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YATW Blog #1: Late Effects in Childhood Cancer

Hi, my name is Imani Weeks. I am a 9th grader at Science Leadership Academy. For English, we have started a year long project called You and the World (YATW). We had to choose a subject to write about in three blog posts and I chose childhood cancer. I especially focused on late effects of childhood cancer. Childhood cancer is something that people don’t like to talk about. I believe (and others might agree with me) that though those who have childhood cancer are some of bravest people and that they deserve to live. However, sometimes there are side effects to the treatment they receive to help battle the cancer cells.

     Child undergoing chemotherapy 

First we need to talk about childhood cancer. Many children are diagnosed with cancer every year, 13,500 to be more exact. 1/5 children who are diagnosed do not survive. Though over the past 40 years survival rate has gone up from 10% to 80%. 3/5 children who survive suffer illnesses afterwards.
These illnesses after survival are known as late effects, late effects are caused by the chemotherapy. Some late effects are a second cancer occurring, the first cancer coming back, or heart and lung damage. It may seem like the odds are against you when 
you get late effects but kids and their family learn to cope. In 
the article, 
“For childhood cancer survivors, the gift of life can carry new challenges” some late effects statistics were noted: 

“St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital research shows that 80 percent of 
adults who beat cancer as kids have a chronic, perhaps life-threatening health condition by the time they reach age 45. More than half have heart abnormalities 
by that age. Another 65 percent have impaired lung function,and 48 percent have memory impairment.”

That means that most people go, for quite some time in their life, thinking they have beaten the odds then the late effects start to show; and it seems like most of these late effects are serious problems. Hopefully in the future, doctors will be able to find a way to use chemotherapy without the occurrence of late effects later in life so that when someone beats cancer, they beat it for real!

Be sure to read my next post!


All about me

Tech Power point about Myself
My slide represents me. I chose purple for the background because it is my favorite color and it compliments the the letters. Simply amazing and my name are big because I did not want to leave out a lot of open space. Also I needed them to even each other out. On the sides I have a picture of me and my favorite quote on the other to even out both sides. 
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Depression and Parenting: You and The World

Hello, my name is Mark Gucciardi-Kriegh, and this is my You and the World project for my ninth grade English class. We had to choose and write about a topic we care about, and I chose depression. This is the first of three blog posts on the topic. I am interested in it because a few of my friends have depression and they feel their parents don’t understand them. A problem is parents often ignore depression and think of it as just a phase. Depression affects millions of Americans each year and your child could be one of them.

The topic of depression is important because it is the most common mental disorder. One out of every eight teenagers will have depression and women are twice as likely to struggle with depression as men. It is the third highest cause of death of teenagers in America. Symptoms include sadness, hopelessness, withdrawal from friends and family, loss of interest in tasks, lack of enthusiasm, and thoughts of death and suicide. Teen depression has more effects than just sadness: it can cause issues at school, drug and alcohol abuse, self-esteem issues, and violence. This doesn’t mean that you can say, “Get over it,” and everything will become better, though parents can often make this mistake. Saying, “It gets better” does help teenagers. Depression can be fueled by verbal and physical abuse, but is mainly a chemical imbalance in the brain.

"The most dangerous thing is not to treat these kids at all," he [David Fassler, MD] adds, "Research shows that over half of all kids with depression will attempt suicide at least once, and over 7% will die as a result. It's a very serious illness with very serious consequences." (Source)

Parents can often not realize that their children have depression and confuse it with hormones or it being just a phase. Fixing depression can take time, but parents can assist with this process by giving their teenager antidepressants, an ear to talk to, and by providing access to a therapist. (Some antidepressants can have very harsh side effects, so remember to consult a doctor before using an antidepressant.) Other ways to help include ensuring your child has a good diet, enough sleep, exercise, social support, and by reducing stress. Your job can wait but, your child’s mental well being cannot. says, “Remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice.” If your child doesn’t want to talk to you, provide access to a therapist, doctor, or another family member who had depression. Some parents can also increase  their child’s depression by ignoring their child or their child’s accomplishments, like getting a 90 on a test. Parents should be focusing on the accomplishments rather than the failures. Getting a C on a hard test might be a big deal to your child. Depression is not a weakness, it is an illness, so treat it as such. Parents play a key role in healing depression; make sure you are doing your part.


Some teenagers can hide behind a mask and say they are fine even if they really aren’t.

Social support from friends is also a vital part of helping your child’s depression. If your child has a ‘bad’ group of friends, but they are supportive, that is what really matters. Friends can also be a person to communicate with; without the awkwardness of talking to a parent. The reason I am where I am today is because I have friends that support me and are kind. Do not pressure your teenager to make friends if he/she has none, it will only make them feel like they aren’t pleasing you. If your child has a small group of friends, that is okay. Siblings can also play a vital role in healing depression. They can be a friend and a family member to share important things with. They are also around more often for talking about depression unless they live away from home. Older siblings can share ways they got through school and difficult times.

Depression can be a scary thing, but it can be helped with an effort to connect with your child. Each child is different in a good way and this might not help every teenager with depression. Everyones depression is different, and a helpful treatment varies person to person. I want to know whether teenagers with depression agree with my blog post, and if by showing it to their parents they improved. I also want to know if there were any parents affected by the blog post. I hope to learn more about the science behind depression as we proceed with the blog posts. Remember your job can wait but, your child’s mental well being cannot.

Watch out for my next blog post! Bibliography.

A very detailed Infographic on depression.


