Catherine Livingston is a mother of two adult children and a counselor at Henry Ford II High School. Having gone through the difficult years that coincide with adolescence to become a teenager and a high school counselor, she can fully relate to the concerns facing parents today.
This also makes her an excellent podcast host.
“If I walk into my daughter’s room and smell cherries, should I be concerned,” Livingston said, during an interview for Utica Community Schools Wellness Podcast with Corey Beckwith, public health coordinator for ACCESS, an Arab-American nonprofit group that serves as a strong advocate for cultural and social entrepreneurship imbued with the values of community service, healthy lifestyles, education, and philanthropy.
Beckwith is also a social worker, consultant/certified prevention specialist, and past co-chair of the Michigan Prevention Association, a statewide organization of alcohol, tobacco, and drug prevention professionals and volunteers. .
The topic of discussion for a recent edition was vaping and what parents need to know.
As Beckwith explained on the podcast when it comes to vaping, a big part of the appeal to young people is the flavor. Electronic cigarettes, as the cool version of the old cigarette is called, come in appealing smells and tastes. Fruit, mint, candy, and dessert flavors are favorites, and studies suggest they elicit the urge to vape. These were all banned two years ago, but they are still around along with other vaping-related products such as flavored nicotine pouches.
The cherry scent could also be a candle burning in the child’s room. Either way, Beckwith advised Livingston, who asked the question on behalf of the parents, to tell his daughter about it.
“And I would recommend ASAP,” added Beckwith, during the interview which covered a variety of topics in 20 minutes.
From now on, the podcast and all the information provided on the subject, including resources for parents, such as useful websites and organizations that can help young drug addicts, will be available for parents on the Utica Community Schools Wellness website. , UticaK12.org/UCS_Wellness. The informational website was launched by the district during the pandemic.
“When the pandemic started, we knew we had to connect with families differently,” Livingston said.
However, with parents and students at home, schools needed another way to provide families with access to school and pandemic-related information, as well as physical, mental and socio-emotional needs. UCS families.
The creation of UCS Wellness has allowed schools to share a diverse catalog of resources, including a virtual calming room for anyone experiencing stress as well as wellness support guides designed for students and parents.
Its success led the district to expand the parent toolkit.
“We wanted to be able to draw our families to these resources and other information and thought about the best way to do that,” Livingston said. “Podcasts are the number one thing now. They are short and simple. It’s a topic and it only lasts an hour.
It’s also conversational.
“So you’re not just being told something. Our team does a good job of personalizing the topic,” said Kim Charland, executive director of high school curriculum and programs for UCS and among those who helped launch the new podcast series.
So far, three podcasts have been recorded. Each will be posted to UticaK12.org/UCS_Wellness on the third Wednesday of every month throughout the school year. Other hosts throughout the series will include advisers, Kim Twarowski and April Raupp.
Its success has also sparked outside interest, including the Waterford School District in Oakland County, which has launched its own podcast series.
“The pandemic and recent school tragedies have underscored the importance of mental wellness for our students, staff, and families, and the UCS Wellness Podcast provides another resource to help our community focus on their health and well-being. to be,” the Utica Community Schools Superintendent said. Robert Monroe. “I am so proud of the initiative the UCS Wellness team has shown in expanding this program in support of our community.”
Livingston and Charland, who brainstorm a lot about what to cover, hope to include students in the podcast produced and edited by Kevin Coppa, who has been involved in other audio and video productions supported by the district and his commission. school.
“It’s like a radio show, only you can listen at your leisure, like on your way to work,” Coppa said.
The subject of the inaugural episode is the importance of mental health. Livingston’s guest for this podcast was Nancy Buyle, who is a school safety and student aid consultant for the Macomb Intermediate School District. She was thrilled to learn about the podcast series.
“I’m so grateful to you for doing this,” she told her host. “I think that’s wonderful information for everyone to know and I’m excited to hear about all the other podcasts you’ll be doing as well.”
In addition to UticaK12.org/UCS_Wellness listeners can also watch the podcast series on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Amazon Music by searching for UCS Wellness Podcast.