Friday, December 16, 2011

Traveling tips for the winter holidays...

Traveling Tips for the Winter Holidays
Are you traveling for the holidays? Here are tips from an avid traveler. If you’re traveling just an hour away, to across the country, don’t forget a camera! Here are some tips for traveling during the holidays.

1.      Traveling by Plane?
•       Wear comfy, easy to put on shoes, preferably without laces!
•       If you are checking your suitcase, you can try tying a colorful ribbon or tag so you can distinguish your luggage from all the rest when you go to pick it up at your destination.
•       When choosing a carry-on bag, make sure it has zippers, because in the over head compartment, or underneath seats, you don’t want all your stuff spilling out of your bag!
•       Don’t forget to take off your belt when going through security! Everyone always forget their belts, watches, anything metal in their pockets all the time!
•       Cut the time you spend going through security by having your quart sized bag of liquids and laptops ready to go, so you can easily access it instead of rummaging through your carry on.
•       Walgreens and other drug stores have travel-sized bottles for shampoos.
•       Going somewhere hot? You can wear shorts under sweats if you’re too lazy to change in airport.
•       Bring an iPod, a book, a magazine, a game, anything to keep you entertained on your flight! Or just take a snooze.
•       If your ears pop, trying chewing some gum during take off and landing.

2.      Traveling on a Boat?
•       Bring some medicine just in case you get seasick
•       Maybe take along some snacks, so you have some emergency food
•       Make sure you keep all of your items together so you don’t leave anything behind.

3.      Traveling by Car?
•       Bring a map or have a GPS handy for your travels
•       The Letter Game: Try finding something outside that starts with every letter of the alphabet
•       Bring some good music to play, and if it is a long car ride, make sure you have a large variety of music, so you don’t keep playing the same songs over and over and over again. Or if you are not electronically challenged, you can bring an iPod along to play in the car through the speakers.
•       Try different and weird flavored gum from different gas stations
•       Grab a pillow from home! Car windows are uncomfortable
•       If you don’t get car sick, maybe bring some kind of videogame like and iPod touch or a puzzle book if that kind of stuff floats your boat.
4.      Traveling by Train?
•       If you are traveling in Coach, make sure you have a clear vision of all your belongings, just in case someone tries to “accidentally” take your luggage home with them.
•       Sleeper train? Make sure you close curtains, so it isn’t awkward for everyone walking by your compartment.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

College Apps...AHHH! How to manage the stress.

If any of you are thinking about college apps or are in the process of doing them, then you probably know what a harpoon in your face they are. I feel your pain. Fortunately for us, there are a number of websites that give tips on how to manage stress. Check out a few:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Using art to change the world

Art of Leadership

The Art of Leadership is a high-energy creative facilitation training for young leaders.
This experiential workshop is for youth, ages 14-18, who are interested in leading groups and organizing events using the arts. The arts can be a powerful tool for accomplishing your goals and creating engagement within a group. During the Art of Leadership you will learn effective facilitation techniques and leave with a “tool-box” of easy-to-lead art activities (from the realms of visual art, theatre, creative writing, and more)!
“I have this quote I live by: ‘I don’t think outside the box, I think inside a different one.’ You guys did exactly that! I expected to get a lecture and everything but you guys met me at my spot. You took something different (theater) and turned it into leadership. I loved it.” -2009 Youth Participant
Art of Leadership I                                                               Art of Leadership II
November 12-13, 2011                                                       December 10-11, 2011
12:00 pm to 7:00 pm                                                           12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Lunch and snacks will be provided                                        Lunch and snacks will be provided
Costs: $50.00                                                                     Costs: $50.00
Application deadline: TBA                                                Application Deadline: TBA 
**$50 Discount for referring a friend. In order to qualify for discount, referrals must be new inquiries (i.e. have had no previous participation in POH programming) and must attend the POH program you have referred them for. One discount per person. If the new participant is referred by two or more people, the first person to refer them will receive the discount.**
Email your registration to or mail it to:
The Power of Hope
4408 Delridge Way SW Suite 105
Seattle, WA 98106
For more information contact us at or (206) 938-6090


