Category: Teen Life

Suicidal? Self-Harming? Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Can Help

One topic which continues to rear its ugly head in the news and across social media is teen self-harm, which includes things such as suicide, cutting, intentional alcohol and drug overconsumption, and more.

While bullying is often cited as a cause of the depression which leads to self-harm, the roots can stem from anything from family pressure to relationship troubles to bonafide mental illness.

One organization seeks to combat teen self harm and suicide through awareness and direct counselling. Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services is a Southern California entity which, among other services, operates a teen suicide prevention hotline at 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336).

Didi Hirsch recently held a fundraiser and award ceremony at the renown Beverly Hilton dubbed the Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards, where it raised over $450,000 for mental health and substance abuse treatment while also honoring several passionate champions of mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

Here are some of the pictures from the event, and be sure to keep scrolling for an exclusive interview with Lyn Morris, Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services who explains more about the organization, the awards ceremony, and how teens can help if someone they know if considering self-harm, including suicide.

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Darrell Steinberg, Mary Lambert, Dr Kita Curry, Jordana Steinberg, Shawn Amos
Mary Lambert Erasing the Stigma
Honoree Mary Lambert performing

 

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Wendy Liebman, Kita Curry, Jordana Steinberg, Mary Lambert

 

And now, without any further ado, here is our interview with Lyn Morris, MFT, Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services who was willing to answer some important questions for us.

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Lyn Morris

 

Can you please start us off my explaining a little about the Didi Hirsch organization?

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services provides mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention services to children and adults who live in communities where stigma or poverty limits access. We have 11 locations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties—including three residential treatment centers–and counselors in nearly 100 schools. Our Suicide Prevention Center is the first in the nation to have a 24/7 hotline and now takes more than 62,000 calls, chats and texts each year.

Can you tell us a little about the Leadership Awards and this year’s honorees?

Didi Hirsch held its first Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards in 1997, honoring then-Second Lady Tipper Gore for sharing her history of depression. Since then we have honored nearly 50 artists, athletes, authors, activists and others who have helped erase the stigma of mental illness, including Ronda Rousey, Kid Cudi, Natasha Tracy, Michael Angelakos and Ross Szabo. This year’s honorees include:

  • Mary Lambert (Mental Health Ambassador). She has used her music such as her song, “Secrets,” which features lyrics about her experience living with bipolar disorder, to erase the stigma of mental illness.
  • NBA New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson (Leadership Award). He became an advocate for suicide prevention after losing his girlfriend, Gia Allemond, to suicide.
  • Former California Sen. Darrell Steinberg (Leadership Award). He authored the Mental Health Services Act of 2004 which has raised more than $13 billion for mental health services in California.
  • Jordana Steinberg (Leadership Award). She is Darrell’s daughter and a college student who has spoken publically about her experience with a severe childhood mood disorder.
  • Howie Mandell (Beatrice Stern Media Award)
. A judge on “America’s Got Talent,” he has spoken and written about his ongoing struggle with OCD and ADHD.

One of the services offered by Didi Hirsch is the TeenLine. Can you tell us more about that?

We have a partnership with TeenLine, which has “teens helping teens” nightly from 6 pm – 10 pm. That number is 800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336) toll-free in California only. Didi Hirsch’s crisis counselors answers TeenLine during all other hours.

What is the most important thing you think teens should know about mental health?

There is help available and you can get better.

With the NIMH recently withdrawing support for the DSM-5 (the “bible” of mental illness) due to lack of validity, it seems that the definitions for specific diagnoses used by mental health professionals have to be re-evaluated. How do you distinguish actual mental illness from someone just having a rough time dealing with life’s circumstances—which happens to all of us at some point?

Mental illness is mild to severe disturbance in thoughts, mood or behavior that makes it difficult for a person to function. Feeling sad or low from time to time is a normal part of life. But if those feelings persist to the point where a person is not functioning in a normal way, he or she should be evaluated by a mental health professional.

Early warning signs of a mental health problem can include eating or sleeping too much or too little, pulling away from people and usual activities, experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships, having difficulty performing daily tasks or feeling hopeless or helpless.

And for teens who are thinking about self-harm, such as cutting or even suicide: what tips could you give to cope in the meantime when things get bad, and before they can reach some help? 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Our crisis counselors are trained to help teens thinking about self-harm or suicide.

What should I do if I am a teen and one of my friends is acting distraught and suicidal—and they refuse to call a help line? In other words, it’s just me and her/him.

