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Kat-Lewisboro to Host Forum on Cyber-Bullying

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. –  Rachael Simmons, internationally recognized educator, bullying expert and best-selling author, will speak at John Jay Middle School next month about the social pressures and dangers teenagers face today.

In separate workshops for teens and parents, Simmons will provide tools and scripts to help teens navigate the social cruelty, exclusion, abusive friendships, and cyber-bullying that can occur with “best friends, worst enemies and everything in between,” and to help parents empower teens with these techniques.

The event, dubbed Family U Night, starts at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 9 though doors open at 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students. Advanced registration is required. For more information call (914) 232-3227 or visit www.klfamilyuniversity.org .

Family University is a not-for-profit corporation made up of students, teachers, parents, social workers, counselors and other professionals committed to helping families help themselves.  Family University is based on the belief that fostering effective parenting skills and enhancing communication among family members will prevent the misuse of drugs and alcohol, and encourage children to make good choices, according to its website.

Family U Night is an evening of workshops for all parents and middle and high school students.

In addition to the keynote speaker, there will be five other presentations, including local parent, clinician and author Jennifer Powell-Lunder, who recently co-authored an internationally acclaimed book on adolescents, “Teenage as a Second Language: A Parents’ Guide to Becoming Bilingual.”  She will provide parents with specific strategies that foster communication and strong connections with teens in her workshop, Teen Speak. Powell-Lunder is the clinical director of the Inpatient Adolescent Unit at Four Winds, an adjunct professor of psychology at Pace University and maintains a local private practice.  Other presentations will include performance artist Shaun Derik, Young People in Recovery, the John Jay High School Bullying Prevention Team and John Jay High School staff.

Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestseller, “Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls,” a book that illuminated the phenomenon of bullying among girls.  Simmons is also author of “The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence,” an exploration of the damaging effects societal messages have on girls. She is the founding director of the Girls’ Leadership Institute, a professor at Smith College, and a former Rhodes Scholar.

Currently, Simmons serves as a consultant to schools and organizations around the world. A revised version of “Odd Girl Out” has recently been released and includes  material on cyber-bullying and how to help girls navigate life online.

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