March 2015 

"Spotlight on Parenting"

In Case You Missed It...
Recap of Local Parenting Events
Below are brief summaries of recent events for parents in our community.
NOPE -- Narcotics, Overdose,
Prevention and Education


NOPE Program - Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education was held on 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at Lower Merion High School.  A student presentation was held in the morning followed by the parent presentation in the evening.  This event stressed the importance of community education regarding overdose death.


The presenters, members of the Montgomery County NOPE Task Force, included: 

  • Kevin Steele -- 1st Assistant DA
  • Marissa Wadsworth -- lost a son to an overdose
  • Ashley Seneca -- lost her brother
  • Kaitlyn Genthert -- narrator
  • Addiction Therapist and recovering alcoholic


Reasons for the Program:

In 2013, there were 20 heroin overdose deaths in Montgomery County, and one in five teens have abused prescription drugs. The mission of  NOPE is to diminish the frequency and impact of overdose death through community education. By design, NOPE's presentation was personal, and delivered graphically and emotionally from several perspectives, including individuals who have lost close family members. The presenters addressed important topics facing today's youths - prescription drug abuse, drug interaction, signs of substance abuse, addiction, parenting strategies, and where to get help.

Main Takeaways:

  • Mindfulness - The importance of parents knowing what is going on in their child's life and in their medicine cabinets. Each day, 2000 teens try prescription drugs for the first time to get high. 
  • "Prevent Overdose - Lock Up Your Medications" If you need to discard old drugs or ones that you no longer need, there is a Drop Box at the Lower Merion Police Department.
  • Brain Research - The brain does not fully develop until age 24. Everything that a child puts in his/her body before that age has an affect on their developing brain.
  • General Research - Teens who drink with their parents drink more later on, drink more elsewhere, and two years later score higher on a measure of problem drinking.
  • "Protective factors" contribute to children not using drugs/alcohol. These factors include strong family bonds, parental involvement, clear expectations, positive social interactions, and the perceived external disapproval of drug use.
  • "Risk factors" associated with drug use include early use of drugs/alcohol, sensation seekers, above average disposable income, affiliation with deviant peers, and the perceived external approval of drug use.
  • Marijuana is the most commonly used drug, and it is 10-20 times more potent than that used in 1960's. Marijuana, tobacco and alcohol, are considered "Gateway Drugs." The use of them may result in involvement with other drugs.
  • If you see signs of drug overdose, take action. The importance of taking action was stressed to both the parents and at the student program. The message to the students was "Be a Hero - Call 911."

The Good Samaritan Law:

This law was briefly mentioned to remind people to never hesitate to call for help and to assure them that bystanders would be protected if they call for help in the presence of another's overdose. Good Samaritan laws are adopted to save lives by encouraging people who witness drug overdoses to call 911. The laws provide legal immunity to those who call for help when the person they are with experiences a drug overdose.  To receive immunity, a person must call 911, give authorities identifying information about themselves and stay with the overdosing person until help arrives.  To learn more about this law, Click Here 


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For More Information, visit

P: 1-561-478-1055 1-866-612-NOPE

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Mindfulness, Taking Care of

Ourselves and Each Other

The Lower Merion School District InterSchool Council recently sponsored two sessions for parents, on January 13 and February 2, 2015, on "Mindfulness: Taking Care of Ourselves and Each Other."  Both sessions were led by Mr. Josh Gansky, school counselor at Welsh Valley Middle School. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress, increase focus and attention, increase self-regulation, and offer new insight and awareness of yourself and others.  

For more information:
  • Four Steps To Stop Being So Hard On Ourselves
  • We Teach Who We Are Quote
  • Debunking The Myth Of Mindfulness

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    Community Meeting with
    Lower Merion Police


    The community meeting with the Lower Merion Police addressed concerns about racial profiling and was held on February 8, 2015 at The Palm Senior Center in Ardmore, PA.

    Name and relevant information on Presenters:

    Lower Merion Commissioner Brian Gordon was the moderator but many from the community spoke including Lower Merion Police Chief, Superintendent Michael McGrath.

