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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.

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.

 

 

 

Why not a .com?

When you clicked on this title, perhaps you were expecting some enlightening research on web domains, and whether or not your business web domain will impact your site traffic.  While this blog might not contain that information, rest assured that what you are about to read definitely impacts you!

The education system in the United States has roots to the colonial times, when education was targeted for white male land owners, and focused on preparation to better understand religious doctrine.  By the early 1900’s this focus shifted with the Progressive era, and our educational system was seen by government and urban leaders as a way to prepare individuals for blue-collar work in factories.  This focus has remained, one of the reasons our school curriculum is primarily focused in math, science and technology.

If you are a business owner, right about now you are wondering why this information impacts you… well, if you employee anyone other than your self, or your customer base includes anyone under 80, keep reading…

Our economy in 2017 looks very different from the one 50 years ago.  As our nation has moved from an industrial economy to an information economy, our expectations of our school systems really haven’t changed. We still expect that individuals with a High School Diploma or GED will have the requisite skills needed to be successful at most entry-level jobs. The problem with this expectation is that those entry-level jobs have changed drastically over the last 2 decades, and our current education system doesn’t really prepare students for their future in the job market.  As The Fiscal Times recently put it “nearly three-quarters of hiring managers complain that millennials – even those with college degrees – aren’t prepared for the job market and lack an adequate ‘work ethic.'”

This means that as students navigate an education system that focuses on standardized test scores instead of what happens in today’s job market, we will continue to face a dearth of individuals that are prepared to work, improve, and earn salaries that will help continue to drive our economy.  That is where the importance of “.us” comes in… if we want a future work force that is prepared for our current economy, it will take a village to drive the changes we need to ensure this preparation.

According to Mother Jones magazine, most students will take 113 standardized tests in the school life.  In Texas this means that more than 50% of high school graduates would have FAILED the writing portion of their standardized tests.  With more and more jobs that require customer service and sales skills, the ability for individuals to clearly communicate with others is of utmost importance.  We have to do better in preparing todays children in reading and WRITING.

As part of this focus, TGIM Digital Publishing is offering Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a way for students to increase their scores in Writing on standardized tests like the STAAR test administered here in Texas.  An overwhelming number of students, even in high school, struggle with Essay writing, a component that represents 26% of an individuals test scores.

This program is proven as a viable option to increase a students writing ability, and has shown to help improve educational outcomes, and Essay scores on standardized test.  Currently, TGIM offers these workshops to schools at no charge to students.  Participants not only receive tutoring, but important skills in customer service and sales through participation in this program.  As a business owner this means a better prepared future workforce.  A better prepared workforce means better wages and more money in the economy, which is a win for all of us.

indiegogo-buttonAs anyone knows, offering services like this does have a cost, even when it isn’t passed on to participants.  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. Your contribution today helps to ensure youth in your community continue to access a program that offers better educational outcomes than school alone.  As the Will Stegerson foundation reminds us,  “In order to reach a kid, you’ve got the meet them where they are. And if you can meet them where they are, then you can take them somewhere else.”  Help www.tgimonline.US take our next generation of students to places that our .com can’t. Back our INDIEGOGO campaign today.

 

Expose Writing for the Soul Workshop™ to Your Students!

“I loved the workshop and the structure. The facilitators where awesome and knowledgeable! The children stayed active, and enjoyed participating. Eric L. Jones, Sr. was very articulate and heartfelt about his message. Adonis Reddick helped, and structured the North County workshop. He helped the children on tasks, and Eric stayed focused on the kids. The workshop is truly a God send, and can truly help children express their emotions and feelings.” -Erica Phillips, Partners in Policymaking

Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers schools, churches, and nonprofits a unique opportunity to go above and beyond the Common Core Standards in helping students create “habits of mind” -both intellectually and emotionally. Aligned to the same principles as the Common Core, our curriculum walks students through an entirely new set of skills. Skills like: creative writing, storytelling, public speaking -even marketing and sales of the work they write.  The best part is that during our workshop students are immersed in a one of a kind writing as therapy program that helps them to get what is on the inside …out.

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. Dr. Stevie Dawn agrees with us, which is why TGIM included her in our certification process and curriculum. As an expert on Emotional Intelligence, here’s what she said:

“Human beings have emotions. When we fight our emotions, we usually end up getting ourselves in trouble. Experiencing the emotion is one thing; using emotions to make decisions is a whole other thing. You need to be able to experience the emotion and be aware enough to identify the emotion you are feeling. This allows you to be more authentic and honest with yourself and to increase your self-confidence and self-esteem.”Stevie Dawn Inspires

Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers students the opportunity to put their learning into action, to become published authors and to build their financial independence.  In addition to this impact on students, Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers school districts the resources to adapt the curriculum to their specific district, school, or even individual students needs. Our curriculum includes adapted lesson plans and activities for Individuals with Differential Abilities, focused on what they can accomplish, not their “special needs.”

Certification
Leora Jackson (right) completed the required certification to offer Writing for the Soul Workshop™ in Fayetteville, AR

Audience: Youth with Adult Responsibilities

Length of Workshop(s): Two day workshop.  Each day consists of 3 hours, 1/2 day or full day (no deference in price, only deference is the amount of content you receive)

Max Class Size: 20 (If you have more than 20 participants, you must provide additional volunteers to help with with participants.)

Grab the tools you were never taught in schools. Learn exercises and writing techniques to sharpen your skills and rescue you from writer’s block. You’ve got amazing writing inside of you. Uncover it. Discover it. You have permission to explore, fail and soar to writing abilities you never thought you had. Everyone produces at least one new piece in 55 minutes with the option of group publishing and to earn royalties.

Audience: 5th – 12th Grade

Length of Workshop(s): Two day workshop.  Each day consists of 3 hours, 1/2 day or full day (no deference in price, only deference is the amount of content you receive)

Max Class Size: 20 (If you have more than 20 participants, you must provide additional volunteers to help with with participants.)

This workshop will grab even the most difficult students’ attention and equip them with simple, powerful tools that make their writing spring to life. Students go from hating writing to loving it. Those who love writing do it better. Everyone produces at least one new piece in 55 minutes with the option of group publishing and to earn royalties.

*Note: Price does not include travel.

While it may seem incredible that a writing workshop can impact behavior so dramatically, Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is more than just a writing workshop, it is an opportunity for individuals to see a different perspective, to interact with others that truly care about them and their story, and to know that telling their story opens up new opportunities.

Book a Writing for the Soul Workshop™ Expo today for only $1,499 and let us pair you with a certified provider to conduct a two-day workshop experience.  If you like the Expo, then add our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program as a viable component to what your organization already has in place, or donate it to a local nonprofit in your community. We’ve developed certifications for online or onsite delivery with timelines that meet your organization’s needs.

Contact us at 1.682.235.TGIM (8446) Expo, or to discuss implementing our program as a viable component to what your school or organization already has in place.