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Vision Discipline. Empowerment. Success.

The Resilience Issue Learn how you can build the strength and endurance you need when the going gets tough

plus... Just call him “Mr. President� An up-close-and-personal look at the inauguration of President Obama

spring 2009

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Teens Share Their Stories on Bouncing Back from Setbacks


contents

departments 4

Best of the Web

5

For Your Health

6

Values Valores

7

Impress Yourself

The web is more than just fun and games—it’s also a place where depressed teens can find help.

Stressed out? Learn how you can sweat your way to a more balanced life.

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Reconnecting with your vision for the future can help you overcome obstacles today.

Spring tests are here and you’re in the trenches. Get some tips on how to survive and thrive.

Resilience

13 Shoulders, Ears & Hearts

When you need advice from someone who’s been there, Shoulders, Ears, and Hearts is the place to turn.

29 Keeping It Real

Who says boys don’t cry? Learn why men need to open up and show their sensitive side.

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5

For Your Health

Resilience: Faith, Focus and Triumph

features 8

Resilience

Why resilience spells S-U-C-C-E-S-S. Learn how you can get it.

12 Comeback Kid of the Year

Call him Mr. President. After a long and unlikely road, Barack Obama is finally the man in charge.

14 Resilience: Faith, Focus and Triumph Alonzo Mourning opens up about his new book and tells us how he won the battle for his life.

16 War Zone Communities

Don’t be a victim of violence in your community. On our Cover:

18 Bouncing Back: 4 Teen Stories

Cover model Jonathan Cabrera

Teens open up about overcoming setbacks.

12 2 teen vision magazine

Comeback Kid of the Year

23 Jean Dreams Fashion

The lovely ladies of Miami Northwestern write their futures in denim.


editor’s letter

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Vision Spring 2009 Crew

Publisher

ReCapturing the Vision, International

Editor-In-Chief

Jacqueline Del Rosario

A

t some point or another, everyone will face obstacles to their success. These obstacles can be large or small, short-term or long-lasting. Many of these obstacles are beyond our control and it can be difficult to know what we need to do to overcome them. As Langston Hughes once said, “Life ain’t no crystal stair” and neither does it come with a crystal ball that allows us to see into the future. Since we can’t predict life’s challenges, we must learn how to fortify ourselves with resilience so that when we are faced with difficult times we can overcome them. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from life’s challenges. As a teen, it is crucial that you develop the foundational traits that will allow you to be resilient in the face of trying circumstances, whether you are dealing with a violence-ridden community, an absentee parent, or money-problems at home. Learning how to develop the traits that promote resiliency will put you on the track to achieving a healthy and successful future. Right now, our entire nation needs resiliency. The economic crisis has led to many lost jobs, and most families find themselves having to cut back in order to make ends meet. Teenagers all over the country have been affected by the crisis in many different ways. Many have had to forego that new videogame or cell phone; some have even had to start working at an after-school job in order to help out. In this issue you will hear from teens who have had to bounce back from very difficult situations. You will also learn what you can do to develop the foundational traits that promote resiliency, how to develop and stick to your plan for the future, and how to find support when the going gets tough. The great thing about challenges—no matter how large or how small—is that they always teach you something. As you read about Alonzo Mourning, President Obama, and fellow teens’ paths to resilience, reflect on the state of your own resilience. Ask yourself: Do I ever feel like giving up? What can I learn from the challenge I am facing? How can I develop the strength to endure? The stories we share in this issue are intended to inspire you to stand strong no matter what obstacle you are facing. As you go through these tough times, remember that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Wishing you well,

Jacqueline Del Rosario

President, ReCapturing the Vision Managing Editor

Adrinda Kelly

Graphic Design

Tiffany N. Castillo

Photography

Galina Vitols

Contributors

Aaron Alexander

Desiree Davis

Charlene Gillens

Judy Jones

Sam Taylor

Martia West, M.H.P.

Dave Zirin

Student Contributor Schuyler Polk Schuyler Polk is a sixteen year old student at Coral Reef Senior High School in Miami, Florida. She aspires to become a professional photographer.

ReCapturing the Vision, International

Funding for this project was provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. Grant No. 90FEXXXX. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United states Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

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best on the web

Online Support for Teen Depression Find online support to help you fight depression

by Adrinda Kelly It’s More Common Than You Think Everyone knows that teenagers are moody and temperamental—it’s a rite of passage of sorts. While some of this behavior is normal, other times it can be an early red flag for a serious depressive disorder. According to About-Depression.com, depression is the most common mental health disorder among adolescents, affecting 1 out of every 5 teens regardless of their age, background, gender or race. And the situation isn’t getting any better. Just last year a South Florida teen committed suicide in front of a webcam to a live online audience after blogging about his plan to kill himself. Depression among teens is on the rise and this is just one tragic example of its devastating effects. Knowing When to Seek Help Depression.com is a website that will help you understand what depression is, how it affects you, and what its underlying causes are. As a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act, depression can lead to a higher risk of experiencing other problems, such as substance abuse, teen pregnancy, physical illness, and even suicide. Many depressed teens do not get the help they need because they think their moodiness is normal. But if you’re sad most of the time and it’s causing you problems with your grades, your relationships, or leading you to engage in risky behaviors then you need to seek help. MentalHealthScreening.org offers free depression screening tests that will help you determine whether or not you need help. Online Communities of Support The web is a powerful tool in your arsenal to combat depression. Eighty percent of teens with depression can be successfully treated if they seek help, yet less than thirty-three percent get the help they need. Most teens don’t know where to look for help and many of them are worried about the stigma of being one of those kids who has to see a “shrink.” If you are feeling depressed, the first step towards healing is to talk to someone about your feelings. 4 teen vision magazine

According to a research study conducted by the University of Alberta, today’s teens are much more likely to log on for emotional support than they are to pick up the phone. Fortunately, there are communities of online support just for teens suffering from depression that will protect your privacy and connect you with resources to help you get back on the right track. TeensforTeens.net, TheTrevorProject.org, and Teen-Moods.net offer interactive forums, resource lists, news articles, and information just for teens suffering from depression. Trained volunteers are available to help youth think through their feelings and connect with resources, while other teens write messages of support and share their stories. Online communities are a great place to start looking for support, but there is no substitute for professional healthcare. In every community there are community health centers funded by the U.S. government where teens can access affordable mental healthcare with qualified mental health professionals. Go to MentalHealth.Samhsa.gov/databases for a list of mental health facilities in your area. Bouncing Back The bottom line is this: You are not alone. You can bounce back from depression whether the thing that’s got you down is a bad grade or a broken heart. Never take matters into your own hands or think that you have nowhere to turn. If you are facing an emergency and need immediate help call the Boys & Girls Town national hotline at 1-800-448-3000. —All content and opinions expressed on these websites are not necessarily those of Recapturing the Vision or its sponsors and grantors. All materials on these websites are solely the responsibility of the content providers. tv


