August 12 is International Youth Day


The United Nations declared August 12 International Youth Day in 1999, providing an opportunity to celebrate young people around the world. The focus of this year’s International Youth Day is to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. You can read more about the agenda here: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld

The United Nations has also developed a toolkit with activity ideas to celebrate International Youth Day: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unyin/documents/Toolkit-IYD-2016.pdf

One activity listed in the toolkit is “Advocate.” While the toolkit stresses advocating for celebrating International Youth Day and encouraging youth to make sustainable consumption choices given this year’s focus, an important advocacy activity in the United States is for the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Every country except the United States has ratified the treaty.

Ratification of the treaty has resulted in greater restrictions on employing children, greater focus on child heath, and a decrease in legal corporal punishment against children. It is past time for the United States to pass this treaty and solidify its commitment to children at home and abroad.

Avoiding Sparks: On the Road to Independence

By: April Carthorn, RHYTTAC General Specialist, National Safe Place Network

Homelessness is not a choice. Too often a young person’s decision to leave home is the healthiest (and only) option available to them. Some have no choice as they are forced from their homes at the hands of their guardians. Many flee because of issues such as family conflict, sexual orientation, poverty, abuse and neglect, while others may become entangled in substance abuse, gangs, and addiction problems.

Once a young person is homeless, it is very difficult to transition out. Age restrictions prevent many youth from accessing housing / shelters thus making it hard for them to connect with services to help end their homelessness. Transitioning youth also face barriers when trying to get their own housing. Paying rent and bills is virtually impossible with a part-time minimum wage job and many landlords will not rent to youth. Therefore, many youth are forced to remain hidden or move to the streets.

Without proper housing, food, and support systems, the health of a youth experiencing homelessness is at risk. Homeless youth have higher rates of HIV and other STIs and face a greater risk for developing anxiety and depression as compared to housed youth. It is difficult to grow into a healthy adult when you’re unhealthy, poorly nourished, and stressed.

While this paints a bleak picture, we can prevent youth homelessness by making sure young people know where to turn when their home is not safe. Most youth at risk of being homeless leave difficult home situations or age out of foster care to find themselves without a safe sanctuary, something we all need and appreciate. Everyone likes to come home and close the door behind them and feel safe. Many at-risk youth and young adults do not have this opportunity.

While most youth are resilient and want to move forward, there are a number of barriers for someone who is unprepared to be independent. Most youth who have aged out of care or have had to leave home lack experience in independence and therefore need a helping hand up. Searching for safe accommodations can be complicated, stressful, and hopeless if the youth / young adult is suffering from mental health concerns such as depression, stress disorders, substance abuse, and a history of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.

What You Can Do To Help Avoid the Sparks:

Many youth / young adults ages 18-24 tend to take increased risk to figure out which career, educational, and financial path they want to pursue. Being a supportive ally can help foster a positive transition into adulthood and provide young people a chance to explore opportunities, develop financial independence, and create healthy, lifelong relationships.

  • Empower youth to make decisions. Youth / young adults have often been left out of critical decisions made about their lives. It is important to allow the young person take charge of his or her own future while you listen, help guide, and support. During daily interactions, provide youth with frequent opportunities to make decisions and to learn from consequences, both positive and negative.
  • Communicate high expectations. Far too often, youth / young adults have heard more about their limitations than about what they can achieve. Send positive messages about future possibilities. Offer forward-looking comments into everyday conversation. For example, use phrases such as “when you go on to college…” or “when you start your own business…” as opposed to phrases like “if you go to college.”
  • Start early. Find ways to introduce important concepts to younger youth. For example, talk with a pre-teens about the value of education and saving for long-term goals.
  • Decrease control and increase youth responsibilities gradually. While allowing youth to make choices, be clear about boundaries. Involve youth in setting rules and establishing appropriate consequences related to their behavior. Allow young people to learn and practice adult life skills with your support.
  • Help to identify at least one reliable, caring adult in a young person’s life who can serve as a stable, ongoing connection and can provide support pre-and-post-transition into adulthood.
  • Encourage the development of positive peer support networks through participation in constructive group activities with others who share similar likes and experiences.
  • Be an effective coach who listens, advises, and provides youth / young adults with opportunities to learn and practice new skills.  Do not shoot down their ideas.
  • Advocate for youth rights as they relate to employment, housing, education, medical and mental health care, court proceedings, and social needs.
  • Remind young people of their responsibilities related to self commitment, citizenship, character, and fairness and generosity toward others.
  • Recognize successes and celebrate ALL achievements and milestones on the path to adulthood.

