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You and the World Part 2-Public Education

Hello again.  My name is Jason Greene and I am 9th grader at Science Leadership Academy.  In English class we are doing a project called You And The World.  During this project we have to find a issue we are passionate about then go into the world and try to fix it.  My issue is Public Education in the city of Philadelphia.  This is my second blog post.  To read my first blog post click here.  In my first blog post I introduced my issue and how it is one of the biggest problems facing the city today.  I also talked about how there was a lack of funding for public schools.

Science Leadership Academy-Public school

For my original research I decided to do make a online survey.  I wanted to find out if the people taking the survey had special classes while in middle-school.  I also wanted to find out if there were cuts while they were attending the school.  I got lots of good responses back.  Almost all the people who responded said that they went to middle-school in Philadelphia in the past few years.  Most if not all of them said while they were there that the school made cuts that hurt their learning and safety. Some of these positions were Teachers, Counselors, Secretaries and Lunchtime aids.  All of these positions are very important.  If you don't have enough teachers than you have to put more students in each class.  If you don't have any lunchtime aids there will be no one to watch the kids while at lunch.  The results I got really informed me on my issue because now I knew that the budget cuts of the school district just did not affect me but also my friends.

While most of the people who filled out my survey did have special classes like art and music…

Does/Did your middle-school offer...

Art               6  22%

Music/Band  5  19%

Computers   6   22%

Gym            5   19%

Health          5   19%

Over the past few years there have been lots of layoffs.

Over the past few years did your middle-school cut any of these positions?

Guidance counselor












Lunchtime Aids



Now that I got my results I believe even more that this has to change.  The change has to happen now.  It is not fair for kids not to be able to get the best education they can get.  They can not get that without simple things like teachers and counselors.  As I was doing my research I started to wonder how many schools in Philadelphia were shut down and how many students had to be relocated because of that?

The next part of this project is called Agent of Change.  This is when go out into the real world and I go volunteer somewhere and try to have an impact on my issue.  As I said in my last blog post I will be going to my old school, J.S Jenks.  J.S Jenks have been badly hurt by the recent budget cuts.  My sister still goes there and she told me that they don't even have an art teacher anymore, that a dad that used to be an artist now comes in 2 times a week and teacher classes.  When I volunteer at the school I want to help out in a 6th, or 8th grade classroom.  I think I will have a big impact when I come because I the school needs as much as it can get. When I am at the school volunteering I hope to help the teachers in anyway I can if that means making copies or help teach the lesson I will try my best.

Seal of J.S Jenks

Stay tuned for part 3!

My bibliography.


You and the World Project - Blog #2 - Teens and Technology

Hi! My name is Katarina Backo and I am a ninth grader at Science Leadership Academy. I am doing a project for my English class about an issue that concerns
me, and I have to write three blogs about it. Here is the
link to my first blog and this is my second blog in this series. My issue involves play time, and how technology impacts
children’s activity and therefore their lives. I am an artistic, athletic person connected with my family and happy about it. I wish that everybody could have the happiness I have, but I think that wrong use of technology prevents that. Hope you’ll enjoy reading my ideas.

In my previous blog my focus was on balance (“I love technology as well, but I think that everything should be balanced.”-Blog #1). My concern was that nowaday teens will choose to play with technology rather than going outside to play. In the meantime I continued with all my activities and still didn’t notice new teens making use of abundant free teen programs that exist in Philadelphia. Besides working on this project I have had the opportunity and luck to do a research on how technology affects people for my technology class. For my Science Fair Project I have decided to dig deeper into how teens tell time and that helped me understand how I could resolve my issue. Finally my original research opened new questions.

The movie "Digital Nation" I watched in technology class, in my eyes was about the balance I spoke about which is pushed to technology side, meaning that we are forgetting the real world we live in. It also brought a good argument about multitasking and why is it actually bad. People are so crazy about the virtual world that they are losing the sense to tell the difference between virtual and real. Even if you think that you are good at multitasking it is wrong because multitasking makes you lose your focus.

I have also studied the term "digital native" (CNN article defines this term more closely) - a person born when digital technology was around, so they can learn about technology at the age they learn how to speak. That is exactly what today's teens are, and that is where my issue starts, growing up as technology grows. This is not necessarily bad, technology is meant to enhance our lives, but yet again I see the need for balance.

Working on my Science Fair Project I have unexpectedly run into one possible, maybe obvious solution for my issue. For Science Fair Project I wanted to check the saying “time flies when you are having fun”. My experiment was to engage my classmates into activities and see how well they can tell time spent on their activities. I gave a Rubic’s Cube to my friend who is using technology all the time. He was focused on the cube for about 7 minutes and then I stopped him. He wanted to continue, because he was not even close to solving it. When I asked him if he liked solving it, he said he loved it, but he thought that he spent a whole hour trying. His focus was amazing, even though technology is said to ruin the ability to focus and strengthen the wish to multitask. I expected to hear that the time flew for him, but I got the total opposite. As usual, when you get too many results that you didn’t expect, new ideas are born. It might have been obvious from my current point of view, but I didn’t think before that in order to resolve my issue I just have to find the way to get my fellow teens interested in activities that do not include technology.

Having everything sorted out, I wanted to check what activities other teens are involved in. For my original research, I recently made a survey which you can access here. It asked people about technology they use and how much they use it. I also asked about extracurricular activities and sports.

20 people took my survey and 19 of them were teenagers. Everyone is using technology in some way:

Do you have an electronic device?

Every person that filled up my survey said that both, they and their families, have electronic devices. The two most common ones were cell phones and laptops. That is what I expected. However, I found out something that I did not expect and that made me revisit my original hypotheses. I expected to have more people say that they do not play sports and don’t engage in extracurricular activities. That was not the case. 95% of people said that they engage in activities not related to school and technology. Out of those 95%, 50% said that they play sports, while others said that they both play sports and engage in other activities.

Do you play any sports?

Then if people do all these activities, maybe our ways were not ruined with technology, just overwhelmed. Is my sample representative? If yes, is Philadelphia that big that I did not notice that most people play sports and do extracurricular activities? Or did I accidentally get all the people that play sports to take my survey, or maybe the activities I am involved in are not well advertised? I still have to search deeper to find the answer I am looking for.

I can conclude that technology is not something stopping us from being as active as other generations before us. It is only the way we use it to help our way of living. In terms of technology, right now we are stuck between the past and the future.

To read my Annotated Bibliography, please click here.   


Education for kids with autism #2


Welcome back to my second YATW blog. For those that don't know me my name is Daouda Njie. In our English class we were assigned to choose a cause we thought was important and write about it. For my cause I choose to write about if the school districts were doing everything they could to help kids with Autism prosper. In my first blog post I learned that kids with autism tend to not do so well since they have trouble socializing but classes are offered by the school district to help the children out.

Since my first blog post I have learned that Autism might be hereditary and that once you have had a child with Autism it is 5% more likely your other child will have Autism. Also that if a twin shows signs of autism its a 90% chance that the other twin also has autism. There are therapy sessions for kids with autism some like PRT, VB, DTT, and ABA which stands for applied behavioral analysis.  ABA helps with communication, academic, self care, and more. This is just one of the options but since every child is different the therapy sessions all differ.

Here are some of the recent websites I have looked at:

For my original research I interviewed a student at SLA that has Autism and also a special ed professor from Penn that studies people with autism. The SLA student said that Autism does affect him when it comes to socializing in school but he has gotten better. I also learned that here at SLA they offer him studies skills which allows him to stay focused and get his work done. He also stated that his family supports him by having him take therapy sessions that help him better understand facial expressions and tones.Screenshot 2014-03-03 at 8.07.26 AM.png

Here is some of the professor responses from my questions  I thought it was surprising when she told me that when communicating autistic kids speak literal. I can tell this might be a challenge in school because if they are interacting with anyone in school they may not understand how to respond to a person.This interview helped me in my research because she gave more of an image of how autistic kids act.

This research made me see how just because a child has autism doesn't mean they can't get the best of their education. The student I interviewed even said that his autism doesn't affect him that much anymore. It is because of the programs schools offer. The original research also helped me with the understanding of Autism because the interview with the student with autism allowed me to understand just what exactly it feels like to have autism and still communicate and interact with people. It gave me a better feel of some of the challenges they face.

Now that i'm am done my research I have realized that autism is occurring more often and that people need to become more aware so that even if a child is born with autism they can grow up and not be affected at all. I want to know what are other things people in an autistic child's life can do to help them fit in because even if the schools give the a good education it doesn't help if they are all by themselves.For my agent of change I think I would like to volunteer somewhere that works with kids with autism or if that is not possible present a slideshow about raising awareness of autism and how a person can help them just by talking to them.Thank you for reading and be sure to look out for my third blog post have a nice day.

