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All about me

After observing the critiques my classmates received during tech class, I decided to reinvent my slide. I started out by knowing that I wanted to keep the same picture as before, but I wanted the colors to be more eyecatching. So I enhanced the contrast of the slide, bringing out the bright colors. I then deleted the background color of the picture, making it white. After reading the Zen Presentation, I learned that colors such as black and white are good combinations for making something stand out, so I left the background white and since I wanted the text to stand out as well, I made it black. I realized that there was a lot of empty space because of the white, so I used a dark green (matches the plants in the picture) to fill it. This then created a good color combination.
For technology class, Ms. Hull wanted us to create a slide based off of our Coat of Arms from English class. The slide had to send a message, while also being pleasing and not too complicated to the viewer. The image above is the results.

I used a hand balled into a fist, surrounded by beauty because that is what I believe the drawing itself sends a powerful message just by looking at it. Originally, the image's contrast was super high, and because I wanted to give off a relaxed but inspirational feeling to the viewers, I used a cool dark blue tint color. I wanted the color scheme to be in close proximity with one another. I didn't want only the image to send a message, but the quote as well. As as shown, the main colors of this slide are blue, white and navy. The white is the color that stands out the most because it is the lightest in contrast to the others, so I chose to make the text this color in combination with sans serif font which makes the slide easy to read. The images/text are in that certain alignment in a diagonal point of view because that is where I want the viewers eyes to follow. The emptiness in the dark navy blue and supposed to help highlight the main focus of the slide. The size of the font is supposed to help the reader hub on the important parts of the slide. Because we usually read from left to right, it is only natural for the audience to see the picture that way in the beginning. First by seeing my name at the top, followed by a soft, grainy but empowering picture and left with an inspirational quote.

I personally learned a lot from this assignment. It is pretty difficult being a designer that is trying to catch the attention of millions. I also learned why some make the decisions they do and question why they do it. Not to mention it was pretty difficult for me to make a decisions on how I was going to convey my message to the audience.


Blog Post #2: The Story

The second part of my "You and the World" solely focuses on a story. This is the story that inspired me to pick this topic and help others see its importance too. It's my mom's story. She agreed to help me with my project because she knows above all how important it is for other people to hear about HPV, and to do what they have to do to protect themselves.
First I'm sharing research on safety when it comes to catching the virus.

I delved more into the ways you can protect yourself against genital HPV. This type of HPV is one of the more common kinds. Latex condoms are the most recommended form of protection against the infection, but not always effective because genital HPV can be spread through the entire region between your legs. Oral intercourse or skin to skin intercourse will easily transmit the virus and is clearly not the wisest move to make on a person with HPV whether you're male or female. Men can transmit HPV to women and never get affected, or other times it can develop into penal cancer or they can get genital warts. Women who obtain the virus are the one's who receive the most damage; the largest being the possibility of cervical cancer. Condoms are still the most reliable source of protection against catching the virus, but not 100%. 

Interview with my mom:

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All About Me (New Slide)

Hello my name is Nashay Day, in my Technology Class I was assigned to do a slide, after we were done we were critiqued by our peers and our instructor. I was never critiqued, however I did get an understanding of what I though a good slide looks like and hope this resembles it. I kept everything cohesive by using black and white images, with a white background. I also wanted to keep my original concept of of an effortlessly chic look because I feel that my sense of style is so eclectic that black and white was the only way that I could get it across without it looking tasteless and rushed. 
My Slide 2

January 23rd Class of 2013 Cap & Gown Fitting

The fitting is mandatory for all seniors in room 503.  If a student does not show up for his/her fitting time with the professionals we are not responsible for ill fitting gowns. Things all students need to know: 

  • his/her weight 
  • If they are wearing heels, if so whats the height of the shoe ie 2in etc..  
  • The fittings go really fast and I suggest each advisory lining up in alphabetical order by last name 5 minutes before their reservation ie Dunn get ready at 1:35 outside in the hall in front of my classroom.
Reservation Times
Dunda     1:20
Dunn       1:40
Herman   2:00
Reddy      2:20
Sanchez  2:40
Siswick    3:00
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Hunger and Homelessness: A World-Wide Epidemic

According to the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness,  the national poverty rate in America has increased to 13.2% of the population in the last year, and 3.5 million people are forced to sleep the streets every night. According to a study by the U.N, nearly 1 billion people on this planet are chronically hungry. And the substantial infamy is that the world produces more than enough food for every individual in the world. As I search more in depth for a panacea to this epidemic, I try to not only research, but to go out into the world and get my own original data.

