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By Vanessa Merhib 21 Aug, 2017

 Growing your own food is more popular now than ever before. It is estimated than 1 in 3 American households are growing a portion of the food that they consume. Earlier this spring the club received a $1,000 One Step Garden Grant from Hy-Vee. With that grant the club has been able to implement a gardening club program with the help of parent volunteers and an SDSU horticulturist. We also had some of the Brookings Area Master Gardeners come and teach us lessons about herbs, and soil. We were able to grow a variety of vegetables such as kale, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, cabbage, broccoli, onions, and pollinator flowers.

Throughout this summer our 1-5th grade club members and teens have had lessons on nutrition, physical activity, bugs, culinary arts, and the importance of watering and pulling weeds. With the food that we have grown we have been able to bring the kids into the kitchen to teach them different ways to prepare the food that they have grown such as strawberry jam, kale chips, veggie pizza, and zucchini muffins. We have also taken field trips to Sanderson’s Garden, SDSU Local Foods Program & Student Garden, and Good Roots Farm & Garden where the kids were able to get even more hands on experience planting, harvesting, and tasting new foods.

Having a balanced diet and eating a variety of healthy foods is crucial to the body and brain development in children, but as most adults know it isn’t always the easiest to get kids to eat their fruits and veggies. When kids grow their own food they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for the food that they have “created” and grown themselves, so they are more willing to try it. You might be thinking to yourself that your child still wouldn’t try it, but I can almost guarantee you they will be more willing to try it. I was amazed when I had kids eating kale, broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers raw from the garden. They couldn’t get enough of it!

If you are thinking of starting a garden for you or your family here are some great resources to get you started:

http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/vegetable-gardening/5069.html

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/vegetables/planning-your-first-vegetable-garden/


- Kayla Wede, Healthy Lifestyles Lead Youth Development Specialist 

By Vanessa Merhib 25 May, 2017

May is National Mental Health Month and at the Boys & Girls Club training our staff, working with our kids and partnering with our community partners to ensure we are well-educated and well positioned to successfully work with our members regarding mental health is a high priority for us.

Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults. 1 in 5 live with a mental health condition—half develop the condition by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. It is important for our staff team to be prepared to recognize, support, guide them to resources and to be a sustainable and accessible resource for the journey they may take.   In addition, the Club works closely with our local mental health agencies, like Lewis & Clark and East Central Mental Health, as well as, local NAMI and other resources in our communities to give our youth and staff access and support by experts. These partnerships have been essential to the Clubs success when working with youth and families with mental health challenges.

Some of the areas and topics we focus on with our members and staff are:

·        Taking charge of a mental health condition

·        How to help a friend

·        How to recognize if something is wrong

·        Managing a mental health condition in middle &high school and into the transition into college

·        Friendship and mental health


Looking to learn more? Check out this great article.  https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/mental-health/index.html


Vanessa

By Vanessa Merhib 20 Apr, 2017

At the Boys & Girls Club we are fortunate to serve a diverse number of youth that bring excitement, different perspectives and fun to our Club community. April is National Autism Awareness month and at the Club we are proud of our many Club members that are on the autism spectrum. Over the years we have learned through hands on experience, trainings, amazing parent and community partnerships ways to best to serve and work with youth on the autism spectrum. Although, our loud and organized chaos environment may not be everyone, autism spectrum or not, at the Club we proud of the youth that have also taught all of us so much and made our Club families, our teachers and our environment even better.

If there is one thing we have learned over the years at the Club, it is that each child on the spectrum is different. The spectrum range itself is diverse and complex. Youth on the spectrum, can vary in their challenges, in their strengths and in their presentation. Making assumptions or comparing one youth on the spectrum to another is an educational opportunity we often see with families, other kids and on our own team.

Click on the article attached to learn more. If you have questions, concerns or are looking for resources about autism, give us a call at the Club. If we don’t have the answer, we can direct you to our community partners that can help. BE Great!

