Saturday, October 31, 2015

By  October 28, 20150 CommentsRead More →

Study shows how “self-distancing” can help teens deal with negative emotions

Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 9.59.14 PM

Teens who can mentally take a step back from their own point of view when thinking about something troubling can deal with negative emotions more effectively and become less upset by them, a new study shows.
Researchers looked at 226 African American 11- to 20-year-olds from a public school in Washington, DC, asking them about a recent event that made them extremely angry, such as a fight.
The teens then reflected on their experiences and why they felt angry, and told researchers how they felt and thought about the experiences.
The researchers assessed self-distancing by, for example, asking the youth, “When you saw the fight again in your imagination a few minutes ago, how much did you feel like you were seeing it through your own eyes versus watching the fight happen from a distance (like watching yourself in a movie)?” and, “When you saw the fight again in your imagination a few moments ago, how far away from the fight did you feel?”
Other experiments, performed primarily with adults, show that self-distancing helps adaptive self-reflection; however, no previous research has investigated whether adolescents spontaneously engage in this process or whether doing so is linked to adaptive outcomes.


Young people who reflected on their experiences from a self-distanced perspective became less upset than those who reflected from a self-immersed perspective, according to the study in Child Development.
In part, this was because adolescents who saw their experience from a distance thought about it differently. These teens were more likely to reconsider the events in meaningful and insightful ways and less likely to simply replay the upsetting events in their minds. They were also less likely to continue to blame the other person involved in the event, though not less likely to forgive him or her. In turn, these new insights were associated with less emotional distress.
“Mentally stepping back from the event didn’t mean the youth were avoiding their problems,” says Rachel E. White, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. “In fact, they were dealing with them in a more adaptive way.”
The study also finds that self-distancing strategies seemed to grow more powerful with age. Older young people who self-distanced became even less upset than younger adolescents who did so.
“These results show that teens can use self-distancing strategies in much the same way as adults,” White says. “They also suggest that the teen years could be critical in developing this way to regulate emotions.”
Research suggests that adults could help youth learn and implement these strategies. Previous experiments have shown that even fifth graders can use self-distancing techniques when instructed to do so, and they handle their emotions better as a result.
White led the study with Associate Professor Angela Duckworth of Penn’s psychology department and Positive Psychology Center. They collaborated with Ethan Kross, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan.
The John F. Templeton Foundation and National Institute on Aging supported the work.
Ret. 10-30-15

Friday, October 30, 2015

Career Mentoring Need

By  October 22, 2015Read More →

Foster care youth speak: We need career mentoring!

youth-teen-career-mentorHudson, A. (2013). Career mentoring needs of youths in foster care: Voices for change. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 26, 131-137.
Once young adults age out of the foster care system they are more likely than their non-fostered peers to experience homelessness, poverty, incarceration, and a variety of mental health issues. According to previous research, youths in foster care “want and need mentoring.” The purpose of this study was to engage youth in foster care in focus group conversations about what characteristics they prefer to see in a mentoring program. 27 youth participated in four different focus group sessions.
A major theme emerged from the focus group sessions: participants reported pressing need for career mentoring. They stated a desire for an authority figure who acts as a role model (eg. models positive attributes that lead to college and career success: social skills, work ethic). According to Hudson, “career mentoring might support foster youths’ goals for college attainment, reward achievement, and enhance their overall health-related quality of life.”
Incorporating career mentoring into existing programs for youth transitioning out of foster care is essential. These young adults strive for higher education and “the good life,” knowing all too well the difficulties that former foster care youth face. Adults in mentoring roles should continuously engage these young adults in conversations about their educational and career aspirations, in addition to modeling attributes of career success. 
Ret. 10-30-15

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

6 Trends Impacting Youth

6 Trends Impacting Youth Across the Country - How Does Your Community Compare

I often say that providers are experiencing and responding to changes in our environment before funders, legislators, or researchers are even able to put a label on it.  Providers typically spend less time labeling these trends impacting youth and more time digging into understanding them and trolling through their resources to figure out how to strengthen outcomes for youth while facing these new realities.  In fact, by the time labels come around providers are often in the process of refining their responses vs. developing them.
At MANY, we seek to build the resiliency of providers and thus their ability to strengthen outcomes for youth in real-time. We do this by engaging  the field to identify, innovate, evaluate, and educate.
Earlier this month, 71 organizations from 32 states took the time to collaboratively identify current environmental trends, their implications for youth and providers, and practical actions we can take in response to – or better yet in anticipation of – these trends.

