Showing posts with label Youth Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Youth Related. Show all posts

8 April 2021

New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]

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New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko)
L.O.L. Surprise! has new research showing more US families have turned to kitchen dance parties with 65 percent of households enjoying more in-home discos - complete with dad-dancing and wooden spoons for microphones - over the last year than ever before and 49 percent of the 2000 Americans polled saying a kitchen disco is now a regular weekend occurrence.

The new research celebrating the launch of the new L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance toy line reveals several interesting details about these at home discos:

  • Saturday night at 6pm is the most popular time for families to shake their booties.
  • The number one song on the kitchen disco list is Queen's iconic anthem, Bohemian Rhapsody (35 percent).
  • In second place is Justin Timberlake's funky Can't Stop the Feeling (33 percent), followed by the uplifting Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye (30 percent)
  • 89 percent of households confess they can't get enough of dancing together in the kitchen during the weekend.
  • 29 percent admit that they try to keep their parents up to date on the latest music and how to bust a move - but it's just no use.
  • Three in 10 parents are being introduced to the wonders of TikTok, with U Can't Touch This by MC Hammer the number one dance taught to parents by their children (33 percent), followed by Savage Love by Jason Derulo (32 percent), and Toosie Slide by Drake (30 percent).
Isaac Larian, CEO and Founder of MGA Entertainment, conducted the research as part of the L.O.L. Surprise! Dance Dance Dance toy launch, said, "Dancing is always something that has brought people together from around the globe. We love that our toys have inspired our fans, parents and children, to find escape and joy together in kitchen disco parties, and that they have embraced dance as a way to connect no matter what is happening in the world around them."
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by cottonbro)
The survey found that 42 percent of kids still think dad's moves are embarrassing and 37 percent claim mom's moves are just as bad. However, 67 percent say that despite this, they still love to have a dance with their parents at home, although 26 percent wouldn't be caught dancing with them in public.

As for the parents, two thirds (64 percent) said dancing with their kids had lifted their spirits over the last year, with 82 percent agree being able to bust some moves together always cheers them up and helps improve their mood, and over half having used dance parties as a fun way to let off steam (55 percent). 


  • Plus, 26 percent of families are taking things to the next level and have pulled out all the stops to turn the kitchen into a home disco, complete with flashing lights and decorations to bring the party to life.
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties (Photo by KoolShooters)

The 20 Greatest Kitchen Disco Songs Of All Time According To Americans:

  1. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen (35%
  2. Can't Stop the Feeling - Justin Timberlake (33%)
  3. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye (30%)
  4. Happy - Pharell Williams (28%)
  5. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars (28%)
  6. Shake If Off - Taylor Swift (27%)
  7. Crazy in Love - Beyonce (26%)
  8. Hey Ya - Outkast (25%)
  9. Dancing Queen - Abba (23%)
  10. I Want to Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston (23%)
  11. Believe - Cher (21%)
  12. Wannabe - Spice Girls (20%)
  13. I will Survive - Gloria Gaynor (18%)
  14. Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin (18%)
  15. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns and Roses (18%)
  16. Buffalo Soldier - Bob Marley and the Wailers (18%)
  17. My Name is - Eminem (18%)
  18. Gin & Juice - Snoop Dogg (18%)
  19. Toxic - Britney Spears (16%)
  20. Staying Alive - the BeeGees (15%)

The Infographic:

New Survey Shows America Celebrates Post-COVID With In Home Disco Parties [Infographic]
L.O.L. Surprise! shows US families are turning to kitchen dance parties celebrating post-COVID!


23 March 2021

Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]

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Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]
Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity (image courtesy of Sesame Workshop)
Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, is releasing new resources to support families in talking to their children about race and racism. The "ABCs of Racial Literacy" is part of Coming Together, Sesame Workshop's ongoing commitment to racial justice. Designed to provide families with the tools they need to build racial literacy, to have open conversations with young children, to engage allies and advocates to become upstanders against racism, and more, Coming Together includes a racial justice educational framework, ongoing research, and a rolling release of new content on SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether.
Coming Together is rooted in extensive research and consultation with experts to develop a groundbreaking Racial Justice educational framework and curriculum for young children. Like the science-based whole-child model that Sesame Street is known for, this framework will help guide and inform the creation of new Sesame Workshop content going forward—including future seasons of Sesame Street. Today's announcement, which is part of the Sesame Street in Communities initiative, builds on recent efforts focused on tackling racism and its impact on children, including The Power of We: A Sesame Street Special, the CNN Town Hall Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism, and related short-form content.

Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity ["Giant" Song Video Included]
Sesame Workshop Releases New "ABCs of Racial Literacy" Content to Help Families Talk to Children About Race and Identity (screengrab)
"At Sesame Workshop, we look at every issue through the lens of a child. Children are not colorblind—not only do they first notice differences in race in infancy, but they also start forming their own sense of identity at a very young age," said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President, Sesame Workshop. "'The ABCs of Racial Literacy' is designed to foster open, age-appropriate conversations among families and support them in building racial literacy. By encouraging these much-needed conversations through Coming Together, we can help children build a positive sense of identity and value the identities of others."
The new 'ABCs of Racial Literacy' resources launching today are designed to help all families celebrate their own unique identities, while also providing age-appropriate language and strategies to answer sometimes-tough questions around race and racism. In one video featuring two new Muppets, 5-year-old Wes and his father Elijah, Elmo wants to know why Wes's skin is brown. Elijah explains the concept of melanin and that the color of our skin is an important part of who we are. In a new music video, the Sesame Street Muppets celebrate their own unique identities; the song, "Giant," is available on all major platforms through Warner Music Group's Arts Music. In another video coming soon, Rosita's mom and her friend Sofia help Rosita cope with a racist incident in the grocery store, while also celebrating speaking Spanish. Additional resources include videos featuring real families talking about their experiences, activities for families to do together, and talking points and conversation starters for families.

The new Coming Together: The ABCs of Racial Literacy resources launching today are available at no cost to families at SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether. The resources, which are available in English and Spanish, will also be distributed through a wide range of national and community providers as part of Sesame Street in Communities, Sesame Workshop's program to support children and families, particularly those most vulnerable. Additional professional development materials for providers like social workers, educators, and healthcare providers will also be available.
"Sesame Workshop has always stood for diversity, inclusion, equity, and kindness. As a trusted source for families, we have a responsibility to speak out for racial justice and empower families to have conversations about race and identity with their children at a young age," said Kay Wilson Stallings, Executive Vice President of Creative and Production, Sesame Workshop. "The work to dismantle racism begins by helping children understand what racism is and how it hurts and impacts people. Sadly, today's announcement comes at a time of racial and social discord when many families are in need of support in talking to their children about racism. We're proud to reaffirm our Coming Together commitment to racial justice, which will be woven into new Sesame Workshop content for years to come."
  • According to a recent Children and Racism study commissioned by Sesame Workshop to capture and elevate the voices of children ages 6-11 and their parents, racism was top of mind for nearly half the children surveyed with racism more prevalent in responses of Black children. The majority of parents were comfortable with children learning about race and racism through media, books, or school, yet only 23% of parents report that specific resources helped them prepare for discussions with their children. The new ABCs of Racial Literacy resources seek to fill a gap for parents and caregivers as they embark on conversations with their children about race and racism. A full report of the study findings will be released this spring.

The "Giant" Song  - Video:

More to read, listen, and play is coming soon from across the Workshop to continue the conversation as part of Coming Together. In the coming year, Sesame Workshop will release additional Sesame Street in Communities resources made possible by the generous support of donors including PNC Foundation, USAA, and the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund for Vulnerable Children. SesameWorkshop.org/ComingTogether will be regularly updated with new content for children and families promoting racial justice.
SOURCE: Sesame Workshop

10 March 2021

After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond

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After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond
After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond (image from shutterstock.com)

One year ago today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the first caused by a coronavirus.

As we enter year two of the pandemic, let’s remind ourselves of some sobering statistics. So far, there have been more than 117.4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world; more than 2.6 million people have died. A total of 221 countries and territories have been affected. Some 12 of the 14 countries and territories reporting no cases are small Pacific or Atlantic islands.

Whether the race to end the pandemic will be a sprint or a marathon remains to be seen, as does the extent of the gap between rich and poor contestants. However, as vaccines roll out across the world, it seems we are collectively just out of the starting blocks.

Here are the challenges we face over the next 12 months if we are to ever begin to reduce COVID-19 to a sporadic or endemic disease.

Vaccines are like walking on the Moon

Developing safe and effective vaccines in such a short time frame was a mission as ambitious, and with as many potential pitfalls, as walking on the Moon.

Miraculously, 12 months since a pandemic was declared, eight vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, have been approved by at least one country. A ninth, Novavax, is very promising. So far, more than 312 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose.

While most high-income countries will have vaccinated their populations by early 2022, 85 poor countries will have to wait until 2023.

This implies the world won’t be back to normal travel, trade and supply chains until 2024 unless rich countries take actions — such as waiving vaccine patents, diversifying production of vaccines and supporting vaccine delivery — to help poor countries catch up.

The vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing symptomatic and severe COVID-19. However, we need to continue to study the vaccines after being rolled out (conducting so-called post-implementation studies) in 2021 and beyond. This is to determine how long protection lasts, whether we need booster doses, how well vaccines work in children and the impact of vaccines on viral transmission.

What should make us feel optimistic is that in countries that rolled out the vaccines early, such as the UK and Israel, there are signs the rate of new infections is in decline.

What are the potential barriers to overcome?

One of the most salutary lessons we have learnt in the pandemic’s first year is how dangerous it is to let COVID-19 transmission go unchecked. The result is the emergence of more transmissible variants that escape our immune responses, high rates of excess mortality and a stalled economy.

Until we achieve high levels of population immunity via vaccination, in 2021 we must maintain individual and societal measures, such as masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene; improve indoor ventilation; and strengthen outbreak responses — testing, contact tracing and isolation.

