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The War on Terror: Afghanistan

Joseff Filamor

May 11, 2013

Blog Post #3

Hello everybody, as most of you know my name is Joseff Filamor. I am a Freshmen at Science Leadership Academy and for my You and the World project I am focusing of the war in Afghanistan. If you have not already seen my previous blog posts, I focused on what affects a warrior when he goes into war, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My brother; Guz Filamor served in Afghanistan for two years and is the reason I chose to research Afghanistan in the first place. For my third and final blog post, my brother agreed to an interview.  

I recorded the conversation and I wrote it out here for you all to read:

Me: What made you want to join in a military lifestyle?

Guz: Well back in the day, our Pops was pretty hardcore when it came to what we were gonna become in life. He thought the only way to become a full man was to become one through pain and humility.

Me: Did you ever want to join?

Guz: A big part of me did not want to do it at all, but I did not really have a choice.

Me: Are you went through with it?

Guz: I can tell you this, it didn’t leave me a better man. In fact it made me worse considering I had to watch men die in front of me. Although, it did make me appreciate life a lot more. I come home to my family knowing I am blessed to be there to see them.

Me: Did it impact you in anyway?

Guz: Yes it really did, I had a brief case of PTSD and I am still going to therapy to get remove it from my mind.

Me: Anything advice to kids today in hope of joining the military lifestyle?

Guz: Keep your mind straight and have a good reason to join. Do it for your family and country, not for yourself.

I had never asked my brother about Afghanistan or what it was like, but it is interesting seeing what it is like from his point of view.

I am beyond glad that I was able to do the You and the World project on Afghanistan. Ever since my father first told me about my brother being in it, I have always had an open mind for it.

This had definitely been one of the best and favorite projects, thanks Ms Dunn and Guz for helping me all the way through.  

Click HERE to see my bibliography.
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Childhood Cancer: Fighting for a Cure

As my You and the World Project comes to an end, my agent of change was all about volunteering for the amazing foundations that help children all around the world fight childhood cancer every day. There are so many foundations that I have talked about previously in my other blog posts (1 and 2), but I have decided to focus on volunteering for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. I attended two of many wonderful benefits that this foundation holds, a softball benefit and a Christmas party. The softball benefit took place earlier in the year, and included many men and women starting their own softball team in memory of someone they lost from cancer and competing against the other teams in order to raise money for Alex. The Christmas party took place in the beginning of December, which was a huge party for all of the families that are a part of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation who have beat cancer or are in remission. These children and their siblings have a day to themselves of arts and crafts, games, food, and presents from Santa. Being able to experience these benefits has really shown me how much this foundation does for children fighting cancer. 

My process for the agent of change part of this project was mainly influenced by my aunt and uncle who helped me schedule the benefits I would be able to attend to. When a benefit was coming up I would go a day before to my aunt’s house to help everyone prepare for the benefit, things like preparing posters or decorations and wrapping Christmas presents. The following morning we would all drive to the benefit location to set up and spend the day there until the benefit attended. After, everyone helped out in cleaning up. The only problems that occurred during this process were some small issues with just changing around the benefits I could attend. Alex Lemonade Stand Foundation hold so many amazing benefits that I planned to attend, but as things came up during the year we had to narrow it down to a few, but it was easily fixed. 

This project has definitely made a huge impact on me. These two benefits helped so many children and families and I can’t wait for my next benefit in three weeks. Just hearing about this foundation makes you want to help and do what you can do, but nothing compares to the inspiration you feel after attending one of the benefits and just seeing how happy the kids are, how appreciative the families are, and how many kind people come out to help. Attending these benefits can definitely turn anyone into a better collaborator because that is all that takes place during these types of things. Everyone is collaborating to make the kids happy, help the families cope, and come up with different ideas and benefits to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. 

The following is a link to my bibliography
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Blog post #3: Agent of Change, YATW Cole Hinton

Hello. My name is Cole Hinton. For my You And The World project, I did animal cruelty as my topic in the world. For those who didn't see my previous blog posts, click here for blog post #1 or here for blog post #2. In this blog post, I will be telling you about my agent of change part of this amazing journey how we left an impact on others around us.

What I chose to do for my agent of change piece of this project, was to have a fundraiser to raise money. The money raised was given to Paws, a non-profit, no kill animal shelter located on 100 N. 2nd Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106. Tiarra, Sydne, and I worked on a bake sale to raise the money for paws.The bake sale was held Tuesday, April 26 and Thursday, April 25. The bake sale was a good bake sale and we got many good comments about it and it was non-stop with students coming around one after another. We raised over $80 dollars all together after the 2 days. That was a good feeling that so many people came to the bake sale to help us with our project. I was unable to tag along with Tiarra and Sydne when they went to Paws and gave them the money but, I heard it was fun and the money was appreciated

My process of this project to me was good. My first intentions of doing this agent of change was going to an animal shelter and help out them and work with the animals but none accepted my offers. I then thought of having a box where people could put money in themselves but I thought I should do a hands on and easy way to do this. Thus, came the bake sale. 

This whole experience had a great impact on me and I think I did the same with some of my peers on this issue in the world. I learned so much during this experience and how I can be a positive role model and save a innocent animal's life.

blog post 2

Below are pictures from the bake sale and when Tiarra and Sydne went to Paws.
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William Derry: You and the World Blog post #3

  For my third you and the world blog post we had to do our agent of change portion of the project and I wrote a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. My you and the world topic is the financial aid system. I wanted to learn more about what they do and I wanted to know how I could help to make a difference in the department.  

For my second You and the World blog post I talked about the survey that I made and how much I learned from the results of the survey. Furthermore I learned new facts about the financial aid system. Click here to see my second You and the World blog post. For my first You and the World blog post I introduced my topic and I wrote about the numbers behind the financial aid system. Furthermore I gave my reasoning behind choosing the topic that I did. Click here to see my You and the World blog post number two.        

My process was much different than I excepted. My first idea for my agent of change portion of my blog post was to go volunteer at the Pennsylvania department of welfare but I was not able to make that happen so my next idea was to send a letter and to find out more about it and to find out how I could make a difference in the department. I believe that I did not find out as much information as I wanted but I did learn some things. The one big problem that I had was not being able to volunteer at the Pennsylvania department of welfare and the way I fixed that problem was by sending a letter to the Pennsylvania department of welfare and finding out more information.

I believe this project has taught me to never give up on something. At some points of my process I did not know what I was going to do but then I came up with the idea of sending the letter the Pennsylvania department of welfare. I believe that this project has made a difference in my community. The reason being is now that the letter has been sent to the Pennsylvania department of welfare they now know that people do appreciate what they do and are willing to help. I see myself as a leader but I also see myself as someone who can definitely learn more. I do not know everything I want to know about the Pennsylvania department of welfare and I would love to learn more about the department. I will take many things from this project. One thing that I will take from this project is my new learning of Pennsylvania department of welfare and all that I have learned from doing this project. I have also learned a bunch about myself. When I started this project I did not know what I would learn about Pennsylvania department of welfare but at the end of this process I was very pleased and I knew much more about the department at the end of this process.   

Click here to view a video of my process  

Click here for bibliography

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"We Have Hands, Let's Use Them!" Stephanie Dyson for You and the World

Hello all! This is my third, and final blog on SLATE about my YATW (You and the World) Project! (click on all the images to enlarge them)

A bit of background:

In Ms. Dunn’s 9th grade English class at SLA, we are called to find a topic that interests us and, throughout the year, gradually become agents of change. My topic was Art in Philadelphia and I wanted to highlight what we have to offer as an artistic city. You can find my first and second blogs on SLATE (the SLA blog).

Though my process was simple and straightforward, it is still in the works, and I think it highlights the vast importance of technology in this day and age.
(above, Philadelphia's 30th Street Station)

In School

On April 28, I created a google form comprised of questions that everyone can answer about art and artists and the meaning of both. On April 30, I did about seven interviews of my peers. I tried to choose students of all grades, but only a certain number of people showed up for their interview. Nevertheless, this amount of people was perfect for my work. The questions were short, sweet, and simple. However, a few of my peers were avid interviewees and gave me lengthy, thoughtful answers. The questions were:

1. What is Philadelphia known for?

2. What is art? Does it have to be seen?

3. Who are artists?

4. Should artists band together to make this city beautiful

Below is a video of the interviews with a bit of commentary, please watch!

