Last weekend the Los Angeles Fire Department hosted its 3rd Girls Camp in hopes of inspiring teen girls to pursue a career with the LAFD. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the intensive and learn about a day in the life of a Firefighter.
Thanks to Civic Youth Leadership Academy I was informed of this event from guest speaker LAFD Commissioner Rebecca Ninburg. I immediately signed up and was very curious to learn that only 3% of women (100/4,000) are in the LAFD. So this particular program is a vital resource for teen girls from the LA area.
Over the weekend, we all dove deep into the various tasks firefighters need to know, such as CPR, Climbing an Ariel Ladder, breaking down a door using forced entry as well as going through an obstacle course blindfolded, covered head to toe in firefighting gear: that’s not even the half of it! The skills we gained in such a short time went beyond just the basics to firefighting. On day one we formed teams and stuck together wherever we went; we got to know one another and share this new and exciting experience together. Collaboration and Communication is what my team “The Dalmatians” achieved. We were surrounded with positivity and encouragement from the female firefighter mentors.
The Los Angeles Fire Department has a very low outcome of Females in the Dept. This is unacceptable. Luckily change is happening right now and more women are becoming firefighters as well as girls getting interested at a young age. When I first attended the LAFD Girls Camp I wasn’t fully interested in becoming an actual firefighter but now I am inspired more than ever to become one and serve back my Community!
The mission of the LAFD Girls Camp is to challenge and empower girls by teaching them the skills it takes to be a hard working firefighter.
Last month thanks to Center Theatre Group, I was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the theatre communications group conference full circle in Portland, Oregon. Along with Felipe CTG’s Emerging Artists and Arts Professionals Program Associate And 3 inspiring peers- Elian, an aspiring lawyer, Hollis, a thriving actress and Yessica, a future marine biologist.
This conference was filled with workshops such as diving into & the changing culture of the theatre, becoming a hero in your community as well as co creating theatre with incarcerated populations when I came across this workshop description in the TCG agenda I knew I had to attend it- Non profits such as Open hearts open minds, the old globe, and Shakespeare behind bars would be speaking on the panel.
I remember as a kid I came across a book in my garage called Shakespeare behind bars- ‘The power of drama in a women’s prison’ too young to read it at the time I knew that I would be involved with SBB in the future- I’ve always hated the prison system, I think it’s unjust and inhumane. But programs such as Shakespeare Behind Bars which offers “theatrical encounters with personal and social issues to incarcerated and post-incarcerated adults and juveniles, allowing them to develop life skills that will ensure their successful reintegration into society” gives me hope, and as an activist, I must do what I can to help others. listening to the founder of Shakespeare behind bars Curt L. Tofteland speak was beyond amazing- The wisdom and understanding of others he had when he talked about the incarcerated population was unexplainable.
Society puts an extreme fear based label on prisons and prisoners but what many don’t understand is that being human we all make choices and mistakes. According to the panelists, there are problems with the prison administration none with the prisoners when Shakespeare behind bars goes into the prisons. As a non-incarcerated human being working with an arts program in prison you must have acceptance and compassion working with an open heart and no judgment, saying yes to resistance so everyone’s voice is heard through the theater. The environment is filled with deep respect and total confidentiality. This builds a safe space, full of trust. After every performance, the room explodes with love, tears, and joy. “We’re all just human beings” Curt states.
I am very lucky to have sat in and experienced this panel at the TCG conference. I gained much knowledge and wise words from Curt Tofteland. I am inspired to volunteer with Shakespeare behind bars once I turn 18 and will be attending the sbb workshop to become one next year. Being involved with Center Theatre Group and attending the Theatre Communications Group Conference made me realize more than ever before, the power of theater and how in the words of Augusto Boal
“Theater is a language through which human beings can engage in active dialogue on what is important to them. It is a lab for problem-solving, seeking options and practicing solutions”
Growing up we did not have any arts program or community resources so my mom founded the Los Angeles Drama Club- where the youth of South LA analyze and perform Shakespeare. I am excited to share my experience from the Theatre Communications Group Conference with my community. Being involved with center theater group has inspired me to become an active leader for social change of the arts in my community just like the way CTG has been with the Los Angeles Theatre Community for the past 50 years.
Are you strongly passionate about issues from LGBTQ+ rights to climate change and show a strong disagreement with the politics holding office at this time?
I am putting together a Youth Task Force for the People’s Congress of Resistance!
