Category Archives: Money Skills

Understanding the Contributions and Challenges of Blind People (Guest: Donna W. Hill)

Radio Style Interview, The Changing Behavior NetworkJournalist, performer, author and advocate for the blind, Donna W. Hill, shares her story and offers much-needed insight into issues facing blind Americans today.


Understanding the Contributions and Challenges of Blind People, Donna W. HillVery few children are born blind; blindness affects the majority of individuals as the result of disease or a degenerative condition. For this reason, children, teens and young people know precious little about what it means for a person to be blind, and what blind individuals can and cannot do. That lack of awareness and knowledge can affect them later if they, or someone they know, becomes legally blind. (SUGGESTION: Please share this interview with those who can share it with school-aged youngsters.)

According to Dr. Sutton’s guest on this program, Donna W. Hill, blind Americans remain an under-served minority as they continue to be affected by low expectations. She shares in this interview, for example, how there are still issues with Braille literacy, as well as major concerns regarding meaningful employment and careers for blind individuals.

Listeners will be touched as Donna shares her own story of being the only blind student in her whole school district. As she explains, that experience came with numerous difficulties.

To her credit, Donna continued her education and earned her college degree while developing her abilities in music, performing and writing. Starting out as a street performer in Philadelphia, Donna later appeared onstage, where she opened for a number of performers and groups, including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. (In fact, this interview concludes with Donna singing an original song, “The Rules of the Game,” from her album, The Last Straw.)

The Heart of Applebutter Hill, Donna W. HillAs a journalist and publicist, Donna has tirelessly advocated for blind Americans. In fact, she was the first blind representative of a radio reading service to receive national press credentials to cover a presidential inauguration. (Note: Donna has prepared an informative quiz and fact sheet about blindness; it’s with our free, guest expert materials on this site.)

Donna’s recent book, The Heart of Applebutter Hill, is fiction, but it packs a big punch. In fact, professionals in education and the arts have endorsed the book as a diversity and anti-bullying resource for middle school through college. It’s a story about a young teen named Abigail, a refugee without her family in a new place where some are kind and some are not. While going blind, Abigail must navigate an enveloping plot in this adventure and mystery novel.

Before she moved to the country air of Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains, Donna was a regular guest at schools, universities and other gatherings of young people throughout the greater Philadelphia area. She and her guide dog, Hunter, still enjoy opportunities to inform, inspire and encourage young people. (34:19)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


Comfort in Chaos: Understanding Trauma Brain (Shenandoah Chefalo)

I make no bones about it: As a foster child, I don’t think I was an easy person to get along with. I certainly wasn’t trying to make bonds or connections with those around me. Of course, I knew nothing at the time about trauma brain.

Shenandoah Chefalo, Comfort in Chaos: Understanding Trauma BrainI went into foster care at the age of 13. My life prior to entering the system was one of immense dysfunction; I had practically raised myself. My mom was rarely around, and, when she was, it was usually to tell me that we were moving. We moved over 50 times and I went to more than 35 schools in my life before the age of 13.

Chaos had become my normal.

In learning to “cover” for my mom’s actions, and watching my mom talk her way out of almost any situation, I learned a valuable skill early on: lying. It was a skill that saved me numerous times from severe punishments.

Foster Care and Beyond

I thought foster care would be a positive solution to the life I was living. What I found was more of the same as loneliness, isolation and depression followed me into care. I had become disconnected from my feelings and simply accepted that I was unable to love … and was unlovable. I continued behaviors from the past and found no solace in the families that took me in.

I ultimately aged out of the system at 18 and was turned loose onto the world with no real connections to other people. When I hit the college campus, a feat I wouldn’t learn was remarkable until later, I made a pact with myself to never talk about my past with anyone. I was a good liar, and, because of that skill, I kept that promise to myself for more than 20 years.

Trauma Brain

I spent those years, hiding the past, keeping myself at arms length from any real relationships, and doing the one thing I was knew I was good at: lying. I didn’t know it at the time, but I found myself in what I now refer to as “trauma brain.” I would go to that comfortable place in my mind, a place of Fight, Flight, Freeze or Appease.

For me, there was comfort in chaos. When things in my life were going well, I looked for and caused chaos for myself so I could feel “comfortable.” Of course I  didn’t realize, at least not consciously, that I was doing it until I started to become increasingly unsettled with the life I was living. I had a good job, managed to get married and had a child, but I was only comfortable in the unknown.

I wanted to change.

