Mother’s Day is this Sunday. We’d like to take a moment to thank all of the mothers out there. Where would we all be without a motherly figure in our lives? They love us, take care of us, make us feel better when we are sick and give us advice as we get older. They make sacrifices that we may never be aware of. They do all of this because they love us and there are not many things better in this world than a mother’s love.
So thank you for being our heroes. Thank you for teaching us to make the right choices in life. Thank you for all that you do. Make sure you take the time to let the mother’s in your life know how much you love and appreciate them.
This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “3.7 million people in the United States work as elementary and secondary teachers in public schools.” That is a whole lot of people impacting and helping to shape the future of our nation. Sadly, the National Education Association estimates about 45% of teachers leave the profession in their first five years. Teaching is often a profession that is not appreciated for the impact it has and the hard work that goes in to it.
Teacher Appreciation Day was established to recognize the hard work and dedication teachers put in every year to help students grow. Here is a brief history overview of Teacher Appreciation Day from the National Education Association.
“The origins of National Teacher Day are murky. Around 1944 Arkansas teacher Mattye Whyte Woodridge began corresponding with political and education leaders about the need for a national day to honor teachers. Woodridge wrote to Eleanor Roosevelt, who in 1953 persuaded the 81st Congress to proclaim a National Teacher Day.
NEA, along with its Kansas and Indiana state affiliates and the Dodge City (Kan.) Local, lobbied Congress to create a national day to celebrate teachers. Congress declared March 7, 1980 as National Teacher Day for that year only.
NEA and its affiliates continued to observe National Teacher Day in March until 1985, when the NEA Representative Assembly voted to change the event to Tuesday of the first full week of May.”
Everyone here at Sports World.org would like to express our appreciation for teachers and all other school staff that work hard to help students grow and learn. We are honored to be able to go into schools and encourage positive choices with their students. We may present the message but the teachers and staff are the ones there every day to help reinforce it and for that we would like to say thank you. If you have not taken the time to thank a teacher recently, we encourage you to do so this week. Those small words of encouragement can make all the difference and they surely deserve it.
I grew up in the church my whole life but I strayed away during my years in high school and college. When I was blessed with the opportunity to play football in the NFL I was in the worst state of my life. The way that I tried to make things better was to smoke, drink, take advantage of women, and cheat my way through. Living this life, I was not able to have any joy or peace in my life at all. There came a time when I was very close to losing my wife and son and I knew something had to change. I had been running from GOD my whole life and knew I needed to run towards Him. I truly accepted the Lord in my life and today I live happily with my wife and our three sons. Jesus Christ gave me the joy and peace I was looking for on my own and I thank Him daily!
- What has been one of the best teams you have been on and why?
I loved playing for the Colts because of their winning record and I got to start in the Super Bowl.
- What was the best stadium that you played in and why?
The University of Phoenix Stadium was my favorite stadium to play in because it is an indoor field but has real grass.
- Who is a “hero” in your life and why?
My high school coach, Michael Rucker, is one of my heroes. He taught me the importance of working hard.
- What is your favorite food?
My favorite food is ackee and saltfish with callaloo and fried dumplings.
- What is your favorite movie?
My favorite movie growing up was the Sandlot.
- What are your hobbies?
I love to cook!
Dear Friends at Sports World,
I simply cannot thank you enough for the superlative opportunities you have afforded us here at The Phoenix School of Discovery, a JCPS Alternative School for low-income, atypical, somewhat fragile youth. From the instant Nicole Grady offered this incredible opportunity, to the moments of delivery by such dedicated athletes, like Steve Grant and Devon McDonald, we were TRANSFORMED!
The first time Nicole contacted us, she assured us we would really enjoy Steve. “Enjoy” was not the word!!! He “captured” us all…students, teachers, administrators, security guards… We were “wowed” by his encouraging, positive exhortations and the kids left dazed and amazed at what they had felt and heard. His second visit was even more impactful than the first, engaging the kids in an interactive discussion about dating, personal expectations, life purpose, and goals. It was tremendous.
