January 23rd Class of 2013 Cap & Gown Fitting

The fitting is mandatory for all seniors in room 503.  If a student does not show up for his/her fitting time with the professionals we are not responsible for ill fitting gowns. Things all students need to know: 

  • his/her weight 
  • If they are wearing heels, if so whats the height of the shoe ie 2in etc..  
  • The fittings go really fast and I suggest each advisory lining up in alphabetical order by last name 5 minutes before their reservation ie Dunn get ready at 1:35 outside in the hall in front of my classroom.
Reservation Times
Dunda     1:20
Dunn       1:40
Herman   2:00
Reddy      2:20
Sanchez  2:40
Siswick    3:00

Hunger and Homelessness: A World-Wide Epidemic

According to the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness,  the national poverty rate in America has increased to 13.2% of the population in the last year, and 3.5 million people are forced to sleep the streets every night. According to a study by the U.N, nearly 1 billion people on this planet are chronically hungry. And the substantial infamy is that the world produces more than enough food for every individual in the world. As I search more in depth for a panacea to this epidemic, I try to not only research, but to go out into the world and get my own original data.

​*The homeless are left hungry and vulnerable to beg on the streets. 

Upon examining more into the pandemic of hunger and homelessness, I went out into the world, into the Science leadership environment, and on Facebook to ask people  thought provoking questions about their awareness of world hunger and homelessness. Based on a survey of 54 people, 39% have claim that they have been homeless in one point of their lives. Also, 32% say that they know someone who eats only one meal a day. 

Here is a link if you want to view my survey:  https://docs.google.com/a/scienceleadership.org/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ajm4KyXhAiaYdFlVNzRyRldXaV85V3hDOXJqZmNrUkE#gid=0 

one meal
one meal
* Lunch at school may be some children's only meal of the day.

Knowing that we live in the United States, I find that these statistics are slightly mind-boggling. The the United States has a GDP of approximately 15.3 trillion dollars which is the highest in the world, but yet out of 54 people, already 39% say that they were homeless and 32% claim they only eat one meal a day. If you put that on a grander scale, 672,000 are homeless in America currently and 6.7 million people suffer from food insecurity. Although the rate of homelessness has decreased, which is substantial progress, people are still going to bed each night hungry. Or they might not even have a bed. 

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Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 12.22.43 AM
* While many people enjoy regular family meals in the comfort of their homes, some face food insecurity.

An other major predicament is the amount of food we waste each year. I inquired in my survey if anyone has ever wasted food, and 81% said they did. According to The Charity Sub, the United States throws away 96 billion pounds of food each year. That is enough to feed the the whole state of New York, for three years! I believe our problem is that we have the resources to tackle this obstacle, but we just don’t know how to use them. 

In my survey, I also questioned peoples’ opinion on whether or not they thought homelessness and hunger was an epidemic. More than 80% agreed and 91% of the people said that these conditions are common in their neighborhood. 

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Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 12.28.32 AM
* Demographics of my survey 

I am seeking further advice from an organization, Bread for the World. Bread is a 501(c)4  Christian organization that presses our nation’s government to put an end to hunger in this country. I am corresponding two of their representatives, Jon Gromek, the   Central Regional Organizer and Larry Hollar, the Senior Regional Organizer. Upon motioning through the interviewing process, they are away in Washington D.C. until Monday, January 21. You will hear from them in my final blog post with their response to   these crucial affairs. But the Senior Regional Organizer has responded back to me with an urgent plea to call our Congress members to urge them to continue to fund programs  that address hunger and poverty before the fiscal cliff negotiations are made soon. If you would like to participate here is a link for information on how to inform our congress: http://blog.bread.org/2012/12/act-now-congress-needs-to-hear-your-voice.html. Call Congressmen Bob Casey, Pat Toomey, and Chaka Fatah and tell them to pass a deal that includes protection to essential programs to hungry and poor people in the U.S. and around the world. 

Poverty is an undeviating cause of hunger and homelessness. Hopefully, through tackling the problem of poverty we can confront it these epidemics that are impairing people all around the world. Please urge your congress to fund programs that aid poverty before the fiscal cliff negotiations are finalized. 

homeless sign
homeless sign

Here's a link to my bibliography: https://docs.google.com/a/scienceleadership.org/document/d/1va6NEzQioqza2fzxFDTiaYiKoWn-vnI50O0FopaOarY/edit 

Here's a video about hunger and food insecurity:
Here's a video about homelessness in America:

These people are calling out for our help!

YATW 2.0

“After all, the American Dream doesn’t just belong to some of us. It belongs to all of us.”  Antonio R. Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles and the former president of the US Conference of Mayors says in an editorial.

Hi everybody! I’m back again with some new and improved information about immigration. If you haven’t read my first blog post yet, here it is. Basically what’s going on is this awesome project in Ms. Dunn’s English class called “You and the World”. This is a project during which students choose a topic/idea in the world that is important them; then, the students conduct research through interviews, surveys, news sites, and newspapers. A lot has changed in the world of immigration in the past few months, but first we’ll talk about some perspectives on immigration reform.
​The image above shows the anual growth of residents in various countries. Evidently, the US gains more and more people each year.

I have touched on this matter slightly in the past, nevertheless, I wish to discuss it some more right now. Barack Obama wants to grant citizenship to the illegal immigrants already present in the US. Then, he plans on securing our borders (security forces, walls, etc.) so that we can retard the rapid flow of immigrants into our nation. Evidently, there are people that disagree with Obama; one of those people is Senator Marco Rubio, from Florida. "Here's how I envision it, they would have to come forward. They would have to undergo a background check. … They would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, maybe even do community service. They would have to prove they've been here for an extended period of time. They understand some English and are assimilated. Then, most of them would get legal status and be allowed to stay in this country." He told the Wall Street Journal. Clearly these two opinions differ in many ways. Obama thinks that we should grant citizenship to those already here (though he doesn’t actually specify how) whereas Rubio expects much more out of the immigrants in order to make them a part of this country. Nevertheless, there are still many sides to the never ending debate over immigration. Another side to this debate is that of my older brother, Ilya Friedman. He thinks that there we should keep our doors wide open to new citizens. In his opinion, our country thrives on new people joining our communities, workforces, and country. Many people think that these immigrants are taking away our labor work, but Friedman begs to differ. He says that those immigrants that make their way into the US are ready to work hard in order survive here. There is nothing wrong with that and we shouldn’t scold them for wanting to work. This is excluding people who work but do not pay taxes; Friedman understands that individuals who don’t pay taxes have earned repercussion.

