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Sweatshops: Who is Paying the Ultimate Price for Cheap Fashion

In my previous blog post, I dived into the meaning of sweatshops which is a factory or workshop, especially in the clothing industry, where workers, usually living in third world countries, are exploited by being forced to work overtime, receiving low wages, toiling long hours in unsanitary conditions where they are exposed to health and safety hazards, violations of labor laws, and sometimes sexual harassment. I researched about many cases of alarming working conditions in such factories that violate human rights. I also began exploring brands like Nike that do not produce any of their garments, but instead, contracts with manufacturing facilities, which are mostly sweatshops, throughout the world.

Since then I have continued to explore how the whole system works and why sweatshops exist. My friends and I live for the trendy, affordable stores like H&M and Forever 21-- and we are not the only ones. These stores—which are the leaders of the “fast fashion” industry—appeal to my age group because their clothes are trendy, hit every style from grungy to prep, and most significantly, fit into our budget. For $50, it’s totally possible to walk out of Forever 21 with a brand-new outfit. At the local boutique down the street, all my friends and I could buy for $50 is half a skirt.

But the convenience, selection, and low costs come at a price. The instant gratification of a cheap new shirt is far outweighed by its social and environmental impacts. Just as hitting up a fast food restaurant every day for lunch will add up to some health problems, a habit of shopping at fast fashion stores harms our local and global communities.

First, a formal definition of fast fashion: it’s a retail model where trends are delivered as quickly as possible at highly affordable prices. For example, French fashion house Givenchy just sent black dresses with grommet lacing down the runway for its Spring 2015 show. The real deal won’t be sold in stores for half a year, but Forever 21 can have a much more wallet-friendly copycat version on shelves within three weeks. According to NPR, “a relentless drive for speed now characterizes the industry.”

And this revolving door of merchandise isn’t ethically sound, even though its price tags are cheap.

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The Struggle Is Real

In my previous blog, I talked about how poverty is an issue, especially in Philadelphia. I gave a quick overview of what’s happening because of this issue. For example,  people are dying. I also focused on how poverty is affecting many people and how we could help minimize it. I talked about how people are dying due to poverty. But I did not go into exact detail to who is affected by it and how we can help out.

Through more research, I found that 1 out of 2.5 children live in deep poverty. That means some children are living with an income below the poverty line which is less than 6,000 and 7,000 if with a child. That is 35% of the total population of 440,000 people. That is extreme, since children are supposed to be the ones getting an education and reaching for their dreams. Children that are in deep poverty will result in hunger due to little money. Hunger results in a possibility of 60% to miss school, 50% to repeat the same grade again, and twice more than a original student to be suspended from school. This also brings down the percent of graduation rate to below 50%. I wanted to ask some students about this topic, so I decided to conduct a survey. One of the questions I asked was “Do you think poverty is affected in children more than adults?”Screenshot 2015-05-09 at 10.42.37 PM.png

As a response to this, 4 out of 6 were unsure while 2 were sure that poverty affects children more than adults. This shows that students are not aware of this, even when it most likely to be affected in them but do you ever wondered why? It’s been proven that the population of a child takes up 20%, and most of their parents are most likely to be either a lone parent, large families with more than 3 children. Since many are born to a large family with a single parenting, not much is made and the children are most likely to be affected by it.  As to why, some students said because they aren’t able to get jobs like adults and others say because they are left out to starve. This shows that some do understand but some just states the obvious of starvation.

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As for this part of my survey, I ask if they had any experience with poverty or see others suffering from it. As a result, it shows that 1 out of 6  say no while 5 out of 6 said I have seen some and some are even affected by it themselves. This show that some student are affected by poverty and some seen many people on the street due to poverty. This proves that it is indeed an issue since due to poverty they are most likely to end up homeless.

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In the beginning, I wanted to bring awareness of poverty but surprisingly, it seems as everyone I surveyed understood that poverty is an issue in the United States. Many blamed the economy since it’s in debt while others blame the people that are unemployed. That’s right it is actually the feds. The feds tricks people making them pay more money than they usually pay. This also affect the student because they make the student in debt too due to educations loans. They make the old people entice to complete dependent   of medicare and medicaid program.

You can find more of the result of this survey here.

    Doing this survey, I learned that more are aware of poverty and bringing awareness is not an issue but not many know that it’s mostly affected in children. I was really excited to do this project but it was not how I expected it. I thought that it would be simple and easy sending out email to organizations but I was wrong. It was actually a lot harder since many don’t have time to answer back or feel like it. It was also hard to target Philadelphia and not other countries since my project is based on Philadelphia. Not only that but I had encountered many problems. I experience issue such as people not emailing back and not only that but answering my calls. I emailed various of organization and not one decided to write back which was disappointing. I felt like it was better to email an organization or person who have the same goal as me which is definity more useful than asking a confuse kid. Since time was near and a submission is better than nothing, I had no other choice but to do a survey. A question that I’m still wondering about is how the government became in such debt to increase poverty each year.

Overall, Poverty is an huge issue and even some childrens know that! For my Agent of Change for Blog Post #3, I am planning to do a bake sale where I fundraise since poverty is an money issue. You all can help out by buying the bake sale when it comes. I would really help out people in hunger since hunger is affected due to poverty. This will help some childrens from dieing since the money will go to a hunger coalition. This is not the only way to help. There are others way to help such  as a shared property organization in which is trying to stop poverty. They have goals such as better job and training employment, economic security, etc. You should check out shared property organization!

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Getting Away from Abuse: Not as Easy as it Sounds

In my first blog post, I spoke about how Domestic Violence is secretly hiding in plain sight all around us in modern day America and how it proves to be one of the most unreported crimes in modern day. Millions upon millions of victims find themselves lost in a sea of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse seeming to have no way out. Fifteen million children are abused as well and are forced to watch their families crumble one punch at a time. Abuse takes place over thirty six thousand times annually and does not show any sign of stopping unless we work together as a nation to end this great crisis.

    The NCADV has been working hard over the course of many years to fight domestic violence

Domestic violence is viewed as a woman’s issue and something that is focused around women. This may be percieved as true because more than 85% of abusers are men, but not all cases are just with women as the victims. When men do find themselves in the position of a victim, they may face skeptecism from the police and have limited resources because it is so oriented towards women being abused. Legal obstacles are also an issue for men as well as the overwhelming sensation of embarrasement and shame when coming forward about their abuse due to being seen as the physically dominant gender.

I spoke with a representative from the National Coalition Against Domestic

Violence for an interview and l learned more about their mission

After reaching out to many other organizations with no response, I found the perfect organization to talk to: the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. I spoke with the Developement Director Gretchen Shaw who was willing to have an over the phone interview and able to answer all of my questions with incredibly helpful dilligence. You can listen to the audio recording here. After having spoke with Ms.Shaw, I now am fully aware how much help people receive by reaching out to organizations like the NCADV. When asked what society can do to stop this issue all together, she responded: “I think there needs to be an attitude change. People assume that the victim can just leave, which is not the case. It’s more a case of a victim escaping their purputrator, their abuser and their main mission is to make their victims lives nightmares. I think at the root of it all society must turn their focus to why are we letting the abuser get away with it rather than ‘why doesn’t she just leave’.” Ms.Shaw explained that each case is unique and an individual experience, yet the immense pain left behind is the same. After speaking with her, it answered all of my remaining questions and gave me more insight on how this issue is being handled by some organizations. It helps me to understand the position the victims fall into and the types of people that are putting them there.

