Considering Jeff for a FULL DAY in your School Community?
Consider TWO FULL DAYS because clearly ONE DAY isn’t enough!
Jeff, you sure you can’t stay an extra day?”
– Alexis Foster, Principal, Mathews High School, Virginia
Jeff, I wish you could help us finish out the next four weeks. We need your help. Our kids and staff loved having you for the day.”
– Linda Garza, Principal, Woodsboro High School, Texas
Why Jeff for a Day
Jeff feels that when talking mental health to teens and working with a school being proactive or a community in crisis, he doesn’t want to be a speaker that comes in and leaves right after and then the school and parents are left having to pick up the pieces. Or, he was an inspiration and then you never hear from him again. Jeff feels strongly that he has a responsibility to be present and real. He feels more valuable being there the whole day supporting not just the teens that want to talk, but also the teachers and staff, the parents, and the whole school. He is that outside voice that can and will give a boost. Jeff won’t come and talk teen mental health and leave. If he’s going to talk teen mental health he feels it’s equally important to talk to the teachers and parents. He is there all day . . . ALL DAY!
Many school communities have made this investment and they realize how much Jeff cares and their students realize that Jeff cares. As Jeff will tell you, “Lives are going to change!” and lives do.
One day is never enough. If you are considering the investment for one day, consider the investment for two days. What is the cost of saving lives and giving a boost to your school community?
Teen Mental Health and Our School Community
“Teen Mental Health is the greatest healthcare crisis of our time”, says Jeff. Every day Jeff’s office receives phone calls from school superintendents, principals, guidance counselors, parents, and even teens with cries for help. Every day we are also getting calls from these same people just wanting to be proactive because they’re realizing how desperate these teens are and how immediate something needs to be done. Yes, every day!
Jeff is safe and nobody has the experience he does in schools. 25 years and thousands of school buildings. Teen mental health in our schools needs to be addresses and our school staff isn’t equipped with addressing the teens issues and crisis intervention counselors don’t know how to be that “trusted adult” for teens. Furthermore, the crisis intervention counselors are calling Jeff’s office too saying, “Jeff, the kids won’t talk to us.” Jeff knows why. He gets it. “Our youth don’t care about statistics and research. They don’t care to talk to the adults in their community. They have their reasons. Their wall is up and it’s concrete. You can’t not address this though because how much will one suicide effect your school community? How about two? What about a third? What about one that happens in the school bathroom?”
All schools have to start addressing teen mental health and protecting their students. You need someone like Jeff who connects with them and your school staff that creates a safe environment where students will start feeling comfortable and you know more of your students that now come onto your school radar. After all, it’s not the kids on the school radar we are most concerned about. It’s the ones that weren’t on the radar that afterwards, you’re like, “Jeff, we didn’t even know something was wrong.”
This is not the time to be afraid to talk about teen mental illness and suicide. This is the time to address it and quickly. Jeff says, “Listen, if you are thinking of addressing teen suicide because you have teens with suicidal ideation, then he promises you more are thinking about it, too. The reality is that if you address teen suicide and mental illness you are actually putting these teens and their emotions more at ease because although they’re afraidor don’t know how to ask for help, you talking about it is calming their emotions and possibly saving their lives.”
Communities have people reaching out every day and administrators are afraid to talk about it for fear that it would make things worse. Actually, Jeff says, “I don’t think they’re afraid to address it as much as they don’t know how and they think if they do it could make things worse.” Jeff also says, “I understand their fears, but I also know that my talk with the teens is less about what they’re experiencing and more about, ‘OK . . . Here is where we are. What are we going to do. How are we going to get there and who are we through this process.'” Jeff’s talk is more positive and motivational with the teens. His two things other than him telling his story is that he is glad he has always and continues to get help and that it’s OK to ask for HELP. Jeff also says that as a result of him addressing his mental illness and practicing self-care he’s the healthiest and happiest he’s ever been.
Jeff emphasizes SELF ESTEEM, get to know who you are and be comfortable with who you are not. He’s a strong communicator and very sensitive to not bring further pain and hurt leaving pieces to be picked up. This is why Jeff comes in for a FULL DAY. Who does that? Nobody else. Jeff isn’t there for the talks, the teachers, and then the parents. Jeff is there from 7:00 am to literally some nights 10:00 pm and he doesn’t leave school. He doesn’t even eat, or he is eating on the run from one group to another. Literally, he’s there all day. You get worn out before he does and he is FULLY PRESENT.
“You’ve got to be careful about addressing loss and suicide with teens. To not address it or not acknowledge there is a problem can be troubling for teens and the staff.”, says Jeff.
Jeff comes in and prides himself on being upbeat and positive with the teens when he speaks. He talks candidly about his struggles with mental illness and talks about his self-care every day being #1. He takes teens on a journey of his morning routine which reduces stress and anxiety so that he is 100% energized, present, and engaged. He talks about how this is important and corporations are starting to do this with their employees.
Your teens love Jeff because he more or less looks like the guy your parents tell their kids not to talk to, yet he’s a yogi, a single digit handicap golfer, rides a Harley, and is very open about his life and the challenges he faced until he accepted he’s a man living with mental illness. He’s a big guy who wears a t-shirt that has a pink elephant and the teens trust him. Furthermore, throughout the day Jeff is where he needs to be doing what he needs to be doing. At any time you can find him in the gym shooting baskets, in the halls yelling or laughing with kids, high fives, in the weight room lifting with kids and coaches or supporting them, and he’s often at games cheering the teams on. The students love him and appreciate how much he cares.