Millions upon millions of people wish to live or work in the US; sadly, most of those people have trouble becoming legal citizens for reasons including, but not limited to, lack of experience, inability to speak English, or criminal records. However, many different kinds of visas and green cards exist for all different types of individuals. Unfortunately, there are far too many to name here and now, but if you want to learn some more about these green cards and visas, you can visit this informational immigration website.
This image clearly shows that we, Americans apparently don’t want any more immigrants, yet the fact of the matter is that it is so easy to have nothing in the US and still be able to survive!

So, what’s really been happening with immigration in the US? Nothing. Seriously, I’ve told you about what people have been discussing, but that’s as far as they’ve gotten so far. If you want to read about some more discussions, feel free to Google some news articles.


YATW: Blog #2

Hey everyone this is Isabella Blackwell. Welcome to my second post of my “You and the World” blog. If you didn’t read my first blog, check it out here. What I wanted to look deeper into & focus on for my 2nd blog post was how kids and parents deal with having special needs & attention. I decided to reach out and actually talk to a representative who works with these kids (& volunteers) to see what life is really like for people in that situation. I talked to someone named “John” from the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. 

Q: What exactly do you do?

A: I pretty much do whatever Linda (Director of Volunteers) tells me needs to be done. I help out with the kids, & make sure everything is in order. 

Q: What types of support does the Ronald McDonald House provide for both the kids & parents? 

A: Its a home away from home where generally, it puts the parents at ease knowing that they have a nice warm bed to go to at night while the children are in the hospital. It’s just a friendly environment for them to stay at, and not really have to worry about anything else. 

Q: How do the kids cope with their environment at the hospital?

A: The kids cope with the environment very well actually. They don’t really see it as a place where they get better, more as where they go for a vacation. They think of it as just somewhere to have fun with the other kids that stay there. 

Q: How do the parents deal with leaving their kids at the hospital?

A: The parents deal with leaving their kids at the hospital feeling fine. They know that their child is getting better. 

Q: When you volunteer, what do you think that high school students like me take away from it most?

A: They probably take away the fact that they can play with the other kids. They learn that kids who have cancer or whatever the disease they have is aren’t really different than them, but the same in many ways. 

Q: Do the volunteers actually get to talk to the kids and their families?

A: The volunteers do get to talk to the kids and parents, but there are some guidelines they have to follow. They aren’t allowed to pick up a child at all. So they are allowed to talk to them, but they can’t get on a very friendly basis because it would turn into a liability issue. 

I took a lot out of this phone conversation. It made me think about how patients and just regular students live the same. They all have goals, & like to do the same things. Just like our parents are supportive of our goals, the parents of these patients are the same about their child’s growth and recovery. Overall, I enjoyed learning more about the different ways people live. 

Human Trafficking


In my previous blog post I gave a general sense of where human trafficking takes place in the U.S. Also I gave some statistics. The difference between the last blog post and this one is I went out and did original research. My research was an interview about a book. This book is about human trafficking. Even though the book is about countries across the world it still fit in with the topic. On top of the interview I did more research on human trafficking in the United States. 
Human trafficking that is a big issue but many people don’t call attention to it. What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Girls and boys, starting at the age of twelve, are forced into this “industry” involving selling their bodies against their own will. These traffickers, also known as pimps, use violence, tell lies, make threats and false promises, and other power/control to keep the victims involved. Human trafficking has been found in a vast variety of venues. These venues include residential brothels, hostess clubs, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution. 

This “industry” is world wide. I interviewed two seniors about the book/movement Half the Sky, Katherine Hatzidais and Catherine Nardone. This book is broken up into different stories about girls apart of sex trafficking. This was not their choice they were forced. Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It teaches about girls in different countries and what they are forced to do, sometimes by their parents. It talks about the movement and they help they provided young women. The movement was created because of inspiration of the book. Not only is the movement supposed to raise awareness but also provide steps to help these women fight against human trafficking and empower women. 

for sale
for sale
The interview went very well. Many questions were asked such as if Katherine and Catherine enjoyed the book, why or why not. Katherine. said “  It was biased. The information provided was very repetitive and it singled certain people out. Made the people who tried to help the girls seem like the bad guys. This is because they don't have the equipment to help these women. Also she felt as though the book wasn’t mature. It was very factual. Lastly, it needing to be a little more transparent.” Catherine agreed with Katherine. She added, “ Seem as though the authors were doing a good deed in a negative way. Also the stories were very repetitive.” 

Another question was what they learned. Katherine learned about not getting involved. Women aren’t allowed to go to school pushing them towards being in brothels. Catherine learned the authorities were in the pockets of the brothel owners. Also if the women had children they would take them away. Lastly, it’s safer to have a baby in Ireland than here. One question asked if the book effective? Catherine said, “The stories aren’t boring but they get old. You want it to stop. Stories don’t make you feel any better.” She liked the documentary and felt moved by it. Wasn’t moving enough to make her want to go and change the people. Katherine felt statistics were more effective. The stories were readable like an editorial. She liked it but thought there needed to be more to it. 
Human trafficking happens all over the world. More awareness needs to be brought to the topic. This is a big issue and people need to take a stand on it. It's not right and it needs to stop.

Environmental Education Worldwide with Tatiana Shakirova

In my last major post, I went over the environmental situation our race’s communal greed, stubbornness, and ignorance has placed us in. Shifting climates, species going extinct, melting icecaps. Heavy stuff. These world-wide dangers we face are certainly no laughing matter, and yet the answer seems laughably clear. Considering this is an issue of ignorance, it seems clear that we should fight it with education. Education is, in essence, the engine with which change comes about in the world. An ignorant nation is a stagnant nation. An ignorant world is an unchanging world. After all, it’s very hard to fix a problem without knowing about it. So to that end, considering I am not very well educated about environmental education, I found someone who was. On a recent visit to the UK, I struck up a conversation that eventually found its way to the ethics of environmentalism, while admiring a victorian-era toilet in the Sherlock Holmes Museum, in London. The woman I was speaking with, Tatiana Shakirova, happened to be the Manager of Education for the Sustainable Development Program, for the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia, or CAREC. Later, I had a chance to conduct a short Interview with Tatiana via email about the importance of environmental education. 