​*The homeless are left hungry and vulnerable to beg on the streets. 

Upon examining more into the pandemic of hunger and homelessness, I went out into the world, into the Science leadership environment, and on Facebook to ask people  thought provoking questions about their awareness of world hunger and homelessness. Based on a survey of 54 people, 39% have claim that they have been homeless in one point of their lives. Also, 32% say that they know someone who eats only one meal a day. 

Here is a link if you want to view my survey: 

one meal
* Lunch at school may be some children's only meal of the day.

Knowing that we live in the United States, I find that these statistics are slightly mind-boggling. The the United States has a GDP of approximately 15.3 trillion dollars which is the highest in the world, but yet out of 54 people, already 39% say that they were homeless and 32% claim they only eat one meal a day. If you put that on a grander scale, 672,000 are homeless in America currently and 6.7 million people suffer from food insecurity. Although the rate of homelessness has decreased, which is substantial progress, people are still going to bed each night hungry. Or they might not even have a bed. 

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 12.22.43 AM
* While many people enjoy regular family meals in the comfort of their homes, some face food insecurity.

An other major predicament is the amount of food we waste each year. I inquired in my survey if anyone has ever wasted food, and 81% said they did. According to The Charity Sub, the United States throws away 96 billion pounds of food each year. That is enough to feed the the whole state of New York, for three years! I believe our problem is that we have the resources to tackle this obstacle, but we just don’t know how to use them. 

In my survey, I also questioned peoples’ opinion on whether or not they thought homelessness and hunger was an epidemic. More than 80% agreed and 91% of the people said that these conditions are common in their neighborhood. 

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* Demographics of my survey 

I am seeking further advice from an organization, Bread for the World. Bread is a 501(c)4  Christian organization that presses our nation’s government to put an end to hunger in this country. I am corresponding two of their representatives, Jon Gromek, the   Central Regional Organizer and Larry Hollar, the Senior Regional Organizer. Upon motioning through the interviewing process, they are away in Washington D.C. until Monday, January 21. You will hear from them in my final blog post with their response to   these crucial affairs. But the Senior Regional Organizer has responded back to me with an urgent plea to call our Congress members to urge them to continue to fund programs  that address hunger and poverty before the fiscal cliff negotiations are made soon. If you would like to participate here is a link for information on how to inform our congress: Call Congressmen Bob Casey, Pat Toomey, and Chaka Fatah and tell them to pass a deal that includes protection to essential programs to hungry and poor people in the U.S. and around the world. 

Poverty is an undeviating cause of hunger and homelessness. Hopefully, through tackling the problem of poverty we can confront it these epidemics that are impairing people all around the world. Please urge your congress to fund programs that aid poverty before the fiscal cliff negotiations are finalized. 

homeless sign

Here's a link to my bibliography: 

Here's a video about hunger and food insecurity:
Here's a video about homelessness in America:

These people are calling out for our help!


YATW 2.0

“After all, the American Dream doesn’t just belong to some of us. It belongs to all of us.”  Antonio R. Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles and the former president of the US Conference of Mayors says in an editorial.

Hi everybody! I’m back again with some new and improved information about immigration. If you haven’t read my first blog post yet, here it is. Basically what’s going on is this awesome project in Ms. Dunn’s English class called “You and the World”. This is a project during which students choose a topic/idea in the world that is important them; then, the students conduct research through interviews, surveys, news sites, and newspapers. A lot has changed in the world of immigration in the past few months, but first we’ll talk about some perspectives on immigration reform.
​The image above shows the anual growth of residents in various countries. Evidently, the US gains more and more people each year.

