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Vision Discipline. Empowerment. Success.

Miss Miami Tropic Shares Her Self-Esteem

Health Care Reform:

A debate you can understand

holiday 2009

SECRETS

LOOKING

bright during the winter drab


teen

Vision Discipline. Emp owerment.

Success.

Miss Miami Tropic Shares

Health Care Reform: A

debate you can understand

HOLIDAY 2009

Her Self-Esteem

SECRETS

LOOKING

bright during the winter drab

Send check to: ReCapturing the Vision 9780 E. Indigo Street, Suite 301 Miami, FL 33157


contents

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departments 4 Best of the Web Holiday shopping is easier with a little organization.

Paying for College Without Going Broke

5 For Your Health Stretching the holidays.

6 Values Valores Your time is the best of all.

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8 Impress Yourself Creativity makes for a better party than beer.

11 Shoulders, Ears & Hearts

Add Some Pop to Your Winter Wardrobe

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

28 Keeping It Real Gifting that gets to the reason for the season.

features 9 Underage Drinking: the Killer Among Us. Get the real scoop on why bottom’s up can have you all bottomed out.

14 A Plan You Can Understand Breaking health care down to terms you can understand.

16 Paying for College Without Going Broke Learn how to get the cash you need to get to campus.

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17 Finding a Light at the End of the Tunnel One High School Senior’s thoughts on College Applications.

For Your Health

18 Getting Older, but Are You Getting Better? The point of getting older is to get better.

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Vision

19 New Year’s Resolutions One high school shares their goals for the upcoming year.

Discipline. Empowerment. Success.

On our Cover: Melissa Ramirez

Miss Miami Tropic Shares Her Self-Esteem

Health Care Reform:

A debate you can understand

SECRETS

LOOKING

bright

during the winter drab

HOLIDAY 2009

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18

Getting Older, but Are You Getting Better?

20 Add Some Pop to Your Winter Wardrobe Inside Santa’s workshop some great looks are being put together just for you.

27 Confidence is an Attitude—Work It Miss Miami Tropic tells you how.


editor’s letter

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Vision Winter 2009 Crew

Publisher

ReCapturing the Vision, International

Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario

President, ReCapturing the Vision, Int. Managing Editor

Tania Zamora

Graphic Designer

Tiffany N. Castillo

Photography

Amanda Langford

Photoshoot Director Tania Zamora Fashion Spread

Sandy Maranesi

Makeup

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he holidays are upon us, and though it easy to become distracted by the glistening tinsel and dizzying array of sales it is important to concentrate on the meaning of the season. Family is my favorite part. Though I enjoy the decorations, the presents, and the sales, my favorite part of the holidays is sitting down to eat and share time with my family. In this holiday issue, we will help connect you to other ways to share in the true spirit of the holidays. Too many people wind up spending the holidays alone, the Values Valores piece will give you some tips on connecting to volunteer projects and community outreach programs. These programs strive to ensure that people have a warm plate of food and a smile during the holidays. It is not all about what you are getting; as families financially struggle, this season should be about what you are giving. The true spirit of the holidays is not the only thing shopping and vacation distracts us from, winter break might be make it or break it time for you seniors applying for college. Inside you will find information and tips for staying on track. In this issue, we will indulge your wish list tendencies, your altruistic inclinations, and finally your political curiosity. These past few months have been interesting times for United States politics and history do not think that because you are young it is acceptable to stay out of the loop. It is important to realize that decisions made on your behalf today will affect your life tomorrow. Stay informed, stay on the ball and ring in the New Year with some newfound confidence. Wishing you all the happiest of holidays,

Dr. Jacqueline Del Rosario

Stylist

Jenna Waksman

Contributors

Vanessa Blanc

Adrinda Kelly

Schylur Polk Special Thanks

Cheap and Chic Boutique

Hands on Miami

ACT Interiors

On the Cover

Melissa Ramirez

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

Listing for Gifting Holiday shopping is easier with a little organization

by The Staff of Teen Vision Magazine

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he original wish list was post stamped and mailed out to the North Pole, or softly whispered in the ear of a bearded man at your mall of choice. In retrospect, that measly letter scribbled in crayon dims in comparison to its modern day equivalent. Now before you start Facebook messaging and Tweeting to Santa Clause, take a look at these equally effective, but more practical solutions to the holiday wish list. These are our favorite online source to organize your consumerist impulses. Whether you categorize by price, type, or alphabetically these online wish lists will up your chances for getting something you have always wanted instead of another embroidered sweater.

Kaboodle.com This site serves as a great resource to find nice things that reflect your style. From the moment you register, the site prompts you to select your favorite brands and starts compiling your look profile. From here, you will be asked to choose your favorite looks that reflect your chosen brands. This may seem like your standard point and click wish list site, but it is so much more than just picking things you like. This site helps compile elements that create your style. Its style board is its best tool, and sets the site apart from the rest. Here you will be able to piece together all your favorite things (from shoes to couches) that define your look.