A safe place

Youth in crisis can seek out a King County Metro bus for help

“Safe Place” program helps bus operators connect youth to local services

SafePlace2Tonight in King County, more than 1,000 young people may find themselves without a safe place to go. Some are abandoned, some are abused, and few know where to get help. Within 48 hours on the streets, one in three runaways will be approached by a predator.
But starting today, help is just a bus away thanks to a new partnership between King County, local service agencies, and “Safe Place,” a national non-profit organization that builds community safety nets for young people in crisis.
“Young people in crisis with no place to turn can now seek out a nearby Metro bus and find an operator who is ready to help,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Our coaches are out at all hours of the day in all parts of the county, and this offer of a Safe Place should bring a little peace of mind to families. I thank our operators for taking this extra step to protect our region’s youth.”
“Preventing young people from becoming homeless is a big step toward our efforts to solve homelessness and to keep at-risk kids safe,” said King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert, who helped coordinate the partnership. “Safe Place expands the reach of our existing youth services by connecting with our network of buses and finding new ways to get help to youth in crisis. Any teen who is scared and alone and confused should know at least one thing – the nearest Metro bus is a safe place to get help.”
With the addition of Metro and the local service agencies — YouthCare, Friends of Youth, and Auburn Youth Resources — King County becomes the largest Safe Place partner in the state of Washington and one of 1,529 communities nationwide with a Safe Place program. The purpose of the program is to have the necessary community resources in place to get help to young people quickly, decreasing the potential for harm.
“We are thrilled to bring this Safe Place program to King County and the Seattle metropolitan area,” National Safe Place Executive Director Laurie Jackson said. “As a community with a large number of homeless and street youth, having Safe Place as an option presents a great opportunity to connect these young people in need to available local resources. Utilizing King County Metro buses as Safe Place sites make accessing safety as close as the nearest bus.”
When a young person in crisis needs help, all he or she has to do is approach any Metro bus driver and say, “I need a safe place.” The operator will then make a call that will trigger contact with a youth service provider, who will arrange to meet and transport the youth to safety.
Sound Transit Express buses serving King County will also participate in the program.
What happens next depends on the needs of the youth. Sometimes it’s counseling and providing help to reunite the child with family or friends. In the absence of alternatives, youth can be taken to a safe shelter.
“Over the past two years, we’ve seen an alarming increase in the number of youth seeking shelter and support from YouthCare,” observed Melinda Giovengo, Executive Director of this non-profit which provides services to homeless youth in Seattle. “Safe Place is no doubt a program that will greatly benefit our community, as all of our children deserve safety and support.”
“Metro is proud to be a partner in this effort to make our county a safer place to be for young people,” Metro Operations Manager Jim O’Rourke said. “Our operators are accustomed to serving as the community’s eyes and ears. Through this program, they can now additionally serve as a bridge in helping to get kids off the street and into the hands of a youth resource agency that can help.”
In addition to help from Metro drivers, young people in King County have another option if they need help quickly. “Text 4 HELP” is a National Safe Place service being introduced that uses technology to offer information about the closest location to access immediate help and safety. By texting the word “SAFE” and their current location to 69866, youth can get help within seconds.  In our area, they will be referred to shelters that will provide the assistance they need.
On any given night, United Way estimates there are 700-1,000 young people with no safe place to sleep in Seattle alone. It’s estimated that at least 300-500 children in King County under the age of 18 are sexually exploited each year. That’s a troubling statistic, given estimates that one in three runaways will be lured into prostitution within 48 hours.
Through the work of agencies such as YouthCare, Auburn Youth Resources, and Friends of Youth, young people can get the help they need. In 2010, more than 4,000 runaway and homeless young people ages 12-24 accessed YouthCare  services in Seattle – from street outreach, emergency shelters, meals and drop-in services, to education, employment training, and transitional housing.
The new Safe Place partnership in King County welcomes other organizations and businesses interested in providing additional safe places where youth can get connected with services. Facilities frequented by young people, such as libraries and malls and coffee shops, are good candidates.
“More than anything, our children deserve to feel safe,” said Councilmember Lambert. “Keeping just one child out of trouble and out of harm’s way can make the difference for a lifetime of success.”
To learn more about the Safe Place program, please visit: and

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

45th Street Clinic

The small clinic is located on the well-traveled North 45th street in the Western end of the Wallingford neighborhood. With two floors and multiple rooms, this agency does the best it can with the space it has.  It has a variety of services such as dentistry, STD testing, yoga, and along with private counseling, it creates one stop for all that would have been difficult to accomplish in one day.

