Week of the Young Child Celebrated in Allegany County

Each year, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) acknowledges the importance of educating young children by holding a week-long celebration focused on the earliest learners and honoring those who teach them. This year (2021) is the 50th anniversary—an exciting milestone for this celebration of educating today’s young learners!

This national celebration, known as the Week of the Young Child (WOYC), gives early childhood programs, community organizers, and state and local affiliates an opportunity to host events and activities for early learners, teachers, and families. 

Allegany County Early Childhood Education and Development Coalition has put together the following weeklong agenda of events for programs and families to implement and enjoy time together.

Kick-off Saturday

Join NAEYC for their kick-off virtual celebration at 7:00AM at NAEYC’s 2021 Week of the Young Child!® | Facebook.

Music Monday

Music Monday is more than singing and dancing, it is a way to encourage children to be active while developing their early literacy skills and having fun with friends and family!

Join our Facebook Page @AlleganyCountyEarlyChildhoodDevelopmentCoalition· Community Organization for children’s music videos throughout the day.  Have a favorite song or video you would like to share? Post on our page and let the music play on! 

Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday is not just about eating your favorite snacks together. It is also about cooking together and connecting math with literacy skills and science while introducing ways to incorporate healthy habits into children’s lifestyles. Use the tips, resources, and recipes below to get started. 

  • Tune in for Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Tasty Tuesday food ideas.  Find delicious recipes from SNAP-ED as we share their posts on our Facebook Page @AlleganyCountyEarlyChildhoodDevelopmentCoalition· Community Organization. Or explore more videos and ideas on their website:  http://www.snapedny.org/.
  • Explore the culture specific foods that the young children in your classroom[DB1]  may enjoy at home. Connect with families by engaging them in the history and tradition of meals from their countries of origin. Consider having families share a story or recipe about their favorite dish and the history behind it. Introduce your class to new ingredients and discuss where they are grown. Create a recipe book using images the children draw and share the book with the community. The creative opportunities are as endless as the meals themselves.
  • Share your families’ fun recipes on our Facebook page.  Take a video or snap a photo of you and your child working together in the kitchen. What a fun way to share the love of food together. 

Work Together Wednesday

When children build together, they experience teamwork and develop their social and early literacy skills. Grab some materials and create! 

Artsy Thursday

Children develop creativity, social skills, and fine muscles with open-ended art projects that let them make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands.

  • Turn our Facebook Page @AlleganyCountyEarlyChildhoodDevelopmentCoalition· Community Organization into an art gallery by sharing your child or students’ artwork. Visit the site to explore Allegany County Head Start’s art and fun each day of Week of the Young Child. 

Family Friday

Parents and families are children’s first teachers. Family Friday focuses on engaging families to support our youngest learners. Get outdoors with your kiddos and explore nature through a family scavenger hunt. Ideas can be found at https://themanylittlejoys.com/preschool-scavenger-hunts/

Submitted by Robin Fuller, M.Ed.

Allegany County Early Childhood Development Community Coalition Coordinator

Ardent Solutions, Inc.

29th National Inhalants & Poisons Awareness Week Begins March 21st

One in five students in America has used an inhalant to get high by the time he or she has reached eighth grade, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. More than 1,000 different products are commonly abused. Parents don’t know that inhalants, which are cheap, legal, and accessible, are as popular among middle school students as marijuana. Even fewer know the deadly effects the poisons in these products have on the brain and body when they are inhaled or “huffed”. The user can die the 1st, 10th, or 100th time a product is misused as an inhalant. In addition, kids who get high from inhalants often advance to other forms of substance abuse.

Prevention through education has proved to work against this popular form of substance abuse, which is why the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition developed NIPAW, an annual media-based, community-level program that takes place the third full week in March, which is part of National Poison Prevention Week. The purpose of the campaign is to raise community awareness of the dangers and popularity of this deadly practice.
Signs of inhalant abuse include red or runny eyes or nose, spots or sores around the mouth, a drunk or dazed appearance, loss of appetite, chemical odor on breath or clothing, or paint or other stains on clothing or the body. Side effects include short-term memory loss, permanent brain damage, and liver and kidney damage.
For more information, call the Allegany Council’s Prevention Department at 585-593-1920, x 713, or contact the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) at 1-800-269-4237. Visit Inhalants.org for inhalant-specific facts, resources, and recovery blogs and articles. Follow the American Association of Poison Control on Facebook.

