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Have you ever thought about Misrepresent(Asian)?

Community Service Learning Project is organized by the Teen Resource Center at Charles B. Wang Community Health Center.
CSLP is a six month (March through August) internship program for youth between the ages of 15 to 19. The program aims to provide youth an opportunity to improve their life skills (public speaking, stress/time management, negotiation/communication skills) through service learning projects. The 2014 interns worked at CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, APEX for Youth, the Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, and the Museum of Chinese in American (MOCA). Recruitment for the next cycle of CSLP will begin in December 2014. Please contact Vicki Wong at viwong@cbwchc.org for more information.

On August 1, 2014, the eight interns in the Community Service Learning Program hosted a showcase for the Chinatown community on the topic of Misrepresent(Asian). For all of you who couldn’t make it– Elizabeth here has graciously agreed to share her experience  with you!


TRC: Tell me about your final project– what was the goal? Why this topic?

Elizabeth: We chose to address the misrepresentation of Asian Americans in U.S. media and the effect that this misrepresentation has on the self-esteem and mental health of Asian American teenagers.  The goals of our project were to address the minor and stereotypical roles that Asian American actors are confined to playing; the differences between how these actors look on screen and how typical Asian Americans on the streets look; and to remind everyone that they are beautiful, even though they may or may not look or act like what they see on the screen.

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TRC: Why roses? How did you come up with this icebreaker?

Elizabeth: I hand-made roses (and attached compliments to them) for all of the guests! For our icebreaker activity, we asked each person to find someone to give their rose-compliment to. We think compliments are nice to hear, even from a stranger (as long as it is not creepy), and the different color stems told people which group they were in.

 

TRC: You made a video too right? So ambitious! What was it like? What does the video cover?

Elizabeth: We take you behind the scenes on what it means to be a CSLP intern and everything that had to be done to make the final event possible.  We take you with us on the streets as we interview Asian American teenagers about what it means to be a minority group often misrepresented in the media. There are also a few humorous moments that truly reflected the hilarity that eventually ensued after sticking eight, often sleep-deprived and naturally silly high schoolers together in a room.  But the general thread throughout the video is the seriousness of this issue that is too often unaddressed in our society today.  

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 TRC: This was the first activity I did, the Selfie Revolution! wall. It was really fun giving people I kind of knew and complete strangers affirmations and compliments. What did you want people to get out of this activity?

Elizabeth: THE SELFIE REVOLUTION!!! This was the activity that Emily, Umma, and I ran. 

As the guests walked in, we handed them a ticket to get their polaroid taken, as they held a sign that said #misrepresentasian.  Each guest was asked to write a self-declared flaw on the back of their picture.  We then posted their pictures on the wall and asked other guests to write compliments on post-its and paste it under their pictures. 

The goal of this activity was to show guests that even though they might believe that a flaw of theirs is obvious to other people, the opposite is true.  Often what the person in the picture was self-conscious about was what they received the most compliments about!  We also wanted to show everyone that even though they might not look like the images presented in the media, they are beautiful regardless.

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TRC: And this one?

Elizabeth: This is the almighty Asian Americans in Media Stereotype Wall.  Although it could have been better named, this activity is incredibly important to our event because it addressed a few stereotypes that Asian Americans are usually type-casted into.  We asked guests to write in the Y/N column on whether these stereotypes applied to them, with a red post-it saying “no” and a yellow post-it saying “yes.”  We then asked them to write a short story about their experience and post it on the wall. 

We found that the vast majority of those present agreed that these stereotypes did not apply to them and the stories usually showed the negative impacts that these stereotypes had on their lives.  For example, one read that he felt ashamed for not being good at math like he was “supposed” to be and felt embarrassed to ask a teacher for help, which made his grades suffer. We hope that by addressing these stereotypes at the final event, more people feel comfortable falling outside of the stereotypes and aren’t afraid to be themselves.  We also want other people to realize that these stereotypes are not always true for us.

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TRC: This one was really hard. I really had to try and pretend that I was a movie director in a talent search and picked actors that I thought would be easier to “sell.” I had to make choices based on really superficial characteristics. Did you see any trends in who the participants chose to cast?

Elizabeth: We found that most people chose the person with more Westernized features. It made us question how much people internalize standards of beauty presented to us in the media everywhere we look.  Because there is such an under-representation of Asian Americans and other minority groups in the media, the typically Western features that most Caucasians possess have become what is beautiful in our eyes.  If you look in the media, Asian Americans who are successful, such as Lucy Liu, typically possesses more Westernized features.