A few Teen Link volunteers got a personal tour from the director of the youth clinic and all sorts of great information about the program. 

Below are a series of questions the Teen Link volunteers asked of the clinic staff:
What services are provided? Any eligibility requirements?

Allopathic (conventional) and naturopathic (considered more alternative) medicine, dental, drug & alcohol services, mental health services, acupuncture, meditation and yoga. Ages 12-23 must go through eligibility office.
 What are the hours? 

Teens only: Monday-Thursday 6-9 PM. The clinic is open to all Monday - Saturday, and the staff encourage
calling  206-633-3350 for exact hours if you go during the day. Teen clinic is drop in - no appointment needed.

How do teens typically find out about the program(s)?

Usually by word of mouth from patients and by outreach. So once you hear about the clinic, please tell your friends.

Do you see a lot of repeat clients? What do you think brings them back?

Yes, patients with regular conditions such as diabetes also patients with weekly counseling. They continue to come because they are familiar with the clinic and have had pretty good experiences with us.

Do you provide any leadership or volunteer opportunities and if so, what are they?

Yes. Doing outreach in the community, volunteer nurses and doctors, dental students and we can always use help with clerical work.Contact us to find out more details.

What can a teen expect to see going on any given day at your program?

Daily programs that include regular medical care, counseling and activities such as yoga and meditation.

What makes your program special?

It is interesting and inviting to youth. A lot of thought goes into how we engage with our clients. There is access to services here that youth can't usually get such as yoga and acupuncture.

Is there anything specific you would like our callers to know?

Teens who call Teen Link should know that they have to meet our eligibility, but that isn't very hard at all. They have to be living in an "unstable" place or at risk of being homeless.

Teen Linkers' Reflection:

My first impression of this agency was that it looked pretty professional but still inviting. I think other teens would feel safe because of its incredibly friendly staff and volunteers and the environment they've created. The building also looks really welcoming. The clinic is very similar to that of a regular doctor’s office. When you first come in to the facility, you will come to the check-in desk. On the first level is the waiting room as well as some examination rooms. The waiting room has lots of really great signs for other organizations that help youth and sometimes volunteers will bring in food and games to keep the clients entertained while they wait their turn. Going up the stairs to the second level, there is a dental office, a pharmacy, and an acupuncture room. On certain days the dental office turns into a yoga/meditation room. There are also private offices upstairs.

The staff are friendly and engaging and good listeners. If you're not feeling well or have questions about your health, this is a great place to go and get help.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Spring Break Survival Guide

Spring is finally here! Granted the weather isn’t as nice as we would all like it to be, BUT it’s finally here and for that we should be thankful! Now is the time when you are so close to spring break that you can barely contain your excitement, right?

Have you really thought about what you are going to do for this break? Oh sure, some will be traveling outside of Washington, maybe even the US. What about the whole lot of Washingtonians that will be stuck here? What will we do in this sometimes crazy, unstable weather? Well, I have some ideas that might help with the undecided and the indecisive.

For those of you who aren’t traveling and don’t want to spend money:

1. Break out the popcorn!
                -This break is an awesome chance to catch up on your favorite TV shows that you might’ve missed because of the super busy student life you have. Now is the chance to just kick back, relax, pig out and chill while watching your favorite characters. If you’re more of a movie person, watch your favorite movies! Or go online and find movies there. Invite some friends and make it a sleepover!

2. Library trip!
                -I know the Library might sound boring but it’s a great resource to find movies, cds, books, etc. The Seattle Public Library downtown is huge and remarkable. Anyone could easily spend all day in it. You could spend some time reminiscing your childhood by reading in the colorful and spacious Children’s section. You can also visit the Red floor whose architecture is oddly reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. If you’re a musician, there’s also a room where you can play and it’s also equipped with a piano. Whatever you do, it’s all free! Just don’t carry any late fees.   

3. Experience Nature!
                -You can either do something small like going to the park or something bigger such as hiking or camping. At the park, you can play on the jungle gym, play sports such as ultimate Frisbee (which you can never go wrong with!), fly a kite, etc. You can plan a hiking trip which is always fun and hey, we are in Washington! What better place to hike? Camping is also always fun and when going with a big group the costs are usually very minimal.

