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Truth, Facts, & Lies
5/3/2018 9:48:53 PM
Truth Facts Lies

The Southwest Louisiana Youth Foundation is a nonprofit organization making a difference for teens in Lake Charles and the surrounding areas through the education programs Truth, Facts &, Lies and Take Charge. 

Truth, Facts &, Lies began in 2016 as a response to a Kids Can Initiative. It is a seven-session education program for high school students covering social issues teens today face. In December 2017, the organization expanded to offer Take Charge, a program for teen girls covering content requested by area high school students.

Social media provides teens with access and connectivity more than ever before. The average teen sends over 3,300 text messages each month, and over two billion snaps are shared on SnapChat each day. The frontal lobe of the brain, which is responsible for reasoning and decision making, isn’t fully developed until early adulthood. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the age of 18; one in three teens in a dating relationship is being abused, and twenty percent of sex crimes committed against minors are perpetrated by other minors. With these facts in mind, curriculum was developed to arm teens with knowledge to successfully navigate the unique challenges of our digital world. The curriculum team, consisting of a nationally recognized educator and curriculum specialist, a family nurse practitioner, a licensed counselor, and a high school teacher, develops the content and presents it to a teen focus group for review. The group then selects graphics, wording, and activities to ensure that the curriculum is relevant and beneficial. 

Session topics include Bullying, Social Media, Online Solicitation and Human Trafficking, Dating and Relationship Abuse, and The Teenage Brain and Addiction. The series culminates in an Awareness Day in which participants have an opportunity to teach their peers. In every session, students develop strategies to remove themselves from dangerous or uncomfortable situations. Students who have completed the program report significant behavior changes in all areas covered. The number one write-in comment when asked, "What would you change about the program?” is "more” - more time, more sessions, more topics, more students. 

After completion of the Truth, Facts, & Lies program, students may apply for the Teen Advisory Board. Members will help develop content and serve as mentors in middle school pilot programs. At the end of the year-long term, one member of the Advisory Board will receive a $2,500 scholarship.

For the 2018-19 school year, the SWLA Youth Foundation will also partner with school resource officers from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Department. Their goal is to help develop a trusting relationship between students and the officers at their schools. Focus will be on increasing students’ understanding of the motivation and role of the officers assigned to their school and how to interact with law enforcement. 

Truth, Facts, & Lies is available in thirteen Calcasieu Parish high schools, and plans are in place to include up to three more schools from surrounding parishes in the fall. SWLA Youth Foundation is also offering 90-minute workshops for adults on adolescent brain development, communication strategies, social media, and other social issues. The programs offered by the SWLA Youth Foundation encourage discussion and problem-solving of difficult subjects in a thoughtful and positive way. Students bring insight to the discussion and leave with a greater understanding of the topics presented.

To find out more about how to participate or to register for a session, look for Truth, Facts, & Lies on Facebook or at www.truthfactslies.org.
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Categories: Parenting

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