Vanessa

http://www.washingtonautismadvocacy.org/updates/what-is-autism/?gclid=CPqQre7usNMCFQYMaQodWiUEIQ

By Vanessa Merhib 20 Mar, 2017

March is “Kick Butt Day” and the Boys & Girls Club through the years have been dedicated to educated youth about tobacco and chew usage.

One of the programs that we run and participate in through South Dakota Department of Health Funding is the Tobaccos Disparities Grant, Clubs Against Tobacco (CAT.) Through a partnership with SDSU we were able to determine the impact our CAT program was having and below are some of the results.

CAT Program Produces High Impact

The CAT program produced impressive results among youth at Boys & Girls Clubs across the state of South Dakota.

  •  332 youth completed the program ( N = 229 in 4th-7th grade)
  • Scores on the overall knowledge test increased from 66.8% to 81.9%
  •  Each lesson produced significant increases in targeted knowledge areas
  •  Youth confidence in “saying no” to cigarettes rose significantly
  •  Understanding of differences between ceremonial & recreational use of tobacco increased significantly

 Improved Tobacco Knowledge after the program is associated with …

  • Increased confidence in the ability to “say no” to cigarettes & chew, to avoid cigarettes and chew, and to talk with family about tobacco use
  • Decreased perceived peer pressure to smoke or chew and likelihood of smoking or chewing.

Youth & Tobacco

About 4% of Youth have used to-bacco (either cigarettes or chew). This is higher than the 2013 SD state average of 3.5%.1

Tobacco use was highest among 5th graders (12%) and 7th graders (12%). Statewide, only 7.1% of 7th graders report using tobacco.1

Similar to other youth in SD, Club Youth from homes with tobacco users were twice as likely to use tobacco as those from tobacco-free homes.

About 7% of Youth have been offered tobacco. Fewer than 3% of Youth have been offered tobac-co by 4th grade. However, once they hit 5th grade, ~14% have been offered tobacco. Tobacco offers stay steady in 6th grade, and then jump to 24% in 7th grade and to 27% in 8th grade.

2 out of 100 4th graders have been offered tobacco.

1 out of 4 8th graders have been offered tobacco.

To learn more about the Club results and our programs, reach out and we would love to share!

BE Great!

Vanessa Merhib, Executive Director

By Vanessa Merhib 16 Feb, 2017

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Every year, ap p roximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner . It is also known that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence.

At the Boys & Girls Club we are programming and working towards educating teens by offering this spring a program at the Club called Safe Date.   Safe Date is for both boys & girls and it focused on what dating abuse is, signs of dating abuse and steps to take if it happens to you.

  Here are some tips of what you can to as a guardian/caregiver/parent to prevent dating abuse:

·        Model healthy relationships at home

·        Talk with your teen as early as possible, about healthy relationships and positive ways to resolve conflict

·        Emphasize that abuse isn’t love

·        Reinforce the importance of getting help if he or she is ever concerned about a dating partner

·        Build your child’s self-esteem

·        Keep communication channels open

Some warning signs of dating abuse can include:

·        Has a dating partner who is intensely jealous or possessive

·        Has unexplained marks on his or her body (bruises, scratches, burns)

·        Is always deferring to his or her partners wishes

·        Is increasingly isolated from family and friends

·        Gets visibly upset after phone calls or dates with his or her dating partner

·        Is afraid of making his or her partner angry

For more resources and information, check out: http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/tdvam . BE Safe, BE Kind and BE Great!

  Vanessa Merhib

Executive Director

By Vanessa Merhib 17 Jan, 2017

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month across the United States?

At the Boys & Girls Club, at the heart of what we do is mentor youth and create a safe, positive place with supportive adult role models to create hope and opportunity for youth. At the Club, a supportive adult relationship is framed in many ways, through many programs that we have at the Club. It may be informal in the day to day operations of Club with a teacher playing a game of dodge ball with you, getting you a band aid when you are hurt or helping you with your math homework when it seems impossible. It can also mean youth working with a teacher in our small group programs that focus on a variety of topics, including self-esteem, making healthy life choices: mind, body and soul or learning to persevere and learning  in STEM programs. Lastly, it could mean participating in our one-on-one mentorship program, where youth are paired up with a teacher and they get together a minimum of once a week at the Club to talk about what is happening in their lives, do projects together and of course, have fun!

