2015 Kars4Kids Car, Truck and Bike Show

3rd Annual–Kars4Kids Car, Truck and Bike Show 

This great family event was help on June 5, 2015.  It was originally scheduled for May 23 but because of heavy flooding rains the event was postponed.  Our event Director was Rudy Rodriguez and Matthew Hite.  DJ Mike Megamix (Michael Potter) made his first appearance as the AAYC’s official DJ.  We had quite a few great vendors and a lot of local support at the event.  There were two other local car shows on the same day and a major Car Show in Albuquerque, NM as well but our event was a lot of fun and raise funds for the Amarillo Activity Youth Center.

Also we joined forces with Coffee Memorial Blood Center and did a blood drive at the event were 19 people presented themselves to donate blood.  It’s great to reach out and work with other great non-profits in Amarillo and to help SAVE a life with the gift of blood.

Click these links for more info

Ch4 Coverage myhighplains.com

Pictures from the event

Pictures of the Event from Amarillo Globe News 

You Tube Recap Video

The 2016 Kars4Kids Event will be on June 11, 2016.  Mark your calendars now!

2015 Kars4kids Car, bike and truck Show

2015 Kars4kids Car, bike and truck Show

AAYC Kars4kids Car Show

2015 Kars4Kids Car, truck and Bike Show, hosted by the AAYC. Picture by Matt Hite

2015 Kars4Kiids Car, Truck and Bike Show

2015 Kars4Kids Car, truck and Bike Show, hosted by the AAYC. Picture by Matt Hite

Life Before Cell Phones…

girls-on-their-phoneIs extremely hard to imagine even for me. The other day I was trying to remember when I actually got my first cell phone. It took me a while to recall. But I did. My daughter was about eighteen months old (she will be 22 in august). The phone was the size of a man’s shoe. And out of all the mothers I knew, I was the only one who had such an item. The thing was so bulky I used to just leave it in the minivan. Back then they did not have car chargers for it. If the battery ran out you had to wait until you go home to juice it up.

The other mother’s used to look at me oddly when I did have it in my diaper bag. It could not fit into my purse!One time I had taken my daughter into the Boston aquarium. When we returned to my minivan, we discovered that the battery was dead. I had mistakenly left the lights on.There I was in the heavy drizzle of a June day, with a dead battery, an exhausted child and a cell phone that needed charging. Luckily there was a payphone nearby. You must be thinking “Good God lady this sounds like the dark ages”. I managed to call AAA and they came to charge my battery enough so I could get home.

During the time it took to make the phone call and wait for AAA to show up I remember my daughter and I sang the Barney song. Now for those of you who are unaware who Barney is I will give you a brief 411. Barney is or was a LARGE purple Dinasaur who had his own show on PBS at eight o’clock every morning. He would open and close the show with the “song”. I will spare you the lyrics!  After we had exhausted that song, we moved on to a few other of our favorite tunes.

When the AAA truck showed up my daughter asked me what was going on. I explained to her that the man was going to try to start our battery. She was fascinated as the guy opened the hood of the minivan. in fact she made me get out of the van so we could watch this man do his work. She kept asking me every step of the way what was going on.The guy himself had a smile on his face from answering her questions.

By the time my daughter was eight it had become fashionable for people to have movies in their vehicles to entertain their kids. And most of the kids had those small flip phones that no one would be caught dead with now! I miss those days of having conversations with her.  She has her cellphone in her right back pocket at all times. And help us all if she gets a text in the middle of a conversation.

That phone has become her master! She is powerless without it! A couple of years ago, I made a very unpopular rule in my house. There are absolutely no cell phones allowed at the dinner table. You would have thought I had said we were all moving to Albania. But I have stuck to my rule. We all have learned here that we can still have actual conversations outside of text messages. And I believe our relationships  are more grounded as a result of that!

Technology is here to stay that is for sure. But we need to learn to make it work FOR us instead of WORKING us! While we have our heads stuck in the screen of a cell phone, the world is moving forward. There are people doing business, getting jobs  and making a  name for themselves while we are stuck in Candy Crush!!

Instead of worrying about getting to the next level of a game, why not try getting to the next level of YOUR life! It can and will happen once YOU decide to control the things that surround you!