YATW: Sickle Cell Anemia

Hello, My name is Dejah Smith and I am a freshman at Science Leadership Academy high school. In my English class we are discussing topics that are going on in the world. I will be addressing Sickle Cell Anemia. Sickle cell anemia is a disease passed down through a family. When you have Sickle Cell your red blood cells are not shaped like a disc instead they take the shape of a sickle or a crescent shape.

There is one main cause of Sickle Cell anemia. It is caused by an abnormal type of hemoglobin, which is a protein inside of your red blood cells. This carries your oxygen. Sickle cell anemia is passed down to you when you have both parents with it.  Many people that are diagnosed don't live a very long life. On average a males lives to he is 42 and women until they are 48. Mostly dying from organ failure. 50 percent live to see their 5th decade.  

Some symptoms of  Sickle cell anemia is joint, back, leg and chest pain. These pains and or “crisis” can last up to days. Sometimes these pains are so bad you could be hospitalized. Other symptoms of this disease is fatigue, fast heart beats, and yellowing of your eyes and skin. Younger children tend to have pains and sometimes mini strokes. They also can have confusion with their thoughts. Due to spleen failure overtime victims of this disease start to have different types of infections.

There are many different treatments that's trying to cure this disease. The main thing they are trying to do is maintain symptoms and put a stop to the crisis. Something called Folic Acid. This creates new red blood cells for the victims. Blood transfusions and pain medicines.

To deal with the pain of this awful disease, they have support groups. That way everyone is mentally supported. This gives everyone a shoulder to cry on and someone to relate to.     

This picture shows how normal red blood cells look compared to blood cells that are infected with the Sickle cell anemia disease.

Alzheimer's & Dementia; The Unknown And Hidden Facts

    Hey, My name is Jamilah Woodards. I am currently a Freshman at Science Leadership Academy. In my ninth grade English class, we are currently working on a project titled, “You And The World” (YATW). The YATW Project allows you to choose a topic that you are highly interested  in to research and discuss. For this specific project, I chose the topic of Alzheimer’s and Dementia; The Unknown & Hidden Facts. This topic hits really close to home because my Grandmother was diagnosed with Dementia around the year of 2006. With that being said, I decided to base this project off of a disease that really affected my family and I.

  Alzheimer’s disease is very well known all over the world, but Dementia is somewhat forgotten. Although many people have heard of this disease, not many people know what exactly is Alzheimers and/or Dementia. The medical definition for Alzheimers as described on, Alzheimer's disease is a neurological disorder in which the death of brain cells causes memory loss and cognitive decline. A neurodegenerative type of dementia, the disease starts mild and gets progressively worse.” As briefly shown in the definition for Alzheimer’s, there is a difference between the two. Dementia’s medical definition found on a medical definition website stated as following, “Dementia is a loss of mental ability severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living, lasting more than six months, not present since birth, and not associated with a loss or alteration of consciousness.”

  Dealing with either of the two diseases can be very expensive. Yes, most insurances pay for portions of the costs and treatments, but the other portion is most likely put on the patient/their provider. A portion may not seem like it would be very costly because it is only a “portion”. Yet when Medicaid/Medicare is in the billions of dollars, that out-of-pocket portion can also be in the billions.

This picture shows the costs of supporting someone with Alzheimer's or Dementia disease

As seen in the chart above, about $142 billion would be the cost between Medicare and Medicaid. Although the cost that Medicaid provides on its own is just 1 billion dollars above the cost of personal money.

One stereotype about dealing with people who have these diseases is that they are completely unable to complete any tasks on their own. False. People believe that patients with Dementia cannot remember anything. That is also false. Since Dementia is basically a milder form of Alzheimer’s, it allows consumers to do some things that they can't. Although people with Alzheimer’s have more of a struggle than Dementia, it is still possible to do things on your own. They’re plenty of people out there who live a healthy life on a daily basis. Know that there is a mild and severe form of just about everything, so it all depends on the stage of your disease to know what exactly exceeds your abilities.   Check out the list of 5 Things You Should Know About Dementia to a further understanding.

Overall, Alzheimer’s and Dementia are diseases that should be even more now than they already are. They affect people and their families on a regular basis. I would like people to get to know and understand the stereotypes, costs, and know what the diseases actually are and do.

Blog #2 is on its way!!!

Annotated Bibliography


Blog # 1 Autism Does Matter

My name is Chhievling Seng and I am a freshman at Science Leadership Academy. This is my YATW (You And The World) project that I am doing in my English class. I am focusing on kids and adults with autism. I have always loved young children and helping out the ones in need. This is why I think it’s crucial to provide care for autistic people, especially the children, because they are our future; they are our future doctors, lawyer, teachers, chefs, etc. People with autism struggle to live a normal independent everyday life, due to the fact that they are unable to articulate their thought process or actions

A child with autism will have trouble learning things, such as how to talk, understand, or do daily tasks as shown by Kidshealth From Nemours. How would you be if you were unable to express what you want to say; it’s almost like your voice is taken away, isn't it? Kids with autism have a hard time expressing their thoughts and what they want to say, on top of that they also are unable to understand words and feelings that are coming from other people. Researchers are still doing research today trying to figure out the causes of autism. The Autism Society informational page said that Autism is more likely to be developed by someone who has a certain medical condition, such as Fragile X symptom, or someone in their family who are already diagnosed.

There is still no cure for autism, as stated on many different websites I found while I was researching. Autism is one of the fastest growing disabilities at 1,148% growth rate and only about 56% of autistic students finish high school. Also a statistic from Autism Society states that, “1% of the population of children in the U.S, age 3-17 have an autism spectrum disorder.” Yes, you might be wondering why is autism made into such a huge deal throughout this blog if only 1% of U.S children are diagnosed, but what if that 1% of children happens to be your child, sister or brother? Autism does not happen to large number of people compared to world population, but they need our help and support as much as anyone else does.

