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The SCCoop
Words on Wellness

November 2018
From the Presidents...
Each year, the SCC chooses a theme that drives our year of programs and events. This year, the SCC has decided to make our yearlong theme a focus on  Anxiety

All of us experience some amount of anxiety – it’s a normal reaction to stress. But when temporary worries or fears become pervasive and interfere with relationships, schoolwork and health, anxiety disorders are at play. Anxiety disorders are highly common and highly treatable, yet most who suffer don’t seek assistance. How can we as a community recognize the signs of this mental health epidemic in our children and what resources are available? How can we best help them cope with day-to-day anxiety and navigate the road to well being?

As always,  let us know  how the SCC can help in your community, school, and home!

Brad Kuebler, President, and Elizabeth Hale, President Elect 
Upcoming Events
Our first step to engage the McLean community in our focus on anxiety is a screening of  Angst: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety  on Thursday, December 6 at 7 p.m. in the McLean High School auditorium . This important, eye-opening documentary features students affected by anxiety, mental health professionals, and Olympic athlete and mental health advocate Michael Phelps in opening up the conversation and providing hope around a topic many find difficult to discuss. 

Following the movie, a panel of mental health professionals from McLean High School and the community will lead a panel discussion and question and answer session to provide further information. Friends, neighbors and anyone sixth grade and above are welcome to the free event. 

Friend of the SCC and local WUSA9 reporter Peggy Fox is sponsoring an important event this Saturday. As reported on WUSA9 in an ongoing investigative story by Peggy Fox about Child Sex Abuse, 1 out of 10 children will be sexually abused before they turn 18 - chances are, someone you know has been impacted. WUSA9 wants to help make a positive impact in our community and stop child sex abuse before it starts.

Darkness to Light: Empowering Adults to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse
Join WUSA9's Peggy Fox   and social worker and child sex abuse expert Jennifer Alvaro for a workshop to teach adults how to prevent and recognize child sex abuse

The workshop includes evidence-informed training that will influence positive community behavior change. Participants will be certified in  Stewards of Children  and will walk away with the fundamental tools to take-action and help protect the children in their lives. Click here to register for this free training (adults over age 18 only).
SCC in the Community
We've recently joined GuideStar whose mission is to "revolutionize philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving." GuideStar enables us to join #givingtuesday with other large and small nonprofits. We'll be adding to our profile in the coming weeks. You can always donate here .

The SCC will be marching in the McLean WinterFest 2018 parade. Come see us December 2 at 2pm celebrating the start of winter and the 10th year of the parade. We'll also be celebrating the r eopening of the McLean Community Center at the ribbon cutting December 5. Hope to see you there!
SCC board member and clincial psychologist Melissa Sporn spoke to more than 80 parents at McLean High School on November 8th in a talk entitled "Launching Your High School Student." The SCC is committed to helping kids (and their parents) navigate the stresses in life, including the transition from high school to college.  Contact us if you want to have this talk at your school!
Thanks to all who came to our first Faith Community-Law Enforcement meeting of the year! We were excited to hear what you all are doing with our youth and hear how we can help you.
Coming This Spring
An Evening with Lynn Lyons
New York Times best-selling author of Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents: 7 Ways to Stop the Worry Cycle and Raise Courageous and Independent Children
April 1, 2019, 7-9pm
McLean Community Center Alden Theater
Tickets on Sale $25/person in January
Sixth Grade Ethics Days
After months of searching for a new host (our usual host is undergoing construction), we are pleased to announce that Sixth Grade Ethics Days will be taking place again this year! Our host, Holy Trinity Church at the corner of Balls Hill and Georgetown Pike, is sharing its space with us for each of the five Fridays in March. Mark your calendars! As always we'll be seeking volunteers. Each of our local elementary schools should have heard from the SCC about scheduling.

Reading List
Community Read
The McLean HS PTSA is partnering with MHS Student Services to offer a Pyramid-Wide book talk series and author event on  The Self-Driven Child, The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives  by William Stixrud, PhD, and Ned Johnson. The Self-Driven Child  empowers parents with practical tools to help their children reduce stress and anxiety, while building capacity for resilience, success, and optimal development. The strategies shared in the book are relevant for parents of children of ALL ages.

Kathleen Otal, M.Ed., a former elementary school counselor and current counselor at McLean High School, will lead three book talks in the pyramid throughout the year.  In addition, the authors of the book will speak at McLean High School in the spring. Even if you don't have time to read the entire book, you will learn valuable parenting strategies that will help your child develop the skills to succeed!