The Death of Us

The Death of Us

Our Sedentary Lifestyles

 Are you tired all the time, stressed and have a hard time doing things that use to be easy for you?  Do you feel that YOU are not all you can be?  Did you know that many Americans has adapted to a sedentary lifestyle and that this is killing us.  A sedentary lifestyle is more than just spending an excessive amount of time sitting each day.

This lifestyle has negative health influences including increased anxiety, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression and more.   Some people have jobs that require them to sit all day, others sit in front of the TV all the time. A sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle with no or irregular physical activity. We joke a call people couch potatoes, well that’s what we are doing turning our body’s into curved, rounded versions of the image God created us in.

State of mind

As a kid I would go to school and sit most of the day but at least at school you get to get up every 45 minutes and move around; then there’s PE/athletics, Band, lunch and other activities as well.  Our problem is that then many youth in today’s society then go home to sit in front of a TV or computer screen all night and in their free time.

Why?  Well its simple we are training our kids this way.  When they are young, very young; we stick kids in front of the TV to entertain them and keep them busy.  As they grow up they get more and more technology; as adults we get busier and busier and spend less time out of the house doing things with people.  We mentally enjoy that time sitting, doing NOTHING in from of the TV; but it’s at the cost of our health.

Coupled with our changing diets, as we eat less fresh, more processed foods without paying attention to what we are putting into our bodies.

Obese but full

Did you know that just because you are full does NOT mean you are being nourished?  Fatty food seem to fill you and keep the hunger away longer but it’s not putting anything in your body you need.

Today’s society is overweight but under-nourished because we are putting junk in our bodies.  In school we learned Garbage-in/Garbage-out when working with computers.  It’s the same with our bodies.   What are you putting into your body.

Activity

As our population grows heavier and struggles more and more to do daily activities we all have to look at our activity levels.  Yes, YOU, and me and everyone we know.  I’m not saying we all need to goto the gym and become the next Arnold but we NEED to become active.  We need to take time with our kids going places, doing things, and getting out of the house.

Since man was created we have been walking….. Walking, walking, walking.  We all need to remember that our bodies are built to be in an horizontal (sleeping) or vertical (standing)  position; not the bent over form you have when sitting down.  Let’s all try to spend more time up and moving, on our feet.

Ultimately I thin it is imperative to get involved with an activity that requires movement that you enjoy on a regular basis if you want to stay with it.  Whether it be a sport, hobby or activity; its up to each of us to find SOMETHING to get us more active.

Desk Jobs

Ultimately, experts urge people to get out of their chairs and start doing something.   While this may not seem practical for those stuck in an chair or cubicle but small, simple changes like taking phone calls standing up can help. I encourage you to redefine our workouts into all moments, have a weight or stretch-band at your desk.

I spent five years sitting in a call center environment and growing chubbier and chubbier for it.   It’s so easy to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine or a coke from the machine.  if you have been on a job where you’re on the phone all day you understand the need to have something to drink.  Well let’s all try water.  I know yeah, water.  A friend of mine, Patty, introduced me to putting fresh fruit (cucumber, watermelon) into water to give it flavor without the additives and such that are in a lot of the drink mixes.  YUM!  It tastes good too.  I need to start doing more of this; but so do YOU!

Let’s do it!

This is not something easy for you to do alone, get your whole family involved, your co-workers and those that are around you!  Lets make a positive change in our lives TODAY!

Well I have been sitting here typing this for too long, time to walk around and do something less sedentary.  Same to you, right now DO IT!  Let’s go up, on your feet.  Right NOW!

Written by Matthew Hite  Amarillo, Texas

Predator 101 By Angie

Hey guys! It’s been a crazy few weeks, but the blog is back and so are some great information and safety tips on online predators! This information is invaluable not only to kiddos, but also to parents as well. As parents, we sometimes feel overwhelmed at the bombardment of sexual content that infiltrates our children’s lives through media outlets. It comes in the form of advertisements and magazines and movies and even in the music they listen to. One place we do have control however, is online. By using a few safety measures and keeping a watchful eye, we as parents can limit the possibility that our children will become online predator victims.

Great Angie. Let’s do this. But, how do we know who is a predator and who isn’t? They should stand out pretty easy right? After all, they are all perverted old men right? Not exactly. Online predators blend into everyday society as any other person. Most predatory pedophiles are white, male, and middle aged right?  Online predators can be any race, age, or shockingly, any gender. They hold any kind of job, even respectful jobs, like doctors and lawyers. However, hope is not lost. They do share some common traits that may help you identify them.

