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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. 

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


    Straight Talk Presentations 2020-2021

    For the 2020-2021 school year the Straight Talk Task Force will strive to raise awareness and understanding of trauma and how it impacts our lives. 

    2020-21 Dates:

    August 20, 2020 - “Ways To Help Your Child During the Pandemic” by Dr. Laura Jana, MD, FAAP

    September 22, 2020 - “Why Trauma-Informed Care Matters - Now More Than Ever” by Dr. Peter Montminy

    October 6, 2020 - “The Biology Underlying COVID-19” by Dr. Shamim Sinnar

    October 20, 2020 - “Diversity and Inclusivity” by YSB Diversity & Inclusivity Team

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

    November 17, 2020 -  “Collective Grief” by Evelyn Wald

    December 15, 2020 - “Drug and Alcohol Trends” by Officer John Aston and Denise McCann 

    January 19, 2021 - "The Importance of Self-Care" by Penn State Psychological Clinic's Dr. Mike Wolff, Ph. D., CADC

    February 2, 2021 - “Grieving a Variety of Losses in our Lifetime” by Katie Kostohryz, PhD

    February 16, 2021 - "Engaging in Courageous Conversations" by Marisa Vicere and Ali Turley

    March 16, 2021 - "Promoting Mental Wellness by Building Resilience" by Perri Rosen and Marisa Vicere

    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

    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





    April 27, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/96375180201

    Description: "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?"


    April 20, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/96375180201

    Description: "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?"


    March 16, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/96375180201

    Description: 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.



    February 16, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/96375180201

    Description: “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.


    Courageous Conversations Powerpoint  


    February 2, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/96375180201

    Description:  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. 


    Grieving through Lifetime Powerpoint


    January 19, 2021 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/96375180201

    Description:  "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.  


    Self-Care Powerpoint 


    December 15, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/94344403366 

    Description:  “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. 



    November 17, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/94344403366 

    Description:  “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.


    Collective Grief Powerpoint 


    November 3, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:00pm via Zoom - https://psu.zoom.us/j/91053155737

    Description: “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.



    October 20, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://scasd.zoom.us/j/94344403366 

    Description: “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. The direct link is below: 



    October 6, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom - https://psu.zoom.us/j/96465902882  

    Description: “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! The direct link is below: 



    September 22, 2020 from 7:00 - 8:30pm via Zoom -  https://scasd.zoom.us/j/94344403366  

    Description: “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. The direct link is below: 



    August 20, 2020 from 6:00 - 7:30pm via Zoom. 

    Description: “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. The direct link is below: 





     Past Topics from the 2019-2020 school year:

    April 21, 2020 - 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.


    March 17, 2020 - 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.


    Feb. 18, 2020 - Building & Peer Advocacy -  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: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4827/media/544116?autostart=false&showtabssearch=true&fullscreen=false&jwsource=cl


    January 21, 2020 - Trauma Informed Care - 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: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4827/media/538687?autostart=false&showtabssearch=true&fullscreen=false&jwsource=cl


    November 19, 2019 - Conversations Around Mental Health - 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: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4827/media/527187?autostart=false&showtabssearch=true&fullscreen=false&jwsource=cl


    Oct. 15, 2019 - Drugs, Alcohol, and Youth - 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:



    Sept. 25, 2019 - SPECIAL SESSION – Straight Talk & Jana Marie Foundation - Description: Jana Marie Foundation presents a screening and discussion of Kevin Hines’ powerful new film called SUICIDE: THE RIPPLE EFFECT.


    Sept. 17, 2019 from 7 Strengthening Relationships Through Restorative Practices –   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: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4827/media/512293?autostart=false&showtabssearch=true&fullscreen=false&jwsource=cl



     Past Topics from the 2018-19 school year:

    Tuesday, April 16 2019 - Dangerous Drinking  presented by Adam Salyards and Centre Helps Leanne Lenze. The direct link is below:



    Tuesday, March 19 2019 - Focus on Adolescence & Gender  presented by Sheri Berenbaum

    Adolescent Psychological Development: Focus on Gender Development" is now online at cnet1.org.  The direct link is below:



    Tuesday, February 19 2019 - Digital Citizenship & Social Media presented Paul McCormick and John Asto

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



    Tuesday, January 15 2019 - QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention Training presented by 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, November 27 2018 - A Dialogue About Equity & Diversity  presented by Seria Chatters

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



    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. The direct link is below: https://videoplayer.telvue.com/player/GNduNoua2rBThhw6N4PRP9OCSPf6B2ru/playlists/4827/media/388408?autostart=false&showtabsse


    Tuesday, September 18 2018 - The Flowing Heart of Mindfulness and Compassion presented by Peter Montminy. The direct link is below:



    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, 2017Mindful 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 from 2016-2017 school year: 

    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, 2017Vices, Devices, Distractions And Social Pressures, Part 2 presented by Katie Kostohryz, Ph.D. and SeriaShia Chatters, Ph.D.

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

    Tuesday, March 21, 2017Love, 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 April 6, 2021