Jeff knows how to give hope to the hopeless and connect with those that are afraid to ask for help. He knows how to connect with your athletes and help your top tier students struggling with the expectation of being the best. He connects with all your students. When Jeff speaks you’d be amazed how many students sign up to want to speak with him afterwards in a one on one session. So many that we are unable to get through to all the students within one day.
At night, the parents come and listen to Jeff because their kids call and text their parents saying, “Mom and Dad, you got to go see this guy tonight. He literally changed my life.” Parents come and for two hours they’re mesmerized as Jeff talks about parenting today’s teens. He talks about:
- Teen Mental Health & Emotions
- Social Media and Smartphones
- Social Media Depression
- Balance and Boundaries
- Statistics on Teen Mental Health and Suicide
- Signs and Symptoms
- Warning Signs & Clues
- What to say and what not to say
- How to speak to your teens to get them to open up
- How to be the #1 Trusted Adult in your child’s life
- Two words teens use to describe their parents
- Two reasons WHY teens choose to take their life
- Do teens really want to die
- Two questions your child asks every day
- . . . so much more!
A Sample Schedule of ONE DAY
With more than 25 years “in the trenches” with our youth, Jeff knows teens and knows how to reach them.
His full day program starts early – and Jeff covers all bases for students as well as faculty and staff.
7:00 AM: Meet and greet with key administration and faculty. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and excited about the day.
8:00-10:15 AM: School Assembly – If we do two school assemblies we are nearing the noon hour and we definitely will not be able to connect with everyone.
NOTE: In these one on ones teens feel comfortable sharing more about their life that nobody else knows about . . . The issues we uncover most often are:
- Sexual Assault
- Suicidal Thoughts – a plan is already made
- Abuse – Physical, Mental Health, and Sexual
- and more!
Jeff is a mandated reporter and everything he finds out is addressed right there on the spot and this is why we can’t connect with as many teens as we’d like to in a short period of time. More reason to consider two full days. Two full days greater impact and more kids to visit with. Also, some parents want to come and visit with Jeff one on one too, and sometimes they want to come in with their teen and visit with Jeff. The second day also leaves Jeff a greater opportunity to take in a school sporting event and support the school community that way as well.
10:30 AM: Jeff makes himself available for students, teachers, counselors and staff. This is the perfect time for one-on-one chats, small group conversations, school climate and culture building and walk-throughs.
Make sure a counselor is available. Breakthroughs can happen at any moment, and they usually do.
You will discover which students are on the school’s radar, and who is now going to be on that radar – one step closer to getting these students the help they need.
“I’m where I need to be, doing what we need to do to support and inspire our kids.”
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Teen Mental Health Q&A and Workshop. Credit hours available for teachers. A fun, insightful and productive hour.
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM: Game, Practice, Talking to Teens, Teachers, or Parents, etc.
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM: Parents and Community Program
Why do they tell Jeff?
Teens feel comfortable with Jeff. They tell Jeff, “Well you seem like you get us and you’re like easy to talk to.” Jeff knows teens and his incredible experience with youth, his compassion and passion for teens make him easily approachable. They talk, Jeff supports their feelings and validates that it’s OK to talk. He tells them he’s proud of them for not holding it in and then they’re feeling more comfortable and this is when they share more. Teens have two questions that need answered and Jeff answers them immediately. They are, “Can I trust you?” and “Do you care about me?”
Why is this a good thing for the school?
We teach young people. Our subject area is second. Teens are hurting more than you can imagine and you’re quickly finding this out. Teens need a safe place and our schools have always been that place. Ultimately, this is good for our school community because we need to know who is hurting and what they’re dealing with so we as a school community can provide them the resources on campus as best we can. We need to protect and educate the whole student and each student matters to the whole school community.
Jeff’s Talk(s) . . .
All about teen motivation and life. Jeff uses his own story to illustrate the pitfalls and temptations young people are likely to encounter and the successes they can celebrate on the road to adulthood.
Behavior. Attitude. Choices. It’s OK to ask for help. Take time to think.
Jeff is transparent about his own life and his struggles with mental illness – but his stories are also laced with his unique brand of humor. Today, Jeff is a man who is a man who proudly lives with mental illness and is a staunch advocate for mental health.
Jeff doesn’t lecture the students, and his talks are not canned. Your students will “get him” right off the bat.
“Let the energy happen,” says Jeff. “It’s amazing. It’s safe. It’s real issues. I will tell the kids that I’m here all day, and that if anybody wants to talk, we are here.”
Parents and Community Presentation
This component features a lecture from Jeff and a PowerPoint presentation, covering a wide range of issues including teen mental health, teen behavior – social media, drugs and alcohol, responsibilities of the parent, and teen suicide.
Regardless of who comes our schools have a responsibility to provide this for the parents and community. It’s the parents responsibility if they choose not to come. Jeff talks to who comes and usually those that come Jeff knows aren’t necessarily the ones we need to be talking to.
Jeff will also discuss the college application process – and he brings the same enthusiasm and authenticity to these events as well.
Consider a Second Day
“Let me be a part of your school climate: A teacher, coach, crazy and excited Uncle Jeff for the day. I’m your guest. How can I make this a great day?”
More students can be reached. Parents want to come in and talk. Let Jeff be present for the day meeting with people, in the halls, watching games, and being the inspiration that the kids need. This second day takes off from where the first day ended. Immediately we start talking with other students who were signed up or who choose to come forward on Day #2.
Jeff is where he needs to be doing what he needs to be doing.
Let’s visit and answer all your questions. Jeff wants to help you inspire your school – students, staff, and parents.