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Recently in: Teens

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Tracking Down College Scholarships


We hear often from parents, "I'd love for my son/daughter to get accepted to their dream school...but I'm very nervous about how to pay for it."

Even if you're in a more comfortable income bracket, scholarships can go a long way to making the college-going years less of a financial burden. Here are our top tips on getting started:

The Internet
Scholarpro.com and Zinch.com are both great resources for scholarships.

Your Employer
Look for college scholarships close to home. See if your company or any professional organizations you belong to offer scholarships.

Local businesses, civic groups and even wealthy people in your hometown may offer scholarships to local students.

Guidance Counselors
Proactively sit down with your student's guidance counselor to discuss scholarships that are a personal fit for your student and your family's financial situation.

The University
Most people don't know that universities earmark scholarship money for students studying specific majors or entering certain career fields. Once you have narrowed your college list, be sure to reach out to each university to see what is available.

Federal Government
The federal government offers certain scholarships and grants: studentaid2.ed.gov is a great resource.

Courtesy of BrightGuide
This article comes to us from BrightGuide, a community of parents preparing their children for college. Signup and you'll get practical tips, empowering ideas, and the best possible college preparation resources...daily to your inbox.

... Continue reading Tracking Down College Scholarships.

Biggest Bully Apologizes

By Helice "Sparky" Bridges
Founder and CEO
Difference Makers International

"The deepest desire in the human spirit is the craving to be acknowledged."
-William James, Father of American Psychology

• Children who bully are more likely to come from home situations in which there is little warmth and little positive adult attention.
• Two out of three teens are verbally or physically assaulted every year.
• A victim of bullying is twice as likely to take his or her life compared to someone who is not a victim.
-Source: Mental Health Systems, Inc. - San Diego, California

So often we hear people say, "kids are so mean today." The media is flooded with stories about bullying and cyber bullying. Front page newspapers tell the tragic stories of young people committing suicide because they were constantly bullied. In an effort to put an end to this social issue facing today's youth, Difference Makers International has begun a grassroots campaign that is helping all kids feel safe- socially, emotionally and physically.

"There are no bullies--only people who need to be loved." Helice "Sparky" Bridges

Can we make this change? You bet! In my opinion, there are no bullies-only people who need to be loved. Our work teaches young people how to eradicate bullying, avert adolescent suicide and make dreams come true through the power of acknowledgment. We are collaborating with the Mental Health Systems, Inc. Bully Prevention Training so that every teacher and student will know how to end bullying.

Our school, family and community Power of Acknowledgment Training Programs will soon be delivered to over 30,150 elementary, middle school students and high schools in San Diego with a community outreach to approximately 100,000,-creating conversations that shift the focus from what's WRONG to what is RIGHT.

Our "Who I Am Makes A Difference"® Blue Ribbon message has impacted over 30 million people worldwide and has been translated into 11 languages. The Blue Ribbon Story appears in Chicken Soup for the Soul recounting the story of a 14 year-old boy who did not commit suicide because his father honored him with a Blue Ribbon and finally told him he loved him. This story was made into a photo movie receiving over three million hits on YouTube.

Recently our school assemblies and student leadership trainings were delivered at Parsons Middle School in Redding, California and Northeast Intermediate School in Midland, Michigan with gymnasiums packed with nearly 1,000 students, teachers, parents and community leaders.

To show students how they could eradicate bullying in a minute or less, I gave them an opportunity to step to the front of the auditorium, speak into the microphone and do one of the following: 1) Publically apologize for bullying or harming anyone, 2) share their dreams and ask for support or 3) or tell someone how they make a difference and honor them with a "Who I Am Makes A Difference"® Blue Ribbon.

In an instant, students leaped out of their seats and ran down from the bleachers. One by one they stepped to the mike, said their name, and without asking were enthusiastically applauded.

"I want to honor my math teacher," one boy announced. "I always mess up in class but you just keep encouraging me." Then the boy placed a Blue Ribbon over his teacher's heart, cheered him on for his dreams and gave him a hug.