Your One-Stop Source for Raising a Child Through Every Age

Whether you’re about to welcome your first child into the world or it’s been a few years since you’ve given birth and you’re looking for a quick refresher, this guide is for you. Review the resources below for some tips, resources, and important advice that will prepare you for raising a child through every major stage in his or her life!

If your organization or business would like to learn more community-based information on alcohol and drugs, PPAC Central will help you organize and bring people who are experts in their field of study to you. Learn more by calling 585-593-1920 or completing this form online.

Image via Pexels

Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

The first few years of a child’s life are the most important, but they’re also some of the most trying. The following tips will help you to give your child everything he or she needs during these first few years of life, while also helping you to keep your sanity. 

Becoming a new mom is super scary, so if this is your first rodeo, explore these helpful tips. The toddler years can be particularly tough; learn how to survive this time of growth. Look into fun, entertaining and educational activities for preschoolers. For fun and learning, do some educational animal watching in your own backyard. Many parents dread leaving their kids to go out, but you can find a qualified sitter who puts your mind at ease.

Grade School Children

When children enter grade school, they begin to experiment with thinking independently and creatively — and they learn to gain self-control of their impulses and emotions. You can help to promote your child’s self-control skills. Different kids enjoy different things; here are some after school activities to engage all personality types. Also take steps to set aside battles over doing homework. Some kids struggle with socializing, but you can help.


Parenting a teenager is rarely easy, but learning how to talk to your teen about difficult subjects like sex, drugs, schoolwork, and curfews can help you to build a stronger bond with your child.

It’s important—but awkward—to talk about sex with teens, but a few conversation starters help. Drugs are another tough conversation worth having, and these tips help. It’s also crucial to teach kids about the dangers of smoking. If your teen is being bullied or participating in bullying, intervention is possible and necessary. Learn how you can help your teen be successful in school. For everything from homework to homeschooling, a dependable laptop or tablet is a must.

Young Adults

As your teenager applies to colleges and prepares for his or her high school graduation, there are a few things you can do to help your teen study for exams, select the right college, and make mindful decisions for the future.

Help your child get ready for the ACT and SAT. Selecting a college is a challenge; learn how to positively influence that decision. Graduation is an exciting and scary time, and you can support your child through it all. Now you transition to parenting an adult; here’s how to get it right!

As a parent, there are so many different things you need to learn in order to give your child the best chance at a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. While it would be impossible to include all of this information in one short guide, these tips and resources will be a good starting point as you begin to navigate your journey through modern-day parenting.

Written by Kristin Louis. To find more of Kristin’s articles visit Parenting with Kris.

March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Similar to last year, we’ve selected artwork featured at local DC studio Art Enables to serve as logo imagery for DD Awareness Month. This year we have artwork from artist Eileen Schofield. Feel free to use it in your own branding!

Spurred by advocacy, President Ronald Reagan declared March to be Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in 1987. The deinstitutionalization movement of the seventies and early eighties had laid the foundation for significant social change, and the presidential proclamation called upon Americans to provide the “encouragement and opportunities” necessary for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to reach their potential.

As those citizens began living within the general community in larger numbers, programs to provide career planning, job coaching and supported employment began to emerge. The idea that individuals with developmental disabilities could become productive members of the workforce was new to many people, and entrenched preconceptions had to be overcome.

With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, workplace discrimination against people with disabilities became sanctionable. The expectations of young people with developmental disabilities and their parents began to shift. Productive, self-directed lives within the community increasingly became the goal, and (increasingly) an obtainable goal.

Now 34 years later, the month of March highlights the contributions and needs of the estimated four million Americans living with a developmental disability. The power of ability over disability is all around us as people with autism, cerebral palsy and other disabilities blaze new trails. Today, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are living and working in the community; pursuing higher education; developing their faith; falling in love and getting married; and making their voices heard in all aspects of life.

