Thursday, December 17, 2009

Parent Project starts Jan. 27

Most of us in the field, working with high-risk youth know that parent involvement is the key to behavior change with difficult, behaviorally disordered adolescents. Yet, effectively educating parents in basic behavioral strategies is time consuming and repetitive. The Parent Project® is a parent training program designed for parents of acting-out adolescents (those often referred to with the labels of oppositional defiant, or conduct disorder).

Topics include reducing family conflict and arguing, improving school performance and attendance, identifying and intervening with alcohol and other drug abuse, interceding with negative peer associations (including inappropriate dating relationships up to and including frank gang involvement) and helping parents to set effective applicable limits. Many parents attending Parent Project® have had difficulty identifying appropriate limits and enforcing consequences consistently. Parents who attend the Parent Project® are more likely to see their child’s attendance at school improve, and to require less school-based disciplinary resources as parents find powerful interventions at home with which to bring about change in their children. The motto of the Parent Project® is “Parents are the answer … when they have the tools they need.”

Presented in an educational format, parents are trained for a low fee of $20 for the accompanying 180-page workbook “A Parents’ Guide to Changing Destructive Adolescent Behavior.” There is no cost for the training itself. If the entire course is completed and the parent has attended all of the required sessions, the $20 fee will be refunded. Parents attend 26 hours of instruction for a cost of less than one session of private counseling.

The next session will be held Wednesday evenings from Jan. 27 through April 4 at the Wood County Educational Service Center, 1867 N. Research Dr., Bowling Green.

For more information or to register, contact Lorrie Lewandowski, Wood County Educational Service Center, 1867 N. Research Dr., Bowling Green, OH, 43402. Phone: 419-354-9010, ext. 113. E-mail:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Conflict Resolution conference offered

The Global Issues Resource Center at Cuyahoga Community College and its partners are hosting the 3rd International Conference on Conflict Resolution Education (CRE), Building Infrastructures for Change: Innovations in Conflict Resolution Education (CRE) and Justice Initiatives in Cleveland, Ohio. The conference will take place March 26-27, 2010, with pre-conference workshops on March 24 – 25. Presentations and workshops will focus on innovations in the fields that are making broad impacts in collaboration and research on issues related to the development of CRE and justice initiatives in local, state, national, and international communities. Participants will exchange best practices, evaluation methodology, creation of policy implementation structures, consideration of obstacles to success, and new and innovative use of training, resources and technology. Conference participants will be drawn from the local, state, national, and international community.

· Pre-Conference Training topics include: sustained dialogue, restorative justice, project citizen and youth for justice programs, exploring humanitarian law, and peace and values education.

· Keynotes include: Hal Saunders, Former Secretary of State and one of the negotiators of the Camp David Accords and a mediator of the Egyptian –Israeli Peace Treaty; Mr. Kevin Jennings, United States Department of Education Deputy Secretary of Education with a state government education policy panel representing New York, Maryland, Ohio, and Minnesota facilitated by the national Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development; Jimmie Briggs, author of Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War; Judge Linda Teodosio, “Rerouting the School-to-Prison Pipeline: Innovative School-Court Collaboration”, Charlotte Cole, VP of International Education, Sesame Workshop; John Marks, President and Founder of Search for Common Ground, and many more….

· Credits offered: Graduate, Social Work, RCH, CEU, CHES
· Save! Early Registration due February 26th, 2010!

Conference and meeting publications are available

For more information, please contact Global Issues Resource Center, Cuyahoga Community College at 216-987-2224.


ATOD School And Community Based Prevention Program

2009 Dialogue Nights Completed at Wood County Schools Dialogue nights offer teens, parents, and community members a chance to spend an evening together talking and sharing ideas about relevant topics they might not have discussed in an inter-generational format. The expected outcome of dialogue night is to increase communication among teens, their parents and community members. Dialogue Nights have been held at Lake, Bowling Green, Northwood, North Baltimore, Perrysburg, Rossford and Eastwood. The events have grown as more people are beginning to understand what Dialogue Night is all about. We hope to build on this experience and reach more families by scheduling more dialogue nights this spring.

Parent Project Classes A Parent Project class will be held from January 27 through April 7 at Fort Meigs YMCA Adventure Center, 210 E. South Boundary in Perrysburg. 2008/2009 Parent Project evaluations show significant improvement of parent’s appraisals of their abilities on the following dimensions: ability to listen to my teen in an understanding way, willingness to discuss feelings with my teen, consistency when it comes to setting rules or boundaries, and ability to control anger/frustration when speaking to my teen. Results also suggest improvement in parents’ ability to accept expressions of affection with their teen and from their teen, to communicate effectively with their teens, and to express love to their teens. Parents also cited improvements in their children’s behavior: more effective and less argumentative child-parent communication, less aggression or violence, better use of listening skills by both parent and child, and more affection in the parent-child relationship. Any parents interested in Parent Project information please call Lorrie Lewandowski 419-354-9010 Ext 113.