As young artists in the city of Philadelphia, we see art around us all of the time. Everywhere we go, art is intentionally or unintentionally on display. Not everything is beautiful and not everything is aesthetically pleasing, but art is still very alive in our city. For children that go to public schools, this ‘call to arms’ is louder than ever with the proposed budget cuts ahead. Over these past couple weeks, I have never been so passionate with my education as I am now. On May 7, I participated in my very first protest- one against these terrifying budget cuts, walking out of my school building with a massive crowd of fellow students and down to 440 N. Broad Street to protest with sincerity on the steps outside of the Philadelphia School District Headquarters. (Full story) . In a few weeks, my dreams of starting a beautification club will come to light. I’ve spoken to our principal, Chris Lehmann about painting the school and we’ll be doing just that in a week or so with a project titled "We Have Hands, Let's Use Them!" This is the first installment of many projects and mural-esque paintings we'll be doing that focuses on the budget cuts and why education is so important to us. Much thanks to all who’ve volunteered and helped me with this portion of my project!

Outside School

When it comes to art, my main medium is photography. When I leave high school, I’m going to college for photography- I want to make it my life. My friends and family are such big supporters of mine and a very close friend of the family has given me the job of Event Photographer for her dance company’s recital. I’m extremely excited that on June 9th, I’ll have my first big photogig of the year ( Dance Journey’s 2012 performance photos )

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​(above, the young ladies of Dance Journey dancing bollywood style during last year's Open House)

Not only am I photographing for events, I’ve started a tumblr blog just for my photography called “Aestheticia” pronounced as-the-tish-uh, not so much as a psuedonym, but as an idea. I want to turn Aestheticia into a movement. I want to be a stle of photography that truly encourages photographers to beautify real-time, and to make life aesthetically pleasing. Throughout March and April, I went on many photography expeditions with my friends and by myself. There were times when we found ourselves in neighborhoods we weren’t even sure of, and times where we felt right at home. This You and the World project has helped me branch out; In the first week of my blog (April 27th was the starting date), I gained 35 followers. My pictures have circulated the interwebs and I now have upwards of 300 followers (the screenshot below was taken on May 10th) and have sold four prints of my photography to three friends and a photography enthusiast in Virginia! I also went to two arts-type festivals (Mt. Airy Day, PIFA- Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts) and plan to go many more over the summer starting with ArtScape (The nations largest free arts festival!) in Baltimore during July and ending with the Brave New Voices Festival in Chicago in the beginning of August.

(below is a photo of a piece during 2012's ArtScape when I went with a friend for the very first time)
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​(above: 1. a best friend of mine on a photography expedition with me in March; 2. my blog's home page; 3. 296 followers by May 10th! I'm ecstatic!)

I find this to be a tremendous achievement as many of the pictures that circulate on tumblr are all of places like New York and Paris and Italy, unbeknownst to the rest of the world that very few of the people reblogging these pictures have ever been these places and that Philadelphia is beautiful. I want to help get our city to the point where it’s not “New York’s Unsuccessful Little Brother” anymore. This is our city; it’s big, it’s vast, it’s beautiful, it’s hidden. We need to get ourselves out there- I want to do that with my photography.

On this blog, I will also create a page specifically for our beautification club titled “The Aestheticians.” When our very first project is done, I’ll post on all of my social networking sites about it. Pictures and footage will most definitely be on

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I want to thank everyone who’s kept up with my project these past months! It is crucial that we get the word out there about artists and the beauty in our city! Please visit for my photography and please, please, please do ALL that you can to be informed about the School District’s 2013-14 Fiscal Year and the budget cuts we are likely to undergo. More information can be found at:

*All of the photography in this blog post is mine, please do not steal any images. Thanks!


Blog Post 1
Blog Post 2
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Agent of Change: Getting to know the Attic

    Hello everyone and welcome to the final post involving my You and the World Project.  This was an amazing experience and really opened my eyes about the world around me. I went into this project very skeptical and unsure about how everything would carry out. But after pursuing the task, along with a little bit of nervousness, my point of view was really widened.

    For those of you who don’t know, my topic for my agent of change was Gay Marriage/Gay Rights. This entire subject is very controversial and is a topic of debate everyday. I for one, haven’t told my stance on the topic. On whether I do, or do not support the movement. I wanted to be unbiased and go into this process with a free and open mind that could possibly be swayed. If you ask me, this is the best choice to do for anyone that is introducing themselves into a new way of life/element. All in all, it was a life changing experience.

  I may have been unbiased, but this didn’t stop me from helping out the cause. I began volunteer work for The Attic Youth Center. A community designed as a safe haven for lesbian, gay, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) youth to find and develop into free thinking and healthy adults (If you are interested in joining like I did, visit their website here. Or if you'd prefer a different community organization, click here). There are many young people on the streets that have been kicked out/abandoned, especially gay youth that have accepting parents. The Youth Attic helps shelter some of the youth as well. These kids are still kids in my eyes. Gay or not. So I decided it would be an amazing idea to sell baked goods. From April 8th-April 26th, I fundraised for the Attic by selling donuts to the fellow SLA student body while also outside. Nearly $100 was made, which was greatly appreciated by the Attic. When first discovering the Attic, I really wanted to be hands on “involved” with them, volunteer wise. Sadly, in order to do so, I had to be 27. Being a minor can sometimes limit you in a sense! But not in this case because I did get involved and I was able to get my peers involved as well.

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​Dillon, a faithful customer, enjoying her donation to The Youth Attic.


When setting out to make a change, I thought I had it all figured out. Originally, I had planned to get involved with Giovanni’s room, the nation's first gay library not too far from the Attic. I told you guys about it in my previous blogs. In my vision, it was going to be a sleek and smooth interview with the owners who would give me a piece of their life as gays. But then I realized, what else would have happened from there? There wasn’t much else that I could extend from and make my own. But from research and other numerous sources, I discovered the wondrous  Attic Youth Center. I found out about the organization whilst looking for other gay youth centers in the Philadelphia area. When setting out to find a place like such, I mainly aimed to connect with people of my age. Of my generation. To see what it is like growing up for them and how they deal with who they are.

   Some of the main, but minor problems that occurred were the fact that many of people I interviewed/that were involved, were very camera shy. They were pretty open with answering my questions, but when it came to documenting it, that was another story. I had to respect their privacy. I completely understood where they were coming from with wanting to stay discreet. But their words made up for the lack of identification. The main subject of my interviews was with the one and Mr. Jay Jacinto Grant, one of the directors of the Attic who enjoyed my company and my tons of questions. You can read the interview I had with him here.

   While the visits and bake sales occurred, I wanted to include some of the members of the SLA community as well. So I seeked out some of my peers that many of you may know. I created a small, quick, five questioned interview that I had with each of them. They both came from opposite sides of spectrum. Nashay Day, encouraging and behind gay rights. While Andrew Roberts, intelligent and fully has his grasp on why he opposes. The text below entails the conversation:

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A talk with Nashay Day:

Q1: Why do you support gay marriage?

    They should be able to get married. They are people too. It’s their constitutional right, let alone, human right.

Q2: What do you think keeps people from supporting?


Ignorance. They are people in this world that don't support gay rights mainly because of religion. I think this connects, because essentially, you’re forcing your religion on someone else.

Q3: Do you think sexuality defines somebody?

    No. It doesn’t define who you are, it defines your sexuality.

Q4: Knowing you as a supporter of civil rights, do you think there is a connection between civil rights of the early 20th century and gay rights?

    Yes. Before gays were getting discriminated, blacks were getting discriminated. Even though race and sexuality are different, it can still have the same affects on someone's mindset.

Q5: Do you know anyone that is gay?

      Yes. Nearly all of SLA.

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Interview with Andrew Roberts:

Q1. Do you support marriage?


Q2. Why not?

I believe that marriage should be between a man and woman and that man should not change it. Marriage is a scarcer thing with divorces and what not.

Q3. Do you think religion has affected your views on the topic?

Most definitely.

Q4. What do you think will happen if gay marriage is legalized? Will there be positive or negative effects?

A lot of democrats will be happy. The problem I see with gay marriage is it expands marriages ideals. If you expand the grammar to gay marriage, people could protest polygamy as well. People will say we did it in the pass, we can do it now.

Q5. Do you think LGBT will benefit society?

Gay rights, I think that people will be happier, but it’s not going to benefit really.


   These people were amazing help to me in all ways possible. As the world gets older and generations grow, will there be changes? Interviewing two members of my day and age that come from opposite sides, it was nice to see that everyone is different. Even as youths, we still have our own independent beliefs and not everything is determined or set by adults.

