- Posted on 12/10/2010 by Mary
Degrassi working with Free the Children in Kenya; photo courtesy Charlotte Arnold
I know the rest of us are bummed we didn't win the sweepstakes, but when you read this interview with Kerri, I don't think you'll be sad that she won.
Kerri and two friends will be taking a trip with Free the Children, an organization "driven by over 1 million shamelessly idealistic youth" who build schools and other infrastructure in countries that desperately need them. In fact, Free the Children was founded by a 12 year old and his friends back in 1995 -- just the kind of guy who would be showing up on the HALO Awards now.
The Degrassi cast has gone on Free the Children trips for years... and now Kerri will be joining Degrassi stars on a trip that will change not just their lives, but the lives of children in need. Here's what Kerri has to say about it!
Congratulations!! What was the tweet was that you won with?
It said "I HALO by being part of an organization that helps youth with mental health problems."
Can you tell us a little about that organization?
It's called Youth Speaking Out, and they run as part of a group called Parent Support Network in Rhode Island. My boyfriend was actually in it since he was 8, and then when we started dating he was like, "I'd really like you to come with me." I was like, "OK Sure, I'll see what it's all about." I wish that they were more well known because they really do a lot of helpful stuff.
They used to only meet once a month because they didn't have enough money, but they just went back to being once a week, so we go every Thursday.
A lot of [the kids there] are from group homes. Or they used to be in group homes, and now they're sharing their experiences and try to help [the others] deal with the situations they're in. So they include people [like me] who aren't from that... I listen to the kids, to hear what it's like, [and I offer] the perspective of someone who's not in a group home.
And you're studying to be a medical assistant, so you can help people for a living?
Yeah. It's funny, when I went to my first week of classes they asked me where I saw myself with my degree in five years, and I told them I'd really like to be in another country helping less fortunate people with my medical degree. And now I'm going somewhere!
Have you been a Degrassi fan for a long time?
Uh, yeah. Since I was in like 7th grade. I've never stopped watching it.
Who are your favorite characters?
I always liked JT, but then I was so upset when he died, I was crying. And then I told myself every time they came up with new characters, "I'm never going to like anybody as much as I liked him. He was just the best character."
And then this season came out and now Eli's on it. I like him. [laughs] And so does everybody else. And I really like Jessica Tyler, she has such a good singing voice.
And don't you get to bring two friends? Who are you going to take?
Yup, I'm going to take my boyfriend and my friend Kathy, because she always talks about how she's always wanted to be in Africa. And she's like "I'll never get to go, it costs so much money." [Since Africa's on the list of places we could end up going,] I called her and was like "You're coming with me."
It's so crazy, I never win anything! When they called me I said, "Is this a joke?" I can't win tickets off the radio, but I can win something as big and life-changing as this!
- Posted on 12/10/2010 by Chairman Nick Cannon
Finally! The day we've been waiting for, the day I've been working towards all year... The 2010 TeenNick HALO Awards air tonight at 8pm et! Make sure you're here for the live tweeting event, too -- because if there's anything the HALO Awards are about, it's community. The whole wide world-sized community. So come on, let's all talk about it. Get inspired! Get connected! Get your HALO on!
See you tonight on your TV screens,
PS: Don't forget -- we'll announce the winner of the How Do You HALO Sweepstakes during the show tonight! Find out who's going to get their HALO on with the stars of Degrassi!
- Posted on 12/08/2010 by Lisa
That's according to the "What's Your Holiday Mood?" quiz, and I think it's pretty accurate. I don't usually do much holiday decorating, but this year, I got a sparkly blue Christmas tree, and decorated it with handmade ornaments. It's tacky and adorable, and I think Mrs. Claus would be proud.
How are the holidays treating you so far? Are you feeling extra-generous and loving -- or not so much?
- Posted on 12/07/2010 by Mary
Friday night -- a scant 72 hours from now -- three exciting things are going down:
1) The HALO Awards are on at 8p et!
2) The winner of the How Do You HALO sweepstakes will be announced during the show!
And 3) Lisa and I will be here live tweeting the episode, and we'd love for you to join us!
Just stop by the site Friday night at showtime (8p et), and we'll be live chatting via Twitter with y'all. Like a gigantor twitter party. A heart party! A party in our hearts. And our computers. And our computers' hearts.
