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Vision Discipline. Empowerment. Success.


H.A.L.O. Issue:

Learn how teens around the world are helping and leading others


plus... Are black males in America facing a crisis?

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12/5/10 10:30:17 AM


departments 4 Best of the Web



The Facebook revolution.

5 For Your Health Ged rid of bad breath so you’re ready for your close-up.

6 Values Valores Music and the mind: Is it time to upgrade your iPod?

7 Impress Yourself Six tips to make Prom night a time to remember.

10 Shoulders, Ears & Hearts


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

Fashion Revolution

28 Keeping It Real What’s really up with Chris Brown?


Values Valores

features 8 D.R.A.G. Find out what the big deal is about smoking?

11 Best of Both Worlds Do we tune out Japan?

12 H.A.L.O. Learn how teens around the country are Helping And Leading Others.

16 Crisis or Opportunity? Exploring the experience of Black boys and men in America. On our Cover: Sebastien Lindor

20 Fashion Revolution Learn how to make a bold statement this prom season.

26 Hear Congo! How your cell phone could be contributing to a crisis in the Congo.

2 teen vision magazine

editor’s letter


Vision Spring 2011 Crew


ReCapturing the Vision, International


Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario President, ReCapturing the Vision, Int.

Managing Editor

Adrinda Kelly

Graphic Designer

Tiffany N. Castillo


Carlos Obanaga


Jessica Vargas

Fashion Spread Makeup

East Cost Makeup by Sandy Maranesi


David’s Bridal; Formal Affair


Aaron Alexander Zachary Diston Alison Johnson Adrinda Kelly Dr. Lorie Kremen Loni Mbele Angela Mistechelli Arianna Mistechelli Patrice Peck Jessica Vargas

Special Thanks

David’s Bridal Formal Affair XhibitP Open Society Institute Miami Botanical Garden


he great Mohammed Ali once said: “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” What is meant by that phrase is that every person on earth has an obligation to give back to his or her community. Acts of service not only make a difference in the lives of others, but they teach you that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. As a teenager, you may want to help, but you may think that the problems facing us are too big. That’s why we profiled two amazing teens in this issue who received HALO awards from TeenNick for the work they are doing to help address some of the problems in their communities. These teens demonstrate that students just like you can make a difference. As you flip through the pages of this issue, you will learn about a crisis in the Congo, problems facing black males in public education, and how youth are fueling a movement for change in the Middle East. As you read about these issues, my hope is that you will be inspired to do something to make a difference, however big or small. It’s also prom season, and in this issue we give you tips to help make your prom night an event to remember, as well as great looks to make sure you put your best foot forward. With springtime, comes transition. As you prepare for the next phase of this year, I encourage you to think about the things that matter to you and find a way to ensure that others can experience them as well. Remember: Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. Wishing you well,

Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario

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.

teen vision magazine


best on the web

The Facebook Revolution

Young people using Facebook to change the world

by Jessica Vargas


id you see the movie The Social Network? If so, then you know Facebook started as a site where Ivy League college kids could connect with friends and patrol for good looking girls. Most people still use it as a way to keep up with their family and friends, but the site has evolved over the last few years. Facebook, believe it or not, has become one of the main ways young people in the Middle East are fueling a movement for change in their countries. When the earthquake in Haiti happened, there were people who used social media like Twitter and Facebook to get updates on friends and family. Now, something similar is happening in the Middle East. Faris, a young Facebook blogger in the Middle East, along with tens of thousands around him, recently celebrated the victory of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation. Faris was one of several youth activists behind what was initially planned as a small protest group against the Mubarak government. But Faris’ posting about the protest on Facebook inspired tens of thousands of youth protesters to take to the streets of Cairo defying all of Faris’ expectations and forever changing the course of the country’s history. Amr Salah, a 25-year-old human rights activist said, “We didn’t plan the demonstrations that happened in Cairo. We were just a catalyst in the chemical equation.” Faris and Salah are just an example of how youth in the Middle East are using their resources to impact their country. In this case, they are using social media like Facebook to get the word out about human rights demonstrations in their countries. And what they’re doing is catching on. With the Libyan government restricting journalists from reporting on happenings in the country, the revolutionaries have turned to Facebook as an outlet for news, information and planning.

4 teen vision magazine

The next time you’re on Facebook to post opinions, get gossip and share pictures, think about how you can mobilize your Facebook friends to do something positive in the community. You never know: a single post could change the world. tv

A look at the revolution in Libya from the inside

Nick Ludlam, Libya The destroyed grounds of the building at The Old Market in al Bayda are deserted. 3 weeks ago

The destroyed grounds of the building at The Old Market in al Bayda are deserted. 2 weeks ago

It is obvious that it wasn’t an ordinary police station. Every building belonging to Gaddafi’s regime in liberated Libya has been burned out. Last week

They are like war trophies. People gather around and on top of them celebrating his downfall, waiving flags and dancing. 5 days ago

But this one is different. It isn’t the driving rain that is keeping people away. The doors are padlocked and the building guarded. 4 days ago

Piled up in the courtyard are charred filing cabinets, computer racks and furniture. All ripped out and destroyed in a rage 40 years in the making. 3 days ago

Scattered over the floor on the wet muddy ground is the reason for their anger - hundreds of passport photos. Most are of young men. Many have never been seen again. 15 hours ago

This is the head quarters of the local secret police. Basam Sahl remembers being brought here. 10 hours ago

“I was arrested because I issued a declaration on Facebook asking people to revolt against the regime,” he said. “I was asking them to demand their civil liberties. 4 hours ago

for your health

Bad Breath Cures

Get rid of bad breath so you’re ready for your close-up

by Dr. Lori Kremen


or any teenager, suffering from bad breath can be a major embarrassment, especially when trying to share a romantic kiss with someone or whispering something confidential to a friend.