If you or someone you care about is in imminent danger of suicide, call 911. Other tips:

  • Never agree to keep suicidal thoughts in confidence. Inform an adult family member.
  • Express your concern . Be empathic and non-judgmental.
  • Listen. You may be scared, especially if the person is someone who is close to you. However, it is important to listen to how they are feeling without overreacting.
  • Ask directly about their suicidal thoughts – “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
  • Take suicidal thoughts and feelings seriously.
  • Ask if he/she has developed a plan of suicide.
  • Remove lethal means of suicide from the person’s home.
  • Let him/her know that suicidal feelings are temporary, that depression can be treated, and that problems can be solved.

Over time, what do you think are the biggest changes as far as the pressures and problems teenagers are facing these days as opposed to fifteen years ago?

Facebook, Instagram and other forms of social media, which didn’t exist 15 years ago, are exposing teens to additional social pressures at a time in life when they are experimenting with their independence and other issues like drugs and sexuality. Unfortunately, they can be shamed, humiliated and bullied by thousands of people through social media, which puts vulnerable teens in danger and at times has led to suicide.

Drug production to treat mental health issues like ADHD in kids has soared since the 1990s. For anyone who wants treatment for ADHD symptoms, but doesn’t want to risk getting side effects from amphetamines and other stimulants, what do you recommend? 

Ask questions, be informed and discuss treatment options with a psychiatrist and therapist in order to determine what treatment is best suited for the child.

Is there anything in particular which gives you hope that we will one day conquer mental illness?

I have hope that one day mental illness will be viewed and treated with the same humanity and dignity as any other medical illness so people feel comfortable reaching out for help earlier which can help reduce the severity and progression of mental illness.

For more information, please visit http://www.didihirsch.org/

Fight Back Against Bullies with Krav Maga Expert Jarrett Arthur

Are we teaching teens and kids to become a nation of victims that cannot stand up for themselves? That’s one question we posed to Krav Maga instructor Jarrett Arthur, creator of the M.A.M.A. self defense system.

Arthur provides some practical communication tips for dealing with bullies, and also covers some awesome self-defense techniques to use when things go wrong and bullies physically attack. For more info go to http://jarrettarthur.com

Autumn Calabrese’s Fitness Tips and 21 Day Fix Extreme – Interview with Teens Wanna Know

Teens seeking to get in shape know how tough it can be to stay committed to a program until you see results. Even if you stick with the workouts, it is easy to lose the fitness game by eating too much of the wrong types of foods, which slow your gains and can discourage even the most dedicated exercisers.

Autumn Calabrese solved this problem for countless people through her best-selling and highly effective workout/diet plan called 21 Day Fix, available through Beachbody.com. What makes the program so appealing is that it requires only 30 minutes a day of exercise for three weeks, and you get to eat so much food that you will never starve — although the diet will take some getting used to if you have never eaten a lot of fruits and veggies before or are addicted to carbs.

Fortunately, Autumn designed system of color-coded containers to measure your food and help you hit the right ratio of protein, carbs, and fats for maximum results.

On February 2, Autumn’s latest program, 21 Day Fix Extreme is being released…and this one promises to take your fitness to the next level.

We got the chance to ask Autumn a few questions while she was on a short vacation…scroll down for the Q&A where she reveals just what she eats personally and how long her daily workouts last — prepare to be motivated!

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Hello Autumn, nice to meet you. Tell us what motivated you to become involved in the world of fitness?

Fitness has always been a part of my life. I grew up dancing and went on to major in dance in college. I enjoy being active and never wanted to sit at a desk all day. I also really enjoy helping/teaching people to lead healthy lives. Fitness is a perfect fit for me.

Your 21 Day Fix program is Beachbody’s #1 selling weight-loss program to date. What has been the most satisfying part about having created such an impactful product?

Having the #1 selling weight-loss program is great, but helping people is the best part.

I have received several emails from people saying they previously had eating disorders and after doing 21 Day Fix they are no longer afraid of food. They now understand what to eat and when and feel healthy and in control.

That is an unbelievably amazing feeling!

And now you have your new product, 21 Day Fix Extreme. What are the major differences between this and the original?

21 Day Fix is a program for everyone of all fitness levels, it teaches proper portion sizes but still allows some treats and “cheats” The workouts are 30 minutes and there is a modifier so even someone who has never worked out before can keep up and have fantastic results.

21 Day Fix Extreme is taking it to the next level. The portion control is still there but the nutrition is laser focused, no more treats or “cheats.

I’ve stepped up the intensity on the workouts as well. They are still only 30 minutes and there is still a modifier to follow but this is no a program for beginners. Its dialed in and focused; its for people who like intensity — but its only 21 days. You can do anything for 21 days!

Click picture to see the product on Amazon

You are in fabulous shape. How many hours a day do you work out (be honest!)

Being honest I workout for about an hour and 15 minutes a day unless I am prepping for a fitness competition. If I’m getting ready to compete then its closer to 2 hours a day. I enjoy working out so I like to make my workouts a little longer.

