Over the week of our Thanksgiving break, I am encouraging all of you, extra credit or not, to look beyond your own selves and truly see other people around you. Even if you don't have much to give, you all can offer kindness to someone else.
You may choose from one of the opportunities listed below, OR, if you know of another opportunity that is not listed--please share with me so I can approve it before completing for extra credit.
Then, you will register with the organization that is coordinating the event(s). Be sure to show up, on time, and wearing appropriate clothing.
You will document your volunteer hours (minimum 2 hours--this will also count toward any scholarship and grant hours needed), write about your experience (minimum 1 page, 12 pt font, Arial or Times New Roman, double spaced), and include at least one photo of you there.
I highly encourage you to bring along a friend, family member, etc. and share the spirit!
Latest song by Common ft. Alessia Cara and Khalid--the title of the song is the 800 number for the National Suicide Lifeline...
Today we hosted our guest speakers from NAMI--the National Alliance of Mental Illness--with their Ending the Silence presentation. There are many stigmas about mental illness, yet 1 in 4 people suffer from various forms, and many go undiagnosed and untreated.
Suicide is the #2 leading cause of death of adolescents between the age 10 and 24. This is a staggering thought when we look around--many of these deaths could have been prevented. Some people think that mental illness consists of simply schizophrenia and more severe cases--whereas we also need to realize it includes ADD/ADHD, anxiety, eating disorders, etc. as well.
So what can you do? Take a look at the warning signs, and find out how you can help (yourself or a loved on).
You can also visit www.nami.org or text "Help" to 741741
We begin our next unit that will be covering various aspects and elements of mental and emotional health by first examining the student's own self-esteem, personality and character. One of the assignments has them visiting the Character Counts! website ( https://charactercounts.org/program-overview/six-pillars/) to really look deeper at what each of the Six Pillars of Character mean. Too often, we find that for a variety of reasons these pillars of character may be blurred (such as the different behaviors displayed online versus in-person)--and I hope to at least call to attention the importance of each both within themselves and those around them.
Many of the upcoming assignments and projects in the next couple of weeks are great to do together at home, open up the lines of communication, and really explore everyone's individual health as a family team.
Today is World Heart Day. Throughout the day for all of our P.E. and HOPE classes, we participated in Hands Only CPR instruction alongside our Winter Park Fire Department and the American Heart Association. All of our students had the opportunity to practice the hands only chest compressions that could potentially save someone's life until medical assistance arrives. Please take a moment to also look at the brief (corny) video and ask your child about it--just a few minutes could make all the difference.
The week before Hurricane Irma, I attended a summit on Human Trafficking that involved not only educators, but members of local law enforcement, the FBI, state representatives and advocates from D.C. and across the country. I personally had a much different perception before the summit on what “human trafficking” consisted of (insert visions of the movie, Taken), however it happens right in our own backyard everyday without our knowledge. Florida reports some of the highest numbers of children involved in trafficking—and it is not just females—nor is it just a certain age, demographic, socioeconomic status, etc—although the average age of the victims are 12-14. Many are now recruited through social media, online gaming (this includes the chats during Xbox or other systems), malls, school or work.
Some signs that may indicate a bigger issue include:
Resources to learn more or start the conversations:
Screen Recordings with iOS 11 update (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/09/20/ios-11-has-introduced-snapchat-loophole-allowing-people-secretly/)
www.MillionKids.org (see also book: Seduced by Opal Singleton)
www.ptwfoundation.com (Paving The Way Foundation)
www.savannahparvu.com (Survivor Leader)
Docufilm Trapped - in the sex trade
Did you know that approximately 68 children a hour, under the age of 18, are lured, coerced and romanced into the world of sex trafficking in the United States?
I didn't either.
As a mom…..that is not ok with me and I would imagine that is not ok with you either.
Hi, my name is Jan Edwards and I’m the President and CEO of Paving the Way and I’m committed to keeping kids safe and empowering them to not be a victim.
Two years ago I was invited to go to Ethiopia to do vision screenings and wow were my eyes opened to a whole new world. I learned that Ethiopia is the number one source of people being trafficked into the Middle East. I didn’t even know what trafficking was…
When I got home, our team began to do some research and imagine how shocked we were when we discovered this is a huge problem in our own state, let alone our own hometown .. In fact, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Florida has the 3rd highest number of sex trafficking victims in the US, only behind California and Texas.
