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Love is the Movement
By Lynzie Thompson, Grade 9

To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the hope of people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. This organization was created in 2006, when its founders began to help rehabilitate their 19 year old friend, Renee Yohe. Struggling to be heard, Renee had sunk into depression and began cutting, drinking, and taking drugs. To pay for her rehabilitation, Renee’s friends (the founders of TWLOHA) began making and selling inspirational merchandise, primarily t-shirts. They soon discovered that Renee was far from alone in her struggle—(in fact, statistics prove that 121 million people suffer from depression) their t-shirts, reading “You Are Not Alone”, “We Have Reason”, and “Love is the Movement” sold quickly, earning over a thousand dollars, which was immediately put towards improving the rest of Renee’s life through treatment.

Now TWLOHA goes out to all of those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. They organize many events around the world to support their cause. One of their most popular fundraisers is the Concert of Love, where many bands you know and love come together to play and raise money for TWLOHA. Some bands even dedicate songs to the organization--Between the Trees dedicated their songs A Time for Yohe and The Way She Feels. Skillet dedicated The Last Night, Paramore dedicated When It Rains, and Hawthorne Heights dedicated Bring You Back.

Every individual in this world is special; no one deserves to lose their life to depression. Give a smile to everyone, because you never know who needs it. One smile could brighten their entire day.

If you know of someone struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, or suicide, speak up and be there to help them through it. With a little TLC, they’ll be stronger than ever. Remind them that nobody is alone in this world.

“The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope.”

Source:
http://www.twloha.com/
Photograph by Lexi, Grade 12

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Which Pet is Best?
By Nayah Boucaud, Grade 8

All pets have one thing in common: the power to be a friend. Pets are companions to people who need one. The good news is, their is a perfect pet for everyone. Dogs are not the only “man’s best friend.” There are also cats, birds, bugs, goats, hamsters, horses, rabbits, snakes, rats and many other animals.

So do you have a pet pal? Do you really want to get one but don’t know which to choose? If you’re looking for something small, head to the fish, bird, reptile, or insect section at your local pet store. Want something a little cuddly? There are plenty of other small animals to choose from. Consider looking into the care of chinchillas, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits, and rats.  

Dogs and cats are the most common pets and typically sit in the middle of the scale in terms of attention needed, and cost to take care of.

Needing a little more time, attention, space, and financial investment are some other options such as a horse, cow, pig, or goat.   

No matter what pet you’re dreaming of, choosing a pet responsibly requires you to answer some very important questions.

-Do I have the right environment? Do I have enough space? Will this animal need a large field, or a fenced in area outside?
-Will I be able to care for the pet? How much time can I put into my pet each day? Take into account school, friends, family time, volunteering, sports, and extracurricular activities.
-Will my other pets hurt this pet? If you already have a ferret, he may not be too fond of a puppy joining the family.
-What if I go on vacation? Who will take care of it?
-How long will this pet live? It’s tough to think about, but pets are a long-term commitment. For some, a hamster with an estimated lifespan of 5 years might be better than a bird with 20 years. Also think about what you’ll be doing in that amount of time. Who will take care of your pet if you go off to college?
-Can I afford a pet? Don’t just consider start-up costs, but also vet fees, food, bedding, accessories, treats, and training classes.

A pet is like adding a new family member. You have to care of iit like if it is one of your own. This is why these questions are so important to ask yourself. Take a piece of paper and get the answers. One you have the answers, you can focus on which pet is for you. Visit a pet owner or the vet and decide. Write down you five favorites and figure out what is needed. Deciding on a pet is not easy but when you pick one, you will love it! If all else fails, start off small. Most pet owners start with a goldfish. After picking the pet, get ready for it. Buy all of the supplies by looking at the questions above. Decide if you want to buy the pet or adopt it. Once everything is ready and the environment is set up, bring you knew pet in. Get to know your pet by observing it. It is observing you, so do the same. Play with it and depending on the animal type, try teaching your new pet its name. Have fun!

Good luck!

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/kids/pets.htm
http://animal.discovery.com/pet-planet/pet-picker/

Colleeeeeeen :D
7/13/2011 04:58:41 am

Hey Lynzie,
Awesome story! I didn't know Hawthorne Heights dedicated Bring You Back, and they also have a song that's called To Write Love on Her Arms.

Hey Nayah,
Your pet story was really good and helpful. I'm trying to convince my parents to let me get a dog!

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