Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Children's Movement of Florida

The Children’s Movement of Florida was formed to take action and improve Florida’s sorry report card for caring for our youth.

Their mission statement:

The Children’s Movement of Florida believes that the well-being and education of our children in Florida must be the highest priority of government, business, non-profit institutions and families. The economic future of our state and the stability of the communities we live in depend on achieving this goal. The major objective of the citizen-led, non-partisan Children’s Movement of Florida is to inform the political, business and civic leaders, and the parents and people of this state, about this issue – and encourage them to make the well-being and education of our children our highest priority, including in the way we invest our public resources.

Why now or should we say, what took so long?

Scott Maxwell of the Orlando Sentinel recently wrote:

The statistics about how we treat our children in this state should make you sick.
We have one of the highest child-abuse rates in the country. We have more uninsured children than 48 other states. Our graduation rates lag.

Yes, he is right and it is time to get involved, and get our politicians to “be” involved.  More needs to be done, we don’t need a repeat of last year with the near death of two of our Florida students, Michael Brewer and Josie Ratley.

The Children’s Movement of Florida is spearheading the newest political movement making waves in the United States, calling themselves, endearingly “The Milk Party.” With events across the state of Florida, this movement comes at a time that hopefully people and politicians are listening. Currently, the group is in the middle of a 17 stop tour across the state of Florida during the month of September, called “The Children’s Express.” Click here to see if they will be in a city near you.

The latest events of James Jones, the father that defended his 13 year-old daughter who suffers with cerebral palsy, was maliciously taunted, teased and bullied on the school bus, has shed more light on this growing problem of bullying.

Learn more by visiting and find out how you can help today.

Watch video.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Be your daughter's champion: A one minute compliment is a lifetime of change

The clock is ticking, the alarm is ringing, and the sun is starting to come up.  It is Monday morning and time for school and for most parents, time to go to work.

Many rush around, especially on a Monday morning after a long and fun weekend, and go through the motions of getting their clothes on, doing their hair, brushing your teeth and don't forget to eat breakfast!  In between you are making sure you have a lunch or lunch money, packing the backpack or briefcase and trying to get out the door on time.

Let's stop, roll back the clock and take at least one minute to say something positive to each otherJust one minute can make a lifetime of change to your daughter.  Build their self-esteem and let them know they are loved no matter how busy you are, there is always time for her.

The Dove Movement for Self-Esteem invites all women to join us in creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.

Coming in October is The Dove Self-Esteem Weekend and it is a perfect time for you to be a champion for your daughter or a special young girl in your life.
  • Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference in a young girl’s self-esteem
    • Dove is uniting women across the country – individuals, partners and grassroots organizations
    • Providing the next generation of women with the tools to build a positive relationship with beauty and reach their full potential
Dove Movement for Self-Esteem is getting into full swing.  With the help of the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc. and Girls Scouts, Dove is marching out a campaign to help teen girls have a brighter future and step into their own skin by believing in themselves.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Encourage a youth leader today

Do you know a teen where you live that are making a difference in the lives of others?  A youth that is reaching out in their community, giving their time, donating items or simply being part of an organization targeted at helping others?  Paying it forward is part of building a community.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is the largest youth recognition program in the country based exclusively on volunteer community service. And what better way to recognize our young heroes and inspire others to follow their lead than honoring them with these prestigious awards?

If you know someone from grades 5-12 who has demonstrated outstanding volunteerism over the past year, then encourage them to complete an online application at State and national honorees will receive a cash prize, a trip to Washington, D.C., and an engraved medallion to thank them for the great work they have done. 

This is a great opportunity to reach out and recognize those that are exceptional youths and create a positive and inspiring environment.

If you are a junior or senior in high school, acquiring your community services can make a major difference on your college applications.  What most teens realize is that giving back is actually helping them to build their self-esteem and will give you a warm feeling.

Do you know a special youth today?  Nominate them and they may be rewarded!

Watch video for more information.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Perils of Parenting: Do you stay unplugged long enough to LISTEN to your teens?

Dateline featured one of the most compelling wake-up segments for parents this week.  Perils of Parenting has been the coffee table and water cooler topic since it aired this week.  Even Twitter has been Tweeting all week about it!

What if you could spy on your kids as they go through a typical day, dealing with some typical problems — like bullying, and drinking & driving? A group of parents did just that — with the help of Dateline's hidden cameras. What they learned about their children could teach us all a little something about our own. Kate Snow reports. - Watch full episode here.

Look who's talking is a perfect example of parents being a poor example to their kids.  Are you a BBM parent?  What is one?  Black-Berry-Messenger Parent.  Watch the video below as the little boy, probably no older than 7, talks about BBM people.

In this short clip below, it is shocking how aware these young kids are to realize how much virtual time their parents are spending in comparison to their parenting time.

Perils of Parenting featured Parenting Expert and Author, Dr. Michele Borba who concludes that parents need to unplug!  We hear about our kids and their Internet and social networking addictions or even obsessions, but have parents looked at who they are mimicking?

Take the time to watch this segment and more important, take the time to be with your kids 100%!
Would your teen get in the car with a drunk driver?  The answers will shock you.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens and kids.

Watch video and read more.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Tourette's Uncovered - Learn More

Jaylen Arnold is your typical 9 year-old Lakeland, Florida boy with an exception.  He has Tourette's Syndrome.  Tourette Syndrome is a combination of involuntary movements and involuntary noises, which we call "tics". They tend to start in childhood and often become less severe into adulthood.  With this disability, Jaylen has had his share of bullying, however has turned it around into a fight against bullying.

Bullying No Way is Jaylen's motto!  He has spent time, energy and support talking to schools, parents and anyone that will listen about the dangers and hurtfulness of bullying.  The long lasting emotional scars and the fact that children don't have to take it anymore.

