BYFS Presents-Parent Education Workshops

Bedford Youth and Family Services


Parent Education

     Since 2007 BYFS has offered parent education workshops free of charge to the Bedford community, often in collaboration with other community groups.  Many of these events were taped by Bedford TV (BTV) and shown locally on public access.

     Now with updated technology we are offering links to some of the more popular events through YouTube and BTV generosity. 

Check out the following descriptions and click on the video link that pertains to your area of interest!

All programs sponsored by BYFS.  Co-sponsors listed where applicable.

E-Cigarettes & Vaping

Speaker: D.J. Wilson
When: Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018
Time:   5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location: Bedford High School Auditorium
*Target Audience:  Parents of high school age youth

Electronic cigarette use has grown to epidemic proportions in our teen population. Bedford High School has seen this increase grow to epidemic proportions in our teen population locally and is concerned as well.  We added a question on electronic tobacco to our 2018 Bedford Youth Risk Behavior Survey and that data shows that 7% of Middle School students and 28% of High School students reported current electronic tobacco use.

Parents, come learn how to keep your kids safe. 


D.J. Wilson is the Tobacco Control Director for the Massachusetts Municipal Association. As Tobacco Control Director, D.J. offers technical and legal assistance to municipalities on all aspects of tobacco control policy. He is also a member of a bi-weekly policy committee at the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program that deals with changing trends in tobacco control, tobacco industry tactics and how to incorporate the numerous areas of applicable state and federal law into a municipality's tobacco control efforts. D.J. is a member of the Massachusetts Bar and a graduate of New England School of Law and Northeastern University. 

Sponsored by Bedford Youth & Family Services in collaboration with Bedford High School and Bedford High School Parent Association

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: What Everyone Must Know About Tween/Teen Brain Development & Substance Abuse

When: Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017
Time:   7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Bedford High School Auditorium
*Target Audience:  Parents of high school age youth

Dr. Ruth Potee is a nationally renowned family physician who specializes in addressing the opioid epidemic in Massachusetts. Her expertise in adolescent brain development and its impact on teenage risk-taking, including alcohol and substance abuse, has been featured nationally. She blends scientific research with an understanding of the challenges of raising healthy teens. View her presentation to learn about what parents and other interested members of the community can do to keep their tweens and teens safer, healthier and substance-free through middle and high school years.

Sponsored by School Wellness Committee, Bedford Public Schools, Bedford Youth & Family Services, Board of Health, Healthy Bedford, Bedford Fire Department, Bedford Police Department, Parents and Community Partners in Health


Clearing Away the Smoke: Facts and Fiction About Marijuana and Youth 

Speaker: DR. KEVIN P. HILL​  
When: Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015
Time:   7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Concord-Carlisle High School Auditorium
*Target Audience:  Parents of high school age youth

Ever since Massachusetts decriminalized marijuana some three years ago, we have seen an increase in youth use as well as some confusion about whether decriminalization means it is now ‘legal.’  With marijuana for medical use now sanctioned by law concerns exist about its use continuing to spread among youth.  Parents need to learn the facts and latest scientific research regarding marijuana and youth.  Whether their child is in high school or just starting  elementary school, it’s never too late or too early to begin the conversation about challenging choices and decisions.  

The two communities of Bedford and Concord are proud to jointly  sponsor a parent education event Clearing Away the Smoke:  Facts & Fiction About Marijuana & Youth featuring Dr. Kevin P. Hill


Due to unforeseen circumstances the jointly sponsored Bedford/Concord parent education event “Clearing Away the Smoke” with Dr. Kevin Hill was not successfully recorded.  This Acton TV and Acton-Boxborough Rotary Club presentation "Teen Addiction Crisis Forum" involving Dr. Hill as well as other panelists includes some of the same material. 


Kevin P. Hill, M.D., McLean Hospital Director of Substance Abuse Consultation Service, Div. of Alcohol & Drug Abuse and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, author of Marijuana: The Unbiased Truth About the World’s Most Popular Weed.

Sponsored by Bedford Youth & Family Services, Concord-Carlisle Youth Services, Bedford Police Department, and Concord Police Department 


Sexting, Selfies, And Snapchat

What Parents Need to Know About Teens Online

When:  Thursday, October 1, 2015  
Time: 5:45 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Location: John Glenn Middle School Auditorium
*Target Audience:  Parents of middle school youth on Back to School Night

Boston University Professor Sophie Godley will  share the latest information on adolescent development and interactions with social media.   She will give an overview of the most popular social networks being used today, including Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, discuss the dangers lurking in cyberspace, and offer tips for parents to guide their children through confusing and potentially dangerous situations.

Sophie Godley, MPH, is Clinical Assistant Professor & Director of Undergraduate Education at Boston University School of Public Health.  Godley has an extensive background as an expert on adolescent health and has presented, locally, regionally, and nationally on these issues


Co-sponsored by John Glenn Middle School, JGMS Parent Association, & BYFS

Holding On, Letting Go: Raising Resilient Children in Challenging Times
When:  Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Lane School
*Target Audience: Open to all grade 3 parents as part of Back to School Night.
Parents from grade 4 and 5 welcome with an RSVP to Lane Office 

All parents want their children to become resilient and confident but they find it hard to let their children learn the vital life lessons that come from facing challenge and disappointment. How can parents strike a good balance between helping and protecting their children vs. letting them grapple with real-life issues? Rob Evans will offer concrete suggestions for managing this key dilemma.

