Sue Scheff: New Facebook Group Page for Josie Lou Ratley – Teen Nearly Beaten to Death

Are you as shocked and horrified at the events that happened to 15 year-old Josie Ratley as many of us are? Isn’t it time this violence and bullying stopped?

Facebook has become one of the strongest social networking sites to help spread news, assist causes and bring people together with common interests.  Recently “Pray for Josie Lou Ratley” group was created.

This group has been established to foster coordination, donations and positive actions on behalf of Josie and her Family. Please join them as they band together to right this terrible wrong!

Take the time to leave your good wishes, prayers and support.

Get Well Cards can be sent to:

Broward General Medical Center
Patient Josie Lou Ratley
1600 S. Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

The Ratley family does not have health insurance to pay for Josie’s medical care.  You can donate at any Wachovia Bank branch or mail your donations to:

Wachovia Bank
2989 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.

Please make checks payable to “The Josie Lou Ratley Fund“.

Every little bit helps and every pray is appreciated. 

Watch slideshow with new photo’s from her recent Facebook Group page. Read more.


Sue Scheff: Tobacco Free Florida – Students Working Against Tobacco

Although we hear it a lot, smoking is bad for you, there are still many adults and kids that continue to smoke cigarettes.  Parents will say that we need to pick and choose our issues with our teens, which is correct, however we cannot stop talking about the dangers of smoking tobacco.

In Florida, Tobacco Free Florida and Florida’s Quitline are two organization directed at helping you and your loved ones quit smoking.

Unveiled in 2008 under the direction of the Florida Department of Health, the Tobacco Free Florida campaign seeks to decrease the number of tobacco users in the state of Florida through efforts aimed at both preventing nonusers from starting to use tobacco and encouraging current users to quit. These efforts are funded by money derived from court settlements against major tobacco companies, and include executions in the realm of Advertising, Public Relations, Interactive, Guerilla Media, Event Media, Sponsored Promotions and more.

It is their hope that one day every Floridian might be free of the hazards of tobacco, and that we all may eventually live in the paradise that our name implies- a truly Tobacco Free Florida.

Join Tobacco Free Florida on Facebook and stay up to date with events and information to educate you on the hazards of smoking.

Tobacco Free Florida Week runs March 21st-28th and all week long we’re asking Floridians to help protect themselves and their loved ones from secondhand smoke (SHS) by asking the smokers in their life to, “Be Free For Me.”

SWAT is Florida’s statewide youth organization working to mobilize, educate and equip Florida youth to revolt against and de-glamorize Big Tobacco. They are a united movement of empowered youth working towards a tobacco free future.

You can join a lot of different groups in high school. This video shows why SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) may be the most important.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer and healthier teens.

Read more – click here.

Sue Scheff: Broward County YMCA Offers Teen and Youth Programs

Many people are not aware of the vast services and resources the YMCA offers.  In Broward County you will find kids programs, summer camps, educational events, teen and youth programs, lecture series and so much more.

As summer is soon approaching and many teens will have extra time on their hands, it is best to get their summer plans organized.  Do they need community service hours?  Are they interested in becoming a CIT (Counselor in Training), or do they want to participate in the vast list of activities the YMCA has planned?

The YMCA recognizes the importance of creating a positive, safe environment for youth and teens in every community. We offer an outstanding variety of programs designed to encourage children to grow to their full potential. By learning about themselves and others, they learn vital life skills and avenues of expression that they might have otherwise overlooked. Each program or activity is focused on developing the spirit, mind and body; stimulating creativity; offering challenges; building developmental assets; and of course, fun! – YMCA Youth and Teen Programs

Are you interested in the summer camps that the YMCA offers?  Click here for more information. 

Learn more about the Family Programs at the YMCA:

The YMCA brings parents and children together for life enriching experiences. We believe the YMCA can help in strengthening relationships in families by providing fun and meaningful programs and activities. Time together as a family is valuable; the YMCA provides quality physical and social programs and activities, designed specifically for families.

The YMCA of Broward County strives to offer a safe, welcoming environment in which parents and kids can communicate, cooperate and care for each other. Family nights and days give families a chance to have fun together in a safe, caring, welcoming environment. Ever-popular pool and gym components help family members relax and fight stress. – YMCA

Being an educated parent will help you provide an educational and fun family time for everyone.

Read more on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: College Visit Checklist for your Summer Trips

It is that time of the year when high school juniors will be planning their colleges of choice.  For parents, they need to be involved too since this will be  a big decision both financially and what is best for your teen.

