Volunteering During the Holidays
By: Camille Daniels
As the year prepares to close and the holidays draw near it can be easy to get caught up what needs to be done around your home for the family and friends. It can also be a time to give back and show your gratitude for what you have by helping others especially those who could use support at a time when it’s about being thankful and being with friends and family.
So what can you do if you want to spend part of your vacation volunteering? The answer is simple the answers are all around. However, in the age of the internet it could be as simple as a “Goggle” search to find a way to volunteer, for example conducting or giving to a coat drive.
One website that lists a few suggestions is sheknows.com. It is here that the site suggests visiting the elderly, volunteering with animals at shelters and feeding the homeless. If the suggestions don’t jump out as reasons to go and volunteer, sometimes it takes taking a closer look first.
First example being visiting the elderly. For every person that is considered a senior citizen some are living healthy vibrant lives and some aren’t. For those who aren’t as vibrant and may be in a nursing home, take the time to find a nursing home looking for volunteers to sit with residences and spend time with them.
As it gets colder so many animals are either homeless or given up for adoption. This is a wonderful time to visit a local animal shelter to see how you can be of service. This could include simply playing with the animals to adjust them to humans or take them on walks like the dogs.
Finally the next best thing is to simply feed those in need of a meal. See if your local church or soup kitchen needs volunteers during the season. A great way to help others is simply a smile and a hot meal. If you’re looking for something to do, let these suggestions only be the beginning.
Christmas Gift Ideas For Teachers/Mentors
By: Lauren Summers
Christmas time is coming around and you want to get presents for everyone in your life that you love, but some people are harder to shop for than others.
Or you just simply don't know what to get them. No need to stress, and no need to feel like you have to spend a lot. There's creative DIY gifts that come in handy for the holidays.
Teacher/Mentor (DIY): A very cool Christmas gift idea for a teacher/mentor that is inexpensive and one they can use everywhere is a handmade Christmas tree ornament. All you need is a blank Christmas tree ball ornament and some acrylic paint.
Next, find out what they like, their favorite sports team, their favorite book or poem, television show, and incorporate it into the ornament. For example, is your teacher a Steelers fan? Buy some paint to match the colors and you can paint on a logo, and make a homemade Steelers Christmas ornament. They're in love with a certain flick? You can paint the ornament and then take a thin sharpie and write a popular quote from the film that they like, perhaps add a little symbol from the movie on the ornament. When you're done, you can sign your name.
It'll be a gift they'll cherish as they know you paid attention to what they like, and they can hang it up every year and think of you.
INEXPENSIVE GIFT: An inexpensive gift that is perfect for every teacher/mentor is a $10 gift card to a place you know they love, like Starbucks, Target, ColdStone, etc.
World AIDS Day
By: Yani Long
The human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV is one of the more serious and deadly disease that destroys a type of defense cell in the body called the CD4 helper lymphocyte. It is part of the immune system that fights off infections and when lymphocytes are destroyed it weakens the body making it more susceptible to other illnesses.
HIV can be transmitted though blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. The virus is spread through what are known as “high-risk” behaviors such as:
December 1 was World Aids Day. The 2014 theme for World Aids Day is “Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-free Generation.” World Aids Day was the first global health day and the first observance was held in 1988. It is an opportunity for everyone to unite and fight against HIV. About 34 million people are infected with HIV and more than 35 million have died from the virus.
World Aids Day is designed to bring awareness, become more knowledgeable, and getting tested. Its goal is to prevent the spread of HIV and support those living with the virus. Know your status, know your partner's status, and take precautions to help the fight against HIV.
For more information or to make a donation in support World Aids Day please visit: http://aids.gov/
Tips For Teens: HIV/AIDS
By: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Get the facts: Not having sexual intercourse is the most effective way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS. For teens who choose to be sexually active, these prevention measures lower your risk of an HIV infection.
Know the risks: The majority of young people who have HIV are infected sexually. As more teens have become aware of the risk, fewer are having sex and more teens who are sexually active are using condoms.
Avoid alcohol and drugs: They use can cause you to make sexual choices you wouldn’t make when sober.The second most common source of HIV is intravenous drug use, but any activity where blood exchange is possible is risky. Teens should not share needles for any activity, including steroid drug injection, tattooing, or body piercing.