In my opinion, this topic needs far more attention than it is receiving. After seeing all of the statistics of millions of people being abused, I am scared to grow up and maybe myself become a victim. While interviewing Ms.Shaw, I asked how I could help to end domestic violence and she said that knowlegdge and asking questions about domestic violence is vital in assuring I do not become a victim. Yet we both agreed that information is not enough, however. Preventing it from happening to me does not solve this issue in any way, I want it to end for everyone. The only way to end domestic violence is to join together and face it together, which people like Ms.Shaw are dedicating their lives to.

For my You and the World project, I was considering using the power of social media. Miss America 2015, Kira Kazantsev, launched an inniciative using the hashtag “PutTheNailInIt” where you paint one of your fingernails purple to show your support for the cause because the symbolic color of domestic violence is purple. I wanted to bring this idea to Philadelphia and encourage those around me to take part in stopping domestic violence.

this picture is referrencing a social media phenomenon, the blue black/white gold dress. Social media proves to be powerful in sending a message to end domestic abuse.

Also, take a look at my Annotated Bibliography!

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Immigration: A Vortex of Confusion

After beginning my research on immigration and explaining what problems immigrants have with coming to the United States and becoming citizens in my first blog post, I needed to dive deeper into the confusion. I needed to get other perspectives on the issue, and see what I could learn. I decided that I should interview someone who actually experienced immigration to the United States, and someone who has a legal point of view towards the subject.

First I interviewed Jhazzelle Majarucon, an immigrant from the Philippines. She told me that the way she became a resident was because her mother submitted a petition for her and her sister, meaning that she could choose a family member that she wanted to bring to the United States. There was a big difference between the two countries, and she had to become accustomed to the different culture. The technological differences were major, as well as the way Americans treated each other. Jhazzelle points out that “In the Philippines it is accustom for people to kiss each other on the cheek when they greet one another.” While here most people don’t do that, and she had to transition the way she would live her life. Though the transition was not very difficult for her, Jhazzelle still had to find her way.

Image of interviewee, Jhazzelle Majarucon

Second I interviewed Andrea Freiberger, a worker for the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) granting immigration benefits, such as green cards and citizenship. I asked her some questions concerning the issues with Immigration law, and the making of laws. I asked her what the most common arguments against immigration are, and she responded by saying “The most common issue that people have a problem with is allowing people who are in the United States without legal status stay and become citizens.  One argument against allowing this is that those people who came illegally broke the rules and shouldn't be rewarded for doing so. For example, there are very long waiting lines for certain visas, and it is hard for someone who has patiently waited for 10 years to come to the United States with lawful status see someone else ‘cut in line’ and be given lawful status for entering when he or she felt like it.” Her answers opened my eyes to see why it is that people in the United States (a country made of immigrants) is so opposed to seeing immigrants enter our country.

Finally, I asked what a ninth grader like me could do to get involved in the community, and make a change. She answered by saying that there is still so much that needs to happen, and that the best way to get involved is by getting in touch with an organization that handles new immigrants, or to work on spreading the word, and letting people know about this issue. Now I am working to find an organization in the greater Philadelphia area that handles immigration, and will let a fifteen year old work for them.

This is a Ted talk where Tan Le talks about her Immigration story

Check out my annotated bibliography  

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Rocket Continues Flight; Ben Simon 1-hits Bodine for 7-1 Playoff Win to Advance to 2nd Round

Ben Simon was nearly perfect, striking out 11 batters and surrendering just 1 hit over 7 innings of efficient work. Lukas Supovitz-Aznar did it with his bat this time, going 2-4 with 3 runs batted in, and Nick Clark continued to produce with 2 rbis of his own. 

Aaron Watson-Sharer won the battle with his brother Dessler by gunning a runner out at the plate. He also reaching base and scored in both of his at bats. Now 13-0 on the season, The Rocket has outscored their opponents 179-23 on the year.

With the win SLA moves onto Round 2 of the PIAA single-elimination "True" Playoff bracket.
Their game will be played on Wed, 5/13 at an opponent TBD by games later today. 


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Social anxiety is a mental health problem that people suffer from everyday. Anxiety means the "feeling of worry." Very simple, right? But "social" anxiety? Well it might sound simple as well but it is not simple for the people who suffer from it. Social Anxiety is the irrational fear of being judged, criticized, or embarrassed in public. It is normal to feel nervous when giving out a speech or when meeting people for the first time. But with social anxiety disorder, it is so intense that it may affect every aspect of your life. Relationship is one thing, you can ruin your relationship with family and friends due to the fear of interacting. You do not get the chance to explore the world if you intend to because of the feeling of worry and nervousness.

Social anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses and the third largest mental health problem in the world today. "Social anxiety disorder can have a very negative effect on your well-being and quality of life. The illness can cause a lot of problems in your relationships with partners, family and friends." This disorder prevents you from doing the things you are willing to do. For example, you wanted to share your opinion on something in a discussion but fear kicks in so you resisted to do so.

Click here for a full information about social anxiety.

How people who suffer from social anxiety feel every day in their lives...

Social Anxiety can be overcome but the treatment varies depending on the person. It depends on the severity of your symptoms. Therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy or getting support from family and/or friends are the treatments for social anxiety depending with the person suffering from it. But according to this website, cognitive behavioral therapy has shown to be the effective treatment for this disorder.  

I came across this website where it talked about social anxiety disorder including the people who suffer from it. Socially anxious people think that their thoughts and fears are irrational. They also know that people are not judging or criticizing them. They are aware that people don't try to humiliate them but irrational thoughts and fears kicks in. They still feel judged and criticized even if they are not so they continue to feel the same way. According to this website, "It is believed that SAD is the result of a combination of factors, both genetic and environmental."

For my original research, I interviewed a close friend of mine through email whom I know suffered from social anxiety disorder. Click this link to see the conversation.

Interviewing a friend of mine who have suffered from this disorder helped me a lot by informing me so much about what social anxiety is like in your life. This original research proved me that the information I have found on the internet were reliable. Knowing somebody else's experience with social anxiety tells you what social anxiety is really like and helps you learn from the issue coming from the person who has experienced it. Reading my friend's responses devastates me because I feel like social anxiety took over her life and it did not let her see the outside world because she was trapped in her own fears. Social anxiety also separated her from her close friends whom she wanted to spend time with.

My friend who has suffered from social anxiety went through an intense therapy for 4-5 months. The therapy, I believe went successful and now she is no longer suffering from social anxiety.

As an agent of change for this issue, Jae Regino and I are actually collaborating in the last part of this project. We are both planning on making a website instead of doing a fundraising because we both want to make a change by actually being there for the change. We also get to communicate to the people who will join the community in this website. This website is going to be the place for people who suffer from social anxiety to get to know and talk to other people in the same path as them. We both want to make a change and help other people who are going through this devastating situation. Helping other people gain their confidence would be great!

Click here for my annotated bibliography!
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Learnig English as a Second Language

Blog #1  describes about how in general kids are struggling with English as a second language. Many kids struggle with learning English in school. They may get shy, lose confidence, and not participate within the classroom.

The new information that I found is very similar to what I had research. After working with kids through my tutoring and interview process, although they seem to be struggling in school their teacher is doing an okay job with assisting them.

I didn't really pursue on more information based on my topic. Because there was no need for more web research.

My interview helped inform me with my topic by having someone's personal perspective about the struggles that face with English.

This add my understanding of the issue by comparing and contrasting personal perspectives and websites.

My personal opinion is that it depend who you are learning English, not everyone have the same exact problems as others.

I still wonder how it can be struggling with English in school.

I'm thinking about tutoring more kids to see how well they are in terms of their grades.


This image on the left, shows me tutoring a neighbor who speaks chinese with her family within her household.


This picture on the right shows me tutoring the same neighbor with her homework.