Additionally, in the picture on the right, Nina Davuluri, who was crowned Miss America 2014, was compared to another beautiful woman, but this other woman was white. Ms. Davaluri is clearly beautiful, as her title would suggest, but she is also South Asian, which our participants decided proved to be a disadvantage for her in the film industry. 

Minorities are often misrepresented and under-represented, and our team would like to promote the practice of casting actors without a preference for certain groups of people or aesthetics, which would benefit all.  We want to be inclusive of other minorities as well, not just Asian Americans.

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TRC: That’s enlightening! And you got so much from doing just one small activity. How was the event as a whole? Were you all scared to stand up in front of such a large crowd and share all the amazing work you had done?

Elizabeth: Before this night, we went through pretty intensive public speaking trainings and many, many rehearsals.  We couldn’t help but feel incredibly nervous as many of us were afraid of public speaking.  However, keeping in mind what Liz Young had taught us about nervous energy being mistaken for excitement, we were able to remember our lines and deliver them with certainty and conviction.  Everything from the video to the slideshow, activities, and Q&A went really well, and we would like to thank everyone who attended and everyone who couldn’t but kept us in their thoughts!

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TRC: You did a wonderful job! Truly truly wonderful! And I’m glad you also seemed to have fun during the whole process and then put so much energy into this great event. Any reflections about your experience with the event, the project, or the CSLP 2014 team?

Elizabeth: Working with this team for the past six months has left an unforgettable mark on me, and I’m sure that it has left a mark on the others as well.  Over the past six months, the other interns have become like my brothers and sisters, and Kevin and Emily, our lovely supervisors on the right of this picture have become like our older, guiding siblings as well.  We work so well as a team, and we know how to step back and let others take over when they are more knowledgeable about something, and to come closer and work together when we are struggling.  We have all committed a lot of hours to this project, but we could not be more proud of how it turned out. 

Although our final event has passed, it doesn’t mean that we are done with our project.  We now extend the baton to you! Have you ever noticed the misrepresentation of Asians and other minorities in the media? We urge you to reflect on these experiences, and tell all your friends and family about this issue.  People don’t talk about the misrepresentation of Asian Americans or other minorities in the media often.  Typically, these stereotypes are turned into jokes or sources of amusement.  However, the message that we want to leave you with is to remember that not everyone fits under these limited stereotypes. 

We may each identify as Asian American, but we are all different people.  We want the media to open up the roles that Asian Americans are usually confined to playing on screen.  Make sure that you know, and let others know, that even though you may not possess Westernized features or look like what you see on screen, you are still beautiful in your own way, and you don’t need the media to confirm that!  

TRC: Any other ways you’d recommend people get involved?

Elizabeth: Like and join our Facebook Page! It’s called “misrepresentasian.”

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Fitness Goals

I know it’s important to stay healthy and active, but I don’t always have the time to do a 30-60 minute workout every day. If you or a friend are struggling to stay active, that’s okay because I’m struggling, too. Between school work, social media, and social life, it’s hard for me to have that 1 hour cut out for a workout. So what do I do?

stairs-man-person-walkingInstead of taking the elevator up to the fifth floor at school, I’ll take the stairs! If there’s too many, climb as many flights as you can, then take the elevator up for the remaining flights.

indexThe TRC is walking distance to my home so I try to walk or bike (save that Metrocard swipe!). If your school, work, or favorite hang out spot is within walking distance, leave your place a little earlier and take a walk. Or bike.

Lion_stretching_at_Ouwehands_2010If you are sitting for a long period of time, stand up and stretch for a couple of minutes.

 

Staying active don’t always mean 30 pull-ups, 45 mountain climbers, 50 push-ups, 100 crunches, and a mile jog, but if that is what you are doing and have the time, great, keep it that way! If this is not what you’re doing, that is fine too; everyone has their own routine, whether it’s set or they change it up every once in a while.

Coconut Oil: Moisturize your life!

When Winter comes, I don’t know about you but my lips get chapped and my hands get dry. This winter, I neglected my skin and the consequences were painful: itchy elbows, dry hands and ashy legs. My hands got so dry to the point where I got windburns from the cold. With each and every movement of my hand, not only did it hurt, but my skin also felt rough.

