By Juliana Trujillo
by Lindsey Nield
On October 15th the Aurora police and the University of Colorado Denver police teamed up for crowd management training that required volunteers to act as protesters. I saw this as a great opportunity to earn some community service hours while getting to see how our local police would go about handling a situation such as that in Ferguson, Missouri. We were told that we were going to perform a series of training exercises which included various scenarios so the police could be prepared for anything. They had blocks of wood, protest signs, and tennis balls available to us that we could throw at the cops in training in order to simulate the conditions of a real protest. Most of the protesters were senior citizens, so I was chosen to be directly involved in several of the drills which gave me a very clear perspective as to how our police would handle acts of civil disobedience. Unfortunately, I was unable to take any pictures during the actual exercises due to the dicey conditions that we were in.
For our first drill, I was chosen to be zip-tied to the door handle of a truck while acting as a captor while my “hostage” was in the driver’s seat. With this being the first exercise, there was a lot of confusion as the police were trying to get the situation under control—not only did they have to free the hostage, but they had to contend with the protesters throwing chunks of wood into their faces. As a group of cops was trying to clear the area around the truck, one did not realize that I was physically attached to the vehicle and I was heaved with such force that the zip-tie made a sizable injury on my wrist. In addition, the protesters were directing their ammunition towards the police, but in the process I was also struck several times sans protective gear. After a while, the trainees eventually just froze and were shouting “what are we supposed to be doing?” There was so much confusion that the drill completely stopped and we moved onto the next because the police officers lost all sense of organization and purpose.
In the second practice activity, the scenario was set up so that the “presidential motorcade” was driving through and a few protesters were lying in the “street” so the motorcade could not pass. The trainees’ job was to move us out of the way while still handling the other protestors on the side of the street. I was one of the protestors chosen to lie down. When the drill started, the police first focused on moving everybody backwards, but as the protesters were throwing their ammunition at the police, I was, again, struck by chunks of wood and tennis balls. Eventually some officers told me to roll over onto my stomach so I could stay safe until they got to lifting me up. When the time came, 4 officers rolled me onto my back and each took either my leg or arm and carried me over to where the other protesters were being put until they could “arrest” us. This activity went much smoother than the first because the officers were all synchronized and they each had designated jobs to perform.
After a break of water and mini Oreos, we began our next drill in which there was a “disabled” protester in a wheelchair in the front line. I was directly behind the front line chucking my ammunition at the lines of officers. When it started, they first separated the mob of protesters from the front line so I had a very limited view of what was going on. However, I did witness the officers dump the “disabled” man out of his wheelchair. When they finally got everyone in the front line arrested, the coordinating officer informed us that instead of throwing the man out of the wheelchair, they were supposed to calm him down and wheel him out of the way to arrest him. He was very embarrassed as to how that drill was carried out and emphasized that this is why they are practicing, so they don’t actually injure someone with special needs.
The last few drills mainly consisted of me throwing ammo at the cops as they focused on getting us under control and targeting certain people. I have to admit, it felt great when I nailed an officer in the head or chest with a large block of wood. In the last activity we had to choose to be either pro-police or anti-police and I went with anti, so I could keep chucking things, and by that point, I truly viewed the police as my enemy. This activity really gave me a true perspective as to how well our police force is trained to handle crowd control and what the true protocols were. They would push their batons into your chest if you would not move back, they “released” tear gas if it was getting out of hand, and they “shot” us with non-lethal ammunition. I was quite surprised that the police are supposed to shoot at protesters and throw gas at them—I would have thought that they would try to get everything under control before they started using weaponry. Either way, the next time I attend a protest I will have a greater awareness of how the police will handle the situation and if you plan on protesting just be aware, they will “meet your resistance with superior force;” I had to learn that the hard way.
By Juliana Trujillo
For the judges, who are relatively unknown, there was a booklet containing their background and whether or not a Commission of attorneys and non-attorneys thought she or he should be retained. I thought this was very helpful and that it was a good way to reduce the amount of non-votes for the judges. I asked my mom whether or not she would have left them blank if she had not had that booklet, and her reply was that she might have looked them up. But I thought it was very clever to have that booklet available.
