How to Promote Positive Mental Health in Kids

At CitizenRad we focus our energy and social impact on schools and organizations that work to provide children and youth with positive life experiences and support. As we surround ourselves with those who are working tirelessly to make each day brighter for our younger generations, we bring you some tips on how you can do small things at home to help your own students!

One in every five youth will experience some sort of diagnosable mental health condition, but too few get help soon enough. Luckily, there are ample creative ways to reduce stress for kids. Teaching your student how to manage their stress levels will help them develop healthy habits from a young age which will foster positive and healthy relationships with themselves and those around them.

Understand signs and symptoms of stress

The first step in promoting mental health is knowing when to be cautious. Some of the most common symptoms include worrying about schoolwork or grades, having negative thoughts about themselves and decreased appetite, or other changes in eating habits. Also reinforcing that it is normal to feel down in the dumps sometimes will ensure that your kids know when to be seeking help and when to just take it easy after a bad day.

Know what resources are available

There are plenty of resources available, however most people are simply unaware of them. Children’s Mental Health Ontario and SickKids Hospital have a list of great resources catered towards youth. From kids’ help phones to helpful articles, knowing that there is help available allows kids to pursue healthy options to deal with anxiety and stress.

Take breaks

As humans, our natural instinct tells us that when we have a lot on our plates and limited time to complete it all – we have to buckle down and get it all done as fast as possible. We often forget to let our brains take a breather! Taking short, interval breaks helps keep the brain refreshed and more productive in the long run. So if your student starts to show signs that they are getting overwhelmed, try one of these 50 ways to take a break!

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Online Resources for Busy Parents Who Want to Keep Learning

Best Free/Inexpensive Educational Technology Resources for Busy Parents

“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

Socrates

From getting up at 6am to organize school lunches, walk the dogs and hustle the kids off to school, then driving to soccer practice after making sure dinner is prepared, it’s hard for the selfless, modern day parent to be able to find time to invest in themselves. However that’s no excuse not to! Here are some easily accessible, affordable ways to pursue your own passions without breaking the bank or taking you away from the things you just gotta do!

Lynda

lynda.com is an American online education company offering thousands of video courses in software, creative, and business skills. With a full curriculum and hundreds of options, you can take courses your own time at your own pace. With an array of partners, some organizations might even offer free subscriptions!

iTunes U

Although not everything on this platform is free, there are a lot of free resources and the ones you do pay for are worth the few bucks. Parents nowadays really don’t have a free minute beyond the daily commute to work or serving as your kids’ personal chauffeur. Courses can be loaded on your phone, into your computer, or synced into your car for easy on the go listening to podcasts and lectures.http://www.open.edu/itunes/

EdX

At the time, university seemed like the be all end all, you couldn’t wait to be done! It’s not until you reflect on it now that you realized how glorious of a time that was. EdX is your one stop shop for all things university with free courses from some of the top schools in the world to further your own knowledge without the long hours and financial strain. http://www.edx.org/‎

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan with a goal of creating a set of online tools that help educate students. The organization produces short lectures in the form of YouTube videos. A variety of topics are covered and you can find grade specific educational content – so this doubles as an in house tutor for your kids if they need a little extra help! https://www.khanacademy.org/

 

 

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Putting Our Money Where Our Future Is

#ShopwithPurpose – Innovative New Back to School Fundraiser CitizenRad

‘Tis the season of back to school shopping. Long lines at the department store, trying to fulfill multiple supply lists and running down aisles and aisles of products trying to find what your child needs. As exciting as it is for your children, back to school season can be a stressful time that parents across the country dread.

Then there’s the fundraising dilemma. Right after the chaos of preparing your kids for a new academic year comes the demand for more funding to support school programming. As the government continues to cut back on funding for educational programs across Canada and also in the US, more onus is shifted onto the shoulders of parents’  to fund school needs.

CitizenRad aims to “kill two birds with one stone” by offering back to school basics through an innovative online e-commerce platform that gives 15% cashback to your school fundraising program on every purchase. No more door to door selling asking for donations, buying another magazine subscription through your school fundraiser or promoting chocolate bars and other unhealthy products. Make back to school shopping easier by purchasing your needs from the comfort of your own home to give yourself the peace of mind at www.citizenrad.com!

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Teaching Social Responsibility to Kids

Teaching Social Responsibility to Kids

Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large.”

