Free workshop to address communicating with youth

  • Baystate Franklin Medical Center will host “Listening to Our Kids: The Supportive Magic of Not Giving Advice” on Thursday. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Report
Published: 6/11/2019 6:01:47 PM

GREENFIELD — Parents, teachers, guardians, mentors and anyone else with young people in their lives understand that communication can often be a challenge. That’s a problem that a free workshop at Baystate Franklin Medical Center hopes to address.

“Listening to Our Kids: The Supportive Magic of Not Giving Advice” will address concerns and teach new communication techniques, with the guidance of local experts Lisa Wexler and Siobhan Fitzgerald, according to a Baystate Franklin press release.

The workshop will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. in the conference rooms at Baystate Franklin, 164 High St. Complimentary pizza will be served, followed by the program and a question-and-answer session from 6:30 to 8.

The workshop will involve reviewing survey results from area middle and high schools about young people’s risky behaviors, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, depression, anxiety and their experiences interacting with adults. Participants will be invited to consider how the information applies to their experiences, and to explore how they can use the information to support young people in their lives.

The last part of the session will involve practicing techniques of listening well, which can have many therapeutic benefits, the release states. Such skills can improve the quality of support the young people in your lives feel.

Wexler is a University of Massachusetts professor. She is an expert in adolescent suicide prevention who has been running community workshops on supportive communication in Alaska for 25 years.

Fitzgerald has been the adjustment counselor at Greenfield High School for the last 17 years and also serves as the parent engagement facilitator for the Greenfield Safe Schools Safe Streets Coalition (4SC). Both Fitzgerald and Wexler are parents of local teens.

The event is hosted by Baystate Franklin and the Communities That Care Coalition, and is co-sponsored by 4SC and the Gill-Montague Community School Partnership.

Seating is limited and reservations are required. Visit to sign up.


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