Sunday, November 28, 2010

Knit for Kids 2010

Knit for Kids is a global organization created by Guideposts.  As the holidays are here, times are tough in many areas and in many households, however when you give to others it can warm your heart and build your own family bond.

Knitting may seem old-fashioned to some teens, but isn't it a great opportunity to learn when you know you will be helping keep a needy child warm?  Many grandparents and parents have been knitting for generations - let's start this tradition now in your family.

Since 1996, when Guideposts Knit for Kids began, the program has grown beyond anyones imagining because of dedication and creativity. Thanks to many, some kids for the first time in their lives have had something new; for others, the sweaters are cherished hand-me-downs.

A “million smiles”, that’s a conservative estimate of how many people have been touched with joy by these gifts: the children who have received them directly or as a hand-me-down, their parents or guardians, and needleworkers like you who found your lives changed as you created these treasures with heart and hands.
Start your family tradition today through stitches of love.  Whether you are in Clay, Duval or St. Johns County, download the simple knitting patterns here and share them with your friends and family.

Do you prefer to crochet?  Click here for the pattern.

Get your teens involved today.  To learn more about Knit for Kids and where to send your sweaters, click here.

Read more.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls: How to Prepare, React, and Manage Your Emotions So You Can Best Support Your Daughter

The average fifth-grade girl knows a cutter, a classmate with Asperger's syndrome, or has a friend with two fathers. Issues like these are big, and they are just drops in the bucket. A generation ago, we worried more about kidnapping and divorce than cyberbullying and prescription-drug abuse. With little personal experience in the new, complex issues that plague our daughters on a daily basis, how can parents today help their girls cope better and raise a generation of girls who are resilient and self-confident instead of insecure and confused? This book answers that question with concrete action steps and easy-to-follow talking points that help parents keep the lines of communication open and better support their daughters.

Author Erin A. Munroe, LMHC, who has been counseling adolescents for more than a decade, is in a unique position to help parents understand how girls cope and react to stressors and adult-size problems today, so they can be active and effective participants in their daughters' reality. When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls also helps parents learn about themselves and control their own emotional responses to the big issues their daughters face, including:

· Sexuality, sexual orientation, STDs, and pregnancy
· Mental health issues and learning disabilities
· Bullying, peer pressure, and cyberbullying
· School anxiety, social anxiety, and other phobias
 Substance use and abuse and the newest addictions
· High expectations for young girls that often cost them their childhood

Raising girls is a big responsibility. Let When Big Issues Happen to Little Girls become your twenty-first-century parenting strategy and give your daughter the gift of resiliency and confidence that she is deserving and capable of experiencing.

Order today on Amazon.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

SCAM ALERT: Beware on Craigslist

Rental properties are becoming more necessary and popular as foreclosures continue in  our country.

Are you the parent of a teen that has started college or going to a college and is tired of the dorm experience and would like to find an apartment?

In St. Augustine, Flagler College is one of the most beautiful campus' with a city that is college friendly with lots of great housing opportunities.  Many locals use Craigslist as their outlet to advertise their rooms for rent or homes for rent.

Although most are legit, parents and teens need to beware of the scams that are escalating on Craigslist.  After answering several ads that seemed too good to be true, one local student shared their experience.
After spending her first semester in the dorm at Flagler College, Casey (name changed for privacy reasons) decided she wanted to find a room or apartment to rent for after the holidays.  She jumped on Craigslist, as her parents also did, and what happened could have been a diaster if they were not smart enough not to play into this scam.

There are scammers trying to get your credit score.  They are trying to steal your identity.
This advertiser below is on Craiglist - attempting to get your credit score. Don't fall for it. She offers an apartment too good to be true - and here is her response when you inquire about it.  Both Casey and her parents were victims of this scammer and several others when they answered their ads.  This email is duplicated and changed slightly for some, so be aware and don't respond to them.