This picture shows one of the first graders Sarah, in Al-Aqsa Islamic Academy, I was tutoring.


Here's another girl who I was tutoring that attends to the same school and class as Sarah.


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School Funding

Fun Funding

Blog #1 focuses on my initial research on the topic of school funding.  It discusses school funding in general, and how it is a problem in Philadlephia.  It contains information on why their are financial problems in the school district, and the resulting consequences.  

I learned another large reason that school funding is a problem, from a website a current SLA student used when they did their project on school funding.  It currently has 143 supporters.  I do not think that is enough to make a change, and am not sure if I will be able to gather that many supporters or more.  There is a place to respond and comment at the bottom.  I think this would be a useful way to gather ideas and gain from people who could help suppor school funding.  

The article next to the petition goes ever why schools are not being funded fairly.  Currently, real estate taxes are what support school funding, which means wealtheir neighborhoods have more money for their schools.  The system neglects kids in low income areas, and gives them an unfair disadvantage.  Money for school funding needs to be distributed more fairly with a state wide funding system, so all students have a more equal chance at a great education.  

I did a lot more research on the specifics of school funding, and exaclty why Philadelphia schools don't have enough money, and what is missing and needed.  This website answers common questions on the problems I am still learning about.  The Philadelphia school district is the largest in the State, but recieves slightly under the average amount most districts in the state do, which are all smaller then the Philadelphlia district.  

I interviewed the principal of my own school, Science Leadership Academy, on school funding, and recorded his answers here.  This interview and the research done in order to be able to conduct the interview, gave me my own views on the topic.  I feel very similarly to Mr. Lehmann on the matter, and agree that the schools are not being funded well.  We hope that there won't be anymore consequences such as the cutting of school programs and positions due to the lack of funding.  We both want to change the system, and find more ways to support the school.  

I am still planning how I am going to help school funding.  I am thinking about making a petition.   I wonder if a petition can make an impact, and change anyones mind who has power and control over how much money goes towards funding.

I also learned about programs that work to help fund Philadelphia schools.  I have been looking at programs such as Fund for Quality.  They are partnered with the William Penn Foundation, The Reinvestment Fund and Public Health Management Corporation.  Organizations like these are doing things that I would like to do, and for my agent of change, if I could get in touch and work with something like this, that could be a great option.  

Front of Science Leadership Academy

allway where my locker is in SLA

Annotated Bibliography



Unchain The Voice #2

In my first blog post, I talked about how you unchain your voice and the difference between snitching and speaking out . I addressed how the term snitching comes along and how it makes people feel. Through the research I made in the first blog post, I went though the steps  to snitching, to speaking out, to understand how to actually doing it.

Since my first blog post, I have come over very interesting research. I was planning to do a survey.  I made the survey about 10 questions sent it out to about 30 people. I got one response. After the response, my survey stopped letting people submit. I did not know why. I thought maybe it was just a tech problem and tried to fix it but it did not work, so I had to take another approach. I did small interviews, I spoke to multiple people in red stream about snitching. Everyone mostly had the same opinion. Everyone thought that snitching and speaking out had been mixed up in their minds. Snitching to them is not okay but speaking out was okay. This was interesting to me that they actually often got the two mixed while speaking and asked me multiple times to stop the recorder just so they could actually think about the question they were answering. I think one out of the 6 or 7 people I interviewed actually had a lot of knowledge on the difference. This shows the lack of awareness these kids have on the issue and that no one has brought it up as an issue. Some kids did not want to learn more about it, ome kids wanted to hear more. The kids that did not want to learn more about the topic were the people who knew less about it which I found very interesting.

A rapper was interviewed on YouTube about 2 years ago, and he talked about his experience in prison and snitching. He said that ¨The problem is now that to many people snitch, if people kept their mouths closed than it would be no problem,¨ is this how we are supposed to think. Snitching is to benefit others. It gives them justice that not suppose to be deserved. Gossiping, snitching, speaking out are all different, but why do people around us get to decide which one is which. People do not think that snitching is cool. Snitching is equivalent to calling some one a rat, snake, etc. It is not some thing you want to be called but is it our right to desire this for some one else. In my research, I also found out that criminals and teens are the main targeted ones to the term snitching, Prisons are actually where the term originated from. Quoted from a psychiatrist, and case manager Robert Watson. So how did teens get the term? Just like generations people pass it on. Adults pass their knowledge on to us and if their education is correct, then so is ours. I found this out when interviewing these teens in red stream. Some of their information was incorrect but maybe it was from personal experience or maybe it was just from  their peers lack of education on the issue. would not let me hyperlink )

figure 1 : OT Genasis is a rapper from the recent music video produced called ¨coco" who also claims snitching is the main problem in the streets. 

Fore more information go to annotated bibliography.


English Language Learners getting Bullied

Haven’t read my first blog? Do it now, just click here.

On my first blog post I introduced the topic I am still researching, ELL(English Language Learners) bullying. For this part of the project I went over to my old school where I interviewed one of my old teachers about my topic. This teacher was actually one of the first people to really help me understand what I was doing. He helped me understand everything I had trouble with and tackle harder books so it could improve my writing. My old school has a lot of ELLs and I figured they had experienced this problem. Click here to read the full interview.

What I found out during my interview is that a lot of students are made fun of the way the look or their accents and face lots of social struggles. ”Well, you know, all students get teased and made fun of as they grow up. This happens to everybody, but there’s a difference between being teased and getting bullied. English language learners are particularly vulnerable to being bullied because bullies generally try to target people that are maybe a little bit different or a little bit vulnerable, and ELLs qualify on both counts. They’re different because of the way they dress, the way they look, the way they talk and they’re vulnerable because their English isn't that good.” So the victim can’t speak up.

As I was doing more research on my topic, I came across this story about a Cuban girl who moved to America when she was eight with lots of excitement. She ended up being bullied because she was different. She went to school and kids made fun of her, put spiders under her desk and the teacher wouldn't do anything. She was hoping things would get better, but they didn't. She had no friends and got bullied even more. They insulted her and she was depressed. She went to a therapist and learned that bullies had their own problems. In high school she changed her outside to make her feel better on the inside. She made new friends and talked to more people. She I realized that she let the bullies take control of her emotions and locked herself in her own world of not speaking, not having friends, and wishing she was another person. Full story lies here.

I also learned that people haven’t talked about the bullying of the ELLs. There needs to be more articles written about that and more publicity about it so the people are aware that it’s a big problems. Here is one about bullying in race, ethnicity and immigration. It talks about the ways that the students are bullied and some ways you can prevent it at school.

Unfortunately, I couldn't get any pictures of me interviewing the person. But, this picture represents the other people protecting the one in the middle which is different than them. From this website
So, once again listen to my interview here. Read it here.


Have you found out what's in your Happy Meal yet?

