Young people believe in their power to shape their own lives. They know they have choices and the power to make good ones. Check out our YouTube channel for more.
READY is Arlington’s coalition to Reduce and Eliminate Alcohol and Drug-use by Youth.
Committed to identifying the risk factors teens in Arlington face related to underage drinking, marijuana and other substance use or abuse, and help them make healthier choices.
The Partnership started the READY Coalition in response to the rising level of the binge drinking and marijuana use of Arlington youth as reported on student surveys. One-third of Arlington seniors reported having used marijuana in the past year or reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month.
The READY Coalition’s primary goal is to create an infrastructure in Arlington that can respond to current and future drug and alcohol issues that arise in the community.
READY Coalition is a project of the Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth, and Families, formerly funded through a Drug Free Communities Grant and a Virginia Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant.
Who We Are
As members of the Arlington community, we provide information to increase understanding about the risks associated with underage alcohol and drug use. We work to help youth and the adults in their lives to recognize that alcohol and drug use is risky and will not help them achieve their goals.
How We Do It
We work with Arlington Public Schools, community organizations, teen groups, faith groups, and local businesses to develop ways to help youth in Arlington make choices
that don’t include alcohol or drugs.
The Arlington READY Coalition provides an on-going community-wide forum that identifies strategies to keep teens drug- and alcohol-free.
You Can Help
Get involved with Arlington’s READY Coalition by spreading the word, joining a committee, liking us on Facebook, hosting a parent chat, and much more. For more information, contact Readycoalition@gmail.com
Sarah Duke, Coalition Chair
no opportunities at this time
Arlingtonteens.com, a project of APCYF, is created by a team of Arlington teen interns and a staff member to provide a safe place for teens to get information, express themselves, and connect.
At the 1998 Arlington Teen Summit, participants asked the Partnership for information about the common teen risk behaviors, support services for teens in crisis and positive activities available to them, and for a teen calendar. The result was what has now evolved into Arlingtonteens.com.
Visit the site to:
- Read news and opinions written by Arlington teens
- Search for jobs, internships, and volunteer opportunities
- Discover things to do
- Get the scoop from teens who write reviews on the latest games, movies, CDs and books
- Access health info, hotlines and support services
- Turn your career goals into a reality
- Find links to teen-friendly sites that discuss your physical and mental wellness
- Submit your creative works to share with the world
For more information, please contact Sally LaBonte at email@example.com.
The Teen Network Board is a group of teens who meet twice each month to ensure youth voice is part of the Arlington community and to develop solutions to teen-defined community issues.
The teens identify 3-4 issues that they want to tackle each year. This year, the issue areas are:
- Communications – Focuses on spreading the word about TNB, their work and Arlingtonteens.com
- Drugs and Alcohol – Works on ways can teens work with their peers to reduce drinking and the use of drugs
- Internships, Community Service and Employment (ICE) – Teens have a lot of decisions about what they would like to do after they graduate from high school. ICE works to make this process easier and find resources are available in the community.
- Positive Peer Relations – Works to create a positive social atmosphere for Arlington’s youth. Many youth are active in in Best Buddies and other programs. This group wants to eradicate bullying and the impact that has on their peers’ health and happiness.
Please visit www.arlingtonteens.com/service/Teen_Network_Board for more information about TNB or to submit an application in the spring for the following school year.
Visit ArlingtonFamilies.com – a resource for parents and caregivers to valuable online resources about what’s happening for families in Arlington, Virginia. Learn about school options, discover something fun to do over the weekend, or get connected to practical parenting ideas!ArlingtonFamilies brings you all this and more! Just click on an age group link.
by Mary Ann Moran
Family life is so busy! There’s school and all that comes with it – homework, after-school activities, evening meetings and performances, and then there’s work and the house and groceries and laundry. Given how busy you all are, you may think this is a totally ridiculous question, but I’ll ask anyway: When is the last time you had a conversation with your child or each of your children?
Before you answer that question, let’s define what a “conversation” is. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a conversation is a spoken exchange of opinions, thoughts and feelings. That definition implies that both people must be talkers as well as listeners and that those roles are shared during the conversation. So, now that we’re clear on the definition, when is the last time you had a conversation with your child?
Our Assets survey reveals that only 28% of Arlington teens report having positive communication. One of the questions the survey asks teens to determine whether they are experiencing positive family communication is about having good conversations with their parents. More than half of Arlington teens do not agree with the statement “I have lots of good conversations with my parents.” Perhaps, if we start to consider how to have good conversations with our elementary school children, we can continue to develop those skills in our families as our children grow through the teen years.
