Caregiving Youth Project Newsletter

Caregiving Youth Projects help identify, recognize, educate and support kids who care for family members. This allows them to achieve success, have fun and make new friends, while promoting academic growth.
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Issue: # 14 June 2009
Dear Reader,

Setting goals can be for anyone!  A family member and/or good friend can help you be accountable for reaching your goal - and can join with you to celebrate reaching your goal.  My goal is to exercise at least 20 minutes each day.  On the days that I do not have a planned exercise time for golf or tennis, I know I must do my exercise first thing in the morning. 
The other morning as I was doing my early exercising, I saw the sun rise - it was especially beautiful!  As you work to meet your goals, be open to other wonderful things you might experience along the way... you just never know!  And if you still need to set and start meeting a summer goal - it is not too late.  Begin today!
Connie Siskowski, RN, PhD
Founder and Director

Largo - CYP II

The Caregiving Youth Project of Pinellas is underway in Largo and is the second CYP in the US.  Their youth caregivers recently enjoyed visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium: 

Caregiving Youth Project of Pinellas

Ashoka recognizes CYP

Dr. Connie Siskowski has been named an Ashoka Fellow.  Ashoka is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to shape and change the world in positive ways.  Ashoka Fellows are social entrepreneurs with unique solutions for social issues.  Dr. Connie is being recognized for her innovative work in creating CYP.  With Ashoka's support,  Dr. Connie will pursue her vision of  supporting the caregiving youth of the USA through the American Association of Caregiving Youth (AACY).
Making headlines with Swiss TV

Tuesday, June 16th, a crew from Swiss TV graced our office doors to film an interview with Dr. Connie Siskowski and some of the CYP staff. The filming also featured a youth caregiver at her home and a class for youth caregivers in the new Palm Healthcare Pavilion in West Palm Beach.

CYP connects with young carers in the UK

This past weekend more than 1500 young carers gathered at Fairthorne Manor in the countryside of Hampshire, England for the tenth annual Young Carers Festival. (Young carers is the UK term; youth caregivers is the US term.)The Festival was hosted by The Children's Society and YMCA Fairthorne Manor and provided the young carers with a weekend of respite from caregiving. They enjoyed many activities like  a grand campfire, slept in tents, and listened to live concerts.

On Friday five of our Caregiving Youth Project students gathered in the CYP office around a telephone for interviews that were broadcast on the UK radio station  covering the entire festival.  Our hope is that we will be able to travel to the UK to attend the 2010 Young Carers Festival in person.

Click here to read about the Young Carers Festival 2008!
Click here to read an article on young carers and the festival!
Click here for more information on the Young Carers Festival 2009!
CYP featured in the Sun Sentinel

Click here to read the article featuring a youth caregiver!
Congress Middle School 8th grade caregivers receive a surprise visit

Tuesday, June 2, 2009, marked the first meet n' greet between five Congress Middle School 8th grade youth caregivers and teacher, Geri Grocki's Boynton Beach High School Leadership Class. The event took place in the Media Center at Congress Middle, where everyone was treated to breakfast provided by the high school students.

Following breakfast, the youth participated in an ice-breaker activity and the high school students addressed individual concerns and questions about the transition process. Before the morning was over the Leadership Class presented the 8th graders with personalized notes of appreciation, Boynton Beach Tigers backpacks, mouse pads, pencils, and most importantly, the contact information for each high school student!
Guests support youth caregivers while bidding for amazing prizes

On Thursday, June 11th, about 50 guests attended the silent auction and reception to support CYP. The attendees spent the evening enjoying wine and hors d' oeuvres, making bids for the kids and browsing the fabulous art galleries at the Gallery Center in Boca Raton.

Some of the prizes included an airplane ride over the Everglades, dinner at Boca Raton's best restaurants, golf foursomes at some of the area's finest courses, 2 hour red carpet party for 25 friends, overnight hotel stays, an HP mini- computer and much, much more. One lucky guest even won $250 out of a money hat!

Thank you for helping us care for caregiving youths!


Our interview with Inita Knox, recipient of the 4th annual George Snow Scholarship
The George Snow Scholarship Fund is a Boca Raton-based organization that has provided scholarships to many outstanding local scholars.   Inita Knox is one of this year's winners of the Youth Caregivers Scholarship Program. 
Inita just graduated from Palm Beach Lakes Community High School, where she attended the school's  pre-law program.  She will be a freshman at Florida A&M University this fall, majoring in Criminal Law and Public Relations.  She has cared for her grandmother, who recently suffered from two heart attacks and is in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease.
Treasure Talk Interviews Inita: 

What advice would you give other youth caregivers?
Really enjoy the time that you have with the people that you care about, especially if they are older. They have a lot of wisdom, memories and knowledge that you definitely learn from. Take care of yourself.
How do you take care of yourself?
For me, I eat right and exercise, even if it's just walking 30 minutes a day or riding a bike. It is so important to keep up with your health, so that you aren't in the condition of the person you care for, needing care yourself.
Inita, do you have any final words for our readers?
I just want to thank CYP for giving me the opportunity to achieve a higher level of education. This is a wonderful opportunity for me. I plan to give back to my family and community someday.

Inita, we are so proud of your accomplishments and your devotion to your grandmother and family. We wish you all the best in college!
Look for Inita's entire interview on the site. 

For more on the George Snow Scholarship Fund...
Coming up...
  • Camp Treasure Reunion
  • Deep Sea Fishing
  • Computer Seminar

A broken cup,
A broken bowl,
Are nothing, like a broken soul.

It eats away,
It breaks the heart,
Then soon it tears your life apart.
Brings the thoughts of silence,
The thoughts that make you run and hide.

You start to shy away from friends,
Only to find a bitter end.

                    - Joshua Sepersaude
Another Growth Opportunity (AGO)

As my year of service with Caregiving Youth Project comes to a close, I can reflect on how this past year has offered me such an incredible chance to learn.  One thing stands out above all others as a life lesson I will take from this experience.

The most important thing about a goal is actually having one. A wise friend once told me that, "the hardest thing in life is to be determined to strive for excellence when everyone around you is settling for mediocrity." Sometimes this means taking risks and accepting change. Even though change is sometimes difficult, especially when your current situation feels comfortable, you must maintain focus and have faith that you are on the right path.

I leave here feeling excited for whatever my future may hold. I want to thank the students for being a constant inspiration. It is good to see that you are finally being recognized for all that you do. Lastly, I thank the Caregiving Youth Project staff for opening their arms whole-heartedly and making me feel like a member of the family. Your hard work has and will continue to touch many lives.

"The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor," Vince Lombardi.

Jen Craven, Literacy AmeriCorps Member

Millie Barber, MD and Jen Craven
Caregiving Youth Project
of Volunteers for the Homebound & Family Caregivers