Thankfully, when I dropped by the TRC, I was able to slather on some coconut oil to moisturize both my hands. After washing the oil off my hands, my hands felt so smooth– like baby skin smooth.

Coconut oil not only moisturizes your skin but there are many other ways to use it too! Here are some different ways to apply coconut oil into your daily lives!

Use it as a hair mask:

  • Applying a proper amount to your hair in replacement of conditioner can enhance the appearance, letting your hair look silky and smooth

Use it as a lip balm:

  • Since coconut oil moisturizes your skin, it can also do the same for your lips! It may feel greasy at first if too much is applied, but just leave it on for 5-10 minutes for your lips to absorb all the good stuff

Use it under your eyes:

  • If eye cream is too expensive and you really want to cover the eye bags under your eyes, save yourself some money. You can use coconut oil!

Use it as cooking oil:

  • Coconut oil is a great replacement for other cooking oil since it’s full of vitamin E, fatty acids, and nutrients that are great for the body.

There are many ways to use coconut oil, the one thing we don’t recommend though is using coconut oil as lubricant with your condoms ;)

And why does the TRC have so much coconut oil? It’s because we’re about to start a new session of Arts ‘N Chats! Some projects we’ve made in the past using coconut oil include “Energy Bites” & “Lip Balm.” For more information, please contact Anna Liu (hxliu@cbwchc.org). 

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College & Money

Thomas College & Money

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I still remember the day I heard back from my early action school. I was in the kitchen with my laptop as my parents were making dinner. I nervously logged into my account and clicked on the tab Acceptance Status. I could feel my breathing quicken as I scanned the page until I saw the status—Accepted!

Since it was the first college I heard back from, the acceptance boosted my self-confidence and I felt relieved. My dad congratulated me, but quickly told me to look at the Financial Aid tab. I clicked on the page and saw a series of numbers, including the tuition, room and board, how much scholarship the college offered me, and how much financial aid I would receive. I could sense my dad’s disappointment even before he said without hesitation, “There is no way you are going here. This is not an option. We cannot afford it”. His words crushed me and I felt rejected even though getting accepted to the college was supposed to be celebratory news.

At this moment, I realized that it did not matter if you got into your dream college if you could not afford it. I proceeded to apply to as many scholarships as I can in hopes that I will receive aid for my tuition. Today, I am attending college for free, because of the generous organizations and institutions who had decided to invest in my education.

A great scholarship was the Dr. Thomas Tam Scholarship from the Teen Resource Center. It was simple — I only needed an essay on community service, a letter recommendation, and to fill out the application. The $500 went a long way and that’s why I’m so glad they’re offering it again this year! Apply before the deadline on Monday, Feb 22!

Thomas Tam Flier

Click here for the application!

What is an internship?

Internship (n.) (in-turn-ship): An official or formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession.

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Have you seen The Intern starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway? Or The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson? I love watching movies because I get to learn from other people’s mistakes and experiences.

Before I started my first internship in college, I thought that all interns did was make copies, do lots of paperwork, and make coffee for the real staff (like Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect 2). Then, I actually worked my first internship. It looked great on my resume and I started to feel confident about myself. And I learned to make lasting connections that opened up doors later on in my life! Looking back, I wish I got a head start in high school, especially after hearing from the TRC’s CSLP interns about their experiences. I realized that not only can I learn from movies, I can also learn from the people around me!

 

 

 

Stories by CSLP Interns (2013-2015)

“I definitely hit a few personal milestones with CSLP. Public speaking in front of a large crowd was fun even if I messed up a bit. It was exhilarating!”

“I really liked how I was able to grow by being more of a leader and take part in my community. I remember during the American Liver Foundation Walk, I was coordinating the walk and getting the volunteers together, but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do and kept asking my supervisor for help. However, my supervisors told me that this was my event and I was to take charge. I definitely felt that after this first event, I felt more comfortable in the leadership position in the other events I coordinated.”2 - Lion Dancers

“I don’t think I am as socially awkward as I was from before the internship. Before the internship, I had low self-esteem. Now after the internship, I gained confidence with some help from my fellow interns, CSLP supervisors and TRC staff. Beside personal goals, CSLP has made me realize there are numerous issues in the community and fun but helpful programs like CSLP can try to make communities better. I would be proud to put CSLP on my resume.”