One barrier to having good conversations might be that we assume we are having good conversations. After all, it seems like we’re always talking with our children – even when we’re trying to talk to someone else! But when we talk to our children, is it a conversation? Are thoughts and opinions being exchanged? Many times what we’re saying to our children is not a conversation; it’s taking care of business. “Is your homework done? Do you have your lunch money? Who is going to pick-up who when? What time is your practice?” Those questions and answers are not conversations. They are the family business exchanges essential to running a family. The problem comes when we confuse those “business exchanges” with real conversations and then assume that, of course we’re having good conversations with our children – we talk all the time! In our hurry-up, over-scheduled, crazy world, time seems to be our most precious commodity and important things have a way of getting lost in the shuffle unless we make a real effort to deliberately fit them in to our busy lives. Conversation may be one of those important things getting lost. So, how can we fit conversations back into our family lives – and why should we try?
The “why” is quite clear: human beings are all hard-wired to connect. Research is showing that parent-child connectedness is a “super-protector” feature of family life that may help buffer children from the many challenges and risks they face in our modern world. But that connectedness has to be mutual and sustained over time. Making time for good conversations is one way to sustain connectedness. The “how” is more complicated.
The tricky part about having conversations with your children is that if we don’t schedule a conversation, then it never seems to happen. But if all our conversations are scheduled, they can seem a little contrived or artificial – to parents and children alike. So how do we find a balance? Try a few of these ideas and see what might work for your family.
- Try to eat a meal together but don’t use that time to talk about family business and logistics. Instead talk about the world around you, books, movies, current events, or new computer games. Or talk about the fun things you all have done together over the summer or things you want to do this fall.
- In her book, The Shelter of Each Other, Rebuilding our Families, Mary Pipher talks about the importance of “bedtalk”. Often children find it easier to talk about their day in the dark as they’re starting to relax. Try to make the time for bedtalk with each of your children.
- Use what you see on TV shows as conversation starters. But remember, there’s a big difference between a lecture and a conversation. As parents, encourage an exchange of thoughts and opinions, not impose your thoughts and opinions.
- Take advantage of every opportunity for conversation. Sometimes the best conversations are not planned at all – they just happen while you’re driving your child somewhere or doing the dishes or waiting for the bus. To keep those spontaneous conversations going for a few minutes, Ron Taffel, author of Parenting by Heart suggests that you not “pounce” immediately on a conversation your child has started because your rapt attention can be over-whelming to your child and stop the conversation cold.
- Even though baseball cards or Pokemon or whatever is bigger than Justin Beiber may not be very interesting to most parents, taking a few minutes to ask about the things that fascinate your child can lead to a wonderful conversation.
- Conversations do not need to be long to be meaningful. What’s important is the exchange, so don’t forget to listen as much as you talk!
For more information about Assets and parenting, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-228-1671
Hear Me Out Cards and LUV Listening Strategies
For all parents
- Being Boss Without Being Bossy
- Being Boss Without Being Bossy – Chapter 2
- Another Year to Learn and Grow
- Time to Do Nothing! (English)¡No tenemos nada que hacer! (Espanol)
- The Power of Play
- Keeping Your Child Safe from Over-the-Counter and Prescription Drug Abuse (by the Arlington Substance Abuse Prevention Unit)
- Entitled to Love
- You Can’t Give What You Don’t Have
- Why Don’t They Just Control that Child?!
- Some Quiet Time
- Building Community
- Parents Are In Charge
- It Does Take a Village
- Being A Good Friend: Skills You Can Help Your Child Learn
- Responsibility Dilemmas
- Positive Family Communication: It’s Not Easy!
- Conflict: It’s a Part of Life
- Getting Off to A Great Start
- Learning to Care
- Imagining a Real Child
- Sharing a Meal
- The Things you Can Learn in a Family
- Too Much of a Good Thing
- Teen Brain Development – What’s Going on Here?
- Staying in the Conversation
- Positive Family Communication and Temperament
- Sharing A Meal
- The Art of Conversation
- Communicating through the Teen Years
- Setting the Environment for a Real Conversation with Your Teen
- Having a Real Conversation with Your Teen
- Assets Prevent Substance Abuse!
The Ready by 21 site featured the following article about Out of School Time and Developmental Assets.
