Monthly Archives: March 2015

Dear Hope: A Boy and a Rumor

Dear Hope,Rumors
There’s a rumor going around my school that another girl started spreading a few months ago, and it’s about me. Basically, it made me look really desperate for attention, and now I have a bad reputation with other students. I don’t want to get anyone else involved and make it worse, though. Every time I try to, the girl just denies ever doing it. The boy it’s about (yes, it involves me and a boy) has already found out about it, and all I hear now from his friends is “Go get you some.” Every day. I’ve asked my closest friends for advice, and all they tell me is to ignore it. But I’m a nervous wreck around him, so it’s not like I can confront him, either. He’s all I can think about, and whenever I see him, he’s staring at me (No, that’s not creepy at all!)! It’s always super awkward to be around him. Like I said, he’s still all I can think about. My friends act like I’m crushing on him, and if people don’t stop saying I do, I may start to believe them! Help me! I’d really appreciate your advice. You’re pretty much my last hope for good advice.
-H

Dear H,
You
First, I want you to ask yourself some questions. Why are you so nervous around him? Have you been nervous just since the rumors started? Why is he all you think about? Do you have feelings for him? Be completely honest with yourself. Forget the rumor. Forget what anyone else is saying. Figure out you own feelings. You need to figure out for yourself if you have a crush, not because it’s what people are saying. You don’t need to tell anyone, but you need to be honest with yourself.

The Rumor
Now, let’s talk about the rumor. When someone starts a rumor, it is an immature act. They usually start problems to make themselves feel better or boost their own confidence. Rumors can be embarrassing and hurtful; ignoring them is truly the best idea. If the girl denies it, she really did not start it, or she will never admit to it. I know it is hard, but you should not give the person or the rumor any power. Use your friends as your support. When you hear or see someone talking about you, look the other way. Don’t let them see if it bothers you. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

Friends
Make a plan with your friends. Ask them to stop saying that you’re crushing. Even if you like him, they should not tease you about it. Ask them to help you ignore the gossip. Plan to walk away together if any drama starts. Start a conversation about something that distracts you and makes you happy. Let them know you just want to move on from the rumor.

The Boy
It’s probably just as awkward for him. His name is in this also. Do you know how he actually feels about all of this? Why not find the courage to talk to him. Find out how he feels. Say something like: “this whole thing is crazy, I’m not feeding into and I hope you’re not either” .Or say, “let’s not make this anymore awkward for each other”. Unfortunately, you’re both involved even though you’re not responsible for it happening. If he keeps looking at you, just smile and look away.

If this situation becomes too hard to handle you should tell someone. Spreading rumors is a form of bullying and is not acceptable. If you ignore it and it does not go away, you need to take action. Talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor. If it gets worse, please get help.

Remember you are strong and beautiful. You had so much courage to reach out and ask this question. The rumor does not define who you are. Believe in yourself.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

dear hope

Teen Homelessness: The Heartbreaking Reality You Can’t Ignore

Teen Homelessness

I want you to know right up front, this post is about something close to our hearts.

This post is not about the latest celebrity gossip. It is not about the latest trend.

It’s about teen homelessness.

#TeenHomelessness is not trending.
It isn’t glamorous.
It’s not something people want to talk about it.
But we should be.

This may be an uncomfortable topic, but it’s one that needs discussing.

“If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?”

The Grim Reality is:

• Out of the approximated 1.7 million homeless youth, 39% are under 18 years old.

• It is estimated that 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT

• About 75% use drugs or alcohol

– They use drugs and alcohol to escape their situation, to self-medicate.

• 1 in 7 young people between the ages 10-18 will run away.

• Every year 5, 000 homeless teens die while on the street

Reasons Why:

 • Problems at home

Many youth run away because of hard times at home with their parents or family.

– There can be physical or sexual abuse.

– They or a family member has a mental health disorder.

– They or a family member has an alcohol or drug addiction.

– Neglect: Emotional or physical

Teens can be thrown out of their house
– Parents feel the teen is disrespectful or does not follow rules.
– The parent does not agree with the teens choices with dating and sex.
– The parents cannot afford to take care of them anymore.

• Transitioning from foster care

It is often extremely difficult for teens in foster care. When they turn 18, they age out of the foster care system. They often have limited resources and nowhere to go. Without housing or money, many end up on the streets.

• Family money problems
Due to financial problems, some families become homeless. The teens can find themselves separated from their families. It’s usually due to lack of room or policies at shelters.

Once a teen becomes homeless, for any reason, it is much harder for them to get off the streets. Not only are there limited resources, the teens are usually unaware of what those resources are. They don’t know where to turn for help. That is why many turn to drugs, alcohol or prostitution. They find any means to survive or mask the pain of living on the street.

