2015 Karing4kids Child Abuse Prevention Rally and Walk

KARING4KIDS

April 11th 2:00-5:00 PM  816 S Van Buren Amarillo, TX 79101

AAYC Child Safety Initiative

AAYC Child Safety Initiative Take a stand with us against Child Abuse

News coverage:
Interview with Matt Hite
Myhighplains.com Coverage

http://www.myhighplains.com/story/d/story/child-abuse-prevention/19406/Cb7V_H6BfU27cA4b0lD5Ig

Multiple non-profit agencies teamed up today to promote child abuse prevention month at the Amarillo Activity Youth Center.

April is child abuse prevention month and the Amarillo Activity Youth Center held their second annual rally for child abuse prevention today.

13 different non-profit organizations came together with the AAYC to put on this rally for the prevention of child abuse.

These organizations each had a separate booth in the gym at the AAYC where they helped spread awareness.

Matt Hite the Executive Director of AAYC says, “they say one in six females have had some sort of abuse, one of the four. And they say one in ten males have”.

The day began with children dancing to their favorite music, while others were designing banners that would be used later when the group marched down tenth street to spread awareness of how prevalent child abuse is in our country.

Christine Bollinger who’s the Intake Coordinator for Bair Foundation (one of the non-profits helping) says, “it’s wonderful.
This is a great event, there are lots of kids inside there’s music and games and a bounce house and there will be a walk later to promote the prevention of child abuse”.

2015 karing4kids Rally and Walk

AAYC’s 2015 karing4kids Rally and Walk

The group of nearly 2-hundred children and adults then hit the streets with their plan to spread the word about the importance of their cause.

Officials at the rally focused on the four different kinds of child abuse; emotional, physical, sexual, and neglect.

Before interview with Matthew Hite, Executive Director

http://www.onenewspage.com/video/20150407/2730443/Child-Abuse-Prevention-Rally-and-Walk.htm

Event Coverage

http://www.myhighplains.com/story/d/story/child-abuse-prevention/19406/Cb7V_H6BfU27cA4b0lD5Ig

Event details
Child Safety Initiative

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!

The Talk….

The Talk

by Matthew Hite

Amarillo, Texas

 

Parents, if you have not had the “talk” with your child(ern) its time.  NO not that talk.. The Talk about drinking.  Most children between the ages of 9 and 15 have access or friends that have access to drinks.  Does your child know?  Has your child experimented with drinking already?  Many parents turn the other cheek or pretend it’s not going on with “their kids.”  Don’t fool yourself… Have the talk….

Communicating with teens can be difficult.  It is important to lay a good foundation with your child before they hit the teen years…. and NOT JUST ABOUT DRINKING EITHER….  Your child will be exposed to the outside world, prepare them for it and talk to them before they are put into a situation about it.

Please remember that threats and lectures rarely prevent anything and are usually reactionary in nature.  Be proactive, talk with them and not too them.  Citing laws, rules and regulations will not stop most children.  They need to know these things but that in itself will NOT stop them.  One of the most valuable things you can share as a family is time where you speak openly and honestly with one another.  Maybe at dinner or just before bedtime,  find a time to talk with your kids and to become part of there life or they may not turn to you later when they are encouraged to experiment with things.

Talk to your children about your past drinking and share stories about it.  Be factual and let them know a few things that could happen to them if they do drink.  You need rules that are spelled out clearly.  Share your personal opinions, beliefs and thoughts about drinking and then clearly layout ground rules about drinking.  Work with your child and help them feel good about themselves.  Self esteem is vital so that they can say NO to those that admire later when and if approached.  Be a good parent and work on building a positive family environment so that your kiddo will be willing to talk with you.  Also be a good role model and practice what you preach.  Lastly know where you child is going, when they will be home and who they are will and follow up to make sure they are where they are suppose to be.

It’s a lot of work being a parent and I hope this will help you remember that YOU make a difference in your child’s life and that these tips can be applied to any topic; NOT JUST DRINKING!

Family values have NEVER been so important.  Kids today face a different world than their parents.  Family life is different, family structure is different but YOU can’t use this as an excuse.  Parents and children are spending less and less time together everywhere because of technology, social media, TV, video games and parent’s busy personal life.  YOU have to make TIME!   .

Yes the talk…. every talk…. every day… be a positive influence to your child, don’t just talk, listen!

 

 

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

A Resolution, really?

