Blog | The HALO Awards
- Posted on 10/16/2012 by Lisa
Once a year, celebrities honor teens who Help And Lead Others, and I watch it all happen and cry. It's that time again!
I think the HALO Awards are one of the most inspiring, impressive, and meaningful award shows out there, and I'm looking forward to watching (and crying) again this year! If you've never seen the HALOs, watch clips from previous HALO shows to see what they're all about.
- Posted on 11/09/2011 by Lisa
You know that HALO Effect banner you've seen across the top of the site lately? On behalf of all the online HALOers who viewed and shared HALO Awards posts, quizzes, and videos during the past few weeks, TeenNick gave $15,000 in donations to DonorsChoose.org! Thank you for helping us make that happen.
DonorsChoose.org is a website where teachers post requests for supplies they want to use in their classrooms (books, art supplies, computers, science lab equipment... anything), and everyone who redeemed their points during the HALO Effect promotion earned a $5 donation to the classroom of their choice.
Visit the HALO Awards page to watch the 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards online, and learn more about how you can help and lead others in your community.
- Posted on 11/08/2011 by Lisa
If you watched the HALO Awards on TeenNick, you saw footage of Degrassi's Ray Ablack (Sav) and Charlotte Arnold (Holly J) on a trip to Africa with HALO contest winner Kerri Solitro. I interviewed Kerri to find out more about the trip.
Watch more videos about the Kenya trip.
So tell me about Kenya! Did you have to get a bunch of shots before you left?
My boyfriend and my friend Jessi went on the trip with me. The first day we went to get our shots they gave us four, and they really hurt. It was really intense. Then we had to go back and get follow up rabies shots, and get a certificate for yellow fever, or they wouldn't have let us into the country.
How long did it take for you to get to Kenya?
It was 7 hours and 20 minutes from Boston to Amsterdam, and then like 8 hours from Amsterdam to Kenya.
When did you first meet Ray and Charlotte?
Our plane landed in Nairobi first. We met two of the facilitators for the trip, and as we waited for Charlotte and Ray to arrive, I got to hold the sign that had their names.
My boyfriend was looking over everybody, and he's like "I think I see Ray! I think I see him!" Charlotte ran right up to me and gave me a huge hug, and she was like "Oh my gosh, aren't you so excited?" Ray was like, gonna shake my hand, and I was like "Can I hug you?"
The first night we stayed in a hotel. In the morning we took a small 18-seater plane from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara, where we were staying for the whole trip. The plane ride was like a bus ride. We went up, and then came down like 15 minutes later to let people off and have people come on. It would go up and down, and we were the last stop. At one point, we were landing and there were all these wildebeests on the landing strip, and the plane just kept landing anyway, and we could see all these wildebeests running away from the plane.
The cottages we stayed in were nice, very homey. They had flush toilets and all that stuff. We could only take hot showers at night or early in the morning, because they used the same fires for cooking food and heating our water. It got pretty chilly at night. We had mosquito nets over our beds and they would come and put hot water bottles in our beds.
Can you talk about the volunteer work you did with Free the Children?
They told us we were going to be working on a school, but it was actually a dorm room for teachers to stay in for the girls' high school. They're trying to get teachers from the city to come in, to give them a better education. A lot of teachers don't want to travel that far, so they want to build a dorm so the teachers will be able to stay there. We worked on building the walls of the first dorm. They give you a wheelbarrow with dirt and cement, and they mix it together with water. So you take the trowel and you put the mortar in between the bricks, which were stone. The first day we were there, we did four layers of the brick, and the guy who was the construction head was surprised at how fast we worked. The next day we went back and he was excited, because he knew that we were hardworking. The third day we went, it was raining, and we mixed cement for the floor of the second dorm.
We also went to visit the school that Ray and Charlotte worked on when they were there the last time, and now it's a big community of schoolhouses. They were excited to see how many more buildings there were, and we planted trees down a hill from there.
We also built a chimney. They have fireplaces in their homes, but no way to get the smoke out of the houses, so the kids have respiratory problems and are getting sick from breathing the smoke. So what they're trying to do now is build a chimney in every house. It kind of looks like a stove when it's done -- there are little rocks you can put a pot on, kind of like a four-burner stove.
