it.

For the original news story from WTAE, click here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

QV Hosts Free Student-Parent Workshop

In order to foster academic and personal excellence in its students, the Quaker Valley School District is offering a three-part series for parents and children entitled, "Promoting Excellence at Home".  The first installation of these workshops will take place this Wednesday, November 28th from 6 to 7:30pm at Osbourne Elementary School.  Dinner and childcare will be provided, as well as raffles and gift card giveaways for attendees!

These workshops will be co-facilitated by author and educator Dr. Don Sheffield and QV community liason Terry Bradford.  Parents will receive a copy of Sheffield's book, Practice Makes Perfect-Not!: Excellence is a Habit.  Sheffield's expertise is focused on the academic and personal development of children, as well as parenting skills in the home.  The workshops will provide practical tips and strategies for overall academic and personal improvement.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to Stephanie McKissic at 412-749-3616 or with the number of adults and children planning to attend. For more information regarding the workshop, contact Terry Bradford at 412-414-1335 or via email at

This information has been brought to us by Larissa Dudkiewicz at the Sewickley Patch:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Support QVSD Education Foundation!

The Friends of Quaker Valley Schools Education Foundation is an incredible, local non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting the students of the Quaker Valley School District by helping them learn and develop into well-educated, healthy, productive, and socially conscious adults with a life-long commitment to learning.  
Please consider giving to the QVSD Education Foundation's Year End Giving Campaign.  Be a Friend to QVSD by helping it achieve its goal of $50,000 by December 31, 2012.  To give online, simply click here.  
Your donation will be used for the benefit of the QVSD students to fund the following programs: Art & Robotics Club, Annual Hall of Fame honoring a QVSD graduate athlete, Wrestling Club, Floyd Faulkner Community Worker, The Middle School Cyber Wellness Center, Middle School Juggling Club, Instrumental Music, The Young Lions - African American Mentoring Group, College Scholarships and more.
Your support is needed to come alongside the students in QVSD.  Please consider giving!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

1st Annual QV Wrestling & Pressley Ridge Snowball Dash

You are invited to participate in the first annual Snowball Dash in Sewickley!  The Quaker Valley Wrestling Team and Quaker Valley Rotary Club have teamed up with Pressley Ridge in hosting a 1-Mile Fun Run on December 1, 2012!  The race will start at 9:00am on Chadwick Street and will finish at the start of the holiday parade on Beaver.  

The Quaker Valley Wrestling Team wants to help Pressley Ridge serve the families in our region that will be struggling to provide the basic needs for their children this holiday season.  Pressley Ridge is dedicated to this mission, providing local services that include residential help, foster care, and family-focused education with an emphasis on safety, well-being, and stability.  This year, Pressley Ridge was able to help over 5,400 children and families in need.    

The Quaker Valley Wrestling Team needs your help to support the children and families in crisis in our community.  Your $25 race registration fee is enough to buy a child a warm winter hat, scarf, and a pair of mittens.  To register or make a donation, go to and click on the race link.  Please come alongside Pressley Ridge, as well as the children of Quaker Valley and the Sewickley Community, in giving relief to the children and families in need this holiday season! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fatherhood Leadership Summit

The month of November is a great time to remember who we are thankful for, especially the loving bonds between family members.  Fatherhood is such a significant stage of life for both father and child.  This generation has a deep need for committed, loving fathers.

The Beaver County Roundtable is offering a Leadership Summit on Fatherhood, focusing on the importance and responsibility of fatherhood, as well as steps to create a county action plan.  This summit is especially offered for fathers, mothers, service providers, faith-based leaders, community leaders, business leaders, local governmental officials who want to strengthen men and fathers' involvement in the lives in their children.

Topics of discussion include:
 - Combating father absence and promoting responsible fatherhood
 - Recognizing the crisis to children in father's absence
 - Addressing the consequences of absent fathers
 - Planning steps that leaders can take in light of absent fathers
 - Raising awareness and initiative in community to build up fathers and families

The summit details are as follows:
Thursday, November 15, 2012
7:30am - 12:00pm
Community College of Beaver County
Learning Resources Center Conference Room
1 Campus Drive
Monaca, PA 15061

RSVP today to Shon Owens 724-378-2882 or

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Boys Wrestling Club

Attention Boy Wrestlers: A new wrestling club is available at the Sewickley Community Center.  All skill levels are welcome.

Practices are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday from 6:15 - 8 pm.

Interested students should contact Floyd Faulkner at 412-722-2122 or by e-mail:

Youth wrestling ages 5 to 12 is available for students from any school district; middle school and high school students can wrestle for Moon only.

With enough participation, the club could become a school-sponsored activity.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Youth Connect's Reading List

The holidays are just around the corner, potentially bringing some extra time to dive into a good book! Here are Youth Connect's highly recommended reads for parents:

1. Letting Go by Karen Levin Coburn & Madge Lawrence Treeger

2. How to Talk So Your Teens Will Listen, And Listen So Your Teen Will Talk by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

3. A Year of Living Generously by Lawrence Scanlan

4. Before They Know It All by Alan Carson

We would love to hear your own book recommendations! Is there a book that every parent should read? Happy reading.

Monday, October 15, 2012

PA Alliance for Safe & Drug Free Children Town Hall Meeting

On October 22nd, the PA Alliance for Safe & Drug Free Children is holding a Town Hall meeting that will focus on drug and alcohol abuse and the addictive quality of all drugs.  The event will start at 6:30pm in the Cornell Auditorium.  Please do not miss this poignant message of hope about a very relevant topic that has dire consequences for individuals in our community.  

The video sequel, "Listen II", will be shown, featuring powerful stories from families of drug victims.  There will also be a panel discussion and Q&A session with representatives from the District Attorney's Office.  Light refreshments will be provided.  Childcare is available, as this is meeting is for adults only.  

Town Hall Meeting
Monday, October 22nd, 6:30pm
Cornell High School Auditorium
1099 Maple Street 
Coraopolis, PA 15108
Phone: 412-264-5010 ext. 100
Fax: 412-264-1445

Friday, September 28, 2012

Is your kid an addict?

Is your kid an addict?

