Archive for the “Activities & Clubs” Category


Schools across the country are having to make some tough budgetary decisions this fall.  And oftentimes the first programs to get the boot are art and music.  But you can do something about it!

VH1 Save the Music and Do Something are calling on you to lead the fight for music education in schools.  From now until October 16th, take action — tell everyone to “Save Our Music!” Organize an instrument drive. Create viral videos on what music means to you. Run an awareness campaign in your school. For more project ideas check out the “Save Our Music!” website.

Sign up on DoSomething.org to get started, and if you submit your project ideas by October 23rd you’ll put yourself in the running for a ton of great prizes including:

  • The top 5 advocates will receive $1,000 for their school music program and Rock Band Video game packages.
  • One grand prize winner gets $2500 in music funding and a Beatles Rock Band game system.

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It’s the time of year again for building up that stockpile of pens and folders and trapper keepers (do they still make trapper keepers?).  But while you’re at it why not help out the nearly 13 million students who can’t afford new school supplies by joining the Do Something 101 School Supply Drive.

It’s easy to get involved by becoming a fan on Facebook, and there you can enter the “Adopt A Pack” sweepstakes for your chance to win a trip to LA and rock your choice of events at the Staple Center with 5 of your friends. Stop by your neighborhood Staples to purchase your supplies and donate to students in need.  Do something today to help a student tomorrow!

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I just discovered Create A Skate.org - a very cool organization devoted to teaching junior high and high school students how to make skateboards.  It’s started by Paul Schmitt, considered the “godfather” of skateboards, whose company in 2005 manufactured its 10 millionth board!!!

The idea is that teachers incorporate Create A Skate lessons into their classroom so that every student gets to make their own board from scratch while learning about concepts in math, science, art and design, not to mention physical education once the board is completed!

After reading through their website, I wanted to make a skateboard of my own, but it turns out that would require me going back to high school since the Create A Skate program is only available in classrooms.  If you are a junior high or high school student who would like to get this program on your campus, then visit Create A Skate and download the student petition form. I just might have to crash your class.

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If you’ll be in or near the Santa Monica area this July, and you’re looking for a fun weekend activity my friend Rebecca Heller (author of “Surf Like a Girl”) is hosting a surf workshop along with Perfect Day Surf Camp where you can learn to surf in an all female, non-competitive and girl friendly environment.   It’s sponsored by Roxy and here are all the details for the weekend:

Who: All the ladies (ages 17 and up, please)
When: Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19
Time: 9 - 11am  (Please arrive by 8:45am)
Where: Santa Monica Beach, Parking Lot #9 North of the Pier
What to bring: Wear a bathing suit and sunscreen. Bring a towel and water. We will supply wetsuits and foam surfboards.
Cost: $150 both days/$80 one day

If this sounds like fun (and trust me, it will be!) then email Rebecca (rebecca [at] surflikeagirl [dot] net) to sign up for the weekend. Maybe I’ll see you out on the waves!

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On Monday President Obama and his administration launched “United We Serve,” a call to volunteering and making a difference in our communities. And to support this endeavor employees from Craigslist, FanFeedr, Google, UCLA, and YouTube donated their time to create All for Good, a new volunteer search application which helps users find opportunities to serve within their communities and around the nation.

There you can search for service projects using key terms like education, hunger, nature, animals; find opportunities in your zip code; share your projects with your friends; or track specific volunteer activities.

If you’re looking for the perfect summer volunteer opportunity, All for Good is a great place to start. And check out First Lady Michelle Obama’s inspiring message about community service. In her words, “America’s new foundation will be built one community at a time, and it starts with you.”

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“Just in time for summer, Simon and Schuster has launched a new teen online reading community called Pulse It. It’s dedicated to teens aged 14-18 and seems like a cool opportunity to get early access to new books, write and submit reviews, earn points, win monthly giveaways, and interact with featured authors. Right now, one of the featured titles is Pure by Terra Elan McVoy which takes on the hot topic of purity rings. To start reading the newest teen books online for free, join the Pulse It community.

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I’m a huge advocate of using film to raise awareness about important issues, so I was super excited to hear about Scenarios USA, a non-profit organization that holds an annual story, play, and scriptwriting contest for youth (ages 12-22) called “What’s the REAL DEAL?”  Teens have the opportunity to share their perspectives on the issues that today’s youth face, and the winning entries are then directed and produced by some of Hollywood’s finest talent and are ultimately distributed at film festivals, high schools, and other outlets across the country.  Some of last year’s films were directed by Joshua Marston (Maria Full of Grace), Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity), Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball), and Gina Prince-Blythewood (The Secret Life of Bees).