I have touched on this matter slightly in the past, nevertheless, I wish to discuss it some more right now. Barack Obama wants to grant citizenship to the illegal immigrants already present in the US. Then, he plans on securing our borders (security forces, walls, etc.) so that we can retard the rapid flow of immigrants into our nation. Evidently, there are people that disagree with Obama; one of those people is Senator Marco Rubio, from Florida. "Here's how I envision it, they would have to come forward. They would have to undergo a background check. … They would have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, maybe even do community service. They would have to prove they've been here for an extended period of time. They understand some English and are assimilated. Then, most of them would get legal status and be allowed to stay in this country." He told the Wall Street Journal. Clearly these two opinions differ in many ways. Obama thinks that we should grant citizenship to those already here (though he doesn’t actually specify how) whereas Rubio expects much more out of the immigrants in order to make them a part of this country. Nevertheless, there are still many sides to the never ending debate over immigration. Another side to this debate is that of my older brother, Ilya Friedman. He thinks that there we should keep our doors wide open to new citizens. In his opinion, our country thrives on new people joining our communities, workforces, and country. Many people think that these immigrants are taking away our labor work, but Friedman begs to differ. He says that those immigrants that make their way into the US are ready to work hard in order survive here. There is nothing wrong with that and we shouldn’t scold them for wanting to work. This is excluding people who work but do not pay taxes; Friedman understands that individuals who don’t pay taxes have earned repercussion.

Millions upon millions of people wish to live or work in the US; sadly, most of those people have trouble becoming legal citizens for reasons including, but not limited to, lack of experience, inability to speak English, or criminal records. However, many different kinds of visas and green cards exist for all different types of individuals. Unfortunately, there are far too many to name here and now, but if you want to learn some more about these green cards and visas, you can visit this informational immigration website.
This image clearly shows that we, Americans apparently don’t want any more immigrants, yet the fact of the matter is that it is so easy to have nothing in the US and still be able to survive!

So, what’s really been happening with immigration in the US? Nothing. Seriously, I’ve told you about what people have been discussing, but that’s as far as they’ve gotten so far. If you want to read about some more discussions, feel free to Google some news articles.


YATW: Blog #2

Hey everyone this is Isabella Blackwell. Welcome to my second post of my “You and the World” blog. If you didn’t read my first blog, check it out here. What I wanted to look deeper into & focus on for my 2nd blog post was how kids and parents deal with having special needs & attention. I decided to reach out and actually talk to a representative who works with these kids (& volunteers) to see what life is really like for people in that situation. I talked to someone named “John” from the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. 

Q: What exactly do you do?

A: I pretty much do whatever Linda (Director of Volunteers) tells me needs to be done. I help out with the kids, & make sure everything is in order. 

Q: What types of support does the Ronald McDonald House provide for both the kids & parents? 

A: Its a home away from home where generally, it puts the parents at ease knowing that they have a nice warm bed to go to at night while the children are in the hospital. It’s just a friendly environment for them to stay at, and not really have to worry about anything else. 

Q: How do the kids cope with their environment at the hospital?

A: The kids cope with the environment very well actually. They don’t really see it as a place where they get better, more as where they go for a vacation. They think of it as just somewhere to have fun with the other kids that stay there. 

Q: How do the parents deal with leaving their kids at the hospital?

A: The parents deal with leaving their kids at the hospital feeling fine. They know that their child is getting better. 

Q: When you volunteer, what do you think that high school students like me take away from it most?

A: They probably take away the fact that they can play with the other kids. They learn that kids who have cancer or whatever the disease they have is aren’t really different than them, but the same in many ways. 

Q: Do the volunteers actually get to talk to the kids and their families?

A: The volunteers do get to talk to the kids and parents, but there are some guidelines they have to follow. They aren’t allowed to pick up a child at all. So they are allowed to talk to them, but they can’t get on a very friendly basis because it would turn into a liability issue. 