After a Year of Pain, Here's How The COVID-19 Pandemic Could Play Out in 2021 and Beyond
In 2021, we still need to wear masks, physically distance, clean our hands, and improve indoor ventilation. (image from shutterstock.com)

However, there are already signs of complacency and much misinformation to counter, especially for vaccine uptake. So we must continue to address both these barriers.

The outcomes of even momentary complacency are evident as global numbers of new cases once again increase after a steady two month decline. This recent uptick reflects surges in many European countries, such as Italy, and Latin American countries like Brazil and Cuba. New infections in Papua New Guinea have also risen alarmingly in the past few weeks.

Some fundamental questions also remain unanswered. We don’t know how long either natural or vaccine-induced immunity will last. However, encouraging news from the US reveals 92-98% of COVID-19 survivors had adequate immune protection six to eight months after infection. In 2021, we will continue to learn more about how long natural and vaccine-induced immunity lasts.

New variants may be the greatest threat

The longer the coronavirus circulates widely, the higher the risk of more variants of concern emerging. We are aware of B.1.1.7 (the variant first detected in the UK), B.1.351 (South Africa), and P.1 (Brazil).

But other variants have been identified. These include B.1.427, which is now the dominant, more infectious, strain in California and one identified recently in New York, named B.1.526.

Variants may transmit more readily than the original Wuhan strain of the virus and may lead to more cases. Some variants may also be resistant to vaccines, as has already been demonstrated with the B.1.351 strain. We will continue to learn more about the impact of variants on disease and vaccines in 2021 and beyond.

A year from now

Given so many unknowns, how the world will be in March 2022 would be an educated guess. However, what is increasingly clear is there will be no “mission accomplished” moment. We are at a crossroads with two end games.

In the most likely scenario, rich countries will return to their new normal. Businesses and schools will reopen and internal travel will resume. Travel corridors will be established between countries with low transmission and high vaccine coverage. This might be between Singapore and Taiwan, between Australia and Vietnam, and maybe between all four, and more countries.

In low- and middle-income countries, there may be a reduction in severe cases, freeing them to rehabilitate health services that have suffered in the past 12 months. These include maternal, newborn, and child health services, including reproductive health; tuberculosis, HIV and malaria programs; and nutrition. However, reviving these services will need rich countries to commit generous and sustained aid.

The second scenario, which sadly is unlikely to occur, is unprecedented global cooperation with a focus on science and solidarity to halt transmission everywhere.

This is a fragile moment in modern world history. But, in record time, we have developed effective tools to eventually control this pandemic. The path to a post-COVID-19 future can perhaps now be characterised as a hurdle race but one that presents severe handicaps to the world’s poorest nations. As an international community, we have the capacity to make it a level playing field.

About Today's Contributor:

Michael Toole, Professor of International Health, Burnet Institute

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

2 March 2021

How to Reach Your Potential at University

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How to Reach Your Potential at University
How to Reach Your Potential at University (Image by Anastasia Gepp)
No one wants to waste the opportunity to attend university, but how do you achieve your full potential while studying? This article will discuss everything that you need to know to make the most of your higher education.

Find the Right University

Choosing the best university is a crucial part of your journey to success at college. But when deciding which university to apply for, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. While the Ivy League universities are the ones that enjoy a prestigious reputation, if they don't suit your individual needs and interests, you won't get the most from your education.

When choosing which universities to apply for, you will need to consider practicalities such as cost and location. Your choice of subject and the university's facilities for your area of interest are also vital considerations.

Another point to consider is the ethos of the university. During your time at college, you will associate yourself with these values, so it is worth researching universities you are interested in to ensure that your ethos matches the university. For example, Bashar Hanna, president of Bloomsburg University, hopes to "inspire and transform today's students into tomorrow's leaders." Visiting the universities in person is the next step to ensure that the university's culture and values align with your own.

Maximize Your Study Time

When you begin your university course, the amount of work involved can feel a little intimidating. However, try not to allow this to become a barrier to completing your assignments. When there is so much work to be done and many deadlines are approaching, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. For some students, the feeling of being overwhelmed can impact their ability even to get started. Procrastinating and panicking about how much work you have can be a natural response, but try not to let it stand in your way.

You may find that it is helpful to plan and allocate set time slots to work on each task to ensure that it is completed ahead of the deadline. Getting started on the assignments is the most important and hardest step. Once you have started, you should gain momentum and find that completing your work on time becomes so much easier.

Beware of Distractions

Attending university is a life-changing experience, and you may feel like you are entering a whole new world. It is essential to remember that many distractions on and off-campus could entice you away from your studies. Enjoying the student experience is a vital part of attending university, but don't let this stand in the way of your future success and scupper your study plans.

Make the Most of Opportunities

One of the best parts of attending university is all of the opportunities that are available to you. Staying on the look-out for opportunities that will look great on your resumé in the future is a perfect way to make the most of your time at university and to gain rich experiences as well as a highly-regarded academic achievement.

