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I AM in 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!
Aug 23

Sack Lunch Ideas

Posted By addie | August 23, 2016


Sack lunches are a great way to have some fun with your lunch while using healthy foods from home. Below are 2 recipes for quick lunch on the go!

Multi-ethnic group of teens in school cafeteria eating lunch.Meat Rollup


Deli Meat

Ranch or Mayonnaise

Shredded Cheese

Cut up Vegetables (cucumbers)


Directions: Stack 2 slices of deli meat on top of each other and lay it on flat on a plate, add a sauce like mayo, hummus, or ranch, top with veggies like spinach or cucumbers, sprinkle in some shredded cheese, and roll up to enjoy!

To complete the sack lunch: Throw in a granola bar or try adding an apple, grapes, or orange for a fruit. You may even want to put carrots in a baggie with some hummus to make this a yummy meal!

Apple Cinnamon QuesadillaSchool Lunch

1 whole wheat tortilla

1/2 tablespoon low-fat cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup or chopped apple (1/2 medium-sized apple)



Directions: In bowl, mix cream cheese and honey. Add in a sprinkle of raisins and the apples. Spread apple raisin mixture over half of the tortilla. Top with some cinnamon and fold tortilla over. Enjoy!

To complete the sack lunch: Add a fruit cup, almonds, or a yogurt to the side. You could even add a baggie of celery and peanut butter.

For more on-the-go snack ideas check out:

Aug 18

Benefits of Volunteering

Posted By addie | August 18, 2016

There are many reasons people choose to volunteer: to put on a resume, to get an extra honor in school, to fulfill a requirement, etc. It seems like the importance of volunteering is lost on extra pressure to volunteer. We all have busy lives and it seems like we need more motivation to do extra things like volunteer these days. But volunteering is a great thing to do for others and incredible for your self worth!

There are so many volunteer opportunities in every community and you can even cater them to your interests. If helping those less fortunate is an interest of yours, your local homeless shelter, food pantry, soup kitchen, or day care facility could be good options for you. If you also have a passion for furry critters the animal shelter is a good option as well. Volunteer opportunities with animals range from keeping the shelter clean and tidy to training animals to be suitable for adoption. For the environmentalist in you, there are opportunities to pick up Volunteer speech bubble hanging on a stringlitter, clean up and fix infrastructure at parks, or help environmental education through places like your local community center. LGBT clubs often need volunteers to help with community outreach or to help run local events. If sports are your thing, you can also volunteer as a referee or coach, usually through the recreation center.

It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment. Participating just one afternoon is worth your time. Use the internet to find opportunities in your town and check out the following link to learn more about the benefits of volunteering to you:

Aug 16


Posted By addie | August 16, 2016

Football season is upon us and whether you play football or not it is important to understand the risks and warning signs of concussions. The reason why we take concussions so seriously is because of TBI or traumatic brain injury. TBI happens after a bump, blow, jolt, or cut to the head. Concussions are considered mild forms of TBI and are the most common type of TBI. Depending on the severity of the injury or if the person has had previous concussions can create a more serious problem. Some symptoms of concussion can be present immediately after an injury or they can go unnoticed for days, weeks or even months. This is why it is important to monitor anyone after any type of blow to the head.

Brain's HeartbeatPhysical symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Noise and light sensitivity
  • Issues with balance and tiredness

Emotional symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Heightened emotions
  • Nervousness or anxietyDoctor Looking X-ray

Thinking/memory symptoms include:

  • Difficulty thinking clearly
  • Feeling slowed down
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering new information

Concussions also affect sleeping patterns so sleeping more or less than usual or difficulty falling asleep are also red flags of a concussion. Individuals should seek medical attention after any head injury but if you see any of these symptoms they should go to the hospital right away: headache that worsens or persists, weakness, numbness, decreased coordination, repeated vomiting or nausea or slurred speech.

For more information about concussions or TBI visit:

Aug 11

Recognizing Microaggressions

Posted By addie | August 11, 2016

Diverse People Friendship Togetherness Connection Rear View ConcWe recently posted a blog about microaggressions. We discussed how certain comments may not seem harmful but can be considered offensive. Microaggressions can be geared toward any subgroup including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and many others. The first step to avoid saying microaggressions is recognizing and understanding what is wrong with them. Some common racial microaggressions include: “What are you?” or “You talk white for a black person.” or “So you must speak Spanish, right?” Although you may be curious or think you’re giving a compliment, phrases that single someone out based on race, or another subgroup, can be offensive. Use these tips from Good Therapy to avoid microaggressions:

  • Stop and think before you speak– Really think about something before you say it. If you feel the need to whisper what you’re about to say, just don’t. If your comment specifically uses words that describe race, gender, sexual orientation, etc., maybe you shouldn’t say it.
  • Context matters
    • Relationship- Are you friends, acquaintances, or strangers? Depending on how well you know the person and how they will react plays a huge role. Even though your best friend might not find something offensive doesn’t mean a stranger won’t.
    • Environment- Are you in a private or public setting? Saying something one on one is a lot different than in front of people when a comment could be potentially embarrassing. Are you in an informal or professional setting? Certain comments may be acceptable at a party but not in an office.
  • Recognize it for what it is– Being able to identify and appropriately combat microaggressions will prevent them in the future. If someone says something to you or you overhear microaggressions taking place you should acknowledge them politely. You could say “I understand you didn’t mean to offend anyone with your comment but it can be seen offensively because…not all Asian people are from China,” for example. Educate people on what microaggressions are and they can prevent themselves from making the same mistake in the future.