Do you ever stop and look at the nutrition facts before you take a bite of your juicy McDouble? On McDonald's own website they tell you as much as they want to asin what’s in the McDouble. In the bread alone there are many different chemicals and preservatives that are harmful to human health. They claim that their patties are 100% beef and I highly doubt that. I again ask do you ever stop and take a look at the nutrition facts before you take a bite of your food. 9 times out of 10 you don’t and that is exactly what my project is about. We as humans never stop and think about what is actually in the food we eat from fast food restaurants. What I hope and want my project to accomplish is bringing awareness to what really is in fast food. I became interested in this topic because my brother is 30 pounds overweight for his age and I am 100% sure it is because of fast food. I want to bring awareness to kids like him and all of America really because none of us and look to see what we are eating. You can get a lot more information on my topic in my first blog post."4% of the Meat in a Mcdouble Is Real Beef,What's the Other 96%?" Our Food. Your Questions. McDonald's, n.d. Web. 11 May 2015. <>. ( Challenges McDonald’s claim to 100% beef)Screenshot 2015-05-11 at 10.38.56 PM.png

Since my first blog post I have explored my other 2 fast food restaurants that I wanted to dig deeper into Chipotle and Chic-fil-A . One that particularly surprised me was Chic-Fil-a. Chic-fil-a makes the claim that they’re chicken is real and children in our generation have debated about this and it has become this big epidemic rather or not Chic-Fil-a’s chicken is real or not. Well fortunately I found some information on that subject. In a Chic-fil-a chicken sandwich there are 100 ingredients and 18 preservatives. The FDA allows these companies to add these preservatives but there is a limit. However they don’t say anything when companies add different preservatives and put them all together. When I read this article I was appalled to find out what TBHQ does to the human body. TBHQ is found in Mcdonald’s, Wendy’s and now Chic-fil-a products. Too much of this chemical can cause ADHD in children, asthma, allergies and stomach cancer. Not only is TBHQ is in Chic-fil-a’s chicken but in their buns too.  Chic-fil-a has become very popular this year and hearing this changes my whole view on Chic-fil-a and their food.

For my original research I decided to do a survey because it best fit my issue because the answers are shocking. It started with the simple question “What is your favorite fast food restaurant?” 50% of the people who took my survey said Chic-fil-a which is understandable because many people believe it to be the healthiest choice when it isn’t. The question that surprised me was the question that asked “How many ingredients are in McDonald’s fries?” What surprised me is that many people picked the highest number for the amount of ingredients in their fries and I thought that maybe they read my first blog post and got the answer but it was pretty cool that many of them got the right answer for that question.

I’m kind of in between whether or not this worked out for my PIC. It did show that some people don’t know what they were eating but they weren’t the answers I was hoping for to really prove my point. Although it didn’t turn out how I wish it could’ve I still had many people who took the survey for me and that was great. I think this topic is very much so alive in the rest of the world and the SLA community and I want to be that person to bring awareness to what we are eating. I’m still wondering about what are some more things I can do to bring awareness to this issue and really make a difference.

First Rule of Safety ... NO Distractions

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This picture was from my field observation, those drivers weren't on their phones.

In my previous blog post, I talked about how teens are the causes of their own and other’s accidental deaths and how teens are not only distracted by their cellphones, but other people. I also talked about how hazardous teen drivers can be while on their cellphones and that teens need to be more aware about their safety while driving.

When I was doing more research, I found out that crashes are more common among the young drivers than any other age group and in 2009 3,242 teens from the ages of 15-19 lost their lives in crashes where the driver was distracted. Also, everyday in the US more than 9 people are killed and over 1,153 people are injured in crashes where the driver was distracted. As I mentioned before in my previous blog post, teen driving distractions involve people being on their cellphones, there are actually three main types of distractions: Visual, Manual and Cognitive. A visual distraction is when you take your eyes off the road, a manual distraction if taking your hands off the wheel, and a cognitive distraction is taking your mind off driving.

People might not think that teen driving distractions are a major issue in today’s modern world, but they are and here’s why:

In 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,360 in 2011. In addition, 421,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes because of a distracted driver. People might also not really know all of the risk factors involved when being distracted while driving such as, younger drivers may be at increased risk which can also mean that they are distracted more easily than other experienced drivers. Also, the crash fatality rate is highest for 16-17 year olds that had recently got their licenses.  

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This is also a photo from my field observation, but I'm sure that one driver was texting.

I think that everything that I did with the research and the field observation went pretty well and it was actually cool to see my topic from a different perspective. Doing this felt interesting and made me understand my topic even better. I would probably say that this was just about what I was expecting, yet it wasn’t because I counted 500 cars, 126 of those drivers were on their phones and 26 of those drivers were actually texting while driving. Some challenges that I faced were keeping track with the number of drivers and the total number of cars that passed, even with help. Even though I have done more research, I am still wondering why teens, and even adults, text and drive when they know that their life is on the line, and that their life is more important.

The plan that I have for my agent of change is to make new drivers make a pledge not to text and drive, but also send those pledges to companies and convince them to have everyone sign it before they can drive.

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Since then...Blog Post 2, US Broken Mental Health System

Factors I feel are contributing to the broken mental health care system, as discussed in my blogpost 1.

  • Public Ignorance of prevalence, local and global impact

  • "Mental-shaming", average citizens being unsympathetic to those who are mentally challenged, making it difficult for them to feel comfortable in society

In my last blogpost, I introduced my You and the World project, where I described my methods in trying to bring awareness to America's broken mental health care system, and provided factual information to corroborate my claims. I stated that my inspiration stemmed from my younger brother, who is autistic. Moreover, I expressed that the broken system is a result of public ignorance of mental health illnesses, the impact they have on citizens, and the impact they have on the world. Because of this, I explained how I plan to bring awareness to this issue by finding a unique way to educate the public about mental illnesses and the treatment patients receive. In this blog post, I will be elaborating on the original research, data and perspectives that I have collected through a survey and interviews,  portion of my You and the World project. In addition to my original research, I will include new, credible information concerning the structure of America's mental health care system.

Since my last blog post, I have collected an agglomeration of insightful facts and statistics  covering the perspectives of those who work in the mental health field, the prevalence of mental illnesses, and the public's ignorance/indifference about this very important topic. For starters, while doing more research, I came upon a very interesting article on Michigan's Local News website. The article includes quotes from Paul Ippel, executive director of Network 180, Kent County’s public mental health and substance abuse resource agency. "When a person is admitted to the hospital[for physical reasons], we send flowers and cards...There was a time people wouldn't say the word cancer and now we talk (openly) about going for cancer treatment, but we’re reluctant to say we've been admitted to a psychiatric hospital," he states. His words specifically resonated with me because it gave me a unique perspective other than my own. As you can recall from my previous blog post, I mentioned that it was important for citizens who were not personally affected by mental illness to not ostracize those who were different. I made a point that people who were deliberately ignorant, as well as those who were subconsciously passive, made integration into society especially difficult for those dealing with anxiety, autism, ADHD, anorexia, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. However, when I read Ippel's response, my train of thought expanded, and I began to wonder if reluctance to be open about one's own mental health challenges and needs was also a factor of why the system has remained tarnished. He references cancer, which was once a sensitive topic, which people opted to take a circuitous route in discussing. Now cancer is widely spoken about and research, innovations, and new breakthrough therapies are coming at the result of the salient discussion. His point correlates to one of the factors I previously discussed: Mental shaming.

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Excerpt where I spoke about mental shaming in my previous blog post.

 I am still passionately driven by the belief that American citizens are not building a comfortable environment for those who are mentally-ill to express themselves. Even at an early age, kids are bullied and isolated for holding differences. For example, 2.7 million children are being bullied every year,and over 100,000 of them missed school due to a bullying incident in 2010. It is even worse for children who who are mentally challenged.  Approximately half of adolescents with autism, intellectual disability, speech impairments and learning disabilities are bullied at school, new research suggests.That’s much higher than the rate of bullying faced by typically developing students, (about 1 in 10 are victimized by their peers).    

Visuals created by me to portray the juxtaposition:

When I interviewed my fellow classmate, Jevon Price, to receive a youth perspective. I received some interesting responses.

                 1) Do you believe that the national discussion of our mental system was resuscitated by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that occurred in 2012?

Yes. I feel like people do not discuss mental health because they want to live in blissful ignorance.

