Monthly Archives: October 2011
The 12-year-old and a group of her Facebook friends went around her Walnut neighborhood last Saturday asking for donations for Haiti orphans. The group collected 89 cans of food in two hours, she said.
The group plans to do the same this weekend and weekly until December, she said.
The food donated will go to Operation DREAM, an organization with a mission to feed poor, orphan children in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The charity’s goal is to raise 10,000 pounds of food by Dec. 31, Cassandra said.
The seventh grader said she got involved in collecting food for Operation DREAM last year, going door-to-door to ask for canned goods, dried beans and rice. She said she was moved by the family of four who started the organization after a trip to the Dominican Republic in 2009.
“When some houses didn’t open the door, I learned patience, perseverance, and endurance; when some people were not that friendly, I learned how to forgive,” Cassandra said of her experience last year. “Yet most of the people I met were gentle, generous, enthusiastic, and ready to give to the hungry and needy children. I also learned to be grateful for what I have, for orphanages in Haiti and the Dominican Republic have to worry whether they will get a next meal.”
This year, Cassandra plans to do the same, but on a larger scale, she said. She and her friends plan to go around neighborhoods in Walnut, Diamond Bar, San Dimas, West Covina, and Rowland Heights to ask for donations for canned food every Saturday.
“I have a vision to create a community where good character is encouraged and rewarded, and Operation DREAM is the perfect opportunity for me and my friends to develop character through helping people a world away,” she said. “I would also like to encourage our community to get involved in the life of others by giving a helping hand to those in need.”
Students looking to seeking ways to complete school-required community service hours can do so by collecting their own boxes with needed items such as canned meat, chicken, and fish, as well as peanut butter, oatmeal, pasta, rice, and beans, she said. The aim is to prepare 24-by-17-by-15 boxes.
The boxes are shipped to the Dominican Republic and Haiti with the rest of the Operation DREAM hunger relief shipment.
Anyone in the community wishing to donate food items can contact Cassandra by email at email@example.com.
First Published @ Walnut Patch
Rick Riordan: Hero of Olympus
Percy Jackson author talks about his new book, Son of Neptune
Author Rick Riordan returns to his Heroes of Olympus series with the book The Heroes of Olympus Book Two: The Son of Neptune. In October, he presented the book to a crowd of excited young fans in Southern California. He also spoke with Kid Reporter Cassandra Hsiao about The Son of Neptune, his work as an author, and how being a teacher has influenced his writing.
Kid Reporter: What sparked the idea for The Son of Neptune?
Rick Riordan: Well, I knew I wanted to bring Percy Jackson back into the new series, but I wanted to do it in a different way. So I wiped his memory and I dropped him in the middle of a Roman camp just to see what would happen. It was a lot of fun.
KR: Who is your favorite Olympian god?
Riordan: Well, no surprise, I’d have to say either Poseidon or Athena. That’s why they figure so prominently in the series.
KR: Which of your characters can you best relate to in The Son of Neptune?
Riordan: In The Son of Neptune, I think probably Frank. He’s my favorite new character. Frank is a little awkward, a little clumsy. I can relate to that. But he’s also a pretty sweet guy and he’s got a big heart, so I’d like to think that I’m like that.
KR: What is it about mythology and mythological characters that make you want to write about them?
Riordan: They’re so fun. I mean, they’re like superheroes. The gods are our first superheroes. They’re really human and they make mistakes, but they also have these amazing powers and people like to imagine what they would do if they had power like the gods or the demigods.
KR: So what draws readers to your books? Is it the characters themselves, their personalities, or the gods?
Riordan: Well, I hope they can relate to the characters as well as liking the stories. I was a middle school teacher for a long time. I try to imagine that my own students are reading the book. I try to put a lot of humor and action and not bore the reader.
KR: When you were young, who was your favorite author?
Riordan: When I was really young, I liked E.B. White, like Charlotte’s Web. And I liked Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach, and later on I liked Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings.
KR: Do you ever struggle with writers block?
Riordan: I think every writer struggles in some way with writers block. The trick is to plan out what you are going to say beforehand. I found out that if you make an outline you’re much less likely to get blocked when you get into the middle of the story.
KR: What are some important elements of a good writer?
