Author Archives: Youth Outreach
Throughout adolescent’s you will face many situations where there is a right and wrong choice, not all of these choices will be black and white and easy to make. Depending on who your circle of friends are, the groups you belong to and the situations you find yourself in you could feel pressured to make a choice that you would not normally make due to pressure from your peers.
If ever you are put in a situation where there is pressure from those around you, take a minute to evaluate your options. A good way to help determine and make a good decision is by these STEPS:
S-stop what you are doing.
T-think it over.
E-evaluate the situation.
P-proceed with your decision.
It is often hard to just say no to something that doesn’t feel right and people often put pressure on each other as to why they are saying no. Here are some strategies that go beyond just saying no:
1) Delay. No, not today. Maybe tomorrow
2) Be a broken record. Keep saying no several times.
3) Have a plan B. Okay, but how about we do this _______ instead.
4) Be truthful. No, because ______.
5) Avoid. I can’t, because I forgot to do_____.
6) Leave the scene. Say no and leave.
You may have seen Youth Outreach at the flag pole holding signs of encouragement letting people know they are not alone, you might have even participated in one of our sign rallies or seen the signs around town reminding people not to give up! Once a month during the school year and every Friday during the summer Youth Outreach gathers together and has a sign rally at Newberg’s flag pole!
The You Matter movement was started to let people know that their problems, fears, worries and all that they do MATTERS! The signs might be simple, just white and black but they carry a strong and needed message to all that see them. The goal is to give those who need just a little glimmer of hope the encouragement to keep going and let them know that they are enough.
If you would like to read personal stories of how these signs have touched those who have seen them go to http://www.don’tgiveupsigns.com. Or come and stand with Youth Outreach rain or shine!
February is Dating Violence Awareness Month. Dating violence is when a partner uses power to gain control over the other partner and can occur in four different ways physical, emotional, sexual and stalking. Learning about the four ways and ways to prevent dating violence in adolescents is a way to prevent it from happening in adulthood.
According to Metropolitan Family Services 1 in every 3 teens in the U.S are a victim of dating violence. It happens in every type of relationship and community. When it comes to teen relationships over 80% of those who are in an abusive relationship stay in that relationship. This is partially due to teens not talking to friends or a trusted adult about the abusive behaviors and parents and friends not picking up on the warning signs of these relationships.
Some common behaviors that abusers exhibit are checking a partner’s phone and email without permission, isolating a partner from friends and family, telling a partner what they can and cannot do, having mood swings and having explosive behavior and temper, making false accusations, showing signs of jealousy and insecurities, and physically hurting a partner.
If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, there are many resources to get help. First you can speak to a trusted adult. Locally we have Henderson House which provides services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence victims, they can be reached 24/7 at 503 472-1503 or online at http://www.hendersonhouse.org. If you are looking for other resources on abusive relationships, I have found loveisrespect.org and heasrmyvoice.breakthecycle.org is a great teen resource!
Alcohol is the number one drug of choice among youth. According to data collected from the Monitoring the Future survey, three-fourths of twelve graders, more than two- thirds of tenth graders and about two in every five eighth graders have consumed alcohol. The data that was collected shows that when youth drink they tend to drink excessively, often consuming 4 to 5 drinks in a short period of time.
Research has begun to show that many youths begin drinking at around 14 years old, the younger a person starts to drink the more likely they will become dependent on alcohol. When youth start to drink at such a young age, they are more likely to engage in harmful behaviors to themselves and others. Such as, using other drugs, engaging in risky sexual behaviors and often failing classes.
There are also health risks that come from starting drinking at such a young age. The main health risk is the effects on the brain, a typical brain is not fully developed until a person is in their mid 20’s, drinking alcohol can have a long term effect on ones thinking and memory skills. The liver also suffers lasting effects like elevated liver enzymes that can lead to liver damage. Since the teenage years are full of bodily changes and rapid growth spurts drinking during this crucial time can offset the normal balance that is needed for one to develop normal organs, muscles, and bones.
Since underage drinking is such an epidemic there are many restrictions and harsh consequences, such as jail time and large fines for selling and buying alcohol for minors across the United States. In all 50 states the legal age limit to drink is 21, and doing so has been successful in reducing alcohol related crashes among people under 21 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. All states also have a zero tolerance law, making it illegal for anyone under 21 who has been drinking to drive. Another effective approach to stopping underage drinking has been raising the price and placing a tax on alcohol sales in some states.
There are also more personalized programs that have been put in place to intervene with underage drinking. Many schools have effective programs that address the social pressures to drink and offer peer led support groups. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that one of the biggest influence on whether youth start drinking starts at home, if parents set clear rules against drinking and consistently inforce them it helps reduce the likelihood of underage drinking.
Tobacco use among Middle and High School Students has thankfully decreased from 2011 to 2017. However, 1 in 5 High School Students and 1 in 18 Middle School Students currently use tobacco products, almost half of those who use a tobacco products report using two or more tobacco products according to The Center for Tobacco Products.
While cigarette and cigar use among teens is on the decline, the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices are beginning to skyrocket. The 2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey found that 1.5 million more students began to use e-cigarettes in 2018 vs. 2017. This is partially due the availability of flavors that can be added to the devices and how discretely they can be used on school campuses.
These devices are often seen as less harmful because there is not any tar in the product, however they still contain nicotine and many other addictive chemicals. According to The American Association of Poison Control Centers, the vapor is not harmless like many may think, it contains chemicals that cause cancer, the chemicals can cause harm to unborn babies and is a significant source of indoor air pollution.
What can be done to prevent teenage use of cigarettes and other smoking devices? Legislators are currently fighting to prevent easy access to tobacco products and end marketing of tobacco products aimed at youth such as flavors. An important factor in ending teen tobacco use is educating not only the teen but also retailers about the role they play in selling to minors.