Lake Norman Woman Magazine June 2015

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amazing girls lkn girls & on the go

it’s how we roller coaster

roll: action

Debi Gallo & Associates

L a k e N or m a n L u x u r y Wat e r f r on t & G ol f S p e c i a l i s t s

(704) 491-4640


Our Clients become our Friends and Our Friends become our Clients

Debi Gallo . exclusive buyer aGent

Representing Chateau Lyon Estate on Alexander Island

• Senior Real Estate Specialist • Broker-in-Charge • Served on the Charlotte Board of Realtors Leadership Team • Staging Certified • Public Accountant • Masters in Finance/Pepperdine

River Oaks Fairways MLS# 3057386 . $56,500

River Oaks Landing MLS# 2197243 . $374,900

82 Acres Includes an Island MLS# 3062268 . $679,000

Cornelius Waterview Craftsman Style MLS# 3078530 . $449,000

Penthouse Waterfront Condo MLS# 3033540 . $335,000

Peninsula Area but No HOA MLS# 3080284 . $664,900

Waterfront Lots, New Subdivision, Walk Out Basements

Formerly Buffalo Shoals National, 42 Gorgeous Homesites

Community Boat Ramp, No Hoa

Custom Waterfront Home MLS# 3077257 . $1,124,000 3 Levels featuring this 8 seat theatre, 2 kitchens

Located in Davidson Landing, Featuring a Beach

Cornelius Waterfront Condo MLS# 3054587 . $124,750 Waterfront Condo located at Holiday Marina, Rusty Rudder Restaurant in the heart of Cornelius

2500 Feet of Shoreline, Zoned for Marina/Condo’s

Gorgeous Inground Pool, Craftsman Style Home

Best Waterfront Town Home MLS# 3084787 . $469,000 Awesome View, 4 Bedroom 3 Bath, Slip & Garage

Wet/Dry Storage Community MLS# 3071043 . $349,900 Crown Harbor Community, in Cul de Sac

Mortgage Financing provided by: TaMMy STowe

NMLS ID# 91236

(704) 685-4366 Member FDIC

Deadline for Submission of Nominations is August 14, 2015

2015 awards & luncheon


know her!

She’s your co-worker, boss, mentor, peer, neighbor, or friend.


respect her!

She’s courageous, confident, spunky, inspirational, a real leader, a difference-maker!

nominate her!

For the 2015 Women of Will Awards

now accepting n o m i nat i o n s Lake Norman Woman Magazine is seeking nominations to recognize “Women of Will” in the Lake Norman community. Honorees will be profiled in a printed salute in our December 2015 issue as well as at an event in December at the Charles Mack Center in Mooresville. We are looking for women who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and passion, have a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others through their business and their community, who serve as an inspirational role model for other women, and/or who have otherwise enhanced the lives of the residents of Lake Norman.

Save the Date! WOW Awards Luncheon, December 10, 2015 T i c k e t s ava i l a b l e s o o n .

To nominate: Go to and click on Women of Will, On the WOW info page, click on the “Nominate a Woman of Will” button and fill in and submit the form. You can also print the form and mail to PO Box 1000, Cornelius, NC 28031. Please give plenty of details on why your nominee is deserving of being honored—the more information you provide the better the panel of judges will be able to make their decision! Honorees will be selected by an independent committee of judges and notified by September 15, 2015.


sta f f



Dana Nieters

volume iX, number I




oh 2 cool!


Amy Hallman

Operations support & contributing writer Leslie Ogle

advertising sales manager Stephanie Sullivan

advertising account executive Sandy Comer

distribution manager Juli Simmons

art director Chelsea Bren

J u n e co n t r i bu to rs :

Dr. Scott Paviol; Shari Braendel; Nadine Deason; Chad O. Thomas; Debbie Parrott

c o n tac t u s : PO Box 1000 Cornelius, NC | 28031


Ad Submissions: Lake Norman Woman reserves the right to deny any advertisement or listing that does not meet Lake Norman Woman standards. Submissions are welcome but unsolicited materials are not guaranteed to be returned. Lake Norman Woman assumes no responsibility for information, products, services or statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. An advertised special printed in this publication is subject to change without notice. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher is prohibited.


th e


Each spring, we ask our readers to nominate area tweens and teens who amaze them. And all I have to say about this year’s nominees is “Wow!” Strong, confident, fearless, creative, motivated, imaginative, and generous, they turn the notion that today’s youth are off track upside down. And what about that notion? I have to admit, the fact that I’ve only seen the tops of my sons’ heads for the past few years because they’re constantly on their text machines plus the plethora of 20-somethings who choose to live with their parents have caused me to lament on more than one occasion that this generation doesn’t quite measure up to its predecessors (i.e., my generation). However, when not too long ago, I was relaying my annoyance about our youth to my own dear mother, she quickly put me in my place: “Well,” she said, “I thought the members of your generation were big losers, too!” I suppose that every generation believes that the one that came after is too wild and out of control. The exasperation with our youth, at least for me, boils down to one simple thing: I just want them to listen. Here I am, with a wealth of life experience and knowledge gained from navigating just about every problem a human being can go through, yet my sons are not interested in my advice. Apparently they prefer to hear me irritably inquire, “Have you lost your mind?” when they choose to do the exact opposite of my recommendations. When I told my own dear mother about their indifference to my sage counsel, she replied, “You didn’t listen to me, either.” The problem is, of course, that no self-respecting teen is going to do that—to listen—and even better yet,

to follow, the advice of those who came before. In Teenage Land, that would be, well, ridiculous. I do worry, though, about any girl who is like the 17-year-old me: a bit unsure of herself and where she is heading and not at all willing to listen to the advice of her own mother. If I could travel back in time, I wonder if the 17-year-old me would listen to words of wisdom from her older self ? If she would curtail the dramatic eye rolls and longsuffering sighing long enough to lend me her ear, I would tell her to do many of the things that the fantastic girls featured here already seem to understand: follow your heart, have faith in yourself, take a chance, mistakes are ok, stop worrying so much about what others think, and there are far cooler things to focus on right now than boys. I’d counsel her that no one can wrangle away her confidence, and that she is the only one who can defeat it. I would probably tell her to roll her eyes less and listen to Mom’s two cents more—she is almost always right. I would definitely tell her to call Grandmom more often, to hug her tight when she visits, and tell her how much she loves her—and don’t put that one off for very long. Maybe if we could embed these messages into all of our youths’ text messages or make them their ringtones, some of it would sink in? Or maybe, like the 17-year-old me and all the generations of teenagers that have come before, some of these lessons simply must be learned the hard way. But the girls you’ll read about in these pages are already well on their way to figuring it out. They inspire me with their unique skills, visions, and their indelible senses of self. I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I have!