 

Did you know that with a mentor, at-risk youth are:

o   52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school

o   55% more likely to be enrolled in college

o   46% less likely than their peers to start using drugs

o   81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities

o   78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities

o   130% more than twice as likely to say that they hold a leadership position in a club or sports team

 

Check out this video from https://youtu.be/kCNHCkgKqHc and think about who mentored you, how did it help you be where you are today and consider volunteering or mentoring a youth at the Boys & Girls Club or in your community. BE Great!

 

Vanessa Merhib

By Vanessa Merhib 20 Dec, 2016

At the Boys & Girls Club we are often on the receiving end of individual, businesses, family and community giving and support. Research shows happiness can more likely be achieved through the act of giving to others, whether that is in time, talent or treasures. Everything the Boys & Girls Club does, our teachers, our buildings, our supplies,  they are all from the generosity of others to meet the mission of the Club. For all of us that work at the Club, it is a daily humbling experience to see and experience so much giving and ultimately such a large collective group of people that believe in hope and opportunity for kids, a community and our world.

 The joy of giving and gratitude are two important qualities we also want to instill in our members at the Boys & Girls Club. We hope that through our visits to assisted living and nursing homes to play games, bake and have fun, our Keystone leadership group that is contributing to improve literacy and our programs that encourage our kids to take actions for others, we are able to pay forward all that has been given to the Club by creating future leaders, contributors and volunteers. Thank you all for your belief in kids, the Club and good in the world! Happy Holidays!

Interested in reading more about the power of giving? Click the link below for a great article.

http://time.com/4070299/secret-to-happiness/

 

Vanessa Merhib

Executive Director

By Vanessa Merhib 21 Aug, 2017

 Growing your own food is more popular now than ever before. It is estimated than 1 in 3 American households are growing a portion of the food that they consume. Earlier this spring the club received a $1,000 One Step Garden Grant from Hy-Vee. With that grant the club has been able to implement a gardening club program with the help of parent volunteers and an SDSU horticulturist. We also had some of the Brookings Area Master Gardeners come and teach us lessons about herbs, and soil. We were able to grow a variety of vegetables such as kale, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, cabbage, broccoli, onions, and pollinator flowers.

Throughout this summer our 1-5th grade club members and teens have had lessons on nutrition, physical activity, bugs, culinary arts, and the importance of watering and pulling weeds. With the food that we have grown we have been able to bring the kids into the kitchen to teach them different ways to prepare the food that they have grown such as strawberry jam, kale chips, veggie pizza, and zucchini muffins. We have also taken field trips to Sanderson’s Garden, SDSU Local Foods Program & Student Garden, and Good Roots Farm & Garden where the kids were able to get even more hands on experience planting, harvesting, and tasting new foods.

Having a balanced diet and eating a variety of healthy foods is crucial to the body and brain development in children, but as most adults know it isn’t always the easiest to get kids to eat their fruits and veggies. When kids grow their own food they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment for the food that they have “created” and grown themselves, so they are more willing to try it. You might be thinking to yourself that your child still wouldn’t try it, but I can almost guarantee you they will be more willing to try it. I was amazed when I had kids eating kale, broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, and cucumbers raw from the garden. They couldn’t get enough of it!

If you are thinking of starting a garden for you or your family here are some great resources to get you started:

http://www.gardeners.com/how-to/vegetable-gardening/5069.html

http://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/vegetables/planning-your-first-vegetable-garden/


- Kayla Wede, Healthy Lifestyles Lead Youth Development Specialist 

By Vanessa Merhib 25 May, 2017

May is National Mental Health Month and at the Boys & Girls Club training our staff, working with our kids and partnering with our community partners to ensure we are well-educated and well positioned to successfully work with our members regarding mental health is a high priority for us.