   The Interview with Mr. Jay Jacinto Grant was also perplexing. It was like talking with a long lost family member and wanting to know where they have been and what’s happened in their life. Seeing that he is a mentor to gay youths, he is definitely an amazing person to look up to.
He's a strong man, and having to face discrimination from the time period he grew up in is much different than the discrimination that is around today.


     I feel like I’ve experienced the turn of a new leaf by doing this project. I’ve become more aware of the problems that do affect someone’s everyday life. At first, being a heterosexual, I didn’t think I would ever have to deal with the problems that gays do. Being unaccepted by family. Abandoned. Kicked-out. All because of your sexuality. In most cases the reasoning for being against someone’s sexuality is because of religion. But as a religious person, I would understand that you should love everyone. Even the bad things about them.


   I used to turn my nose up at the thought of community service. It felt as though you were being forced to help people. But after stepping down from the clouds and trying it, I actually felt pretty good afterwards. It was a rewarding feeling and made me want to do it again. I wasn’t earning anything physical, but strangely I was okay with it. This project has made me less selfish and more selfless. It’s made me acknowledge the world and one of the tons of problems it has.


   Most of the people  I’ve came to about my project were rather shocked at first. They knew the subject was controversial. The first thing I was being asked was “Do you support gay marriage?”. It seems that this question has became a casual phrase in everyday conversation. Mainly because it is one of the discriminatory topics that is frequently discussed by the Church and our government on a daily basis. It never bothered me when someone asked this, but I always took a mental note of who. The question itself is almost a trick question. If you answer yes, you can either get a congratulations, or a side-eye of disappointment. If the answer is no, you can expect complete avoidance from most and get labeled as a homophobic. There are positives and negatives.

   The world itself, has it’s pending opinions on gay rights. Some will always believe it shouldn’t be, and others will think otherwise. I just wanted this project to make people aware of what is amongst us and the types of people. Everyone has the power to change within themselves. There will always be homophobes, racists and sexists. There is nothing that can be done, but to learn and grow. People will never be fully accepting as whole, there will always be complaints. Even unsatisfaction. But that's what makes the world what it is. We can make it either better, or worse.


    I see myself as a person who is still learning, but can be leader as well. Even without a full understanding of most topics in the world, I can still make a huge difference. It’s been one of my goals, in life, not only for this project, to make leave my fingerprint somewhere. Being commonly called a leader has it’s good and bad connotations, but I do prefer to have group collaboration sometimes. Sharing ideas and helping one another can only bring positive things. For most people who are used to doing this on their own, it can be scary. Having to share the attention with others can be anxiety filling. But it’s the things we don’t try that usually benefit us in the long run.

   This project was very independent. I was on my own, going in out in the world and making my own decisions as if I were an adult already. Since I was so used to having my parents or a teacher doing all the talking for me, it was nerve wracking having to speak for myself. Many people are good speakers and have fun meeting new people regardless of the situation. But my speaking voice comes from nervousness. When first having to talk with the
Attic, I felt like I was walking on eggshells when in reality, the people were really interested in getting to know me. My love for getting to know them grew, and each day I came to visit, I became a little less tense.


    Walking away from this project, I definitely will take away a better understanding of the world itself. Meeting new types of people and being exposed to a completely alien environment has definitely changed a part of my mindset. I’ve seen that stepping out of my own element was very beneficial. I’ve created a bond with people I never would have thought I would. Just by doing this project, It’s been made clear to my psyche that everyone is just a human being. The fight for gay rights is another mark that going to be embedded in history. It’s happening right before our eyes. But what we need to understand is that, we aren’t going to be perfect. The only thing I can do, and we as a whole can do, is grow and learn. Thank you readers for following me on this journey. I hope that from watching me explore the World and some of the things in it, you'll aspire to do the same. And possibly, make a change.


If you would like to see, here are the links to:
Blog #1
Blog #2
My Bibliography
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Global Warming

​Hey guys I have more information on the pdf file so If you want to just read it from there

It’s been a hot year

Hi guys!, Today I am writing my 3rd  blog post, this is for  Mrs. Dunn’s English 9 class. I know it has been a very hot year for all of us and it’s really ad, but I will continue my agent of change to help this change in temperature and make more people aware of what is happening to the world each day.

          Background Knowledge:

Over the last year, I have been informing and warned people in  SLA community and outside of it  about Global warming and the climate changes. 

The reason I picked this topic for this project is because I always wondered what would happened to the earth and what would be the outcome of it in through out the years. I also chose this because most of the people know about it this global problem and some of them don’t and I started getting ideas of making people change their minds and giving them information in how YOU can help and take care of the earth, I saw this as a life challenge. I always wanted to help    some how in some way, I just felt that I had to do something to change the future, my future. Like start using less electricity or planting trees anything that was clean and on favor of reducing the global warming effect . 

What I did

Over the last couple of days I have been recycling  plastic and changing my house’s light bulbs into more efficient ones that are more durable and environmental friendly. I bought new light bulbs that were way better that the old ones we had, I also planted new trees in a park near my house, also I recycle all the things that I could recycle from my house.  I also did a little  presentations to my Mom, Step-Dad, and my friends. I explained to them what I was doing for  this project and what my agent of change was. It was successful and over 60 items in the first 2 weeks. From the money that I make , I take away a 5% to buy more things that can help the earth and that are more environmental friendly. 

I’m still recycling everything I can I also plant trees once every 3 weeks.


Some of the impact of the global warming can be:

Greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for an amount of years ranging from decades to hundreds and thousands of years. No matter what we do, global warming is going to have some effect on Earth. Here are the 5 deadliest effects of global warming.

As northern countries warm, disease carrying insects migrate north, bringing plague and disease with them. Indeed some scientists believe that in some countries, thanks to global warming.

As the temperature of oceans rises, so will the probability of more frequent and stronger hurricanes. We saw in this in 2004 and 2005.

Although some areas of Earth will become wetter due to global warming, other areas will suffer serious droughts and heat waves. Africa will receive the worst of it, with more severe droughts also expected in Europe. Water is already a dangerously rare commodity in Africa, and according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming will exacerbate the conditions and could lead to conflicts and war.



YATW pdf
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An Agent of Change: Immigrants and Refugees

For a project in my English class, final task was to act as an agent of change and make some sort of splash in the world. I decided to host a drive for school supplies to give refugees. I set up a large box to collect donations at my school, Science Leadership Academy. The box has been accepting contribution since the middle of April.

This all started back in November when I made my very first blog post about immigration reform. At that time, I really had no clue what I was getting myself into! I never would have believed that one blog post would make me care so much about such an intriguing yet complicated national issue.

After that first post, I took a small step back. I decided to look around me and ask some people that were close to me what they thought about possible immigration reform for our country. I gathered some interesting original research and compiled it into my second blog post.

Now, I am here, on my third and final blog post. Yet I can hardly recall how all of this came to be. What is it that I have been doing for the past month that makes me a true agent of change? For several weeks I called, emailed, and submitted volunteer forms to countless companies, organizations, and charities around Philadelphia that work with or for immigrants. To be completely honest, this was a painstakingly long and tedious process. For a while I thought I could work directly with immigrants and refugees; I could use my fluency in Hebrew and Russian to talk and translate for new Americans. Yet, as it so happens, I am a bit too young and inexperienced for a job like that. This was very disappointing news for me. This was all the volunteer work some organizations asked for.  Yet, finally, I found just the right organization that I needed and wanted.

HAIS Pennsylvania (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) is an organization that primarily focuses on welcoming new Jewish people into the United States. Among the many things HIAS does to ensure total care and welcoming for the new immigrants, it provides the following programs: representation and legal counseling before immigration agencies and courts; citizenship, refugee resettlement and other social services to assist newly arriving immigrants, refugees and those recently granted asylum; advocacy and education related to immigrant issues and rights (mission). It is through this organization that I was able to set up a collection for school supplies. All of these supplies will be donated directly to refugees.


(Above, you can see just some snippets of my flyers, posters, and box. I posted flyers all around the halls, stairways, and doors; and even a huge poster right above the box.

Right now I think that I am at a point where I have done just about everything that I can do for immigrants/refugees. This experience, though it was short, helped me discover that I work better with a team. I clearly struggled when I was also, but once Marina Merlin began working with me, I gained confidence and resources. Eventually I became more stable by myself, yet I know that I will always prefer a team. As time goes by, I hope to stay tightly connected with this wonderful organization and to also keep a close eye on any immigration reform that will happen in the near future. I am still young and inexperienced, so I truly look forward to learning more and gradually changing my community and my world.