We need to have more school open with teachers specialized to teach kids with autism, because the sooner they start, the better they’ll overcome what they are struggling with. In the video I watched, it showed two school in New York that are teaching autistic children  The schools featured in the video does not focus just academically when it comes to teaching, they teach the kids based on what they are not understanding. The teacher might have to teach the kid how to brush their teeth, shave, sing, and whatever else needed.

 This picture shows Jon Kinyon learning how to clean with the help of Amanda Loman, a member in the Structured Teaching for Autism Summer Institute.

I think autism will have less questions asked and more answers if we start to care and look more into helping autistic people. Here is information from the website Autism SA on what helps with the development of autistic individuals.

Intervention should be implemented as early as possible in order to maximize development. Different types of intervention approaches available include: sensory integration, alternative and augmentative communication, speech and language therapy, facilitated communication, music therapy, play therapy, behavioral interventions, vitamins and supplements, nutritional approaches, academic support and social skill interventions. Structured and specific educational and developmental programs that address the difficulties experienced by people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder remain the most effective treatment to date.”  

This is why we must look into providing autistic children good education and help as soon as autism is detected. Over time autistic children who grow into adulthood won’t have such difficulty learning to live independently. Some autistic people also have unique sets of skill that they grasp over time. There’s actually a book called “The Reason I Jump” that is written by Naoki Higashida, an autistic 13 year old. There's still hope in making a change in autism for our world, and it can all start with our effort and support. Catch me on my next blog!

Click here for my annotated bibliography.


YATW Blog post #1 Finding a Cure for Cancer

Hello. My name is Gabrielle Cromley and I am a student at Science Leadership Academy. For my English class, we were asked to do a project called You and the World in which we were to write three blog posts about a subject that was important to us. We have to make a change in the world or the community to help benefit our cause.

I chose to write about finding a cure for cancer and how medical malpractice and lack of government funding is preventing researchers from reaching their full potential. This issue is meaningful to me because I lost my cousin to lymphoma cancer. He received a sepsis infection from the hospital and was never able to recover. Watching him suffer and holding his hand as he took his last dying breath made me realize that no one should ever have to go what he went through or die from the negligence of others. He was also my godfather and he has a special place in my heart so I want to do all I can to make sure that he receives vengeance against this illness. This is also an important issue to me because I want to become an oncologist one day and medical malpractice and cancer research would directly relate to this career.

Cancer is a disease that is caused by abnormal cell growth and reproduction rapidly. The cell’s DNA is damaged which causes the cell to not perform actions normally. There are many types of cancer that can attack parts of the body and spread throughout it. Cancer causes physical, mental, emotional, and financial suffering for patients and their loved ones. As stated by the World Health Organization, “It is the main cause of death worldwide. Deaths from cancer worldwide are expected to continually rise to an estimated 13.1 million deaths by 2030.” In the United States alone, cancer still causes a substantial amount of death, most of which should have never happened.

Amounts of new cancer cases and death

You may think a hospital is always the safest place for the sick, but this is not always true. Many hospital patients’ lives are prematurely ended due to infection which is caused by negligence, medical malpractice, and just plain carelessness. “More than 45,000 cancer patients die from hospital caused infections which also wastes $8.1 billion,” states Miriam Falco in “Hospital-acquired Infections Lead to Substantial Loss in Life and Wastes Billions” Since cancer patients have immune systems that are susceptible to disease and infection, more precautions and care needs to be taken in order for the patient to be safe. As described below by The National Center for Biotechnology information, patients who are unknowingly not responding to treatment are likely to receive an infection depending on their type of cancer.

The frequency of infection is related to the type of underlying neoplastic disease, and most   infections occur in patients who are no longer responding to the therapy of their neoplasm. About 80% of patients with acute leukemia, 75% of patients with lymphoma, and 50% of patients with multiple myeloma develop infection during the course of their disease, and infection is the proximate cause of death in a substantial fraction of these patients.

If doctors are unknowledgable to the fact that a patient is unresponsive, it could cost the patient his or her life. To learn more in depth data about infections in cancer patients click here.

A patient can also die or get worse due to chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation are harsh treatments that greatly affect the body, and for some people the effects can be deadly. Click here to read more about these therapies and their effects in “Death by Doctoring”.  We should not limit ourselves to to only two main types of treatment. Through research, we can possibly find a more efficient treatment and maybe a cure.

The last obstacle that has to be faced before a cure can be found is government funding towards cancer research and for that matter all types of scientific research. According to  The United States government only gives 2% of their budget to all scientific research. Chief medical officer, Richard L. Schilsky said, “This trend could potentially devastate future cancer research, just when we are on the verge of achieving major progress against cancer and identifying the next generation of effective cancer therapies.” Science is the door to the future that holds advancements and new opportunities that can help our world and we are going to disregard findings that could save lives. Also, cancer research is very expensive along with other forms of scientific research. Research cannot be conducted if there is no money to pay for what is needed. You cannot put a price on a life, which is why we as a country should do everything we can to help cancer patients out of their pain and suffering.

Graph of the United states budget



YATW Blog post #1; School To Prison Pipeline

School To Prison PipelineThe picture depicts public education and Prison Industries as two business men and the public education is feeding the prisons students since as the small mouse states “ follow the money”.

