Monday, July 23, 2012

It Takes Just a Minute to Help Local Veterans

Think back to elementary school and the American Revolutionary Wars hero, Nathan Hale, whose final words as he was executed by the British were purported to be,
 “I only regret that I have but one life
to lose for my country.”
Why is it that more than 200 years later, we still teach that quote  to our youth?  I think it’s because those 14 words so poignantly illustrate the enormity of sacrifice given by soldiers for their country. But I think it’s a lesson that’s too big at too young an age. At 10, a kid can’t feel what it means to willingly lay down one’s life at just  21  to die so young for something you believe in.
I shudder when I think of war –of soldiers- young men and women the age of my sons bravely risking their lives for their country. I’ve seen the faces of parents, proud of their child’s valor and patriotism, but living in a continual state of unease praying for the day their child returns safely. And I’ve seen many times, the struggle to reintegrate back once home… a young man or woman forever changed by war expected to fit back into the life they knew before.

I know I’m not alone in wanting to help but not knowing how. But here’s a chance to help an organization that every day helps veterans, Saratoga County Rural Preservation  Company.

SEFCU is supporting Capital Region men and women in our armed forces and local veterans by donating $30,000 from SEFCU’s 24th Annual Labor Day 5k race to three non-profit organizations chosen by the community. The non-profit with the most votes will receive $15,000, the non-profit with the next highest number of votes will receive $10,000, and the third place finisher will receive $5,000. The Saratoga County Rural Preservation  Company is one of the finalists. You can help veterans in Saratoga County by casting your vote at SEFCU 5K Vote 2012    for the  SARATOGA COUNTY RPC– VET HELP PROGRAM .

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

7 Red Flags of Dating Abuse

When we think about relationship abuse, the mental image that comes to mind is a black eye. But physical violence occurs far later in an abusive relationship… or relationship abuse may never involve physical violence at all. To complicate matters, some of the early red flags of abuse may bear some similarity to early stages in a healthy relationship, e.g., social isolation can initially be misinterpreted for just wanting to be together or jealousy can start out looking like flattery. So what are some early signs to look out for?
·         Jealously and possessiveness
The individual may question their partner about time spent, conversations with or just looks at other men or women. This can seem sweet or harmless in the beginning, “You’re so good looking. I bet you turn heads whenever you walk into a room.”
·         Social Isolation
Limiting access to friends or family. “Your friends are trying to break us up. They’re just jealous of what a great relationship we have. I don’t want to hang with them. I just want to be with you.”
·         Moving the relationship too fast
“From the minute I met you I knew you were the one.”
·         Frequently calling or texting
        Initially this can look harmless, “I’m just calling to say I’m thinking about you”, but over time can increase to monitoring the partner’s every move.
·         Controlling behaviors
Criticizing how the partner dresses or acts, limiting his/her ability to engage in favorite pastimes. Put downs, criticisms or blaming the partner.
·         ‘Play’ fighting or ‘playful’ use of physical force
·         Rigid gender-defined roles
·         Hypersensitivity or threats to harm self if the partner doesn’t act as expected.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is Fox News Right? Schools Don't See Dating Violence as a Priority?

The Fox News article begins, "Despite research showing up to a third of U.S. teens experience dating violence... a majority of high schools don't have procedures or trained staff to deal with the issue."

The article continues that counselors want to help but lack training. In fact researchers found that when given a test about knowledge about dating violence, counselors only answered about half the questions correctly… even though in the past two years 61% had helped a teen dating violence victim.

It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that schools aren’t doing their job. I disagree. The burden on schools is enormous; academics can be overshadowed with ever increasing demands to educate about: drug abuse prevention, healthy eating, not texting while driving, the importance of civic engagement and volunteering, pregnancy prevention, global warming, and general character education. Who has time left for chemistry, calculus, Shakespeare or critical thinking?

Yet kids spend a large part of their lives in school; the researchers’ finding that kids “are more likely to reach out to peers or perhaps an adult at school… than they are to parents” makes sense. So what’s the solution? Let’s talk about dating violence with teens… not just when there is a concern, but as part of our everyday conversation about relationships. These conversations can happen in school, but also at home, in the media, as part of Scouting, in Church or synagogue, between friends. Talk about it today... need help starting the conversation? Here’s two short videos to watch the discussion.

As always DVRC provides no-cost assistance to help victims of relationship violence as well as support for parents, friends or others who are concerned for someone who is experience abuse. Call our 24/7 hotline at 518-584-8188 … we can help.

Tomorrow’s post:
Red flags that a dating relationship may be abusive.