Past BStrong Together Parent Coffees

The second event in our @Home in the Digital Age series.

App Showcase & Speaker Event with Dr. Devorah Heitner
Tuesday, October 30th
6:00 - 7:00 pm - App Showcase

7:00 - 8:30 pm - Speaker Dr. Devorah Heitner
Barrington Middle School Prairie Campus

6:00 - 7:00 pm App Showcase - Student demonstrators will teach parents, educators, and community members about apps commonly used by our children and youth.

7:00 - 8:30 pm Guest Speaker and Discussion - Dr. Devoah Heitner - Raising Digital Natives founder and author of "Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World." - will speak followed by a community conversation about how parents, educators and community members can support our students by becoming digital mentors instead of digital monitors.

Screenwise offers an encouraging perspective on how to thoughtfully guide kids in the digital age. Many parents and educators worry that kids are addicted, detached, or distracted because of their digital devices. DigitalCitizenship expert Devorah Heitner, however, believes that technology offers huge potential to our children--if parents help them.

The core message of the book is that kids need mentoring, not (just) monitoring, and that kids deserve more empathy from adults about growing up in the digital age. Texting, gaming and social media are social spaces requiring social skills. The book offers advice on helping kids navigate friendship and identity issues that are common among new texters, gamers and social media users.

Screenwise presents practical parenting "hacks": quick ideas that you can implement today that will help you understand and relate to your digital native. The book empowers parents to recognize ways that wisdom that they have gained throughout their lives is a relevant and urgently needed supplement to their kid's digital savvy. Based on real-life stories from families, the latest research, and Dr. Heitner's experience working with schools, Screenwise teaches parents what they need to know in order to raise responsible and empathetic kids in the digital age.

Learn more about Dr. Heitner and the resources at Raising Digital Natives at

This FREE event was made possible through a partnership with Barrington 220 School District.



Join BStrong Together, AMITA Behavioral Health, and Barrington 220 for the first event in our
@Home in the Digital Age series.


"Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age" Film Screening & Discussion
Tuesday, October 9th
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Barrington Middle School Prairie Campus

** Appropriate for adults, parents of kids of all ages, and students 10 and older **

Film Synopsis
Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time—friction she knew all too well. 

In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can
empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

Discussion to Follow
To support our learning experience, we will follow the screening with a discussion facilitated by Jackie Rhew from AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute and The Center for Emotional Wellness.  Jackie will be joined by Mandy Burbank from AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute and Dr. Matt Fuller, Assistant Superintendent of Technology and Innovation for Barrington 220.  We encourage parents and students to come together for this important conversation.

This FREE event was made possible through the generous support of AMITA Health Behavioral Medicine Institute.

"Building Connection: The Role of Parents and the Community in School Safety" Parent Coffee
Wednesday, September 26th
9:30 - 11:00 am
Barrington Public Library

Parents and the larger community play critical roles in fostering a safe school environment for our students. 

Research shows that a connection with a trusted adult is one of the strongest factors in preventing school violence.

As part of School Safety Week, join BStrong Together, Mandy Burbank from AMITA Behavioral Health and representatives from Barrington 220 to learn why it is important for our children and teens to identify a trusted adult.  What qualities should they look for?  What is the role of a trusted adult?  What do you do if you are the trusted adult?  What resources are available at the school and in our community?

Come learn how a single, personal connection can make a difference. 

Are you stressed?  Is your child stressed?


"Stress Busters" Parent Coffee and Workshop
Wednesday, May 2nd
9:30 - 11:00 am
Barrington Area Library

Join BStrong Together for our final Parent Coffee of the school year.  Learn more about stress and anxiety as well as tools and techniques for all ages that can be used to manage stress in order to live a happier, healthier, and more productive life.  

We will begin with a presentation from Josette Day of The Barrington Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy followed by time to explore demonstrations and mini-workshops on a variety of stress management techniques including:

  • mindful breathing
  • simple yoga
  • the power of spending time in the natural environment
  • art as a tool for stress reduction
  • how to do a mini body scan
  • defusing techniques to navigate unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and sensations
  • mindfulness activities for all ages

The focus will be on sharing helpful resources and ideas to manage stress that you can easily implement with your entire family. We hope you can join us!