In a materialistic society dominated by selling the idea that “more is better,” it is important to teach children from a young age to not believe everything they see and also to think critically about issues and understand that they can play a role in making a positive contribution to the world with their choices and actions.

Looking to teach your child social responsibility? Below are three easy ways to start.

Choose an Issue and Fundraise for a Charity

School’s out and the heat is on! There’s no better time than the summer to set up a good old-fashioned lemonade stand or declutter with a yard sale! Ask your child about an issue they care about – whether that’s clean water, the decline of honeybees or homelessness and do some research together around it. Run a small fundraiser around your neighbourhood and donate the proceeds to the charity of their choice. Find an organization that will be meaningful, so your child will feel good about giving, and accomplishing a project on their own. Bonus: Send a letter with your donation asking them to acknowledge your child with a thank you card addressed directly to them.

Talk About World Issues

Around first grade, a child will start forming their own opinions about issues that are shared with them such as poverty, world hunger and human rights. Although it’s not necessary to completely go into the nitty gritty details and understand the entire scope of the issue, it will prompt them to start thinking of what is happening around the world beyond their own backyard. As leaders of the future, the sooner they become aware the sooner they can potentially create the next revolutionary idea to solve it! Kids are amazingly creative in their problem solving!

Support a Local Program

Although there are countless world issues worth teaching your child about, it’s important not to forget that there are opportunities in their own community to do good.. This can be as simple as back to school shopping with CitizenRad to raise money for their own school initiatives. The goal for our new Back to School Basics program is to offer a solution to the ever growing problem of schools not having enough financial support for their activities, and do it in a way that benefits everyone. It will not only give your child the opportunity to pick out their own supplies, but support their own school creating a better school experience for all.

 

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5 Easy Ways To Be More Involved With Your Child’s Education

How Parents Can Be More Involved in Their Child’s Education

Not too long ago, National PTA created a list of “100 Ways for Parents to Be Involved in Their Child’s Education.” After going through the long list of suggestions, we narrowed in on the 5 ways we believe are simple and easy first steps for you to become more involved in your child’s education even as a  busy parent.

Share your interests, hobbies,and talents with your children    

Oftentimes we as parents are so caught up in “parenting” that we forget to communicate with our children. Instead of just asking your child about their interests, hobbies and talents, share yours with them as well. This will make it easier for them to open up to you by making yourself more of a friend and ally to them.

Attend PTA, school board, and/or town meetings and speak to issues of concern

Even if you’re not a regular attendee, some school board/town meetings will hold Annual General Meetings (AGM) or open monthly meetings to talk about important issues. Attending these meetings once in a while will help you stay in the loop about important events affecting your child while giving you the chance to have your voice heard if needed.

Discuss your child’s school day and homework daily

Showing interest in your child’s life makes them feel good and encourages an open line of communication.  This established routine and trust makes it easier for you to talk about more serious issues when needed.

Provide a quiet, well-lighted place with basic school supplies for studying/homework

Let’s admit it, homework is definitely one aspect that most parents struggle with getting their child to do. Just getting started is half the battle! Giving them an environment where they want to work starts with having a neat and tidy space with adequate supplies. Check out our blog post about how to make homework fun!

Assist your child’s teacher in the classroom or on field trips when you are able

Field trips can be fun! This can be a good break from your everyday routine. But more importantly, it gives you a chance to see how your child interacts with their peers and serves as an avenue to get to know their teacher and classmates too!

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5 Ways to Make Homework Time Fun!

 5 Ways to Make Homework Time Fun!

1. Create a fun working space

If you were walking down the street looking for a good place for dinner and see a dull, cluttered, poorly lit restaurant, would it entice you to walk in to grab a bite? Probably not. Get your student excited about their workstation! Decorate with fun colours and storage units and let them pick out their own school supplies. Getting started is half the battle, and having creative space free of distractions is the first step.

2. Learning Apps

Believe it or not as much as technology can be a distraction at times, there are also significant benefits in using it to motivate and help your student learn. From math to language to coding, there is wide variety of resources that can be incorporated into your student’s homework time as a fun and engaging way to learn.

3. Work Alongside your Student

Whether it’s paying the bills or firing off emails, when your student sees you working hard it will motivate them to do the same. Keeping them company can also help them stay focused and help homework time feel less lonely and isolated.

4. Use a reward system

Set weekly goals like getting all their work done by a certain time after school. Setting up a reward system to use as positive reinforcement for when your student completes their goals can help make homework seem less like a chore. They can be rewarded to more TV/Computer time, a trip to the park or a playdate.