. publisher

C o n tac t Da n a v i a e- m a i l at da n a @ l a k e n o r m a n wo m a n. c o m

dana nieters


June 2015


local girls on the go , including samantha vodry

amazing lkn


Amazing LKN Girls


amazing lkn girl, kirsten blackburn

in every issue 48


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s c e n e w i th l k nw


Mongai Fankam


Alexis smith


Grace Desena


Alexandria Mills


Kirsten blackburn


diana jasany


emily allen


maya caldwell


Girls On The go Nine LKN Girls Putting Things In Motion


summer, swimming, and safety


amazing lkn girl, diana jasany





amazing lkn girl, grace DeSena


16 18

o n the c over: (l to r) alexis smith, emily

allen, & alex andria mills


ph oto g r a ph y by:

chelsea bren


Family It’s How We Roll Cyber Safety Is No Game

Fashion Dignity: What A Girl Wants

Health Dangers Of Sun And Indoor Tanning Summer, Swimming, And Safety


special thanks

Thank you to The Peninsula Yacht Club in Cornelius for our exceptional photoshoot location!

Top 4 Home-Seller Myths

Self mind, body, spirit: What’s Behind Some Teen Texts?

june 2015 |




i t’s





roll! R o ll e r c o a s t e r ac t i o n in the Sout h


American Coaster Enthusiasts, the origin of the roller coaster dates back to 16th century Russians who used wooden slides to speed down icy ramps—some more than 70 feet high! In 1884, the first commercial roller coaster opened at Coney Island. While there are a number of features that categorize roller coasters (wooden, steel, fastest, highest drop), we are spotlighting five of the more popular coasters here in the South.

A c c o r d i n g to


Six Flags Over Georgia, Atlanta, GA

If you want to drop 20 stories at 70 mph, this is the coaster for you. Six Flags officially opened this $20 million, steel roller coaster in 2006, and it remains one of the most popular in the U.S.


Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN

Located in the beautiful Smoky Mountains, this coaster has won awards for the best wooden roller coaster in the world. With a drop of more than 100 feet and speeds less than 55 mph, it may not be the fastest or the tallest, but it boasts an incredible view of the mountains and has been a crowd-pleaser since its debut in 2004.


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Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, VA

Travelling close to 75 mph, this ride drops its passengers 90 degrees straight down from a height of 205 feet. With floorless carts and unique seating, more people get to experience a front-row thrill.

The Fury 325

Carowinds, Charlotte, NC

This new roller coaster is taller than the Statue of Liberty, drops at an 81-degree angle, and travels at 95 mph. It is the tallest and fastest giga-coaster in the world (A giga-coaster is a class of roller coasters with ultra-high height and speed.).

Intimidator 305

Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA

With a height of 305 feet and a speed of 90 mph, this steel roller coaster is among the top 10 fastest in the world. Packing 5 g-forces, this ride is all about speed!

june 2015 |




dangers of Sun —and indoor—

Ta n n i n g

By: Dr. Scott Paviol

Sun Smart

A little sun exposure seems harmless, but it can bring about the unwanted results of wrinkles, age spots and most importantly, skin cancer. Although it’s something all people need to know, the danger of all tanning is a crucial message for young people: One bad sunburn before the age of 18 doubles one’s chances of developing melanoma. Luckily, there are some simple ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Image courtesy: American Academy of Dermatology

The ABCDEs of Detection Asymm etry: if one side B o rd e r: if the mole

of the mole differs from the other in shape.


is irregular, fades into the background, or is poorly defined and not sharp.

People are regularly exposed to the sun, even without realizing it. During your drive to work or while sitting at your desk, you are exposed to UVA and UVB rays through the window. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends you apply sunscreen every single day on areas of your body that are sun exposed, such as your face and hands. Seamlessly add this application to your daily routine by using moisturizers with sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Not only does daily sunscreen decrease the risk of melanoma and other skin cancers, it decreases the number of wrinkles, brown spots, and visible blood vessels near the skin’s surface.


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Co lo r : if you have

multiple colors or shades in the same region or one that varies from one area to another.

D i a m e t e r /U g ly D u c k li n g : if the

that looks different.

E vo lvi n g: anything that diameter is bigger than the size of a pencil eraser or is an is changing in size, shape, or “ugly duckling,” meaning one color.

No safe alternatives

Tanning indoors is not safer than sun tanning. Just like sun tanning, indoor tanning exposes users to both UVA and UVB light, which damage the skin and lead to cancer. Indoor tanning is designed to give you high levels of UV radiation in a short time. It is particularly dangerous for younger users; those who begin tanning indoors before age 30 have a higher melanoma risk. Every single tan increases your risk of skin cancer, including melanoma. Also, indoor tanners get premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots and are more likely to be sunburned. And indoor tanning is not a safe way to get vitamin D. A base tan is not safe and does little to protect you from future damage from UV exposure. A tan is the body’s response to injury from UV rays. Any tan, whether burned or not, indicates damage to your skin.


Melanoma can be detected through regular skin exams. Whether or not you tan at all, you should have a baseline skin exam by a dermatologist, who then can advise you about regular skinchecks. Also, monthly self-examinations help keep watch in between doctor visits. As scary as it sounds, you can protect yourself from the aging effects of the rays and from cancer. Reapply broadspectrum sunscreen regularly, avoid the sun during peak hours, avoid tanning beds, and monitor yourself for signs of melanoma.

Dr. Scott Paviol is a board-certified dermatologist at Mooresville Dermatology Center. He specializes in skin cancer detection, general dermatology, and cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers. For more information, please visit or call 704.235.1827.

june 2015 |




Swimming, and Safety

© Sergey Skleznev |


comes outdoor fun; and we’ve been looking forward to it all winter! But it’s also a time of increased accidents. With water abounding, freshen up these water safety reminders: W i t h wa r m w e at h e r

• It’s ok to swim just after eating. The need to wait 30 minutes is a myth. • Never leave a child unattended, no matter how good a swimmer. • Invest in Coast Guard-approved life vests. “Water wings” and other floatation devices are not suitable substitutes. • Teach your children to swim at an early age. Consult your doctor for the appropriate age. • Drink plenty of water. It is always important to stay hydrated while outdoors. • Watch for signs of hypothermia even in warm water. When lips are bluish and your child is shivering, it’s time for a break! • If a child is missing, check the water first. Every second counts! • Have extra equipment on hand, such as spare life vests, rope for throwing, or floats. • If someone is drowning, the Red Cross recommends that you: Shout for help, throw a rescue or flotation device, and call 911.