As people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the nation become increasingly visible in our daily lives, the Arc Allegany-Steuben strives to build more welcoming communities through education and outreach. We hope you will join us this month as we celebrate the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Developmental disabilities awareness starts now.

Learn how the Arc Allegany-Steuben’s supports and services are advancing the concerns and interests of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Allegany and Steuben Counties by visiting www.thearcas.org


Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month 2021 Social Media Downloads

February is Recognized as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month


Many people think of domestic violence and unhealthy relationships, and likely think of adults. Unfortunately, teen dating violence is much more common than people think. 

Adolescents are especially vulnerable to dating violence as many are entering relationships for the first time. The effects of those unhealthy relationships tend to last much longer than the relationship itself. Teens in abusive relationships will often bring the same unhealthy patterns of violence into future relationships. Many continue those patterns without an understanding that they are unhealthy and should not be accepted.

Statistics show 1 in 3 teens (ages 12-18) in the U.S. will experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by someone with whom they are in a relationship. Nearly half (43%) of dating college women report experiencing violent and abusive behaviors from a dating partner.

That is why it is important to understand and recognize the warning signs. Being able to tell the differences between healthy and unhealthy relationships can be difficult because no two relationships are the same.  Bringing awareness to this issue is the first step in preventing dating abuse.

So, how can you help a teenager in your life prevent dating violence?

  • Stay connected and ask questions about how their relationships are going.
  • Encourage them to participate in activities outside of the relationship, with family and friends, be non-judgmental and let them know that you are available to talk to if something is concerning them. 

While you are trying to help someone that is experiencing dating violence, remember that you cannot “rescue” them. They are ultimately the one who must make the decision on what they want to do.  Although it is difficult to witness someone you care about get hurt, it is important to show support and help them find a way to safety and peace.  Having conversations about how healthy relationships include respect, trust, independence, kindness, and communication helps teens know that if something happens, that you are someone they can turn to.

Becoming informed about local resources can be helpful. There are free and confidential resources available in the community. ACCORD in Allegany County (1-800-593-5322) and Connecting Communities in Action (CCA) in Cattaraugus County (1-888-945-3970) both have trained advocates to help those who may be experiencing relationship violence.

Remember Prevention Works!

By Kathlyn Ramey, Prevention Education & Outreach Coordinator, Connecting Communities in Action – Victim Services

Children of Addiction Awareness Week

The week of February 14th marks the Children of Addiction Awareness week, formerly known as Children of Alcoholics Awareness week, a campaign led by The National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA) to raise awareness of children affected by parental alcohol problems.  NACoA is now known as The National Association for Children of Addiction, as 1 in 7 people will experience a substance use disorder, and 18 million children are directly affected.  COAs are more likely than others to have emotional, psychological, or physical problems related to their childhood.  Many develop an alcohol problem and/or other addictive habits, and/or marry someone with an alcohol problem or some other type of addiction.  COAs often learn special rules and roles, which include attempting to protect the family image, keeping feelings to themselves, not trusting others, assuming parental responsibilities, excelling at school, trying to make others feel better, adapting to situations in a detached fashion, or using negative behavior to attract attention.  If these behaviors are not addressed, an adult child of an alcoholic (ACOA) may have trouble expressing feelings, can’t seem to relax, are loyal to others beyond reason, are overly responsible, fear losing control, fear being abandoned, are overly self-critical, and have difficulty with relationships.  In general, COAs have higher rates of stress-related illnesses and conditions, including ulcers, depression, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, tension, anxiety, and eating disorders.  The positive news is that help is available, and COAs can be helped even when their parent continues to drink.  It is important that COAs recognize the special risks they face, understand how past experiences may be affecting their lives, and get the kind of help that is best for them.

Click on the following links For more information on NACoA and COA Awareness Week.


New Year, New Start!

New Year’s Day symbolizes fresh starts and new beginnings. People use January as a benchmark to reprioritize their lives, and with the unique challenges that last year brought, many of us are looking ahead with even more fervor.