  • They appear trusting at first.
  • Pretend to share interests with targeted victims.
  • Take part in children’s activities.
  • Look for emotionally vulnerable children.
  • May pretend to be someone they are not.
  • May be very good at Internet lingo.
  • Will become more provocative as victim begins to trust.

The dangers of an online predator can extend beyond sexual deviance. Other dangers can include Identity theft, sexual solicitation, pornography or exposure to pornography, and even kidnapping and rape. Identity theft occurs when the predator tries to get personal information from the victim such as social security numbers, addresses, birthdates, and the like. Teach your kids to never give out personal information. Teach them that what goes on the Internet, STAYS on the Internet. Solicitation is usually started in chat rooms or social media sites. After a connection is made, they try to meet the minor for sex. Parents need to use parental controls and keep in mind that 44% of solicitations come from children under 18 years old. By using seemingly harmless information such as school mascot and town or even just metro area, a predator can find a child. Through a social networking page, this information is usually readily available. Once this information is put together, the predator can track the victim and perpetrate heinous crimes such as kidnapping and rape against the victim. I have seen stickers on the back of cars that not only list the soccer club of children, but their names, team names, and jersey numbers as well. Game schedules are listed online. This is a terribly dangerous thing to broadcast. Anyone can find these children and the parents would be none the wiser. Please parents use common sense when protecting your children. Each trip to the mall you take with your children, one person notices them. If your children are older, they have been followed at least once. These are terrifying facts, and my goal is not to scare, but to arm you with knowledge. Knowledge truly is power.

So, now that you will never take a trip to the mall again, you are asking me, “What can I do to protect my children Angie? How do I keep them safe?” First, teach your kids to be aware of the dangers. Teach them to know the signs and characteristics of predators. Second, get involved and stay involved. Dig deep into the online community and know what is happening. Know the red flags and look for them often. Keep computers usage to common areas such as a kitchen table or living room so children are easily monitored. Third, set boundaries. Set time limits, strict friend guidelines, open communications about actions on social sites and maybe a “no deletion” policy. Finally, everything has parental controls nowadays. Use them.

Common Statistics to be aware of:

  • The majority of internet crimes are initiated in chat rooms
  • In 82% of online sex crimes against minors, the offenders used social networking sites to gain access about the victims likes and dislikes.
  • 65% used victim’s social networking sites to gain home and school information about the victim.
  • At least 100 million BOYS and 200 million girls will be sexually victimized before they reach adulthood.
  • 26% of online predators used the victims social networking sites to gain information of the victim’s whereabouts at a specific time.
  • 1 in 7 kids received a sexual solicitation online.
  • 56% of those kids were asked to send in picture and 27% of those pictures were requested to be sexual in nature.
  • 44% of sexual solicitors were under the age of 18.
  • When a solicitor attempted to meet a victim offline in person or via phone call, 73% met their perpetrators online.
  • And finally, the more risky behaviors kids engage in online, the more likely they will be approached or receive an online solicitation.

Parents, please inform your kids of the real risks of online information sharing and who is ok to interact with. This is a real problem and together we can protect our children and bring light to this terrifying problem. We must be vigilant in protecting our children and the biggest thing we can do for them is to stay INVOLVED.

Find safe places like the AAYC for you children to be at night so that they are not left to find something to “get into”
Until next time AAYC!

Trafficking in the US: Bigger than we think!

Random Fact: If you yelled for over 8 and one half years, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

Mental Health Fact: 1 in 5 persons suffering from Bipolar disorder
Will complete suicide

Ok guys, it is time for this blog to get serious! I have been hearing in the news a lot lately about human trafficking specifically human sex trafficking. I know, I can hear the groans now, but let’s put this terrifying risk in perspective. Amarillo sits on I-40. This is a major freeway running coast-to-coast, meaning, if you get snatched, you could be halfway out of the state within an hour. Within four hours, you could be in OKC, which not only has I-40 running east and west, but also I-35 which runs north and south. Now that I have your attention, let’s move on.

So, you have heard of this thing called human trafficking but what is it really? You may be asking, “Does it really affect me? Is there anything I can do to protect myself?” I hope to provide some answers to those questions today.

