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I AM in Control.org Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality
May 1

Follow us on Twitter!

Posted By iamincontrol | May 1, 2014

Want to find out when IAMincontrol has a new post?  Follow us on Twitter @IAMincontrolIA for tweets about our posts and events for teens.  Retweet to share your favorite posts with your friends!
Jun 23

“Wow, I like your hair. What are you mixed with?”

Posted By iamincontrol | June 23, 2016

A microaggression is a statement, usually where no harm is meant, that implies something about a person based on societal groupings. For example, one of the most common microaggressions that people hear on a daily basis is, “Where are you from really?” When looking at a person and one assumes that they couldn’t be from the United States, that is a microaggression. Microaggressions are not related to any specific race, gender, sexuality, or any other type of indicator. A person’s ethnicity, clothing, haircut, music preferences, hobbies, etc., do not have any effect on themselves as a person, but seem to frequently encourage individuals to make such assumptions.

As a biracial female, I have personally experienced microaggressions throughout my life. I have big, curly, brown hair that tends to stick out to people. I receive many positive, non-confrontational comments all the time, but occasionally my hair encourages a microaggression: “Wow, I like your hair. What are you mixed with?” I appreciate the compliment, but following it up with a question about ethnicity is rude and off-putting from a stranger. While I understand that people are curious and genuinely don’t mean harm, it doesn’t mean that there comments don’t put me on edge. Am I devastated after hearing such comments? No. But they definitely stick with me. I have a whole bank of memories reserved in my brain for such occasions.

Please think before you speak. There’s always a line between what is appropriate and what is not and tTeenagers Young Team Together Cheerful Concepthat line is heavily dependent on the relationship of the people involved. If you don’t know how someone might react to a comment, avoid bringing it up altogether. Also be aware of body language and reactions from others.

Now that you know what a microaggression is, I hope you all can avoid them in conversation and educate your friends on what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in conversation.

For more information on racial microagressions visit: http://www.buzzfeed.com/hnigatu/racial-microagressions-you-hear-on-a-daily-basis#.qtbNM52xb

 

Jun 21

LGBTQ- Understanding a Community

Posted By iamincontrol | June 21, 2016

LGBTQ: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer. What do these words mean? The LGBT community has many labels and to learn and understand them all may seem overwhelming. Before we can even begin to try to dive into more complicated labels (such as pansexual or intergender), we must first have a firm grasp on the basics.

A lesbian is a women who is sexually attracted to other women. Man and woman in arm wrestlin, rainbow flag patternThe word gay can cover other non-heterosexual lifestyles, but for the sake of simplicity, it describes a man sexually attracted to other men. A woman or man who identifies as bisexual is a person who is attracted to both women and men. Transgender refers to individuals who not completely identify with the gender given to them a birth. The term does not necessarily mean that they are altering their body, but it does mean that there is a disconnection with their biologically determined gender and their chosen gender. Queer is a term formally seen as derogatory but has since been converted into a term of empowerment that has come in encompass all forms of non-heterosexuality (heterosexuality meaning being attracted to the opposite sex). Because of it’s previous negative connotations, to use “queer” casually and out of context is not advised, but it is important to understand the word’s significance within the community.

There is another very important word not always reflected in the LGBTQ title. That word is ally. An ally is a person, of any sexuality, that defends and supports individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

Although the terminology can be complicated and slightly overwhelming, keep in mind everyone is different and uses these labels, or lack of labels, to identify their personal sexuality. Always be respectful. Curiosity is not an invitation to be rude or to invade someone’s privacy by asking overly personal questions. The overreaching goal is acceptance, respect and love for all human beings.

For more info on LGBTQ visit: https://internationalspectrum.umich.edu/life/definitions

Jun 16

Step Up: Bystander Intervention by Meghan

Posted By iamincontrol | June 16, 2016

My name is Meghan, I am now 23 years old and I want to share a story about my best friend in high school, her name is Cassie. Cassie was always the fun, free-spirited, easy going one of the group. She was nice to everyone and was always smiling and laughing. Little did we know, there was darkness behind her smile.

