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The caffeine contained in energy drinks can lead to nervous breakdowns according to brainsfacts.com

News Page 4 n December 18, 2012 thekirkwoodcall.com

In 2008, 61.8 million Americans contributed 8 billion hours of volunteer service worth an estimated $162 billion according to uwgnh.org

A new kind of Monster Becca Gerdes news writer

W

hile energy drinks have been used to help students and teachers get through long school days, concerns have risen about the safety of these drinks. An article written by Barry Meier in The New York Times mentions recent deaths linked to Monster energy drinks, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating whether energy drinks are dangerous for teenagers or people with health problems. Meier writes that while energy drinks have not been proven to be dangerous, they are under review about whether the levels of caffeine in the drink are too high. Cailin Fanning, sophomore, drinks a Redbull whenever she needs to get out of bed early or stay up late, which she said happens about once a week. Fanning said she does not notice any significant physical changes after she drinks them, other than feeling slightly more energized. At KHS, 73 percent (136/187) students have had an energy drink. Out of those, 42 percent (47/112) have experienced nega-

tive effects from drinking energy drinks. Comparatively, 51 percent of participants in a study by Nutrition Journal, or nutritionj.com, reported consuming greater than one energy drink each month on average per semester. Mike Wade, junior principal, drinks sugarfree Redbull as well as sugar-free Rockstar. He drinks the Rockstar every day around 4 a.m., when he wakes up. “I drink one every morning before I work out to give me a little bit of a jump,” Wade said. “It helps me focus on the workout.” Wade said he drinks another energy drink if he starts to get tired throughout the day. He will also drink coffee if necessary. Unlike Fanning, Wade said he has experienced negative effects from energy drinks. When he coached KHS football, Wade said he drank a large amount of coffee and energy drinks, and when he tried to stop he had incredible headaches. Since then, he has cut down on how much he drinks and switched to sugar-free so he does not experience the same effects. Wade does not recommend energy drinks to students. He said it is habit forming, and

Energy drinks, including Monster Energy, have recently been linked to some deaths, raising questions about the safety of such drinks. Some doctors believe the extra energy isn’t worth the risk.

that if he could, he would get energy the natural way, from sleep and eating the right foods. “I think it’s a bad habit, and I wish I could stop,” Wade said. Dr. Jim Politis, attending physician at Des Peres Hospital, said the possible negative effects from energy drinks include irritability, restlessness, heart palpitations and disruptions of the sleep routine. In teens, energy drinks can also cause mood swings.

Halsey Uerling photographer Politis said from a health standpoint, there is not an energy drink he would recommend to consumers. The negative effects from energy drinks are from overuse of the product, according to Politis. In moderation, energy drinks can give a boost without causing significant problems. However, Politis said, if students are in search of healthy energy, the best option is green tea with modest amounts of caffeine.

Service opportunities become available over break Contact information Bethesda-Dilworth

Theresia Metz 314-446-2177 tametz@bethesdahealth.org

Manor Grove

Joel Hackbarth 314-965-0864

Aberdeen Heights

Front desk: 314-909-6000

Kirkwood Public Library

Lynn Bosso 314-821-5770, ext. 1011 lbosso@kirkwoodpubliclibrary.org

Kirk Care

Leave a message at: 314-965-0406

Emily Stobbe news editor With the holiday break fast approaching, students with more free time and holiday spirit might look for opportunities to give back to their community. The Kirkwood Call found a few places in Kirkwood where students can donate time or resources during the next few weeks. Nursing Homes in Kirkwood Three Kirkwood nursing homes that welcome volunteers are Bethesda Dilworth Nursing Home, Manor Grove and Aberdeen Heights. At Bethesda Dilworth, students can work with the elderly residents, helping employees lead activities or playing holiday music on an instrument. Student volunteers can also work behind the scenes, decorating for the holidays or collecting items such as combs, toothbrushes, soap and lotion to put in residents’ Christmas stockings. “It would make their holidays so much

more enjoyable to know someone is out there thinking of them,” Theresia Metz, activities coordinator for Bethesda Dilworth Nursing Home, said. Similar to Bethesda Dilworth, volunteers at Manor Grove can play games with the residents or simply visit and spend time talking to them. The Kirkwood Public Library Another place to volunteer in Kirkwood is the Kirkwood Public Library. Here, students can lead children’s activities such as story hour by reading the children books, help with computers, prepare crafts, read aloud individually or straighten and maintain the bookshelves. According to Courtney Flesch, who works in the library’s teen room, volunteers also post ‘book trailers’ to Youtube, create podcasts about the books teens can read, add to the teen blog and serve on the Teen Advisory Board. The Teen Advisory Board shares what they think other teens would want to see at the library.

Kirk Care Finally, students can also help Kirk Care. Every year KHS holds a canned food drive to benefit Kirk Care; this year the drive went from Nov. 27-Dec. 6. But Kirk Care not only provides people with food; it also assist with utility bills, rent and school supplies. If students are too busy around the holidays to donate time, they can always send more cans to Kirk Care or donate money. Kirk Care especially looks for canned foods with high protein, such as peanut butter. Other opportunities There are other places to volunteer, too, like Guardian Angel Settlement Association, Kids’ Place, Peter and Paul Community Services, Shalom House, Kinship Circle and the World Bird Sanctuary. But whether or not someone volunteers at a place specifically in their neighborhood, Metz believes it is important to volunteer somewhere. “Go, help make your community a better place,” Metz said. Left: Cans collected during the KHS Canned Food Drive lead by KYS line the tables. The drive ran through Nov. 27 to Dec. 6 and collected $1672.78 and 1616 cans total. The winning class was Jeff Gutjahr’s first hour math class, whose 23 students collected 166 cans and $180. All cans will benefit Kirk Care, but Kirk Care needs donations year round.

Andréa Keltz photographer

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