The first meeting to discuss chapters 1-5 had a terrific turnout. Please join us for our next meeting to discuss chapters 6-9 on Wednesday, January 9, 7 pm at Chesterbrook Elementary. You will learn:
  • Why downtime is essential for children to develop resiliency. 
  • How to teach children to stay in charge of technology without it taking over their lives.
  • How to encourage your child to take their sense of control to school.
College Admissions from College Admission, Helplessness, And Choice by Brennan Barnard, Forbes Contributor

"The reality is that students have choice—contrary to the dominant narrative, they do have control. Whether gun violence, opioid addiction, racism or other challenges that confront their generation, young people have increasingly been willing to speak truth to power and make their own choices. Fixating on the monoculture of selective college admission can  threaten their adolescence , but they can choose another path, a path with an internal locus of control, a path with intention."

"You can choose anxiety, sleeplessness, status, fear, overscheduling, competition, doubt, and resentment, or you can choose, balance, joy, purpose, mindfulness, empathy, unity, collaboration, meaning, and authenticity. The power is yours—choose wisely."

Three to Succeed : The “Factors that Matter” for Youth by FCPS & Fairfax County Government, from the Healthy Minds Digest

Did you know that parents communicating their objection to their children smoking marijuana is associated with significantly less usage among our youth?

According to the 2017  Fairfax County Youth Survey , 9.4% of Fairfax County 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students report using marijuana in the past month. While this is lower than the national average of almost 15%, the data shows us how we can do better. Among youth who report that their parents do not have a problem with marijuana use, 50% report using the drug. But among those who say their parents think it is “very wrong” to use marijuana, only 5% have used in the past month.

Parents and other adults are key to shaping the health and well-being of young people. The Youth Survey asks students about the “protective factors” in their lives – things like being able to turn to a parent or neighbor for help, participating in community service and extracurricular activities, and having teachers who recognize good effort. Survey results consistently show that the more protective factors youth have, the more likely they are to make healthy decisions and cope well with life’s stresses. For example, among students reporting they have no protective factors, over 30% report using marijuana. However, only 11% of students with three protective factors use marijuana...and fewer than 3% of students with six protective factors use it.

These patterns are the same year after year and they show up for all kinds of issues and behaviors, not just substance use. Bullying, signs of depression and thoughts of suicide, even healthy eating and physical activity are strongly associated with protective factors. The patterns hold true for all demographic groups: boys, girls, students of all races and ethnicities, straight and LGBTQ youth, and military connected youth all do better when they have more protective factors.

So how do we ensure that all kids have protective factors in their lives? The  Three to Succeed  campaign is based on the idea that having just three protective factors dramatically improves the odds for youth. If we can ensure that each young person in Fairfax County has at least one protective factor at home, at school, and in the community, we will have made a real difference.

Quite often, a “real life protective factor” is a caring adult...and being a caring adult in the life of a youth can be surprisingly simple. Take some time to recognize and praise good effort in a youth you know. Lend an ear and listen to their concerns. Let them know you are always there if they need help. Support their participation in community activities.

You can learn more about these and all of the factors that matter by visiting  Three to Succeed .
Angst Weekly Tip from Angst Weekly
Everyone feels a little lonely sometimes. And that's ok. But sometimes too much loneliness isn't healthy. Not everyone has the same support systems that other people might have so reaching out for help may be difficult. It's important to know though; there's always someone out there to listen. 

  • Here are a few suggestions of ways to reach out and/or not feel so alone: Find a Facebook group or other groups via social media that share common interests with you. Something good that comes from social media are the communities that are formed and are readily accessible by users.
  • Spend time with animals. Whether its a pet or a trip to a farm or humane society, there's something about animals that can bring you comfort. Unconditional love is powerful. 
  • Join a book club. Books helps immerse us in different worlds, even if it's just for a little while. Connecting over characters, ideas, themes, and stories has the opportunity to create strong bonds between people. 
  • Find a support group in your area. Support groups are typically run by mental health professionals and bring together people who usually are also struggling with mental health or loneliness.
  • Volunteer. Doing something for others can help show you how meaningful life can be. It also can allow you to meet people and help you discover things you are passionate about. 
To read more about these suggestions and find specific things to look at or try, see the rest of the article.