How a continuous improvement model is elevating staff practices and youth engagement in a community’s afterschool programs.
Quiet. That’s what students at Enka Middle School hear as they start their afterschool tutoring sessions these days. For 20 minutes, they sit and read. No text books; the kids choose mysteries, biographies, sci fi and the like.
A little leisurely reading is a big deal for these youth, most of whom rarely read for pleasure before. The new routine exemplifies changes taking hold all around Buncombe County, where out-of-school time (OST) programs have embraced a movement to build the developmental assets that young people need for success.
Because of that movement, staffers at those programs now enlist youth in choosing and designing activities, and go through training on such things as small group activities and helping kids manage frustration. The kids are trying new things: from designing jewelry and campaigning for a new basketball court to creating skits about bullying and building a greenhouse.
Program directors “are seeing an impact on their projects,” says Gina Gallo, youth success manager for the United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County. The focus on youth assets “isn’t just a fad for us.” The changes started when some OST sites in Buncombe (which includes the city of Asheville) opened themselves up to assessments like never before.
Robert Vilchez shared this information on the Gang Prevention Program from an article and video from Voice of America:
ARLINGTON, Va. – Federal law enforcement officials say criminal gangs are on the rise, with more than 33,000 now operating across the country and committing more than 50 percent of all violent crime. But in one community outside Washington, gang activity is down.
The annual Arlington County Gang Task Force soccer tournament is one part of a broad strategy to steer teens away from gangs in the Virginia suburbs of Washington.
“I believe that no county, no town, is immune from this gang problem. And every child is at risk, some kids are higher risk than others,” said Robert Vilchez, the Gang Task Force coordinator for the county.
See the full article and video at: http://www.voanews.com/content/gang-washington-dc-latin-us/1213164.html
The Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families is pleased to announce the Spring 2012 Connect with Kids Champions. This April, the Partnership received 17 nominations and seven were selected as champions.
Connect with Kids Champions are those ordinary people who make an extraordinary effort to connect with kids. They make it a priority to spend time and build relationships with children and teens. Champions come from all walks of life – a champion could be a neighbor, a friend, a young person, a business, a parent or a professional working with young people. What sets Connect with Kids Champions apart is their intentional and deliberate attentiveness to the needs of young people in Arlington County.
The following individuals and groups have been awarded this special recognition.
Kelly Wilner: For her work with the Best Buddies program which pairs high school teens with young people who have developmental disabilities. Here, she puts her passion for being inclusive into action. She is a young woman who acts on her conviction that all people, no matter what their abilities, should be treated with caring and respect. Kelly is a 2012 graduate of Yorktown HS.
Regine Gerard: For her work as the Independent Living Coordinator for Arlington County’s Foster Care program. Regine is a tireless advocate for youth and is always willing to “go the extra mile.” She supports and encourages these young people in their transition to independent living, holding high expectations for them and a firm belief in their ability to succeed.
Octavia Harris: For the care and commitment she brings to her work as a resource assistant, lunchroom monitor, and In-School Alternative Program Coordinator at Swanson MS. Her caring and supportive attitude coupled with her high academic and behavioral expectations is a gift to all the young people at Swanson.
Kaylyn Pennock: For her volunteer work with SCAN of Northern Virginia’s weekly ABC’s of Parenting Class. Kaylyn is consistently kind, giving, dedicated and responsible with the children. She models caring, respectful behavior and is intentional about ensuring that the children feel loved and cared for while they are with her. Kaylyn is a Fairfax high school student and has been volunteering once a week for over two years with SCAN.
Hayley Vause: For her volunteer work over the past five years at the Arlington Housing Corporation (AHC) After-School Program at the Berkeley. Hayley brings a positive, caring and supportive attitude to the children in the Berkley after-school program. She understands the importance of building relationships with the children over time and has rarely missed a volunteer day in five years.
Sandy Harter: For his volunteer work with the students at Gunston MS. As a member of the Crystal City-Pentagon Rotary Club he has served as the liaison for the Rotary in their long-standing Partnership with Gunston MS. Sandy worked to help integrate community service into the culture at Gunston, starting and sustaining the Gunston Interact Club. Through his enthusiasm and friendly approach, he draws students into these activities and keeps them involved.
Randy Huiss: For his work as an Arlington Little League coach for the Orioles Minor team. Coach Randy was clear about his goals right from the start: have fun, be safe, learn good sportsmanship and become better baseball players. He worked to ensure that every game was a positive experience that included teaching good sportsmanship based on respect for each other. He worked hard to ensure that all the kids play and learn – and that included trying any position they wanted to try.
