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What's New at KidsPeace

News and Notes from KidsPeace

Parenting support from KidsPeace through ParentCentral.Net

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Every parent is aware of the difficulty in raising a family. Every child has needs as individual as they are and most parents, at one time or another, feel lost and uncertain about what to do in a specific issue. Sound familiar? If so, there is help outside your own circle of friends and family. KidsPeace has launched a website that is available 24/7 for just that reason.

ParentCentral.Net is an interactive website that was created to help parents get through the questions and uncertainties they face in raising their child. We are here to answer your questions or talk about ways that you can help your child through a difficult time. We are there to help you find better methods of relating to your child by offering suggestions and options. Let’s face it, everyone needs a little help now and then and KidsPeace is here to offer it, when you need it, online and private.

All you have to do is go to www.parentcentral.net and register. You will choose your own username and password which keeps you private while using the site. There are a lot of informative sections on the site which you can view, but the thing that is so unique is that you can ask a question, post a comment or write in about whatever you like. Then, within a 24-hour period, you will find a response to your query. It’s that simple. You can get help at the click of a mouse, from your office or home computer.

All you have to do is log on and work it out.

KidsPeace holds wellness festival

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Thank you Lehigh Valley community supporters!

On September 12, 2012 KidsPeace held a wellness festival on the Orchard Hills Campus, Orefield, Pa. KidsPeace would like to thank the following community businesses and individuals for their participation in the wellness festival. More than 400 KidsPeace staff were able to attend and enjoyed the variety of wellness information and services provided. KidsPeace appreciates each community partner- Thank you!

 

Advantage Nutrition and Wellness
Angeline Piskorski /Arbonne
Caruso Benefits Group
Capital Blue Cross
Cedar Crest College Dept of Nursing
Coordinated Health Services
Darlene Krause - Clemons / Mary Kay
Diversified Investments
ENI
First Commonwealth Credit Union
Green Pepper Nutrition
The Hartford
Healthworks
Highmark Blue Shield
Integrative Nutrition
Jes Campbell / Zumba
Lehigh Valley Health Network
Liberty Mutual
Miller-Keystone Blood Bank
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
North Whitehall Chiropractic
Orthopedic Associates of Allentown
Pam Smith / Yoga
PNC Bank
People’s First Credit Union
Performance Foodservice
PMA Companies
PSU Extension Agency
Subway / Schnecksville
Sam’s Club #6536
Sanofi Pasteur
Tobacco Free NE PA
United Concordia Dental
Western Pest Control
WM. Consalo & Sons Farms, Inc.
24-7 Fitness
                 

 

We look forward to working together again the future! 

 

 

     

15-year-old Georgia client wins 130th Campaign birthday card contest

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Happy 130th birthday KidsPeace and congratulations to 15-year-old Jesse from our Georgia campus for winning the 130 Campaign birthday card contest! Your teacher, Yana Quinn, and all of us are so proud of your wonderful birthday card. Working to help kids like Jesse is what KidsPeace is about. Due to the great efforts of our KidsPeace associates and all of the stakeholders who make our success with children and families possible, we say, “Happy Birthday KidsPeace, and thank you for making a difference in our community!” 
 

130Years Birthday Front

 

Taking a stand against bullying and cyberbullying

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There have been many articles, TV shows, even commercials speaking about the dangers of bullying, yet, it continues to happen and even with schools taking a zero percent tolerance stand on this issue, children and teens all over the globe are threatened with this very vicious, senseless behavior.

Years ago, bullying was most commonly seen at school. Some bigger kids wanted to assert themselves as “in charge” or “in control.” They often threatened, pushed or frightened the smaller, more intimidated kids and so earned themselves the reputation of being feared. This worked wonders for the bully because he or she was exempt from the bullying behavior of others.

No matter what went on at school, in the park or even on the way home, one could always look to the sanctuary of their own home and find peace and happiness once again. One could regroup and even try to work out a plan of how to deal with this behavior tomorrow.

