Tuesday, December 31, 2013

YAB teens look ahead to 2014

YAB Teens share their New Year’s Resolutions….

My 2014 resolution is to talk slower and watch my body language at all times.  You are always communicating something whether you are speaking or not.  I want to make sure I am always communicating positive and kind messages.

To turn my plans into cans and stay confident.  I need to be less anxious and let things turn out how they will.

To strive to be the best person I can be, and continue to remain aware of my surroundings and be able to make good decisions.

My new year’s resolution is to be healthy, to help others and to keep helping and informing my community.

And their MOST important influence…. 

My future… especially since we are SO close to going to college.

Success.  I have so many future job opportunities that I don’t want to risk not being able to participate.  I don’t want to have to tell future employers that I was in trouble with the law due to substance use.

My future.  I want to be healthy and successful, not just right now, but for the rest of my life.

My future.  I always make decisions based on future consequences, not just what’s “in the moment”.


Patience  courage  think first  be positive….  help others….  be happy…. be healthy


Happy New Year from the Youth Action Board! 


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Teen’s are talking about..... Pressure to drink or use drugs.

How to handle it and how to communicate with Parents.

Q.  Is there pressure to drink or smoke in high school?  My parents always say to call and no questions asked but I don’t believe them?

A.  There is always pressure, but the decisions you make are always YOUR responsibility.  Make sure you have someone to call if you need to leave the situation.  It could be a parent, friend or another relative.
A.  Yes, there is always pressure to do something you may not feel comfortable doing.  If you call your parents in these situations, they will have much more respect for your decisions.
A. It depends on the situation.  People aren’t going to “bully” you if you don’t drink, but it can be difficult to sit and watch while everyone else is doing something different.  You should always call your parents if you want or need to get picked up, no matter what.
A.  There is pressure, but not because of high school.  It is more self-inflicted pressure to try to fit in and not be “that loser that doesn’t drink.”  Parents can be supportive but it ultimately comes down to the teen to reach out and ask for help or advice.
A.  There is definitely pressure to drink in high school.  At every party I have attended there has always been alcohol present and encouraged.  If there was a situation where I had consumed alcohol and need my parents, I would call them.
Q.  So then, how do you handle it if you’re at a party or with other people, even your friends, are drinking or smoking and you don’t want to?  My parents say to call and no questions will be asked but I’m not sure if I should call or how to handle it.  I don’t want to get anyone in trouble.  What would you do?

A.  You always have the choice to say “no.”  If your friends are trying to get you to do something that you don’t want to do then they are not your real friends.  I would get myself out of the situation by leaving and not ratting out my friends.
A.  I am that person people can call if they are in trouble.  I don’t want my friends to feel like they are trapped or stuck in a situation, so I am an unbiased outlet in case they have “strict” parents or now one else reliable to call.
A.  I would call my parents and ask to be picked up.  They will be proud of and respect your decision to not drink/smoke.  However, it does not mean that you are going to get anyone in trouble.  It is their fault if they get in trouble.
A.  I would call a close friend to pick me up.  You will feel a lot better leaving this situation rather than participating in it.
A.  I know that no matter who is drinking or making bad choices my choices are always my responsibility.  If you’re in a bad situation your priority should be to get yourself out of it.  Even if you think your parents may be mad at you, you will regret not leaving.  You should talk to your parents about what they would want you to do in one of these situations.  It may be awkward at first, but it will be worth it.

A.  I try to keep an open dialogue with my parents concerning these issues so that I can feel comfortable with my decisions.
A.  Yes.  I’ve talked to my parents and I feel a lot more comfortable with the topic after talking with them.
A.  My parents have told me to be smart with my decisions and to be safe.  I am honestly not the kind of kid that would drink and do drugs.  My parents expect me and trust me to make good decisions.
Q.  What do you think Parents should know, do and say to address drinking and drug use with their teen?
A.  They need to be more open with teens and show them the consequences.  Then they must be accepting of the teen’s final choice, knowing they have talked it through and warned them.
A.  They should not tell their teen that if they do drink in high school that they will be in trouble because if they needed help in a bad situation then their teen would not call their parents.  Parents should address drinking and drug use in a positive way but not encourage it.  They should tell them it can wait for later in life when it’s appropriate.
A.  Parents should try and understand the situation their teen is in.  If the parents push too much on the fact the teen shouldn’t be doing drugs or drinking too much, the teen might just resort to that behavior.  There is a very fine line between support and lecturing.
A.  They should make it a conversation, not a lecture.  I would know the legal consequences and inform your teen about them, maybe “shock” them with the facts.
A.  Parents should be open-minded and honest with their teens.  They need to find the balance between too much and too little control.
Q.  What’s your influence to be drug-free?
A.  My influence is my future.  I want to be happy, successful, and make a positive impact on the world.  I don’t have the time to let drugs or drinking get in the way.
A.  My future.  My family.  My health.
A.  I believe being drug-free is extremely important…. especially the way our brains are developing.
A.  My future has no room for the repercussions of drugs.  It has never interested me health-wise, social-wise or self-wise!

