Sep 13, 2011 | Newsroom

The Free Event, Themed ‘Healthy Families, Healthy Futures!’ Features Resource Fair, Panel Discussions on Immunizations, Internet Safety, and Drug Use Awareness

September 13, 2011 — Parents are invited to the “2011 Children and Youth Summit,” a first-of-its-kind event in Orange County that will feature a Resource Fair, talks by child health experts, and panel discussions where parents will hear from experts about topics critical to raising healthy, happy children including practical tips and guidelines.

Sponsored by Orange County Supervisor Pat Bates and the Children and Families Commission of Orange County, the event takes place from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at the Rancho Santa Margarita Bell Tower Community Center in South Orange County.

“The theme of our summit is ‘Healthy Families, Healthy Futures,’ because strong families and informed, engaged parents are important to a child’s future success,” said Bates, who has represented Orange County’s Fifth Supervisorial District since 2006.

“I’m especially excited that the Children and Families Commission of Orange County is partnering with us on this first annual event,” Bates added.  “The Commission has an extraordinary track record of sponsoring comprehensive educational and health care services to Orange County’s families and helping prepare students for school so that they succeed from day one.”

The event is free and open to all parents.  Parents are asked to RSVP by Sept. 23 to Rhonda Diaz: (714) 568-5721 or Child care in not provided. The Rancho Santa Margarita Bell Tower Community Center is located at 22232 El Paseo. Following is an overview of the morning’s events:

9 to 9:30 a.m.: Breakfast & Resource Fair

Before the formal program begins, parents can attend a Resource Fair and speak with representatives from a wide variety of resource and service agencies.  The representatives will be available to provide information and answer questions.

9:30 to 10:05: Welcome, Introductions & Keynote Speaker

Bates will welcome parents and make introductions, and then introduce the summit’s keynote speaker, Michael M. Ruane, executive director of the Children and Families Commission of Orange County. Using recent data and studies, Ruane will share with parents key trends that are impacting the health and wellbeing of children, and efforts underway to address these conditions.

10:10 to 11:10: Panel Breakout Sessions

Parents can choose from the following three panel sessions:

Panel 1, 0 to 5 Years: “Immunizations: Everything You Need to Know”

This panel will feature Dr. Jasjit Singh, an expert in pediatric infectious diseases, Dr. Marc Lerner, Medical Officer with the Orange County Department of Education, and a school nurse who is on the front lines of children’s health issues daily.

Panel 2, 6 to 12 Years: “Internet Safety & Setting Boundaries”

Panel members will include Josh Taylor, Orange County Health Care Agencies, a cyber-bullying and Internet usage expert; Wade Walsvick, an investigator with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and member of the Internet Safety & Child Exploitation Task Force; Danny and Anna Mendez, family members of a bullying fatality; and Tiare Brock from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department who is a South Orange County Victim Advocate.

Panel 3, 13 to 18 Years: “Is My Teen at Risk? Drug Use Awareness”

This panel will feature Deputy John Blank with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who is an expert on black tar heroin; Mitch Cherness, alcohol and drug abuse awareness director, Health Care Agencies; and Amy Buch, a Health Care Agencies drug and alcohol prevention ADEPT staff member.

This panel also will feature powerful testimony from “Marty,” a 21-year-old Orange County man who began using drugs when he was just 14.  His drug use led to arrest and incarceration; after his last incarceration, at 19, he pledged to change his life.  He currently holds down a full-time job and is beginning his college career.

11:15 to 11:30: Closing Remarks: “Joy of Parenting” by Dr. Kate Bono

Bono is a faculty member in the Department of Child and Adolescent Studies at California State University, Fullerton.  She also serves as advisor to CASSA, the Child and Adolescent Studies Student Association for Child Development Majors and students from other majors who are interested in working with children and/or adolescents.

Bono conducts research about the contributions of parenting, interventions, and child abilities to the development of school readiness in both typically developing and at-risk children. She has also conducted extensive program evaluation and research in an early intervention program for children who were prenatally exposed to cocaine and several parenting programs for at-risk families.  Bono currently teaches courses focused on research methods, early child development and families.

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