I know most people don’t have that kind of time for a workout that is why I design my programs to be 30 minutes. You push for 30 minutes, get in, get out and get on with your day.

What does your diet consist of typically…and do you use the little color-colored containers yourself?

I do use the color-coded containers, not every day at every meal because I can eyeball my portions sizes pretty well but I do still use them to make sure I’m staying on track.

My diet consists of lean proteins like eggs, chicken, turkey and the occasional steak, healthy carbohydrates like steel cut oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, lots of veggies, fruit, a little healthy fat like avocado, almonds, coconut oil or peanut butter and a LOT of water.

What is the biggest fitness or nutrition challenge you have had to personally overcome, and how did you do it?

I have a bulging disk in my lower spine. It doesn’t bother me often but when it does it puts me out of commission for almost 2 weeks. I’ve learned how to workout smart and not aggravate it.

I make sure I warm up before every workout, stretch at the end of every workout, get plenty of rest and most importantly: listen to my body. If it starts to bother me I take it easy for a few days to make sure it doesn’t completely slip out of place.

Of all the people you have helped through your work, are there any stories which stand out in your mind?

There have been a lot of the last 12 years. My very best friend was once a client of mine. I started training her when she was pregnant with her second child.

There was a person in the original 21 Day Fix test group that I got to know very well. She had a very tough story of domestic abuse, I watched her get stronger both physically and emotionally through my program and ultimately change her life. She lost 100 lbs in 11 rounds of 21 Day Fix. That’s a pretty great one.

If you could travel back in time and give ONE piece of advice to your teen self, what would it be?

Just believe. Everything happens for a reason.

All of those doors that are going to slam in your face will ultimately lead you to the exact place you are supposed to be, so for now, smile and enjoy the journey.

What is coming up next for you?

There are a lot of new things in the works, I can’t talk about all of them just yet. For now my focus is the launch of 21 Day Fix Extreme. I’m so excited to give this program to people.

Anything else we should know?

I always say if its important to you you will make time, if not you will make an excuse.

Life is busy for me, I’m a single mom trying to navigate my way through this crazy, awesome new life but I’ll always make time for my son and for my health.

Could you send us a selfie of whatever you are doing right now, like hugging your pet, throwing up a peace sign, just chillaxing, whatever? We like to keep it real!

The selfie attached is me sitting working in the lobby at the Westin Snowmass, I’m here with my son Dominic to celebrate his 6th birthday. He’s in a snowboarding lesson and I’m working 🙂
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Even with little-to-no makeup and pulling mommy duty, Autumn still looks amazing!

Follow Autumn on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/autumncalabresefitness
https://twitter.com/AutumnCalabrese
http://instagram.com/autumncalabrese
https://www.youtube.com/user/AutumnFitness


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Teen Gym Etiquette – Do’s and Dont’s

Its the beginning of a new year, and you know what that means: NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS! Yay!

This means a lot of teens are going to start heading to the gym to work on their fitness goals. Like anywhere else, there are certain things you just don’t do when working out, which you might not be aware of. So, to help you avoid embarrasing yourself when you are “tryna get swole,” we have some tips here from Diane Gottsman, national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas.

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We tryna get swole
  1. Do dress appropriately.  Wearing the appropriate workout attire means you’ll feel your best and get a better workout. If you are wearing too baggy clothing you will be distracted by your clothes catching on a weight. Too revealing is distracting, and comes across as a bit desperate for attention. Neither are good starts to a great workout.
  2. Don’t drop the weights.  If you’re strong enough to get them over your head, you’re strong enough to get them back down to the ground in a safe location so others don’t trip over them. In other words, put away your “toys” after you play with them by re-racking the weights after using them.
  3. Don’t save a machine. If your friend is getting a drink of water, that’s one thing. But, putting your towel on the treadmill to “save” it for someone that may or may not show up is impolite. Share the equipment and allow other guests to work in with you.  If there is a time limit on a machine, get off and move on when your time is up.
  4. Do mind your own business. Giving unsolicited advice may be taken with appreciation or a grain of salt.  Unless someone is in danger of hurting himself or herself, keep your instruction and step-by-step tutorials to yourself.
  5. Don’t stare.  Overtly checking someone out is nothing short of creepy. Equally off-putting is watching someone check themselves out in the mirrors as they make their way through the gym and back to the locker room. You look the same in every mirror!
  6. Don’t sing. When listening to your favorite music with your ear buds securely in place, remember you are probably singing along at a louder decibel (or two) than you may think.
  7. Do wipe down the machine before moving on. Preferably not the same towel you use to wipe your face and body. It’s worth investing in a pack of fitness towels with a germ shield. Use the disinfectant the gym provides specifically for this purpose.
  8. Do back up. Respect other people’s personal space and take a step back while waiting for the weights or machine. If someone is stretching before a class, or has placed their mat down for yoga, move your mat over so the other person has room to move freely without hitting you in the head with their foot.
  9. Don’t use the pool as your shower. Soap and water are still your best option. And please, whatever you do, don’t forget deodorant.  It’s better to smell fresh as a daisy, rather than stale as an ashtray.  On the other hand, don’t over use the cologne or scented lotion.  Just come in smelling clean.
  10. Don’t spit in the sink. Guys…don’t even think about spitting in the shower, water fountain or sink. And, keep your gum in your mouth until you find a trash can.  The water fountain is not the place to leave it behind.
  11. Do leave your cell phone in your gym bag (safely locked up in the locker room). Don’t carry your cell phone around with you while you lift weights or put it on the side of the basketball court while you play a quick game and then complain when it turns up missing or stolen.