Mental health conditions are common among teens and young adults. 1 in 5 live with a mental health condition—half develop the condition by age 14 and three quarters by age 24. It is important for our staff team to be prepared to recognize, support, guide them to resources and to be a sustainable and accessible resource for the journey they may take.   In addition, the Club works closely with our local mental health agencies, like Lewis & Clark and East Central Mental Health, as well as, local NAMI and other resources in our communities to give our youth and staff access and support by experts. These partnerships have been essential to the Clubs success when working with youth and families with mental health challenges.

Some of the areas and topics we focus on with our members and staff are:

·        Taking charge of a mental health condition

·        How to help a friend

·        How to recognize if something is wrong

·        Managing a mental health condition in middle &high school and into the transition into college

·        Friendship and mental health


Looking to learn more? Check out this great article.  https://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-development/mental-health/index.html


Vanessa

By Vanessa Merhib 20 Apr, 2017

At the Boys & Girls Club we are fortunate to serve a diverse number of youth that bring excitement, different perspectives and fun to our Club community. April is National Autism Awareness month and at the Club we are proud of our many Club members that are on the autism spectrum. Over the years we have learned through hands on experience, trainings, amazing parent and community partnerships ways to best to serve and work with youth on the autism spectrum. Although, our loud and organized chaos environment may not be everyone, autism spectrum or not, at the Club we proud of the youth that have also taught all of us so much and made our Club families, our teachers and our environment even better.

If there is one thing we have learned over the years at the Club, it is that each child on the spectrum is different. The spectrum range itself is diverse and complex. Youth on the spectrum, can vary in their challenges, in their strengths and in their presentation. Making assumptions or comparing one youth on the spectrum to another is an educational opportunity we often see with families, other kids and on our own team.

Click on the article attached to learn more. If you have questions, concerns or are looking for resources about autism, give us a call at the Club. If we don’t have the answer, we can direct you to our community partners that can help. BE Great!

Vanessa

http://www.washingtonautismadvocacy.org/updates/what-is-autism/?gclid=CPqQre7usNMCFQYMaQodWiUEIQ

By Vanessa Merhib 20 Mar, 2017

March is “Kick Butt Day” and the Boys & Girls Club through the years have been dedicated to educated youth about tobacco and chew usage.

One of the programs that we run and participate in through South Dakota Department of Health Funding is the Tobaccos Disparities Grant, Clubs Against Tobacco (CAT.) Through a partnership with SDSU we were able to determine the impact our CAT program was having and below are some of the results.

CAT Program Produces High Impact

The CAT program produced impressive results among youth at Boys & Girls Clubs across the state of South Dakota.

  •  332 youth completed the program ( N = 229 in 4th-7th grade)
  • Scores on the overall knowledge test increased from 66.8% to 81.9%
  •  Each lesson produced significant increases in targeted knowledge areas
  •  Youth confidence in “saying no” to cigarettes rose significantly
  •  Understanding of differences between ceremonial & recreational use of tobacco increased significantly

 Improved Tobacco Knowledge after the program is associated with …

  • Increased confidence in the ability to “say no” to cigarettes & chew, to avoid cigarettes and chew, and to talk with family about tobacco use
  • Decreased perceived peer pressure to smoke or chew and likelihood of smoking or chewing.

Youth & Tobacco

About 4% of Youth have used to-bacco (either cigarettes or chew). This is higher than the 2013 SD state average of 3.5%.1

Tobacco use was highest among 5th graders (12%) and 7th graders (12%). Statewide, only 7.1% of 7th graders report using tobacco.1

Similar to other youth in SD, Club Youth from homes with tobacco users were twice as likely to use tobacco as those from tobacco-free homes.

About 7% of Youth have been offered tobacco. Fewer than 3% of Youth have been offered tobac-co by 4th grade. However, once they hit 5th grade, ~14% have been offered tobacco. Tobacco offers stay steady in 6th grade, and then jump to 24% in 7th grade and to 27% in 8th grade.

2 out of 100 4th graders have been offered tobacco.

1 out of 4 8th graders have been offered tobacco.