For most of my life, I chalked up my behavior to the idea that I was just “crazy,” a concept I was comfortable with. I figured it was only a matter of time until I turned into my “crazy” mother. I was working in a law office at this time, and I would watch clients with similar tendencies. I had wondered about their past and when I started to ask, I was surprised by how many of them had been former foster kids, also. I had always assumed there had been very few kids like me. The numbers appearing in my office were off-putting, to say the least.

Garbage Bag Suitcase, Shenandoah ChefaloSelf-help Search

Flash forward. In an effort to find peace in my life, I initially turned to self-help books. I found a little relief, but often found myself going back to old habits. I started to realize that hiding my demons was only making me more depressed and more disconnected.

I tried everything: more books, journaling, yoga, meditation. and hiking. Physical exertion was having an impact, but it only lasted a few hours, then I was back in my mind, returning to old habits.

I finally realized that I had to tell my story. I wrote Garbage Bag Suitcase and began diving into an understanding of trauma and its effects on the brain.

The research began turning me onto new books. Suddenly I understood my “trauma brain” in a whole new way. I wasn’t “crazy;” my brain was just programed to constantly be in Fight, Flight, Freeze, Appease mode, and this knowledge changed everything for me.

Like a Sledding Hill

I recently heard Dr. Cathy Fialon explain trauma brain as a sledding hill. When you go sledding the path becomes worn, so you gain greater speed. The well-worn path is easy and comfortable. However, if you take your sled over a few feet to a part of the hill that hasn’t been used, it becomes more difficult to slide down; you can’t gain momentum and you often start and stop a lot. It takes time, she explained, to break in this new path and make it again enjoyable for sledding.

I understood exactly what she meant. My learned reactions as a child had become the well-worn sledding hill. It was easy for me to go down that road, regardless of the effects. But when I started working on myself (i.e. taking my sled to a new hill) it was difficult. Don’t get me wrong, while I’m still working on breaking in my new path, every once in awhile I like to take a spin on the old one.

That is “trauma brain” retraining ourselves, and oftentimes those we care about, how to break in a new way of thinking. I am thrilled to say I have a new career that allows me to help others recognize their trauma brain and the trauma brain of those around them, and to help themselves and others heal in a brand new way.

After all, we all deserve to try out a new place to sled. ###


Speakers Group MemberShenandoah Chefalo is a former foster youth and an advocate. She is the author of the memoir, Garbage Bag Suitcase, and co-founder of Good Harbor Institute, an organization focused on ensuring sustainable, implemented trauma care within organizations and individuals. You can learn more about her and her work at or


Resilience: A path Through Difficult Times (Guest: Kristen Brown)

BTRadioInt-300x75This is a repost of a great interview with Kristen done April 29, 2012.

Life can be difficult, sometimes VERY difficult. How we manage those trying times and circumstances matters.

Resilience, the coming back from deep sadness, tremendous stress and heartbreak, is never a level path connecting loss to recovery. It has many twists, turns, hills and valleys, with struggle, frustration and doubt as part of the journey.

Kristen Brown gives us a good look at what resilience is all about. She and her husband, Todd, were 30. They had it all, a nice home, a secure job and Brooke, their beautiful baby girl. Then, with no warning at all, Todd, an athlete in high school, dies suddenly of a heart attack. For her sake and Brooke’s, Kristen resolved to not only survive and recover, but to thrive in the face of adversity.

This is Kristen’s story, including how she started and operates several successful ventures, wrote a best-selling book, The Best Worst Thing; a Memoir, and continues to reach out with support and encouragement to others who also must travel a path they didn’t choose. (27:04)

Kristen operates a number of business and support websites. All can be accessed through:

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


Your Child’s First Job … with a Boss! (Guest: Joe Sabah)

BTRadioIntDo you remember asking for your first job? Were you nervous? Probably; and perhaps scared of being rejected even before you got your words out.

JSabahphotoThat first job for you, and the first job for your son, daughter or grandchild, is a rite of passage, much like getting that driver’s license or making it through that first date. There can be anxious moments, but it’s all part of growing up.

This program features Joe Sabah, professional speaker, trainer and author. He will help you equip your child with a rock-solid advantage when they go for that first job, and it will give them the tools and confidence to get a great job later–one they really want and for top pay and benefits.

JSabahbookIn this program, Joe shares how he helped his son get his dream job right out of high school. From this experience, Joe came up with something that leaves resumes in the dust: the Gold Form. It’s just one of the many tips that have helped thousands of folks get the job the always wanted.

Joe has shared his message and his book, How to Get the Job You Really Want and Get Employers to Call You, on over 700 talk radio shows. The testimonials and Thank-You notes he has received easily would fill another book. Listen in as Joe and Dr. Sutton discuss how these great ideas can work for our kids, also! (27:48)

Joe’s book is now available in downloadable ebook format HERE.

