Nicole Wesley, RBUSD

“Partnering with South Bay Families Connected (SBFC) has been fruitful beyond my imagination. Unfortunately, RBUSD grieved the tragic loss of two students this past school year. Our counselors and psychologists immediately jumped into action to provide grief counseling to impacted students. They had students pull out their phone and pull up the link to SBFC, now RBUSD FC, as the website has information and resources that are customized for students (and parents) based on grade-level. Our students know they do not have to be alone, even when they are alone.”

— Dr. Nicole Wesley, Assistant Superintendent, Redondo Beach Unified School District

MCHS Families Connected, the pilot program for the larger South Bay Families Connected project, and MBMS Families Connected are great resources for youth wellness and substance abuse prevention. I love the name, because it intends to bring parents together – and that’s what it takes to raise our children successfully.
— Dr. Mike Matthews, Superintendent, Manhattan Beach Unified School District

I’d like to thank SBFC for being such a valuable resource for our Torrance Unified School District students & families! This year has been great rolling out the resource website for our district. As we continue to work on expanding and improving student support services to promote student wellness, SBFC has been wonderful to share with parents and families. We were even able to show a video from the website at a parent workshop and we received great feedback on the students who were in the video and shared their personal experiences. It was great for our families to hear from south bay students as they could personally identify with their experiences as it related to their own children or teens. Truly thankful to be a part of the SBFC community.
— Nancy Gutierrez, Ed.D Torrance Unified School District Coordinator Parent/Community Engagement Homeless/Foster Liaison

My agency partners with many of the local South Bay school districts and we often refer to the SBFC website when meeting with teens, parents, school staff, etc. I know I have personally used it when hosting parent workshops, suicide prevention trainings, substance abuse trainings, and for clinical supervision purposes as well. Thank you so much for creating such an invaluable resource for our South Bay community
— Angela Wilson, LMFT Director of Mental Health, South Bay Children's Health Center

I am the School Resource Officer for the El Segundo USD with El Segundo Police Department. I found South Bay Families Connected by googling “teen wellness, South Bay,” and I now use your website as a resource and reference to the parents in El Segundo. Thank you for providing current and helpful information to the community.
— Officer Scott Black, El Segundo Police Department

As a parent of an elementary aged student and an educator, I am excited to share a way we can all stay connected, with pertinent information, local resources, and a support system for our community. We all deal with the same issues and have similar questions (on gender identity, body image, healthy ways to use social media, depression, grief, and more), and now we can go to one place to find the answers and support we seek.
— Kim Linz, MBMS Principal

Our community is blessed to have this resource. I encourage all of my friends, no matter how old or young your children click on the site and SIGN UP for E-Newsletters and Invites...the material is relevant and once you sign up...the info comes right to your email! Thank You South Bay Families Connected for getting us to join the conversation!
— Monica Lucenti, American Martyrs School parent, Co-Founder, Martyrs Families Connected

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For 45 years, I have advocated for the well-being of children and adolescents in schools and communities. I have learned that education, knowledge, and community involvement are the keys to raising happy, healthy, and successful adults. 

To achieve this goal, we must honestly discuss the critical issues facing our youth. SBFC offers the connections, programs, and resources our schools and communities desperately need to guide and support parents, students, educators, and the community as we address current concerns and challenges.

I believe in the SBFC mission and I am truly honored to serve as an advisor.
— Mitzi Cress, Retired Principal, Peninsula High School

I have worked on the formation and execution of many different programs and practices during my 20 years as a parent and 15 years as a volunteer in our PTAs, MBEF, and MBUSD. MCHS Families Connected is needed, effective, and will be tailored towards the needs of our community. The larger relationship with South Bay Families Connected is equally important. Our kids engage with students of our neighboring public, private and parochial schools. Together we can create a network of families and a shift in our community to support the health and safety of our kids as they navigate their path to maturity.
— Ellen Rosenberg, MBUSD Board of Directors, and SBFC Board President

We are so fortunate to have the marvelous educational opportunities and online resources and videos of SBFC. I encourage our community to attend the SBFC events and to take advantage of the free resources and video library available at
— Joan Stein Jenkins, Esq. Manhattan Beach City Prosecutor

