NEWS AND PHOTOS
75% SUCCESS AS ‘TUG OF LIFE’ EMPOWERS LEARNERS TO MAKE BETTER LIFE CHOICES
The Tug of Life®, a groundbreaking book addresses the challenges faced by today’s young people, and empowers the youth to take charge of their lives by making life-enriching choices. Alcohol and drug abuse, bullying, promiscuity and gangsterism are some of the key issues addressed by the Tug of Life. Steenberg High school in the Cape was selected for a monitored pilot to measure the programme’s impact on 480 Grade 8 and 9 learners, particularly where choices, goals and problem solving are concerned.
A summary of the outstanding results shows that after being introduced to the Tug of Life®concept:
1. More than 75% of the programme participants feel that the programme assisted them with the choices and consequences thereof in their lives.
2. More than 75% of the programme participants feel empowered to achieve their goals after being in the programme – they therefore have hope and they developed a better future perspective.
3. More than 70% of the participants feel they can effectively solve their problems after being in the programme.
4. More than 70% feel that the Tug of Life ‘characters’ helped them in their lives and helped them to understand their choices more clearly.
In addition, after participating in the Tug of Life®, the programme participants developed the following skills:
- Enhanced self-image, self-esteem and self-respect
- More self-confidence
- More assertive
- Making better choices
- Positive future perspective
- Developed hope
- Empathy for others ( they want to help and assist others)
- More honest and trustworthy
The Tug of Life is simple and fun, and totally flexible in how it is applied, and it assists in drawing up an effective ‘game plan for life’. As expressed by Mr Andre Kraak, principal of Steenberg High, “the beauty of Tug of Life is its simplicity and the fact that it can be applied within minutes of a brief introduction. There are no deadlines or time-consuming demands on the educators – it’s just a thought process and a vocabulary that everyone, irrespective of age, can apply to every situation in their life. I wish I’d had this tool a long time ago, it would have changed my life!’”
The Tug of Life results are powerful and exciting. In the words of school principals, company directors and church leaders (including Cardinal Wilfrid Napier) “this is what South Africa needs!”.
Photo: When the programme was launched at Steenberg High in 2015, Life Talk Forum and author Izabella Gates donated 530 Tug of Life books to the Grade 8 and 9 learners and educators
New Findings on Eating Disorders
In an article written by Jennifer Lewis for Life Talk Forum she covers information which is relevant for all parents, irrespective of the country you’re in. Jen writes “As parents, it is vital to be up-to-date with respect to the subject of eating disorders, a malaise affecting up to 24 million people of all ages and genders. Eating disorders are far more prevalent than many of us realize and they strike early in life; 95 per cent of all people with this condition first develop it between the ages of 16 and 20. Anorexia nervosa is currently the third most common chronic illness among teens, while 25 per cent of females in college display bulimic behaviours.
“Much has changed in respect to the way we approach eating disorders. If in the past, they were erroneously blamed on ‘perfectionist parenting’, today, we have a far greater understanding of the subject; we know, for instance, that eating disorders can have genetic causes as well as psychological and physiological ones. As we begin to debunk the many myths that surround the subject, we also arm ourselves with vital tools to combat these life-threatening disorders. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Other Eating Disorders, the death rate for anorexia is 12 times higher than all the other causes for females aged 15-24 put together. In this post, we therefore highlight some of the most recent findings regarding the subject of eating disorders:
- More males are now being diagnosed with an eating disorder: One in every 10 cases of eating disorders involves a male; 10 million males in America develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives. One study published in JAMA Pediatrics involving 5,527 teenage males from across the US, found that 17.9 per cent of adolescent boys were extremely concerned about their weight and body shape. These boys were more likely to indulge in dangerous behaviours like drug use and binge drinking. Despite the findings, doctors are far less likely to make a proper diagnosis, because of the preconceived notion that eating disorders are an exclusively female concern. Males may also delay seeking treatment because of a sense of shame or because behaviour such as bingeing tends to be seen as more ‘normal’ in males. If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, seek help immediately, since early treatment is associated with better outcomes.
- More and more cases of binge eating disorder and EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified) are being diagnosed. Eating disorders are not limited to anorexia and bulimia. Be on the lookout for bingeing, since it has serious consequences for children’s health (when purging occurs after a bingeing episode, the disorder is classified as bulimia).
- The rates of eating disorders have been found to be higher in transgender, and non-transgender lesbian, gay and bisexual students, according to a study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, and Washington University of Medicine in St. Louis.
- Patients with eating disorders are at a higher risk for autoimmune disorders, according to a study by researchers at the University of Helsinki. The study showed that that 8.9 per cent of all patients with eating disorders had one or more autoimmune diseases. The prevalence of these autoimmune disorders were observable even before patients received treatment for their eating disorder, and at the culmination of the follow-up period.