The interview went as follows:

Q: What is your position within The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia?

A: Manager of Education for Sustainable Development Programme

Q: What inspired you to enter the field of environmental education?

A: My own education and the level of pollution of my country and in my city.

Q: What is the status of environmental education in Central Asia? How widespread is it, and how is it incorporated into standard education?

A: You will find more information at the CAREC web-site: www.carecnet.org

Q: At what age is environmental education introduced into standard education in Kazakhstan?

A: We have a mandatory course “Ecology & Sustainable Development” in Kazakhstan for bachelors of all specialties [majors] of all Kazakh universities.

Q: How does CAREC approach environmental education, and what individual issues are considered most important to teach to students?

A: You will find more information at the CAREC web-site: www.carecnet.org

Q: Do you believe the world as a whole can benefit from widespread environmental education?

A: I do believe. I do not have any other choice, otherwise I should leave my job! 

Unfortunately, Ms. Shakirova was leaving for vacation at the time of writing this, but kindly took a moment to give her opinion. Despite the brief nature of the interview, Tatiana’s passion for environmental education, and the personal nature of her cause resonates after reading her responses. Pollution and climate change should be a personal matter to all of us. Every one of us can see the pollution that litters our grounds, darkens our skies and infects our waters. We can feel the erratic and dangerous weather changes. And so what do we do? According to Tatiana and the CAREC website, we spread the word. Apart from the mandatory Ecology & Sustainable Development course Tatiana mentioned, CAREC has organized educational lectures and courses for government officials from all over the central asian region, as well as many other programs for students. These are patterns we in the U.S. should be following. Unfortunately we’re are far from widespread mandatory environmental education. Courses stateside remain optional, obscure and poorly funded, but more on that next time. 

Environmentally yours,


For earlier posts, images and a prettier layout, click here. 

Entry #2 — Including Technology


In my previous blog post, I talked about how music education is important in schools and how music technology can facilitate it. It was based on research I did online and my own opinions. However, since then, I have done my own individual research, in the form of a survey. In that survey, I found that, out of the 53 responses, most of the respondents were male. That made sense, as my dad sent this out to some musicians and an illustrator group, most of whom were male. In addition, most respondents were either 13-18 years old or 41-50 years old. This was expected, too, as I sent this out to fellow students, and most of my dad's friends were around his age and in their forties. As expected, most respondents were from the United States, but surprisingly, people responded from Germany to England and even Singapore! Also, an unexpected number of people with graduate degrees responded.

However, that part was relatively unimportant. The important parts were the questions about music education. Most respondents or their children were involved in a local school district, which was relatively unexpected but probably would be easily explainable when you look at the fact that children are included in the question. A surprising number of respondents played a musical instrument, which may have been skewed. When respondents were asked how important music was to them, 79% put an 8, 9, or 10, showing that most thought it was important. However, even more thought education was important, as 96% put an 8, 9, or 10 when asked how important education was to them. However, when asked about music education as a whole, the results were a bit more spread out. There were a good number of 5, 6, and 7s (28%). That shows that music and education were both important to people, but music education as a whole less so. Then, when asked about donations, people responded with everything from "No." to "$200".

There were two respondents, however, that provided a counter to what I was saying. Both said that using technology should be second to learning a traditional instrument. To tell the truth, I disagree. There are a few reasons for this. The first is because of schools' budgets. A piano can cost anywhere from $4900 to over $10,000; however, twenty cheap MIDI keyboards and a group license to a piece of music software can cost anything from $780 (Garageband), $1800 (Ableton Live) and $2600 (Logic Pro). As you can see, it's usually cheaper. In addition, space can be an issue; small MIDI keyboards usually take up two square feet each, but a guitar takes up a much larger space. Finally, they can be easier to teach with, as each kid can have an affordable "mini-piano" which can make any sound you like, instead of one large piano which students would have to take turns using.

chart_1 (1)

Over the next month or two, I am going to be contacting the school district, asking them about my plan, and contacting companies like Ableton to ask them about discounts. Hopefully I can somehow set something up to bring music education and technology into schools, however slowly this may take. I plan to start in schools that I know will benefit from this, like my former school, Cook-Wissahickon Elementary. They already have a music program starting up, and integrating this technology into the program would be beneficial to it. From there, I'd like to expand the program into other schools across the city. I won't be finished by the time the next blog post rolls around, but I sure will have gotten it started!

Click the images to go to their respective websites.


Bibliography: http://bit.ly/10BfAnR

Every Animal Deserves a Home... Part 2

As said before in my previous post, my name is Ava and I am a teenage girl from Science Leadership Academy striving to make a difference in the world of animals. I believe anyone can make a difference, no matter how small of a voice they start out with, and that’s what I’m hoping I can do through this project... Make a difference.

With the start of a new year, there’s a new hope for animals across America. 2012 was an increasingly better year for the animals, and there have been many adoptions. Many shelters and organizations helped in the time of need when animals yearned for care during the stressful event of Hurricane Sandy. 

Hurricane Sandy was a devastating time for both humans and animals alike. Although according to the ASPCA, there were 129 happy pets that were reconnected with their owners.

In addition to the good news, an article published in December of last year talked about how more and more shelters are becoming no-kill. When a shelter becomes no-kill, they need to have a large amount of help in the process because it’s very difficult to have a successful shelter that doesn’t euthanize animals. In one shelter alone there can be hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers work at the shelter to help take care of the animals, but they do not get paid. Much of the success of the no-kill shelters is because of the wonderful volunteers who devote time out of their personal lives to go out and help the cuddly creatures!

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Click picture to be lead to site.

Through a recent survey I created, I asked several simple questions. Almost 70 people filled out the survey! I wanted to know if people had ever adopted a pet from a shelter, if they believed that animals deserved better care in shelters, and if they had ever been to a shelter. Most of the results surprised me. I didn’t expect as many people to say that they had adopted an animal before. It also surprised me that almost half of the people that filled out the survey had never been to an animal shelter.

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Click the picture and scroll all the way down for a bigger copy.