From: Michelle Ratica []
Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 9:08 PM
Subject: RE: $500 / 3br - 3 BR AND 2.5 BD HOUSE CLOSE TO EVERYTHING
Thanks for taking the time to email me about the place.
We thought we had the place rented last week to a young couple, but communication has dropped off. you are the first person to email about it since we put it back on the market . It would only be fair that we gave you the first shot at the property.
Normally, we would prefer a year lease, but would also be open to shorter terms. I'm sure that you will want to see the property before making a final decision. I would simply give you the address and let you swing by, but my wife is against blindly advertising an empty home online. Rest assured the home has been up kept properly and had a good cleaning and fresh coat of paint. Basic utilities are currently on, but we expect that you would get them put into your name fairly quick.
If you want to go ahead and schedule a time to see the property, go to the link below and print off the free copy of your report. Your score isn't necessarily important, we're just interested in seeing that there are no evictions / landlord related judgments.

Click here for the Free Online Score

I am very open as far as appointments go to show the property. Any morning after 10am is fine. Just let me know when you have everything printed and be sure to leave me a contact number to reach you at and any desired time. I will call you to confirm a time and choose a place to meet.
Thanks for looking,

Michelle Ratica

Usually the "Click here for free online score" is a hyperlink, do not click on it.  Michelle Ratica is one of many names the perpatrators use.  According to Casey's mother, a Mark Savorn and a Robert and Angela Banks are other scammers that sent similar emails.  Also Google the advertisers name, check to see if your advertiser is listed as a scammer.

These scams were reported to CraigsList, although some were taken down, there are still some there.  What is worse is that everyday a new one will be posted.  Just remember, if it seems too good to be true, it usually is.

Never give out your social security number unless you have confirmed that the property is legit, and don't allow them to run your credit until you have agreed on the terms.

Be an educated parent and pass it on to your teen!

Read more. (including others that have been scammed by this person.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

