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June is Safe Driving Month

Ashley Mitchelides, MPH
Clinical Health Educator
Every day, an average of six teens are tragically killed in automobile accidents in the United States. This statistic is not only startling and upsetting, but entirely preventable. Motor vehicle accidents and unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death among adolescents ages 15-19. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adolescents have the highest incidence of injuries sustained during motor vehicle crashes as reported by emergency rooms across the US. In 2013, 33,804 fatal car crashes were recorded in the US and 3,000 involved teens between the ages of 15-19. These statistics are real and preventable.

June is Safe Driving Month at Teen Health Connection. Constant research is conducted to reduce the rate of motor vehicle crashes. Factors that place teens most at risk are: 
  • Driver inexperience
  • Passenger misconduct
  • Inability to maneuver vehicle at night
  • Neglect of seat-belt use
  • Distracted driving typically caused by cell phone use
  • Driver drowsiness 
  • Reckless behavior 
  • Impaired driving
Research from the CDC shows that teens are at risk for accidents largely because they underestimate dangerous situations, are more likely to speed, and have the lowest rate of seat-belt use compared to individuals of all driving ages. Teens that receive proper education and mentoring have fewer crashes. Start with a signed contract for your teen. A great example can be found on the CDC's website. This contract outlines behaviors to avoid:
  • DON'T text, talk, tweet, snap, post, write, or read anything on a smartphone. It can wait.
  • DON'T allow multiple passengers if the car is full. Rule of thumb, there must be a seat-belt for everyone.
  • DON'T speed or race a car to show off. 
  • DON'T eat or drink behind the wheel.
  • DON'T use headphones while driving. Teens are unable to hear emergency vehicles while using ear buds. 
  • DON'T get behind the wheel under the influence of any type of substance; drugs, alcohol, prescription medications. 
As adults, many of these recommendations seem common sense. But as our teens develop, be mindful that they learn from observation. Are you adhering to these guidelines? For more information on safe driving, visit our website

Parents and friends of all rising 8th-12th graders YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS OPPORTUNITY! Teen Health Connection is partnering with Youth to Youth International to host the first-ever Southern States Conference in Charlotte at Queens University on July 19-22, 2016. The leadership conference will allow teens to have FUN and more importantly be ENGAGED, ENCOURAGED and INSPIRED to produce CHANGE in their communities. Visit here for more information or to enroll your teens in the conference.

The Teen Health Connection Youth Drug Free Coalition encourages parents and teens to make a pledge to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug misuse. Alcohol is the most frequently used and abused substance among youth, and as many as 1 in 5 teens reported that they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it. Teen Health Connection encourages parents and teens to take the pledge so that we can prevent teen substance use and fulfill our vision of every adolescent to be healthy, safe and successful. 
Welcome Pediatric Resident
The Department of Pediatrics at Carolinas Medical Center and Levine Children's Hospital offers a fully accredited 3 year pediatric medical resident training program.  Teen Health Connection is fortunate to serve as the adolescent-specific medical rotation for the residents.  This month, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Kayla Avery. Dr. Avery received her medical degree from Central Florida.
Please forward our e-newsletter to your friends, sign up for our text messaging campaign, like us on  Facebook and visit our website to read about what we are doing each month. You can also follow us on Instagram at Teen Health Connection or on Twitter. Teen Health Connection appreciates our community partners and families.  We believe that together we can make a difference for adolescents in our community.  

It is through the support of our individual, community and corporate partners that
Teen Health Connection empowers every adolescent to be
healthy, safe and successful.

Teen Advisory Board
The Teen Advisory Board is a group of adolescent volunteers who serve as the youth sector representatives on the Teen Health Connection Youth Drug Free Coalition.
The Teen Advisory Board mission is to develop and empower adolescent leaders committed to the prevention of underage drinking and prescription drug misuse in Charlotte, North Carolina. Applications are available on the Teen Health Connection website.  
Philanthropic Development
Executive Director, Libby Safrit and Senior Development Officer, Terry Albanese accept a check from Molly Tucker.

The Pineapple Dash
By: Senior Development Officer, Terry Albanese

Teen Health Connection gives a big thank you to the 2016 Pineapple Dash Race Committee: Molly Tucker, Wendy Jourdan, Christina Murphy, and Kate Franks. On May 21, the Pineapple Dash 5K held its 5th annual run/walk in Providence Plantation. Each year the race committee decides on a local charity that they are familiar with and because of the wonderful connection made by Teen Health Connection team member, Sonja Payne, Teen Health Connection was awarded over $2,000 from the race proceeds! According to Molly Tucker, the race organizer, "this year we wanted to focus on mental health because it is such an important topic in our community and Teen Health Connection is a great place addressing the mental health needs of local teenagers. The hope is that healthy, informed teens grow into healthy, informed adults." There were 146 people registered for the race and, despite the unpredictable weather, 117 completed the run/walk. Representing Teen Health Connection at the race were: Terry Albanese, Dr. Mary Tayal, Dr. Joe Heitman, Sonja Payne, Betsy Thompson, Jessica Busick, and Jenni Lewis - one of our Board members.
When Molly, who is a mother to teens, was asked why she thinks it's important to raise awareness of teen issues and services available in the community, she shared, "I think it is our responsibility as advocates for our youth to educate and inform our teens about the issues facing them and their peers. Our teens need to be equipped with tools and information so they can be prepared to adjust to life as they grow. Starting with the uncomfortable social and physical shifts that adolescents must navigate in middle school, teens today are under so much pressure to succeed. We must create an environment for teens in which they can seek and learn coping mechanisms that are healthy and positive."

Community Report 

The 2015
Teen Health Connection Community Report will be shared in a special e-newsletter next week. You can review the 2014 report here.
Stand Up and Get Down for Teens

The 5th annual Stand Up and Get Down for Teens fundraiser is right around the corner on September 24, 2016 at The Fillmore. We couldn't be more excited for this year's event but we need your support. Stand Up and Get Down for Teens will feature a vibrant silent auction this year with packages for every style and budget. We have some fantastic items already secured including a one-week stay at a beautiful Oak Island beach house, a gift certificate for a 20-person wine tasting class at Total Wine & More, and a backyard BBQ party for up to 30 people catered by Bouk Catering. We also have gorgeous jewelry donated by Kendra Scott and Perry's Estate Jewelry, a Gold's Gym membership, and UNC Chapel Hill vs. The Citadel football tickets. While our auction is off to a great start, we are always looking for new and exciting items to feature. If you have an item that you are willing to donate to our auction, please contact Kelsey Lemieur at or 704.381.8337.  You can also visit our website for more information. If you are interested in sponsoring a table, please contact Terry Albanese at 704-381-8369 or