Causes of Bad Breath

There are many causes of bad breath, one of which is diet. When you eat food, the odor from the food remains in your bloodstream and is exhaled through your lungs until the food leaves your body. The odor will be present throughout your day, especially when you eat food that contains an overpowering odor like garlic or onions. For the same reason, smoking and the use of tobacco products are also causes of bad breath. Dry mouth, also a cause of bad breath, occurs when your mouth stops producing adequate amounts of saliva, which can combat bad breath. When you don’t brush or floss your teeth properly, plaque builds up, and bacteria in plaque causes bad breath as well.

How to Fix It Assuming you have no underlying health problems that cause bad breath, it is very easy to improve. The best thing you can do is improve

your teeth for a minimum of two minutes in order to get rid of all of the bacteria. To ensure a clean smelling breath the whole day, you should consider buying a tongue scraper. Start from the back of your tongue and scrape foreword. This removes the entire odor-causing bacteria from your mouth. You can follow this up with mouth wash, but mouth washes do not actually stop bad breath. They only mask the scent. If you need to treat bad breath during the day, carry around a pack of Listerine strips. Listerine strips come in compact cases and will make your breath seem fresh immediately. Alternatively, you can carry a pack of Altoids or Tic-Tacs, which will also freshen your breath. If you have dry mouth, chewing a piece of gum will produce saliva and activate your body’s natural defenses against bad breath. If you do not have any of these items handy, see if you can score an after dinner mint from a restaurant. If you are in a rush to fix your breath, and you have nothing in your pocket to save you, try grabbing a little parsley. If you can’t find parsley, try to find a few cherries. While these won’t eliminate the odor, they will mask your bad breath. If all else fails, you can gargle with water, which might eliminate some of the bacteria from your mouth. tv

Make sure you brush all of your teeth for a minimum of two minutes in order to get rid of all the bacteria.

Wrigley’s Breath-Freshening Eclipse® Gum and Mints Now Help Kill Bad Breath Germs

your brushing technique. Make sure you have a good tooth brush, preferably recommended by your dentist. Make sure you brush all of teen vision magazine 5

values valores

Time to upgrade your iPod? The connection between music and the mind

by Angella Mistechelli


s soon as you get in the car, what’s the first thing you do? Put your seatbelt on maybe, roll down the windows and blast the stereo so loud that cars rows behind you can distinctly hear the lyrics you’re listening to? Everyone enjoys catchy beats and song lyrics. But when your favorite song plays on your iPod, are you really listening to the words you’re singing and the message it sends? Nowadays, kids and teens of all ages are being influenced by the media more and more. Many artists like Lil’ Wayne and Drake talk about getting rich quick, sex, and drugs. As of now, many songs contain profanity and lyrics putting down not only women but men as well. This is what your little brother or younger cousin may be listening to. What plays on your iPod as soon as you press play? Subconsciously the words you hear affect the way you think and act. It begins to reflect on your behavior, sometimes in a very negative way. Songs that speak about stealing and doing drugs make it seem as if it’s perfectly normal; sort of like a way of life. If you continue to listen to songs that speak about stealing and getting money any way possible, it may begin to convince you it’s alright. Newsflash: It’s not.

not only by their peers but what they put in their iPods on a regular basis. The brain is like a sponge that absorbs everything consciously and unconsciously. Since adolescents are stuck between childhood and adulthood, they are still figuring out who they are, and here comes Nikki Minaj to the rescue singing about how drinking and partying can solve your problems. Since it seems like everyone is doing it, it must be cool, right? It must be the right thing to do? Music has changed throughout the years, and it has become more and more uncensored. Since we can’t speak for everyone else, why don’t we start with what we listen to ourselves? Start by being cautious about what you hear, change some songs on your iPod that you think may be unacceptable, and remember that the generation that comes after us is affected as much by our mentalities as our actions. tv

Vision’s Top 6 picks



Do You Know What You’re Listening To? Check out this bar from Lil Wayne’s “Six Foot, Seven Foot”...

xcuse my charisma, vodka with a spritzer swagger down pat, call my shit Patricia Young Money militia, and I am the commissioner you don’t want start Weezy, ‘cause the F is for Finisher so misunderstood, but what’s a World without enigma?

“Just the Way You Are,” Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars

“Not Afraid” Recovery, Eminem

“Never Say Never,” Justin Bieber

“Firework,” Teenage Dream, Katy Perry

“The Show Goes On,” Lupe Fiasco

“Whip My Hair,” Willow Smith

two bitches at the same time, synchronized swimmers got the girl twisted ‘cause she open when you twist her never met the bitch, but I f-ck her like I missed her

Like many artists, Nas and Lady Gaga are constantly viewed as idols. The things they do and say are repeated by a quantity of fans. It is very common now for adolescents to be influenced 6 teen vision magazine

impress yourself

The Rules for Prom

Six tips to make it a night to remember by Arianna Mestichelli

Tip #4 Have the right undergarments Beware of this confidence-killer: the wrong undergarments can cause unwanted see-through areas of your wardrobe, creases in parts of your clothing, and unsightly bunches and bulges. It would help to try on the undergarments that you plan on wearing beforehand. This will let you know if something is showing that shouldn’t be, or if you need different color undies.