Stay informed: While most people who have the disease now live much longer due to medical research and new drugs, there is no cure.
For more information, check out the .pdf HERE.
Christmas Nail Ideas
By: Patrice Rivers
"Leading Lady” says more than just a color, but a shimmering red style that will leave your nails looking sparkly and high in fashion! If you are looking for a simple look, then Essie leading lady is a good pick for the holidays. You can purchase this polish at any store such as Kohl’s, Wal-Mart and Target.
2) Deborah Lippmann
Share the holiday spirit with three festive colors. You can use one color or mix and match; be creative and let your imagination shine!
Tis the season to be jolly! Here is a different style that will have your nails light up like Christmas magic. Try this polish for the holidays for a different look.
4) Island Volcano/Island Girl Hawaii
Who says you have to wear the exact same green as Christmas? Mix and match on this special holiday and show off your island girl bling! Make your nails feel like Christmas time!
An Invite that Keeps on Giving
By: Shamyua Miles
Christmas is a time to enjoy with family and the ones you love. Spending time with those who you care about and who care about you is a great feeling. But did you know that everyone doesn’t have family and loved ones to spend Christmas with? Some of your friends may not have family and loved ones to spend Christmas with. If this is so, you can change that. You can change that by inviting them to spend Christmas with you and your loved ones.
Inviting a friend to spend Christmas with you and our family shows that you care about them. Inviting a friend over for Christmas is also a good way for you two to build a stronger friendship. There are plenty of ways to invite a friend over for Christmas. Some people prefer the simplest way, and just ask the friend. But if you want to be more creative with your invitation, here are a few ways to do so:
Christmas is a time to share with the ones you love, so why not invite a friend over and show them that you truly care and love them?!
Kwanzaa: The Holiday and the Facts
By: Camille Daniels
If you’re confused about what Kwanzaa is or you’ve never heard of Kwanzaa there’s no reason to feel ashamed for a lack of knowledge. Unlike Christmas which is a religious based holiday, Kwanzaa is a holiday that is based on culture solely. This means it is about celebrating the African or Black life and experience in America but is also celebrated around the world.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. Dr. Karenga, a professor and chairman of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. It is a celebration that lasts for 7 days from December 26th to January 1st. The holiday was founded as a way to bring about cultural pride at a time in the United States during the 1960s when African-Americans were fighting for their basic rights as American citizens during the Civil Rights Movement. As they fought for their rights it was also a time to redefine what it would mean to be black or African American in America. It is a time for African Americans or Black people both then and now to unite and reconnect to their roots and Kwanzaa presented that opportunity.
The word Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, defined as first fruits of the harvest. There are seven principles or Nguzo Saba of Kwanzaa. The first one is Umoja and it means unity. The second is Kujichagulia meaning self-determination. The third is Ujima meaning collective work and responsibility. Ujamaa is the fourth principle and it means cooperative economics. Nia the fifth principle means faith. Number six is Kuumba defined as creativity. Finally the seventh principle is Imani and it means faith.
These principles are represented each night by candles which are lit each night of the holiday using a Kinara or candle holder. The colors are red, black and green. Each color represents something different. Black for the people, green for the future and red for the struggle of the people. For anyone looking to celebrate with friends and family many gifts are sometimes hand-made or come from black owned businesses. For further suggestions take a look at this link below. It is an article listing black owned businesses online.
The Parentals: The Christmas Gift Guide
By: De’Shauna D. Selby
Let’s be honest! Although it is the season of giving… cheerfully that is, it can be a bit tough. Especially when you are shopping for your parents. What can you give the only gift that keeps on giving? And more importantly, how can it be within budget? Well, have no fear! There are a number of gift ideas to choose from that are inexpensive or better yet, priceless!
