Posts in "Daily Blog"

Speak Out!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — May 25, 2020

Finding Who You Are?

By: Tammy Elleyby

Did you or are you struggling to find your sexuality? Or maybe your gender, or rather your identity? Trust me, there are people all over the world that struggle just like you. Sometimes finding who you are can be difficult both as a teen and an adult.  However,  they’re people who may disagree with your personal journey of truly finding yourself because it’s against their beliefs or mindset. This can often trigger or affect the state of your mental health and self-esteem.

Discovering who you are as a teen can oftentimes have more of an impact on you  opposed to a 37- year old because of the added pressures of navigating teen life.

Now, I know you might be asking if finding your sexuality or identity can really affect you mentally? The answer is yes! It can lead you to feeling depressed like no one is there to understand you, making it harder to fit in with a group of people or trusting people to talk about how you feel. Even, simply just fitting in with society.

Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community can trigger you in a mental and emotional way.  It can make you feel less happy or depressed. Even for no reason without notice, and causing harmful actions that teens and/or adults make.

Studies show and talk about how people who join the LGTBQ+ community are more likely to do risk-taking behavior especially teenagers. Teens who either experienced trauma like verbal harassment, physical harassment, and physical assault due to  coming out or being seen as part of the LGBTQ community. Examples like this are reasons so many teens or children grow up and become adults who still suffer and still struggle with opening up to people whether they need help or not. Many can be so traumatized as a kid that they also grow up and make life-threatening choices like self-harm, alcohol/substance abuse, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior. This leads to so many people taking their lives over something that may or may not be prevented had if they had some help to be able to cope the right way.

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Even if it’s a struggle to open up to others you can find people to confide in and trust. Whether that may be family members, friends, or even a doctor/therapist. Some articles state that, Being supported and safe to explore and express your sexuality can be good for your mental health. It can reduce distress, anxiety, and depression.” If a child isn’t able to be him/her/their self and have an adult to help them express who they are it can lead to shutting down, not speaking about how they truly feel, and staying closed off even through adulthood.

When adults or people with their own religious beliefs come off as being be close-minded (not all)  the focus can get lost from being supportive and loving to instead being defensive without being open to understanding the LGBTQ+ community.

As I have talked about many of the struggles of people who are apart of the LGBTQ+ community go through; there is one last topic and that topic is fitting in with society, family and friends. Also overcoming it to just love yourself for who you are and not for who you aren’t.

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

Family rejection can be one of the hardest trials to overcome. Teens depend on their family to support them, but getting negative outcomes is what makes it hard for kids to then learn to accept themselves. Imagine having complete trust in a family member or maybe a group of friends, you decide to tell them a secret you never told anyone and once you do they turn their backs on you. They begin calling you names and making fun of you.

Because of that negative outcome, the whole after effect starts damaging to your sense of self-worth and overall mental health. Making you feel like you aren’t worth anything and seen a disappointment. The whole experience makes you begin questioning your worth.

Finding who you are whether you are apart of the LGBTQ+ community or not; can affect you mentally and also may affect how you think about yourself. It can make it hard to find that trusted someone and can change the way you feel about people who’ve judged you.  Most importantly,  it can cause lifelong effects. By not getting the support young ,  these feelings  can follow you into adulthood.

In conclusion, if you see someone struggling don’t just put out negative energy, offer a hand and be kind you never know the effect you might have on them.

~ Tammy Elleyby, teen writer

Speak Up. Speak Out!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — April 6, 2020

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Photo by Suad Kamardeen on Unsplash

Speak Up, Speak Out: Discrimination Against Muslim Girls

By Ajwa Timber

Forty-two percent of Muslim parents say their kids have been bullied due to their religion, whether through insults or physical assaults, at least once in the past year. There are more than 1.1 million students in NYC schools. An increasing number of those students are Muslims. Others may say that Muslim women and men are not equal and are dominant over Muslim women.  Muslim women students in NYC high schools go through discrimination more than Muslim men because they are easily identified in class, in athletic programs, and people buy in to stereotype against Muslim women.

Muslim students who wear hijabs have been harassed and assaulted in school. A Muslim woman who attends Portland State University was badly abused in the past.