That translates to 4 children an hour being sexually exploited in the city beautiful.*
Not ok with us - that's thousands of lives lost to this silent crime.
Another frightening fact, the average age is just 12 years old.
How can that be? We live in Happiest Place on Earth!!
We were stunned.
So, we went after the facts and interviewed officers at the FBI, the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement, local police and survivors of sex trafficking asking - how can this happen?
More importantly, what's missing that will make THE difference.
Here's what we discovered awareness is missing. We’ve got to raise awareness!!!!
68 children an hour across the US become trapped in this world. Imagine the lives and human potential lost. YOU can help us stop this.
Our children’s future is in your hands.
*National Human Trafficking Resource Center 2015 Reports
Needless to say it has been an unexpectedly crazy week since Hurricane Irma arrived. As we return to school tomorrow morning, I plan to talk about what was experienced--good/bad/otherwise--and what we might do differently next time. As I planned to do this, I saw that there is the potential for the now Tropical Storm Maria to follow the same path as Irma, and I want to make sure everyone is fully prepared for any of those possibilities. I hope that the worst of Irma simply brought loss of power for a brief period, and maybe some lost shingles. However I now this is not the case for many people, and if anyone needs anything, please reach out! We will continue our topics this week on Personal Safety and Protection, and again, I hope that what we discuss in class finds real life relevancy at home.
American Red Cross First Aid App! (English or Español)
After Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, and now we see Hurricane Irma heading in our general direction, we need to be thinking of hurricane preparedness for our own homes. Many of these storms develop quickly, and supplies often run out as the rush to stock up occurs last minute. As a native Floridian, I've experienced many storms, and have seen the damage that can be done--even if that means no immediate damage, but loss of power or drinkable water for days.
You can see HERE how to use bleach to sanitize water in emergencies (sometimes finding bottled water is not an option)
We will also be integrating the current storm situation as part of our class lessons this week. Feel free to join in on the assignment review which has students listing resources before an emergency--you can print this list for your own records at home .
So, take a day (although hurricane season officially begins in June), and stock up with the basics. The way we often approach it, is that after the season ends, we rotate those bottles of water, canned foods, and/or snacks into our lunch or dinner pantry stock--so it will not go to waste.
Reference the American Red Cross' website for additional tips:
When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)
Today I looked around the classroom and saw the tops of so many heads, while trying to go over the most essential review of the year--preparing students for their common final exam coming up next week. Even after asking, students seem to be addictively attached to their phones, not even realizing the distraction and disconnect it causes. Of course the end of the year lends to a bit of senior-and summer-itis for all, but the last test scores show the impact that the constant use of phones has on our students.
I pleaded with you parents, to have the conversation with your child, because not only is it a display of disrespect, but it harms their learning and habits that will prevent them from achieving success in a structured environment beyond high school.
Not to say the rest of us are innocent--a recent story done by 60 Minutes was about "Brain Hacking." The addictive nature of the apps and social media, and how it affects not only our youth, but people of all ages. I just found it interesting.
Hold on for a couple more weeks and then the summer is all yours to Netflix and binge :)
In the upcoming weeks, we will be covering Internet Safety and Cyberbullying.
Social media and text messages are vital to many students’ social lives. Students use them to make weekend plans, support one another after a breakup, or commiserate about that difficult test. But sometimes students cross the line and use technology to bully or harass other students. We’ve all heard the stories about victims of cyberbullying — some choose to change schools and some even commit suicide.
The best approach to protecting students against cyberbullying is to be proactive and create guidelines before problems arise. In an effort to provide a safe place to report these instances, I am always available in person, by email, or you may report by taking a screenshot of the bullying messages and drop into the Google Drive here: Cyberbullying Report System.
Please know that the old adage "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me..." is far from reality. Mental and emotional health is just as important, if not more so, than our children's physical health. Whether a person is physically harmed, or emotionally, it needs to be addressed.
Back to School!
I am a Health Education major from the University of Florida, with background experience in adult education working with our local hospital for women and babies. A mother of three with a deeply rooted commitment to my students. I strive to promote healthy lifestyles and awareness.