I was so glad my daughter heard an expert (Dr; Denise Pope) talk about charging phones in the parents’ room and the importance of family time and down time. The Families Connected Speaker Series has helped to affirm me in my parenting choices. So often I doubt myself, and it was so nice to go to something and feel like I’m doing things “right” for a change, when it can feel like I’m going against the grain in this high pressure community. I’m so grateful. Thank you — your work is so valuable.
— Carol Adler, South Bay mom

“Being a part of SBFC as an ambassador, blogger and presenter affords me the opportunity to reach others who may be struggling with the affects of alcohol/drug issues with their children. My experiences can help others as they try and navigate this difficult problem. I look forward to helping and giving back to others and to expanding the scope of SBFC to reach all those in need.”

— Cyndi Strand, SBFC Ambassador and Blogger & Founder, Blankets of Love South Bay

South Bay Families Connected has been so helpful to the Mira Costa High School community. Parents now have a one-stop resource to help them learn about the risks of teenage alcohol and drug use, find tools on how to communicate with their teens and set limits, and connect with other parents who are going through many of the same parenting challenges. The information on the website is well-curated, saving parents valuable time, and the presentations by industry experts give them an opportunity to ask questions specific to their concerns. And because new articles, links and events are being added all the time, parents can revisit the website often and continue to learn.
— Sandi Gleason, MCHS Families Connected co-founder, MCHS PTSA President, 2014-2016, and SBFC Board Treasurer

MBMS Families Connected is a powerful tool that helps to keep us educated on so many important topics including drug and alcohol abuse among teens.  As a school district, and as a community, it is easier for us to avoid alcohol and drug abuse among our teens if we stick together.  Partnering through MBMS Families Connected is an easy way for us to join together in the fight against drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers.
— Ann Marie Whitney, MBMS Families Connected Co-Founder and MBMS PTA Co-President, 2015-2017

Parenting two middle school kids is challenging and often feels overwhelming.  MBMS Families Connected has given me a wealth of resources for both parents and teens all in one place.  It’s also opened up a safe space for conversation between parents to discuss the tough topics such as drugs and alcohol, stress, and social media. 
— Lisa Hardiman, Manhattan Beach parent, and MBMS Families Connected Ambassador

We live in a wonderful community and to have this opportunity through the Families Connected Parent Chat to come together and talk in confidence about things that come across our everyday lives is an amazing tool. This support group gives me a chance to be humble and vulnerable and be open to the views of other parents and know that we can talk in confidence and not be judged. Everyone has a story, and everyone has a voice.
— Helen Velvin, South Bay mom

Becoming a SBFC partner school has been a great resource for Mira Costa families. It offers us a chance for families to get connected and support each other during these sometimes challenging teen years. The SBFC website is a great tool for parents struggling with what is the “right way” to handle teen drinking and drug use. Should I allow my teen to drink? What if I take a Zero tolerance approach, will it alienate my child from their friends? 

Parents who have turned to SBFC have found comfort in parent blogs and parent talks. It allows parents to become educated and make decisions that work best for their families.

A parent who recently found SBFC  commented “although I am still concerned for my child, I feel so much better. I know now I am not alone.
— Franca Stadvec, Manhattan Beach parent of two and an SBFC Ambassador

MBMS Families Connected is helping our parent community feel supported. Raising teens is challenging. Knowing that there are resources available and other parents who are dealing with the same challenges empowers parents.  One mother reported that she has connected with 7 other families of middle school students through MBMSFC and it has helped her to provide safe social opportunities for her kids.  The program is working!
— Liz Glozman, Manhattan Beach parent of four and an MBMS Families Connected Ambassador

Our family had a really rough night one night with our teenage son. Alcohol and drugs were involved. I had so many questions, including wanting know more about the substances found. I was able to use the search query on SBFC and find the information I needed. I also really appreciated reading about other parents’ stories at the moment I needed them. 
— Anonymous, Parent of three at two different South Bay schools