“I liked that it was a public health internship because I want to be a nurse in the future, and it was health related. I definitely feel that it really pushed me to help other people and work in the health field, when I grow up.“

“At my internship site, I attended many of the meetings and actually helped them organize some of their events and I realized how difficult it actually is to plan and coordinate large events. It kind of opened up my eyes a little bit.”

“I really loved working at my site! It was a really professional setting and at first, I wasn’t used to it because it was my first time working a professional setting. After a while, I got used to it and one thing that was really cool was that the staff included us in their staff meetings, so I was able to see how the organization worked and the projects. The staff were really nice – on my last day, they threw us an ice cream party!”

“I think that this whole summer and internship has really helped me realize my love of storytelling and I hope to carry that into my last year of high school and then college… I also really got into the interactions, interviews, and every aspect of the storytelling in the projects. So I’ll look for more chances to develop as a journalist, writer, and storyteller in the hopes that I can tell an amazing store in the future. CSLP helped me with so much.”

It’s not too late to apply!
Apply to CSLP (trc.cbwchc.org/engage/cslp) before Sunday, February 7th at 11:59PM.
Please ask Samantha Zhang (sazhang@cbwchc.org or 212-226-2044) for more information.

Changing for the Better

This article is an excerpt from the Winter 2015 Teen Talk Magazine written by members of the TRC’s Teen Advisory Committee (TAC). Read the other articles here!

Samsang By Samsang Dolma

I’ve never liked change. There’s always been a comfort in following the same routine, hanging around the same people, even something as simple as taking the same route every day to and from school. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t like this. There is no denying that growing up I went through a lot of changes during times where I was truly learning about who I was. I mean, at 6 I moved to New York City, a highly foreign and overwhelming place for someone that had come from a small village in Tibet. Leaving my mom and the place where I had lived for my most of my life for somewhere I couldn’t even speak the language was probably the biggest change in my life. The fear of the unknown is the main reason why I don’t like changes. It terrifies me to the point where I start to overthink if this change will have consequences. Will it impact not only me, but also the people around me? If so, is it really worth it?

It was not until the end of sophomore year when I began understanding the importance of change. As the typical immigrant family story goes, my parents wanted the absolute best for me. They wanted me to have the education that they never had the privilege of receiving. However, during sophomore year I started socializing often with a girl who I had known since middle school. I spent a lot of time with her doing everything and anything, but never the right thing. My test scores started dropping and the pile of missing assignments for classes started piling up. Yet, despite all I’ve said, I feel like she wasn’t the person to blame for this. It felt like it was all of my fault because I had let her influence me.

It was a month before regents week when I started cramming notes in my head for the exams before realizing just how unprepared I was. A whole entire year of my high school career was wasted doing things I regretted, and I couldn’t get that year back. I couldn’t undo what had already
been done. I stopped talking to this person, making a clear boundary between me and her so that she wouldn’t interfere with my assignments, and although it was difficult I knew it was a change I had to make. It was for my own good.

Change is not the easiest thing in the world, it never was and it never will be, however it is something that I think everyone needs so they can grow as a person and experience new things. I’m still afraid of making changes in my life, but I’ve realized that even recognizing that I need to make a change in my life is a great thing. It’s probably the first step of making the change. If I don’t make changes in my life to challenge myself and experience new things, how will I continue to grow?

Top Book Choices for Teens

Read ‘em before you watch ‘em!

You can enjoy a novel before you watch it play on the screen. Sometimes there can be huge differences between a book and a movie that is based off of a book. Movies only tell you so much about the book and often only touch upon the surfaces of the text, so they sometimes end up excluding some important details. Why miss out on the details though?! It’s because movies average around two hours so it’s  hard to include everything.

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Here are some top books that have been made into movies!

  •  The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner
  •  Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
  •  Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
  •  The Fault in our Stars by John Green
  •  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Movie not released yet)
  •  The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  •  The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  •  The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  •  The Giver by Lois Lowry (Movie not released yet)
  •  If I Stay by Gayle Forman (Movie not released yet)
  •  Room by Emma Donoghue (Movie not released yet)

Some teens would rather read the books before watching the movie, what about you?