4. Feeling Tidy?
                -With the term “spring” comes the sometimes inevitable “spring cleaning”. By spending just a day on cleaning your room or even tidying up the house, you can feel cleansed and even accomplished. School and work can take away a lot of time to just clean and spring break is perfect to “un-clutter” your closet. You can even donate the clothes you don’t want to places to Goodwill and other places.

5. To all the Gamers out there…
                -get ready to rumble! A video game tournament is a great way to hang out with friends and test your gaming skills. There’s nothing wrong with a little friendly competition right? Pick a place and get friends to bring games and controllers. Create a tournament chart and see who gets to the top. Prizes are also nice incentives!

For those of you who are ok with spending money:   

1. Shopping!
                -You don’t have to spend a ton of money when you go to the mall. Window shopping is also really fun. Trying on clothes is a great way to pass the time, just have the constraint to stop from buying them! If you want to buy clothes at a good price, you can go to thrift stores. Shops on the ave in the u-district are pretty decently priced and still fashionable.

2. Movie Matinee anyone?
                -Try getting a group together and go to your local movie theater during its matinee hours. The ticket price is cheap yet you still get to see the new movie everyone is talking about. "Sucker Punch" is an epic film and you can watch it for 7 dollars at the Metro Theater in the u-district.

3. Laser theater?
                -Have you ever been to a laser show? If not, you have to drop whatever you are doing on a Friday or Saturday night and go to one! They’re held at the Laser Dome in the Pacific Science Center from Thursday to Sunday. Different bands are used on different days so try looking on the website to figure out what day you want to go. It’s 8 dollars or less and the show that is getting the most buzz is the Daft Punk show. Don’t forget to bring a pillow!

4. Test those vocals!
                -Karaoke is always embarrassing but it’s always fun to sing your heart out to old tunes from your childhood with friends! Songs from artists such as Britney Spears, N’Sync and the Spice Girls will definitely bring the entertainer out of you. There are many karaoke places in Washington and it’s usually cheap when you plan with a group. 

5. Live music!
                -There are plenty of shows that take place in Washington. Seattle tends to see a lot of bands both local and traveling. If you’re outside of the city, check out the websites for El Corazon, The Showbox (Market and Sodo), Studio 7 , etc and come out to watch a show! Many shows are all ages and local shows are usually 10 bucks and under.

Now if you’re in an area that is super rainy and dreary, here are some things you can do to have fun while keeping dry!
-throw a party for friends
-make it a movie night
-create an exercise regimen
-create a dance routine
-play video games
-read your favorite book or series of books
-update your facebook
-write a story or create a cartoon
-call and talk to friends
-sleep (more since this won’t happen again until summer)

First, for those of you who are going away:
We all know that Spring Break is awesome! It’s our own little taste of summer while giving us a break from school. But let’s not forget that when going away on a trip, we all have to be careful. If you’re going to a different country with your family, stick with them. I know it sucks to be stuck with the “parentals” while being in a foreign country and you just want to explore. However, we all can have fun with our family while also staying safe.

If you are traveling with friends, (I’m going to sound incredibly corny) use the buddy system! Even if that means you need to hold hands, do it! There are plenty of examples that have shown us how badly things can turn when traveling with friends to foreign countries and not paying attention. Remember, you want to have an exciting and memorable trip when you come back, nothing bad. The whole “don’t talk to strangers” and “never take candy from strangers” is pretty valid. So I say follow it just to be safe.

Now that was your guide to having an awesome yet semi-inexpensive Spring Break! Remember to work hard until the break. That way you can feel accomplished and ready to enjoy your much needed break!   

Written by a Teen Link volunteer   

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

FEEST and the Food Revolution

Every Wednesday afternoon in the kitchen at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a group of teenagers and a few adult mentors gather to make a meal together. They are not related by blood, but they are, in a way, building community - through food.

From their blog: FEEST is the Food Education Empowerment and Sustainability Team. We are a youth-run program out of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and we gather every Wednesday at 3:30 PM to kick it in the kitchen, prepare a delicious and healthy meal, and then eat all together family-style while learning more about food in our communities. At the end of every month, we throw Community Potlucks where people of all ages are invited to share and dialogue with us.

