Help Your Teen Develop a Healthy Body Image!

As kids enter their teenage years, it’s normal for them to pay more attention to their appearances. Why is this important to parents? Teens with a positive body image gain more than just confidence! High self-esteem leads to better relationships with peers and adults, and a more optimistic outlook on life. Additionally, a  recent study showed that the more teens were concerned about their body image, the more likely they were to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Read these tips on how to help your teen develop a positive body image:

  • Watch your language.  Reiterate to your teen that a healthy body is all that matters. Avoid using words that directly relate to weight like "fat" or "thin" and never poke fun at someone who is overweight. If your teen sees you do it, he or she will think it's ok to make fun of someone's weight.
  • Focus on what counts. Is your teen generous? Hard-working? Funny? Compliment them frequently on personality characteristics instead of physical ones. These kind words will help your teen feel better about themselves, which will translate to their opinions of their physical attributes as well. 
  • Practice what you preach. When it comes to a positive self-image, be a role model. Don't let your teen hear you insult your own appearance. Make sure to highlight the features that you love about yourself and this positivity will be sure to spread to your teen.
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Even if your teen is not overweight, exercising will help elevate moods and body image, as will eating healthy. Taking up a hobby, like playing a new sport or instrument, can also help teens develop self confidence which will lead to a postiive body image.

At LiveFree!, your teenagers are our top priority. We work to provide education, guidance, and support that keeps our teens safe and healthy during their adolescence. Learn more about our mission and vision on our website.

 

Preparing Your Teen for College

Do you have a teen graduating this year? The transition from high school to college can be a difficult and intimidating process for teenagers. Use these tips to help prepare your teen for the challenges ahead.

Have the Talk… Again

On college campuses, teens may be pressured to drink alcohol and do drugs to a greater extent than they were in high school. Even if you've already had the talk with your teens about staying away from alcohol and drugs, now is the time to reinforce your expectations. Try sharing your own personal stories about times you resisted peer pressure to relate to your teen on another level.

Research the College

Preparation is key. Once your teen has decided which college to attend, research what resources are available for your teen. Is there someone to talk to about peer pressure? Are there any fun activities on campus that don't involve alcohol? What steps do the college officials take to prevent underage drinking on campus? These are all important – and valid – questions to ask during campus visits. Once you've collected the information, be sure to sit down and share it with your teen. 

Stay Involved

After classes have started and your teen is settled in, stay involved! Take advantage of visiting days for parents to check on your teen and meet any new friends or roommates. Frequently ask about your teen's grades. Drinking in college tends to lead to a decline in grades, so keep your eyes open for this warning sign.

At LiveFree!, your teenagers are our top priority. We work to provide education, guidance, and support that keeps our teens safe and healthy during their adolescence. Learn more about our mission and vision on our website.

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Countryside High LiveFree! Club

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Q: What inspired you to join the LiveFree! Club in your school?

A:  My president from another club introduced it to me and I love the idea of helping people and setting a good example for the younger generation. Also, to set a good example for kids and help them find a positive view on life.

Q: What are some of the goals and accomplishments that your school’s LiveFree! Club focuses on?

A: We have done a couple of activities to advertise the negative effects of drugs and bring up the awareness of our school. We are also going to Elementary Schools to teach 4th Graders the negative effects of drugs and smoking and we aspire to spread the word further than the few we have gone too.

Q: As a member of LiveFree!, what kind of advice would you give to a friend or fellow student who is struggling with alcohol or drug use?

A:  I would guide them to a terminal that would be able to help or I might offer an alternative action and try to put them in the right direction of helping or hanging out with a different group.

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Q: What are you most proud of as a member of the LiveFree! community?

A: In LiveFree! I am able to display my righteousness and influence others through my good actions. Also I am proud to work with my fellow club members and other young kids and help them to decide what to do with their lives in a positive way.

Q: What kinds of hobbies and extracurricular activities do you all enjoy during your spare time?

A:   Studying, Robotics, math club, basketball, hanging out with friends, watching TV, and especially volunteering.

Q: What do you want to be when you enter a professional career?

A:  “I want to go into the Bio-tech and Bio-chem or Engineering fields”. – female student  “Mechanical Engineer”- male student

Q: What has been the most important lesson learned as a member of the LiveFree! club in your community?

A:  There is a difference one can make in their community and helping out is fun and beneficial for all.

Q: What has been the most important lesson learned as a member of the LiveFree!  club in your community?

A:  The most important lesson we have learned is to help out where we can and every action has an effect on the lives of those involved. 

Kick Butts Day 2015!

Celebrate Kick Butts Day on March 18, 2015 by learning the dangers of tobacco use.