Dr. Evans is a psychologist and the Executive Director of The Human Relations Service in Wellesley, Mass. A former high school and pre-school teacher and a former child and family therapist, he has worked with schools and families for thirty years.  He has consulted to over 1,700 schools around the country. His presentations are known for their lively wit and plain talk. He is the author of many articles and three books, including, Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with The Crisis in Childrearing.

Co-sponsored by Lane School, BEST, & BYFS.

Beyond the Myths of Education: A Better Frame of Reference to Reduce Youth Stress ©

When: Thursday, September 19, 2013  & Thursday, September 26, 2013  
Time: 5:45 to 6:30 p.m 
Location: Bedford High School, Auditorium  & John Glenn Middle School, Auditorium 
*Target Audience: Parents of Middle School Age and High School Age Youth

Middle Schools and High Schools have become pressure cookers for academic performance and our kids are feeling the stress.  Christine Duvivier’s groundbreaking research tells us how and why we are missing the true gifts our children possess and how we can view them differently.
Learn to:
Identify Gifts that Conflict with School™
Explore Paths of Great Leaders
Re-think 3 Myths About Education that Hurt us All
Discover Factors that Matter Most for Your Student’s Lifetime Happiness

Christine Duvivier, an MBA graduate from Cornell University, worked for 16 years at Digital with executives and senior management to improve performance.  She then took those skills to the Center for Quality of Management (CQM), a nonprofit organization that focused exclusively on guiding leaders in an ever-changing quest for effective approaches.  From there Christine went to University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Master in Applied Positive Psychology. Positive psychology focuses on healthy institutions, positive emotions, and strengths-based character.  Christine is now a public speaker, executive coach and mentor, and workshop facilitator. She works with business leaders and communities to unleash potential and increase well-being, build resilience and reduce stress.

Christine Duvivierpositive change author/speaker/mentor


To Be or Not To Be A Social Host: The Civil & Criminal Ramifications of Underage Youth Alcohol Use in Bedford 

When: Wednesday, April 10, 2013    
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.   
Location: Bedford Town Hall Multipurpose Room  
*Target Audience: Parents of Middle and High School Age Youth particulary - all parents and community members ideally

Many parents think it is safer to offer underage youth alcohol in the privacy of their home than to risk youth drinking in a car or at Fawn Lake.  But did you know it’s a crime to allow underage people to drink alcohol on your property if they are not your children?  Bedford like many communities is struggling to understand the social host law and the ramifications of underage drinking.
Overwhelmingly alcohol is the drug of choice among kids who abuse any substances. Alcohol use starts earliest and increases most dramatically with 48% of Bedford 12th graders reporting having ever consumed alcohol (Bedford 2012 YRBS)
Learn the criminal and civil liability as well as the hidden risks of serving alcohol to youth in your home. Information on social and medical issues on underage drinking will also be discussed if time allows.  Come and find out how you can contribute to reducing youth addiction and injury in the community.

John Sofis Scheft Esq. is the founder of Law Enforcement Dimensions and has been providing specialized legal training to juvenile police officers and allied professionals for over 20 years.

Co-Sponsored by Bedford Police Department


Bullying and Cyber Bullying:  Prevention in Schools and Communities

Speaker: NINA L. POMPONIO      
When: Thursday, September 22, 2011 
Time: 6:00 p.m.     
Location: John Glenn Middle School
*Target Audience:  Parents of Middle School Age Youth
An Act Relative to Bullying - How This Legislation Impacts Our Schools

This parent education training has been scheduled as part of the JGMS Open House night to help parents to  understand this mandate. The law is reviewed, with an emphasis on when bullying, which is prohibited but not a crime, becomes criminal.  An emphasis on the cyber component of bullying is explored.  Additionally, this training outlines when off campus behavior creates a hostile environment at school, infringes on students’ rights and/or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.  Suggestions of strategies to prevent bullying and protect targets from aggressors will be given.  This parent education event supports Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone’s continuing school safety initiatives.

Nina L. Pomponio is Assistant District Attorney at Cambridge Juvenile Court and Prevention and Education Coordinator for Middlesex Partnerships for Youth.

Raising Financially Fit Children

Speaker: Lea Ann Knight, CFP 
When: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 
Times: 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon or 7:00 - 9:00p.m.
Location: Town Center Mudge Room
Target Audience: Middle School Parents but Open to All
 In this seminar, parents will learn a variety of tips and techniques to help raise a financially fit child. 

Topics covered include recognizing money behaviors of  middle school children, helping your child set attainable   financial goals, and creating allowance strategies that reinforce your money management messages. Learn to help your child make wiser choices for spending now or saving for later, discuss family money decisions and charitable donations, and understand the difference between saving and investing.

