Wednesday, February 26, 2014

School Counselors Need Your Support

I love my work as a school counselor. Thanks to San Diego Bargain Mama, I was able guest post on her blog to share a few of the college admissions tips I've shared with students and parents over the years. It's so rewarding being able to help young people attain their college dreams. It's even more awesome when they come back to visit as working adults with fulfilling careers. I wouldn't trade my job for anything else in the world. 

Yet, the last few months have been challenging. Due to a contractual dispute with the Sweetwater Union High School District, counselors have decided to begin fully working to the rule. Counselor duty day is 7.25 hours including a duty-free lunch within each school-site respective operating schedule. Not staying after-school to meet with students and/or parents, not replying to emails in the evenings, and not working on planning my counseling projects from home has made me fall further and further behind in my work. 

Rapper Xhibit pretty much sums up how I've felt at work lately:

What are we fighting for? One of the most important negotiation points with the SUHSD is counselor case load. With the push for all students to be college ready and the demands of Common Core, school funding needs to give importance to the work school counselors do.

We need lower caseloads to better serve students! SUHSD counselor case load is 400 students per counselor. The American School Counselor Association recommends a ratio of 250 students to 1 counselor.

Lower caseloads can help counselors better help students in post-secondary planning, credit recovery options, and support social/emotional needs of all students. With working to the rule, I've felt strapped for face time with my students. There are so many of them and just one of me. 

The counselors of the Sweetwater Union High School District need your help. Sending an email to our school district leadership speaks volumes. Details can be found here:
I'd appreciate your help in emailing our district leadership demanding a fair contract for counselors and teachers.

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How To Talk To Kids About Mental Illness #MC

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for the California Mental Health Services Authority. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

Over the past few months, I've shared a few posts about the Each Mind Matters program and their efforts in eliminating the stigma that goes along with dealing with mental illness.

As parents, we want our children to come to us with any problem they may have, big or small. The Each Mind Matters Movement isn't just about how we deal with these issues and stigma as adults, but how we are able to teach those who look up to us that getting help is ok and asking questions is always better than staying silent.

Some of us may come from cultural backgrounds where mental illness could be seen as bringing shame or embarrassment to the family. Mental illness could be seen as a weakness in intelligence or a loss of self-control. Hiding mental illness to save "face" rather than seeking help might happen with families who do not know of resources that are available to them.

Fear of being hurt or isolated because of stigma impacts the whole family. Young people maybe afraid to be open with their parents and vice versa. People living with mental health challenges are not defined by their condition. It is just a small part of who they are and how they live their lives. provides some key questions and words of encouragement a friend or family member can provide as support:
  • I have been feeling concerned about you lately. 
  • Recently, I have noticed some differences in you and wondered how you are doing. 
  • I wanted to check in with you because you haven’t seemed yourself lately. 
  • When did you begin feeling like this? 
  • Did something happen that made you start feeling this way? 
  • How can I best support you right now? 
  • Have you thought about getting help? 
  • You are not alone in this. I’m here for you. 
  • You may not believe it now, but the way you’re feeling will change. 
  • I may not be able to understand exactly how you feel, but I care about you and want to help. 
  • When you want to give up, tell yourself you will hold off for just one more day, hour, minute—whatever you can manage. 
Having a supportive, understanding family member or friend is the most important step for a person dealing with mental illness. There are many resources to help individuals dealing with mental illness, or to help supportive family members or friends. It's Up to US SD has many valuable resources for communities in San Diego county. I've referred many of my students and their families to this resource for help.

It is important to know If you or someone you care about is in crisis and needs immediate help, call the Crisis Hotline at (888) 724-7240. The phone lines are answered by trained professionals available 24/7; the call is free and confidential. If emergency medical care is needed, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Let's all commit to putting a stop to the stigma of mental illness at home. We pass along our stigma to our children in small ways every day. To raise them to be aware, compassionate and accepting, we first need to be role models of compassion and acceptance.

