Specialists, youth, and community members gather to discuss emerging trends and issues pertaining to today's youth and the Los Alamos Community.
A new support group for teens will begin, Monday, June 17th. The Survivors of Suicide Support Group for Teens (ages 14-18), will meet the first and third Monday of each month, from 4:00-5:30. Because safety and confidentiality are important, this group will only be open to teens between the ages of 14-18. We recognized that parents want their children to be in a safe environment and we are inviting parents to meet with both facilitators on Monday, June 3rd from 4:00-5:30. If you are not able to attend or have questions, please feel free to call Aimee Schnedler, LMHC (505-695-5188) or Laura Woodring, LMHC (505-948-8752). Both are a certified Grief Counselors and are also Survivors themselves.
Stress is a normal part of life and can actually have a positive effect on motivation and performance. There are, however, times when stress becomes too much and we begin to experience negative health effects: headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and trouble sleeping are all possibilities, according to the WebMD website. The sense of overwhelm that comes with our busy schedules and tendency to overcommit ourselves can have a paralyzing effect. Teens complain, “I have so much to do, I don’t even know where to start!” Does that sound familiar?
Effective stress management can take a lifetime to learn, but it is never too early to start. Noticing the feeling of being overwhelmed or the physical symptoms of stress can be the first step. How do you experience stress? Are you unusually irritable or upset? Do you have a fluttery feeling in your stomach? Tense neck and shoulders? A recurring or constant headache? A general sense of impending doom? The earlier we are able to notice signs of negative or toxic stress, the easier it is to intervene.
Taking action is the next step. What are your favorite stress busters? I challenge you to make a list. On paper. And post it somewhere obvious. Think back to the carefree days of childhood – what did you love to do? Color with crayons? Sing at the top of your lungs? Dance? Play Frisbee? Swing from the monkey bars? Spend time with your dog or cat? Have a tea party with a friend? Run fast and free? What activities have you noticed help you decompress or change your mood? Listening to loud music? Going for a run on the trails? Spending some time digging in the garden? Drawing or painting? Throwing darts? Write every one of these on your list.
In the moment of greatest stress and tension, with the to-do list staring back at you, all of the above can seem like frivolous time wasters. But often when we are stressed out, we are not getting much done anyway! And I would argue that our usual time wasters – getting on Facebook, net surfing, gaming – leave us feeling non-productive and uninspired and guilty as opposed to alive and recharged and ready to return to the challenge in front of us.
If your stress levels seem to be affecting your life to the point that you are having trouble functioning – unable to get moving in the morning, unable to sleep at night, loss of appetite, disinterest in friends, feelings of hopelessness, turning to drugs or alcohol or food to self-medicate – it is time to seek out a friend, a trusted adult, or a professional. Asking for help is a show of strength and maturity, not weakness. There are many resources at our disposal and a good place to start is by asking school counselors, the school nurse, your personal physician, or by checking out the JJAB website at www.losalamosjjab.org.
The JJAB, the Family Y, the Youth Activity Center, the Teen Center, Family Strengths Network, Mesa Public Library, the County Recreation Department, and Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) are all community organizations that offer fun and positive activities for youth. You can find all of these groups and their offerings on the web.
So the next time you are feeling freaked out and overwhelmed by stress and all that is expected of you, get that list of Stress Busters out, call a friend, and take some time out to take care of you!
About the LACHC
Recognizing risk factors and improving the health and well-being of youth and families is one of the priorities of the Los Alamos Community Health Council (LACHC). The LACHC is the designated health planning body for Los Alamos County. The LACHC works collaboratively with service providers, non-profit organizations, community members, and Los Alamos County staff. The LACHC has been strongly involved in local community outreach through Town Hall Meetings, the Health Fair, radio interviews and articles. More information about the LACHC and its work can be found at www.lachc.net.
The LACHC meets 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., the first Thursday of each month in the large conference room at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, adjacent to Mesa Public Library in Los Alamos.
Come by the Teen Center at TOTH on Thursday Nov. 1st from 3:15 - 4:30 pm to review and provide comments on the new Teen Center Design. The new building will be located in the Central Park Square by the Origami Restaurant. Stop by to give some feedback and eat PIZZA!
A Community meeting will be held at 5:30 pm at the Community Building next to Ashley Pond.
Los Alamos Youth Food Project Check Presentation
LOS ALAMOS COMMUNITY GARDEN AND COMMUNITY-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP TO TEACH AND FEED RECEIVES GRANT TO FURTHER LOCAL EFFORTS
State Farm® Youth Advisory Board Grants $96,250 To Support Youth Efforts on Sustainable Healthy Eating.
Los Alamos, NM. Oct. 23, 2012 – The Los Alamos Juvenile Justice Advisory Board (JJAB) was awarded a $96,250 State Farm Youth Advisory Board (YAB) Grant in support of an educational and outreach community garden. The JJAB has contracted The Family YMCA to deliver the grant’s education and food-assistance objectives throughout the next year. This is the second award by the State Farm YAB to the JJAB for their Los Alamos Youth Food Project (LAYFP). Funding last year supported the establishment of community partnerships, created curriculum, funded classroom activities, and assisted with the creation of a garden site at Los Alamos Middle School. This year’s award will further develop classroom and community garden efforts.
“State Farm supports service-learning because it integrates service to the community into classroom curriculum using a hands-on approach to mastering subject material while fostering civic responsibility,” said State Farm Agency Field Executive, James Medina.
A small “barn-raising” will be held on the 23rd in conjunction with the official Grant Award Ceremony of the State Farm YAB grant. This hoop-house raising event is going to allow youth an opportunity to paint and decorate the structure that will be used for winter planting and spring seedling starters. Volunteers, especially youth, are welcome to assist with the completion and decoration of a small hoop house at the Co-Op, which is partnering as a satellite location for the award’s community garden project.
“The Y is pleased to be the steward of this grant from State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board to our JJAB,” said Linda Daly, executive director. “Our mission is to form partnerships for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, so this aligns perfectly with our vision.”
Local State Farm agent Lou Santoro added, “the Youth Advisory Board is a prime example of State Farm’s commitment to education, our community and our youth. I could not be happier to see the work of our local youth and local nonprofits recognized and supported.”
The State Farm Youth Advisory Board has granted over $24 million in grant money since its inception in 2006, empowering youth to implement service-learning in 397 communities. Additionally, applications are available for interested youth aged 17-20 to become Youth Advisory Board members. More information can be found at www.statefarmyab.com.
Instructor: Los Alamos Police Detective Daniel Roberts Cost: $15/individual or family. Teens welcome! Membership discounts apply! Registration is Closed - Please come and pay at the door.
There is a lot of hype about internet danger. What should you really be concerned about? Detective Roberts will cover real-life issues including:
Come hear straight talk about safety issues and get your questions answered.
Date: Monday, Sept. 10
Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm
Location: Teen Center
Instructor: Elisa Enriquez, MSW, LISW
Registration appreciated, but not required: Online at lafsn.org
Are you worried about someone who may be thinking of suicide? To find out what you can do, high school students and adults can join Ms. Enriquez to learn to recognize warning signs of suicidal ideation and get help for those in distress. The discussion will focus on increasing awareness about suicide and providing “A.I.D.” (Ask, Intervene, Do).
Ms. Enriquez is an Ombuds Specialist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. She received her MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1999 and has provided counseling at the LANL EAP Office, as a private provider, and for the Los Alamos Family Council.