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SCC Takes Aim at Student Stress

Dr. Madeline Levine to speak at Alden Nov. 19.

— The Safe Community Coalition, an advocacy group serving the Langley and McLean High School pyramids, as well as Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is taking on the challenge of student stress head on.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19 they will welcome Dr. Madeline Levine, author and educator, to speak about the importance of parenting and how it can lead to happier students.

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The Safe Community Coalition will host Dr. Madeline Levine, a best-selling author and psychologist who will speak on successful parenting techniques Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Alden Theatre.

“In the McLean and Langley Pyramid if you don't go to college, don't get into a ‘good’ college, you are seen as a let down to your school, your family and your community,” said Melissa Sporn, a mental health professional and SCC board member. “As a result I am routinely seeing patients in my practice who are overstressed, overworked and overwhelmed. Many of these students deal with these pressures by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, cutting and/or engaging in other negative behaviors.”

Levine is a California-based psychologist who has written three books on child development. Her third book, “The Price of Privilege,” focuses on the problems encountered by teens that come from affluent families.

The book examines the idea of students who get good grades, are involved in activities and give the appearance of thriving, but also suffer from drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety, self-harm and anorexia, among other ailments.

Her latest book, “Teach Your Children Well,” discusses the importance of good parenting step by step, from defining core values to developing purpose, well-being and meaning in children’s lives.

“We’ve asked her to focus her presentation on our community and how to develop solutions to allow our kids to thrive and reach their potential without stressing them out...our community is very committed to the issue of academic stress and the pressures on our youth,” said Karen Calpin, vice president of programs for the SCC. “As a parent and as part of the Safe Community Coalition, I feel we have a responsibility to provide programs to our community that highlight some of the key issues for our kids. Academic stress has been noted in the Fairfax County Youth Survey as one of those topics.”

Several local schools have hosted events in the lead up to Levine’s presentation. McLean High School screened “Race to Nowhere,” a documentary that features Levine and highlights students who have been pushed to the brink due to commitments to school, sports, clubs and more.

Langley High School hosted Dr. William Stixrud, a psychologist that specializes in development, Tuesday, Oct. 29. Stixrud spoke about how constant stress can inhibit the development of adolescent minds.

Levine will speak at 7 p.m. at the Alden Theater at the McLean Community Center Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Tickets for the Levine event are $10, and can be purchased online at www.safecommunitycoalition.net until Monday, Nov. 18 at noon. They can also be purchased for $15 at the door.