"I'd like people to stop putting me down for my weight," a girl timidly requested. The audience exploded with applause as a way of publicly saying that they were sorry.

"I want to be a football player," announced the small 5' proud 7th grader. "Outstanding," I shouted inviting everyone to cheer Mike on for his dream. They did!

"I want to apologize for bullying my little brother," said the 9th grader. "He's a really great guy and I love him." His younger brother raced down to the open arms of his big brother. They hugged and cried openly. The auditorium went silent. Later on the principal told me that the big brother was the biggest bully in the school.

"I am a bully," said the 15 year-old girl. "I want to apologize for being so mean. I don't really want to be mean, I just get so angry all the time. What I really want is to make friends and treat people nicely, but I don't know how." Everyone in the gymnasium leaped to their feet and gave her a thunderous standing ovation.

Following these assemblies, students continued to apologize, share their dreams and acknowledge their teachers and siblings. Many immediately called their parents to say there were sorry. Teachers were shocked with the kindness taking place in their classrooms and hallways. We would like to see this occur across campuses worldwide.

Together we can eradicate bullying. "IGNITE WHAT'S RIGHT"™ has exploded into a nation wide campaign. Students, parents, teachers, neighbors and clergy are inviting us to teach programs. Contact us to find out how your school (K-12), college, organization business and/or neighborhood can help all kids feel safe-socially, emotionally and physically. Contact us at: DifferenceMakersInternational.org, info@blueribbons.org or 760-753-0963.

... Continue reading Biggest Bully Apologizes.

Scholarships for Student Athletes


High school student athletes now have the chance to score some extra cash for college. The National Milk Mustache "got milk?" Campaign, in partnership with USA Today, is announcing the call for entries for the 14th annual Scholar Athlete Milk Mustache of the Year (Sammy) Award program. The Sammy Awards recognize 25 outstanding high school senior student athletes who represent excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership and include lowfat milk in their daily routines.

The Sammy scholarship rewards exceptional student athletes by helping to offset some of the costs associated with college tuition. The scholarship helps educate teens on the value of making smart choices - like drinking lowfat milk, eating right and staying active. Twenty-five talented teens will receive a $7,500 college scholarship, attend an awards ceremony with celebrity guests at Disney World, be pictured in a special Milk Mustache ad in USA Today, and have a chance to help their favorite charity in the process. To date, the National Milk Mustache "got milk?" Campaign has awarded 325 talented high school seniors with nearly $2.5 million in scholarships.

"It's an honor for the national got milk? campaign to continue to reward such extraordinary student-athletes who not only excel in their respective sports and communities, but also serve as advocates for drinking milk," said Vivien Godfrey, chief executive officer of the National Milk Mustache "got milk?" campaign. "Lowfat chocolate milk has the right combination of carbohydrates and protein, making it a great choice to help refuel and recover after a tough workout."

High school seniors who excel in the classroom, on the sports field and in their communities are encouraged to submit an application. This year's winners will be selected by a celebrity panel of Milk Mustache athletes, including Apolo Ohno, Chauncey Billups, Dara Torres, Andy Roddick and Lindsey Vonn.

"I am so excited to be championing the 2011 Sammy Awards and to connect with these exceptional student athletes," said speed skating superstar Apolo Ohno "I recently joined the Milk Mustache campaign, and as a judge for Sammy, this is a great opportunity to pass on my tips for staying ahead of the game. My coaches and trainers agree - grabbing lowfat chocolate milk after a strenuous workout helps me get nutrients back into my body quickly to help me refuel for the next race."

High school seniors who are interested in applying for the 2011 Sammy Awards program should visit www.bodybymilk.com. All applicants are required to describe in 250 words or less how they refuel with milk while excelling in academics, athletics, community service and leadership.

Entries must be submitted no later than 11:59 pm ET Friday, March 4, 2011. For complete contest rules, applications, tips and exclusive Milk Mustache celebrity videos, log onto .


... Continue reading
Scholarships for Student Athletes.