Then, another call from Nicole (thank you, Nicole!) came. Sports World had another representative she would like us to invite, and I did not have to think twice!! Needless to say, Devon McDonald presented to our entire student body and they were spellbound (quite a feat for our population!) during the entire delivery.
They connected with Devon’s personal stories of failure, lost dreams, periods of hopelessness, and the often depressing realities of life, but immediately were influenced and empowered and lifted by his stories of setting goals and meeting them, choosing the standard of excellence for himself, developing respectful relationships around him and most of all, realizing that every choice he made would have a consequence or a benefit. It was brilliant!!
Devon had no idea, but at that very time, one of our male students was considering suicide, had actually attempted it once before, and had just spoken to me in the moments prior to his presentation. I stood beside that boy on the gym floor watching him as he listened to Devon. I honestly had no idea how what Devon was saying was affecting him.
After Devon finished his message, the boy asked me if he could go up and meet him, because he had made him see that “even famous people” go through the same things as he has suffered. He had no idea. Devon had just saved this boy’s life. I told Devon after I introduced the boy to him and he went on with his classmates and Devon was visibly moved, almost to tears. He stood in amazement and we basically rejoiced together. That, my friends, was no less than a miracle…and that young man is doing great today!!!!
I don’t know how many other students in other schools have been transformed like those in our school, but Sports World has played a major role in giving our kids hope, connections to real and successful people, and has empowered them (by real men living real lives sharing real failures and real successes) to tackle their obstacles and use their failures as foundation stones to their futures.
We have been transformed by our exposure to Sports World and the dedicated advocates that serve there. We are privileged and honored to have hosted such astute, gracious, and influential guests at the Phoenix and hope our relationship will continue for many more years. We cannot do our students justice, without your input and opportunity. “It takes a village…” and I am so glad we are a part of yours.
And by the way, our motto at Phoenix is
RISE, TRANSFORM, and SOAR.
Sports World surely must have thought of it first!!!!!
With my utmost gratitude and respect,
High School Counselor
The Phoenix School of Discovery
Original post Vox.com 2/25/15 | Re-Post 4/8/15
Researchers have said for years that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana. But what does that mean, exactly? And how do we know?
It’s certainly not because of any government-acknowledged evaluation. The federal government’s scheduling system evaluates drugs by medical value, first, and abuse potential, which is poorly defined under the law, second — but it excludes alcohol and tobacco altogether. Even if the federal classifications included alcohol and tobacco, both would likely fall in the same category as marijuana — schedule 1 — since they have no acknowledged medical use and some potential for abuse, making it hard to compare the drugs based off that.
This has left it up to researchers and drug experts to evaluate which drugs are truly the most dangerous. A 2010 study published in The Lancet, led by drug expert David Nutt, evaluated the use of 20 drugs in the UK, putting alcohol at the top of its harms rankings and hallucinogens at the bottom. Here at Vox, I’ve pointed out that alcohol is one of the three deadliest drugs in America.
There are big drawbacks to looking at drugs exclusively through these blunt measures. Alcohol, tobacco, and prescription painkillers are likely deadlier than other drugs because they are legal, so comparing their aggregate effects to illegal drugs is difficult. Some drugs are very harmful to individuals, but they’re so rarely used that they may not be a major public health threat. A few drugs are enormously dangerous in the short-term but not the long-term (heroin), or vice versa (tobacco). And looking at deaths or other harms caused by certain drugs doesn’t always account for substances, such as prescription medications, that are often mixed with others, making them more deadly or harmful than they would be alone.
For these reasons, it’s nearly impossible to come up with an exact measure of a substance’s harm. So I talked to drug experts about the reasons people take drugs (legal and illegal ones) and the risks behind them. Although experts generally agree that alcohol is more dangerous than marijuana, there was a lot of nuance in how they took on the issue — and there is enormous variation within what makes pot, alcohol, and other drugs dangerous. Here’s a breakdown of what experts said about some of the most widely used drugs.
Risks: One of the biggest short-term risks to alcohol is that it can heighten the risk of accidents, particularly car crashes. One study from Columbia University researchers found that drinking and driving multiplies the chance of a fatal accident by nearly 14 times. But if someone consumes alcohol with another drug, the risk is multiplied by more than 23 times.