To learn more about microaggressions visit:

Aug 9

Visiting the Skin Doctor

Posted By addie | August 9, 2016

Summer can be hard on your body. Spending days outside and exposed to the sun’s rays can be damaging, even when you use sunscreen! Surprisingly, Iowa has some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the country (CDC) and it is important to get yourself checked out. Fall is a good time of year to check in with your doctor for your yearly physical and this is the best time to ask your doctor about skin diseases. Many family doctors will do simple skin examinations, but if they feel it is necessary they will recommend visiting a dermatologist (or skin doctor). If you have a family history of skin cancer or lots of moles or freckles it is recommended that you have regular dermatologist visits.

Here’s what you need to know before your trip to the dermatologist:

  1. Self-exam before you go: This means checking your skin for any new or changing moles or spots on the skin. You can best determine if something is new or looks different. Point out anything dermoscopyyou find odd and your doctor will be able to investigate further. If you don’t know how to self-examine your doctor can show you at your first visit. Just ask!
  2. Take off any toe or fingernail polish: Under nails is a common place for skin cancer.
  3. The exam only takes a few minutes!: A general exam takes about 10 minutes so no excuses!
  4. You may have to get a biopsy: If there’s a spot on your skin that doesn’t look normal your doctor may take a layer of skin to examine further. It doesn’t hurt and that’s how they find cancer.
  5. Ask questions: Make a list of questions before your visit (do this for any kind of doctor’s visit too). Your doctor can tell you more than the internet or other sources because they can make recommendation specific to your body and family history. Ask anything and everything you can think, don’t be shy!

To learn more about skin cancer visit:

To learn more on how to prepare for your dermatologist visit and what to expect visit:

Aug 4

Summer Safety- Insect Protection

Posted By addie | August 4, 2016

You probably have at least heard of Zika eBugbiteither in the news, at school or from family and friends. But what is Zika? Zika is a disease that comes from the Zika virus. The virus is usually transmitted from mosquito to human, but we have found out that it can be transferred from mother to fetus or transferred sexually. Mosquito protection is essential in these areas abroad where Zika is widespread (Central and South America), but it is still very important to protect yourself here in the US because our mosquitos can still carry nasty diseases like West Nile Virus. Plus mosquito bites are just itchy and uncomfortable!

Follow these steps to stay protected against mosquito bites.

  1. Always use repellent outdoors
  2. Wear long-sleeves, long pants and hats- Tucking in clothing also prevents the mosquitoes from flying into open sleeves/pant legs
  3. Try to stay in screened areas when possible
  4. Permethrin-treated clothes- You can buy clothes and gear already treated to prevent bug bites. How cool!

To learn more about Zika and protection against bug bites visit:

Aug 2

Poll Results & Reasons to Shop at the Farmers’ Market

Posted By addie | August 2, 2016

Poll results are in and most teens in Iowa have been to a farmers’ market.

Farmers’ markets are a fun summer activity that extends into the fall. Markets are lively and a good way to spend extra time with family or friends. Farmers’ markets support local artisans and farmers and help boost the local economy. Not to mention eating locally grown food is better for the environment and your health. You can get a range of items including art, bath products, baked goods, and most importantly, produce! One of the best parts about the market is that you get to meet the people that grew the produce and you can talk to them about taste or recipe ideas!

Here in Iowa, we have a variety of produce that is still seasonably available through the fall months that you could find at your market. These include:

Smiling woman holding a white tray full of fresh begetablesblackberries at the marketBeets



Brussel sprouts







Leafy greens


Vegetables like beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and eggplant are excellent lightly roasted in the oven or added to stir fry or pasta. Carrots, celery and cucumbers are great snacks to eat raw by themselves or with a little peanut butter, ranch or hummus. Fruits such as blackberries, grapes, and melons can be made into fruit salad or put into smoothies. Add leafy greens to your smoothies for extra nutrients and you can’t taste them over the naturally sweet fruit!

To learn about more reasons to visit your local farmers’ market visit:

And for a complete list of farmers’ markets in Iowa visit:

Jul 28

Coming Out & Family Acceptance by Morgan

Posted By iamincontrol | July 28, 2016

When I look back on pivotal moments in my high school years, I always think about the day my older sister came out to me as a lesbian when I was a freshman in high school. I can remember we were driving around just talking and listening to music in the car, and she seemed stressed out (which was totally out of the norm for her). I can still picture the look of absolute worry that played across her face as she asked me if she could tell me something that had been weighing on her mind. I said that she could tell me anything and I sat back as she told me that her relationship with her “friend” Ashley was more than just a friendship. The news had not come to me as much of a shock, because there was a lot of speculation that had circulated the topic for the past couple of weeks. I just remember telling her, “You know, I am so happy that you told me, and I am proud that you had the courage to be yourself”. Never for one second did I question if it was right, or if I would accept her. My immediate response was joy that she shared with me such an important aspect of her identity. Because the only other person who she had told was my dad, I felt honored to be a part of this journey with her. It was definitely an uphill battle for the next couple years while we navigated how and when to tell the other members of our family.

