• Straight Talk Logo  

    Straight Talk Task Force Free Monthly Presentations:

    The Straight Talk Task Force is made up of representatives from the Jana Marie Foundation, Centre Helps, 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. 

    Sessions will be held via Google Meets or Zoom from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. The information and meeting link will be sent out to families and is also posted below. 


    Straight Talk Presentations 2021-2022

    2021-22 Dates:

    September 21: “Meeting our Children’s Needs in Turbulent Times” by Peter Montminy

    October 19: “Drugs and Alcohol Trends” by Denise McCann and Officer Dean Woodring

    November 16: Samantha King, MSW, Med

    December 14: Rachel Love

    January 18: TBA

    February 15: Jana Marie Foundation

    March 15: Beth Shaha

    April 19: Seria




    October 19, 2021 at 7:00 - 8:30 pm via Zoom - https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82447373925

    Decription: “Drugs and Alcohol Trends” by Denise McCann and Officer Dean Woodring

    Caregivers and educators need to have the most up to date information about the ever changing drug and alcohol trends in our community, including vaping, medical marijuana, and the opioid crisis. Learn red flags, addiction and the brain, and tips for talking to kids about substance use as well as supporting students who may be experiencing addiction in their families. Find video here


    September 21, 2021 at 7:00 - 8:30 pm via Google Meets - https://meet.google.com/bam-ondx-dhr

    Decription: “Meeting our Children’s Needs in Turbulent Times” by Peter Montminy

    t's no secret that stress levels are at an all-time high these days. We're surrounded by news headlines and social media posts that scream at us to worry about so many dangers, and to blame so many "Others" for our problems. Daily life often feels frightening, disheartening and exhausting. So many well-meaning parents and teachers are at their breaking points. Our kids are too. We've had enough. How do we care for our children during such times? We won't solve all the world's problems in this program, but we will get back to basics. We'll remind ourselves of the timeless truths that nurture our children's mental health and well-being, rather than tear it down. We'll recommit to the simple practices that help a child to feel secure, as well as seen, soothed, and strengthened. We'll reconnect with one another and with the inextinguishable hope in our hearts.  Find video here 





     Past Topics from the 2020-2021 school year:

    April 27, 2021 -  "Now What? Helping Parents and Guardians reset from the struggles of the past year" Jenna Mueller, MS, LPC, NCC and Hannah Hartswick, MS, LPC A Journey to You...LLC. With pandemic restrictions lifting and vaccinations increasing, we find ourselves questioning where to go from here in recovering and resetting following the struggles of this societal trauma. While the previous presentation was focused on our children, this discussion will explore ways to meet our own physical, emotional and relational needs.  Information will include factors that have negatively impacted our mental health over the past year (including bereavement, isolation, relationship/family distress) and learning powerful ways to move ourselves out of those “stuck” places.  We will explore tools to navigate how we nourish and move our minds and bodies, and resume the path toward living our best lives. As we see the holding pattern of pandemic life begin to draw to a close, we explore the steps to take in order to answer the question of, "Now What?"    Find video here.               Now What? Parent and Guardians Powerpoint 

    April 20, 2021 - "Now What?  Helping our Children reset with healthy minds, bodies and relationships" Jenna Mueller, MS, LPC, NCC and Hannah Hartswick, MS, LPC A Journey to You...LLC. As we begin to move forward, we may find it difficult to assist our children in recovering and resetting following the struggles of the past year.  In this presentation, we will explore how to engage with our children and meet their physical, emotional and relational needs. Information will include factors that may have negatively impacted their mental health either directly or indirectly (for example bereavement, isolation, relationship/family distress) and learning powerful ways to move them out of those “stuck” places.  We will explore ways to assist them in recognizing how to manage and communicate their needs and anxieties, how to increase our own awareness of their struggles, and to develop improved wellness of mind and body. With the holding pattern of pandemic life begin to draw to a close, we explore the steps to take in order to answer the question of, "Now What?" Find video here          Now What? Children Powerpoint