A RESOLUTION

By Matthew Walter Hite

Amarillo, Texas

 “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do”      Henry Ford

First off I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  2014 is going to be a great year….. but wait…. don’t we all say that every year….  We all start the year with a huge purge; out with the old, in with the new.  A clean start, cleaning everything, getting in shape this year, saving money, better year “next” year….  We change lanes and speed up to make changes, But wait a minute WHY?

The New Year is a great time to stop and look back at your past year’s accomplishments, it’s a dot on ones timeline that everyone shares but WHY?  I ask again, why? Why is this dot on the timeline so different than any other?

A few questions I pose to each of you.  Please really think about this!  What did you accomplish this past year?  Where are you on your personal time line and how does it look? How can you start a positive change?  Currently are you the type person that you want your child, your neighbors and your love ones to know?  Do you want your child to know the life you have and know who you are?  I’ve always thought if you can’t look yourself in the mirror and said, I’m proud of that, then you didn’t do your best or maybe it’s time for change then.  Even more important, would you do something if your mother (or father) where standing beside you or your child was there.  Why or why not?  Do you honor them with your actions, words, and thoughts?

It’s hard to reflect on everything we do, we all have guilt, we all have issues and we all need to change.  Be that change in your life and those around you, everyday!  I encourage you, not today on New Years, but every day; make the changes in your like so that you can be proud of your actions and deeds and so that others will as well.  Only you can change your outcomes, only you but remember there are always people to help and support you, if you’ll let them in!

I hear people throughout the year saying, I’m gonna focus on that next year.  That’s gonna be one of my “New Year’s Resolutions” next year!  WHY?  When you see something you’d like to change about yourself why wait; make the change then and there or start working toward the change.  You have an opportunity to make change 365 days a year.  WHY create a huge list and hold onto it and then throw your entire life in a crazy stressful mess to make “this year” better?  I challenge you to set goals throughout the year, prep and struggle to make them happen, strive to be a better person, but WHY focus on it today, the first of the year.

Everything you did in 2013 and before is the foundation for 2014.  Your past cannot be purged on the first day of the year each year; simply put, it’s part of you!  You can however ask the Lord to forgive you of your misgivings and pray that he will help make you a better person, because through him all things are possible.

Let’s reflect on the past year today, think of where we are and where we have been and continue down the same old road, making course corrections as we go.   No matter what happens keep your head up and keep moving forward.  Our struggles and failures, as well as our successes create who we are.  Learn from your success and your failings; your strengths and your weaknesses.  Please don’t simply set resolutions today and say today is the beginning of a new me!  Change can’t happen over-night.  Let’s just make our journey on this Earth the best we can and please, let’s all help each other on the way!

Happy New Year everyone, lets give this day, and every day our best and only then will we have the BEST year ever!

www.amarilloyouth.org

 

Winter Weather Advisory

Winter Weather Advisory

By Matthew Hite  of Amarillo, Texas

 

As the days get shorter and the temperature gets colder and colder I think it is important to remind everyone of a few quick facts that may save your life…. Ok a little dramatic for most but at least make your existence been and more enjoyable throughout the Holiday seasons and the cold weather that is coming.

 

Ok let’s put you to a test and see how you do! Before you read on please click and take this quiz

http://firstaid.about.com/library/quiz/bl_hypothermia_quiz.htm

Brrrrr Cold

Do you know why you shiver when you are cold?  When your body temperature drops a few degrees below its normal temperature (~98.6 F) your blood vessels constrict decreasing your blood flow to reduce heat loss from your skin’s surface.  Shivering is your body’s defense and it actually generates beat by increasing the body’s metabolic rate.

To avoid cold emergencies be sure to wear enough clothing to stay warm and dry, dress in layers and don’t forget your hat and gloves .

General advice

Always wear appropriate clothing and dress in layers.  Keep clothing dry, when possible. Did you know you can lose up to 40% of your body heat through your head?  WEAR a HAT!  Wear a facemask, scarf or even a bandana to help hold in heat and to help protect your lungs.  Be aware of icy and slippery conditions.  If you are going to be out in the cold for a long duration of time…. bring a buddy if and when possible. Be sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

Take a bite out of winter

Avoid prolonged exposure to the cold elements (wind, sleet, rain and snow) when at all possible.  Be prepared for an events that could happen to you.  Do you have a blanket and extra sweater or two in your car, do you have an ice scraper?  Even if your car is normally in a garage many times these few item can save your life if you have car troubles.

