2017 Community Conversations

A new initiative we’re launching at Common Ground are Community Conversations. These conversations are for all of us who struggle to understand the challenges adolescents face in today’s world. Join us as we explore the developmental, physiological, social, cultural, and spiritual complexities of guiding adolescents through contemporary society. These gatherings are perfect for parents, grandparents, teachers, social workers, coaches, youth workers, or anyone who loves kids and desires to walk alongside them as they navigate an increasingly difficult world.

We will begin in February and meet on the last Wednesday of the month from 6pm – 8pm. These conversations are free to the public but donations are accepted. See the full schedule and topic descriptions below:

February 22nd – Parenting Kids in the Digital Age

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Being a teenager today isn’t any different than when I was a kid” then this workshop is for you. Changes in our technologically driven culture is influencing how our kids see the world, a world that is spinning faster than ever before. This generation has never known a world without the internet, social media, and mobile technology and this has impacted how they interact with the world around them, for better and for worse. Together we will explore these changes and how we can help our kids navigate the technologically-driven world they live in and are expected to thrive in.

March 29th – A Cloud of Despair: Living with Depression

Depression can be overwhelming to a young person.  In this workshop we will define what depression is and what it isn’t, we will look at the physiology of a depressed brain, adolescent development, signs and symptoms of depression, cause of depression, and how we can walk alongside adolescents suffering from depression.  We will also take time to explore suicide and suicidal ideation.  We will learn how to increase protective factors that decrease the risk that a youth in our care will turn to suicide.

April 26th – Reimagining Adolescence: A New Reality

Kids growing up today are living in a world that is fundamentally different than the one their parents grew up in.  This poses challenges to even the most adept adult.  In this workshop you will discover the systemic cultural changes that are creating a whole new developmental experience for our kids as they attempt to find out their true identity and place of belonging.  Join us as we explore the developmental challenges of raising adolescents in contemporary society.

May 31st – Secret Scars: Self-Injury

Self-injury, although it may seem temporarily helpful, is ultimately a dangerous and futile coping strategy which interferes with intimacy, productivity and happiness. There is no “safe” or “healthy” amount of self-injury. Self-injury is not a compulsion which one is powerless over for a lifetime, people can and do stop injuring, with the right kinds of help and support.

June 28th – Anxiety and Anger: Two Sides of the Same Coin

This workshop looks at the unique stress response of teen guys and girls and the complications of having life controlling anger or anxiety. You will leave with an understanding of how anger and anxiety affect the quality of life as well as some simple strategies for managing both.

July 26th – The Influence of Pop Culture: Gaga, Kimye, and all the stuff in your kids ears and eyes

We’ve known intuitively for years of the impact popular culture has on developing teens.  This workshop explores the current cultural landscape and ways to “flip the script” and use culture to our advantage when trying to reach kids.  We’ll look at the music, art, mobile media, internet trends, and movie/television that youth consume and how they are consuming it.

August 30th – Dirty Little Secrets: The Problem of Pornography

Exploring the impact the pornography has on culture and the individual.  Pornography changes the brain and how we experience sex.  Addiction to pornography is wrecking the lives of young people everywhere and they are oblivious to it.  This workshop provides details on how pornography impacts brain development and our ability to connect with people in healthy ways.

September 27th – Current Drug Trends

Slang terms, drug popularity, and methods and concealment of substance use change regularly. Anyone who spends a significant amount of time with young people should keep on top of these trends so that they can better identify and refer students who may require help. In this presentation, program participants will be updated on the latest significant drug trends, as well as signs and symptoms of use and where to go with concerns about a student.

October 25th – Bullies, Victims, and Bystanders

The term bullying sounds like a rite of passage that many youth go through but in reality bullying has life altering consequences for everyone involved.  This workshop will take a look at how an informed response to the bullying cycle can bring reconciliation and community to everyone involved.

November 22nd – Sports and Burnout

Sports are central to the adolescent experience for many youth. In today’s ultra competitive culture students are dropping out of sports at higher rates than ever before. The average age of youth sports dropout is 13 years old and the expectations and pressure to win has increased significantly. This workshop explores the changes that have occurred in adolescent sports over the last 30 years and how to ensure our kids experience the joy and healthy challenges of playing recreational sports again.

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