Teen Link was invited to take part in the Community potluck and dialogue and this is what we saw:
At 3:30pm, Roberto Ascalon, the lead chef, dons his chef's hat and yells out "Time Check!" And the cooks get to work. Present at this time is Lena (6 months with FEEST), Fatuma (1 year with FEEST) and Isaiah (1 year with FEEST) who actually wants to become a chef. All three youth wash their hands and pick out gloves to keep them clean.

Fatuma: "I learn about different cultures through food, how to eat healthy, about what organics are and we share everything - no matter how much or how little there is." Lena joined FEEST through an internship. She likes to cook and is the oldest in her family and thus has to make dinner alot. Before joining FEEST, everything she made, came out of a box.

Upon arrival at the Youngstown kitchen, the youth clean and sanitize the tables, the work mats and the vegetables they will be using for the evening's meal. They gather around the table and begin discussing the items at their disposal. The young cooks sometimes have ideas about what they want to cook but wing it alot - creating dishes on the fly. If the fruits and veggies don't fit the recipes they have in mind, then they will adapt.

The food itself comes from the Youngstown garden, Tiny's Organic on West Seattle, and donations from the Delridge neighborhood. Each of the cooks make suggestions regarding the plan for the meal and all members of the group that are present give input on how best to create each dish.

As late comers (Candace who attends Cordon Bleu, staff member Amy, Natasha - Shorecrest HS, Jamila - Cleveland HS, Tius - working on getting his GED, and Catherine - Ballard HS) arrive, don aprons and gloves, the group continues to survey all the items on the table - one by one. Some are easily identified, others not so much. When the group cannot easily guess, pieces are cut off and sampeld for smell and taste.

Lena then pulls a large green leafy vegetable out of a bag and wonders aloud, "what is this?" Roberto tells her to smell it. And a detective game begins. "Licorice!" Guesses fly from the group and it is confirmed that it is Fennel. It has a flavor similar to licorice and its base can be used in salads or roasted. The leafy stalks will be used as a garnish.

Roberto also fills the cooks in on where each of the items came from, what it is traditionally used for and some limitations for cooking methods on each (i.e. the pros and cons of roasting or boiling or poaching).
Isaiah then calls everyone's attention to creating the menu. Ideas fly like popcorn. Lena suggests poached pears. She and Roberto engage in a back and forth dialogue about how to go about doing so - what might work and what might not.

The young cooks decide on:
  • Mashed Potato style Squash
  • Poached Pears
  • Baked Chicken
  • Boiled Sweet Corn
  • Vegetable Saute
The young cooks start scattering around the kitchen, taking on different roles of either leadership (whoever decides on each dish heads up that team) or support/prep. Candace yells out the rules for handling knives safely, and also touches on the protocols for the oven and carrying hot items.

Chopping follows - unusable pieces are tossed into a compost bin and the magic of the machine that is FEEST begins. Everyone has a job - some are heading up their teams, some are cutting onions, chopping garlic. Everyone says "thank you", and offers help when anyone has a question or doesn't know what to do, the group assists - but the control always remains with whomever chose to make the dish.

Suddenly the poached pears team grinds to a halt - "EWWWW!!!" They've found worms in a few of the pears. Roberto explains, "That's organic! Which would you prefer - a worm you can pull off or to have 'Raid' sprayed on your pear and then washed off?"

Their is laughter and sharing of stories - all the cooks, youth and adult alike, are having fun. Smiles abound throughout the kitchen. All practice efficiency, cleaning up as they go.

The time is called out repeatedly during the next hour and a half as they prep for the 5pm dinner time.
Natasha likes how FEEST brings people together. Isaiah says it builds community. Catherine: I don't like processed/boxed food. Candace: you learn to be creative, you get to try foods you would never have come across from pre-packaged/processed meals.

Finally, the cooks staff and youth from other Youngstown programs gather in a large room around a table that has been set with a green cloth and "ooh" and "ahhh" at the beautiful spread. The cooks explain each of the dishes; their ingredients and how each was prepared. And before the feast commences, each person at the table will say their name and one thing they are thankful for. The food is delicious and the company makes it even better.
Great time, great experience, great people. 