Monday, February 10, 2014

SeaWorld San Diego The Ultimate SeaWorld® Explorer Contest

We have so many memories of fun at SeaWorld! Just this past weekend, we had the chance to explore SeaWorld's Rescue program and learn all about the great ways SeaWorld San Diego helps keep the animals of our coast taken care of then they are in need. 

It was wonderful to meet SeaWorld staff who are on-call 24/7 to help rescue sea turtles, seals, dolphins, and many others, that become injured or in danger along our coast. The network of SeaWorld staff members who work together to rescue animals in danger is amazing. There are animal specialist teams who go out into the field to rescue injured animals and technicians ensuring water conditions and temperature are ready to receive the animals, at any time, day or night.

At each visit to SeaWorld, we learn more and more about their efforts to protect and care of our community to marine animals.

Now YOU have an opportunity to surprise your young explorer with an exclusive 50th Celebration-themed Sleepover Camp on March 7, 2014. They too can learn about all the great things SeaWorld does each day!

You can enter by submitting your very own “Ultimate SeaWorld® Explorer: Surprise My Young Explorer” video. Twenty-five winners will be chosen.

For more details, visit

Sound good?! Here's how to enter!
  • Go to (the “Website”) and click on “Sign in”. 
  • Once signed in, upload a video meeting the Video Entry Criteria below about the child (between 4 and 14 years of age) that the entrant would like to surprise with a trip to SeaWorld San Diego’s “Ultimate SeaWorld® Explorer” Sleepover Camp and why. 
  • The video’s description must include a link to SeaWorld San Diego’s YouTube channel ( and include a short summary of what the video is about. Entry video must be uploaded to the entrant’s own YouTube account. 
  • Once uploaded, during the Promotion Period, send a link to the video as well as the entrant’s full name, zip code, email address and a contact phone number to SeaWorld San Diego by going to, clicking on the “About” tab and clicking “Send Message”.
  • No other methods of entry are acceptable. 
  • All entries must be received by 11:59 PM PT on February 14, 2014. 
Entry Criteria:
  • Entry video must be titled “Ultimate SeaWorld® Explorer: Surprise My Young Explorer”.
  • Entry video must be at least 30 seconds and no more than 2 minutes in length.
  • Entry video must state the first name of the one (1) child, between the ages of 4 and 14, who the participant would like to be surprised (“the potential winner’s guest”) and why the entrant would like to surprise them. The entrant must be the parent or legal guardian of the child.
  • All footage and audio used in the participant’s video must be the entrant’s sole, original work.
For more details, visit

Good luck!!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cupcake Virtual Marathon Starts Again!

It's a new year and time for a new fitness challenge!

In 2012, my co-worker and I did 12 runs in 2012. From mud, obstacles, clouds of color, tears, pain, and lots of miles, we completed one organized run each month! It was so much fun!

2013 was a slump for me in my fitness and exercise. Work stress and managing my home got the best of me, and exercise was not very consistent.

So, here we are in 2014 and I'm ready to take on a challenge for every month! The Cupcake 26.2 Virtual Marathon was an idea I had in 2012 to run/walk 26.2 miles in one month. When the miles are completed, I'll treat myself to a cupcake! What better motivation than cupcakes, right?

The month of January was a tough start with recuperating from all the holiday festivities. Thanks to my son's daily "running club" at school, I'd run along with him which was a great way to get myself moving again. The first few days of the new year I was still off from work, so I was able to spend a few mornings  and afternoons walking. Once work started up again, I tried to go to the gym each night to get on the elliptical for at least two miles each visit.

For January 2014, I had a total of 26.4 miles! I barely made it! Phew!

I couldn't eat a cupcake without sharing so I bought some for hubby and my two boys too!

Join me in my #CupcakeVM challenge each month! Let's see your progress and your yummy cupcake on my Cupcake 26.2 Virtual Marathon Facebook page!

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