MANY distilled these conversations down to six overarching trends impacting youth that transcended individual programs, geographic locations, or sectors in the youth service field.

1. Trauma/Mental Health/Neglect – Youth are Falling Through the Cracks

Drugs, particularly those with stronger side effects (i.e. Heroine, Meth, Spice, K2 ) are becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with and respond to.  Providers are seeing an increase in trauma experiences and fewer resources to draw on from Mental Health and/or Child Welfare systems.  We heard multiple reports of young adults with emerging psychosis unable to qualify for adult Mental Health intervention and youth, as young as the age of 12 in some states being denied the protection they need from neglect due to state budget cuts.  This is coupled with youth who have greater needs being required to jump through more and more hoops to access services and often falling through the cracks until another crisis occurs.

2. Affordable Housing

Low vacancy for affordable housing continues to be a struggle.  Low wages combined with low inventory of affordable housing continues to be a struggle in most communities.  The experiences of young adults are further exacerbated by a lack of credit history and/or access to qualified co-signors.  There seems to be a growing interest (amongst the provider community) in identifying innovative alternatives such as host homes, alternative living arrangements, tiny homes, etc.

3. Cultural Diversity

For many providers, cultural awareness is becoming increasingly important and difficult to keep up with.  This includes understanding how culture can conflict with youth accessing services and also approaches to services provisions.  Access to language services is also a new challenge, particularly in communities where ethnic diversity has historically been low.

4. Widening Opportunity Gap

Youth and young adult unemployment is more than double the national rate. There is a clear need to rethink how to connect these millennials to the economy. This continues to be one of the top challenges that providers are attempting to address in local communities.  Transportation, child care, housing, and navigation support are all barriers that have been, and continue to be, a major challenge.  Emerging on this list of challenges is how youth/young adult employment is impacted by their family.  A young person’s decision around education and/or employment is often closely tied to their family’s stability,  putting them in a position to decide between school, work, or sibling care.  Furthermore, youth employment can  negatively impact the benefits a family receives.

5. A Workforce at its Breaking Point

Wage demands are increasing at the same time funding sources remain level or have been reduced; Recruiting/hiring staff, especially diverse staff, remains a challenge; Expectations of front line staff are growing; Amount of basic training needed/expected for direct care staff is growing; The amount of trauma staff are exposed to is increasing; and Staff turnover is complicated by a growing workforce with shorter longevity at any given employer. In a time where recruitment is difficult, turnover is high, training demands continue to grow and wage demands are increasing at an exponentially faster clip than funding sources, it is clear that a breaking point is near.  Yet, providers’ ability to develop and retain talent has a high impact on their ability to meet the needs of those they serve and address pressing community issues.

6. Public Perception

The public’s awareness of youth who are at highest risk for victimization and/or delinquency is limited.  Compound this with the increased trend of “otherizing” these youth and the burden to solve pressing community issues is suddenly disproportionately placed on the shoulders of local social service providers.  In his blog, I’m a duck, you’re a duck, we are all ducks, Vu Le sums this up well, “Considering the challenges we are facing as a community, it is more critical than ever that we get people to understand how the well-being of people who look completely different, or who are geographically far away, or who speak other languages, affect their own well- being.”

Which of these 6 trends impacting youth resonate with your experiences locally or regionally?  Which are most critical to address first or could have the most catalytic effect?  Are there other trends that made your Top 6 list that we didn’t hit?