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Amazon.com Beginning as an on-line bookstore in 1994, this website has grown to be one of the biggest on-line shopping hubs. Housing not only a countless number of discounted labels, Amazon.com contains endless amounts of housing appliances, beauty products, groceries and of course books. After you view your first selection, Amazon.com will conveniently, and most of the time accurately, suggests other items you may like. These suggestions eventually create the foundation of your wish list, and you will need your wish list to make it through the amount of stuff this website has. Amazon allows you to create several lists, and even manage each list’s security level. You can create a birthday list, a grocery list, even a “to read list.�

Listideas.com Listideas.com is not like every other online shopping site; rather, listideas.com is its own list hub that is not limited to items on its own site. Meaning, with a few simple steps you can add listideas.com to your web tool bar and add items to your list from anywhere on the web. This freedom translates itself to a wider audience as well. Your list traffic is not limited to friends who visit the site. Instead, you can publish your list on Facebook and Myspace. Listideas.com ranks as our favorite, not only because of the freedom it allows users, but because of its charity options. Since you can add virtually anything to your list, users have added charities to their lists. In this tough economy people have asked that in lieu of gifts, small contributions be made in their name to their favorite charities. Whether planning for your small fortune of treasures during the holidays, or assembling gift lists for all those you love the best way to make it through the holiday season is to stay organized. tv ReCapturing the Vision does not endorse the websites listed in this article.


for your health

Stretching the Holidays Total fitness for the mind, body, and spirit

by Vanessa Blanc

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he holiday break is around the corner and that of course means family gatherings, holiday dinners and friendly get togethers with your loved ones. Surely, there will also be a lot of eating and indulging involved, so eating healthy or staying fit will most likely be the last thing on your mind while you are enjoying your vacation off from school. If fitness and healthy eating habits are not at the top of your priorities list during your holiday vacation make sure to at least incorporate some into your daily routine. During the holidays stretching is great, especially before or after going on a long road trip, plane ride, or even when you are just waking up and starting off one of the many days you have off during Christmas break. Stretching out your joints and muscles will help you jump start your body for whatever your day has in store. In young adults stretching is vital because it helps you avoid injuries, improve posture, and it promotes proper development of bones, muscles, and joints. Stretching also aids in developing flexibility, strength, balance, and concentration, and most importantly it helps you to loosen up and avoid muscle cramping before engaging in any type of physical activity throughout your day. Here are a few helpful stretching exercises to kick your day into high gear throughout your long awaited Christmas break: The Neck Stretch: While sitting or standing with your head in its natural upright position, slowly tilt it all the way to the right until you feel tension on the left side of your neck. Hold your head in this position for 10 to 30 seconds and then slowly bring your head back to the upright position. Make sure

The Butterfly to repeat these steps by tilting your head to the left and also toward the front. This will help you to release any built up tension and cramping in your neck area. The Butterfly: While sitting down on a mat, bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet or shoes together. Place one hand on each ankle and your elbows on the inner sides of your knees. Once you are properly positioned, proceed to apply downward pressure until your feel tension. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat this exercise 5 times. This stretching exercise aids in loosening up the muscles in your inner and outer thighs.

The Calf Stretch

The Calf Stretch: While standing upright, place both hands on a wall. Proceed to bend one knee slightly in front of your body while extending the opposite leg backward until the foot is placed flat on the floor. At this point you should feel tension in the extended leg. Hold this stretch for 10 to 30 seconds and repeat the same steps with the opposite leg. Make sure that your back is straight in order to get a good stretch! Arm Circles: Standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart, hold both arms straight out to the side with your palms facing up. Slowly begin to move your arms clockwise in small circles and gradually progress to making larger and larger circles while counting to 10. Come back to the starting position and repeat the same steps but in a counter-clockwise direction. Arm circles are great for warming up the joints and muscles in your arms, shoulders, and back! tv

Arm Circles

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values valores

A Helping Hand Your time is the best gift of all

by Tania Zamora Is there such thing as too many volunteers? It is easy to indulge in the sea of bright red sale signs and huge price cuts, furiously check items off wish lists, and forget about those who cannot contribute to the mound of wrapped surprises. To appease these urges or maybe just gain some perspective, many families choose to couple shopping sprees with extensive hours of volunteering. In Miami, one volunteer organization is making huge advancements in making community service accessible and fun. Hands on Miami is a local non-profit organization that takes the guesswork, the hard work, and the road blocks out of connecting volunteers to the projects they care about. It is not surprising that during the holidays more families than normal turn out to volunteer. Hands on Miami sometimes struggles to keep up with the demand for projects, as students break for winter vacation and others feel compelled to seek opportunities to give back. Hands on Miami accommodates the surge in young volunteers by offering more midday projects. 6 teen vision magazine

The most popular choices during this time are soup kitchens and children’s hospitals, but program directors urge volunteers to think beyond the obvious. The biggest need is with the elderly. Sometimes forgotten or too sick to travel, the organization’s program directors say the biggest impact can be made in nursing homes. Either through caroling, playing music, or even contributing some talent to arts and crafts time, visitors can be an enormous benefit to the elderly. Youth Involvement Students play a huge role in the organization’s involvement in the community, and they keep coming back for more. Youth Program Director Stefanie Cole says students come in as volunteers seeking community service hours, but stay as life time volunteers. Why, Cole says, because they feel empowered and become passionate about their projects. Hands on Miami caters to all people and all schedules. Creating an On Demand menu of volunteer projects, they make it easy to jump in and start working on a variety of projects. This is great for adults with busy

Volunteers showed up from all over South Florida to help at a beach clean-up event for Hands On Miami


values valores

work schedules, but proves most effective for students. As homework, tests, projects and extracurricular activities pile up it is hard to commit to a long-term service project. Hands on Miami’s online calendar allows students the opportunity to jump in and volunteer when they can. Volunteer groups have even more project freedom. Groups can call the organization and put together their own project and schedule. Hands on Miami is all too eager to help connect students to projects that interest them. Interest breeds passions, which breeds returning students willing to change their world.

single candle Medina Mody, a junior at Coral Gables Senior High School, is a community leader, volunteer, and visionary at Hands on Miami. At a time when it seems people have lost hope for the future it is refreshing to see a young lady as inspired to change her world. Mody says, “I feel empowered. [When working with Hands on Miami] I feel like I am making changes; I am making decisions.” A member of the Youth Advisory Committee she motivates her peers to make a difference in their community. She challenges them saying that thinking a kid cannot make difference is an excuse for apathy, advising, “don’t be afraid to think big.”