5. Take Interval Breaks

Although breaks can seem counterproductive, short breaks can work to your student’s advantage by preventing burnout and helping them refocus in the long run. Snack time, a quick run around outside or helping get dinner ready will give your student some time for their brain to relax and start again with a pair of fresh eyes.

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Most Effective Fundraising Tips

Effective Fundraising – Here we grow!

1. Set Clear Goals

It is proven that setting clear, objective goals are more effective than setting subjective goals such as “trying your best” or “as ____ as possible” Setting SMART goals, having hard numbers and figures will help you stay motivated during slower phases and know when to aim for and gauge your efforts to maximize your results.

2. Tell a Story

There is a reason why Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and Steve Jobs’ iPhone Keynote are able to influence such a great number of people and win them over. As Simon Sinek stated in his famous TED talk, people don’t buy into products, they buy into the story. Telling a story helps your donor visualize the scenario how you perceive it and helps them identify that there is a real problem that they can help solve.

3. Stay Transparent

Keep supporters updated with exciting news that is happening throughout the duration of the fundraiser. Charity Water, an organization focused on bringing clean water to developing countries, does a great job of staying transparent with their supporters through their Dollars to Projects initiative, giving full updates to the donor within 21 months of their campaign on where their money goes and how it helps. Not only does this affirm the donor that their money is being used for the right cause, but also gives them a sense of gratification seeing their dollars making a real difference. Some ways you can keep your donors informed are through social media, school newsletters, and having teachers share with the students the impact of the fundraising campaigns. Involving students can really boost school pride and overall giving!

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5 Benefits of Online Back to School Shopping

5 Benefits of Online Back to School Shopping

1. Convenience

Due to the nature of back to school products, there is no need to try on your purchases before buying. The size of pencil cases, lunch bags, stationary and backpacks can be easily approximated and follow general sizes which saves you hassle of physically going to the store. Everything can be done within the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas, on your own schedule.

2. Saves Time

Back to school season can be a stressful time, with everyone trying to prepare their students for the upcoming year. Crowds and long lines are not only a headache, but take valuable time out of your busy schedule that could be spent on more productive tasks. Getting your back to school shopping done online not only saves you from having to drive to the store, fight for parking, and frantically run through aisles and aisles of products trying to find what you need, but also gives you the ease to find what you need without the chaos.

3. Lower prices

Shelving space and inventory can add up to be a very costly expense for most companies, and guess how those costs are paid for? Hidden in the price that the consumers have to pay. Since companies selling online do not need to pay for retail overhead expenses, it often lowers overall price for the consumer in the end.

4. More variety

Besides saving money on shelving space, online retailers also have more freedom in terms of the variety of products they can offer, giving you more options to choose from and lowers the chance of products being sold out or unavailable.

5. Saves you money

Marketers are very sneaky in the way they place products. How many times have you waited in line and grabbed something that you really didn’t need, even if it was just something small? Small expenses can add up, so shopping online saves you the temptation of impulsive purchases. It also saves you transit or gas money that you would be spending to get to the retail store, and don’t forget your time has value! Even if an online store charges for shipping, you have to ask yourself “Am I worth $10?”

Yes, yes you are!!

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Xiuhtexcatl Martinez: The Youth Voice of Environmental Change

“Young people are ready to use their art, their poetry, their passion, their music to engage with the world and be the leaders of today…Sure, we’re a future generation, but we’re here now and we’re not going to wait to make a difference” 

Image taken from: http://www.kosmosjournal.org/newsletter/2015-07-14/

This above quote is from 16-year-old Xiuhtexcatl Martinez, when he sat down for an interview with Bill Mayer back in June.  The young teen is the youth director of an NFP organization called Earth Guardians, and he is on a mission to save our environment!   

Image taken from: http://www.infinityenvisioned.com/tag/activist/

Raised in Aztek culture, Martinez developed a deep connection to Earth and the environment at a very young age.  At the age of 6, he was deeply disturbed after watching the documentary The 11th Hour, which inspired Martinez to emerge as a leader of a youth movement against climate change and environmental degradation.

Nick-named the “anti-bieber” for his opposition towards the consumeristic and excess lifestyles common in modern pop-culture, Martinez works tirelessly to end practices that destroy the environment.  Despite his age, he has accomplished some notable feats.  His work has resulted in the banning of pesticides in public parks, a moratorium on fracking, and a fee charged on plastic bags. 

