As some of you know, I am a 16 year old high school student.  I have watched my friends and classmates grow up, and become involved in dating relationships.  One issue I am very passionate about, is healthy relationships with your boyfriend or girlfriend.
I have seen girls and boys who are in a relationship that involves physical and emotional as well as verbal abuse.  I feel that maturity plays a huge role in these situations, and often times the perpetrator needs help from an outside person before they should involve themselves in a relationship.  I also feel that leaving a relationship that involves any kind of abuse requires a support system, courage and confidence.
I want to equip my readers with the tools to recognize and get help if they find themselves in an abusive relationship, or know of someone who is.I am going to talk about the different types of abuse between spouses, within families, intimate partners, and what you should do if you find yourself in an abusive relationship.

The Facts

There are 3 common types of abuse. These include, emotional, physical, and sexual. Each form of abuse is based on control, and the main goal is to lower the victim’s confidence and self esteem so that they are eventually dependent on the perpetrator and will not be likely to get out of the relationship.
Emotional abuse also called psychological or mental abuse and can be connected to verbal abuse. It is when a person humiliates someone publicly or privately, controls what they do, isolates them from family or friends, and isolates the victim from basic necessities or physical objects.
Criticism, name calling and threats are all common forms of emotional abuse.  Often, threats are made to control what the victim does.  For example, the victim may be told they will be physically hurt or the abuser will commit suicide if the victim leaves or follows through with an action.  I have heard girls and boys say and/or text that they will “kill themselves” if the victim leaves or follows through with an action.
Physical abuse is when a person physically contacts another person with the intention to hurt, intimidate, frighten or cause pain. Physical abuse can also include denying the victim of medical care if and when needed, depriving the victim of sleep or other functions necessary to live, or forcing the victim to engage in drug/alcohol use against his/her will. It can also include inflicting physical injury onto other targets, such as children or pets, in order to cause psychological damage to the victim.
Sexual abuse is where force or threats are used in order to make the victim engage in a sexual act. Whenever a person is forced to engage in a sex act, whether the act is completed or not it is considered sexual abuse.

In many cases, the perpetrator will use children (if it is a family situation) or friends of the victim (if it is a social situation) to criticize the victim as well. This makes the victim feel that the abuse is all in their head or their fault because it is not only the perpetrator but their own children as well who are criticizing and humiliating.

Why Do They Do This?

The reason there are efforts from the perpetrator to isolate the victim from family and friends is so that the victim no longer has a support system.  This will make the victim feel they do not have the necessary resources and will be less likely to get out of the relationship. As a result, the victim has an increased risk of eating disorders, drug or alcohol abuse, suicide or depression. The reason these things are a higher risk is because these are things that the victim can control and therefore they embrace the desire for basic control of what they can or can’t eat and so on.

You Need To Know

There is a cycle of abuse that occurs between the offender and the victim. The first stage is called The Tension Building stage. This is where there is a lack of communication and trust from the offender and the offender begins to control the victim and get angry at minor things. The victim begins to avoid confrontation with the offender and is trying to always calm them down. The second stage is called The Violent Episode stage. This is where the abuser attempts to dominate the victim with physical or sexual violence. The final stage in the cycle is the Honeymoon Stage. This includes the offender apologizing for the violence or avoiding discussing the violence and buying gifts and saying nice things to the victim and making the victim feel loved. This honeymoon stage is the stage that the victim holds on to and is affected by the most. It may be the reason the victim finds the relationship difficult to leave. This cycle repeats itself through the course of the relationship, and in most cases will continue until the victim leaves or the offender seeks help.

What To Do

If you feel some of these definitions apply to your relationship & find yourself in a situation where there is any kind of abuse or you feel someone you know is experiencing abuse it is important to know that getting out of a relationship like this is necessary. It doesn’t matter if you are the offender or the victim because it damages both people severely. Realize that abuse is not right, and continuing in an unhealthy relationship that involves lying, physical violence, pressure, humiliation, or threats will cause serious damage to everyone involved.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help call Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Visit Kids Help Phone for more information: http://www.kidshelpphone.ca/teens/home/splash.aspx

Love Always,
Alexandra

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For over the past 6 months, like all of the Miss Teen Canada-World 2011 delegates, I have been raising and collecting money for Free The Children.  I have had generous donations of anywhere from $50 to $250!  I am exited to raise money for such a honest organization that truly makes a difference.

While I was browsing Free The Children online, I came to realize that the work the organization does not only changes the lives of children all around the world, but the Free The Children team has outstanding core values.