I believe that through this survey, I have learned that it would be in my best interest to educate more people about the shelters along with encouraging them to take a brief tour of one.

Through the research I’ve recently done, I think that my opinion is not as biased. Although I do believe that many shelters have terrible conditions, my opinion has shifted and I now reassuringly know that there are many people out there who do care about the animals and are willing to do almost anything to help them.

I’ve started volunteering at an animal shelter, and so far, the experience has been amazing! Every week I go to the shelter and walk the dogs there. It’s a great feeling to get to know some of the dog’s personalities, but also a little sad to see them go if they get adopted. I know it’s better for them that they have a home, so I’m glad to see them leave for a better life. Below is the logo of the animal shelter I volunteer at.


Click the picture for more information.

For another section to this project, I plan on collecting old towels. Shelters use towels for many things, and when they wear down, the shelter needs new ones. Collecting towels would benefit the animals there, and the shelter would have one less thing to take care of. 

We are their voice. Let us be heard.

To view my first post, please click here.

Click here for my bibliography.

You and the World #2

Hello. This is the second post in my You and the World project. To look at the first one, click here. I feel the information I have gathered since my last post has been very valuable. Homelessness is a problem that reaches into many different sections of life. A Philadelphia man has been taking pictures of the homeless and talking about them on the internet. To look at the website click here. What this man is doing is really important. How many times have you passed by a homeless person in the street and just ignored them? I have done it too many times to count.

One homeless man, Lemuel, who was quoted on the site was talking about how he is homeless and people ignore him when he asks for money, but then there are people who ask him for change so they can pay the meter to park. I think this reveals the real problem. People are so self-centered that they do not realize the needs of others. When someone needs to pay the meter to park their car, that is all they think about. When they see someone with change they think “Oh, problem solved!” even if they are homeless. We all need to think beyond our own want and needs and think about this community as a whole. To back this up further, I would like to bring up my survey. I did a survey for this project to see how aware people were about the poverty and homelessness that surrounds them. Look at the graph on the right to see the results.chart_1 There were more people that got things wrong but the results were close to even in terms of how many people got questions wrong versus how many people got questions right. Most of the time when someone got a question wrong they thought there was more poverty. This leads me to believe that it is not a problem of awareness, but a problem of caring. Many people know about the poverty problem in Philadelphia but it seems that they shrug it off. I decided to volunteer at a homeless shelter in order to alleviate the amount of people who are hungry and homeless. However, through this whole experience it has become clear to me that this is not enough. I urge people to volunteer at homeless shelters (here is a list of homeless shelters), but also pay attention to what is going on outside on the streets. Homeless people who either choose not to go to homeless shelters for whatever reason or who cannot get into shelters are left out in the cold. We need to take care of them to. We ignore homeless people on the street often. At least most people I see do. I think that the first step to end the homelessness abundance is to recognize that there are homeless people. We should stop averting our eyes when we see a homeless person but look at them in the eye. If they are asking for change stop and say sorry I do not have any as oppose to ignoring them. I have realized all the wrong things I was doing and I am starting to make a change. There are some homeless people like Lemuel, who had a bad habit and now need help rehabilitating. I bet that being homeless does not help in this process. I think for the sake of homeless people, and even for our sake we need to end the over abundance of homeless people.

I Don't Understand

Finally something I was good at I thought to myself, the mile run. It was mid October the air was crisp and the leaves were beginning to fall. Not too cold and not to hot, perfect. Fourth grade me thought I was the best of everything so I was pumped. All 27 of us lined up on the middle school track, we began to run and each lap we finished we got a popsicle stick and after we got our 4th we were finished. I was the fastest girl in the class with a time of 8 minutes and 22 seconds. I was so happy with myself, I felt like I had to prove something to everyone since I was still considered “the new girl”. 

After everyone was finished all of the boys congratulated me and gave me a high-five. As we were walking back to the school me and my classmate Rod started a conversation. 

“What sports do you play?” Rod asked.

“Soccer” I responded. I was scared that he was going to ask what team he played for next, Ohhh there it is.. 

“What team do you play for?” Rod asked. He had a look on his face that showed he was really interested in knowing. 

“Sadly, none right now, since my family and I just moved here a few months ago, but I’m really hoping to get one one soon.” I replied. 

“Family?” he asked looking a bit confused. 

“Yes, family” I said, What was he talking about? This is why I don’t like meeting new people! I thought to myself again.

 “Why do you say family with the AAAA sound like “Amber” and not like “Apple” Rod asked. 

“I have no idea, thats just how I grew up...”

I didn’t really have an explanation for him since I grew up talking like this. He speeded up ahead of me and as he was walking farther and farther away I heard him keep repeating the way I said family over again until he was so far ahead that it faded. I was afraid that people would make fun of me because they said 1 single, 6 letter word differently then me. What was the big deal I asked myself over and over in my head. That night when I got home I told my mom what happened. She grew up in Michigan so when she moved to Philly she had many of these encounters. Me and my sister began to ask her how she said certain things. 

“Mom how do you say soda?” my sister and I said in sync. 

“Pop” my mom answered. She was a little annoyed because we always asked her this and then laughed. 

“Why do you call it that? Its so weird and annoying. What happens when you first moved here and needed to order a drink?” We asked. 

She stopped answering us because there was nothing else she could say except for thats how she learned and how she grew up. In the short story, “Hunger of Memory”, Richard Rodriguez explains what happened the first time he heard his name pronounced in English. “The nun said, in a friendly but oddly impersonal voice, ‘Boys and girls this is Richard Rodriguez.’ The nun didn’t say his name like anyone he had heard before, she said it the American way, which he was not used to. Richard didn’t seem upset or mad that she said his name like this, it was more of a cultural shock, something he wasn’t used to.

When we hear something that may or may not be the way you know it, our immediate reaction is to judge, and ask them about it. Though, in reality nobody says everything the same as anyone else. 