I’m a senior and I can’t wait to go to prom this year. Going to prom is a highlight for most teens. But you need to know some basic rules to follow to make sure your night lives up to the hype. Tip #1 Find the right date Whether your night is going to be off the hook or totally suck depends a lot on the crew you’re rolling with on prom night. It starts with finding the right date. It really doesn’t matter who asks who to prom. It would be ideal and romantic for the guy to ask in a sweet way, but if whoever you want to go with seems too scared to ask, why not take it into your own hands and ask yourself? When choosing who to go with make sure the person will take good care of you at any after-parties you plan to attend. Make sure he/ she doesn’t expect you to go anywhere you don’t feel comfortable going. Your prom date and friends should be people you know you will have a good time with but be safe at the same time. Tip #2 Split the bill It’s a whole new world, people! Even though it’s traditional for the guy to pay, if you have the money and he doesn’t have enough, it’s okay to help out and pay for yourself. You can even make an arrangement to split the bill. If he’s paying for dinner, consider buying your own ticket. Tip #3 Look your best What to wear is always a big issue for both the guys and girls. Everyone tries to look their best for the millions of photographs people plan on taking. Be prepared for the worst case scenario, such as when you see someone with the same dress as you. Instead of pouting and fretting you should take a picture together and laugh it off. Always have a backup plan. Bring extra clothes in a purse or leave it in your car, so you can change and feel comfortable the rest of the night.

Tip #5 Bring some pocket change Have a Plan B in case things get out of control. If your prom date gets drunk or in trouble, having money can help you get a ride home from the prom. Money will also make it easier to participate in any after-parties or other activities that you and your friends may have planned. Tip #6 Finally, have fun! If you have a great attitude you’re guaranteed to have fun on prom night! Don’t be too cute to get on the dance floor and walk it out to your favorite song. Enjoy the time you’re spending with friends. Take lots of pics and above all, be safe! Prom night is a great highlight but you have your whole life to look forward to! tv

Celebrity prom horror stories S hame on Christina Aguilera’s jealous classmates. They left prom when her hit single “Genie in a Bottle” was played.

Reese Witherspoon’s high school boyfriend stood her up for the big event. She went anyway. With her dad ...

Broke Cuba Gooding still owes somebody 50 bucks for his tickets ...

Madonna “sat home alone. Couldn’t get a date.”

teen vision magazine



What’s the big deal about smoking? by ALISON JOHNSON


any teens feel like smoking can make them special, cool or give them a sense of maturity. In schools, there are tobacco awareness days and other programs that persuade students to stay away from cigarettes. Despite these efforts, the rate of tobacco use in teenagers is on the rise. It seems like everywhere you turn, you see your friends puffing on a smoke, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. How could something that’s legal be such a big deal anyway? Cigarette smoking is bad for you. Almost everybody knows that. After all, there have been warning labels on cigarette packages since before you were born. But did you know that long-term use of tobacco is the cause of many health problems such as various forms of cancer, heart disease, emphysema, stroke, vision problems, dental problems and various other diseases? But above all of these is the risk of death. Smoking and tobacco use accounts for the deaths of 4 million people around the world each year and 443,000 deaths in the United States alone. According to The Truth Project, if current tobacco statistics continue, by the year 2020, smoking is projected to cause 17 million deaths per year worldwide. Given these risks, why do teenagers start smoking in the first 8 teen vision magazine

place? There are many reasons why teenagers decide to pick up a cigarette and take that first puff. Some of these reasons include curiosity, wanting to see what the big deal is or how smoking feels. Some teens are enticed by the feeling of rebellion and decide to try smoking in order to be a rule-breaker. Many teens feel like smoking can make them cool, or they think they will gain attention or a sense of maturity. But, for the vast majority of teenage smokers, the No. 1 reason that they begin smoking is peer pressure. When a teen has a group of friends who smokes or decides to try smoking for the first time, they feel obligated to try smoking too. They don’t want to be singled out as the one who is ‘scared’ to try it and face embarrassment. A common view of teenagers is the mentality that “Everyone else is doing it so I will try it just this one time.” However, what many teens fail to realize is that one time can very easily turn into many years of smoking and a host of health problems in the future. A very large percentage of adult smokers first started smoking in their early or late teens. Very rarely do people start smoking after 18 in their adult years. The mentality of “I’ll just try it once,” is a common, misleading approach to tobacco use. Tobacco is very addictive. Nicotine, the stimulant used in cigarettes, which is responsible for dependence-

prnewsfoto/the truth campaign, joshua cogan

Join the party! The truth youth smoking prevention campaign’s national summer tour kicks off July 25th. Traveling in orange trucks across the country, truth crew members will visit popular music and sporting events to educate teens on the dangers of tobacco use. Visit for more information.

forming behaviors, reaches the brain within 10 seconds after smoke is inhaled. When high levels of nicotine are present in a person’s system, the body becomes accustomed to the presence of nicotine and begins to physically require it to function properly, which creates an addiction. The American Lung Association has named nicotine addiction one of the hardest forms of addiction to break and compares it with the high levels of addiction that heroin and cocaine users experience. This is why many people who try smoking in their teenage years, go on to continue with a lifelong use of tobacco that continues well into their late adult years.