To view my annotated bibliography click here

Here is my interview with Ian fay a student who has autism.

Daouda's video YATW interview

Syria: The Struggle Continues and the Hope Seems Lost

Hello, my name is Gabrielle Kreidie. I am a ninth grader at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. If you had read my Blog Post #1, I am doing a project on refugees, focusing on Syria. For the past three years, there has been a conflict unfolding, a conflict that has killed nearly half a million people. This conflict is called the Syrian Civil War. The people of Syria have been rebelling against their government controlled by the brutal, President Bashar Al Assad. This has resolved in endless deaths, homes burnt to the ground, small supply of food and water, and a refugee crisis that is scaring everyone.

Since my last blog post, there has been a lot that has changed in Syria. There is now Cases of Polio becoming aware in a country where vaccinations are nearly impossible to receive. The refugee crisis in Syria is NOW the worst refugee crisis since World War Two. Out of all the genocides and wars in the past seventy years, Syria has now made the top of people having to leave their homes than any other. Not only have 2.5 million people become refugees in Syria but an additional six million have become refugees in their own country. This means six million Syrians who have left their homes, either from random attacks or destroyed homes, taking refuge in other places in Syria.


There have been many new articles I have found in the past three months since my last blog post. Check them out on my Annotated Bibliography. Stories have been pulling into the internet as the world starts to get the real sense of the struggle of the Syrian people. I wanted to go deeper though, than what the media portrays. I wanted the complete picture of the Syrian people. That is why I conducted two interviews. One Interview with Marwan Kreidie, a Middle Eastern studies professor at Villanova University and a Lebanese-American, who just so happens to be my father. The other Interview with Chukri Korchid, a Syrian-Ameircan businessman who is head of the Al-Aqsa school. The way these two men described the sickening details of the lives of refugees in Syria and in neighboring countries. The truth came out, and I must say it was not one to be proud of.


Al Assad is a horrible person. I think we can all put that behind us, he is killing his own people and no one from the international community is really stepping up to the plate and helping the horrified Syrians. Surely it does not help that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the strongest ally of Bashar Al Assad’s Regime, which makes the US almost scared to strike Syria. This is what gets me damaged as a US citizen myself. Why is Obama and Congress not striking Syria? I do not know why these politicians believe that watching innocent people die is not our problem. Look I am no patriot, I do NOT believe that the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth- honestly we do horrible stuff all over the world. That’s not the point, however, we are the most powerful country in the world. We have the largest military compared to the next ten largest militaries combined. We have large allies that will stick by us all the time, England, France. We have the power and resources to strike Al Assad’s regime, yet we do not do it. We claim that we promote freedom to all yet we are one of reasons why twenty two million Syrians are in suffering. Just because we are scared doesn’t give us a reason to step out of the picture. As Mr. Korchid said: “We missed out on the opportunity to change it (to end the Civil War in the beginning of the fighting). In Libya we didn’t care if we threw in a missile.”  

As long as the US does not jump in and start helping, the CIA is projecting that this war will go on for another decade. That’s a very long time. I’m disappointed on how the international community is handling this. The United Nations tried to do a conference, in hopes of promoting peace for all sides. That did not turn out so well, and I’ll tell you why. Mr. Kreidie states, ”We (the United States of America) are too eager in playing our regional games there. To solve this conflict we need all people in, we had this peace talk that did not go well. Iran and Hezbollah should we brought in, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia- they are all involved. Iran is supporting AL Assad, Saudi Arabia rebels. This shouldn’t have to be on who is the US enemy or ally- the conflict is in Syria, everyone needs to be involved.” That’s just it, this is not a US issue, we are barely participating yet we want to take control of the conference. Every single person needs to get involved in this conflict. We need everyone to promote peace.


For my next step in this project I have to come up with a way to change this issue, one way or another. Since Syria is halfway across the world for me, I have to think small to help a crisis. I plan on making my own blog promoted in keeping a strong view on Syrian refugees and the Syrian people. As well as getting other humanitarian crisis on alert, including Congo, Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand, etc. I will interview all sort of people to get their opinions, to get the truth on what the people are thinking.

I hope the end of this crisis approaches, I hope that people will return home. We need to act as people, we need to get our government completely involved in this crisis. We need our government to listen to us, the people who they should be listening to. We need their attention, before a whole generation of Syrians are ripped apart.  

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YATW: Blog #2 Sex-Trafficking in India

sex trafficking

Welcome readers back to my post! Back in my blog post #1 I spoke about an issue that  interested  me: sex trafficking in India. The definition of human trafficking was stated. Then I researched information on the enslavement of those women and how diseases are spread throughout the southern region of Asia.  Organizations that are involved in ending human trafficking were included at the end of the post.

After continuous months of research I have come across new information that affects the US. directly.  An article on CNN  based  in Savannah,Georgia. They have discovered a sex trafficking ring that has been going around in the city. As a result various people in custody. This horror has shown that sex trafficking occurs everywhere, not just in India. This event should us aware of the dangers and circumstances of our world today. Additionally, information on Ross Kemp -- British “actor-turned to-serious documentary-maker”-- and his journey on discovering the stories behind sex trafficking in different parts of the world. It was shocking to find out how the sex trafficking trade has grown  rapidly. It is estimated that about “100 million people - 10 per cent of the population - and sees girls as young as nine being sold into the sex trade.”

For  my original research I decided conduct an interview via email. I was able to interview someone from the Free the Slaves Foundation.  The results of the interview were successful. Through the interview it was possible for me to obtain updated information as of 2012. See email at the end of article. It is evident that many organizations and foundations are coming together to fight sex trafficking. While sending emails to different foundations it become clear that there were open lines of communication. Through this arduous process each organization that was contacted contributed to the quest to find the answers to my questions. After serious research and information gathered I have come to the conclusion that sex trafficking is a worldwide issue. Currently there are many institutions willing to fight with all legal tools within their reach. Their work is starting to becoming noticeably in all parts of the world, especially those that suffer from poverty.

Subsequently at the end of my research my personal interest on sex trafficking has increased for the better. Even though the research done has been focused on India, it is clear that the issue has international repercussions. The questions now are what about the rest of the southern region of Asia? What about other six continents that also affected? The real question is how can I do my part in bringing awareness to this issue. In conclusion for my ¨agent of change"I would like to present a slideshow on the information gathered about the issue so far and share it with my peers.

Annotated Bibliography here .

Screenshot 2014-03-03 at 8.16.54 AM
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Blog #2 Women in Engineering

Hello!  If you remember from blog #1 and by reading the title,  I’m talking about women in the engineering work field and the large difference between the genders.  If you have not read my first blog post, you can view it here.  When I started this project, I researched the reason behind why there aren’t many women in the engineering workfield.  One reason I found was that society puts it into our heads that certain jobs are for a certain gender.  That causes women to feel like jobs in the science work field(which are aimed towards men) aren’t available or offered to them.

“It wasn’t until I was a professional woman mentoring other girls in math and science that I learned that openly liking math and science is unusual for girls,” Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo.

For my original research, I made some open ended survey questions but really wanted to see peoples reactions when they answered.  So I asked 14 people my to answer my survey and wrote down their exact words.  Half of the questions were facts about women in the workfield that the people had to respond to with their opinion.  9 of the people surveyed were female and the other 5 were male.  The age range was from 10 to 55 and everyone gave similar answers for the questions/facts.  The first fact I had everyone respond to was, “ 13% of engineers worldwide are women.”  The answers were either something along the lines of “I expected it to be a higher amount” and “that’s not right.”  One person's response was “It’s sort of unfortunate because the sciences overall are not offered to women in a way that they can be involved.”  Another person said “I don’t think women are encouraged in anyway in that direction.”  That goes back to one of the possible reasons for the gender difference I talked about in my first blog post.  

What I’m still curious and confused about is if everyone agrees,  then why is their still biased?  Males and Females in my survey thought that the fact that women don’t get equal pay and are nowhere close to the amount of male engineers in the world is unfair.  “As a father of two daughters I know my girls can do as well as any guy.  To deny someone's full opportunity is wrong,”  was one of the answers.  

Part of my survey results

I’ve decided for my agent of change piece that I want to make this issue apparent to others, because I feel like the only way to change this problem is for people to know about it.  From my survey results, I saw that many people don’t know who Ada Lovelace is or that 13% of engineers worldwide are women.  Specifically, I’m going to present my project to my advisory.  I plan on making a slideshow that includes the most important details of my project and then seeing what they think about the subject.  I’m also going to find an activity that my class can do after, that allows everyone to be creative.  Be sure to look for my next blog post!