"You and the World" Teen Depression Continued

Since my first blog post,"You and the World" Teen Depression, I have found out that more teenagers are depressed than I thought. The statistics have sown outstanding numbers. On this site the numbers are plain and simple and that is only in the girls! Some of the things that they mention on the page are that the number of female that are depressed triples from the age 12 to 15. At 16 it still increases by almost a whole percentage. Then when the girls at different went to get help with their depression there was an ten percent difference between the girls that were 12 and the girls at the age of 17. I also found out that it takes about a month to get an appointment for help with your depression. Then when you are prescribed with depression meds it takes another month for them to work or even have any effect on you. I learned that many teens know many others or are those others that have gone through some form of depression. Most doing things such as cutting.

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Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 3.36.49 PM
​​These are the charts on the site mentioned before.

To add to my research I created a small survey. The survey asked questions like Have you or anyone you know gone through depression? Did you try to seek help for yourself or your friend? What did you try to do? If you have been depressed or know someone who was depressed did they do self harm? What kind of self harm? To take the survey yourself you can go to this address. I also interviewed a friend of mine who I knew went through some things that caused her to go to some drastic measures with herself. In the interview I asked some of the same questions as in the survey and let her tell her amazing story.
Like I said before this made me realize that more teens are depressed than I thought. When my interviewee was telling her story she said her best friend was someone who also had problems of her own. Her friend instead of telling her that this may ruin her life or even urge her not to do it, never told her anything to stop her or even anything about her own experience with the issue. My interviewee thought that this was very confusing and she never got why her friend didn't tell her anything. She had confided in this friend and told her everything and she didn't try to help her. Another thing that I found out was that bullying is a HUGE part of teen depression. When she was in the eighth grade my friend got bullied and two words stuck with her until high school those words were “loser” and “fat”. One thing that she truly thought was that the things were homologous. She thought that if she got to be skinny then she would be popular and if she was popular then she automatically would become skinny. That is all that was on her mind then, to become the most liked person in her school. I learned that depression has many side effects. Some being harmful to your physical body like cutting, burning, scratching, starving, drugs smoking and the list goes on. Some being mental. I did not realize how horrible your mind can get messed up from other people’s untrue words.
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Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 6.47.40 PM
This is an original piece of art. The idea came from the old bullying commercials. The words that are around her neck are in the shape of a person's hand. the hand is choking and hurting her. it represents how the words make her feel and how they affect her emotionally. the words on her arm are words that she cut into herself. you may notice that they are the same words that my friend was told most and didn't like most. That is because she inspired me.

Now that I have my research I can honestly say that if you know someone going through any form of depression then you should get them help or even help them yourself. my friend is now clean for over six months and that is because she got the help that she needed. If I were to say anything all I would say is help. The thing about people who are depressed though is that they don’t want to help all the time so it can be hard to get them the things they need, I know that but you still need to try. Talking about their feelings is actually good for them and all you have to do is be there to listen. It is very hard to help someone who is in that state of mind but you have to go through with it.
I still wonder why the girls are the main teens who are depressed. I wonder if it is because of the monthly or just the fact that we are girls and we show our emotions more that we are more likely to get depressed. Another theory is that maybe girls like to show their emotions more, so we find out about the girls rather than the guys. Guys don’t like to show their emotions so they never really get noticed when they do the same things that the girls may do, maybe even worse stuff since they bottle up their emotions. Now this may be getting a bit on the stereotypical side but for many cases this is the case. Even when you search anything simalar to “Teen depression” or “Depression in teens” most of the sites are geared towards the teens statistics in the females rather than the males.
For my agent of change part for Blog #3 I am thinking of doing a box or a posting of something for anyone to give in a submission for what they might be going through and I can reply to them with advice. I will need the help of someone who more experienced in this field of work to help me with what advice to give. In what they write to me they will write how I should get back to them whether it be via email, in their locker, or to a teacher however they want me to get back to them I will do that.

Thanks for reading guys! see you on the next blog post.

If You Can't Change It, Then Accept It.

For the most part, I talk just like those around me, never really had a language barrier. My friends accept the way I talk and so do I, but my parents seem to have another outlook on it.

"Hey mommy, can I have some of your juice?"

"Are you forgetting something?"

"Mom, can I PLEASE have some of your juice?"


"It's not can, it's may." she replies.

"Mom, MAY I PLEASE have some of your  juice?"

"There we go."

They do not speak the most proper grammar and have their slang on certain words, but it's nothing in comparison to how I speak. 

"Old Slang" is what they like to call it. Because my slang is actually present day and not from the '70's, it's "not acceptable" . I didn't grow up in their time and that's what they fail to realize. Anything I say that is slang or a word that may not be found in the Webster's dictionary is "foolish" or "sounds stupid" but it's just how I talk. 

I never grew up speaking the best english because as a child they never corrected me. They waited until I was older and already comfortable with how I spoke to address what they believe is a problem. I see it as them trying to change me . I mean, I talk to a point where it's understandable to practically anyone. Can't that just be enough?

Besides my parents never correcting me, I also went to predominantly black schools in West Philly. With that being said, it can only get so proper. These schools  "attempted" to force proper english upon me with english/grammar classes yet they spoke around us (students) with the least bit of properness. It seems as if I grew up being taught that properness in language was only there to impress, and doesn’t have to be present every conversation. Even currently in high school, properness is seen in essays that I write. I guess that it’s understandable since I’m gonna have to write formal papers in the future such as resumés. But it isn’t forced to make me talk like I’m going to the White House or dinner with an ambassador all the time. 


Around my friends, I don't care to impress and that's why when it comes to language, I don't care as to how proper I sound. To us , slang is like “future english”. So many words that were once addressed as slang are now in the dictionary.  As slang spreads pass neighborhoods and gets a definite definition, it is capable of becoming a word in the Oxford or Webster dictionary .

Even the slang that parents do not seem to approve of may not be in an well known dictionary there has been a dictionary created just for slang and the terms that are being used in this day and age. It called Urban Dictionary (online dictionary). Slang may not be respected by those who are older but the younger generation has been raised around all of the slang and will rarely listen to the proper way that they are suppose to speak because it may not sound correct. 

"Nigga, pass me that jawn next to ya. Nah, not that, the apple juice, dumb ass."

Any and everything can and will be said. It's just how I act around them. I'm comfortable enough with them to hear me talk freely without putting a load of thought into the wording of the statement rather than the content.  

