Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Annual Workshop Between City Council and School District

Tonight we held our annual workshop between the Pleasanton City Council and the Pleasanton Unified School District. We talked about many issues, beginning with a report from students who attended Youth In Government Day - an opportunity for high school students to "shadow" councilmembers, school board members, and staff, including our City Manager and our Superintendent. We then heard reports and discussed the Youth Master Plan and the Tri-Valley Adolescent Health Initiative. I have to say, as I did during tonight's workshop, that while we have discussed youth mental health wellness issues for years, I feel tonight that we have a team of people in place who are really going to bring form and substance to this issue, and implement policies, and programs, that will really and truly address some of these issues for the boys and girls in our community.

The plans are to:

-Develop site-based counseling, support groups and education programs for youth, families, school staff and the community to identify mental health warning signs and provide support and referral

-Establish a youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategy

-Provide family support groups and one-to-one parent mentoring to enhance child-adult communications and relationships by partnering with community service providers

-Provide 40 developmental assets training at schools and community to help parents promote positive youth development

We have kids that are super high achievers, and that's great - but they also need to be kids! It's okay to be tops in one's athletic field, and take a ton of AP courses, but its also okay, as one Amador Valley High School Senior pointed out, to take them one at a time - not all at once! No wonder kids are stressed.

And then we have a huge number of kids that are just getting by - or maybe not. Kids who want to go to college, but are not Yale-bound. These young men and women need our support, too.

Finally, the message was clear that students, boy and girls, need their parents to set "boundaries" - they need limits. We all do. Boundaries and limits make us feel safe, because we know what the expectations are, they're realistic, and we can meet them.

I am so proud of this group of people, and again, I really think they are going to develop the strategies needed to address the needs of our Pleasanton youth.


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