for your health

Stressbusters Exercise can help you stay fit and relieve stress

by Sam Taylor

Understanding Aerobic Exercise Aerobic exercise increases your heart rate and boosts your metabolism, keeping you super-fit and healthy. It eases stress, and increases your energy levels. Regular aerobic exercise also releases endorphins (happy hormones), that boost your mood naturally. Many aerobic exercises are also “weight-bearing” - the kind where you stand on your feet and exercise. Weight-bearing exercise stimulates the cells that boost bone strength. This is especially important for teens, because your bone mass peaks between the ages of 25 and 30. Now is the time to build the strongest bones possible. Getting Started with Aerobic Exercise To start an aerobic exercise program, just put on your running shoes and start walking. It’s fun and free. You can walk in your neighborhood, at a local mall, or at school on the track. If walking is not your thing, grab your bike and start riding. Or head to the beach for a swim. Or do all of these! There are enough options to be able to do a different exercise each day for a month or longer. Find Your Energy Time of Day As you start an aerobic exercise program, it’s important to find the right time to exercise – a time when you feel alert and energetic. This helps to make the exercise more fun and easier to do. If you’re a morning person, hop on the stationary bike before school. Or, if you’re barely awake at 6 a.m., hit the track at lunchtime, during PE, or after school. No matter what time you decide to break a sweat, the most important thing is to fit it in.

Join an Aerobic Exercise Class If you are social or need further instruction, you might prefer being part of a fitness class. Try an aerobics or gymnastics class at the local “Y,” a spinning class at a fitness center, or a school sports team: volleyball, basketball, football, swimming. The options for aerobic exercise are numerous. Just find what you like and make it your daily habit – your gift to yourself! tv

If you’re a morning person, hop on the stationary bike before school.

505 Whitehall Street, Suite 102 • Atlanta, GA 30303 678-614-7543

Exercise with a Friend If you get bored easily and like to talk with someone, invite a friend to be part of your aerobic exercise program. Your friend can act as a coach, motivator, and conscience, as well as give you someone to laugh with during exercise. teen vision magazine

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values valores

Eyes on the

Prize

Staying focused on your vision can help fortify your resilience when the going gets tough

by Charlene Gillens

F

rom the time we are little, parents, friends, and teachers ask us what we want to be when we grow up. As we grow older, the vision of ourselves as nurses, policemen, firefighters, doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, and so on grows fainter. Much of the optimism and blind confidence we have as young kids fades as we deal with the insecurities of adolescence and we realize that the big, bright world is a little bit smaller and a little less bright than we once thought. This change in perspective is normal as you began to process the realities of everyday life. But you should not allow your new understanding of life’s difficulties to discourage you from putting forth the effort to achieve your dreams. You can still be anything you want to be if you are willing to put in the hard work. Everyone’s success story is different, but there is always one common element – Vision. It is the key to unlocking your potential and the ultimate guide to getting things done. You have to see what you want before you can get what you want. Like a compass, vision directs you to make choices that ensure that you will stay on the path to your bright future. When in a crunch, making the right decision is not always clear and oftentimes young people get sidetracked by peer pressure. Vision makes that decision-

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making process a whole lot simpler. You need only ask: “Does this choice take me towards my vision for the future or away from it?” With a clearly defined destination, you can see that if a path does not lead you closer to your goal, the choice is easy…don’t take it! A person of vision never does anything that will threaten his or future.

A person of vision never does anything that will threaten his or her future. In order to develop your vision, you must return to the wide-eyed optimism of your younger days and reclaim that image of yourself in a firefighter’s uniform, hospital scrubs, judge’s robes, or whatever you may have envisioned. Then you must set out on a path that will enable you to achieve this vision. The roadmap to your vision must include a step-by-step plan to achieve your goals; a commitment to obtaining the education necessary to implement your vision; a willingness to do the hard work it takes to work your way up, and the patience to allow your fruits to bear in due time.

Whatever your goal, be clear on how and when you plan to achieve it. While you should always push yourself to exceed your expectations, you must also be realistic. If you want to become an acrobat but you’re afraid of heights, you might be setting yourself up for failure. It’s great to have big dreams, but setting the bar too high can lead to disappointment. If you set a goal, ask, “Do I really want to do this? Am I willing to take the steps necessary to achieve this?” Vision is best earned through specific, reachable benchmarks and early clarity now will help prevent setbacks in the future. Adolescence is an important stage in which you are preparing to take on the responsibilities of adulthood. As you look towards the future, you must define your goals and the strategies needed to fulfill them. As you work toward your vision, there will be many things in life to impede your progress. By definition, resilience is the ability to continue despite adverse conditions. This means no matter how hard and troublesome the road may appear, you will be able to travel it. When you have a clear vision, it is easy to assess which paths are appropriate to take and pinpoint the best course of action. Bend, but don’t break; flinch but don’t fall back. Self-doubt may arise in your travels, but it should never be a deterrent to a committed effort to achieve. Keep your eyes on the prize! tv


impress yourself

Surviving Spring

Testing Season Doing well on spring tests takes more than just studying

by Adrinda Kelly

I

t’s that time of year again: Spring Testing Season. Between studying for the FCATs, midterms, and the SATs, the spring semester at school can be anything but breezy. If the thought of your teacher’s red pen sends you into hysterics or the sight of one more bubble sheet makes you want to throw away your pencil, you are not alone! But before you hang up your bookbag and throw away the key to your locker, you must know that there are things you can do to make spring testing season a lot less stressful. Getting prepared for your spring tests involves more than just studying—it starts with basic selfcare and stress-management strategies. Check out these tips to help you get your survivor face on. Get Your Beauty Rest Getting those zzz’s is the number one thing you can do to prepare yourself for the big exam. In fact, sleep helps you learn better because it gives your brain the time to consolidate all the material you’ve been studying. Though it may seem like pulling an all-nighter is the only way to ensure that you’re ready on test day, this is the wrong strategy. You’re much better off getting more sleep than staying up late to study. There’s nothing worse than not being able to concentrate on the test because you’re tired. Eat those Veggies! All that intense studying you’re doing is causing you to burn through a lot of calories and you’ll need to eat something in order to refuel and keep up the pace. But what you eat is just as important as the fact that you’re eating. Vegetables and lean proteins (fish, chicken, beans, nuts) can actually help increase your brainpower. Though it might be tempting to pick up a bag of Doritos or munch on a Twix, a crisp apple or a handful of carrot sticks will feed your brain much more effectively. And

stay away from caffiene! It won’t help you perform better on the exam and if you’re not used to drinking it, it can actually increase your anxiety. Work it Out Exercise can help you study more effectively and reduce your stress level. When you exercise, endorphins are released in the body that are capable of producing feelings of euphoria and a general state of well being. This can be a powerful tool to help you reduce your test anxiety and improve your performance.