To learn more about the Club results and our programs, reach out and we would love to share!

BE Great!

Vanessa Merhib, Executive Director

By Vanessa Merhib 16 Feb, 2017

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. Every year, ap p roximately 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner . It is also known that 3 in 4 parents have never talked to their children about domestic violence.

At the Boys & Girls Club we are programming and working towards educating teens by offering this spring a program at the Club called Safe Date.   Safe Date is for both boys & girls and it focused on what dating abuse is, signs of dating abuse and steps to take if it happens to you.

  Here are some tips of what you can to as a guardian/caregiver/parent to prevent dating abuse:

·        Model healthy relationships at home

·        Talk with your teen as early as possible, about healthy relationships and positive ways to resolve conflict

·        Emphasize that abuse isn’t love

·        Reinforce the importance of getting help if he or she is ever concerned about a dating partner

·        Build your child’s self-esteem

·        Keep communication channels open

Some warning signs of dating abuse can include:

·        Has a dating partner who is intensely jealous or possessive

·        Has unexplained marks on his or her body (bruises, scratches, burns)

·        Is always deferring to his or her partners wishes

·        Is increasingly isolated from family and friends

·        Gets visibly upset after phone calls or dates with his or her dating partner

·        Is afraid of making his or her partner angry

For more resources and information, check out: http://www.nrcdv.org/dvam/tdvam . BE Safe, BE Kind and BE Great!

  Vanessa Merhib

Executive Director

By Vanessa Merhib 17 Jan, 2017

Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month across the United States?

At the Boys & Girls Club, at the heart of what we do is mentor youth and create a safe, positive place with supportive adult role models to create hope and opportunity for youth. At the Club, a supportive adult relationship is framed in many ways, through many programs that we have at the Club. It may be informal in the day to day operations of Club with a teacher playing a game of dodge ball with you, getting you a band aid when you are hurt or helping you with your math homework when it seems impossible. It can also mean youth working with a teacher in our small group programs that focus on a variety of topics, including self-esteem, making healthy life choices: mind, body and soul or learning to persevere and learning  in STEM programs. Lastly, it could mean participating in our one-on-one mentorship program, where youth are paired up with a teacher and they get together a minimum of once a week at the Club to talk about what is happening in their lives, do projects together and of course, have fun!

 

Did you know that with a mentor, at-risk youth are:

o   52% less likely than their peers to skip a day of school

o   55% more likely to be enrolled in college

o   46% less likely than their peers to start using drugs

o   81% more likely to report participating regularly in sports or extracurricular activities

o   78% more likely to volunteer regularly in their communities

o   130% more than twice as likely to say that they hold a leadership position in a club or sports team

 

Check out this video from https://youtu.be/kCNHCkgKqHc and think about who mentored you, how did it help you be where you are today and consider volunteering or mentoring a youth at the Boys & Girls Club or in your community. BE Great!

 

Vanessa Merhib

By Vanessa Merhib 20 Dec, 2016

At the Boys & Girls Club we are often on the receiving end of individual, businesses, family and community giving and support. Research shows happiness can more likely be achieved through the act of giving to others, whether that is in time, talent or treasures. Everything the Boys & Girls Club does, our teachers, our buildings, our supplies,  they are all from the generosity of others to meet the mission of the Club. For all of us that work at the Club, it is a daily humbling experience to see and experience so much giving and ultimately such a large collective group of people that believe in hope and opportunity for kids, a community and our world.

 The joy of giving and gratitude are two important qualities we also want to instill in our members at the Boys & Girls Club. We hope that through our visits to assisted living and nursing homes to play games, bake and have fun, our Keystone leadership group that is contributing to improve literacy and our programs that encourage our kids to take actions for others, we are able to pay forward all that has been given to the Club by creating future leaders, contributors and volunteers. Thank you all for your belief in kids, the Club and good in the world! Happy Holidays!

Interested in reading more about the power of giving? Click the link below for a great article.

http://time.com/4070299/secret-to-happiness/

 

Vanessa Merhib

Executive Director

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