    Reason for the program:

    A home owner was concerned when she hired 2 young black men to shovel her walk and then observed them being detained by the Lower Merion Police for several minutes.  She put her concerns on facebook about racial profiling in the area.  The incident was written up in several newspapers and drew a strong reaction from the community.

    Takeaways for parents:

    Many black parents feel very anxious about their sons in particular being singled out by the police even when they are just walking on the street or riding a bike.


    All of us need to be aware and continue to dialogue about prejudice.  This is an opportunity for us to talk to our children about what they have observed and how we all need to work to make everyone feel safe and valued.

    The parents asked that there be community policing so that the police officers in the area get to know the young people and their families.


    Superintendent Michael McGrath asked that the community communicate to him any incidents that are perceived as racial profiling.

    For more information:

    For a relevant article on this topic, Click Here  
    What is the Youth Advisory Council?  
    Founded in 2009, the YAC (Youth Advisory Council) is comprised of high school students from the Lower Merion township schools who come together to improve quality of life for youth in their community. YAC's mission is to establish a relationship between youth and adults to identify problems and develop solutions that benefit all sectors of our community.
    Community Events

    NOPE (Narcotics, Overdose, Prevention and Education)

    Wed., March 25th at 7:00 p.m.

    Radnor High School Auditorium

    For further details, Click Here

    Speak Up!

    Tuesday, April 7th at 7:00 p.m.
    The Haverford School
    For further details, Click Here

    Speak Up!

    Thursday, April 16th at 7:00 p.m.

    Lower Merion High School

    For further details, Click Here

    Speak Up!
    Wednesday, April 22nd at 6:30 p.m.
    Radnor Middle School
    (This is a Middle School Program for 6th, 7th & 8th Graders) 
    For further details, Click Here

    Continue the Conversation:  
    Parent Coffee.  Topic is
    Drugs and Alcohol
    Friday, April 24th at 8:30 a.m.
    For further details, Click Here 

    Minding Your Mind's 5th Annual

    Run For Your Mind

    5K Run/One Mile Fun Run/Walk

    Sunday, April 26th at 9:00 a.m.

    Cynwyd Trail in Bala Cynwyd

    For further details, Click Here 


    In The News 
    How To Raise Kids 
    Who Aren't Spoiled
    Where do parents get stuck and how they can do a better job of teaching their kids about money. Read More 

    Emotional Intelligence
    Needs An Moral Rudder

    Some have noted the importance of teaching emotional intelligence within a moral framework. Read More   

    Teaching Kids To Learn 

    Without Study Drugs
    There is a lot of pressure on students to succeed in school and some are turning to drugs to help them stay awake and focus on school work and test prep.  Read More

    A Message from our
    Youth Advisory Coordinator
    The Youth Advisory Council
    of Lower Merion and Narberth
    is currently looking for more members.
    The Youth Advisory Council is a group of high school students from the Lower Merion/Narberth area who meet once a month to discuss topics that affect their peers and how they can advocate and educate within their community to help address these issues.  For the past six years, the YAC has been addressing student selected topics through community events.  The topics they have covered include distracted driving, sexuality, body image, coping with stress, drugs and alcohol, and mental health.  You can learn more about the events the students have organized in the past on the Lower Merion Coalition for Youth's website.

    The YAC meets on the Sunday before the second Friday of each month at 4:00 p.m. at the New Leaf Club in Bryn Mawr.  All meetings are attended by two adult supervisors from the Coalition for Youth.  If you know of students who might be interested in participating, they can either contact the group supervisors directly, or you can forward me their information and I will be sure to pass it along.  You can reach Carl Antisell or Renee Kalandar by email at or, respectively.  Please Click Here to see the flyer for the Youth Advisory Council's monthly meeting.  If you have a public space where you would be able to post this flyer, we would really appreciate it.


    Thank you,

    Carl Antisell


    For further information,
    visit our website at
    Since 1999, the Coalition has been providing programs and resources to build assets in our children, our families, 
    and our community, to help reduce stress, alcohol use, drug use, violence, and other risky behavior among youth.

    Coalition for Youth 

    P.O. Box 23, Narberth, PA 19063

    (484) 337-8731