What are the warning signs of teen relationship abuse?

If you have recognized warning signs of abuse in your relationship, be proud of yourself. You have taken the first step to getting help. So now what? Leaving can be more complicated than it seems, but there are many resources available to help you.

What Do I Need to Know?

If you are in an abusive relationship, you’re probably feeling confusing emotions about what to do. You may fear what your partner will do if you leave, or how your friends and family will react when you tell them about the abuse.  You might also think that the police and other adults won’t take you seriously if you report the abuse. These are all understandable reasons to feel nervous about leaving your partner, but staying in the abusive relationship isn’t your only option.

What Can I Do?

Ultimately, none of the above obstacles are worth staying in an abusive relationship, although they can make it feel scary to end it. Whether or not you are ready or able to leave, there are steps you can take to help keep yourself safe:

• Talk to someone (friend, parent, teacher, counselor) that you trust. They can help you deal with your feelings and support you during this time.

• Create a safety plan to reduce your risk of being hurt by your partner. Because you think through it ahead of time, your personalized safety plan can help you avoid dangerous situations and know the best way to react when you are in danger.

• Learn about your legal rights. You may be able to get a restraining order against your partner. Restraining orders may also protect you from harassment from your partner’s friends and family.

• Contact one of the helpful and confidential resources available to assist you if you are concerned about being outed, taken seriously, or affecting your immigration status.  We can help connect you to those resources.

Some things to keep in mind when thinking about breaking up:

• Your relationship has probably been a large part of your life. If you feel lonely after the break up, talk to friends or find a new activity to help fill your time.

• Because of the significance of the relationship in your life, it is normal to miss your partner after the break-up. Don’t let yourself forget that you’re leaving for important reasons.

• Breaking up with an abusive partner can be a dangerous time. If you don’t feel safe, break up with your partner over the phone or with a friend waiting nearby. Let your family and friends know you’re planning on breaking up so they can support you and help keep you safe during this time. And if you are ever in immediate danger, call the police.

For information about support groups on this issue contact tish@talk2tish.com

The Heart of our Teachers!

I am constantly amazed by our teachers.  Our childrens lives are affected each and every day by these fabulous individuals who are dedicated to their lives and futures.  Stop and take just a few moments to watch this video and remind ourselves of what happens after the bell rings!

Honor our Teachers!

Aside from parents, who makes the biggest impact on our children?  Their teachers!  Bless these men and women who dedicate themselves to the growth and development of tomorrow's future leaders.  Take a few minutes and view this video.  Then do something special to acknowledge those amazing men and women! 

A celebration of Heroes!

new firefightersIt was my honor and pleasure to Chair our Chamber’s 15th annual New Educator and Hero’s reception last Thursday evening.  It’s such a lovely tradition that as far as I know is only held in Santa Monica.  We gathered at the gorgeous Le Merigot hotel courtyard to welcome all of the new educators, firefighters and police officers to our community.  The food was generous and hearty and absolutely delicious.  Each new person was recognized and welcomed by our Chamber members, and City officials.  When you take a look at all of the people who are dedicated to our children's education and our safety – it’s quite impressive.  I’ve been involved with this event for the past 14 years, and every year I’m reminded again of my gratitude for these amazing people.  We raffled off about 40 fabulous gift items, from video games to gift certificates for dinners and hotel stays.  Items like this are meaningful as most of our guests don’t have the opportunity or the funds to be frivolous.  We collected countless items from fellow chamber members and handed out “goodie bags” to each guest.  The bags were filled with everything from discount coupons to water bottles, key chains, pens, and amusement park passes.  Our members really stepped up with their offers of support.  Our school Superintendent, Fire and Police Chief were thrilled and excited to participate.  These people are the role models for all of us and our children's futures are in their hands. This is what it’s about my friends.  Giving back to your community and honoring those who selflessly give of themselves is exactly what the term “paying it forward” means.  There’s no better sense of satisfaction than contributing to others.  I left feeling proud and full of pleasure that I was a part of something so meaningful.  Yep – I still have a huge smile on my face and a light heart just thinking about what a great evening we all enjoyed!

Life is a classroom....

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Looking back over my life, remembering various leaders, teachers and coaches I’ve worked with, I think about which one could be the “one” who has had the most influence on me.  Many of us long to find a teacher, mentor or guru. We may feel unsure of how to proceed on our life’s journey without one, or we may long for someone who has attained a higher level of insight to lead the way for us.  The good news is that the greatest teacher you could ever want is always with you—that is your life. Life is a classroom.  When we are open to receiving wisdom from the people and situations we encounter every day, let’s recognize how much they teach us when we are open to receiving their wisdom.  How about the lessons we learn about the things we don’t want to do. Situations that occur in our lives, from the smallest and most insignificant to the largest and most important, have the ability to teach us exactly what we need to learn at any given time. A friend and associate of mine came up with what we call the “6 C’s”.  Commitment, Conviction, Consistency, Courage, Confidence, and Connected.  Pay close attention to these things as they occur in the classroom that is your life. Stop and think about each of these words and how they might guide your day-to-day lifestyle.  Are you committed to whatever you are doing right now, today, tomorrow or even next year?  Do you have conviction in your beliefs?  Are you consistent with your actions and words?  Do you have the courage and confidence to take the necessary action to accomplish your goals?  Are you connected to your life and your path?

I’ve found that affirmations can help me to remember this perfect teacher each day with a few simple words. Affirmations are a powerful tool and when consistently utilized can make a huge difference in your mindset and therefore your life:

I acknowledge and honor the teacher that is my life.

I am wise enough to recognize the teachers and lessons that I encounter today.

I am open to the wisdom I receive.

I appreciate what life is teaching me today.

I trust my intuition on the nature of the lesson at hand.

Guess what - Your life has all the answers. Your life is a movie and the cool thing is; it is written only up until today. Visualize the end.  You get to finish the movie however you choose. So, recognize that your thoughts lead to your feelings, which lead to your actions which create your results.

Start today on the completion of your movie.