These short films address topics like communication, relationships, and decision-making and open up conversations about issues like STDs, teen pregnancy, body image and a host of other experiences written from a teen’s perspective. You can check out the inspiring short films on the Scenarios USA website, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the next contest deadline.

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If you’re just starting the summer job-hunt you could be frustrated by the fact that a lot of positions typically held by teens are now being filled by an older set.  It’s tough to find work out there these days, so in this economy what’s a teen seeking some extra cash to do?

As The Wall Street Journal reports in their story Cupcakes and Cattle Breeding: Teens Turn to Summer Start-Ups, many teens are turning to their own entrepreneurial ideas to put some cash in their wallets and even add to their college funds.  Teens are going beyond the tried and true lawn-mowing services (which can still rake in a pretty penny) to trying ventures like web design and cupcake catering for birthday parties. And it’s worth mentioning that the experience of starting your own business could make for a great college admissions essay topic (hmmm…something to keep in mind for the future).

Start-ups, of course, can be risky since they require some seed money to pay for supplies and/or advertising, but here’s some tips from WSJ to get the most out of your start-up venture:

Find and fill an unmet need. For example, the skills many teens use every day can be marketable. On Elance.com, a Web site where freelancers’ services are bought and sold, demand among business clients for help establishing a presence on Facebook or Twitter is rising fast, a spokeswoman says. The site requires providers to be at least 18 years old.

Look for a low-cost niche. After a vendor knocked at Loree Greta’s door last summer in Austin, Texas, offering to clean her windows for $150, she suggested her 14-year-old son, Max (the brother of jewelry maker Marlo Adelle), make the rounds offering to do the same for one-third as much. Brandishing a long-handled squeegee, vinegar, buckets and newspaper, Max earned about $300 washing windows.

Find something you love. Jessica Cervantes, a Miami 18-year-old who loves to bake, grew tired of cleaning up cupcake messes and smeary frosting spots after birthday parties for her young cousins. So she cooked up a fancy cupcake on an edible cookie stick and is now selling “Popsy Cakes” for $30 a dozen. Although it’s tough cramming in baking and delivering orders with her homework, she made $6,000 last year for her college fund.

Expect setbacks. During Ms. Cervantes’s first few tries at making Popsy Cakes, “no one wanted to eat them,” she says. Mr. Hunt, a Web designer, says he tried at first to design an online game but failed. Even if you fail, he advises, “go for it. Don’t stop, because you will get somewhere if you try hard enough.”

Have you had success with a summer start-up of your own?  What made your business successful?

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There is a GREAT site you have to check out called The Girl Project.  It’s a national collection of photographs taken by teenage girls that represent girlhood and life as seen through the eyes of young women in America. I am so impressed by the originality and rawness of the photographs, and the cool thing is that you can be part of this project if you’re a girl between the ages of 13-18.

Visit the website, send an email to Kate, and The Girl Project will send you a disposable camera with which you’re supposed to document your life with interesting photographs.  Once you’ve finished the roll of film, send the camera back to The Girl Project, and your photographs may be featured on The Girl Project website and potentially in their soon-to-be-released book.  Check out The Girl Project blog to get an idea of the types of creative shots they like to see.

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Today is the official start of The Sundance Film Festival, but in another part of the world (Seattle, to be exact) one film festival is still accepting submissions through January 30th.  The only catch is that the films have to be made by individuals 22 and under!  NFFTY or the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (pronounced “nifty”) is one of few youth-generation film festivals in the country and lately it has received a lot of support from industry heavyweights like The CW Network, HBO, and Participant Media.  From their website–

NFFTY was founded by 17-year-old Jesse Harris who wrote and directed Living Life, financing the film with his college savings.  The experience led him to team up with other young Seattle artists Jocelyn R.C. and Kyle Seago and the youth-oriented festival was born.  Now in it’s 3rd year, NFFTY will feature 75+ films in its April 24-26th festival.  If you can’t meet this year’s January 30th deadline, start planning ahead for NFFTY 2010.  It sounds like a pretty awesome experience for youth filmmakers.

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