From the President...
Shhhh...we have a secret...don’t get too excited, don’t tell your friends, don’t plan anything yet, but...OK, tell everyone! Julie Lythcott-Haims is coming back to McLean in April! We're so excited to welcome back one of our all-time best speakers, and we just can't keep it a secret anymore. See below for more information.

What can we do for you, your family, and your students? As always, we want to hear from you! Let us know how we can help!

Elizabeth Hale, President
SCC in the Community
Alphabet Rockers

The Grammy-nominated Alphabet Rockers joined us November 15 at the McLean Community Center with a fun night of songwriting and collaboration, inspiring us to stand up to hate and be our brave beautiful selves. Parents and children became changemakers that use imagination and art rooted in self-acceptance as tools for change, inspiring generations of empowerment. You may have seen them on CBS This Morning or featured on YouTube Kids, and they sang and danced right along with us as we created songs to advocate for diversity, equality, and inclusion. For more information about the Alphabet Rockers, visit
Mental Health Networking and CEU Workshop

The SCC hosted another successful and very well-received CEU workshop for practitioners with Lisa Ferentz. These events function as a small fundraiser for the SCC while providing practitioners in our community with an opportunity to earn industry-required continuing education units and network with each other.

Thank you especially to Embark Behavioral Health for cosponsoring this program!
We are planning to host additional CEU workshops in the coming year, so stay tuned!
Middle School Forum Returns to In-Person this Spring

Our Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is gearing up in January to begin planning and training for new members to hold a more traditional Middle School Forum (MSF) for our two middle schools in January. Middle School Forum is a program where YAC students from Langley and McLean High Schools visit Cooper and Longfellow Middle Schools to talk everything high school. Middle schoolers can ask about academics, athletics, social events in and out of school, boys, girls, lunch time--anything. YAC-ers answer with candor and speak from their individual perspectives, showing middle schoolers that there are many different ways to navigate high school, and choices are theirs to make. YAC responses point to the value of knowing yourself, making choices that are right for you, and being prepared to deal with the consequences of your actions.
Upcoming Events
Traveling While Black
Traveling While Black Virtual Reality Experience

Wednesday, Dec. 15 - Saturday, Feb. 12
Wednesday-Saturday, Noon–8 p.m. 
Sunday, Noon–6 p.m.

The SCC is supporting the McLean Community Center's Traveling While Black VR experience. Registration is free through December. Register for a one-hour timeslot by clicking here.
In Traveling While Black VR, the immersion of 360° footage draws viewers into living history lessons told around a booth in Ben’s Chili Bowl. The Washington, D.C. restaurant has been a mainstay of the African American community since 1958, bearing witness to significant Civil Rights milestones that are woven into the film in powerful snippets of footage. The Traveling While Black VR experience/film was directed by Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams.

From the stirring memories of civil rights leader Courtland Cox to the heartbreaking words of Samaria Rice, whose young son Tamir was killed by police in 2014, VR allows Williams to connect the parallels of the past to the present.

Registration is required. MCC will sign in participants at the top of the hour, with a short introduction to the Occulus VR set, followed by the film that lasts approximately 20 minutes. Read more about the project here.
Boosting Bravery

BOOSTING BRAVERY is all about fostering positive connections between girls from all around the country and having fun while engaging in real conversations. Through BOOSTING BRAVERY’s engaging modules, girls develop tools for navigating stress and negative self-talk, strategies for conflict resolution and more related to off-line life and online life (girl is anyone who self-identifies as female).

ThisFREE program has been hugely popular by the 90+ girls who have participated. Girls in middle or high school, parents or guardians, or someone who can help pass this information on to others, please read on! 

This is its second year and the first year was a huge hit! 

“My experience being a high school leader has been amazing! I definitely wish I had been able to do something like this when I was in middle school. It would have saved me from unnecessary stress, and would’ve helped me be way more prepared for high school.” -G.R. high schooler

Teams of 4-5 middle schoolers are led by the high schoolers--the teams meet weekly for one hour, over Zoom, for 8 weeks. The high schoolers also regularly meet as a leadership team alongside an adult ally. This is not school-based. All participants receive community service hours and are integral to providing input and shaping the ongoing evolution of the program. And if for any reason a participant starts the program and isn’t enjoying it or needs to stop, they can stop.