And, a few of Diane’s etiquette tips for the outdoor exercise enthusiast:

  1. Stay on track.  If you are using a public area to run, bike, or jog, but want to take a shortcut back, resist the urge to hop someone’s fence or bike across the golf course. Also steer clear of areas that are close to children, or even remotely populated when you feel the immediate need to relieve yourself and can’t wait another moment.

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    Any kids around here? Oh, thank god….
  2. Plan for dusk and dawn.  It might be more convenient to take your daily run in the early morning or late night hours but keep in mind the limited visibility of oncoming traffic. Wear reflective clothing and use reflectors if you plan a midnight bike ride (which I advise against for safety reasons). Don’t forget to wear your bike helmet, and include a reflector or light.
  3. Obey traffic laws and be respectful of drivers and pedestrians.  Utilize all pedestrian crossings and stop at stop signs if you are on a recreational vehicle. Keep in mind that you are responsible for other people’s safety as much as they are responsible for yours. Don’t surprise a walker from behind, or expect a driver to veer off the road to accommodate you.
  4. Clean up after your pet. If your exercise routine includes a jog or walk with your dog, bring along some plastic bags for your dog’s waste.
  5. Walk single file. If you are walking with a group of people, when you see someone walking toward you, allow them to pass by doubling up or walking single file, rather than making them step off onto the grass to allow your entire group to stay together. It’s really very rude!
  6. No littering. Those plastic water bottles won’t throw themselves away and dropping one on the side of the road or in someone’s yard and committing to circle back and pick it up never happens.
  7. Dress in layers. There may be a chill in the air when you leave the house but you will quickly warm up when you start moving. Peeling layers off is better than quitting because you are too hot too soon. Guys, when you don’t have an extra layer to shed, keep your T-shirt on and remember what you look like bare-chested, carrying around that extra 30 pounds from the holidays.

Thanks Diane!

Diane specializes in executive leadership and etiquette training, with clients ranging from university students to Fortune 500 companies, and her seminars cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media. Her advice is backed by a Master’s Degree in Sociology with an emphasis on adult behavior.  Visit http://dianegottsman.com/ and http://www.protocolschooloftexas.com/ for more information.

10 Simple Tips for Teens to Stay Healthy During the Holidays

Be warned: temptation will be all around us this week, as we get together with family and are surrounded by an endless stream of treats. And although teens can usually get away with sneaking in a few extra calories due to our higher metabolisms, we should still try to avoid packing on those unwanted pounds during the holiday season. To that end, we asked health and fitness expert Justine SanFilippo MS, CHC for a few tips to help keep us in shape this holiday season, and she was kind enough to provide the following guest post:

justine sanfilippoThe holidays are here! This means candy, cookies, presents, days off from school and other activities, and lots of sugar….. or does it? Even though it’s the holiday season, it’s important to still be healthy! This way you will be able to look great and feel great when New Year’s comes around. Here are 10 simple tips to stay healthy this holiday season.

Eat your colors

Eating colorful foods will give you the most vitamins! Greens, oranges and reds such as green beans, cucumbers, carrots, bell peppers, apples…. Eating the colors of the rainbow will keep you healthy, give you energy, keep you from getting sick, and feel your best self.

Drink lots of water

The body is made of about 70% water, and the human body is made up of TRILLIONS of cells! Each of those cells need water to function properly. Drinking enough water leads to great skin, great hair, a healthy waistline, more energy, and clear thinking.

Have healthy snacks on you

If you are out and about shopping, working on a project, or hanging with your friends, having healthy snacks around is important. The worst thing is to be in a situation where you feel super hungry because that could lead to unhealthy food choices like cookies, candy or fast food. Keep healthy snacks handy like almonds, cashews, string cheese, raw vegetables, fruit like apples, pears or bananas, hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, low-sodium turkey jerky, or even a healthy protein bar.