TIPS FOR TAKING THE SATS

Day before the test:

  • Do Something Fun! Hang out with friends, join a free event, get a massage – anything to take your mind off the test.
  • Sleep a little earlier than your usual bed time.
  • Set your alarm early (just in case).
  • Take a short trip to your testing center or print out a map.
  • Have your clothes ready for the next day (feel free to take the test in the most comfortable clothes you own)

Day of the test:

  • Eat a big breakfast.
  • Bring light snacks to your testing center, such as granola bars or dried fruits.
  • Bring a bottle of water.
  • Bring a calculator, if you plan to use one, and bring extra batteries.
  • Bring your admission ticket along with a valid photo I.D.
  • Give yourself extra time by leaving your home a couple minutes earlier.

After the test:

Congratulations! You are now done with the SATs. Go hang out, relax and have fun!

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Building Self Confidence

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Oftentimes growing up, I realized that it was so tempting to compare myself to others. Whether I was comparing my accomplishments, lifestyle, or appearance to others’, it soon became clear that this constant comparison lowered my self confidence.

That’s why it’s important to appreciate what you have and understand that you are in control of your life. Here are some small steps you can take to boost your self-confidence!

  1. Think Confidently & Trust Yourself — Don’t be afraid to be yourself and continue developing your strengths and talents
  2. Learn from your Mistakes — It’s okay to make mistakes, especially if you’re ready to learn from them and bounce right back up!
  3. Step Outside of your Comfort Zone — You can accomplish things you once thought were impossible! Try to switch from saying “I can’t” to start saying “I can.”
  4. Be Appreciate and Grateful — Remind yourself about the things that you do have and how lucky you are to be you :)
  5. Have a Positive Support System — Surround yourself with those who inspire you and bring out your better side!

Try out these 5 small steps and let us know if this positive self-talk helped you! If you feel like it’s getting to be too much, don’t be afraid to reach out to the TRC or to mentors in your life for help.

Sometimes we face challenges and are in situations that make us feel doubtful and insecure – it’s part of life! One way to start building yourself is to build your confidence and we hope these steps will help you. If there’s steps you take that we left out, share them with us in the comments!

TRC College Packing List

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Congratulations to all the high school graduates! It’s time to move on to college! If you are moving away from home to attend college, the excitement of gathering items that you will need for your dorm room may cause you to forget important things. Take a look at the following checklist of college essentials, it might save you a good amount of time when you start packing up your college supplies!

Basics

  • No. 2 pencils or mechanical pencils
  • Ballpoint pens in variety of colors (for note taking purposes)
  • Notebooks or loose-leaf papers
  • Erasers
  • Sticky notes and flags (Many bookstores will allow students to sell their books back that haven’t been written in or highlighted! Use sticky notes to take important notes without writing in them!)
  • Ruler

Organization helpers

  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Paper clips
  • Backpack/messenger bag

Study aids

  • Index cards (Great for making flashcards)
  • Planner
  • Calculator (Check class requirement before getting one, some classes may not allow calculators)
  • Highlighters in a variety of colors
  • Folder with pockets

Basic Living materials

  • Laundry detergent
  • Laundry bag
  • Hangers
  • Cups, utensils, and plates
  • Water bottles
  • Cleaning wipes
  • Flip flops
  • Desk lamp for studying!!
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Toothpaste & Toothbrush
  • Comb
  • Lotion/facial moisturizer
  • Trash bags
  • Umbrella
  • Handheld vacuum cleaner
  • Alarm Clock

Technology

  • Laptop
  • Cellphone
  • USB flash drive
  • Power strips
  • Extension cords
  • Headphones
  • Internet cable (most campuses have Wi-Fi access, but sometimes there may be a lack of signal, hence having an Ethernet cord can be really helpful)

7 Great Reasons to Become A Patient Now!

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We understand that sexually active teens might not have the money to pay for birth control. They might feel shy or afraid to take condoms from school because they feel that their teachers or classmates might judge them. Also, not all teens have health insurance and if they do, they might not be comfortable using it to pay for family planning services, which include STI and pregnancy testing.

But no fear! We are here!

If you’re between the ages of 13 to 21, you can receive family planning services at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center at a low cost, or for free. Here are 7 reasons why you should become our patient this summer!

1. Visits can be free and are ALWAYS confidential
2. Does not require parental consent3. Free Birth Control Pills
3. Free Life Style Condoms
4. Free STI and HIV testing
5. Free pregnancy testing
6. Low Cost Emergency Contraception
7. Personalized Health Education Sessions with the TRC!!