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is leading teenagers to the ER at a skyrocketing rate. How you can prevent disaster

This article originally appeared on The Fix.

I know a 23-year-old NYU graduate—I’ll call her Sophia—who had an arrangement with her dad when she was in high school: he would buy her booze if she would buy him pot. Since many folks don’t think either pot or alcohol are “hard” drugs, some adults—including Sophia’s dad—don’t have a problem with such boundary-crossing bartering. For my friend, however, it created a number of conflicts: for one thing, it meant Sophia was dealing in illegal drugs, and exposing herself to prosecution for felony crimes. For another, it meant she got a clear message from her father that teenage drinking isn’t harmful.

So began Sophia’s drinking career as a young teenager. In high school she drank hard and hung out with likeminded kids. Her grades dropped, and her parents switched her school and put her in therapy—perhaps her father couldn’t imagine what might be leading his daughter to “act out.”

In college she continued to drink, picked up weed, popped Xanax and got wasted regularly. Finally she realized that if she were going to have any chance at a normal life, she’d have to get sober. So she did, at age 21, in the Manhattan 12-step community. To this day, her dad doesn’t get how much weight his lax attitude about drugs and alcohol carried.

This scenario is more common than you might think. “Sometimes we’ll see a situation where one parent smokes pot,” says Nicole Kurash, LSW, director of inpatient adolescent programs at Gateway Rehabilitation in Pittsburgh. “It hasn’t been a problem—they can hold a job, they’re successful, so they don’t think their kid smoking pot is a problem either. A lot of times what we see is, ‘If I let my kid drink at the house, it’s OK. At least it’s in my home.’”

Sophia’s situation might sound beyond the ordinary—her dad buying her booze if she buys him pot. But it’s how ordinary it came to seem to Sophia that’s so significant an illustrator of the teenage epidemic of drinking. “I was like, ‘Who am I trying to hide this from if it’s my dad who’s buying it for me?’” Sophia recalls. “My therapist told me I was totally crying out for rules.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classify underage drinking as a public health crisis. Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug among America’s youth, more than nicotine and illegal drugs, and people aged 12 to 20 drink 11% of all the booze consumed in the US. Most of this alcohol—more than 90%, in fact—is consumed in binges. In 2008, underage drinkers made 190,000 emergency department visits for alcohol-related reasons.

“We see kids coming in on alcohol and marijuana, and also prescription opioids—first it’s Percocets and Vicodins, then Oxys, then heroin,” says Patricia Schram, MD, an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and faculty at the Children’s Hospital Boston Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research.

“People are dying from this,” says Kurash. “It’s not this horrible homeless person living under a bridge using IV heroin—that’s not the total reality of who loses their lives. It is also the wealthy suburban kids who are mixing their prescription drugs. It’s the beautiful 19-year-old girl who goes off to college to be a teacher and gets pressured into drinking too much and overdoses and dies.”

Gateway’s adolescent program serves kids between 13 and 21, and most of the kids they see come from “privileged suburban neighborhoods,” not the inner city, says Kurash. “They have access and money, and sometimes they’re held less accountable. We always have kids who use alcohol and marijuana, and we’re seeing plenty of kids who are using prescription pills—opiates and benzos like Ativan and Xanax.”

“I’m seeing kids who get addicted on their first time” trying prescription drugs like oxycodone, Schram says. “Their prefrontal lobes are not fully developed, they don’t have brakes on their impulses. That’s why they engage in high-risk behaviors—not only drugs, but other high-risk behaviors.”

What happens in the brains of kids at risk for alcoholism and addiction? “We see that even prior to use themselves, they have some abnormalities in the cognitive control circuitry in the brain,” says Bonnie J. Nagel, PhD, who runs the developmental brain imaging lab at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. Nagel’s five-year, $1.6 million ongoing study underwritten by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is looking at the effects of substances on adolescent brains. She enrolls kids ages 12 to 15 before they’ve started to drink or use and follows them throughout time.

“We know that family history of alcoholism increases one’s likelihood of going on to develop alcoholism,” Nagel says, “but we don’t understand the neurobiology of that. When we bring in kids and throw them in the scanner and say they have a predisposition to alcoholism, we don’t know how much is genetic and how much is environment.” But her initial findings suggest, she says, that “there are abnormalities in the circuitry of the brain during decision-making that would suggest atypical kind of control.” Which means that when kids are placed in a heated situation, unlike adults—whose wiring has had a chance to develop by years of experience making good decisions—kids’ fragile circuitry might break down.

Most experts agree that genes don’t make a person an addict or alcoholic. Instead, as Canadian addictions expert Gabor Maté notes in his book about addiction, “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts,” addiction is one result of “an infinitely complex and moment-by-moment interaction between genetic and environmental effects.” The way parents model—or don’t model—healthy ways of negotiating feelings has a profound influence on kids ability to deal with their own emotions.

“In addicts—and you see this in adolescents—there’s an inability to self-soothe or manage emotions,” says Michael Clemmens, PhD, a gestalt therapist and author specializing in addiction who lectures internationally and who for many years worked with teens with addiction. How do parents read the signs of addiction?—kids who are headed for trouble are quick to anger and show discomfort with feelings, Clemmens says.

“The substance becomes a remedy for normal emotional struggles,” he says. “How do you ask a girl to to dance? Is anybody going to like me? I feel my body going in a thousand different directions.—All these things are managed by the substance. Emotional, moral and cognitive development is slowed because you don’t get to move through those problems on your own. What you’ve learned is, ‘I don’t have to feel that.’”

The desire not to feel, not to face reality, comes out in kids’ behavior: their grades may drop; they may change friends; they may isolate themselves in their rooms; their tempers may snap for no reason; they may swipe cash or possessions. Worst of all, they may begin to be secretive or deceptive. “I can’t get the kid to engage in treatment if they see I’m pointing out they’re lying to me,” says Harvard’s Schram.

It’s important for parents to keep in touch with their kids’ social networks. “If your kid is hanging with other kids who are using,” says Gateway’s Kurash, “you can bet your kid is also using.”

As in my the case of my friend, the NYU grad, parents see the acting-out—the changes in friends, dropping grades, skipped classes, failure to communicate—and often miss the underlying addiction. So how should parents go about learning how to identify addiction in their kids, and how to talk to them about it?