Video Game Violence #2

My name is Adam Cavalier, and I am a 9th grader a Science leadership Academy on 22nd and arch. For a project, we were given a choice to take on a problem in the world and post blogs about your opinions, facts etc. So, I am doing my project on violence in video games and how violent video games don't cause aggression differently than a non-violent game. This is my second blog post. In my first blog post, I introduced video game violence and what it was all about. I didn’t take the topic into a super deep thought because I wasn’t super advanced on the topic. Also, I talked about how competition in video games can lead to getting angry and the genre of a game sometimes does not matter. The game could still lead to anger! To see the blog, click here.

These websites are some that I were able to get some new information about…

For my original research, I decided to type up a survey and send it out for anyone to complete. A total of 33 people completed my survey. One of the questions I asked were “Would you enjoy a game better if the game had an easier difficulty and did not make you so angry?” I was very surprised when most of the responses said no. It seems to be that most of the hardcore gamers' said no. This may be because the hardcore gamers' like the competition and challenge whereas the casual gamers' sometimes do not.

Another one of my questions was “did a video game ever make you angry?” I was not surprised by the results at all. It turned out that more people got angry at a video game rather than not getting angry. My follow up question was “What games made you mad?” The most frequent response was "Flappy Bird" and some hardcore games (For ex. "Call of Duty", "Halo", "Gears of War" etc.).

This survey helped my understanding of my topic and what people thought about my topic. I was very surprised of my results. I figured that most people would like to have an easier difficulty on the side of games. but it seems that some actually do. I was curious of how many people would say yes considering there are more casual gamers' than hardcore gamers'. So this can be somewhat an issue to people and all video games around. Here are some of my survey results here.

Here are the rest of the survey results

My class is assigned to go out and to either tell people about the project, do community service etc. This is called the “Agent of Change” project. This project will be completed in the spring. For my idea of the “Agent of Change,”I am thinking to present to my advisory about the topic because I think a lot of the kids in my advisory class have gotten angry at a game. I want to explain to them why this happens and how they can resolve this problem they have with some games they play.

Here is my bibliography

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Global Hunger and Poverty: Part Two

Hello Everyone!

If you read my first blog post you know that my You and the World (YATW) project is about global hunger and poverty. I talked about two organizations who have been trying to reduce the number of families in hunger and poverty. They also encourage people from all around the world to join them in their journey. Although both organizations are using different strategies to accomplish their goal, they won’t give up until the amount of global poverty is decreased. If you’d like to learn more about these organizations, please click on the links below.

Heifer International

UN Millenium Goals

After writing my first blog post, I took a short trip to Ecuador. Every Christmas, my family in Ecuador go up to the mountains where there are lots of poor towns. They bring food, toys, and clothes to give to the families. My family believes that it is better to give people in need something they can use efficiently, something they know that will help them, instead of money. The reason for this is because we don’t know what they will do with the money, they could use the money for something they don’t need.

I went with my family for the first time this year, and the experience was like no other. We drove to five different towns. Toys were given out to the children, clothes were given out to adults and children, and this year we gave out candy and crackers to everyone. Some of the towns were big, and some of the towns were small. There were at least a hundred people in two towns, and there were 20-40 people in other towns. The houses were all hand made with stone or mud, and the schools were all just one room. Each town had a church, and the church in each town, was the largest building.

While researching this topic, I thought I knew everything there was to know about this issue, but nobody will ever know everything about anything. I learned so much from my trip and experience. I got to meet people who are struggling with poverty. People who try really hard to keep their families healthy. Mothers who would do anything to see a smile on their child's face. There were lots of kids who weren’t attending school when I was there, instead, they were working or taking care of their siblings.

When we arrived, every child in the town would run up to the car and peek inside. They saw the toys and jumped up and down in excitement. Each and every child waited patiently for their toy, and when they got one, they opened it; their patience getting weaker and weaker. And finally, they were able to open that toy, their expressions after that, are indescribable. I’ve never seen somebody so happy, it was amazing! Some parents cried, and others laughed, others just smiled, because their children were smiling. Candy and clothes were given out as well. We made goodie bags that had crackers and candy. The first thing that was eaten (by almost everyone) when the bag was opened, were the crackers, and the candy was saved for later. We made sure everyone got clothes and shoes. Some people didn’t have warm clothes for those unexpected cold days, or an extra pair of dry clothes for the days that rained. We also gave out shoes that could be worn in any weather, most people wore sandals, or worn out shoes.

I will never completely understand this issue, no matter how much I try to. I don’t know how it feels to be in their situation. As much as want to understand, I can’t, but that doesn’t stop me from helping. Poverty and hunger are global issues, which means people from all around the world should be helping to decrease it. Join an organization, or start your own organization, or even help out at a soup kitchen. Every little thing matters, every little step is one step closer to help decrease poverty. What really leaves me wondering though is, does there have to be a goal? For example the UN has a goal to decrease poverty by half from 1990 to 2015. Will they stop there though, or will they keep on going. Poverty and hunger can’t go away just like that. Awareness of this issue has to be brought to the attention, people have to keep on helping because there will always be something to do.

Not only will I keep on helping, but I will be sure to bring awareness to this issue. I am going to create a presentation for my classmates and explain to them what I’ve been doing these past couple weeks. I’m going to show them what I got to see during my trip, and I’m going to explain what I did, and what they can do to help.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for my next post!

Fieldwork Photos

Annotated Bibliography

You and the world blog #2


Toby Mast

In the last blog post I wrote about malaria. I wrote about this deadly disease due to the  lack of knowledge about the disease in the general population.  There are  simple and inexpensive  treatments that people do not know about that could save lives and improve the world. I decided to make a survey to test people’s knowledge.  

They were asked to answer these questions in short sentences:

How is malaria spread?

How is malaria treated?

Where is malaria most common?

(About) How many people die from malaria each year?

Why is there so little malaria in the United States?

What are the symptoms of Malaria?

To conduct the survey, I gave out printed sheets to my peers, and rewarded  them each a piece of chocolate for their  time .

There were some constraints in the answers, but there also was a lack of knowledge. For example 17 out of the 20 people said that mosquitoes spread malaria. From this we can guess that they know what it is: a fatal disease spread by mosquitoes. Also  15 people said that malaria was most common in Africa. Then all except three mentioned some combination of Tropical areas  and 3rd world countries. So it appears  that the same people who basically did not know what malaria was that did not know where it is.

The answer to another telling question about symptoms was hard to record. People often listed multiple symptoms and  quite a few did not make any sense. One person thought that the only symptom was swelling and that a few hundred people died from it each year.  Someone said the symptom were similar to those flu such  fever.  Others simply said they did not know. About five mentioned itching. Another interesting answer mentioned “liquid blood”, hallucinations and coughing up blood. I asked this question which involves  more specific knowledge of malaria. Most people failed to get it right. Therefore we can conclude that most people just know what it is but not all the specifics.

Now this situation causes a problem. People do not know quite enough. To get more in depth we have to look at the second question, how is malaria treated?  Out of the 20, the answers looked like this.  

Looking at the graph, six out of the twenty said they did not know. Ttwo others said going to a doctor, which can I also infer that they did not know. The six people who answered question saying vaccines and the one who answered bug spray misunderstood the question. They thought it meant how do you prevent malaria. I feel like this is a big misinterpretations also. I am going to assume that the person who said,  “depends on the type of parasite”  meant medicine for all of them. The final one said blood transplants and I think they were guessing. chart_1 (1).png

Within  all the legitimate answers,  there was a theme. (I included vaccination because it was such a popular answer and still sensical.) They are all seemingly expensive solutions. Medications are generally expensive. Vaccinations are also very expensive. People therefore conclude that malaria treatments are expensive and that it is difficult to save each person. This is at a time where antimalarial foundations need money. According to the World Health Organization , there are an increasing number of cases where Plasmodium falciparum (the most deadly species) is showing resistance to multiple drugs known as artemisinins. The organization believes that this is mostly caused by failure to receive a second medication. With more medication available, this could change the growing resistance and turn the tide. If we fail to prevent this resistance, the organization estimates it will take 5 years to recover and change the drug. While all that time, cases are increasing, and progress is pushed back.

Here is basically what I believe:  if people don’t  know about the disease,  it could get worse. With funding, we could take big steps forward to eradication. So a simple solution is to teach people. As an agent of change,  I am going to teach a class about malaria and how it affects the world.

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The Stigma of Mental Illness Post #2

Hi. My name is Isabel Medlock. Earlier this school year our class started a project called You and the World. Each of us chose an issue, researched it and then wrote a blog post about it.  Here is the link to my first post.  The issue I chose is the stigma of mental illness, the negative way people perceive mental illness and those affected by it. In my first blog post I talked about people’s opinions on mental illness, the discrimination that those with affected by it face, and the fact that the mentally ill don’t seek the help they need because of the stigma.  Since then, I have researched my topic online further and also conducted an interview with a mental health professional.