The American Lung Association has named nicotine addiction one of the hardest forms of addiction to break and compares it with the high levels of addiction that heroin and cocaine users experience.

Teens Keep it Real on Smoking “Teenagers hate to feel left out, and some teenagers are willing to do anything to fit in and be considered as cool. But when did cool start to mean stupid?”, Anonymous, Phoenix, AZ “In a world where a child is raised being told what to think, say, and do parents wonder why their young ones are being led into a corrupt life. How are children of the future supposed to act when they have been sheltered all of their lives?”, MeghanLS, Phoenix, AZ “Both of my parents smoke and I hate to see them killing themselves like that. My dad has tried hard to quit but he just hasn’t been able to pull away from the addiction ... My mom has also tried but has not been able to ... she has a small start of cancer because of cigarettes. Smoking is a terrible addiction that will kill you. It’s not “if” or “maybe”–it will.”, Dmrocker, Evanston, WY

But what about right now? If you choose to smoke just for a little while, you can always quit later, right? Even if you can avoid becoming addicted, there are many issues that can arise from so-called “shortterm” tobacco use. Some of the immediate effects are lack of focus, decreased athletic performance, decreased grades, and financial issues from the money used to support the habit of cigarette use, just to name a few. It even causes hygiene issues including bad breath and foul smelling hair–not cute! But the most common and serious consequence of tobacco use is the introduction to new drugs. The mentality of “I’ll try it just this once” does not only apply to smoking. Teenagers that smoke are much more likely to experiment with other drugs and alcohol as well. Nicotine is considered to be the No. 1 gateway into other lifelong substance abuse problems. A study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found marijuana use to be 20 times higher among high school seniors who smoke and the daily use of other illegal drugs to be 13 times higher among tobacco users. You started this article by asking what’s the harm in trying a cigarette? As you can see, the consequences can be many. It is much easier to never start smoking than it is to stop smoking and to avoid the dangerous effects that smoking can create. Take a stance on tobacco use and save yourself from possible lifelong problems. Educate yourself and your friends in order to build a healthier future. For more information on the effects of smoking and how to quit if you are a smoker, speak with your school counselor or visit tv teen vision magazine


shoulders, ears & hearts

Support, help nd a h t a & guidance always I found the perfect dress for prom but my biggest nightmare is that someone else will have the same dress. What can I do to make sure this doesn’t happen? —Fashionista in Miami Beach Dear Fashionista, The place that you purchase the dress from can be as important as the dress itself. When thinking about selecting a prom dress your first impulse may be to head to your local mall. But take into consideration that you may not be the only one who thinks this way. NEW! David’s Bridal Prom Dress Consider purchasing a prom dress Iridescent Shantung Ball Gown with from a small boutique or a store Jewel Neckline; Style 40837; $199 that specializes in selling prom dresses. Also, you can add some accessories to make your dress more unique. I would also suggest using social media (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) to see the pictures of dresses your friends may have posted, and that should give you an idea of what dress to buy or not to buy.

Dear Ears I’m trying to focus on FCATs and there are too many things in the way. If my friends would stop bugging me with their problems then I would do better in school. HELP AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!! —Overwhelmed in Overtown Dear Overwhelmed, You should tell your friends that you can’t help them all the time. You could also try scheduling some time every day to turn off your phone and computer while you study and do your

homework. Once they realize that you’re not their therapist, you’ll have more time for school work. Make sure they know that you care but you just can’t help them when you have other things that have to be done.

Dear Heart, There are four guys who flirt with me. I’ll call them A, B, C & D for this question. I was asked to prom by guy C, who smokes and sometimes does drugs and I don’t really know him, so I turned him down politely. One of my friends told me she was going to prom with guy A, so I was a little disappointed. Guy B flirted with me loads, but then I found out that he was going to prom with someone else. Guy B also told me that Guy D wanted to ask me to prom. Guy D is nice enough - he’s intelligent and can be pretty sweet. But I sometimes find him frustrating, and to be honest, I think he’d be better off going with my best friend. I’m not sure what to do ... there are still some guys I know who don’t have dates, but I don’t think many of them would be interested in me. But I don’t want to go with Guy D just for the sake of it. —Don’t Want to Settle Dear Don’t Want to Settle, Honestly, I think you should wait. I bet there will be a lot of drama and shake-ups between now and prom, and some of these guys you might be interested in going with may free up... People will start relationships and end relationships, and the people who scrambled for a date now will realize they don’t really want to go with the person they’re stuck with. You shouldn’t agree to go with someone you’re not crazy about. It will just ruin the experience. Honestly, you’d probably have more fun just going by yourself and hanging out with your friends than going with a date you didn’t want to be with. You don’t want to have to worry about the drama of being there with someone you’re not psyched about hanging out with. tv Have a problem you need help with? Email us at

...Life, Laughter, Learn 10 teen vision magazine

david’s bridal prom dress photo:

Dear Shoulders,

Best of Both Worlds: Do We Tune out Japan? By Patrice Peck, XhibitP

Patrice Peck is the founder and director of Xhibit P, a virtual gallery that houses a collection of original videos, writings, art and other works of pop cultural importance. Check it out at