Focus on protein

Protein builds muscles, keeps your hunger at bay, and is great for the brain and maintaining focus. Especially if you are in sports or are active, you need protein! Foods that contain protein are lean beef, turkey, chicken, fish, shrimp, string cheese, eggs, beans, nuts, hummus, and even healthy peanut butter and almond butter.

Have just one treat

If you are in a situation where there are some holiday treats around, then have just one! That helps get the craving out of the way, and then make healthy choices for the rest of the day.

Brush your teeth

You should brush your teeth anyway, but especially if you happen to have anything with sugar in it. Brushing your teeth keeps the cavities away. Not only that, but it freshens up your mouth so those cookies and candy won’t look nearly as tempting anymore.

Get movinglose inches

Getting the body moving and exercising is important for overall health, but make sure it’s fun! Do something you enjoy. Try taking a walk with a friend or family member, play a sport with your friends, or try a fun Wii video game like Zumba.

It’s okay to say no

If you are invited to parties and events you don’t necessarily want to go to, it’s okay to say no. Setting a healthy boundary is important. Everyone is busy this season, so people will understand if you cannot attend.

Make time for fun

It’s the holiday season after all, so have fun! Wrap presents, decorate, hang out with your friends…. enjoy this time off and have fun.

Remember the reason for the season

The holiday season is not all about eating as many sweets as possible, getting as many presents as possible, or shopping ‘til you drop. It’s about spending quality time with your friends and family and being grateful for everything you have in your life.

Justine SanFilippo is a certified health coach, nutritionist, certified personal trainer and author of the book Lose Your Inches Without Losing Your Mind! To purchase the book, download a free chapter, sign up for a free 15-minute coaching session, or for more free resources to lose your inches, check out her website at www.happyhealthypeople.com.

 

Disney’s Laura Marano Wants You To Eat Your Veggies + BACK TO SCHOOL GIVEAWAY!

Laura Marano, from the hit show Austin and Ally, has teamed up with Birds Eye Vegetables and the Walt Disney Company to promote healthy eating just in time for back-to-school season through the “Veggin’ in LA with Laura Marano Sweepstakes presented by Birds Eye.”

The sweepstakes, which runs until September 24th, features a grand prize of a trip to Los Angeles to “veg out” with Laura and enjoy a private dinner with a Birds Eye chef. Woohoo!

O Bag

 

So why her interest in promoting veggies? It could be because most Americans are not eating the recommended amount of vegetables according to the USDA, despite the established health benefits.

According to Laura: “The truth is vegetables are a necessary part of our daily diet. When I started eating more vegetables a few years ago, I found myself having way more energy than before.  Not only do we need to have more vegetables, but with Birds Eye’s new “Step Up To The Plate” series (and their cool new recipes), we are going to find ourselves wanting to have more vegetables.”

In order to enter the sweepstakes,  just go to Disney.com/veggies and enter a UPC code from a Birds Eye product. You can also enter online without the UPC by getting a free code on the entry page OR by texting the word “VEGGIES” to 347639 (Disney).

But…that’s not all. Teens Wanna Know is running its own giveaway! We are giving away a back-to-school prize pack which has the following cool stuff:

laura marano giveaway

Contents include:

1. An AUTOGRAPHED LAURA MARANO PHOTOGRAPH!

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2. A copy of ME, YOU, US.  From the publisher: “Remember 80s slam books? What was better than a memory book where teens could talk about themselves and share their thoughts with friends? Lisa Currie has created a slam book for the internet generation with ME, YOU, US. Readers can fill out ME, YOU, US with friends or loved ones, featuring a spectrum of interactive and open-ended prompts asking them to share nicknames for each other, memories of first meeting and dreams of the future. They can pass the book back and forth with their besties, use it as a scrapbook of all the good people in their lives, or share it with boyfriends and girlfriends as a memento of their time together.” So use it with all your new school friends! More info and reviews on Amazon.

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3. A PAIR OF HEMLETS! What are Hemlets, you ask? “Hemlets are cuffs to add to your favorite leggings that show off your distinctive personality. Just cool, colorful and affordable…there are dozens of patterns/colors to choose from and one size fits most.  Why didn’t I think of that!  So simple, and invented by a 14-year-old teen! www.hemlets.com.”

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4. Last but not least, a little something in case you forgot to buy a notebook or need a few more pens for school: A $5 Target Gift Card!

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HOW TO ENTER:

1. Find out the answer to the following question: When Teens Wanna Know interviewed Laura Marano, which organization did she mention she was an ambassador for? (Hint: search for Laura’s name using the search box at the top of this page and watch the Teens Wanna Know episode she appears in to find the answer).