First off, let’s define human sex trafficking. Sex trafficking occurs when people (men, women, and children) are forced to perform sexual acts against their will. Child sex trafficking includes ANY child forced into sexual acts for money against their will. Sex traffickers are looking for vulnerable people who may have been abused and will use violence, threats, lies, control, or even make that person work off money through sex, and other forms of manipulation to keep their victims involved in the sex trade. We will talk about the Domestic Sex Trafficking problem happening right here in the United States as we speak.

STATISTICS

*There are 100,000-300,000 underage girls being sold for sex in America.
*The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-14.
*50,000 woman and children are trafficked into the United States each year.
*1 out of every 3 teens will be lured toward prostitution within 48 hours of running away from home
*Minor victims were sold an average of 10-15 times a day, 6 days a week.
*1 out of 5 pornographic images is of a child
*The sale of child pornography has become a $3 billion industry.
*Over 100,000 websites offer child pornography.
*55% of Internet child pornography comes from the United States.

You may be thinking, “Ok, well that is all fine and good Angie, but how do I know someone is a victim?”
Here are some warning signs to look for. If you see any of these red flags, tell an adult immediately and have them call 888-373-7888, or you can always call them yourself. These are only some of the signs someone might have.

Red Flags: This person is

Not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
Under 18 and getting paid for sex
Performs sex acts and has a pimp or manager
Unpaid or paid very little, or paid through tips
Works long, excessive, or unusual hours
Not allowed breaks or has unusual restrictions at work
Owes a large amount of money and can’t pay it off
High security measures exist in the work and/or living locations
Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior
Anxious, Depressed, Submissive, Tense, Nervous, or Paranoid
Unusually afraid of law enforcement
Avoids eye contact
Poor physical health
Has multiple Cell Phones

***Please note these are only some of the Red flags a person might exhibit if one is a victim of trafficking.

“Ok, Angie, I Know what trafficking is, I know what signs to look for, but how do I escape someone who might try to kidnap me? How can I stay safe?” These are great questions, and the answers are fairly easy! The best thing to do is to ALWAYS tell someone where you are going. Go in groups! Safety in numbers is not just a cool thing to say, it’s a cool and super safe thing to do! However, if someone does grab your wrist and try to drag you away, simply stay calm and do those giant windmills they have you do in gym class. You know the ones where you swing your arms in giant circles. Do it big and do it strong! A kidnapper will not be able to hold on to your wrist. Then RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! Also, the thumb is the weakest point on a person’s hand when they grab your wrist. Pull your hand quickly and forcefully in the direction of their thumb and they will let go. Go on, practice with Mom and Dad. Then, RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! If someone grabs your backpack, purse, or jacket, drop it. Take them off. Drop that item. It is better to lose a textbook or money than a child who is priceless. Then RUN, SCREAM, and TELL! Don’t be afraid to poke someone in the eye. They can’t drag you away if they can’t see you. Also, guys, if it comes down to survival, kick ‘em where it counts and get out of there. Say it with me,
“RUN, SCREAM, and TELL!”

I hope this blog has been helpful and has in some way given you guys a sense of peace and control. My goal is not to scare you, that is for Matt to do with as scary as he is, but to arm you with knowledge and show you what you can do to protect yourself. You guys enjoy your summer and please, please, BE SAFE OUT THERE!!

Angie

2014 Karing4Kids; child Abuse Prevention Event

April 5, 2014

AAYC’s First annual Child Abuse prevention event, a part of the AAYC Child Safety Initiative.

The 1st Annual AAYC Karing4 Kids Child Abuse Prevention Event April 5, 2015 photo by Matt Hite

The 1st Annual AAYC Karing4 Kids Child Abuse Prevention Event April 5, 2015

Amarillo Globe News Article:

http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2014-04-05/youth-center-fights-child-abuse

Nearly 200 came out to support Amarillo Activity Youth Center as it participated in the national March Against Child Abuse on Saturday.

Participants of all ages, including some students from the AAYC, marched several blocks in downtown Amarillo holding handmade signs with anti-child abuse messages.

The AAYC offers many classes for Amarillo youth, including fencing, community service and basketball, and many of the students came out to support the event.

“Our kids made the signs,” said Matt Hite, AAYC executive director.

Although the march had been done before, this was the first time AAYC hosted an event to coincide with the march at its facility at 816 South Van Buren St.

Speakers from the community came out to share personal stories and offer their talents.

Some of the speakers included Tommy the Hacker of Kiss FM, DJ Karaoke Joe, the New Life Church youth band and a guest speaker from CASA.