Recently, I have learned about the Mental Health Parity, which requires health insurance providers to give the same benefits, financial requirements, and limitations as those that apply to physical health benefits. I also researched discrimination against people with a mental illness in other parts of the world. For example, in Lithuania people with mental health problems are not allowed to own a home. In some parts of Korea people with mental health problems are not allowed to enter a swimming pool. I also learned that about 75% of Americans and Europeans with a mental illness don’t receive treatment. 


This is an image that provides information about how different places in the world have rules that stigmatize people with mental illnesses.

For my original research I interviewed Dr. William Fox, a psychiatrist. One important thing I took away from the interview was how people are affected by the stigma. It limits their ability to get help because of “lack of awareness —often willful, lack of effective treatments/options, and lack of access.” Sometimes they are unaware of their condition and in other cases they don’t want to believe that they have a problem. Also people lose health insurance coverage, employment and relationships. I also learned about the Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief and how it also relates to how people cope with mental illness. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. When people find out that they have a mental illness they don’t want to believe so they are in denial. Next, they are angry about having a mental illness. Then they try bargaining with the doctor to get them to fix their problem. Next is depression which “is both a stage and diagnosis, but often people have " secondary depression" about having another psychiatric issue.” Last is acceptance, which is not the resolution of their illness but coming to terms with their situation. Stigma is causing people with mental illness to act so ashamed about having a mental issue. I think that it’s terrible that people get secondary depression just because they have a psychiatric issue. This interview helped me understand what people with mental illnesses go through, how the stigma affects them and what people can do to help.

After analyzing the information I've read online and conducting the interview I have gained some new insights on the many issues that people with mental illnesses face. Reading about the Mental Health Parity made me realize that some things are getting better for people with mental illnesses.  Although some things are getting better there is still a long way to go until the people with mental illness aren't stigmatized and don’t have to face prejudice and discrimination. I reviewed some more statistics that reaffirmed what I already knew about the stigma of mental illness and how it prevents people from getting help. For example, only 25% of Americans and Europeans get treatment for their mental illnesses. All the new information made me realize that this issue is worse than I imagined it to be when I began working on this project.


This image provides information about people with mental illnesses and whether or not they are violent.

Now that I’ve learned more about the stigma of mental illness I’ve realized that it is a much bigger issue than I originally thought. It is unfortunate that people aren’t able to receive the help they need because of society's negative view on mental illness. And because they can get help some people are driven to commit suicide. If there wasn’t so much stigma associated with mental illness there would be less people committing suicide and so many people would have better lives. It is also unfortunate that the mentally ill are so misunderstood, which the image above shows. People see the mentally ill as violent criminals when in fact they are usually the victims of crimes. This is another way stigma affects the mentally ill. I also feel ashamed of our society and of myself. Before I started this project I didn't know anything about mental health stigma and I believed the stereotypes about people with mental illness. I never considered how those with mental illness felt or were affected by those who didn't understand or even know what they were going through.  It’s extremely important that people start raising more awareness of this issue so there is no more stigma.

 YATW.jpg  Yatw.png

The image on the left is a poster that is meant to help fight stigma. The image on the right is from a magazine that wrote an article about how violent people with mental illnesses are.

Even after learning more about the stigma of mental illness I still have several more questions. When and why did people start feeling so negatively towards mental illness and those affected by it? How were those with mental illness treated in the past? What were the conditions in mental asylums in the past? What are the conditions in mental asylums now? As I keep on researching my topic I hope to find the answers to these questions and also to find ways I can help.

As part of our project we have to do something to help solve the issue and be an “Agent of Change”. Since I can’t really volunteer somewhere and do something meaningful, I’m going to spread awareness of the issue. One way I hope to do that is by discussing this issue with my advisory so they can learn about it and hopefully teach others about it.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to read my next blog post!

Annotated Bibliography

Here is the link to the entire interview.

Articles about this issue:

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Lack of Arts Education #2

Welcome back to my blog about my “You and the World” project addressing the lack of arts education in schools, especially here in the Philadelphia area. In my first blog post, I explained this year-long project that we have undertaken, in which we focus on an issue in our community and work to not only inform ourselves about it, but to inform others through blogs and take action to change it. I chose the issue of lack of arts education in schools, and found that when implemented, the arts have the power to motivate kids to do better, and that they provide a safe, healthy form of self-expression to help children deal with the problems they face. I concluded wondering about other organizations working towards changing this issue, as well as the other side of the story: what are the cons?

In the time since my last post, I have asked around about arts programs working with schools and was surprised to find two new organizations/programs that I had not heard about! Arts Link, a sub-program of the Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership (PAEP) from which I drew information for my first post, is a program that uses teaching artists to reinforce science and mathematics skills using artistic expression. At the same time, they educate teachers about how to effectively teach and reinforce skills using arts in the curriculum, while still meeting district standards. They have worked with multiple schools in Philadelphia, and as can be seen in the graph below displaying results of a survey taken at the end of the program, the value of the program was decided almost unanimously.

Screenshot 2014-03-02 at 2.13.33 PM.png

The other program is Arden For All, a program sponsored by the Arden Theatre located in Old City Philadelphia that provides schools with books related to two selected children’s plays a year, and sends teaching artists to run workshops with the children in their schools so that they learn about the theatre and how it works, while reading and understanding the story behind the play and how it connects to what they are learning in English class. I would love to learn more about how this program and Arts Link use the arts to enhance learning of core subjects, and if possible I would like to contact them so that they can explain in more detail what it is that they do, as well as contact some of the schools they have worked with, such as the Stephen Decatur School.

I did, however contact and interview another leading figure in arts education. As part of our project, we had to create “original research” (a survey, an interview, or field observations), and I chose to interview Carol Domb. She is the principal of GAMP (Girard Academic Music Program), a middle and high school in Philadelphia that is recognized for its rigorous music-based curriculum. Before that she was principal at McCall Elementary School, and worked with both Arts Link and Arden for All to bring the arts to the children there as well. In our interview, she explained to me how arts education was all about “making the connection” between the arts and other “core” standards such as mathematics and science.

“I believe it’s critical for students, and I believe we don’t serve the children if we don’t have the arts in our schools.” - Carol Domb

Principal Domb shared with me her experiences as a principal attempting to balance the state-wide budget cuts and the arts, which really answered my question about the other side. She said that they “work really hard to raise money to support our initiative” and that they have been hit hard by the budget crisis, especially since it costs so much money to run a music program. “It’s staff, and instruments, [we] ensure that, you know, students have the tools that they need to be successful.”

However, she also shared with me some of the rewards that she sees just by walking around the school at GAMP, and by watching classrooms in the Arts Link program at McCall Elementary. She described the involvement of both staff and students as “amazing”, she repeatedly called the arts a vehicle to improve learning, and explained how these programs had the power to “transform schools” such as at Decatur Elementary, where I will try and contact to further my research.

“It’s definitely something that even in free time. You see kids singing, or playing the piano, or practicing the violin. So, it does carry over to their social life and they do all have that same passion.” - Carol Domb

Interviewing Principal Domb has served to reinforce my belief that the arts in schools perform what is arguably the most important function in the classroom: motivating children to learn and reach their full potential. Without a reason to come to school and learn, knowledge is wasted and discarded, but when something such as the arts can inspire kids to learn and weave their own ideas into what they are learning, the knowledge that they are taught becomes a part of them. Only then does can it be applied to the real world and taught to others through the students themselves. The students of today are the teachers or the next generation, and what good are teachers who cannot apply and connect with what they teach?

“What a better way to get the kids to come to school when you’re teaching something that they really have a passion for?” -Carol Domb

The third and final part of this project is called “Agents of Change”, and this is what all of my research has been leading up to. We go out and take action to practice what we preach. I will be organizing a variety show of sorts at Science Leadership Academy, so that students can perform/showcase whatever form of art that they choose. It will offer them a healthy chance to express themselves creatively, and healthy self-expression is another key benefit of arts education. Without a constructive outlet, people, especially young people turn to harmful ways to deal with the problems that arise in their lives, and I want to change that by providing a safe outlet for creativity and self-expression.

I will make sure to contact other schools that are a part of the Arts Link and Arden for All programs, such as Decatur Elementary, and to contact the programs themselves. Be sure to watch for my next post about the results of my Agent of Change variety show.

For the link to my interview transcript, click here.

For the link to my (updated) annotated bibliography, click here.

The audio of my interview is below.

INTERVIEW w Principal Domb
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YATW Blog Post #2 Shortage of donors for African American, Hispanics, and mixed people

Hello it’s me again, Niah Lombo and I am back for round two of my YATW issue. In my blog post #1 , I talked about my issue which was the shortage of donors for African American, Hispanics, and mixed people. Since then I have found more stories of people with cancer looking for donors with one and a million chance of finding one. Lewis Dyche was diagnosed with leukaemia  and after a global search he finds his one in a million bone marrow donor. To read more about his story click here.  