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Poverty In Philadelphia Part 3

Jamie Turner

5-14-13        Orange Stream

Final Blog Post

Since blog post two a lot of progress has been made with my YATW project.  The biggest thing being that I did my Agent of Change part of the project.  Also this blog post will be wrapping up my YATW project.  On Saturday April 27 and Saturday May 4 my mom and I went to a soup kitchen to help out those who are living in poverty.  We also went there to set an example for anyone who wants to make a change in their community.  Now I will get into more detail about my agent of change.


My mom and I went to St. Michael’s LutheranChurch two Saturdays in a row.  We help set up, Serve food, and clean up. On the 27th there were a lot of people coming for food.  After talking to a few people the said that the reason there was so many people was because it was the end of the month and most people’s checks some in at the beginning of the month.  When we went on April 27th there was over 100 people served.  On May 4th there was about 80 people we served.  That is because most people got their checks.  Now I am going to talk about this project’s impact on me and the people around me.


This project has impacted me in many different ways.  One of them is that I now look at people that are living in poverty or homeless a lot differently.  I think that I also made the people around me feel the same sympathy which was my goal.  I would say that this task would have been a lot more challenging if I had to arrange something myself.  I am more of the someone who likes to collaborate with other people to accomplish a task like the Agent Of Change.  In a way I would consider myself a leader because in my community no one really tries to make a change and I feel as though I have set an example for people who are unsure about making a change in our world.  In the future I plan on going back to St. Michael’s to do more work so I feel as though this project sparked something new in my life.  It definitely changed as it went along.

When I first found out about this project I thought to myself “So all I have to do is some community service then I write about it?”  Now I know that this project was meant to be more than that.  The project has inspired me to go out, and do good things because I have the power to change and inspire our generation.  All it takes is one person then others will follow.  That is how my opinion of the YATW project has changed and what I will take from my experiences during the process of this project.

Here are the Links to my other two Blog post and my Bibliography.
Blog #1

Blog #2

Annotated Bibliography
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"You and the World" Teen Depression Final

After Blog #2 I have gone out in the world and executed an agent of change. For my agent of change I created a box where students could express their feelings on the topic of teen depression or tell me what they might be going through. The box was originally in Ms. Dunn’s room but on April 28 and 29 I walked around at Y band lunch to get more notes. Many people were willing to put their thoughts about the subject in the box but the people who told me their personal stuff were few and I think that if I had more time and if I sat down with people and told them the situation they would be more willing to tell me something personal. The box had many instructions and it was easier to understand when told people. Sometimes the thing people need is the thing that only you can give.

My original idea was to do a support group but I knew that Amanda Thieu in Orange Stream was doing that and I didn’t want to do another support group. I helped her on the days that she had the meetings. That plan went better than me having a support group of my own because I would put my box out so that people could put notes in and people did. The idea of a box came from my experience of not wanting to talk about my own feelings around people because I was and still am an introvert when it comes to my feelings. I knew that there were others out there that didn’t like to talk so much about their feelings. They felt better when they wrote something or did something to just get it off their chest without feeling like they were burdening others with their own feelings. When I started I was scared to ask people to write the notes because of the subject matter, I had to get over that and ask people by the end to give me the notes I needed to do my project well. Also the location put a hindrance on my project, people would often forget about the box and even when I reminded them they forgot easily. When I started to take it a round at lunch as Ms. Dunn suggested I get the results I wanted.

This project impacted me considerably. I honestly was not expecting the experience to touch me in so many ways. The first thing that I remember is finding out how many teens are actually depressed in the United States alone; it was devastating. The next thing made me want to cry because at the interview I wasn’t anticipating the outcome of what happened between the two girls I have known for so long could be so unhappy and not I have known help one another. I could not imagine going through half the stuff that they went through. I hope that everyone that has seen me go through this process has been impacted at the numbers, the stories and now the notes. The community I touched was small but I believe that is where you have the most impact on people.

In the community I can see myself doing this for incoming freshmen, who are nervous or for the outgoing seniors, who are getting out of their comfort zones. I believe that I can make an impact if I try hard enough and I am thinking that this mixed with something else can become something of a capstone for my senior year and I am very exited now! I believe that you are always learning and that you won’t stop until you pass. I have learned a considerable amount through the “You and the World” experience. I would love to collaborate with m classmates on this subject and start something on the topic because I have learned so much and I want this to stop in America. We are supposed to be dreamers in America and our young people especially but instead we are having nightmares.

I will take away one thing in particular, young people are the future and if pressures from the media, school, or our parents don’t kill us we will kill ourselves.

Thank you for reading!


 All answers to the notes are on a private Google Doc located here you have to request access and be approved to see the answers to the notes.

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You and the World 3: Homelessness

​Hello, my name is Nashay Day, and for my You and The World Project, the topic that I chose was homelessness. For all of you who do not know what 'You and The World' is please click here and here for my previous blog posts. For my agent of change portion of the project, I tackled the issue of homelessness several ways. My first portion of my agent of change was a survey, and the results can be found here but in summary, the survey was pretty much based on various people's socio-economic status, and stances on homelessness. I took that data recorded, and analyzed it and I saw that 100% of the people surveyed did not believe that homeless people should stay the way they are, and they roughly 85% said that they were willing to do something to help eliminate homelessness. 

For the next portion of my agent of change, I went to Mercy Hospice, a women and children's shelter in Philadelphia. 
During my time there, I donated money and toys to the shelter, and spent sometime talking to the people there.
The people there were so down to earth and appreciative, and I was touched by there vulnerability with someone that they didn't even know. 
But I knew that for my final part of my agent of change that I wanted to take a risk, and really make a change.

For my final part of the agent of change, I decided to walk the streets of Philadelphia donating to, and helping homeless people. 
During my interviews I endured some trouble, but I stuck it out and I felt pretty good about my outcome, I
really helped these people and to see my interviews click hereI was very astonished by some of the things that were said, but I feel that I was able to make a change. 

Looking back on my You and the World, I feel like I really made a change, and that I am now a real
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Blog Post #3

         Hello there! It’s me once again! As you guys know for my You and The World project I was fortunate enough to make a difference on a cause that I personally picked, teen suicide due to bullying. This is my final post on my journey with teen suicide due to bullying. On this final blog post I will be informing you about my agent of change part.

      What I did for my agent of change part was quite interesting and fun! I presented a movie called “Bully”. Bully is a 2011 documentary film about bullying in U.S schools. I presented this movie to my advisory and we watched it for 3 advisories. After the movie ended we had an awesome discussion. The room was set up very different from the one in a classroom. We had chairs around in a circle so everyone had the opportunity to see each other and focus when a person was talking. We had a very productive discussion. We discussed the movie and the topic as well. Some of the questions were;  how did this experience changed them in some sort of way, what they learned about bullying etc. Most important, how this experience changed their point of view. I was very impressed with the stupendous responses I received. The discussion went incredible.


   This whole process to me overall was incredible! I’ve never done anything like this ever in my life! Out of all the projects I’ve done, this one turned out to be one of my favorites. I felt very productive at all times during this project. I felt an immense satisfaction with myself as a person because I knew that what I did, was right. I took a bit of my time to impact other teens. During this project I’ve changed a couple things. I wasn’t thinking of presenting the “bully” movie, nor having a discussion with my advisory. I was originally going to join a walking marathon in philadelphia to raise awareness about teen suicide due to bullying. I was going to originally do the walk. It was very hard for to me decide, because I wanted to do both. I took time to think about what I was going to do my for agent of change. Finally I got drafted to the best option, which was to present the movie to advisory.During this experience, many things went well for me. The discussion went extremely well, and I was very proud of the outcome. I’m a shy and quiet person, therefore I was very nervous when it came to the discussion. Specially because I was in charge of keeping the conversation going, but most important; leading the discussion. Since this was a project that I had to present I felt that I had to code switch. Especially because I was talking about a very important topic; It had to be treated with seriousness. Having a discussion about what dress looks better, is very different to a conversation about bullying. It’s still a conversation with teens but just with different restrictions. Other than that, the movie turned out to be enjoyable by the audience, so that went pretty well. Although there was some difficulties, I tried my best to encounter them. During the movie, there was too many interversions along the way.Technical difficulties were always present, but I tried to make the best of it.