Kick Butts Day is a day to empower and educate youth about tobacco use. Why is this important? It is estimated that 2.7 million high school students in America, and over 70,000 in Florida, have smoked tobacco in the past month. How can you prevent your teen from making the same mistake? Try these tips:

  • Talk about the consequences. It is well-known that tobacco use leads to health issues such as lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and stroke. However, most teens that think these effects are far off in the future and won't impact their lives. Make sure your teens are also aware of short-term effects such as bad skin, a weakened immune system, bad breath, and reduced athletic performance.
  • Make sure teens know there are no safe alternatives. Hookahs and e-cigarettes are sometimes viewed as safe alternatives to cigarettes, but that is not the case! Hookahs are water pipes used to smoke tobacco, the same dangerous and addictive substance found in cigarettes. Although e-cigarettes are free of tobacco, most contain other harmful chemicals and toxins.
  • Be a role model. If you don't want your teen to use tobacco products, set a good example by not using tobacco yourself. If you already smoke, make an effort to quit, and discuss with your teen that starting was a mistake in the first place.
  • Prepare for peer pressure. All teens are vulnerable to peer pressure. Try role-playing different scenarios with your teen and planning out ways to say no. Or, share stories from your past where you were confronted with negative peer pressure and discuss how you dealt with it. 

At LiveFree!, your teenagers are our top priority. We work to provide education, guidance, and support that keeps our teens safe and healthy during their adolescence. Learn more about our mission and vision on our website.

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Pinellas Park High LiveFree! Club

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Q: What inspired you to join the LiveFree! Club in your school?

A: We joined LiveFree! at our school to take a stand against drugs and inspire others to make healthy choices.

Q: What are some of the goals and accomplishments that your school’s LiveFree! Club focuses on?

A: We partnered with Home Depot earlier this year and worked with them to build a shoe display in remembrance of lives lost to drinking and driving, and we have made it our theme this year, and we will be bringing it to display at the 2015 Town Hall Meeting in March.

Q: As a member of LiveFree!, what kind of advice would you give to a friend or fellow student who is struggling with alcohol or drug use?

A: Every day we make choices, good and bad, and being a positive influence on our friends, through this Club can make a difference and save a life.

Q: What are you most proud of as a member of the LiveFree! community?

A: Being part of this LiveFree! Club has helped us learn more about alcohol and other drug awareness and dangers, and how important it is to make healthy decisions, and that does not always mean the popular decision. So, having a ‘family’ in this club, makes it a little easier to stand up and say “NO,” and not back down. We are proud of all the positive change our club has brought to our school.

Q: What kinds of hobbies and extracurricular activities do you all enjoy during your spare time?

A: We enjoy going to the beach, playing sports, and going to the park; playing video games and listening to music.

Q: What do you want to be when you enter a professional career?

A: “I want to be a Nurse.” – female student “I want to be a professional football player”- male student

Q: What has been the most important lesson learned as a member of the LiveFree! club in your community?

A: The most important lesson we have learned is to be responsible for yourself, make healthy, wise decisions, and do your best to influence positive change in the world around you.

Q&A: LiveFree! Club Member Shares Her Experiences

Ever wonder what LiveFree! club members learn from their experiences? Read Joanna Miller’s story:joanna miller

 

Q: What inspired you to join the LiveFree! Club? How old were you when you joined?

I want to make a difference in the community.  I have been a member of LiveFree! since I was 11. 

Q: What are some of the goals and accomplishments that your LiveFree! Club focuses on?

I have been involved in all types of community events.  The speeding campaign was one of my favorites so far.

Q: As a member of LiveFree!, what kind of advice would you give to a friend or fellow student who is struggling with alcohol or drug use? 

Don’t throw your life away for drugs or alcohol.  If you are using already, get help.

Q: What are you most proud of as a member of the LiveFree! community?

That we help people in the community. 

Q: What kinds of hobbies and extracurricular activities do you enjoy participating in during your spare time?

I like to dance, sing, and write songs.   

Q: What do you want to be when you enter a professional career?

I want to be a professional studio owner or professional dancer.  

Q: What has been the most important lesson that you have learned as a member of LiveFree?

Alcohol and drugs have a negative effect on adults and children.      

Q&A: LiveFree! Club Member Shares Her Experiences

Ever wonder what LiveFree! club members learn from their experiences? Read Cedaizha Jackson’s story:

Q: What inspired you to join the LiveFree! Club? How old were you when you joined?

A: I have been a member of LiveFree! since I was 10. I joined because I wanted more information about LiveFree!

Q: What are some of the goals and accomplishments that your LiveFree! Club focuses on?

A: Our goals are to keep ourselves from sex, drugs and alcohol.

Q: As a member of LiveFree!, what kind of advice would you give to a friend or fellow student who is struggling with alcohol or drug use?

A: I would tell the person to stay away from it. I would let the person know about the side effects and consequences. 

Q: What are you most proud of as a member of the LiveFree! community?

A: That I’m sex, drug, and alcohol-free.

Q: What kinds of hobbies and extracurricular activities do you enjoy participating in during your spare time?

A: I like going to water parks, theme parks and local activities.

Q: What do you want to be when you enter a professional career?

A: I want to be an OB/GYN physician.

Q: What has been the most important lesson that you have learned as a member of LiveFree!?

A: The negative consequences that teens face when they have sex, drink alcohol and do drugs.

How To Get Involved And Help Others During The Holiday Season

Give thanks by giving back this holiday season.

