Keys to Innervisions now at Mt. Laurel library

Being a teenager stressing you out?

If so, look into a new program being offered at the Mount Laurel Library.

Registration is now open for teens in grades 6 to 9 to participate in Keys to Innervisions. Keys to Innervisions, or KIV, focuses on issues that are critical to youth, including social and family issues, learning and school performance, self-acceptance, personal accountability, managing emotions, substance use and abuse, and dealing with transitions that occur in adolescence.

The KIV program, provided free of charge by Prevention Plus of Burlington County, will be a four-week seminar, meeting on Sept. 22 and 29, Oct. 6 and 13 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Mount Laurel Library, located at 100 Walt Whitman Avenue. Snacks and prizes will be provided at each session.

Registration can be completed by phone at 856–234–7319 ext 333 or online at http://events.mtlaurel.lib.nj.us/evanced/lib/eventcalendar.asp.

Bonnie Marcus, prevention educator with Prevention Plus, is enthused about the upcoming events in Mount Laurel.

“I think it’s a fantastic program,” she said, noting it focuses on changing the beliefs and behaviors of teenagers so that they lead productive lives.

The program also tries to get teens to steer away from violence, alcohol, drugs, and bullying. It focuses on self esteem and reinforcing positive behavior.

The KIV program been around since the 1980s.

Marcus said she has two teenage children and sees what positive influence does.

“To me it’s very important to guide children to the right path,” she said, noting the program has been very successful at the Burlington County juvenile detention center as well as at the Harrington Middle School in Mount Laurel.

With the Internet, Facebook, and electronic devices easily attainable, Marcus said teens today face challenges teens a generation ago wouldn’t have even considered.

“It’s a totally different world,” she said. “They’re inviting in strangers.

“It’s really important to fit in for teenagers,” Marcus added, noting that access they have at Mount Laurel Library “is amazing” because it brings them together in a positive way.

The grant that brings Prevention Plus to the library for August 2011 to August 2012 was provided by the department of human services and a division of addiction services.

Marcus would not disclose how much grant is for.

Samantha Marker, teen librarian at Mount Laurel Library, said the program sounded “really worthwhile.”

She said teens use the library a lot and that there is a “thriving” teen program there.

Teens also have an advisory board through which they can offer feedback to the librarians about how to help them meet their needs.

One of the main goals of the program is making positive choices and addresses everything from gang involvement to stress from homework.

“It can be something really intense or just every day stressors,” Marker said. “It’s a tough time for them.”

She said teens operate in a world where a lot of information is available almost instantaneously.

“I hope there are a few kids who are maybe on the fence and it sort of swings them back the other way,” Marker said. “That maybe they were about to head down a path that might not be the best for them and this gives them the tools to take their life in a better direction.”