22 February 2021

3 Great Ideas for a Children's Party

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3 Great Ideas for a Children's Party
3 Great Ideas for a Children's Party (Image by Adina Voicu)
Children's parties have a long history of being underwhelming and generally the same. Whether you go swing so far into the cliche that you hire a party clown or let the kids run free in laser tag instead of partying, many options have been played out. Instead of leaning into the cliches, here are some of the best party ideas for any kid event that will have even the pickiest parents impressed with you!

Go Retro Fabulous

This plan doesn't mean you have to throw the sixties themed party for kids born in the 2010s! Instead, think about classic party themes and how you can make them fresh and exciting for children. In the 90s, roller-skating parties were all the rage. Because it's fallen in and out of style ever since then, you can rent out a roller skating rink for relatively cheap for an hour or two! Pump up this party by hiring entertainment that can skate or get the most fun themed food ever. If most kids don't yet know how to skate, this can be a fun learning opportunity for them! Keep in mind that you should keep a first aid kit on hand, or check and ensure that the roller rink has reasonable safety procedures. A skating party is only fun if nobody gets seriously hurt. You can also lean into other classic party themes, but it’s good to pick one that your kid will enjoy and want.

Hire Amazing Performers

Children still believe in magic and love to be dazzled and amazed by excellent performances. You can lean into the party clown idea by instead hiring some real circus performers to put on a show! These performers can do anything from acrobatics to magic; you have to consider how large your venue is and what your child would find most exciting.

You can take this another route by hiring Disney princess performers or even Paw Patrol performers to entertain the kids and their guests. If the party has any theme, you should have fun with it. This theme could mean pirate impersonators for a day on the beach or fantasy cosplayers for a fun day faking raiding a castle. Give yourself the chance to have fun and be creative.

Give Them Some Magic

If your child loves mermaids, the beach, or the ocean: lean into it! This is the time to go over the top and show them how much you love them. Add a little whimsy by hiring live mermaids to perform, throw the party at an aquarium or a small boardwalk theme park ride. Some theme parks have a rate where you can rent out rides, or areas of the park, for parties. Ensure that for parties where kids are running around, you have escorts on hand who can make sure everyone stays safe and happy. Although it may feel tempting to let the kids have the run of the park, every single accident or problem will come down on you. Be careful, and be safe.

11 February 2021

Hip Hop Public Health Launches #CommunityImmunity Vaccine Literacy Effort

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Hip Hop Public Health Launches #CommunityImmunity Vaccine Literacy Effort
Hip Hop Public Health Launches #CommunityImmunity Vaccine Literacy Effort (PRNewsfoto/Hip Hop Public Health)
Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) the national nonprofit organization dedicated since 2004 to fostering positive health behavior change through the power of science and hip hop music, today launched Community Immunity: A Rap Anthology about Vaccines. A suite of free resources aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccine coverage in communities of color by fighting fear with facts, this animated rap anthology deconstructs vaccine literacy in a series of five animated videos, beginning with What Are Vaccines and Why Do They Work?. Featuring the voice of Grammy-winning rapper and HHPH Advisory Board member Darryl DMC McDaniels of Run-DMC, with award-winning producer Artie Green and singer-songwriter Gerry Gunn, Community Immunity: A Rap Anthology About Vaccines is the latest COVID-19 public information campaign from Hip Hop Public Health. The organization's trilogy of high-impact music video PSAs – 20 Seconds or More, 20 Segundos o Más and Behind the Mask – have been viewed and shared by millions, and become a part of the vernacular around the coronavirus with universal messages of love and safety since launching at the height of the pandemic in New York City in spring 2020.

What Are Vaccines and Why Do They Work? - The Video:


Each 60-second video in the Community Immunity anthology features a common underlying hip hop track with a unique rap verse that incorporates vaccine literacy content and a universal hook about the benefits of community immunity, which is repeated and sung in each video. The goal of the series is not only to inform, but also to turn receiving the vaccine into a social norm. 