First Thoughts I first learned about the March 11th earthquake in Japan on Twitter. I had stayed up late the night before just hanging out, so I woke up around noon. Now, I don’t know about you, but my morning ritual includes a once-over of my iPhone messages. I came across a tweet sent by a friend who had expressed her concern about the news not covering Hawaii and not having heard from her brother. With everything going on in the news today, I figured that “the news” could have meant anything. I was expecting a revolt, dead birds, or maybe another political uprising. But when I heard about the devastating tragedy that had struck Japan, I ran around the apartment, turning on every transmitting and streaming device that I could get my hands on. And of course they all told the same story. Like many, I watched in horror as Japanese citizens ran for their lives, while roof tops hovered with overturned ships, and a lone woman desperately waved her white bed sheet in hopes of flagging down help from the helicopter who broadcasted this to all of us, the viewers.

by the fact that I was not in Japan, instead safe in the comforts of my own home. So, I’m not sure if the impending “life goes on” attitude that I soon began to subconsciously adopt was a result of that sense of comfort or something else. I say impending because we’ve all been there. I made attempts to understand the earthquake in Japan by blasting BBC from the living room as I scrambled to continue packing for a trip to Austin, Texas the next day. How short is too short when mourning Japan, Haiti or New Orleans? Does the extent of your compassion stretch to the length of your timeline, measured by your retweets and pray statuses on Facebook? I feel as though the #prayforjapan trending topic eerily mirrors the self-validating effect of a series of Hail Marys. tv What do you think? Hit me up on Twitter a@XhibitP

Discomfort? There’s an App for that! Here’s when the conflicting emotions began to bubble up. Firstly, that image of the white bed sheet made me think of the troublesome ways in which the media covered Hurricane Katrina. Yes, we’d like to stay up-to-date on what’s happening at the disaster site, but shoot, couldn’t those helicopters and pilots be put to better use by, say, I don’t know, rescuing the people that they’re filming? As I watched all of the footage being delivered on various news shows and websites, I realized that not only was I being terrified, but also comforted teen vision magazine


Helping and Leading Others (H.A.L.O.) Learn how these H.A.L.O. Award winners are stepping up to the plate to make a difference in their communities


Nick Cannon host of TeenNick H.A.L.O. Awards

12 teen vision magazine


ome people cannot stop dreaming up ideas to make things better. But then there are those who do something about it. Teen Vision spoke to two teen visionaries whose stories can truly inspire us all.

Out of the Rubble ... By Zachary Diston

out at your nearby homeless shelter ... helping your peers deal with the many challenges they face ... or just giving your parents the respect they deserve ... There are sooooo many things that one individual can do NO MATTER their age or educational background. All it takes is the willingness to say “I want to help.”

Adelante! Against the Odds ... By Lori Mbele

At 6’6” Herold Charles is the kind of guy you notice when he walks into a room. Originally from Haiti, five years ago, he came to Miami to have better educational opportunities. When the earthquake hit in January 2010, Herold helped 25 families locate their loved ones—though it was not always good news. Then he began using his twitter account to help guide relief organizations to the exact locations of people still trapped under debris, texting for help. I spoke with Herold to find out what made him do what he did. TVM: What moved you to help these Haitian people? H.C.: Well, as humans we are created with a God given desire to help everyone in need. That desire becomes a whole lot stronger when the people in need are people you relate to ... For me, those people were my fellow Haitians. I understood their struggle because I, myself spent twelve years in it. For me to just sit there and do nothing, I don’t know how I would deal with my conscience after. TVM: Why did you choose this way to help – through using social media? H.C.: I developed this so-called “addiction” with social sites like Twitter and Facebook ... When I got the news that Haiti had been struck with an earthquake, Twitter became the most vital way to get the latest updates ... Social media is a tool that I really love, and I could spend hours using it without feeling tired. So I asked myself, why not just use it as a way to help?

TVM: Are you in touch with any of the families that you helped to reconnect? H.C.: Yes indeed. Some of the ones I helped were friends that live not too far from me. Others live in different states and countries but we still keep in touch through none other than social media. TVM: What advice would you give to others to help make the world a better place? H.C.: My advice would be to look around and see what needs changing and find a way to do something about it. It could be helping

Lauren Huichan grew up in an abusive household and by the age of 12 she was adrift in a broken foster care system. Without any real support, Lauren began acting out and went through 22 housing placements in two years until she encountered a group called Adelante Youth Advocates of New Mexico. For the first time, she found herself surrounded by foster youths who had a positive outlook on the future. With Adelante’s help, she turned her life around and today serves as the organization’s President. Now pursuing a degree in psychology at the University of New Mexico, Lauren has dedicated herself to making sure other foster youth won’t have to struggle the way she did. TVM: How are you working to help change the foster care system? LH: One of the biggest projects that we actually finished is a document called “Fostering Children is A Responsibility” to pretty much inform foster children and foster youths of their rights. The document also shows that we understand that we have the right to an education and the right to a foster home but we also have responsibility towards the state like going to school and maintaining good grades. Now we are working on the Grievance Policy Procedure for the State of New Mexico. ADELANTE Mission Statement: “As current and former youth in foster care, we will make sure the concerns, opinions, and experiences of our peers are heard by helping, supporting, educating, and training the child welfare community to influence positive change and promote success in the lives of foster youth.” TVM: How has your experience with Adelante changed you as a person? LH: I think the entire experience has really shaped who I am. Growing up I was very quiet and shy, used to being the outcast in a group. I really didn’t think I could communicate with people. So I really think my experiences with Adelante have helped me get a voice. Having people look at me for mentoring has helped improve my confidence and showed me that when you live in the foster system you are not totally lost. You believe that you will never become anything and that you’ll be totally screwed up like your family. So my experience with Adelante really inspired me to become something more. They really emphasize that you can have a voice and do amazing things with your life… It created my whole loving self-image. That love, motivation, and support is what has made me the confident woman that I am now. TVM: How can young people help your organization? LH: I think the question is not really about helping our organization, but I think it’s actually about people finding their own voice and finding what they are passionate about and figuring out a way to advance in their destiny. tv teen vision magazine