Parents will also leave with a list of online and print resources that will help them continue the journey of  raising financially fit children.

Lea Ann Knight, CFP is the Principal of Garrison/Knight Financial Planning LLC, a fee-only financial planning firm in Bedford.  Over the past 25 years, she has provided financial and investment advice to  individuals, families and businesses.  Ms. Knight is a frequent speaker and workshop facilitator on financial literacy topics and is the author of the weekly blog, Financially Fit After 40.




Are Your Kids Addicted To The Computer? 

When: Wednesday, March 2, 2011  
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.  
Location: Bedford Town Hall Auditorium
Target Audience:  Parents of youth computer users of all ages.
Are you worried about your child’s use of technology?  Does your child spend too much time on the computer, Internet or cell phone?  How do you as a parent, know how much time on the computer is too much and how do you set limits on computer use? Problems with Internet use, like other addictions, are clearly affecting children’s lives, along with the families around them, while services available for parental advice and treatment are limited. Come and find out how to ensure your child uses computers and the Internet wisely and safely. 

Benjamin Silverman, M.D., is an Addiction Psychiatry Fellow at Partners HealthCare System and is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.  A graduate of the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Silverman has a long standing interest in technology and addiction issues of all types, including Internet and social networking addiction in particular.


The Parents We Mean To Be

When: Wednesday, October 21, 2009  
Time: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Bedford Town Hall Auditorium
*Target Audience: All Parents
The widespread desire of parents to be closer to their children - a heartening trend in many ways - and their intense focus on their children’s happiness and achievements can turn children into self-involved, fragile conformists.  Has our intention to be “positive parents” gone too far?  Is praising our kids constantly good for a child’s moral and emotional growth? 

Come hear noted Harvard psychologist Richard Weissbourd discuss concrete strategies for raising moral and happy children and for avoiding the extremes of too much or too little involvement.  His book will also be available for purchase and autograph.

Dr. Richard Weissbourd is a child and family psychologist and on the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and School of Education.  He has served in advisory capacity on city, state, and federal levels on family policy and school reform and has written for numerous scholarly and popular publications.

Co-Sponsored by Friends of the Bedford Public Library


Help! How To Enjoy Living With A Pre-Adolescent

When: Wednesday, April 29, 2009  
Time: 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.   
Location: Town Center, Flint Room
*Target Audience - Parents of Middle School youth, especially first time 6th graders & 5th graders entering 6th in the fall.
Middle School is a time when many changes are occurring. Pre-teens may look older but their behavior can be erratic, emotional and hard to predict. Back by popular demand, this presentation will address the range and motivation of early adolescent behaviors and offer strategies for constructive parental response.

Moving from theory to practical application, Dr. Yamartino is a licensed psychologist working with teens and their families at North Bridge Psychological Associates in Acton.



Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids

Speaker: WENDY S.GROLICK    
When: Monday, March 9, 2009 
Time:  7:00 p.m.  
Location: Bedford Free Public Library, Mudge Way, Bedford
*Target Audience:  Parents of Children of all ages
Though it begins harmlessly, the older children get, the more competition they face, whether in academics, sports, or the arts.  The race for admission to a top-tier college hovers in the background.  Before you panic about our competitive society, come hear how to turn your protective anxiety into calm guidance.

Leading child researcher Wendy Grolnick, co-author with educational and parenting journalist Kathy Seal, of  Pressured Parents, Stressed-Out Kids: Dealing with Competition While Raising a Successful Child, will show parents how to avoid burnout while raising children who thrive and excel.

Co-Sponsored by Bedford Free Public Library and Friends of the Library

How To Build Resilient and Successful Children

When: Wednesday, October 29, 2008  
Time:   7:00 - 9:00 p.m
Location: Bedford Town Hall, Auditorium
*Target Audience: All Parents

Search Institute believes that there are developmental assets all children and youth need to be healthy and successful.  This “healthy youth development” is the presence of well being and thriving. Dr. Lerner believes family assets are the most important factor in positive youth development.  Come find out what you can do to ensure positive development of your own child and all our youth!

Dr. Richard Lerner is the Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University.  A developmental psychologist, Lerner is the author of more than 500 scholarly publications, including 70 books.  His most recent book is The Good Teen.

 Bullying and Cyberbullying


When: Thursday, October 2, 2008 
Time:   7:00 p.m. 
Location: John Glenn Middle School Auditorium
*Target Audience: All Community Members, particularly parents of school age youth

More than half of teenagers report having received hurtful online statements or threats and most times these incidents go unreported. Cyberbullying, or repeated electronic based bullying via IM’s on computers or via cell phones has become an increasing problem. This program will cover current issues of bullying, cyberbullying, preventative measures parents can take and options in the event that your child is being cyberbullied.

Dr. Englander, a nationally recognized expert on Cyber Bullying is a professor of Psychology and the founder of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) at Bridgewater State College. The Center delivers anti-violence and anti-bullying programs for the State of Massachusetts.

“If you want the climate in the school to change, you must change the climate in in the community.” - Dr. Elizabeth Englander