  • Each video in the series will be launched over the next several weeks through March 2021, beginning with What Are Vaccines and Why Do They Work? (launching 2/11), followed by Are Vaccines Safe and How Do I Know This? (launching 2/18); What are the Common Vaccine Myths, Misperceptions? (launching 2/25); What Can I Expect if I Take the Vaccine? (launching 3/4); and, Getting a Vaccine is Better than Getting Infected with COVID-19 (launching 3/11).
"COVID-19 is the most urgent global challenge we face today, and if we can encourage 80% of the population to get vaccinated, we can achieve the community-wide immunity we need for social activities to return to normal" says Dr. Olajide Williams, Founder of Hip Hop Public Health, tenured Professor of Neurology at Columbia University, and Chief of Staff of the Department of Neurology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. "As the coronavirus continues to ravage communities of color, the long-standing distrust that many feel towards medical science has proven to be an even greater challenge. Our goal with the Community Immunity anthology is therefore to increase vaccine literacy by demonstrating three critical points of fact: one, the vaccine is safe; two, no scientific shortcuts were taken in the development of the vaccine; and three, being vaccinated is an act of community service."
"While we must work to fill knowledge gaps, we also recognize that knowledge alone does not motivate behavior change. To meet the challenge of COVID-19, we need to truly connect, culturally and emotionally," adds Dr. Williams. "This is why HHPH developed the Multisensory Multilevel Health Education Model, which leverages the power of culture and art to motivate people to live healthier lives."
"Hip Hop Public Health is committed to providing accessible, culturally relevant resources, free of charge to empower underserved communities about critical health issues ," says Lori Rose Benson, Executive Director and CEO of Hip Hop Public Health. "With recent studies showing that more than half of African American adults are hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it is essential that we create and widely disperse messages to dispel myths and reduce anxiety around the vaccine with the goal of creating Community Immunity as the ultimate act of love – love of self, love of family and love of the community – to inspire and drive action."
A recent national study (Szilgayi et al, JAMA December 2020) revealed that the self-reported likelihood of getting a COVID-19 vaccine declined from 75% in April 2020 to 56% in December 2020, despite extensive media coverage beginning in November showing high efficacy for both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The lowest likelihood of vaccination was found among Black individuals and those with lower educational backgrounds, two groups that bear the highest burden of illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. The APM Research Lab has found that Covid-19 has killed 1 out of every 645 Black Americans, and according to the journal PLOS Medicine, Black people, ages 35 to 44, have been dying at nine times the rate of white people the same age.
"These findings make HHPH's novel approach to vaccine hesitancy a critical item on the menu of initiatives designed to increase vaccine coverage," Dr. Williams concludes.
Hip Hop Public Health Launches #CommunityImmunity Vaccine Literacy Effort
Hip Hop Public Health Launches #CommunityImmunity Vaccine Literacy Effort

Plans to roll-out Community Immunity include a series of community mobilization events in partnership with the State of New York's Vaccine Equity Taskforce, HeartSmilesMD, The New York City Department of Education's Office of School Wellness Programs, and others. 

The videos will also be widely distributed across multiple social media channels in collaboration with local faith-based organizations, community media outlets and national and local radio platforms. In addition, Community Immunity will be part of a larger program used in company settings as a tool to educate essential workforces and answer pointed questions about the vaccine. In partnership with 40 West Advisors, HHPH's innovative and customized tools will allow direct access to the answers employees need to make informed decisions about the vaccine. Finally, the public is invited to engage directly with Dr. Williams and Dr. Monique Hedmann-Maxey, HHPH Advisory Board member who also appears in the videos, through #AskTheHipHopDocs. This interactive social media initiative is designed to answer questions and help dispel misperceptions when tagged in real-time. 
"Communities of color carry the heaviest burden from the pandemic, and in order to stop the virus in its tracks, we need to increase vaccine literacy, change behavior and get vaccinated," says Darryl DMC McDaniels. "By harnessing the power of hip hop, we hope to connect with communities of color in a way they can relate to and encourage folks to get vaccinated. I am honored to lend my voice to this vital campaign – get the shot y'all!"
Hip Hop Public Health Launches #CommunityImmunity Vaccine Literacy Effort
Hip Hop Public Health Launches #CommunityImmunity Vaccine Literacy Effort (screengrab)

The five videos in the Community Immunity series are focused on the following topics:

  • What Are Vaccines and Why Do They Work? Highlights the power of vaccines, which have all but eliminated diseases that once sickened, crippled or killed millions of people every year, including smallpox and polio. The two current COVID-19 vaccines are more than 90% effective at protecting the recipient (9 of 10 people won't get sick if they get both doses of the vaccine).
  • Are Vaccines Safe and How Do I Know This? Despite the speed of vaccine development (which has prompted many to question whether a vaccine for COVID-19 is safe and effective), very strict science, regulations, and transparency was enforced during vaccine development and data safety monitoring. Even after a COVID-19 vaccine is approved, the FDA, CDC, healthcare systems and vaccine developers will continue to monitor the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for years.
  • What are the Common Vaccine Myths, Misperceptions? Addresses misinformation and how this has affected people's trust, and addresses fears with facts. "This is not just a moment of truth; it is a moment for truth."
  • Getting a Vaccine is Better than Getting Infected with COVID-19 Which puts you at risk of severe infection, protracted illness, and death. This video also emphasizes that one of the most important tools to save Black lives right now is vaccination.
  • What Can I Expect if I Take the Vaccine? Describes transient reactions to vaccination and emphasizes the importance of returning for the second shot (for the two currently approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in the United States) for community immunity. Defines herd immunity as community immunity. Getting both shots is not just about me, it is also about us.
"We have been locked in a life or death battle against COVID for nearly a year, and with the vaccine now in hand, we finally have the weapon that will win this war, but it will only be as effective as our willingness to use it," said New York Secretary of State and Co-Chair of New York's Vaccine Equity Task Force Rossana Rosado. "The sad truth about COVID is it hasn't only attacked our health, it's brought to light the structural racism, injustices and inequities that have contributed towards the distrust and skepticism people feel towards the health care system and the vaccine itself, especially in communities of color. The fact is it is safe, it is reliable and if we are truly to get back to normal, we need everyone to have confidence in it – that's why the work Hip Hop Public Health is doing is so important. By finding new and creative ways to instill confidence in the vaccine, they are getting information about the vaccine's efficacy to those who need it in an easily digestible and understandable format. Hip Hop Public Health has been a tremendous partner to New York's Vaccine Equity Task Force from the very beginning and on behalf of Governor Cuomo and all New Yorkers, I thank them for this critically important public service."
The Community Immunity: A Rap Anthology about Vaccines series was produced by Artie Green. The video animation was created by Mylo The Cat and Cartuna. Medical oversight was provided by HHPH Founder, Dr. Olajide Williams, Dr. Melissa Stockwell and HHPH Advisory Board member Dr. Monique Hedmann-Maxey. Philanthropic support for the initiative has been provided by The Skoll Foundation, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Dalio Center for Health Justice at NewYork-Presbyterian, and Columbia Community Service. 