For more information about swimming, visit or

Resources for swimming safety & lessons Discovery Aquatics Mooresville, NC 704.975.6625


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Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatic Center 11725 Verhoeff Dr. Huntersville, NC 704.766.2222

Lake Norman YMCA 21300 Davidson St. Cornelius, NC 704.716.4400 Lowe’s YMCA 170 Joe Knox Ave. Mooresville, NC 704.716.4000

june 2015 |




azin amlk n g girls

mongai Fankam

At f i r s t, Mongai Fankam may look like any other 11-year-old girl, but the first clue that she’s extraordinary is her big, beautiful smile. In it one can see her love and compassion, and that’s only the beginning.

This 6th grader, who attends Carolina International School in Concord, has been a world traveler since she was 3 years old. She has met with U.S. Senator Chris Coons, the committee chair on Africa. She has done television and radio interviews, including Radio Disney. In 2012, just before entering the third grade, Mongai accompanied her mother, Abong Ngranui-Fankam, co-founder of A Place of Hope, to Cameroon, West Africa.

at 8 years old. In her first year, eight local schools collected supplies and 500 backpacks. Three years later, Mongai’s efforts, along with 35 schools have collected 7,000 backpacks of supplies! Personally, Mongai understands the value of school supplies. Her personal favorite is her notebook. “It helps me to be organized.” Her goal for this year is 10,000 backpacks. Currently, she has 3,000. And one may be surprised to know all these items are not in a rented storage facility—but in her family garage. Talk about a family commitment!

Mongai was moved seeing other children walk to school, carrying their school supplies in their hands or in plastic bags. When she returned home, Mongai created a No Backpack Day at her school, Blythe Elementary in Huntersville, to raise global awareness for a very specific need for children her own age halfway around the world.

When she’s not campaigning to help others, Mongai truly is down to earth. She is a strong math student, and she relishes shoe shopping and seeing her favorite film series: Fast & Furious. Close with her mom, she enjoys hearing her mother recall stories of growing up in Cameroon. For now, she wants to be an actress when she grows up, but she quickly adds, “And I want to do what I’m doing now. It’s important.” The best compliment I ever got was ‘Keep up the good work.’”

Despite having created an activity that may make some children uncomfortable, Mongai says most of her school peers participated readily. This awareness launched Mongai’s career as an activist

This summer, she’ll travel again to Cameroon, for her grandmother’s 75th birthday and to distribute school supplies—so many, they will have to be transported in a shipping container.

For more information or to hold your own No Backpack Day

event, visit or contact

favoritebook? “I Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch, teaches us to always love and care for our loved ones no matter how old they are.”


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By: amy hallman

june 2015 |





alexis azing amlk n girls

W h e n s p e a k i n g w i t h Alexis Smith, a junior at Mooresville High School, one might not realize that she is only 16 years old; her wisdom and insight are characteristic of someone much older. In no hurry to make rash decisions about her future, Alexis has the unique perspective to live for today— partly because of her amazing maturity and partly because of a serious car accident from which she is still recovering.

“This past Halloween, I was in the passenger seat while my friend was driving,” Alexis recalls. “It was raining, and we were turning left in front of oncoming traffic. A car T-boned us on my side, and I was thrown out of the passenger window.” Alexis suffered several injuries that night and still contends with ongoing procedures, primarily removing residual glass from her forehead. She has dealt with visible and not-so-visible scars and continues to go to physical therapy three times a week. She is also under the care of a neurologist. A valued member of her high school track team, Alexis has had some post-accident challenges, especially when running her favorite event: the 400 meter. But all that does not touch her incomparable spirit. Alexis recently ran her first meet since the accident. “While it was not even close to my best time on this event, I know that just being there able to run is a blessing that I won’t take for granted,” she says. “My faith is very important to me, and I am fully aware that God was with me that night and continues to run alongside of me every day.” Her father, Brad, adds: “With the doctors’ appointments and all, she just hasn’t been able to practice with the team she loves so much, but that doesn’t get her down.”

favoritebook? “The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, taught me how to listen to my heart & understand why things happen.”


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Keeping her options open after high school, Alexis does know she would like to study and work abroad, perhaps in Italy, where her mother, Wendy, already knows someone in fashion. The family as a whole, which includes siblings Duncan, Logan, and Cody, has travel experience with vacations to Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Australia, to name a few. Content to stay close to home for now, Alexis also keeps busy with her part-time job at a local gift shop where she gets to help teach arts and crafts, something she particularly enjoys. Whether it’s something as simple as crafting or something more profound such as her volunteer work with special needs children, Alexis has a heart that wants to help and a soul that wants to soar.

By: leslie ogle

june 2015 |




A m a z i n g G r a c e , i n d e e d ! If we listed all her achievements, accolades, and community involvement, there would be no remaining space to convey what an incredible young woman Hough High School senior Grace DeSena is. Suffice it to say, she’s exceptional.

azing aml k n girls

Grace has been inducted into six national honor societies, with leadership positions in five. Academically gifted, Grace has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. By graduation, she will have taken 13 Advanced Placement classes. Recommending Grace for the prestigious Morehead-Cain Scholarship, her counselor, Sue Colbert, wrote: “Grace genuinely enjoys learning; it is her passion and she has taken full advantage of all that high school has to offer. With each new class, club, or opportunity, Grace has seized the moment and risen to the top.” One might also say Grace has danced to the top. Dancing for nearly 12 years, Grace is a member of Lynn-O’Grady Quinlan-Connick dance school. “I became involved in Irish dancing,” Grace explains, “mainly because I had several friends taking lessons, who loved it—ranging from my older sister to girls I played soccer with.” Grace’s hard work and dedication paid off when she was selected to compete in the Irish Dancing World Championships held in London, England, last year. Less than one percent of Irish dancers ever make it onto the world’s stage. Needless to say, parents Curtis, who is a doctor, and Jeannie, who is a photographer, are proud of their young dancer and fully support her many talents, another of which is art.

favoritebook? “The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, gives a glimpse into life in the Roaring ‘20s.”




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In her junior year, Grace developed her penand-ink style during AP Studio Art. “Through art, I can express whatever idea I want,” she says. “It’s a way to distance myself from the trivial darkness of the physical world and land in the tropics of my imagination. I am able to let all of my stressors fly through my fingers and turn into something beautiful. Nothing is more refreshing than when I unleash my emotions and pour them out over a mere 16x20-inch page.” After she spends this summer as a camp counselor, Grace is off to UNC-Chapel Hill to begin studying medicine. Full of enthusiasm, she is not daunted by upcoming challenges but instead, pumped and prepared. “I know I want to major in biology and minor in Spanish,” she decidedly states. “I would also like to study abroad in Spain my junior year, as well as continue to develop my art.” By: leslie ogle

june 2015 |




azin amlk n g girls


mills A g r a n d m a ’ s h e a rt is a hodgepodge of love. She’s a little bit parent, a little bit best friend, and a little bit teacher. No one knows this better than Alexandria Marion Mills, a rising junior at Cannon School.