I took a lot out of this phone conversation. It made me think about how patients and just regular students live the same. They all have goals, & like to do the same things. Just like our parents are supportive of our goals, the parents of these patients are the same about their child’s growth and recovery. Overall, I enjoyed learning more about the different ways people live. 

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Human Trafficking


In my previous blog post I gave a general sense of where human trafficking takes place in the U.S. Also I gave some statistics. The difference between the last blog post and this one is I went out and did original research. My research was an interview about a book. This book is about human trafficking. Even though the book is about countries across the world it still fit in with the topic. On top of the interview I did more research on human trafficking in the United States. 
Human trafficking that is a big issue but many people don’t call attention to it. What is human trafficking? Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery. Girls and boys, starting at the age of twelve, are forced into this “industry” involving selling their bodies against their own will. These traffickers, also known as pimps, use violence, tell lies, make threats and false promises, and other power/control to keep the victims involved. Human trafficking has been found in a vast variety of venues. These venues include residential brothels, hostess clubs, escort services, fake massage businesses, strip clubs, and street prostitution. 

This “industry” is world wide. I interviewed two seniors about the book/movement Half the Sky, Katherine Hatzidais and Catherine Nardone. This book is broken up into different stories about girls apart of sex trafficking. This was not their choice they were forced. Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It teaches about girls in different countries and what they are forced to do, sometimes by their parents. It talks about the movement and they help they provided young women. The movement was created because of inspiration of the book. Not only is the movement supposed to raise awareness but also provide steps to help these women fight against human trafficking and empower women. 

for sale
The interview went very well. Many questions were asked such as if Katherine and Catherine enjoyed the book, why or why not. Katherine. said “  It was biased. The information provided was very repetitive and it singled certain people out. Made the people who tried to help the girls seem like the bad guys. This is because they don't have the equipment to help these women. Also she felt as though the book wasn’t mature. It was very factual. Lastly, it needing to be a little more transparent.” Catherine agreed with Katherine. She added, “ Seem as though the authors were doing a good deed in a negative way. Also the stories were very repetitive.” 

Another question was what they learned. Katherine learned about not getting involved. Women aren’t allowed to go to school pushing them towards being in brothels. Catherine learned the authorities were in the pockets of the brothel owners. Also if the women had children they would take them away. Lastly, it’s safer to have a baby in Ireland than here. One question asked if the book effective? Catherine said, “The stories aren’t boring but they get old. You want it to stop. Stories don’t make you feel any better.” She liked the documentary and felt moved by it. Wasn’t moving enough to make her want to go and change the people. Katherine felt statistics were more effective. The stories were readable like an editorial. She liked it but thought there needed to be more to it. 
Human trafficking happens all over the world. More awareness needs to be brought to the topic. This is a big issue and people need to take a stand on it. It's not right and it needs to stop.
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Environmental Education Worldwide with Tatiana Shakirova

In my last major post, I went over the environmental situation our race’s communal greed, stubbornness, and ignorance has placed us in. Shifting climates, species going extinct, melting icecaps. Heavy stuff. These world-wide dangers we face are certainly no laughing matter, and yet the answer seems laughably clear. Considering this is an issue of ignorance, it seems clear that we should fight it with education. Education is, in essence, the engine with which change comes about in the world. An ignorant nation is a stagnant nation. An ignorant world is an unchanging world. After all, it’s very hard to fix a problem without knowing about it. So to that end, considering I am not very well educated about environmental education, I found someone who was. On a recent visit to the UK, I struck up a conversation that eventually found its way to the ethics of environmentalism, while admiring a victorian-era toilet in the Sherlock Holmes Museum, in London. The woman I was speaking with, Tatiana Shakirova, happened to be the Manager of Education for the Sustainable Development Program, for the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia, or CAREC. Later, I had a chance to conduct a short Interview with Tatiana via email about the importance of environmental education. 

The interview went as follows:

Q: What is your position within The Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia?