Friday, September 20, 2013

High School Teen’s Talk on Balance, Prioritizing and What’s Really Important in their Lives

Q.  Since the start of school, things are overwhelming.  How do you balance everything?

A.  I’m able to balance everything by staying organized and keeping to a schedule.  I also remind myself it’s important to be relaxed.

A.  I take time away from all of it, and make time to relax.  I ask myself if I can cut down or postpone anything, and then let people know I need help.

A. It’s always hard to balance everything that comes with the school year; homework, studying, sports, friends, extracurriculars’…  I have to really cut back on my “free time” that was always available in the summer and focus on what’s most important for me both now and in the future.

Q.  So what do you do to organize and prioritize?

A.  I keep a planner.  And, I keep things updated on my phone as well.

A.  Write everything down.  And set aside time for each event.

A.  I make a schedule for myself, based on what is most important to me.  By sticking to a schedule, I can easily accomplish all of my tasks and manage my time better.

Q.  There’s so much that seems important.  What’s most important to you in your life?

A.  I think the most important thing to me is being aware of my future and trying to take that into consideration in my choices every day.

A.  The people in my life – without them I wouldn’t have motivation or drive to succeed.

A.  I think that my family and my future are the most important to me.

Q.  What’s your influence to be drug-free?

A.  My influence to be drug-free is reminding myself that the consequences of today, could affect my tomorrow.

A.  My future.  Nothing I do should be sacrificed at the expense of my health or well-being.

A.  I like to think about my future…. 10 years from now, I will be proud to be drug-free.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Teen Stress, Anxiety and Depression

Here’s an interesting Q & A with some Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills high school students, and how they deal with stress, anxiety and pressure…..

Q.  How do you handle stress and anxiety when you start to feel overwhelmed with life?

A.  I take a minute and step away from everything.  If I’m stressed with school, I take a break from studying and plan out a schedule to keep me on track.  Writing it out – things I need to get done and putting it with a time schedule, really helps.    Organizing my life in this way helps me to stay in control and not feel so overwhelmed.    Also, I vent with my friends and get everything off my chest – to people who care about me – really helps.

A.  With life pressure, it’s harder to get away.  So I take time and think about it and write about it.  Writing is an outlet for whatever is on my mind.  You can always look back and read it and find a lot of answers in your own words.

A.  When the pressure of life is really pounding on me, I typically stop what I’m doing, take a deep breath, drink a glass of water and go for a walk to clear my mind.  Sometimes the best thing you can do is give your mind a rest.  If you’re still stressed, then I recommend that you have some tea, put on your pajamas and go to bed early.  It’s hard to think with a clear head when you’re running low on energy.

Q.  Have you ever felt depressed?  Who did you talk to and how did you handle it?

A.  Absolutely.  I think everyone hits a breaking point at least once in their life.  It’s hard to get out because you feel like you’re good for nothing.  Surprisingly, the best help I had didn’t come from any friends, it came from my parents.  They helped me focus on things that brought my energy level up and took my stress away.

A.  When I get sad, I let people close to me know... and they are all I need sometimes.

Q.  What would you tell a teen who is depressed and feeling the pressure of life, and is either using, or considering using drugs or alcohol as a way to cope?

A.  I would say that as much as it might seem to be helping…. drinking and drug use are actually going to hurt your more.  Alcohol is a depressant, many drugs are.  You need to find a lasting release from stress and depression and face the problems instead of seeing a temporary escape with drugs and alcohol.

A.  I would tell them the facts.  Drug and alcohol use is counter-productive and can actually lead to depression.   I would also hare my way of coping – focusing on self-improvement, start exercising more, be productive and look for  ways to make another person’s day better.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Teen Myths and Busters on Alchol and Drugs

Here’s what high school students think are the biggest myths about alcohol and marijuana use today…  and what they have to say to bust those myths.