Something that 2020 brought clearly into focus is the importance of mental wellness. A variety of factors can impact mental health, including thoughts, emotions and behaviors. Problems related to gambling can influence each of those components. If gambling, yours or someone else’s, has negatively affected you, know that you are not alone and there is support.

Nearly 668,000 New Yorkers have experienced a gambling problem in the past year. The effects can include sleep issues, strain on relationships with loved ones, financial problems and increased alcohol or drug use.  People who struggle with problem gambling are also at a higher risk for other mental health problems. Two out of three individuals reported that their mental health suffered as a result of their gambling. Gambling disorder may also occur with other existing conditions like anxiety, depression, mood disorder or personality disorder.

Emotional and psychological distress is not exclusive to just the person gambling either – each of those individuals can affect up to 10 of the closest people in their lives. A study found that nine out of 10 people impacted by someone else’s gambling problems felt emotional distress. Between the people gambling and their close friends and family, nearly 6.7 million New Yorkers are affected by problem gambling and may experience mental health issues because of it. 

Most importantly, help is available if you or someone you love has been exhibiting warning signs of a gambling problem, such as being absent from activities with friends or loved ones because of gambling; feeling stressed or anxious when not gambling; low work performance due to absence or preoccupation with gambling; or lying to family and friends about how much money and time is spent on gambling. January is a great time to reach out to the Western Problem Gambling Resource Center (PGRC).

The Western PGRC is here to help anyone who is looking to reprioritize their lives and overcome the problems that gambling has caused. Private-practice counselors, behavioral health and treatment facilities, recovery groups and other community services throughout Western New York make up a vast referral network. When people call (716) 833-4274 or email WesternPGRC@nyproblemgambling.org, they confidentially connect with a knowledgeable PGRC staff person who will listen to and connect them with the resources that best meet their needs. Whether you are ready to get help, or you are just curious about your options, call us today. We’re here to help.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and this year’s theme is “Best for You. Best for Baby”.  Leading prenatal health experts from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, March of Dimes, Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, and MotherToBaby have partnered to increase awareness to reduce the chances of babies born with birth defects.  One critical area is that of avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.  There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy or when trying to get pregnant.  A developing baby is exposed to the same concentration of alcohol as the mother during pregnancy, which can result in a wide range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities.  Alcohol and tobacco use can each increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).  Alcohol use may also make it more difficult for a woman to become pregnant.

Tobacco use in any form can harm an unborn baby.  Carbon monoxide, a toxic gas found in cigarette smoke, lowers oxygen levels in the mother’s blood, which means there is also less oxygen for the baby.  Nicotine, the addictive drug found in tobacco, reduces blood flow by causing blood vessels to narrow.  This means that fewer nutrients can reach the baby.  Pregnant women who smoke have more problems with pregnancy and delivery than nonsmokers do and may have a baby with low birth weight.

Chemicals in marijuana pass through the mother and can harm a baby’s development, and opioid exposure during pregnancy can cause Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), a condition in which the newborn experiences withdrawal from the substance and possible premature birth. 

Let’s support our future generation of babies by encouraging potential mothers to choose a healthy lifestyle free of substances!  Be an active participant in this important Prevention Month by visiting the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) website for “Five Tips for Preventing Birth Defects” and downloading the entire 2021 toolkit!  For assistance with a substance use disorder, call the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse’s Clinic at 585-593-6738. 

Remember, prevention works!

Catholic Charities Provides Local Support for Families

During this Holiday season, we are all experiencing much more stress and pressure than we are accustomed to.  Individuals and families are seeking help and comfort, and having to weed through so many sources of information.  So, where do we turn and how do we know what is best for us and our family?  Catholic Charities is one of many organizations that can help meet your needs, whatever they are.  Offices in Wellsville and Olean are open to serve families in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties.

Families may be struggling financially, maybe because parents are missing work due to kids being quarantined, or maybe because offices or workplaces have had to close.  Catholic Charities can help to cover your past due rent and utility bills.  We have gas cards to get you to your appointments and grocery gift cards to get those last items on your list that your paycheck just didn’t cover.  The Joyce Family Food Pantry is open Monday, Thursday and Friday, and will provide you with a food box to feed your family for several days, to help stretch your grocery budget.  Household cleaning supplies and personal care items are available as well. The thrift store at 67 East Pearl Street in Wellsville is open Tuesday and Wednesday, where you can find clothing for the whole family, household goods and more. 