Don’t let winter bite you back

If your loosing feeling in your fingers, toes or ears (extremities you could be on your way to being bitten.  I’m referring to frostbite.  Initial symptoms of frostbite include stinging coldness tingling or loss of movement to an exposed area.  The skin may have a waxy appearance and may have greyish white patches on their skin.  You may notice an intense pain when you try to bend or move the extremities and then slowly lose the feeling of pain as that pat of the body begins to go numb.  Blisters and blotches may also appear with prolonged exposure.   Frostbite can be very serious.  Prolonged frostbite can result in amputation or loss of function in that extremities, forever.

Freezing to death

Yes it really can happen.  I was not joking at the beginning of this blog.  When you hear of someone freezing to death or dying of exposure the killer was probably hypothermia.  It occurs when your body loses more heat than it can generate over a period of time (sometimes less time than others based on the weather conditions).  You will most likely NOT get hyperthermia by walking from your house to a heated car without a jacket on but if you decide to walk across town without proper clothing you could be in danger.

What does true hypothermia look like.  The first symptoms are uncontrolled shivering, and the inability to do complex motor functions, mild confusion and lethargy.  As hypothermia progresses the person seems dazed and confused and their speech become impaired.  Their behaviors, motions and actions become irrational, worse than a drunken state even.

If you come across someone that is undergoing hypothermia please calmly follow these steps to help them out.  gently help move the victim into a warmer area away from wind and wetness if possible.  Call 911 or have someone around you call. If they are not coherent maintain airway and circulation and perform CPR if needed (and if you know how) remove any wet or frozen clothing and cover the victim with a dry, warm blanket, remember their body may not be producing much internal heat if any at all.  If the victim is awake and can do so try having them drink something warm.

Other helpful links/information

 

Role Models

When we are growing up we look to our role models for inspiration and use this as a guide for how we should behave when we’re older. In later life when we are striving for that same kind of success our role model showed us, it could bring us happiness. Then having the correct role model will help us learn to be successful and adaptive in later life, and that we are happy when we are older having achieved that aim. It’s very important to get the right role model for yourself, and to provide one for your children.

The most common role models for any child are the parents, followed by other immediate family members. This is why it’s so important to be a good role model– as children imitate your behavior. That means that if you smoke, you can expect your child to take up smoking later in life. If you swear meanwhile they too will swear. They will also find other role models elsewhere, as they grow older, just as you probably have different role models today. This is even more the case if you or they are somehow lacking in immediate role models. When we look elsewhere for role models we are have many options. We have our peers, we have characters from the media – comics, films, books, the music industry, sports and all of these can become a big influence on us and how we present ourselves. This might mean they affect us in a minor way leading us to alter the clothes we wear and our habits, or in a major way, leading us to make important considerations in our career or love life that make us closer to our idols, or changing our views on politics or religion.

So what is a good role model?

A good role model should be someone hard working, creative, free thinking and moral. While you can’t choose role models for your children as such, you can make sure that they are exposed to a better selection to choose from. For example encouraging your child to read ‘Superman’ rather than‘The Punisher’ (who murders his enemies and has a general bad attitude) might have a good impact on the way they turn out. However, it’s important not to put role models on a pedestal, everyone makes mistakes.

Where can I find a role model?

As I have mentioned previously, role models are all around us. They come from unlikely places and different walks of life, they come from media and they come from programs geared towards our youth. It has been said the younger generations have no aim, but what can we do about that? Having someone the youth of Amarillo can look up to as a positive role model benefits the youth and help guide them to become successful adults. There aren’t many organizations in Amarillo for the youth, but the AAYC is making its impact as one of the few. The AAYC is a place youth can come to do community service, take sports lessons or just play ball; whatever the reason maybe that draws the kids there. These kids may show up for an activity, but they go away with more than what they came for. The leaders and coaches take time to talk to everyone who comes in, they take a personal interest in their successes. They teach the kids what it means to be a part of a community by helping others and giving back to society. In my early teen years I met Matthew Hite  and several other leaders of the AAYC, and quickly found a group of people who were willing to sacrifice anything for others. I admired the way they were able to find a way to help those who needed it and wanted to do the same in my life. I began volunteering with the AAYC and used my time there to learn what it means to help others. It may be giving someone food to eat or even listening to someone talk about their day. Having a role model such as the ones I found in the AAYC has taught me I can make a difference to someone, and that I can influence others as well.

carajohnson1  This blog was written by Cara Johnson;  cljohnson8952@gmail.com

Happy 4th of July

What is the 4th of July?

The Fourth of July is a National Holiday.  It’s a time when everyone has cook-outs, parties and celibrations, a time to watch fireworks and maybe set a few off too.  From countless friends and families, to the crazy hot weather, mouth watering BBQ’s, to the colorful show of fireworks, the Fourth of July is the perfect holiday for the summer.  People across the country close down there shops and businesses to celebrate our nations birthday.   Having a good time on the Fourth of July is almost a requirement with all the fun activities, events and cookouts around us.  The 4th is a day for everyone to have a good time, relax and put their feet up.