Crisis or Opportunity? Exploring the experiences of black boys and men in America

by The Staff of Teen Vision Magazine

16 teen vision magazine

... he launched a strategic response to the lack of African American and Latino male mentors in NYC by creating a public awareness and recruitment initiative called The Male Mentoring Project.


ave you ever heard the phrase, “without a vision, the people perish?” Well, during the Civil Rights Movement the leaders had a very specific vision of the future they wanted to achieve. The vision included getting rid of racist laws; making sure all citizens had access to full and fair employment; and ensuring that all children had access to a quality education. More than 50 years later, it seems that many of the things the Civil Rights leaders worked for have not been achieved, when it comes to black males in America. Black males in this country are more likely to be unemployed, imprisoned, inadequately educated, and victimized by violent crime than any other racial group in America. And it seems like every time you turn on the news, there’s a new statistic that points out just how bad things are for Black men and boys. What’s the truth behind these images and stats?

This article explores the experience of Black boys and men in America. We wanted to find out how Black males are really faring in America’s public schools, workplaces, and neighborhoods. Here’s what we discovered. Defining the Crisis In 2006, New York Times journalist Erick Eckhold published an article that painted a dismal picture of the plight of black males in the United States. The article cited research by experts at Columbia, Princeton, and Harvard that found that over half of black men in inner cities do not finish high school; 74% were unemployed; and 21% were incarcerated at any given time. The article helped galvanize philanthropic efforts to target funding and resources to combat what was increasingly seen as a crisis of epic proportions. In response, the Open Society Institute (OSI), an organization whose mission is to “shape public policies that assure greater

fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights,” launched the Campaign for Black Male Achievement in 2008. The campaign aims to “address black men and boys’ exclusion from economic, social, educational, and political life in the United States ... so we can begin raising healthy sound boys with some options other than prison being an expected rite of passage.” The Campaign’s Program Manager, Shawn Dove, has been on the front lines of this work for over two decades. Dove was an early supporter of the Harlem Children’s Zone, now a nationally-touted model of community revitalization and public education through charters. In addition, he launched a strategic response to the lack of African American and Latino male mentors in NYC by creating a public awareness and recruitment initiative called The Male Mentoring Project. According to Dove, his work is just beginning.

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“We need some serious systems reforms. We need to reform school climates so that children feel safe and validated. We also need to look at reforming family issues so that when children come to school they are ready to learn. We also need teacher effectiveness reforms. Too many of our boys are being taught by individuals who fear them. In one school on one part of town a 6 year-old boy is bouncing around and he’s viewed as creative and exploring his environment. That same behavior across town is viewed as a behavior problem.”

“Moreover, child support accumulates while in prison. So formerly incarcerated men who break through all barriers to get a job are seeing 65% of their pay garnished right off the bat after their release. There is no kind of arrears alleviation plan to help men want to pay. It’s a disincentive to work,” says Dove. Laying it on the Line Bleak though this picture may be, there is a glimmer of hope shining on the horizon. “The Chinese character for ‘crisis’ is also the same character for ‘opportunity’,” observes Dove. “Yes–we are looking at staggering incarceration rates, dismal graduation rates, and the fact that 70% of black children are born out of wedlock. But we are also looking at unprecedented philanthropic and federal dollars committed to finding solutions to address this issue.” Still, only 2% of philanthropic dollars is given to people of color organizations. And garnering new support is something of a public relations challenge. Many people do not see the challenges facing black males as their challenge. “One death is a tragedy, a thousand deaths is a statistic. Too many people are looking at the crisis facing black males from the ‘thousand deaths’ perspective. We have to find a way to personalize and say there is a shared fate in all this.” “If schools are failing for black boys, that means they are failing for black girls and entire communities.” Like the proverbial “miner’s canary,” the plight of Black boys in America points to conditions in American society that endanger us all.

In one school on one part of town a 6 year-old boy is bouncing around and he’s viewed as creative and exploring his environment. That same behavior across town is viewed as a behavior problem. With black males unemployed at a rate 2.5 times greater than white males, Dove recognizes that lack of economic opportunities is at the crux of the crisis. “We hear a lot about the school-to-prison pipeline but what we are not hearing about, especially during this recession, is the workto-prison pipeline. There are a lot of men, particularly formerly incarcerated men, who are looking to do the right thing. Many of them have been fired from low-quality jobs and go back to a life of crime because they lack options to support their family.”

