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December 2015 
Season's Greetings and Farewell to Anita
Season's Greetings to all!  As many of you probably know, this quarter saw the loss of a tremendous asset for the Ounce and Prevent Child Abuse Florida.  Ms. Anita Odom, former Director of PCA 
Chris Lolley
Florida, resigned her position effective September 11.  Those of you who had the pleasure of knowing and working with Anita will join with me in bidding her a fond farewell and in thanking her for her ELEVEN years of dedicated service to the children and families of our state.  That's the bad news.  The good news is we will continue to benefit from her knowledge and expertise as she now works with all state chapters of PCA in her new role as Senior Director of Chapter Services for Prevent Child Abuse America. 
It is my pleasure now to step into the giant shoes of a lady who dedicated so many years to working to prevent abuse and neglect in our state. I do so humbly and with tremendous gratitude for the opportunity.  I look forward to working with all of you toward our continued success and long-term goals. 
I come to this position from our local community-based care agency where I served in a variety of positions, most notably as a trainer, project manager, and, most recently, as the foster parent liaison for the Tallahassee area.  Some of you may also remember I was the training manager for Healthy Families Florida a few years ago, so returning to the Ounce of Prevention was an easy decision to make.  I have been privileged to work in the field of child protection for more than 25 years, serving first on the "front line" as a child protective investigator, Abuse Hotline counselor, foster parent recruiter, trainer and licensing counselor.  I am also proud to have worked in the DCF headquarters office as an adoption specialist, statewide foster home licensing specialist, and the prevention specialist for the state.  On a personal note, I have been married to the same beautiful woman for more than 25 years. We have one son who is currently attending college and becoming a very good man. 
It is indeed my honor to be here. I look forward to working together with all of you to put our children first and stop the vicious cycle of abuse and neglect.  Please feel free to contact me if there is anything I can do for you or if you have questions or suggestions:
Chris Lolley - Director of Prevent Child Abuse Florida
111 N. Gadsden Street; Ste. 200
Tallahassee, FL 32301
(850) 921-4494, Ext. 164
(850) 933-3271 cell
Or, if you are in town, we'd love to have you stop by and say hello in person!  

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SOCIAL MEDIA - And More...
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In 2009, Hope Sitwell, a 13-year-old from Ruskin, Florida hanged herself after being tormented online for a provocative picture she "sexted" to her boyfriend that was then shared with students at six different schools. Tragically, Hope's story is not rare. According to the Cyber-bullying Research Center, about 25 percent of children surveyed have experienced cyber-bullying in their lifetime. Here we'll cover the definition of cyber-bullying and its warning signs, look at some of the effects it can have, and explore some ways we can help solve this issue.
Cyber-bullying can be defined as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices. We have all heard a family member or acquaintance say, "I was bullied when I was a kid and I turned out just fine," or "Kids these days need to toughen up." However, cyber-bullying is different from the playground bullying we remember. There is no hallway monitor to stop a mean comment from being posted on social media; anonymity gives bullies the freedom to inflict harm without the fear of getting caught. 
Kids and teens cannot even find a safe haven at home, as assaults can happen 24 hours a day, no matter where they are. The full spectrum of cyber-bullying can occur not only on social networks, but also through chat rooms, blogs, and online games. Hope Sitwell never told her parents about the "Hope Hater Page" that her tormentors created, leading to additional abuse by people she didn't even know. The effects of bullying can run deep, and with no cuts or bruises to show the damage, the signs can be missed.
Here are some indicators that a child may be a target of cyber-bullying:
  • They unexpectedly stop using their devices
  • They seem anxious when using their device or receiving a notification
  • They appear angry, depressed, or frustrated after going online
  • They lose interest in things that matter most to them
  • They become unusually secretive, especially when it comes to online activities
Just as importantly, parents and caretakers need to be aware that their child may be the bully. It is tough to admit that your child could be saying or doing hurtful things to another, but it is just as important to look for the warning signs.
Your child could be involved with cyber-bullying if they display some of these behaviors:
  • Quickly switches screens or hides their device when you are nearby
  • Laughs indecently at their device, but refuses to show you what is so funny
  • Appears to be using an account that is not their own
  • Demonstrates insensitivity towards other teens
  • Appears overly concerned with maintaining their status in a particular social circle
Children who are cyber-bullied are more likely to use drugs and/or alcohol, skip school, experience in-school bullying, receive poor grades, have lower self-esteem, and experience depression or suicidal thoughts.
It is easy to report suspected cyber-bullying as abuse. This link provides a list of commonly used websites and their individual report links: cyberbullying.org/report. If your child is being abused, alert their school officials and the parents of the other children involved to stop it. Most importantly, it is vital to address these issues with your child. Victim or perpetrator, it is up to us to provide the guidance and support our kids need.
Upcoming Events/Conferences:
Children's Week 2016!
Yes, already! Please remember that the legislative session convenes early this year, which Children's Week logo means Children's Week is fast approaching.  This year the event begins with the famous "Hanging of the Hands" on Sunday, January 24, 2016, and continues through the end of the week.  Make your plans now! We'll look forward to seeing you there and, of course, there is more information to come. 
Pinwheels for Prevention/Child Abuse Prevention Month
Looking ahead, April will be here before we know it. Last year, most of us experienced quite the challenge getting our pinwheels for April events. This year our supplier is sending our shipment through the Port of Miami, just so Florida will not have to worry about getting the pinwheels from the California ports! We are happy that Florida is considered a very important state leader in this campaign.
pinwheels for Prevention logo If you plan to purchase pinwheels this year, we need to hear from you!  Our vendor will ship them directly to our partners from Miami, so we need to have you on the shipping list. Our website has been updated to make ordering easier this year, so when you are ready, please go to www.ounce.org, hover your cursor over our tab (Prevent Child Abuse Florida) on the left hand side of the home page screen and click on "Order Forms."  From there you can select the appropriate form, fill it out, and submit it online!  Should you have questions, please contact Alexa Kyros at (850) 921-4494 ext. 141 or akyros@ounce.org or Jean Gibson at (850) 921-4494 ext. 202 or jgibson@ounce.org.
Wear BLUE for Child Abuse Prevention Day
You may remember that 2015 was the inaugural "Wear Blue" day in Florida and we're glad to be I wear blue logo able to sponsor this fun, team-building event again in 2016.  This coming year we want to make our event the best and garner the most participation in the country, so start planning now!  Get with your colleagues, co-workers, organizations and civic groups and plan to get your "blue on!"  I've heard this event was lots of fun this past year, so we'll look forward to seeing your "pics" on Facebook with your crew. Of course, there will be prizes!  This year we will have "Wear Blue" T-shirts that available for order online. Stay tuned for more information to come!