Related Videos:




About Hip Hop Public Health:

Based in New York City, Hip Hop Public Health was founded in Harlem in 2004 with the mission to empower youth around the country – and the globe— with the knowledge and skills to make healthier choices, reducing preventable health conditions and the rising tide of childhood obesity.

Through a research-driven developmental process created by Columbia University Neurologist Dr. Olajide Williams (a.k.a. the "Hip Hop Doc"), Hip Hop Public Health works with socially conscious artists and musicians to create scalable, highly engaging, culturally relevant music and multimedia "edutainment" tools designed to improve youth health literacy and promote health equity. HHPH used validated models of behavior change and evidenced-based research to develop original content and are committed to an iterative cycle of program evaluation, academic research and resource refinement. We aim to make the healthy choice the cool choice.

The Hip Hop Public Health team, led by physical education veteran and public health leader Lori Rose Benson, is a collective comprised of not only health and education professionals (including nutritionists, public health researchers, teachers, physicians, behavioral scientists, and a student advisory board), but also proven-successful multi-media professionals and A-list iconic rap stars and pop artists including Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, DMC of Run DMC, Ashanti, Jordin Sparks, as well children's television writers/producers (formerly of Sesame Street).

HHPH is proud to partner locally, regionally and internationally to empower health focused organizations and stakeholders to adopt and adapt Hip Hop Public Health resources and infuse them into youth health and wellness programming and initiatives. All HHPH music, videos, comic books, video games and guidance documents are available for free and can be accessed on its online resource repository.
SOURCE: Hip Hop Public Health

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1 February 2021

Education Policies in England Overlook Bullying of LGBT+ Pupils

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Education Policies in England Overlook Bullying of LGBT+ Pupils
Education Policies in England Overlook Bullying of LGBT+ Pupils (photo via spixel)

Nearly half of LGBT+ pupils are bullied in school because of their gender or sexual orientation. In fact, LGBT+ bullying is the most common type of bullying in schools. Just 27% of secondary school pupils believe it would be safe to come out as LGBT+ in their schools.

Despite this, a 2020 report shows that only one-fifth of secondary school students report learning about LGBT+ identities and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

While schools are now required to teach LGBT+ content as part of Relationships and Sex Education, guidance from the Department of Education leaves it up to schools how and when they approach this content. There is no specific mention of the need to tackle bullying aimed at LGBT+ pupils as part of the curriculum.

The content of LGBT+ education needs to be standardised across schools, and a more explicit stance needs to be taken against anti-LGBT+ bullying.

Taking care

Protecting the wellbeing of young people is hugely important, and teenagers from sexual minorities are more likely than their peers to suffer from mental health problems. The experience of discrimination at a young age can have long-term implications for people’s mental health. In the short term, being bullied in school affects pupils’ attendance and educational performance.

Education Policies in England Overlook Bullying of LGBT+ Pupils
Bullying can affect students’ school performance. (photo via wavebreakmedia)

However, funding for LGBT+ anti-bullying projects in English schools, provided by the Government Equalities Office, was withdrawn in March 2020. Since September 2020, Relationships Education is a compulsory subject in primary schools, while Relationships and Sex Education is compulsory in secondary schools. Schools are required to teach “LGBT content” as part of this new curriculum.

The explicit reference to LGBT+ content is laudable, given that the previous curriculum does not mention this at all. But the curriculum guidance leaves it up to schools to determine how and when they teach LGBT+ content. The only specification is that it must be taught at a “timely point”. The guidance continues to make allowances for religious schools to teach in accordance with their faith perspectives.

In principle, then, a school could get away with teaching very little about LGBT+ inclusivity, on the basis that it was not timely nor appropriate to do so with their pupils. For example, the Catholic Education Service’s Model Curriculum for Secondary Schools, which has been cited as an example of good practice by Nick Gibb, the minister of state for School Standards, merely discusses the need to teach about diversity in sexual attraction and developing sexuality, but makes no mention of LGBT+ content.

We cannot assume that all schools will offer comprehensive teaching on LGBT+ identities, especially when the guidance is vague. A further issue is that some teachers still feel they need more support to teach LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education.

A missing focus

Also, while the new curriculum guidance makes some reference to anti-bullying education, the emphasis falls mainly on cyberbullying, rather than LGBT+ bullying. Schools are required to identify any homophobic incidents and to deal with them appropriately. But beyond this, there is no specific mention of the need to tackle homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying as part of the curriculum.

The Government Equalities Office has claimed that it is “misleading” to state that the government has de-prioritised anti-LGBT+ bullying, because the Department for Education has awarded £750,000 to three charitable organisations for anti-bullying projects. The three organisations are the Diana Award, the Anne Frank Trust and the Anti-Bullying Alliance, none of which are LGBT-specific.

The lack of suitable emphasis on LGBT+ content, coupled with the withdrawal of funding for anti-bullying projects in schools that are specific to LGBT+ students, reflects a deliberate stance on the part of the government to sit on the fence, perhaps due to the contentious nature of the subject matter.

In 2019, parental protests erupted over the “No Outsiders” programme – which aimed to teach children about the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 (including, but not limited to, sexual orientation). The government’s lack of clarity on their expectations for schools’ teaching on LGBT+ topics was highlighted by the National Association of Head Teachers.

LGBT+ anti-bullying projects are needed alongside LGBT+ education under the new relationships and sex education curriculum in order to truly embed short and long-term positive changes for the LGBT+ pupils. The government can no longer afford to take a back seat on this

About Today's Contributor:

Rachel Heah, Lecturer in Law, Lancaster University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. 

29 January 2021

Royal Entomological Society: "Discovering The Miniature Safari All Around Us"

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Royal Entomological Society: "Discovering The Miniature Safari All Around Us"
1st Prize Under18: James Spensley
The winners of the National Insect Week Photography Competition have been announced by the Royal Entomological Society.

A record 2443 entries were received from amateur photographers in 72 countries during 2020. Each winning photograph captures a moment in the busy and often beautiful lives of insects. People of all ages have been discovering the smaller animals we see around us every day, even during the pandemic.
Head judge Dr Tim Cockerill from Falmouth University's Institute of Photography said "In a year that has been memorable for all the wrong reasons it is wonderful to see how so many people around the world have taken solace in nature.

Life has gone on as normal for insects and it's clear that watching wildlife has been a great comfort to many of us. Every one of the photographs entered into the competition represents someone turning their attention to insects. They are truly fascinating animals and are all around us, but often go unnoticed. Photographs like these really allow us to appreciate them and the great many roles they play in nature
."
The winner in the over-18s' category German wasps drinking by Alan Clark features a group of German wasps (Vespula germanica). 

Royal Entomological Society: "Discovering The Miniature Safari All Around Us"
1st Prize Over18: Alan Clark
Dr Cockerill said "This brilliant image reminded the judges of those classic wildlife photography shots of antelope drinking around a water hole on the African savannah. To see this in a much-maligned insect like the wasp made for a striking and memorable photograph."
In the under-18s' category, Marmalade hoverfly on a pink flower by Jamie Spensley (age 17) is a bold and striking composition featuring a hoverfly nestled within a flower from an impressive young wildlife photographer.

Other judges were TV presenter and naturalist Nick Baker, Ashleigh Whiffin from National Museums Scotland, and Lucia Chmurová from the conservation charity Plantlife.

About National Insect Week:

National Insect Week is organised by the Royal Entomological Society to encourage people of all ages to learn more about insects and entomology, the study of insects. It is supported by a large number of partner organisations across the UK with interests in the science, natural history and conservation of insects.

About The Royal Entomological Society:

The Royal Entomological Society is one of the oldest entomological societies in the world. Many eminent scientists of the past, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, have been fellows. The Society organises regular meetings for insect scientists, as well as hosting international symposia and events for the public. It publishes journals and books as well as identification guides. It has fellows and members all over the world. 
The aim of the Society is "the improvement and diffusion of entomological science".
SOURCE: Royal Entomological Society

16 January 2021

US: MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions Go Virtual, Allowing Kids To Send Messages Of Hope To A Nation In Distress [Videos Included]

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US: MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions Go Virtual, Allowing Kids To Send Messages Of Hope To A Nation In Distress
Dominic Patermo, fifth grader at Harry C. Withers Elementary, shares how he thinks Dr. MLK Jr.'s teachings can help us today during the 29th Annual Foley & Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competition Jan. 15. Dominic won first place.
Elementary school students honored Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the final rounds of the Foley & Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions in Dallas, Houston, and Chicago on Jan. 15. The fourth and fifth-graders presented original speeches about "how MLK Jr.'s teachings can help us today."

Presented, hosted, and sponsored by Foley & Lardner LLP, the firm made significant changes to the production of the events in order to follow current health and safety guidelines. The events were conducted using a live-virtual hybrid approach to help ensure past event continuity and safety for everyone involved.