When I first started to look for an idea, I thought of bullying right away. I knew it was a very common world issue and I wanted to become part of it. I knew that bullying was bad but I didn’t think it was a big deal. I always knew that I if I wasn’t the one being bullied, than I was in good shape. I only thought of myself. I know realize that it just takes one person to be the difference. The minor things can support another person, and you never realize that. I see myself as a new person. You and The World shooked me in the way that I was very surprised. It changed me in a good way, I’m very fortunate. While I was watching the movie, Bully, I felt some type of way when I reflected myself as one of the bystanders. If you guys don’t know, a bystander is someone who knows what’s being done to you, but doesn’t step up to help you. It haunts me think that as I was being a bystander someone could’ve taken their life. Consideration, is the word that lives in my heart.I understand that bullying doesn’t take one day to end. It’s a process that I’m willing to take, because it all starts with one. Now, I see myself in the community as someone who both; is still learning and who prefers to follow and collaborate in a group. I believe that you can learn new things every day, although I did explore teen suicide and bullying deep in length I still believe that I can learn new things. Specially if I collaborate with other people, it think in this particular case I rather be a follower than a leader. It all adds up to one thing. What do I take from this experience. This experience has been incredible even the littlest things. It has made me reflect as a human being. It has made me grow and think outside the box. I’m extremely proud of the person I am today. You and The World has been no doubt, Amazing.

Thank you guys for your time and remember, it only takes one, be the difference! :)

Click here for Blog Post #1

Click here for Blog Post #2

Click here for Bibliography 

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You and the World Blog Post #3: HPV/Cervical Cancer

I’m back and it’s May! It’s now time to wrap up the final part of my You and the World project, an Agent Of Change. Since my last blog where I did an interview with my mom and shared her story, I’ve brought it to whole other level. To make my big shabang, I decided to do a presentation on HPV/Cervical Cancer Awareness in front of Science Leadership Academy’s entire 9th grade class. After arrangements were made, on May 1st, 2013 I went to the Franklin Institute and gave a presentation on awareness and then brought up my mother to share her story. At the end we gave out teal and white ribbons that were hand crafted by my mom; the colors that symbolized HPV and cervical cancer awareness. 

Getting to where I did wasn’t an easy decision for me at first. The idea of a grade wide presentation was awesome, but actually finding the will to do it was hard. So then I decided that maybe a presentation in front of my advisory would cover it, but I like to be different with what I do so during spring break I emailed Luke Van Meter. Luke handles most relations with the Franklin Institute and SLA, so I asked him if I could go up during April in the Musser Theater to present in front of the 9th grade. After ironing out details I went up on May 1st and presented. Was I nervous? Absolutely. Do I regret my decision?Never. The overall point of this was to get a message across to at least one person, and I ended up with 125 instead.

This project has impacted me greatly. I learned so many new things about HPV, cancer, health issues on both men and women, what was really happening to my mom, etc. I know my project has been heard and that the message was received because if you weren’t listening to me, you definitely heard my mom. I’ve gotten messages and people thanking me for my presentation afterward, but I’m just glad they listened and didn’t fall asleep. What I’ve taken as an experience was public speaking. I feel like it’s helped increase my leadership skills greatly which was something I was very bad at before. I’ve learned that I like to work and think independently as opposed to following someone in a group. It’s all part of my high school development as both a student and a person.

The following video is an edited version of my presentation, but if you want to see the full version I’ll leave a youtube link as well. And that concludes my You and the World project of 2012-2013

Other Links:

Blog Post #1

Blog Post #2

Annotated Bibliography

FULL Presentation Video

Photos Below

HPV Photos
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YATW Blog 3 Hurricane Sandy

Hello People, Today I am writing my last of my 3 blog posts on Mrs. Dunn’s English 9 Blog. Yes I know it is sad, but I will continue my agent of change and help the Jersey Shore rebuild from the horrific damage done by Hurricane Sandy.

Some Background Knowledge: 

Over the last year, I have been informing people all throughout the SLA community about Hurricane Sandy Relief. Now the reason I picked this topic is because I was effected by this. It destroyed where I spent my summers for 14 years of my life. I also chose this because most of the people in my school saw it as 2 days off. I saw this as a life changer. I knew I needed to help some how and some way.....

I had to do something, like start donating or making shirts, but I had no structure. When Mrs. Dunn announced this project, I knew exactly what I would do. Hurricane Sandy Relief. 

What I Did:

The Donation Jars I made are at the bottom of this post.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been collecting money for the Hurricane Sandy Relief. I put donation containers in my mothers work which is at the Franklin Institute in their private executive kitchen and over 35$ were raised there. I also did presentations to my Mom, Dad, and my Mom’s Boyfriend. I sat them down and explained what I was doing with this project and exactly what my agent of change was. It was very successful and in those cases I raised over $40. Now I am a huge Supreme Collector, Reseller, and Enthusiast; now over the last month I have made over 15 sales. From the money that I made, I set aside 10% to donate to the cause. I raised over $20 from that.

Over that time I raised over $95 for the cause and all of that money will be going to the Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief. 

I am still getting donations from family members and I will do the final tally of donations by May 23rd. This will be an ongoing project. 

Some challenges I encountered when I was doing my agent of change was how to get myself out there. Well like I said above I went up to my family and that is where I got my word out to and I was collecting money from them. 

The Impact:

Some people lost it all and that is not fair at all, they never deserved this.This may not sound like a lot of money raised, but it actually is. This $95 is going to a great cause. The money is going towards the nails that help rebuild a families house, the wood planks that allowed the kids to play cars on, the clothes that the families use to wear, and the food they use to eat.  I feel that this will go very far and that the people that have actual organizations are doing such a great thing. The families that you are helping are so happy and thankful for what everybody is doing for them. 


I am sorry, but this is coming to the end. There will be no more blogs, but there will be more donations. There are plenty of ways to donate and there are so many organizations being started for this. I will list them here: 

All of these sources are very legit and will help people. 

Thank You For reading and staying till the end!

Links to other blogs :

Blog #2 

Blog #1 

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Blog Post Three: Why Abortion is Wrong

Hi, I am Andrew Roberts.  if you remember,  I have posted two other blogs on this subject, which are here: blog 1 and blog 2.  I am one of the only conservative minded people in my school, and stand up for my opinions and beliefs.  One of those is abortion.  I think that the conservative, pro-life side of this issue is not presented enough, and wish to change that.
I must say quickly that being in a liberal city has influenced my opinions.  It has helped me see the whole story of every topic, and has helped me decide on each.  I want others to be able to do the same.
I have enjoyed this whole project on the whole.  I enjoy debating with others on topics such as this and also their topics.  I think that this has also helped me clearly define my beliefs about abortion, but there were most definitely bumps along the way.  At the beginning, I had was very stressed out about this project.  What would I write?  How would I be able to hold my ground?  What would I do for my Agent of Change part?  I had two or three hard nights of this, but I think that I have learned much from that and am proud of the work that came from this.  One thing I decided along the way is that what really needed to be done was to get my side shown.  I did not originally thing of this, but later I realized that that is kind of what I was doing all along:  giving my reading audience that facts that are hidden by the media.  
I think that because of these posts and my research I am much better educated on this subject.  I will be much better prepared for debates I will have in the future; I actually did debate one of my classmates, and, while I did not "win", I did do much better than I thought I would.  I had a way to answer every question and a defense for (almost) every point.  If I continue my interest and passion in this issue (which I most definitely will) I think I will be able to make a bigger impact on this city, and these blogs were the start of that passion.
My agent of change part went along with that theme.  Part of this project was to go out and do something to change your issue.  Wanting to get the word out, I decided to attempt to publish an Op-Ed in several newspapers.  Starting out with my first blog as a base, I change =d it to be more of an editorial and not a blog.  I also made the quality of writing higher in hopes that I would get published.  I sent this Op-Ed (entitled The Other Side) to the Daily News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and a student-run online newspaper called Mighty Post (you can see that site here).  I was very disappointed by the response.  The Daily News sent me an automated 'we have received your submission' email and the Inquirer sent nothing.  Someone at Mighty Post sent me a detailed email about editing my op-ed, and I was grateful for the care he showed.  However, I emailed him back two weeks ago and have not heard anything else.  I did try to get my op-ed out as much as I could, putting it on my facebook page several times among other things,  but I was hoping for more.  I will continue to try to get this published.  I was able to make my op-ed into a newspaper article format, which you can view here.  Google Docs uploaded it terribly, to better view it download it.  I will also include the pdf as a picture in this blog post.
Thank you for the time you gave to me by reading my blog, and if you want to contact me feel free to do so at  

Blog Post 3
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Boys Ultimate Beats Abington Friends

In their final warm-up game before the State Qualifying tournament this weekend, the SLA Boys Ultimate team had one of their most convincing wins of the season, beating Abington Friends 15-4. SLA was led sophomores Brian Birkmire with four goals thrown and two goals scored, Julian Makarechi with two goals scored and three goals thrown, and junior Nuri Bracey with seven defensive blocks. 