Hey my name is Jesse Stevens and I am currently a freshman at Science Leadership Academy in Philly. For English 1 me and the rest of my peers were asked to choose an issue in the world that we cared about and create three blog post on the matter. The issue that I choose to type about is the School to prison pipeline that affecting students everywhere.This pipeline ruins lives and breaks families and needs to be stopped. In this first blog I would like to just bring this subject to your attention and draw you in so that not only I'm the one making a change but so that you the reader can too.

2 new prisons worth 400 million dollars. Now what happened to the schools and getting an education?Just like the title states this blog and the many that will come after will be about students who are pushed out of school and are being thrusted into prison as a result of the school districts negligence. Students cannot compete against the high risk testing, zero tolerance and are expelled from their schools or even drop out because of these harsh facts. Also the fact that schools are getting less funding for extra programs such as music or art and less funding for guidance counselors. Things that schools really need so that students can be successful.

This issue has great significance because It can and is happening to us.Students educations are being halted by all of the problems that the school districts are having. Since student are not being properly educated and getting kicked out of schools the future of this world is being destroyed since the kids are being sent through the criminal justice system and now have a record.With the record they can’t get a good job, get into the college they want and just overall just have a tougher life than people without a record. to add on once they get a record and can’t do any of the things I previously stated they are more likely when they get out of jail just to go right back for similar reasons that they got locked up for in the first place. Right now to me it feels like a power struggle between  Education v.s Incarceration. As you can see the significance of this issue is huge as it can dictate our future and should impact the way you think about the school district and what needs to be done.

Many students get suspended but here are a few specific statistics that explain my point further.Statistics from the American Civil Liberties Union show that:

  • Black students make up 13.6 percent of Pennsylvania's student population, but they received almost half of the out-of-school suspensions, at 48.25 percent.

  • Seventeen percent of black students were suspended at least once, a rate five times that of white students.

  • One out of every 10 Latino students were suspended at least once, one of the highest Latino suspension rates in the country.

  • Students with disabilities were almost twice as likely as other students to receive out-of-school suspensions – 11.1 percent versus 5.7 percent.

  • Black students with disabilities received OSSs at the highest rate of any group – 22 out of every 100 were suspended at least once.

These statistics are up to date and are very shocking. Not only are healthy kids are being suspended and getting put through the criminal justice system but disabled kids have a higher suspension rate! How come disabled kids are getting suspended more? They can’t help some of the things they do but thanks to certain school policies they don’t even get a chance. Beside the fact that there are more African-Americans and Latinos(so much for equality) being suspended but more importantly the ones that need a little more help in school are just getting kicked out and pushed towards the streets and eventually prison.We have to stop this but for that to happen we need to know more.Stay tune for my next two blog post so we can figure out how to break the school to prison pipeline and help students all over the world. Lets do this together. You the reader can now also be an Agent of change in your own way by getting more people to know about this.See you later!

Here is a link to my annotated bibliography

Also here is a link to a cool game so that you can learn more about the pipeline  


Blog Post #1: Minimum Wage

Chloe Epstein



Blog post #1: Minimum Wage

The U.S.’s  most recent recession started in 2007, and ended in 2009. The effects were devastating, leaving many people without jobs. Today, in 2013 the unemployment rate has decreased to 7%, it was at its highest at 10% in October of 2009.  Although more people have jobs, many of the jobs that people are being employed in are low- income and minimum wage jobs. My essay is focused on raising the minimum wage and how it could benefit the working poor and the economy. I feel strongly about this issue because I think its wrong for people to have to work 40 hours per week and barely get paid enough to support themselves or their families.

The federal minimum wage is only $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees like waiters, hotel maids, bartenders, etc. only receive $2.13 per hour. Full time students are paid only 85% of the minimum wage and given fewer hours, so they can attend school. Once they graduate or leave school they must be paid $7.25 per hour. As you can see this amount of money isn’t very high and many Americans are angry because they feel it isn’t enough income to get by in America. Recently many minimum wage employees, specifically fast- food workers, have been protesting against their employers for a higher wage. Because of this, the government has been deciding if it should raise the minimum wage. Many Americans are unaware of what’s happening with the recent minimum wage debate including the different sides of the issue and the basic facts. That is why I think this topic is significant.  There's much to know about minimum wage and people are very unclear about it.

If you ask corporations and conservatives what they think about raising the minimum wage, most would say it’s a “job killer.” This isn’t  a new opinion for these critics. Since FDR tried to raise the minimum wage to 25 cents per hour conservatives have argued it will increase unemployment and destroy the economy. In 1937 The National Association of Manufacturers said raising the minimum wage "constitutes a step in the direction of communism, bolshevism, fascism, and Nazism." But, the truth is the main reason why conservatives argue against an increase in the minimum wage is because the big corporations that pay so little to their workers give a lot money to Republican campaigns. More specifically, conservatives tell the public that minimum wage workers already earn over $47,000 per year. But, if you do the math $7.25/hour for 52 weeks is only $21,112 per year. And many workers make even less than this amount because not all of them work 40 hours per week depending on how much time they have. Conservatives only tell the public these ideas to protect corporations and ultimately themselves.

This picture shows the amount of hours needed to afford a two- bedroom apartment. As you can see It takes a lot more than 40 hours.

To be comfortable, a family with two children needs at least a 2 bedroom home. But, at an average market value no minimum wage worker in the United States can afford even a 2 bedroom apartment working 40 hours a week. This is how little these workers are paid and this is why so many people are fighting for a wage increase. And while the employees only earn $7.25 per hour, top executives of companies earn $9.4 billion per year which is $4,517 per hour. To make matters worse $7.25 is even lower than the minimum wage wage was in the 1960’s in terms of inflation. Is this really fair?

