Tis the Season

With the Holiday season coming up, it can be easy to only pay attention to all things fun. Many of us are already struggling with our own personal problems whether that be school, family, work, and etc. I love the Winter season so it’s easy for me to get overjoyed with the Holiday events and overwhelmed by school and work. However, I’ve learned that going through the motions and having my mind be in the present, has made it easier for me to focus on the things that need to get done now.

If you are like me and get easily distracted by the Holiday season, I want you to set goals for yourself. Set a goal everyday and once you achieve those goals, allow yourself a break. The goals don’t have to be big; small goals everyday will lead up to a big one. You’ll feel more accomplished, focused, and you can do whatever you want to get into the Holiday spirit.

Also, please keep in mind that not everyone is fortunate to spend time with their families. If you’re going to get into the Holiday spirit, do so with grace and mindfulness.

Happy Holidays!

Not my art but I can’t find the source.

A Free Way of Protesting

My professor once said, “Love should be at the root of this transition that we hope society will make. It’s a desire to love one another and to build each other”. There are many issues being brought to light in the world and they can be difficult to watch and understand. According to my professor, we pay attention to these issues because we care, and it hurts because it comes from a place of love. Even though they are coming from a good place and we want to fix these issues, it can be exhausting.

A lot of people make social media posts when they want to bring awareness to issues that are important to them, but that can get tiring to do. My professor also said that the best way to protest is to create something that’s going to last a long time. This can be a drawing that’s inspired by an issue or a video that has discussions about the issue.

So if you’re younger and want to help protest, I encourage you to start by creating something that’s meaningful to you. You don’t have to have a lot of money or start a big movement with a hundred people. Whatever you create, as long as it’s meaningful to you, is protest enough because it will impact people as long as the creation exists. The best protest is one that will last a lifetime.

Peace Poster by Shepard Fairey (2018)

The Cameron Boyce Foundation

Cameron Boyce was an actor and dancer formerly known for his roles of “Luke Ross” on the Disney Channel hit television show, “Jessie”, as well as “Carlos” on the Disney Channel movie, “Disney Descendants”. On July 6th, 2019, Boyce passed away due to an epileptic seizure. Though his friends, family, and supporters were devastated by his passing, they all remained hopeful knowing that his legacy would live on.

Outside of acting and dancing, Boyce was a young philanthropist. He constantly tried to help as many people through his work whether it be building programs for inner-city kids or providing clear water for third-world countries. In honor of his legacy, his family and closest friends started The Cameron Boyce Foundation. The foundation helps build programs across multiple needs/necessities. The last project that Boyce was working on was one that aimed for ending gun violence. It was called, “Wielding Peace”; a social media campaign that represented survivors and supporters “wielding” a weapon of unity. Through the Cameron Boyce Foundation, they continue to work on ending gun violence by partnering with Inner City Arts and providing workshops to help students focus on choosing peace through different artistic outlets. They also partner with agencies to help change gun laws and increase voter registration.

Although the foundation has other projects as well I wanted to write about ending gun violence specifically. Deaths caused by guns violence (including accidental situations) have spiked in the U.S. Everyday, more and more citizens gain easier access to guns which results to gun violent situations. This includes mass shootings, school shootings, murders/ murder suicides, and gang violence. I believe that by supporting the youth and teaching them about gun violence can help prevent higher gun violence spikes in the future.

For more information about this foundation and their projects, click on the link below:



Ways Communities Can Help Prevent Youth Gang Activity

In the past couple of years, there has been an increase in youth gang activity and participation. According to the National Gang Center (NGC), younger adults are more likely to join gangs depending on how many “risk factors” are exposed to them. These “risk factors” include struggling in their homes, schools, social groups, or within themselves. The more risk factors that are exposed to a young teenager, the more they will try to seek protection and a sense of belonging in gangs.