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK



5 Tips for Raising Teens Effectively (Guest: Peggy Caruso)

BTAboutThemFinding it difficult to raise your teenage children? Adopt Peggy Caruso’s five life-saver tips to give them the right direction.


peggy1. SET GOALS
Setting and reaching goals is very important with teenagers. Goals help them define what is important and it teaches them how to prioritize. It assists them with developing a plan of action in which they can measure their progress. Goals assist with maintaining focus, overcoming obstacles and staying positive.

Set short- and long-term goals. Once they reach a short-term goal it will be a motivator to work toward a bigger and more challenging goal. It will make them persistent in their endeavors.

In goal-setting, you must discover your child’s skill sets. Skills are behaviors in which we increase our knowledge, and abilities are natural talents. Understanding what skills and abilities they have and what they need to reach their dreams is an important component in your child’s career development.

Your teenager will develop skills that will be transferred as an adult. You will begin to understand their personality, discover their creativity and it will be easier to encourage them to become involved in extra-curricular activities. Remember that the less idle time they have, the better.

All successful people set personal and professional goals and it is very influential in raising a teenager’s self-esteem. It provides them with direction and a sense of accomplishment.

Social media has a major impact on a teenager’s ability to effectively communicate. Verbal communication is on a decline due to texting.

One area to enhance communication is to teach masterminding. This is very effective and utilized by many adults; therefore, it can be effectively implemented with teenagers.

It is placing a group of five or six like-minded teens together to meet once biweekly for one hour. Meeting places can vary between houses. They begin by each taking one minute to say their “win for the week” and then they move on to challenges. Each teen presents a challenge they are facing and the remainder of the group assists by providing feedback and solutions.

This assists with problem solving and holding one another accountable. It reinforces communication and interpersonal relations. Masterminding enhances friendships, and helps them balance the highs and lows. It assists with creativity and establishes motivation and persistence. Communication is the key to every relationship.

Teaching them to be persistent requires that they will be definite in their decisions, and that requires courage. It is a state of mind; therefore, it can be cultivated and with persistence comes success. When we talk of success, most people think of adults. But if you begin applying the success principles when your children are young and impressionable, you teach them how to realize that failure is good sometimes.

Persistent action comes from persistent vision. When you define your goal and your vision remains exact, you will be more consistent and persistent in your actions. That consistent action will produce consistent results.

Remember to teach your child the difference between the person who fails and the one who succeeds is the perception they have. It is seizing an opportunity and acting upon it, unlike the person who allows fear to dominate his abilities.

It is extremely important to give teenagers consequences. They must understand poor choices and what happens when rules are broken. Once you set a consequence, it is imperative that you follow through. Once the teenager overpowers the parent, the problems spin out of control. You need to ensure that you, as the parent, are the one who maintains control.

Set boundaries and learn to say “no.” Don’t allow them too much “alone” time. Teens who spend an excessive amount of time alone in their room can get into trouble on the Internet. Keep electronics away from the dinner table and out of their room while they sleep.

In today’s society, teenagers are faced with many negative influences, such as bullying, social media, Internet, divorce, cutting, depression and many others. Once it is determined what the issues are and where they were developed, a positive intervention can be applied.

One great positive intervention is implementing success principles. Discovering the true talents and abilities within our children will prepare them for this unpredictable world by teaching them how to adapt to any situation. Instilling entrepreneurial ideas in children will help them become successful adults and it will create independence within them.

Once your child becomes a teenager, you can get them into the financial mindset associated with college. Use a net price calculator on college websites to see how much each year costs when including other expenses besides tuition. Instead of letting them think you will pay for their college, allow them to understand the associated costs.

Also explain how there are other ways to assist, such as financial aid, grants and scholarships, and the differences in what needs to be paid back and what is free money. Teaching the fundamental principles at an early age will make them aware of why they need to focus on getting good grades and how their GPA affects the financial status regarding college.

Understanding finance will also help them understand how student loan debt could affect their lifestyle after graduation. This will make them aware of the importance of good spending habits during their college years. Children who help repay their college debt learn to be grateful and conscientious about money. Studies have shown that when children pay a portion of their debt, they are generally more focused on their academic performance.

They need to learn how to manage their own strengths and weaknesses. Many children are afraid to fail because they feel that they are letting their parents down. Teach them that failure is just feedback, letting you know how to modify your plan. It is a stepping stone to success. Many of the successful people in history have had multiple failures before reaching success.