--> Do you think the discussion made any type of impact? Whatever impact it made was certainly very short lived. People are not even talking about it anymore and when it was a huge topic, the discussion got diverted to gun control and whatnot.

2) According to a Time Magazine article, there are only 7,500 psychiatrists, while 20,000 are needed. What do you believe engenders such a significant shortage? What implications do you think the shortage causes?

People do not care if they are not personally confronted with mental illness.  These shortages cause more accidents like Sandy Hook if people are not being treated

3) How knowledgeable do you believe teenagers are about mental illnesses and how patients receive treatment?

They are only knowledgeable when dramatic things occur.

4) Do you feel as if the general public is concerned with making mentally-ill patients feel accepted and welcomed in society?

No. I feel like people are so into themselves that they do not really care and take into consideration of people who are different

5) In what ways do you think the services that the current mental health care system provides can be enhanced to be more coordinated and organized?

You need more psychiatrists and to  bring public awareness because if people don't know how much of an impact mental illnesses have in our lives, as a country, they are honestly not going to care.

6) Can you name some positive facets of the current system?

To be completely, mainly because I do not know a lot about the current system.

7) Can you name some negative facets of the current system?

Well I know that it must not be at its best due to the school shooting and I know that it is somewhat uncoordinated. Also, the current system is not taking advantage of technology and media. We have computers, cellphones, TVs! You need to make your case heard through these devices. It s the only way people will hear you.

8) In your opinion, does the good outweigh the bad, or vise versa?

I don't really know much about the good, so I will have to say that the bad outweighs the good.

I was inspired to interview a young voice because I believe that as youth, we hold a lot of great ideas and can make an impact on the world, hence the You and the World project (haha!), I believed that an interview would be a unique way to gather original research.

Highlights from interview:

  • "...people do not discuss mental health because they want to live in blissful ignorance"- I think this quote relates back to when I discussed people not making the effort to learn more about mental illness. Perhaps they feel uncomfortable discussing it, afraid they will offend someone, or simply do not care.

  • "...We have computers, phones, TVs! You need to make your case heard through these devices. It's the only way people will hear you."- I found this response especially significant because lately I have been discussing how I want to bring awareness to this issue, however I have not specified how exactly I want to do so. Hmmmm…

In addition to a student interview, I conducted a survey.

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Correct Answers

1 in 4

Only 40%

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                 1 in 5

               Only 20%Screenshot 2015-05-11 at 10.53.45 PM.pngScreenshot 2015-05-11 at 10.55.26 PM.png

Survey Conclusion:

I decided to do this survey because I not only wanted to test how much my friends, and adults I know, knew about mental illnesses and the system,but I also wanted them to share stories of times they had experienced someone being bullied due to having a mental illness or a time when they were bullied.

Anonymous Stories I received:

I've seen it happen where someone can't speak correctly because of their illness and others make fun of it.

When I was in high school, I noticed someone being bullied. I didn't do anything about it. It still haunts me.

Someone I know has autism and he was made fun of for not being able to keep up in the classroom. Long story short I almost beat up people…

I would rather not, it's traumatizing. It really is a horrifying experience and truly humiliating.

When I was in second grade, one of my best friends had autism and kids would always make fun of him and hit and tease him because of his disabilities.

      9 more stories

Although these stories were short and simple,they have left a lasting impact on me. I am sure that if more people were willing to share stories like this then the world will truly know how important it is to care about the mental health care system and treat everyone kindly, despite their uncontrollable differences.                  

At last, through my student interview and my interview where almost 49 students,friends, and adults,responded, I learned many things. For starters, I did not expect the respondents to perform so well on the surveys. Maybe the youth is as ignorant as I predicted? This brings the question: Why aren't there more kids sharing their stories, making people care, devoting their time to sparking a discussion about the mental health care system? My answer is that kids feel powerless sometimes. In my Agent of Change plan, I want to empower kids. I want to create a virtual environment, where they can feel safe about sharing their stories, anonymously. I want adults to see how many stories there are. I want to bring awareness.        

Specifically, in my Agent of Change, I will create a website, a safe blog, where everyone can vent and share their stories, without worrying that they will be reprimanded or teased. I understand that sometimes the society we live in does not support the mentally-ill, but I also believe that they will see the importance of the issue once they see how many kids are struggling with the bullying this engenders.  Not only will I create a website, but I also plan an event at The Franklin Institute to bring awareness to the issue.

I am planning to interview a mental health care professional at Philadelphia Mental Health Center on Pine Street, however they have yet to respond to me. Once they do, I will post the interview. This was a challenge I encountered during this process. I understood that not everyone would respond to my emails. The people at this center certainly did not.I had to visit their offices for them to take notice.
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Labeling Women- Original Research Results

Blog Post #2

In my previous Blog Post, I introduced my topic about labeling women and the different issues women face with the issues at hand. This type of issue occurs in a lot of places, and I decided to mainly zoom in on places like school. I have learned that the labels attached to women do not have to be sexual to be offensive. Some new information I have found since my last post was that there was a commercial titled ¨ Labels Against Women¨ showing different kinds of titles given to a man vs a woman in the business career. It was backing up the point I made in my recent blog post about how men doing a certain thing and being praised for it. On the other hand, when the women would do the same exact thing as the men did, they were only shamed for it.

Another thing that had seemed to catch my attention, was a comic like article about sexual labels. As I said before, not all labels given have to be sexual to be offensive, but in this case this comic showed a very detailed example of some. It was proving the fact wrong that any sexual relationship has to be between a man and a women in order for it to count as sex.

highschool final 3

highschool final 4

Two images shown above: Early on the young lady was talking about having a sexual relationship with another female, and it was questioned, because ¨it does not count" unless it is between a woman and a man.

For my original research, I decided to send out a survey to a good amount of females in the school. Not every female took it, but based off the information I got some varied results. For the survey , I asked whether the females taking it have ever been labeled, and I gave them some very popular labels to choose from, if so. Not only did I want to know what labels they received, but I also wanted to know what effect it had on them. ( In all due respect, I kept results anonymous)

Image shown above: The bar graph shown aboves shows that most of the women who have taken the survey have been called ugly

Image above:  The image above shows that more than 50% of the females taking the survey have labeled someone

Image above: This image showed that more than 50% were willing to help the issue of women being labeled

This information helped inform me on my issue, because the data showed that a lot of the females learned to just push the rude comments to the side, while others took great offense to it. The data also proved the point that most of the women who took the survey were mainly called the labels that were not sexual. Personally, the results shocked me, because I didn't know the varied ways certain individuals took the name calling. For my agent of change I am planning on making T- shirts with certain labels and there real definitions on them. That way females can wear them around the school and maybe even outside if lucky enough.

My Bibliography


Labeling Women: Original Research Results

Blog Post #2

In my previous Blog Post, I introduced my topic about labeling women and the different issues women face with the issues at hand. This type of issue occurs in a lot of places, and I decided to mainly zoom in on places like school. I have learned that the labels attached to women do not have to be sexual to be offensive. Some new information I have found since my last post was that there was a commercial titled ¨ Labels Against Women¨ showing different kinds of titles given to a man vs a woman in the business career. It was backing up the point I made in my recent blog post about how men doing a certain thing and being praised for it. On the other hand, when the women would do the same exact thing as the men did, they were only shamed for it.

Another thing that had seemed to catch my attention, was a comic like article about sexual labels. As I said before, not all labels given have to be sexual to be offensive, but in this case this comic showed a very detailed example of some. It was proving the fact wrong that any sexual relationship has to be between a man and a women in order for it to count as sex.

highschool final 3

highschool final 4

Two images shown above: Early on the young lady was talking about having a sexual relationship with another female, and it was questioned, because ¨it does not count" unless it is between a woman and a man.

