End Your Year on a Tax Deduction

December 2, 2011

Your support of the Y is very greatly appreciated! We thank each and every one of you who has donated to the Y this year and in the past, either for the first time or as part of a life-long commitment to helping others. We count on the generosity of our donors to support valuable programs that support health and well-being and community opportunities. For example, our Open Doors program allows underprivileged individuals and families who cannot otherwise afford a membership to experience the full benefits of the Y.

When you give to the Y, you continue to strengthen our community and move us all forward. As the nation’s leading nonprofit for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the Y uses your gift to make a meaningful, enduring impact right in your own neighborhood.

The Y works to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and give back and support our neighbors. Every day, we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together. That’s why, at the Y, strengthening community is our cause. At the Y, no child, family, or adult is turned away. We recognize that for communities to succeed, everyone must be given the opportunity to be healthy, confident, connected, and secure.

As the end of 2011 approaches, this would be a great time to contribute if you have not done so already. Not only will your donation help us budget for next year, your gift is also tax deductable on your 2011 return. Sure, generosity is its own reward. But wouldn’t it be great to get a tax break while you’re at it?

Donating is easy. You can either stop by the one of the three YMCA of Iredell County branches (Statesville, Barium Springs, & Alexander County) or mail your donation to:

Statesville Family YMCA
828 Wesley Drive
Statesville, NC 28677

Simply note on your check which of the three branches you would like to support with your gift.

Thanks again for your generous support! And may 2012 be another great year!

Advertisements

Five Tips for Talking to Kids About Bullying

November 18, 2011

Bullying is not new, but it has recently drawn greater attention thanks to an increased awareness of the long-term effects of childhood challenges. It affects kids in the immediate and can lead to adjustment issues later in life as grownups, impacting their ability to live a normal adult life. So how do we prevent bullying and help our kids overcome the effects if it happens to them? Here is a great article from the Yahoo! Contributor Network:

*****

Jo Brielyn, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Nov 1, 2010

There has been an increase in media attention on bullying and kids recently, but the reality is problems with bullying have been around for as long as kids have been and will likely continue as long as people exist. As adults, we must be aware of this serious issue and learn to talk openly and honestly with kids about bullying. To get you started, here are five tips for talking to kids about bullying.

Clearly define bullying behaviors. Understand and explain to your child that bullying is a form of violence. Bullying is a way for an individual or group of people to try to have control over someone else. While there are varying degrees, all bullying is physical, verbal, or emotional abuse. Bullying can take many forms including: name-calling, teasing, playing mean jokes, excluding from the group, threatening, telling ugly rumors, taking away personal belongings, cyber bullying, pushing, and hitting.

Ask open-ended question to spark conversation. How many times have you asked your child how her day at school went only to receive a terse “fine” or “lousy” and never really learned what happened during her day?

Many times when talking to a child, parents tend to do all or most of the talking. To encourage two-sided conversations, avoid posing questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, try to ask your child open-ended questions that get him or her communicating with you. For example, ask questions like “What was the best part of your day today?” and “What was your least favorite part of the day?” Those responses will help open the discussion about your child’s experiences, pressures, and feelings, and pave the way for deeper talks about issues such as bullying.

Know your child. Also, know what he does in his social life and the friends with whom he spends his time. That doesn’t mean snoop through his personal belongings and stalk your child. Simply spend time with him and pay attention when he does share. Don’t just hear him talk. Kids sometimes keep bad feelings or run-ins to themselves or only share the less embarrassing parts of the story with parents, so really listen to what your child tells you through his words, behaviors, and body language. Kids unknowingly send off signals that may clue you in to whether or not your child is being bullied or may, in fact, be bullying other kids.

Be honest and approachable. Be open with your child about your own past experiences and how you dealt with them. She may not choose to deal with issues in the same way as you, but knowing you can relate will make her feel more comfortable to share her own struggles. Even if you have few stories to share, remind her often that she can come to you about anything. And mean it!

True communication between you and your child also means allowing your child the freedom to voice his or her opinions and experiences. You don’t have to like everything you hear. Chances are that you won’t, but keep your own feelings and frustrations in check. Don’t jump to conclusions, resort to name-calling, or act on your impulse to bully the bully. All you will accomplish with those types of reactions is to teach your child not to come to you the next time there’s a problem.

Teach by example. This one may not be very popular, but it needs to be said. You can talk to your child about the wrongness and injustice of bullying until your face turns blue, but if you don’t set that example in your own life, you send mixed signals to your child. Worse yet, you may be teaching your child how to be a bully or to allow himself to be bullied. Your actions will stick with your child far longer than your words. The most effective way to “talk” to your child about bullying involves much less talking and a lot more action. Lead by example.

Kids learn many of their bad behaviors and habits from watching their parents and following their examples. If your child experiences bullying from you firsthand, sees you acting like a bully to others, or watches you allowing others to bully you, that is what your child learns as acceptable behavior. Pay attention to how you talk to your child and others when he’s around, how you allow others to talk to your child and you, and how you deal with your own emotions and frustrations. Your child is watching, listening, and learning.

We Have a New Website!

November 16, 2011

Our website has changed!

As part of the upcoming merge with the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina, we have moved all our web information over to their newly revamped site. It looks great! Click on this link to see the fantastic new site!

What will happen to the old “ymcairedell.org” site? When you type the old domain name in the address pane, it will automatically redirect your browser to the new site. The old address will remain live for a little while longer to give you time to change the address in your Bookmarks/Favorites and to get used to typing in the new address.