Stay tuned for the full report where we talk about the implication of these trends for providers. utm_source=mailoutinteractive&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MANY%20eMessages%20Vol.%2011%20Number%2010

Ret. 10-28-15

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Glenpool Mentor Match Story

Liz White, founder and
executive director of the
Glenpool Mentor Match

There have been two big inspirations for Glenpool Mentor Match.  The first source of inspiration for this program comes from a mentoring relationship that started many years ago.   When my husband was in elementary school, he had a big brother through the program big brothers/big sisters.  He was matched with a young college student by the name of Dow Hughes.  They met routinely over the course of a year, but the relationship did not stop there.  Dow stayed in touch.  Through the years, the two have done business together.  Our families have watched University of Oklahoma football together. The Hughes were the first to introduce my son to the Boy Scout Motto.  Dow is the reason I became a trustee for the foundation.  But more importantly, Dow has been available to offer advice in challenging times.   Scott and Dow are a great example of how powerful mentoring can be.  And this connection was the first spark of inspiration for our mentoring program.

The second source of inspiration for Glenpool Mentor Match came from my experience attending the Fall Forum on Mentoring.  After listening to educators speak about their school based mentoring programs, I left completely inspired to start a mentoring program in our local school district.  I also left with the information I needed to get it started from scratch.  With Beverly Woodrome’s help from the Boren Mentoring Initiative, we were able to launch a program under the umbrella of our local school foundation.

Part of her presentation focusing upon Oklahoma Mentor Day at the State Capitol, 2015.
Jerry Olansen was honored as Glenpool Mentor Match's Mentor of the Year.

Today we are now starting our third year in the program. The Glenpool Schools superintendent, Jerry Olansen, (in the picture here) is so committed to the success of the program that he encouraged nine other male administrators in the district to be mentors as well.  Over the past two years, we’ve seen one gifted young lady spend less time in school suspension and more time in her new found creative outlet, writing. In fact, last spring she won first place in a national writing contest and a trip to Washington, DC. Another young student unfortunately lost his mother to cancer.  He was matched with a male administrator who lost his son to brain cancer.  A relative of the mentor recently told me that the program has provided a unique sense of emotional support for both.

These positive stories and many more, can be linked back to the work of The Boren Mentoring Initiative and the decision for a young college student to become a mentor.  For that, I would like to thank you Dow for your gifts of time to our family and Beverly Woodrome and the Boren Mentoring Initiative for the wealth of resources they provide for mentoring programs.

Elizabeth "Liz" Frazier White 
Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Trustee Meeting
Oklahoma History Center

We asked Liz White, the founder and executive director of Glenpool Mentor Match, an elementary mentoring program, to speak only five minutes to our Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence trustees at the Annual Meeting. Each of our foundation's five statewide programs had only one representative to convey the impact of program. Liz spoke on behalf of mentoring.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Social Media Lessons from Rugby...

6 Social Media Marketing Lessons from the Rugby World Cup 2015

12 OCTOBER 2015
Is there any sport more social than Rugby? It is widely regarded as one of the toughest games on the planet and its high-speed, hard-hitting nature earned it the moniker of “a hooligan’s sport played by gentlemen.” But rugby also offers one of the most fun-loving, welcoming atmospheres on the global sports landscape and social media is playing a growing part in the sport’s success. With the 2015 Rugby World Cup in full swing, we look at some social media campaigns and marketing lessons from #RWC2015, the six-week celebration of all things rugby.
Team All Blacks.png
Image courtesy of The All Blacks

Social is the new (All) Black

@AllBlacks : 515K Twitter followers
Facebook : 3.2 million likes
With the New Zealand All Blacks, people expect the absolute best when it comes to rugby—including on social media. The New Zealand All Blacks are the #1 ranked team in the world and have built a reputation as the most dominant rugby nation in history. They are the gold standard in rugby and their social media performance isn’t far behind.
While not entirely focused on the 2015 Rugby World Cup, the social media elements of the All Blacks ‘We Belong’ campaign are a perfect mix of Kiwi culture and digital design. Their social media strategy is meant to reach broad audiences and they have been successfully increasing their international fan following with the hashtag#TeamAllBlacks.
The ‘We Belong’ campaign uses culturally inclusive messaging and multiple social media touch points to draw people together around sport and cultural diversity, traits so characteristic of the tiny nation. In order to ‘belong’ to #TeamAllBlacks, users are simply asked to sign on using one of four simple methods. The All Blacks cut through the process as quickly as Julian Savea cuts through most backlines. In return for signing up, users are given exclusive offers, prizes and behind the scenes information on the All Blacks throughout the Rugby World Cup.
The New Zealand All Blacks brand transcends the bounds of the nation and its population. There are almost as many people interested in what the All Blacks are up to on Facebook (3.2 million) as those in the Rugby World Cup Facebook page (3.6 million). The All Blacks are as big a brand as the World Rugby itself and a social media darling during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Social Media Marketing Lessons from the All Blacks