This picture shows how the minimum wage has gone down since the 1960’s in 2012 dollars.

If we want society as a whole to thrive we have to make sure we all have equal opportunities. We shouldn’t give so little to people who work just as hard as their employers. And even if a fast food employee and the executive of the company have much different jobs that doesn’t mean one doesn’t deserve enough to make a living and support their family. After all the research i’ve done so far, I wonder what the life of a minimum wage worker is like and how they get by. I hope to know more about how we got to this point and what is the government going to do about it. Next time I will come with more information to support the increase on minimum wage and show what it can do for the United States of America.

Click here for my annotated bibliography!


World Hunger


My name is Hanna Dunakin and I go to Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am in Ms. Dunn’s English 1 class. Ms. Dunn recently introduced a new project called “You and the World” (YATW). We are supposed to pick an issue in the world that interests us and we believe is important. During the project we also have to find a way to help the issue we chose, and make people aware of it. You can volunteer, donate, create an organization, make a blog, or anything you think could help.

World hunger and Poverty have always been a interest of mine. My mother has always tried to help the people in need by buying them clothes, food, and during Christmas, toys for kids in need.  Although both hunger and poverty are important issues, hunger is part of poverty. I want my project to be about a specific issue, instead of a general issue.

Nearly 870 million people suffer from undernourishment in the world, that’s one in eight! 852 million of those people live in developing countries, which is 15 percent of the population in those countries. 100 million children under the age of five suffers from hunger and underweight. Each year it has been estimated that nearly 10.9 million children die, at least five million of those 10.9 million die because of malnutrition. This is our future generation dieing. Who knows, our next president could of been part of that group. What if person/s who could of found a cure for cancer, or a solution to immensely decrease the rate of world hunger, died in that group? We could do so much more than what we are doing now. Sometimes I even wonder, do people really know how serious and dangerous this issue is?

Hunger is usually described as starving or lack of food for a couple hours and you need a snack. Hunger is not that simple. The definition of chronic hunger, from, is:

Hunger is a term which has three meanings (Oxford English Dictionary 1971)

  • the uneasy or painful sensation caused by want of food; craving appetite. Also the exhausted condition caused by want of food

  • the want or scarcity of food in a country

  • a strong desire or craving

This is a very important issue because it’s not getting the attention it deserves. There are walks, runs, and fundraisers for issues like, childhood cancer (or cancer in general), AIDS, diabetes, etc. but there aren’t any for World Hunger. Although there are organizations that conduct fundraisers to collect canned food and toys for the people in need, it’s not enough. In reality hunger kills more people than AIDS, Malaria, and tuberculosis combined! I’m not saying I don’t care about the people who suffer from these illnesses, because I do. What I’m trying to say is, if hunger is a bigger world issue than three world issues combined, maybe hunger should get at least the same amount of scrutiny.  

The UN (United Nations) has started something called the Millennium Development Goals. It is a series of goals concerning world hunger. For example, obliterate extreme poverty and hunger in the world, decrease child mortality, and many other goals that the UN hopes to accomplish by 2015. Is that enough time to accomplish all the goals they have set, including the goal for poverty and hunger? The goals can be found in the United Nations website. Below there’s an infographic of the UN world hunger and poverty goal:

The UN is bringing awareness to this issue. They set a

goal that they hope to accomplish by 2015.

There is another organization called Heifer International where you can donate money to give a family in need a heifer, goat, or water buffalo. The reason a family gets an animal and not money is because these animals give the families something called the 12 Cornerstones. This is better than money because it gives families immediate help. They wouldn’t have to spend lots of money on their own animals because the animals given to them are donated. If they got money they would buy food and clothes because it would be the only affordable thing for them. With animals they can get nutrition and clothes for no cost. Heifer International works in 36 countries and have helped 20.7 million families so far. Imagine the number of people they have helped.

There need to be more organizations like Heifer International and the UN Millenium Goals if we truly want to bring awareness to this issue. Runs and walks should be organized to raise money for organizations like Heifer. Families need something they can hold on to, something to raise their standard of living during the long term. Money can’t do that which is why the Heifer organization is a great example of what we should be doing. Setting goals always helps people to push harder so that they can accomplish it. That’s why the UN made a goal to fight against hunger and poverty. A man named Rob Rhinehart came up with a simple idea for a solution that could decrease the amount of hunger in the world. Small steps like these turn into huge steps by the end. These are things that the entire world should be doing. 870 million people need our help. Future generations need our help. World hunger needs to be eradicated!

Stay tuned for my next post!

UN Goal


About Heifer International



YATW Blog #1: Sex Trafficking in India


The Not For Sale organization helps victims of Human Trafficking.

Hello my name is Kayla Cassumba and I am a freshman at Science Leadership Academy in Ms. Dunn’s 9th grade English  class. We were given a year long project called You and the World (YATW). For this project we had the option of choosing an issue in the world that we are interested in knowing more about. The following is the issue I have chosen: sex trafficking. Now you might ask why does a fourteen year old girl want to know about sex trafficking , such a harsh issue that I have probably never experienced? And my answer is that there are other fourteen year old girls going through tribulations and anguish that I can not even imagine. So the least I can do is educate myself and others to try understand the best I can.

According to United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime Human trafficking (which includes sex trafficking) is defined as :

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

This is an international issue that affects men, women, and children. After reading an article in the NY Times , I decided to  choose India as the country I want to focus on because of its highly concentrated sex trade which contributes sex trafficking to be the “third largest global crime.”  In March of 2013, India’s Parliament passed a law making sex trafficking a criminal offense. “But the gap between enactment and enforcement remains unacceptably wide.”