    March 16, 2021 - Promoting Mental Wellness by Building Resiliency” by Marisa Vicere, Jana Marie Foundation and Perri Rosen, PhD, NCSP, Consulting Psychologist, Bureau of Children's Behavioral Health Services. The global pandemic has led to concerns about the mental health and wellness of youth, families, and communities.  This Straight Talk will highlight trauma informed approaches to mitigate risk and build resilience among young people.  Come to learn how to have a supportive conversation with youth that you are concerned may be struggling with their mental health or even having thoughts of suicide. Additional resources for mental health and suicide prevention will be shared. Find video here

    February 16, 2021 - “Engaging in Courageous Conversations” by Marisa Vicere and Ali Turley. This past year has presented many opportunities to engage in big conversations which can be challenging especially with our children. Join us as we discuss tips about how to approach courageous conversations with your children, how to use everyday experiences to build connections, and ways to cultivate support for families. Find video here.               Courageous Conversations Powerpoint  

    February 2, 2021 -  Grieving a Variety of Losses in our Lifetime” by Katie Kostohryz, PhD. Katie Kostohryz, PhD, is a Licensed Professional Counselor and an Associate Teaching Professor at Penn State University. She will discuss a variety of death and non-death related losses that impact us on a daily basis.  This presentation will address the unique needs of grieving individuals and families over the lifespan.  We will identify and explore a variety of losses one may face as well as creative ways to express grief in our families, schools, and community. Find video here.              Grieving through Lifetime Powerpoint

    January 19, 2021 - "The Importance of Self-Care" by Penn State Psychological Clinic's Dr. Mike Wolff, Ph. D., CADC. Self-care is often relegated to an afterthought for many of us. By the very nature of the many hats we wear as parents, teachers, and caregivers, it’s easy to forget ourselves along the way.   The rub is that when we forget this, we not only put ourselves at risk----we actually lose our ability to empathically engage with the people around us. Trauma-informed self-care helps us to identify our own experiences of stress and adversity, attend to the rigorous demands of life, and help us to chart a path forward focusing on our own experiences of both suffering and wellness.  This in turn allows us to grow and ultimately address the stress and adversity experienced by others with more grace and effectiveness. Find video here.                Self-Care Powerpoint 

    December 15, 2020 - “Drug and Alcohol Trends” by Officer John Aston and Denise McCann. Caregivers and educators need to have the most up to date information about the ever changing drug and alcohol trends in our community, including vaping, medical marijuana, and the opioid crisis. Learn red flags, addiction and the brain, and tips for talking to kids about substance use as well as supporting students who may be experiencing addiction in their families. Find video here 

    November 17, 2020  - Collective Grief” by Evelyn Wald. In these "unprecedented times" we are experiencing many changes. Whenever there is a change, there is also a loss. When there is a loss, there is grief. This presentation will explore our losses and acknowledge our grieving. Find video here.               Collective Grief Powerpoint 

     November 3, 2020 - “Vaccinate the Nation” by PSU’s student organization Vaccinate America

    Vaccinate America, a Penn State student-run organization, focuses on advancing vaccine awareness and helping the community make responsible, educated decisions regarding vaccination. On Nov. 3, its interactive Zoom presentation will cover the basics of vaccines: how they work, why they work, and how they protect not only oneself, but also other members of the community. In addition, the presentation will address several common questions and misconceptions parents and community members may have when considering vaccination for themselves and their children. There also will be a discussion about the influenza vaccine — a timely topic as flu season begins in the United States. Find video here

    October 20, 2020 -  “Diversity and Inclusivity” by YSB Diversity & Inclusivity Team. Recent acts of violence and protest have called to attention the inequalities in our society and  have raised complex and challenging questions about diversity and inclusion.  Diversity and Inclusion are two ideas that seem to contradict each other, however they are interrelated.  In this session we hope to expand your understanding of diversity which includes valuing our differences while also becoming aware of how we can be inclusive.  We will talk about stereotyping, privilege, implicit bias, and microaggressions and how these things impact kids so that participants can consider their role in working toward creating more inclusive cultures in our communities. Find video here