Find what moves you Finding your passion can be difficult, but Hands on Miami offers such a variety of projects that finding what moves you is limited only by your imagination. Adult Program Director Tessie Alvarez says, “start with what you enjoy doing, and then venture out.” Alvarez explains that many times students start working on a project they think they are passionate about, but quickly learn they do not care as much as they thought. When this happens students start to lose interest in volunteering, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to try new things.

volunteer work is about having fun, giving back, and even learning

about yourself Service is not punishment, and Hands on Miami’s approach to projects reflects this. Volunteer work is about having fun, giving back, and even learning about yourself. There is no requirement to any one project. The entire organization is person-geared, meaning that its “goal is to make it [volunteering] fun, and make them [students] want to return. And they do. This organization is driven by a passion for service and human-engineered altruism. tv

Got an idea to change the world, but no change? Starbucks and Hands on Miami are joining to help you change your world. By funding your great ideas, Starbucks and Hands on Miami are putting the future in your hands. The Starbucks Shared Planet™ Youth Action Grants fund up to $1,000 for a community service project benefiting MiamiDade County. Interested? Visit www.handsonmiami.org.

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impress yourself

Stay Safe & Party Dry

Creativity makes for a better party than beer

by The Staff of Teen Vision Magazine

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oliday parties have become dangerously synonymous with drinking, and since everyone knows an older sibling or someone with a fake ID, holiday parties have sadly also become synonymous with underage drinking, DUIs, and drunk driving accidents. Winter break is the time to get together with friends and family; it is not a time get a criminal record. Alcohol can make a great party go sour. It can be dangerous and most importantly a liability to the adult owners of your party’s location. This holiday season keep you and your friends safe and happy by having a dry party, otherwise the consequences may be much higher than the Time’s Square Ball. The first way to keep your party dry is to create invitations for your guests that clearly say, “no alcohol.” Code words like alternative beverages or mocktails will let your guests know your policy on alcohol. A second way to keep your party alcohol-free is to recruit a friend to help. It can be uncomfortable to be the sole rule-enforcer, especially at a party, so you may find it easier to have a friend help and enforce your no-drinking policy. Plus, if two people are sending out a clear signal that drinking will not be tolerated your guests will be less inclined to try and sneak some in. Drinking will not necessarily make a party any more fun, in fact it can loosen your guests up too much and give them the impression they should do things that they will only come to regret later. Instead, here are some party suggestions to have a fun teen holiday party without the regrets. Holiday Fiesta Brunch No matter what holiday tradition your guests follow everyone loves a good fiesta and a hearty brunch. Simply moving your party from the evening to the morning will eliminate your guest’s temptation to have a drink. Your holiday brunch will be centered on food, and thus may

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limit the number of guests, but a few staples could keep this party fun and economic. The internet has some great recipes and information on Mexican breakfasts (one suggestion www. mexgrocer.com). The great thing about breakfast is that you can make do with a few basic ingredients. Remember when you invite your guests make out an invitation that makes it clear that this is a dry party, and as a substitute tell your guest to B.Y.O.H.S (Bring Your Own Hot Sauce). Murder Mystery Party With a little bit of planning and creativity you can make this theme night memorable. Plan a dinner party with some friends, you can serve some appetizers and pizza, then introduce the characters, the game and the rules (a great resource is: host-party.com/howtohost.asp). This game is great when combining different circles of friends because it encourages mingling. Your guests will want to be as clear headed as possible to connect the dots, so they will be less inclined to want liquid entertainment. This theme is great for any time of the year, but since it is the holidays try to center your mystery on some variation of this theme (Ron Karenga—founder of Kwanzaa— did it, with a menorah, under the Christmas tree). The success or failure of this party depends on your guests—if they are a lively bunch this should go off without a problem. If your friends are the shyer types then try some ice breaker games beforehand. Knowing that getting drunk is not the only way to have fun is the best way to pull this party off. Peer pressure makes it hard to have a party without alcohol, but one with alcohol can land you in a whole lot of trouble. It is best to play it dry. Offering your friends a good time and entertainment is better than offering them a beer. tv ReCapturing the Vision Int. does not endorse any site mentioned in this article.


