Dear RHP & Ren Parents:
Welcome to your own personal teen wellness website, Rolling Hills Preparatory School/Renaissance School Families Connected (RHP & Ren FC)! It’s part of the larger South Bay Families Connected (SBFC) resource, which is available to all parents and adults dedicated to helping shape the lives of youth for the better.
At its most basic level, SBFC is a modern, online teen wellness and substance use prevention tool. The RHP & Ren PTA has improved this tool for you by becoming a SBFC Partner School and creating this customized website for RHP and Ren parents. RHP & Ren Families Connected features RHP/Ren-specific events and communications and offers opportunities for parents to engage in our shared goal of raising healthy kids. It also provides easy access to the SBFC website, featuring the broader parent and teen gallery of local and national resources, parent blog, monthly e-newsletter, community event calendar, and social media engagement.
Though SBFC is not a campaign or a public policy effort, we did have some hopes that guided our development of this tool:
- To offer a gallery of resources that help us in our effort to raise healthy, capable, resilient kids (Parent Resource Center, mindful parenting button)
- To help us all learn how to talk early and talk often with our kids about drugs and alcohol. (Parent Resource Center, Elementary School, Middle School, High School buttons)
- To equip us as parents with information regarding the new challenges our youth are facing, from stress and social media, to the new drugs that are out there, what they look like, what they do. (Parent and Teen Resource Centers, Social Media button, Stress button, High School Button – Drug guide)
- To bring us all up to date on the new research regarding the teenage brain: the longer we can stave off alcohol and drug use for youth, the better. (Parent and Teen Resource Center, throughout)
- To help us all understand that because of the way the teen brain is wired, teens will make some bad choices. We need to have our eyes open for the warning signs and offer help. (Parent Resource Center,Middle School, High School and College buttons)
- To realize that even if we do everything right as a parent, as a family, as a school, as a community, alcohol and drug use and abuse can occur. There are so many factors that we can’t control.
- To provide a supportive, non-judgmental space where all parents can come together in support of our kids, regardless of our personal parenting philosophies.
Your PTA presidents, along with the SBFC team, hope you will consider RHP & Ren Families Connected a useful tool in achieving our shared goal of helping our youth stay on a healthy path into maturity, and reach their full potential.
The South Bay Families Connected team
Not so frequently asked questions
(but we know you’re wondering)
Is this a campaign directed at parents who drink?
No, on both counts. This is intended as a tool for parents, not a campaign, and the tool was not built to shame anyone who is over the legal drinking age for enjoying an alcoholic beverage. Cheers!
How do people find SBFC?
It can be easily found by anyone, whether they know it exists or not, by simply searching for help online. If they search for the terms “alcohol prevention, south bay” or “drug prevention, south bay,” or a combo, due to search engine optimization, SouthBayFamiliesConnected.org will appear somewhere in the top three positions.
What will they find?
The SBFC website, as well as the ones built for its Partner Schools, is responsive to all mobile devices, and can be utilized by anyone, anywhere. It’s free of charge and offers visitors a gallery of resources in an ad-free space, as well as opportunities to connect through small group discussions, an e-newsletter, a book club at Pages in downtown Manhattan Beach, social media, an anonymous parent survey, event calendar, and a parent blog.
Ok, so was this tool built because we have a problem in the South Bay?
Yes. And sadly, so does every community and school throughout the country. Many people have experienced the tragic loss, or life-altering harm, of beloved youth due to either drug or alcohol use. Some of those stories involve addiction, and many do not. To us, it only takes one story to provide the inspiration to want to do something a little out of the box.
Then, why did Families Connected start here?
Mainly, it’s because our team are all residents and fans of the South Bay. Secondly, it was important to start this project at a pilot site. Here’s a new twist on a proverbial question: “If you build a website and no one ever sees it, did it ever exist?” We think not. None of this would have ever gotten off the ground without MCHS Families Connected Co-founders Ellen Rosenberg and Sandi Gleason. They took a leap of faith with this concept, embracing it, owning it, and bringing it to the parents at Costa. Franca Stadvec and Liz Glozman are also members of the team, and their impact as dedicated community touchstones is immeasurable.
Does the South Bay really need more prevention resources? There are already so many!
We absolutely do have an amazing array of resources, schools and organizations, both private and public, working together to help our youth stay on a healthy path. The South Bay Families Connected website ads one new element: It helps parents actually find those local resources and parent education events in one place whenever they need them and not just when a flyer arrives in their inbox. Parents can peruse the extensive gallery of resources, as well as locate information on a specific topic by using the website’s search function. Of equal importance, it offers parents who want to connect around this topic numerous ways to do so.
I don't see any goals for teen alcohol or drug use reduction. How will you measure the success of this effort?
This project is about more than just alcohol and drug prevention, but reducing drug use is definitely a cornerstone goal. However, we feel that celebrating any percentage decrease in alcohol could be misguided if there's a corresponding increase, and then some, in other negative behavior. Opioid use, vaping, nude selfies... it's all very harmful to our youth in varying degrees. The Healthy Kid survey gives us a lot of baseline data, but only for the most widely used substances of the past. That's why we're committed to preventing teen drug and alcohol use before it starts, and we'll leave the numeric goals to the experts in public health!
How can I trust that the SBFC team isn’t just using this platform as a way to push a personal or political agenda, or to sell something?
You have our promise that that will never happen. We may occasionally write a parent blog, but so can YOU. The only rule is that we won’t publish anything that mentions anyone’s name (other than your own), describes particular incidents in a way that they are recognizable, or bashes a school, person or organization. Additionally, we strive to make this an “ist-free" space (you know what we mean….racist, sexist, etc.), so we will not publish anything that expresses views along those lines. Finally, we hope to promote honest dialogue that does not come at the personal financial or emotional expense, or gain, of any one particular person.
What’s next in the South Bay?
Our team will continue to offer this tool to organizations and schools throughout the South Bay. For those who are interested, all of the info is up on the “school” page of the SBFC website, along with an online inquiry form. If you fill it out and submit it, we promise to get back to you!
In June, we're also launching the South Bay Families Connected Resource Center at Pages Bookstore, Manhattan Beach.
This part we’re really excited about… any district in which three of its schools become a SBFC Partner Schools is given the option of selecting a sister school for whom we will donate a unique Families Connected website. That will include the associated e-collateral material, etc., at no charge. We just ask that the school selected be one that serves foster youth.
This is starting to look like a tool that you could bring to any community, right?
You get it. We are simultaneously researching and building “Cali Families Connected.” It will comprise the same national resources that are featured on the site, but rather than having South Bay resources listed, that site will include California based resources, and it won’t have an event calendar. Any school or community throughout the state can tap into that resource. Some schools and communities may choose to have their own unique Families Connected website that can also serve as a means to create an individualized message and approach to communicate with its parents.