While these activities can include dangerous actions, there aren’t many gang prevention resources in the state of Minnesota. However, what we can do to help is make community resources more accessible to them. This could be raising funds for lower-income schools so that they can offer financial or academic support for their students, or providing all lower-income schools with a food resource room where food is accessible to students struggling with food insecurity.

It could also be helpful to make sure that young adults are heard and know that they’re being heard. Many individuals join gangs because they want a sense of belonging and providing resources for people in the community where they know that their thoughts, struggles, feelings, and opinions are heard may give them that sense of belonging.

“Gang Prevention: An Overview or Research and Programs” Youth.gov

National Gang Center


How to Support the Ones You Love

The year 2020 has felt long and hectic, yet quick and eye-opening for many. There has been an overwhelming amount of information across many different topics these past couple of months. While some may feel stressed or exhausted by the new information, many have found 2020 as the year of opportunity. It has been the opportunity for new voices to speak up, the opportunity for silenced voices to be heard, and the opportunity for all voices to have more conversations than ever before. However, even with the new encouragement for these voices, constantly using your voice can be over-exhausting and can have an incredibly negative impact on your mental health.

September is the National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and with the world at its most vulnerable state, it is important that we stay connected to the ones that we love and care about. There are many ways to show your support towards people and here are two effective ways that can show people you support them:

1.) Reach Out to Those You Love:

Reaching out may be hard for some people, especially if it’s been a while since you’ve talked, but there are multiple ways to reach out to someone and let them know that you care about them. It’s always good to be straightforward and tell people that you’ve been thinking about them and want to know how they’re doing. However, I also understand that people want to have different kinds of conversations. A couple other alternatives are messaging someone a thoughtful compliment. It can change someone’s day and will let them know that you support them. Another option is reaching out to someone to tell them that something reminded you of them. This can be super meaningful and will let them know that you are thinking about them.

2.) Take Action: While it’s good to verbally tell people that you support them, it’s especially important to also show them that you support them. People tend to reject help when asked so taking action to show that you care about them can make them feel loved. Of course, you have to keep in mind of people’s boundaries so instead of taking action without their consent, ask them if they are okay with you helping them. For example, if you know your friend is going through a tough time, ask them if it would be okay for you to drop them off some treats. Doing this instead of simply asking, “How can I help you?” will be more effective in showing them that you care about them. It let’s them know that you’ve already thought about them and are willing to make an effort to help them. Plus, people don’t always know what they want or how they need help, so this makes it easier on them and their mental health.


Youth Gang Activity

Gang violence and crime rates have increased in the U.S these past couple of years as well as the youth participation in gang activity. There are many programs and resources that help prevent gang activity around the world. While I think that these organizations are great, I also believe that if I want to help prevent gang activity, I should also understand the main factors that can lead a young teenager to participate in the lifestyle. Here are some things that I’ve learned:

While there are many reasons why an individual can choose to participate in gang activity, the National Gang Center states that one of the main causes are the risk factors. They define these risk-factors as “characteristics, variables, or hazards, that if present for a given individual, make it more likely that this individual will join a gang”. The more risk-factors that one is exposed to, the more likely they are to join a gang. Among these factors there are five domains: individual, family, school, peer, and community. Negative factors within these domains can negatively impact someone’s mental and physical well-being. Someone who is more likely to experience risk-factors among all of these domains are 40 times more likely to join a gang than those with risks in just one.

Although gang activity may not always include substance and alcohol abuse, many teenagers who join a gang at an early age are more likely to be exposed to substance and alcohol abuse. Many ex-gang members have admitted to abusing alcohol and drugs because it gave them a sense of belonging.

This is surface-level gang violence and substance abuse information, but I think that it is important to know the root of these issues. If you want to help prevent youth gang violence and substance abuse, below is a link listing many organizations around the U.S.


“Why Youth Join Gangs”,
Young, Michelle Arciaga, Gonzales, Victor “Getting Out of Gangs,
Staying Out of Gangs: Gang intervention and Desistence
Strategies” National Gang Center Bulletin, January 2013.