Youth Development Programs Gain Momentum in Schools

<b>Youth Development Programs Gain Momentum in Schools</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Receiving a comprehensive education in today’s society requires more than leaving the educational system with knowledge about algebra or an understanding of how to write a compound sentence. Today, more than ever, leaders, educators and communities alike are looking for programs that go beyond academic education, but develop youth into well-rounded citizens.

Long before youth development programs were a growing trend in our school systems, Lions Quest, a global program of Lions Clubs International Foundation, was already helping schools and communities develop youth into strong, healthy members of society. Founded in 1984, Lions Quest is recognized by the United States Department of Education and continues to be a leader among positive youth development programs.

Comprehensive programs that center on positive youth development provide adolescents with the essential skills to help them lead healthier lifestyles, resist drug use and develop a positive self-image. As children today continue to be confronted with pressures at earlier ages, incorporating programs that educate them about these issues is essential.

The Lions Quest program centers its curriculum on social and emotional learning. The foundation of a student’s success in school, work and life is closely tied to social and emotional learning. Service-learning is another core focus of Lions Quest, demonstrating to youth the importance of serving others.

Results show that Lions Quest youth have experienced up to a 50 percent decrease in bullying, while increasing their connectedness to school 100 percent. In addition, students’ use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs was reduced or remained stagnant as a result of the program.

Each year, 3.8 million children throughout the U.S. benefit from Lions Quest in their school or community, demonstrating the long history of the program in developing healthy, strong school-aged children.

As the trend toward comprehensive education grows, Lions Quest continues to pave the way as a premier program. Through such programs, youth are better equipped to resist drugs and alcohol, discover a commitment to serving their community through service and develop into the leaders of tomorrow.

Visit www.lions-quest.org for more information about the Lions Quest program.

New Resource Helps Parents Choose Age-Appropriate Video Games

<b>New Resource Helps Parents Choose Age-Appropriate Video Games</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard your child plead for the latest, hottest video game. And as a parent, you may have found yourself in the position of having to decide whether a game rated “T for Teen,” recommended for kids 13 and older, is really OK for your younger “tween” to play. And what do you do if the rating information on the back of the game box says that the game contains “Fantasy Violence” and “Blood and Gore?” What exactly does that mean?

“Those terms (content descriptors) are helpful, but sometimes I need more detail than what’s on the box,” says one parent, “especially when my 11-year-old has got his heart set on a game, and I’m more inclined to err on the side of caution.”

For times like these, a new resource is now available to help parents decide whether a video game is truly appropriate for their child. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) — the non-profit group that assigns age and content ratings for computer and video games — has recently started offering “rating summaries,” which provide a brief yet descriptive explanation of content that factored into a game’s rating. They detail everything from what sort of violent acts are in the game to the words that your child will hear to the appearance or use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs by a character in the game.

Parents can find rating summaries by searching specific titles on the ESRB’s Web site (www.esrb.org), or they can look them up, right from the video game store, by using a Web-enabled cell phone to search game titles on the ESRB’s mobile Web site (m.esrb.org).

“The ratings are a great resource, and checking them will undoubtedly give you a good sense of whether a game is right for your child, but by their nature they are intended to provide basic guidance and information,” says Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB. “For those parents that want to go beyond the rating information on the package, rating summaries deliver exactly what they need. They allow parents to dig deeper and get that much more comfortable with a game’s content before they bring it home for their child. At the end of the day, it’s all about peace of mind.”