Growing into adulthood can be a turbulent time. If you are a teen, you know that. If you used to be a teen, you might have chosen to forget that part – it can be that turbulent. One day you are just a kid, the next day you wake up to find yourself going through all these changes. Sometimes, you feel like you are still just a kid. Then suddenly, without much warning, you find yourself faced with adult decisions: choose a career path, apply for student loans, make choices about alcohol, drugs, relationships and sex. You fall in love for the first time and it is wonderful, until it gets complicated by some of these choices and becomes really confusing. Who do you turn to for help and support?
If you are fortunate, you can quickly identify the trusted adults in your life (parents, grandparents, doctors, etc.) who won’t freak out at the mere mention of these topics. But many teens cannot identify even one trusted adult they can turn to. This is where Co-County Wellness Services, Reading School District and Berks Teens Matter come in. Partnering with RSD, CCWS staffs the newly opened Health Resource Center at Reading High. Students have free access to a health educator who is there to listen as they think out loud about their options, their values, potential consequences and more. As a health educator, she can also offer information, referrals, and resources – including helping students to identify trusted adults in their lives.
Meanwhile, Berks Teens Matter is also here to offer support, information, and resources to teens and people who are parenting so they can get comfortable with these often-challenging conversations and become a trusted adult for the youth in their lives. www.berksteensmatter.org
By Nadine Smet-Weiss