"Underage Drinking and Social Hosting Laws" Parent Coffee
Thursday, April 5th
7:00 - 8:30 pm
Barrington High School GRC

Barrington High School Illinois Youth Survey data from 2017 shows past month alcohol use for seniors (38%), juniors (26%), sophomores (19%), and freshman (12%). The good news is that those levels are decreased for all age groups when compared to 2008, as are the numbers for past year use when comparing 2008 to 2017. However, it is important to note that students report approximately 75% of the time, they are acquiring the alcohol from their parents - either with their permission (46% for 12th graders and 35% for 10th graders) or without their permission (36% for 12th graders and 33% for 10th graders). 

 As we approach prom and graduation season, it is important for parents to be informed about underage drinking in our community.  Our panel of experts will provide advice about how to talk to your kids about underage drinking, how to be an influencer in your child's life, and give tools and techniques for how to support your child in their efforts to make wise, healthy choices.  We will also share important information about Public Act 097-1049, the Illinois Social Hosting Law that holds adults accountable for underage drinking that occurs in the home.

Our panel will include:

  • The Honorable Samuel J. Betar
  • The Honorable Jill C. Marisie
  • Terry D. Vandergrift - Chairman of the Lake Co. Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force
  • John McGowan - Barrington High School Resource Officer
  • Amy Winkelman - Student Assistance Program Coordinator
  • Students

Parents who have successfully created safe, healthy spaces for their children and others to get together will also be present to offer tips and tricks for safe hosting.

We hope you will join us for this very important conversation.

"Green Dot for Parents" Parent Coffee

Thursday, March 8th
9:30 - 11:00 am
Barrington Area Library


Tuesday, March 13th
7:00 - 8:30 pm
Barrington High School GRC

Come learn more about Green Dot - the new interpersonal violence program at Barrington High School.  The Green Dot Violence Prevention Strategy is a national program that trains students, faculty, and staff in bystander intervention to help prevent instances of power-based personal violence (PBPV) and interpersonal aggression (aka bullying).  PBPV is a form of violence where one individual asserts power, control, or intimidation over another to cause harm.  This research-based approach employing social change theory targets all community members as potential bystanders and seeks to engage them through awareness, education and skills practice.  By teaching proactive behaviors that establish intolerance of violence as the norm, as well as strategies for intervention in high-risk situations, Green Dot training results in a reduction of violence in the school community.

At the BStrong Together "Green Dot for Parents" Parent Coffee, Green Dot trainers will teach parents and community members about the program, explain the Three D's that are the toolbox of the Green Dot program, and provide participants with the shared language needed so that you know how to talk with your children or students about living the Green Dot in their own lives.

"Continuing the Conversation" Parent Coffees

Tuesday, February 6th from 9:30 – 11:00 am at the Barrington Area Library
The focus of this conversation will be on parenting preschool and elementary students.

Thursday, February 8th from 9:30 – 11:00 at the Barrington Area Library
The focus of this conversation will be on parenting middle school students.

Wednesday, February 14th from 9:30 – 11:00 am at the Barrington Area Library
The focus of this conversation will be on parenting high school students.

After seeing Dr. Kang’s presentation, "The Self-Motivated Kid: Raising Healthy, Happy Kids in This Modern World," we know how excited you will be to try out some new ideas with your family. Join us for an informal discussion with other parents about Dr. Kang’s approach to raising children and how to guide your child toward lasting health, happiness, and success. We will talk about the challenges you are facing when trying to implement the new strategies, brainstorm ways to make changes, and most importantly – learn that you are not alone.

We hope that you will join us for one, or all, of our "Continuing the Conversation" Parent Coffees as we learn and support each other together.

"Vaping 101" Parent Coffee
Monday, January 22nd
9:30 - 11:00 am
Barrington Campus Life Center
150 S. Lageschulte

Traditional cigarette usage has fallen among teens nearly 23% over the past 40 years, but more than 2 million middle and high schoolers are now using e-cigarettes, or "vaping." According to the Lake County Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force, rates of vaping in Barrington, Lake Zurich, and Wauconda are 3 times that of other communities in Lake County.

"According to the U.S. Surgeon General, six out of 10 teens believe that using e-cigarettes causes only 'a little' or 'some' harm, as long as they don’t vape daily. But that’s not true, and the risks range from the physical to the psychological.