Now it’s my turn to do my own original research and I wanted to learn more about Donors, and then I thought who would know more about donors? Doctors! So I schedule an interview with Dr.Carmen Febo. Dr. Carmen Febo is a primary care physician and even though she does not deal directly with Donors, etc. she was a great help with the questions and being able to let me interview her with with the short notice. The interview helped me have a better understanding of the importance of finding a donor, being a donor, and the effects of being a donor.


Me: What is your chance of living if you find a match donor?  

Dr. Carmen Febo: If you have deadly disease, like kidney failure, heart failure, or liver failure, your life would depend on finding a donor.  The chances of survival have many determinants that include weather this is a living donor, or a dead donor, how close a match it is, how many other conditions you have, how good a surgical candidate you are, etc.  Many of the conditions are better understood now and we have better medicines to combat infection for example, or rejection.  But, what is true is that without the transplant the patient do not have a chance.

That was one of my questions for Dr. Carmen Febo. This hit me hard as it made me realize that a persons life is in the hands of a stranger, and that stranger has no idea how important they are. Its not their fault if they didn't know but only if they could have gotten tested to see if they could save a life.

Margot was 17-months old when she was diagnosed with two of the rarest cancers. But since her parents are mixed she is having trouble finding a match donor. Click here to read her story.

Robin Roberts (left) is a breast cancer survivor and find her match from her sister.  She was aware that because of her race she would have a hard time finding a match donor. Read more about her story here.

That is it for now, the next time you guys will hear from me is when I do my agent of change. What can I do to make change happened? My plan is to host an event to help raise awareness for my issue and will be hosting fundraisers that will be donated to find the cure for cancer. Also I will be writing a letter to Robin Roberts about my cause and because ABC news is having opportunities for people who wants to make a difference to be featured on the show. I will submit my story and how I want to make a difference, and if anything does happened before my blog post #3 I will let you guys know on here.

Annotated Bibliography here
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You and the World #2: Continue to Buy American!

In my first post, I detailed why you should buy American made products. I explained that buying domestic will support fair labor practices, keep money in the American economy, and incentivise more companies moving manufacturing in the United States. You can find the entirety of my first blog post here.

Since that post, I was tasked with doing some independent research on the subject of buying American. I decided to put out a survey on my topic, because I thought my issue was not getting enough attention. I promoted my survey using Canvas, which is a program used by Science Leadership Academy’s teachers to organize our assignments. I sent all my fellow students a message through this program explaining what I was doing, with a link to the survey. You can find the results of the survey here. This is required reading for the next paragraph, where I will be analyzing and talking about the survey results. You can skip it if your mouse-using hand is overworked, or a series of small children claiming to be related to you have demanded food and money, or religious/political reasons.

Firstly, there’s a major flaw in my survey I’d like to point out for honesty’s sake. Since I used Canvas to distribute my survey, I am catering to a very small demographic. The results of my survey can only be used to determine the thoughts of high school students, male and female. Anyways, back to the analysis. I found that although the survey-takers seemed to know what they should do regarding the subject, they didn’t know why. As for Question 1, “Do you pay attention to where the things you buy are made?” the survey-takers were split 59%-41% in favor of not paying attention.

Why might this be?

Well, Mr. Theoretical Question Asker, there are a number of reasons why the survey-takers don’t pay attention to the origins of their products. First could be the demographic problem I outlined earlier. According to this study, 60 percent of teenagers do not pay attention to the news, compared to 23 percent of adults over 30. This could (in theory) lead to general ignorance about current issues. However, there is a more likely factor. This issue has only recently gained traction, which means it did not get much publicity, so people were not thinking about it. It’s significantly easier to think about an issue when you’re constantly being reminded.

Now that I have done my independent research, I have a better idea of what people already know about the subject, and can now tailor future posts so that I am not reiterating what everyone else is saying. I want to provide new information and make sure I’m not wasting your time.

Next up in the glorious trifecta of You and the World is the Agent of Change. Despite its new-agey name, this component is very interesting. For this part of the project, I need to do something in the (gasp) real world that applies to my project. For me, the decision was easy. I am only going to purchase American made products until further notice. My parents have been very receptive to this, and have agreed to join me. Stay tuned for my next installment!

If you're interested in checking my sources for this and Blog #1, click here.
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Back again! YATW Blog Post #2: Bullying; Depression & Suicide.

Hey! It’s Ebony again. In my last blog post, I talked about how bullying could lead into depression and suicide. If you have not read the blog yet, you should!

I actually have found a couple new information. One of them is statistics of kids being cyberbullied and bullied. However, they are not kids in my community, but kids across the world in the UK. This shows that it’s not only an issue with mine or your community, but it is a worldwide issue. That is another thing that I wanted to prove. Also, it is something that should alarm people of how dangerous and serious bullying is. These are high percentages of kids who have been both been bullied, physically and through social media such as Facebook, twitter, instagram and even through text messaging.

Another part of this research is to get original research. For my original research, I decided to do a survey of kids in 6-12 grade. The reason I chose a variety of grades is because today, most kids are going through it, no matter how young they are. The point I am trying to get is what is the grade that’s being targeted more. Honestly, my main target was younger kids, ranging between 11-14. The problem about doing this survey is that I was not able to get any information about 7th graders but the majority being 6th graders. Although I was not able to get some of the information I wanted, I did get the information that I needed.

Here are some examples of the most important ones:

YATW Survey  Bullying  Depression   Suicide    Google Drive (2).png'

YATW Survey  Bullying  Depression   Suicide    Google Drive (1).png
YATW Survey  Bullying  Depression   Suicide    Google Drive (5).pngYATW Survey  Bullying  Depression   Suicide    Google Drive (3).pngSome of these numbers are outstanding. Especially ‘Have you ever seen someone being physically or virtually bullied?’ The numbers are a 47 difference. That is huge. A majority of kids is being seen being bullied and hurt. 80% out of 100%,

The results that surprised me the most is the number of kids that do tell someone about being bullied. Even though more people have not told anyone about it, there’s only a 6% difference.

So far, this is goodbye, but I will be back soon to show you guys my agent of change part! I’m quite excited and hope everything goes well. Doing this part will give me a better understanding of what people go through. Thank you again for reading. If you went ahead and read this instead of the first blog, I suggest you read the other one too. It’ll help for a better understanding. So, click here! Thanks again.

For further information, check out this.

Click here for the bibliography.

YATW Blog #2: Passing Art Along One School At a Time

Hello everyone, it’s Pedro Castillo and I’m back on the lack of art in Philly schools topic. Like I said in my first blog, I am a huge fan of art and it really hurts me to see artless schools. In my first blog (for those who did not read it) I talked about the budget crisis of Philadelphia in general and how it has impacted Philly schools. This has impacted many Phila School District students and teachers too. I also talked about there was a ton of money going into the prison system that could have been going into the school district’s budget so they could at least kept some of their staff. I did not know how to feel about the money going into the prison system. I felt like it was selfish and didn’t care about the students having a full learning experience but then again it was a way to protect not just students but harmless civilians.

During my time away from this issue i came across an article from The New York Times. Here Jon Hurdle talks about how the school district of Philadelphia superintendent has faced the budget crises. He says that the superintendent laid off almost 40,000 workers to close a $304 million budget gap. Jon says that the chief of the Phila SD says that he wants to reverse the cuts and raise the educational standards for Philadelphia schools. I honestly believe this could happen if Philadelphia is willing to contribute.

Instead of just researching my topic; this time we were actually asked to go out in the world and conduct our own research. I chose to do interviews about art and why it is so important to people. I also asked if they thought that the city would be able to raise its budget up enough to give art back to the students. Here are some answers. I interviewed the principal from my middle school (Benjamin Franklin Elementary) and a student from SLA. I was going to interview more people but they just did not have the spare time for interviews which is perfectly okay. I thought that interviewing my former principal would give me a great amount of info because I would actually be hearing the opinion of this crisis from someone who works with students everyday. I wouldn’t be just hearing about the crisis but also the importance of art too. I asked her why she thought people were so connected to art and here is what she said: Well...some people like to just draw and sing and some people want to show the world what they can do. They want through express their feelings or emotions through paper or through the microphone. I know art is a really big thing and I know how it can impact people's lives because I have seen some of my students cry when they found out that we were not going to have art last year.

I thought this was very important and helped me a lot because it just shows how some students feel about art. Many students take this as a way of expressing themselves and getting away from the world. What good is it doing if we take it away from them and they cannot come in contact with the necessary supplies at home? It just hurts some students. Even to the point of bursting into tears like my former principal, Ms. Green, explained in one of her answers.  Art is a very serious subject for people and sometimes I wonder how this world would be without it. Art has shaped everything in this world from buildings, to writing, and even music.