Parents don’t accept the slang we use because in some ways they may find it disrespectful to talk to people with some of the things that we use with the people in our generation. Most parents were brought up with knowing how to speak proper and not being allowed to use profanity or many slang terms with the people that they were around or anyone at all. Parents really may have a problem with the slang and profanity because it can make the person using it look bad as well as it may make their family look bad, because people would think that at home the child using this slang and profanity wasn’t taught the proper way to speak to people at home and may have little or no home training. Parents also may not like the slang and profanity that children use in this day and age because it doesn’t make sense and they may have no clue on it means and wouldn’t know if it is a good or bad term. Also parents don’t like it because if you get to used to something you will use it at all times and parents want their children to talk to adults with respect . If they are always using profanity and slang then they may forget to try and use the proper and respectful language that they were taught to talk to an adult, and if an adult feels disrespected then they may want to take it out on the parent and start an argument due to the way that the child talked to them. 


I understand my mom’s concern for my language, but majority of my language isn’t even profanity, more so just slang. Of course I know how to code switch between my slang  and my proper language, but I don’t understand why my language is expected to be “perfect” at all times. Around my parents, I expect to be comfortable enough to express myself without a chain on my thoughts, not letting me use certain words that aren’t even near profanity. 

“You’re not going to make it out in this world talking like that,”  they said. 

My language is what molded me into who I am today and I’m proud of it if I say so myself. They act as if I’m not going to achieve anything in life just because of my slang, even though I have control over it . Slang surrounds everyone, everywhere and my parents seem to think that it is only me who uses it.  I will be successful, no matter what my language is, because my language is me . If my parents can't change my language, then they might as well accept it .

Finding Your Way Home


 Hello, and welcome to the 2nd edition of my “You in the World” blog. Just incase you didn’t read my first blog(Blog#1), let me recap. The worldly issue I am focusing on is the issue of adoption.  It is my belief that there are too many good kids out there that need a home. Yet they are being denied those homes, because they do not met a certain criteria. Because they do not fit into whats cool now days. I think it is always cool to make a child's life better. For this blog I went out into the world and decide to interview someone who has had the pleasure of giving a child a new home.

Q. Did you always want to adopt?

A.  No, it was never my intention to adopt.  My adoption became necessary because my mother in law had a foster child who only knew my husband’s family since he was 3 months old.  He reached age 5 and the state insisted we adopt or he would be removed from the home.  This would have been tragic for all because he only knew our ‘family’ as his family.  

Q.Why did you decide to adopt?

A. There was a great desire to help a child and keep a small person safe from harm and a more disruptive situation.  It also satisfied the need to help the family stay together.  

Q.How did the child a just to living in a new place?

A. He suffered separation anxiety and was later diagnosed with ADHD and depression.  We placed him in intense therapy and began to homeschool him from age 7 to 12.   

Q. How did your family adjust to the new person in the house?

A. My family had to relearn their relationship to our new family member.  My daughter now had a brother that was once considered her uncle.  My husband had a son that was once called his brother.  The adopted child now had a mom he only met three times before I agreed to be his mom.  

Q.Did you have to make any changes to your daily home life to accommodate the child's?

A. Yes, I became a homeschooling parent.  I made sure our home was a sensitive loving place for him to adjust even better.  We went very quickly from having one toddler to having a school age child with developmental delays and various personal needs.  

Q.Were there any problems that arose during the adoption process?

A. Yes.  The state, his custodian for 7 months, was very demanding for us to abide by their rules as foster parents.  We were limited as to the decisions we made while he was in our home under foster care.  

Q.Most people who adopt say that the child ends up teaching them something, do you agree? If so, what did your child teach you?

A. I do agree.  The bonds that grew from the adoption became just as strong as having given birth to the child.  How that child got to the family was no longer the issue.  How we would move forward as a family was our focus.  

Q. What would you say the best thing about adopting was?

A. A child was given a second chance at having a prosperous life.  

Q. When do you feel the child stopped being an outsider, and started being part of the family?

A. He became more acquainted with our family after about 5 months.  He really needed to test limits and get accustom to our home life structure.  

Q. Would you adopt again?

A. Yes, I would, if it means saving a young life, most certainly.  

Q. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about adopting?

A. I would suggest that you do your research on the special needs that foster children and adoptive children may have.  It is important to keep an open mind and heart.  

Even though this interview is just from one person’s point of view, this is what most people feel to be true. So I have researched a few other interviews of adopters and adoptees alike so you can get a feel of others experiences. 


Interview#2 Interview#3
What I feel the most important thing to take way from any one of these interviews is that adoption is not opening your home to a stranger, but giving a home to a lost family member, who just did not find there way conventionally.
Adoption Heart
Here is the link to all of the online source I used for my research

What language is to me

“I’m done my homework, Dad.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“I said I’m done my homework...”

“What? I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

“....I’m finished with my homework.” I grumble as I realize he’s only pretending not to

hear me so that I’ll use correct grammar. Let this paint a picture of how I have been taught the English language growing up. My English is proper, which entails correct grammar, not much slang, and a rather advanced vocabulary for a guy my age. Yes, I talk sarcastically improper and use tons of slang when I’m being casual or weird with my friends, but that is on purpose and aside from my actual persona. Growing up, my parents helped me learn proper grammar and what difficult words meant by simply educating me on proper English on a consistent basis as I learned the language. They didn’t stop at having me know how to communicate with words and speak basic English, they felt that since proper English was a part of their identity, that they should raise me with the same characteristic. Aside from how they wanted to raise me, I do agree with them that proper English is a good thing to be educated on.
“Hola negro! What’s up?”
“Chillin doe, you?”
“Herpin’ to the derp.”
If someone heard me talking with my friends, they probably wouldn’t know what to think of it. It’s a weird system that us teenagers have developed, talking with such strange slang. However, that’s honestly what conversation among me and my friends like. I see it as the definition of casual, which is what my general language with friends has evolved into. If for example one of my parents of teachers saw just how casual I can make certain words or topics seem, they’d probably be shocked. For instance, the word ‘negro’. I use it quite casually; I call most of my friends that. Personally, I have adapted to not thinking much of it. However, if somebody finds it offensive, I won’t use it to address them, or use it around them. However, most of my friends see it and it doesn’t affect them at all. It’s become such a casual term, which can sometimes be a bad thing. This is because the word has ties and roots to hatred. When it comes to edgy terms like “negro”, there is honestly such a fine line between okay and not okay. It’s a common occurrence today that words that root from hatred are used casually, and the speaker becomes numb to what they are really saying.