The organization puts children first and ensures each staff member is an energetic individual with a large amount of experience working with and mentoring children.  I think this is an excellent way to ensure that each staff member is enthusiastic about working with children in a team.
With children from all around the world living in poverty, the organization chooses partners that are of high ethical standards and will hold the same values as Free the Children, by keep the children the first priority.

Oprah’s Angel Network

Oprah’s Angel Network is an extremely valued partner with Free The Children.  Established in 1997 as a campaign, Oprah asked her viewers on The Oprah Winfrey Show to collect spare change in order to improve the lives of others throughout the world.  The campaign received generous support from the public and from a campaign it became a charity.  The charity has awarded funds to many organizations throughout the world including Free The Children.  The Angel Network has assisted children and adults with receiving or improving an education as well as protecting basic human rights.

A Partnership That Would Change Lives

In 2007, Oprah’s Angel Network and Free The Children developed a joint project called O Ambassadors.   O Ambassadors give young children and adults, like you and I, the opportunity to make a change for the better in the lives of others.  As O Ambassadors, each youth will have the opportunity to work in different regions around the world such as, East Africa, West Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America.

Why The Two Partnered

Free The Children and Oprah’s Angel Network both hold very similar values.  Free The Children’s main priority is to, help children around the world, while Oprah assists both children as well as adults.  The similarities between the two organizations are very close.  With human rights and education, as well as safety as the priority it is not surprising the two organizations joined.
This partnership has been beneficial to both organizations, however it has been even more beneficial to children and adults around the world.  With each others help, Free The Children with Oprah’s Angel Network has built over 55 schools in 12 different countries!  This has provided education in rural areas around the world for many children.
Since the program began, about 2000 O Ambassador’s have joined the program across Canada and The United States.  What I found interesting is that approximately two thirds of this are resource-poor schools.  I think this is great that children and teens who already lack resources in their own lives still take the initiative and make a difference in the lives of others who could be in the same, or worse situation.
I encourage all of my readers to click the O Ambassadors logo, this will bring you to a YouTube video where you can watch a detailed explanation of the work O Ambassadors have accomplished.

 

I really admire what Free The Children and The Angel Network have accomplished.  Once again, please click the O Ambassadors logo to watch the O Ambassadors video and learn more.  Thanks for reading!

Love Always,
Alexandra Goedecke

Photos:
http://http://www.freethechildren.com/aboutus/index.php
http://oprahsangelnetwork.org/about-us/overview

For more information on Free The Children:
www.freethechildren.com/

For more information on Oprah’s Angel Network:
http://oprahsangelnetwork.org/

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I'm Enjoying the Bright Sun and Hot Weather

I think you all will agree: as the summer months approach, we start to show a little more skin.  Whether its a skirt, frilly tank top, or a bikini, we want our skin to look youthful and glowing as it should.  But many girls suffer body acne mostly found on the chest and upper back and sometimes on the back of the arms.  I want to let you all know the immediate quick fix for these problems but I also want to allow readers some insight as to how to prevent blemishes and breakouts from occurring in the first place.

The Quick Fix

If your getting ready for an event, trying on you new super cute dress that you just had to have, and you notice a few unsightly blemishes on your back or chest – or even both!  Eek! Try this quick fix to reduce the irritation or rosiness of your blemishes.
Caution: This is only for girls and boys 14+, due to the dangers of Aspirin use with children

You will need:

  • 2 Aspirin
  • Water
  • Honey

Directions:
Crush two aspirin tablets, and mix with a drop of water and a drop of honey to create a paste.  Leave it on for 10 minutes and then blot to remove with a damp washcloth.

How it Works:
Advil has acetyl-salicylic (I know, I could not say it either.) acid to dry out the pimple and eliminate inflammation, while the honey and water act as a natural paste to hold the crushed pill on your skin.

The Long Term Solution

Don't Want to Compromise the Beautiful Scent But Need Something Natural? Try Cocoa Butter Body Butter From The Body Shop

If you have blemishes on your chest or upper back and neck, the best thing to do is go natural.  This means using less perfume, scented creams or lotions and try and stay away from excess hair products.  Perfume sprayed on your chest may block the pores and cause dirt and oil buildup resulting in blemishes.  Excess hairspray or gel can rub off on your neck or upper back, and do the same.  As for scented creams, this does not mean you need to let your skin go dry!  Try to use a natural cream that is hydrating but lighter on the scent.  You can find creams or lotions like this at pharmacies and grocery stores.  Try to look for creams that include “Coco Butter” or “Shae Butter” and make sure they don’t have whacky scents such as ocean breeze or cupcake.  Think about it, if you don’t believe the scent could be physically captured in a bottle, than it’s probably an artificial scent.

Hungry? Snack On A Bowl of This!

The next step to clearing chest, back and neck blemishes is to improve your diet.  If you have read my other posts, you know I am always stressing the fact that each and every person needs 8 glasses of water each day.  Try to eat fruits that are high in antioxidants like berries, as they will improve your skin quickly.  Eat fruits and vegetables as a snack, and try to eat less carbohydrates.  I know this is my weakness: If I get hungry, the first thing I reach for is a slice of toast, chips or cookies.  These are all okay in moderation but the nutritional value is much lower.  One of the best sources of Vitamin C is a strawberry.  Look for locally grown strawberries because, when fruits are imported they lose a substantial amount of their nutritional value.

If you find you have redness and bumps on the backs of your arms, from your elbow to your shoulder, this means a definite Vitamin C deficiency.  Start eating more oranges or drinking orange juice.  Find a food you enjoy with a high level of Vitamin C in it.  If you don`t notice the redness and bumps are going away, you should start taking a Vitamin C chewable tablet.  I recommend Jamieson brand Vitamin C Tropical Blend Chewable.  They taste great and you can find them at a local grocery store or pharmacy.

 

I hope you find this information useful!  Leave a comment below and let me know how it works out for you.

Love Always,
Alexandra

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Uptown Waterloo

As some of you may know, I was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo.  Kitchener and Waterloo are two separate cities, however they are jointly referred to as the twin cities, K-W.
Kitchener-Waterloo is located in Southern-Ontario and in 2009, the city reported there to be a total population of 121,700 residents.   Kitchener-Waterloo population continues to grow for many different reasons.

Education

My hometown, K-W offers some of the best education available in Canada, including both High school and University.  Our Post secondary Universities include to two very famous schools, the University of Waterloo and Wilfred Laurier University.

Each an every student in Kitchener-Waterloo has a great high school selection, there is something for every interest.  An excellent performing arts school located in Kitchener, called Eastwood Collegiate Institute, where students from KW and even outside cities such as Cambridge and Guelph audition to be accepted.  The school is active in art galleries, concerts and school plays performed at Kitchener City Hall.

Cameron Heights is a school located in downtown Kitchener which is a IB League (International Baccalaureate) school.  The program was established as a not for profit universal educational foundation in order to allow students to earn a university entry credential.  Students that attend Cameron and are placed in the IB program will find the curriculum is taught at an accelerated pace and enriched with an international perspective.

For students who are interested in business and travel, the school I currently attend, Bluevale Collegiate is an excellent high school.  There are courses including entrepreneurship, business, accounting, marketing, and so on.  I have completed computer technology, introduction to business, entrepreneurship and marketing courses and loved them.  There is also a course titled International business that can be taken at the school itself, or there is an option to take a 30 day trip to an international setting where students can earn the credit.  The 2011 destination is Scotland and Ireland, where approximately 25 students will travel to to complete and earn their credit.

Technology in K-W

I Think We`ve All Got One of These... Am I right?

Kitchener-Waterloo is known for many different reasons.  One being, we are home to RIM (Research in Motion), the founding company of the Blackberry Smartphone.  RIM employs a large portion of both Kitchener and Waterloo, and was awarded the GSMA Chairman’s Award in 2009 during the Global Mobile Awards ceremony.  This award is the most prestigious award of the association, and recognizes outstanding contribution to the growth of mobile communications worldwide.

Google Employee`s Celebrate With a Cake!

In addition, Google moved from a small street in Waterloo into a building located in downtown Kitchener after a $30 million renovation.  As the office grows, more and more people will be employed at Google.

Tourist Attraction

One of my favorite places here in K-W is the Farmers Market.  I have been going to it since I was a little girl.  It opens only on Saturday`s from 6 AM, which is great because I am a morning person- until 12 pm.  There is a large selection of locally grown fruits, vegetables and meat from farmers in the KW area.  The market has clothing and accessories for sale as well, and you can always find something unique and adorable.  I love the fact that all the vendors at the Farmers Market are local, and the money spent on their products will go right back into our community.

Miss Oktoberfest 2010

Another popular attraction unique to my community is the Oktoberfest Festival.  The festival is fun at any age, there is food, music and dancing.  Of course, the festival includes a Miss Oktoberfest Pageant, where contestants compete for the title of Miss Oktoberfest and throughout their reigning year are required to attend community events and galas.

As you can see, my hometown, Kitchener-Waterloo is a beautifully diverse city!  I feel lucky to grow up in such a clean and safe city, where I have been given opportunities available only here in Kitchener-Waterloo.

 

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Your skin is so important, and it is essential that you take care of it when you are young to prevent aging and more importantly, skin diseases and cancer.
This includes: washing all your makeup off every night as well as cleansing your skin, exfoliating your skin at least once a week, wearing protective sunscreen on your face, and treating yourself to a facial at least once every season.

Reasons You Should Get a Facial

Now that we are well into spring, and quickly feeling the warmer summer weather, it’s important to have your skin professionally cleansed and exfoliate.  One common issue during the winter is dry skin.  Having a facial done by a trained professional will allow all that dead skin to be removed, and allow your skin to breathe.

At-home Tips for Skin

1.  Girls often don’t think about what can cause pimples and breakouts beyond, “I ate too much chocolate today.” Although it is important to eat a balanced diet for clear skin, your pillow may be what is causing your breakouts.  All the dust, dirt and excess makeup as well as the natural oils from your skin are rubbed off on your pillow each night and this often results in skin problems.  So make sure to wash your makeup off thoroughly, and change your pillow case once a week.
2.  Purchase a dead-sea mud and apply it to pimple’s and problem areas on your t-zone.  You can find dead-sea mud at health food stores, and drug stores.  The natural vitamins and minerals found in this mud are excellent for your skin.  It doesn’t look pretty, but it works!
3.  Can’t afford a facial each month?  Try this luscious home-made facial.  Your skin will feel refreshed and cleansed.


What You Need:

Apple ………………  1/4

Peach ………………  1/2

Tomato…………….  1/2

Milk …………………  1/4 Cup

Almond Oil……….  1 Tablespoon

Directions:

a.) Peel all the fruits and mash them

b.) Add the milk and oil to the mashed fruits and use moderate heat with stirring, untill the mixture acquires the consistency of of a cream

c.) Leave to cool

d.) Apply a thick layer to the skin and leave for 30 minutes

e.) Remove the mask with a washcloth and water.

I hope you enjoy these tips, comment below and let me know how they workout for you!

Love Always,
Allie Goedecke

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This summer, make it your mission to achieve a golden tan that looks healthy.  If your friends tell you, “You look burned!” your first response should not be, “Yes, but by tomorrow this will be a tan”.  Tanning is great, but it is important to analyze your skin-type and create a plan so that you don’t end up burnt or peeling.  Using a tanning bed, responsibly, is an excellent way for girls and guys to avoid looking too pale, and it actually gives your skin protection from burning.

Sun Magic

Recently, I visited a Sun Magic, a tanning salon in the Kitchener Waterloo area.  Sun Magic is exclusive to the both Kitchener and Waterloo, as well as Cambridge.  The company was established in 1985, and with the customer as their main priority, Sun Magic has been very successful.
I met with the lovely owner, Hannelle, who showed me around the tanning salon and explained all about the different tanning beds as well as their Mystic Tanning and Smile FX services.

What is a Mystic Tan?

Mystic Tanning is a booth that uses spray tanning to deliver lasting color that is comfortable and even.  I really like the idea of getting a spray tan that delivers even colour.  I often use a self tanner foam from the drugstore, which is nice, however if you don’t apply it perfectly it looks very uneven and obvious, where as Mystic Tan gives an even and natural color according to your skin tone, every time.
The Mystic Tan has 3 components, the bronzer, the DHA, and the Aloe Vera.  The bronzer is a water-soluble cosmetic dye that creates instant colour.  The DHA is the component that reacts with the skins natural amino acids and proteins to create a lasting tan.  The DHA takes about 2-3 hours to be visible.  Lastly, the Aloe Vera helps carry the DHA into the skin and helps the skin to be smoother and softer.

What is Smile FX?

Smile FX is a 15 minute teeth whitening treatment offered by Sun Magic.  There are many pro’s to whitening with Smile FX, one being it is a fraction of the cost compared to whitening trays or over the counter products.  Another being that there is little to no sensitivity at all because the whitening product is far less harsh than a over the counter product or a whitening tray.  Basically, the product is applied to your teeth and a UV light device is placed on your mouth, for a brighter smile in 15 minutes.  Often, patients need 1-3 treatments of Smile FX because although it is effective almost immediately, because it isn’t as harsh as other whitening products in order to get your brightest smile, 1-3 treatments may be needed.

 

For more information on tanning with
Sun Magic check out:
www.sunmagic.ca

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