There are many  techniques on the enslavement of women and children. This can range anywhere from gender discrimination to poverty. They promise these women well paid jobs  in order to support their poor families. Soon these innocent girls end up in this lucrative  trade that  will never escape their minds.  The sex traffickers abuse their victims physically, psychologically, and emotionally.The amount of women and children being trafficked just in India is enough for a recent article to name India a “poisonous hub”. and that is exactly what it is. These vulnerable girls, from ages as young as 11 years old, are being “poisoned” by the immoral minds of these traffickers that do not care two cents about these vulnerable girls.Vulnerable is the key word here. The fact that they prey on the poorest ones that unintentionally put themselves in a position to be sexually exploited. To be forced into marriages that they might not even know about. To help their families , so they sacrifice themselves to seek a “well paid” job.

South Asia is currently home to >2.5 million HIV-infected persons, 95% of whom are from India.”How does that make you feel after reading that epidemic? Did you know that HIV-infected women and children have a higher chance of being co-infected with Syphilis, Hepatitis B and other STIs. The health risk of sex trafficking does not just affect India but the entire South Asia. HIV can be spread fast and easy if not protected or educated. Here are other tests conducted in Nepal that affect South Asia.

After reading this post I hope you feel compelled to help victims of sex trafficking in any way possible. Whether you do directly or indirectly it is guaranteed to save a persons life. Many global organizations offer the opportunity to do so. On the CNN website under “The CNN Freedom Project - Ending Modern-Day Slavery” have a list of organizations with ways to help. Here are some featured :

  • Not For Sale -

Not For Sale, based in California, accepts donations and has many suggestions as to how you can help, including ideas for students, artists, etc.

  • Save the Children-

With Save the Children, you can join the fight against human trafficking by donating financially or by sponsoring a child.


UNICEF accepts donations and provides training manuals on the subject of human  trafficking.

  • End Human Trafficking Now-

End Human Trafficking Now, based in Switzerland, is the first worldwide initiative to engage the private sector in anti-trafficking efforts – enforcing its vision of zero tolerance to human trafficking. The association accepts financial donations.

Feel free to do any additional research and keep up with me for Blog Post #2.

Annotated Bibliography


YATW#1: Buy American!

After learning about the labor conditions in China, the country we import the most from ($425 billion worth of imports in 2012) through some disturbing news stories, I realized that it would be a very good idea to try to purchase American made products whenever possible. This not only drives money away from cruel labor practices and towards the American manufacturing industry, but helps reduce our trade deficit. The trade deficit is the amount we export minus the amount we import from a country. If this number is negative, it’s called a trade deficit. If it’s positive, it’s called a trade surplus.

Foxconn builds circuit boards for Apple and other tech companies. Their factory in Shenzhen was the site of several worker suicides in 2010.

So, are these labor conditions that bad? Well as you saw in the hyperlinked text, it is so bad that people kill themselves over working conditions. There is an entire website dedicated to reporting poor working conditions in Chinese factories. According to this report, “deplorable working conditions characterize Apple’s supply chain,” indicating that things like child labor, inhumane hours, and insufficient pay for living are par for the course in the Chinese manufacturing industry.

On a more positive note, buying American goods will reduce our trade deficit because less money will leave the country to pay for imported goods, while our exports will not be affected by an American initiative to buy domestic. In addition, buying American made products will provide incentive for companies to move manufacturing to the United States. For example, a scenario:

    TOY FACTORY, 2017:

ADVISOR: Hey boss! Our sales just dropped a gazillion percent!

BOSS: Why did this happen!

ADVISOR: Our focus groups say they’ll only buy American made, and our toys are made in China!

BOSS: You heard the customers! Move production to the United States!

    In conclusion, you should buy products made in the United States, because by buying foreign made products your money goes toward unscrupulous business practices and increases our trade deficits. Buying American made products also encourages manufacturers to move to the United States because you are willing to spend more for a domestically made good. The extra cost is merely $4 for a cell phone! Is ruining your local economy worth it for $4? In addition, I have a few more questions to leave you with:

Why don’t you buy things made in the United States?

Do you check where the things you buy are made?

Did you know about poor labor conditions in China before reading this article?

Do you know anyone who makes an effort to buy domestically produced goods?

E-mail me at with your answers, if you feel strongly enough to do so.

Here you can find an up to date ticker on the United States trade deficit.

Here you can find the bibliography for this post.

YATW Blog Post #1: Bullying, Depression, and Suicide

Hi there! My name is Ebony Ream. For my Freshman English class, we are to choose a world issue that we feel strongly passionate about. There are different parts to this project. The first part is the research. The other one is actually going out into the world and taking action to help fix it.

My issue is surrounding bullying and its outcomes, specifically depression and suicide. Why? Well, in my experience I used to be bullied because of my weight and being a “teachers pet.” However, it has stopped and I have been able to get through it. My little sister is currently a victim of cyber bullying. Everyday, she would get dirty and nasty text messages from girls she used to call her “friends.” Those messages used to bring her down every single day and night. As her older sister, it hurts to see someone you love, go into the state of depression; exactly being  the reason why I feel that this is a huge issue to not only my family and community, but in the world.Thankfully, my little sister has gotten better each day and is still improving today. Unfortunately, there are many young kids that I know that aren't really able to and the outcomes are tragic.

In the picture, it looks like the girl is around the ages of 10-12. She’s in very deep thought with a very blank and empty face. It seems as if she’s been unhappy for a long period of time.