What I have noticed with myself is that I am aware of the history of the words I use, and instead of finding myself numb to what I’m saying, I am aware of what I’m saying, but I treat the word very casually and with no undertone of hate, (which painfully, is still arguable that I have become numb to what I’m saying). However, I do refrain from using words that stem from hatred and are still commonly used to talk down on someone or something. I do not treat these words casually, because they are words that severely damage the identity and emotions of individuals. Through being exposed to all different forms of speaking and slang, I have developed my own boundaries in terms of what is casual speaking and what is offensive.

“Yo, how you been brah?”
“Pretty good bro, you?”
“Chillin man. You tryna go chill today?”
“Yeah bro definitely.”

I have some friends who have very douchey ways of talking, like this for example. In the essay, “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me What Is?” by James Baldwin, he states that “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate. (And if they cannot articulate it, they are submerged.)”. I’ve noticed that people sort of live in their own reality and they create or adapt the language that is appropriate with their world. For example, if there is a guy who really likes to party on the beach and loves longboarding and surfing, he might start using the words “dude”, “bro”, “brah”, “gnarly”, et cetera, because those are the word associated with his environment and activities. Thus, he incorporates those words into his language to help define and control his circumstances.

I have noticed with myself that whenever I am approached by a certain form of speaking, I quickly conform and talk like they talk. I do this because if the speaker hears me speaking how they speak, they will be more open about themselves because they will feel comfortable talking the way they do. I don’t really ever look down on people based on how they speak (unless they’re being extremely offensive.) However, because of all this, I’ve learned that a speaker’s language does not always affect their own identity, but can affect the identities of others. All in all, instead of making fun of someone’s language because I don’t know how to relate to it, I respect people for how they speak. I like when people know they like to talk, and I respect that because I can relate to it myself.

How I speak and my choice of vocabulary has basically always been accepted and not questioned mostly because I speak in Standard English and use proper grammar. Whenever I talk to people in strange yet casual slang, it’s a sign that I like them, because I know that they will embrace it and that I can be extremely casual and down to earth with them. My language means a lot to me and, if I think about it, although it doesn’t represent my views/opinions, the way I talk does represent who I am. My language intersects with my identity.

You and the World: Bullying in the USA

In this post I wanted to not talk about the dynamics of bullying but stories from my classmates and my personal story. My story does include bullying but also circles around depression and why it started for me.
The worst of my bullying started in third grade I know third grade doesn’t sound like it could be bad and it was nothing compared to what I would have to deal with in the next few years. Four girls invited me to play with them, I had a blast. The next day when I expected them to play with me again they didn’t. They said that I wasn’t cool enough to play with them, and I was devastated, because I had no friends. That day I had no one to sit with at lunch, so I sat with the girl no one else would sit with because she was a “loser”. She ended up leaving the school after that year because girls were so mean to her, but to this day we are still great friends. I couldn’t believe they had driven away my only true friend.  I felt so alone and sad and in fourth grade my depression began.  In fifth grade I made new friends, they were the best friends I could ask for, they were, kind, thoughtful, and they listened to my problems. It was getting better for me and I was happier. One day after the school play I was walking out  after I had performed when I saw my parents standing by the door, they stopped me and told me I was switching schools next year, to a school that I dreaded.
The next year as soon as we pulled up in the car I said the words I always said “welcome to prison” that year went by and I only had three friends. These girls lived in big houses weren’t very smart and well to say the least they were the complete opposite of me, and by the next year I fell deeper into my depression. That year though, I made some amazing friends, and for the first time in two years I felt happy again, that happiness continued. I was friends with everyone in the school they all knew my name and on top of that I was getting straight A’s.
When eighth grade came around I was flying high out of my dark hole, until the night of October 26th.  That night my dad died. Almost at once I fell back into depression, One day after it happened I went to school. It felt nice to have all my friends hugging me and telling me how much they loved me, but it seemed like there was a black hole inside of me sucking up all the happiness in my life and turning it into depression.  For two weeks I stayed home with my mom, and when I got back to school I was suddenly an outsider. My friends stayed by my side but only about ten stayed as true friends. I feel terrible about it now, but I was pushing away my oldest friends in that school. I was being mean to them, and telling them to leave me alone. I didn't want them in my life, they didn’t understand. I thought my bullying was over, not quite yet. It began again in February when we went on a school trip to Wyoming. It was along the lines of embarrassing me, making fun of my body and continued until the end of the year. It was done by one girl, Hallel Raphael. She tormented me that year, not physical bullying at all but it was very discrete and sometimes it was over the facebook. By the end of that year I was so excited to be leaving, I had amazing times there but also too many bad bad memories.
Bullying is a huge teenage issue that needs to be addressed as a more serious issue across the US. Twenty-two states out of fifty states only have one law passed for either cyber bullying, or cyber harassment.
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) 4,400 people a year kill themselves due to bullying. Over 14% of high school students have considered suicide and 7% have attempted suicide. According to studies done by Yale University victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide than non-victims. Girls from ages 10-14 are more likely to commit suicide due from bullying in their schools. 30% of kids of students are either a bully, or a victim, and 160,000 students are staying home from school from fear of bullies.
If it’s gotten to the fact where students don’t want to go to school, get an education, and have a successful future, they would rather kill themselves. It needs to stop, from me being someone who was bullied and know other girls and boys who are bullied, it’s painful, and everyday more kids are sinking into that black hole of depression.
Some people expect parents to jump in and help, but some kids don’t feel comfortable telling their parents because they are so afraid. Kids need to know that when they are at home they are safe, and if they are being cyber-bullied, tell your parents! They can try and stop the kids who are being cruel, and help their child from killing themselves. If parents don’t know what to do then to start they could remove any violent weapons from their home, and if their child has been cyberbullied then a parent can remove computers from their childs room, or put on passwords and website locks to ensure their safety.
I conducted an interview with Angelica Owens because she has become public about her middle school bullying experience.
Interview with Angelica Owens

When did your bullying start?-
My bullying started at pre-K.
Did it have an effect on you?-
It affected me a lot and made me have low self esteem

Do you have any idea why you were bullied?-
I don’t know why i was bullied. they never really told me why
How long did your bullying continue?-
it continued until 7th grade
Are you still haunted by it?-
I am still very haunted by it
How did you get bullied?-
I got bullied by getting dragged across the floor, kicking, punching, called names, and emotionally
Can you describe your self harm?-
My self harm made me feel like i was bigger then the world and I would cut myself with a sharp edge with my nail clipper but it would never bleed through.