Parents may be tempted to go through kids’ rooms and backpacks, but most experts agree that, without hard evidence, that’s likely to exacerbate the problem. “If you go in there without any evidence, it communicates mistrust big-time,” says Clemmens. “If there’s an incident, or a pattern of using, that’s one of the options. If it’s just because they’re an adolescent, it creates an atmosphere of mistrust.” If parents have evidence, he said, it’s a good idea to have a third party conduct the search so the parent can continue to be the good cop.

“Searching rooms, notebooks, journals—I come down kind of hard on parents who do that,” says Heidi Van Doeren, a Pittsburgh-based private-practice therapist who has worked with teens with addiction since 1994. When parents search their kids’ stuff, Van Doeren says, “they’re trying to manage their own anxiety—which is an impossible phenomenon—by controlling an external circumstance.

“Look,” she says, “we’re trying to raise confident individuals. So if you find drugs, what are you doing to do with it? If you read the journal, what do you do with that information? It’s not like that information leads to a more empowered stance. Do you really think it’s going to get the kid to stop smoking pot?”

Instead, parents should learn how to talk with kids about addiction and drug-use, and most of all learn how to demonstrate the behaviors they want kids to adopt. Instead of just talking a good talk, parents need to walk the walk.

“I believe you hook the kid—I believe you ask them, ‘What does this behavior cause for you? What is it in your life that you are interested in that this could jeopardize? Whether it’s getting into college, getting that girl, having your parents finally respect you—you inquire into what they’re most interested in.”

“I think the first thing to do is to ask them, ‘Where are you going? How are you doing?’ Keep communication open, and model talking about feelings,” says Clemmens. “And that’s tough with adolescents because they don’t want to talk about that shit with us.”

Clemmens noted that kids are often smarter and more perceptive than parents give them credit for. “If we talk about drug-use in condemning, prohibitionary ways, or in joking ways—those are things adolescents can pick up on,” he says. “Parents need to be communicating, ‘My concern is not about the drug, it’s about you. You have to be aware of the impact of these drugs on you.’”

Experts said parents need to be firm about setting limits on drinking early in kids’ lives. Kurash says Gateway emphasizes that parents are legally responsible for their kids’ decision to drink, and for any consequences. “Number one, it’s against the law,” she says. “Number two, a child can overdose from alcohol, especially young kids who don’t know their tolerance level, and then you have that on your hands.”

Clemmens grew up in rural eastern Pennsylvania, in Amish country, and went to Catholic men’s college where, he says, all the students and even the priests smoked pot. Clemmens himself began getting drunk at 14, then progressed to cannabis, meth and cocaine; he has been sober since 1975. He urges parents to set limits by helping their kids understand the physiological consequences of excess drinking in teen years: it disrupts brain development. “It’s different from having a glass of wine with dinner as an adult,” he says. “To get drunk behind the barn with a bunch of your friends as an adolescent—that’s just plain too early.”

Clemmens and others also agreed that it’s impossible to talk about preventing teen addiction without talking about the health of the entire family. The CDC’s long-running Adverse Childhood Experiences study shows that risks of addiction and alcoholism increase with the number of traumas kids endure during childhood. These include physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; living with substance abuser, a convicted offender, and/or a family member with mental illness; and seeing domestic violence.

“When you have family environments that do not teach affect regulation—learning how to soothe yourself—and you have the biochemistry that’s already a potential time-bomb, there’s the tendency to move in the direction of addiction,” Clemmens says.

In order for parents to teach kids how to regulate their feelings, the parents themselves may have to start with their own emotions. Van Doeren urges parents to confront their own feelings of insecurity and inability to control their kids. “I ask the parents, ‘So what’s it like for you that your 15-year-old son is moving away from you? What kind of support do you need from your system?’ I would encourage Al-Anon.

“I encourage parents to talk about their own experience with their kids: ‘I’m worried; I love you so much and maybe this worry is all mine, but I want to talk with you about this,’” she says. “If you can do this without unbridled emotional out-of-control-ness, which is never helpful—if you can keep from saying, ‘You need to quit the football team, you need to do this or that or the other thing’—then it can work out well.’”

Friday, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tidbits from Today's YC Meeting

Youth Connect's first meeting of the 2012-13 school year!  Great seeing so many faces today, especially those new to the group.  Among the items discussed:

An interesting article from the Post-Gazette looking at the biological effects of drug and alcohol use by young people; a sobering report (and that's no pun).

Kate Weiss from The Penguin Bookshop announced a need for volunteers, especially those interested in the teen section of the bookshop.  Contact her for more information:

Sewickley Academy's annual "Clothesline Sale" is coming up in September, and donations will be accepted beginning next week (4 September).  Check out the school's website for more details on donating and purchasing!

The YMCA's teen center, The OASIS, will be starting up next week.  The new center, located just off the lobby, operates Monday through Thursday from 2:30 till 6 pm for middle and high school students, and is in need of interested adults who would like to volunteer on a regular basis.  Contact Hank Ford for more details:  Want to get involved but not able to commit to attending? How about providing some healthy food for the OASIS kids to enjoy?  COntact Ellyn Lenz, who coordinates the OASIS nutrition program,

Next Saturday is Sewickley's annual Harvest Festival.  Stop by the Youth Connect table, which will once again be manned by students from QV Voice.  Take a walk down Broad to Frederick, and visit Laughlin Children's Center to check out its extensive interior and exterior renovations (and get some cider and a cookie!)  Then head over to The Presbyterian Church for Day on the Lawn.

Check back soon to learn more about Youth Connect's always exciting line-up of presentations for the coming year!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Library and Youth Connect partner on screenings of "Miss Representation"

The Sewickley Public Library, in conjunction with Youth Connect, is delighted to announce two showings of Miss Representation, an award-winning documentary that confronts the insufficient, and often unfavorable, portrayals of females in the media. The film focuses on the detrimental effect these portrayals can have on the average woman’s ability to feel powerful or be respected in a position of power.

Please join us on August 2nd for a viewing and brief discussion. The viewings will be held at 11:00am and 6:00pm in the library’s Community Room. We encourage both youth and adults to participate. The film is rated TV-14.