With the introduction of computers, “smartphones,” and the appearance of sites like MySpace and Facebook, this area of retreat, of rest, of solitude has been invaded, and our children and teens lost the space where they could simply rest before having to face the onslaught of the next day. Weekends could often be a safe haven where one could find “joy.” Today, they can be bullied in their own homes, even in the privacy of their own rooms. Cyberbullying brings the bully into the teen’s own home and takes away the possibility of any rest and recourse. It is dangerous because it attacks everywhere and every minute.

We must all adopt a zero percent tolerance of this horrific behavior. We should realize that we don’t have to put up with this behavior. There are computer crimes divisions of local and state police that can help you to find the culprit and put an end to it. These perpetrators can and should be taken out of our schools and prosecuted to the letter of the law, and, if need be, laws need to be created to limit one’s ability to destroy another’s life. 

In the meantime, there is help. Please tell your teen to visit www.teencentral.net to learn more about this behavior and what they can do about it. It is a place where they can learn, play games and even write their own experience or story, receiving help within 24-hours. Best of all, the site is anonymous and free so no one needs to know who you are. Parents can learn how to help their child by logging on to www.parentcentral.net and finding answers to some common questions and ideas on how to help their teen cope and even recognize the bully in their own home and how you can turn this behavior around.

It’s available, it’s anonymous and it’s free. Just go on, log on and begin to work it out.

Family reunification a program at KidsPeace and beyond

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As an infant Texas boy Miguel Morin was kidnapped from his home in Houston. Morin, now eight years old, was found in March 140 miles from his home. Since his finding, he has been in foster care. Morin’s parents remain residents of Houston and are eager to be permanently reunited with their son. But until that can happen, weekly joint therapy sessions are being held with child welfare officials.

The Associated Press quotes a spokeswoman for Child Protective Services in Houston saying, “ We wanted to do what was in the best interest of Miguel and make the transition smooth and less traumatic for him.”

With foster care a great branch of KidsPeace, it is vital that we too, have such therapy-based settings for our children and their families. The Foster Care and Community Programs Aftercare service assists with family reintegration tasks when children and teens return to their families following a foster care or residential placement. The goal is to ensure family system stability and minimize the possibility of children re-entering care.

The program serves any youngster under the age of 18 who has been in foster care or residential placement, as well as the family/adult with whom the child resides.

A written plan will be developed and made specific to the identified needs of each family. The plan will focus on results and accountability and will be developed within 30 days of the commencement of aftercare services. County workers, parents and the child will be consulted when preparing the plan, and all parties will need to agree to the plan components. It will be revised every two months thereafter. A safety inspection will be completed upon the first visit to the home, and written safety assessments will be completed not less than once each month throughout the service term. The aftercare worker will keep written progress notes related to the case. A discharge summary will be prepared when services end.

No matter the circumstances it is a goal of KidsPeace to, when able, reunite foster children with their parents. It is through slow processes such as the KidsPeace Aftercare program that readjustment can occur at successful rates.

A court order was made today that joint sessions continue and Miguel Morin remain in foster care until the next court date, set in early January.

For more information on KidsPeace's Aftercare program view the program's fact sheet.

KidsPeace Friends and Family Fun Mud Run

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Have you ever wanted to join a fun run and get muddy along the way?

 

KidsPeace is hosting a 5K Family Fun Mud Run on Nov. 3 at our campus in Orefield, Pa.

 

Whether this is your first 5K or you are an avid runner, join us for a 5K, 1-mile, or 100-yard dash -- all with obstacles along the way. Join as a team and run together, helping each other through the obstacles, or as an individual, finding your inner strength to complete the course!

 

Mud Run trophies will be awarded for the teams that raise the most money and for the top male and female runner for the 5K Mud Run.

 

There will be a 100-yard dash for ages 4-6, a 1-mile course for those younger than 18 and the 5K (anyone younger than 13 years must be supervised by an adult).

 

Running and walking are great ways to stay healthy and happy! And, what better way to incorporate health than with your friends and family! 

 

Come enjoy KidsPeace's Orchard Hills campus on Nov. 3 and promote wellness! 

 

Register online today. Early Bird registration is available.

KidsPeace Maryland Welcomes Our 2012-2013 MSW Interns

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The presence of interns eager to share in the process of providing hope, help, and healing to children, families and communities adds to the quality of our daily experiences. Over the years our interns have provided us with opportunities to reconnect with the theories that drive our practice, identify and challenge our areas of strength and pursue meaningful dialogue about the goals we are trying to accomplish.