Schoolwork, your job, your parents… choosing the right time to go on campus visits may seem like a complicated procedure. But when you’re planning your trip, just be sure not to lose sight of the reason you’re going: to see if the school is a good fit for you. This means you need to see the college when classes are meeting and day-to-day activities are taking place. In other words, go when the college is in session. – College Board

Here is great check list to start with:

  • Take a campus tour.
  • Have an interview with an admissions officer.
  • Get business cards and names of people you meet for future contacts.
  • Pick up financial aid forms.
  • Participate in a group information session at the admissions office.
  • Sit in on a class of a subject that interests you.
  • Talk to a professor in your chosen major or in a subject that interests you.
  • Talk to coaches of sports in which you might participate.
  • Talk to a student or counselor in the career center.
  • Spend the night in a dorm.
  • Read the student newspaper.
  • Try to find other student publications—department newsletters, alternative newspapers, literary reviews.
  • Scan bulletin boards to see what day-to-day student life is like.
  • Eat in the cafeteria.
  • Ask students why they chose the college.
  • Wander around the campus by yourself.
  • Read for a little while in the library and see what it’s like.
  • Search for your favorite book in the library.
  • Ask students what they hate about the college.
  • Ask students what they love about the college.
  • Browse in the college bookstore.
  • Walk or drive around the community surrounding the campus.
  • Ask students what they do on weekends.
  • Listen to the college’s radio station.
  • Try to see a dorm that you didn’t see on the tour.
  • Imagine yourself attending this college for four years.

Source:  College Board

With today’s expanding cyber-world, don’t forget to check to see if your college of choice has  a Facebook page.  Talk with current students and follow their events!  Check out to see if they have a Twitter feed too.

Are you looking for  community college?  Florida Department of Education offers a list of community colleges for you to.  To reseach other Florida Colleges, both state and private, visit

The more you know about the college you are choosing, the better prepared you can be. Read more – click here.

Sue Scheff: Daylight Saving Time – Spring break and Spring forward

It is that time of year again!  College students and many teens are preparing for their spring break as they also lose an hour as we spring forward!

Ft. Lauderdale and Miami can be the hot spring break spots.  If you are visiting here, don’t forget on Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time begins.  The old cliché, “fall back, spring ahead” help many people remember what direction their time is going.  Will you be gaining or losing an hour?  

In South Florida, we will be losing an hour as we spring ahead – however in some states such as Arizona (except some Indian Reservations), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa have chosen not to observe Daylight Saving Time (DST).

The purpose of DST,  also known as summer time, is to extend daylight by an hour in the afternoons during spring, summer, and part of the fall.

Fall back will be on November 7th, 2010 this year. 

Parents get ready this weekend, you will lose an hour of sleep and your kids will still be going strong…

Sue Scheff: Parenting Teens – National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Parenting involves many more challenges and issues today than generations earlier.  While years ago our parents concerns were with a teen getting pregnant or a form of STD such as Herpes, today there are many more serious concerns that both women and girls need to be aware of.  This doesn’t mean these issues didn’t exist years ago, however it does mean we have come further in our education of knowledge and awareness.

March 10th is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD).  This a nationwide initiative, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health to raise awareness of the increasing impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. Read more about NWGHAAD.

When women are faced with HIV/AIDS, their physical health is not the only issue at hand. Often accompanying the physical illness associated with the virus are mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

The Office on Women’s Health has two publications-one for health professionals and one for consumers-that focus on building positive awareness about women’s mental health. They address environmental and cultural barriers to seeking help and suggest gender-appropriate strategies for recovery.

Order your free mental health publications for women today! Click here.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier teens!

Read more on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Reporting Scams – Both Online and Off

Have you or your child (especially teens) ever been a victim of a scam?  With the increased use of the Internet and websites that seem credible however can be questionable, today people of all ages are prone to stumble across some form of fraud or scam.  If you do, it is imperative you share it with the Federal Trade Commission.

People can help stop scams, rip-offs and fraudsters by sharing their experience with the FTC.  Be sure to watch the informative video below and find out how to file a complaint.

Each time we speak up, we are potentially protecting another person being attacked by a scam.  You may be that person, you may be the one that didn’t get scammed since someone else took the time to file a complaint and bring recognition to a scam.

If a business doesn’t deliver on their promises, identity theft, you were offered a free service and see a charge on your bank account or credit card, report it to the FTC immediately.  Help put a stop to shady business and less than ethical services.

The more you get involved, the safer everyone will be.

Watch video and read more on Examiner.