According to the Miss Representation website, the film challenges modern media’s message that:

a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information on Sewickley Public Library, including directions, log on to To learn more about Miss Representation, visit the film’s website

Monday, June 11, 2012

Juneteen Celebration just days away!

From our friends at the Sewickley Community Center:

Juneteenth in Sewickley is June 23rd.

We've got a full day planned, and I hope you can join us!

9:00 Live Art with Blake Irwin

9:00 Pancake Breakfast Begins

10:00 Panel Discussion on "The Help"

12:00 Vendors open for Business

12:30 SCC Pool Opens--FREE SWIM

1:00 Commencement Ceremony and Re-enactment Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation

2:00 Gospel Song and Dance

Betty Asche Douglas, Marianne Pratt, On Common Ground, Tri-Stone Baptist, and Coraopolis Church of God and Christ

4:00 Soul Line Dancing with Roland Ford

Break-out Activities

Legion History Room

1:30 Interactive Discussion with Thadeus Stevens, Martin Delaney and Abraham Lincoln

2:15 "The Real Heroes" Tuskegee Airmen tribute by Regis Bobonis

SCC Community Room

2:30 Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Awareness Talk

3:30 Food Pantry Garden Presentation

SCC Garden Theater

2:45 Qigong

3:45 "Soul in my Story; the Story in my Soul" guided writing led by Jean Zell

4:45 Guided Drumming Circle

Evening Activities

5:30 All Ages KICK BALL

6:30 Spoken Word Concert and Open Mic

7:30 Sewickley Families Reunion

Please post and plan to give a visit if you can!

15-20 Chadwick Street

Sewickley, PA 15143


412-401-1574 for more information....

Monday, June 4, 2012

From The Tribune-Review: Anti-drinking message targets parents who host parties

By Bill Vidonic Tribune-Review Published: Saturday, June 2, 2012, 7:00 p.m.

Susan E. Sanders-Watt made a decision that cost three teens their lives two years ago. "Don't give another person's child the chance to drink at your house," Sanders-Watt, 60, of Salem said last week. A judge in April sentenced her to one year of house arrest wearing an electronic monitoring device for her guilty plea to corruption of minors and reckless endangerment, for serving alcohol to at least 17 teens at a graduation party for her son.

As families prepare to host graduation parties throughout the region, adults should know they face criminal and civil liability if they serve alcohol to underage people or don't stop parties when they know alcohol is being served. The Westmoreland County car crash that resulted from beer drinking at the Sanders-Watt graduation party serves as a glaring example. Police said Sanders-Watt bought the beer for her son's party.

Michael Simpson, 19, Carly Kudray, 19, and Jordan Cobb, 19, died in a drunken-driving crash on June 26, 2010, as they drove from Sanders-Watt's home. Police said the trio, and crash survivor Chad Vandergrift, stayed at Sanders-Watt's home for only 30 minutes before leaving. "This has completely torn our family apart," said Mollie Cobb of Export, Jordan Cobb's mother. "It's completely ruined everything. When you bury your child, it's never good, but under these circumstances, it makes it even worse."

Debbie Kehoe of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Safe and Drug Free Children tries to teach parents not to be enablers for children. "The unfortunate thing is that a lot of parents just don't get it. Because of how hectic our lives are, parents tend to be more of a friend than a parent. You can understand that, but yet you have the responsibility as a parent to be a parent and give your children guidance," Kehoe said. Mike Rosenzweig, litigation manager and partner at the Downtown law firm of Edgar Snyder & Associates, said simply knowing that alcohol is being served to minors at your home, even though you haven't served it, can make someone legally responsible. Serving the alcohol can fall under the criminal statute of facilitating, serving or assisting a minor in drinking alcohol, and can create a civil liability. Criminal punishment can include jail time or thousands of dollars in fines. "It seems to be easily preventable," Rosenzweig said. "The bottom line is, no alcohol for minors. Period."

Kehoe said she was flabbergasted to see a televised report a couple of years ago about several families who rented a limousine for their prom-going, high school-aged children so that they could safely drink. "If you're picking and choosing laws to obey and abide by, you're sending really bad messages to your children," Kehoe said. Mike Manko, spokesman for Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., said when he talks to parents about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, he tells them: "It is not acceptable for a parent to volunteer their home and take away car keys so that there can be a 'safe' drinking party. "Plain and simple, it is a crime for a parent to allow underage drinkers to consume on their property."

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck asked for jail time for Sanders-Watt, because he wanted to send a strong message to parents, although Judge John E. Blahovec said house arrest sent that message. Sanders-Watt faced a possible 45 years in prison. After the crash, Sanders-Watt said her son, whom she didn't name, swore off alcohol. "The decision I made, I have to live with it for the rest of my life," she said. "I did what thousands of other parents do. But it all boils down to I should have said no."

Here are some tips for avoiding problems with alcohol at a graduation party: * Keep an eye on minors to make sure they don't sneak any alcohol. Consider hiring a professional bartender who can screen underage drinkers or refuse drinks to minors and adults who appear intoxicated. *Offer nonalcoholic beverages, including coffee, and plenty of food. Switch to only coffee or soft drinks a couple hours before the party is scheduled to end. *Make sure party-goers have designated drivers. *Have your teenager call from a land phone so that Caller ID shows that they're where they should be. Set up a safe word a teenager can use so that if the party gets out of hand, the parent knows they need a ride home.

Source: The Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, Edgar Snyder & Associates, and the Pennsylvania Alliance for Safe and Drug Free Children.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Are you up for a challenge," our friends at Fern Hollow ask


Fern Hollow Nature Center (FHNC) is kicking off summer with an event to showcase all the wonderful parks in our community.

FHNC’s Amazing Parks Race will take place on June 2nd from 3:00-6:00PM. Our race will imitate the Amazing Race on TV and will highlight eight of the beautiful parks in the Quaker Valley area.

Form a team with friends or family – we think it will be a fun event for all ages! Each team (car load) will be given clues to direct them to a local park. Once there they will have to complete a challenge (like build a little bridge or imitate a bee) to earn the clue for the next location. There will also be bonus challenges and a few other twists. The team with the best overall time wins but there will be plenty of other awards too!