That is why I want to create a newsletter. I want to be able to spread people’s art around the. For our third part of this major project we are asked to do something called “agent of change.” Which is where we actually do something to try and fight against our world issue. I want to create a newsletter where people could have their art submitted. For example drawings, painting, poems, etc. It is not much but I like I said before, I want to be able to spread art across the city of Philadelphia…one school at a time.
 (Pic 1: Finished; Pic 2: Unfinished)
Some of my personal artwork that will be featured in the newsletter. 

(Be sure to look out for my next blog post!)



Luke Watson-Sharer 3/1/14 YATW Blog Post #2 Childhood Obesity: Exactly What Is It?

Hello my name is Luke Watson-Sharer. Hopefully you have read my first blog post here First Blog post. I’m writing my second blog on my discovered research. As in the other blog post,  the purpose of You and the World is to make a difference through an issue.  I picked obesity which is a very significant issue in the U.S. and many other countries.  Obesity affects our physical and mental health and therefore our future. Blog 1 discussed the many issues related to obesity in the U.S. and the world.  I decided to do my own study by conducting a survey on my topic. I did two surveys:  one for people with knowledge on the topic and one for anyone. I wanted to know what experts or people with knowledge believed and what anonymous people think about the topic.

Survey 1 This is my first survey. It’s for anyone to answer and you share your opinions and basic things you do. I start by asking the responder if they believe they’re obese, Then I asked why they believe they are or are not obese.  Next, I ask if they made attempts to lose weight.  You can read the other question on the link “Survey 1.”  The responses were interesting.  What interested me was seeing that about 90% said they didn’t believe they were obese but about 70% said they eat sweets a lot. This is interesting because if you  eat a lot  of sugary things you may gain weight.  Many said eating sweets is a bad habit.  Since most said they are not obese, metabolism may be a factor.  Genetics could play a larger role; I will discuss  this later in the blog. Also almost everyone says they don’t workout or  try to  cut calories but of 90% do not believe they are  obese.  This makes me curious. Finally, after seeing my results for survey 1 it seems that obesity could be more genetic  than a result of bad habits. Responses To survey 1

Survey 2 This is my second survey. It’s made for experts or people with knowledge. I asked for only knowledgeable people reply. (I couldn’t control who replied.)  This is so I could learn more about obesity. My first question was probably the hardest question to ask. What do you believe obesity exists? This can be hard because I got many opinionated responses and because it’s a heated topic. Then I asked other questions on what to do to help children with obesity. I ask about helping kids and ways of recommending things to kids. Survey Responses: Responses Here you’ll see many of the responses to the questions I was hoping to answer.  Finally, I got good insight from knowledgeable people on childhood obesity.

These responses added to my knowledge of f the issue  and ideas for helping overweight kids.  I got a wide amount of responses that differed a lot; this is still helpful data.  Some of my personal opinions have changed on what obesity is and how to help kids with obesity because now I’m leaning towards obesity being more genetic. This will affect the recommendations to help kids;  losing weight isn’t as easy as saying “exercise.” I still wonder about what causes obesity. I got many answers between genetic and bad eating habits and I still am baffled. While I was going my survey, a new study found children from 2 - 5 years old are not as obese as 10 years ago.  This is great but all other age groups saw no major change.   I’m thinking of doing a program for schools without gym’s so that students can also get exercise even though they don’t have a school gym. I can maybe go back to my old middle and elementary school because we never had a gym.

My research has helped me a lot. It  left a question mark but has given me more views on the topic of childhood obesity. Maybe we will never have an exact definition to childhood obesity or if it’s genetic or from bad habits.  What we do know is that it’s a big issue in the U.S.  and worldwide.   I hope to be an  agent of change. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy my next blog post.

Annotated Bibliography: Here

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Is Music therapeutic ?

Hey guys ! I’m back ! In my previous blog post I introduced my YATW  issue,  music being therapeutic for children with chronically ill diseases. I discovered that music has a huge affect on our brains, mood, and is very therapeutic. Click here.  Blog Post 1

Since my first blog I found it’s not only therapeutic  chronically ill children for treatment, but it’s beneficial for everyone. My knowledge on the cts music has on our brains has broaden.  I’ve done research and surveys and I’m happy to share some of the information I found with you. At the end of reading my second blog post I hope you have learned a little bit more about how music is therapeutic for all of us.

I have found groups that go to hospitals and perform for the children and teaches them how to play certain instruments. Such as the “Ryan Seacrest Foundation” and another organization “The Group & Entertainment volunteer Program”. The second organization particularly visits Children Hospital of philadelphia. I interviewed a Registered Nurse. The office she works at is located at 34 st. and civic center boulevard. I asked her a few questions regarding the topic. Below  is a link with questions she was asked, along with her answers. This interview really helped me to see inside the hospital world. I got to see more  than just  the surface.

click here. Interview

To further my understanding about how music affects the brain I looked at some neurology experiments, and test. I found that music improves visual skills, language skills, and thinking skills. One study said that ”Both music and written language involve formal notation reading from left to right; music notation consists of symbols that represent information about sound and time and speech requires attention to the temporal order of rapidly changing acoustic events.” Another study said that” There are two types of emotions related to music; perceived and felt emotions.”  It’s saying that we can understand the emotion of a piece without feeling it, which explains why some people enjoy sad songs with low tempo.  I found these facts very interesting.  

( This is a diagram of certain areas in the brain that our used when we listen to music. )

Finally to see what others thought about music and it’s effects I made survey for the students in English 1. The results help me to see everyone listens to music! Sometimes different genres. They listen to music through the day, when they're stressed or need to focus. To relax or even to past time. The results from the survey can be found below.

Click here. Survey

Making a survey, interviewing and researching has all help me to further my knowledge about my YATW issue. I got to see how different types of people think about music and how it affects them by making a survey. When interviewing, I got to see a different view of things through a Registered Nurses eyes.The research was very insightful and made me feel comfortable with the topic, and I can inform others. My personal opinion about my YATW issue is that music is very influential on the brain and can be used as a form of therapy. I used to play the clarinet and being able to read notes made me feel like I spoke a different language, the language of music. It felt good it was a way to go to your own world for a minute. Even though I don’t play my instrument anymore, I still get away when I listen to my music.  So, I truly believe music is a form of therapy and changes your mood. Everything in the world has a beat, walking, running, your heart even has a beat.

For my Agent of Change part 3 I’m thinking about volunteering at Children's hospital. To read books to the children that are immobile and can’t get out of bed. There bodies might be immobile but their imagination are not. Their imagination can go anywhere it wants. They shouldn’t be robbed of their childhood because of imperfection.  Whatever helps the children get in better spirits, I’m willing to do it.  An alternative option would be to join an entertainment program like the  “The Group & Entertainment volunteer Program”.  

Thanks for reading ! Can't wait to share my next adventure with you !

Click here.  Annotated Bibliography
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Part 2: The Overlooked of Philadelphia

Hi, it’s Kai again! I’m back and writing my latest You and the World post. If you haven’t read my first post I’ll give you a quick recap. I’m in 9th grade and my English teacher is asking us to write three blog posts about an issue that we personally are passionate about. I chose to write about the overlooked and forgotten of Philadelphia. Basically I want to know how less fortunate people feel about the way the government has been taking care of them. To learn more about my topic I will be working closely with the Germantown Avenue Crisis Ministry (GACM) and Abbotsford Falls Family Practice and Counselling (AFFPC). The GACM provides resources to people who have suddenly found themselves in a crisis. They offer canned goods, housing, and financial help. AFFPC is a clinic in Germantown that  is known for taking patients without insurance, and providing them with whatever medical help they might need.

For my research plan I conducted an interview with RN Leslie Burton at AFFPC. I know that a majority of the patients that come to the AFFPC don't have insurance, which is why they get so many patients. In my opinion this is a problem because there is no reason that a person shouldn't qualify for health insurance healthcare has come to be a basic human necessity. I also that the amount of people without insurance is ridiculous and the people without it are the ones who need it the most. The fact that the government isn't doing anything to help it is not okay. In fact a lot of people aren't condoning things like the Affordable Care Act.  Ms. Burton on the other hand had a slightly different view she feels as though there are so many people that need help and the government can't help everybody so it's up to the people to step up.


During my interview with Ms. Burton I wanted to know where the influence of the government comes in to play as well as how her patients feel about the government or their current situations. What I found was that most of the patients that Ms. Burton encounters are impoverished, and not very comfortable or happy about it. In the AFFPC offices there are in house social workers that often have patients referred to them by the nurses. Even while there are plenty of resources to help the patients that are funded by the government such as food stamps. The patients know little about what is happening in the higher places, leaving most of the pressure on the nurses to inform patients of anything that could potentially impact their lives.