- Researchers have found that alcohol abuse and eating disorders share a genetic link. Their study, published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, showed that people with alcohol disorders may be more likely to develop an eating disorder, and vice-versa.
- Anorexia is fueled by pride about weight loss: Those in the throes of anorexia nervosa struggle with negative emotions, but a new study published in Clinical Psychological Science shows that the condition is exacerbated by the emotionally ‘positive’ emotion of pride about being able to take weight off and maintain weight loss. For these women, the sensation of being in control is extremely gratifying. Therefore, the aim of therapists should be to connect these positive emotions to achievements that lie outside the scope of body shape, or weight loss or gain.
- Facebook users are more likely to develop eating disorders: Researchers at the University of Haifa have found that the more time adolescent girls spend using Facebook, the greater are their chance of having a negative body image and of developing eating disorders. To battle this trend, limit social network use to a reasonable level and empower your children by teaching them about the nature of the media and by engaging them in important discussions about the portrayal of the female and male physique in the media, and the effect it can have on their self-confidence.”
To all young people
ANTI DRUG ALLIANCE SURVEY 2012.
Is legalizing drugs really our only option??
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Peer pressure education programme gives learners the upper hand
Our youth , especially teens, are faced with serious challenges on a daily basis. From browsing the Internet, to bullying, joining gangs and drug abuse have grave consequences; unfortunately our youngsters are not necessarily equipped emotionally to stand up for themselves and realise their dreams when faced with these pressures from their peers .
Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev – local bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in the Western and Northern Cape) takes this very seriously and have partnered with Life Talk to sponsor life skills and educational talks to previously disadvantaged Western Cape schools about the dangers of modern day temptation, and how to deal with these situations.
Almost 90 Grade 7’s from Wavecrest Primary School in Mitchells Plain were recently treated to a talk by industry experts about the dangers of peer pressure at school. The learners, aged between 11 and 13, talked actively about the challenges they face in their everyday lives, and learnt a few techniques to help them deal with adverse situations in the future. The talk was hosted at PenBev’s Coke Zone, in Parow which is an auditorium dedicated to educational programmes.
Priscilla Hendricks, PenBev’s School Co-ordinator of the Life Talk sessions comments, “We are concerned about the difficulties facing the youth of today - our future leaders, so we place great importance on conducting these educational programmes, to help the learners cope with peer pressure and to know how to deal with challenges that they may, or may already have faced. We have offered these talks to disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape for the past 2 years and look forward to touching the lives of many youths in the future. This initiative forms part of PenBev’s ‘me (people), we (community), world (environment)’ initiative, which aims to uplift the people and environment in which we operate in and who have supported us for many years.”
During the talk, learners had to envisage who they wanted to be when they grew up (their goal person) and base all decisions on whether their actions will help bring them closer or further away from achieving this. Life Talk focusses on challenges such as peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, precarious information found on the Internet, chat room risks, hubbly bubbly, sexual activities and gangs. The dangers of each of these are elaborated on and methods to overcome these issues are provided during the talk.
“We predominantly target pre-teen learners for the talk, before they reach the age where the real dangers in life are introduced to them. It’s important for us to make them comfortable to talk about these matters in an environment where no judgement is made,” says Natasha Swift, Life Talk’s Cape Town representative who conducts the talks.
After the talk, learners are given refreshments while listening to an overview of how the production process works at the bottling plant, and how their favourite drink is made.
HOW TO TALK STD’S WITH YOUR TEEN
In an article written for Life Talk by Jennifer Lewis, Jen says: “For many parents, discussing sexual health with their teenagers isn’t the most comfortable of topics. With boundaries blurred between what kids learn at home, in the classroom and in the school yard it can be easy to mistake just how much (or little) your teenager may know when it comes to keeping safe. But with one US federal study suggesting that a shocking 1 in 4 US teenagers has a sexually transmitted disease, it has never been more vital in protecting our children or at least giving them the knowledge to be able to protect themselves through safe sex and STI screening (not available in SA). You are their main educator. Having ‘that chat’ can be hard and embarrassing for both parties. But there are some tips to make it easier and more effective so that ultimately your teenager can feel able to open up to you and discuss any queries or concerns they may have. Ideally ‘the chat’ will be ongoing and they will feel able to come to you again and again with their concerns.
“Occasionally the subject might pop up and you will have to tackle it unprepared, but where possible it is good to plan ahead. Decide how you will approach the topic and set the scene – preferably at a time and place when you won’t be disturbed. Think about what you want to say and how you want to say it otherwise you may become flustered. Perhaps discuss what you want to say with your spouse, family member or friend and ask for their input and advice. When the time comes all of this will help you to feel more relaxed and confident which will, in turn, help your teenager feel more comfortable and able to open up to you.
