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It’s A Disease NOT a Decision

Imagine what would happen if you saw a teen athlete suffer a severe compound fracture, and then overheard the coach say “just shake it off… the pain is all in your head anyway.”  Or perhaps a father and son talking about the child’s recent cancer diagnosis, deciding not to treat the cancer because “I don’t want my friends to make fun of me for getting sick.”  For most of us, these conversations would seem ridiculous, because we don’t shame people who have an accident, or are diagnosed with cancer or diabetes; in fact, we rally around these individuals, providing comfort and support.

Sadly, these mindsets don’t hold true when it comes to our mental and emotional diseases, especially for children. Most people don’t think that children can suffer from things like depression; the reality is that 1 in 5 children will experience depression and other types of mental illnesses, but only 22% will receive treatment.  In many areas in the United States, there is a shortage of mental health professionals, with some states having only 1 mental health provider per 1,000 people.  Those who do receive treatment are stigmatized if they talk about their condition.  People with cancer are sick… but people with a mental illness are “crazy” making it shameful to admit and address mental illness.

Between the stigma of mental illness, and a lack of access to mental health professionals, youth face serious long term impacts due to mental illness, especially when it is unaddressed.

Mental Health has a direct long term correlation to physical health.  According to Health.gov “Mental health disorders also have a serious impact on physical health and are associated with the prevalence, progression, and outcome of some of today’s most pressing chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Mental health disorders can have harmful and long-lasting effects—including high psychosocial and economic costs—not only for people living with the disorder, but also for their families, schools, workplaces, and communities.”

It is time that we start treating mental illness with the same attitudes as other long term, catastrophic diseases, like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  We need to ensure that youth who experience traumatic events like bullying, violent crime and natural disasters receive ALL the treatment that they need, adding mental triage to the physical triage we are familiar with.  We need to encourage our children to practice good MENTAL hygiene, in addition to taking care of their physical bodies.  Finally, we need to change the perception of mental illness away from some kind of shameful defect to what it truly is, a true physical problem that requires professional treatment, and long term support.

We offer Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a writing as therapy program. Our core program philosophy is based on the fact that powerful emotions have a powerful voice; and that when we get what is on the inside out, we take control of those feelings, and make smarter behavior choices as a result. Donors help us to reach youth actively engaged in at-risk behavior at no cost to them or their families. We understand that hurt people hurt people. No child is born bad. Help us continue our work around the US. Donate today.

TGIM says “Y.E.P.” to President Trump’s proposed 2018 Budget

No one wants to think that their tax money is being “wasted” through inefficient programs and bloated government agencies.  Making the government “efficient” sounds like a noble goal. Creating a new generation of jobless youth with fewer resources to learn marketable skills is the true result of the current proposed budget.  As reported by the Atlantic “The 2018 budget details around $500 million in cuts for the department (of Labor), which likely means that programs for disadvantaged workers, including seniors, youths, and those with disabilities, would be reduced or completely eliminated. The Senior Community Service Employment Program, training grants at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and technical-assistance grants at the Office of Disability Employment Policy would all disappear. Job-training centers for disadvantaged children would be shuttered and funding for more general job-training and employment services would move from the federal budget to states.”

In addition, the new budget also cuts after school programs that could prevent youth from falling through the gaps in the first place.  This means that even more youth impacted by poverty are less likely to change their outcomes without small businesses stepping forward with targeted efforts to impact the Youth Unemployment Rate.  This is one of the key reasons that TGIM Digital Publishing is working to launch Y.E.P. as a component to our Affiliates Program.

Our Presentation

When you think about the dire economic and social picture facing youth around the world today, it’s clear that we need to do better.  Around the globe, communities face government corruption, lack social services, and have growing unemployment issues in their youth populations.  Some communities are further devastated by natural disasters, and civil wars.  Impacting youth and creating change will require out of the box solutions. We need For-Profit companies that have the heart to create change, and that are willing to accept a mission that provides what our society needs.  We need companies who know that helping our youth is just as important as profits.  We need companies that are willing to focus on our society as humans, not just consumers. Companies that have a mission, that have a heart, and that produce results …like us. Call us at: 682.235.TGIM (8446) for more information and to discuss ROI.

Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy

“When I was a child, I used to sit on the floor at my grandmother’s feet while she told me stories of her life. She told me to never forget, but I only remember a few. She expressed how she had to defend herself because she was small. Through that story, I learned that I must use more than my fist; I must use my head instead. I sometimes wish I could remember more of those stories.” –Renée Walker, TGIM Publisher

Do you have stories and life lessons to leave to your loved ones? What if there was a way to leave “Timeless Memories” for your family?

For the first time in the history of our company, we are in position to impact four generations through our writing program. See, we’ve adapted our curricula to be accessed in a whole new exciting way. We call it: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Legacy. This workshop allows all ages to leave a footprint of their history to this generation by submitting their stories during our writing program in Waco, Texas. Their stories will be published in ‘Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation’.  The book is set for release July 7, 2017. Listen to what a couple of excited writers are saying about our Legacy Program:

More Testimonials:

“I enjoyed so much… The Writing for the Soul Workshop presented by TGIM Digital Publishing. Bro. Eric L. Jones along with Renée Walker were both very personable and transparent answering all our questions and giving good advice. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I signed up but I’m so glad I came to be a part. It is an excellent program.” – Jocelyn Long

“The Writing Workshop was very good. It is an enhancement to my writing. The Instructor, “Eric” was very good and inspiring. It was a very good session and I enjoyed it very much.” -Johnette Hunnicutt

“The program was a great experience. Because you share your personal story, it is enlightening and gives an opportunity to share with others. I believe it is a program that would be very beneficial to our youth.” -Florence Clarke

“The workshop today was on time as well as awesome. I learned so much in a short period of time and I feel encouraged to write more.” -Nettie Burton

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What’s your story?

We all have a story to tell. Let us help you tell yours. All ages are welcome to participate. You can share your story in memory of a loved one. Who knows …your story just may impact someone else’s life. Submit your short story, poem, music, and art to be included in our project for inclusion in the release of: ‘Timeless Memories: Our Legacy for Your Generation’.

Please do not submit manuscripts that contain any of the following: obscene or explicit material, unnecessary profanity, vulgarity, or inappropriate or graphic love scenes. Any material considered for publication that is found to be graphic  will require a mandatory edit of the material and may result in a rejection of the material.

Please note that we do not publish graphic material. Therefore, you may be asked to remove graphic material or language.

Submitting your story is easy! Simply use the Contact Form below, or send your story to our publisher via email at: submissions@tgimonline.us.  Everyone who submits their story will receive a complimentary Pieces of Me Anniversary Edition eBook for participating.

 

 

Hispanic Youth: Reversing the Damage of Adverse Experiences

Image result for children in traumatic circumstancesCan you imagine what it would be like to grow up in an area of armed conflict?  How it might feel as a child to deal with a constant threat of death, the stress of being surrounded by violence and loss?

What if I told you that almost one in four children in the United States today are in home situations just that stressful? That almost 50% of our children will experience at least one adverse childhood experience that impacts their ability to learn?  Children that have these experiences have higher risks of long-term diseases, such as diabetes, depression, asthma and high blood pressure due to the impacts of stress hormones on developing bodies.  It isn’t hard to understand that children in a constant stressful situation have higher rates of discipline issues, and are more likely to be diagnosed with ADD and ADHD or Oppositional Defiance Disorder.  To top it all off, the disciplinary systems in today’s schools will then re-traumatize the same child dealing with the behavioral issues spawned by the uncontrollable environment.

While these numbers are dire, Hispanic children in the United States are 38% more download-1likely to experience these adverse circumstances, according to a 2016 study in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine, when you add in the fact that more than 17.9 MILLION Hispanics are under the age of 18, this is a group that needs additional focus now to reduce the long-term impacts of trauma.

According to the last census data, Hispanics are the fastest growing group in the United States, and in Texas.  TGIM Digital Publishing understands how a Trauma Informed approach is imperative; this is why we are focusing our outreach efforts in Hispanic populations, ensuring a unique support approach to begin healing and empowering the next generation of Hispanic youth, through Writing for the Soul Workshop™.

Launch Our Workshop in Your Community

Many of the stories we collect through the workshop are written in Spanish, and we’re working to offer Writing for the Soul Workshop™ in Spanish, creating a multi-lingual support and mentoring system to support this population of at risk youth. We need your help to ensure that students here in Texas and around the world maintain access to Writing for the Soul Workshop™, and all of the wow factors available. Offering our program in Spanish helps to ensure youth in your community continue to access a program that offers better educational outcomes than school alone.  Through our Trauma Informed Approach, these youth will have access to the tools they need to reverse the damage of their adverse experiences and empower them to achieve the outcomes they dream of. Click here for more information on Writing for the Soul Workshop™, or use the Contact Form below to schedule a phone call to discuss implementing our program to your community.