We all have our own style…
Our 2009 Assets Survey (aka Search Institute’s Profiles of Student Life and Behavior), found only 28% of Arlington teens report having positive family communication. When the data is broken down by grade level, it’s even more concerning. In 8th grade, 32% of young people report having positive family communication, but by 12th grade only 24% report having this asset.
This data is concerning and, as a community of parents we want to do anything we can to support positive family communication. But the truth is, it’s not easy! When you think that each member of the family has his or her own unique temperament and personality and then you add to that gender differences and differences in developmental stages, it’s no wonder we all have some trouble communicating!
One tool that may help with family communication is learning to understand your child’s temperament and your own. Basically, temperament is the natural style that guides how each of us interacts and reacts with the world around us –the people, the places and things. Most researchers agree that your temperament is something you are born with and that although there are some changes, it is a relatively stable factor in life.
There are ten traits that can help us figure-out our children’s and our own temperaments. All of these traits are on a continuum and many of us fall squarely in the middle of the continuum on many of the traits. But, in the end, they all combine in different ways to make each member of the family unique.
- Activity – Left to her own devices, would your child mostly be still, or mostly be active?
- Adaptability – Is your child more apt to “go with the flow” or dig in his heels when he’s exposed to change or transitions. Does he adjust to change slowly or quickly?
- Approach – When faced with something new does your child eagerly reach for the experience or does she need time to get used to new ideas?
- Distractibility – How does your child handle distractions and interruptions? Does he get side tracked by other things that re going on? Does he get so focused he doesn’t notice anything else that’s happening.
- Emotional Sensitivity – How does your child react to upsetting things? Does she have empathy or sympathy for others who are expressing strong emotions?
- Intensity – Is it easy for you to figure out what your child is feeling inside? Intensity is not about how strongly a child feel things; it’s about how they express those feelings.
- Mood – Does your child see the glass as half empty or half full? Is he or she generally optimistic or pessimistic?
- Persistence – Does your child give-up when an activity becomes difficult or boring?
- Regularity – Does your child have a regular, predictable biological clock? Does she get hungry or tired at pretty much the same time each day?
- Sensory Awareness – Does your child react strongly to smells, touch, bright lights or does he seem to be pretty much unaware of sensory stimulation?
So what do all these temperament traits have to do with family communication? Plenty! Think about this common family scenario. You have to pick-up your son at 4:00. Time gets away from you and suddenly it’s 3:55! You run into the family room where your daughters are playing intently with their Legos and say: “Hurry! Go get your coat! We’re going to be late!” If one daughter is more of the “slow-to-adapt” kind of child, her initial reaction is going to be anger at this interruption and if she’s more intense, she will express her anger in a loud and forceful manner. But your other daughter may have a much milder reaction. If her temperament allows her to adapt more quickly to change and she is not as intense as her sister, she’s apt to just get her coat. Neither of these children are being “bad” or “good”. They’re just being who they are. But it sure is tempting to make the less adaptable, more intense daughter the “bad kid” and the more adaptable less intense daughter the “good kid.” Is that fair?
So what’s a family to do?! The first thing parents can do is to take some time and really think about where your children and you fit in terms of temperament traits. If you know in advance how your child is apt to react to a situation, then you can try and adjust the situation. If a child is slow to adapt to interruptions and has trouble transitioning, try to keep transitions to a minimum and give as much warning as possible when there is a transition so she can begin to adapt before the actual interruption. You might say “In ten minutes, we get in the car to go pick up your brother,” and then come back and say “In just a few minutes, we leave to get your brother.”
Of course, if you’ve simply lost track of time, as in the example above, then you can’t give a warning. And temperament aside, you just have to get going! But you can let your child know that you do realize these “hurry-up situations” are very difficult for her and that you’re sorry you couldn’t give her any warning. Sometimes, just knowing that a parent understands how hard a situation is for a child, helps defuse their anger and frustration. And usually, understanding what’s going on with a child makes it easier for parents to deal with their anger and frustration.
The important thing to remember about these temperament traits is that they are neither “bad” nor “good”; they simply are. You didn’t get to choose your temperament, and neither do your children. But we all can help ourselves and our children learn to work with their own temperaments and the temperaments of those around them in ways that are caring and respectful and that emphasize strengths, not deficits.
For more information, check out Understanding Temperament by Lyndall Shick.