Be there, or be the sad sack who missed the heart party!
- Posted on 12/06/2010 by Lisa
If so, it's the perfect time to take our new quiz: "How Optimistic Are You?"
I just took it and got:
p.s. If you're not feeling all that optimistic at the moment, feel free to come back and take the quiz again after you watch the HALO Awards on Friday. I have a theory that they'll put everyone who sees them in a more optimistic mood.
- Posted on 12/05/2010 by Mary
HALO Honoree Lauren got a raw deal growing up. Being in an abusive home was bad enough, but being removed from that house by the courts didn't solve her problems. She bounced in and out of 22 foster placements over the next couple of years. It sounds like an unbearable lonely and frustrating experience.
It would be so easy, in Lauren's position, to become self-destructive... and it sounds like Lauren definitely went through a period of that. And it would be enough of an amazing story just to know that she found the strength to reject hopelessness, to pick herself up and create a better life for herself. That would be incredibly inspirational... but Lauren's heart and strength are even bigger than that. She's turning around and helping other kids and teens who are in the same situation she got through, showing them by example -- tirelessly -- that their futures can be beautiful.
You can see even in this short little video that Lauren has a totally nurturing heart... she looks like she gives some of the world's best hugs. I'm so psyched to learn more about her story, and to see her get the recognition she deserves, this Friday on the HALO Awards.
- Posted on 12/04/2010 by Mary
In Ghana, children as young as three years old are sometimes sold into slavery by their desperate parents. We might think of slavery as something from our history books, but there are actually more slaves today than at any time in human history -- 27 million by some calculations, according to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Next Friday on the TeenNick HALO Awards, you'll meet honoree Joshua Hall. He traveled to Ghana as part of Journey for Change, and became close friends with a former child slave named Donald. Since then he's become a powerful advocate on behalf of child slaves, even speaking at the United Nations.
To Joshua, it's natural to try to help wherever it's needed, even if that means traveling to the other side of the world. I'm so excited that the winner of the How Do You HALO Sweepstakes will get a taste of that kind of perspective-changing travel, too...
Man, next week is going to rule.
- Posted on 12/03/2010 by Mary
Let's be honest: people can have some preconceived notions about pageant winners, just like they can about cheerleaders. But I think we can all agree... peoples' actions are a lot more important than their labels, right?
One of this year's TeenNick HALO Honorees is Jordan Somer. She's a dancer and a pageant winner -- this year she was crowned National American Miss Nebraska Teen. But she has a much bigger agenda than winning titles and being in parades. After regularly volunteering with the Special Olympics, Jordan was inspired to create a new pageant for girls with disabilities, called the Miss Amazing Pageant.
Jordan was 13 when she started Miss Amazing. She works her butt off on it -- it's not like this is a pageant with a huge staff following orders. For Jordan, it's a lot of running around, coordinating, raising money, making sure things run smoothly, and giving the participants the attention they deserve.
You'll get to know a lot more about Jordan next Friday, when the 2010 TeenNick HALO Awards air at 8p et. Who knows what she might inspire you to accomplish?
- Posted on 12/02/2010 by Mary
He grew up mostly in Haiti before moving to Miami, but in so many ways Herold Charles is a typical American high school senior: glued to his cell phone, into Michael Jackson, talks a mile a minute. And there's something else about him that I think any of us can relate to: before January's earthquake, he knew Haiti needed help but... he just didn't know how he could be that help.
But when disaster struck, he found a power in himself that he didn't know he had. And with it, he reunited families and literally helped save lives.
Remember at the beginning of this year, when a 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, how terrible we all felt? So many of us cried at the images we saw; we donated what we could to organizations providing aid and wondered aloud, "What can we do?" I remember generally feeling kind of helpless about it all.
But imagine how you would have felt if you were far from your home, and you turned on the TV and saw those images of devastation... and realized that was your home? What if your family were there, in Haiti -- with millions homeless and 200,000 dead -- and you couldn't contact them?
Next Friday, December 10 at 8p et when the 2010 TeenNick HALO Awards air, you'll learn about how Herold lived through that nightmare. What happened next will inspire you, touch your heart... probably make you cry again... and above all, will help you realize that yes, you really CAN make a difference.
- Posted on 12/01/2010 by Mary
Did you see the little bite-size Malcolm In the Middle scenes over on the Malcolm showpage? For instance this one...