For my original research, I decided to send out a survey to a good amount of females in the school. Not every female took it, but based off the information I got some varied results. For the survey , I asked whether the females taking it have ever been labeled, and I gave them some very popular labels to choose from, if so. Not only did I want to know what labels they received, but I also wanted to know what effect it had on them. ( In all due respect, I kept results anonymous)

Image shown above: The bar graph shown aboves shows that most of the women who have taken the survey have been called ugly

Image above:  The image above shows that more than 50% of the females taking the survey have labeled someone

Image above: This image showed that more than 50% were willing to help the issue of women being labeled

This information helped inform me on my issue, because the data showed that a lot of the females learned to just push the rude comments to the side, while others took great offense to it. The data also proved the point that most of the women who took the survey were mainly called the labels that were not sexual. Personally, the results shocked me, because I didn't know the varied ways certain individuals took the name calling. For my agent of change I am planning on making T- shirts with certain labels and there real definitions on them. That way females can wear them around the school and maybe even outside if lucky enough.

My Bibliography

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The Interview:

The Interview:

Previously in Blog Post #1 I've told you guys about what MS is and how it affects my life personally and the people around me.I never told you guys how I feel about it, I was too young to understand what was happening to me  I also told you that my Mom, Nikki has MS and some of the things that she goes through daily, the medicines and some of the symptoms that she has. Some new information that I've found was that MS is actually more common in women, I gotten this information from a Doctor that I interviewed for the original research part of the Project. I choose to interview a neurologist at the Thomas Jefferson Hospital Department of Neurology.You guys can check out the Link here My Interview. Be aware this video isn't the best you may hear baby noises in the background( My godsister).

I find the experience of talking to a real doctor was actually pretty awesome I didn't ask the doctor about my Mom's condition I didn't want to really get too deep into that. Now that I have somebody else's perspective on the topic not just what the internet has to tell me about MS I think that I have a better understanding about it. I think that going out and actually interviewing a real Doctor, someone who has studied and is passionate about helping those who are really ill such as my Mom. Somethings that I was still thinking about is what the brain looks like or the spinal cord looks like after MS takes its toll on those parts of the body.

I've found many ways to get my class and community to get involved Take Action if you guys are interested you can help, I took part in the MS walk this is my 2nd year doing the walk and I have to say it was worth it they give you a ribbon to put on and a cup it's a really good experience and I don't regret any of it. For my agent of change I was thinking about either doing a fundraiser or giving a presentation to my advisory and just to get people thinking and maybe talking about it and raise some awareness. I have a presentation slide that I made before and I hope you guys check it out. I like doing this part of the project I think that the Agent of change is going to be really interesting and not just my project the entire 9th grade class as well.

Many things still have to be done for the Agent of change, but things are working out well.

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This picture is showing the areas where MS can affect your body as you can see its not many but can do lots of damage.

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This is just showing how the Myelin can be destroyed by the immune system.
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How do you view N. Korea? (How do the pubic view this crazy little country?)

When I decided to delve deeper into the limited pool of knowledge we hold on North Korea, one question stood out: How do the public view this country? So after doing some initial research on this little communist powerhouse, my first blog, I asked the public what they knew. Here is what I found. On a given scale of 1-5 (Where 1 is knowing nothing and 5 is knowing everything, in regards to North Korea.) the SLA community that submitted responses averaged only slightly above a 2. Why is this interesting? Because also in my data I found that almost all of the people taking the survey had: 1. Seen/heard/read multiple, if not an ample amount of news reports about North Korea, and 2. Watched the film The Interview.

These two key points of data answers two questions that I had when releasing this survey.

  1. Was The Interview a source of information about North Korea to the people who had seen the film?

My answer: No, although designed to be a comedy and surely in practice it is, it certainly made North Korea mad, but as for my research it appears to be of zero informative use.

   2. Do news reports actually bring information about North Korea?

My answer: From what I have seen in my survey, apparently no, they do not. This answer surprised me, as I assumed that news reports would bring information, but apparently not useful information.

One other question I asked was what people's view on North Korea was:

I gave 6 options with varying degrees of positive or negative views about this country. Surprisingly I found that over 60% of people chose the option ¨(North Korea)Is a misguided and troubled country.¨. I expected people to side more towards an option like ¨They (North Korea) are evil!¨

The last question on my survey was a free response question asking about the takers general opinion on North Korea. I got some interesting answers. One of my favorite answers was ¨Asians man... They're gonna get us.¨. Some of these answers were useful some were… less so. Plenty were truly hilarious and a few actually held little nuggets of knowledge.

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¨Asians man... They're gonna get us.¨

After seeing how people responded to this survey I saw a vast overall lack of education on the topic(With a few vivid exceptions).  I think for my ¨Change in your world¨ project, I will be informing people about North Korea and how they could influence us(As Americans) in the future.  One thing that this survey certainly brings to light is the reoccurring theme of how people (Or governments!) can take advantage of ignorance of their cause/means and use that to push themselves through the masses of opposition that is shown to more public cases.

My survey results. My annotated bibliography.

Signing off,



Sexism toward Men : The Sequel

So for blog post one as most of you know I wrote about sexism toward men. With in that blog post I wrote about what sexism toward men is, research on it, how it affected me personally, different scenarios in which sexism toward men took place and group of people who are trying to stop sexism toward men. Since then I have done even more research. I found an article called men can be victims of abuse, too. It states 13% of documented contacts to the Hotline identified themselves as male victims. There was a story I found that happened in 1999. Two male teenagers were working at a grocery store and the female assistant manager made sexual comments to them and flashed her bra to one of them. When one of the males argued that she shouldn't be doing that she suspended him. Quick story, My friend was over here at my house while I was doing research and after reading that article he said ¨that happened to men at work. The assistant manager kept flashing her bra at me.¨ This was two years ago. Reports of Sexual harassment to men have shot up since 2010 according to an article I found by career advice monster. According to several articles, in some parts of the UK and Scotland, women can't rape when men. What I mean is if a woman forces sex on a man that did not consent it is not considered rape. The woman may not even go to jail in some cases. Now that's true sexism.

For original research I made a survey and had 18 people fill it out. I got back some very positive responses and also some very negative ones. But I must say this, most of the comments talked about sexism toward women, which I admit is a SERIOUS topic but why bring it up when I ask about sexism toward men. Isn't that kind of, you know, sexist? It's like bringing up the holocaust when I'm talking about slavery. Both bad but why bring it up. But what's really messed up in my opinion is one particular comment someone typed. It says ¨ I think sexism toward men does not exist. You can’t be prejudiced against the majority. Women have it way worse. Low income, never president, always labeled. Doing this insignificant topic for your project shows how insecure you are about women’s rights. #Feminist ¨. Pretty sexist, huh. And like I stated in my last blog post you can be prejudice against the majority. The black panther party is extremely racist to white people. It's also sexist that 3/18 said Sexism toward men is a joke and 8/10 people are not against sexism toward men. Sexism toward men is a real thing and the fact that people take it as a joke or have to say something about sexism toward women when they speak on the topic makes even a bigger issue.

After the survey I did a field observation. I walked/rode septa around northwest and center city Philadelphia to see if I could spot any sexism toward men. Boy was I right. On May 2nd in northwest Philadelphia two people, one male and one female were having an argument. The woman started to push the man, which led to slaps, then kicks and punches. The man did nothing to fight back. This was on Mansfield ave.