What kinds of food did you eat in Kenya?
The first night we were there, my boyfriend and Jessi ordered burgers and it was actually bison meat. So that was unexpected. But while we were at the cottages we ate pretty normal food ... pasta, rice, chicken, lots of vegetables. The last night, we had a Kenyan barbecue, and we had goat. It was really good. It kind of tasted like chicken, but more like... flavorful. The very last night in Kenya, we ate at this restaurant called the Carnivore, where they serve all these different kinds of meat. They come around with, like, a whole animal on a sword, and they carve the meat off and it falls onto your plate. They came around with normal stuff at first, and then like, ostrich meatballs! Camel, goat, lamb... The most unique tasting meat was crocodile. It tasted like chicken at first, and then like fish.
What did you do for fun?
We learned how to make rungu, and how to make these little blessing sticks. The rungu is a weapon the warriors use to throw at animals that are far away. They're made of wood, but the top is really heavy and it has a little point on it. They make them and sell them at the market. There are a bunch of different steps, and to smooth them, they use leaves from a sandpaper tree. I didn't believe it at first, but the leaves of the tree really feel like sandpaper.
Our last night there, we did warrior training and we got to shoot arrows and throw those rungu things, and they had machetes.
I love your safari pictures! What was that like?
We went on two safaris! We saw hippos, and we saw lions a few feet away from us. They were eating a wildebeest. There were hyenas behind them, waiting for them to be finished, so they could eat the rest... and there were little jackals around, which sound like chihuahuas, like barking dogs. We sat there for like ten minutes watching them eat.
We had a snack while we were out. We put blankets down and ate cookies while there were animals running by. There was a giraffe eating off of a tree a few feet away from us. We also went to a giraffe center. You can put food in your mouth, and the giraffe will eat it out of your mouth.
Wow! What was that like?!! The giraffe's tongue felt like a cat's tongue, like it was really long and kind of slimy. Charlotte was sitting there, like "Did you know giraffes have really clean mouths? Their spit is antiseptic." and I'm like "The giraffe is licking my face!!" Ray wouldn't do it. My boyfriend wouldn't do it either.
I feel like if life gives you the opportunity to kiss a giraffe on the mouth, you kinda have to go for it. That's what I said! I was like "How many times is a giraffe gonna kiss you on the mouth?" and Charlotte said, "Um, that would be twice," because she had been there before.
Aside from kissing a giraffe, what was the most surprising part of the trip? I wasn't expecting everybody to be so nice! And I was really expecting to be homesick the whole trip, because I was going to be so far away. We couldn't call home, because there was no cell service. They had a satellite phone, but it was $5 a minute. But everybody was just really nice, and even like, the people on the side of the road were all waving. They made us feel right at home. I could probably live there. They were so excited to have us there. When we pulled up to the cottages, they were singing. When we went to visit the first school, the kids were singing and dancing for us, and they gave us necklaces. The last night we were there, they sang to us again and gave us a cake.
What were your impressions of Charlotte and Ray? I was expecting them to be more celebrity-ish, but they were just so nice and welcoming and open. They were down to earth, just like "Oh, we're friends!" After dinner at night, we'd just sit there and talk, and it felt like I'd known them for a long time. Every time we got in the car, we'd put on my iPod or Ray's phone and he and I would sing My Chemical Romance songs and stuff. When Charlotte and I were walking back from dinner to our cottages, we sang the songs from Rent.
Do you think you'll do more with Free the Children? I want to. It's a good feeling. The people in Kenya don't have what we have, but we're helping them be more healthy and have a nicer house to live in.
They have a shop there that sells all the Me to We artisan items, and I want to maybe get a stock of them and go to one of the colleges in my state, and talk about Free the Children, and promote that if you buy this stuff it goes back to the community in Kenya. The people who make the jewelry get a salary, and it helps them improve their lives.
I want to know how it works out. Keep me posted!
More pictures from the trip:
p.s. If you're on Twitter, follow Kerri: @Starsncyanide
- Posted on 11/07/2011 by The-Gaby
So you missed the premiere of the HALO Awards last night...no problem! We're airing an encore presentation of the whole event with some of our favorite cast member from Degrassi!