Your Needs. Your Network. Together We Can.

NSPN Membership & Safe Place License Renewal Drive Kicks Off April 1, 2015

It’s that time of year again – time to renew or begin your membership and Safe Place license with National Safe Place Network (NSPN). We’ve enjoyed offering benefits and services to our members and licensed agencies this past year and we hope you will join us for an exciting, eventful 2015-2016.

For more than three decades, NSPN has provided services and support to agencies like yours, serving youth and families. Hundreds of thousands of youth have benefited from your work and involvement as a youth service provider. You are the Network’s most important asset – without youth and other agencies who believe in participating in and learning from an experienced community, there is no Network.

Starting on April 1, you will have the opportunity to sign up for or renew your membership with NSPN. As a Safe Place agency, you will have the opportunity to renew your license. Be on the lookout for forms coming in the mail, and be sure to check out our updated webpage beginning April 1.

Membership-Campaign-Ad Safe-Place-Campaign-Ad---2015

Women’s History Month Recognition: Celebrating Strength, Courage and Positive Self-Esteem

On Thursday, March 12, 2015, the NSPN Communications Team (Elizabeth Smith Miller and Hillary Ladig) hosted RHYTTAC’s weekly-scheduled Talk it Out Thursday call. This week’s topic was, “Women’s History Month Recognition: Celebrating Strength, Courage and Positive Self-Esteem.” Many girls (and boys, for that matter) will enter your program having survived events that can tear anyone’s esteem down. It’s important to recognize low self-esteem and identify what factors that may be causing it. There are many types of issues and many reasons that cause them. There are also many ways to help boost esteem, build courage, and encourage strength.

We have compiled a list of resources related to this topic that we hope you find to be helpful.

Learning About and Teaching Women’s History

TeachingHistory.org’s Women’s History Resources: This is a one-stop shop for diving deep into Women’s History Month. Here, educators will find learning resources, lesson plans, and a long list of quizzes and printables for the classroom. http://teachinghistory.org/spotlight/womens-history

EDSITEment Women’s History Resources: Produced by the National Endowment for the Humanities, these resources include featured lesson plans and teaching resources that cover women in politics, the arts, and military and civilian service. The comprehensive plans highlight time required and subjects covered, and they include worksheets and links to required reading and resources. http://edsitement.neh.gov/feature/womens-history-month

Women’s History Resources for Teachers: These resources from the Library of Congress encourage teachers and students “to put primary resources to work in the classroom.” Featuring packaged lesson plans, this is a great resource. There are also wonderful audio and video resources, thorough primary source collections, and a number of timeless photo projects.http://womenshistorymonth.gov/teachers.html

Women’s History Month: You may also want to check out the Library’s official Women’s History Month page at: http://womenshistorymonth.gov/.

Science NetLinks Women’s History Collection: This Science NetLinks collection complements this year’s WHM theme well, which looks at women in STEM fields. This page features science lesson plans and teaching resources for all students of all ages. Teachers can filter results by grade level, and there is also a great list of science-specific outside links to lesson plans. http://sciencenetlinks.com/collections/womens-history-month/

ReadWriteThink’s Women’s History: Here, educators will find thoughtful lesson plans, a list of links to online women’s history resources, as well as after-school ideas for teaching women’s history for parents. There are teacher-written lesson plans available for grades 3-12. http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/calendar-activities/march-national-women-history-20452.html

Zinn Education Project’s Women’s History Resources: These lesson plans incorporate Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States,” and they encourage classrooms to delve into American history by looking at our collective past through the eyes of everyday people. Instead of just highlighting iconic historical figures, these lessons look at history through the eyes of common women. (Note: access requires free registration.) http://zinnedproject.org/teaching-materials/%20-%20themes-womens-history

Reading Lists and Additional Collections for Students about Women’s History

There are so many great women’s history reads and resources online, and it’s hard to select just a few for youth. But, hopefully, these reading lists and additional resource collections will help spark curiosity in your programs.