Alcohol is also capable of making people more aggressive and violent, potentially leading to more violent crime.
In terms of health risks, alcohol can lead to extensive organ damage, especially to the liver. These problems are most prominent among heavy drinkers, but can occur among lighter drinkers who consistently consume alcohol over long periods of time.
Alcohol can also heighten the dangers of other drugs. It can further increase the risk of aheart attack or stroke when mixed with cocaine. It can enhance the effects of opioid-based painkillers, raising the chance of overdose. And it can interact with antidepressants to severely hinder a person’s reflexes.
Addiction is also a widespread problem, which makes it all the more difficult to deal with the other problems presented by alcohol.
Why people do it: Some people drink beer, wine, and other forms of alcohol to wind down at the end of the day. And although it’s not recommended, some people use alcohol to self-medicate through tough periods in their lives.
Alcohol can also be used for medical and hygienic purposes, such as to clean wounds and hands.
Bottom line: A lot of people can use alcohol for most of their lives without having any problems with it.
But alcohol is still a public health problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that excessive drinking causes 88,000 deaths each year and one in 10 deaths among working-age US adults (ages 20 to 64). Alcohol is also capable of making people more aggressive, and it’s a factor in about 40 percent of violent crimes, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.
Risks: Marijuana has never reportedly caused an overdose death, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless.
“The main risk of cannabis is losing control of your cannabis intake,” Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at UCLA, said. “That’s going to have consequences in terms of the amount of time you spend not fully functional. When that’s hours per day times years, that’s bad.”
Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University put it another way: “At some level, we know that spending more than half of your waking hours intoxicated for years and years on end is not increasing the likelihood that you’ll win a Pulitzer Prize or discover the cure for cancer.”
The risk of abuse is compounded by the widespread perception that pot is harmless: since many marijuana users believe what they’re doing won’t hurt them, they feel much more comfortable falling into a habit of constantly using the drug.
A lot of research has linked adolescent marijuana use to a range of bad consequences, including cognitive deficiencies and worse educational outcomes. While it’s not clear marijuana’s relationship with these outcomes is cause-and-effect, it’s generally agreed upon that people younger than their mid-20s should avoid the drug.
The research on other health effects of marijuana is inconclusive. One study linked the use of potent marijuana to psychotic disorders, but other studies suggest people with psychotic disorders may be predisposed to pot use. Research on whether smoked marijuana causes lung disease or cancer has yielded conflicting results, with studies that control for tobacco smoking finding no significant effect from marijuana on lung cancer risk.
Marijuana also increases the chance of accidents. The previously mentioned study from Columbia University researchers found that people driving with marijuana in their system were nearly twice as likely to get in a fatal car crash. The increased risk indicates that some people likely die as a result of marijuana use every year, but it’s unclear how many due to inadequate data and reporting.
Why people do it: The euphoric high from marijuana lets some people relax by enhancing everyday activities, including music, food, and sex. The research and anecdotal evidence also suggests marijuana could be used to treat several medical problems, such as pain, nausea and loss of appetite, Parkinson’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and epilepsy.
Bottom line: Marijuana is safer than most other drugs on this list, but it’s not harmless. It can have a seriously negative impact on some people’s productivity at work or school.
But many people can lead normal lives while regularly using pot. And experts largely agree that alcohol and especially tobacco are more dangerous drugs to individuals and society as a whole.
Risks: Tobacco destroys the body in various ways. It is the leading cause of lung cancer, which killed more than 200,000 people in 2011. It heightens the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also increases the risk of diabetes, leukemia, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, kidney disease, and intestinal disease. And secondhand smoke can increase bystanders’ risk of lung cancer and heart disease, among other issues.
Nicotine found in tobacco is hugely addictive, making it very difficult to quit even if someone knows the tremendous risks involved.
Why people do it: The slight buzz from tobacco is a cheap, legal way for some people to wind down, but it can come at an enormous cost to someone’s health if used over long periods of time.