Underage Drinking: the Killer Among Us Get the real scoop on why bottom’s up can

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is the season to be jolly, and if you’re anything like the 37% of Miami-Dade high school students who report using alcohol in the past 30 days then chances are you’ll be sneaking a swig or two around the Christmas tree or while you wait for that big ball to drop. No harm in that, right? After all, it is the holiday season. Wrong. Did you know that 31% of all deaths among youth aged 10-34 are from motor vehicle crashes, many of which involve alcohol? Or what about this: 19% of teens in Miami-Dade who report using alcohol in the last 30 day did so before getting behind the wheel of a car. It’s time to be concerned In a city where 12 is the average age for youth to take their first drink, underage drinking is a huge problem that puts everyone’s safety at risk. Even if you do not personally drink, chances are you have friends who do, or you may find yourself riding in the car of someone who has been drinking. This is what you need to know to stay safe. Jessica’s Story1 They were two beautiful girls, 18 years old, best friends since kindergarten, and college freshman at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. Jessica Rasdall and Laura Gorman had everything to live for. But that all came crashing to an end on a Florida Highway one morning in February 2006. One of them would survive a terrifying crash, the accused killer of her best friend. The other

have you all bottomed out y by Adrinda Kell

would never wake up. How it happened is an all-too-common tale. The two friends met up after work that fateful night and decided they wanted to go out and have some fun. They got dressed up and headed out to a local club. When they arrived, they immediately hit the dance floor. A man working at the club noticed them, two pretty girls have a great time, and waved them over to the bar. He asked, “Are you girls 21? Because it doesn’t matter.” According to Jessica, he told them to order a drink, then suggested switching to shots because “they’re quick, they’re fast, no one will even see the cup in your hand, it’s in and out.” A camera recovered from the fatal crash documents those last hours, showing the two friends drinking, laughing, and dancing. Rasdall said the next thing she remembers is waking up in the car on the side of the road and looking over to see her best friend dead. She couldn’t stop screaming, even after the Jaws of Life pulled her to safety. Her best friend was gone, and she know the family would never forgive her. And deep down inside she couldn’t forgive herself. Why Teens Drink, and Why They Shouldn’t Jessica and her friend were just out to have a good time when their lives were altered forever. Like Laura and Jessica, most teens who drink, do so in social situations because they want to fit in or because it helps them relax. Also like Laura and Jessica, many teens

receive conflicting messages from adults who allow them to drink even though they’re underage. According to D. Reid Hester, “Teens are more likely to start experimenting with drinking if they have parents who drink, if they have friends who are also drinking, and if their parents don’t give them clear messages about not drinking outside the house.” Do your parents allow you to drink some wine at Thanksgiving dinner or toast in the New Year with a glass of bubbly? If so, then you’re probably more likely to drink when you’re not under adult supervision. Those are just the facts. The truth is, even though it’s illegal to buy alcohol in the United States until the age of 21, most teens can get access to it. Therefore, it’s up to you to make the decision not to drink. Addiction and drunk driving are just two of the many risks associated with underage drinking. Underage drinkers are also at a greater risk of fighting (ever hear the phrase, “beer muscles”?), rape, breaking the law, even damaging their not yet fully developed brains. teen vision magazine

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Your Brain on Booze Researchers have recently discovered that alcohol can cause extensive damage to the adolescent brain. According to Dr. Aaron White of Duke University, “We definitely didn’t know 5 or 10 years ago that alcohol affected the teen brain differently. There is no doubt about it now: there are long-term cognitive consequences to excessive drinking of alcohol in adolescence.” Frontal lobe development and the refinement of pathways and connections continue into the mid-20’s. Damage from alcohol at this time can be long-term and irreversible. Even just moderate drinking can impair learning and memory far more in youth than in adults. Adolescents need only drink half as much as adults to suffer the same negative effects. Moreover, adolescents who drink are much more likely to suffer from alcoholism as adults.

And then there’s the whole “wake of shame” thing. This is when you wake up after a long night of partying and head to your computer to IM your friend about what happened the night before when you discover that someone has posted a video of you with your mouth at the bottom of a beer funnel being egged on by chants of “Chug, Chug, Chug.” Not only do you look at hot mess, but now you’re in danger getting in MAJOR trouble with your Mom, who is sure to see this video during one of her regular Internet patrols. All you can think is: “I wish I had never. . .” Instead of wishing you had never, don’t. Underage drinking comes with some hefty consequences. Jessica Rasdall not only lost her best friend, but now she’s facing 10-15 years in prison for vehicular manslaughter. It only takes one misstep for your whole life to be ruined. Why take the chance? How to “Just Say No” We know that peer pressure is a powerful thing, and saying no to alcohol is sometimes easier said then done. So practice by coming up with refusal statements. Teens often get pressured into various behaviors that they truly do not want to engage in. because they lack the ability to quickly respond and redirect the situation. 10 teen vision magazine

Refusal Statements are quick, rehearsed statements that you can blurt out when facing peer pressure to drink. The key is to rehearse these statements until they become second nature. Try coming up with a few right now: “I don’t get down like that.” “No thanks, I’m on a natural high.” “I like my life.” By coming up with your own refusal statements you can avoid making unhealthy choices when you encounter peer pressure to drink. Getting Help If you are a teen suffering from alcohol addiction or you just want to talk to

someone, there is help out there. Call the Alcohol Hotline at 1-800-ALCOHOL to get on the road to recovery. And if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are thinking about driving or riding drunk, please think twice. Call a parent, cab, or unimpaired friend to take you home. You might just save your life ... and mine. tv

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Adapted from http://i.abcnews.com/2020/ Story?id=7726721&page=2

What Miami is Doing to Combat Underage Drinking Formed in 1988, the Miami Coalition’s mission is to reduce the problems of drug abuse, addiction, and related social issues by bringing together representatives from diverse local institutions and organizations to determine how best to combat the crisis of drug abuse in our community. ReCapturing the Vision is proud to be one of the Miami Coalition’s partner organizations. To learn more about the Miami Coalition’s work or to find out how you can help, visit MiamiCoalition.org.


shoulders, ears & hearts

Support, help & nd a h t a guidance always Dear Shoulders, My parents have had a bad year financially. I have 3 younger siblings and I know they are excited about the Christmas season. I know this year won’t be as fun, we are going to have a smaller tree, fewer lights, and I know my siblings won’t get all the fancy toys they want. What can I do make sure they have a great Christmas? –Brother Christmas Dear Brother Christmas, Well first of all remember your family is not the only one, many families will be having the same problems this year. You sound like a very caring person. Your sensitivity to your siblings’ feelings is an indication that your family is very important to you. On that note, it is important that you understand and express to your brothers and sisters that having a warm and loving family is worth more than a store full of toys. I suggest you check with your parents to see how much they will be spending on gifts. With their permission everyone could pick one thing they would like that is within budget. But it sounds like you already have the best gift of all; a family together for the holidays.