2. Follow us on Twitter.

3. Tweet us the answer by sending the following from your Twitter account: I entered the TWK  to win a  autograph + more at  My answer is: (put in your answer from step 1.) 

4. Tweets must be received by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, September 7, 2014. We will pick one random winner from all entries received with the correct answer and announce on Monday September 8th. We will contact winner via DM on Twitter.

5. Open to United States addresses only.

Good luck! And remember to eat your veggies!

 

Josh Hutcherson’s “Straight But Not Narrow ” 3-on-3 Basketball Game – Field Report

Special Report By: Hayley Grimshaw (all pics courtesy Hayley)
Anti-bullying teen advocate for TRUCE: promoting cyber-kindness

What does a basketball game have in common with “The Hunger Games”?

The answer: Josh Hutcherson!

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Hayley & Josh

The popular movie star of “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, “Zathura” and, of course, as Peeta Mellark in ‘The Hunger Games” played in a Nike 3-on-3 celebrity basketball game in LA on August 8th, 2014 to raise money and awareness for Straight But Not Narrow. SBNN’s anti-bullying mission is to encourage straight people to support gay people

Why basketball? Being from Kentucky, Hutcherson is a huge University of Kentucky fan. He plays in an entertainment league team and finds it’s a fun way to raise awareness and money for a good cause.

At the event, Josh said he fully believes in “standing up for people no matter [their] race, religion or sexual orientation”. And to ultimately say, “What does it matter?”

SBNN has now evolved into a full-fledged charity with merchandise and events to promote acceptance. Event organizers Heather Wilk and Andre Pochon, and their company Cause Creative Marketing, also work to further promote SBNN.

There were about 300 people who came to support SBNN and meet Hutcherson. While waiting in the “meet and greet” line, people of all ages talked to one another about why they were there. Mostly to see Josh, but everyone also agreed SBNN is a good cause. We all may have started as fans of Hutcherson’s, but we all became our own village in support of SBNN.

When people met Hutcherson, there were different degrees of reaction: most screeched, some just giggled, and others actually cried(!) — but all seemed to agree that he is a super nice, cute and talented actor. He really listened and made eye-contact with his fans, and kindly posed for pictures.

This reporter, Hayley Grimshaw, co-founder of TRUCE, a cyber-kindness cause in Marin Co,  took the opportunity to spread the word of our cause.

The idea for TRUCE came from teen suicide tragedies in Marin County two years ago and the possibility that cyber-bullying was a factor. TRUCE stands for: Tolerance, Respect, Understanding, Compassion and Empathy. In fact, it was launched on John Lennon’s birthday (10/9/10) and, as a show of respect to his iconic “Give Peace a Chance,” uses a peace sign in its logo.

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As Peeta calls for in “Mockingjay”, (book 3 of  “The Hunger Games”): “Cease-fire”.

Upon being introduced to the TRUCE idea, Josh told Hayley, “Right on! We need more people like you!”

Both SBNN and Truce share similar goals:  To reach out to teens across the country and spread the word about the importance of acceptance.

Whats next for TRUCE: outreach to more teens and share thumb rings, in hopes they will remind teens to not send mean texts. Plus, more social networking outreach and supporting SBNN, other Gay/Straight Alliances, non-bullying, and other positive causes.

Feel free to ‘Like” both causes on Facebook:

SBNN:

http://www.facebook.com/straightbutnotnarrow

TRUCE:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Truce/114581641935103

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Tia Blanco Interview – Champion Teen Surfer Shares Her Secrets to Grade As in School and Fitness

17-year-old pro surfer Tia Blanco is an inspiring teen. Not only is she ranked #1 in the NSSA Open Womens Division, #1 in Surfing America Prime U18 Division and is the 2013 West Coast NSSA champion for the Open Womens division, but she is also a straight-A student who maintains a healthy vegan lifestyle and rigorous exercise regimen.

Blanco, who lives in Southern California and is a Trestles local, is one of the hottest up-and-coming West Coast surfers. Blanco was born in Puerto Rico and has lived in Hawaii as well as several spots in SoCal. This “graceful goofyfoot” belonngs to the renown Surfing America team and enjoys painting and yoga. While she is focused on a National surf title and keeping her 4.0 GPA at Connections Academy, her overall goal is to make the ASP Women’s World Tour.

We got the opportunity to ask Tia a few questions about her routines and how she deals with the pressures of her occupation while balancing school and other areas of her life. Check out her answers below.

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Tell us how you got started surfing, and why you decided to pursue it seriously as opposed to a hobby? 

I started surfing when I was 3 years old. My dad got me started because he thought surfing was such a healthy and beautiful lifestyle. I fell in love with surfing and realized that I wanted to do what I love and make a career out of it.