Teenage Girls & Social Networks

The Girl Scouts of America recently conducted a survey of more than 1000 girls nationwide, between the ages of 14-17, to examine their behavior on and perceptions of social networking. The study found that:

"...increased exposure to social media puts teenage girls in a confusing situation where a girl's image is not always what it seems, as nearly 74 percent of girls agree that most girls use social networking sites to make themselves "cooler than they really are." The survey finds that girls downplay several positive characteristics of themselves online, most prominently their intelligence, kindness and efforts to be a positive influence. These feelings among others related to emotional safety online and the impact of social media on girls' relationship. "

You can read more in this 'Who's that Girl' factsheet.

... Continue reading Teenage Girls & Social Networks.

College Test Prep with a Bite


Each year, millions of students gear up for a battery of pre-college testing. In order to help students do their best, Americans spend about $4 billion dollars on classes, tutors, study guides and books.

While helpful, many test prep resources can be dull, making it more difficult for students to stay focused. To help make effective test prep more engaging, Wiley Publishing, Inc. has created a unique and exciting way for students to build their vocabulary and raise scores using Stephenie Meyer's popular "Twilight" series.

The "Twilight" books have a very loyal following, particularly among teens. Many parents looking to harness that passion into constructive study time find that the "Defining Twilight" guides are a perfect fit.

The series first began in June 2009 with "Defining Twilight" and then expanded to include "Defining New Moon." The third and latest book in the series, "Defining Eclipse: Vocabulary Workbook for Unlocking the SAT, ACT, GED, and SSAT," will arrive in stores on May 24, just in time for the release of the movie "Eclipse."

Author and test prep expert, Brian Leaf says, "Every time I see a newly administered SAT test, I am amazed at how many of the vocabulary words appear in the 'Twilight' books - words like solicitous, macabre, inexorably, inure, baleful, ecstatic, blithe, placate, haggard, belligerent, stymie and nebulous. Students who learn all the vocabulary words in the "Defining Twilight" series will absolutely raise their test scores."

"Defining Eclipse" has 40 four-page chapters with well over 600 vocabulary words and synonyms. Just grab a copy of "Eclipse," refer to the page where each vocabulary word appears, read the word in context, and come up with a definition. Then check definitions against those provided in the workbook, make corrections, and complete the drills. Students will acquire vocabulary skills, learn synonyms, word parts, and memorization tools, and get drills and quizzes to integrate what they've learned.

To find out more about "Defining Eclipse" and other books in the series, visit cliffnotes.com.


... Continue reading College Test Prep with a Bite.

Kids and Summer Jobs

by Katriena Knights

It's a question every parent will face eventually--should I let my child take on a summer job? Whether it's dog walking, house-sitting, or a formal job at the local grocery, there are many issues to consider before giving the go-ahead.

When kids start talking about summer jobs, too often their focus is on the money they can earn and how they can spend it. They spend much less time considering the logistics of the job itself and the responsibility that comes along with taking on this kind of activity. As a parent, you can help them through the planning stages and give them an idea of what they can realistically take on.

For the pre-teen or early teen set, intermittent jobs present a good opportunity to ease into the idea of having a regular job. Doing yard work for the neighbors, weeding gardens, walking dogs, or tending pets while neighbors are on vacation are all jobs a pre-teen or teen should be able to take on with minimal help from parents. Older kids could also tackle mowing, babysitting, or house sitting.

Money-making "events" can be fun, too, like garage sales, bake sales, a car wash, or the classic lemonade stand. These have the added advantage of offering opportunities for the younger set to help out. Have the older kids do the planning and setup, and give them a chance to supervise the younger ones--fairly, of course. Indentured servitude of younger siblings at the lemonade stand should be frowned upon.

Aside from all these traditional options, your teen might be interested in taking advantage of today's advancing technology. Some teens have found a chance to make useful spending money by coding websites for their friends. Others have marketed products online through eBay or their own dedicated websites. Some of these motivated and creative teens have gone far beyond just making pocket money and have literally become millionaires. While there's no guarantee your child will become the next Internet sensation, making him aware of the possibilities of having his or her own business could prove an important part of his education. This kind of endeavor could go beyond just a summer job, as well, and become a year-round activity.