 

For me, interns hold a special place in my heart because I can recall that time in my life vividly. Returning to school to obtain my MSW was driven by my goal of working with foster youth in some capacity that would support and empower them. My internships helped to solidify my commitment to working with this population. Thankfully, I was exposed to opportunities that challenged and nurtured my professional development. It is with that in mind that I welcome our 2012-2013 MSW interns.

 

We look forward to supporting, challenging and nurturing you through this important milestone in your professional journey. This work is not easy and the rewards are not always visible but by the end of your spring semester I believe, wholeheartedly, that if you commit to the experience you will know more about yourself as a professional social worker. Over the next several months my expectation for each of you is to be open to learning. My expectation for the KidsPeace Maryland team is for us to be open to learning from each of you.

 

Here are some tidbits I picked up over the years (as an intern and also while working with interns):

  1. Set realistic goals.
  2. Be open to learning.
  3. Ask questions, even when it seems obvious to everyone else around you.
  4. Take ownership of your learning experience…this is your education.
  5. You must be willing to master the basics before you can master the challenges.
  6. There is no shame in failure unless you fail to learn from your mistakes.
  7. Your goal is to become a professional social worker. One of your main objectives as intern should be learning from the professionals already doing the job.
  8. This is training for you but this is also someone’s life so be respectful and diligent in everything you do.
  9. Seek guidance when you do not know the answer.
  10. Always try to leave things better than the way you found them for the next person.

Again, we are truly excited to have you on board and wish all of you a terrific year with us.

 

Written by Ericka Chukwuanu, LGSW- Child Placement Supervisor

9/7/12

Celebrate Family Day by having dinner together

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It sounds like such a simple proposal -- make time for family mealtime.

 

But with an increasing number of families juggling two work schedules, daycare, school and myriad extracurricular activities, it's becoming harder to sit down together at the same time every night. In an effort to get families back around the table, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASAColumbia) started Family Day, to remind parents that "Dinner Makes a Difference!"

 

Family Day will be celebrated nationwide on Sept. 24, and all families can participate. Research from CASAColumbia has repeatedly shown that when parents engage their children in conversation during frequent family dinners, the children's chance of engaging in risky behaviors is reduced.

 

Family Day was started in 2001 and is always celebrated on the fourth Monday in September. So take the Family Day pledge today and continue to fight for healthier children and teens.

KidsPeace's approach changes with the times

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The mass majority of society will agree that children have it much easier today and the ease is birthed from the hundreds of technological advancements of the new millennium. Yet, there are aspects of life for children and teens today where these technological advancements can lead masses to say that youth have it much harder today, than previous generations. As if the bullying Screech faced in "Saved by the Bell" wasn’t bad enough, kids are threatened day to day by virtual bullies as well. Power and control is exerted over peers through texting, Facebook, Twitter, email accounts, Internet chat rooms and the like.

According to Pew Research Center, 73 percent of online youth in the United States use some type of social networking. The sharing of such information through such social media provides easy access for peers to attack one another, harm feelings and embarrass others.

Cyberbullying is now illegal in most states with real consequences. Assistant professor in the University of Missouri School of Social Work, Dale Fitch, says restricting how social media is used can help to avoid lawsuits and other possible liabilities that could result from cyberbullying. Furthermore, he advocates that children in the foster care system should have such guidelines.

Social media, as well as KidsPeace’s site TeenCentral.Net, encourages teens to use the Internet to share their stories, but in an article on phys.org, Fitch says, “Working with [teens] to safely use social media is a huge step.”

While a large focus of KidsPeace is to provide foster care to youth throughout the nation, it is important for us to advocate for safe social media use. KidsPeace believes safety is a primary need and fundamental right of every person. America’s future depends upon emotionally healthy and physically safe people. Every American – especially teachers, counselors and children’s group leaders – has a unique responsibility to positively nurture, respect and safeguard people.

