On Point with Tom Ashbrook of NPR

School shootings and the shadow of youth violence around them are very much in the news these days. In the last decade — from Columbine, to Amish country, to last week’s deadly shooting in a Cleveland school and images of an angry Philadelphia teen’s shocking arsenal — the headlines have become almost routine. Gun. School. Mayhem. It’s hard for adults to read. But what is it like for kids to see it on the news and fear its possibility in their own school hallways? We’ve asked them. This hour, in a special co-production of On Point and Youth Radio: what American kids think about American school violence. Guests: Drew Koncz, clinical social worker and safety coordinator at the Humanities Prepa


“Babe can you put your phone away for a minute I am trying to talk to you” We have probably said this. We have all probably had this said to us. Some of us are digital natives- we grew up glued to a screen, and some of us are digital immigrants awkwardly attached to our devices like scrambling to keep up voyeurs. If we took a google picture of Earth from space at any time of day we would see millions of stick figures hunched over tiny flickering boxes, as if their lives depended on it. The once evolutionary imperative for humans to walk upright is now solidly threatened. Follow this hunched bending pose for centuries and we most certainly will become large headed, folded up creatures, with

THE AHA! “RELATIONSHIP SKILLS” program for teens hits it out of the park

Sabrina says ” Why don’t they teach this in school since it is the most important thing in our lives? ” MaryLee says ” I don’t know what I would do without the support of this group” Brenda said “I was scared to walk in my own neighborhood until the group helped me find my voice and power” AHA! has been running “RELATIONSHIP SKILLS’ groups for young women( and also another for young men) for years based on a curriculum originally designed by Dr. Jennifer Freed, and continually modified by the AHA! staff and teens to fit the times and needs of each group. This last year AHA! received a research grant by the Susan Crown Exchange to study the effectiveness of the female teen group on the fol

AHA! breaks records in teaching social and emotional learning to 17 female teenagers.

Through the Susan Crown Exchange- AHA! was chosen out of 250 applicants, along with 7 other nationwide agencies, to receive a year long research grant to study our effectiveness in imparting social and emotional learning skills. The AHA! study focused on young women and “RELATIONSHIP SKILLS” in an original AHA! curriculum. The Weikart research study concluded that AHA! had hit it out of the park in terms of statistically proven results on the following social and emotional learning domains: EMPATHY, RESPONSIBILITY, TEAMWORK, PROBLEM SOLVING, EMOTION MANAGEMENT, and INITIATIVE. On January 25th 2016 AHA! joins fellow organizations to launch PREPARING YOUTH TO THRIVE:PROMISING PRACTICES IN SO

Redefining Excellence

Today, education is geared toward testing, achieving, and aiming to be someone ultimately recognized for talent, position, status, and/or wealth. Youth and parents are perpetually bombarded with messages that they must climb certain very particular ladders to be successful. Lost are the days when each person was valued alike for the part they played in their local community: the baker, the seamstress, the plumber, the doctor, the grocer, the mechanic, the engineer, etc. Outdoor playdates and neighborhood parties have often been replaced by a web of disconnected people staring at flat screens. Stories of success now mostly emphasize celebrity or wealth at the expense of effort and ethics. Com


As we age we decline. We sag. We fall. We bend like gorgeous gnarled branches. The youthful ego does not enjoy going down. That ego wants to be lifted and admired and respected and bejeweled. As we approach the last thirty, or forty yard line, we are used to a certain amount of visibility in the public domain. We have been known for our accomplishments, whatever heights we may have climbed and our roles as Nurturers, and Doers. We are measured by others in the outer world by how we act and how we look, and our place in the social order. We are seen by what we have done with our lives. But as our bodies soften and our exterior grows creases and cracks we have a choice to make. Will we

Women of Inspiration awarded by GIRLS INC

Women of Inspiration awarded by GIRLS INC, from left, Dr. Jennifer Freed and Rendy Freedman of AHA!, Michelle Apodaca of Deckers and Donna Jordan, first female mayor of Carpinteria and co-founder of Carpinteria Beautiful. (Photo by Melissa Walker / Noozhawk)

A Therapist’s View Inside the High Schools

A Therapist’s View Inside the High Schools After 30 years working as a psychotherapist and leader of youth programs I have come to believe that even though the gay/lesbian/bi/transgender movement has made enormous strides politically, many teenagers are still tormented by virulent homophobia and sexism in secondary schools. Perhaps the most insidious and prevalent expression of this social oppression comes in the form of gender expectations. Young males and females who deviate from prescribed gender roles or behavioral mannerisms encounter swift, consistent, and cruel social hazing from many of their peers. I know young men who identify as heterosexual and have what are considered “effeminat

Freed and Lowenstein | Befriending the teenager

A group of teenagers sits in a circle. Typical teenagers, they span the spectrum of race and ethnicity, ages and economic groups, dress and appearance. They are white, brown, black, and Asian; dressed in designer fashions, folded into slouchy sweats; straight, gay, closeted; distracted, focused; trying to stay off drugs, grieving, animated, fighting their parents, failing school, high-achieving, wishing they were somewhere else, excited that they’re here because they’ve been looking forward to group all week. Among them sit three adults. These are facilitators, and they’re guiding the teens through a process used to open the meetings for which this group convenes once a week. The facilitator


AHA! and Santa Barbara High School collaborate together to create the first club of its kind. Peace Builders Club’s objective is to building a better, safer, peaceful, and loving community within the schools halls. Peace Builders Club AHA! and Santa Barbara High School collaborate together to create the first club of its kind. Peace Builders Club’s objective is to building a better, safer, peaceful, and loving community within the schools halls. AHA!: http://ahasb.org/ SBHS: http://www.sbdons.org/ Music: Take a Walk (instrumental version)-Originally by Passion Pit Edited and Produced by Vera Lopez Shot by Vera Lopez

Creating Possibilities

When we approach any situation with a right/wrong attitude we create a split between ourselves and others Freedom is created by the imagining of going beyond right and wrong to a place where we invent things that empower ourselves and others. Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Ideas, language, even the phrase each other doesn’t make any sense. – (Sufi Poet Rumi) What Rumi is referring to is the space for possibility to arise from wonder and curiosity instead of condemnation and righteousness. When I say “I am right” I judge you. When I say I feel hurt, I fee


You don’t have to be good, disciplined, or even brilliant to be creative You just need to play Our imagination is limitless There is no gate, no fence, no wall, and no one who can limit what we imagine Consider for one moment that what other people think of you is none of your business Be like a child and play with colors because it is fun Sing out loud because it feels good Talk to an imaginary lion because it makes you giggle Dance like a dweeb because your body likes to wiggle Creativity is a gateway drug to happiness A young friend of mine named emilina said ” when you are in a dark place-just create!” To joyfully create requires no consideration for the endgame It is the sheer proc

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