A Collection of Teaching Resources for WHM, Scholastic Teachers: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/collection/womens-history-month-collection-teaching-resources

The Origins of Women’s History Month, HISTORY: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/womens-history-month

The Best History Websites for WHM, EdTechTeacher: http://www.besthistorysites.net/index.php/american-history/women

WHM Videos, Articles, and Multimedia, Biography.com: http://www.biography.com/search/Women’s%20History

Women’s History Month Reading Resources, TIME for Kids: http://www.timeforkids.com/minisite/womens-history-month

Women’s History Month Reading List, Reading Rockets: http://www.timeforkids.com/minisite/womens-history-month

Celebrate Women’s History, The New York Times’ The Learning Network: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/teaching-topics/celebrate-womens-history-month/?_r=0

Women’s History and Children’s Books, Carol Hurst’s Children’s Literature Site: http://www.carolhurst.com/subjects/history/women.html



Want to Learn More About Self-Esteem?

What is Self-Esteem? http://psychology.about.com/od/sindex/f/what-is-self-esteem.htm

Low Self-Esteem: This article shares information on the curvilinear model of self-esteem, empirical research, and low self-esteem in children and teens. http://www.simplypsychology.org/self-esteem.html

Low Self-esteem Signs and Symptoms: http://www.self-help-and-self-development.com/low-self-esteem-signs.html

5 Possible Causes of Low Self-esteem: http://www.self-help-and-self-development.com/causes-of-low-self-esteem.html

10 Sources of Low Self-esteem: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/me-we/201312/10-sources-low-self-esteem

The Story of Self Esteem: This article provides helpful ways to explain what self-esteem is to younger children. http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/emotion/self_esteem.html

Teenage Girls’ Self Esteem – Your Inner Sparkle: BeingGirl.com is a helpful site dedicated to teenage girls.  Girls can visit this site to obtain information on confidence, Self esteem, Sex & Intimacy, Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders, Cyber Safety, and social life/work/school. http://www.beinggirl.com/article/teenage-girls-self-esteem/

TeenBreaks.com is a neat site that offers information to teens about self-esteem and other topics. http://www.teenbreaks.com/confidence/selfesteem.cfm

Want to Learn More About How to Boost Self-Esteem?

Girls with Low Self-esteem: How to Raise Girls with Healthy Self-Esteem: This article shares information such as “when and why” self-esteem drops, the sexualization of girls and mental health problems, and more. http://www.education.com/reference/article/Ref_Mirror_Mirror_Wall/

Help Children Develop a Positive Self-esteem: http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-psychology/self-esteem/

Helping Teens Develop a Healthy Body Image: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/raising-fit-kids/mood/healthy-body-image

Livestrong.com offers a site with self-esteem resources including “activities to promote self-esteem in girls”. http://www.livestrong.com/article/131858-activities-promote-self-esteem-girls/

Youth Communication Program (click “For Agencies” & “For Teens” tabs): http://youthcomm.org/who_we_are/publish.html

Self-Esteem Boosting Worksheets

Therapistaid.com offers many great tools for boosting self-esteem. http://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheets/selfesteem/adolescents


View-Worthy Videos

Always #LikeAGirl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs

A Dove Film: A girl’s self esteem: https://youtu.be/4ytjTNX9cg0

We invite you to join us every Thursday at 1pm ET. No need to sign up!  Just call us at 1-605-475-5950 and enter passcode 4560151# when prompted. Be sure to check your weekly TIOT email for the topic. Check out rhyttac.net to learn more about Talk It Out Thursday. Feel free to connect with us at info@rhyttac.net to share your ideas or learn more about NSPN, Safe Place, RHYTTAC, and HTR3!

March is Women’s History Month

Last year, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation sayingduring Women’s History Month, we recognize the victories, struggles, and stories of the women who have made our country what it is today.'”  Earlier this week, the NSPN team took a moment to reflect on some historical or encouraging women who have made a difference.  Here’s a few of the inspirational quotes shared by the team:

Hillary Ladig shared a Maya Angelou quote:  “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Tella Jones also shared a Maya Angelou quote:  “If you get, give.  If you learn, teach.”

Elizabeth Smith Miller shared a quote from her mother, Jacqueline Limage:  “Make sure to wash your hands… and wear a face mask… if you’re around someone breathing.”  (And she listens!)

Susan Harmon shared a quote from none other than the royal southern belle herself – Scarlett O’Hara: “Tomorrow I’ll think of some way… after all, tomorrow is another day.”

TC Cassidy shared a quote by Arundhati Roy. This quote speaks to most, if not all activists, including youth care and human trafficking awareness and prevention workers: “There’s no such thing as the voiceless; there is only the deliberately silenced and preferably unheard.”

To read more quotes by influential women visit: http://m.ibtimes.com/womens-history-month-2015-quotes-21-inspirational-sayings-influential-women-1831522 or check out the following links to learn more about “Women who have changed the world!”