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    Straight Talk Task Force Free Monthly Presentations:

    The Straight Talk Task Force is made up of representatives from the Jana Marie Foundation, Youth Service Bureau, Communities That Care Partnership, and State College Area School District administration, faculty, and staff.
    The mission of the Straight Talk Task Force: We strive to raise our children to become strong, confident, happy adults. The Straight Talk Series offers educational programs that help parents, caregivers and community members to recognize, understand, and deal with potential problems that can surface during developmental years. Be proactive. Learn the warning signs. Learn how to help our children before the problem negatively impacts them, their school work and their relationships. 

     - Most sessions will be held from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at Mount Nittany Middle School (Library) unless otherwise noted.

     - No registration is required for adults, and you may register children for free children's activities and homework help by contacting Susan Marshall (smb11@scasd.org or 814-231-5053) to register children. Supervision of children is provided by Volunteers from SCASD.


    Straight Talk Presentations 2019-2020

    2019-20 Dates:


    9/25/19 - Kevin Hines documentary @ State High Auditorium and sponsored by the Jana Marie Foundation









    Straight Talk: Strengthening Relationships Through Restorative Practices– Sept. 17, 2019 from 7 – 8:30PM at the Mount Nittany Middle School (MNMS) Library   Description: SCASD has recently taken on the goal of becoming a school-wide Restorative Practices District where employees will be trained in the fundamentals of Restorative Practices and in the use of “circles” to build community. Jeanne Knouse, SCASD Director of Student Services, will be introducing the concept and philosophy of Restorative Practices and how it can be used to build safe communities within our schools and how it can be used in everyday family life.

    The September 17th "Straight Talk for Parents" presentation by Jeanne Knouse entitled "Strengthening Relationships through Restorative Practices" is now online at cnet1.org.  Direct link is below:



    Straight Talk & Jana Marie Foundation: SPECIAL SESSION – Sept. 25, 2019 from 7-9:15PM at State College High School Auditorium.  Description: Jana Marie Foundation presents a screening and discussion of Kevin Hines’ powerful new film called SUICIDE: THE RIPPLE EFFECT.

    Straight Talk: Drugs, Alcohol, and Youth - Oct. 15, 2019 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM  at State High LGI Room. Description: Denise McCann, Division Director for Centre County Youth Service Bureau, Leanne Lenz, Executive Director of Centre Helps and Officer Adam Salyards, Community Relations will present an information session including: a drug and alcohol overview, local drug trends (including the heroin epidemic), red flags for youth drug use, and tips for parents regarding how to talk to kids about drugs, alcohol and vaping. 

    The October 15th "Straight Talk for Parents" presentation is now available to view online at cnet1.org.  The presentation is entitled "Drug and Alcohol Trends" and features Leanne Lenz, Executive Director of Centre Helps, Officer Adam Salyards of the State College Police Department, and Denise McCann with the Centre County Youth Service Bureau.  Direct link is below:

    Straight Talk: Conversations Around Mental Health -  November 19, 2019 from 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM at MNMS Library.Description:  Marisa Vicere from the Jana Marie Foundation will be there to lead conversations about children/youth mental wellness and suicide prevention.  Direct link is below:


    Straight Talk: Trauma Informed Care – January 21, 2020 from 7 – 8:30PM at the Mount Nittany Middle School (MNMS) Library   Description: Peter Montminy, Clinical Psychologist & Mindfulness Teacher will be with us to talk about trauma informed care for our schools and our community. The direct link is below:



    Straight Talk: Building & Peer Advocacy - Feb. 18, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM at MNMS Library.  Description: Dr. Seria Chatters, Director of Equity & Inclusivity at SCASD will be highlighting and discussing the continued equity and diversity initiatives in the District, as well as, discussing the building and peer advocates initiatives at SCASD.

    The February 18th Straight Talk for Parents presentation by Dr. Seria Chatters entitled "Building and Peer Advocacy Initiatives" is now online at cnet1.org.  Direct link is below:




     Straight Talk: March 17, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30PM at MNMS Library.  Description:

    Katie Kostohryz, Ph.D., LPC, from the PSU Dept. of Rehab & Human Services, will lead a conversation about youth and performance anxiety.  How can we ease our child's performance anxiety, but no to the point where they don't bother performing?  Katie will guide us in trying to find this lane that is somewhere in between taking the pressure off and keeping the expectations high.


    Straight Talk: April 21, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30PM at MNMS Library.  Description:

    Maggie Ellis and Felicia Co from the Be SMART program will be with us to teach the importance of safe gun storage.  Safe gun storage can help prevent teenage suicide and school shootings.  They hope to promote an open dialogue about gun violence prevention, in a way that people do not feel judged as gun owners, by those who are not gun owners.





    Community Trainings offered to Parents/Guardians:

    1.  QPR: SUICIDE PREVENTION TRAINING FOR GATEKEEPERS - Offered through the Jana Marie Foundation


    Audience: All
    1.5 – 2 Hours

    QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.

    Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying “Yes” to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor.


    • How to Question, Persuade and Refer someone who may be suicidal
    • How to get help for yourself or learn more about preventing suicide
    • The common causes of suicidal behavior
    • The warning signs of suicide
    • How to get help for someone in crisis


    2.  Mental Health First Aid - offered through the Jana Marie Foundation


    Audience: Youth and Adult Options (see below)
    8 Hours

    Anyone, anywhere can be the one to make a difference in the life of someone with a mental health or substance use challenge – if they know what to do and what to say. Mental Health First Aid can give you the necessary tools to have a courageous conversation.

    Mental Health First Aid was created in Australia in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Tony Jorm, a respected mental health literacy professor. The National Council for Behavioral Health operates Mental Health First Aid USA in partnership with the Missouri Department of Mental Health.


    Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.

    The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.


    The adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone 18 years and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions.




     Past Topics from the 2018-19 School year:

    Tuesday, September 18 - The Flowing Heart of Mindfulness and Compassion - Peter Montminy 

    Direct link:https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4827/media/382205?autostart=false&showtabssearch=true&fullscreen=false

    Tuesday, October 16 - Drugs - What's Out There? Drug trends and vaping - Denise McCann, YSB 

    Direct Link: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4827/media/388408?autostart=false&showtabsse

    Wednesday, November 7 - SPECIAL SESSION - Addiction/Gaming - Stephanie Roy

    Tuesday, November 27 - A Dialogue About Equity & Diversity - Seria Chatters

    The "Straight Talk for Parents" presentation with Dr. Seria Chatters, recorded November 27, 2018, is now online at cnet1.org. A direct link to the online program is below:


    Tuesday, January 15 - QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Training - Marisa Vicere from the Jana Marie Foundation

    The January 15th Straight Talk presentation on Suicide Prevention and Training is now available to view online at cnet1.org. The direct link is below:


    Tuesday, February 19 - Digital Citizenship & Social Media - Paul McCormick and John Asto

    The February 21st Straight Talk presentation "Digital Citizenship and Social Media" is now online at cnet1.org.  Direct link is below:

    Tuesday, March 19 - Focus on Adolescence & Gender  - Sheri Berenbaum

    The March 19th Straight Talk presentation, "Adolescent Psychological Development: Focus on Gender Development" is now online at cnet1.org.  Direct link is below:

    Tuesday, April 16 - Dangerous Drinking  - Adam Salyards and Centre Helps Leanne Lenze


    Past topics from 2017-2018 school year: 

    Tuesday, May 22, 2018: Creating a Mental Health Safety Net Panel Discussion led by Jeanne Knouse, SCASD Director of Student Services and moderated by Susan Marshall, SCASD Counselor.

    Tuesday, April 17, 2018: Bias, Bullying and Bystanders presented by Dr. Seria Chatters-Smith, LPC, LHMC, PSU Counselor Ed.

    Tuesday, February 20, 2018: Personal Finance: Raising Money-Smart Kids presented by Jeffrey Kissell, Rodney Thompson & David Williams, Personal Finance Teachers, State College Area High School. 

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018: Subtle Slights: The Hidden Bias of Good People presented by Dr. Charleon Jeffries, PSU Coordinator, Diversity Education

    Tuesday, November 14, 2017:  Mindful Compassion for Kids & Their Caregivers  Presented by Dr. Peter Montminy, A Mindful Village

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017: Drugs and Alcohol: What's Out There Annual Update                                       Presented by Denise McCann, Youth Service Bureau, and Adam Salyards, State College Police Officer.

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017: Understanding Your Child's Social Media World (Due to the graphic nature of this session and the identifiable information shared during discussions, this video will not be posted. This is a link to a revised slideshow.)                                                                              Presented by SCASD School Resource Officer, Terry Stec, and State College Police Detective John Aston.

    Past topics:
    Thursday, January 12, 2017: Vices, Devices, Distractions And Social Pressures, Part 1
    Presented by School Resource Officer Terry Stec and Detective John Aston, State College Police Department

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017: Vices, Devices, Distractions And Social Pressures, Part 2                                 Presented by Katie Kostohryz, Ph.D. and SeriaShia Chatters, Ph.D.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017:  Helping Your Child Worry Less & Live More: Mindfulness Based Solutions For Childhood Anxiety          Presented by Peter Montminy, Ph.D.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2017: Love, Hate, Tolerate: The Puzzles Of Sibling Relationships                                 Presented by Susan McHale, Ph.D.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017: Inclusive Excellence      Presented by Carlos Wiley

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017: Mental Health Matters: A Panel Discussion                                                                       Presented by: Joseph Wiedemer, M.D., Peter Rainey, M.S. & panelists Jeanne Knouse, Amelia McGinnis, Marisa Vicere & Elena Crowne, a Delta student

    Straight Talk is brought to you by Jana Marie Foundation, Communities that Care, Youth Service Bureau and State College Area School District. 

Last Modified on February 24, 2020