You must know that there are

things you ca

n do to

sting season

te make spring

a lot less stress

ful.

Study Hard and Smart Finally, you can’t do well on your spring tests without studying. But the key is to study smart as well as hard. Get organized by creating a study schedule. Then invite some of your friends (the smart ones) to join a study group. Take frequent breaks and avoid cramming. Studying for an hour everyday is much more effective than reading everything the night before. Spring testing season doesn’t have to be a drag. With these tips, you’ll be able to study longer, concentrate better, and avoid the unhealthy behaviors that can wreck your academic performance. tv teen vision magazine

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Resilience

The real secret to success is how good you are at boucing back from failure

S

-U-C-C-E-S-S. Most of us know how to spell the word but how many of us truly know what it takes to get there? Of course, there are the obvious things: a good education, strong work ethic, and positive attitude. But being successful takes something else, something that we don’t hear a whole lot about. That something is called Resilience. Resilience is a big word for a simple concept. Resilience is simply the ability to bounce back, rebound, or recover from life’s adversities. Bad things will happen to you in life. But how you react to those crappy situations—did you sulk after missing that touchdown in the last play of the championship game or did you resolve to work harder at summer practices?—is the true test of how successful you will be in the future.

Resilience:

the ability to bounce back from life’s adversities. Resilience is all about conditioning your response to setbacks. Your resilience is what gives you the ability to brush

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yourself off and keep it moving after you have been knocked down a few times. Resilience is what got Michael Jordan into the NBA after being cut from his high school team. Resilience is what motivated Jennifer Hudson to win that Oscar after you-know-who told her she would never make it in the business. Get the picture? The thing about resilience is that some folks are better at it than others. In fact, there are factors outside of your immediate control that can negatively impact your ability to develop resilience. Knowing what those factors are will help you come up with a plan to reverse their negative impact.

Barriers to Resilience Consider this: Marcus Johnson is a 14-year old living in Liberty City. He’s being raised by a single mother and attends a public school in a run-down area of Miami-Dade County. Malina Suarez is a 16-year old junior attending a private all-girls’ school in north Miami-Dade. Malina’s parents are

jennifer hudson album: prnewsfoto/arista records

by Adrinda Kelly


divorced and while she lives with her mom in Hialeah, she spends weekends and summers with her dad, who lives nearby and visits frequently. These students come from very different backgrounds. We can assume that Malina is more well-off than Marcus based on the fact that she goes to private school and lives in Hialeah. We can also guess that Marcus may not have as much parental involvement as Malina, since he is being raised by a single-parent. Marcus and Malina’s backgrounds help us understand another fact about resilience: there are traits, behaviors, and circumstances which, when lacking, make it more difficult to rise above adversity. Much research has been done to show that an individual’s ability to cope with tough situations is dependent upon external, as well as, internal factors. This means that no matter how strong-minded you may be as an individual, if outside factors beyond your control such as poverty, violent communities, or lack of parental support are present, then the ability to overcome tough situations is more difficult. If you’ve ever heard the term “at risk” then you are already familiar with the idea that certain youth are more vulnerable to bad circumstances than others. Dr. Dennis P. Swanson observes that “risk factors and absence of protective factors predispose individuals for adverse outcomes.” What this means is that when you have more protective factors than risk factors, you are more likely to be resilient. Protective factors may include positive selfesteem or supportive parents. Risk factors may include poverty, violent communities, and broken homes. Marcus’ background—poor, being raised by a single-parent, living in a poor community—indicates a high level of risk factors. This means that Marcus may not be as prepared to bounce back from tough times as Malina.

workout plan for you to follow every day. If you stick to the regimen, your resilience will grow stronger.

Reflect Ask yourself: How resilient am I on an everyday basis? Do I let a rude comment or a disappointing text message ruin my whole day? While you may not always have a choice about what happens to you, you do have a choice about how you react to it. You have to consciously choose to bounce back.

Talk About It You have to confront disappointing circumstances before you can bounce back from them. You must release the emotion you feel over setbacks. Call a friend, write in your journal, or turn off the lights and have a good cry. You need to achieve closure before you can move on.

Learn From It Adversity serves an important purpose: it always teaches you a lesson. It’s your job to figure out what that lesson is. Learning lessons from your setbacks is one of the best ways to build resilience.

Get Motivated Don’t allow failure to discourage you—instead, make it your motivation. No one and nothing should be given the power to dictate your possibilities—you can always try harder, work longer, and do more to overcome your limitations. Resilience is a long-term investment. Life is a marathon, not a sprint and some laps will be tougher than others. Remember: What matters most is not that you missed a hurdle, but whether you managed to stay on the track. tv

The ratio

of protective factors to risk factors is what determines resilience. Constant exposure to risk factors can make youth feel helpless. Individuals who view themselves as helpless are more likely to make risky choices because they feel they have nothing to lose.

Bouncing Back Fortunately, you can learn to be resilient, no matter how many risk factors may be in your way. Think about your bouncing-back ability as a strength-training program, with a

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Resiliency Quiz Do you have the conditions in your life that helps people to be resilient? The more times you answer yes to the questions below, the greater the chances you can bounce back from your life’s problems. Celebrate your “yes” answers and decide how you can change your “no” answers to “yes.”

Caring and Support I have several people in my life who give me unconditional

love, nonjudgmental listening, and who I know are “there for me.” I am involved in a school, work, faith, or other group where

I feel cared for and valued. I treat myself with kindness and compassion, and take time to

nurture myself (including eating right and getting

enough sleep and exercise).

High Expectations for Success I have several people in my life who let me know they believe in

my ability to succeed. I get the message “You can succeed,” at my work or school. I believe in myself most of the time, and generally give myself

positive messages about my ability to accomplish my goals–

even when I encounter difficulties.

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Opportunities for Meaningful Participation My voice (opinion) and choice (what I want) is heard and valued in

my close personal relationships. My opinions and ideas are listened to and respected

at my work or school. I volunteer to help others or a cause in my community, faith

organization, or school.

Positive Bonds I am involved in one or more positive after-work

or after-school hobbies or activities. I participate in one or more groups (such as a

club, faith community, or sports team)

outside of work or school. I feel “close to” most people at my work or school.

Clear and Consistent Boundaries Most of my relationships with friends and family members have clear, healthy

boundaries. (which include mutual respect, personal autonomy, and each

person in the relationship both giving and receiving). I experience clear, consistent expectations and rules at my work or

in my school. I set and maintain healthy boundaries for myself by standing up for myself,

not letting others take advantage of me, and saying “no” when I need to.

Life Skills I have (and use) good listening, honest communication, and healthy

conflict resolution skills. I have the training and skills I need to do my job well, or all the skills

I need to do well in school. I know how to set a goal and take the steps to achieve it.