Expect Respect The Expect Respect curriculum is being offered at Lake High School and additional courses have been scheduled in Northwood, Elmwood, Eastwood and other Wood County Schools. This curriculum is made possible by a collaboration among the WCESC School and Community Based Prevention Program, Family and Child Abuse Prevention Agency and Wood County Schools.

Joel Penton to return Former Ohio State University defensive tackle Joel Penton will return to make up time he missed at Penta Vocational School. Details about the visit are still being worked out, but he may also visit some other schools that were missed during his first two visits. During those visits, Penton brought his message to “Stand Your Ground” to parents and students alike.

Drugs and Alcohol in the Media On Dec. 10, ATOD prevention specialists will attend a conference titled Under the Influence: The Intoxication of Pop Culture. The conference is being held at The Community Partnership in Toledo. This workshop will examine the effects of popular music, film and literature on today’s youth. Participants will engage in hands-on activities to positively integrate the energy expended into pop culture as a prevention tool. Participants will explore messages behind the media, commercial messages, slang dictionary, and music.

Cultural diversity lesson being added A new lesson about cultural diversity will be added to the already popular 12-lesson curriculum through the Wood County Juvenile Detention (JDC) prevention program. The prevention programming at the Juvenile Detention Center provides incarcerated youth the opportunity to participate in workshops centered around important life skills in order to build developmental assets. Overall, after completing sessions, the majority of youth were able to successfully answer questions designed to help them apply the material to their own life. Some of these skills include: listing two personal strengths, listing two personal values, listing two consequences of their risky behavior, listing two influences on their behavior, listing two examples of assertive behavior, identifying important positive qualities in a friend, identifying and practicing ways to stay in control when angry, listing two examples of responsible behavior and two possible consequences of irresponsible behavior, listing two ways alcohol can be harmful, reporting the danger of binge drinking, listing two ways marijuana can be harmful, listed two risks associated with drug use, identifying two facts about alcoholism and two behaviors that typically co-occur with alcoholism, generating an appropriate, achievable goal and identifying at least 2 sub-goals, listing two sources of stress and possible reactions to stress, and providing one positive and effective way to reduce stress.

Communities Mobilizing for Change in Alcohol (CMCA) Task Force
Based on results from the CMCA Task Force meeting held Nov. 11, a media campaign featuring “The New Cool”(TNC) is being planned. Matt Ivoska, Debbie Marinik, and Lorrie Lewandowski are working on details regarding this campaign to present to the Task Force through the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant. So far, the plan for the media campaign is to reach teens in the school setting. Our goal is to show them that it is cool to be drug-and alcohol-free. The community is invited to the next CMCA task force meeting, on Jan. 26, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the WCESC to discuss the media campaign and other initiatives identified by the group.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dialogue Night teaches parents, youth how to communicate

On Thursday, teens, parents and other community members from Perrysburg High School gathered to learn how to talk to each other about subjects that affect them on a daily basis.

So often, parents and teens don’t know how to talk to each other. Topics of alcohol, drugs, Internet safety and sex can become awkward, if they are brought up at all.

During Dialogue Night, parents and teens are separated into small groups to discuss these and other topics. There, they can practice communication skills that they can use with each other and their peers, according to Debbie Marinik, the community organizer for the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant through the Wood County Educational Service Center.

One discussion group talked about privacy and trust.

“There was one time when we had to take the door off of (our daughter’s) bedroom,” said one mother. “It was just one day.”

“That happened to me,” said a male student. But I didn’t get my door taken off. I had my doorknob taken off. While my dad was doing that, my brothers were cheering and my mom was taking pictures.”

The subject turned to safety and parties. One female student said she thought it was important that kids tell their parents where they are, what they are doing, and who they are with.

Another student said her family has a policy in which the student can call her parents to pick her up at any time if she is uncomfortable with a situation, with no questions asked.

That statement prompted several students to say that their families have code phrases in which the students can call their parents and say the phrase to indicate they want out of a situation without embarrassing themselves in front of friends. One student said her code phrase was “I could use a Pepsi right now.”

“I need to write these down,” said one parent after hearing the idea. “I have a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old. These are really good ideas.”