According to KGW Staff “A woman tried to choke a Saudi Arabian exchange student with her hijab and then ripped the head covering of the woman’s head and neck at a Portland MAX station, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office said. Jasmine Renee Campbell, 23, then exposed herself and rubbed the hijab against her genitals, court records said”.

Another Muslim teenager had her hijab pulled off and was pelted with eggs’ in Dublin. “The woman and her cousin are also said to have been thrown to the ground and kicked in the alleged attack in Dundrum village, south Dublin, on Sunday afternoon”(Sky News Agust 2019). Muslim women have been prohibited from wearing hijabs. They have been harassed, fired from jobs and denied access to public places.

Noor Alexandria Abukaram via USAToday

Muslim women are not even allowed to wear hijabs while participating in sports without documentation. A Muslim teen athlete, Noor Alexandria Abukaram, was disqualified in Ohio race for wearing Hijab. She wasn’t allowed to run in her hijab without special permission. The officials said cross-country runners were allowed to compete in “religious headwear” only after they received a waiver allowing them to bend the association’s uniform regulations. It was shared she had never seen a rule that barred students from wearing hijab and had not previously run into a problem. (Liam Stack October 2019).

In my personal experience I’ve run track before but I never had to have a teacher sign a waiver for me to participate.

Some people in today’s society buy into stereotypes against Muslim women. For example, some say Islam oppresses women and forces them into a subservient role, but in reality, The Quran explicitly states that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah and forbids female infanticide, instructs Muslims to educate daughters as well as sons, insists that women have the right to refuse a prospective husband, gives women the right to divorce in certain cases. They say Muslim women are quiet and soft. They think all Muslims are from the middle east. Mulsim can be from anywhere and have different backgrounds. I’m sick and tired of some people in today’s society “pegging Muslim women as “submissive” and it’s ridiculous (Heba Kanso Feb 2019).

In conculison, Muslim women students in NYC high schools go through discrimination more than Muslim men because they are easily identified in class, in athletic programs, and people buy in to stereotype against Muslim women. I wonder if Muslim men are treated the same as Muslim women?

~ Ajwa Timber, Teen Writer

Length? Overrated.

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Being natural has its ups and downs. The upside is that you no longer have chemicals in your hair and can wear your natural curls. On the flipside, you might have to relearn how to take care of your hair, which could also affect the length of your tresses. But don’t be fooled, your hair is healthier than ever. You just have to learn to work with what you have! As long as you are good to your hair, your hair will be good to you. Here are three reasons not to get caught up!

|It’s Brand New|

If you recently became a naturalista, your hair is still getting used to not having any chemicals in it. Therefore, the texture your hair is now, may not be the texture it is forever. Give it some time and you’ll most likely see your hair change over time.

|Shrinkage|

Shrinkage is real!! You have length, but the buoyancy in your curls is forcing you to remain humble. Although shrinkage makes it look like your hair is shorter than it is, it is also a sign of health. The mere fact that your coils spring back is a sign of healthy hair.

|Health|

No matter what your hair looks like, health is always what’s most important. Bouncy curls are way better than stretched, lifeless ones. Once you’ve found a hair regimen that your hair loves, then you can work on other factors.

Tia Banks, Content Editor

Stereotypes? Toss’em!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — March 9, 2020

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Society has a funny way of shaping our views of what type of person we should be –especially black girls. We are often put in a box and showcased as having minimal types of personalities and interests when that is quite opposite of the truth. Black girls are fascinated with things across the spectrum. There is space for you to be an extrovert who enjoys the spotlight as well as an introvert who loves comics and anime. Either way, you are black enough and always will be. Ignore the stereotypes and embrace your true self.

Find Your Crew | There is power in numbers. If you find that embracing your true self is hard to do alone, find a group of people that are interested in what you like. Hanging out with them consistently will make you feel more comfortable in your skin. Black girls do a little bit of everything.

Expose Us | Depending on where you live, finding a crew can be difficult. In that case, you should look into creating one. Gather a group of girls and show them what you’re into. For example, if you like to draw, enlighten them on how relaxing it can be for all levels of creativity. Seeing you, a black girl, doing something different will open their horizons to new hobbies and interests.