The Race ends at FHNC for an awards ceremony and ice cream provided by Sewickley Confectionary. Teams are invited to bring their own picnic dinner and linger on the grounds of FHNC for the best sunset in the Valley.

The cost to participate is $25 per team for FHNC members and $35 per team for non-members. Teams can consist of children and adults and as many people as they can fit in one car. To register your team please call 412-741-6136 or email

This fundraiser will directly support the education programs at Fern Hollow Nature Center. The Center offers over 50 hands-on inquiry based science programs for local schools each year that focus on Pennsylvania wildlife and habitat, geology, local watersheds, and much more. Last year over 2,500 students from ten schools participated in those programs.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

LET'S TALK: An Informal Discussion for Parents about Teens & Drinking

On Wednesday, May 30, Youth Connect will host an informal discussion that continues the group’s on-going conversation about the dangers, ramifications, and consequences of underage drinking.

Entitled “Let’s Talk,” the event will be moderated by Youth Connect’s leaders, Joan Murdoch and Susan Kaminski. Murdoch and Kaminski founded Youth Connect, a group of concerned adults and students from schools and organizations in the Sewickley area, working to provide the information, resources, and support young people need to avoid risky behaviors. The group has been active in the community for over five years, offering a full slate of events each school year that help educate parents, professionals, and students.

At “Let’s Talk” on May 30th, the pair will discuss the latest facts about the effects of alcohol on the brains of adolescents, current realities of drinking in the teen years, and research proven practical parenting ideas for preventing risky behaviors. The event runs from 10 am till noon 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.

For more information on this important upcoming event, or to find out more about Youth Connect, email

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Youth Connect to present on "letting go" in September

Transitions can be difficult, especially ones as major as leaving home to enter college. Coming in September: a book discussion led by local experts centered on Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger. The book covers topics such as admissions, orientation, finances, eating disorders, homosexuality, date rape, choosing a major, parent visits, sophomore slump, communication, and graduation. reviewed the book, saying the authors

focus on the experience of traditional-age college students who go to school away from home, but much of the information included is equally relevant to parents of college students who are living at home as well... Letting Go provides reassurance by discussing the normal development and challenges of college students. It is filled with stories, anecdotes, and comments by college students.

Letting Go is available for purchase at the Penguin Bookshop. Here is an excerpt of an article from Youth Connect member Lynn Sanborne, MSW, a school counselor at Sewickley Academy:

The Last Passage
April marks the month when most college bound seniors finalize their choice for where they will be heading next year. Not coincidently, this is also the time when most seniors begin—if they haven’t already—to pull away from their family. It’s natural and normal for even the most even tempered and upbeat child to express some surliness, criticize family life, and become more private, even secretive. This natural and understandable attempt on the young person’s part to individuate can cause immense pain and confusion for the family members who are about to be “left behind”. Nevertheless, these last, precious few months of family time together can also be a time of laughter, remembrance and reconnection . As a former family therapist and a parent who has launched two of my three kids, here are some heartfelt tips which might make for smoother sailing.

Even when your child seems to be shouting, “I can’t wait to get out of here,” try to find lots of opportunities to express your unwavering love. Acknowledge special attributes and qualities, which can provide a much needed ego boost. For instance: “Your roommate is so lucky because you are so friendly and welcoming.” “ I am going to miss your wicked sense of humor.” “ How is your little sister going to finish her math homework without your patient help?”

While there may be no overt signs of fear, uncertainty, or confusion about this life passage, you can be sure that your child is experiencing those feelings in some measure. Continue to talk with enthusiasm and optimism about the many exciting opportunities which lie ahead, but also find those quiet moments to discuss some of the inevitable fears of the unknown and model that it is okay to be vulnerable. Share some personal memories when you personally struggled with new experiences and challenges. I’ve told my own kids about how I was so homesick my first few months of freshman year, that I would climb into the bushes in front of my dorm in order to cry privately.

Particularly if your child is the youngest or an only, be careful that he or she doesn’t sense that the “empty nest” is going to be a miserable, meaningless place for the parent(s) left behind. This can saddle your child with an undue burden of guilt, and in extreme cases can contribute to the phenomenon of “flunking out to save mom.”

Model some of the life skills you hope your child will deploy as they go off to university. Have you made a new friend lately? How about attending a talk or lecture on a topic of interest? Discuss a world or national issue at the dinner table.

Technology makes it easy to learn about the daily life your child will soon experience. Read some issues of the college newspaper online which will give you a sense of burning issues on campus and special events and opportunities. Information gleaned from the college’s website can lead to some great conversation starters: the study abroad opportunities in Latin America look phenomenal: is that something you might consider? The outdoors club looks as if they take some really cool trips. There are so many alternative spring break opportunities: I know you’ve wanted to do service work in Appalachia, etc.

Many colleges post on-campus jobs which are available. Invite your child to look at these: this is a good time to discuss your expectations about a part-time job to cover personal expenses and/or contribute to tuition. Again, share your own experiences. I’ve told my own kids about the many on- campus jobs I had, including the grossest: cleaning toilets because it paid the best and I was saving to go to Europe.

Familiarize yourself with the services of the student counseling center and encourage your child to seek out its services for any behavioral or emotional struggles (including drug and alcohol abuse) just as the infirmary is the place to go for physical ailments. Reports indicate that record numbers of college students are experiencing anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. Some experts cite the lack of resilience of today’s young adults who have been sheltered from adversity and constantly praised by “helicopter parents”. Others blame the high pressure “race to nowhere” academic treadmill which characterizes contemporary high school culture. Whatever the case, you child can only benefit from hearing from you that asking for help is positive and proactive.

Putting together a photo scrapbook can be as meaningful for the child as it is for the parent. Perhaps a photo for every year of your child’s life, or photos or mementoes of meaningful events, with comments or reflections . My late husband, inspired by a conversation he’d had with a NYC taxi driver where he found himself extolling his love for his daughter, turned this experience into a beautiful and moving poem which is cherished by that very beloved child almost two decades later. I know she turned to it many times during her college years for comfort and reassurance.