The team plays in the Division 1 Philadelphia Area Championships at Archbishop Carroll on Saturday, go Rockets!
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Human Trafficking: Agent of Change

As you know from my previous blogs this is a blog for the You and the World Project. My name is Milahn and this is my agent of change blog. This will be the final blog for this project I hoped you enjoyed and/or found my information given in the past useful. For an Agent of Change part of this project I went out in the world to try to help trafficked women in the United States (Philadelphia). Helping these women showed leadership, helpfulness, and confidence in what I believe in. 

For the final part of the You and the World Project I made twenty toiletry bags and donated them to the human trafficking center. All of the bags consist of tooth brushes, toothpaste, and soap. Additional items were added to the bags such as powder, deodorant, lotion, perfume, and mouthwash. These items weren’t in every bag but each bag received the same amount of items. Also the bags each had a snack, a bag of chips or hershey kisses. The items were donated to me from the dance ministry at my church. A mass text was sent out to the entire ministry and almost everyone contributed. The ministry runs from ages 4-18. The bags were taken to the shelter on May 8th but the bags were all made April 29th. The shelter was located in Kensington. At about 9:30 p.m. I arrived at the shelter. The volunteers really appreciated the bags especially since it was coming from a teenager. They were very surprised to see that a child, such as myself, was interested in helping a very important issue in United States. 

My process was very long. My original idea was to volunteer at the shelter with my mother. This experience would have been an advantage. I would have experienced how to work with other people that were in need of help. I had to change my idea because I wasn’t allowed to volunteer unless I was eighteen mainly because of safety. After trying to see if i could volunteer at a couple other shelters and getting the same response I had to find something else to do. My next option was to give a presentation with specialist on human trafficking. By this time there wasn’t enough time to put together a presentation so my last option was to make bags and donate them. This idea seemed to work out better than I thought it would. Even though I would’ve liked to go to the volunteer I feel as though I still helped out a lot of women. 

This project has impacted me a lot. I used to go to nursing homes, shelters, and drives because I had to for school. I never thought I would want to go just to help out people. This project helped me realize that there is a lot to do in this world and a way to make a change. Now I see myself as someone who can lead to help human trafficking i the United States be recognized as a highly important issue in this world. I am still learning more and more about the issue everyday through research. I will take a lot from this project such as leadership, confidence, and change. These three things will help me on my journey to help stop human trafficking. 

Click here for website
Click here for blog #1
Click here for blog #2
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Every Animal Deserves a Home... Part 3

As you know from my previous two blog posts, my name is Ava, and I am a teenage girl from Science Leadership Academy that is making a difference in the community. I can’t believe I am already writing my third and final post to this project.

(Click here for my first blog post. (Every Animal Deserves a Home) Click here for my second blog post. (Every Animal Deserves a Home... Part 2.)

For my Agent of Change part in my You and the World service project, I have been volunteering at animal shelter for 7 months now. I started in early November, and have been going as often as I can. Overall, it’s been an absolutely inspiring project, and without having this due for English class, I don’t think I would’ve gotten into it so easily! Helping people is one thing, because you can communicate and encourage them to improve themselves and the community, but helping animals is another thing, because they can’t speak our language, and don’t have anyone to speak up for them. Through this project, I have learned so much and have been able to say that I’ve been making a difference in the world, one animal at a time.

To begin, I had to take an orientation session at Operation Ava, the shelter where I have been volunteering. They helped you get to know the ropes, and know exactly what you have to do, and where everything is. After that, you were free to go to the shelter as you pleased, walking dogs whenever you could manage, and playing with cats. I began by walking dogs in the yard, so you could get a feel for the dog, and understand how to hold the leash, etc. After a while, I could walk them out on the street and through the park. I started playing with cats as well. The cats were really adorable. I was petting one cat named Brody, and then leaned down to pet Soza, and before I knew it, Brody was on my back and licking my neck. I also washed and groomed lots of dogs. It’s strange when you wash the first one. There’s a huge sink, large enough to fit a pitbull, and there’s a hose connected to the top. Most of the dogs liked getting cleaned, but some didn’t like it, and I got all wet. 

This project has had an extremely huge impact on me. I realize that through just coming to the shelter, the people there are so nice. They have since then inspired me to be more outgoing. Being in front of people, or with new people has been really hard for me, but by taking the opportunity to help animals, I’ve also been helping myself. I have definitely seen the difference, and I’ve been saying as much as I can to new people. 

So far, I haven’t encountered any problems besides the fact that I can’t go and volunteer everyday! I have ice hockey four times a week, now that the season is over, so it’s been a little difficult to squeeze in the volunteering, but I’ve managed so far.

I feel like I’ve also inspired other people, because when I tell people about how I volunteer at an animal shelter, they might want to get themselves to go and volunteer as well. 

In the community, I see myself as a female teen that people may be bias towards. I know that through my experience, teens have many stereotypes, such as being lazy, listening to loud headphones all day, being rude, and not caring about school or the people/things around them. I hope that through this project, people will be able to have a more open-minded view on teens, and realize that the stereotypes are not all true, and that we can be whatever we want to be. I know that I’m still learning, and that nobody is perfect, but through this project, I have been striving to be a better person. I’ve usually been a follower, depending upon the group of people I’m with, but since I started volunteering, I’ve realized a definite change in my schoolwork. I’ve been taking more of a leadership role, and I feel that I’m becoming someone that represents Science Leadership Academy better.

I’m going to take this newfound courage and leadership, and use it to make a better community for everyone. I think that I have already started subconsciously, becuase I’ve been taking a leadership role in school already!

Please click here for my bibliography.

I hope you take the time to watch my video showing the shelter, dogs and cats, and featuring a few brief interviews that were done with the Operation Ava family. Please like, subscribe, or share with your friends! Operation Ava said they might even be able to feature my video on their site, so please like and share! It will also be passed along to the founders and their mother by the director of Operation Ava!

To watch an amazing video, please click this sentence. Thank you!

Please watch my video! Over 10 hours of work went into it. :)

Picture Below:
Sade Lawal holds Pompom, one of the dogs featured in my video.

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YATW Blog#3:Animal Abuse and Cruelty

This is the third and final portion of the You and the World project I have been working on for the past six months. My first and second blog have both led up to this one post where I present the work I have done in the world to combat the problem of animal abuse and neglect. Just as a reminder, the You and the World project is an assignment that allows my classmates and I address an issue in the world that we want to assist in eliminating, We simply try to help solve the problem or be part of the solution by volunteering or raising awareness. So here is what I did.

I went to Operation Ava at 3rd and Poplar St. in Downtown Philadelphia and volunteered roughly 10 hours so far walking dogs. I do plan to continue my work there because it is requested you volunteer there at least 25 hours or three months, but I also enjoy working with the dogs, so for me, it is not even like working. I have served my 10 hours over 5 days, April 9th, 10th, 16th, 22nd and May 2nd. I worked an average of 2 hours each visit because I usually went after school and I had homework to do after I was done there. During my time here, I walked/played with about 20 or more dogs and sometimes the same dog multiple times. I have really enjoyed working with all of the dogs and cats at Operation Ava.

The process I went through to compete this project was first, submitting a volunteer application. I was scared to do it at first because it would be my first time volunteering by myself and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to provide the help that the animals needed. Eventually, I sent in the application in less than a week, I heard back about going to orientation. That was really exciting for me because that meant, they thought I was good enough to work with the animals at their shelter. I went to orientation on April 7, 2013 with about 10 other people and I was very nervous about meeting all of the people because I am usually a shy person, but I was fine in the end. The next day was the first day I volunteered and I didn’t know what to do at first. Then I asked the girl at the counter what I should do, and I was told to take some of the dogs out in the yard. When I did that, I met another volunteer and she helped me through the rest of my first day. She was a really sweet senior at a high school nearby. I have not seen her since then though. My confidence with the dogs has improved greatly. I now take them for about 20 minute walks each which means I walk 5 or 6 dogs each time I volunteer. I think everything I have done at Operation Ava has gone very well with exception for one dog, Charlie. He is a Chihuahua and I decided I would take him into the yard and let him run around a little bit. I got to the yard and took him off his leash and he did his thing, but when I went to bring him back in, he refused to let me put his leash back on. As a result, I was chasing him around for a good 10 minutes to get his leash on and by the time I did, I was exhausted. I haven’t taken Charlie out since then. I think that is the only problem I have ever encountered during my volunteering. Everything is great with the volunteering I have been doing.
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This project has ben a life altering experience. Since doing this project, I have been propelled to spend more time with my own dog, Oreo. It has also helped me to be more confident in the things I do and look on the bright side rather than the dark. For example, I worried about what I would do if I did not get cleared to volunteer at Operation Ava when I could have thought about what I would do when I was cleared. I am more comfortable exploring new areas on my own as well because when I was volunteering, I had to get to know the area and where to take the dogs for the walks and even getting there was a new adventure. Because of this project and the work I have done, the world and community can know more about animal abuse and neglect. From both the video I have put together on my experience and through my previous blogs that inform people with facts on the issue. In the community, I see my self as a tremendously helpful person who can make an impact and cares enough to spend free the time I have volunteering and walking dogs, as a full-time high school student. It may not seem like much, but many other kids would not even take the time to think about doing something as positive as working and socializing with dogs. Especially since many of the dogs in shelters have been through more traumatizing experiences than many people will ever go through. I believe I have given the dogs I have worked with, some relief from the stressful environment that comes with being in a shelter and reassurance that they are truly loved.