Click here for my annotated bibliography

You and the World: Internet Privacy

I'm Toby, and this is my second blog post for my you and the world project. Since I last posted, the ITU meeting happened. Many of the governments present refused to sign the treaty, and the conference ended at a standstill. So for the moment, the internet will stay as we're used to. A petition has also been listed on whitehouse.gov to defund the ITU. I suggest you sign it.

Since the ITU meeting is over, I'm changing the focus of my project to privacy on the internet. According to Wired, the FBI is pushing for legislation for requiring devices to be easier to wiretap. Not only could this cause privacy concerns, it could also make it easier for criminals to listen in because of the backdoor that the FBI put in in the first place! In happier internet privacy news, Michigan recently passed a law that would give citizens the right to withhold their social networking username or password from an employer or parent who requests it.

I've also done some original research, creating a survey that people at SLA took. It asked questions about how anxious people were about internet privacy, what sites they were worried on, and why. A total of 40 people took the survey. Most people rated their level of anxiety at about 4 or 5, as seen here.


The site most people were worried about their privacy on was Facebook by a vast majority of 65%. 30% of people said they were not worried about their privacy on the internet.


For the last question (If you have ever been worried about your privacy on the internet, why were you?), responses varied. A number of people expressed concerns about colleges and future employers seeing their posts on social networks, while others were worried about stalkers. Other people were worried about people they don't know finding out their identities or seeing them in the wrong way. One parent (and IT professional) said they were concerned about SLA's SLATE blog being too open. They did not like the fact that student's identities and images (although there is no default profile picture and most students leave it blank) and said it should be on an intranet (private computer network) behind a firewall. Additionally, if you are not signed in as a student, you can only see the name of the instructor when looking at the public feed for a class. However, the names can be seen as the author of a blog post, even when signed out.

What I can conclude from this research is that most people are not too concerned about internet privacy, but many of the people that are concerned are especially concerned, worrying about their privacy even when their content is private. This correlates with the news article mentioned earlier about the FBI pushing for devices that are easier to wiretap. People that said they are worried about what colleges and future employers can see can rest a little bit easier because of the law Michigan passed mentioned above. Hopefully more states will follow suit.

I think that the FBI's suggestion for devices that are easier to wiretap is not a good idea. As Wired says, backdoors open the path to hackers. On the other hand, I do think that Michigan passing a law that gives citizens the right to withhold their username or password is a good thing, as it makes social networks a bit more private than their current state. Based on my survey, I think that Facebook's privacy policy should be changed, as it would explain why most of the people surveyed were worried about privacy on Facebook. Facebook's privacy policy states that Facebook may collect data about you while you are browsing in order to give you more relevant information, including your location. You should be given the option to turn this off. Also, since most people may not read the privacy policy, the fact that Facebook collects this information should be displayed in short form somewhere conspicuous. Another way to solve the problem would be to show a condensed version of the privacy policy when users sign up. This is because Facebook's privacy policy says that they will not collect information without telling you about it first, such as in the privacy policy. The privacy policy is linked to on the sign-up page, but just like license agreements, only a few people will ever actually read it. Not just Facebook should do this, but any digital service that requires you to read a long agreement.

Another concern expressed about Facebook in the survey was hacked accounts. Facebook has a feature, similar to Valve's Steam Guard, that would require you to enter a verification code when logging in from a unrecognized browser. This means that if a hacker managed to guess your password, they could not get into your account unless they entered the verification code sent to your mobile phone. Instructions on how to turn it on follow.

1)Mouse over the gear and then click Account Settings or Privacy Settings.


2)Click Security.


3)Find the setting that says Login Approvals. Click it. Check the box and click Save Changes.settings

4)Click Set Up Now and follow the instructions onscreen.
set up login approvals
set up login approvals
This is a good feature, and should be enabled by default. However, mobile phone may not be the best way to deliver the security code. Phones can be lost or stolen. A better way to do it would be to send the security code to the user's email, in the style of Steam Guard.

After all my research, I'm left wondering why the people who are worried about internet privacy tend to be unnecessarily paranoid about it. For my agent of change post, I am thinking of presenting to advisories about my issue. You can view my annotated bibliography here. Thanks for reading!

Homelessness Rates

blog #2 Bibliography: http://tinyurl.com/b23aj24

Writing about a topic like homelessness can be fairly tricky, it is hard for a student to get solid first hand information. This may just be because I am not that talented at talking to people, let alone strangers. The difficult part is differentiating the people who have just been exposed to series of unfortunate events and are still hurting, or the people who have sunk into their own failure and ended up victims of their own collapse.
Much of what makes these victims fall into this spiral is based on how people think of them. There are many people who will judge a person on the street at first glance. This may be unjust due to the fact that there are many homeless people that could potentially be dangerous or mentally unsound. Four thousand, that may not seem like an amount to warrant any infatuation, this is the number (approximately) of people who do not legally have homes. This is a number that should be lowered, drastically. One way to help is, instead of giving charity and walking away feeling like a great person as many people seem to have done, http://tinyurl.com/candf82,) going to a shelter to help out. The shelters need assistance to stay sustained, most of the shelters seem to close during the summer causing many homeless people to relinquish their constant source of nourishment, shelter, and home. Going to a shelter is not a thing that everyone is obliged to partake in, there are many other ways to try and mend this cause. Many local establishments offer food drives, sandwich making, and other things that can really help. Homelessness has been on a steady rise in cities like Philadelphia, much of this is due to the scarcity of reasonable health plans. Many people who need health care plans will run out of money on insurance that should ease worrying, not cause more. In the past year the rate of homelessness has been up and down; generally falling steadily, there is no way of predicting where we will be in a few years.
Good ways to help out include, helping shelters with supplies or even making food to send on the weekends. I have seen many schools and other public locations offer food drives and things of that nature, and frankly these things are exactly what we need more of in this city (Philadelphia).