Bottom line: Tobacco is the deadliest substance in America. The CDC estimates it kills 480,000 people each year — more than all reported homicides, traffic accidents, and drug overdoses combined. Even that may undercount the death toll of tobacco: a recent study found tobacco kills 60,000 more people each year than previously estimated.
Risks: The most common risk of opioid-based prescription painkillers is fatal overdoses.
Overdoses tend to happen in a few scenarios. Keith Humphreys, a drug expert at Stanford University, said some people try to “chase pain” by swallowing pills until their pain is relieved, and accidentally take too many. Many users underestimate how long the drug remains in their body, and consume more pills or other drugs before they should.
People who mix prescription painkillers with other drugs increase their chances of overdose. The CDC found that 31 percent of prescription painkiller-linked overdose deaths in 2011 were also linked to benzodiazepines, a legal anti-anxiety drug. Alcohol and muscle relaxants can also increase the risk.
Other side effects of painkillers include narcotic bowel syndrome, increased risk of bone fractures, and the potential for hormonal imbalance.
Prescription painkillers are highly addictive and some people abuse them to get high. A 2014 study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that addicted patients will resort to the more dangerous heroin if their painkiller supply is cut off, since it is an opioid as well.
Why people do it: Painkillers are good at alleviating pain. This addresses a very big health problem in America: a 2011 report from the Institute of Medicine found that about 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and many are under-treated for it. There’s some debate, Humphreys noted, about whether painkillers are good for treating long-term pain, but they can relieve problems in the short-term.
Bottom line: More than 16,200 people died of prescription painkiller overdoses in 2013, according to the CDC. Although the drugs are often prescribed to deal with real, significant pain, they’re widely misused and can lead to deadly complications.
Risks: Crack and powder cocaine increase blood pressure and heart rate, raising the risk of heart attack or stroke in otherwise healthy people. Both drugs can also cause psychotic episodes, potentially making someone temporarily paranoid or violent, according to George Woody, a drug expert at the University of Pennsylvania.
Crashing after the high from cocaine can also cause severe depression, which can lead to suicidal thoughts. “You see this in emergency rooms, where somebody will come in and be suicidal,” Woody said. “Then you see them the next morning, and they’re fine.”
Cocaine can have terrible reactions with other drugs. Alcohol and cocaine can mix in the liver to form a chemical known as “cocaethylene,” which can heighten the high from cocaine but also the cardiovascular risks attached to the drug.
Although crack and powder cocaine are chemically similar, there are two major differences that make crack more accessible and potentially more harmful than powder cocaine: crack is smoked, so it takes effect more quickly, and it’s much cheaper.
Different forms of consumption can also bring their own medical issues. Snorting can hurt someone’s sense of smell and ability to swallow. Smoking may damage the lungs. Injecting can be more dangerous, since dirty needles can carry infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis.
Cocaine is also very addictive, exacerbating some of the issues related to it. Some people will resort to crime, such as theft or drug dealing, or sex work to make money to obtain the drug.
Why people do it: Crack and powder cocaine’s temporary high makes users more energetic, attentive, and focused, though the effects can be achieved with safer, longer-lasting drugs.
Bottom line: Crack and powder cocaine can cause problems, ranging from heart attacks to violent behavior that leads to criminal acts. Neither appear to pose the same level of long-term risks of tobacco, but they can cause serious issues in the short-term.
Read more about this very important issue at Vox.com
“For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction”
Orig. Post by NCADD | Re-Post March 30, 2015
Alcohol Awareness – The Key to Community Change, Personal and Family Recovery 29 Years of Improving and Saving Lives Through Prevention, Treatment and Recovery
Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. This April, NCADD highlights the important public health issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family and community consequences.
With this year’s theme, “For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction,” the month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism. Local NCADD Affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.
Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction. Adolescence is a time of heightened risk taking and young people may not be fully prepared to anticipate all the consequences of drinking alcohol, such as swigging drinks to “celebrate” a special occasion, or being in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s youth, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America’s youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people themselves.
“Underage drinking is a complex issue,” says Andrew Pucher, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCADD, “one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort. As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that for some, alcoholism and addiction develop at a young age and that intervention, treatment, and recovery support are essential for them and their families,” says Pucher. “We can’t afford to wait any longer.”