What I will take away from this project is a new understanding of what ’volunteering’ is and bonds with all of the animals I have worked with and the ones I have yet to work with. From this experience, I have also learned that I am much more independent than I once thought. A year ago, I would not have had the audacity to go somewhere I have never been, by myself and volunteer to work with people and animals I have never met before. Or to take Septa there, because this year is the first year I have really had to take it anywhere. One final thing I have learned is, no matter how young or old, shy or confident, you can make a difference somewhere as long as you really want to. I hope from my experience, I inspire others to go out and make a difference in the world. 

I am really proud of all the work I have done with this project and thrilled with what it has turned out to be. Thank you to Ms. Dunn, for giving us this wonderful opportunity to go out into the world and make a difference. This is absolutely, one of the projects I will remember for years to come.

Click here for my bibliography.

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Des O'Donovan Agent of Change

For my “ You and the World “ project I choose to focus on the issue of animal vehicle collisions. After researching this topic I realized that there is a major issue with vehicle collisions involving deer. I live near Wissahickon Valley Park, and in the park their have been deer that have been hit by cars. I decided to focus my issue on local deer collisions. 

On a particular road near my house their have been some collisions with deer. Wissahickon Avenue runs between Carpenter’s Woods and the rest of the Wissahickon. Many animals, including deer, have to cross this road. The road is very busy, and the cars move very fast. Occasional collisions with wildlife are almost inevitable. Maybe if people knew about the risk of hitting deer, they would be more careful, thus reducing the number of collisions.

So, for my agent of change part I was able to get a deer crossing sign posted on Wissahickon Avenue, so that drivers will know to watch out for deer. The sign isn’t actually posted yet, it will take a while before the Streets Department manages to get it put up, but I do have verification that the sign will be posted.

It may seem like getting a sign posted is a pretty easy task. But trust me it’s not. Putting the sign up myself would be illegal, so I had to request it from the Streets Department. The problem is that making a request is not enough. In order for the sign to be posted I needed to get other people to request the sign. I put up signs around West Mount Airy and on the bulletin boards in the park telling people to go the Philadelphia Streets Department website, and request that a deer crossing sign be posted on Wissahickon Avenue. 

Presentation on my Process:

I also raised awareness of my issue by requesting that people go to the Streets department website, and report deer road-kill incident, on the Friends of Carpenter’s Woods website. People saw my signs and I got some publicity. Someone saw my sign and promoted my cause in the Chestnut Hill local newsletter, and in January, while I was photographing a dead female deer on Emlen Street, Brian Rudnick interviewed me about my project, and wrote about it on his blog. Also Barry A. Bessler, Chief of Staff

Office of the 1st Deputy Commissioner, Parks & Facilities Philadelphia Parks & Recreation requested that the sign be posted to the streets department. He also pointed out to them that there are deer vehicle collisions that occur on Allen's Lane, which is near Wissahickon Avenue.

Chestnut Hill Local Article Rudnick Article:

I needed to do a lot of things in order to get this to happen. The first step in getting this done was to request that the sign be posted on Wissahickon Ave. to the Philadelphia Streets Department. I also needed to write to Cindy Bass from City Council.  

In order for a deer crossing sign to be posted in an area, the area needs to be declared a deer crossing area. For that to happen, there have to be reported incidents of deer being killed in said area. The problem I ran into was that there weren’t any reported incidents. This was annoying because I have seen four deer killed by cars on Wissahickon Avenue in the past two years. 

1. A six-seven month old female fawn struck by a car, found dead ten yards from the road in  October of 2011. Her stomach was swollen due to the impact.

2. A full grown, eight point male found dead one hundred yards from the road in November 2011

3. A doe found dead 100 feet from Wissahickon Avenue in December 2012.

4. A young male with his antlers cut off (featured in photo) found on the edge of Wissahickon Avenue on January 3, 2013

There was also an article about a deer that was hit by a car on Wissahickon Avenue after being chased by a dog, which I put in my first two blog posts, in the Friends of the Wisshickon Newsletter. I sent this, along with the other incidents I had seen, to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. I also asked others to report any incidents they might have seen. I contacted David Dannenberg, who is on the Board of the Friends of the Wissahickon. He lives near Wissahickon Avenue and he had some incidents to report himself. 

Click here to read about them

The main way that I wanted to go about solving this problem was to get a deer crossing sign posted, and to get people to watch out for deer. But as you can see by some of David Dannenbeg’s incident reports, and the article in the Friends of the Wissahickon Newsletter, off-leash dogs chasing deer across roads, and into oncoming vehicles is also causing these collisions. It is required by law that dogs remain on leash in Fairmount Park. This to insure the safety of people, dogs, and wildlife. Sadly this rule is often broken by dog walkers, causing dogs to harm wildlife. Some of theses collisions could be prevented if dog owners kept their dogs on leashes.  

I received email conformation from Job Itzkowitz that the deer crossing sign will be posted. It will take a while for it to be posted because these kinds of things take a while, but it will happen. This sign will hopefully reduce the amount of deer getting hit by cars on Wissahickon Avenue, and make Carpenter’s Woods a safer place for wildlife. Deer are abundant in Fairmount Park, and we have to learn to co-exist with them. Despite the fact that there is an over population of them, and they destroy gardens, demolish plant species, and spread lyme disease (which I have gotten twice) I think that deer are beautiful, peaceful animals that deserve to be protected from vehicles, as do all other species of wildlife.

This project has shown me that getting change to happen is a challenge. When I first started my Agent of Change I thought that it was going to be pretty easy. But it turned out that I had to get a lot of publicity and support to make this happen. I think I greatly benefitted my community by getting this necessary sign posted, and showing others that this is a major local issue. I made an impact on the rivers in my neighborhood and the local wildlife. This project was largely an individual project, buy I couldn’t have done it without the support of The Friends of the Wissahickon, the Friends of Carpenter’s Woods, from the Philadelphia Streets Department, City Councilperson Cindy Bass, The Pennsylvania Game Commission, Brian Rudnick, and my Mom and her connections with the Friends of the Wissahickon, and the help of my Community, and their willingness to take action on this issue. Thank you.

Blog 1

Blog 2


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YATW Blog #3: Teen Depression

Since the second blog, I’ve taken my plans into action. Almost every week on Thursday, I’ve asked some class mates to come and join the SLA Support Group Lunch. Surprisingly a hand full of students arrived. It’s fine to start small, it’s easier to control.  I’ve had about 4-5 or so support group lunches and they’re around an hour long. I hold this lunch in my english teacher’s room during Y band lunch. This group of kids are ranging from 9th grade to 12 grade. My idea was to generate a “theme” for each week. For example, our discussions have been well organized with the help of Siobhan, our school's counselor's intern. She’s been guiding my support group lunch into something more planned out.