Don’t lecture or flip out
“For some parents, the prospect of their kids having sex can be an upsetting thought. If you don’t know that your teenager has engaged in unprotected sexual activity and they come to you for advice then your natural first reaction may be shock, disapproval or even anger. If you find yourself in this situation then try to hold back, take five and think of the implications of what you are about to do. Sure you can lecture them or even punish them but if you do then the chances are that they will never come to you for advice on this matter again. They will carry on with their behaviour but you will simply know nothing about it and this can be damaging, not only for your relationship, but ultimately for their health. Instead talk to them and allow them to talk to you. Ask them about the situation and if they are happy and in love with their partner. Then go on to explain to them about the potential health risks of unprotected sex in a calm and conversational way – do not lecture or dictate to them. It simply won’t work.
Be clued up
“OK so you don’t need to be an expert on sexual health, but you do need to know the basics. One of the leading reasons that STDs are so high in teenagers, according to the aforementioned study, is that many are unaware that infections can be passed in other ways than intercourse. You need to have all the relevant facts to hand in order to make an accurate and well balanced point to them so if you are unsure, or perhaps just a little rusty on your facts and figures, then do your research beforehand. Remember that methods of birth control can alter and improve so a trip to your doctors surgery beforehand for some useful leaflets could be helpful. If your teenager comes up with a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know. Bluffing your way through it may result in them getting incorrect information. Instead, find a way that you can discover the answer together.
Use humour – to an extent
“Keep the mood light – it will put you both at ease. Tell your teen that you’re uneasy about having ‘the chat’ and assure them that you know they probably are too. A few little jokes will make the conversation seem lighter but remember that this is also a serious subject that could impact on their future health so make sure that they know they need to take your point seriously too.
“The most important part of the conversation is leaving your teen feeling happy and reassured in all possible ways. Assure them to begin with that feelings of sexual desire are normal and nothing to be ashamed about but that the consequences of unprotected sexual health can be serious. There are things that they can do to prevent these but even if they mess up there is generally help out there if they are willing to ask for it. Reassuring them that it is OK to speak about these things and ask for help is undoubtedly the best conclusion for this type of conversation.”
NEW COMMUNITY EDUCATION PROGRAMME HELPS LEARNERS WITHSTAND PEER PRESSURE 24 Jun 2013
The youth of today, especially teenagers, face extreme peer pressure to engage in activities that can have severe consequences, for example, gang-related activities or drug abuse. However, youngsters are not necessarily equipped with the skills to resist these pressures or stand up to bullies. Peninsula Beverage Company (PenBev - local bottler and distributor of The Coca-Cola Company products in the Western and Northern Cape) takes this very seriously and has partnered with Life Talk to sponsor life skills and educational talks to previously disadvantaged Western Cape schools about the dangers of modern day temptation, and how to deal with these situations.
Almost 90 Grade 7s from Wavecrest Primary School in Mitchells Plain were recently treated to a talk by industry experts about the dangers of peer pressure at school. The learners, aged between 11 and 13, talked actively about the challenges they face in their everyday lives, and learnt a few techniques to help them deal with adverse situations in the future. The talk was hosted at PenBev’s Coke Zone in Parow which is an auditorium dedicated to educational programmes.
Priscilla Hendricks, PenBev’s school co-ordinator of the Life Talk sessions comments, "We are concerned about the difficulties facing the youth of today - our future leaders, so we place great importance on conducting these educational programmes, to help the learners cope with peer pressure and to know how to deal with challenges that they may, or may already have faced. We have offered these talks to disadvantaged schools in the Western Cape for the past 2 years and look forward to touching the lives of many youths in the future. This initiative forms part of PenBevs me (people), we (community), world (environment) initiative, which aims to uplift the people and environment in which we operate and who have supported us for many years."
During the talk, learners had to envisage who they wanted to be when they grew up (their goal person) and base all decisions on whether their actions will help bring them closer or further away from achieving this. Life Talk focusses on challenges such as peer pressure, alcohol, drugs, precarious information found on the internet, chat room risks, hubbly-bubbly, sexual activities and gangs. The dangers of each of these are elaborated on and methods to overcome these issues are provided during the talk.
"We predominantly target pre-teen learners for the talk, before they reach the age where the real dangers in life are introduced to them. It’s important for us to make them comfortable to talk about these matters in an environment where no judgement is made," says Natasha Swift, Life Talk’s Cape Town representative who conducts the talks. After the talk, learners are given refreshments while listening to an overview of how the production process works at the bottling plant, and how their favourite drink is made.
SHOULD YOU BE WORRIED ABOUT PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE?