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

Tag: school

Jan 16

NFL Player and Bullied Teen Team Up

Posted By iamincontrol | January 16, 2014

Today we’re sharing a story of hope and overcoming obstacles.  Victor Cruz, wide receiver for the New York Giants, was discriminated against and bullied when he was younger.  Now he’s helping someone else who’s been bullied: a gay teen named Joey.  In the video below, Victor invites Joey to join him in the New York Giants locker room to help him overcome his fear of being bullied there.

It doesn’t matter what it’s for: bullying hurts.  By banding together and standing up to bullying like Victor and Joey and did, we can make it easier to get through it and work to stop it.  It’s important to stay strong and remember that it gets better.  Learn how you can take action and stand up against bullying at

Read about more NFL players who have overcome bullying and are helping others here.

If you want to learn more about Joey’s group, The Equality Project, visit their website or their Facebook page.

You are in control of standing up to bullying.

Dec 3

Winter Break Activities

Posted By iamincontrol | December 3, 2013

Mittens & hat
The results are in!  In November we asked you, “What do you plan on doing over your holiday break?” 

You said:

  • Spending time with family (20%)
  • Hanging out with friends (60%)
  • Working extra hours (0%)
  • Playing sports (0%)
  • Relaxing and nothing else (20%)

We think a mix of all those things would be a great way to spend your holiday break.  Plus, we have some more ideas to share with you that you might not have thought of.

  1. Learn a new hobby – Winter break is a great time to learn something new.  You probably have a big chunk of free time, which is rare for teens.  Learn something new like knitting (chunky scarves are definitely in right now), photography, or a sport you don’t normally play.
  2. Read More
Nov 26

Standing Up to a Controlling Friend

Posted By iamincontrol | November 26, 2013

One friend comforting another
By Elizabeth

When I was in junior high, I became close with this girl Megan*. She was the type of girl that would take over any situation and would be upset if she wasn’t the center of attention. I felt cool that she had chosen me as her friend, and I followed her lead with whom we were friends and what we did on weekends. I never went anywhere without her, and if she was sick of me that weekend, I just wouldn’t hear from her until school on Monday when she would act like everything was fine.

We had a close group of girlfriends that I considered to be my best friends who would do anything for me. We would call ourselves the junior plastics, but then one of the girls started to deviate from the group. Our friend Gina* started seeing a boy who went to a different school. She talked about him a lot and was really happy to be in a relationship, but Megan would always tell her to shut up when she would talk about him. Even if the rest of us wanted to hear what she had to say, we just let Megan act this way towards Gina.

Read More

Nov 19

The Perfect Stress Reliever

Posted By iamincontrol | November 19, 2013

By Bryce

Going through high school can be stressful for any kid, and everybody has their different ways to cope with stress.  In my experience I was constantly stressed out with grades and also with the high school sports that I participated in. I tried many remedies to cope with this stress, but the one that really put an end to my stress was through exercise.

I found that if I was stressed in a situation at home, the best way to cope was for me to go outside and shoot hoops.  Shooting hoops, for me, allowed me to get away from everyone and not think about what was stressing me out.  Instead, I would focus on a skill that involved exercise and try to perfect it.  The exercise calmed me down, and focusing on perfecting my skill allowed me to reduce stress in other areas in my life.  Playing basketball because I was stressed let me be confident in my ability on the court.  After all, the shooting and trying to get better made it more fun to compete.

Read More

Nov 14

Video Contest Winners: Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit 2013

Posted By iamincontrol | November 14, 2013

Governors bullying prevention summit 2013
We have a winner!

The Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit took place this week in Des Moines.  They had a video contest going on, and 30 amazing high schools and middle schools across the state submitted entries.

The top three winners were:

1st– Algona High School

2nd– Northwood-Kensett Junior-Senior High School

3rd – Clarion-Goldfield Middle School

Congrats to the winners and all the great entries that were submitted!  You can check out the winning videos and the 27 other entries by visiting this site.  Once you get there, click on the drop down menu that says “All Channels” and choose “Bully Prevention Entries.”  We hope you watch the videos and become inspired to stand up to bullying in your school.

You are in control of making your school a safe, supportive environment.

Oct 31

Branching Out

Posted By iamincontrol | October 31, 2013

Branching out
By Nicola

Middle school and high school was an awkward time for me. It felt like everyone else around me was blossoming so gracefully and crossing the line into a beautiful young adult. I felt like I was trying to swim across quick sand with weights around my ankle to cross the line with them.

I struggled with being antisocial and coming out of my shell. I was always too quiet and shy, and those qualities cannot be plugged into the formula for making friends.

It was not until my junior year of high school that I decided to become more proactive about my lack of social life. I joined lots of clubs all at once: televised journalism as a videographer, print journalism as a cartoonist, and tennis. They were a lot of fun, and although I still had not made any special connections the first few months, I was getting recognized everywhere and I had tons of fun on the outings. I started making special bonds with my club-mates, and that made it easier to talk to them. Soon, I became more knowledgeable and cultured about journalism and sports, and it gave me a broadened perspective. I had a lot more to talk about with others, even those who did not go to school with me.

As time progressed, I found myself hanging out with my club members on a regular basis and getting absorbed into their group of friends. It happened very naturally. I had much in common with them, and I did not have to suffer through many hours of small-talk. After joining the clubs, I actually had opinions on matters and did not just shrug off a question or shyly fade away with mortification once someone asked me a question.

