FIRST MONDAY MEMO - July 3, 2017
Are you looking for ways to teach youth about healthy relationships using examples from pop culture? We have been working hard to create a list of songs and movies that can be used as examples or openers to start a meaningful conversation. This list will be updated and improved every month as new songs and movies are released. Let us know if you would be interested in subscribing to receive this information by clicking on the button below and selecting "the talk help", as well as any other newsletters you are interested in receiving, on the option list! 
EyesOn... Hillcrest Family Services
May was Teen Empowerment Month, a time to highlight the importance of education, access, and empowerment to help teens take control of their sexual health in a way that is normalized and not stigmatized. Schools and health organizations across Iowa will host awareness campaigns to encourage teens to become informed about healthy relationships and responsible sexual decision-making.
 
This month, we would like to highlight the amazing work that Hillcrest Family Services did during Teen Empowerment Month.
 
Hillcrest Family Services worked with several schools throughout the month to spread their message. They conducted a 3R's lesson at one high school, where they added a day to focus on Prom. They asked students for one piece of advice they would want to give students who are attending Prom. They then tabulated the results and published them on school bulletins and the schools website. For another activity, they created a word cloud comprised of positive messaging about Prom. To come up with what to include, they work shopped with students on how to take negative phrases and make them positive. Instead of saying things like don't have sex on Prom, they would put phrases like know your limits or establish a curfew. The word cloud also included the number for a crisis line, and all of the kids that were a part of creating it signed the back. All of this was put on 500 business cards and given to tux and flower shops so that they could be passed on to students when they rented tuxedos or bought flowers for Prom.
 
At another school, students came up with the idea to pass out lifesavers as their fellow students were leaving, with the message "we care about your life, so grab a lifesaver". As these were being handed out, a teacher read a poem over the intercom. Hillcrest was very excited about this activity, as it was a fantastic collaboration between the teachers and students, and was established in two days.
 
Additionally, they played a trivia game during lunch periods at multiple schools. Trivia questions covered topics such as HIV/AIDS, STDs, birth control, and resources. During these lunch periods they also had the drunk goggles (Photos below). This trivia game wasn't the only game that was played, a group of students created a jeopardy game with questions about health, self-esteem, drugs and alcohol. This game was given to all of the homeroom teachers, who played it with their classes. 
 
In one classroom, a teacher did a lesson on what it means to be empowered. The teacher had the students create self-portraits that told when they feel in power. These were then hung in Hillcrest Family Service's window, as well as in the schools hallways (Photo below). Quotes were also posted from different residential kids, with an example being "your dreams mean something".
 
During Teen Empowerment Month, Hillcrest Family Services reached over 1,000 students between the announcements, jeopardy game, and lunch hours. The majority of these were student lead efforts, and Hillcrest found it amazing that kids really motivated the staff to get involved. We couldn't be more impressed with all of the great work Hillcrest Family Services has done this Teen Empowerment Month. Thank you for all that you do to empower teens to take control of their sexual health in a way that is normalized and not stigmatized. 



Check out our On-Demand Webinars!
Every month a  new on-demand webinar will be avalible in the "On-Demand Trainings" portion of our website. Click  here  to check out our current feature and our selection of on-demand trainings that are always available!

Our current feature is a social media update! In the fast moving world of teens and technology it can be difficult to know what apps and sites teens are using. Spend 45 minutes with us to unpack some trends and apps that are currently popular with teens. 
This webinar will only be available until July 20th, so don't miss your chance to register!

3 Ways Your Teen's Mental Health Impacts Their Sexual Health For Life
Not many topics can make parents possibly more uncomfortable than those of sexual health and mental health.  But I am about to tell you why you should adjust your comfort meter and snuggle in for a chat.

First of all, we don't want any confusion.  Blank stares and stuttering over the subject of sexual health will not leave your child completely confident in your ability to fill them in with accurate and trustworthy details.  The last thing we want to do is direct them to Google as a resource. So here we go.  It will be okay I promise.  I'm a therapist.  Just breathe your way through it.  Sexual health is one aspect of your child's health and its important you view your child as a whole person, who will at some point have a sexual history.  If you negate sexual health from the discussion, you are in fact losing an opportunity to converse openly with your child about healthy relationships, domestic violence (yes, this happens with teens), birth control, abstinence, human sexuality and the real zingers: sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy.

Secondly, your teen's mental health is inclusive of feelings, thoughts, and behavior.  It may encompass depression, anxiety and a range of mental illness, as well as, suicidal thoughts, suicidal behavior and self-harm.  Now, I hope I haven't overwhelmed you but if I have, please read on. It's difficult to take in but imperative we educate ourselves so we can inform our children properly and prevent any undue harm.