It was her Mimi, (her mother’s mother, Betty Marion) who instilled in Alexandria the importance of giving. As a youngster, Alexandria enjoyed spending time with her Mimi, and her grandmother suggested that together they find a way to help the less fortunate. They considered organizing a food or clothing drive, but those efforts were already underway in the community, and they wanted to serve a need that was not being met. During a hotel stay, Mimi and Alexandria, then 7 years old, had an “Aha” moment. Simple everyday items such as soaps and shampoos are often overlooked. Says Alexandria, “Small, basic items are very important to a successful day. It’s important to look and feel your best. When you are down on your luck, these basic essentials may be just the thing you need to help you get back up.”

favoritebook? “Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo, is very touching and inspiring.”

Alexandria began collecting the complimentary toiletries she didn’t use while staying at hotels. Her Mimi introduced her to the Mooresville Soup Kitchen, which helped connect Alexandria with folks in the community in need of her items, and Give Soap for Hope was born. Alexandria’s endeavor has grown substantially in the past nine years. Her mom and dad, Jennifer and Grey, along with brothers Grey and Grant, helped collect at first. But thanks to donations by classmates, local businesses, her church, Randy Marion employees, and the Alexander Island community, Alexandria has partnered with the Mooresville Christian Mission and the soup kitchen to distribute thousands of items. She even took her operation to the Jamaica Deaf Village last summer while on a mission trip. “That was so empowering,” she recalls. “I couldn’t believe that something so simple as shampoo could make people so happy. It made me want to work harder and to reach more people.” Mimi’s influence wasn’t the only grandmotherly contribution to Alexandria’s endeavors. Along with the toiletries that go in the gift bags is a Bible verse. It’s not just any Bible verse, though; it’s the verse her other grandmother, Jean Mills, gave to her when she was born: Philippians 4:8, which reads, “Fill your mind with those things that are good and deserve praise. Things that are true, noble, right, pure and honorable.” Alexandria says, “Whenever I face hard times, I go to this verse for inspiration. I hope that it will encourage those who receive the bags, too.”


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By: dana nieters

K at r i n a , t h e d e va s tat i n g

storm that hit New Orleans and other parts of the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, destroyed nearly everything in its path, including the home of Kirsten Blackburn (then 8 years old). “We lost everything,” Kirsten remembers. “We rode out the storm at my grandmother’s house in Franklinton, and when my parents went back to our neighborhood afterward, they were shocked. There was mold to the ceiling. We had to gut the house and we lost everything in it: our clothes, our furniture, our family pictures—everything was gone.” While Katrina took nearly all that the Blackburns owned, it was not strong enough to take what mattered most: their hope for a better tomorrow, their faith, and the kindness and support of family and friends. “We stayed with my grandmother for six months, and we had

family in Baton Rouge that helped, too,” Kirsten says. “And when we decided to move to North Carolina, we lived with my aunt until we got settled. Our family really stuck together!” Once you meet Kirsten, you’ll understand that the storm never really had a chance. A whirlwind of energy and enthusiasm, this University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill-bound high-school senior, already shaped by life experience, is clearly not going to allow anything to stand in her way. A varsity letter athlete in track and cross-country, she also works part-time at Great Wolf Lodge. She is also a member of the Young Elites program, which prepares high school girls to be leaders in college, and ultimately, in all areas of their lives. All of this activity is in addition to her studies, even though Kirsten does admit to a slight case of “senioritis.” “But I do want to finish high school strong,” she asserts.

Not to be deterred by a busy schedule, though, Kirsten decided that in her spare time, she would teach herself to play the guitar. After all, one of her favorite activities is making music with her family: While her mother, Joslyn, sings; her dad, Lederick, can play the bass, piano, or drums; and her brother, Donovan, can play drums, piano, and the trumpet! Somehow Kirsten manages to find time to volunteer as well. She has helped with a Habitat for Humanity home, and she regularly tends the garden at Hope Haven in Charlotte, a foundation that provides life skills for chemically dependent adults. Planning to major in nursing at UNC, Kirsten intends to make a career out of helping others as a nurse practitioner. “After Hurricane Katrina, we needed help,” she says, “and people all over the world came to our rescue. Now I want to give back.”

azing aml k n girls


blackburn favoritebook?

By: dana nieters

“Jonas, the main character in The Giver, by Lois Lowery, chooses to break away from the norm.”

june 2015 |




amazing lkn


diana jasany O u r l i v e s a r e l i k e q u i lt s — a brilliant

patchwork of color and pattern all coming together to create a symbol of unity, support, comfort, and love. Just ask Diana Jasany, ninth grader at Lake Norman High School. She has been quilting for a cause, and the results are as impressive and unique as the quilts she sews.

Diana has been in Girl Scouts since the first grade, and she is currently working on her Gold Award, the highest level of achievement in Girl Scouts. “My Gold project is to raise community awareness about the issues of foster care and adoption in North Carolina,” explains Diana. “I’m focused on the older teens, who ‘age out’ of the foster-care program and are then on their own.” Diana’s mom, Laurie, adds, “In a gesture of comfort and love, she is spearheading a drive to make 16 twin-size quilts for them to begin their new lives. She is working with contacts at the Barium Springs Campus of Children’s Hope Alliance to deliver the quilts.”

favoritebook? “The Outsiders, by S. E. Hinton, shows that your friends will always stand by you.”

Diana has a unique perspective on adoption herself. She was adopted as a 14-month-old baby from Kalmykia, Russia, in 2001. Her father, Dave, says, “She knows that she has brought immeasurable joy, love, and laughter to us, and we are all blessed to be a family.” Her goal is to finish these quilts by 2017—one quilt for each year she will have lived in the U.S. You can follow her project, “Diana’s Golden Needle,” on her Facebook page, which has received nearly 2,000 Likes. She has also received nationwide offers of help and support from the quilting community, many of whom share their own personal adoption stories. Diana’s next project is to make baby quilts and send them back to her orphanage in Russia. Like other 15-year-old girls, Diana enjoys hanging out with her friends and taking advantage of the lake. “I participate in cross country, basketball, and track at school, but I especially love cross country because it is so team oriented. And I love anything to do with the water—tubing, skiing, wakeboarding, you name it!” Diana’s passion certainly shows in her spirit, enthusiasm, and overall zest for life. She hopes to continue her involvement in the adoption and foster-care arena, possibly quilting her way into a career option one day.