In teens, nicotine is more addictive and can mess with the brain’s hardwiring, leading to mood disorders and permanent impulse control. Plus, e-cigarette smokers are four times more likely to become traditional cigarette smokers. On top of these concerns, e-cigarettes can also be used as a delivery system for marijuana and other drugs." (ref: Your Teen For Parents)

Join BStrong Together, parents, and community members as we learn the basics of vaping and e-cigarettes.  Lake County Health Department Community Specialist Danielle Ryan, Barrington High School Deans Jennifer Robinson and Joe Molloy will be joined by Barrington Police Department Sargent Keith Wrzala to educate the community and answer questions about this dangerous new trend that is becoming increasingly popular in both middle and high schools nationwide.

To view the handouts, click on the link below

"The Self-Motivated Kid" Book Discussion
Thursday, January 18th
9:30 - 11:00 am
Barrington Area Library

Join us for an informal discussion with other parents as we prepare for Dr. Shimi Kang's visit to Barrington High School at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, January 30th to present "The Self-Motivated Kid: Raising Healthy, Happy Kids in This Modern World".     

Dr. Kang offers practical advice on how to foster children’s own internal drive and a lifelong love of learning. Steering away from the pushy “tiger” and the passive/permissive "jellyfish" parenting models, Dr. Kang proposes that parents emulate the highly social dolphin and focus on maintaining balance in their children’s lives to gently yet authoritatively guide them toward lasting health, happiness, and success. Her second book, The Self-Motivated Kid, provides a guide to the art and science of encouraging children to develop their own internal drive and a lifelong love of learning and was awarded the 2015 USA Book News International Book Award for Parenting and Family.

At our book discussion, we will talk about Dr. Kang's approach to raising children and discuss questions such as:

  • Which of Dr. Kang's messages resonates with you?
  • What ideas or approaches are new to you and which do you hope to try to implement?
  • What challenges do we face trying to implement her ideas?
  • What are you hoping to learn more about during her presentation on January 30th?
  • How can we support each other? 

To view the handout, click on the link below.

Balancing the Achievement Treadmill
Wednesday, November 1st
9:30 - 11:00 am
Barrington Area Library Meeting Room

Barrington High School Counselor Joan Bell facilitates a panel discussion to help parents of elementary/middle school children pave the way for a love of learning rather than a grade-driven mindset. Our hope is to empower parents to establish effective strategies that celebrate their child as an independent, resilient, internally motivated, and emotionally healthy individual/student.

Discussion will include developing and maintaining a healthy balance between school/co-curricular activities and allowing for the unencumbered joy of being a child. 

Our Barrington High School panel members will include:

  • Heath McFaul - Assistant Principal
  • Joan Bell - School Counselor 
  • Jill Argall - School Counselor
  • Sophie Frueh - School Nurse
  • Sarah Pulaski - School Psychologist
  • Amy Winkelman - Student Assistance Program Coordinator

The panel of Barrington High School faculty will share scenarios regarding students they work with on a daily basis who lack the skill set for independent academic success, struggle with emotional challenges, and have a negative attitude about school due to excessive academic expectations. Suggestions will include how to manage the realities of a competitive academic environment while recognizing the needs of the developing child/adolescent.

To view the video, Power Point or handout from this Parent Coffee, click on the links below.

Tech Talk for Parents
Wednesday, October 11th
9:30 - 11:00 am
Barrington Area Library Meeting Room

Join Mandy Burbank, LCSW from AMITA Health/Alexian Brothers Behavior Health as we discuss the intersection of technology, social media, child development, and parenting.

Mandy will bring her expertise as a licensed clinical social worker to discuss how technology interacts with the social and emotional development of children and how we can use that information to inform our parenting.  She will also discuss the latest trends, updates to social media sites, and the safety concerns such as Snapchat's new feature that lets anyone see your child's location.

Parents will leave the presentation with helpful information about child development and technology, as well as tips for managing your child's technology use that you can apply in your own family.

To view the Power Point presentation slides from this Parent Coffee, click on the link below.

Helping Your Child Through Tough Times
Thursday, September 28th
7:00 - 9:00 pm
Barrington Area Library Meeting Room

Join BStrong Together, Rita Rippentrop (Executive Director of Barrington Youth and Family Services) and Anne Gulotta (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Board Member, Co-Chair of the AFSP High School and Middle School Outreach Committee, and past Board Member of HERE in Barrington) as we view the AFSP film "More Than Sad" with facilitated conversation with Rita and Anne.

"More Than Sad" teaches parents to see the signs of teen depression and other mental health issues, ways to initiate a conversation with your child about their mental health, and how to get help.

To view the Power Point presentation slides from this Parent Coffee, click on the link below.

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