We are excited about the new site and how much easier it is to access important information! It’s easy to navigate and presents information in an easy-to-find format. Locating what you need will be quick and easy.

We hope you like it as much as we do!

Eight Personal Safety Tips Every Kid Should Learn

November 15, 2011

Reprinted from the Shine network on Yahoo!

*****

By Jo Brielyn – Mon, Mar 14, 2011

It’s our job to protect our children, but as they grow up we can’t be with them 24/7. As much as we’d like to live in a perfect and safe world, we don’t. Kids are particularly vulnerable. In fact, the National Crime Prevention Council reports 12-19 year olds are the most frequent victims of major crimes. I teach my own children and the teens in my youth programs about personal safety. I walk a fine line when discussing the topic because as much they need to know how to be cautious, I don’t want to scare them into becoming paranoid. Here are eight personal safety tips every kid should learn.

Be alert and aware of your surroundings. Talk to them about why it’s not wise to text or chat on the cell phone when walking alone on the street or in the parking lot. It makes you oblivious to what’s going on around you and, therefore, makes you more vulnerable. Teach kids to wait until they’re in a safe public place to use the phone or text messages.

Make sure your parents or the adult in charge knows where you are. At least one adult should know where the child or teenager is at all times. I always tell my kids, I can’t protect them if I don’t know where they are. That doesn’t mean they have to be right beside me all the time or tell me every move they make. That would hinder their growing independence. It does mean if they are going outside to play, I want to know. If they’re staying at a friend’s house or participating in an extracurricular activity, I expect them to extend that same courtesy to the adult in charge there.

Avoid walking directly beside (or parking by) large vans in a parking lot when alone. Why? Large vans block the view of others in the parking lot, making it less likely for someone to see if something is amiss. Also, many of them don’t have back side windows so it’s tough to know if someone is there or not. That makes kids more vulnerable to predators or foul play.

Be wary of adult strangers asking for your help. Kidnappers and sexual predators often trick kids by asking them to help find a lost pet or to show them how to get somewhere. My kids are eager helpers, so I explain to them that adults they don’t know shouldn’t seek them out for help, and it’s acceptable for them to refuse and go to a safe place. I also stress that they should tell a trusted adult about the instance right away.

Have keys ready before you reach the house or car door. Sometimes your child may have to go to the house or car alone, especially if he or she is older or drives a car. Stress the importance of having keys out beforehand to avoid rummaging to find them and to move faster in case the need to get in quickly arises.

There is safety in numbers. Talk about why it’s not wise to wander off alone. Encourage kids to stay near other kids and trusted adults. My kids know even when they want to “be alone” when they are outside or away from home, they should still be within sight or hearing range of others.

Memorize important phone numbers and names. One of the first things my kids learned once they were able to speak was my name and their daddy’s name. By the time they were in preschool, they also knew their home address and phone number. If they were lost or separated from me, they knew how to tell a “safe” stranger how to locate me.

Trust your gut feelings. Understanding what to do when a situation or person is suspicious is often difficult for kids. They are usually taught to respect and obey adults. I teach my girls to listen to their instincts. If a situation or person makes them feel uncomfortable – even if the person is someone they know – they should act on those feelings, get away, and tell someone. Those uneasy feelings are usually there for a reason, and their safety is more important than the adult’s bruised ego. Intuition is one of a kid’s greatest tools for ensuring personal safety.

Take the Stairs to Elevate Your Weight Loss

November 9, 2011

It may be easier, but is hopping a ride on the elevator really just a wasted time to exercise? According to this article from Fitness.com, taking the stairs on a regular basis may help you lose weight and keep it off, while toning and strengthening your lower body and only adding a few extra seconds to your walk to the office.

Detox on a Budget

November 8, 2011

We all want to get rid of things that make us sick or cause us pain. And there are plenty of “experts” out there who will show you how and take you step-by-step through the process. But what they recommend is often both expensive and arduous. Do you have the time or money to go through all that? Or do you just want to rid yourself of toxins and be done with it? Check out these suggestions from MSN’s health page to get yourself detoxed quickly without costing a fortune.

Staying Away from Leftover Halloween Candy

November 4, 2011

For many, Halloween marks the unofficial beginning to the Holiday Eating Season. It’s the appetizer to upcoming feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Some of the candy your kids (and you) got on Monday night is probably sitting in their rooms or on the kitchen counter taunting you, begging you to grab just one more chocolate bar or bag of sour drops. So how do you resist?

WebMD offers these tips for remaining strong in the face of such caloric danger.

An Apple a Day?

October 10, 2011

We’ve all heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But what if it does more than that? According to a new study, it might actually help prevent you from getting a stroke. Check out this article from Time’s online edition and see what’s so a-peeling about eating apples for your health.

Getty Images

The Importance of Teen Food Education

October 5, 2011

Teens think they know everything. But a recent study by the Harvard Medical School indicates that when it comes to nutrional knowledge, teens are sorely lacking. In fact, the new study concluded that 80% of teens surveyed didn’t have any idea how many calories were in most of the fast food they were eating on a daily basis.

To counter this lack of knowledge, our staff nutritionist Jill Gillis is available to sit down with you and your family for a free one-hour consultation and show you how to be aware of what you’re eating when you’re out and how to eat a more healthful diet at home. Call her at the Statesville Family YMCA (704-873-9622) today to set up your appointment.

Stealthy Super Foods

September 21, 2011

Have you ever wondered if some foods are really all that healthy? What about foods that everyone says are bad for you but turn out to be good for you after all? Check out some surprises in the healthy food world, edibles you probably don’t think that much about when it comes to traditional health food.