At first we noticed that Cassie started smoking marijuana and drank alcohol and honestly, at the time it didn’t really bother us. Cassie was the adventurous type though, and once she was bored she would progress to other things. You could say Cassie enjoyed experimenting with drugs.

By this point, myself and our group of friends noticed that she was acting different but we assumed it was because her parents were divorced and she was having a hard time getting along with her mom. We failed to ask her if she was okay and we failed to talk to her and reach out to her.

Teenage Girl Buying Drugs On The Street From DealerBy the time we were seniors in high school, we noticed that she was skipping a lot of classes and smoking cigarettes. Once again, we said NOTHING. The year after we graduated Cassie began hanging out with people who were known to abuse the prescription pain medication, OxyContin. This was very alarming to us and we all finally reached out to her. She began to lie to us and tell us she doesn’t do drugs like that and how she is fine and safe and not to worry about her.

She ended up getting pregnant and we all thought it was a blessing in disguise because she “stopped” using drugs. Turns out her son was born addicted to opiates and she lost her full rights to be his mother. Shortly after, we had learned about her new drug of choice, heroin and by this time we barely talked to her because she was with her new group of “friends.”

We had no contact with her because of her choices but we did learn that she was fighting addiction and wanted to be sober for her son.

Then, early morning, January 15, I get a call from a friend. Cassie had killed herself around 3 in the morning at the house of her drug dealer, she was pronounced dead at the scene. I share this story with you because even though we noticed our friend Cassie was not acting like herself, we didn’t even bother to ask her or offer help. We didn’t utilize the numerous resources out there to see what we could do to help her.

Also, we didn’t try to intervene early before her addition took over her life. If you ever have concern for a friend, simply ask them, do your research, and/or utilize the many free resources out there. The sooner you can intervene, the better chance you can save their life.

Bystander intervention could have gave me confidence to help my friend out. Bystander intervention is the act of assisting someone in an emergency or non-emergency situation, which ranges from talking to a friend who appears to be depressed to helping someone who is being abused in some way.

For more information about bystander intervention visit: http://stepupprogram.org/

Jun 14

Know your source

Posted By iamincontrol | June 14, 2016

The internet is a huge part of our culture today. Not only is it entertaining, but it can also be very informative. We have the advantage of getting all sorts of information from a wide variety of sources on the internet including: educational, news, entertainment websites, personal and commercial blogs,
foundation/organizational websites, and many more. There is a wide range of websites dedicated to posting information, but we also share this information in many different ways on the internet. Because so many people and sources are involved, it is very easy for things to lose authenticity. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit are places we can go to find information, personal opinions, and stories. While there is an abundance of helpful and accurate information on the web, there is even more unaccredited, made-up information.

So who do we trust? Some “information” we find can be completely false. Some opinions are not based on facts at all and some don’t have any scientific backing. No matter what we are reading, or where we are reading, we should be able to easily verify the information.

When reading anything on the internet, we must look for these things:Pushing buttons

  • Who wrote this?
  • What makes this person knowledgeable?
  • Do they have first-hand knowledge? Are they an expert?
  • Why did the person write this?
  • Is this article from a government organization or an international organization?
  • Where did they get their information?
  • Are they trying to sell you something?
  • How would this person benefit if you believed the information?

Obviously, we can’t do this type of investigation on everything we read. Before believing something as a fact, we should be able to identify how accurate the information that we are reading is. When it comes to something that can affect us in real life, we should not take the first information we find as 100% fact. Before trying a trendy diet, before we believe something a politician said, before we criticize a person, place or thing make sure you know your source.

For more info on sources visit:

https://www.edb.utexas.edu/petrosino/Legacy_Cycle/mf_jm/Challenge%201/website%20reliable.pdf

Jun 9

Going to the Gynecologist for the First Time

Posted By iamincontrol | June 9, 2016

Going to the gynecologist for the first time can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience. However, it is important that you face any fears you may have. Your health IS important and going to the gynecologist is a key step in making sure you stay healthy. It is recommended that you go to a gynecologist yearly beginning when you’re 18 (or earlier if you are or are planning on becoming sexually active). During my first experience, I was so nervous that I put the robe on the wrong way even though there were directions right on the wall. I laugh at the memory now every time I go in for my yearly check-up. Though I was nervous and scared, I also hadn’t come prepared on what exactly to expect.

