Concept originated in AtlantaThe idea to pair college science students with elementary schoolteachers was based on Elementary Science Education Partners, ajoint project of Atlanta public schools and seven Atlanta-areacolleges and universities, said FOCUS coordinator Jim Spellman.”FOCUS has been a really good experience for the students,”Spellman said.”Many UGA students come from metro Atlanta, from affluent, mostlywhite schools,” he said. “Barnett Shoals Elementary is reallydiverse. It gave them a much better understanding of the problemsin education and the challenges facing teachers. It also allowedstudents to see how much work is involved in preparation to teacha class.”On Saturday, Jan. 11, a new crop of UGA students will spend theday at Barnett Shoals in a Project FOCUS orientation session.They’ll learn some basics about elementary education, lessonplanning and the classrooms where they will work.The program requires that the CAES students agree to spend atleast three hours per week in the classroom, teaching science. By Cat HolmesUniversity of GeorgiaSay “science” to fourth-graders at Barnett Shoals ElementarySchool in Athens, Ga., and you might get excited accounts ofmaking “ocean” waves or using Hula Hoops to section offschoolyard areas to count living bugs and plants. Science ishands-on and fun.Last semester, these students and their teachers worked ondifferent science projects with Eva Daneke, a University ofGeorgia student from Duluth, Ga., majoring in environmentalhealth sciences.Through Project FOCUS (Fostering Our Community’s Understanding ofScience), Daneke and 11 other UGA students were teamed up withBarnett Shoals teachers to bring hands-on science to kindergartenthrough fifth-grader students.Project FOCUS is a new program of the UGA College of Agriculturaland Environmental Sciences (CAES). It serves two purposes, saidDavid Knauft, CAES associate dean of academic affairs. Making science fun”It allows us to do some community service,” Knauft said. “And italso exposes kids to science that’s fun and meaningful. Ourstudents provide the teachers with a second pair of hands and adepth of science background that many elementary school teachersdo not have.”Since much of the science in the CAES is applied science, hesaid, it’s easier to simplify for young students.”The kids liked all of the projects,” said Daneke, who workedwith two fourth-grade classes.”Their favorite was probably making craters,” she said. “Wedropped marbles, golf balls and tennis balls from differentheights into pans of flour to demonstrate the conditions in spacethat create craters. It made a big mess, and they loved it.”
Lawrenceburg, In. — Community Mental Health Center, Inc., Lawrenceburg, with the National Council on Problem Gambling, recognizes March as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month. This year’s campaign continues with the theme “Action + Awareness.”For the 15th consecutive year, CMHC, in collaboration with NCPG, dedicates March to helping people “have the conversation” about problem gambling. About 2 million (1%) of U. S. adults are estimated to meet criteria for pathological gambling. Another 4 million to 6 million (2%-3%) would be considered problem gamblers, yet, for many, gambling remains a hidden addiction.Problem Gambling Awareness Month is designed to help raise awareness of the prevention, treatment and recovery services available for those adversely affected by gambling. The grassroots campaign brings together a wide range of stakeholders – public health organizations, advocacy groups, and gambling operators – who work collaboratively to let people know that hope and help exist.Statistics gathered from various health and governmental sources and posted on the National Council’s website indicate consumers spend more than $100 billion annually on legal gaming in the United States. At the same time, the social costs of problem gambling total more than $7 billion every year. Social costs include addiction, bankruptcy, and related criminal activity.For most people, gambling is a fun diversion, but for a few, gambling can become a serious life-altering problem. Problem gambling is behavior that causes disruptions in any major area of a person’s life. According to the national council’s website, “It is important to recognize that most people can gamble without negative consequences. A small percentage, however, of persons who gamble suffer enormous social, economic and psychological implications. Individuals, families and communities all suffer from problem gambling.”The annual NCAA college basketball tournament is entertaining for many and also represents a huge gaming interest for many. As March Madness reaches a crescendo, with an estimated $10 billion in bets placed on the NCAA championship games, calls to the National Problem Gambling Helpline (1-800-522-4700) spike an average of 30% during the month.Would you recognize a gambling problem in someone you know? Signs of problem gambling include: argumentative and defensive behavior around gambling; unexplained absences for long periods of time; lies to loved ones about gambling behavior; going without basic needs in order to gamble, and borrowing money to gamble.Problem gambling is not a bad habit or a moral weakness. It’s a serious condition that responds well to treatment. Anyone can develop a problem with gambling. It can affect men or women of any age, race or religion, regardless of their social status.Some risk factors, individually or in combination, might make a person more vulnerable:A stressful life event, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, injury/disabilityAn early big win while gamblingPre-existing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or alcoholismFamily history of addictions such as alcoholism, compulsive gambling and drug addiction.There is hope and help for problem gamblers and their loved ones, and many people who seek help do recover. For more information, contact Community Mental Health Center, Inc., at (812) 537-1302, or contact the National Council on Problem Gambling at (800) 522-4700. Community Mental Health Center provides treatment services for problem gambling. For information on Indiana gambling treatment resources, contact the state’s problem gambling referral line at (800) 994-8448. To find out about meetings of Gamblers Anonymous and Gam-Anon, call (866) 442-8621. Information on the Internet can be found on the National Council of Problem Gambling’s website at www.ncpgambling.org.All CMHC services are provided without regard to race, religion, disability, gender, color, age, national origin, ancestry, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political belief, status as a veteran, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law.