Discovery Health Channel is airing a special on Tourette's Syndrome - "Tourette's Uncovered."  Jaylen Arnold is one of four children that will be featured.  Check your local television listings.
Premieres Monday, September 13, at 9 PM (ET/PT)

In this one-hour special, viewers will meet four children with startlingly different Tourette's diagnoses: Jonah, a boy who cannot suppress his overwhelming need to get up and run away; Colin, a boy who experiences constant headaches as a results of his tics; Marques, who suffers from the rare strain of Tourette's that causes patients to shout obscenities uncontrollably; and Jaylen, a remarkable boy who is taking his experiences in school dealing with Tourette's to a group of kids in an anti-bullying speech. Cameras will follow the lives of parents as they help their children cope with life within a world where you just can't stop "ticking."

Do you want to learn more about Florida's young boy that is making a huge difference?  Visit his website at and don't forget to follow him on Twitter at @JaysChallenge.

Read more and watch trailer.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Teen Self-Esteem: Dove Movement Campaign 2010

As the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem unfolds, there is a powerful question that is being passed around and one that most people have a variety of answers for. Whether you are 18 or 58 or even 78, the answers contain lessons from experience.

What do you wish you had known at 13 years old?

Here are some of the responses from the Dove Movement website as well as from Twitter:

•Play more, worry less!
•My father really was smart but at 13 I knew it all.
•Enjoy being young/don't wish to be older yet.
•That the abuse I was suffering had nothing to do with how bad I was but how bad the perpetrator was.
•That being myself was the best way to be 'cool!'

These are only a few of the fantastic responses the Dove Movement has received. For those in South Florida, one of the issues that is often heard, is about using sun-screen more generously. In your teen years many are more concerned about their tan (self-image) than the damage the sun is doing to your skin. In later years, as the skin starts to wrinkle, it can be a lesson we wish we had known (or listened to our parents).

The Dove Movement for Self-Esteem is being sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc. and Girls Scouts, Dove is marching out a campaign to help teen girls have a brighter future and step into their own skin by believing in themselves.

Watch video.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wilderness Programs: Short Term Programs - Short Term Results (And Very Costly!)

You have a teen that is driving you crazy.  You have a teen that is experimenting, if not using drugs on a regular basis.  You have teen that has changed peer groups - and not for the better.  You have a teen that has disengaged from the family.  You have a teen that is defiant, belligerent and can become violent.  You have a teen that doesn't appreciate all they have and all you have sacrificed for them?  You are at your wit's end!

Is it time to have an intervention?  What is best to insure that your teen gets back on a positive road to have that bright future you always wanted for them?

Let's review some choices to get help:

Wilderness Therapeutic Programs Short term program, short term results, usually zero academics, extremely expensive and as many teens state they have great experiences, it is usually never enough to make lasting positive changes.
  • The concept: Remove the kids from their comforts of home.  Get them to reflect on themselves from within. 
  • Thought:  Wouldn't it be wise to find one program that offers a well-rounded program including removing them from their comforts of home, offering them an education as well as encouraging them through enrichment programs?
Boot Camps:  Thankfully many have been closed in the state of Florida.  This in and of itself speaks volumes.  As parents see it as a way to punish their kids for their negative behavior, using punitive and primitive measures may cause more anger and resentment toward the person that placed them there.
  • The concept: Teach your child a lesson, and hope they learn to appreciate and respect you.
  • Thought:  Again, finding a sound program that offers positive enrichment, academics as well as trained staff to help determine where the negative behavior is stemming from.
Jail:  Is this ever a good option?  Not really, and although juvenile records are sealed, according to law enforcement, what happens when your teen applies for a job in their 20's and that record, although it doesn't state the charges, but is pinged by your teen being finger printed?  Did you consider the friends your teen will make in jail?
  • The Concept: Show your teen the consequences of breaking the law.  Hopefully scaring them straight so they turn around their behavior.
  • Thought: Get your teen the right help that instills positive reinforcement, continuing education and work on family conflict with an outside counselor.
Residential Therapy: Finally, a way to address negative behavior in a positive direction. Our teens need consistency in treatment.  Starting and finishing with the same therapist, structure and program that builds your teen back up to making the better choices.  Some parents are being convinced that using a short term program such as Wilderness Programs will prepare them for a residential program, however if you find the right program from the start, it serves the same purpose as a Wilderness Program (of course saving about $10K-20K at the same time).  Choosing a residential therapy program does remove your child from their comforts of their home.  It also gives them an opportunity to reflect and get back to basics.
  • Concept: It took longer than 6-8 weeks to get to the place your teen is at, it will take at least 6-9 months to get your child back.
  • Thought: Take your time and find the best program for you and your family both emotionally and financially.  Consider that short term programs are like band-aids - they do peel off fairly quickly.
With Lindsay Lohan at 24 years old going to jail, it will serve to sober her up, however the rehab is what will help her to remain sober. Sadly, this may all be a moot point since at 24 years old, she is considered an adult and can just go through the motions - after all, she is court appointed.

Don't wait for your teen to be over 18, get them help while you still have the ability and control.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

VolunTeens - Helping Teens with Community Service

As schools have opened in Broward County, many teenagers in high school that will be graduating this year and applying to colleges. They will need to consider their community service and volunteering hours.  Colleges have become more competitive and adding your volunteer services can enhance your college application and possibly be the deciding factor in being accepted into your first choice school. is your source for opportunities for volunteer services in Broward County and Palm Beach County.  Whether you are a teen seeking community service hours or an organization that needs volunteers, visit their website today for more information. is a website that assists teens in finding service opportunities that best fit each individual. Whether it is working with children, animals, or the elderly, volunteering is extremely rewarding.

Be an educated parent, your teens will have a brighter future!

Read more.