 

Are you using a trauma informed approach?

In our current school system, almost 50% of all children have experienced at least one ACE or Adverse Childhood Experience.  These include things like having a parent that is dependent on drugs or alcohol, abuse, neglect, and a dangerous environment.  Although these may sound like things only experienced in an urban, or high poverty area, the statistics are alarmingly clear.

Dr. Christina Bethell, Director of the National Maternal and Child Health Data Resource Center states,  “If more prevention, trauma-healing and resiliency training programs aren’t provided for children who have experienced trauma, and if our educational, juvenile justice, mental health and medical systems are not changed to stop traumatizing already traumatized children, many of the nation’s children are likely to suffer chronic disease and mental illness. Not only will their lives be difficult, but the nation’s already high health care costs will soar even higher.”

With the increase in school violence, many schools adopted a “zero tolerance” approach, which created an environment that actually increases the likelihood of issues, and creates further damage to already traumatized youth.  This is not a “feel good” approach, as science can now quantify that children exposed to the constant stress of an adverse environment.   Meg Walkley, MSW and Tory L,. Cox, LCSW / PPS, discuss the effects of trauma on the development of children and adolescents, stating “Trauma exposed youth are often hyper-vigilant, making it easy for them to become overwhelmed and undermining their capacity for self-regulation and anger management.” Often times, this leads to children being misdiagnosed with things like ADD, ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. This leads to medications that simply address symptoms, and not the root cause.

Our Trauma Informed Approach

Creating a trauma informed approach starts with changing the dialogue around behavioral issues.  Instead of asking the question, “What’s wrong with him/her?” the real question is “what happened to him/her?” This is where Writing for the Soul Workshop™ emerges as a viable component for organizations and schools to help better work with trauma impacted youth.  As a writing as therapy program, our workshop goes a step further than simply understanding what is driving behavior, we are able to promote a safe environment needed for healing, plus give at risk youth something no other program can… empowerment.  This is a key in truly changing outcomes for trauma impacted youth.  Instead of the constant stress of a “fight or flight” environment, our participants have the potential for financial independence not present in other programs.  This means better emotional outcomes, and better overall outcomes as well.  Teachers can better understand how traditional disciplinary approaches are seen as combative to trauma impacted youth, creating a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to youth dropping out of school, or getting into legal trouble, or both.

In schools that have already adopted a trauma informed approach, the results have been amazing.  Arnone Elementary, for example, which has 826 students from kindergarten through 5th grade, 86 percent of which are minorities, has seen a 40 percent drop in suspensions after implementing a trauma informed approach. When Lincoln High School  implemented a trauma-informed approach, suspensions dropped by 83 percent and expulsions dropped by 40 percent in the year following implementation.

An estimated two in three children are exposed to traumatic experiences that have the potential to impact brain development, social functioning, and ability to learn and engage in school. Recognizing and addressing this issue must become a focus for our educational system. Trauma-informed approaches, which have been supported by research evidence in fields such as mental health and child welfare, recognize and address the implications of traumatic experiences for students. Trauma has the potential to affect all students, and implementing a trauma-informed approach is imperative to change this cycle.  Test drive our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program to see  if it would be a viable component to what your school or organization already has in place. Call us at: (888) 682.TGIM (8446) Ext. 700 to schedule a free consultation today.

 

 

 

Bullying: Are you wearing your emotional armor?

Chances are, you have been or know someone who is being bullied. TGIM Digital Publishing is collecting stories about bullying for the next release in The Bully Diaries Series.  Our first release contains story after story of the emotional impacts of bullying.  Stories submitted by adults prove that bullying leaves lasting emotional scars. Stories submitted by youth experiencing bullying right now prove that we need education and programs to help them deal with their situation.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 50% of children are bullied and l0% are victims of bullying on a regular basis. A number of children and adolescents have reported that they suffered side effects of bullying – a drop in grades, an increase in anxiety, a loss of social life.  By far the toughest scars are the emotional ones. While not all bullying involves actual physical impacts, if you have been bullied you know the emotional impact it causes.