*Source: by Nan Henderson, M.S.W. (reprinted from www.resiliency.com)

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Comeback Kid of the Year: President Barack Obama How one man’s road to the White House became a lesson in resilience for all of us by Schuyler Polk

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in the same place just 50 years before. Children, adults, teenagers and the elderly alike stood together in the freezing cold to catch a glimpse of history in the making. As our feet became numb and our cheeks stung from the bitter cold, we stuck our hands into our neighbors’ pockets, sharing each other’s warmth and anticipation. At every moment when President Obama appeared on the larger-than-life Jumbotrons, a sea of American flags would rise up. A universal cheer of “Obama” and “Yes We Did!” rang out. Thinking about that feeling of unity brings tears to my eyes even today. The moment when President Obama took the oath of office was so profound; it was almost supernatural. I squeezed the hands of strangers and tears of pure exaltation ran down my cheeks, as they did on the cheeks of the millions of people there and watching on television. I remember thinking, “What an amazing day to be an American.”

I remember thinking,

“What an amazing day

to be an American.” We are so fortunate to see a man transcend his opponents and represent all of us in the most powerful seat of the nation. It is my belief that President Obama makes such an incredible impact because he does not draw distinctions. The most important lesson I learned from my entire Inauguration experience is that we are all connected somehow. The actions that we make can impact the actions of generations to come. I’ll never forget listening to Archbishop Desmond Tutu. His wonderfully accented voice inspired me, and I truly hope it can inspire others as well. He said, “The world is in good hands. The world is in compassionate hands. The world is in beautiful, beautiful hands. The world is in your hands.” It’s true. The world is in our hands. The Inauguration of President Barack Obama is proof of just that. tv

Magazine cover: (PRNewsFoto/NEWSWEEK)

T

his January, the world was electrified when President Barack Obama was sworn into office as our 44th president. Whether you were watching on television, listening to the radio, or witnessing in person, January 20th was a watershed moment for the entire world. President Obama’s pedigree isn’t what we’re used to seeing in an American president. He’s not the heir to a million-dollar fortune. He doesn’t have a castle abroad or a 100-foot yacht. During his campaign, we were introduced to an entirely different type of politician: a true man of the people. Abandoned by his father and raised by a single mom, Barack Obama wasn’t supposed to go to an Ivy League college and become president of the Harvard Law Review; he wasn’t supposed to win the Senate race in Illinois; and he certainly wasn’t supposed to become the country’s first black president. It is fitting then, for his Inauguration to have such an emotional impact. I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference to witness the Inauguration in person. During the conference’s pre-inauguration activities, we were addressed by various luminaries including General Colin Powell, former Vice President Al Gore, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. All of the speakers presented a message of how youth have the power to change the world and make it a better place to live. Inauguration Day dawned bright and sunny. The air felt electric as more than two million people filled up the National Mall in front of the Capitol Building to witness one of the proudest moments in American history. The number of people standing on the Mall was astounding—I have never been in such a large crowd. However, I didn’t feel claustrophobic or scared. Everywhere I looked there were people from all over the world, just as excited and proud as I was. I smiled at strangers and cheered with them like they were childhood friends. The collective feeling of joy and pride was almost tangible. I stood with three other high school students from Kansas, Los Angeles, and Missouri that I had met the day before. Our multicultural group was just one of many examples of groups of people who would not have had the opportunity to stand together


Support, help

shoulders, ears & hearts

&

guidance always at hand

Dear Shoulders, My parents are really getting on my nerves. They’re always on my back about where I’m going and they don’t trust me at all. Last weekend I got in a little late past curfew and my mom freaked out and grounded me for two weeks! Why won’t they just get off my back and let me live my life?! –Aggravated in Aventura Dear Aggravated in Aventura, Hate to break the news to you, but your parents are just doing their job! You might feel like it’s a police interrogation every time you step out the door and that your parents have turned into private investigators, but their behavior is normal. You’re getting older now and it’s okay to want to spread your wings but you have to do so while following your parents’ rules. If you start to lie and sneak around you’ll eventually get busted and you’ll lose your parents’ trust completely. You can avoid a bad situation by simply keeping your parents informed about your whereabouts and checking in with them if you think you’re going to be late or something doesn’t go according to plan. And if you don’t like one of their rules, try negotiating with them before you decide to break it. If you keep the lines of communication open, your parents may be impressed by your maturity enough to cut you some slack.

Dear Ears, I was in the school bathroom when two of my friends came in and I overheard them gossiping about me. Should I confront them? I thought we were all friends and now I don’t know whether to trust them. I can’t even look at them now without thinking about the things that they said. –Tasha

to get worse. A better solution is to talk to your friends calmly and tell them how their comments made you feel. If they’re truly friends of yours, they’ll apologize—and mean it. Then it’s up to you to end the friendship and stay hurt, or forgive them and move on. Sticks and stones may break your bones but how much power words have to hurt you is up to you.

Dear Heart, I’ve been with my boyfriend for three months and we get along really well but things are starting to move fast. He’s really popular and a lot of girls like him, so I don’t want to risk losing him by not going all the way. How can I slow things down to a pace I’m more comfortable with without giving him a reason to break up with me? –On the Verge Dear On the Verge, Sex is a huge step and you should never let someone pressure you into doing something you’re not ready to do. If you let the relationship move more quickly than you’re comfortable with you’re going to feel uneasy, used, and ultimately resentful, causing you two to break up in the long run. Try to talk to your boyfriend and tell him how you feel. Be specific about the things you are uncomfortable doing. If he cares for you as much as you care for him, he will respect your decision even though he may want to go further. And if he breaks up with you, then he’s not the right guy for you anyway and you’ll be saving yourself from a lot of anger and heartache in the long run. Remember: you are worth the wait! tv –Have a problem you need help with? Email us at commspec@rtvintl.org.

