Teens: make the call to save a life

Written by: Stephanie Freeman

Did you know that more than two dozen Hoosiers under the age of 21 have lost their lives due to alcohol poisoning since 2004, according to the Department of Health. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if bystanders sought medical attention.
Indiana lawmakers have passed a bill written by State Senator Rodric Bray in hopes to save future lives lost to underage drinking. The law provides immunity for some alcohol-related offenses to Hoosiers who request medical assistance for someone in need or receive medical assistance due to request by someone else.
About the Indiana Lifeline Law:
  • The Lifeline Law provides immunity for the crimes of public intoxication, minor possession, minor consumption, and minor transportation alcohol to persons who reveal themselves to law enforcement while seeking medical assistance for a person suffering from an alcohol-related health emergency.
  • In order to receive immunity, the person must demonstrate that they are acting in good faith by completing ALL of the following:
    – Providing their full name any other relevant information requested by law enforcement officers
    – Remaining on the scene until law enforcement and emergency medical assistance arrives
    – Cooperating with authorities on the scene

  • The law will not interfere with law enforcement procedures or limit the ability to prosecute for other criminal offenses such as providing to a minor, operating while intoxicated, or possession of a controlled substance.
What to know:
·         Make the Call – f someone appears to be in need of medical attention, never hesitate to call 911, even if you’re not sure how serious the condition is. One call can make all the difference.
·         Get Help – Don’t go anywhere.Always stay with the person needing help. You may be able to provide valuable information and assist authorities until the situation has been resolved.
·         Save a Life – The Lifeline Law makes it clear to young adults throughout Indiana that our priority is to get professional medical care to those who need it, no matter the circumstances.

iNDYfRINGE is shining light on the issues of teen alcohol abuse with their new play, Alky. The play was written by Jerome McDonought turns the spotlight on alcohol as it affects young adults. The play is presented by the Young Actors Theatre, The Indianapolis Public Library, and The Indiana Coalition to Improve Adolescent Health.  The play can be seen on Tuesday, March 5th at 6 p.m. or Sunday, March 10that 3 p.m. at Clowes Auditorium at Central Library for FREE Learn more at: http://indyfringe.org/juvie-alky-2-teen-issues-one-acts.

Remember to make the call to save a life.

Make a Difference~ Be a Mentor

I grew up in a part of town that would be considered well-off and financially stable.  I was given more opportunities than most kids at my age.  One of the opportunities I was given that I took advantage of was being mentored.  I have had a mentor since I was a freshman in high school and I am now a junior in college.  Recently, I have noticed how much of an impact my mentor has made on my life and how she has helped shape me into the person I am today.  Being mentored is something I took for granted at first, but I have come to appreciate and really value my time with my mentor. 

I have also had the opportunity to be a mentor to many college students, students at an inner-city school, and junior high school girls at my church.  I do not say this to be prideful, but I can see first-hand the impact that can be made as a mentor.  I have been a mentor to first year college students and because of this I have helped students find their niche and find ways to get involved.  I have also tutored and mentored students at an inner-city school.  This experience opened my eyes up to a world that I had never been exposed to before and it was intimidating at first, but I soon realized that I could still help the students and be available for them.  Because of this experience I learned that sometimes kids just need someone to talk to and listen to them, and this is something I have carried with me in all of my mentoring experiences.  I also realized that this trait was something that I valued in my mentor. 

I write this to share my experiences of being a mentor and being mentored, but to also push others to be a mentor as well.  My mentor made a huge impact on my life and helped me when I needed it.  There is joy and satisfaction that comes from being a mentor even though it may not always be easy.  It really is possible to make a difference in someone’s life and if given the opportunity I would encourage anyone to take it.  Being a mentor comes with challenges, but taking the time to establish a relationship with someone that truly needs it is a rewarding experience.  Many children in this city really need extra attention or someone to listen to them, and there are people out there that would make excellent mentors.  I hope that by sharing some of my experiences of mentoring and being mentored someone would be inspired to go out and be a mentor themselves.    

Sneak Peek!