What Can We Do:

• Talk about it

Get the conversations started. Someone you talk to may have a resource or an idea. Be the voice for them. Make this a topic we are not afraid to discuss.

• Donate items

Call your local shelter or food pantry. They can give a list of what they need.
Some ideas are Jeans, shirts, socks, shoes, and food. Anything you think you would need, they need. Buy and extra can of food when you shop or clean out your closet (they will take clothes you don’t wear anymore).
They’re not looking for the latest trend; they just want items to help them survive.

• Take time to think about it

It’s probably hard to imagine being homeless if you haven’t experienced it. We can take simple things for granted, like having a warm, cozy bed to sleep in. Having food to eat every day. Having clothes to wear. If you have a home, be thankful for that and think about those who don’t.

• Give respect and kindness 

If you meet someone who is homeless, remember homelessness in not who they are. It is just the situation they are in. Give them a smile and a kind word.

• Find ways to help in your community 

We have signed up at DOSOMETHING.ORG. Their site is a great place for teens and young adults to get involved. We agreed to put flyers up around our city. The flyers have the number to the 24-hour-crisis line (1-800 – RUNAWAY). The idea is to post the flyers everywhere so a teen in need can easily find help.

• Share this post

Let’s bring light to this problem. Imagine if every person you share this post with buys and donates a can of food or a pair of socks. We will be donating an item of clothing for every share of this post. For every like or comment we will be donating a canned good to a shelter. So start clicking.

I cannot imagine what these teens and young adults go through. Every teen out there on the street is a person wanting to be loved and accepted. Wanting someone to care enough. They want to know they matter. They want the same things we all do.

You do matter. You are loved. You are not forgotten.

They deserve those things. They should be worrying about homework, dating, what movie to go see. Not about where to get their next meal, or if they will be warm enough tonight.

I want to thank the following organizations for their statistics, information and continued efforts.
Safehorizon
National Alliance to END HOMELESSNESS
DoSomething.org

“Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity”

        Teen Homelessness        Teen Homelessness

24-hour crisis line for anyone, any age,
in all situations and circumstances.
Free, confidential, and 100% anonymous

1-800-RUNAWAY / 1-800-786/2929
Info0/Text: info@1800RUNAWAY.org
Website: www.1800runaway.org

– NBL V –            – ttfn G –

What Dr. Seuss Can Teach Us About Equality

Dr. Seuss

Whenever I need direction in life, I turn to Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss always has answers.

This is what Dr. Seuss can teach us about equality.

 

Who here has read Horton Hears a Who? If you haven’t guessed, it is a Dr. Seuss book.
It is about Horton, a sweet and wise elephant. Horton recognizes the equal importance of all people!

In Horton Hears a Who, Dr. Seuss writes: “A person’s a person, no matter how small”.

We need to listen to Dr. Seuss. Every person is equal. Size, color, popularity, beliefs and differences do not change that every single one of us is a person. We are all equally important.

Thanks Horton.
Speak the truth Dr. Seuss. Speak it!

– ttfn G –

Dear Hope: Help Me Figure Out What I Am

Dear Hope,Dear Hope
I think I’m gay or straight or bi. The problem is I don’t know. It is really bothering me, because I’m 17 and should be able to figure out what I am. I’m attracted to girls, but I also feel feelings when I hang out with my best friend. What is wrong with me shouldn’t I just know what I like. Should I date girls? Boys? Or Both?
– Confused Male

Dear Confused Male,
Even though figuring yourself out can be tricky, you have time. You don’t need a label to determine who you like or who you are. Having feelings for both girls and boys is natural. Just be yourself. When you meet the right person, you will know you want to date them. Try not to let it bother you. Just be honest with yourself and follow your feelings. See where they take you.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

Dear Hope

Battles, Messes, and Delicious Cookies

Cookies

The day stared off as any normal day does, little did we know….

Everyone went about her business, went to work, played with the animals and checked on the blog.
Until…
This day was different. Drum roll please!

We decided to take on the crazy task of making cookies.

How hard could that be? How long would that take?

We’ve made cookies before so this should be a piece of cake …um…cookies. The cookies we were attempting to make (emphasis on attempting) Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies. We got the delicious idea and recipe from Graciellen.

Step 1: Get ingredients

Step 2: Mix ingredients

Step 3: Put cookies on tray and bake

Step 4: Eat Cookies –The best step

8pm – Start step 1Cookies

Get out the butter – check
Sugar – Check
Eggs – Check
Flour – Check Ok, here is where the problems started. I have a problem with food fights. Hey I’m a mom what can I say. My problem is I always start them. Yes, I admit I threw the first handful. Someone had to do it. Right?
We had flour everywhere. Our dogs kept coming in the kitchen and tracking flour all over the house. They were so cute! We couldn’t help laughing, but what a mess.