Dear Tasha, You have every right to be upset. But how you handle this situation will determine whether your trust problems end here or whether they undermine all your other friendships. You need to talk to your friends about what went down but there is a right and a wrong way to go about doing this. Getting angry and telling them off will only escalate the situation and cause the conflict

...Life, Laughter, Learn teen vision magazine

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Resilience: Faith, Focus, and Triumph How the fight for his life led to Alonzo Mourning’s biggest comeback Interviewed by Dave Zirin for the Bleacher Report, January 2009

8 recipient gnized as the 200 rd for Miami HEAT, is reco Membership Awa and center for the ient’s annual Life Alonzo Mourning Pat , during ney Kid ase of dise ociation kidney nic Ass an chro of eric Am ess the ren of awa 2008 in mitment to raising e, Weds, March 5, his extraordinary com T vs. Raptors gam ceremony at a HEA a half-time awards ) vice Ser to e Pho Miami, Fla. (Featur

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lonzo Mourning should be dead and he knows it. In 2000, Mourning was at the top of his game. Fresh from the Olympics, sporting a gold medal and a lucrative new contract with the Miami Heat, Mourning wasn’t prepared for the devastating news that he was suffering from a rare and fatal kidney disease. For the next three years, Mourning would frantically search for a donor, and as he watched his hoop dreams unravel before his very eyes, he struggled to make sense of the rest of his life. Fast-forward to 2003. After a desperate search for a donor match, Mourning had a new lease on life. Battling his way back to the NBA, Mourning would go on to win a championship ring with the Miami Heat. Mourning shares his incredible story in a new book, Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph (Ballantine Books). Dave Zirin: You’re no stranger to adversity, from your days as a foster kid to your time at Georgetown where you managed to make the Dean’s list and the NBA draft. Can you tell us a little bit about these experiences have inspired you to write this book? Alonzo Mourning: I wrote the book in hopes that individuals would be able to use my story to help them overcome different adversities, obstacles, and challenges that they may face in life. Resilience is a very powerful word, and I think we all have that in us, that resilience, that ability to comeback, to overcome. Tough times don’t last but tough people do. Dave Zirin: Speaking of tough, you’ve made some very tough decisions in your life, even as a young child. In the book you write about petitioning yourself into foster care as a 10-year old. Why did you feel like you had to make a choice like this at such an early age? Alonzo Mourning: I wasn’t happy. My mother and father were going through some pretty tough times, and emotionally, I was affected by it. I went through counseling. In the counseling system that we were going to, they had a group home connected to the place, and they asked my mom and dad, ‘Look, now, let us keep him for a couple of days’. And I went through some sessions there to help me deal with the problems that I was dealing with at home. They asked me did I want to 14 teen vision magazine

go back home. And I told them, ‘No, I don’t want to go back home’. So, to make a long story short, when my mother and father separated, got a divorce, I had to decide in the courtroom, who I wanted to live with. I told the judge, ‘It’s difficult for me to choose because I love them both. I can’t choose so I’d rather stay where I am.’ Social services, they find families for these children in group homes, and I fell into the hands of Fannie Threet. She’s an amazing woman. She planted a lot of amazing seeds in my life helping me understand the importance of walking by faith and the importance of getting my education, and just how to be a productive citizen, and how to be a man. Dave Zirin: You had the chance to be drafted out of high school, but chose to play college ball at Georgetown instead. How did that decision come about? Alonzo Mourning: Well, first of all, back then, it wasn’t the in thing to leave high school and go straight to the pros, and at that particular time when all the college coaches were visiting my home, I narrowed my list down to five schools. It was Georgetown, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and Syracuse. And one of things that stood out from all the coaches [is that] all of them promised me all these material things, promised me all this stardom and things of that nature, but Big John said, ‘Look, Miss Threet, he’s going to have to work for everything he’s going to get, but I will tell you this: he’s going to get his education and if he doesn’t go to class, he won’t be at my school’. So, that was it. That put him above everybody else because, I mean, obviously that was an important part of my development for Miss Threet and for my high school coach Bill Lassiter. So, when I got to school at Georgetown, I was overwhelmed. I mean, I was the No. 1 player in the country at that particular time, everything was coming at me and I was being praised, almost making the Olympic team. So, at that particular time when I started school, Big John told me, ‘Son, you’re not putting forth the effort in the classroom that I see in you.’ He said, ‘I see more in you than what you’re putting out’. And I said, ‘What do you mean? I’m passing. I’m doing enough to stay on the team.’ He said, ‘No. No, you can do a whole lot better than what you’re doing.’ He said, ‘It’s not even about basketball, and It’s not about you playing, doing enough to stay, being able to play basketball and staying on the team.’ He said, ‘It’s about the same effort you’re putting forth on the court, it’s about you putting forth that effort in the classroom.’ So, he made a valid point, and I thought about it. And the next semester, I made the Dean’s List. I wasn’t consistent with it, but it let me know what I was capable of doing, you know?


Dave Zirin: So you placed a lot of value on education, even back then? Alonzo Mourning: Oh yeah. Most definitely. One of my biggest initiatives here in South Florida is trying to tackle this vicious cycle of illiteracy. And you think about it and you have close to 50 percent of the kids here in Miami-Dade [county] who won’t graduate from high school. That’s a disgusting statistic considering how rich in resources we are, and it lets you know where we place our priorities. We’re living in a country that we’re ranked 19th in the world in graduations, but we’re ranked 1st in incarcerations. That’s a terrible

statistic. It’s important for us as responsible adults to go out and do what we can to make sure that our kids are steered in the right direction. And you start with education. Dave Zirin: What advice do you have for our readers? Alonzo Mourning: Follow your dreams. If you want to be an astronaut, shoot for the stars, man. That is the only way you’re going to get there. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do it because I had those individuals telling me that I couldn’t come back from this kidney transplant and I did it. I came back and won an NBA championship. I’m living proof that anybody can beat the odds. tv

Excerpt: ‘Resilience’ by Alonzo Mourning Courtesy Ballantine Books

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our life can change in a single instant, at the most unexpected time in the most routine manner. One second you have a list of concerns and challenges and plans to deal with. The next second that all seems trivial and God is laying down a challenge — a challenge you never saw coming. Mine came courtesy of a ringing telephone while I was asleep. I was taking a rare midday nap. Unless it was a game day, I was the last guy to spend the afternoon sleeping, especially with another NBA season to prepare for. But I was exhausted, suffering from what I believed was a combination of a lingering flu and extreme jet lag. At my doctor’s suggestion I had gone in for some medical tests, a precautionary biopsy, but I didn’t believe anything serious was wrong, maybe a thyroid condition, or a virus. Maybe I was just ignoring the signs, but I really wasn’t very concerned. At worst, I figured, I’d take some pills and get back to getting ready for the fast-approaching NBA season, one in which I had my eyes on winning the championship. After all, I was the healthiest person I knew — thirty years old, six foot ten, 255 pounds with just six percent body fat. I benched over three hundred pounds with ease. I worked out with hundredpound dumbbells. I was a professional athlete, coming off a season where I was first team All NBA, a runner-up for NBA Most Valuable Player. That summer I had been named USA Basketball Player of the Year after we won gold at the Sydney Olympics. With defense as my specialty, my reputation as a player was as perhaps the toughest and hardest-working one in the entire league. * * * I was being naïve, of course. This was more than jet lag....Later that day, on the way to the hospital for the tests — my agent, Jeff Wechsler, was driving me — I passed out in the passenger seat. I had a temperature of 104. I was very weak and depleted. But it still didn’t dawn on me how sick I was. I wouldn’t allow myself to admit it. I had training camp coming up and I knew the physical challenges ahead would be brutal. Which is why the voice of my doctor, Victor Richards, on the phone the next day made me sit up in my darkened bedroom. He said he had my test results and without hesitation he unloaded it on me. “Alonzo, your creatinine level is pretty high,” he said. Before I could even