Another group talked about the gap between students and adults.

“Parents want to protect kids and kids want to be independent,” said Barry Parsons, the director of the drug testing grant for the Wood County Educational Service Center. “That alone creates a gap.”

One male student said he doesn’t like the idea of having an arbitrary number (18) decide whether people are adults or juveniles. “It’s a question of maturity,” he said.

“Adults have already gone through what we are going through, but we don’t see that,” said another teen. “We need to experience it for ourselves.”

After talking in groups, everyone gathered together again to discuss the experience. One teen said she liked hearing from other generations: “Parents have the same views as we do. I didn’t expect that.”

The sentiment went both ways.

“They are really not far off from what we are thinking,” Rich Schmidbauer, director of the Wood County Juvenile Detention Center, said of the students. “I would never have guessed that.”

“The kids have a lot of things to say if someone will listen to them,” said Melissa Notestine, prevention specialist for Perrysburg schools. “Respect is a two-way street.”

“I thought it was a really good success,” said Samantha Sieren, a sophomore at Perrysburg High School who facilitated one of the discussion groups. “I think we’ll have a bigger turn-out the next time around.”

Sieren and another sophomore facilitator, Jessie Mackiewicz, are members of Teen Institute, a youth leadership program designed to educate youth about how to prevent the harmful use of alcohol, tobacco, other drugs.

Teen Institute members, under the direction of Notestine, helped plan and organize the event, which drew 70 teens and adults.

“I’m surprised so many adults showed up,” said Mackiewicz. “I think it’s harder to get parents here. We were able to get kids extra credit. Parents don’t understand why it’s important to come.”
“I thought it was going to be more serious,” Sieren said of the experience.

“I thought it was going to be more formal and stick to the topics,” said Mackiewicz. “Once we got into it, it was more relaxed and fun.”

“There are no winners or losers,” Marinik said of Dialogue Night. “It’s not about one person’s opinion being better than another persons’. It’s about being heard and leaving Dialogue Night feeling that their opinions have been valued.”

Another Dialogue Night is planned for Dec. 8 in Rossford. Marinik said she also hopes to hold another event in Perrysburg.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Story of Task Force on radio and online

An audio segment about the Wood County Educational Service Center's Committees Mobilizing for Change in Alcohol (CMCA) Task Force has been posted online on the BG Gizmo Web site.

The segment, which aired on the Morning Show with Dave Horger, on WBGU, 88.1 FM on Nov. 13, features an interview with Debbie Marinik, the community organizer for the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant through the Wood County Educational Service Center.

Find the news segment here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Prevention program on registry of effective practices

The Wood County Educational Service Center's Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs program has been listed on the Ohio Registry of Effective Practices.

Learn more at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Talk is not just a four-letter word

So often, parents and teens don’t know how to talk to each other. Simple discussions quickly turn into arguments and confrontations.

Dialogue Night has been scheduled at Eastwood High School Thursday night in an attempt to change that.

Dialogue Night is an activity funded by the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant from the Wood County Educational Service Center. It will be offered at schools throughout the county to teach parents and teens how to talk and listen to each other about a variety of subjects in a calm, respectful manner.

During Dialogue Nights, parents and their children are separated into different groups so they each have the opportunity to speak freely about the subjects. Each group has both a youth and adult facilitator to ensure all parties feel listened to and their opinions are valued, not challenged.

Topics are chosen by teens from the high school, as well as by adults from the community, and cover a wide range of current subjects. It is the goal of Dialogue Night that a conversational comfort level will be reached and parents and teens will consequently be more inclined to talk together in the future.

“There are no winners or losers,” said Debbie Marinik, the community organizer for the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant through the Wood County Educational Service Center. It’s not about one person’s opinion being better than another persons’. It’s about being heard and leaving Dialogue Night feeling that their opinions have been valued.”

“One of the things we know is that parent opinion is very important to teens when they are making decisions that can effect their whole lives,” she continued. “Yet so frequently, teens and their parents have a very difficult time trying to broach important topics without pushing each others buttons and starting a major disagreement.

Dialogue Night will be held in the Eastwood High School library from 7 to 9 p.m.

Additional dialogue nights have been scheduled for:
• Dec. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Perrysburg High School, in the commons area
• Dec. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Rossford Recreation Center, 400 Dixie Hwy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Joel Penton teams with parents to tackle issues

JERRY CITY -- Former Ohio State University defensive tackle Joel Penton will share his positive message of commitment and standing your ground with students in Wood County tonight at the Elmwood Community Center.