“We wanted to make it fun,” said Vee Montanez, event coordinator.

Montanez said she helped plan the walk last year, but an event like the one held Saturday had never been done before. She asked friends in the area to participate in hopes of bringing people together and making the event more fun.

The event offered many activities, but the focus was on the prevention of child abuse.

AAYC's Karing4kids, 2013

AAYC’s 1st annual Child Abuse Prevention Event in Amarillo, Texas

“A lot of times the abuse goes unpunished,” said Andria Keelin, event co-coordinator.

Keelin said the event’s purpose was to raise awareness about just how many children are abused.

Youtube Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmxjyyfu2fg

Facebook Pictures

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.682582065142784.1073741842.132243203510009&type=3

Bullying

Bullying

By Vee Montanez

 

WHAT IS BULLYING?

According to Webster’s bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

I disagree with “aggressive behavior among school aged children”
Why? Because bullying can also happen in the work place among adults.

There are 3 main types of bullying:
1. Physical – involves hurting a person’s body or possessions.
2. Verbal – saying or writing mean things.
3. Emotional – distress resulting in someone developing low self-esteem, avoiding situations and becoming withdrawn.
Other forms of bullying include cyber, disability, gay, parental and sibling bullying.

I’ve found that cyber bullying is the most common in our day and time because of the popularity of social media. Kids are now doing something they call “blasting or outing” on Facebook. The person will share private/trusted information using pictures, online communication and/or screen shots. The person is considered blasted once the private information has been shared publicly. Most kids find this type of bullying amusing and soon after the post has been made the comments start pouring in. Some comments are positive but a majority of them are very negative and degrading. This type of bullying is there for the world to see and can sometimes lead to suicide because the embarrassment and humiliation is too much to handle for the individual being blasted. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a teenager today. Let me rephrase that, I would hate to be a teenager in 2014. Which is sad because I myself have a 16 year old.
There are also other types of cyber bullying which include cyber stalking, exclusion, flaming and masquerading.

What are the statistics?
There are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying:
• The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that, nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
• The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that, nationwide, 28% of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying.

Although statistically the numbers did drop from 2008-2011 I feel the numbers should be zero percent. I know, that’s asking a lot especially in today’s society but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could live in a world with peace and harmony? Where we could all get along and not judge one another. Yes, I’m a dreamer! And I’ve seen this world change tremendously thru the years and unfortunately not for the better. I will continue to dream of a world where our youth can live in peace. A world where they don’t have to be scared, worried or live in fear. A world where they can be themselves! We must teach our youth to love, respect and help one another. We must teach them core values. Otherwise we’ve lost all sense of humanity and may God help us all including myself. This is my very first blog for the AAYC and I’ve taken weeks to even talk myself into writing it because I didn’t want to be judged. But last weekend I spent 12 hours at a lock in with our Youth Cabinet Leaders and they taught so many things. They helped me conquer my fear of standing up in front of a class to teach for the very first time. They also inspired me to write this blog without the fear of being judged. I thank you guys for becoming my family and inspiration in a matter of 12 hours. I hope this blog was helpful to at least one person. Please check out the information below including the videos. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and if you have any topics you would like me to cover please email them to veepromotions@aol.com.

If you or someone you know is being bullied there is help. I’ve listed a few people you can reach out to that will be more than happy to listen. Our youth leaders are amazing individuals from different walks of life with different stories that you may be able to relate to.

Who can I talk to?
If you are being bullied you can talk to anyone at the AAYC (806) 373-2992 whether it be one of our Youth Leaders, or one of our adult mentors/advisors:  myself ( Vee Montanez ), Cody Perez, Christina Lee, Ryan O’Dell, Shelly Heugatter, Matt or LaRue Hite. You can also reach out to Tommy the Hacker of KISS FM by calling (806) 320-0969 or contacting him via Facebook.

VIDEOS:
Amanda Todd’s Story: Struggling, Bullying, Suicide, Self Harm
http://youtu.be/vOHXGNx-E7E
LIVE DIFFERENT – KINDNESS CHANGES EVERYTHING http://youtu.be/9gLuXt_GHUQ

RESOURCES:
STOP Cyber Bullying – www.stopcyberbullying.org

The Author of this blog is Vee Montanez

veepromotions@aol.com

Vee

Vee