On May 4th at Olney Transportation Center an attractive young woman got on the bus told the bus driver she didn't have her transpass and she was allowed to to ride the 18 bus for free. After seeing that, I wondered if I could do the same. I told the same bus driver that I didn't have my transpass and she said please step off the bus. If I would have been an attractive young lady I would have been allowed to ride for free. But instead I had to wait for the next bus.

On may 5th on Stenton Ave I drove by a bar called charlie b's and a saw a sign in the window. It read ¨10$ for guys, ladies get in free¨. So you're telling me that if I am a women I get into a bar for free but if I'm a guy I have to pay 10$. Tell me that's not sexist.

Later that night at Rita's water ice I saw a women (women-a) brush up against another woman (woman-b). In the process woman-a touched woman-b's butt. Woman-b turned around and asked the guy behind her ¨ wtf man, you just smacked my butt ¨. She instantly assumed that the guy did it even though woman-a was not only the culprit but she was closer to woman-b. The reason she assumed the guy did it is because he is of the male gender. That's sexist.  After that, Woman-b and the guy got into an argument about who did it and woman-b threatened to call the cops on the guy. To think that this man could have been arrested for something he didn't do but was blamed for because he was a man. Woman-b never even once thought it could have been woman-a. This all occurred on Stenton ave.
There are plenty of other stories. After this research I learned that there are plenty of ways to be sexist toward men. My understanding of the topic has spread from just domestic violence but to stereotyping, exclusion and blasphemy. I think this topic is a lot more serious than I originally thought. However, I am still left wondering how much of this stuff goes on daily and how worst these scenarios could get, especially behind closed doors. Not all sexism is seen so there is no way we could no for sure. For my agent of change I want to do a power point or a pow-toon and present it in front of my advisory. The reason is because I want to see if I could change the minds of those people who had some pretty sexist comments and also inform people that don't really know about the topic. If I could change the minds of these people who have some sexist thoughts then I think that's pretty good change. I was also thinking about putting flyers up around my church but I'm leaning more toward the pow-toon which in case you didn't know is an animated presentation with all types of characters, animations and transitions. Join the fight to end sexism.


Defeating Dyslexia Stereotypes #2

In my last blog post I talk a lot about why I am doing my topic on dyslexia stereotypes.  Here is my last blog post.  I was asked a couple of questions from my last blog post that I am able to answer now that I did my original research.  One of the questions asked by Ms. Giknis was “What resources are available for dyslexic students in school?” Well it depends on the school that you go to.  But for instance SLA has Mr. Ames and Ms. Menasion who are special education workers.  They help with children who either have special needs or reading and writing disabilities.  For people who have a learning disability they have to go to a class called study skills where the teacher helps the students with their homework and any work.  At my old school we had a special tutor for dyslexics.  She worked with a company called wilson.  You can read more about the wilson program here.  What I am still wondering about dyslexia is, why does SLA not have a tutor for dyslexics?

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For my original research I interviewed Mr. Ames one of the special education teachers about what he knows about dyslexia from working with dyslexics.  Mr. Ames has been working with dyslexics for 15 years.  Here is the transcript for the interview.   

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This helped me understand more about how the stereotypes can affect someone with dyslexia by the stories he told me about students with dyslexia.  A story he told me is one student was really smart and learned things great orally.  But when it came to letters and words he couldn’t identify them.  He used to not be able to identify the letters in his own name. This is because he didn’t know the rules of spelling and reading.  That’s the thing with dyslexia, people think that all it is, is that you see words backward and letters float off the page, but the main thing with dyslexia is that the rules just don't come easy for reading and spelling.  We just have a harder time memorizing the rules.  Another story Mr. Ames told me was there was an amazing students.  This student had straight A’s and got accepted to college.  This is what happens when you don’t give up on yourself even though you have dyslexia.  Some of my personal opinions of how students are treated with dyslexia, is that they are given very low expectations by peers and even teachers and this can cause a student to do very bad in school and give up.  Giving up can cause them to have anxiety attacks or just give up on life.  But the reason why peers and teachers give dyslexics lower standards is because they don’t understand dyslexia.  And that is what my agent of change is going to do.  Its going to inform students and teachers about dyslexia.  And I will teach them the positive outcomes of dyslexia.  Here is some positive outcomes.  So keep tone for my agent of change project and blog post!

Annotated Bibliography

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An unfinished story...

After reading my first blog post, it probably have opened your eyes to realize drug are a major issue in the United States. Drugs are a big part of the reason why our country is in debt. After my last blog post, I have learned that drugs are taken for many reasons. Some of these reasons are curiosity, improvement of athletic performance, or to ease other problems. I also learned that drug abuse is more focused on the consequences of using the drug than how much it is frequently used.  A common myth that people usually think is if treatment didn’t work before, it won't work again. Recovery from drug addiction is a long process that often involves setbacks. Relapse doesn’t mean that treatment has failed or that you’re a lost cause. Rather, it’s a signal to get back on track, either by going back to treatment or getting use to the treatment approach. If you are worried that a friend or family member is using drugs and at risk of becoming addicted, you should try to get them help as soon as possible.

For my original research, I want to visit a rehabilitation center to observe what are the daily activities people do at these centers. I also want to ask a few questions such as how many come in for help a day, or yearly.  I think this would of helped me understand my issue better because It would of showed me how frequently people are seeking for help in the areas near us. This observation would of showed me that drugs are a major part of people's lives and it takes a lot to get rid of them. My personal opinions on drugs are why continue to make them if they cause so much harm to human beings. Also, I think the United States need to enforce stricter laws on drugs because now a days I walk the streets of my neighborhood and see young people around my age or even younger smoking blunts, or on the corners selling illegal drugs. I still wonder what is in the drugs that make people do crazy things, or how can the bad drugs such as heroin or cocaine be used in a good way?

I was unable to do my original research due to printing and faxing problems, but I will later compare my predictions to the actual observation. For my Agent of Change, I am planning to find maybe two people who have recovered from drug abuse to come in and talk to my advisory. The two people have to be willing to share their experience and they have to work with an organization for safety purposes. They will talk about their experience and maybe persuade young people not to use drugs. Also, they will answer any question that are asked from the students in my advisory. However, If any other advisories wanted to join maybe they could. Keep out on the part #2 of my second blog post.

This is also one of my close friends that is smoking. She is currently in high school. She is 15 years old and suprisingly gets high grades in high school. She frequently has been smoking on the daily basis with a group of friends. 

Here is a picture of a person close to me that is smoking. This person is currently still in high school and has been smoking since

the age of 12. This person tends to have bad grades in school and rarely attends school.

Annotated bibliography

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This is also one of my close friends that is smoking. She is currently in high school. She is 15 years old and suprisingly gets high grades in high school. She frequently has been smoking on the daily basis with a group of friends
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Your Life Can Change in an Instant

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For my Passion, Information and Change project I chose pediatric cancer. In my first blog post I talked about why I chose to pursue childhood cancer. I also talked about the scary statistics that unfortunately pierce the hearts of children, teens and their family every single day.

For my original research I decided to do an interview. When I recieved my project I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my original research. That was to interview the student at SLA Beeber who I introduced you to in my first blog post. I didn't want to Direct Message her but after a few emails and phone calls I was able to schedule an interview for the following Friday.

All week I was so eager to meet someone who had gone through so much. The Thursday before the interview I was preparing my questions and thinking of what I should say and what I shouldn't; I was scared the conversation would be very emotional so I had disclaimers.

It was finally interview day and I decided to leave school early so I could get to the interview on time. When I got to the Starbucks on the campus of Saint Joseph's University I was scared the girl I was meeting was going to be in bad spirits.

As I sat and waited for the girl to enter the Starbucks I looked at some videos of other people interviewing cancer patients then, about two minutes into my first video the young lady by the name of Aliya Rouine walked into the door.

