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Since November is a month for gratitude, we at the Gordie Center want to express how grateful we are for you, our Gordie Center supporters! Thank you for supporting our mission, sharing Gordie's story, and working with us to prevent hazing and alcohol overdose nationwide.

The holidays can present timely opportunities to have conversations with your family - it's a good time to check in about how the school year has been going, and discuss expectations and concerns. Keep reading for some tips on how to have those conversations.
Having Difficult Conversations

Last month, we talked about the warning signs of hazing. This month, we want to share some helpful conversation tips to help you talk about your concerns.Talking about hazing, substance use, or other risky behaviors with our friends and family isn't easy, but there are resources available to make those conversations less difficult. The CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) approach includes specific skills designed to help parents and friends communicate more effectively. Below are their 7 Elements of Positive Communication:
  1. Be Brief. Plan out what you want to say in advance so you can be as concise as possible and focus on your central concern.
  2. Be Specific. Vague statements of concern are difficult to translate into specific desired behavior. Instead of focusing on "being more responsible," specify a behavior you want to see more.
  3. Be Positive. Focus on behaviors you do want to see instead of those you don't. This allows you to be supportive of a behavioral goal instead of complaining about a problem. Being positive decreases defensiveness and promotes motivation for change.
  4. Label Your Feelings. Kept brief and in proportion, a description of your emotional reaction to the problem ("I'm frustrated and worried") can elicit empathy from the other person.
  5. Offer an Understanding Statement. The more the other person believes that you "get" why they are acting the way they are, the less defensive they will be.
  6. Take Partial Responsibility. Sharing in a problem decreases defensiveness and promotes collaboration. It shows that you're interested in solving, not blaming. Accepting partial responsibility does not mean taking blame or admitting fault; it communicates "We're in this together."
  7. Offer to Help. An offer to help can communicate support to solve the problem. Try asking, "Would it help if...?" Or simply, "How can I help?"
Using these seven steps facilitates caring, respectful conversations that are more likely to have an impact on behavior. Practice with less stressful situations, and you'll be prepared for more difficult conversations. Visit CRAFT to see complete examples and their "20 minute guide" series. A simple conversation can make a tremendous difference!
Gordie Center News and Updates
HAZE Outreach
Do you work with an organization in your community that could share Gordie's story through our HAZE documentary? The ideal audience for HAZE is high school junior and seniors, college students, and parents. We would love to reach more local community organizations, and offer a discounted price for larger orders (helpful if the organization has multiple chapters who would like to use HAZE!). The Young Men's Service League recently encouraged their 90 chapters nationwide to purchase HAZE with our special group pricing!
APPLE Training Institute - Register Now!
The Gordie Center's APPLE Training Institute for student-athlete health and wellness is coming up in January, and is open to NCAA-member schools. Our Orlando institute is already full, but we still have space in our Charlottesville training January 18 - 20, 2019. The cost is only $400 per school team of 4-6 participants, and food, accommodations, and training materials are all included. Learn more at and register today!
Have a safe and happy holiday!

Until next month,

Susie Bruce, Director
Jill Maurer, National Development & Program Coordinator

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