Seek Inspiration | Social media is a helpful tool. Follow accounts of other black girls who you share interests with. That way when you are seeking inspiration, you can easily find it on your timeline. Look up specific hashtags and put yourself out there too so you can inspire others.

~Tia Banks, Content Editor

Overlooked, Unheard + Over It?!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — February 24, 2020

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It’s important to feel heard and understood. It makes you feel validated. When you don’t get the full attention you are seeking, it can cause you to feel insignificant. This is common especially with a younger generation. Often times, young people are overlooked because it is assumed they have nothing valuable to say, which is indeed not true. There are ways to command a room and make your voice heard.

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Communication Style| Think about how you communicate with people. If your demeanor is more laid back and quiet, then it might be time to push the envelope and be a bit more aggressive. This is important especially when speaking to teachers and counselors because they are most likely discussing your future and you definitely want a say in that.

Answer With Intelligence| When you finally get a chance to voice your opinion, don’t take it for granted. Give a well thought out opinion. It will show a level of maturity and open the door for more opportunities to speak your mind.

Send an Email| Sometimes it’s hard to command attention in person without coming across a certain way. Sending an email is a lot less aggressive and can be worded in a way that sounds mature, but still gets your point across. It’s also a lot less intimidating.

~Tia Banks, Content Creator

You are the bag. Secure it.

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — February 10, 2020

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Valentine’s day is that one day a year that people either seriously dread or are the definition of the word ‘extra’. BUT  there’s nothing extra about spoiling yourself or atleast treating yourself for the small or big accomplishments you’ve started to knock out at the beginning of 2020, right? Well, no matter if you have a secret admirer or not, your love is all ya need to celebrate. Remember, loving yourself is a must + any others adjust a plus!

Doll up|– Okay, yes so if you’re in college you can sneak in between classes to get a mani or pedi. And even if you’re barely able to focus after 8 hours of walking the halls of your high school, make it a point to unwind after studying. That’s what study breaks are meant for! So pull out your go-to nail polish colors and knock out your home spa!

A Token of Appreciation | If you decide to cancel on Gal-entine’s Day this year, giving your friends a small gift might not be a bad idea. They’ll definitely appreciate the thought behind it. A great + chic gift to round up for your crew are beauty sheet-masks from Leaders Cosmetics. Meshing much-needed relaxation + hydrating skin rejuvenation, your girl gang will barely notice that you’re gone! Who doesn’t love to Detox and Chill, right?

Trade off| Okay, I know that we just ended holiday season but this one isn’t going to cost any coins. Okay, so hearing sweet things about yourself never gets old but we oftentimes take it for granted when we’re always with the people we love. So, trade off compliments! Whether it’s you + bff or you and your bf, each of you should say atleast 2 traits you appreciaite about the other. You would be amazed how people will never forget sweet truths about themselves!

Over.It. Already?

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — January 1, 2020

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A new semester is upon us! Our schedules just got busier and our workload is a little heavier. Just the thought of this would make any normal person a bit uneasy. However, there are ways to get ahead of the game so that you’re fully prepared for the semester and anxiety won’t creep up on you like those forgotten assignments!

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Pull up with a planner| Planners are extremely helpful especially when you have a schedule full of club meetings, due dates, and get-togethers. It will allow you to write things down and have a visual representation of what your schedule looks like so you’ll know when you can squeeze in a nap!

Get a head start| I know this is easier said than done, but anything you do to get a head start on an assignment will help you tremendously. You’ll have more time to plan and ask questions if needed. You’ll even have room for those days when you’re procrastinating.

Sleep, sleep + sleep| This is a fan favorite. Sleeping is not only a hobby for those who stay busy; it is also an essential part of your health. Getting a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep a night will improve your mood and give you the energy you need to kill it!

~Tia Banks

Survival Kit x Finals Week!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — December 5, 2019

OH! The school year is almost over but you have to make it through finals week first! The pressure of studying everything you’ve learned this year is on. But don’t stress too much because we’ve put together Final Exams Survival Kit that will get you through

Your favorite snacks – Use your favorite snacks as a reward for getting through that first chapter or memorizing formulas.

Noise Cancelling Headphones – Headphones that cancel out all outside noises allow you to focus on the task at hand.