For older teens, the lure of a "real" job starts to beckon, especially once they've achieved the Holy Grail of a driver's license. Local businesses might be in need of summer help, or check with employment agencies in your area for information about businesses or organizations that might be looking specifically for younger employees. For example, local summer camps might be in need of counselors or other staff.

Whatever your teen decides to do, be sure to consider the following before committing to a job or project:
• Is your teen legally old enough to work for a local company?
• Do you feel your teen is responsible enough to take on a job or project?
• If your child isn't old enough to drive, are you willing/able to shuttle her back and forth to work?
• If your child reneges on promised chores, are you willing/able to fulfill his obligations?
• What will be the consequences if your child doesn't fulfill her promises?

Sitting down with your teen and discussing these issues before committing to a job will go a long way toward impressing upon him the seriousness of the endeavor he's decided to take on. Also, if you discuss various contingency plans ahead of time, you'll be able to respond quickly and fairly in case your child becomes ill and can't do the job she's promised, or simply proves unwilling or irresponsible.

Whatever conclusions you come to about your teen's pursuit of employment, the idea offers many opportunities to educate your child about how the real world of work functions, and to give him or her a good idea about what life is like after school. Responsibility, financial management, a work ethic--all of these can be important lessons learned through a summer job.

... Continue reading Kids and Summer Jobs.

High School Fundraisers - 6 Fun Ideas

by Jamie Jefferson

Whether you are a parent of a teen or a teen yourself, you know the importance of having funding for extracurricular activities. Youth groups, sports teams, bands and other high school activities all need to raise money. Fundraisers can be fun if you know how to put a new twist on typical fundraisers.

Successful fundraising is just a few steps away if you follow these ideas.

1. Baked Potato Dinner. A lot of groups do pancake breakfasts or spaghetti dinners, but serving baked potatoes and all of the fixings is a great way to raise money. Potatoes are relatively inexpensive and can be baked in bulk. You can buy cheese, bacon bits, sour cream, broccoli, butter and chili in bulk packages. Find somewhere to hold the dinner, like the school cafeteria, where there is enough room for everyone. The students can sell tickets ahead of time and also at the door.

2. Picnic Basket Auction. This idea works well at another event, like a back to school night or school carnival. It can also be done independently. Provide a picnic basket for each student and then have them decorate and fill it with food with a budget of $10. Each picnic basket is raffled off in a silent auction.

3. Singing or Musical Telegrams. These are perfect for a high school band or chorus and work well around Valentine's Day or Mother's Day. Students can sell telegrams at school and participants fill out the recipient's name, their address (or room number if the telegrams are to students) and then have the students deliver the telegrams on a specific date. Search online for lyrics for a singing telegram, or have band members play a piece of appropriate music.

4. Growing Kit. Buy seeds in bulk for fast growing flowers and then purchase some clay pots from a surplus garden store. Have a meeting with the teen group where you all fill the pots with potting soil, attach the seeds to the outside and then wrap up the pot with cellophane and ribbon. Sell the pots at a flat rate around school and in the community. This fundraiser works well in the spring and before Mother's Day.

5. Candy selling with a twist. Instead of selling the standard bars of candy why not make some candy from scratch and sell it at a premium price? People enjoy homemade candy more than commercially made bars. You can distribute recipes to the group, or if the high school club is small, you can organize a candy making party. The pieces can sell for higher amounts that regular candy and you can keep most of the profits.

6. Group yard sale. This one requires a bit of organization, but it's well worth it. Have all the members bring clothes, toys and household items the week before the sale. One group of students can organize the items and price them, while the other can canvas the neighborhoods with signs. The day of the yard sale you can sell muffins in the morning and chili toward the afternoon as an additional form of fundraising.

Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Susies-Coupons, where you can find the latest office supply coupons, including any current offers for $30 off $150 coupons.

... Continue reading High School Fundraisers - 6 Fun Ideas.