Treasure Talk
Caregiving Youth Project Newsletter
The Caregiving Youth Project helps identify, recognize, educate and support students who care for ill, injured, elderly, or disabled family members. This allows caregiving youth to achieve success, have fun and make new friends, while promoting academic growth.
In This Issue
Middle School Updates
Continuing Care
Caregiving Tips
Quick Links
Caregiving Youth Project on Facebook

Generations United 
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Attend the Fearless Caregiver Conference, July 24th, at the Embassy Suites Hotel 
661 NW 53 Street 
Boca Raton, FL 33487.  A limited number of free tickets are available.  The event runs from 8:30a.m. to 2:30p.m., with lunch included.  Experts will be on-hand to answer your questions about balancing family, work and caregiving; helping adult children become independent; aiding your parents and more.

Questions?  Call 954-362-8126.  To register, visit
Dr. Connie Siskowski,blogger
Bryan's Story: From Youth Caregiver to College Student
Bryan's caregiving duties were so distracting that he accidentally set the house on fire while cooking dinner one day. Learn how he survived his middle and high school years while caring for his ill parents.  Click here to read the entire blog

Dr. Ann Faraone represented AACY at the GradNation this year.  The Building a GradNation Summit is the annual focal point of the GradNation Campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities pulling together to empower more young Americans to graduate from high school on time and ready for college, careers, and thriving adulthood. Those attending the conference this year, assessed progress toward the goals, celebrated successes, and refocused on the challenges that remain.
Ellen Reaves, Caregiver Strategist

Dr. Connie will be featured on "The Caregiving Journey with Ellen Reaves" show.  Meantime, visit the caregiving strategies website for ideas for financial stability, optimal health and emotional wellness.

Two Lynn University students and Rev. Tom Tift simulating a "ribbon cutting".

On April 23rd at Lynn University, AACY held a "virtual" red ribbon cutting for the Caregiving Youth Institute (CYI). The establishment of the CYI is in direct response to the growing number of caregiving youth who are unrecognized, invisible and falling through the cracks at schools all across our nation.  The goal of the CYI is to raise the level of awareness of the multi-system needs of caregiving youth along with solutions for their support through the multiple initiatives of C.A.R.E. (Connection, Advocacy, Research, Education).
Special Thanks to the Schmidt Family Foundation, a charitable organization that made the beginnings of the CYP and now the CYI possible by an initial grant.
The reason that there's more daylight during Spring is that the earth's axis tilts towards the sun at this time of year.

Several singers have sung about Spring including Van Morrison (Celtic Spring), Billie Holiday (Some Other Spring) and Frank Sinatra (Suddenly it's Spring).

Benjamin Franklin was the first American to propose Dalylight Saving Time in 1784. However, it wasn't fully implemented in the US until after the Second World War.
Issue: #72 April 2014  
Dear Reader,
Connie Siskowski, RN, Ph.D. Founder and President


In recent weeks I have attended some meetings related to specific health conditions. It is always good to learn about new procedures, research or medications. Typically the focus is on how the person who is ill can benefit.  For sure, one way we know the patient can benefit is by supporting his/her family caregiver of any age!


I can only wonder what it will take our systems to better recognize this!   


Little by little we must work together to recognize ALL of America's precious family caregivers!  We at AACY honor and value you!



An Ice Cream Social was held at Boca Raton Community Middle School on April 9th. The leadership class from Boca Raton High School organized the amazing event for CYP members. Students participated in ice breaker activities, enjoyed ice cream, and had an opportunity to ask questions about 
Students making sundaes, yum! 
transitioning to high school. Students also received a gift bag provided by the high schoolers. A big thank you to the leadership class and all those who participated!!
Students socializing. 
We at AACY look forward to our next Camp Treasure on May 2nd and 3rd.  We hear that former NFL star Benny Blades will again join us!  


Ice breaker activity
with a "twist".

Final group sessions in the middle schools

for 7th and 8th graders will be held in May. Eighth graders, you will receive information on how CYP continues to support you in high school.  In addition, new members of the program can look forward to receiving blankets kindly knitted and donated by Project Linus.  


Leadership class and CYP
student's group picture. 

Camp Treasure Reunion, complete with high ropes, will be July 8th at FAU. Please call to reserve a spot. All students who attended Camp Treasure are invited to attend.  

Francine Hoey.


We already miss Francine Hoey, FAU MSW Intern, who spent the school year with us.  The student's at Boca Middle and Omni Middle are especially sad to see her go as she led lunch time workshops every other week. 