1.     Draw on your brand’s values or cultural past to inject meaning and a personality into your campaign. This will help you reach a larger audience.
2.     Create contests with giveaways tailored to appeal to your audience.

On social media ‘Every Voice Counts’ for Team England, even in defeat

@EnglandRugby : 508K Twitter followers
Facebook : 1.5 million likes
Every voice counts.png
Image courtesy of England Rugby
Image Source
Led by team captain Chris Robshaw, the Red and Whites from England went into the Rugby World Cup ranked third in the world but were soundly thrashed on home soil by both Wales and Australia in the tournament round robin. Though they lost on the field, when it comes to social media, Team England were absolute pros at engaging with fans. The team used the perfect combination of sentiment and social media strategy to create their winning campaign—‘Every Voice Counts.’ The campaign tied the country’s love of Rugby to their enthusiasm for sing-alongs.
At the center of the team’s World Cup campaign is the classic rugby song ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’ famous for its connection to Team England’s past successes. As part of the campaign, people are encouraged to record their own versions of ‘Swing Low’ and share them with the world via the team’s social media platforms. The multi-channel social media campaign, centred on the hashtag #CarryThemHome, uses video-based, user-generated content to build sentiment and anticipation for the Rugby World Cup.
While the formula for beating the mighty Australians (#StrongerAsOne) might have eluded him on the rugby pitch, social media savvy team England coach Stuart Lancaster understands the importance of social etiquette. In a strong display of social media management in rugby, he handed out a package of social media guidelines to all players before the tournament. The sport has its fair share of scandals so it’ll be interesting to see how well those guidelines do at stemming the off pitch antics of the team, especially after the crushing loss to Team Australia. Regardless of the result on the pitch, England can hold its head up high for its social media strategy at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Social Media Marketing Lessons from Team England

1.     Leverage the power of consumer generated content to make your social media campaign viral.
2.     When multiple team members post using the same social channels, define ground rules of social media usage to protect your brand.

World Rugby builds a powerful ‘Social Hub’

Social Hub Page.png
Image courtesy of The Rugby World Cup
The frequently trending #RWC2015 is the main hashtag being used by World Rugby, organizers of the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Especially interesting is the site’s ‘Social Hub’, which aggregates snippets from across all World Rugby social media platforms. In its first week, the World Cup generated so much buzz that it became one of the most spoken about sports events on the planet. It came close to surpassing the total volume of mentions generated across the whole duration of the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
During the opening match #RWC2015 trended all day, reaching 15 million mentions on Facebook, 300,000 on Instagram and driving 181 million page impressions on the website with content delivered in four languages. The official app, available via the iTunes store, has been downloaded by 1.5 million fans.

Social Media Marketing Lessons from World Rugby

1.     Pick a hashtag that is easy to remember and captures the theme of your campaign
2.     Not all of your content has to be original. Be smart about reusing content
Put these social media marketing lessons to use and create a social media marketing plan for your business.
Ret. 10-26-15

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Why and Research

At the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence's Fall Forum for Local Education Foundations, several presentations focused upon fundraising. 

Dan Billingsley, vice president of external affairs at the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, spoke. 

We asked Jennifer Seal, a friend and Fall Forum attendee, to share with all of us what she learned in that session.  

Dan Billingsley at the Fall Forum 2015

Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence's Fall Forum provided attendees with robust information on fundraising applicable for brand new fundraisers and veterans alike.  