Also, after our meeting last month,I convinced her to take a second look at the vote for the GMO bill. We talked about how just hearing rumors about a certain topic or bill wasn't necessarily the truth. Since then I've also talked with with classmates too about campaign ads not just for bills but candidates. It's interesting to note John Hickenlooper has not endorsed any negative ads towards Bob Beauprez, but that it might hurt him in the long run, because people latch on to the negative rather than positive. I personally applaud him for it, because all of the ads are so so negative. I think even though third parties in favor of him are running negative ass, he himself is not condoning such ads.
I think that in order to properly vote, you need to do research. But people don't have time, or won't make time to do it and either vote blind based in attack ads, or don't vote at all which is equally harmful. That's what is most important, that you DO vote. Not voting could lead to a candidate in office who you don't like nor trust. But at that point there's no one else to blame but yourself.
By Heaven James
As the kinesthetic learner I am, our scavenger hunt was the perfect and most fun experience I have had
in awhile. The scavenger hunt stretched our brains to solve clues, but also, stretched our bodies,
venturing to our destinations. The first of the clues lead us to the Molly Brown House Museum. I had
never been to the museum, but instantly remembered writing a paper on Molly back in 4th grade. I was
so excited to finally get to go! The house was amazing and I learned so much about Molly. I loved
learning that she would actually yodel out on her front balcony. It makes me want to step out on my
front patio and give yodeling a go! The next clue lead us to the Capital building. I love the architecture of
the building and had never known the stairs had any more meaning besides being stairs. The stairs
signifying the miles above sea level of Colorado was a very cool addition. The next stop was to the
Denver Public Library. The library is beautiful! I could have stayed there all day! I love books! Even
though we weren’t able to look inside Jill Tietjan’s archives we were able to look at the inventory for the
archives and that was just as fantastic! There were so many awards and certificates. I thought to myself,
what an amazing woman! She’s achieved so much! It inspired me to achieve as much as I can and do as
much as I can, to make a difference in others lives and my own. We then traveled to take a picture In
front of the black American West Museum. I was shocked to see it as a cute house. The fact that the
museum was a house made it feel more familiar. When we went in front of Coors Field to ask people the
questions I was so excited! It reminded me of those Youtube videos I watch all the time, of people
walking up to random people on the streets and asking them questions. The answers were surprising!
The answers people gave would be really close at times and then way off at others. I had the best day
ever! I’m so thankful to the Blossom Project for this unforgettable experience. I can’t wait for what’s to
By Juliana Trujillo
This Tuesday I went on a retreat called the Homeless Plunge. We started at school, then made our way downtown by bus. Once we got there, we walked several blocks to the St. Francis center for the homeless. They gave us a tour of the place, all the while telling us the reasons why someone might become homeless and what they offered as services. The shelter stays open from 6 am to 6 pm, and people can store their things, giving them an address that they can use for licenses, jobs, and mail. They have shower rooms and a "store" where people can pick their own clothes in exchange for chores. They have an office for people who cannot afford to go across town or who feel more comfortable working at the shelter. At this shelter there was a majority of men, because of a women's shelter a couple of blocks down. There are different centers for men and women and children, because some women have suffered in the past because of men, or they are just not comfortable staying with men.
Then we talked with the one therapist who worked there. She deals with new incomers and assesses their need for medication or other therapy. Mental illness is one of the top, if not the top, reason why people become homeless. And even if they don't have it at first, the stress of living only day to day and predispositions to mental illness actually cause mental illness. That really hit me hard, because even if you don't have any mental health problems, the stress of living can bring it on. And if you have to take sleeping medications, but are sleeping on the streets, you won't, because you have to make sure nothing bad happens to you.
We then went to The Voice newspaper headquarters, where we learned that it is written completely by those who have experienced homelessness, and sold by homeless or "vendors." That was pretty cool, because later I saw people selling them on the streets and understood what that stood for.