Dear Ears, My friends are really into the getting part of Christmas and forgot about the all important giving part. What are some things we can do together to get them to remember the true meaning of the season. –Selfish Friends Dear Selfish Friends, In our culture it is easy to forget the true meaning of the season. First and foremost be a role model. Show your friends that giving is just as great as getting. Use your true gifts, your talents, to bring joy to someone else. Volunteer sometime at a local nursing home or hospital, invite your friends along too.

Exposing them to people in need or in lonely environments will show them that gifts without family and giving are meaningless.

Dear Heart, There is a guy in my history class who lives in an orphanage. He didn’t tell many people because he afraid of how they would react. I know it must be hard for him not having a family during this happy time of the year. How do you think I can help him? –Concern Classmate Dear Concerned Classmate, Being alone is hard during the holiday season. Since you are aware of your classmate’s circumstances you should include him in your plans. Tell your parents about this opportunity to share the essence of the holiday season. With your family’s permission invite your classmate as a guest. It may be hard for him to accept, so be encouraging and welcoming no one wants to feel like a charity project. Your thoughtfulness will most certainly make his day and holiday season much brighter. tv

...Life, Laughter, Learn teen vision magazine

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A Pl an You Can Understand Breaking health care down to terms you can understand by Tania Zamora Health Reform Lingo Learning the vocabulary is the first step in understanding the debate. Here are some key reform words. Pre-existing condition: medical problems already diagnosed before an individual purchases private health insurance. Public option: The government would create a qualified health benefit plan to compete with other plans. Rationing: The idea that a government run healthcare system would mean restricted and limited care. Non-profit cooperatives: An alternative to the public option which would provide a self-sufficient option to affordable health care.

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he consensus is the current healthcare system has failed citizens. Many people cannot afford to fill prescriptions, they avoid seeing a doctor even if they are sick because they cannot afford it, and they skip medical treatments they cannot pay for. All these actions lead their initially minor health problems to compound until they become so serious that the appropriate treatments become unaffordable. Many insurance companies consistently raise the cost of premiums again while providing as little coverage as possible, and often cancel insurance policies as soon as the insured become sick. In addition, many Americans cannot even receive coverage because of alleged “pre-existing conditions�.

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These failures have not gone unnoticed. The government is trying to create a health care reform that will benefit all Americans, rather than aiding insurance companies make profits. President Obama is proposing a reform that will ideally prevent insurance industry abuses while providing affordable options for those who can pay for coverage and providing an alternative for those who cannot. So while both sides of the congressional aisle know there needs to be a change the question remains, what are they doing about it? The newly proposed US health care reform will do a lot to remedy many of these issues, and will take active steps to prevent so many American citizens from falling between the cracks. It will provide increased insurance security to many young adults who do not have access to reliable health coverage by allowing them to remain on family plans until they reach the age of twenty-six. It will also help those who cannot remain on family insurance by creating an insurance exchange that will offer affordable choices in health coverage so they can choose which health options they want. The proposed US health care reform plan will also stress the importance of employing preventative medicine as an alternative to traditional reactionary medicine. Preventative medicine can prevent a minor condition from becoming a more severe medical condition that is more expensive to treat. It might also promote an improvement in the quality of life enjoyed by these young adults as they mature into older age. The most important aspect of this proposed medical reform is that it will offer a public option, which will provide free preventative medicine to all American citizens who require it.


the high cost of insurance for young women

Holding other factors constant, a 22-year-old woman can be charged ONE AND A HALF TIMES the premium of a 22-year-old man. From the Young Americans and Health Insurance Reform: Giving Young Americans the Security and Stability They Need. Find this and more information at www.healthreform.gov/reports/youngadults/index.html.

The Plan (from The Obama Plan: Stability and Security for all Americans.) More Stability and Security Quality, Affordable Choices for All Americans Reins In the Cost of Health Care for Our Families, Our Businesses, and Our Government This and more information can be found on healthreform.gov

a pervasive lack of coverage 30%

Young adults older adults

17%

Thirty percent of young adults do NOT have health insurance, compared with 17 percent of older adults (those aged 30-64). From the Young Americans and Health Insurance Reform: Giving Young Americans the Security and Stability They Need. Find this and more information at www.healthreform.gov/reports/youngadults/index.html.

