“Talk & Text Family Night” a Gr8 Success

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9 February 2012

PELHAM, NY — January 31, 2012:  Almost 100 Pelham teens, their parents and friends came out in support of the “Talk and Text Family Night,” hosted by The Pelham Guidance Council (PGC) and the Junior League of Pelham (JLP).  The interactive movie night for teens and their families was designed to build awareness of the growing number of issues that teens face today, including alcohol and drug abuse, bullying and sexting.

“We would like to believe that the young people and families that attended not only enjoyed the event, but saw depicted on the screen some of the very issues that they face as teens,” said Cheryl Bobe, the Director of the PGC, which provides youth counseling and prevention programs for drug and alcohol abuse as well as other youth issues.  “I hope they learned a bit more about the Pelham Guidance Council and the programs and services we provide, and that we are here for them, not only when counseling is needed, but that we also provide a host of fun programs for teens,” she added.

The program, held last Tuesday at the Pelham Picture House, included a reality-style documentary, “American Teen”, which examines high school students’ lives and the issues they face. The purpose of the event was to engage Pelham teens in a discussion about today’s most pressing issues. Viewers were able to text comments during the film in response to questions about the film like, “Does the movie bear resemblances to your high school experience in Pelham?” and, “If you had a problem, who would you go to first?”   After the movie an interactive discussion with Cheryl Bobe, the Director of the PGC, addressed the comments.

Some of the comments from teen participants include:

“I enjoyed the film. The message in the film helped us understand that all kids our age go through similar experiences and social pressures.  Knowing what to expect helps you make better decisions,” said Juliana Mora, 9th Grade, Pelham Memorial High School.

“The Pelham Guidance Council is a place to go to, to feel secure and if you have teen issues and feel lost you have somewhere to turn to,” Daniela Mora 8th Grade-Middle School

The event was held at a time when teens are struggling with a growing number of issues.  In fact, alcohol abuse and binge drinking among Pelham teens surpasses the national average, according to a recent Prevention Needs Assessment survey.  And, just this week, a freshman at The Ursuline Academy in New Rochelle took her own life after being cyber-bullied.  Bullying is becoming more common with online social networks.

After the discussion, the popular high school theater group, Kids Helping Kids, performed an excerpt from their newest anti-bullying play.  The group performs for elementary schools and then provides in-class discussions about the issues.

The PGC is thrilled with the turnout for the event.   Ms. Bobe said, “Based on the positive response, we would love to be able to offer similar programs in the future.  The funding and personal support offered by the Junior League of Pelham certainly helped make this event a reality, so we would need to find similar support and hope that the Picture House may view this as a community service worth helping to sponsor in some way.”

Co-Chairs Nancy Hawkins and Mary Hefner are also happy with the results.

“We were so happy to see the community’s positive response and support to an interactive teen-focused event in Pelham,” said Mary Hefner  “It was pleasure working with The Pelham Guidance Council and bringing the community’s attention to the vast and helpful services they provide to our community.  We were so happy with the attendance and participation during the interactive part of the evening.  We hope to see similar teen-focused events in the future.”

Nancy Hawkins added, “We were thrilled with the turn out, especially the active participation of the Pelham teens. They seemed to get a lot out of the movie and Ms. Bobe’s commentary.”

“It was truly an amazing event, the league was eager to partner with The Pelham Guidance Council for this year’s Provisional Project, and I stand with a sense of pride in having watched what they accomplished tonight. We strive to empower new members, step out with confidence, and make a difference in the lives around us. They achieved this in one night!” said Daragh Murphy, Junior League of Pelham President.

Background

The PGC, a local Pelham organization since 1970, advocates for students as they navigate school life with a goal to educate and prevent social or substance abuse issues. Their services include: education and prevention services for youth and their families, including professional counseling, youth groups, and parent and community education.  Some of their current programs include:

• Kids Helping Kids: A theater program where high school students create and perform educational plays about social issues for elementary school students. The PGC then offers post production in-classroom help processing of the concepts.
• Peer Leadership: A program connecting middle school students with high school student mentors.
• Youth to Youth:  An organization where teens create and attend alcohol and drug free social events.
• Social Development Groups:  Groups established to teach elementary school students about social and emotional aspects of life. Students learn valuable concepts about peer relations and life issues.
• “Staying Connected with Your Teen” parent educational workshops
• Training which certifies businesses as skilled in not providing alcohol to young people
• Prevention expertise of Pelham’s PACT prevention coalition

The Junior League of Pelham, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

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For more information about this event, contact:

Sharon Gaffney
914-740-3715
communications@jlpelham.org

For more information about the Junior League of Pelham:
http://www.jlpelham.org