Mom always comes first! Of course, you don’t love Dad any less than you love her but we must abide by that old time phrase “Ladies first”! If you have not noticed by now, women attach emotion to everything. This is actually a good thing because the more thought and effort you put into it, the more emotion they will connect to it making the gift more than memorable but sentimental. Here are two gift ideas that will be sure to hold sentimental value this holiday season:
Shower her with Jewels! What Mom does not like jewelry? And a charm bracelet at that! With the Pandora craze, prices have hiked up but overstock.com has beautiful Pandora inspired charm bracelets for under $20. Pandora also has bracelets for just $30 that you could simply add to for every occasion! They also have charms for as low as $25. You can pick a charm that describes are or one just for the holiday season, you choose. It is the more favorable gift because she can wear it whenever she wants and as much as she wants and always think of you!
DIY for Mom! You do not have to purchase anything to still give the perfect gift. Remember, the more effort you put in, the more valuable it will be to her. How about expressing your love for her through a mini book? She could carry this on her keychain or place it on her desk. Here’s what you would need:
+ Cardstock to print the cards on
+ A hole punch
+ A binder/jump ring (available at your local craft or office supplies store) -- or your could use ribbon!
+ A pen to write with
Customize this for the holiday season by doing a countdown to Christmas for things she has done leading up to the Christmas day or just 10 things you love about her during this season and every day. There are countless ways you can make this project all about her. This could be a great gift for Dad as well! For more information on this DIY project, a step by step guide and other great ideas, visit http://thecreativeplace.blogspot.com/2010/05/diy-tuesday-mothers-day-gift-idea.html for more information.
Accessorize his look! Finding a gift for Dad starts with one question: What kind of guy is he? This will narrow your search tremendously! So, is he tech savvy, fashionable, the handyman or all the above? If your Dad is Tech Savvy, then he is probably always on his smartphone so why not give home something that will make using his phone easy. The HANDeBand is the perfect accessory for any smartphone user. You simply place your finger inside and it provides free range for your thumb. It also come with 360 degree rotation. The fashionable Dad can never have too many glasses. Check out asos.com for these dapper Gunmental Aviator sunglasses for just $14 and pair it up with some cool socks from happysocks.com for just $12. For the Handy dad who wants to fix and build the world, Sugru is the number one gift! Sugru is silicone rubber that molds and sticks to anything! It is an easy to use rubber for a permanent fix for just about anything. This will make your Dad and your pocket feel like Superman because this handy gift is just $16.
DIY for Dad! Although Dad is not as emotional as Mom, he is when it comes to his children. Make Dad something that he, to, can wear everyday with pride because it is from you. Try making a Monogram Tie. A tie is something every man should have and a personalized one gives it a special twist! Here’s what you’ll need:
+ Craft Knife
+ Disappearing-Ink pen
+ Sewing kit
+ Embroidery floss
For more information on this DIY project and a step by step guide, visit http://www.marthastewart.com/273444/personalized-necktie#
California Teens "Get Lit"
By: Yani Long
Three young girls, Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen, were featured on The Queen Latifah Show performing a poem they wrote called “Somewhere in America”. Powerful and inspiring the poem was while each thought was verbally expressed. It briefly described the topics and issues that the youth are distracted from, the corruption in the education system, problems of the world that everyone faces today in the midst of the ignorance, and factors that society fail to acknowledge just to name a few.
These girls are part of the non-profit “Get Lit” organization. Founded in 2006 by Diane Luby Lane, Los Angeles, Get Lit's mission is to increase teen literacy through classic and spoken word poetry connecting with over 20,000 teens per year. They are reached by In-school, after-school, Classic Slam, and Get Lit Player programs that are created to enhance literacy, cultivate cultural understanding, and encourage self-expression through creative avenues. Get Lit offers so many ways for youth and teens to grow and develop themselves into the scholars and leaders that they have the potential to be to bring change within their communities.
The Get Lit organization values the importance of words, whether spoken, read, written, or performed self-expression is essential to success and can transform lives. Get Lit plans to provide a service that will fill in the void where the education system has failed by giving access to the importance of all that books have to offer.
Getting educated, reading, and constantly learning is the most powerful tool any one person can have. Education is not to be mistaken for what is just taught in school. Everything that is learned isn't always taught in a classroom. The Get Lit organization tries to reach matters of the heart and what is felt with poetry in hopes to make a difference.
To receive more information on Get Lit you can visit: http://getlit.org/getlit/