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By: leslie ogle

june 2015 |




amazing lkn girls

emily allen W h e n s c h o o l s ta rt e d this

year, Hough High School swimmer, Emily Allen, wasn’t ready for class. She was competing in the 200m-freestyle at the Junior Pan-Pacific Swimming Championship in Maui. Once she returned and settled into her senior year, she got an email in journalism class, inviting her to join Team USA’s 800m-relay team in Qatar. After putting a rush order on her passport, Emily left the day after Thanksgiving for the Short Course World Championship. Her first solo flight, 20 hours in length, afforded her time to catch up on books and films. She endured “surreal layovers and jetlag,” but experienced teammates mentored her on when to sleep. “I wouldn’t be where I am, in swimming or life, without the love and support of my parents (Helen and Jonathan) and my coach, Mark Dell. They’ve been my biggest fans in every aspect of my life; I can turn to them any


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favoritebook? “All Harry Potter books, by J.K. Rowling, really are well written with all the characters and life lessons.”

time for support, or to laugh, cry, anything. My teammates keep me sane and allow me to be myself.” A NOMAD club team member since 2006, Emily regularly trains six days a week, four hours a day—two in the water and two in the gym. Also a private swim instructor, she eats healthily. “Lots of fruits and veggies, no cheeseburgers, and no soda.” It seems obvious she wants to study nutrition. During spring break, Emily participated in Spring National Junior Team Camp in Colorado. But she did make time to attend this year’s prom, her first. Joking about her break, Emily says, “I ate at Waffle House and had chips and lots of cookies! I totally let myself splurge, and it was soooooo good!” Though she’s been swimming since she was 6 months old, competitively since 8 years old, it was during her sophomore year

that Emily realized she could compete at the college level. “I had just won Junior Nationals in the 100m-freestyle, and was 2nd in the 200m-freestyle. Being on top of the podium was a really cool feeling. I wasn’t expecting to win—I was way out in lane 7; but opportunities opened up with that win.” She enjoyed the recruiting season, and quickly narrowed her choices to four, then two: the University of Texas and the University of Tennessee. When she visited the Vols campus, she had a “full-circle moment” (It was at this pool Emily won Junior Nationals), and knew she would become a Volunteer. Humbled by it all, Emily recalls, “A little girl from my team introduced herself and said she was going to be just like me: that I laugh a lot on deck and seem really nice. She was so sure of herself and her confidence in me.” It is a compliment for all time.

By: Amy Hallman

june 2015 |




favoritebook? “I rely on The Bible every day and enjoy sharing it with other people.”

W i t h t h e d e m a n d s o f two varsity sports, private

school academics, and community involvement, Maya Caldwell, Davidson Day sophomore, is driven.

Last December, Maya hit her 1,000th basketball point; and for now, her career total is 1,587. Averaging 22 points and nine rebounds, this girl still has two more years left. As an eighth grader, Maya led the varsity team to win its first regular season and conference tournament championship, finishing in the second round in state playoffs. Other accomplishments include Elite AAU basketball, multiple All-Conference and All-State honors in basketball—and tennis, several USTA tournament wins, and this year’s PACIS Basketball Player of the Year. With more than 20 college programs already looking at her—including Ivy League schools—it’s hard to believe that only last year Maya admitted to herself she could be a collegiate athlete. “I’m not nervous about choosing a college,” Maya says, “but the distance from home shakes me—not too far, not too close. Grades are always the priority. It’s easy to fall behind during the season. My time management isn’t the best, but I stay on the AB honor roll.” Still, Maya’s head is clear: she credits her father, Bernard, for motivation. “He gets me up early before school, so we (as in I) can go put up shots. He’s always critiquing me on little details, too. Overall, I wouldn’t be who I am without my parents. They always get me to where I need be as long as it betters me as an athlete, student and, of course, all-around person.”

azin amlk n g girls

maya caldwell w

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Maya comes from a Christian, basketball family. Her mother, Pat, was an All-American, All-State, two-time Gold Nugget Award winner with a career 1,424 points at UNC Charlotte—before the 3-point shot! Maya’s brother, Omar just graduated from Sewanee University in Tennessee; and her brother Cameron will fill his place on the Sewanee roster this fall. She is a leader within Children Empowering Children, a nascent nonprofit that provides food, school supplies, and clothes to less fortunate children, and a Young Elites ambassador. At the 2014 summit, she received the Leadership award. Known to lead by example, Maya enjoys helping people build confidence to become their own leaders. “In my rare spare time, I love playing outside. Whenever I get the chance, I act like 8-yearold Maya and grab my roller blades, bicycle, and skateboard and go outside. But I know that hard work only comes with dedication, and dedication means sacrifices. And this is just the beginning; there is work to be done. As far as I know, time isn’t up. The clock is still running, and so am I.”

By: Amy Hallman

june 2015 |




fashion your style

D i g n i t y:

R e c e n t ly, I s p o k e for the fifth

year on the topic of modesty and dignity to freshman female students at Arizona State University. When the topic of modesty comes up, you may think young women would tune out such an “oldfashioned, boring topic,” as not relevant to their lives. However, when you add dignity to the discussion, something stirs deep within. Webster’s Dictionary defines dignity as “the quality of being worthy of honor or respect.” And whether or not they are even aware, all women desire dignity. Girls yearn for others’ attention, for someone to find them worthy. They discover very early that wearing revealing clothing garners attention. But by exposing their bodies, they unintentionally sacrifice their dignity. Boys do notice. And girls continue to dress in ways to get that attention; unfortunately, it’s the wrong kind of attention. I tell them: No one wants to see up your skirt, except those who shouldn’t. Helping a young lady dress with confidence without showing all her “stuff ” actually can raise her selfconfidence and increase her self-worth. Teens have a penchant for pushing the limits. Girls want to dress in the same way as their friends. What our teens and tweens don’t understand is that by choosing provocative clothing, not only are they disrespectful of others, they denigrate themselves.


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W h at


G irl Wants By: Shari Braendel

© Serrnovik |

Dressing with Dignity We can alter the shopping experience and get our girls back into clothes that reveal their dignity instead. Allow them to make their own fashion choices, guided by these basic principles, and bad shopping experiences will become a thing of the past. 1 Plan proactively.

Shop alone with your daughter; leave siblings and friends at home.Tell her you want to learn what’s in style for girls her age, and you’re open to what she picks out. Ask her to show you what she likes and promise not to make negative comments about her selections. 2 Browse with her for an hour.

Take a break and go for coffee. Discuss modesty and dignity and ask what each means to her. Explain how modesty and dignity convey self-respect.