10 Most Beautiful Community Colleges in America

Miami-Dade College
Going to a beautiful college doesn’t always mean having to head off to an Ivy League campus or a private university. Some community colleges have exceptionally beautiful campuses, with views of the mountains, beaches or rolling hills and architecture that can’t be found anywhere else. If you’re looking for some of the best and most beautiful community colleges in the United States, check out these amazing campuses.
  1. College of the Siskiyous, Weed, CA: This Northern California college is small in size, with only 3,000 students, but that doesn’t mean that it’s short on scenery. Opened in 1959, the college is named after the Siskiyou Mountains, a range that runs along the California-Oregon border and can be seen from the campuses’ buildings. While the buildings themselves may not be impressive, the view showcases the majestic natural beauty the West Coast has to offer.
  2. Glendale Community College, Glendale, CA: Founded as Glendale Junior College in 1929, this community college campus has been around for years, growing and expanding to now comprise over 100 acres of land and 15 permanent buildings. The school’s more than 15,000 student enjoy the beauty of the campus in both the buildings and the surrounding landscape. The campuses brightly-colored stucco buildings stand out during the day or night and are situated on the scenic slopes of the San Rafael Hills overlooking the city of Glendale.
  3. Maui Community College, Kahului, HI: Selling this community college as one of the most beautiful in the United States shouldn’t be hard. Part of the University of Hawaii educational system, the school has expanded in recent years to offer a wider range of degree programs and opportunities. Students there will not only enjoy educational opportunities, but an amazing setting to learn in as well. The campus is sandwiched between the Maui’s stunning volcanic ridges and a beautiful white sand beach and is home to artwork from a number of noted artists, including Bruce Turnbull and Sean Browne.
  4. Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, FL: This Florida college has a long and storied history. It was founded in 1959 and was one of the first fully integrated junior colleges in the state, producing many famous alumni over the years. Among the school’s eight campuses, students will encounter stunning modern, green buildings designed by world-famous architects as well as buildings with more classical design, like those found on the North Campus. There, students will enjoy learning in classrooms that overlook palm-tree lined ponds and lush, open, green spaces.
  5. Casper College, Casper, WY: Casper College packs a double whammy for students looking for a scenic community college. The campuses’ buildings are artfully arranged over a sloping hill and all feature bright red rock exteriors that help to unify the buildings and enhances the beauty of the campus. The view from the campus is extraordinary as well, with both wide open skies and a view into the nearby mountain range – and Casper Mountain itself.
  6. West Virginia Northern Community College, Wheeling, WV: The real draw to this community college campus is the architecture. The main campus in downtown Wheeling is centered around what used to be the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Terminal. The building was finished in 1908 in a stunning French Renaissance style and was state of the art at the time, boasting indoor plumbing, steam heat and electric elevators. Today, the building still maintains much of its original beauty, with a few improvements to make it easier and more attractive for the school’s students to use, including new patios and some restorative remodeling.
  7. Colorado Mountain College, Spring Valley, CO: This network of seven junior colleges boasts some of the best views of any community college system in the United States. The school’s location in the Rockies is reflected in the programs it offers, many focusing on outdoor education, ski business and wilderness studies. Also spurred on the by college’s amazing setting is it’s photography program, and students have no shortage of subjects at any of the school’s campuses with ample natural scenery. While all the campuses feature mountain views, the Spring Valley campus is perhaps the most stunning, with white walled building overlooking tree-lined hillsides and snow-capped peaks.
  8. Sandhills Community College, Pinehurst, NC: While the classical architecture of this North Carolina school is appealing, the thing that makes its campus so lovely are the gardens. With an extensive landscape gardening program, it’s no surprise that the school is home to over 32 acres of beautiful horticultural gardens. The gardens are designed and maintained by students at the school as part of their training. Visitors can see 14 differently themed gardens including a children’s garden, a Japanese garden, English gardens and the largest collection of Holly on the East Coast.
  9. Clinton Community College, Plattsburgh, NY: Located a few miles south of Plattsburgh, NY this community college boasts some great academic programs connected with the State University of New York. It also isn’t too shabby when it comes to looks. Situated at Bluff Point, the college’s main campus overlooks Lake Champlain and the surrounding forests. The main building on campus was once the Hotel Champlain, the destination for New York’s high society during the Victorian era, featuring stunning architecture that still maintains much of its original charm, though it has been updated to accommodate the school’s modern needs.
  10. Springfield Technical Community College, Springfield, MA: If you’re looking for a community college with some history behind it, look no further. The college was built around the Springfield National Armory, a building established by George Washington to supply the US with armaments. Today the building is a well-known historical monument in the area, and the century-old buildings that surround it on campus add to the academic and historical feeling students get when they attend courses. Aside from the fabulous architecture and history, students can also enjoy seeing acres of trees in the surrounding area which are particularly beautiful in the fall with brightly-colored leaves speckling the hillsides.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Flagler Creates! Art Festival

Flagler Creates!' is Saturday, November 20th from 10:00am - 2:00pm.

Flagler Creates! is an art festival that will let Flagler students, faculty, staff, alumni and Flagler families display and sell items that they have handmade or created. All funds collected from application and artist rental fees will be donated to the Flagler College Annual Fund.

What a fantastic event for the entire family!  Not only will you enjoy one of the most beautiful college campus' in Florida, you will be able to meet a community of people in St. Augustine.  From business owners to authors and artists, it will be an exciting day for everyone.

This event is free to the public, which makes it even more enticing!

For more information, or if you would like to be part of this event, contact Marsha LeDuke at

Do you have a teenager that is looking at colleges?  What a perfect opportunity to meet your local college and the people that create the community of St. Augustine.

Read more.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Taylor's Closet: Making a Difference

In 2005, Ft. Lauderdale teen, Lindsey Giambattista founded Taylor's Closet, an organization, which is named after her twin sister that died at birth.  Taylor's Closet provides clothing to needy children throughout the world.

