YOU MATTER!

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As you read those words, I’m sure you have seen these signs or other handouts in your neighborhood, social media, or online somewhere. If not and this is the first you have heard of it, Youth Outreach wants to let you know: YOU MATTER!

 

This saying along with many more sayings were created by a family in Newberg, OR. They couldn’t believe how much the suicide rates were just in their little community, let alone in the United States. In fact, as of today in the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death. Every year, we lose about 45,000 people to suicide, which in a closer perspective is about 125 suicides per day. These suicide rates, statistics, and suicidal thoughts come from elderly, adults, youth, and even children as early of 10 years old.

 

With that much influence, suicide is definitely not a subject to be taken lightly. Although there are many great programs and suicide preventions out there, many people don’t receive the assistance they need. However, a small town family has proven that they don’t need all the nooks and crannies of a big organization, rather a simple sign with encouraging words will send a message of hope for people. Because of their efforts, the don’t give up signs helped hundreds of people around the world to not just prevent suicide, but also any negative thoughts they may be believing about themselves.

 

At Youth Outreach, we have our staff and youth participate in sign rallies. These rallies consist of us all going out into our Newberg community, sign waving, and sharing what were all about. All the drivers and people passing by are then refreshed with these words and reminded: they are worthy of love, they aren’t alone, their mistakes don’t define them, it’s never too late, don’t give up, and so much more! We hope to continue this tradition of ours, because we see the impact it’s bringing not only to our little Newberg community, but around the world.

 

If you are going through a hard time or just needing a little encouragement, Youth Outreach wants to let you know that You Matter! The life was given is good and bad at times. Sometimes it seems like the bad consistently overtakes the good. But, it’s always a blessing to hear that you never have to be alone in this life. There are people, organizations, and communities who actually do care and want the best for you. The dreams and goals you have in life are all going to fall in place, as long as you don’t give up! Stick with it even through the bad and ugly of times. There is a light amidst the darkness you may be struggling with. Be the fighter that you are and don’t let life knock you down.

 

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide and need someone to talk to, please call the suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255. Also, if you want to know more information on the don’t give up signs, check out their website: https://www.dontgiveupsigns.com/

If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t!

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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:peer pressure

S-stop what you are doing.
T-think it over.
E-evaluate the situation.
P-proceed with your decision.
S-stand firm.

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, Yes You Matter!

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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.

signrallyvday2If 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!

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart!

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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.

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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!

Think Don’t Drink

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no to alcoholAlcohol 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.