remember whether that was a good or bad thing (I thought it was bad), he said, “You have a rare disease called focal glomerulosclerosis.” I was stunned. I didn’t understand what he was saying except that something with as many syllables as “focal glomerulosclerosis” couldn’t be good. Having played competitive basketball since I was a teenager, I had spent years around doctors and trainers, and I’d either experienced, or seen teammates experience, countless surgeries, medical treatments, injuries, and general ailments. Never had I heard of focal glomerulosclerosis. “What did you say?” I asked. “What do I have?” “You have a kidney disease called focal glomerulosclerosis,” Dr. Richards said. I was completely awake now. “Am I going to die?” I asked. “You’re going to be okay.” “Well, will I be able to play basketball again?” “That’s up to you.” “There’s a cure for this, isn’t there?” “No.” He might as well have hit me with a baseball bat. No cure? What did that mean? I remember dropping my head into my hands; I was trying to grasp it all. Had Richards really just said there was no cure for this disease I had never heard of? If there was no cure, how was it up to me to play basketball? What would I tell my wife? What would I tell my son? What would I tell my baby girl? Would I ever be able to play with them and watch them grow up? And how could — of all things — my body, my strength, my health, the one thing that never let me down, now be called into question? Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/115839-alonzo-mourning-theedge-of-sports-interview

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War Zone Communities How to protect yourself from community violence

by Martia West, M.H.P.

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s the wars rage in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa, there is a battle closer to home that you are fighting each day. The war is that of violence against you and your loved ones. In 2006, homicide was the second leading cause of death among youth ages 1-5 and 15-25 in Miami Dade County.* For every one thousand youth, 6 were charged with violent felony offenses and 4 were a victim of violent crime.** This means that as you walk the halls of your school and the streets of your neighborhood you will encounter youth who have been or will be convicted of crime, perhaps even against you and your loved ones. 16 teen vision magazine

Black males are 14 times more likely to be a victim of death by a firearm than white males.* Many teens are so accustomed to the violence in their communities that they have trouble recognizing it as a serious problem that they need to overcome. Neighborhoods with high levels of community violence are those in which gunfire, shootings, assaults, and


robberies are everyday occurrences. Exposure to violence can have a lasting effect on teens, whether that exposure is direct or indirect. Relatively few youth will be shot at, stabbed, or robbed, but many more will witness violent acts or know someone who dies as a result of a violent act. More than 75% of youth who live in neighborhoods with moderately high levels of community violence will witness a violent incident.**** Teens who experience chronic exposure to violence suffer from emotional distress that negatively impacts their personality and behaviors. Many of them have problems associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, including moodiness, sleep disorders, and confidence problems. Other problems include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness about the future, and emotional numbing. This can lead teens to engage in high-risk behaviors that include drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, and joining gangs. If you are exposed to violence in your community, there are things you can to do develop resiliency and minimize the impact of community violence on your life. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adverse circumstances. Researchers have identified several factors that allow teens to be resilient in the face of adversity. There are proven prevention steps you can take each day to minimize your exposure to community violence.

Prevention is the key weapon in every battle. What Time Is It? First, know what time of day it. National research suggests that juvenile crime, including violent offenses, peaks between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., generally right after school lets out.** These crimes include harassment, sexual assaults by a known person and robbery. Head home right after school, and arrange transportation with an adult if possible or travel with a buddy. Always be alert and remove yourself from any unwanted situations the minute they come up.

Just Say No! Second, DO NO USE DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that underage drinking is widespread and is associated with a wide range of negative consequences including risky sexual behavior, problems in school, and various types of injury.*** Mood-altering drugs can affect your ability to make good-decisions or recognize when you’re in a bad situation. By just saying no, you’ll be better equipped to keep yourself safe.

Follow the Leader Sometimes being a copycat is a good thing. Copy people that you know have achieved what you would like to achieve. Ask that person to mentor you and assist you with your goals. You may be surprised that they are more than willing to do it. Developing a relationship with a mentor such as a teacher, church member, or relative, and such can help protect you from the effects of community violence.

Seven Signs of Post-Traumatic Stress from Community Violence**** 1. Experiencing emotional numbing 2. Feeling cut-off from others 3. Having negative views of the future 4. Having nightmares 5. Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep 6. Being irritable or easily angered 7. Being distracted or inattentive

All battles and crimes have two sides—the victims and the assailants—and they are not always easily distinguishable. Take steps to ensure that you are not an offender or a victim. tv

References *Miami Dade County Health Department, Florida Department of Education Bureau of Student Assistance Office of Safe and Healthy Schools **Dade County Delinquency, FY 2002/03 – FY 2006/07 www.djj. state.fl.us ***National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of National Institute of Health **** Topics in Review: Helping teens who live in violent communities, Sukey M Egger, Jill M Waterman, and Rosalie Corona. West J Med. 2000 March; 172(3): 197–200.

Go Go Go Youth involved in team sports, after-school activities and other forms of recreational or academic programs are less likely to commit a crime or be a victim of a crime.** Beside developing skills that make you more confident, activities can help you develop a strong sense of self, coping skills, self-control, and optimism about the future. Try to find something productive to do after school—like a part-time job or a school club—that can help keep you out of trouble and reduce your exposure to community violence. teen vision magazine

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Bouncing Back: 4 Student Stories Bouncing Back: Death of a Loved One In July 2007, 16-year old South Florida student Schuyler Polk lost her mom to cancer. Over the next year-and-a-half, Schuyler would learn that sometimes the death of a loved one teaches you how to live. by Schuyler Polk

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uly 7, 2007. 7-7-7. They say it’s God’s number of completion. Lucky sevens if you’re a Vegas-head. For me, it was the day my mother died. My father called me from the hospital and said she was gone. The two-and-a -half year battle she fought against cancer was over, and she had lost. I walked into Room 2220 at Baptist Hospital and kissed her cold cheek goodbye. Seventeen months later, I am a different person than that fourteen year-old who kissed her mother goodbye. My mother’s death has been something that has changed everything: my thoughts, my opinions, and my outlook on life. Ironically, it has pushed me into being a better person, and it has given me the knowledge that life is so short. I have done more than I think I ever would without her here to shield me from the realities of life. In no way have I gotten over my mother’s death. She was such a big part of my life. She was constantly there to push me to do better, to give that hug and kiss only a mother can, and to love me unconditionally. Mothers are such amazing people. It’s hard to imagine life without them. After she died, I realized how the little things she did meant so much. I am so lucky to have so many women in my life, my grandmothers, my aunts, and the wonderful family friends who reach out to me and support me like a child of their own. But every day I miss my mom. I still cry often. People tell me that time heals all wounds, but it seems like time has only made them more raw. Homecoming, my sixteenth birthday, driving a car, and seeing the Inauguration were moments that really made me notice she wasn’t here with me. But I have become so much stronger and more willing to fight for the things I want, knowing my mother fought so hard to provide me with only the best in life. I have become so much more in tune with the world now that I experienced death first-hand. As children, we have this sense of immortality, and I lost that sense. I lost part of my 18 teen vision magazine

childhood in order to assume some of the responsibilities that my mother had. I really feel like I lost a part of myself when I lose my mother. Yet, I gained a new part of myself, a more realistic, more ambitious, more selfless part. I love my two younger sisters and my father with all my heart. We hold each other up when one falls down. I can count on them to love me more than anyone else in this world. Losing someone I love so much has only made me love them more. I’ve learned that life does not always end up the way it should. Sometimes we are challenged with something that seems insurmountable. I would have never found the strength that I have now if I couldn’t survive these past seventeen months. My mother is the source of that strength, and her memory keeps me moving forward every day. tv