If you or your family needs support or guidance in any way, please feel free to talk with your Family Specialist to find out how we can help!   


We are extremely excited to continue groups at Atlantic, Boca, Boynton Beach, John I Leonard, Lake Worth, and Santaluces high school.   The activities include:

  • tutoring and homework help
  • one on one coaching toward graduation
  • out of school educational and recreational activities
  • educational workshops
  • goal setting
  • college preparation
  • career choices
  • life skills

These services are free for AACY families. If you need any of the help listed above feel free to contact your Family Specialist or the main office at 561-391-7401.


Attention High School Juniors!  Thanks to the generosity of the Bomar Foundation has announced its sponsorship of the 2nd Annual Book Reading and Essay contest, open to all CYP high school juniors.  You will read a selected book and compose an essay.  The contest winner will receive $1,500!!!  You will soon be learning more details about this special opportunity.


Attention all high school students please remember to complete your Community Service Forms and hand them to your Family Specialist. As you are aware you are able to count a portion of your caregiving hours as volunteer time. If you have any questions regarding how to complete the form please speak with your Family Specialist at the next group meeting.

During this month the CYP Lunch and Learn sessions have included information about Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We are fortunate to live during a time when there have been so many advances that have been made in the treatment of MS. It is also a time when people are paying more and more attention to integrative medicine and how diet, exercise and nutritional supplements can make a difference in the life of a person with MS.


It is a challenge to our very inner being when someone we love is ill or hurting. We care and we feel for what that person is going through. And then we also, very normally think about ourselves and how this illness has changed our lives, even financially with the extra expenses of medications or no longer being able to work.


Although we can't make our family member better, we can change how we manage our own lives, including seeking help and talking out frustrations. It is likely that your family member is also feeling frustrated. Creating an open communications environment and setting up a regular time to talk things out is one way of helping to deal with the feelings that you both have. Even if you don't think you have something that day to talk through, keep the talking schedule. Perhaps pick some topics or put some questions in a bag and each pull one out to answer. For those of you who attended Camp Treasure, you will remember this talking game; it's not only for Camp!


Taking time for you is healthy and very much needed! Your family member may say with puppy dog pleading eyes, "You mean you're going to leave me?" And you must say, "Yes, and I will be back in a little while." It's okay to leave to do something for yourself!  If your family member can't be left alone and no one else is there to give you a break, please call our office (561.391.7401) so we can work together on what works for you and your family.

Cassie Pfister, AmeriCorps Member

We are at the point in the year when testing is upon us and summer seems so close, yet so far away. While it is nice to think about the fun that is to be had this summer, you as a youth caregiver could be currently experiencing stress in your life due to increased pressure on academics as well as balancing your usual caregiving responsibilities at home.


Everyone experiences stress differently, but typically people feel it internally before it shows externally. The definition of stress is a physiological response that releases different types of hormones into the body and can have immediate side effects such as an adrenaline rush, faster heart beat, or shaking of the hands. You may know that you are stressed if you find yourself having difficulty completing everyday tasks, have sudden short term memory loss, have trouble focusing on small details, or can't seem to organize or prioritize your thoughts. Some external signs of being stressed include the inability to sleep at night, a constant shaky feeling in your body, finding your body suddenly sore for no apparent reason, or the feeling of having no energy and being overly exhausted at all times of the day.  


The first step to managing your stress is to identify the triggers that are causing stress in your life. This time of year your trigger may be pressure to get a good test score or studying for end of course exams. The additional responsibilities of taking care of a loved one can put you in a constant haze with a lot on your plate. There are ways to help reduce stress, so don't be afraid to take charge and attempt some of these suggestions when you feel you need to take a break.

  • Organize your time by planning out and adhering to a schedule. Giving yourself only an hour a day to complete homework may help you to stay motivated when you feel slow moving or unable to concentrate.
  • Take time to go outside! Take a walk or find a relaxing way to stretch and burn some calories outside. Even taking your notes outside to study in the nice weather can really make a difference.
  • Developing a coping routine when you are stressed can be beneficial for you. Maybe you always talk to that one friend who is a good listener or maybe you go to yoga with a parent. Thinking about how you are going to handle stress before it happens can relieve some of the panic that comes along with mixed thoughts and feelings in a stressful situation.

If you feel overwhelmed by stress, take a break from your routine and try putting these activities into your day. You might find yourself healthier and more able to juggle your responsibilities.  


"It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are."

- E. E. Cummings


Gerry Fallon
American Association of Caregiving Youth

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