In support of the NCADD National Network of Affiliates and other organizations who want to work in support of the campaign, NCADD has developed the following NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month resource materials:
- Organizer’s Guide (23 pages) includes:
– Theme, History, Stigma and Links to Additional Resources
– Sample Proclamation
– Sample Media Advisory and News Release
– Sample PSA scripts
– Sample Op-Ed Newspaper article
– Sample Letter to Editor
– Suggested Grassroots Community Activities: States, Communities, Schools, Students, Colleges, Media, Religious Organizations and Parents
Alcohol Free Weekend: April 3-5, 2015
An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 3-5, 2015), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. During this seventy-two-hour period, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans, young and old, to participate in three alcohol-free days and to use this time to contact local NCADD Affiliates and other alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.
Orig. Post March 26, 2015 by Sports World
Easter is just around the corner. To many of the students we speak to, Easter brings to mind images of bunnies, eggs, and candy. Those things are good and fun but Sports World brings something even better. We bring the message of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for their sins. Easter is about remembering the sacrifice Jesus made for us all and the forgiveness it brings.
We all fall short at some point in our lives and are in need of forgiveness or another chance. Maybe we’ve hurt someone we love. Maybe we we’re doing things we knew were not healthy. Or maybe we just feel like we aren’t good enough. All of those things, and more, happen to us all at some point. The biggest mistake is to let those failures define us.
Our message to students is that their past doesn’t define them. That is the beauty of this life. We have the freedom to choose. If we choose to dwell on the past, we may find ourselves in a cycle of negative situations. If we choose to find forgiveness and move on, we may find ourselves breaking out of our current cycle and end up chasing our dreams.
Finding forgiveness can be hard at times, but it is necessary if you want to live a more God centered life.
Steps to living in the joy of forgiveness:
Ask for Forgiveness – This can be a very challenging step. It is hard to admit when we are wrong and when we have hurt someone. Asking for forgiveness shows that you understand what you have done and that you want to mend the relationship. Losing the weight of regret can help you see things more positively in your life and relationships. Just know they may not forgive you right away or ever. Don’t hold that against them.
Forgive Yourself and Others – Possibly the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself but doing so will drastically change your outlook on life. You will see yourself for the person you are instead of the person you may have been.
Receive God’s Forgiveness – Jesus bore our sins on the cross. He paid our debt in full. When we receive Jesus Christ we get the assurance that God is no longer angry with us.
They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You shouldn’t expect to see immediate impact on your life the second you decide to make positive choices, but if you take a new step each day, you will be amazed at where you find yourself down the road.
Orig. Post by stopbullying.gov | Re-Post March 24, 2015
An Overview of School Districts’ Federal Obligation to Respond to Harassment
This video has been developed as part of collaboration among the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. The video is designed to help schools, parents, and others who interact with kids understand the differences between harassment and bullying, and their legal obligations with respect to both.
Schools have a responsibility to create safe learning environments for all students. When harassment is based on a protected class and creates a hostile environment, schools have an obligation under federal civil rights laws to take action. Please use the resources identified in this video to support your own efforts to address harassment and help us all build safe, supportive learning environments for our young.
Luke 2:10-12 reads, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Did you catch the part in there where it says the good news of great joy is for all the people? Jesus was not a gift sent to a select few. He was sent so we all may know God’s love.
We are so fortunate here at Sports World to be able to share the gift that is Jesus Christ with the youth. He has changed all of our lives and given us new beginnings. It is no surprise that we celebrate a fresh start in the new year just one week after celebrating the birth of Jesus. He has given us the chance to start over and to have new life.
What will you do with this fresh start?
Thanksgiving is a time of year where we gather with our families to eat food, laugh and be thankful for all that we have. Psalm 100:4 says “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Oh how easy it is to forget to stop and be thankful for what we have. It’s not always easy to see the blessings right in front of us. Take some time to enjoy time with family. Take time to count those blessings in your life that you may have overlooked. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good. His love endures forever.” -Psalm 136:1