The first week, which was the introduction, consisted of getting to know each other and explaining what “Safe Space” is. Safe space is basically an area where students can say anything they wish and not get judged. Also in the safe space, we’re not allowed to discuss what happens outside of the area, therefore defeating the purpose. The students who came to the lunch, understood and followed that main rule. At first the group of kids were extremely shy about sharing. I thought, I’d talk about myself and my story first so my peers can see that it’s fine to talk about personal infomation regarding their lives. Everybody only shared little things in the beginning, which I’m alright with. They were making progress. It turned out totally different than what I imagined before the actual lunch took place. In blog oneoriginally I wanted to create a formal support group where everybody sat in a circle and discussed their problems. I've looked up images of "Support Groups" and that was the major theme of them. Here's one example that I looked off of when thinking about a support group.  Thinking back to it, that was such a horrid idea. I' I'm glad how it's really chilled and relaxing, and not stiff. 
The next week I held the gathering, we talked about what depression is, what it looks like (symtoms), and how does one cope with it.  The great thing about having these free discussions, is that we jump from one topic to another. In that hour lunch time we might either talk about the main subject or a couple different ones regarding depression. During the second or third lunch, I’ve been noticing an abundence amount of comfortablity within the members. They’ve been sharing more and they are comforting each other. This project has already impacted my life because I have this bond and trust with this group of people I’ve never thought in a million years I would ever talk to in my high school life. People are actually looking forward to my lunches now on. The people who are attending frequently are my motivation to go on wared through out my four years of high school.
photo 5This picture was taken on April 18th, 2013.

The theme of this week was Friends & Family. During the discussions, the key points were jotted down on the board. This shows how we jump from topic to topic but still relating back to the main theme of the week. 

Here is my Bibliography 
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YATW Blog Post 3 Zoe Schwingel-Sauer

Food labeling is my game and Zoe is my name. If you’ve been following my previous two blog posts (which will be listed below just in case you haven’t) you will know that for my You and the World project done in my 9th grade english class I have been researching all about food labeling. I think that it is now a hot topic of this year especially in the United States. More and more people are becoming aware of this prominent issue and protesting against it. I believe that within the next couple of years some major changes will be made!

For my You and the World agent of change I decided to help those who wanted to shop for organic and GMO free food. For my agent of change I made a pamphlet on exactly how to shop for these items and also gave a little information to educate more people on the subject of food labeling and what is actually in your food (disclaimer: it is gross). I made these pamphlets and then decided I needed to hang them up someplace I knew that people would have easy access to. I live in Mt. Airy and also just so happen to be right around the corner from the Weaver’s Way Co-op. This little mini-grocery store has strictly organic and locally grown food products which made it a perfect match for where to put up my pamphlets. Right outside the Co-op, protected from the rain, is a huge bulletin board where anyone can hang up anything from house listings to babysitting advertisements. I pinned up quite a few of my pamphlets and plan to replenish them as needed!

The process of my You and the World had it’s ups and downs but eventually everything worked out nicely. When it came to choosing a topic for my You and the World project I had originally gone with gay rights. However I realized that there were also three other people with that same topic, too, so I felt that it would get all the attention it needed without my help! While in 8th grade I had read the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma and watched Food Inc. I became acutely aware of how terrible this affair is. As I was pondering over what my topic of choice should be, I remembered what I had learned the previous year. At the time I knew that the issue of labeling food had not been recognized as big deal because it was (and still is) perfectly legal for companies not to include the antibiotics or GMOs the put in the product on the label. I knew I had found my topic! For blog post 1 I did a lot of research on what was currently happening with the government’s involvement and what was happening on a national level. For blog post 2 I did my individual research which consisted of my going out and buying organic and ‘natural’ peas and comparing them. I also talked about success stories of a store and restaurant that had gone all organic and local. When it came to deciding what my agent of change should be I knew that I wanted to make others aware of my subject while also helping them find food that had no GMOs and was all organic. I also knew that I wanted to make my finished agent of change available to everyone. Originally I had thrown around the idea of putting an ad in the Weaver’s Way newspaper but that costed money, so I decided to make a pamphlet that was easy to understand and convenient to just stick in your purse or shopping bag.

This project has definitely left an impact on not only me, but I believe my

community, too. I had a little previous background knowledge on the topic of food

labeling and the food industry but with this project I did a lot of in depth research and

definitely grew more knowledgeable about the entire food industry and what’s

happening in relation to our country. I used to occasionally eat at a fast food

restaurant when I was on the road traveling with my family but not just the idea of the

food repulses me. Fun fact: Chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s are sprayed with

0.2% of
Tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ), which is a chemical that if consume 5

grams is proven to be fatal. I feel that my project has had an impact on two

communities. One, my internet community as I have shared the link to my blogs with

my fellow peers, and multiple people have told me how much they learned. My second

community (my physical one), Mt. Airy, has been impacted by my pamphlets that I will

continue to hang up and give out to anyone who wants to know more about what they

eat and where/how to get the “good” food. I feel that I can take a leading role in my

community by helping out in the numerous organizations surrounding me and by also

providing the community with my own creations like my pamphlets. I also think that I’d

like to collaborate with those around me, especially the youth in my neighborhood,

because I feel that we as a group have a powerful voice. I will take away from this

project the learning of my topic in general but also how everyone can make an impact

big or small in this world and that all or important. I know that creating my pamphlets

won’t solve all the food labeling issues in the country but it’s a step forward by

educating people on it and helping them eat right.  

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 2

Annotated Bibliography

Video Proof!

Below is a documentation of my process of making and putting up pamphlets!

Photo captions:
1. The pamphlet so everyone can have access to it!
2. Myself standing next to the pinned pamphlet.
3. The Weaver's Way Co-op sign.
4. My pamphlet on the bulletin board.
5. The first printed copy of my pamphlet.
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YATW Blog Post #3

For the final post of this year, not only did I have to research my issue on Bullying, but I had to go out into the world an address the issue to someone, or a group of people this was called an Agent of Change. I knew from the beginning I would teach a younger group of kids about the affects of bullying, when the time came I just needed to find the right group of kids. I had been in regular contact with my former principal at AIM Academy and when I told him about the project and my idea he replied saying that it could be possible for me to teach there. He gave the email of the lower school principal and told her about my idea. I didn’t have a backup plan so when I had no response I began to worry and try to think up new ideas, luckily I got a response a few days later saying I would be presenting the the fourth grade class.

When I arrived in the classroom I had time to set up and by the time the students arrived they were very excited. Some students didn’t want to talk about their feelings towards bullying and wanted more to play games and goof off, but some students were happy to talk about their experiences and their feeling towards bullying. However I came prepared, being a former student there I know that the kids can’t simply learn from a presentation, so I started a few activities with them. They first activity one that I thought was clever, one student was asked to squeeze some toothpaste onto a strip of tape, when they finished I asked the student Jamie, to put the toothpaste back into the bottle. It was pretty funny because Jamie really tried to put the paste back into the bottle, after a few tries I asked her what the significance of squeezing toothpaste onto tape was.  She didn’t know, so I explained the purpose of this is to show how you can say something mean very easily, but its much harder to take back whatever you said, however you can clean up the mess. At that point I stripped off the tape from the table and threw it in the trash, the students were amused.

The next activity was called Wrinkled Wanda, the students drew “Wanda” onto paper and wrote mean things to say to someone, after they were done I told them to crumple up their paper. After about five minutes of some serious crumpling, they were done and I told them to open up the paper and put it to the side. Then they took another piece of paper, and drew another “Wanda” however on this paper they wrote nice and sweet things to say to someone, mainly the opposite of the mean things they wrote before. Now they had two “Wanda’s” one nice and the other mean, now they thought that they were done and began goofing off I asked them what the difference was between the two, some said they were opposite categories but one girl, Jamie from my toothpaste activity said that one was wrinkled and the other wasn’t so, I told the students to try and get the wrinkles out to make it look like the nice one. They tried very hard but they couldn’t get the wrinkles out and the lesson was pretty self explanatory, you can try but every mean thing you say to someone or mean thing you do to someone, leaves a wrinkle and you can try to smooth them out, but it never goes away until you say you’re sorry.

The final activity wasn’t a drawing activity it was a writing activity but I thought it would be a good way to end the class. The students got a small survey with simple instructions, you had to write examples of times you were a good friend, or a time when you were brave. The second part was to give examples of people who loved you or a time when you made a good decision. I worked with to kids, Jamie first she was having trouble thinking of examples and also writing her answers down. Since the school is a place for children with learning disabilities including dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADD, and ADHD, teachers and guest teachers are allowed to write for them. So I wrote down Jamie’s answers for her, when she was done she was very eager to show her teacher and I began working with the boy who sits next to her Christopher, he was having a lot of trouble thinking up ideas so I worked with him and he came up with his answers, all of them.

At the end of the class some kids found the lesson to be a time to goof off with their friends, but other students like Jamie and Christopher found the class to be fun and it seemed like the two of them really needed a class like this, to understand what bullying is, and how they can prevent bullying. I found the experience of teaching a group of children very exciting, I’m not saying it was easy but I loved watching their faces express when I talked about something or someone explained an experience with bullying.

Click Here for my Blog #1
Click Here for my Blog #2

Click Here for my Annotated Bibliography
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