 

Did you know? Volunteering and giving back to your community can be a great way to feel connected to those around you. When it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle, volunteering has been linked to numerous health benefits that can positively affect both mental and physical health.

What are some of the practical benefits of community service?

The benefits of volunteer work include things like:

  • Gaining experience for your college or professional resume
  • Increased real-world skills like team-building, leadership, and time management
  • Networking and meeting new people who are interested in the same causes you are
  • Developing connections that could lead to a job opportunity later

Of course, intrinsic benefits are also a part of giving back and helping others. By volunteering within your school or community, you will be:

  • Helping those less fortunate
  • Making a difference in your life and someone else's
  • Developing self-confidence 
  • Learning how to fill idle time with something meaningful

A Helping Hand for the Holidays

What are some ways that you can get involved and give back to your community by volunteering over the holidays? First, figure out what your interests are, and which skills you would like to cultivate. Then, find ways to give back, such as:

  • Give your time to a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter by volunteering to help serve meals.
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter, and gain valuable work experience
  • Sign up to run concessions at school events or community events, like theater, plays, and Little League
  • Visit patients in the local hospital and sing carols, read books to children, and bring some holiday cheer to those who are sick
  • Spend time at local nursing homes with senior citizens. You'll feel wonderful giving back. 
  • Donate some of your unused toys, books, or holiday money to groups who arrange presents for underprivileged children.
  • Make community service a family activity.

Volunteering can help you build a better future for yourself and those around you. Join us at LiveFree! today and take a step in the right direction for your family and your community!

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Q&A: LiveFree! Club Member Shares His Experiences

Making the choice to join a club like LiveFree! Florida is a great decision for any young teenager. Here's Cameron Sweat's story about why he joined and what he's learned.

Q: What inspired you to join the LiveFree! Club in your community? How old were you when you joined?

A: I am a member of the McLin LiveFree! Community Club.  I was about 10 when I joined.

Q: What are some of the goals and accomplishments that your community's LiveFree! Club focuses on?

A: We have started a garden in partnership with the Garden Club of Saint Petersburg, hosted a teen summit in partnership with Youth Education Services, participated in a sign waving event to raise awareness about the dangers of speeding, and worked on alcohol environmental surveys.

Q: As a member of LiveFree!, what kind of advice would you give to a friend or fellow student who is struggling with alcohol or drug use?

A: I would encourage them not to use drugs or to get help if they are using already.  

Q: What are you most proud of as a member of the LiveFree! community?

A: I am proud to be a part of such a successful program.

Q: What kinds of hobbies and extracurricular activities do you enjoy participating in during your spare time?

A: I enjoy anything related to fashion and hair.  I also enjoy spending time with friends.

Q: What do you want to be when you enter a professional career?

A: I want to be an entrepreneur.  

Q: What has been the most important lesson that you have learned as a member of the LiveFree! club in your community?

A: The most important lesson I’ve learned is to stay away from drugs.  

 

With our advice, your teenager will be sure to make the school year a success. Follow our suggestions for a healthy, happy school year or visit our website to learn more about LiveFree! 

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Congratulations to the Pinellas Park High School LiveFree! Club

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Creating A Strong Bond Between Parent/Teen

The teenage years can be tough to navigate, but these suggestions can help parents and teenagers learn to speak the same language.

Not so long ago, your teenage son or daughter was a toddler who spent his or her time following you around. Now, as your child enters high school, bonding with your preteen or teenager may seem difficult while he or she navigates the tricky balance of becoming more independent but staying engaged with family members. Don’t worry – open communication and mutual respect can help make the teenage years a little less complicated!

To help create a strong bond between parents and teens, try implementing these suggestions and remembering these tips:

  • Be a good role model. Even though teenagers may not be as open with parents as younger children, parents are still an important influence in their children’s lives. Model the kind of behavior that you would like to see your teenager develop – honesty, persistence, patience, hard work, healthy living, and responsibility.
  • Spend time doing hobbies together. Perhaps your teenager is busy with sports, friends and school commitments, but that doesn’t mean that he or she has no desire to spend time with family. Bonding with your teenager could mean being open to learning about his or her developing interests and trying them together, whether it’s working on restoring a car or learning an extreme sport, like kickboxing, together. By showing an interest in your teen’s hobbies, you can create a bond that shows mutual respect and consideration, an important building block as your child becomes an adult.
  • Educate yourself. From family friends with older children, to endless pages of resources available online, take advantage of what others have learned about raising healthy, happy teenagers. Live Free! is a great blog to help you get started!
  • Respect their privacy. This may be the most difficult task to accomplsh, but it may also be the most essential. As your teenager grows and matures, it is only natural for him or her to try on different identities, make new sets of friends, and seek out alone time. Demonstrating healthy boundaries with your teen will help show them that you trust them, which can go a long way toward maintaing a strong parent-child bond.

At LiveFree!, your teenagers are our top priority. We work to provide education, guidance, and support that keeps our teens safe and healthy during their adolescence. Learn more about our mission and vision on our website.

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