Wait a minute is that all there is?  Is this just a summer holiday to party on?   NO it is a major historical day in our Country’s history.  On July 4, 1776 all thirteen colonies of the United States finalized and signed the Declaration of Independence.  When we are in school we study and learn of the Declaration of Independence but like many things in school the test is taken and many of the facts are forgotten.  Please don’t forget why we celebrate this holiday and think deeply on why we are free.

Let’s take today to celebrate our freedom and to thank all those in the past and the present that still allow us this right.  Thank all the current and retired military personnel, thank our local policeman and fire department and all those that make our city safe as well.  It’s all of our responsibility to help keep America FREE.   It’s not just about the wars we fight that keep us free: our actions, mentality and resolve are what makes our nation free!

Be safe

Did you know around such holiday’s the crime and arrest rate skyrocket.  Please make sure that you and those you are around are safe and stay with-in the legal limits of the law.   Please be safe and respect the laws and the rights of those around you during this great holiday.

The 4th of July is NOT a “get messed up” day or a day that the laws and police turn the other way.   If it is illegal it is illegal.  Please keep this in mind when you relax and celebrate our freedom.

Daily Challenge

This is a fun day but I urge each of you to take 10 minutes and read the attached document.  This is the founding philosophy of our nation and we should all review it and remember our past.

Thanks for taking time away from your celebrations to read this today.  On a parting note, as we prep for our celebrations today.  What are you doing to help keep America free?  Is it enough?

 

The Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

 

Blog by Matthew Hite, Executive Director AAYC matt.hite@amarilloyouth.net

 

On guard, Ready? Fence!

“On guard. Ready? Fence!”

By Anthony Diller
 
With those four words, I was introduced to the sport of fencing. I had no idea that over the coming months I would develop a real passion for what looked like at the time a bunch of kids poking each other with metal rods. I never knew that I would be waiting all week just to go to a local Boy Scout meeting hall for a few hours and practice the art.
 
  
That first night is what took me in. I remember walking in wearing a hoodie and jeans, feeling as nervous and awkward as any thirteen year old kid ever has. The first thing I saw almost knocked me down: A guy with a wire screen mask tipped back on his head, a long sleeved white jacket, and a vest that looked straight out of an alien horror flick walking toward me with a sword in his hand!
 
 
I froze for a minute, not quite sure whether to run or stand and shake. The man introduced himself to me as Coach Matt Hite, and explained he was the fencing coach. He told me that I was more than welcome to mix around with the fencers and see if I was interested in fencing.
 
 
There wasn’t much time to drift. Before I even knew it I was standing in line doing warm-ups with the rest of the group, trying to follow their footwork and hold my hand behind my back. About twenty minutes before the end of class, I managed to get a mask and sword and step onto the strip. Matt explained that the first of us to reach five points was the winner. Needless to say, I didn’t last long. At the end of the night, Thomas, another fencer, asked if I was planning on coming back the next week. “Try to stop me!”
 
 
From that point on, I was obsessed with the sport, the competition, and the atmosphere of honor and respect within the fencing community. I learned many things about both fencing and myself. The hours of practice on footwork and sword technique increased my physical health; the hours spent sparring with friends helped me keep busy and out of trouble; and class gave me something to look forward to during the week.
 
 
But what stood out above all of that was something that I was taught on that very first night. In the sport of “physical chess,” two fencers step onto the strip; a tiny little battlefield where they’ll test themselves against each other physically as well as mentally. But there’s no resentment, no anger, no trash-talking. The fencers step on, test their weapons, and then proceed to their ends. Before you are allowed to put on your mask or take your stance, you have to salute your opponent with your sword. When the battle’s over, the very first thing you do is salute again, remove your mask and shake your opponent’s hand, usually congratulating each other on a good bout. It’s something you won’t find in any other sport.
 
 
Young people today are faced with challenges unique to their generation. They need to be supported in every way possible to make good choices and be able to stand behind those choices; and they need to know they’re not the only one making those good choices. The AAYC is a safe haven for these young folks. It is run by individuals who all have the same dedication and genuine care for seeing the people who walk through the door succeed in life. They’re doing a lot of good in a lot of lives through their clubs and community service. That’s something that we should ALL get behind!
 