If you have interest in getting involved with FEEST, check them out at:


Monday, February 7, 2011

Internet Gems a la Teen Link!

We’ve all come across fascinating sites during random web browsing, either through sheer procrastination, willpower, or by chance. I was looking through my “funny/weird/awesome” bookmarks folder recently, and found a whole lot of random stuff in there. Here are a few of the best.

Guided Meditation Tracks

This is a great site that offers a whole bunch of different guided meditation tracks that last 3 -10 minutes. They’re super relaxing and really easy to follow. My personal favorite is “Fulfill Your Own Potential”. Ignore the hokey names and try these tracks.

Shiba Inu Puppy Cam
To everyone out there who desperately wants puppies but can’t have them for some reason or another – this is for you! It’s a live stream that shows the puppies sleeping and going about their days. To the doubters, be warned. This is ridiculously addictive and mesmerizing. Here’s an article about the stream:

Jessica’s Daily Affirmation

If you’re feeling down, give this video a try. Jessica’s bubbly attitude and zest for life are inspiring.

20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World

Languages are pretty amazing, but this blows my mind. The possibility that the feeling we didn’t have words to describe could’ve been summed up in one word from another language…

The Little People Project

Someone decided to start leaving little miniature figures on the streets of Europe. The tininess of these people – about one inch tall – is pretty awesome, and it’s weird to see everything from such a different angle.

Animals with Casts

The concept of the blog makes me a little sad, but the utter ridiculousness of a clunky cast on a tiny baby animal is the draw here.

Thought Questions

A simple blog with deceivingly simple questions.

Thanks for reading,
a Teen Link volunteer

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today in History

There are lots of websites that will give you a breakdown of what HISTORIC events happened on this day in the past:

Each will give you some random facts about events that have changed or influenced our history, and some that have been forgotten by history.

So yesterday, I was scrambling through the site and read through what's happened this week in history, and came across an image that sparked a memory i hadn't thought about in a very long time.

On January 28th 1986, way before most of you who will read this post were even born, the space shuttle Challenger exploded during its take off. I remember this vividly for a number of different reasons.

1) I was on a school tour of the NY newspaper "The Daily News".
2) We paused during the tour to watch the liftoff along with a ton of journalists and reporters on the TV's.
3) I had never witnessed a space shuttle launch before.
4) Christa McAuliffe

 I recall Christa because she wasn't an astronaut - she was a school teacher. And she didn't even teach math or science - she was a social studies teacher.

NASA had this idea that if they gave the opportunity to train with astronauts and actually fly into space to everyday folks, it might stir up some interest in the space program again. Because let's be honest, unless you are already a fan of space travel, you likely don't remember anything NASA related since we landed on the moon the first time. The result: The Teacher in Space Project.

Over 11,000 teachers applied for the chance to put on a real-live space suit, but it was Christa who won over the selection committee. NASA official Alan Ladwig said "she had an infectious enthusiasm" (from Wikipedia).

It was that infectious enthusiasm that endeared her to the public. Tons of kids dream of becoming astronauts, but that number starts dwindling fast when they find out how long and hard road is to get there. It makes space seem even father away then it already is. Something us average folks will never get a chance at.

Christa reminded me and my classmates and people all over the country of that enthusiasm we once had. For the possibility of...well, almost anything. NASA's plan worked - it seemed to me like the entire world had tuned back in to the space program. Everyone was behind Christa and cheering her on. She was even going to teach a couple lessons from space.

The morning of the space shuttle launch, there were people jumping up and down, dozens of signs and posters - not just at the actual launch site, but everywhere that large groups had gathered around television sets to watch one of "us" head into the atmosphere and then out of this world. Everyone counted down with the TV announcers and screamed with joy as the shuttle fired and took off. It was actually happening.

That excitement didn't last for much more than a minute. I remember seeing all the kids around me. We were huddled in tight like we were trying to conserve body heat in a winter storm. And a wave of cold shock hit us all, 73 seconds after takeoff, when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded. There were no survivors.

At first, it was like time had stopped. Some mouths hung open, others had been clutched by hands. We all stood and watched in disbelief. For us kids, it would have been sad no matter what, but a teacher had been on the shuttle. She could've been our teacher...and that thought was just too close for comfort. A moment later, the newsroom went ballistic as journalists and reporters all ran rampant, grabbing ringing phones and getting to work on telling the story of what had just happened.