Here are a few tips about going to the gynecologist any time, but especially your first time.

1) Be absolutely and completely honest with your gynecologist. I know that some topics are private and you may want to keep them that way, but in order to provide the best services to fit your unique situation, the gynecologist needs you to share with Gynohim/her about your sexual activity and health. And it’s their job to keep that information private, What you tell them is confidential and they are required to keep that between the two of you.

2) Ask any and all questions you may have – even if you think they may be “stupid.” Truthfully, there are no stupid questions and your gynecologist will be more than happy to answer your questions.

3) Do a little bit of research about gynecologist visits. Knowing what to expect can help ease your fears and calm your nerves. Check out the following website to learn more about what you can expect during your visit: https://www.ubykotex.com/en-us/periods/period-advice/your-first-appointment-with-the-gynecologist. Other information about your sexual health can be found here: http://www.iwannaknow.org/teens/index.html

4) Most importantly, know that you are in control of your health.

For more tips visit: https://www.ubykotex.com/en-us/periods/period-advice/your-first-appointment-with-the-gynecologist

Jun 7

Sun Protection

Posted By iamincontrol | June 7, 2016

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While skin cancer is most common in fair-skinned people, it is a misconception that darker-skinned people can’t get cancer. For this reason, it is essential that every person uses sunscreen whether they are being exposed to the sun. Follow these tips to prevent skin cancer this summer:

  1. sunscreenStay in shaded areas as much as possible.
  2. Cover as much skin with clothing as possible. Use light layers, but don’t overheat yourself in hot weather.
  3. Avoid sunburns. People who burn are more likely to get skin cancer.
  4. Broad spectrum sunscreen is best. Use a lower SPF (15) sunscreen for everyday use and a higher SPF (30 or above) for outdoor activity.
  5. Apply 30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours
  6. Examine your skin
  7. Get skin exams from your doctor at least once a year.

http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/prevention-guidelines

Jun 2

Poll Results E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Posted By iamincontrol | June 2, 2016

Poll results are in and Teens of Iowa think that “vaping” should be banned indoors.

“Vaping” is the new, rapidly growing trend we’re seeing in adults and youth across our country. E-cigs, e-hookah, hookah pens, vapor pipes, or vapes all describe devices that service as “alternative” to smoking traditionalE-cigarette tobacco products, such as, cigarettes, cigars or hookah.  These electronic devices produce a vapor which is then inhaled versus a burning cigarette that needs to be lit to inhale smoke. They also come in very wide variety of flavors, ranging from fruit to marshmallow or cotton candy, for example. Electronic cigarettes have been marketed as a safe alternative to smoking normal cigarettes and was even initially promoted to be used indoors. With the arrival of these new products, adults and youth jumped on the bandwagon and started to use the products with the mindset that they were safe to use. In reality, there has not been much research on the effects that this vapor can have on the body.

Only a few years ago we were allowing smoking cigarettes indoors, in all public spaces, in front of children and pregnant women smoked. Watching shows like Madmen we can see that there was a time smoking all the time and everywhere was accepted in society. After evidence surfaced about the horrible things smoking cigarettes did to the body we started slowly but surely banning smoking in public, especially indoors. Most colleges have bans on smoking on their property and some have extended that ban to ALL types of tobacco including chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Public places, schools, and private business owners have started to ban the use indoors in fear that there could be potential harm with secondhand vapor. All forms of vapor inhalation should be taken as seriously as smoking, don’t let the flavors or people’s relaxed attitudes fool you.

http://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/ecigarette-ads/index.html

 

May 31

Food and Fitness: Healthy Tricks

Posted By iamincontrol | May 31, 2016

Eating healthy can sometimes be struggle for people. Either they don’t like the way health food tastes, it’s generally unavailable, or they just fill themselves on unhealthy food. I personally have a big sweet tooth so it is hard for me to always eat right! Getting in exercise on a busy schedule can be difficult too. I often come home from school and just want to play video games. It’s important to get in some physical activity every day. I enjoy being in nature so I often take hikes or walks to get in my physical activity.

