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Teenage tattoo rate increases, suggesting new trend among adolescents

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H e l p wa n t e d Teens are needed to aid elderly citizens; where to volunteer currently by Teresa Hauer

Entertainment Editor/media manager

By Kalee Moris

Head Page Designer

Walking across ditches filled with filth—a mixture of garbage and human waste—watching children run barefoot, with razor blades in their hand, holding a fragile two month old baby boy in my arms, gazing upon his sleeping face and knowing from the pit of my stomach that he would grow up in severe conditions. This summer I was privileged to experience poverty at its worst in Uganda, one of the poorest countries in Africa. I spent a glorious three weeks on a mission trip with Global Expedition, an addition of Teen Mania Ministries. While in Uganda I taught about HIV/AIDS in schools. These schools consisted of poorly built, brick, structures with cut out squares for windows. The classrooms were often packed with multiple grade levels at the same time, learning from the same single chalk board. I learned quickly that although money is scarce, education remains at the top of the list. While students in America take school for granted, students in Uganda are often forced to extremes in order to get through school, such as prostituting themselves out for the money to pay for fees. The children are ridiculed if they are unable to afford a school fee which makes education a big deal. Most of the children, as young as three years, walk up to six miles there and back, often barefoot, in order to attend school. While in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, my team of 30 encountered two children ages five and three who are orphaned due to the monster that continues to plague the area: AIDS. These two children lived in an empty, run down shack. The five year old takes care of his three year old sibling to survive. The chance of them reaching adulthood is slim to none. I was able to spend time in orphanages, playing silly hand games such as “Simon says.” The children began shy, their faces often somber. Seeing them change into a sea of smiling, laughing, free spirits was one of the most rewarding experiences. I will forever miss walking through the villages, the little patter of running feet would follow us, whispers rang out— “Mzungu, Mzungu!” The word meant “well off” and was most often used for those with white skin. This is because white skin means you have money for the simple fact that we have shoes to wear, food in our stomachs more than once a day and clothes without countless holes in them. One boy in particular stood on the other side of a fence, no more than three years of age, all alone. This little child stood staring with one small boot and nothing but a dirty shirt filled with holes. His eyes dead but obviously curious watching my group and I from afar. In such a desperate situation one thing remains prominent in my memory, every person I encountered made the best of what they had. Never did I meet a Ugandan who let their circumstances defeat their will to live.

october 1, 2010

Marginalized citizens will always be prevalent—a homeless beggar on an intersection corner, or an orphan child moving from home to home, or illegal immigrants trying to tactfully make their next move. A group that is not often considered is the elderly community. Whether they have lost their memory to Alzheimer’s or they are simply needing happiness and motivation, teenagers can help. “The best part about helping out the little old ladies is knowing that I’m not only helping them with chores they can no longer do themselves, but providing them with a friend to listen to or just spend quality time with,” Antonette Jurewicz, senior, said. Huger Mercy Living Center, for example, is a prime place

to volunteer as it houses over 48 residents that are ailed by the Alzheimer’s disease. Teens can help with organization, decoration, or simply socialization. “[The residents] love to talk about their past, play familiar games, or sing to exercise their mind. Talking about their past also helps their memory a lot,” Cecilia Romero, an employee of three years at Huger Mercy, commented. The mere sight and presence can brighten a patient’s day and socializing keeps their brain active. Another great way to volunteer time and effort to the elderly in the community is to offer teenage abilities such as yard work, house maintenance, or assisting in any activity. Jurewicz also stated, “Helping out the little old ladies gives me a different perspective on life and what matters most.” Time and thought can be the most valuable things to people in care homes, and with teenagers usually having so much time to give, it is the least teens can do.

Uganda trip brings hope

the challenge

Marco and Monica Mancisllas. For DeMarco, getting his two tattoos meant he buzz of the needle, the fulfilling a lifelong desire. They are hidden from view, on his chest and wiping of blood, the feeling of pain as if a Bic ink back, for future career opportunities with the pen is stabbing into skin armed forces. Eventually, DeMarco sees himself having six tattoos total. and being raked down oneself. Mancillas’ tattoo was extremely significant More students are experiencing the pain, and to her and her family. After her father and mother separated, she sometimes pleasure, of getting tattoos received her first tattoo.The symbol on her wrist represents her than ever mother, brother before, and herself in claims a the form of a recent moon, sun, and study by stars. the Pew The idea Research relates back to Center. of all adults have her childhood, In April at least one tattoo. in stories her of 2005 mother would the same tell her. report According to the found Mayo Clinic, the that 45 most common risks million involved with tattoos people in are allergic reactions the United of people with tattoos and skin allergies to States had are gay or lesbian. the ink. at least one Also, AIDS and tattoo. HIV are commonly Further convincing that more teens spread throughout tattoo parlors, due to a lack are being influenced by the tat- in sterilization of the equipment which is used too industry, Mattel launched on many different people. According to a Harris Interactive study of the Totally Stylin’ Tattoo Barbie 2003, sixteen percent of all adults have at least in 2009. Also in 2009, at the Teen one tattoo, 31 percent of people with tattoos Choice Awards on Nikelodeon, are gay or lesbian, and Democrats are more Kevin Jonas received a tattoo from fa- likely to be tattooed than Republicans. Becoming one of the 45 million with tattoos mous tattoo artist Kat Von D. Parents were enraged that such an ac- is a personal choice; however, tattoo artists recommend research on health statistics and what tion was exposed to their young children. The tattoo was later confirmed as a fake is right for the individual person. Many recommend deciding on a tattoo debut not before a large scandal errupted. Teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber has sign and waiting anywhere between one and also received his first tattoo at age 16. two years before making the final decision and having it done. His is a family tradition. This will allow for understanding of whethTwo students at this school join the er the person can live with the decision or not, inked population. They are seniors Christopher De- because ink is for life. by davyd soal

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Got ink? Tattoos take over


The Challenge Issue 1