To add to his list of accomplishments, Martinez has addressed the UN general council not once, but three times!  Speaking alongside seasoned activists like Robert Redford, in 2012 he was one of the youngest speakers at the RIO+20 U.N. Summit in Rio de Janeiro! Martinez then went on to win the Presidential Volunteer of the Year award in 2013!

This seriously rad teen raises awareness and develops a following of young, earth-conscious citizens through school presentations, a unique and positive eco hip-hop, and heartfelt speeches.  Martinez explains that education and awareness are so important to a movement of change. The more young people that are made aware of the current environmental crisis, the more people will be inspired to join the movement!

Image from: http://inhabitat.com/16-year-old-activist-demands-us-gov-end-fossil-fuel-use-by-2026/xiuhtezcatl-martinez02/ 

We admire the initiative and leadership Martinez has demonstrated, and we think it’s so rad that he uses creative outlets like rapping to spread his message!  He is the definition of a rad citizen! Watch Martinez’s presentation at Ted X Youth here and get inspired to start your own movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2V2yVkedtM 

 

Sources:

https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/voice-generation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2V2yVkedtM

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All that Glitters Isn’t Sold- Brand Authenticity & the Millennial Market

Hey Rad Citizens!

Have you heard these words?

AuthenticityBrand loyaltyMillennials.  These are more than just trending buzzwords- they’re sources of change in the environment of brand marketing.

Millennials and Gen Zs are increasingly becoming the focus of brands and corporations- and rightly so, millennials hold $200 million in buying power, which is increasing as more individuals in this cohort enter the work force.

These youthful generations are different from their predecessors and these differences matter.  Other generations were easily infatuated by brands and products through punchy billboards and emotion-evoking TV commercials.  That’s not the case for millennials and Gen Zs.  In fact, only 1% of millennials claim that a convincing add will compel them into buying a product (Tyson).  Some marketing experts have gone as far as to say that millennials are simply immune to traditional advertising techniques!

How do brands reach this new and growing consumer market?  With authenticity.  Millennials and Gen Zs seek authenticity in a brand, otherwise they’re not interested.  After growing up submerged in technology and social media advancements, today’s youth and young adults are accustomed to having access to all of the information about everything.  They have access to an online world that offers them (almost) complete transparency- there is no mystery or guessing game.

Image from: http://digitalintelligencetoday.com/new-brand-authenticity-scale-released-how-authentic-are-you

Corporations need to incorporate this sense of transparency when designing their marketing strategy, otherwise millennials and Gen Zs won’t view the brand as relevant or trustworthy. How does an organization become “authentic”? Mathew Tyson recently advised a short list of criteria in the Huffington Post that make a brand authentic and appeal to the millennial crowd.

We’ve expanded on Tyson’s 4 tips below:

  • Communication with consumer base via social media: Forbes claims that 62% of millennials say that if a brand engages them on social networks, they are more likely to be a loyal customer.social media Image taken from: http://www.cssauthor.com/free-social-media-icon-sets/
  • Relevancy: we’ve established that millennials and Gen Zs are the main online audience of today’s brands, which means it is crucial that brands post content catered to the needs, wants, and interests of millennials. Brands should engage with the online community regarding important world issues, viral videos, and trending political events!
  • Transparency: gone are the days of “smoke-and-mirrors” advertising. Millennials and Gen Zs see right through these tactics.  Brands need to ensure they are presenting themselves as relatable and humanized by showcasing the people and projects behind-the-scenes of the brand. 

Image taken from: http://www.urbanara.co.uk/journal/up-close-people-behind-brand-2/

  • Compassion & Care: brands need to prove that they are promoting their products because they care about helping or improving society with their product- rather than simply driving corporate revenue.

CitizenRad is built on authenticity.  We care about youth, and we care about the difference our product can make in creating a more #rad world.  We invite our community to engage with us online and to explore our resources, which provide information about philanthropy and rad opportunities.  We are CitizenRad and we are authentic.  Join our movement!

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-tyson/millennials-want-brands-t_b_9032718.html

http://www.millennialmarketing.com/2015/11/meet-the-millennial-digital-trends-and-authentic-brand-loyalty/

http://www.inc.com/geoff-smith/millennials-becoming-more-loyal-in-era-of-consumer-choice.html

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