Then outreach workers from Urban Peak, a homeless teen organization, and Colorado Coalition for the Homeless came and in groups we walked all around downtown, giving socks to people who wanted them. Some we just said hi, gave them the socks and moved on, but some engaged immediately in conversation. We talked to one man who made unique dreamcatchers out of bike chains, delicate bracelet chains, and pretty geodes or liquor bottles. We could tell he was proud of them, and understandably, because one of them had gotten into an art gallery. He was very optimistic about getting a website to start selling them to a wider population, because that was the best way to do it without a permanent address.
I was pretty tired just riding back, but I could only imagine how the homeless felt, walking and standing all the time. And just talking to them made me realize that for some of the most visible population, they are the most invisible. People see them and walk right on by, never stopping to talk unless it's an outreach worker giving them supplies. And why? Is it because if someone has achieved comfortableness, they don't want to disturb it with someone else's uncomfortable situation? Or do they think it's their fault that they are homeless and they're too lazy to get a job or be productive? All of these things we talked about in a reflection once we returned to the school. If there are any other opinions on that I'd love to know them.
Lastly, when we got back to school, we divided into groups of 5, and were given $5. Then we were told to buy dinner AND breakfast for all 5 of us. We argued about how we could get the most food for less. It was very hard, and my dinner was a piece of bread with turkey, and my breakfast bananas and peanut butter. Breakfast you say? Yes. We slept over at the school- outside that is. We had sleeping bags and pillows but not much else. It was to simulate actually being homeless and having to sleep outside. It was rough, but definitely worth it for the experience. I realized just how privileged I am, having BOTH parents who can clothe and feed me, being able to go to school coming from a warm bed, and driving in a car that I can use pretty much whenever. I am extremely grateful for my experience on this retreat, and if anyone else has a similar opportunity, take it. It's worth it.
By Angel Wright
Senior year of highschool is so pressure filled. Its not the part about getting into college
that I am worried about, its the part where I have to pay up more money than I have ever seen
in my life. College is so expensive and one thing that family members keep trying to shove down
my throat is that I don’t want to go into debt. That is something I obviously want to avoid, but it
seems so inevitable
. You have to be the best of the best to get the scholarships that help you avoid having
to pay a single dime when it comes to tuition and board. Along with being the best of the best is
a financial need that has to be proven my financial documents. If your parents make too much
money to qualify for the financial based scholarships, but not enough to actually provide any
contribution a person is pretty much on their own at that point.
So when you’re not the best of the best and you have the weighing pressure of how do
I pay for a decent education a few ideas begin to leak into one’s mind. One idea is spend your
last high school career mindlessly filling out applications and trying to claim the money that so
many financial advisors say is out there. There are also financial advisors who say that is not
the right way to go and to only consider a select few. Money seems unreachable and debt looks
likes its the only option.
Education comes at a very high price and so many people out there want it. To compete
with the best of the best is tiresome. A car payment is what the debt of college can gain you,
only you don’t get the car in the end. Instead you get a degree, and that if you have no prior
work experience in the field you’re searching for it can become nearly impossible to get hired.
It is a very time consuming thought of having to pay for college. Yet, I often wander into
thought of the possibilities that can happen once I go through the college experience. So many
amazing things can be learned and introduced to me. Passions and inspirations may be thrown
my way in a storm that would not be possible without that car payment of debt. I hate to think
that money is the only thing holding me back from those experiences.
So whether I like it or not, I’ll sit day after day listening to the educated financial advisors
searching for a way to pay for college. I think searching for money to go to school is closest I’ll
get to understanding not having primary and secondary school readily available for children in
other countries. Though I know in my search, I ‘ll probably never fully understand it.
By Lindsey Nield
The internet is home to various riches: videos of cats, marketplaces, and answers to homework problems; however, among this vast community lay hidden web pages dedicated to making the world a better place. They offer opportunities for users to make themselves into philanthropists by giving to those in need. Below are a few unique and constructive examples as to how a single idea has transformed the lives of women and others in the developing world.