Where do we go from here? According to the Schott Foundation’s recently released 50 State Report on Black Males in Public Education, the graduation rate for Black male students is far below the national average. When you consider that all the negative trends afflicting black males are associated with poor schooling, it becomes clear that public schools must be the locus of any effort to systematically alter the trajectory of America’s black males. But it is going to take an “all hands

What Do the experts say? Black leaders offer their take on the crisis affecting Black males “Don’t give up on the young black males, they are trying to tell you something.” —Bill Cosby

“A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family contributed to the erosion of black families ...” —Barack Obama

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“As young black boys mature into black men with greatly diminished opportunities, so goes the black family structure. With the demise of the family structure, so goes the foundation for generations to come. It’s a vicious cycle. Let’s snap it before it’s too late.” —Al Sharpton

“I know that feeling, that frustration with life and needing to take it out on someone, any one. But ... We chose the dumbest things to go the hardest for ... What are we really proving??? ... You have the ability and mind-power to change the way we are looked at ... We gotta get on our jobs and take over the world.” —Nas

What do you think? Visit our Youth Forum at to make sure your voice is heard!

Shawn Dove’s high 5 focus points

on deck” approach. “We have to tap into the full spectrum of resources in our community.” At the end of the day reversing the plight of black males is about love.

At the end of the day reversing the plight of black males is about love. “As adult men we have to get vulnerable. We have to tell young brothers where we fell down. We don’t need to just have the stockbrokers and businessmen come in and talk with our boys. There are formerly incarcerated people who have a story to tell and are looking for ways to make a difference. There are fathers who wake up every day and go to work—these are the real heroes.” It’s easy to look at all the negative trends affecting Black males and think that the situation is hopeless. If you are a Black male, you can start today by making a determination not to be a statistic. Others can make a difference by supporting the work that OSI and other organizations are doing to ensure that schools, workplaces, and other institutions are places where black males have a chance to succeed. tv To learn how you can support OSI’s Black Male Campaign or to offer comments and feedback on this article email Teen Vision at

Shawn Dove’s Letter to black boys Dear Son, Nephew, Brother, Cousin, Friend, My wish for you is that you discover your G-spot. Your G-spot is your Gift-spot. Your Good-spot. Your God-spot. There is something inside you that you were created to do. And it’s not to go to prison. It’s not to be an unproductive member of society. But you have to focus on discovering what that is. If you don’t know what that is, you have to start asking, get into places and around people who can help you answer that question. Be careful of your circle. My mom used to say, “I don’t have to ask what you’re doing, I’ll just look at what your friends are doing.” So choose wisely. And know that life is a boomerang. What you put out there comes right back to you. The drug game is a loosing game. There is no longevity in that: only death or prison. It’s just a major distraction keeping you from eventually discovering that G-spot. Finally, know that I love you. Don’t give up. We love you and we need you. Shawn Dove

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Boys will be boys. But these fierce ladies aren’t going to be anybody’s wallflower!

FASHION REVOLUTION Learn how to make a bold statement this prom season

photography by Carlos obanaga Makeup by east coast makeup styling by jessica vargas on location at the miami botanical gardens

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From L to R: Chiffon Gown with Cascading Ruffle Detail, David’s Bridal; Beaded Charmeause Print Dress, David’s Bridal; Soft Chiffon Print Gown with Illusion Back, David’s Bridal; Tuxedo and vest, Calvin Klein, from Formal Affair; Peach-colored Chiffon Dress, Marchesa; Two In One Transforming Dress, David’s Bridal; Ombre Ball Gown with Glittle Tulle, David’s Bridal teen vision magazine


Don’t forget to find time to kick back and share a laugh with your bestie during the excitement of prom night.

From front to back: Two In One Transforming Dress, David’s Bridal; Ombre Ball Gown with Glitter Tulle, David’s Bridal; Tuxedo and vest, Calvin Klein, from Formal Affair 22 teen vision magazine

When putting together your look, choose colors that compliment your coloring and work it!

Soft Chiffon Print Gown with Illusion Back, David’s Bridal

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Take the pressure off and go to prom with a buddy or two ... at least you know you’ll have fun.

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From L to R: Beaded Charmeause Print Dress, David’s Bridal; Tuxedo and vest, Calvin Klein, from Formal Affair; Peachcolored Chiffon Dress, Marchesa teen vision magazine 25

Hear Congo!

How your cell phone could be contributing to a crisis in the Congo by Adrinda Kelly


he Democratic Republic of Congo, nestled right in the middle of Central Africa, is the continent’s fifth largest country. Previously, it was known as Zaire until an invasion by Rwandan and Ugandan forces in 1997 opened up one of the darkest chapters in the nation’s history. Today, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a place where more than 5.4 million people have died as a result of what’s known as the “Congo Wars.” More than 45,000 people continue to die every month and over 200,000 women and girls have suffered rape and sexual violence at the hands of rebel forces. The United Nations has called this a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. But to truly understand what’s happening in the DRC, you need look no further than your cell phone.