Here are a few ways to make healthy options more enjoyable:Young woman eating grapes outdoor sitting on stairs - above view

  1. Enjoy a smoothie. Many people love having a cool, refreshing smoothie on a warm day. It is a great way to enjoy fruit and veggies if you don’t like them by themselves. You could even make a smoothie your go to reward after a workout.
  2. Plant a garden or fruit tree. This gets you involved with producing your own fresh veggies and fruit. Gardening can also be a great workout- picking weeds and shoveling dirt can be great arm workout!
  3. Go out and explore. Google parks and activities in your area to explore! Maybe you can find a new trail to hike or an apple orchard to explore. You’ll get some exercise also experience nature and see places you may not have even known existed.
  4. Dip it. You can take your favorite fruit and dip it into chocolate or peanut butter. Vegetables go great with hummus or a ranch dip. A dipping sauce adds a tasty addition to your healthy food.

These are just a few ways you can make being healthy more exciting. Have fun with it and enjoy yourself! For more tips on food and fitness visit: http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/food-fitness/

 

 

May 26

Set your Priorities

Posted By iamincontrol | May 26, 2016

College…aside from the education you are going to receive, something on your mind may be freedom. As much fun as it all sounds, just remember your purpose. You can spend way too much money,shutterstock_129115220 time, and effort to let your grades slip for the wrong reasons. College is a time to find yourself, experience new things, meet people and be exposed to new opportunities. I’m not saying to sit in the library studying, week in and week out, but just make sure that your priorities are in check before you have fun. Most students will agree that midterms and finals are stressful but think of the load that can be lifted off your shoulders if you study a little bit each week before the big tests. Time management is huge in college, you have to be accountable for yourself since your professors are not watching over you as closely. Set a reminder on your phone calendar when things are due, you could even schedule yourself study times each week to keep yourself accountable. During my freshman year of college, I learned how to say no to social events and stay in. This was very hard for me because I always said yes to going out to eat or to a movie with friends. I saved money by staying in and also saved myself a lot of stress from putting off my homework. I started to prioritize my free time, and choose things to do that I knew I would really enjoy. Sometimes you need to take a break, all work with no fun can be draining but making sure you have a balance is key.

Check out this video for tips to manage your work, academics, and social life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4YVLkuRBe8

 

May 24

Sports Decision

Posted By iamincontrol | May 24, 2016

Growing up I’ve always played soccer. I would have practice twice a week, then games almost every weekend during the spring, summer, and fall. Playing a sport that made me really happy was extremely important to me. After high school I had the chance to play in college, this was very exciting for me because it was my dream to play soccer in college. After I started playing for the collegeshutterstock_240581038 team, a lot of conflicts started happening. Soccer no longer was something I enjoyed because there was so much drama and the coach played favorites. The hardest decision of my life was approaching- it was whether I wanted to quit soccer or to keep playing soccer and be unhappy. After taking about a week to decide, I made the hardest decision of my life…. I quit soccer. I knew that I had to find a new hobby because I was feeling empty since I quit my college team and missed feeling connected to a team. I weight lifted with my team while I played soccer and really enjoyed it, so I decided to spend the time that I usually would have been at soccer practice lifting. Since I decided to quit the sport that meant the most to me, I wanted to find another thing that would fill the sport of soccer. Lifting makes me feel just as happy as soccer did. I have made many friends through lifting and found purpose. It is important to always be happy, and try and find new things if you find yourself becoming unhappy. If one hobby or sport doesn’t work out, try something new or something you’ve always wanted to do. You might surprise yourself!

For more information about making decisions visit: http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=287&id=2975