You are in phenomenal shape, which takes a lot of dedication. What do you recommend for teens who just cannot get motivated to workout? 

Thank you!!! I have a “dream board” of cut out pictures of people who inspire me as well as goals I hope to achieve. If your goal is to be in good shape, for example, cut out a picture of someone who has a healthy figure and post it somewhere where you can see it everyday. My inspiration is Candice Swanpoel, the Victoria Secret model. She is perfect!

More tips from Tia:

  • Eat clean, it doesn’t have to be hard! I like getting healthy recipes from http://www.onegreenplanet.org
  • Take a run or jog (especially on the beach, if you have access)
  • Try surfing, you don’t have to be a pro to have fun and get a great workout – I go everyday
  • Try yoga at your local studio, home, or the beach
  • Stand up paddling works great for toning your muscles
  • Taking a walk with your dog, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend or parents is always a great way to get exercise (and bond)!

Tell us what your typical week looks like as far as workouts/exercise. 

I train two times a week with my trainer at Forged in Fitness. I also mix in beach runs and yoga. And I surf everyday 😉

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Why did you choose to go Vegan? 

Being vegan is the cleanest and healthiest diet in my eyes. It is known to reverse and prevent cancers, while eating large quantities of meat has been known to promote various cancers. Also, I would never eat my dogs, so why would I eat a pig? Pigs are said to be smarter than dogs and they are very social animals. Sometimes people don’t see the relationship and connection between pets and other animals.

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How has being a Vegan impacted your life, good or bad? 

Learning about the vegan diet has made me very passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes I get so passionate about it that I have to bite my tongue to many ignorant comments. I have learned that my life is not more significant than any other life; Whether it is my mom, friend, enemy, or animal. It has impacted me to love more and hate less.

You manage to be a top athlete while also maintaining a 4.0 GPA…what are your secrets to a) managing your time and b) dealing with the pressure? 

I have learned to prioritize. I try and devote a couple hours out of the day to school. I love to learn. And, I always like having a strong backup plan, if my surfing career doesn’t work out.

Tell us about your partnership with Reef.

I love the company! Reef has treated me so well, from the very beginning. They have helped create lifetime memories and made many of my dreams come true. It is just a bonus that everyone who works there is so down to earth and nice.

What has been the best moment of your career so far? 

Traveling with Reef. I love all of the exotic places we go. Each trip brings new experiences that are priceless.

Have you had any scary moments while surfing?

I guess Teahupoo. I got sucked over the falls when I was duck diving, but thankfully I didn’t hit the reef.

 

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What are your long-term goals? 

I want to make the CT! {Championship Tour] More importantly, I hope to inspire people to be the best person they can be. And, I want to travel the world with the people I love.

Teens are under a lot of pressure these days, and many of the usual role models (such as singers, actors, elected officials) are not setting very good examples. What message do you have for teens out there in dealing with all this? 

How can you change the world if you are acting like the world? Start by living a positive and healthy lifestyle and the world will change one step at a time!

Anything else we should know?  

Surfing is the best lifestyle I could ever ask for. I am so thankful for everything and everyone who has supported me and continues to do so. (Sponsors – family, Reef, Raen Optics, J7 Surfboards, Sticky Bumps).

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Five Surprising Things You Have in Common with Celebrities

The following is a guest post by Mandy Wilkins.

Alright, we admit it: we’re obsessed with celebrities. Whether they’re strutting down the red carpet or gracing the front of magazine covers, we like to follow their every move. But, once we
strip away all their glitter, money, and fame, it turns out that celebrities are just like us. They share our same fears, aspirations, and challenges. Here’s a list of five surprising things you have
in common with your fave A-Listers:

celebrity1. Body Insecurity

How many times have you looked at the cover of a magazine, seeing a celeb in a crop top and tight jeans, wishing you had her body? It may come as a surprise that nearly all celebrities have struggled with the same body insecurity as you do. Even Beyonce doesn’t wake up flawless every single morning.

Demi Lovato admitted back in 2010 that she struggled with anorexia and bulimia because of severe issues with her body image. After years of dealing with her insecurities, she told Seventeen, “I have come to realize that making yourself happy is most important.”

2. Being Rejected­

Has that cute boy in front of you, that so­-called “popular” group, or even the job you wanted, ever completely rejected you? You’re not alone — in fact, it’s happened to seemingly perfect celebrities. A now­-famous television host was fired from her first job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.” I bet Oprah Winfrey is laughing at that Baltimore station today. Even the iconic Marilyn Monroe was told by modeling agencies that she should consider becoming a secretary.

Next time you’re rejected, focus on your strengths, how you can improve, and remember: you could be the next Oprah.