In a little over 10 months, we will all have a very important birthday to celebrate…MCCOY’s!
December 2013 is the 20th Anniversary of the Marion County Commission on Youth Inc! I have been working on a research project to examine some of the early,foundational MCCOY documents, specifically the “Blueprint for Action: Places to Go—A strategic Plan for Developing Free Time Opportunities and Activities for Youth in Marion County.”
In the Blueprint, a working committee defined eight key goals to strengthen the landscape for free time opportunities for youth in Marion County. As a part of my research, I’m interviewing youth development professionals to examine which of those goals and action steps have been achieved—and in which areas we still have work to do. We’re also working with a School of Public and Environmental Affairs Capstone team from IUPUI to help expand our research to youth and parents. Our research will culminate in a Blueprint for Action 2013!
Parsing through the Blueprint for Action document is fascinating for SO many reasons, here are my top three:
  •   I can see which MCCOY initiatives really gained traction and have created a lasting impact on the lives of youth in Marion County.
  • I get to meet some of the most committed, caring individuals around—a cadre of Marion County Youth Development Professionals!
  • I get to ask youth workers about their feedback on the status of these goals.

They have given invaluable insight into the status of youth and families in Marion County. Here’s a sneak peek at one of my favorite quotes:
“I think the need has been identified really well, but the process of making Marion County a youth friendly community has not been matched or supported by the youth of 2013. I think the strategies that are employed are old strategies from 20 years ago. It’s almost like, if you’re starting the sentence with ‘when we were young…’ you’re already on the wrong track!”
You’ll have to read the Blueprint for Action – 2013 when it’s released in December for more quotes, perspectives, priorities, and collective goals for making Marion County a “youth-friendly” community that supports the positive development of every child!

Youth Learning about Black History Month

 By: Ivy McConnell
       Public Relations Intern for MCCOY, Inc.

Every year we as a nation celebrates Black History Month. We see it in the media, work, home and mostly at school. At school, Black History Month is usually filled educational events, films, programs to to enlighten children on their history and where they came from.  A great way to learn about the things our ancestors had to go through. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. 

Recently, a friend of mines that is a 3rd grade teacher told me she was disappointed because she could not celebrate Black History in her class because its excluded the children that are not black. Her supervisor made it a rule for the teachers and cancelled all the programs planned for the month. As a bi-racial teacher she wanted to share the history of what black people contribute to our society and the courage taken to follow their dreams.

 People like Garrett Augustus Morgan created the traffic light and Benjamin Banneker, inventor of the clock; are people we usually don’t read about in the history books or get recognition for things we currently depend on everyday. As a civic society we should embrace all history and educate the youth. Not only teachers and professors but parents should have a part of sharing their history along with their ancestors journey. We all can learn something from Black History Month. Love and embrace your culture. History is history! 

Young People Standing Up, Bravely Speaking Out

I had the privilege this morning to witness a group of courageous young people literally standing up and speaking out for a cause they believe in.  The House Education Committee of the Indiana General Assembly was gathered in a basement hearing room to consider HB 362, a bill calling for our state to do a better job protecting young people from bullying and bullies.  Filling a large number of seats were a group of young people who took part of their day off from school in order to testify in favor of this measure.  Some were members of MCCOY’s Youth Advocacy Council while other were youth who had heard about the bill and wanted to have their say.  And they all had powerful words to share.

They related stories of how they had been bullied and told of friends and family members who had been  victimized as well.  They made clear that this was not harmless teasing or “just kids being kids” by talking about their own experiences; one young lady told them how she had attempted to end her anguish by committing suicide.  They articulated the many reasons that our state should no longer be one of the handful that fails to protect children and youth; most of all, they called for an end to the needless suffering and pain that bullying inflicts upon way too many children and youth each and every day.

The legislators were impressed, moved, and motivated by these inspiring words and they passed HB 362 out of committee and sent it to the full House.  Lots of folks are responsible for this success; but from my vantage point, our young people carried the day!  It is proof once again, that given the opportunity, young people can lead us in ways that we need to go.