Dan Billingsley of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits opened the conference by challenging the attendees to think about the why of our organization - why are we here?  Why does our organization exist?  He urged the group to find ways to tell of our impact on the education crisis now.  

Mr. Billingsley's next session focused on the major phases of a fundraising cycle and broke down each with tasks to be accomplished for maximum effect. The ohases are identification, research, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. A major lament he mentioned was that we don't do a great job researching potential donors, be they individuals, foundations, or corporations to ensure that our programs align with what the entity prefers to support. With this clear plan, we should all be able to make a difference for our local schools at this critical time.  

Jennifer Seal
Director of Development and Community Relations
ASTEC Charter Schools
Oklahoma City

Jennifer Seal with OFE Trustee Georgeann Roye at the
Fall Forum, University of Oklahoma, October 20, 2015

Friday, October 16, 2015

Supportive Relationships & Staying in School

Source: iStock Photo
Amanda knows a lot about adversity. Her parents were on drugs, and as a result she suffered from trauma and neglect at a young age. She was bullied at school and eventually left.
Life soon became more severe. Amanda (we've changed her name to protect her identity) became a prostitute and needed help from the police to escape an abusive pimp. Eventually she found a local program that made all the difference, connecting her with supportive adults who provided social and educational services. Today, Amanda has attained her high school degree and is on a road to a better future.
We met Amanda and lots of young people like her in our research for Don’t Quit on (link is external)Me: What Young People Who Left School Say About the Power of Relationships(link is external)Amanda was one of the many young people we surveyed who experienced a level of adversity that ignites an almost daily fight-or-flight response.
Center for Promise
Source: Center for Promise
This toxic stress taxes their mental and physical health and soon school becomes irrelevant in their lives. The confluence of homelessness, a catastrophic family health event, physical abuse or neglect leads nearly 500,000 young people to leave school each year without graduating.
Based on this understanding, my colleagues and I at the Center for Promise(link is external) at Boston University set out to learn if and how supportive relationships can help young people stay in or re-engage with school. We surveyed nearly 3,000 young people and had in-depth conversations with 120 more.
Young people told us that relationships buffer adversity and boost their chances of graduating on time — to a point. We found that:
  • Overall support from adults in school reduces the likelihood of young people leaving school by 25 percent. Instrumental support (e.g., shelter, food, clothing, transportation, tutoring) from adults outside of school reduces the likelihood of young people leaving school by 17 percent.
  • For young people experiencing medium levels of risk, high support from both parents and adults outside school makes uninterrupted enrollment 11 percentage points more likely than high support from parents alone. Adding a third source of support — friends — boosts likely continuous enrollment by another 5 percentage points.
  • But, for young people reporting five or more adverse life experiences, social support alone does little to increase on-time graduation. Uninterrupted graduation stays well below 50 percent even with high support from multiple sources.
Center for Promise
Source: Center for Promise
The trauma these young people experience each day inches them closer and closer to an adversity cliff, which many researchers have related to heightened levels of acute and chronic health conditions, drug use, risky sexual behaviors, and leaving school without graduating.
When considering the level of adversity these young people face, the inclination of practitioners and policymakers is to go myopic (No-excuse schools!), go too broad (Eradicate poverty!), or just throw up their hands in defeat (It’s too much!)
I understand. This level of adversity is too much for a parent, teacher, coach or mentor to resolve alone. But that’s no reason for us to quit. The young people facing the most adversity should get the most help. They need intentional, professionalized efforts to resolve trauma, health problems, and social and economic barriers.
Programs such as Communities in Schools(link is external)Turnaround for Children(link is external), and LIFT (link is external)help young people strip away the barriers that derail adolescents. They provide mental health services for trauma, housing vouchers for the homeless, and access to other much needed social services. With barriers resolved, young people have the bandwidth to focus on longer-term goals, including school.
Amanda stepped off the cliff, but there were people — teachers, mentors, friends — who grabbed her in time. With lots of the right kind of help, she survived.
With help, Amanda was able to direct her strengths toward the educational goals that can propel her toward her dreams. If that’s what we want for all young people, we can’t quit on those walking precariously close to the edge. 
Ret. 10-16-15