 
I drifted away from fencing in high school, but the values it taught me have stuck with me all through the years, and I will be forever grateful to the Hite brothers for teaching me the sport and it’s core values, as well as to my parents, who made sure I never forgot those values and supported me to follow my goals and to never stop until they were reached.
 
 
I would encourage anyone and everyone to bring your kids out to the AAYC, and to support them in any way you can, because they are doing a HUGE good.
 
 
Anthony DillerWritten by Anthony Diller  anthonypdiller@gmail.com

A word of advice….. ‘K2″ Smokers; beware

Chris Miller woke up with his heart racing and a gripping feeling in his chest. He felt as if he couldn’t breathe and as he sat up from the couch he had fallen asleep on he called out for his roommate. His roommate noticed the pale and sweaty look to his skin and that Chris’s lips appeared bluish. He called for paramedics.

When the medics arrived the first thing they asked Chris as they hooked him up to the EKG machine that measures electrical activity of the heart is WHAT he had taken? They needed to know what would cause a seemingly healthy young man to be going into cardiac arrest! Chris said that just 3 hours before he had been at a party and smoked what someone described as “synthetic marijuana, known on the street as K-2 or Spice. The paramedics took him to the hospital and there he would remain overnight in observation while he was given medication to stop the erratic electrical impulses throwing the Sinus Rhythm of his heart. Chris was lucky. The doctors had described already 4 similar deaths of people all under age 25 who had smoked this K-2 in the prior month.

K-2 is not marijuana. It is not even a derivative of marijuana. It is actually a synthetic chemical compound created in a makeshift lab of synthetic chemicals that are then mixed with various dried plants, herbs and tobacco of an unknown origin. Five chemicals (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-200, CP-47,497, and cannabicyclohexanol) are used to make so-called “fake marijuana” products. John Huffman, a Clemson University student, in the mid 90s synthesized the chemical and described it as structurally similar to THC, the active ingredient in cannabis. Pot smokers picked up on Huffman’s work and brought batches of JWH-018 and started spraying it onto varying mixes of flowers, dried herbs and tobacco leaves.In January 2009, researchers at Freiburg University discovered that the active substance in K2 was an undisclosed analog of the synthetic cannbinoid CP 47,497 later named cannanbicyclohexanol. No official studies have been conducted on its effect on humans, but the reports are reflecting cardiac arrhythmias, trouble breathing, hallucinations, and over all psychotic effects similar to the chemicals in “bath salts.” The European Union has outlawed all manufacturing and distribution of this unsafe chemical.

Spice and K-2 has become widely used among high school age kids and young adults because it was thought to be a “natural” alternative to cannabis/marijuana which are in fact natural and not even processed with chemicals but still illegal in many states. Suppliers have attempted to evade the new regulations by changing names and some compounds now that the DEA and Federal Government of the United States has outlawed the specific chemicals and the products that contain them.

Among hallucinations users have described being out of control and suicidal, coupled with extreme anxiety and paranoia. So far over 2 dozen suicides have been linked to the use of K-2, and over 40 deaths, and countless other medical emergencies and emergency room visits. The doctors are reporting trouble with treating these patients because they don’t have a quick chemical screening through a blood test to be able to know who has used the drug. They also don’t have a specific protocol for treatment as the overall effects are virtually unknown.It’s packaged to look like pot, and users typically smoke it, but experts say the high is more comparable to cocaine or LSD. And the effects on the respiratory system and heart have been immediate and swift, causing heart attacks in young people with no prior health conditions.

The Federal Government is working hard with the DEA and FDA to make these imported products from China and South East Asia unavailable here in the United States. And education to young adults is of primary focus. If most kids know that a drug will make you whack out and see things, and possibly die they are less likely to even attempt using it. I have spoke with recovering addicts from Heroin addiction that are absolutely scared of K-2, Spice and all other forms of “synthetic marijuana” like one former Heroin addict described to me he saw a guy smoke it and he ended up jumping through a glass door and cutting himself all up and almost dying. In his own words, “any high that would make someone do that, could not be a good one.” He is now clean 10 months from heroin and has been offered K-2 in which he declined after witnessing through other people’s experience what a really bad drug and stupid idea this was from the beginning.

Every young person must be educated. We have to get the word out. So not one more hospital visit or unnecessary death and suicide is attributed to the use of this chemical drug that seems benign but clearly isn’t. Education is the key. If you see this drug being sold contact your local police department immediately. If you are around someone using, tell them to stop. Contact your local Narcotics Anonymous. Keep talking until someone listens. It could save someone’s life.

ITerri Montes  Blog post by Terri Montes pretjene@gmail.com