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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 17, 2020 -  “Collective Grief” by Evelyn Wald

    December 15, 2020 - “Drug and Alcohol” by Adam Salyards and Denise McCann 

    January 19, 2021 - Self Care by Penn State Psychological Clinic

    February 16, 2021 - "How to Engage in Difficult Conversations" by Jana Marie Foundation






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

    Description:  “Drug and Alcohol” by Adam Salyards 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.


    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. 


    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!


    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: 




    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.

    YouthYouth 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.

    AdultsThe 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 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 Yesterday at 12:42 PM