A: Manager of Education for Sustainable Development Programme

Q: What inspired you to enter the field of environmental education?

A: My own education and the level of pollution of my country and in my city.

Q: What is the status of environmental education in Central Asia? How widespread is it, and how is it incorporated into standard education?

A: You will find more information at the CAREC web-site:

Q: At what age is environmental education introduced into standard education in Kazakhstan?

A: We have a mandatory course “Ecology & Sustainable Development” in Kazakhstan for bachelors of all specialties [majors] of all Kazakh universities.

Q: How does CAREC approach environmental education, and what individual issues are considered most important to teach to students?

A: You will find more information at the CAREC web-site:

Q: Do you believe the world as a whole can benefit from widespread environmental education?

A: I do believe. I do not have any other choice, otherwise I should leave my job! 

Unfortunately, Ms. Shakirova was leaving for vacation at the time of writing this, but kindly took a moment to give her opinion. Despite the brief nature of the interview, Tatiana’s passion for environmental education, and the personal nature of her cause resonates after reading her responses. Pollution and climate change should be a personal matter to all of us. Every one of us can see the pollution that litters our grounds, darkens our skies and infects our waters. We can feel the erratic and dangerous weather changes. And so what do we do? According to Tatiana and the CAREC website, we spread the word. Apart from the mandatory Ecology & Sustainable Development course Tatiana mentioned, CAREC has organized educational lectures and courses for government officials from all over the central asian region, as well as many other programs for students. These are patterns we in the U.S. should be following. Unfortunately we’re are far from widespread mandatory environmental education. Courses stateside remain optional, obscure and poorly funded, but more on that next time. 

Environmentally yours,


For earlier posts, images and a prettier layout, click here. 

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Entry #2 — Including Technology


In my previous blog post, I talked about how music education is important in schools and how music technology can facilitate it. It was based on research I did online and my own opinions. However, since then, I have done my own individual research, in the form of a survey. In that survey, I found that, out of the 53 responses, most of the respondents were male. That made sense, as my dad sent this out to some musicians and an illustrator group, most of whom were male. In addition, most respondents were either 13-18 years old or 41-50 years old. This was expected, too, as I sent this out to fellow students, and most of my dad's friends were around his age and in their forties. As expected, most respondents were from the United States, but surprisingly, people responded from Germany to England and even Singapore! Also, an unexpected number of people with graduate degrees responded.

However, that part was relatively unimportant. The important parts were the questions about music education. Most respondents or their children were involved in a local school district, which was relatively unexpected but probably would be easily explainable when you look at the fact that children are included in the question. A surprising number of respondents played a musical instrument, which may have been skewed. When respondents were asked how important music was to them, 79% put an 8, 9, or 10, showing that most thought it was important. However, even more thought education was important, as 96% put an 8, 9, or 10 when asked how important education was to them. However, when asked about music education as a whole, the results were a bit more spread out. There were a good number of 5, 6, and 7s (28%). That shows that music and education were both important to people, but music education as a whole less so. Then, when asked about donations, people responded with everything from "No." to "$200".

There were two respondents, however, that provided a counter to what I was saying. Both said that using technology should be second to learning a traditional instrument. To tell the truth, I disagree. There are a few reasons for this. The first is because of schools' budgets. A piano can cost anywhere from $4900 to over $10,000; however, twenty cheap MIDI keyboards and a group license to a piece of music software can cost anything from $780 (Garageband), $1800 (Ableton Live) and $2600 (Logic Pro). As you can see, it's usually cheaper. In addition, space can be an issue; small MIDI keyboards usually take up two square feet each, but a guitar takes up a much larger space. Finally, they can be easier to teach with, as each kid can have an affordable "mini-piano" which can make any sound you like, instead of one large piano which students would have to take turns using.

chart_1 (1)

Over the next month or two, I am going to be contacting the school district, asking them about my plan, and contacting companies like Ableton to ask them about discounts. Hopefully I can somehow set something up to bring music education and technology into schools, however slowly this may take. I plan to start in schools that I know will benefit from this, like my former school, Cook-Wissahickon Elementary. They already have a music program starting up, and integrating this technology into the program would be beneficial to it. From there, I'd like to expand the program into other schools across the city. I won't be finished by the time the next blog post rolls around, but I sure will have gotten it started!