Riordan: Well, basically, you have to read a lot so you know what good writing looks like and you get inspired. You have to write a lot because it’s like a sport — you have to practice. And, also, you have to persevere. Don’t give up. I got rejected on my first book, like, 14 times, but I just kept going. So believe in yourself and don’t give up.
KR: Do you read any reviews of your books, and do you let them impact the way you write?
Riordan: My wife actually does most of the reading of reviews. I don’t usually do that. I just kind of stay away from reviews. So no, they don’t really impact me. But I’m definitely always hoping that the kids like the books. When I go to events, I always listen to the kids.
KR: What is something that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Riordan: Something readers might be surprised to find out is that when I was young I stopped writing for a while and took up the guitar and for a while I thought I was going to be a rock star. But that didn’t work out so well. So I went back to teaching, and I’m glad I did because that led me to write The Lightning Thief eventually.
KR: As for your teaching, you’re a former teacher and a father. Does that impact the way you write for young readers?
Riordan: It absolutely does. I always have kids in mind. My own sons are reluctant readers, so I always try to write a book that they are going to like. And they don’t read a lot, so I have to make it really interesting to keep their attention.
KR: Can you tell me more about the third book of The Kane Chronicles that’s going to come out in the spring?
Riordan: Right. The third book comes out in, probably, May. I’m just finishing it up now. I can’t give away too much about it. We’re going to announce the title in a few months. Not yet, but it will be, for now anyways, the last in the series. It will wrap up the trilogy and Carter and Sadie will have to fight the great chaos serpent Apotheosis. So everything will be wrapped up.
Nick Vujicic shares his advice for overcoming bullying and the bullying epidemic
Nick Vujicic was born without arms and legs. He overcame his disability and now at 28 years old is an international motivational speaker. He speaks to millions of people, both in person and through his books. His latest book, Life Without Limits, has a powerful message of building a life of fulfillment and happiness.
Vujicic always has a smile on his face. But when he was a kid he struggled with self-esteem issues. He prayed a lot and wondered why he was different from other kids. His family and friends encouraged him and helped him overcome his obstacles.
“If it wasn’t for my family and friends, I would not have been here,” Vujicic told the Kids Press Corps in early October. “They were the ones who believed in me and loved me. They told me that God has a plan for me.”
Even so, Vujicic still had to deal with depression, loneliness, and bullying. People mocked him for being different.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, and Vujicic knows the harm bullying can do. Bullying was the main reason why Vujicic tried to commit suicide when he was ten by drowning himself in a bathtub.
“A lot of people don’t understand that bullying is a major problem,” Vujicic said. “There are people dying. And if people don’t commit suicide, they’re still dead on the inside.”
Many bullies torment others, he said, because they have low self-esteem and are insecure. Like the people they bully, they don’t know who they’re supposed to be, either. The only thing that makes them feel like they have self-worth is pushing other people around.
“It’s very cowardly to tease,” continued Vujicic. “It’s scary. It’s hard to stop.”
But it’s not impossible.
Confronting bullying can be a difficult and scary thing. But Vujicic said that taking life one day at a time is the best path forward. It’s going to get better.
He conquered his battles by coming back to the truth of who he is.
“I know that my value is not determined by how I look, what I can’t do, or how many friends I have,” he said. “I’m Nick Vujicic and there’s not another Nick Vujicic out there.”
Today, he works to help others find their own personal truths and overcome bullying — whatever form it takes.
Visit his webiste for more information about Vujicic and his campaign to end the bullying epidemic
First Published @Scholastic Inc, http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3756616.
“Don’t forget to introduce yourself, give him a hug, introduce us, and take a family picture with him!” A sharp voice snapped me back to the present. My mom frantically paced back and forth in front of me. I was anxious and worried, but my mom was probably even more nervous than I was. My family and I were waiting in a cold, air-conditioned room for Nick Vujicic, to arrive. The limbless, limitless man has been the inspiration to millions of people, and now I would finally be able to meet him! The thought of meeting such a God-honoring man gave me shivers of excitement.
Finally, the door opened. A high wheelchair rolled into the room, and the sight of this handsome young man overwhelmed me. I stepped forward and breathlessly introduced myself, my parents and my brother. One of his favorite ice breaker was “Gimme a hug.” So all of us gave him a hug, and it was a unique warm, touched feeling that I will never forget. I wanted to cry, laugh, and tell the world that I had just hugged Nick Vujicic!