Whenever possible, find moments to laugh with your child about this challenging time—and seek comfort and consolation from friends and relatives who know what you are going through. It does get better!

One last suggestion, which can bring reassurance now and in the years ahead, is to develop a personal prayer or mantra which you say to yourself several times a day , such as “I wish for my child: expanded knowledge, new skills, and meaningful connections with others.” After all, isn’t that what parents really want for their almost adult child?

Even if your child doesn’t show signs of fear, uncertainty, or confusion about so this massive change, you can be sure that those feelings exist in some measure. Continue to talk with enthusiasm and optimism about the many exciting opportunities which lie ahead, but also find those quiet opportunities to discuss somef fears of the unknown and model that it is okay to be vulnerable. Share some personal memories when you yourself have struggled with new experiences and challenges. I’ve told my own kids about how I was so homesick my first few months of freshman year that I would climb into the bushes in front of my dorm in order to cry privately.
Particularly if your child is the youngest or an only, be careful that he or she doesn’t sense that the “empty nest” is going to be a miserable, meaningless place for the parent(s) left behind. This can saddle your child with an undue burden of guilt, and in extreme cases can contribute to the phenomenon of flunking out to save mom.

Interest drives additional screenings of "Race to Nowhere"


Due to continued interest from the community, the Sewickley Public Library is pleased to announce two additional showings of Race to Nowhere, an award-winning documentary that addresses the realities of today’s obsession with achievement, and how that obsession is directly impacting our children.

The library, located on Thorn Street at Broad, will show the documentary on Thursday, May 10th at 11:30 am and 6:30 pm pm. The approximately one-hour-long film will be followed by brief discussion.

According to the documentary’s director, Vicki Abeles, the film features

the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids. Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

This event is free and open to the public. Sewickley Public Library thanks Quaker Valley Middle School and Youth Connect for their support in purchasing the license to the documentary.

Friday, March 16, 2012

From our friends at Cornell School District

Why stay home on Friday evening when you can attend the

Coraopolis Moose
Friday, April 20th at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:30 PM)

$15.00 per person
Includes dinner (catered by Gino’s), beer, pop, snacks and plenty of racing fun!

Races are $2.00 per bet (10 races). The evening will also include a Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle and door prizes.

For even more fun, buy a horse and name it for $15.00! As the owner, you and your horse will be listed in the program. If your horse wins, you will win a $30.00 Owner’s fee! (Winner need not be present.)

Come enjoy an evening out with family and friends!!!

For information and/or tickets please call or see: Beverly Benson, Central Office
(412) 264-5010 extension 100 or
Can’t make it? Buy a horse!

All proceeds will go to the Cornell School District Track Renovation Project
And Blue and Gold Club

In Memory of our Honorary Chairperson, Foge Fazio

Thursday, March 15, 2012

For those of you who attended last week's mini-summit on anxiety and depression in children and adolescents, and for those of you who weren't able to but want information, here are links to some of the resources our panel of experts talked about. For even more in-depth information, contact Douglas Florey at Laughlin Children's Center,

General Support Resources for families - SAMHSA sponsored statewide family network - lists county by county resources for parents that may have a child with behavioral, medical, emotional and intellectual challenges. Excellent resource for support groups, trainings, research studies and the like. The local contact is Dianna Brocious - 800-947-4941. - National Association for Mental Illness - support groups, and resource materials pamphlets for individuals, families and friends, across the lifespan, who may be impacted by mental health issues. Many college campuses are working to establish NAMI chapters on site. The local southwestern PA chapter is

Depression and Youth Suicide Specific Resources - - 1-800-273-TALK - in addition to crisis support you can order prevention materials such as magnets, help cards, posters and such. The national # will route individuals to their local county crisis #. - Online support for GLBTQ youth and those who promote acceptance. - Suicide prevention focusing on school administrators and providing free webinars on current trends and topics related to youth suicide prevention. - The following webinar addresses social networking and suicide prevention. - PA Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative - clearinghouse of state and national information regarding research, trainings and resources.

Mental Health Educational Materials (free) - - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Handouts and curriculums on a variety of mental health subjects. Parenting guide -- - National Institute of Mental Health. - American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry – view Facts for Families on specific youth mental health issues.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sewickley Public Library hosts screenings of "Race to Nowhere"

The Sewickley Public Library is pleased to announce two showings of Race to Nowhere, an award-winning documentary that addresses the realities of today’s obsession with achievement, and how that obsession is directly impacting our children.

The library, located on Thorn Street at Broad, will show the documentary on Thursday, March 22nd, at 11:30 am and 7:00 pm. The approximately one-hour-long film will be followed by brief discussion.

According to the documentary’s director, Vicki Abeles, the film features

the heartbreaking stories of young people across the country who have been pushed to the brink, educators who are burned out and worried that students aren’t developing the skills they need, and parents who are trying to do what’s best for their kids. Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace, students have become disengaged, stress-related illness, depression and burnout are rampant, and young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Race to Nowhere is a call to mobilize families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.

This event is free and open to the public. Sewickley Public Library thanks Quaker Valley Middle School and Youth Connect for their support in purchasing the license to the documentary.

For more information on Sewickley Public Library, including directions, log on to To learn more about Youth Connect and the upcoming screenings, search for us on Facebook, visit, or email

Click the image above for a downloadable flyer you can print off or email to friends!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Timely Tidbits

Don't forget the mini-summit, "Signs, Signals, & Support: Anxiety and Depression in Children and Adolescents," which takes place this Friday, 9 March, from 10:30 am Slated to appear on the panel are: Dr. Debrin Goubert, psychiatrist and owner of Sewickley Mental Health Associates; Paula S. McCommons, EdD, director of the STAR Center at UPMC; Patrick McElfresh, PhD, a researcher from the University of Pittsburgh; and Sheree Kaiser, MSW, LSW, from Staunton Clinic. Following the panel’s presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (, anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.

Anxiety disorders also often co-occur with other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). With treatment and support, children can learn how to successfully manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression and live a normal childhood.

This event is free and open to the public, and was coordinated by representatives from Laughlin Children’s Center, Quaker Valley School District, and Youth Connect.


Click here for an interesting article from the Post-Gazette on the pressures high school students face.