Cookies

9:10 – Finally starting step 2 after finishing the epic flour battle

As Gabriella mixed the cookies, I tried to clean up some of the flour. A huge job, so she started helping me. We kept stopping, being silly and laughing. We started laughing so hard we couldn’t move. You know when you laugh so hard you can’t breathe and you don’t even really know what’s so funny. If you told someone what you were laughing about, they would just give you that OK WHATEVER look. We would finally calm down then look at each other and crack up again.

10:30 – Step 3 Get the cookies on the tray

Sounds easy. But first we had left the butter out to long so it was too soft. Then the dough sat for too long and now it was too soft. Usually not a problem, but we needed to put an Oreo cookie inside. Not as easy to do when the dough is gooey and sticky. It’s hard to seal the cookie around the Oreo. The trick is to do it quick so your fingers don’t stick to the dough.Cookies

Tip: Don’t keep eating the dough if you are trying to get done and have actual cookies to eat.
But man was it tasty. We love Cookie Dough!

Finally! Ready for the oven.

10:55 – Time to bake.

We were going for round cookies. But because the dough was soft, we got one giant cookie with Oreo lumps in it. We couldn’t help but think, oh no, these do not look right. Again, had to laugh about that. Gabriella had the brilliant idea of just cutting them out. We used a round cookie cutter that fit perfectly over an Oreo and presto magic! We had round cookies.

Cookies

11:20- Step 4 Time to Eat

Yes definitely the best part! They were delicious! Somehow stuffing an Oreo inside of a cookie makes it even better. Having to cut them out wasn’t so bad either. The cookie pieces left over were pretty yummy.

Cookies

We recommend you try these out! Click to check out the recipe on Graciellen’s page.
They taste delicious and are a lot of fun to make!

– NBL V –

Top 6 Tips to Avoid Drama

Drama

Drama has a sneaky way of wiggling into too many situations. You may want to avoid the drama, but sometimes that is harder than it seems.

Drama shows up in all sorts of ways.
Jealousy.
Judgment.
Gossip and more.
No matter what it looks like, it is never pretty.

The Bad News: There will always be people in your life that are jealous. Talk behind your back. Or are just plain mean.

The Good News: There are things you can do to help avoid the drama.

Here are my top 6 tips to avoid drama:

1. Don’t be the drama starter.

Don’t gossip! Don’t judge others. Don’t be mean.

No one wants negative rumors started about them and no one wants to deal with catty rudeness. If you are trying to avoid that kind of negativity, then don’t be the one that who ? starts it.

Plus, you don’t always want to be known as the gossip or the drama starter.

2. Surround yourself with positive people.

Find friends that aren’t into the drama either.
Good friends are a great distraction from drama. Not only will you be surrounded by positive energy, you can help keep each other occupied.

3. Ignore it.

Don’t get involved!

This one sounds the easiest, but is probably the hardest to do. It is easy to get caught up in a juicy story. Gossip can be fun, but it can be very hurtful and untrue. Getting back at the haters is NEVER worth it. Haters feed off of spreading drama and bringing others down. Ignoring their negativity takes away their power. It keeps that negative energy out of your life.

4. Find ways to change the subject.

If people are doing things that you don’t agree with or don’t feel comfortable with, you don’t just have to go along with it. If you are uncomfortable with a conversation topic, just say something like: “I’m not super comfortable talking about that” and then move on. Or, subtly change the subject by saying something like: “Can we talk about something else? What’s your favorite song right now?” You can be subtle, and they can still get the hint to move on. Most people don’t want to be involved in drama, but they are afraid to get out of it. Take the lead and change where the conversation is going.

5. Be confident in who you are and how you feel.

Most times, drama starters are just jealous or insecure. Don’t change yourself to make them more comfortable. Continue to be confident in who you are. It will throw them off their game. Don’t agree with their negativity just because it seems easier. Try to ignore it or change the subject, but if all else fails, don’t be afraid to tell them you disagree. Stick up for yourself or your friends!

6. Don’t fight drama with drama.

Even if you didn’t start the drama, using drama tactics to get back at someone is just as bad. Plus, it never works. It is okay to stick up for yourself, but don’t be mean. Don’t let the haters get the best of you. You are better than drama. When you fight drama with drama, it only spreads more…you guessed it, DRAMA! You never win that way.

Try using these 6 tips and you will be sure to avoid drama

Everyone has dealt with drama. Comment below to share your story. Let us know how you have avoided drama or how you have helped a friend with theirs.

– ttfn G –

See What Happened When Fear Took Over

Fear

Everyone is going to pick a planet and do a report.
“Ooh I will pick Saturn,”
I said as my 7th grade science teacher was laying out the guidelines. I heard him say “report, posters and whatever else you wanted to add”.

I was actually excited and started right away (instead of my typical wait till the last-minute attitude). I went to the library to get the info I would need.

Yes, I actually needed to go to that building with the dusty books where they house ancient encyclopedias.

I was having fun making this project! I made a big model of Saturn with several posters to explain everything.

I was proud of myself for going the extra mile.
I brought my brilliant (yes, it was brilliant) project to school. I was ready for that A! My well-deserved A!

That was until the teacher said we would be presenting in front of the class.
Wait. Hold on, he never said that before. I wasn’t prepared for that.

I am SUPER shy! I felt there was no way I could speak in front of the class. I freaked out!

All I could think about was my fear.

I knew this panic was crazy. I knew it would be over in a few minutes. Somewhere deep down, my inner voice was trying to tell me I could do it, but nope, the fear won.

When the teacher called my name, I said that I didn’t do the project. Just like that I took a zero. I felt so stupid. How could I do all that work and take a zero? But I did.

What happened when fear took over?

I lost my A. I gave it over to fear.

When I think of fear, I always remember that day. I could have gone up and done it. Everyone else did. It was one tiny day in my whole life.
We always think those moments are the worst. We convince ourselves that we can’t get past that fear. Even if I would have gotten up to do my presentation and everyone laughed or I farted or whatever, WHO CARES!!!! That one day, that one minute, does not make who you are.
Why do we expect ourselves to be perfect?
I am still an incredibly shy person, but I am not going to let fear win.

Now when I feel fear creeping up, I turn up my inner voice.

tell myself WHY NOT, I AM CAPABLE , I TOTALLY GOT THIS!

FEAR

Face Everything And Rise

– NBL V –

Dear Hope: I Don’t Want to Drink

Dear Hope,Drink
My friends and I go out every weekend and we always end up at a party. We have a lot of fun, but my friends always drink. I don’t care if they drink, but I don’t want to. They don’t pressure me, but everyone else does. How can I go to parties, but not drink. I’m not going to drink, but I just want everyone to back off. What can I do?
– Sober

Dear Sober,
Getting everyone to back off can be difficult. Be proud of yourself for sticking to what you believe! You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but I understand it can be annoying to constantly explain yourself. Here are a few things, other than saying “I don’t drink” that you can try.

Let them know you are the designated driver.
– Your friends will probably be happy to know they have someone to get them home safely.

If they are all drinking out of plastic cups, fill one with soda and carry it around.
– Most people won’t ask what you are drinking. They will automatically assume what they want.

Say something like: “I’m having just as much fun as you without drinking. Come on, let’s go dance!”
– Show your friends you can have just as much fun without alcohol. Get the subject off of drinking and onto having fun. When everyone is having a good time, the focus won’t be on what you are drinking.

If you are uncomfortable at any time, you should leave and go home. No one should pressure you to drink or do anything you don’t want to do. Whether you are drinking or not, things can get crazy, so make sure to stay safe.

Thank you for being brave and sending in your question.

dear hope

Dear Hope Update: Embarrassed in the Shampoo Aisle

DEAR HOPE UPDATE:

Dateless, sent a letter in September telling Dear Hope how embarrassed she was when her crush found out she had dandruff. Check out her original letter. Dear Hope

Here’s an update from Dateless:

Dear Hope,
Thank you for the advice you were right about everything. I did need to try a few different shampoos, but I finally found the right one. Plus as a girl I didn’t want one that smelled too bad. I have to admit I was getting super frustrated, because I thought nothing would ever work. During that time I thought for sure I would never date, but my “crush” actually asked me out. I almost didn’t go out with him. I thought maybe he was just asking me out so he could make fun of me. But I thought about what you said and I went out with him. I can’t believe I freaked out so much, he was soooo boring and definitely not worth freaking out over. But it’s cool, I’m crushing over someone new now.
– FlakeFree

Dear Flake Free,

I’m so glad to hear you kept trying until you found the right shampoo. Everyone has different hair types. What works for one person may not work for another, but just like in life, if you keep trying you will eventually find what works.

Sorry about your crush being boring, but I am happy to hear that you did not give up on dating. Never let life’s little quirks get you down. Good luck with future dating.

Thanks for the update; it is always great to hear how things are going!

Always have HOPE!

Dear Hope

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