February 2013: Everyday Champion – Jennifer Hubartt

Congratulation’s to Jennifer Hubartt for being selected as MCCOY’s Everyday Champion for the month of February 2013!
What is your profession or vocation?
Currently, I am serving as the Director and Regional Manager for the Indiana Department of Child Services, Marion County/Region 10 office. Effective 3/4/13, I am taking a new position as a Magistrate for the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division. 
How are you an Everyday Champion for Youth?
I have worked with children and youth throughout my career, as a staff attorney for DCS, then the Chief Legal Counsel for the agency, and currently as the DCS/Marion County Director and Regional Manager. I have a passion for serving our youth, families, and community and believe this work is both rewarding and inspiring.
What impact do you hope to make on youth?
I have sought to advocate for youth and family issues throughout my career, through legal work and agency management. My goal is to provide the best services and outcomes for families and youth who are involved with DCS and the Court.
What’s one thing that you wish an adult had told you when you were a young person?
I cannot think of anything specific for this response, however, I have personally come to realize that once you find something about which you are passionate and committed, in my case child and family services, that you may work and serve in many different capacities toward that goal. I have had a great experience holding a variety of positions and feel that I have been a part, along with all of our partners, in achieving a great deal of progress and improvement working for youth in this community.
What do you want to do next to support youth?
I am looking forward to serving children, youth, and familes from the bench as a Magistrate with the Marion County Superior Court, Juvenile Division.

Working collaboratively for education

I am always amazed that there is a rational justification to take away funding and resources from schools that do not perform well (based on standardized testing).  Although the teachers and/or administration may feel the pinch from a financial standpoint or by being replaced/removed, the real victims are obviously the students.  Public schools, which deal with children who depend on the adults/leaders for direction, are not meant to be ran the same as a publicly traded corporation with stock options (money) increasing in value to the highest producers (in this case, schools). I am confused to see funding applied to limited ‘solutions’, such as sending a few children to charter schools.  How does this benefit the majority of the children who do not receive the same education?  If failing schools see the advantages of charter schools/private schools, it would be wonderful to see some of the ideas implemented into the curriculum of the schools with academic disadvantages to increase the value of the education.   The stigma of being in a ‘failing school’ is another hurdle that children have to overcome (both socially and academically as they advance forward).  Instead of ranking our schools in Indiana, it seems like it would be beneficial to have schools that are doing well work collaborative with less productive schools to find out what works well so if they must rank the schools, the scores in each county would be more congruent with each other.  It does not help Indiana (or our country) if the children in one county are excelling, but in the next county, the majority of children are failing.  Most people recognize that it is cheaper to put a child/young adult through four years of college than it is to imprison a person for the same amount of time.  Why do we undervalue and negotiate down the education for our youth?

Get Excited!

By Danielle Guerin
Last Monday, our Youth Advocacy Council attended the Children…Our Best Investment Statehouse Conference. The youth spent the day touring the statehouse and talking to representatives about the issues they deemed to be important.  They were able to sit in the gallery and watch the House and Senate in session, as well. As this was my first time chaperoning anything, it was really cool to see the excitement and wonder on their faces as they went through the day.
It made me think of the last time I felt that way. The last time I felt pure joy from the activities of my day. And I couldn’t remember other then when I was a child. Sure there are times where I am enjoying my time, whether it be volunteering at the Indianapolis Animal Care and Control or leading a program for Girls,Inc but I don’t remember ever being that excited. I began to wonder if I would ever feel that sense of excitement as I once did, as a child, but I hoped so.
So I decided to challenge myself, to find the little bits of happiness in everything that I do from now on. It’ll be hard, because no one enjoys waking up at 5:45 am to go to the gym but it will be worth it. I also challenge you all to find joy in everything you do and experience for the next month. It will enrich your life in so many ways.
I’m so glad I was able to witness the expressions of the YAC members because it reminded me why we do what we do. Giving youth the opportunity to experience things they might not ever experience. It was great to be reminded of that after a long day at the conference. Now, I look at this picture and I strive to create these types of opportunities for more youth.
A few days after the conference, a video went viral of a little girl getting excited about trains and it made me smile. So, how about we all take a lesson from Madeleine and get excited.