In Memory of the Florida Shooting Victims

As all of you know, there was yet another horrific mass shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. There were 17 people killed and many people who lost their loved ones and friends. The devastating event has sparked much upheaval and hopefully will successfully push for the desirable change. There have been rallies for a ban on specific weapons, for a crack down on the FBI and for more awareness of mental illness. No matter what your view may be, everyone is affected by the events and the actions that will follow. It is not right for parents and kids to be afraid of a school environment, which is supposed to be a safe, positive and motivating place. The issue must be addressed and something must be done.

The people who are standing up for what they believe and speaking their truth are proactively fighting for change. It's so important not to be afraid to speak up for what you believe in. Every person has the power to make an impact! Throughout history, those who have continually fought and spread awareness of their cause are the ones to be remembered and made change happen. If nobody stands up then nothing will happen. We believe in the importance of every individuals actions in this and any movement! We have the power to make change and make our community a better place! The Times Up movement is a perfect example of the positive outcomes of people speaking their truth and coming together to create a powerful force.

Remember to cherish every day and your loved ones because you truly never know what may happen. In loving memory of Allysa Alhadeff, Martin Angianco, Nicholas Dworet, Aaron Feis, Jaime Guttenberg, Christopher Hixon, Luke Hoyer, Cara Loughran, Gina Montalto, Joaquin Oliver, Alaina Petty, Meadow Pollack, Helena Ramsay, Alex Schachter, Carmen Schentrup, and Peter Wang. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends and to their community whom are grieving together over this tragedy.

Anna White

 

Valentines Day: Feel the Love and Spread the Love

As Valentine’s Day approaches, many of us begin to feel anxious in a variety of ways. It may be trying to decide what to get our significant other or trying to make plans with friends. Whatever your relationship status is, it is important to remember the actual meaning of the holiday which is the celebration of love. How you decide to celebrate love is entirely up to your interpretation. Sometimes this holiday can make people feel lonely, but it is important to take note of the love from family and friends who surround you, as well as the love from yourself. It is also important to realize that although Valentine’s Day is just one day of the year, love should be given to yourself and those close to you year-round. Here are some ideas of ways to feel and share the love to yourself and others throughout the entire year.

1.    Write a letter to someone you love and tell them why you love them. This could be your mom, your sister, your grandma, your best friend or anyone else that you love!  People love feeling appreciated and the act of giving the letter to them will also make you feel happy to know that you have made someone’s day.

2.    Volunteer with your favorite organization. As mentioned previously, doing good things makes you feel good. It is scientifically proven that people who participate in meaningful activities report feeling happier and with more purpose in their life. What better way to spend the day making yourself happy by doing good for others?  

3.    Take the day for yourself. We live in a world that is all about being on the go and productive. For this reason, many people feel guilty about lounging the day away in their pajamas. While this wouldn’t be healthy to do every day, sometimes it is important to give yourself permission to relax. Even if it is just for an hour, treat yourself to a bubble bath, a cup of tea and a book, or whatever makes you feel most relaxed.

4.    Make a friend date. Make a date with a friend doing an activity that you both enjoy. Many of us are constantly connected to friends on social media or through texting, but it is important to take time for one-on-one connection. Put your phones away, go on a walk together or out to coffee, and see how refreshed you feel.

5.    Make a list of characteristics you love about yourself. This is an activity we did during Strong Girls that I truly believe anyone would benefit from. Each girl cut out a tracing of her hand on construction paper and glued it onto another piece of paper. Then she wrote all the characteristics she loves about herself on the hand. Then, whenever someone is feeling down she can high five her hand and remember all the reasons she loves herself. Even if you do not do the hand activity, writing down positive characteristics you like about yourself feels just as good!

These are a few of the many ways to show love to yourself and those around you. These ideas can be done on Valentine’s Day or on any day of the year! There is a quote by Barbara De Angelis that says, “Love and kindness are never wasted. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” While receiving love feels good so does giving it! Feel good by telling those around you why they matter to you, and make sure you know why you matter too!

By Jenna Blumenthal

New Year’s Resolution: Be You

As we begin our journey into 2018, many of us reflect upon what the new year will bring as well as create New Year’s resolutions. Many people join gyms, pledge to eat healthier, or plan to learn a new skill. Regardless of what the specific resolution is, what most resolutions have in common is the desire to become better. It instills the idea in us that we need to become something other than what we already are. Further, it persists that what we are is not good enough.

This year, rather than thinking of your flaws and ways that you can become better, I challenge you to think of ways in which you are already whole. Think of all the amazing things that your body can do. Feel all the love that fills and surrounds you. Embrace all of the qualities that make you uniquely you.

This year, replace the days of self improvement with self affirmation. When you learn to accept yourself as you are, miraculous changes will occur. Daily stress, as well as insecurities, will vanish as self love fills the void. Remember to remind yourself, as well as your strong girl, that there is nothing more beautiful than loving your unique self just the way you are!

By Jenna Blumenthal