“In the face of the assault waged against working class and poor communities and the environment by the Trump Administration a grassroots People’s Congress of Resistance will convene in Washington, D.C. on September 16 and 17, 2017,” according to the People’s Congress Resistance website.
I am looking for passionate youth from the Southern California and Los Angeles area who are interested in volunteering and fundraising for the resistance. We will have meetings and brainstorm Ideas to assure us youth have our voice heard!
What this task force would do is reach out to L.A. youth informing them about the People’s Congress Of Resistance and how they can get involved as well as social media outreach, fundraising and more! We currently have a big group of teens interested but if you’re very passionate or know of someone who would be, about this opportunity, five youth who are really committed will take on leading the group and meeting regularly.
Please join and share with your friends! Any Questions, want to find out more? Leave a comment below
and I will send out further information.
If I asked you where on the planet is it more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier… could you tell me the answer – without googling it?
If you can answer this question, congratulations – you are one of the few Americans who know about the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Why here, why in Congo? That’s what I asked myself! Then – doing my research – it became increasingly obvious that there was a correlation between the oppression of the Congolese women and the global demand for Coltan, Gold, Tin and Tungsten in Congo’s mineral mines?
As a smartphone consumer, it was horrifying to discover that the components of my Iphone and laptop were sourced right in the Congo, under much oppression, child labour and bloodshed. This is the ugly truth and one that is very inconvenient to all of us. The sacrifices that are made so we can swipe right, hit Like and set our phones to “vibrate” are an intolerable form of genocide, while the rest of the world turns a blind eye.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is filled with stuff that everyone in the words wants. It is rich in minerals and yet it is one of the worst countries on earth to be a woman. 25 years ago I am told by a local, there was no word in Swahili for “rape.” Yet today, an average of 43 women are raped in the Congo each hour. Rape is used as a tool to dehumanize the entire Congolese population and make them subservient to the rebel armies, who control the mineral mines, using women and children as slave labor.
The violence in the DRC is closely related to the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Now the Conflict continues with numerous rebel groups over the plentiful natural resources in the DRC. This causes men to be murdered in front of their wives, who are raped and rounded up to work in minerals mines with the huge global craze for these components that make up the lithium battery in our iphones.
For the past 25 years, the congolese women only know the meaning of survival. They couldn’t grasp the concept of “hope” or “goals and ambitions”. Even with America’s Dodd-Frank Act which put tight regulations on blood mines that use children and women for cheap labor, there are still more of these Mines than there are Conflict Free mines – and these minerals find their way into our phones, laptops, cars, jewelry, even your child’s shiny birthday balloon.
When I first found out about what these women and children go through I knew I couldn’t sit idly by. After all i’m a consumer of a smartphone like most of us.There was too much at stake – and I don’t want Congolese blood on my hands. I should think you don’t either. I decided to talk whenever and wherever I can about the plight of the people caught in the Congo mineral conflict. I brought it up in my chemistry class, and my teacher didn’t know about the minerals. It’s just not grabbing the attention of the masses.
The good news is you can make a change to make all mines conflict free and help women and children in the Eastern Congo. This can be done By volunteering and donating to organizations such as SAFECO which “contributes to a Congolese society where women, adolescent girls and women living with disabilities, live in peace with health care, education, clean water and equal rights. Also Informing your friends and family about the crisis in Congo is a vital step to be taken. I hope you will join me and this journey to make equal rights for women and children a #1 priority in Congo. Thank you.
I do not own any of the pictures used in this article.
Hey teens!! we’re being tossed a lot of information that we cant handle! Or can we?
We’re constantly overwhelmed with grades, Confusing homework and figuring out our future. Plus all the million other things we have to deal with OUTSIDE of school! School is the #1 Culprit for Teen Stress- which makes a TON of sense! We’re judged so harshly for our work even if try our best and in the end our knowledge is determined on a piece of paper.
It’s important as a youth today that we know how to balance everything in life and not let one thing take over the other, especially the questionable people in power with P’s controlling our country, killing the environment, deporting people who know America as their home- I can go on and on. And in the end, what they do is going to be in our hands. It is not fair that these billionaires get to pollute this earth and destroy it because of greed and its up to us to fix it.
Here are some things we can do to take a breath and relax- We deserve it!
MOVE YOUR BODY!!
Whether its yoga, skating with your buddies or even walking your dog around the block. Engaging in physical activity is proven to reduce stress by an immense amount. Exercising not only relaxes you it boosts confidence, improves complexion and mood, it will help you get a great nights rest! So when you’re feeling upset and angry like you want to scream, go for a nice walk outside and you will feel better.