1In in India there is an estimated 3 million forced sex workers with about 90% of that being internal. The International Princess™ Project founder, Shannon Keith, discovered this display of modern day slavery on a trip to India in 2005. She heard stories of girls being sold by their families, mothers trying to provide for their families, and pimps picking up orphans off of the street. Unfortunately, the few who are able to return home must face social stigma and have no way to survive. Ignited by what she saw, Keith gathered up her friends and founded International Princess™ Project to empower women and provide opportunities for those who have lost everything. Working with a skilled seamstress, they created a simple pattern for pajama pants, termed Punjammies, made out of the traditional Indian Sari that women could use to learn how to sew. With each stitch, the brave women who escaped sex slavery can forge new and respectable lives. Now there are over 150 women employed by the Project at 3 of their sewing centers in India. You can donate directly to The International Princess Project, but by purchasing your own pair of pajama pants or any of their specialty products at http://intlprincess.org/, you are actively employing and assisting strong and independent women whom have experienced horrors that we can only imagine. The humanitarian efforts of Shannon Keith and her friends have transformed the lives of women in India and with every purchase of Punjammies, you too can be a philanthropist.
Furthermore, at http://www.shethinx.com/ you can purchase a pair of underwear for yourself while providing seven washable and reusable pads for adolescent girls in Africa. The undergarments that the buyer receives with their purchase are made with a moisture wicking layer, an anti-microbial and stain-resistant layer, an absorption layer, and a leak-proof layer that can absorb up to 2-6 teaspoons of liquid, depending on the style purchased. They have been designed for women to wear them during their menstrual cycle without the waste and burden of using pads or tampons. However, with every purchase, you ensure that one girl in Eastern Africa can stay in school, get a job, and be a productive member of society. Over 84% of girls in the developing world (approximately 10 million) are forced to leave school early because they are unable to properly regulate their menstrual cycle. Due to the lack of resources, women and girls must stay home when they are on their period and are unable to attend school or work. THINX has teamed up with AFRIpads to provide work for women in Africa to manufacture reusable cloth pads in order to2 improve menstrual hygiene which would allow girls to continue their education. The organization employs native women to produce their products, creating more opportunities for women in a male-dominated society. By making their products reusable, AFRIpads also ensures that the environment is protected as there is very little waste associated with their pads. With the spectacular benefits for the consumer, the recipient, and the creators of the kits, you can be sure that your purchase will benefit yourself and the developing world. You can also donate to the cause directly at http://afripads.com/blog/.
If you would prefer to give directly to an organization rather than receive a gift in return, the Global Fund for Women is a nonprofit organization which works to advance women’s rights. By giving at 3 http://www.globalfundforwomen.org/, you are supporting women-led organizations around the world. Their vision is a “just, equitable and sustainable world in which women and girls have resources, voice, choice and opportunities to realize their human rights.” By funding in more than 170 countries focused primarily in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Fund’s primary goals are to end gender based violence, ensure equal rights to resources and politics, and allow all women to make their own reproductive and sexual choices. They do this by challenging laws and cultures that promote discrimination and abuse, supporting democracy movements, legal reform and women’s participation in politics, and advocating for campaigns aimed to secure women’s access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Finally, the Global Fund for Women provides grants for organizations or groups of women whose aim is to improve the lives of women around the world. This organization not only advocates for women’s rights and equality, but also empowers women to take action and change the world.
Not every philanthropy website is based on women; http://freerice.com/ serves to provide food for anyone who is struggling to find their next meal. The website advocates two goals: to provide a free education and free food in the form of rice to those in need in order to end world hunger. As you are educating yourself in the form of games and activities, the points you accumulate translate into grains of rice that will be given to hungry human beings. Freerice is owned by the United Nations World Food Programme and is a nonprofit website. It promotes that “somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.” While you spend some down time learning new information in a variety of subjects, you are providing someone’s next meal; it is a win-win situation.