3 Share the 5 B’s of Style.

No Bra Straps: Even if fashion magazines tell you it’s the new trend, it’s sloppy. No Bust Exposure: Make sure your tops aren’t too tight and your cleavage isn’t shown. Wear the correct-size bra, and avoid letting your nipples show through your clothes. No Bellies: Treat your tummy as a private part and don’t show it. No Bottoms: Avoid wearing any wording across your bottom. Make sure your underwear never shows. Shorts and skirts should be no more than

2-3 inches above the knee. No Bubbling: Check your jeans and pants on the back of your thighs. If you have ridges or wrinkling, your pants are too tight. 4 Give her a budget (ahead of time).

Tell her you will buy her an outfit as long as it covers the 5 B’s. 5 Celebrate.

Your daughter may not come home with the outfit you would’ve chosen, but keep quiet. At least she will come home with an outfit showing others the real beauty she is: dignified and lovely.

Shari Braendel is an LKNWoman who speaks, writes, and motivates women across the United States, in fashion, beauty, and modesty. Visit her website at or contact her at

june 2015 |




girls on the go

O u r co m m u n it y r e a l ly i s br i mmi ng with an unlimited number

of talented, selfless, and poised young women who stand at the ready f o r a g o o d c au se oR fr i end i n need. These Gi rls on the G o are just n i n e o f o u r L a k e N or man gi r ls wh o are pu tt i ng things in motion!

D i a n a A l fa r o

Spunky, responsible 11-year-old Diana Alfaro has aspirations of modeling, acting, and activism. Her work includes the television series “Secrets and Lies,” film The Longest Ride, and two episodes of “It’s Supernatural.” She has three feature films and a television series yet unaired. Currently featured on, Diana can also be seen in promotional materials for Paradise Resort Myrtle Beach and for Outbreak, Hollywood Wax Museum’s newest attraction. “I have to manage my time to keep up with my activities,” she says. “My modeling and acting career is so exciting that it doesn’t feel like work! My ballet (of five years) is relaxing and calming. Competitive soccer keeps me in shape.” Diana plans to study veterinary science at North Carolina State University, and to build a no-kill shelter is her “dream-come-true.” Diana also gives back: recently, she modeled in Wine, Women, and Shoes for the Second Harvest Food Bank. “Last year, I collected over 1,000 canned goods for Second Harvest,” she says. “My goal is to collect more food items, and to volunteer at area soup kitchens.”

Samantha Vodry’s brother introduced her to the First Tee golf program. With no previous experience at 9 years old, Samantha says her ability came naturally. “I started competing at 10 and qualifying for nationals,” she says. “Now, I play competitive tournaments like Peggy Kirk Bell, a top girls golf tour on the East Coast.“ In her last three tournaments, Samantha averaged 74.8 strokes. samantha vodry


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Junior Golf Scoreboard ranks her 6th in North Carolina in her class. After eighth grade, Samantha left homeschooling for public school to become state-competition eligible. In 10th grade, she tied for 9th place. This year, she placed 5th of 78 girls. In the last six months, Samantha has gained 10-20 yards on her drives from the tee box, and improved her scores of upper 70s to mid- and low 70s. Also a member of the National Honor Society, Samantha is earning a pilot’s license, too! With one year left at Mooresville High School, this LPGA hopeful is looking for a strong biology school with a solid golf program.

Hough High School senior Molly Leiker describes

g i r l s onth e g o

herself as an overachiever and perfectionist. “It led me to undertake a challenging schedule, afterschool commitments, and a job.” Molly currently m o l ly studies AP Spanish V and honors French l e i k e r III. Though she admits it can get confusing, languages are her passion. “While romance languages are beautiful, I’ve decided to minor in German, while majoring in international business at Chapel Hill.” Molly “loves the intensity and unpredictability of soccer,” a game she’s played since she was 4. She played for Hough’s varsity team in three state championships and for Carolina Rapids 96 Girls Burgundy team. “This year, as co-captain at Hough, I’ve learned it’s important to know when to focus and when we can goof off and bond. People assume my best memories are wins, but I’ll remember the friendships and all our silliness.” Also, Molly volunteers with Missionaries of the Poor and Angels & Sparrows. She participated on a Catholic Heart Work Camp mission, rebuilding homes in Georgia, and will participate in a Haitian mission this summer. “I can’t wait to meet people, grow in faith, and put others’ needs first.”

Running has always been important to Sara Burkinshaw. Her father— and later her coach—Matt often relayed stories about his high school and college running experiences. “It sounded like the best sport S a r a B u r k i n s h aw in the world,” the Pine Lake Prep senior says. “I could hardly wait to join middle school cross-country.” As a high school sophomore, Sara qualified for the state championship. A cramp hurt her time, but Sara contends it was an unforgettable experience. “Since, I have earned three All-State titles, 3rd place in the 3200-meter track event my junior year, and improved from 5th to 3rd place in cross-country by my senior year,” Sara says. “I led my team to the state championship this year. I trained hard to improve my times.” Last fall, Sara ran her personal best of 19:21 at the Footlocker Cross Country Championship, beating her previous time by 14 seconds. Sara plans to run at UNC Wilmington this fall. “I want to become the best runner I can be. For me, running isn’t only a sport. It’s a lifestyle.”

Davidson Day School

sophomore Alana Darby has been committed to Young Elites, volunteering, and volleyball for the last three years. Through Young Elites ambassador program and summits, Alana says she has developed independent, critical thinking skills and learned to tackle tough situations directly. Alana finds volunteer work fulfilling by simply

V i a S ava g e “Every aspect of my life has music,” Via Savage, Hough senior, says. Singing almost as soon as she could talk and starting piano lessons in first grade, Via was writing her own songs by middle school. “Listening to music lifts me, and writing it calms me,” she says. “Capturing feelings in words and putting those words to music is second only to sharing it with others. It truly is a language everyone understands— and it’s my language.” Her dedication has paid off. “The University of Southern California admitted only 17.8 percent of its applicants this year—I am part of that 17.8 percent,” Via says, who earned a merit-based scholarship. “I’m privileged to attend an exceptional academic institution and to pursue my musical passion in one of the country’s top programs.” Via is interested in “popular music,” a division of the university’s contemporary music program. “I will listen to anything but lean toward alternative: Bon Iver, Coldplay, and Lorde. But I’ll mix it up with anything from Kanye to Simon & Garfunkel—depending on my mood.”

putting a smile on someone else’s face. Through a school club, Alana works with children undergoing cancer treatment at Levine’s Children’s Hospital and with the Huntersville Challenger League, a local, special-needs athletic organization. “Taking a poster or candy to a sick child can change their day. Something small can have the biggest impact,” she says. “Also, I

enjoyed helping mentally and physically challenged children learn they can reach their potential despite their limitations or insecurities.” Perhaps Alana was inspired toward leadership in her first days of volleyball. “Playing setter for school and for various clubs taught me how to intercept stressful situations. I have learned to stay calm and direct our course of action under fire.”