The biggest HALO Awards ever. Hosted by the stars of Degrassi, Ray Ablack and Charlotte Arnold. TONIGHT. At 9p et! On TeenNick!
If you tweet as you watch the show, join in the conversation with this hashtag: #HALOAwards
(If you're not on Twitter, feel free to leave comments on this post as you watch the HALOs on TeenNick!)
Happy HALO everyone!
- Posted on 11/06/2011 by Lisa
Why am I making up new lyrics for Beyonce's song "Halo" that go "Let me see the HALOs, HALOs, HALOs..."?
Because the 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards premiere TONIGHT! At 8PM ET! On Nick@Nite!
If you're on Twitter, I'd be honored if you'd live-tweet the show with me. I'll be tweeting from my own account (@lisa_beebe) and from the official @TeenNick Twitter account. If you tweet as you watch the show, use this hashtag: #HALOawards
(If you're not on Twitter, feel free to leave comments on this post as you watch the HALOs!)
Nick Cannon (center) with 2011 TeenNick HALO honorees Kyle Weiss, Emily-Anne Rigal, Shanoah Washington and James O'Dwyer
- Posted on 11/06/2011 by Lisa
A ton of Nick stars walked the orange carpet at the 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards, and we asked them all, "How Do You HALO?"
Check out this video of their responses:
The 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards premiere TONIGHT at 8pm on Nick@Nite!
- Posted on 11/05/2011 by LisaEmily-Anne Rigal, 17, was bullied so harshly as a kid that she had to switch schools. That experience lead her to create We Stop Hate, a website where teens make videos to combat bullying. I interviewed Emily-Anne while she was in Hollywood for the HALO Awards ceremony, and she gave me a We Stop Hate wristband. (Thanks, Emily-Anne!)
Emily-Anne Rigal and HALO Awards host Nick Cannon
Can you talk a little about what you're doing with what We Stop Hate?
We raise teen esteem as a way to stop bullying, because if you're happy with yourself, you don't put others down. We post one video a week where someone shares a story about an insecurity they overcame or their favorite confidence tip or trick. Sometimes we have celebrities. We basically make online videos as a way to promote raising self-esteem.
How did it all start?
So, I had been making Youtube videos since I was a freshman in high school. They were comedy videos. I taped my family doing funny things, and my friends and I. There was some vlogging, just talking about things I cared about, but it was very Emily-Anne based, as opposed to We Stop Hate, which is more about creating a platform for other people to share things. It was a hobby, and I ended up loving it so much that I would do it all the time, and some of the Youtubers became my closest friends, and we talked all the time and would video chat.
It was just a really great community, and I had about 5000 subscribers, but some of my friends had like, 100,000 subscribers. And I was like, "Why don't we spread some positive message, as opposed to all of us just making comedy videos?" And the reason I chose self-esteem is because I was bullied when I was younger. I ended up switching schools, and it was just a really bad experience. I had body image issues because of it, and at the time, I just felt so bad about myself. I changed schools and made a lot of friends, and then gradually, my self-confidence increased. By the time I was making videos on the internet, I wasn't having those same issues, but I realized that some kids at my school were. I was like, I want to help them, because I can relate to what they're going through. So that's how We Stop Hate came about.
Was there anything that you found really challenging as you were developing We Stop Hate?
I found it challenging at first to share my idea with others and have them come on board. Sometimes people can be hesitant, because self-esteem sounds like what your guidance counselor talks about, and I wanted to have cool Youtubers make videos. I had to really share my story and talk about why it is so important to do this, and get them on board. I was just really authentic, and I told them what I wanted to do, and one by one people turned around and we ended up making our own phrase, "teen esteem." I felt like people could identify with it, and make their own definition.
What has been your proudest moment? Is there one moment that stands out in your memory?
I was on a panel about teen activism two weeks ago. I remember looking at the kids who were sitting there, and I thought to myself as I was sitting down... two years ago -- almost to that day two years ago -- I was at an empowerment event in Washington, D.C. I hadn't thought of We Stop Hate, I wasn't doing self-esteem things. I was just a kid, just like them, who wanted to do something. And so the first thing I said on that panel was, "I just wanna make it clear that I was in your seats only two years ago, and I'm not better than you. In only two years, I went from sitting there with no idea for this to being on a panel doing this." That moment meant a lot to me, but like, I feel like I could write a novel, there have been so many moments.So when you're building someone's self-esteem, you're also kind of empowering them to help the community, too. That's great.