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Caffeine – Caffeine can give you that energy boost you’ll need when it starts to get late and you still have a sufficient amount of work to get done. Whether in the form of coffee or energy drink, make sure you consume in moderation. OR

Emergen-C : During finals week we dedicate long nights to studying and therefore result in less sleep, which weakens our immune system. Keep a packet of Emergen-C nearby just in case you start to feel a little under the weather.

You’re almost at the finish line! So don’t blow it, love. We’re ready to see your victory dance after you crush this semester!

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Study Break Visual Playlist!

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — September 24, 2019

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What gets you through an all-nighter study session? Ummm, a dope playlist! Having a playlist –a good one– is a big deal. Now, some of us are visual people so we’ve put together a visual playlist of some songs you’ll have on repeat through the end of the season!

Lizzo ~ Truth Hurts

Chance The Rapper ~ Ballin’ Flossin’

Kygo~ Higher Love

Ari Lennox ~ Whipped Cream

Jidenna -Tribe

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Natural + Beauty

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Daily Blog, Latest | by — September 10, 2019

Everyone wants to look and feel their best. We spend money on treatments and special serums to make us look refreshed and get rid of insecurities like stretch marks, acne, wrinkles, etc. when all we need to do is look for organic alternatives that get the job done. Here are ways to increase your natural beauty!

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1. Shea butter 

Shea butter, a fat removed from the nuts of West African Shea trees is high in vitamins and fatty acids which create many benefits for skin. Shea butter is very common and has a lot of uses like moisturizing dry skin, reducing stretch marks, treating acne, etc. 

2. Coconut oil

Coconut oil just like Shea butter is high in fatty acids making handfuls of benefits for people. Some of the benefits of coconut oil are reducing symptoms of eczema, good for preventing hair damage, acts as a weak sunscreen, can kill harmful bacteria in the mouth, etc. 

3. Sleep 

This might be super obvious, but you’d be surprised at how little people actually sleep for. It’s important to get a maximum of 8 hours of sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and energized for the next day. Without the proper amount of sleep you will wake up feeling grumpy and lazy. 

4.Go makeup free

This might sound like something that can’t be done, but it’s important that you take a break sometimes from wearing makeup so that your pores can breathe. Also make sure that you take off your makeup before you go to sleep because it can cause your pores to become clogged and make you break out. 

5. Drink water 

Another obvious one, but it’s really important that you drink enough water so that you feel hydrated throughout the day. This is especially important when the days get really hot and humid, you should always be hydrated. Lastly try to avoid drinking coffee or anything like that because they make you dehydrated, but if you must have your coffee fix drink water before and after to balance out. 

6. Exercise 

It’s very crucial that you take the time to work out and sweat. Sweat is very important because it lets you get rid of all the bad stuff in your body. Before you work out, make sure to wash your face because when you work out your pores open up which can let dirt in and also take a shower after you work out so that you keep yourself clean after all the sweat you released .

7. Eat good food

You are what you eat. Yes, that burger and fries looks delicious, but in order for you to look and feel your best self you must refrain from eating greasy and ultimately bad foods. Try to eat more vegetables and fruits and get plenty of protein and vitamins. Maintaining a good diet will help you be your best self.  

8. Self care

Life is very stressful with all of the things you have to take care of. You have work, school, finals, applications, etc. that keep you on your feet, but it’s important that you take some time out for yourself to relax and unwind. Read a book, take a calming bath, watch a movie, go to a spa, whatever makes you feel relaxed and not stressed. When you’re stressed you can break out and find yourself unhappy and upset so put down your laptop or phone, ignore your responsibilities for a moment and just do what makes you happy. 

9. Olive oil 

When you see olive oil, what do you think of? If you said cooking or food I would tell you that I thought of the same thing, but it turns out that olive oil has other uses. Olive oil fights dandruff, removes makeup, softens cuticles, helps nails grow, good for moisturizing, etc. 

10. Wash your face 

We touch so many things throughout the day and sometimes we end up touching our face making it dirty and causing us to break out. So remember to wash your face when you wake up and before you go to sleep and exfoliate 2-3 times a week to get rid of dead and dry skin.

 

~Melanie Santiago, teen intern