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Conflict Minerals Congo is rich in diverse natural resources such as diamonds, timber, gold, copper and cobalt and holds about 80% of the world’s coltan reserve. Tantalum, which is made from coltan, is used to manufacture consumer electronics products such as cell phones, DVD players, video game systems and computers. Export of coltan from the DRC to European and American markets has been cited by experts as helping to finance the present-day conflict in the Congo, with one aid group asserting that “much of the finance sustaining the civil wars in Africa, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is directly connected to coltan profits.” Kaleba Ngoie Kasonga is a DRC native and Miami resident who moved to America at the start of the Congo Wars and became

a naturalized citizen. Many of her family members died in the conflict and have been victims of sexual violence. According to Kasonga, the genocide can be directly linked to the abundance of coltan in the republic. “Coltan is mined in the Congo largely through illegal trade. Militia attack villages so that they can take control of mineral-rich areas, displacing people and forcing others into labor. Rape is used as a weapon to intimidate and humiliate.” According to Kasonga, the use of rape in the conflict is horrifyingly intentional. “They don’t kill when they do that. It’s done to create enough terror to show the neighboring village, ‘you see, look what’s happened to us–you better leave this place and go somewhere else.’”

Hear Congo! The details of the violence affecting people in the DRC are “beyond imagination.” But, it is women and girls who are bearing the worst of the violence. Girls as young as 3 years old and women as old as 72 years old are raped. As a result, Kaleba says that women in the Congo are viewed as “weak” and “traumatized.” The situation affecting women in the Congo inspired Kaleba to start Hear Congo! in 2006. The organization is governed by women who share Kaleba’s passion to help women in Congo aspire to a hopeful future despite the incredible challenges they face everyday in their lives. “We decided to respond with medical assistance, helping to establish clinics and health facilities on the ground.” “We also train women in skills so that they can have income-generating activity. We offer leadership training for women who are coming from a very traumatized state so that they can build strong businesses in the community. We support them and help them grow, so that they can help others.”

But, as Kaleba readily concedes, the “challenges are immense.” Raising capital and resources is never easy, and there are other issues that make this work difficult. “Security issues are huge. We have to watch for places where women can feel comfortable. Also, displacement is a big challenge because these women, who watched as their hometowns turned into war zones, were forced to flee to different areas. They have to learn how to work with the host community and get along in a new environment. Even finding men they can feel safe around is a great challenge.”

How You Can Help Despite these challenges, Kaleba says there is something we can do to make a difference. “This is a call to action. What’s happening in the Congo affects all of us. Congo is a place where a lot of multinational companies get their supply of the coltan that goes into

our electronic devices. As Americans, we should really encourage our government to strengthen the laws pertaining to the trade of coltan in the Congo because it is costing human lives. It is causing women and children to experience very violent crimes. There is a law that was passed this last July as part of the Financial Reform bill that contains a provision about the conflict minerals in the Congo. That law is asking U.S. mining companies operating in the Congo to disclose the source of their minerals and make sure they are not coming from conflict zones. If this law is enforced, it will be very difficult to sell coltan that wasn’t gotten the right way.” Teen Vision and ReCapturing the Vision is working with Hear Congo! to educate teens about this issue. If you want to find out how you can get involved and make a difference, log on to the Youth Corner at For more information about Hear Congo!, visit tv teen vision magazine


keeping it real

What’s Really Up with Chris Brown? Can he bounce back from his latest blow-up?

by Aaron Alexander

What Do You Think?


ight off the bat, I want to say I’m a Chris Brown fan. But a year and a half ago when he beat up his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, he almost lost his career. I honestly felt sorry for him. I would have thought that after the anger management classes, the community service and his performance on BET when he broke down while singing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” that he would have gotten it by now and would have been grateful for how the musical community and his fans are giving him a second chance. Apparently not. Brown’s most recent tantrum at the Good Morning America show only proves that he still hasn’t learned his lesson. Yes, it must get annoying to always be asked about something that happened over a year and a half ago, but his reaction–tossing a water cooler, smashing a window, and ripping off his shirt (why, I have no idea)–only proves that the guy still has some major anger issues he needs to work through. People are even wondering if his outburst has ruined his chance at rebooting his career with his new album. Chris Brown may have been a victim too, but his actions are making him look like a dangerous man who just doesn’t get it. He needs to show improvement or go home… for good. tv

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Insanity commented Yeah, just like he “apologized” for beating the crap out of Rihanna, and look what he’s up to now? Violence is not a “mistake” with this talentless THUG Chris Brown. It’s just who he is.

whatever commented Even IF Rihanna hit him first, which seeing Chris’ NASTY TEMPER on display I really have my doubts, he was the man! He needed to just leave! His violent destruction of PRIVATE property and his PSYCHOTIC laughter captured by TMZ in the aftermath of his rampage leaves me NO DOUBT he needs a double dose of anger management ASAP! Any woman who dates him now has NO excuse!

chris brown photo: prnewsfoto/bet networks

Chris Brown with fans in 2009 before the Rihanna incident

Mersedez commented I still love Chris Brown because he’s perfectly imperfect. He doesn’t act like he doesn’t make mistakes like a lot of other famous people or anyone in general do. He acknowledges the fact that he can mess up BUT he doesn’t let that stop him. He pushes through everything with his heart, his determination and his talent. Yes, what he did was a MAJOR ‘eff up. But I mean, I’ve made some huge mistakes, too. Who hasn’t? I just hate it when people point their fingers, bash other people on these blogs, etc. like they never done any wrong. Like it says..” let he without sin cast the stone first.” Smh. But on a positive note...F.A.M.E is awesome!


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Teen Vision Spring 2011  

Spring 2011 Edition of Teen Vision Magazine

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