When Aliya came over to me and hugged me she said ¨oh this is awkward¨. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. She was smiling and laughing with me and her friend, whom she had brought for support. She was a normal teenager.

Aliya story starts in late December 2014 when she became very ill but didn't know what it was, so she went to the doctor to go get it checked out. The doctor thought she had the flu until a few weeks later she began to have trouble breathing and went to the hospital where they told her she had pneumonia. Since pneumonia is a symptom of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L) they tested her for it. Sadly the results came back positive.

Aliya just like anyone who was told they had cancer said she was really scared. One thing that stuck with me was that she was more happy she knew what was making her sick. For me, I wouldn't want to know that something inside me can take over my body.

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I was very interested in how she changed and the people around her. Aliya said the people around her have become nicer to her. She said people she don't even know say hello to her because ¨maybe they feel bad¨. She also told me that her family has become closer. Not only have her family become closer but her family and friends have been very supportive.

Since she was diagnosed she said she became more grateful and sympathetic towards people and what they are going through. I asked Aliya what she thought about people who take things for granted and she said ¨ they need to think harder about what they are thankful for because you're life can change in an instant¨.

Over 35,000 children are currently being treated for cancer, sadly 25% of those children will die. Thankfully, Aliya's form of cancer is treatable. Aliya will be finished with her chemotherapy in October but will have to take a pill everyday for the next few years. Researchers have been on a great road to curing A.L.L, they have raised survival rates from 4 percent 50 years ago to 94 percent today.

Cancer not only affects you, but it affects your family emotionally and financially. Families are usually financially depleted.

This interview made me learn that people who are sick are just like everyone else. I learned to not take things for granted and to cherish every single moment because no matter how old you are your life can change in an instant.

To listen to my Full Interview Click Here!

To see My Annotated Bibliography Click Here!

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​ The City Of?...

After reading and seeing many statistics for gun control in Philadelphia in my opening Blog Post, I began opening my eyes a little more and grasping all the information I could get. I started to think more about how much gun violence is going on in Philadelphia and did a little bit more research  .  Did you know that Philadelphia is the most violent of the ten largest cities in America? Also, that a Philadelphian is four times most likely to get shot than anywhere else? With that being said, I had further questions on which areas of Philadelphia where people think they are safe as where to others some of them may be dangerous. In my quest to gather more information, I chose to do a survey (see below)..  

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I asked three questions based on the part of Philadelphia the participants lived in. After asking where the lived, I wanted to know the following: if the participants thought they were safe in their respective neighborhood, and did they know anyone that was injured by gun violence within the past two years? Some of the stories I read was horrific and terrifying. I wasn’t sure if anyone wanted their story to be read so I made it unknown because this is a very soft topic for people to talk about and I respect that. But, I decided to make a graph based on the responses I received.  

The responses told me a story about our city. Out of the 37 participants that completed the survey, 43% reported that they felt safe in their neighborhood in light of the gun violence in the city.  But on the flip side of that, 52% admitted that their safety in their neighborhood depends, and 5% confirmed that they did not feel safe in their neighborhood. The majority of those surveyed feel that their safety in their neighborhood is always in jeopardy, I feel like that poor gun control is the reason for these Philadelphians to feel unsafe. On Saturday, April 27, 2015, a protest was held in South Philadelphia.   Several dozen protesters led by the Washington-based Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence singled out Firing Line Inc. for having sold, over the years, dozens of guns that later were used in crimes or in some other way ended up in the possession of law enforcement authorities. As I said in my first blog, better laws for gun control is where we should start to help people feel safe in their neighborhoods. Not feeling safe in our neighborhoods makes people not trust each other, and good relationships are not formed.  My dad often talks about how when he was growing up that all the people in his neighborhood knew each other, talked, and shared different items.  But in today’s climate, there is no trust because good relationships are not formed.  Children no longer play outside in front of their homes because there are  too many stories of children being shot in crossfire. Guns bring about fear.

In conclusion, I feel like we need to do better with knowing who has guns legally, and then find those that have them illegally.  Laws alone will not do this, but we will need help from regular people that care about this problem and the safety of the communities. With doing all the research and looking deeper into my topic, I want to make this known to everyone in Philadelphia that there needs to be a change. I want everyone to get the word out about it and maybe it will go viral so that Philadelphia will have their voice heard. I look forward on continuing my project and in making Philadelphia a place you want to be, and where you can be safe.

If you would like to read my first Blog Post click here! 

To read my bibliography click here!

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Bridging the Gap

My first blog post was about the benefits of classical music. Research proved that listening to Mozart during a test gives you better results on that test. This shows that the music you listen to correlates to your school smarts. Looking to boost your grades? Try classical! Project 440 is one of the many organizations that empowers students to turn their passion for playing music into a passion for giving back to their community.

LiveConnections ... inspires learning and builds community through collaborative music-making.” “... LiveConnections has re-imagined the landscape of live music and music education through unique collaborations that join artists from different genres to highlight how music crosses cultures and creates bridges of understanding.” Their programs consist of three types: Bridge Sessions, ClassicAlive and LiveStudio. Recorded and performed at World Cafe Live, they are quite an experience. Here is a ClassicAlive concert featuring violinist, Kristin Lee, “... she is commissioning composer/performers to write music for the violin and steelpan, guitar, theremin, and carnatic South Indian singing.”
Lee partnered with Astral Artists, who want “To discover the most promising classical musicians residing in the United States, assist their early professional career development, and present their world-class artistry to the community through concerts and engagement programs.” They believe “... that the future of classical music belongs to today’s emerging musicians, and that empowering their talent and ingenuity ensures a cultural legacy for generations to come.”

LiveConnections’ bridge sessions “bridge gaps between different genres of music to bring together communities. So they’ll take someone like Joseph Conyers… associate principal of the Philly Orchestra, and pair him with a jazz musician or a DJ or a drummer. And they’ll put them together and see what they can come up with… All music can come together…” says Zach, who I interviewed for my original research.


Here is a picture of a Bridge Session. This musician is teaching about tempo. From largo to presto, it’s important to stick to the beat! (Source)

A graduate student at Temple University, Zach is pursuing a Master’s degree in Music Performance. He was inspired by LiveConnections and created a program for an independent study. “It comes from my love of pop music and classical music.” Zach is working with Joseph Conyers, Associate Principal Bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Executive Director at "Project 440". Zach’s program “... touches on the basic fundamentals of music and how they are present in both today's Popular hits and Classical music such as Mozart or Bach…”.

Through his program, he “... strive[s] to make the connection between these two genres, [classical and pop,] through engaging performance and audience participation.” For my Agent of Change, I want this program to be performed to my class and I. It is new, so we would be the test run and give feedback to improve it. Then, Zach could iron out the program and it could be presented to more kids.

Here is the video of the whole interview.

I actually found a whole new organization, Astral Artists, who support the future of classical music and emerging musicians. I was pleasantly surprised especially since I notice that they were connected. For example, I found LiveConnections through Project 440 and Astral Artists through LiveConnections. Zach spoke about his connections with LiveConnections and Project 440 which lead me to researching them both.

I created a survey which you can see here, and wanted to send it out to Musicopia String Orchestra and the All-City Philadelphia High School Orchestra. Unfortunately, it could not be sent out to All-City because the emails of the students were confidential. After realizing this, I sent out my survey to Musicopia too late, and it is a small group so I received only five responses. For this survey, I wanted to see if musical tastes related to (P)SAT scores.

I did not expect my interview to go this well. I am extremely grateful to Zach for letting me interview him and hope he can come perform for us!

Annotated Bibliography
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