In October, he brought this same message to students, parents and community and school leaders, at a forum and presentations throughout Wood County. He is returning this week to share his message with even more people.

He tells the story about how he made his commitment to football in seventh grade and surrounded himself with friends who had similar commitments. Those friends promised each other to not get involved in “the wrong things,” and they remained successful until one of them went out with another group of friends and got drunk.

One by one, Penton’s friends continued to choose activities that interfered with their commitment to football until only Penton was left. Despite being treated poorly by his friends and other students in his school, he kept to his commitment to football and found new friends.

“It’s real and it’s pervasive,” Penton said in October of alcohol abuse in schools. “These kids that come up and talk to me and pour their hearts out to me are the kids who are going through the same thing I went through. In my school it was alcohol. In other places, you can fill in the blank.”

He told the story of a girl at a school “about an hour from here” who was in the same situation, except instead of alcohol, the drug of choice was cocaine.

Penton, age 26, also offered advice to parents.

“It is possible for students to make responsible decisions, so do not lose hope,” he told them. “The influence of friends is real. Pay attention to who your child’s friends are.”

“My parents played the biggest role in my ability to make the right choices,” he continued. Their obvious love for me wasn’t conditional.”

“As much as friends can be a negative influence, they can be a positive influence, Penton told the students who attended the discussion. “One of my biggest regrets from when I was in high school is that I was so focused on keeping myself out of alcohol that I didn’t help my friends get out of it. You guys have a lot of power.”

Tonight’s community forum will be held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Elmwood Community Center, located at 7650 Jerry City Road. The public is invited to attend.

A pizza supper will be provided following the community forum.

The second half of the evening, a concert by Ryan Holliday, will be sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He will perform from 7 to 8 p.m.

He also will give presentations to students throughout the week, including visits to:
• Northwood High School Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 10:15 a.m.
• Northwood Middle School Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m.
• Bowling Green High School Thursday, Nov. 19 at 8:30 a.m.
• All Saints Middle School Thursday, Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wood County alcohol prevention task force formed

It just takes someone to start.

That was the message and the driving force behind the first meeting of the Committees Mobilizing for Change in Alcohol Task Force Wednesday night.

The meeting was held at the Wood County Educational Service Center in Bowling Green, and brought together residents and officials from many different communities throughout the county to discuss ways to decrease teen use of alcohol.

Statistics presented by Dr. Bill Ivoska, vice president of student services at Owens Community College show that peer disapproval decreases as teens get older and use increases. The statistics also show that tobacco and alcohol use among youth has steadily declined since 2004.

Dr. Ivoska said there are three variables that contribute to student use of alcohol:
1. Peer disapproval: the greater the perception a student has that his or her friends disapprove of their use, the less likely and less often that student actually will use.
2. Fear of harm: Anti-smoking campaigns have been effective in showing the harmful effects of tobacco use. However, alcohol is so commonplace and accepted by society that it is difficult to convince teens that there are harmful effects. Showing the potential outcome of alcohol use may help decrease its use.
3. Accessibility: From businesses that furnish alcohol to underage youth to unlocked liquor cabinets and stocked refrigerators at home, the easier alcohol is to obtain, the increase the risk of use and frequency of use.

Larry Mershman the executive director of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board in Wood County, said that work in school started 25 years ago with one on-site trying to reach 18,000 students in Wood County.

It has since grown in funding and in size, with 11 on-sites working in most school districts in Wood County.

“It’s not an answer to all of the problems in all of the schools. It’s an opportunity … we have to make a difference,” said Mershman. “It’s an opportunity to the districts to make a change.”

He added that for every $1 spent on prevention saves $25 in treatment.

“If you really want to work on prevention, it really takes everyone in the community,” said Debbie Marinik the community organizer for the Reducing Alcohol Abuse in Secondary Schools (RAASS) grant through the Wood County Educational Service Center.

Parents, students and community leaders then broke into groups to discuss ways in which to change community perception of alcohol use in a way that would decrease underage use.

After the small group brainstorming and discussion, the groups shared their ideas, which included:
• Ways to increase parental involvement
• Launching a media campaign
• Changing public policy
• Getting teachers and students more involved in prevention and intervention
• Creating more alternative activities for youth
• Create a “new cool” for teens that involves a socially-accepted non-alcoholic stand.

The discussions have only just begun. The community is invited to the next task force meeting, which will be held Jan. 26, from 7 to 8 p.m. During that meeting, task force members will decide what projects to tackle first, and how to go about accomplishing those tasks.

“This is a community issue,” said Marinik. “Everyone in Wood County is invited to attend these meetings. We need input from everyone.”