3. Problems Fitting In

­ Whether you’re a self­-proclaimed “geek” or a self-­assured jock, all of us have had insecurities about fitting in. Even Zac Efron claims that “growing up was hell” thanks to his “uncool” interest in musical theater. But, that interest is what landed his gig in High School Musical – and his status as a heartthrob.

Singer Taylor Swift has never fit in with her young musical counterparts; instead of going clubbing or turning to drugs, she has maintained a wholesome image—and several platinum albums.

More often than not, walking to the beat of your own drum is way better than “fitting in.” Who needs to conform?

4. Work/Life Balance Issues

Going to school every single day and then trying to maintain an actual social life is hard enough. Can you imagine having to balance work and life while the paparazzi track your every move?

Yikes.

Some celebs utterly fail in this department, having their personal lives blow up alongside their work (Lindsay Lohan, anyone?) But other celebs, like Angelina Jolie, seem to juggle it all seamlessly. Superwoman somehow manages to have six kids, an amazing acting career, and a commitment to charity.

According to life coach Jasmin Terrany, finding a balance can be done by focusing on what’s important, deep breathing, and leaving some time to relax.

5. Relationship Insecurity

Trying to date a normal human being that makes you feel good about yourself is hard enough – can you imagine trying to do that in front of cameras?

While some celebrities have excelled at finding a normal relationship under the stress of Hollywood (Ben & Jen), others have crashed and burned thanks to disloyalty (Kristen Stewart), lack of mutual respect (Justin & Selena), and who-­the-­heck-­knows-­what (Miley & Liam). But whether we’re making $7 billion a year or $7 an hour at the movie theater, we all want the same thing out of a relationship: someone who understands, appreciates, and supports us.

Mandy Wilkins is a recent graduate from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She now resides in Atlanta, where she writes about everything from pop culture to children’s literature. This January, she’ll be moving to southeast Asia to teach English

How to Break Up With Mark Zuckerberg (and Other Social Media Stalkers)

Guest Post by Emma Fuller, Omlet

At first, Mark seemed like the perfect guy:  He “shared” regularly, “checked in” often, kept you “fed” with the latest news, and paid attention to what you “liked.”

But before you knew it, Mark began to change:  He invaded your privacy, started keeping tabs on everything you did, he manipulated you, and even gave your secrets away to all of his friends. That’s crazy glue! If a guy did that to you IRL, you would kick him to the curb.

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I thought it would be fun to think about our relationship with Facebook like a relationship with a boyfriend. What makes a good relationship, what makes a bad relationship, and how does Mark measure up? For me, the biggest thing is trust. Can I trust someone with my deepest secrets? Can I trust them not to betray me, and share my most private things with other people?

My relationship status with Facebook (in Mark’s own words): “It’s Complicated.” Why? Deleting Facebook sounds great, but is it really practical? No, I don’t think it is. The problem isn’t just Facebook, it’s us. We’ve chosen to be in this relationship, and to share all our personal info with them. We need to start making better choices when it comes to what we share, and how often we share.

Think of it this way: Would you share your diary with the world? I know I wouldn’t even share it with my best friend. All your data adds up, and even if you think your sharing a little, they know a lot about you. Pandora can tell with 80% accuracy what your political leanings are just off the music you listen to!

So how do you set boundaries between you and Facebook?

>>  STEP #1:  Don’t Wait By the Phone

Turn off mobile notifications so that Mark doesn’t message you throughout the day.  Browse and post on Facebook only when it’s convenient for you.

>>  STEP #2:  Limit your “Liking” habit?

Facebook sells your likes and interests to advertisers so that they can specifically target YOU.  I might see an ad on Facebook that is targeted towards 20-25 year old females who like Buzzfeed and the San Francisco 49er’s. We spend time carefully choosing what to like to make our profiles look good to our friends, but rarely do our friends check over it. Facebook encourages this habit so that they have more information to sell.

>>  STEP #3:  Only Post the Big Stuff

Post a photo or two here and there, say “Happy Birthday” to a friend, RSVP to an event, and then LOG OFF.

>>  STEP #4: Only Trust Yourself with Your Data

There are other options for your more personal conversations, whether they be serious, or you just want to share all those photos from the concert you went to last week with your friends. Options that respect you and don’t sell your data.

For example, there’s Omlet a super fun, easy and social chat app that lets you easily message friends, share photos, post videos, and express yourself without Mark or anyone looking over your shoulder. With Omlet you’re as safe as you can be while still keeping in touch with all your friends. It’s your data, you should be able to control it AND still have a fun conversations with your friends and family.

[Note to teens: this guest post was written by someone from Omlet…we are running it because its kind of cute but it is intended as promo and you should keep that in mind]