    October 6, 2020 - “The Biology Underlying COVID-19” by Dr. Shamim Sinnar. Dr. Shamim Sinnar currently studies infectious diseases, and was recently involved in projects modeling the spread of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa and investigating the effects of the coronavirus in neonates. Before joining Penn State five years ago, Dr. Sinnar was in biotech/pharma conducting clinical trials of oncology drugs. Would you like to understand more about the biology of COVID-19, including how our immune systems respond to the virus, how epidemiologists model virus spread, and the concepts behind herd immunity and vaccines? Dr. Sinnar, from the Penn State College of Medicine, invites you to a 90 minute overview and discussion of the science of COVID-19. Please bring your questions, and she will do her best to answer them! Find video here

    September 22, 2020 -  “Why Trauma-Informed Care Matters - Now More Than Ever” with Dr. Peter Montminy. Fully one-half f our children experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) such as child abuse or neglect and family violence, mental illness, or substance abuse.  On top of that, the current chronic stressors of the coronavirus pandemic, social injustices, economic downturn, and environmental catastrophes have sent many families into "Fight, Flight, or Freeze" overdrive.  These conditions are toxic to our children's developing brains. Without attuned and responsive caregivers, the research shows that our children will continue to suffer from a wide array of physical and mental health difficulties.  Trauma-Informed Care offers us an important alternative.  When we meet the emotional needs of our children with clarity, calm, and kindness, they can flourish.  When we provide safe, predictable structures, they can develop a stable sense of security.  When we offer empowering opportunities for choice and collaboration, within the context of compassionate relationships, they can learn to be resilient.  Trauma-informed care is vital to the well-being of our children and our community. Find video here

    August 20, 2020 -  “Ways To Help Your Child During the Pandemic” with Dr. Laura Jana. Dr. Jana, a nationally-known pediatrician, will hold a virtual presentation to address areas related to in-person, remote, and virtual academy instructional experiences. These topics may include health and safety (masks, physical distancing), community and connections, social emotional learning (engagement, participation, motivation), emotional and behavioral health (anxiety, anger) transitions (between in person and remote environments), schedules, and more as families navigate the beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year. Find video here



     Past Topics from the 2019-20 school year:

    April 21, 2020 -  Gun Safe Storage presented by Maggie Ellis and Felicia Co from the Be SMART program 

    March 17, 2020 -  Yout and Performance Anxiety presented by Katie Kostohryz, Ph.D., LPC

    Feb. 18, 2020 - Building & Peer Advocacy  presented by Dr. Seria Chatters Find video here 

    January 21, 2020 - Trauma Informed Care presented by Peter Montminy  Find video here  

    November 19, 2019 - Conversations Around Mental Health presented by Marisa Vicere from the Jana Marie Foundation Find video here

    Oct. 15, 2019 - Drugs, Alcohol, and Youth presented by Denise McCann, Leanne Lenz, and Officer Adam Salyards  Find video here

    Sept. 25, 2019 - SPECIAL SESSION – Straight Talk & Jana Marie Foundation SUICIDE: THE RIPPLE EFFECT. 

    Sept. 17, 2019 from 7 Strengthening Relationships Through Restorative Practices presented by Jeanne Knouse Find video here 



     Past Topics from the 2018-19 school year:

    Tuesday, April 16 2019 - Dangerous Drinking  presented by Adam Salyards and Centre Helps Leanne Lenz. Find video here

    Tuesday, March 19 2019 - Focus on Adolescence & Gender  presented by Sheri Berenbaum. Find video here

    Tuesday, February 19 2019 - Digital Citizenship & Social Media presented Paul McCormick and John Aston. Find video here

    Tuesday, January 15 2019 - QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Training presented by Marisa Vicere from the Jana Marie Foundation.  Find video here

    Tuesday, November 27 2018 - A Dialogue About Equity & Diversity  presented by Seria Chatters. Find video here

    Wednesday, November 7 2018 - SPECIAL SESSION - Addiction/Gaming presented by Stephanie Roy

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 - Drugs - What's Out There? Drug Trends and Vaping presented by Denise McCann, YSB. Find video here

    Tuesday, September 18 2018 - The Flowing Heart of Mindfulness and Compassion presented by Peter Montminy. Find video here







    Straight Talk is brought to you by Jana Marie Foundation, Communities that Care, Centre Helps and State College Area School District

Last Modified on Thursday at 11:14 AM