The causes of most kids’ and teens’ depression mode is no other than bullying itself. There are many types of bullying. Some of the major ones are school, cyber, neglecting, etc. All of which are either physically or mentally. According to this website I cited, girls between the ages of 10-14 are more likely to be targets of bullying resulting suicide.

The information provided on this website, shows how kids in younger ages will more likely grow up into self harming, as a sign of depression. If you take the time to read the information from the website, it offers other resources leading more deeply on depression and the symptoms and signs of how you know that your child is depressed.

Instead of just researching information using articles or pictures, I decided to also watch videos about real life happenings and felt that these three were the best out of the many that I watched.

  • Stand up for Change is a mini video about how you should speak out if you see something that should be changed. Neglecting is a type of bullying that also causes depression. In the video, a boy is being neglected by one of his friends, whenever he’s around a group of “cool” kids. The boy turns into his depression state, and finally decided to take his life away.

  • STRAIN is a mini video showing a real life scenario of how two best friends are broken up because one decides to join “the cool girls” team. That is what exactly happens in this video. So, there are two best friends and one decides to start hanging out with the popular girls. From what I see, they seem to be pressuring her to stop being friends with her best friends, and so she did because she wanted to be part of their “crew” or “cliche.” That made the friend feel depressed because not only have the friend been ignoring her, but the popular girls have been bullying her and hurting her physically. In the end, she ended up killing herself by overdosing on pills, the night of their school prom.

  • Cyber Bullying Virus is a video basically explaining how cyber bullying works and how fast it could spread because of all the access to technology. I wanted to aware people of how cyber bullying works and the results of it because cyber bullying is one of the major and main bullying.

Another thing I would like to focus on are these two graphs right now: (Click here for further information)

Just by looking at the graphs, there are major differences in the heights of the bars. According to these graphs, high school students have a lower enrollment than the elementary but that could vary whether it is the amount of kids in each grade. However, if paying attention to the years of the elementary chart, between the years of 2009-2010 the total amount of kids would be 325, but after that, the numbers started decreasing.The same thing goes with the high school information. Seeing that from 2010-2011 the total is 331, but between 2011-2012, the rating decreased rapidly to 297 total. The school board suggested that the causes for this may be bullying.

Click here for the link to my bibliography.


You and the World Blog #1: Animal Cruelty in America

My name is Jaiye Omowamide and I am a ninth grader who attends Science Leadership Academy. For my English class, my teacher Ms.Dunn asked us to think of and choose a problem in the world that we feel strongly about. Automatically, I thought of animal cruelty and abuse in America. As a child, I've always had a deep affection for animals. I feel as if it is my duty to share with the world, the horrors, as well of my thoughts and feelings on this problems.

As of December 2013, has reported 19,334 cases of animals that were treated in a inhumane way in which 17,100 of those cases were reported in the United States, and that’s not all of them. While hundreds of cases are reported, thousands go unreported and are ignored.

Neglect and abandonment seems to be the highest form of abuse used against animals. Pet expert, Laura Maloney wrote an article for USA Today on her thoughts on animal abuse. Below she wrote:

Animal cruelty could be divided into two categories: intentional cruelty and     unintentional cruelty or neglect. Intentional cruelty means an individual has purposely inflicted physical harm or injury on an animal. But neglect is much broader: It could mean an animal has been denied the basic necessities of care, such as food, water, shelter or veterinary care; it could also mean that the pet parent is unaware he or she is doing anything wrong and simply needs to be educated on how to properly take care of the animal. And at its most basic level, it simply could be the state of being homeless — which is the highest risk factor for any animal in this country.

  Did you read that correctly? Of course intentional cruelty is unable to be solved on my behalf because of the barbaric mind of the beholder, but unintentional cruelty can be! As stated above, neglect is caused because the pet owner has no idea that what he/she is doing is wrong! This is where I come in. I want to use my knowledge to guide those into treating animals with respect and dignity.

This pie chart shows the different types of abuse inflicted on animal throughout the U.S

Following neglect and abandonment is hoarding at 12.3 percent, shooting at 11.7 percent, fighting at 8.7 percent and beating at 7 percent.

Now it’s my turn to challenge this problem. Throughout the next two blogs, I am going document my status as well as provide new information for readers to let them know how I tackle this situation. My goal is to fully educate others on this problem so they can also help the world with one of the many, horrible things it has to offer. I want to make a change and change starts with you! Look out for my next blog!

Click here for the sources that I used and the annotated bibliography





Childhood Obesity: An Escalating Crisis

Childhood Obesity: An Escalating Crisis

Hello, my name Is Luke Watson-Sharer. I’m 14 years old and I’ve always wondered about many national  and international problems.  Since attending Science Leadership Academy, I realize i can make a difference. In my Freshman English class we have been given a challenge to make a difference. Our  project, You and The World, requires us to research an issues, post on a blog, and participate in community service. I know there are many international issues that need to be addressed from Israeli occupation of  Palestine, the Syrian Civil War, human trafficking, and the U.S. drone war.  There are also many issues in the U.S. that need to be addressed including funding of public schools, poverty and the huge wealth gap, and health care.  Nevertheless, I wanted to address a problem affecting many youth but often ignored by youth.  I decided to learn about  childhood obesity.  Obesity not only affects physical health but also emotional health.  I wonder why children of different ethnicities, heights and regions of the U.S. are impacted by obesity.  I also want to know why it is a “growth” epidemic and how it can be halted.