A la na Da r b y june 2015 |




g i r l s onth e g o Hough senior Lexi Powers chaired A Giving Spirit Foundation Teen Council of Lake Norman, a division of AGSF, an organization that supports local mothers battling ALS and ALS research. Last August, the council held Walk Around the Clock, to encourage pledged, teenaged, aware teams to walk for 24 hours. “As diverse peers, we dedicated countless project hours because we couldn’t disappoint these mothers,” Lexi says. “We’d set an aggressive goal of $3,000, but raised more than $12,000! All the hours and stress were worth it.” The group was invited, as guests of Larry Tarica, co-owner of the JimLar Corporation, to attend the Project A.L.S. Gala in New York City. “We loved meeting celebrities like Katie Couric and Ben Stiller, but we enjoyed more learning their connections to Project ALS and its research.” Project founders, Meredith and Valerie Estess, introduced the teens to a promising researcher and previewed experiments about lexi powers motor-neurons and stem-cell therapy. The group toured Columbia University Medical School’s research laboratories. “Teen Council has been a blessing,” Lexi says, “instilling a drive to continue to serve others.” Bailey Middle

School eighth grader Izzy Karriker discovered her talent at 8 years old through a gift in the mail. Her grandmother had sent her a painting she’d hung for many Izzy Karriker (r) years. “I thought it would be nice to return it in my own way, so I painted a replica, which now hangs in Honduras,” Izzy says.

Izzy, who enjoys playing competitive soccer—and just about all activities with her twin sister, Anabella—started painting landscapes and “little villages and cottages,” influenced by Central American and European images. “Painting connects me to family overseas, including a distant relative who also paints,” she says. Izzy’s paintings are showcased on, where she sells her art or reproductions (greeting cards or smartphone cases). Izzy has donated some proceeds and some paintings to charity. “Many charities raise money for schools or broken families,” she says. “I’ve painted each week with my teacher, Manny Rashed, for more than six years.” While she may have a studio one day, Izzy says she will follow God’s path for her, whatever that is.

Izzy’s paintings can be found on Rachel Cowley “Until high school,

my longest stint was three years, in a comfortable life of Californian Army Brat,” Hough senior Rachel Cowley says. Born in Germany, Rachel’s first years afford memories of winning Austrian mountain ski-school races and swimming championship races in


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the Berlin Olympic Pool. But as a freshman, Rachel was shy. She says, “I liked reading, writing, and watching movies with my cat. As a sophomore, a part in the play led to managing the swimming and diving teams.” She joined honor societies, service and culture clubs; and today, some accolades include yearbook

editor-in-chief, co-president of National History Honor Society, and PTSA senior representative. Last summer, Rachel attended North Carolina Governor’s School for social sciences. “I was burnt-out after a first year of AP classes. I was honored, but I wasn’t sure about spending the

summer in school,” she admits. “However, it was perfect for confidently developing my beliefs, and becoming more comfortable expressing myself. Through topics like racism and sexism, I realized how affected people become, even by micro-aggressions. Today, I work to improve myself and to inspire others.”

june 2015 |




myths Top 4 H ome - S eller

By: Nadine Deason

A 2014 survey by the National Association of Realtors® showed 83 percent of homeowners perceived their home as their biggest investment. When it comes to selling, emotions can get in the way because people often have difficulty looking objectively at their home. Instead, their connection to the house is personal; and that mindset could inhibit their commodity’s investment return. Here are the most common misperceptions home sellers make:

1. “Buyers would rather make updates.” © Brian Chase |

Many sellers convince themselves it’s better to leave the outdated wallpaper, worn carpets, dated light fixtures, and scuffed walls. Most buyers don’t want to do your dirty work. Remember: they’ve just primed, painted, and updated their home to sell. They want to turn the key and move in. Some buyers intentionally avoid homes that require work. It’s like asking a buyer to pay a retail price for a home that presents as a wholesale fixer-upper. Also, most buyers don’t possess the gift of “vision.” They can’t see what the finished renovation could look like and only see what you have presented. Homes that look and smell nice and make you feel “at home” sell easier. If you want top dollar, do the homework.

2. “My home really is better than all the others on my street!”

© Seanyu |

Unrealistic sellers overestimate their home value. Then they become discouraged when it doesn’t sell while others in the area do. They whole-heartedly believe “My house is better than theirs, so why did theirs sell?” When sellers have put blood, sweat, and tears into their home, they can fail to realize that their investment may have simply brought the house up to the standards of other available homes. Buyers have many choices, including new construction, which offers the latest and greatest in housing trends. Resale homes have a more competitive market than five years ago, making updates more necessary today than ever.

3. “I’ve sold three houses before, so I’m an expert!” Even though I was a nurse for 20+ years before going into real estate, I’m not a medical expert as I watch those medical mystery shows that I enjoy, with the unusual case details and miraculous endings. Similarly, having sold a couple homes and watching HGTV does not make someone an expert in selling real estate. Seeking professional representation is the smartest way to receive your house’s highest value and to help prevent legal problems down the road.

4. “All Realtors are created equal.” © Rocketclips, Inc. |

Just because your sweet neighbor, whom you’ve gone to church with for 15 years, just earned a real estate license does not mean you should give her your listing. You risk losing a lot of money and a good friend! A seasoned Realtor, who is top in her field, will lead you to your best transaction. Agents with less experience, or desperate for a listing, will agree with anything a seller says just to get the listing. Many homes come on the market overpriced for this reason.

Making your home look its best and pricing it right will multiply your dollars. Hire an expert to guide your process. Think smart and savvy, and reap the greatest returns for your hard-earned money.

© Robert Wisdom |


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Nadine Deason of Team Nadine is a Realtor® and broker serving both buyers and sellers in the entire Lake Norman region. Affiliated with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Nadine provides luxury services to all price points. For more information, visit or call 704.361.9183.

june 2015 |





Cyber Safety

is No Game

By: Chad O. Thomas

F i v e y e a r s a g o , Facebook was the social media site for parents and students to communicate, but today, very few kids use Facebook anymore. They’re moving on to hundreds of apps and sites, such as Kik, Snapchat, Tumblr, Instagram, Yik Yak, Secret, Whisper, ooVoo, Twitter, and Vine. This list evolves daily. Every day, we teach students that words, pictures, and videos posted online never disappear and could haunt them later in life, if not immediately. However, teens still are naïve and believe they are invincible— or worse, they simply don’t believe that their posts are inappropriate. I want to encourage kids to find ways to take full advantage of social media and other technology to enhance their lives and future in a positive and productive way. Technology is not a fad, nor something that’s going to disappear like high-top Ponys or Members Only jackets (now I’m dating myself !). In fact, it’s expanding so quickly that very few parents can stay abreast of what kids even consider to be the latest form of social media.