My research isn't just based on the people who are overlooked by the government… it's also about the people left to take care of them who are just important. Leslie Burton and Eileen Jones only only a small portion of overlooked Philadelphians and without more of them, a large percentage of Philadelphia would be forgotten. I learned that everybody deserves to be heard and to know that somebody cares, even if they don't believe it. We have to start looking out for eachother. As a people we should stick together and work for the change that we want to see in our community. Check back soon for my next post to see how my work at the GACM went. Thanks for reading.

My annotated bibliography here.

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YATW Blog Post #2

Hi readers! Welcome back to my You And The World (YATW) project. Last time, in my Blog Post #1, I was looking into Financial Education. What I found was that Financial Education is a real taboo in America, even though it is one of the most important things to have. Since then, I have looked a lot more into this, and have seen a lot more information.

First of all, If anyone is looking for a professional look on Financial Education, please look for some videos of Suze Orman. She makes very good points, and knows a lot about this topic. I have learned much from her.

Second of all, I’d like to update you all on my research. I have been doing some of my own research (surveying and interviewing) and have come up with some personalized data. An Annotated Bibliography, a Survey Analysis, and link to all of the survey information, including the survey itself, is here.

All that I found was basically this: Financial Education is a real taboo. Most people don’t know their income or what they’re spending on. However, all of the survey takers knew what kind of Financial Support they received. Another thing that I found was that, even though there was a wide range of Financial Education, reaching all across my 1-10 scale, almost every single person was taught outside of school. Most people were taught by parents or mentors, or even taught themselves. All of this information makes me think that Financial Education needs to be taught a lot more on a bigger and more important scale.

I am hoping to learn more about this, because I didn’t learn all that I wanted to about Financial Education. How does America budget? What is the average ratio of spending to saving, and spending to income? What percentage of ALL Americans receive Financial Support? All of these and more could be important to my teaching.

Now on to the future. Ahead of me is the Spring. I will be performing an Agent of Change Service Project. All of my research has lead up to this. I will be planning with some teachers at Science Leadership Academy, along with some teachers at Independence Charter School, to create a lesson plan to teach some children.

I am hoping to teach at least one class of First graders, one class of Third graders, and one class of Eighth graders. I will also be teaching a more advanced lesson to some high schoolers (if I can). This is a work in progress, but so far I have some notes about how the lesson might go. They are here.

If you have any other suggestions as to things I should see, topics I should research, or more subjects I should teach, feel free to leave a comment. I am also open to any suggestions as to where I should take this next. I am looking to continue this education onward and outward, past YATW. I want to teach more at ICS and SLA, and more at other places as well. The world needs to hear more about Financial Education, and there needs to be more of a teaching force.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If there’s anything at all, please feel free to comment!


Some extra information:

Your Income Level (Optional)

Less than $30,000 a year [5] 21%

$30,000-50,000 [0] 0%

$50,000-70,000 [5] 21%

$70,000-90,000 [4] 17%

$90,000-110,000 [2] 8%

$110,000-130,000 [0] 0%

$130,000-150,000 [2] 8%

Don’t Know [6] 26%

Do you receive Financial Aid/Support? (Optional)

Yes [5] 19%

A little bit [4] 15%

No [17] 65%

Don’t Know [0] 0%

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The return....Blog Post #2!

The names jesse for those who don’t know. In my first blog post I first introduced my topic which is the School to prison pipeline a fancy name for the process in which school’s harsh policies kick kids out of school on the the street then into jail or even straight into jail and through the criminal system. the pipeline is the reason for the many incarnations of youth even as young as ten. If you missed my first blog there is a link to it at the bottom of this blog but enough of that… on to blog number 2!


For my original  research I chose to do an interview with the Philadelphia Community Youth Court’s Intake coordinator Ms. Kimberly Stevens. Her job is to look over the referrals and decides whether or not the person referred should go through youth court. The results from my research is also at the bottom of the blog if you wanna go and check out her answer it’s right there. Doing this interview informed me on some of the factors that strengthen the school to prison pipeline. One of the factors is of course the schools but what I’ve learned from my interview was that It was 75% referrals that PCYC gets come from schools. It might not sound like It was a big “ah- ha” moment but allow me to delve deeper. If 75% of referrals come from schools around philly then that means that the policies in place are the reasons that students are get referred out of school and to the police or just kicked out of school period. Also This means that maybe about 20% come from the actual police and the last 5% come from youths just making a bad decision or being in the wrong place and the wrong time. Now think If PCYC wasn’t in place, All of those kids would be in jail either from school or from doing something on the street and all of them would lose their chance to live their life to the fullest.

By doing this interview it allowed me to further my understanding of the school to prison pipeline. By doing this I have now seen how people see or education system in philly. After doing this additional research I feel like I finally know enough about this topic to have an opinion on it. That opinion is that this Pipeline needs to stop for youths to truly live their lives and show that they aren’t the problem but the solution. I’ve seen and heard so many things about we get kick out because we are bad students but what people fail to remember is that we are kids and what do kids do? We make mistakes, but with the certain policies in place we are not allowed to learn from those mistakes and are quickly punished for what happened. People in high places feel as though we are the problem and give up on us but never realized that they were talking at us and not with us to fix the problem. They are so quick to say the problem when in fact we are the solution and the brighter future if they gave us a chance. 

Another thing that I realized with my research is that with everyone that is one our side there are 5 on the other side already counting us out and they are winning by using the pipeline. In my first blog I said that they opened up 2 new prisons worth 400 million dollars but closed down 26 schools as well. If this wasn’t a clear sign that they already scratch out our education I don’t know what is. They rather invest in the business of incarceration than invest in our education. This is why I want to help in any way I can to break this pipeline even if I have to do it little by little.

There isn't much I’m left wondering about This issue. The only thing that could possibly come to mind is who was the first person to think that They would get more out of prisons than the youth’s education. Other than that I’m already thinking on what to do for my agent of change  part for blog post #3. Actually let me rephrase that I know what I’m going to do for my agent of change.  I will volunteer with the Philadelphia Community Youth Court(PCYC) every friday or whenever else they might need me so that I can be a change and help break this pipeline for not just mine but all of our futures. Well thats all for now look out for my big conclusion in blog #3.

Tally-ho!( That sound much cooler in my head before I typed it…. somehow?)

Here is the link to my first blog:

blog post #1   

link to my annotated bib:

Annotated Bib

link to transcript of interview:

Youth Court INtake Coordinator
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Childhood Concussions Take 2!

Hello! Welcome to my second blog! My name is Cacy Thomas and if you have not read my first blog you can click here to do so. If you have, thanks for coming back! I’m just going to do a quick recap of my last post because I know it’s been a while.

  • My blogs are especially for my You and the World english project

  • My You and the World project for english class is Awareness and Prevention of Concussions in Young Athletes.

  • I have chosen this topic because I have had 3 concussions at the age of 12. These head injuries ended my athletic career in contact sports and forced me to go through 2 years of emotional and physical rehabilitation.

  • It is imperative to spread this information out so that kids are not experiencing the same things I did.

To continue my childhood concussion adventure, I did some research and am still pursuing to do more. I received a link from my English teacher, Alexa Dunn, on concussions and helmets from I was really interested in the experiment shown on the web page as well as the results. This was helpful in enhancing my knowledge on the subject because even though I knew helmets did not do much to protect people from concussions, I did not know which helmets had the best results. I also did not know how helpful they would actually be in providing support for the brain. In my own personal journey I made a survey concerning concussion awareness. If you would like to help further my research you can take it here. I am also currently trying to set up interviews to collect more information. However if you would like some more information about head injury awareness in soccer, please click this link to read a summary of a concussion symposium I spoke at as well as 16 year-old Kim Zeffert, former Philadelphia Flyers captain Keith Primeau, and former professional soccer player Taylor Twellman.

The results of my survey were a little bit surprising. I asked what symptoms were caused by concussions with the choices, Headaches, Dizziness, Hallucinations, Fatigue, Possible death while sleeping the same day as the injury was received, Nausea, Extreme Hunger, and Sensitivity to light or noise. The majority of people who took it said that extreme hunger, hallucinations, and possible death caused by sleeping were symptoms. This just shows how uninformed a lot of people are about concussion side effects. Also many survey takers were confused about the definition of this injury. The most accurate response was,

“A bruise to the brain, often caused by impact.”