Bouncing Back: Binge Drinking It took Mark Aronovich a trip to the emergency room to realize that binge drinking wasn’t a party he wanted to crash after all. by Mark Aronovich

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look older for my age. My mom used to say it all the time. I’m eighteen years old now and I look like I’m twenty-five. If I went into a liquor store today and tried to buy a bottle of vodka, no one would card me. I was fifteen years old when I had my first drink. I still remember it—cheap gin mixed badly with o.j. At the time, my older brother was a sophomore at UM. The Hurricanes were playing one of the Big East teams at home, and there was some major tailgating going on around the stadium. As I took my first swig, by brother’s friends egged me on. They seemed to get a kick out of seeing me fight back my gag reflex. I didn’t like the taste of it very much but I liked what it did to me. I felt cooler, less selfconscious, like I fit in. I kept drinking that day—more gin, vodka, beer. After the game was over, we moved the party to somebody’s dorm room and I just kept drinking and drinking. By 10pm, I could barely stand up. My brother covered for me and told my parents that he was too tired to bring me home and that I would just be crashing in his dorm room. I woke up the next day with the worst hangover of my life and a new appetite for alcohol. In 2005, according to self-reports by Florida high school students: • • • • •

71% had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more days during their life. 25% had their first drink of alcohol before age 13. 40% had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more occasion in the past 30 days. 21% had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row (i.e., binge drinking) in the past 30 days. 5% had at least one drink of alcohol on school property on one or more of the past 30 days.

In 2005, underage drinkers consumed 9.1% of all alcohol sold in Florida, totaling $817 million in sales. Source: http://captus.samhsa.gov/southeast/resources/ Florida%20Underage%20.doc.

I didn’t drink every day, but I got wasted every time I went to hang out with my brother on campus. My parents didn’t realize what was going on for awhile, since I would just stay over in my brother’s dorm room and sleep it off before I got home. My goal was always to get drunk, and each time I had to drink a little bit more than the time before to get to that level. One night at a frat party, after hours of beer pong, a beer funnel, and shots of tequila mixed with southern comfort, I blacked out. The last thing I remember is the horrified look on some girl’s face as I threw up in her lap. The next day I woke up in a hospital room. My brother had taken me there after I passed out and started choking on my own vomit. The doctors ended up having to pump my stomach. I will never forget the lines of worry deeply etched on my mother’s face. After I got out of the hospital I went to rehab and I haven’t had a drink since. To be honest, I’m scared. I often ask myself, how did I get in that situation? I never really thought of alcohol as a drug, and I knew a lot of kids at my high school who drank and didn’t seem to have any problems. I suppose I was naive. I got lucky. I could have died that night. I’m starting college in the fall and I know my parents are worried that I’ll start binge drinking again. But to me, my health and safety is a lot more important than a nasty shot of gin. tv teen vision magazine

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Bouncing Back: Teen Pregnancy Katrise Bowman was just fifteen when she found out she was pregnant. Learn how this teen mom refused to become just another statistic. by Katrise Bowman

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named my daughter Anaya. I had her when I was 16. I met Anaya’s father through an ex-friend of mine who was dating his cousin. Jordan was several years older than me and when we first started talking on the phone he would say the sweetest things. I would send him pictures of me on my camera-phone and on MySpace and that’s how we communicated for awhile. Then one day, my friend said she was going to cut class to go meet up with her boyfriend in Overtown. Jordan was going to be there. I had cut school before so I knew the type of things that went down at cut parties. When I was younger, I had been molested by one of uncles so I was no longer a virgin, but technically I was not sexually active. So I was nervous about cutting class with my friend to meet up with Jordan but also excited to finally get to see him in person. That day we all hung out and I had a good time. Jordan was even cuter in person and so nice. We kissed and made out a little bit, but that was it. For the most part we just chilled. After that day, Jordan asked me to be his official girl and I was so excited. He was older than me and had a car and everything. So I felt really special when he asked me to be his girlfriend because I knew he could have gotten any girl he wanted. After that Jordan and I saw each other a lot. Jordan didn’t pressure me to have sex, but he didn’t have to. I wanted to show him how much I loved him and wanted to be with him and thought sex would make us closer. We used a condom the first couple of times, but after that we Teen Pregnancy Facts • • •

Nearly 80% of the fathers of babies born to teen mothers do not marry their babies’ mothers. Less than 1/3 of teens who become pregnant before age 18 complete high school. Girls born to teen mothers are 22% more likely to become mothers as teens themselves.

Source: http://www.lifelinefamilycenter.org/ teenpregnancyfacts.htm

stopped. I didn’t think about STDs or getting pregnant or anything like that. I just wanted to be close to him. I realized I might be pregnant after I missed two of my periods and started feeling sick in the mornings. My friend went with me to a clinic and we found out that I was 10 weeks. When I told Jordan, he freaked out and 20 teen vision magazine

stopped calling me. I think he even said something about “How do I know if that’s even mine?,” which hurt me a lot. After that, I didn’t hear from him again. Telling my mom was the hardest thing. I could tell she was so disappointed. But she has been there every step of the way. I used to hate the way people looked at me with my growing belly, but after awhile I got used to it. As my delivery date approached, I grew more excited, but I was also scared. I had to stop going to school around 8 months because I was put on bed rest. I missed seeing my friends, and when they would call and tell me about things that had happened at school I would get a little jealous. I had no idea how much my life was about to change. After my daughter was born, my mother helped me transfer to a school with a nursery on campus. I struggled to graduate from high school last year and now I’m working as an office assistant. I want to take classes to be a paralegal at Miami Dade College part-time. My plan is to work hard, graduate from school, and get a good job so I can provide for Anaya. But nothing is as easy as it seems. Everything is so much harder with a baby. Just to get ready for school takes almost 2 hours. I have to get her up, feed her, bathe and change her, pack her bottles for the day and her diaper bag before I can even begin to get myself ready. I can’t afford a car right now, so taking the bus is another thing I have to deal with every day. But I am determined to make it despite the challenges to get there. The day my daughter was born was the happiest day of my life. But every day since then has been a struggle. I wouldn’t give up my daughter for anything in the world but I wish I would have waited a little while before I had her. Plus, I never had a father and I hate that the same thing that happened to me is happening to her. tv