About Taylor's Closet:

Taylor’s Closet had its first outreach in early December, 2005. We set up a mini “shop” on the salon-deck of a large yacht in the Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade and invited girls from local foster care programs to come by and shop. There were some 30 girls on the cruise that night who were blessed with new clothes, and a handful of parents, kids and program administrators who got to see the love of Christ in action as well.

Since then we’ve seen God bless this ministry in some huge and wonderful ways. In December of 2006, we opened our first permanent “store” for foster girls. Several local businesses have put aside their business agendas to come alongside and help out. One in particular, RCC, designed and paid for the cost to build the store. We’ve had clothing donations from all over the world. - Taylor's Closet

As the holiday time approaches, it is time for you and your family to go through your closets and take up a collection to help those that truly need your generosity.  As the weather is getting cooler, even in South Florida, we need to take the time to be grateful for what we have and consider giving what we really don't need.

What happens in Taylor’s Closet is remarkable. Girls who have been abused, injured or who are just basically suffering from a lifetime of hopelessness, come in to our store and find out that someone cares – that all these beautiful new, designer clothes are there for them – completely free.

When Lindsey was asked in an interview by I Heart Dailey:

How can people help with TC?  Buy our products! We just launched a TC merch line. Go check it out. It’s really cute, and every penny goes to making girls in need feel beautiful!

Created by a teen with a dream, Taylor's Closet has proven to help thousands of children throughout the world.  Lindsey is truly a teen that inspires.  Learn more at Watch video on sidebar.

Get your teen involved today!  Giving feels so good, encourage your kids to pay it forward!

Read more.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Morning Squeeze Video Contest for the Entire Family

Many experts agree, a good start in the morning includes breakfast.  Especially for children and teens breakfast is a priority.

Today’s hectic schedules leave Americans with more to do in less time, which creates a balancing act for many families, particularly in the morning. 

According to a new survey, most parents identify with the role of personal assistant or traffic cop in the morning.In fact, more than one-third of those surveyed avoid morning disagreements by letting their children tune out to a TV, computer, cell phone or video game.   However, it is clear that parents want this pattern to change.  Two out of five respondents would go as far as to give up TV for an entire month or stay an hour later at work once a week in exchange for a year of peaceful mornings.

There’s no doubt American families continue to feel the morning squeeze.  While 75 percent of respondents agree mornings are an important part of the day to spend quality time with their children, few realize that it is really about making your interactions more meaningful – not spending more time.

The Morning Squeeze Video Contest:
To inspire families to make the most of their mornings, Florida orange juice has teamed up with celebrity mom and entertainment journalist Nancy O’Dell, who offers a glimpse into the situations her family faces through a series of behind-the-scenes videos on the Florida Orange Juice Facebook page. To show the importance of making daily connections with your family, Nancy is working with Florida orange juice to launch The Morning Squeeze video contest, which encourages parents to submit a video of their own morning challenges for a chance to win a family getaway to Florida.

I understand how challenging it can be to find family time when faced with such hectic schedules,” said Nancy O’Dell.  “That’s why I am partnering with 100 percent Florida orange juice to show parents across the country how a meaningful interaction, no matter how brief, can make a huge impact on everyone’s day.”

To challenge your family to a more meaningful morning and learn more about The Morning Squeeze video contest, visit or the Florida Orange Juice Facebook page.
Get involved as a family.  Chances are very good your teenager is familiar with video taping.  This is a great opportunity to create a project that everyone can take part in.

Learn more about the details of this contest here.

Read more.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Text-tionary: The Ultimate Decoder of Text Abbreviations

These days the most efficient way to communicate is through instant communication: Texting! But what the heck do all those abbreviations mean? Do you know what this means: BY&M, I H8- S/T, GTTP! Thr Txt u SIT? If not, you need Text-tionary: The ultimate, informative, TEXT abbreviation de-coder, with helpful tips to become an expert texter! So what's the translation? Between you and me I hate small talk. Get to the point. Through text you stay in touch.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

National Mix it Up Lunch Day: November 9th

Students all over the country will participate in learning about different cultures, different groups, cliques, races or ethnicity as they gather for lunch.  This challenge to social boundaries is part of the annual "Mix It Up At Lunch Day," sponsored by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The organizers hope that many of the prejudices and biases kids are brought up with will fall away when they meet new people.