Never Too Young To Care The biggest obstacle to getting this reform plan passed is the ignorance of the American populace to its contents, and more importantly, to how it directly affects them. Many young Americans are of the opinion that the ongoing debate over health care legislation has no correlation to their own lives, but they are sadly mistaken. Young adults need to take as many steps as is possible to safeguard themselves from falling between the cracks of the insurance industry, and make sure that they do not have to count themselves among the already staggering number of youth in the US who remain uninsured. Many already have any number of re-existing conditions or other ailments and may not even be aware. These issues do not just affect the youth in question, particularly if they remain on their family’s insurance plan—such preexisting conditions could potentially prevent their family from modifying their coverage or changing providers, and might even prevent them from being insured at all. Many of the Americans who are playing “fast-and-loose” with their personal health are young adults who mistakenly believe that they are invincible. In reality, many of these young people have numerous medical conditions that go undiscovered because they lack insurance and cannot afford paying for medical care out of pocket. One in six young Americans has undiagnosed chronic health afflictions such as asthma, scoliosis, or even cancer. A quarter of our nation’s youth are obese and suffer from corresponding ailments caused by their weight. Most disturbingly, a staggering one in six young people wind up in the emergency room to treat serious issues that could have been avoided through the timely application of preventative medicine. Time magazine reports, “this age group has the highest uninsured rate

of any cohort in the U.S. population: some 13 million Americans ages 19 to 29 — or 1 in 3 — lack coverage.” That is a staggering and scary number. This means that the future of America is starting at a disadvantage because they are one broken bone away from financial ruin. As cost of living, cost of education, and cost of medicine rise, it is easy to see why young American’s are choosing to risk living uninsured. Most teenagers are dropped from their parent’s insurance the day they graduate college, others are dropped before then because they do not meet special student criteria. Once dropped and out of college most graduates are inundated with debt, so they become choosy over where the money goes. School loans, rent, and food use up the bulk of entry level pay checks, and most of these jobs will not offer health insurance right away. Full time employee health benefits usually do not kick in until the employee has been with the company for three to six months. For a struggling young adult, the choice to wait it out obvious but it also dangerous. Young adults are a vulnerable group, and as number show have been hurt by the health care system in play. They stand to gain or lose a lot from this reform, and it is up to this population to voice their concerns. tv

Reform In the News It is easy to see why those most vulnerable would be confused by the reform. Inundated with images of town hall meeting gone mad and buzzwords like death panels and socialism, confusion is to be expected. It is also the point. Staying informed is hard work, but the information is out there. Turning to the source, Healthreform.gov is the best place to start. They offer news clips, articles, even summaries of the plan. It is an invaluable resource for doing your health care homework.

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e g e l l o C r o Pay ing f e k o r B g n i o G t u o h W it to get the Learn how Kelly by Adrinda

U.S.

Citizens and certain eligible non-citizens (e.g. permanent residents) are eligible to apply for financial aid. And in some cases, undocumented individuals may be able to demonstrate residency status and qualify for in-state tuition rates. Yet according to Kalman Chany, author of Paying For College Without Going Broke, “Most aid—whether it be in grants, scholarships or loans—goes to those who are smartest about applying for it, not necessarily those who are neediest.” We sat down with Kal Chany to dispel some common financial aid myths and give you the scoop on what you need to do to get on the money train. TVM: What should students be doing now to position themselves to receive as much money as possible for college? KC: The most important thing is to be aware of the process. You first need to figure out what forms you need to complete. Then you need to be aware of the priority filing deadlines that are set by the school and the state. As a minimum, you are going to need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Some state schools and community colleges may only require the FAFSA form to be completed. The form can be filed after January 1, 2010. You want to make sure you’re filing the proper edition of the form. If you go online prior to January 1 to fill out the form, you will be filling out the wrong version. TVM: Who is eligible to apply for financial aid? KC: Everyone, with the exception of non-U.S. citizens, is eligible to apply for financial aid. And in some cases, nonU.S. citizens may be able to demonstrate residency status and qualify for in-state tuition. Often students think that if their

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parents have any money, they are not going to qualify for aid. This is simply not true. It is also a myth that the parents have to be working for the student to qualify for aid. If parents are disabled, retired, unemployed, or receiving some sort of public assistance benefits, that is not going to disqualify students from getting money. In fact, if students qualify for the school lunch program, for example, that can mean in some cases that they are automatically eligible for maximum federal aid. TVM: Is it true that the early bird catches the worm, when it comes to getting financial aid? KC: It is not true that the early bird catches the worm so much as it is that the tortoise sometimes beats the hare. There are deadlines to meet but it is not like the Oklahoma Land Rush. Schools generally batch process the applications, and those who meet the Priority Filing Deadline, even if they just meet it, are given the same consideration for aid as those who submit their applications the first possible moment they can do it. TVM: Where can our readers go for more information? KC: My website, CampusConsultants. com, has an article “Financial Aid 101” that tells students where they can get all the forms and lets them know what steps need to be completed when. You can also pick up a copy of my book in your local library and bookstore. tv

TIPS FOR PAYING FOR COLLEGE IN TOUGH TIMES • Start researching aid possibilities sooner rather than later. • Apply for financial aid no matter what your circumstances – flush or not. • Never rule out any school as being too expensive. • Pay less for a four-year degree by attending a community college for two years. • Get college credit for your AP courses and reduce the amount you need to pay in tuition. • Apply to colleges where you are much more likely to get a better aid package. • Research starting salaries for your probable major and career path, and be realistic about how much debt you can incur. • If you have to borrow, pursue federal loans first and avoid taking on private loans at all costs. • If your circumstances have a taken a turn for the worst, request additional aid. • Never put tuition on a credit card.