As children and teens grow, they need to learn how to deal with change. We can’t give our children a blueprint in life, but we can teach them coping skills. Your child’s skills and abilities will be their most valuable asset throughout their lives.

Once you discover what their true talents and passions are, it is easy to get them started on building a business. There are many businesses suitable for children and teens. Educating them about employment or entrepreneurship has astounding effects. It teaches them time management, assists them in learning how to follow directions, and provides team and leadership skills. Studies show discouraged teens often grow up to become discouraged adults. This affects their confidence level in the workforce.

Peggy Caruso can be reached at for more information.


Banking on Kids (Dr. Ed Anhalt)

BTRadioIntIt’s a fact: Kids who understand money and how to manage it wisely have a distinct advantage as they become adults. For instance, they understand how to handle money responsibly and how to use it as a tool for achieving financial stability and security.

Like all skills, money skills must be learned, practiced and perfected, and they are best learned early. Our guest on this program, Dr. Ed Anhalt, founder of the Banking on Kids financial literacy program, will share some sound insights for teaching money skills to young people in a way that makes sense and draws “interest.” These skills can last a lifetime as they enrich the lives of individuals and their families.

BOKlogoThe first Banking on Kids student-run bank in the schools opened in 1995 under Ed’s expert guidance. Today the program operates in about 350 schools sponsored by more than 30 bank-sponsored school partnerships around the country. It’s a simple but powerful concept: Students start a savings account at their in-school bank (with as little as $.25), then, when they have $10.00 in savings, they can go to the sponsoring bank and open an interest-bearing account.

Dr. Anhalt has a track record for turning great ideas into reality. He is currently Dean of Education for International University for Graduate Studies, and he’s the author of the book, Raise Your GPA One Full Grade. (25:32)


TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Target as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK

We Become What We Think About (Earl Nightingtale)

BTLifesMomentsThe late Earl Nightingale was aboard the USS Arizona when it was sunk by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. He was one of only 15 marines that survived. He made his mark in radio in the 50s and went on to be a leader in the new field of motivation and success building. He was co-founder of Nightingale-Conant, one of the first businesses of its kind to specialize in the production and sale of audio learning materials.

strangesecretIn 1956, the first ever spoken-word record to go gold (over 1,000,000 copies) was recorded and distributed. It was a recording by Nightingale entitled The Strangest Secret.

Here’s the main point of his message that caused that recorder to sell over a million copies:

We Become What We Think About


Actually, a few other folks said essentially the same thing:

King Solomon, known for his great wisdom, said, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!”

Shakespeare said, “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

But we do have to hand it to Earl Nightingale. He nailed it in only six words: “We become what we think about.” ###


Quick Tip #2: How Do You Teach Success Principles to Children and Teens, and What is the Benefit? (Peggy Caruso)

BTQuickTipQuick Tips are short, to-the-point audio tips, interventions and strategies intended to help the listener effectively teach a skill or manage an issue with a child or adolescent.


peggySome people question the importance of implementing success principles in children and teens. It is extremely beneficial. Instilling entrepreneurial skills in children helps them become successful adults and teaches great corporate behavior.
In this audio clip, Peggy Caruso provides a list of the steps to implement those principles. (3:28)


PCarusocoverPeggy Caruso is a certified executive and personal development coach with 22 years of experience. She is the founder of Life Coaching a Beyond, LLC. This tip is from her latest book, Revolutionize Your Child’s Life, available through her website [link] or many on-line bookstores.


TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


Teaching Financial Fitness to Our Children (Danny & Ava Kofke)

BTRadioIntTWO BOOK GIVEAWAYS were featured with this program, one by Danny and one by Ava (both autographed books will be given to one winner). Registration is now closed.


dannykofkeSomething important is missing today from the education of most children and teens. They have little exposure to it at home or school, potentially leading to deficiencies that can follow them into adulthood. What is missing is financial literacy and the sort of knowledge and practice of managing money that builds financial fitness in our children.

Unfortunately, we don’t have to look very far to see the difficulty financial problems can create in a home and in a life. Stability and happiness easily can be sacrificed when there’s financial pressure. It’s not a good way to live for anyone.

abffTeaching our children about money and financial responsibility, and doing it early on, just makes sense. It gives kids a major tool for handling life. Danny Kofke, a retirement consultant and former special education teacher, will offer insights and interventions on this program as he and Dr. Sutton discuss ways to bring our children up to speed on important matters of financial literacy.