Social scientists have long maintained that contact between diverse groups helps alleviate tensions and reduce prejudice. Mix It Up seeks to break down the barriers between students and improve intergroup relations so there are fewer misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts, bullying and harassment.

Many experts agree: Students thrive both socially and academically in schools that are inclusive. Yet, a look at recent headlines about bullying, cyberbullying and a lack of civility and empathy confirms that for too many students, schools are hotbeds of exclusion.  Florida has been in the national headlines almost monthly with reports on the two teens in Broward County that were nearly bullied to death.

Unfortunately Florida is not a stranger to school violence and bullying incidents.  In Sanford, Florida, devoted father, James Jones made national headlines as he entered his daughter's school bus to confront the bullies that had been harassing his disabled daughter, Chatari.  Not only were they verbally abusing her, they were throwing open condoms on her and twisting her ears.

Although James Jones does not condone his behavior, it was out of frustration and love for his daughter that he just had enough.  Today James Jones is crossing the country speaking out about bullying and urging everyone from schools, teachers, parents and your communities to get involved in this growing problem in our country.

Part of getting involved is teaching our children tolerance and acceptance of others.  Mix it Up is about this issue.  Isn't it time you got involved?

Wherever you are, sign your school up for National Mix it Up Lunch Day Register here.

Pass this on to your local schools and teachers TODAY!  Get your Mix it Up tools here! 

Customize your press release today for your school!

Sources: Connect with Kids, Teaching Tolerance

Read more.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Food for Fines

Do you have overdue library books?  Are those fines mounting and your finances dwindling?  Starting Monday, November 8th thru December, 22nd, you can pay them off with food!

That's right, it's time once again for Food for Fines at St. Johns County Public Libraries System (SJCPLS). From November 8th until December 22nd, bring in your non-perishable, non-expired food items and wipe out $1.00 in fines for each item! Get rid of your fines while  benefiting those in need in our community!

As the holidays approach many people are having lean times, some are without jobs and/or losing their homes.  Food banks need to be replenished and our community needs to come together to help each other.
SJCPLS is also collecting Boxtops to benefit our local school.  You may have seen these on cereal boxes, paper towels, soups and other products, but did you know that each Boxtop earns 10 cents for schools! All branches of the St. Johns County Public Library System will now be collecting Boxtops for Education for schools in their communities. Please help support the education for the kids of St. Johns County by saving Boxtops from these products and simply dropping them off at your SJCPLS branch library.

Community service and family go together.  Get your kids and especially your teens involved in giving back this holiday season.  There are many ways they can help others including volunteering and donating to organizations that assist the homeless or others that are in need.

Giving is what the holidays are about.  Be the example for your children, get involved today.

Read more.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Host Exploit: Get in the know techically, you and your family will be safer is a focal point for open source resource research, publication and creating awareness of Cyber crime activity. The focus is on Internet hosts, registrars, and the delivery of crime ware. It was designed to provide a holistic approach to the study of Cyber crime, integrating research from various sources of expertise; anti-spam, Malware, botnet, cyberwarfare, organizational analysis, and organized crime. The concept is unique in that the output so far has been detailed research reports, which are highly graphic and aimed at a general readership. The reports have been of considerable use in provision of well researched community information for technical and non-technical journalists, bloggers, security analysts, academics, law enforcement, and the wider Internet community, to primarily provide awareness.  
HostExploit is an open organization of international volunteers, created as an open source resource for those who wish to reduce and prevent Cyber crime, its effects and causes, and assist in wider awareness and education. This way CERTS, law enforcement, governmental agencies and the wider concerned Internet user are better informed.

One of their latest articles, Teens, Parents and the Wild Wild Web featuring Cati Grant.