Some of the activities available on the website are:
· World Hunger
· Famous Quotations
· English Vocabulary
· English Grammar
· Multiplication Table
· Basic Math (Pre-Algebra)
· World Landmarks
· Identify Countries on the Map
· World Capitals
· Flags of the world
· Human Anatomy
· SAT® Preparation
As the player moves on in the game, the questions accelerate in difficulty. One right answer is the equivalent of a donation of 10 grains of rice; the amount of rice to feed a single adult for a whole day is approximately 19,000 grains. The website boasts that they have raised enough to feed over 5 million people in the developing world. By playing for just 5 minutes you are actively assisting those who do not know where their next meal is coming from without having to concede any money. Being a donor isn’t about how much money you give; by giving your time, expertise, or services, you are considered a philanthropist.
Donating your time, money, and talents through internet based organizations changes people’s lives who are in need of help. The internet connects us to people around the world and in doing so, we able to interact and donate to those millions of miles away. Sitting on the couch, watching an episode of Friends, you can be a philanthropist. And these are only just four examples; on the vast expanse of the web there are thousands of websites dedicated to improving the livelihoods of women, children, and those in poverty in the developing world. It only takes a few clicks to make a big difference.
By Guli Grover
Very recently in school we were assigned to read Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. I really enjoyed reading this book and I strongly support that you read this book. First of all, the book is about a teenage boy’s life and his thoughts. I could agree with him on many different points and could understand many things he described. Coming from a teenager it made every word more relatable which kept me up reading all night. I am not going to give anything away nor will I explain with a lot of detail because I prefer reading a book completely from the start without much information given. Throughout the book, the teenage boy talks to us, the readers. He explains everything he feels about everything he sees which really helps us understand who he is and where he is. Secondly, his diction consist of many curse words. I am not supporting you to start using more curse words but it relates to the everyday diction I hear at school. His word choice explains his thoughts on a whole new level and helps me relate to him. It made me realize why some people say different words in different tones, there is always a story behind every person that relates to their everyday actions. Finally, Salinger uses many allusions, even though the plot was written in the “olden days” many examples are still relatable. All of the examples help me see where he is and makes me feel like I am standing next to him. Some of the allusions are things I have never heard of, which gives me the opportunity to learn more. The reason I love this book is because I can relate to it in many different ways. J.D. Salinger does a great job describing and keeps you entertained from beginning to end. I strongly recommend reading this book.
By Segovia Garcia
The Babysitting Movie: Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo is rated E for EVERYONE IN THE WORLD NEEDS TO WATCH THIS MOVIE. It’s brilliantly animated and extremely comedic plus it’ll keep the kiddies occupied for a while. Let me tell you, it takes a special kind of film to keep young kids silent for a whole 90 minutes. If you don’t watch this for the love of good movies at least do it for some peace and quiet.
The Sleep Over Movie: Frozen
What’s better than singing your little heart out to some good old Disney ballads? Nothing. Especially with some friends and a little popcorn. Talk about a great bonding moment. Frozen was Disney’s highest grossing film and is definitely worth the watch.
The Movie for When You Just Need to Cry: Remember the Titans
Say it with me now, “I will not judge a movie by its previews.” Although Remember the Titans appears to be just another football movie I would definitely place this movie under the description of a ‘chick flick.’ It’s an amazing story about a bond between brothers that transcends race and I would definitely recommend at least a pint of Ben&Jerry’s to get through all the sobbing.
The Date Movie: Beauty and The Beast
We all need a little sap in our lives, okay, you can’t deny it. Beauty and the Beast full of sweet sentiment and even sweeter character growth. Seriously though, if this movie wasn't so darn captivating I would recommend taking some notes.
The Movie for Everyone:
I’ve found through personal experience that it’s always a good idea to have a back up movie for those times when no one can seem to agree. 101 Dalmatians has a little something for everyone. A little romance, a lot of adventure, and most importantly dogs. Who doesn't like dogs?
Blossom Project Participants
We are empowered high school girls, inspired to make a positive difference in the world.