For 130 years KidsPeace has given hope, help and healing to children, families and communities throughout the country and as the technological times change our mission stays the same; it’s our approach that continues to change. As the web becomes more popular with the teenagers of today, we continue to cater our web sources accordingly. As wicked auras come to attack children, we take our stand to safeguard. KidsPeace stands against cyber-bullying. The organization has added cyberbullying to its list of teen topics on the interventional website TeenCentral.Net. Our wish is that KidsPeace provides an outlet to express identities, to share stories and to reach out minus the judgment, embarrassment and threats of harm. 

Have you used TeenCentral.Net before? How are we doing? Share with us in the comments section below.

Teenager feels safe, family has hope after stay at KidsPeace

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Katiana Faro’s parents adopted her from the Ukraine when she was 3½ years old. At only 21 pounds, she had been classified as “failure to thrive,” had been emotionally and physically deprived, had no language skills and couldn’t see well. A fourth-degree bleed in her brain had left her with permanent damage, and doctors determined she had been exposed to alcohol before birth, although she didn’t have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Six months after she was adopted, it was determined she also had severe hearing loss.

 

“From the moment I adopted her, it was constant problems,” said her mom, Paula Faro of Katiana, now 15. “We were handling it when she was smaller. I used to have to hold her down six times a day to calm her down.”

 

Still, her daughter’s situation began to spiral out of control, with flashbacks and violent outbursts leading to constant visits to doctors, changes in medication and years of therapy. She endured 10 inpatient hospital admissions before a case manager finally mentioned that the Faros might want to look into residential treatment programs.

 

Katiana ended up at KidsPeace, mainly because it was the closest option to her New Jersey home. She stayed from February to July 2011, and though some days are still rocky, her mom says she sees marked improvement in her daughter since she has returned home.

 

“It was just years and years and years of daily crisis.” Faro said of the time before KidsPeace. “That summer (after fourth grade) she just started talking about killing herself all the time.”

 

For a long time, it felt as though there was no end in sight as Katiana acted out then developed side effects including Tourette Syndrome and seizures from her medications. But it was after she dropped two of the family’s puppies on a tile floor, killing them, that her behavior got even worse.

 

“Once she admitted this, she said she wanted to go to jail, kill herself,” Faro said. “She went out on the roof; she started a fire; she threatened to run away … “Coming to KidsPeace was kind of our last straw. We didn’t know what else to do. We were getting to the point that we were looking at group homes. We had gone through so many years of this and it just wasn’t getting better.”

 

But at KidsPeace, Katiana told her family, she finally felt safe.

 

“She knew that they weren’t going to let her hurt herself; other people were not going to be allowed to hurt her,” Faro said. “There was always somebody there to talk to, so she felt cared for.”

 

Faro said her daughter complained at first and missed her family, but since she has been home, much of her negative talk has dissipated, and she’s not as obsessive.

 

 “I think new pathways were made in her brain, I really do, because she finally got it. It was like a miracle. I had lost a lot of hope, and obviously I don’t give up easily. But this was kind of her last shot,” she said.

 

Katiana is now in ninth grade, although Faro says she operates on a level more akin to a fourth grader. There are times, when she has gotten upset, that she’s actually called KidsPeace staff members to talk through her feelings. Faro said she wishes KidsPeace had a summer program to continue the positive experience her daughter had for the five months she was here because socially, she still struggles.

 

 “She doesn’t have any friends, so she’s isolated a lot,” Faro said, adding that her daughter’s hearing loss and developmental delays make it hard for other teenagers to relate to her. “There’s still a lot of loss. She won’t be able to drive. She knows that she’s not as smart as other people. She can’t go to a regular high school like she wants to. It’s sad. That’s why it’s important to keep up her self-esteem,” Faro said. “Maybe once she’s an adult, she’ll be more able to connect with people.”

 

Still, her mother looks at the positive changes that are impossible to ignore. Last year, for the first time in four years, Katiana didn’t have to miss school because of her health, and she got good grades. She trusts adults now and doesn’t try to push people away.

 

“Now that she’s calm for the first time, I want her to just keep building her confidence and learning and moving forward to be a productive member of society,” Faro said. “I see possibilities, whereas before I didn’t know what else to do. It’s good to know that KidsPeace is always there.”

 

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