If you have any additional questions about the program please email  
Julie Lythcott Haims Returns to McLean

We are excited to welcome Julie back to McLean on April 26! Returning this time in a partnership with The Potomac School, she’ll discuss her new book, Your Turn: How to Be an Adult, as well as her previous books, How to Raise an Adult and Real American: A Memoir, Julie’s story of growing up Black and biracial.

When Julie visited in 2016, it was to a packed, standing-room only auditorium (and some crazy thunderstorm and power outage, for those who remember!). Julie is an amazing and entertaining speaker; she tailors her talks to her audience (and comes to us from Palo Alto, California, a very similar community to ours), and shares actionable ideas from her own experience as a parent, college dean of freshman, and woman of color.

We are planning book talks and an opportunity to purchase Julie’s books prior to the event and book signing. More details and registration to come in the new year!
Right in the Middle Virtual Conference

Middle school is the time in a girls life when she begins to form a lasting sense of who she is in the world. There are forces at work that can fill a middle school girl with doubt, particularly the media and her peers. But moms have more impact than they think in keeping those at bay and being a source of strength and peace for their daughters. Right in the Middle is a golden opportunity for moms to learn to help their daughters find and keep a strong sense of identity, self-worth, joy, and community throughout their middle school years.

This spring, no matter where you live, you can attend this special event designed for girls in rising 5th, 6th, and 7th grades to set a foundation for success in middle school. Some girls attend with grandmothers, aunts, or a family friend. The two of you will finish the virtual workshop with a stronger bond and the tools to communicate through the developmental and social changes of middle school.

The conference will be held via Zoom on Sunday, February 27, 2022 For more information, click here. Then, mark your calendars and register here.
Reading (and Watching) List
Friends, Frenemies and Friendlier Friends

Former SCC speaker Ana Homayoun and DC-area school therapist Phyllis Fagell co-hosted a webinar on friendship and how to navigate school social dynamics. You can watch it here.
How parents can help themselves, and their children, feel okay again
from the Washington Post's On Parenting Blog

Phyllis Fagell responds to a parent who says, “I just want someone to tell me that everything is going to be okay.” Read more...
Sleep Reset for Teens
by Michelle Icard

Winter break might not seem like a great time to reset expectations and healthy patterns for bedtime routines with your tween or teen--but after a rewarding (yet finite) reprieve from set schedules and alarm clocks, this transition could pair nicely with a little planning, discussion, and negotiation.

I often hear from parents that they struggle with setting technology limits around bedtime. One parent recently wrote to me about this dilemma. In summary, "the sticking point seems to be when devices should be put away for the night. Our 14 year old feels that she should be able to be on her phone until 10:15pm weekdays (as opposed to our current 8:30pm cut-off) and have no shut-off time over the weekend. It seems that because of sports activities and homework, most of the online chat between her peers happens after 9pm. While I understand how important it is for her to connect with her friends at night, I worry that we are setting up bad sleep habits."

My response, in summary: You are not alone and the struggle is real. I am a huge proponent of more sleep for teen health and development, but I am also a huge proponent of giving kids time to connect with their peers in the ways that are most culturally normative for their peer group. This creates competing priorities, but such is life. Now what? If this were my child, and she ticked off the boxes in terms of being productive at school, helping around the house, being generally pleasant sometimes (for example, able to have nice conversation at family meals), and was moving her body every day a bit, I would loosen the time parameters around tech.

A planned for (read: touch base with your kids in advance about the topic and time) family meeting and some negotiation will likely bring more peace to both parties. As you think about your expectations, consider this: kids can bounce back pretty quickly on the weekend from a little less sleep than adults can, so this may be a place where you can concede some. It's true that kids of this age are suddenly much busier later into the evenings with after school activities and sports schedules so you might concede to stretching the 8:30pm limit by thirty minutes or an hour. Part of the negotiation process could be that if you give thirty minutes now and she handles it well, you'll think about increasing to an hour. I'm not a fan of unlimited nighttime access on the weekends, but maybe you could find a time that feels both rewarding for her and tolerable for you.

If the bedtime conflict in your household goes beyond limits and parameters around technology, find some helpful information and best practices in a recent article I wrote for CNN: Learn to let go of sleep battles with your teen. In this article, I take a broader approach to how parents can protect and prioritize sleep in the household.

Source: Michelle Icard newsletter,
The SCC thrives in its 26th year as an all-volunteer organization with funding from community grants and individual donors including the New Dominion Women’s Club, Rotary Club of McLean, McLean Community Foundation, the Zavela Foundation, and through the SCC Mental Health Committee. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and welcome all donations.