Even if you don’t think so. There will always be people who want to listen and help no matter what. It’s not the end of the world and things always get better. When you feel like no one cares or wants to listen to you your wrong. Think of a friend, family member or someone you really trust, give them a call and tell them whats up, you will feel much better after getting it off your chest. Getting social support from people you care about is vital and a great stress reliever.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND REMEMBER YOUR STRENGTHS
We must always remember that in order to really do our best, we must first take care of ourselves. An example of this would be
1.)Hygiene: When you’re bombarded with work it’s often easy to forget to take a shower or brush your teeth you might be going everywhere in your PJ’s too. That will just stress ya out even more! Taking care of yourself and looking “presentable” (i.e: NOT smelling like a garbage can in your PJ’s) will make you feel better and determined to get the work done!
2.) Mindfulness: Too many thoughts running through your head at once? Writing down your thoughts will help clear your mind so you focus on the task at hand. It’s also a form of meditation which also helps too, taking 5 minutes to sit, close your eyes and forget about school, work and everything that is stressing you out will help you regroup and feel better.
Always remember everything you do and love doing, find out a way to help others with this and do it even more, if you love animals, volunteer at an animal shelter or if you admire painting go to an art class, Put what you love to do before what you have to do and those stresses will seem like nothing. Because in the end its what you love that matters no matter what.
Here are some great sources that all teens should know about!
1.) TEEN LINE. Do you need help working something out? Do you want to talk to someone who understands, like another teen? https://teenlineonline.org is the place to go!
2.)BOYS AND GIRLS CLUB. A great place and a safe space to make friends and have fun! Click here!
3.) VOLUNTEER: Volunteering at a local senior center or youth group is great! Not only will you meet new people, get volunteer hours and have fun. Volunteering is a great learning experience all around!
Why is school stressing me out? – what is it about school that is causing this stress? Is it necessary? What is the end result of stress? your health. Is it worth it? Comment below or write me about what you feel!
( I do not own any of the pictures in this post. )
Whats in all clothing stores is not even a 3rd of the clothes worldwide
Fashion, Clothes, Following Trends and buying clothes at the mall are Vital to the assumption of a stereotypical teen. But hey this isn’t just about us teens. People in general today follow trends or go out and buy a brand new t shirt or skirt without thinking where it came from.
Before the term Thrift shopping was brought to many’s attention as ‘Cool’ and ‘Chic’. All my life my and my family’s clothes have been from thrift shops, garage sales or hand me downs, this is simply because we can’t afford the price of clothes from say a H&M, Forever 21, Ross etc. Clothing stores like those that are usually Chains and have A lot of $$. But after doing some Research and watching the Documentary “The True Cost” I must say after doing my research i was glad to say that my family aren’t consumers Corporate stores like those.
What i found out was astonishing, Mind Blowing. How did people not know about this! Firstly, how much were Blinded from what’s going on in these cramped cement like slums of dirty broken factories in Bangladesh, India, Thailand and much more all around the world. The conditions are so poor that many have died for example in the Collapse of a Garment factory building in Bangladesh a couple years ago because the building was in such bad shape and the workers had informed their owner many times that the walls were cracking open and tilting yet the Owner did not do anything at all which resulted in this tragic happening. But this isn’t the first. Many incidents like these have occurred before.
Women, Men and Children all working non stop for less than 70$ a month. This is because of the Worker protests causing deaths and injuries that went on after what had happened at Rana Plaza. Before it was about 30$ a month. Yet many have to wait months for their paycheck. When the electricity goes out in the building it means that the workers can not work which means that they have to work longer and harder hours using a manual machine and if they can’t complete their work in time the job will be given to someone else.
What i found out is that whenever we see a sale for clothes such as 2 for 1 or 50% OFF the laborers in the factories are getting told by the owner to Sew faster! Stitch faster! Stressing them out so much. Yet in this case it may not be the Owner’s Choice Because they’re being told by some company overseas such as America or Europe that they want it fast and now!
What makes me mad is that some Companies know about what’s going on in the factories but don’t know the conditions are that horrific. When some do know yet turn a blind eye when they are questioned about it. It upsets me how much America and the UK are part of this consumers of these brands should be well informed of where and how it came from.
I hope you make the right Decision the next time you see that pair of jeans at old navy or leggings at lulu lemon think for about where it came from and do you really want to be a part of that? Or do you want to be the one who informs your friends about their clothing and start a trend to make your own!