Bouncing Back: Broken Heart Giovana Diaz had to learn the hard way that recovering from a broken heart starts with forgiveness and a conscious decision to move on. by Giovana Diaz

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igh school was when things changed between me and Alex. We grew up in the same neighborhood, went to the same elementary school and middle school, we even go to the same church. I can’t remember a time when Alex hasn’t been around. He was my best friend and I used to tell him everything. Now we hardly ever talk. When we started high school Alex and I were sort of dating. I mean, we were still really young so there

wasn’t much we could do other than spend hours on the phone listening to one another breathe. But I thought of him as my boyfriend. We went to a homecoming together, and when I turned 15 he was even the escort for my quince. But right after that, things started to change. Alex is a great baseball player. He’s been playing since he was 5. When we got to high school, he made the varsity team as a freshman. Not long after that, Coach made him part of the starting lineup. All of a sudden Alex was spending all of his time outside of school going to baseball practice, playing showcases, and visiting campuses with college recruiters. I barely saw him anymore, but we still talked on the phone. In school, things weren’t any better. The summer before 10th grade, Alex shot up about 5 inches and became a real hottie overnight. The girls at my school also noticed. That year, they were all over him, and Alex didn’t seem to mind. This made me jealous but I

tried not to say anything because I didn’t want to act like some crazy stalker. Then one day in October I called Alex to ask him what he was wearing to the Homecoming Dance so we could coordinate outfits and he told me that he was taking someone else. I was completely caught off guard. In my mind, Alex was still my boyfriend though I hadn’t seen much of him lately. I found out that the girl he was taking, a very pretty and popular cheerleader from another school, he had been seeing for two months! Everyone seemed to know they were together except me. When I confronted Alex about it, he had the nerve to ask me why I was so angry. He said, “It’s not like I cheated on you because we were never really boyfriend and girlfriend. I was hurt and embarrassed. It’s true that Alex and I had never made it “official” but the old Alex would have never kept something like that from me. Plus everybody at school knew that we were sort of seeing each other so when the news got out about his new girlfriend, it looked like I got dumped. I completely lost confidence in myself. I kept comparing myself to his new girlfriend and I wasn’t happy with what I saw. I even tried to make Alex jealous by going out with one of his baseball friends. But that guy dumped me too when I told him that things were moving too fast. Then I started to spread ugly rumors about Alex and his girlfriend, but when Alex found out I was the one doing it, he stopped talking to me. It took a report card full of C’s for me to wake up and realize how much power I was letting this breakup have over me. I realized that I had to forgive Alex before I could move on. I apologized to him, and while he said that we were cool we are not as close as we used to be. I decided to take all the anger and pain and hurt I was feeling and focus on getting more involved in church. Today, I am a youth leader. Although Alex broke my heart, I am no longer angry with him. This experience has helped me realize that I cannot depend on another person to make me happy. Healing is up to me. tv teen vision magazine

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During my childhood I lost a very good person who was close to me. My jeans show how much I have grown since losing that person and how this class has helped me gain so much strength. –Tacore Herring

“Football keeps me in shape and it’s taught me how to overcome obstacles,” Luis says. Outfit by Augusta Sportswear.

Project:

Vision

These lovely ladies of RTV’s Capturing the Vision class at Miami Northwestern prove that their future isn’t only bright—it’s fashion forward. teen vision magazine

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My jeans reflect the things that I love and where I plan to be in the future. –Alphgeny Joseph


Style is a part of life and I love the style I have created for myself. My style says ‘Dream Big.’ –Richelle Johnson

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Being in this class has taught me plenty of things about how to deal with tough situations. My whole life story is on these jeans. –Vonkevia Davis


This class really changed me. My attitude is more respectful and I listen to my elders more often. I decorated my jeans to show that my mother inspires me. –Diamond Mouzon

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I learned my true purpose as an instructor while teaching this class. It was not the well thought out lesson plans, organized student folders, and colorful classrooms that defined my effectiveness; rather, it was the lives I touched. Yet, these lives reached out and touched me. They grabbed hold to my spirit and I could not shake them. My individual accomplishments were worthless if I could not reach back to motivate the next generation. These girls are my inspiration. – Ms. Natalie Baldie, Teacher

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keeping it real

Crying

Like A Man Sometimes being tough means knowing when to let the tears fall

by Aaron Alexander

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issy. Weak. Soft. Wimp. How many times have you used or heard someone use these words to describe a young man who shows his softer side? What’s up with that? Why do people feel that guys shouldn’t cry and if they do, they’re somehow less than a man? Emotional trauma is a part of life. All humans are emotional beings, yet we men are not permitted to process our emotion except in wellscripted ways. Men cry in the dark. This leads to the problems that we fellas have. We have to keep all that anger and hurt inside because if we let it out as it should be released, we may be labeled weak. Surely we will hear a voice saying, “Man up!” Guys and girls are completely different when it comes to this. Girls are expected to cry. They cry at concerts, at movies, at graduations, and even when they’re fighting with one another. But the minute a guy lets a tear fall he’s viewed as a weakling, a “sissy.” As a result, we never let anyone see us break down no matter how much we’re hurting. Instead we pretend like we don’t care when our girl breaks up with us, or we grin and bear it when we get hurt on the football field or lose a loved one. There’s a word for this: Bravado. Too many of us young men feel that in order to be a man, we have to put on the mask of bravado and be emotional Supermen. From the time that we’re young, we’re told by our parents, our peers, and popular culture that in order to be a man we must be tough. We quickly learn that anger—not sensitivity—earns us respect. Psychologists call this “emotional mis-education” and everybody’s guilty. The problem with this bravado is that it will be emotionally crippling to us later in life. I know it’s hard for you to think about

“When we don’t let boys cry tears,

some will cry bullets.” what you’ll be doing this summer much less in the next ten years, but you must know that the Boy’s Code of toughness will cause problems for us in the future. For one thing, getting in the habit of resolving conflict with our firsts will lead to problems with rage (Chris Brown, anyone?). And when it’s time for us to share our life with the woman we love, we’ll have a hard time developing the emotional vulnerability needed in a healthy marriage. William Pollack, co-director of the Center for Men at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School warns that “When we don’t let

boys cry tears, some will cry bullets.” Boys who learn how to cry now—not like girls, but like men—have better coping skills to deal with life’s stressors than those who don’t. They are less likely to explode because they learn to release what’s bottled up inside. So give yourself a break, grab a tissue and keep it real! tv

teen vision magazine

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