About the Author One of the nation’s leading college funding experts, Chany is an independent consultant whose advice on getting aid has been sourced by reporters and praised by reviewers. His book is the only annual guide with line-by-line strategies for completing the FAFSA form – a complex, 100+ question application all aid applicants must submit. Kalman Chany author of Going to College Without Going Broke


Finding a Light at the End of the Tunnel

One High School Senior’s thoughts on College Applications

by Schuyler Pollk

They reflected that we are imperfect, we make mistakes, and we learn from them. They were entertaining, witty, and honest. One of the best essays I have read was about a passion for unicyling. The student that wrote it was able to capture the essence of his personality in something that did not resemble a resume. Through this process, many teachers and counselors have provided me with valuable information about the essay. My theory of knowledge teacher, Ms. Scott advises:

I’m staring at a blank word document searching for words to describe a “meaningful event, experience, or accomplishment” that will decide my fate for the next four years. Sometimes I wonder if college admissions officers realize how nervewracking the application process is. SATs, ACTs, the Common App, the supplements and payments, the essays and the deadline! It’s a dizzying compilation of paperwork that we must all submit, all for a decision, a decision that will affect the rest of our lives. I feel like the admissions officers have me squished on a slide under a microscope, scrutinizing my intelligence and my character with precise detail. For juniors and seniors, this is not a challenge; it is a full-out battle. It can be so difficult to find the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to push through though, we must believe that in the end, the countless hours of studying, working on community service projects, and the organizational skills that we have adopted will be worth getting that letter in the mail that begins with, “Congratulations on your acceptance to…” My biggest challenge with this process has been the dreaded essay. The essay is like a 500-word mirror that allows colleges and universities to see who we are. The best essays I have read have not been about the winning goal or a laundry list of accomplishments. They were human.

0 Write from the heart. They’re looking for a man or a woman with character and substance. 0 Show not tell. The strongest essays are little vignettes that start in media res, or in the middle of things, that pulls the reader into what happens next. 0 End with a final truth. Frankly, I have had so many things happen in my life that I could not find 500 words to describe them, so I decided to write about forgiving a friend and restarting a friendship. My topic is not something particularly exciting or unique, but it fulfills its aim- it shows how I have learned my lessons in life, and how I will apply them in my future. The best advice I can give about this process is to give yourself enough time to complete everything that needs to be done. The admission process is rocket-science, so you need to develop good organizational skills to make sure you remember every piece of information to submit. Start your application as soon as it becomes available, and do it a little at a time, not all on December 31st, the day before regular decision applications are due. Lastly, remember, all of this work is not in vain, because when you have your acceptance letter in your hand, you’ll realize, the application process is worth it. tv teen vision magazine

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Getting Older, but Are You Getting Better? The point of getting older is to get better by Tania Zamora

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ew Year’s Eve is a time for party dresses, the falling of lit-up spheres, and celebrating the coming year. It is a night full of expectation and hope, but as the final moments of the past year are counted down I cannot help but get nostalgic, “what have I done with last the 365 days.” New Year’s Eve is never an easy night for me, and I am finally starting to know why; on New Year’s Eve I am faced with the nagging question, “I am getting older, but am I getting any better?” Now I pose this same question to you, as you stand, eyes glued to the television set during those final moments of 2009, no doubt wearing a great carefully executed outfit, can you honestly say you are better than you were 365 days before? If the answer is no, fret not. There have been plenty of New Year’s when I have found myself devastated by the fact that I stood in the same place I had stood the year before. This was a waste of time. If you find yourself standing in the same spot, then move. It is that simple. New Year’s Eve should be about welcoming the new, and part of that new year should be a newer you. Some people resort to a New Year’s Resolution. Making a drastic change from one day to the next can be hard, and is almost always a recipe for disaster. Most people resign themselves to the ideology, “I cannot change” all because they cannot keep a New Year’s Resolution.

The secret to a successful New Year’s Resolution and ultimately a better you is that it is not about the long term goal, but the short term ones that will take you to your destination. Going to a college is a great goal, but it can be overwhelming to think of everything you need to do to get there all at the same time. Break it down. Start with improving your GPA or your SAT score, and then gradually attack the application process in pieces. Smaller goals will keep you focused and motivated. Smaller goals are easier to accomplish and each victory will give you the confidence and motivation to tackle the next goal. A new year and a better you is not so overwhelming is it? New Year’s is about looking to the future, but do not forget the past. Reflection is a good way to form your resolution and guide your short term goals. For example: if you know you have a problem with time management, it may be wise to tailor your short term goals on a weekly schedule. Changing and improving for the New Year does not have to be as stressful as it is perceived, and it would be a waste to let time pass you by. Getting older does not necessarily mean growing up. As the final hour of 2009 winds down, say your resolution with pride because with an effective plan to support it you are off to a productive 2010. tv

New Year’s is about looking to the future, but do not forget the past

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New Year’s Resolutions

One high school shares their goals for the upcoming year by Schuyler Polk

With the New Year approaching it is time to get your resolutions in order. Students at Coral Reef High School share their goals for 2010.