For those seeking connection with others, due to the isolation of staying at home to feel safe, working from home, or spending more time at home because kids are attending school virtually, Catholic Charities offers multiple options.  Coping with COVID groups and Grief support groups are offered virtually through Zoom to provide a safe way of talking with others with similar experiences and to learn how to cope together.  We have support and case management services for grandparents or others caring for a non-biological child in their home through our Kinship Caregiver program.  Support groups for the adults and the kids are offered in person and virtually, and there are monthly family activities as well. 

Catholic Charities can offer individual help when the stress, anxiety and isolation become too overwhelming.  Our licensed counselors are able to meet individuals aged 5 up to older adults in person at our offices in Wellsville and Olean, or by secure video or phone as well.  Counselors can help to build new and healthy ways of coping with the overwhelming emotions, work with parents to learn how to best support their children, or even just provide a safe and private place to talk about what you’re experiencing.

One of the lessons learned since the beginning of this Pandemic is the importance of reaching out to our neighbors for support, and to recognize all of the great resources in our region.  Know that there is help for whatever you are experiencing, and that you are not alone. 

Call us at Catholic Charities in Wellsville at 585-593-2015 or in Olean at 716-372-0101 to find out how we can help you. Catholic Charities is member of Family Matters a subcommittee of PPAC to get information on events, activities, and resources follow Family Matters on Facebook.

Upcoming Events and Resources for Families:

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday. Remember Prevention Works!

Western New York Reality Check Names Student Art Contest Winners to Celebrate Great American Smokeout 2020

In coordination with this year’s Great American Smokeout (GASO), more than 30 students responded to honor the national event, observed today, November 19, this year. The Reality Check art contest focused on the dangers of tobacco use. Artists were encouraged to depict why they want their communities to establish a tobacco-free policy.

Students could submit art as a poster, comic, photo, video, or poem. The winning artwork was selected by Reality Check youth coordinators based upon creativity, use of messaging and originality.

Warsaw High School youth artist Payton was named the first-place winner of the poster contest. Her art depicted a person in the foreground being snuffed out with a giant cigarette with the headline: “Put It Out Before It Puts You Out.” The strong messaging and the lifelike image of the hand struck the jury. Second prize was awarded to Jerzie, a student at Falconer High School, who portrayed a tombstone of her great grandmother with the headline, “I Never Knew You Because Of Cigarettes.” Southwestern Middle School youth artist Meredith poster had the message of “Don’t You Recognize Me Anymore” which shows a smoking skeleton with black lungs.

Selena, of Fillmore Central was awarded first place in the poem category for a piece titled,

“Smoke Out.”

All forms of tobacco are bad.

Sometimes they can make you sad.

What’s the point of ruining your life.

You don’t want to kill the wildlife.

Cigarette butts pollute the earth.

And they affect birth.

Ask for help.

Before you ruin what’s in your scalp.

Kyra, of the Olean High School was awarded first place for video category by depicting nicotine addiction and health issues through dinosaurs.

“Talented students from across the region responded to our art contest, which made judging a challenge,” said Jonathan Chaffee, Reality Check Coordinator of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany. “I hope the efforts of our students will inspire others to think about the health impacts of tobacco use, refrain from littering cigarette butts and vape pods, and protect our community members, as well as spaces where we all live, work and play, for generations to come.”

The American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout is an annual event that encourages and offers support to smokers to who plan to quit smoking or to quit smoking on the day of the event – Thursday, November 19. By quitting – even for one day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

With COVID-19 concerns, there has never been a better time to quit. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs. In addition to causing lung cancer, smoking also makes chronic lung disease worse and increases the risk of severe illness from infections like pneumonia and the flu. Adults who smoke have an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as well.

Reality Check is a teen-led, adult-run program that seeks to prevent and decrease tobacco use among young people throughout New York State.

For more information about Reality Check, visit realitycheckofny.org.