I personally don't recall anything about the rest of the tour. But it was all over the news for days. Eventually the attention moved on. Later that year there were scholarships and schools named after Christa McAuliffe and in her honor. I didn't know her, but i felt like i did. I haven't watched any NASA related stuff on the news since.

Teen Link Staff Member

Monday, January 10, 2011

Disney Princesses...on repeat?

At 8pm this evening, I decided to go channel surfing! I scrolled through the channels and noticed that Disney's Aladdin was playing on AbcFamily! I turned to my dog and partially screamed, “of course I have to watch this!” So I proceeded to change the channel and I immersed myself in Disney magic.

As I watched, I noticed how incredibly sassy Jasmine is. I couldn’t help but compare her to other Disney princesses. By the end of the movie I had realized one thing: all Disney princesses are openly rebellious OR they are asleep!!!…

I found this extremely interesting if not a little strange. Every single one of these princesses disobeys their parent (except for Aurora who is asleep).

Does Disney have the same plot for every single princess movie?!
A girl, unhappy with her very luxurious life, rebels against her parents and in doing so meets the man of her dreams and assumedly gets married at age 15? WHAT?!

I guess it makes sense to not change something if it’s entertaining.

Although the plot is extremely predictable, I still find myself experiencing new stories with every movie. Disney is so successful because by using the same well-liked story, they can just change out the characters and setting.

It’s so great that it’s easy to overlook these illegal (by today’s standards) marriages and to not question what happens in ten years. But hey, why would you? It’s pure entertainment.

P.S. My dog watched me while I wrote this… I think she was spell-checking my work…

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Call yourself a Gamer?

Short on cash? Let your favorite video games make you money.

It's 2am and you've just entered your sixth hour of gaming. You are three Redbulls in and forty-some games deep. You've been perfecting your game all night and have been destroying everyone who dares to challenge you on Xbox Live all night.

You've have proven your skill. But what do you have to show for it? Nothing, but a few empty cans of Redbull and an unfinished essay you swore you would have written by 11pm.

How about $100?
Impossible right? Thanks to the brilliance of the internet and some creative web designers it is completely possible.

The job of being a competitive gamer has always been a distant dream of late night basement gamers. However, the exclusivity of this profession is no more. Recently more and more sites such as Gamer Saloon having been popping up, offering everyone with a gaming console that has the ability of online play to make money through winning matches.

Sites like Gamer Saloon give you the ability to setup an account where you can enter in online tournaments or one-on-one battles in a chance to win some money. They support tons of titles, such as Madden, Call of Duty, Star Craft, and many more.

You have the option to enter free tournaments which have anywhere from $5 to $1000 pots. Many of the tournaments require no buy-in cost. However, if you feel you would really like to prove your skill you can enter one-on-one matches or more exclusive tournaments which usually have $1 to $5 buy in fees. The site then keeps track of how much money you are making and once you're ready to cash out the site will send you a check or deposit the money into your Paypal account.

So "what's the catch?" you might be asking at this point. Well, the site obviously needs to make money. So, the site will take off $1 from the winner on any game where $7 or less is won. If more than $7 is won the site will take off 14%, not too bad in my opinion. The other catch is that it works on an honor system. I know what you're thinking, there is no way I'm trusting an honor system with my money. However, the honor system has a fairly good backup system. Once the game is won, both players must report to the site who won. If no winner is verified than it is "disputed".

In a dispute you may send in either a screenshot of the winning score, a picture of your game history showing you were indeed victorious, or in some cases an email saying you won (many games can be set to automatically send you emails after a win). If a player loses three or more disputes their account will be suspended. To date less than 5% of disputes are unsolved.

As competitive gaming grows to more and more casual gamers betting and paid tournaments such as those found on Game Saloon are becoming more and more common. In the new, highly anticipated game Call Of Duty: Black Ops there will be a built in betting mode. This will eliminate the need for an honor system and will likely further the popularity of competitive gaming.

Soon competitive gaming may be built into many popular online games. So, the next time someone tells you you're wasting you time with games, just remember, someday in the near future that same game could be making you hundreds of dollars.