Two SistersIt took about a year and a half after she came out to me for her to finally tell my mom. At first my mom was very upset (which infuriated me). I could not understand why it was so hard for her to accept her daughter for being who she truly was. However, my sister helped me realize that in a way my mom was mourning the future that she had always pictured for her. My sister also helped me realize that for my mom it was harder to fathom because she grew up in a generation that was not as accepting, so she was constantly worried that Morgan would not be accepted. This made my mom concerned that she would have a harder life. Although it took quite a long time for everyone to finally accept and cherish each other for who we are, I can now look back and see how much stronger we all our because of this difficult time. Overall, this has not only made us grow as individuals, but also as a family unit. My best advice for others going through similar experiences, is just to be accepting and know that as long as you are open and loving to each other you will someday look back and realize how much better off you are for going through the difficult times.

For info on LGBT youth visit: 

And for tips on how to handle someone coming out to you visit: 


Jul 26

Reasons to Spend Time in Nature

Posted By iamincontrol | July 26, 2016

Oh, the joys of summer! There’s no school, which means there’s plenty of time for other activities. Whether you’re studying for the ACT or your summer classes, babysitting, or commuting to your summer job, there are plenty of excuses to get outside! Instead of studying in the library, study under the shade of a tree at your local park. Instead of watching television with the kids that you nanny all day, take them to the playground. Instead of driving or getting a ride to work, walk or ride a bike! Go on a walk with your pet, some friends, or just by yourself. Many studies have proven the benefits that nature has on the human soul.Man sitting under a tree by a computer.

On the Daring to Live Fully website, you can read more about the 8 Reasons Why You Need to Spend More Time in Nature but to sum it up, nature improves:

  1. Your energy– Studies have shown that as little as 20 minutes outside boosts energy.
  2. Your mental health – Cases of depression are found less in people living in green space.
  3. Your immune system – Plants release chemicals that actually improve your immune system, which means you get sick less often.
  4. Your Vitamin D levels – Exposure to sunlight supplies us with an important vitamin, vitamin D. Over exposure is still dangerous and sunscreen is always crucial.
  5. Your happiness – Individuals who spent 30 minutes outside for 30 days reported an overall improvement in quality of life. Your spirituality – Being in nature is peaceful and calming to the body and mind.
  6. Your creativity – Studies have shown that there is a link to being in nature and increase in creativity levels.
  7. Your brain function – The tranquility of nature can actually help boost memory and brain function.

So this summer I encourage you to spend as much time outside as possible. Get creative! Ask yourself: “Could I be doing this outside?” Just don’t forget your sunblock and bug spray!

You can learn more about the science of spending 30 minutes outdoors and join the movement at http://30×

Jul 21

Virgin and Unashamed by Abigail

Posted By iamincontrol | July 21, 2016

You hear about all the responsibilities that come with having sex, but sometimes you don’t hear about the social pressure to have or not have sex. Having sex is a personal choice each person makes that can be based on serval factors including: religious status, personal reasons, tradition for marriage, or family values, and more. I knew about contraceptives and the risks of STDs but I didn’t worry much about sex until the summer of my senior year of high school when I was getting ready to move away to college. Sometimes, the college culture can be portrayed as people partying and having casual hookups. I never really questioned my status as a virgin until I started college. Something hit me, I realized my virginity wasn’t something to be ashamed of! I realized that I wasn’t less than others because I decided to wait to have sex. I also finally saw that my worth as a woman was not in my sexual status, but the strength in my personal respect for myself.

Attractive young woman lying on floorHere are some things to remember about being a virgin:

  1. You have to have patience: Relationships come and go. You should talk and get to know a lot of people so you know what you like. You’ll know when you like that person and you’ll know when you’re ready. If that is marriage, that’s great. If it isn’t, that’s great too.
  1. You are desirable: The girl or boy you are dating finds you attractive regardless of your status as a virgin or not. Being in a relationship isn’t just about physical things, they should also respect your wishes and desires.
  1. You aren’t rushing things: Despite what you see on TV or in movies, sex is a big deal. When you have sex with someone, you physically and emotionally saying there is no one else you would rather be with in that moment. This goes back to patience. The saying is that love is patient and kind, not quick and convenient.
  1. You can hold a conversation: If it is known you are a virgin, a girl or guy is more likely to hold a conversation with you on the basis of them knowing that you aren’t trying to get in their pants.
  1. You aren’t making stupid decisions: Being a virgin makes you think a lot more about your choice of partner, if and when you choose to have sex.

I don’t want this to be a post shaming people who choose to have sex. Who knows when I will, I can’t guarantee it will be after marriage but I can guarantee it will be when it feels right.

For more info on safe sex visit: