Blog | The HALO Awards
- Posted on 11/18/2013 by Rachel1016
Last night, you joined us for 2013 HALO Awards to honor four amazing teens who Help And Lead Others in their community (and if you didn't, you can relive the evening right now with our GIF highlights)! During the live show, we watched celebrities flip the script and present their idols, our honorees, with the accolades they so deeply deserve.
But even if you were there for all of the on-stage action, there's a chance you might have missed the Orange Carpet antics before the show. And since we're your loyal stewards of all things behind-the-scenes, we got a few of our HALO celebs, like Austin Mahone, Darren Criss, and the Degrassi cast, to serve major face in our Orange Carpet GIF booth. Check out our faves below!
Jessica Tyler, Lyle Lettau, & Mindy Shankar
Jennette McCurdy & Kevin Jonas
Thank you for sharing this feel-good night with us! If you missed the live airing of the show, be sure to check out a special TeenNick encore Monday at 9pm ET!
- Posted on 11/17/2013 by Rachel1016
And that's a wrap on the 2013 HALO Awards, folks! Do-gooding was in full force at the Hollywood Palladium tonight as we gathered celebrities to recognize our four amazing honorees: Denzel Thompson, Miranda Fuentes, Rocio Ortega, and Zachary Kerr. It was an evening full of heartwarming stories, some BIG surprises, and a few unforgettable musical performances.
Words fail to describe just how inspiring the 2013 HALO Awards were, so we GIFfed tonight's most memorable moments. Here are our favorite highlights from the 2013 HALO Awards!
Fans rejoiced in the sweet sounds of Fall Out Boy.
Lil P-Nut tried to steal the show with this freestyle chops.
The audience became human glowsticks. (And it looked AWESOME.)
Honoree Rocio Ortega flashed her pearly whites at the camera.
Honoree Denzel Thompson's words of wisdom echoed through the arena.
Austin Mahone melted some hearts. Naturally.
Shay Mitchell hugged it out with honoree Miranda Fuentes!
Miranda inspired us all with her speech.
Co-hosts Kevin Jonas and Jennette McCurdy hammed it up on stage.
Our amazing honorees made Daniella Monet cry.
We totally surprised our honoree, Zachary Kerr.
Then we surprised ALL of our honorees with a little more $$$ for their education!
And finally, Enrique Iglesias stared into our souls as he closed out the show.
Thank you for sharing this feel-good night with us! If you missed the live airing of the show, be sure to check out a special TeenNick encore Monday at 9pm ET!
- Posted on 11/17/2013 by Rachel1016
Hey TeenNick do-gooders, thanks for joining us at the 2013 HALO Awards! We had a great time hanging with all of you and our amazing celebs as we honored the real stars of the evening: teens who Help And Lead Others. We're so inspired by how many young people are committed to doing good that we want to keep the HALO Effect going all year long.
Starting in January, each month TeenNick will recognize a HALO honoree by giving him or her a $5,000 grant to a charitable organization of their choice. That's right, you guys HALO all year long, and now: so do we.
- Posted on 11/16/2013 by Rachel1016
It's been over a week since Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines. Over 9.5 million people are still feeling the effects of this tragedy, and many survivors of the 'super typhoon' are without homes, food, water, and medical assistance. But, in the spirit of the upcoming HALO Awards, you can help!
Since the disaster, many organizations have helped provide emergency relief and essential materials to those in need. These organizations are committed to providing relief in the wake of Haiyan, and your support helps make their continued efforts possible.
Please take a look at how you can contribute to a few of the organizations committed to assisting the victims of the Typhoon Haiyan—whether it's time, money, or resources, every bit helps.
American Red Cross
Save The Children
For more information on how you can get involved with Typhoon Haiyan relief, head over the Nickelodeon's The Big Help.
- Posted on 11/15/2013 by Chris McPherson
HALO honorees are pros at rallying their peers together and giving back to great causes. Check out some helpful tips they shared on how you can HALO!
MIRANDA FUENTES: AUTISM ADVOCACY
1. Getting involved in Surfers For Autism is easy. Visit our website, find an event near you, and follow registration instructions. Bring your suit and a smile. See you at the beach!
2. If you want to volunteer with children and young adults with special needs, but do not live near a Surfers For Autism location, search for the nearest Special Olympics chapter. I have worked with special Olympics, it is an amazing organization!
3. Educate yourself! Find out about autism. There are many stigmas with the disorder, but education and awareness are extremely important and can benefit in your volunteer work.
4. Educate others: Did you know that 1 out of 88 children has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Or that boys are five times more likely to have ASD than girls? Autism is the fastest growing developmental disability in the US, and there is no medical detection or/cure for the disorder.
ZACHARY KERR: LGBT ADVOCACY
1. It's okay to not always understand how people identify themselves, but you should always be kind and respectful of a person's identity.
2. Try to use words and terms that don't single out one specific type of person or gender. Make your language inclusive.
3. Always love and accept your friends for who they are.
4. If you don't know something, it is always okay to ask or try to find out on your own. Your LGBT friends will appreciate the effort you put into trying to educate yourself.
5. Speak up if you hear people saying unkind things about LGBT people. Making your voice heard will let an LGBT person who may not be out know that you're an ally and someone they can go to.
ROCIO ORTEGA: WOMEN'S EMPOWERMENT
1. My secret to overcoming stage fright is always having the mindset that you are the most awesome person in the world. And let's be honest, you are!
2. The key to finding your voice takes two steps: 1) Find the issues you're passionate about and 2) Accept your social responsibility to make the change you want to see happen.
3. Feminists aren't just women and girls, men and boys can also be feminists, too! They are our allies in achieving gender equality. Let's work together!
4. Do a quick online research of the terms "feminist" or "female empowerment" and you'll be surprised at how much you can learn!
5. Female empowerment comes in many forms, so combine different passions!
DENZEL THOMPSON: URBAN ORGANIC FARMING
1. Before you begin planting, the one thing you need to make sure you have is compost!
2. To start compost, all you need are food scraps, such as different vegetables, fruits, and egg shells. Put all those scraps on a pile of wood chips to help it contain the smell and then wood chips on top of the scraps to make them break down faster. As long as you flip and turn the pile, the process speeds up in a matter of 3 or 4 months, and you will have all-organic soil.
3. Plant different plants together so they can benefit from each other. If you plant tomatoes with basil, they will grow like trees and bushes.
4. Growing all year will be tricky, but I've got tips for that as well! Before the frost starts, it's great to switch out crops. There are fall crops, winter crops and summer crops. During the winter, you can also cover all your crops with plastic and/or fabric. It's like making little miniature hoop houses to keep your crops safe from frost.
- Posted on 11/14/2013 by Rachel1016
You know and love Josh Hutcherson as the strong, eloquent Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games Trilogy, but did you know he has major skills outside the Capital Arena, too? When he's not battling Tributes, Josh 'Helps And Leads Others' by advocating an awesome youth charity called Straight But Not Narrow. We caught up with the Hunger Games stud to talk about his HALO skills, and found out there's another battle the real Josh thinks is worth fighting for.
Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN) is an organization that encourages young adults to become allies of their LGBTQ peers, and basically helps teach us how to support each other no matter what our sexual orientation. Josh became the first advocate of SBNN and remains a leading supporter of the organization alongside his best friend and founder, Avan Jogia (whom you might totally recognize as Beck Oliver from Victorious!).
Straight But Not Narrow differs from a lot of the LGBTQ campaigns out there, so Josh gave us a little insight on how the organization came to be: "Avan had this great idea of starting something where you can reach out to straight people about how important it is to be an ally to that community. You have a lot of support within the gay community for LGBTQ communities, but there aren't a lot of outreach programs for straight people to talk about it." The organization aims to not only open a dialogue across all sexual orientations, but also to teach people what it really means to be an ally in their schools, hometowns, workplaces, and friend groups. We think that's pretty rad.
Equality is an issue very close to Josh's heart, as he explained how a family tragedy inspired him to pursue this cause: "Equal rights have been a huge part of my life from the day I was born. My mom was raised by her two uncles who were both gay and passed away from AIDS before I was born. I didn't get to meet them, but they were amazing people and that made my family realize that there's no difference between a gay person and a straight person. We're all just people."
And it's as simple as that: we're all just people. SBNN spreads its message by positively influencing attitudes and viewpoints, but it really comes down to just having a little compassion. Josh said it perfectly: "Being an LGBT ally is so easy and it really takes nothing but understanding. You can wear a little wrist band, you can post it on Facebook and you can talk openly with your friends about it. I have gay friends and I have straight friends. We're all people, there's no difference."
Don't miss Josh, the amazing honorees, and the rest of the celebs who will be attending the 2013 HALO Awards this Sunday, November 17th!
- Posted on 11/14/2013 by Rachel1016
Zachary Kerr is a female to male transgender. Born as one of three identical female triplets, Zach grew up knowing that what he felt on the inside didn't reflect what was on the outside. After years of grappling with his gender identity, Zach decided to undergo a transitional journey to become male. It was a journey rife with challenges and obstacles, but ultimately happiness, and inspired him to become a leading advocate for the transgender community. Zach gave us some exclusive insight into his involvement with the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) and other LGBT organizations, as well as all of the deets on his giveback experience with Josh Hutcherson!
According to Zach, the Gay Straight Alliance caters to LGBT questioning youth, but is available or everybody. "Many GSA chapters have discussions to talk about what it's like to be LGBT not only in your own community, but in the US, world, and different areas of life." Zach explained that there are also GSA chapters that are activism based. For example, they partake in movements like Day of Silence, where participants take a vow of silence for the day in solidarity against LGBT bullying. When we asked him to describe the organization in a nutshell he said, "It's a rainbow! It comes in different varieties of shapes, colors, and awesomeness based on where you are."
In addition to his involvement with GSA, Zach works as an LGBT educator for the Greater Boston chapter of Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG for short. Zach brings his knowledge to various settings informing students, teachers, corporations, church groups, hospitals, and social workers about ways in which they can support LGBT youth. When speaking with these different groups of people, Zach uses his own personal story to give insight into the transgender community: "Growing up being transgender youth, being born biologically female but always feeling male, I use my story to give a face to the issue and make them see why it is important. This is a real thing that kids and people go through that affects them for their whole lives."
TeenNick fans might remember Degrassi's Adam Torres, who was transgender. Adam's story resonated with fans, either helping them with their own transition or opening their eyes to the life of a transgender. When we asked Zach if he knew of Adam's story and to what extent he could relate, he said this: "When I first saw Adam's character, it was awesome to see kids like myself represented. One of the biggest things I identified with Adam's story was when Adam's mom called him his female name, stopped herself, and corrected herself. My mom did that, too. Things are different, but there were a lot of similarities."
When we asked Zach what kind of advice he might have for questioning youth, he gave an answer wise beyond his years: "My biggest piece of advice would be to tell teens that if they're coming out, their friends are still their friends. [Your sexuality] isn't the defining thing that made them be your friend. It wasn't a deciding factor then and it doesn't have to be now."
Zach met actor/LGBT ally Josh Hutcherson as a part of his HALO giveback, and it was an experience he remembers fondly: "I can't explain it without smiling how amazing it was meeting Josh, just getting to meet someone who identifies as a straight ally who is pretty much as passionate as I am. I never met someone who is not LGBT be so passionate about the community. I'm sitting in my dorm room smiling right now. He just wants to see our community do good, and he just kicked it up a level."
Zach is currently a freshman at Wheelock College, pursuing a degree in social work with the hopes of one day becoming a therapist for transgender youth. "I'd like to be able to say, 'I know exactly how you feel.'"
Don't miss Zach and the rest of the outstanding honorees at the 2013 HALO Awards on Nick@Nite this Sunday, November 17th at 8pm ET!
- Posted on 11/13/2013 by Rachel1016
Miranda Fuentes is a 16-year-old surfer girl who has a passion for working with children with autism, a brain developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and even physical health issues. A 2013 HALO honoree, Miranda has combined her love for the sport and dedication to advocacy by volunteering with an organization called Surfers For Autism (SFA). We got the chance to speak with Miranda to learn more about her involvement with Surfers For Autism and hear all about what it was like to meet Austin Mahone!
Surfers For Autism's states in its mission that the therapeutic benefits of surfing for children with special needs cannot be overestimated. Inspired by her younger brother Lucas who has autism himself, Miranda has dedicated her time over the past five years to bring these children to the waves. Through the spirit of surfing, she works to build their confidence, unlock their potential, and ultimately create a safe, fun-loving space for them to flourish.
As the youngest master instructor at Surfers For Autism, Miranda told us she takes roughly 150 participants surfing each year. "I like to work with the younger age groups," she said. "Our beginning age is four. The oldest I've worked with is 14 [years-old]." She explained how she enjoys teaching the basics of the sport to the younger kids who are learning the skills for the first time. And on top of instructing these young surfers, within a given season Miranda helps SFA organize surfing events roughly every two to three weeks. But when the off-season arrives, Miranda explained how they keep their surfers involved with out-of-water activities: "We have off-season concerts inland [that feature] local musicians." She also explained that these concerts are a great way to include families that may not live near the beach.
Austin Mahone surprised Miranda on the beach to tell her she would be honored at the HALO Awards, and here's what she had to say about it: "That was really cool. I was definitely in shock! I was really excited and very honored. He was on a fat tire bike and I didn't notice him coming from the side until he was a few feet away. Then I realized it was Austin Mahone!"
When we asked Miranda how she inspires others to HALO she said, "I just like to talk to my friends about [Surfers For Autism], and they tell their friends. I'm also in charge of the Instagram and Twitter for SFA. I like to tell them how SFA can change their lives. I show them pictures and invite them to events, and just watching the kids inspires them."
When she's not in the water or advocating for autism, Miranda is a beach-girl at heart. She enjoys playing in the sand, playing tag on the beach, and building sandcastles. Oh, and dare we forget, she also loves One Direction.
Don't miss Miranda and the other amazing honorees at the 2013 HALO Awards, this Sunday, November 17th at 8pm ET!
- Posted on 11/12/2013 by Rachel1016
Rocio Ortega is a girl with a vision. A 2013 HALO Awards honoree, Rocio is an advocate for women's empowerment through her involvement with an awesome organization called GlobalGirl Media (GGM). She's a Los Angeles native, but brings her passion for new media, education, and service to the international stage. We caught up with Rocio to learn more about GGM and hear about her HALO giveback experience with Chris Paul!
GlobalGirl Media is a non-profit organization dedicated to training new media skills to girls around the world. Rocio explained how there are a lot of negative representations of women in the media today, a truth which GGM aims to dissolve. In her own words, "We figured the best way to change media is by actually giving the camera to a young girl and letting her tell her own story." The organization holds month-long workshops to teach girls how to film, edit, and produce their own content, but also how to develop their own voice. Through training sessions and guest lectures by female industry professionals, young girls become their own journalists, reporters, and news anchors.
Rocio was a part of the 2010 class and returns every summer to train young girls. When we asked her about her experience on the teaching side, she made it clear that the training extends far beyond learning how to open up a tripod. They begin with technical skills, such as learning how to operate a camera or use editing software, but expand into larger concepts, such as the importance of media ethics and how women uniquely, and importantly, fit into the mix. Rocio explained, "We combine different values and along the way [the girls] realize how it's such a strong tool for change. For the first time they are being introduced to the word 'feminism' and [the concept of] women's rights. At the end of every workshop they're always empowered to do more than they were before."
This past summer, Rocio participated in GlobalGirl Media's first-ever global summit in Chicago. GlobalGirls from South Africa, Morocco, Chicago and Los Angeles came together for the first time to not only complete a one-week intensive digital media training program, but also build relationships with similarly motivated, passionate girls around the world. One of the most moving things Rocio learned from the experience was this: "At the end of the day we're still the same, even though we come from opposite sides of the world. GlobalGirl Media has given us a running start in our lives to make global connections."
For her HALO giveback experience, Rocio got to meet LA Clippers basketball player Chris Paul! A big basketball fan herself, Rocio said her time with Chris Paul was both fun and inspiring: "He gave me 101 courses on how to golf and bowl and that was really sweet. But he also took the time to mentor me and tell me 'thank you' and tell me to keep doing what I'm doing -- working for global female empowerment."
Rocio is currently a sophomore at Wellesley College, and when she's not studying working for female empowerment around the world, she loves listening to Big Sean, Lady Gaga, Paramore and watching Awkward.
Don't miss Rocio and the rest of the honorees at the 2013 HALO Awards this Sunday, November 17th at 8pm ET!
- Posted on 11/11/2013 by Rachel1016
Meet Denzel Austin Thompson: The co-founder of Philadelphia Urban Creators (PUC), a youth-led organization that grows sustainable and healthy food in urban gardens. Growing up in North Philadelphia where a childhood obesity epidemic plagued the well-being of his community, Denzel was inspired to make a grassroots change (no pun intended!).
After a service trip to New Orleans in which Denzel helped build greenhouses and transform vacant lands into urban gardens, he decided to bring organic farming back to his own neighborhood. Four years later, the Philadelphia Urban Creators and its loyal volunteers successfully cultivate sustainable gardens rife with fresh, healthy produce! We caught up with Denzel to learn more about his organization and hear about his giveback experience with Queen Latifah!
From seed to plant, PUC's sustainable gardens grow a large variety of produce, including veggies, fruit, and micro greens (think: SUPER healthy stuff like wheatgrass). When we asked Denzel to pick a favorite, however, he was quick to single out a tapered fruit called Tabasco peppers. (If you've ever heard of Tabasco Sauce, you'll know that the peppers can be pretty hot. But Denzel insists that he loves to eat of the vine!)
Much of the food that PUC grows is sold in local farmers markets or distributed to local restaurants. PUC either funds that money directly back into the community, or uses it to support the project itself. Interesting enough, Denzel noted that when PUC was is its early stages, community outreach was one of his biggest challenges. With hard work and persistence, however, members of the community began to grasp the concept and benefits of urban gardens, and Denzel proved that his was a cause worth supporting.
When we asked Denzel about his giveback experience with Queen Latfiah, he said he was completely surprised. "Everyone tricked me that day," he said. "It was really great and inspiring. [The experience] made me want to push myself harder and have faith in what I'm doing."
Finally, asked Denzel to share a few important tips for anyone who might want to start their own garden! Here's what we gathered:
1. Develop a core group of dedicated people with diverse skills and ideas.
2. Determine your role. For example, if you enjoy planting and growing, you might be the urban farmer!
3. Choose an area for your garden. It can either be a backyard or a plot of land. If there is an area that might need immediate assistance, such as a food desert, that's the best place to start!
4. Canvas. It's important to reach out to your neighborhood and community for support before you begin any physical planting. The more people who know about your project, the better!
There you have it, TeenNick fans! Check back here all week to learn more about our amazing honorees and how they're changing the world. And don't miss the 2013 HALO Awards on Sunday, November 17th at 8PM ET!