The biggest myth is that “everyone” is does it at some point.  In reality, a very small percentage of teens use alcohol.  While it may seem like a social norm, it is not needed to have fun, to be accepted or make friends.  You will make a lot more friends by just being yourself.

A lot of teens think that only 1 drink is okay and that nothing will happen.  But, usually they just keep drinking, and make stupid choices – like driving or getting in a car with someone else who has been drinking.   All it takes is one drink to cause a lot of turmoil.
Teens don’t understand why they should wait.  They think “I’ll just drink in a few years… so why wait?”    There are many problems that come from drinking at a young age;  gateway to drinking more, can lead to other harder drug use, and the teenage brain is developing in critical areas until early 20’s.  There's the high possibility of addiction, and continued poor and risky decisions that come from alcohol and drug use in the teen years.
Teens think that they HAVE to drink at a party to have fun or be cool.    You may THINK you look cool…. but you actually just look ridiculous, especially when you posted those pictures!

Teens think, marijuana is just an herb that grows naturally…. they don’t see anything wrong with marijuana, but they really don’t know what goes into it and its harmful effects.  THC and all the 100's of chemicals that are actually processed into it.    Being high doesn’t make you look cool, just dumb, messed up, and irresponsible.  If you want to be cool, then just be yourself.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Stressed about Finals? Check out these helpful YAB Study Tips!

Are you stressed with school and GPA?  Finals?  Are you mid-way to the end of the semester?  Or, just starting a new semester?  It's not easy to balance it all, but here's what some of our YAB students are doing to get through it....

10 Tips to Beat the Study Heat from the YAB:

1.) Be Proactive- Start studying a couple weeks before your final. Late night cramming will not make you do better the next morning.  Plan to study gradually so you can understand the material.
2.) Find a Study Spot- Select a quiet location without a lot of distractions (i.e. cell phones, televisions, video games, computers, etc.) and a good source of light to study for your finals. It is amazing to see the difference a proper studying location can make on how you perform on your finals. If it helps, and ONLY if it helps, study with friends. They are a good source to test your knowledge and bounce around confusing ideas to clarify in terms us students can understand easier.
REMEMBER: Studying is very individual. There is no one technique or tip that works best for everyone. Some people go over many problems over and over again, while some can just glance at their notes. Most of us are somewhere in between.
3.) Know the format of the final.  Multiple choice, essays, and short-answer questions are the go-to's for finals. Know before and you can use typical test taking tips for the format which makes what you are studying for that much easier! Teachers normally drop hints in class about what will be on the final. Pay attention in class to the way your teacher words concepts or ideas; they may come in handy on your exam. Also, more recent material will most likely appear more often on the test, but study everything nonetheless.
4.) Do the study guide(if any) assigned by teacher. They offer similar questions to the test and are a summarized source of all the information you need to know. Make sure you correctit too.
5.) Try mnemonic devices to help remember things. For example: I remember the protein functions as TED SMH (transport, enzyme, defensive, structural, mobility, hormone).
6.) Studying should always be geared to the subject:
  • For math, know your equations, formulas, and necessary uses of your calculator (if you get one).
  • For science, whether it be chemistry, physics, or biology, concepts are most important. Vocab is also a large part of understanding.
  • For foreign language, formation and sentence structure are an important focus. Vocabulary is also important, but more often than not you will always encounter words you wont know.
  • For history, dates and people are generally the most important.
7.) Take Active Breaks– It is hard to study continuously for hours on end, so take breaks as you need them, but instead of sitting down and watching television or sleeping during these breaks, keep your blood pumping to help you stay awake and focused when you return to your studying.
8.) Go to Bed Early- On the night before your final or test, do not stay up late cramming information, instead go to bed early. It is harder to recall information with a tired brain; therefore, a good night of sleep can boost your final grade. And, eat a good breakfast before any final or test.... you NEED to focus and concentrate!
9.) Remember to Breathe - If you begin feeling stressed or overwhelmed during your finals preparation, take a step back from your studying and BREATHE.  It is much harder to study and retain information with a cluttered mind.  Put on some calming music and take deep breaths. Take the time to make sure that you are fully relaxed before you get back to your studying.
10.) Remember to study safe and study smart. Good luck on your finals, we know you will do great!