“I’ve never eaten lettuce before. I resolve to eat a salad.” – Sophia Meziani “I want to grow!” – leangelo hall

“I just want to get into an Ivy League.” – andy mills “I’m going to learn a song on the guitar! – cassiano cattan “I resolve to keep getting better with age, like a fine wine!”– david kuhn “I’m going to learn how to salsa. – james neuweg “To get into college even though I have a 4.0.”– alex scholz

“To lose ten pounds.” – astrid santiago “To gain pounds.” – scott urueta

kuhn, ttan, david cassiano ca Andy mills, r: to lz l from der scho eg, alexan james neuw

“I’m going to stop being lazy in 2010.” – justine williams teen vision magazine

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Add Some Pop to Your Winter Wardrobe Inside Santa’s workshop some great looks are being put together just for you photography by amanda langford Makeup by east coast makeup by sandy Maranesi wardrobe by Chic and cheap boutique* on location at act interiors

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L to R Aqua Dress by Final Touch*; black bolero by Forever 21; boots by Steve Madden. Jeans by Mark Ecko; mustard hoodie; and shirt by Mark Ecko. Black dress by Nikibiri*; boots by Steven; necklace by Forever 21. Jeans by Good Times*; white top by Spy*; blue vest by Ark & Co*

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L to R Pink Dress by Luluvia*; boots by Steven. Jeans by Mark Ecko; Shirt by Mark Ecko; Vest Black Falcon Capon

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Jeans by Mark Ecko; shirt by Stacy Adams; vest by Stacy Adams; shoes by Reebok

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Top by Toi et Moi*; jeans by Good Times*; shoes by Charlotte Russe. Top by Lori Lester*; jeans by Good Times*; boots by Steven. Top by Trinity*; boots by Steve Madden; jacket by Forever 21.

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Aqua dress by Final Touch*; boots by Steve Madden. Pink dress by Double Zero*, bolero by Forever 21; necklace by Forever 21

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Confidence is an Attitude—Work It Miss Miami Tropic tells you how by Vanessa Blanc Melissa Ramirez Miss Miami Tropic 2009

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sat with 2009’s Miss Miami Tropic Melissa Ramirez to talk about self-esteem. It amazes me that some women have the confidence to walk down a run away while dozens of eyes judge their every move and curve while there are mornings I do not even want to look in a mirror. The secret she says, get over it. Knowing who you are and embracing those features that make you unique are the key to confidence and beauty. TV: Have you ever felt self-conscience about yourself? Or had a physical feature that you were self-conscience about? MR:Yes, who hasn’t? As a Latina, I am much more curvaceous than most of the other girls in the pageant world. Not being able to fit into those “itsybitsy” sizes were always the most frustrating part for me. Having hips and thighs has always made me stand out from the other girls. TV: Have you over come this self-esteem barrier? If so, how? MR: Yes! I’ve learned how to embrace myself, and my body for what it is. I eat healthy foods, and exercise to tone up as much as I can, but I have come to terms with how I am built naturally, and I embrace my culture. Having people who support me, like my family and friends, and my Miss Miami Tropic Boot Camp coaches who love my body also helped! :) TV: When it comes to beauty pageants, does losing affect yourselfesteem? MR: No, all it makes me want to do is learn, improve, and prove to myself that I can do anything I want! Of course, no one wants to lose, especially a competitive spirit like myself, but when it happens I just

say to myself “It is what it is,” and I know that I can’t please everyone. With a positive outlook towards losing doubting myself, or having a low self esteem is the least of my worries. TV: What do you tell yourself when you are modeling in front judges? MR: “Girl you better work!” -Rupaul. For some reason this saying replays over in my head... in Rupaul’s voice and all! When that is not going through my mind, I just think, “Melissa, you know what you’re made of, now just show them, and make them remember your name!” TV: Finally, not everyone is a model but everyone should have the confidence to strut there stuff like one. What you tell a kid with selfesteem issues to help them over the hump? MR: First and for most, the hardest thing has to be taken out of the way, and that is knowing who you are. I say it is the hardest thing because there are so many factors that influence people on who they think they should be. So many pressures of looking, thinking, acting, dressing... even sounding a certain way it is difficult to find the real you. Too much time is devoted in a day to feeling self-conscious, instead of being happy with who you are. Remember there is an inner diva inside everyone. I do not think it, I KNOW and BELIEVE that everyone can strut their stuff like a true super model, they just have to believe in themselves. And if there’s ever a time where I feel like doubting myself, and just self conscious I think, “Attack life, it’s going to kill you anyways.” It gives me the extra edge to remember that life is to short to worry about what others think, and I won’t let that hold me back. tv teen vision magazine

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keeping it real

Gifting: Worth vs. Cost Gifting that gets to the reason for the season

by Schuyler Polk

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t all starts when they build an express Toys R Us in your local mall. The holidays are here, and with them, the thoughts of, “What do I want?, What am I going to get for everyone?, and How am I going to afford it?” With so many commercials luring us to spend our money, it’s hard to remember that the holidays are not about gifts, the season is for giving, sharing, and for love. In a tough economy, it’s difficult for many people to afford buying gifts like they used to.

This holiday season, do not break the bank looking for gifts that will be tossed away after a few uses. Growing up, my mother made Christmas into a fantasy. She would spend all day decorating our tree and our house. She would go to all ends to afford everything my sisters and I had written on our lists. My mother is not here anymore, but keeping up the spirit of Christmas for my younger sisters made me realize something. Even though I was almost electrocuted by a string of lights and the tree kept falling on me, I had memories of last Christmas that will outlast all of those mornings of gift opening. This holiday season, do not break the bank looking for gifts that will just be tossed away after a few uses. Think about what your loved ones will treasure, perhaps a picture frame filled with pictures and trinkets you find that remind you of them, or a CD you burned with music they would enjoy. Last Christmas, I spent hours making gifts for my family out of recycled magazines, like a mirror for my little sister, or a big bowl for my aunt. They had never seen anything like it before, and they appreciated the fact that I had taken time to create something just for them. In a few years, you will not remember if you bought someone a nice shirt or a GPS, but you will remember if you made them something from the heart. tv 28 teen vision magazine


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Teen Vision Winter 2009