Others said things anywhere from, “head trauma,” to, “when your head or skull is badly damaged.” Likewise I was amazed just at the fact that just about half of the answerers said that concussions become less serious as you get older. No matter how you look at it a concussion is brain damage at any age and obviously brain damage is extremely serious. This research added to my understanding of this subject because it made me realize how much people are actually informed, and not many are informed at all. I am wondering how we can prevent concussions and what will have the biggest impact to really drive people to spread awareness.

The final part of my 9th grade You and the World project is being an agent of change. This means we go out somewhere into the world and help either informing others about our issue, or doing volunteer work to help solve it. For being an agent of change I am planning to make a presentation about information regarding childhood concussions along with my story and struggles. I will present this to my school community at Science Leadership Academy.

So this is where my second blog for my You and the World project ends. Be on the look out for my third blog coming about how my agent of change action helps spread awareness! Thanks for taking the time to read my blogs and if you would like to click here to see my bibliography, go for it! Once again thank you and don’t forget to spread the word about childhood concussions!
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The Affect of Casinos #2

Welcome back! I am Junjie Zou from Science Leadership Academy. I am back again with my second blog. In my first blog, I talked about the physical features of the casino and how it affect the community and the business’ surrounding it. I also talked about how the casino can form a domino effect on the victim’s community or his/her family members. Following up with my last blog, I placed an interview with a casino activist. He is also a member of Asian American United, a group created by proud activists fighting for everyday world problems, such as the effect of casino.  

I have discovered so many new things out of this interview. After the interview, I learned that there is a difference between a arcade and a casino. The arcade is a place with different stations containing variety of video games that can be played for a fee. Similar to a casino, a casino has gambling games that you play with your own money. The difference between a arcade and a casino is the addiction and the rewards you receive from these two type of entertainment. As I mentioned in my first blog, casinos don’t have many windows to let you determine the time outside while you have your head focused on the machine. The arcade is not as addicting as a casino because it shows you the time outside so you will know when to leave. As you might know, you must be 18 or older to be in a casino, but as for a arcade, any age are welcomed. Overall, the arcade is absolutely fine to go to because it doesn’t have much addicting content as the casino.

Like I mentioned earlier, I held an interview for my original research. I interviewed a Asian American United employer, Wei Chen. He told me all about his experience being a casino activist and how the casino affected him and his family. He told me that his dad was one of those people who was addicted to gambling and how his father tried to convince him to stop his education and start working for money for him to gamble. This really gives me a lot of information about this topic because I got to talk to a person who has been through these things and now fighting against it. “...because of gambling, they are willing to leave their child in the car in a hot summer day.”

This adds to my understanding of this issue because it tells me that there is actually a person who has been affect by this and that this is not a made up thing, but can turn into a very serious life-losing situation.

After all of these research on the effect of casino, I feel like something can definitely be done by the government. It’s harsh seeing these people suffer from a lost of family or friends because of some addicting machine created by the government. The casino’s money all go to  the government for their uses either to the military or to us citizens. This can definitely be a good thing, but taking advantage of people by getting them addicted to a inescapable addiction, is not a way to raise money for this country.

For my agent of change, I am going to hold a presentation to younger students to let them know about this situation. Why young students? I figured that if the younger students know about this, they can do something about it when they get older. The younger kids also have stronger minds, so they can think of all different types of ideas to eliminate this. This is all for this blog. Here is my interview transcript. If you want to find out more about this, here is my bibliography. Until next time, be on the lookout for my next blog! Thanks for reading!
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Aaron's Second Blog Post: The Start Part 2.

Aaron Watson-Sharer


YATW Blog Post #2

Head Injuries and How They Affect Current Lives of People and Will Continue To Do So

Hi I’m Aaron and I’m a student at Science Leadership Academy. In my previous blog post, I spoke about the impact  of  head injuries.  Many the side effects do not end or pass away. I expressed my concerns for the kids and adults who have sustained head injuries that still affect them today. I really spoke about CTE, a disease that causes one too many issues to your brain. I finished my first blog post speaking about the significance and how these injuries shouldn’t be forgotten. I’m not alone; many doctors worldwide want to prevent  head injuries from happening.

I found a few more sources that really helped me become attached to this project. For example, this source gives great perspective and knowledge. I found out that the football helmets players are wearing really don’t prevent injury as widely advertised by the league. It was found that these very helmets our coveted athletes wear only reduced traumatic injuries to the brain by 20% rather than wearing no type of gear. I am starting to question that safety, why should we trust helmets that are only 20% effective. We must get that number to 100% effective  if you want to save lives.

Aug 29, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; A Pittsburgh Steelers helmet lays on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Since writing my first blog post, I have conducted some non original research and some original research. I have found online resources that have helped me along with my personal research. For my original research, I created an online survey. What I’ve found with the limited responses I’ve received was that non contact sports were a leading cause for head injuries in my survey. I saw that all but one of my participants had worn any type of protective gear. Headaches were the most common symptoms for my participants post concussion. My research show three things.

- We are as individuals are very unprepared  for possible head injuries.  People aren’t being very safe or using protective gear.

-  People who have sustained head injuries of any sort are more careful due to the possibility of reinjury.

- Most head injuries happen to younger people -  child to young adults.  This is from activities like bike riding and sports.  

My understanding of head injuries has expanded  beyond  the state of people prior to their initial injuries. I learned like me, others almost never expect a head injury at any time. My research showed that 1 out of 11 participants had any type of protective gear like a bike helmet. I did not think about about prevention. I had focused on the injury and the after effects. This is similar to someone starting a TV show in the middle of a series rather than the beginning. Those people don’t know what happened or occurred. They know the current storyline and  what comes next  but they never knew how the storyline started. They don’t know why characters think or do something. I and many other people have been in this situation. I still have yet to fully know what happens before a head injury but my mission is to find out and find out more about prevention.  That is what I took from my research.  I do not focus on all the stats because I did not get a lot of responses but I have an understanding, an idea and a piece of the puzzle with 100 more pieces to go.

Some opinions that I have are that despite efforts, there is no one answer to this solution. That head injuries can’t be killed, they can be quieted, but never silenced. I have many other opinions like that sports from soccer to martial arts should have some type of way to keep head injuries from happening. I think we need more funding, even though money worldwide is tight. My first and principal opinion is my rock of all of them. I believe that my first idea is comparable to the real world in many ways. It’s like a vaccine, whatever we do to quiet head injuries is no more than a vaccine, no cure. There is no cure but I really am hopeful for a vaccine, that can quiet and mostly label head injuries to the point where they are rare.

I wonder what else can be done by me and how to really make an effect on somebody’s life. If I can just help one person I will be able to feel proud the next morning. I want to feel like I made a difference like Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL. He had enough courage to come out but I believe he saved a life, and if he did so, he’s an impact maker. That’s what I want to be. I’d like to find a place that has interns for helping in aiding to prevent head injuries. I will try to make an impact if it’s with my internship or my keyboard. If you don’t start none, you w0on’t be none. -Nas

My annotated bibliography is available here.


YATW Blog #2: Animal Cruelty Must End!

 Hello, my name is Kara Heenan. If you don’t remember, my first blog was about animal cruelty. I went deep into facts and statistics on animal cruelty, included some pictures, and shared some of my thoughts on it. In this blog, I will be basically describing what I have done in terms of research since then.

 I did some research on the internet and found some new great news on animal cruelty laws! The representative of Georgia is trying to create a new version of their animal cruelty law so it will be easier to go after starvation and other neglect cases. The state representative is really pushing it since it not only cleans up and clarifies the existing law, it also expands it so that torturing an animal, even if that animal does not die, is considered a felony.

 A new state law helped push Pennsylvania in rankings from 17 to 12 for having the best animal protection laws in the country. The new law, known as Cost of Care of Seized Animals Act, allows a shelter to make a motion to require a defendant to pay for the cost of boarding pets before trial. It really helps these shelters with the cost of taking care of the animals which is amazing!

 On the side, I also did my own original research. I decided to do field observation, which is finding a place where a lot of your problem goes on and observing it and taking notes. I chose a place in my neighborhood which had a lot of stray cats and a neglected dog. When I went, I talked to a lady that lived there and she gave me details of what goes on there. I observed two cats, one Smokey, who was very sweet, and the other, who was very shy, doesn't have a name.


                     Shy, distant cat.                              Very welcoming cat named Smokey.

There was also a dog there in it’s yard named Akita. The lady told me that this dog is always in her yard and is barely ever gets let in her house. She was very sweet and seemed very happy to see me. 20140226_172448.jpg20140226_172927.jpg

I could see the sadness in her eyes.

 Observing these animals was very sad. The cats suffer from abandonment and the dog suffers from neglect. Both are forms of animal abuse. These animals deserve loving homes and should not be living outside. I hope this blog really made you aware of the suffering animals go through. In my next blog, I should be including details about My Agent of Change, where I will be finally getting to help these animals. Stay tuned!  

You can view my bibliography here.
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