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June is a busy month for Ask, Listen, Learn!  Earlier in the month we sat down with Debbie Phelps and local DC bloggers.  Yesterday we traveled to New York with Debbie and appeared on TODAY to talk about our Ask, Listen, Learn program and the vital role parents, educators, and coaches play in influencing youth to adopt healthy lifestyles and steer clear of underage drinking.  

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After our media stops this morning, we hosted a luncheon with NY bloggers where Debbie shared the “speedbumps” she encountered while raising her three kids, and she spoke on how she best dealt with tough situations.  Debbie pointed out no parent or kid is perfect and the best we all can do is try and plant seeds in our kids early in life so they grow to make smart decisions in the future, and should they stray and make poor decisions, that we as parents pause and make sure the moment becomes a teachable one.   

Debbie's perspective is invaluable to our program.  She has raised three successful children and has the unique opportunity to guide middle school students on a daily basis and also engage with caregivers on the important roles they play in directing the paths their kids take.  Debbie emphasized the necessity to look at the entire family unit.  Parents often need to lean on educators, coaches and programs like Ask, Listen, Learn to provide the tools to jumpstart the conversation with youth about the risks of underage drinking. 

Educators play a large role in the success of students, but when it comes to underage drinking, 83% of youth ages 10-18 years old, cite parents as the leading influence in their decision to not drink at all, or not to drink on occasion, which is up 28% proportionally from 2003. This places clear emphasis that parents need to make a dedicated effort to talk with their kids about underage drinking as kids truly are listening.  Debbie suggests parents need to stop, slow down, and take time to actually parent their kids and capture the time spent together rather than placing extraordinary emphasis elsewhere.  The Ask, Listen, Learn program provides tools for parents to start these sometime awkward conversations with these kids. 

You can read more of Debbie's story in her book, A Mother For All Seasons.

To read more about the local bloggers we enjoyed the afternoon with today please visit their blogs:

Lastly, we're off to Omaha today for #SwimTrials12 – follow us at @asklistenlearn and www.facebook.com/asklistenlearn for live updates from the pool deck!