We want to equip our kids with some emotional armor against bullying.  Emotional armor helps deflect the impact of bullying, and then helps resolve the bullying by denying the bully the control they want over their victims.  We want everyone to share these tips with every child they know, so that they can build their emotional armor and lessen the wounds inflicted by the bullies that they will encounter.  The key to emotional armor is that you must wear it constantly.  Like physical armor could only protect the knight wearing it, emotional armor is only good when you use it.  While it may feel clunky at first, the more you “wear” your emotional armor, the more comfortable it becomes. Here are some key pieces of emotional armor:

Know Who to Blame

The bullied often feel that they have done something to “deserve” being bullied.  Most bullies are trying to make themselves feel more important. When they pick on someone else, it can make them feel big and powerful.  Reinforce the sense of self-worth for the youth that you interact with.  Let them know that they are unique and special, and that they don’t deserve to be in a situation where they are fearful or being hurt by another child, NO MATTER WHAT!

Stand Tall

Bullies pick on those that give the desired response of fear or capitulation.  Make sure children know that how they carry themselves physically can stop a bully before they even start.  Standing up straight, looking the bully in the eye, and not being afraid to expose the bullying to an adult are all ways that youth can show confidence that will help deflect bullying.  When you stand confident and strong, you feel confident and strong.

Control the Anger

It’s natural to get upset by the bully, but that’s what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Encourage kids to not react by crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but it’s a useful skill for keeping off of a bully’s radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice “cool down” strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths, or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a “poker face” until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).

Write About It!

We know through our experience in Writing for the  Soul Workshop™ that getting what is on the inside out is the first step to helps us handle emotions.  So many victims of bullying hide their experiences.  Encouraging a journal or a diary helps kids get their feelings out, even when they don’t have the confidence to tell an adult what is going on.  The more they express themselves on paper, the more confidence they will have in expressing their feelings to adults that can help address the problem.  Writing is the foundry of emotional armor, the more we express what we are feeling, the better equipped we are to handle it.

Share your Story

No one likes to feel alone.  Through sharing your story, victims of bullying understand that they are not alone, and that they can thrive and survive in circumstances that are painful.  Use the Contact Form below to share your story for publishing in #TheBullyDiaries Project next release, and we’ll give you an eBook of The Bully Diaries absolutely free!

About The Bully Diaries:

Chances are that you experienced bullying in your life. Whether your experience was as a victim, a bystander or the bully, if you search your memories, you will probably find instances when bullying was a part of your life. For many of us, these experiences have defined us and shaped us. Our experiences made us stronger, and helped us become who we are today.

When you are being bullied, it is hard to think about much more than getting through today. For others, there is no today. Their experience being bullied was too overwhelming, and drove them to a devastating and permanent solution to the temporary pain.

Through a community partnership with Stand for the Silent, Writing for the Soul Workshop collected stories, letters and poems from youth, teens and adults from around the world. These stories are pieces of lives impacted by bullying; written to show everyone affected by bullying that you are not alone, that you can survive the experience, that you are somebody.

A portion of the proceeds from the book sales of this edition goes to support Stand for the Silent. 

the-bully-diaries-cover-300dpi Details:

eBook: $11.99
Soft Cover: $16.99
Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Color: Black & White on White paper
Page Count: 202 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1539125297
ISBN-10: 1539125297
BISAC: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Literary
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Purchase a copy of the book or download the eBook and enjoy it from your favorite device today! Stay connected with updates about The Bully Diaries on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/TheBullyDiariesOfficialPage

Guidelines for Sharing Your Story

We are accepting short stories, art and poetry. Please do not submit manuscripts that contain any of the following: obscene or explicit material, unnecessary profanity, vulgarity, or inappropriate or graphic love scenes. Any material considered for publication that is found to be graphic  will require a mandatory edit of the material and may result in a rejection of the material.

Please note that we do not publish graphic material. Therefore, you may be asked to remove graphic material or language.

Again, submitting your story is easy! Simply use the Contact Form below, or send your story to us via email at: submissions@tgimonline.us.  Everyone who submits their story will receive a complimentary eBook of The Bully Diaries for participating.  Once your story is received and accepted for publishing, we’ll email you a Consent Form. All ages welcome to participate regardless of ability. Minors must get parent’s permission to participate.