Click the images to go to their respective websites.


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Every Animal Deserves a Home... Part 2

As said before in my previous post, my name is Ava and I am a teenage girl from Science Leadership Academy striving to make a difference in the world of animals. I believe anyone can make a difference, no matter how small of a voice they start out with, and that’s what I’m hoping I can do through this project... Make a difference.

With the start of a new year, there’s a new hope for animals across America. 2012 was an increasingly better year for the animals, and there have been many adoptions. Many shelters and organizations helped in the time of need when animals yearned for care during the stressful event of Hurricane Sandy. 

Hurricane Sandy was a devastating time for both humans and animals alike. Although according to the ASPCA, there were 129 happy pets that were reconnected with their owners.

In addition to the good news, an article published in December of last year talked about how more and more shelters are becoming no-kill. When a shelter becomes no-kill, they need to have a large amount of help in the process because it’s very difficult to have a successful shelter that doesn’t euthanize animals. In one shelter alone there can be hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers work at the shelter to help take care of the animals, but they do not get paid. Much of the success of the no-kill shelters is because of the wonderful volunteers who devote time out of their personal lives to go out and help the cuddly creatures!

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 4.16.54 PM
Click picture to be lead to site.

Through a recent survey I created, I asked several simple questions. Almost 70 people filled out the survey! I wanted to know if people had ever adopted a pet from a shelter, if they believed that animals deserved better care in shelters, and if they had ever been to a shelter. Most of the results surprised me. I didn’t expect as many people to say that they had adopted an animal before. It also surprised me that almost half of the people that filled out the survey had never been to an animal shelter.

Screen Shot 2013-01-21 at 10.10.35 PM

Click the picture and scroll all the way down for a bigger copy.

I believe that through this survey, I have learned that it would be in my best interest to educate more people about the shelters along with encouraging them to take a brief tour of one.

Through the research I’ve recently done, I think that my opinion is not as biased. Although I do believe that many shelters have terrible conditions, my opinion has shifted and I now reassuringly know that there are many people out there who do care about the animals and are willing to do almost anything to help them.

I’ve started volunteering at an animal shelter, and so far, the experience has been amazing! Every week I go to the shelter and walk the dogs there. It’s a great feeling to get to know some of the dog’s personalities, but also a little sad to see them go if they get adopted. I know it’s better for them that they have a home, so I’m glad to see them leave for a better life. Below is the logo of the animal shelter I volunteer at.


Click the picture for more information.

For another section to this project, I plan on collecting old towels. Shelters use towels for many things, and when they wear down, the shelter needs new ones. Collecting towels would benefit the animals there, and the shelter would have one less thing to take care of. 

We are their voice. Let us be heard.

To view my first post, please click here.

Click here for my bibliography.
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You and the World #2

Hello. This is the second post in my You and the World project. To look at the first one, click here. I feel the information I have gathered since my last post has been very valuable. Homelessness is a problem that reaches into many different sections of life. A Philadelphia man has been taking pictures of the homeless and talking about them on the internet. To look at the website click here. What this man is doing is really important. How many times have you passed by a homeless person in the street and just ignored them? I have done it too many times to count.