Your teen's mental health and sexual health are intimately tied together.  It impacts not only their teen life but their entire life.  Scientific research backs up this statement. And this is how:
  1. Teens with mental illness (diagnosed or not) are more likely to initiate sexual activity at an earlier age and with more partners.  Think this doesn't include your teen; think again.  Many teens are walking around with anxiety and depression and have never been to a therapist, a doctor or received a prescription.  We are not talking severe mental illness.  We are actually talking about your average teen, who is struggling.
  2. Teens with mental illness (again diagnosed or not) are more likely to be faced with an unintended pregnancy.  Why?  The answer is simple.  Teens who are grappling with emotional health issues participate in risky sexual behavior.  In a nutshell, they are less likely to use birth control.  And typically, they demonstrate impulsive behavior.
  3. Anxious and depressed teens are more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases.  They have higher rates of STD's because they are less likely to use condoms and more likely to be sexually active.  We can't downplay the dangers of STD's.  Untreated STD's can lead to physical health complications including cancer and infertility.  Not only will their future relationships be impacted by the contraction of a STD; their future families may be altered.
Here comes the good news.   We can do something about it.  We can help our children prevent unintended pregnancies, delay sexual activity, unhealthy relationships, and the ill effects of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Support comprehensive sexual education in your public school system.
  • Support your child if they are struggling with mental health issues and seek help.
  • Start the conversation about mental health and sexual health today with your child.
One conversation isn't enough.  An ongoing dialogue must be initiated.  If you as the parent or your teen is struggling with mental health, don't be ashamed.  Seek help.  For mental health resources, contact  Moods and Foods 4 Kids.  For more information on talking to your teen about sexual health, check out  Eyes Open Iowa.  We are here to support your family now.

Written By Danielle Miller, MSW

Registration opens this month!

Early-bird registration for our conference will open July 27th! Register during early-bird registration, and receive a discount!

Upcoming Trainings and Webinars!
After-School Snack Series Webinar- Technology in the classroom
July 20th, 2017 
Join us for a morsel of professional development after a long day. Our new on-demand webinar will be available July 20th!

August 8th - 9th, 2017
This is the newest curriculum available to educators and administrators. Join us for this training and learn all about what makes 3Rs different, what makes it feel familiar, and how to best use it in your setting. Participants will have the opportunity to dig into the curriculum and practice facilitating.

After-School Snack Series Webinar- Topic TBD
September 21st, 2017
We want our webinars to be a treat! Grab a snack and join us for a morsel of professional development after a long day.

EOI's Annual Conference- Respond. Relate. Resonate.
November 1st-2nd, 2017 
Join us for a one-of-a-kind conference at the Hilton Garden Inn in Urbandale. With nationally recognized keynote speakers, engaging workshops, an extensive exhibitor hall full of resources, and countless networking opportunities, you are sure to have a fun and enlightening couple of days full of learning!


All in person trainings are held at EyesOpenIowa in West Des Moines, IA
Scholarships are available for most classes - click here to inquire
**Course is available for AEA Teacher Licensure Credit
Please click the button below to contact Emily Miller with any training questions. 
Upcoming Conferences Worth Noting
Denver, CO
July 6th - 8th, 2017 


SAVE THE DATE: 2017 Annual Eyes Open Iowa Conference
Johnston, IA
November 1st - 2nd, 2017
Registration opens in July 
Articles Worth Reading
Consent is something that many adults can still struggle to understand - so what's the best way of teaching children about it? This lecture explores this issue. 

This article shares one woman's story, and how she believes fear based sex ed needs to be a thing of the past. 

Charlie Coleman Talks About Rape Culture and Sister Daisy's Sexual Assault
This article is part of Not Your Fault, a Teen Vogue campaign that aims to educate people about the epidemic of sexual assault. In this video, Charlie, whose sister Daisy Coleman was sexually assaulted and then bullied to the point of attempting suicide, explains that we all have a responsibility for stopping sexual assault.

MTV's Shuga isn't just an average teen drama. It's also a public health intervention. In each 30-minute episode are messages about getting tested for HIV, as well as scenes that work to dispel common misconceptions about the disease. Check it out!

The National Union of Teachers says that toddlers as young as two should be taught about LGBTQ and transgender issues. 

Did you know that 20,000 (3%) children live with a relative with no parent present? Check out this GrandFacts Iowa state fact sheet that includes state-specific data and programs as well as information about public benefits, educational assistance, legal relationship options and state laws.

This article discusses the Dutch's approach to sex education. They have among the lowest teen pregnancy rate in the world-eight times lower than their America.

The sex talk isn't enough: How parents can teach teens about healthy relationships
This article details how parents should talk to their teens about healthy relationships, not just sex. 

52% of children ages 12 to 15 said their parents have the most influence when it comes to sex. Here are some tips to start the conversation and keep it going.

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