Read More

Oct 29

College Prep: TRiO Programs

Posted By iamincontrol | October 29, 2013

TRiO Student
By Marissa

Once you get to high school, many people will start asking you what your ultimate job is going to be. Are you going to have to go to college to achieve the job that you want? If so, do you feel you are prepared for college? In a recent study, nearly 60% of first-year college students find themselves not prepared for post-secondary studies.  I, myself, was definitely prepared all due to my participation in TRiO programs. TRiO includes Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, and Student Support Services. Educational Talent Search is from 6th to 12th grade, Upward Bound is from 9th-12th grade, and Student Support Services is at the college level. These programs offer so much to a student.

TRiO programs allowed me to:

  • Tour over 30 different college campuses all over the Midwest
  • Receive free tutoring
  • Read More
Oct 3

Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit 2013 & Video Contest

Posted By iamincontrol | October 3, 2013

We’re pulling a switch this month – our Bullying & Suicide post is trading places with our Alcohol, Tobacco & Drugs post (check back next week for that post).  We couldn’t wait to share this information about the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit 2013!  This year’s summit will be held on November 4, 2013 in Des Moines.

Why should you go?

Did you know that according to a 2012 survey, 57% of Iowa students said they had been bullied in school in the last 30 days?  That’s a huge percentage.  The goal of the summit is to talk about what can be done to prevent bullying, including what you can do as a bystander.  Speakers include Emily Bazelon, the author of “Sticks and Stones” , Deborah Temkin, the Bullying Prevention Manager at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, high school students speaking up about bullying prevention, and many others.  You can read the full agenda here.

This would be a great event for you to attend with one of your school’s clubs, so talk to your school administrators or a teacher to see if your group can attend.  If you register by October 19th, you will even get a free t-shirt.  Register here today!

Video Contest

You could win a $500 prize for your school by entering the video contest for the Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit 2013.  You have one week left to enter!  The deadline for submitting your videos is Thursday, October 10th, 2013.

Go to this site for full details on the video contest.

Sep 19

Inspiration after Loss

Posted By iamincontrol | September 19, 2013

By Mary
State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council (SIYAC)

Watching cancer take the life of my friend was one of the most difficult challenges I have ever faced. When I entered middle school, I met a boy named Dylan. He was extremely intelligent and naturally a good leader. He was active and successful in so many athletic, musical, and academic opportunities. Soon I learned he had cancer and that his leg was amputated in fifth grade. This did not stop him from doing everything in life that he loved. During his time at school he always had a positive attitude, never complained, and always turned in exceptional work. The most amazing thing about Dylan was that he was able to do what most students couldn’t even do while still fighting a life threatening disease. I worked at our school store with Dylan and on also on our leadership team. My best memory with him was my eighth grade year when we were on the same mock trial team that made it to the state competition.

After eighth grade we went to separate high schools, and I didn’t have as much contact with him. In the meantime, I was admitted to the State of Iowa Youth Advisory Council and gained the position of service chair. When I was looking for service projects for our council, I automatically thought of Dylan and proposed the idea of sewing bandannas for youth cancer patients. By November I heard his condition had gotten worse, so I made the first Iowa Hawkeye bandanna for him and sent it in the mail as fast as I could with a note explaining how he inspired me. I received the news the next day, November 26th, that he passed away.

Read More

Sep 12

Suicide: It’s Not the Only Option

Posted By iamincontrol | September 12, 2013

By Kassandra

When I was in middle and high school, I was the person that the “popular” people in my school would pick on.  I was the kid that spent more time on their homework than out spending time with friends. I was in all the “nerdy” stuff like band, National Honor Society and quiz bowl, but I was also in sports such as cross country, track and dance team. Due to the extras that I was in I never really fit in anywhere but was an easy target to be picked on.  I was picked on so much that by the time I was a freshman in high school I felt like there was no way out and no hope for things to get better.

By the end of the summer before I was to start my sophomore year of high school, I had a plan to kill myself.  I had everything in place and even had the day that I was going to kill myself picked out. Why did I have this all planned?  I felt like I was alone in the world.  Everything seemed really dark and that there was no hope of people stopping their bullying.  Also I had years of bad self-image and feeling inadequate to prevent me from trying to get help.

Your next question may be why am I still here if I had everything planned? The answer to that is because my sister found and read my diary. At the time I was furious at my sister for betraying my privacy, but now I’m extremely grateful to her.  By reading my diary my sister found my plan and went to my mom. They both confronted me about what I was going through.  I never told them the extent of my problems, but by talking to them I realized that suicide wasn’t the best way out.

Why Not to Think about Suicide

I know that if you are at the point of considering suicide you feel like there is no way out. I beg you to stop and think about where you are in life.  When I was at that point I was in high school and couldn’t imagine making it through three more years, but the truth was that I could. In a way, if I killed myself I had let the bullies win. I had let them get inside my head and bring me to seeing myself the way they did – as a freak and not someone that would fit in. Please, if you are considering suicide, get help. Don’t let the bullies win and please don’t cut your life short. You will do amazing things with your life even if you can’t see that now.

If you considering suicide or are experiencing bullying, please call Your Life Iowa at 1-855-581-8111 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).

There is help.