Have you seen the film "Race to Nowhere" yet? If not, stay tuned for details on the next local showing later this month!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Synthetic Drugs Pose Big Risks

Click here for an indepth explanation of "bath salts", K2, and "Spice"--three synthetic drugs that parents need to know more about.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Some Upcoming Events of Note...

Drug Awareness -- Tuesday, February 28th, 6:00 pm, Osborne Elementary School: The Sewickley Police Department is holding a presentation on drug awareness. Richard Shaheen, Senior Supervisory Special Agent from the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Investigative Services, will lead the event. According to Shaheen, the evening is appropriate for students in 7th grade through high school, as well as their parents and other interested community members. The event will last 45 min to 1 hour.

Youth Anxiety and Depression -- Friday, March 9th, 10:30 am, YMCA Community Activity Center: Youth Connect is holding a panel discussion of professionals addressing the topic of adolescent and teen anxiety and depression.

“Cyber-Smarts” -- Wednesday, March 14th, time to be determined: Sewickley Academy is hosting an event for parents entitled “Cyber-Smarts for the Digital Generation”, and is generously making this open to the community. Further time and location information will follow.

“Race to Nowhere” -- Thursday, March 22nd, 11:30 am and 7:00 pm, Sewickley Public Library: Two showings of “Race to Nowhere”, an award-winning documentary that addresses the realities of today’s obsession with achievement. The approximately 1 hour-long film will be followed by brief discussion.

Monday, February 13, 2012

AIU to present on Dyslexia

Click on the image for a full-sized version:

"Cyber-Smarts" presentation at SA open to all parents

On Wednesday morning, March 14th, Sewickley Academy will host a presentation for parents regarding internet safety. More details will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, here's a bit about the presentation:

Cyber-Smarts for the Digital Generation
Teens are building resumes with grades, activities, sports, music, and… their Facebook Profile. Do you know how college admissions officers and future employers are looking at technology profiles? How do they look and what counts? Will negative free speech impact your future career? How many friends is enough friends in your network?

Does anyone get in trouble for using Limewire or BitTorrent programs? Who is at the other side of your Skype sessions and Chatroulette spins? Whom are we socializing with during X-Box live outings and Halo episodes? Do you know how predators and thieves use Twitter, Facebook, and Club Penguin to locate their next targets? Identity theft, intellectual property issues, and HotorNot ratings… the landscape of today’s technology is an new path, not always well-planned for most of us. Do you read the Terms and Conditions of use of all the .com’s housing your data and identifiable information?

Attendees of all “skill-levels” will benefit from this interactive program as it effectively bridges the gap between parents and their children caused by the explosive growth of the Internet, video games, and other popular technologies. These technologies have revolutionized youth social scenes in ways we are only beginning to understand and unfortunately many of us are only scratching a perceived
practical surface.

In this session, facilitators lead the audience through a tour of live websites frequented by adolescents and discuss insights on youth online behavior. Our presenter’s insights into online behavior are gleaned from research, experience, insider-information from today’s teens as well as partnerships with technology-focused institutions and the FBI. The program covers everything from deciphering secret IM chat codes to comprehending the techniques of online pornographers to
venturing into online gaming. Come, be challenged, and enjoy our cyber-trip!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Educational Achievement Gap explored

Click here for a shortened clip of the Kettering Foundation's film on the educational achievement gap in the United States, and how communities are stepping up to make a positive difference. What are we doing right in Sewickley? What more do we need to do, or what can we do better?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

An announcement from Union Aid Society



The Union Aid Society will award a $4,000 need based college scholarship to a high school senior who resides within the Quaker Valley School District area.

The scholarship is for the first year of college, $2,000 per semester. Consideration will be given to students with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA. Application materials include financial information, references, high school transcript and an essay; interviews will be scheduled with finalists. The application deadline is April 10, 2012.

For more information contact the Union Aid Society at 412-741-9240 or

Monday, February 6, 2012

From our colleagues at Sewickley Academy

Research shows that sexting is on the rise among teens and tweens. Could your kids be doing it right under your nose without you even knowing?
By Allison Takeda, Senior Editor

MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2011 — Some 10 percent of tweens and teens have exchanged sexually suggestive photos via phone, the Internet, or other electronic media, according to a new study just published in the journal Pediatrics. But even more — up to 39 percent, according to a survey by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy — have sent or received sexually suggestive messages, such as texts, e-mails, or IMs.

Sexting, the transmission of such messages and images, primarily between cell phones, is an increasing concern among parents — and though the study released today indicates it’s not as widespread a problem as we’d previously feared, such behavior can have serious consequences, not just for your child’s emotional well-being and privacy, but from a legal standpoint as well. If you have teens, you’re likely already on the lookout for red flags. But do you know what those flags are? Many sexually explicit messages aren’t actually that explicit — to parents, anyway. A lot of sexting is done in code, using acronyms and decoy words.

Here are just a few of the many (many!) examples of shorthand that teens and tweens use to sext:

53X = sex
8 = oral sex
Banana = penis
CD9 = code 9, parents are around
P911 = parent alert
CU46 = see you for sex
GNOC = get naked on cam
GYPO = get your pants off
IMEZYRU = I'm easy, are you?
IPN = I'm posting naked
ITS = intense text sex
IWSN = I want sex now
J/O = jerking off
Kitty = vagina
LH6 = let's have sex
LHU = let's hook up
NFS = need for sex
PRON = porn
TDTM = talk dirty to me
RUH = are you horny?

If you spot any of these messages on your child’s phone, don’t just get angry and take away his or her text privileges. Talk with your teen about why and with whom they’re exchanging such messages, and discuss the potential consequences of their actions. Then make a plan to check in with your child about his or her text habits in the future. You may also want to consider monitoring cell phone and computer use for further inappropriate behavior, and contacting the parents of the other child involved.

Read on about the dangers of sexting from Everyday Health’s medical director, Mallika Marshall, MD.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A note from Hank Ford, Sewickley Y's Youth Director

I know this may be short notice, but if at all possible, I’d like to get the word out to those in the Cornell district about our upcoming bowling event. On Saturday, February 4th, I’ll be driving a group of 6th-8th graders from the Y to Paradise Island Bowl. We will depart the Y at 12:30pm and return around 3:30pm. The price of $12.00 (for both Y members and non-members alike) includes: 2 hours of bowling (1:00pm-3:00pm), shoe rental, two slices of pizza, and one soft drink. On our shuttle bus, we have room for myself, one other adult chaperone, and 13 fun-loving kids. Of course, if interest spikes enough in the next several days, we may be able to use a school bus from QV to accommodate a greater number of kids. To this e-mail, I have attached a flyer for the event.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Two recent articles highlight ramifications of teen drug and alcohol usage

Two recent Post-Gazette articles once again focused the spotlight on the tragic ramifications of drug and alcohol usage among teens. The first, found at, follows a young woman in her battle against heroin. The second, included below in its entirety, illustrates what can go wrong when teens and alchohol mix.

Woman who gave teens alcohol before deadly crash pleads guilty
Monday, January 23, 2012
By Torsten Ove,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Westmoreland County woman this morning pleaded guilty to supplying the alcohol at her teenage son's graduation party before a crash that killed three of the partygoers about a mile from the house.

Susan Sanders-Watt, 60, of Salem, pleaded to corruption of minors, reckless endangerment and 17 citations of serving alcohol to minors.

She admitted that she furnished a half-keg of beer for 16 teens who attended her 17-year-old son's party on June 26. Three teens -- driver Michael Simpson and two passengers, Jordon Cobb and Carly Kudray -- later died in a crash. A fourth passenger, Chad Vandergrift, was thrown from the car but survived.

All four were graduates of Greensburg-Salem High School.

No sentencing date was set.

Torsten Ove: or

Read more:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sewickley Police Department sponsors drug awareness event

Special Agent from Attorney General’s office to Speak on Drug Awareness and Teens

Youth Connect is pleased to support the Sewickley Police Department’s upcoming presentation on drug awareness, slated for Tuesday, Feb 28th at 6 pm. Richard Shaheen, Senior Supervisory Special Agent from the Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Investigative Services, will lead the event, which will be held at Osborne Elementary School, 1414 Beaver Street.

According to Shaheen, the evening is appropriate for students in 7th grade through high school, as well as their parents and other interested community members. The event, which is being sponsored by the Sewickley Police Department, will last 45 min to 1 hour. Special Agent Shaheen has presented at Quaker Valley School District functions in the past. Youth Connect joins with the Sewickley Police Department in welcoming Agent Shaheen back to the community, to speak on this important topic.

This program is open to all community members. For more information on Youth Connect and the upcoming presentation, email

Friday, January 13, 2012

SPL to offer Babysitting 101 class

Babysitting 101

Saturday, February 25, 2012 from 9am-3pm
In the Sewickley Public Library Community Room

Babysitting 101 (facilitated by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC) helps boys and girls ages 11 and up gain the knowledge and skills needed to become responsible babysitters. Students learn about safety for themselves and the children in their care. First aid basics, choking rescue techniques, child development, and routine daily care are covered.Students are asked to bring a bag lunch to the class. The library will provide drinks and snacks.The cost of this class is $25 per person. Interested students must register in person at the library's reference desk. Payment is due upon sign up. Cash and checks are accepted. Checks should be made payable to Sewickley Public Library. Contact the library at 412-741-6920 with any questions.

If this date doesn’t work for you, check the Children’s Hospital’s Babysitting 101 webpage for additional dates.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Some upcoming events--mark your calendars!

At the recent Youth Connect meeting, the following events were announced. Stay tuned for additional details, but in the meantime, mark your calendars so you don't miss the important information that will be shared.

Sewickley Academy will be hosting its "Superbowl for
Summerbridge" on Friday, Feb 3rd. $10 to fill your bowl or $25
to keep it. There will be salad, cornbread and chili and the proceeds benefit
the Summerbridge program. More details on the horizon!

Laughlin's 4th annual St. Valentine's Day Family Ball is Saturday, Feb. 4th
from 5 to 8 pm at the Edgeworth Club. The event is a family-friendly
dinner dance with activities for children under 12. Ticket prices are
$90/adult, or $175 for a family ticket (limit 2 adults); kids under 12 are
free! Call 412.741.4087 for details or to register.

Tuesday, Feb 28th: Officer Mazza from the Sewickley Police is coordinating
a drug and alcohol awareness event with the Attorney General's office. The
presentation will be held at Osborne Elementary. The time has not been
confirmed, but it will occur in the evening. More details will be shared
as they become available.

Friday, January 6, 2012

from, dangers of hookah smoking

Hookahs Can Cause Carbon MonoxidePoisoning, Health Officials Say

Hookahs, which many people perceive as a less dangerous way of using tobacco than smoking
cigarettes, can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, health experts say.
The health effects of hookahs, or water pipes, have not been studied as rigorously as cigarettes, but
the risks are becoming clearer as the pipes grow in popularity in the United States, Thomas
Eissenberg of Virginia Commonwealth University, who has studied hookahs extensively, told The

Hookah bars feature water pipes that are used to smoke a blend of tobacco, molasses and fruit
called shisha. Researchers say that contrary to the belief of many hookah smokers, the water in the
pipe does not filter all the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. The World Health Organization
(WHO) noted in a report that the smoke inhaled in a typical one-hour hookah session can equal
100 cigarettes or more. The WHO report also stated that even after it has been passed through
water, the tobacco smoke in a hookah pipe contains high levels of cancer-causing chemicals.
Henry Spiller, Director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Center, told the newspaper that he has
seen hookah users with significant carbon monoxide poisoning. He noted that regular hookah
users may develop long-term health problems from increased carbon monoxide levels, including
neurological damage. In severe cases, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to a coma or death.

Original URL:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Recent Post-Gazette articles of interest

It's back to school and work after the holidays. Here are a few recent articles to check out as you de-decorate the house...

Thoughts? Impressions? Feedback? Ideas? Let us know!

While we periodically post articles like these to get conversations started, that doesn't indicate Youth Connect endorsement--instead, our aim is to help the community understand the risky behaviors teens engage in, with the hopes that together, we can reduce them. If you're interested in knowing more about Youth Connect, consider attending a Youth Connect steering committee meeting. Email us for details.