Many parents have proactively started to monitor their teens’ activity or even have used apps to track activity and to see what’s posted on these accounts. However, there is no magic solution better than the return to setting expectations and talking with your teen—without worrying so much about their privacy, but protecting them from themselves. Don’t get me wrong: we need to trust that we’ve raised them to make good decisions but remember, they are still teens. I don’t know about anyone else, but I did some dumb things in my teenage years. Unfortunately, our kids’ blunders and misguided activity get instantly posted for thousands of people to view, forever archived. Collaborate to guide our teens to make smart decisions about their online activity. Adopt the mantra “Stop, Think, Click.” If they take one second, before sending or posting, to reflect on future outcomes of their words, pictures, or videos, we’d certainly be moving in the right direction for creating a cyber-smart teen.

Last month, I sent the following information in my weekly e-newsletter to our Bronco parents. Some material may be brand new to you, but it’s beneficial to each of us as parents, employers, and community members in this ever-growing realm of social media.We must know “what kids are doing these days,” to guide and to protect them. Growing Wireless has facts and

tips about for what children and teens are using their cellphones. This resource has loads of information about cyberbullying, sexting, privacy issues, and policy. quick-facts

Online Safety Site shares

teen Internet statistics and resources for monitoring your child’s online activity.

The Department of Justice

shares Internet safety tips for children and for parents. InternetSafetyTips5.5.11.pdf Netsmartz, a program of the National

Center for Missing and Exploited Children, teaches children and teens how to be aware of potential Internet dangers and risks and how to be proactive in protecting themselves on- and offline.

Common Sense Media recently

posted the 15 apps and websites kids use (and Facebook isn’t one of them!).

Chad Thomas is the principal at Bailey Middle School in Cornelius. He was the 2014 North Carolina PTA Principal of the Year.


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i n

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“ Scene”

w i t h



Be Scene L a k e N orman W oman is getting out and about each month, looking for great events and the fabulous and exciting Lake Norman people who are making them happen! So next time you’re at a chamber event, a new business in the area, or just out having fun, look for Lake Norman Woman and our camera. Who knows, you just might find yourself in next month’s

LKNW’s Dana and Amazing Girl Kirsten Blackburn at The Peninsula Yacht Club

LKNW’s Sandy with Randolph James, founder and principal designer at Magnolia Emporium, at its grand opening

“ Sce n e W i t h L a k e Norman Woman ! ”

The LKNW team, and Chelsea’s son, Quest, at a team meeting at Eez in Birkdale

LKNW’s Amy and Sandy trying on wears at Charming Charlie’s in Birkdale

LKNW’s Dana with LKN Chamber President Bill Russell, 2015 Small Business of the Year winner Fifi’s Fine Resale’s owner Julia Austin, Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis, and Cornelius Commissioner Woody Washam

View more Scene photos & more at our Facebook page: LakeNormanWoman


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Lake Norman Woman Magazine is honored as a finalist of LKN Chamber’s 2015 Small Business of the Year. Pictured (l to r): Chamber President Bill Russell, LKNW’s Sandy, Amy, Chelsea, & Dana, Cornelius Mayor Chuck Travis, and Cornelius Commissioner Woody Washam

june 2015 |




© Michał Rojek |

better me

better you

better world

Mind Body Spirit The mind, body, and spirit are intimately connected. Because unhealthy thoughts and emotions can create a vicious cycle that leads to unhealthy physical patterns, we can choose a victorious path that includes a positive, healing, uplifting spiral. By mixing the ingredients of attitude and action, we can change the flavor of our own lives. Learn to nurture your body and soul to lead a more balanced life.

What’s Behind Some Teen Texts?

in 2012 showed that 78 percent of American teens owned a cellphone, and roughly half of these were smartphones. Just a quick glance around a school event, restaurant, tt ie Pa rr o or any area By : D ebb | © Michał Rojek where 12- to 17-year-olds gather, and you may think these numbers are even higher. Teens spend an average of 7 1/2 hours a day staring at some type of screen; and while some screen time is beneficial for education and entertainment, much of it is spent “connecting” via texting, Snapchatting, posting, or using other forms of social media. Research

One phenomenon that has gained popularity with the rise in cellphone use is sexting. Sexting is a term used to describe sending and receiving sexually explicit messages or photographs electronically, primarily through a cellphone. In spite of its prevalence among teens and young adults, we understand very little about


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the long-term effects of this behavior. Technology changes faster than we can study how these messages and photographs are being viewed or their frequency. Perhaps the more important question is: how does sexting affect the adolescent’s healthy sexual and relational development? A 2008 American survey revealed that one in five teens had sent or posted nude or semi-nude pictures of themselves, and 39 percent had sent sexually explicit messages electronically. These teens admitted that sending or posting sexually suggestive content had impacted their behavior. They were more likely to use sexually explicit words and images in text messages than in face-toface conversations; and 38 percent said that sending such messages made it more likely they would “hook up” with the recipient. The most common reason male and female teens sext is “it’s fun and flirtatious.” Adolescence is a developmental period for identity and independence, which includes increasing privacy, the emergence of sexual feelings and experimentation, and the refinement of one’s value system. Texting allows teens to be sociable and interact with others, without actual personal contact. There is a false sense of safety in concealing your face while sending an electronic

message, and the danger is that the content may be so far out of your comfort zone that it reveals more than you intended. Peer pressure also determines why teens are sexting. Fifty-one percent of adolescent girls said they felt pressured from boys to send “sexy” messages or pictures; and one in four boys and girls reported they were convinced by friends to send or post sexual content. Teens should be encouraged not to do anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, even in cyberspace. Once the message or image is “out there,” the sender loses control of it. Adolescents need to remember that nothing in cyberspace ever really gets deleted, and friends, enemies, teachers, parents, police, strangers, colleges, and future employers may find past postings. The impulsive moment that a teenager sends a sexual message or picture, whether for fun or because she feels pressured, could turn into a life-altering mistake. Parents should ask their children, in a developmentally appropriate manner, what they know about sexting and reinforce that if they are uncomfortable about anything, they should say no. Parents also should reiterate the reality that nothing they send is anonymous or private. A good rule of thumb is, if you wouldn’t want your friend’s mom to see it, don’t send it.

Debbie Parrott maintains a private counseling practice in Davidson, where she sees adolescents, adults, couples, and families. She has led groups on parenting skills, and has helped many area families learn to communicate more effectively through the transitions of adolescence. Debbie can be reached at 704.607.8976, and her Facebook page, Debbie Parrott, PLLC. | june 2015

©Andybor |


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