Obesity is a daily problem.  Obesity costs the United States about $100 billion per year.  Unlike a cold or even the flu, obesity does not last a few weeks.  Obesity can consume one’s life.  Today, over 23 million children in the U.S. are obese.  Children and teens who are overweight are susceptible to  chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes.  They are also at risk for  high blood pressure. Both of these conditions may shorten their lives.  Since 1980, the percentage of obese children from  6-11 years old increased from  7% to 18% .  Obese teens, 12-19 years old, have increased from 5% to 18% since 1980. Most obese children are at risk of becoming an obese adult with a  very high risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Obesity not only leads to chronic illnesses but also less quality of life . You may also find other possible threats to kids here Medical News Today Childhood Obesity Facts.,11323/mode,content/a,cms/

This is a body scale of issues of childhood obesity.

Austin's Story

This is one of many stories of kids overcoming obesity with diets and other ways of losing weight and staying healthy.

In Austin’s story, he decides to lose weight because his mother is diabetic.  Austin loses over 40 pounds.  This raises his self esteem.  This has convinced me the goal of my project is working to end obesity because it damages self esteem.  While the risk of other diseases is important, damage to self esteem is the most important. lack of self esteem leads to depression.  Depression is debilitating and may lead to suicide. Overweight youth may be teased and mocked for their weight.  Like in Austin’s story, increasing your self esteem and gaining confidence by losing  weight is possible. This may also lead to a decrease in bullying.  Nevertheless, losing weight is not easy.

Some people are genetically prone to gain weight while others are naturally thin.  How should we support people who want to lose weight?  There are many ways to manage and lose weight.  Eating fewer calories is key;  healthy eating is also important.   Exercising instead of spending  too much time using technology and watching TV helps one lose weight. Consistent exercise, whether on an athletic team or running steps in your house, is necessary.  It is also important for parents to be involved in supporting their child’s weight loss.  Parents should know what foods are served at school and what food the child purchases outside of school.  Next, parents should keep healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables in the home instead of junk food. Last, family members needs to encourage each other to increase determination and  lifestyle changes.  Long term weight loss requires healthy eating and exercise.

Currently, I am wondering if overeating and unhealthy eating is a habit,  a family trait or a mixture of both.  I also question the role of advertising and companies that produce unhealthy food.  Also, who is to blame?  Is it the children and parents who purchase the junk food, the child that does not stop eating or the companies that promote unhealthy living?  Is it environment, genetics or both?  I hope to learn how I can step up and help contribute to helping kids in our country and in the world lose weight and gain self esteem in the fight against obesity.

Every year in the U.S.  there are over 300,000 deaths due to unhealthy eating and obesity.  Obesity also makes youth more susceptible to bullying, depression and suicide.   This can be prevented. We need to encourage each other to eat healthy foods and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight will improve self esteem like in Austin’s story.  Ending childhood obesity will not be easy or quick but we do not have a choice. The materials, physical and emotional costs are too high to ignore the epidemic of childhood obesity.

You can view my Annotated Bibliography here.


YATW Blog Post #1: The Stigma of Mental Illness

Hi! My name is Isabel Medlock and I am a freshmen at Science Leadership Academy. This year in English class we had to choose an issue, research it and then try to do something to raise awareness of the issue or help solve it. The issue I chose is the stigma of mental illness. The reason I chose this topic is because mental illness has interested me before and after reading a little bit more about it I decided it was a good issue to choose. Another reason I chose this issue is that some members of my family are affected by a mental illness.

People perceive mental illness with a negative perspective and that leads to prejudice, discrimination, and stigma. The Mental Health Commission defines stigma as a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. Many people think that mental illness only affects a few people when in fact in a given year one quarter of adults are diagnosable for at least one mental disorder. Another common belief about mental illness is that all people with a mental illness are violent and should be kept in a hospital.  In a 2006 Australian study it was found that 1 in 4 people thought that depression was a sign of weakness and would not employ someone with depression. 1 in 3 people said they would not vote for someone with depression and 1 in 4 people thought that people with schizophrenia are dangerous.

This is a chart that shows the percentage of adults with a serious mental illness by state:

People who have a mental disorder are discriminated.  In England, if you have a mental health condition you are not allowed to serve on a jury. You can also be removed as a director of a company if you have a mental disorder. In a video I saw one woman said that she wanted to join a local weight loss group. When she told the counselor who ran it that she had a mental illness she was told that she shouldn’t join because she would be disruptive and the other members of the group wouldn’t want someone with mental illness in their group. There are just a few examples of ways that people with mental illnesses are treated unjustly.

In 2008 only 13.4% of adults received treatment for mental health problems. That’s a little over half of the adults diagnosable with a mental disorder. The reason people aren’t seeking treatment for their mental disorders is the stigma surrounding mental illness. The stigma makes people too ashamed or embarrassed to get the help they need. 90% of the people who commit suicide have depression or another mental disorder. Most of these deaths could have probably been prevented if these people weren’t afraid to get the treatment they needed. It’s important that we change the view on mental illness so that people are no longer afraid of getting help and don’t choose to end their lives. People with mental disorders have to live with the stigma and the discrimination every day and it isn’t fair.

These two newspaper headings are examples of how the media portrays those with mental illness.

After researching this topic I have new questions. How did people view mental illness in the past and how has their view changed since then? Are there illnesses that are viewed more negatively than others? Why did people start viewing in a negative way?  How are children and teenagers affected by the stigma of mental illness? As I keep researching this topic I hope to find the answers to all these questions. I also hope to find more stories about the experiences people have had living with mental illness.

Watch for my next post!

Here is a link to a video of a man with schizophrenia and his mother discussing the stigma.

Mental Health Discrimination Bill video

Annotated Bibliography