Emily-Anne with HALO winners, Kyle, Shanoah, and James
I feel like that's a big part of self-esteem, because self-esteem is based on doing "esteemable acts." So when you're doing something that you care about, you're building your self-esteem. It just feels good to give back, and I wish more kids realized that and felt more empowered to do that.
What advice would you give someone who has never really volunteered or started getting involved in their community?
I would say to help one person, because I think that will give you the confidence to believe in helping more. So I think, find a person, and it can be someone at your school. It doesn't need to be wrapped up with a pretty bow -- just reach out to someone that you think needs to be reached out to.
What's one thing everyone who reads this could do today to help We Stop Hate?
Watch our videos. Check out our website and our Facebook, watch our videos, and share them.
What was the whole experience like of winning a HALO? How did they surprise you?
I was interning at Seventeen magazine this summer, and I was told that we were going to do a feature piece about We Stop Hate. I was editing a video with a bunch of the Seventeen editors helping me. I had watched the HALO Awards in the past, so when Nick Cannon came in, I knew exactly what it was, and I was just DYING. [Watch the show to find out what happens next!]
You were familiar with the HALO Awards? That's awesome! So how did it go from that to meeting Lady Gaga?
I didn't know Lady Gaga was the celebrity, and I went to lunch with one of the producers of the show, and I didn't even want to mention Lady Gaga, because I thought they would laugh at me... and then it was Lady Gaga. One of the camera people told me my facial expressions were like, "That looks like Lady Gaga, but that CAN'T be Lady Gaga... oh my god, that's LADY GAGA!" [Watch the show to find out what happens next!]
Aside from meeting her, did anything about Lady Gaga surprise you?
No! I expected her to be super-authentic, and she was. I did an interview with Nickelodeon before I won the HALO, and they were like "Who do you admire?" And I was like "Lady Gaga, because of what she stands for." I feel like she lived up to all of my expectations.
Anything last bits of advice for HALO viewers?
The message I really want to send is that making a difference is about doing what you can, with what you have, where you are. I think the beautiful thing about HALO is that it's regular kids, and anyone can do it.
Watch Emily-Anne helping and leading others on the 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards, premiering Sunday, Nov. 6th at 8pm on Nick@Nite. Follow @WeStopHate and @Schmiddlebopper on Twitter, and watch a few WeStopHate videos!
Emily-Anne Rigal and Lady Gaga!
- Posted on 11/03/2011 by Lisa
Charlotte Arnold (Holly J on Degrassi) with TeenNick blogger Lisa Beebe
How does the Degrassi cast HALO? I met Charlotte Arnold (Holly J) at the HALO Awards ceremony, and we talked about how the cast travels to places like Kenya, India, and Ecuador to help others. Watch three of those trips on TeenNick this week!
Tonight at 8pm et, we're showing Degrassi: Doing What Matters, about the cast's trip to Kenya. Friday at 8pm et, we're showing Degrassi in India, and Saturday at 8pm et, we're showing Degrassi in Ecuador.
Here are a few pictures from their travels:
- Posted on 11/02/2011 by LisaKyle Weiss, 18, of Danville, California, started FUNDaFIELD, an organization that raises funds to build soccer fields in developing countries. Kyle's HALO match is soccer player and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador David Beckham. Kyle and the other 2011 TeenNick HALO Award winners flew out to LA for the ceremony, and I got to hang out with him for a while in the lobby of the W Hotel in Hollywood.
Kyle at the W Hotel
So FUNDaFIELD started after a trip to the World Cup, right? Can you talk about that a little?
In 2006, when I was 13, I went to Germany with my brother and my parents, and we talked to some Angola fans. They were only a small section of the stadium -- a sliver of red -- and they were like the luckiest people in the country to be there, because it was Angola's first trip to the World Cup after 26 years of civil war.
After we talked to the fans, we wanted to send some equipment over or do something to help. I think what really sparked it for me, was when we came back and told a bunch of our friends who played soccer, and all of them really got into it. We were gonna send some equipment over. We were soccer kids, it just seemed like a good idea. We weren't really thinking it through at the time. Someone said "Oh, we should build a field first and send equipment, and they can hold tournaments."
What has been your proudest moment with FUNDaFIELD?
In 2008, we went to South Africa and we held this huge tournament to open up our first field. We gave all the kids jerseys we brought over in boxes. Then we went back during this World Cup, and they didn't know we were coming. We didn't even know which day we were gonna get there. We're driving through one of the villages, and we saw like 30 kids and they had on our jerseys and T-shirts. Some of the kids on our team who had been on the earlier trip were like "I gave that kid that jersey!"
At another one of our tournaments, for one of the games, they had the "Big Mommas" play. It was like, the teachers at the school vs. the moms in the community. When one of the teams scored, all the grandmas did a lap around the field, yelling to celebrate. That was really cool.
So the whole community gets involved?
Oh, yeah. There' ll be like 2000 people at a tournament, which you know... in Africa, there's no social media. They tell us that it's the biggest thing that's ever happened in the community.
How did you get all the donations to Africa?
For the fields, we hired people over there, and for the equipment, we'd lay it out in our garage, in piles two to three feet off the ground, and we'd spend hours sorting. Like "We need large pink jerseys. We need large blue jerseys. We need small green shorts." We have a system now where we wrap it all up, tape it up, and put it in boxes, and we carry it over on the plane as our extra box. That's kind of a requirement to go on our trips... you have to carry a box of equipment over.
Did anything about visiting Africa surprise you?
You think that because people have such hard lives, it would be recognizable, but they're so much NICER there. Everyone is so much more appreciative. Even if they can't feed their own family, if you're visiting their house, they will make a feast for you. They will figure out a way, and they will love the fact that you're eating in their house. It's really cool. Everyone should get to Africa.It seems like the work you've done with FUNDaFIELD has taken you awesome places in your life. What advice would you give to someone who has never volunteered before?
Kyle on the Halo Awards orange carpet
For me, it's always a question of passion or things you're interested in. There are a lot of causes that are awesome, and I say I'd love to help out, but realistically, I probably never would. But with this, I'm doing soccer, and my family is a crazy soccer family, so for us, half the time, we're working -- and we're working REALLY hard -- but it's fun. Like, we can go play soccer, you know? It's a good time. Finding things that you actually care about makes it so much easier. Every passion has some cause associated with it.
What would you like to see FUNDaFIELD accomplish in the future?
As a team, our goal is that in every community that's gone through some kind of traumatic experience, they'll have a soccer field at a school. That helps keep the kids in school, because if there's a soccer field, they want to go to school.
When you won the HALO Award, how did Nick Cannon surprise you?
They told us they were filming a short video clip, and they interviewed some of our team members. They were filming our FUNDaFIELD team meeting and...[Watch the show to find out what happens next!]
What was meeting David Beckham like?
I was getting ready to go to college -- I go to Claremont McKenna -- and they flew me down to LA like two days before college started. I had my suspicions that it would be something soccer related. We went to the Home Depot Center, and that's where the Galaxy plays. When I got to the stadium, I didn't know what player I'd be meeting. You can never assume it's Beckham, because he's one of the biggest players in the world. They had me walking around the stadium, and then I walked into a room, and he was just sitting there... [Watch the show to find out what happens next!]
What was he like in person?
He was really nice and down to earth. Not shy, but like... really nice. He was doing this press conference, and while we were waiting for them to film, he was joking about how he never knows what to do when the cameras are on him. He's an underwear model and a world-class soccer player, but he's so nice, just quiet and laughing. He was a really cool guy.
Watch Kyle helping and leading others on the 2011 TeenNick HALO Awards, premiering Nov. 6th at 8pm on Nick@Nite. Follow @KyleDavidWeiss and @FUNDaFIELD on Twitter, and check out the FUNDaFIELD website!
Kyle Weiss and David Beckham!
- Posted on 11/02/2011 by The-Gaby
Victoria HALOs by starting a recycling program in her community.
Great way to HALO, Melissa!
Want to see yourself on TeenNick and TeenNick.com?
* Make a short video (one minute or less) about how you're Helping And Leading Others in your community.
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Tell us all about how you HALO! Upload a HALO video!