The nervous, panicky atmosphere had disappeared in a flash. His smile lightened up the entire room as we made introductions. Just as I was about to launch into the interview, Nick told me to pause.
“Let me tell you something really cool. If you prayed before the interview, it’ll really make sure that there are no technical difficulties,” he said. “Lord Jesus, we thank you for Cassandra. We thank you for the team. We thank you Lord that your presence is here and that you have touched so many people. Let there be no technical difficulties and bless Cassandra’s heart. May you encourage her and let others be encouraged. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Wow, he really is a man after God’s own heart, I thought, impressed and amazed. The interview started, and I couldn’t look away. His eyes were a mesmerizing sea of blue, and he never let his intense gaze leave my eyes. I felt like I could tell him anything in the world, and I totally forgot about the other people in the room. I soaked up every single word he said. When Nick told me that he had tried to suicide when he was ten, I almost cried. I tried to remain objective as a reporter, but it took a lot of effort to hold my tears in.
He was so sincere, genuine, and humble. I told him that he had been my hero since the 3rd grade, and his first reaction was to be surprised. “Are you serious?” he grinned, although I’m pretty sure millions of others have told him that he was their hero. He said, “Gimme a hug.” This was the second time I got to hug him.
Nick also was very considerate. He invited Jeremy into the picture – just a photo of the two of them. Nick made Jeremy feel so much more than just a tag-along sibling on a sister’s big assignment. Jeremy was on cloud nine!
I reflected on what he had said as he signed my book. He showed me that we can learn to accept what we can’t control and focus instead on what we can control. If a limbless man could live out such an extraordinary fulfilling life, why couldn’t I? I also learned the secret to his inner joy – knowing that God is always with him and has a purpose for his life. Nick knows where he’s going: to heaven, where there is no pain and suffering.
“The cool thing is that there is one thing better than going to heaven,” he said. “It’s to stay here today and bring one more person with us to heaven.”
We all took a family picture with him . I couldn’t believe what I just experienced! This was my most heart-warming, uplifting, inspiring night that I will never forget! Thank you Jesus for letting me to have cross paths with Nick Vujicic so that I will have faith to build a rewarding and productive life without limits.
MPAA Rating PG-13
Genre Christian Drama
Starring : Alex Kendrick—Adam Mitchell
Ken Bevel—Nathan Hayes
Kevin Downes—Shane Fuller
Ben Davies—David Thomson
Release Date : September 30th 2011
Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, has done it again. Courageous joins the collection of the riveting Sherwood Picture movies – Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel.
“Four men: One calling.”
As law enforcement officers, it’s second nature for these four brave men to protect and to serve. Yet, taking a step forward as fathers and building a God-filled relationship with their families is even more courageous.
When tragedy strikes, these fathers quickly discover that they desire to be more than a “good-enough” father. Together, they make a pact, a resolution, to keep each other doubly accountable and to take a courageous step in their lives. Courageous portrays these four men with strengths, weaknesses, and emotions, going through a time of sorrow, joy, failures and successes with their wives, children and friends. Movie viewers will be able to connect with at least one of the characters in the movie.
This action-packed police drama brought the entire theater audience to a roller coaster of emotion. One minute we burst out in deafening laughter; the next second we sniffled and wept; and the following moment we gripped our seats so tight that our knuckles turned white. My dad usually tends to hold his feeling back, but this movie allows space for emotional expression. For someone like me who has never seen my dad cry before, it was quite riveting to see him reduced to tears. My dad told me that he has never laughed and cried so much in a movie. We were both really touched and inspired, leaving the movie theater with a new set of glasses, allowing us to see the fatherhood and family relationships in a different perspective.
Courageous will enflame people to take action. Fathers will strive to become courageous and strengthen relationships with their families. Young people will desire to have a better relationship with their dad and learn to appreciate their dad’s sacrifices. Wives will be motivated to endure the hardships along with their husbands while cheering them up.
Fathers, take your families to see Courageous. Take a stand, hold on to the wheel, make an everlasting resolution, and say, “I will.” For ages 10+.