One homeless man, Lemuel, who was quoted on the site was talking about how he is homeless and people ignore him when he asks for money, but then there are people who ask him for change so they can pay the meter to park. I think this reveals the real problem. People are so self-centered that they do not realize the needs of others. When someone needs to pay the meter to park their car, that is all they think about. When they see someone with change they think “Oh, problem solved!” even if they are homeless. We all need to think beyond our own want and needs and think about this community as a whole. To back this up further, I would like to bring up my survey. I did a survey for this project to see how aware people were about the poverty and homelessness that surrounds them. Look at the graph on the right to see the results.chart_1 There were more people that got things wrong but the results were close to even in terms of how many people got questions wrong versus how many people got questions right. Most of the time when someone got a question wrong they thought there was more poverty. This leads me to believe that it is not a problem of awareness, but a problem of caring. Many people know about the poverty problem in Philadelphia but it seems that they shrug it off. I decided to volunteer at a homeless shelter in order to alleviate the amount of people who are hungry and homeless. However, through this whole experience it has become clear to me that this is not enough. I urge people to volunteer at homeless shelters (here is a list of homeless shelters), but also pay attention to what is going on outside on the streets. Homeless people who either choose not to go to homeless shelters for whatever reason or who cannot get into shelters are left out in the cold. We need to take care of them to. We ignore homeless people on the street often. At least most people I see do. I think that the first step to end the homelessness abundance is to recognize that there are homeless people. We should stop averting our eyes when we see a homeless person but look at them in the eye. If they are asking for change stop and say sorry I do not have any as oppose to ignoring them. I have realized all the wrong things I was doing and I am starting to make a change. There are some homeless people like Lemuel, who had a bad habit and now need help rehabilitating. I bet that being homeless does not help in this process. I think for the sake of homeless people, and even for our sake we need to end the over abundance of homeless people.
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I Don't Understand

Finally something I was good at I thought to myself, the mile run. It was mid October the air was crisp and the leaves were beginning to fall. Not too cold and not to hot, perfect. Fourth grade me thought I was the best of everything so I was pumped. All 27 of us lined up on the middle school track, we began to run and each lap we finished we got a popsicle stick and after we got our 4th we were finished. I was the fastest girl in the class with a time of 8 minutes and 22 seconds. I was so happy with myself, I felt like I had to prove something to everyone since I was still considered “the new girl”. 

After everyone was finished all of the boys congratulated me and gave me a high-five. As we were walking back to the school me and my classmate Rod started a conversation. 

“What sports do you play?” Rod asked.

“Soccer” I responded. I was scared that he was going to ask what team he played for next, Ohhh there it is.. 

“What team do you play for?” Rod asked. He had a look on his face that showed he was really interested in knowing. 

“Sadly, none right now, since my family and I just moved here a few months ago, but I’m really hoping to get one one soon.” I replied. 

“Family?” he asked looking a bit confused. 

“Yes, family” I said, What was he talking about? This is why I don’t like meeting new people! I thought to myself again.

 “Why do you say family with the AAAA sound like “Amber” and not like “Apple” Rod asked. 

“I have no idea, thats just how I grew up...”

I didn’t really have an explanation for him since I grew up talking like this. He speeded up ahead of me and as he was walking farther and farther away I heard him keep repeating the way I said family over again until he was so far ahead that it faded. I was afraid that people would make fun of me because they said 1 single, 6 letter word differently then me. What was the big deal I asked myself over and over in my head. That night when I got home I told my mom what happened. She grew up in Michigan so when she moved to Philly she had many of these encounters. Me and my sister began to ask her how she said certain things. 

“Mom how do you say soda?” my sister and I said in sync. 

“Pop” my mom answered. She was a little annoyed because we always asked her this and then laughed. 

“Why do you call it that? Its so weird and annoying. What happens when you first moved here and needed to order a drink?” We asked. 

She stopped answering us because there was nothing else she could say except for thats how she learned and how she grew up. In the short story, “Hunger of Memory”, Richard Rodriguez explains what happened the first time he heard his name pronounced in English. “The nun said, in a friendly but oddly impersonal voice, ‘Boys and girls this is Richard Rodriguez.’ The nun didn’t say his name like anyone he had heard before, she said it the American way, which he was not used to. Richard didn’t seem upset or mad that she said his name like this, it was more of a cultural shock, something he wasn’t used to.

When we hear something that may or may not be the way you know it, our immediate reaction is to judge, and ask them about it. Though, in reality nobody says everything the same as anyone else.