  • Winners of each of the competitions are Dominic Patermo, fifth-grader from Harry C. Withers Elementary in Dallas; Vivianna Serna, fourth-grader from Crespo Elementary in Houston; and Jesudemilade Adediji, fifth-grader from Avalon Park Elementary in Chicago.

Dallas student lists four lessons that would help the world unite

Dominic Patermo, the first-place winner in Dallas, discussed four key lessons from Dr. King that would help unite the world. He talked about living with intention and purpose and knowing your cause. He discussed that change is constant, and it's your reaction that matters. He declared to enlist your allies, even if they are not your best friends. And most importantly, persevere.
"We need to pursue the truth within ourselves! We need to continue to fight for what is right and have compassion and faith for one another," exclaimed Patermo. He ended the speech by proclaiming, "Our 'Americanness' is not enough. We must be united. Believe. Be real. Be you."
"It was a pleasure watching the students deliver such inspiring messages with the same passion and grace that MLK Jr. himself displayed," said Michael Newman, managing partner of Foley's Dallas office. "I'm incredibly proud of the students, the teams at the Dallas Independent School District, the staff at Foley, and everybody involved in helping make this event come together during these tumultuous times."
  • Zoe Frazier, a fourth-grade student from J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard, placed second in the Dallas competition, while fifth-grader Dinastee McKinney of Clara Oliver Elementary took home third place.

Houston fourth-grader reflects on current events and shares words of wisdom

Houston's first-place winner, Vivianna Serna, started her speech with a colorful and vivid memory of when she first experienced racism at six years old, being judged by the color of her brown skin. The student then expressed her concerns with the current social unrest and our worldwide health pandemic, reminding us that Dr. King would want us not to stumble but press on.

While reflecting on the world's current trials and tribulations, Vivianna stated, "We must meet forces of hate with the power of love. Dr. King always preached on the power of love." She ended with her strongest belief and a quote from Dr. King himself, "The time is always right to do what is right."

"This year's MLK Jr. oratory competition was a momentous occasion. It was the 25th anniversary of this event in Houston. We're operating in unprecedented times, and the world needs to hear these students' voices now more than ever," said Claude Treece, Foley's chief administrative partner and longtime event chair of the Houston competition. "I'm honored to have witnessed the intelligence and poise from these students. They always inspire me, and I hope they brought optimism to everybody who watched."
  • Pahy'tton Williams, a fourth-grade student from Foster Elementary, placed second in the Houston competition, while Jakiyah Bickham, a fourth-grade student from Pleasantville Elementary, took home third place.

Chicago fifth-grader urges to "keep fighting for Dr. King's dream to stay alive."

Chicago's first-place winner Jesudemilade Adediji addressed the audience by reciting Dr. King's famous "I have a dream" speech. His voice booming over the speakers like Dr. King's speech in 1963, Adediji said, "I have a dream today. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that people be created equal."

Throughout his speech, Adediji empowered people to continue the great work Dr. King started years ago, ending his speech by noting, "Let's continue to keep the King's dream alive. Let's continue to fight the fight for equality for all. Yes we can, yes we can, yes we can!"

"Despite the challenges of the school year, we're thrilled to have tripled the amount of participating schools in the Chicago competition," said Frank Pasquesi, managing partner of Foley's Chicago office. "The growth of the competition this year is a real testament to the significance of Dr. King's teachings and the enthusiasm and resiliency of these wonderful students who participated. We saw some future leaders, and I'm certain the world is in good hands with voices like theirs."
  • Zuri Young, a fifth-grade student from Caldwell Elementary, placed second in the Chicago competition, while fifth-grader Aniyah Hunt of Frank L. Gillespie Elementary took home third place.
US: MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions Go Virtual, Allowing Kids To Send Messages Of Hope To A Nation In Distress
Vivianna Serna, fourth-grader from Crespo Elementary School, shares how she thinks Dr. MLK Jr.'s teachings can help us today during the 25th Annual Foley & Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competition Jan. 15 in Houston. Vivianna won first place.
Each of the competitions began with in-school qualifying rounds, which were conducted via video submission, followed by semifinals in Dallas and Houston, and the final round of competition in each city on Jan. 15. At all levels of the competition, students were evaluated based on delivery, stage presence and decorum, content interpretation and memorization. During the finals, panels of locally renowned community and business leaders judged the students on their performances.

  • The oratory competition is held in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day to encourage people to remember and pay tribute to the late civil rights leader's legacy. Foley established the event to encourage students to learn more about Dr. King and to help cultivate the writing and speaking skills of elementary school students.
The competition was created in Dallas in 1993. The event's success led to the establishment of the Houston competition in 1997 and the Chicago competition in 2020.

US: MLK Jr. Oratory Competitions Go Virtual, Allowing Kids To Send Messages Of Hope To A Nation In Distress
Jesudemilade Adediji, fifth-grader from Avalon Park Elementary in Chicago, smiles as he learns he’s won the 2nd Annual Foley & Lardner MLK Jr. Oratory Competition.


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