Danny’s three books on personal finance started with How to Survive (and perhaps thrive) on a Teacher’s Salary, followed by A Simple Book on Financial Wisdom: Teach Yourself (and your kids) How to Live Wealthy with Little Money. His most recent book, the one featured on this program, is A Bright Financial Future: Teaching Kids About Money Pre-K through College for Life-Long Success. He has delivered his message on numerous network television shows and right at 500 radio shows.

AvaphotoDanny and his work have been featured in a number of national publications, including USA Today, PARADE, The Wall Street Journal, Bottom Line Personal and The Huffington Post.

the financial angelAva Kofke, Danny’s ten-year-old daughter, must have a pretty good handle on money matters. She wrote her own financial book when she was nine, The Financial Angel: What All Kids Should Know About Money (ages 4-11). Dr. Sutton visits with Ava on this program, also. (28:58)

TO LISTEN, use the player below or left-click the link. To access the file right-click and “Save Link as …” to save to your audio device), CLICK HERE FOR LINK


In The Spotlight (Christy Ziglar and Dr. Daniel Trussell)

BTSpotlightChristy Ziglar

Christy Ziglar, CFP(r) is an experienced personal financial advisor by training. While developing a financial literacy program for young students in the Atlanta Public Schools, she discovered that many of those youngsters lacked the basic skills of goal-setting, delayed gratification and the self discipline required to make good choices in general. She was inspired to launch the Shine Bright Kid Company and to write the Shine Bright Kids stories to help children ages 4 to 8 learn to focus on things that matter most.

ChristyPhotoIn addition to being an experienced financial planner, Christy is the mother of twins and niece of the late Zig Ziglar, legendary speaker and motivator. Her books incorporate a favorite Zig Ziglar word of encouragement to highlight the wisdom and message of the story. Ideals Children’s Books loved the concept and agreed to be the publisher.

Can’t-Wait Willow was the first Shine Bright Kids picture book. It’s about making good decisions and learning how to put off the good in order to have something better in the end (delayed gratification).

RaiseBrighterKids_270 squareWillow exceeded all expectations, going into reprint much earlier than expected and was names a “Most Beloved Bedtime Story of 2013” by Red Tricycle, as well as the “Children & Teens Book of the Year” by Book The second book, Must-Have Marvin, is headed for reprint and was named one of the “Best Books of 2014” by Atlanta Parent Magazine. It stresses relationships and valuing people over possessions. The third book in the series, Whatever Wanda, is scheduled for release in April of 2015; it will emphasize the importance of a positive attitude.

It certainly looks like Christy, the Shine Bright Kids and Ideals Children’s Books are moving in a direction that would make Uncle Zig very proud, indeed.

For more information about Christy and the Shine Bright Kids, visit the website [link], where you’ll also find free materials and activities for children and families. (Check the free materials page here on the Network, also.)

To access Christy’s radio-style interviews and articles on The Changing Behavior Network, use the search box on the right by typing in “Christy Ziglar.”


Dr. Daniel Trussell

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr. Daniel Trussell is a Licensed Professional Counselor, positive psychology coach and author who has spent his career helping individuals and families reduce and prevent mental health concerns and problems. Currently CEO of WebStar Behavioral Health, he comes from a background in clinical and senior executive positions in managed care, non-profit and governmental agencies. Dan has a clear picture of the concerns and the costs.

But he also has a vision for solutions, especially when it comes to the health and vitality of families. Dan’s most recent work, How Families Flourish: A workbook for family optimization, is a compilation of 50 years of research findings in the fields of psychodynamics, family structure therapy, behavioral analysis, attachment theory and positive psychology (the science and study of happiness).

DTrussellHow Families Flourish: A workbook for family optimization, written to be both informative and interactive, is divided into three sections. The first section identifies 18 characteristics of families that flourish and experience highest levels of life satisfaction. This section also explores common mistakes made by families that are floundering and languishing.

The second section of the book introduces a taxonomy of universal character strengths that broadens and builds positive emotional experience, increases resiliency to life’s challenges and deepens healthy family attachment, respect and communication.

The third and final section, “The Family Charter,” is a step-by-step guide for constructing an action plan for creating and sustaining optimal family functioning.

How Families Flourish: A workbook for family optimization will help any family and its members improve as they strive to flourish. The book is a must-have for any professionals working with families.

Dr. Trussell also provides workshops, webinars and individual consultation with parents seeking to overcome oppositional behavior problems in the home and create more family harmony.

To learn more about Dr. Trussell and his work, go to his website [link]. He has also provided an excellent and generous resource to our page of free professional materials here on the Network.

To access Dr. Trussell’s radio-style interviews and articles on The Changing Behavior Network, use the search box on the right, typing in “Dr. Daniel Trussell.”