- Posted on 07/02/2014 by Rachel1016
It's the beginning of the month and that means it's time to honor teens who Help And Lead Others in a big way. Join us in congratulating our HALO Effect honoree for July, Zachary Certner!
Zach is a eighteen year-old New Jersey student who co-founded SNAP, Inc. (Special Needs Athletic and Awareness Programs), a non-profit organization that aims to help autistic children across the globe improve their social and athletic skills through sports programs. Check our our exclusive Q&A to learn more about Zachary's incredible dedication to this cause!
What inspired you to co-found SNAP, Inc.? What were the beginning stages of the organization like?
I was inspired to get involved with special needs children because a close family friend was diagnosed with severe autism. In my community there are limited programs for special needs children, since sports have always been a passion of mine, I felt strongly about giving every child the opportunity to be part of a team. I was disturbed seeing kids excluded from sports, lunch tables, and even friendships just because they were different. This action led to the creation of my 501c(3) non-profit organization SNAP: Special Needs Athletic and Awareness Programs.
To translate this idea into a reality, I needed financing and community involvement. To accomplish this massive undertaking I contacted the Board of Education, local recreational departments, mayors, and other community leaders; fundraising became a necessity and I worked endlessly to locate and contact potential donors.
What do you think is uniquely important about pairing athletic programs with Special Needs advocacy?
SNAP was formed to help improve the lives of children who suffer from autism and other disabilities. Currently, it is estimated that one in every 84 children is diagnosed with autism. Autism can prevent children from learning, behaving, and communicating effectively. This often leads to bullying and discrimination in the classroom. My hope was that by providing autistic and special needs children with athletic and social programming, I could improve their physical abilities, communication skills, and self-esteem. I created a regular schedule of free sports clinics to give special needs children an opportunity to learn and to play all with peer mentors. My philosophy is Kids Helping Kids; a direct contrast from special needs children's usual interaction with adult doctors, therapists, and teachers.
How did you work to expand SNAP's influence abroad to countries like Guatemala, Tanzania and China?
After running our sports clinics for five years in New Jersey, we understand that sports is the way to make everyone feel equal and give them the confidence they need everyday. I felt that the special needs children should learn to give back as well, so we conducted sports drive to collect equipment for children in Tanzania.In 2010, I traveled to Tanzania on the first ever mission trip, providing the children of Sibusisio with donations and sports equipment. The children were especially enthusiastic about soccer, immediately breaking off in game after blowing up the newly donated soccer balls. Everyone was equal on the field, disregarding gender, race, and any disability.
In 2011, SNAP expanded on a global level and partnered with the first ever special needs school in Nebaj, Guatemala. Thanks to an incredible organization Mayan Hope (link), SNAP hopes to continue helping special needs children around the world. We purchased all necessary materials from schoolbooks and supplies, to desks, chairs, and water purifiers. With the help of Mayan Hope, we hope to raise the necessary funds to secure a permanent and safe learning atmosphere for children with special needs. In a country with no education and awareness on autism, a supportive environment is crucial and necessary.
Can you tell us a little bit about the sensitivity training SNAP offers to student volunteers?
Through a series of presentations and hands on modules, I show children the challenges and frustrations faced by their disabled classmates. Using blind folds, mirrors, and balance balls, my training allows students to experience the difficulties and frustrations of various disabilities. It is through the training that the mainstream students walk in the shoes of various disabilities. It is the moment that they feel how frustrated they become doing simple activities that we take for granted everyday, that I know I have reached them.
What is one of the biggest misconceptions about Special Needs children?
I think the biggest misconception is that they are just like you and I, they just might not be able to express what they are feeling. They want to be accepted and included even if they are different. People assume that because these children have difficulty interacting with their peers, they are unfriendly or shy. But it is that they cannot communicate their desire for a friendship like we can. They also do not show emotion so that is often difficult interpret what they are feeling.
Can you recall one memorable moment, big or small, when you realized you were truly making a difference?
I never imagined that someone who couldn't speak could say so much. Growing up with our family friend was the foundation for my organization. I always wondered if I truly was making a difference in these children's lives. Those thoughts changed, however, when I met Charlie, also afflicted with autism.
Charlie had been part of SNAP for many years, but struggled each session. When he walked into my clinic's gymnasium the each session, I saw how apprehensive his parents were and wondered each week if he would come back. Charlie remained expressionless as I handed him off to his volunteer to begin practicing basketball. Months past and we barely made improvements. At the clinic, I found Charlie sitting on the floor biting his fingers ferociously. I sat beside him and held his hands away from his mouth. His eyes focused on me, but his face remained expressionless. Charlie then grabbed his electronic interpreter and slowly typed on the keyboard. As soon as he finished, he dropped the computer and ran to other side of the gym. As I picked it up to return it to his parents, I could see what Charlie had written - "C-l-i-n-i-c_y-e-a-h". That was the moment that I knew I had to continue. The magic that is created is unimaginable in the clinics.
To learn more about Zachary and his organization, check out the clip below!
- Posted on 06/30/2014 by Rachel1016
Okay. Even though it seems like June just started, *looks at watch* can you believe July is almost here?! Summer is no longer kicking off, y'all. It is ALIVE and thriving, and the arrival of the most patriotic month of the year can only mean one thing, right? 4th of July preparations! In between firing up the grill for your BBQ party and securing your best red, white and blue outfit, take a look at some 4th of July manicures that just scream star spangled GLAMOUR! *`*`\*/^*~\**`~\/**\*/?~*\?~/\ <-- That's our best attempt at firework emojis.
Credit: Amber Did ItWhat we love most about this 4th of July nail art (other than the polka dots, of course) is that it's just begging to be recreated at home. You wont need any fancy stencils or brushes, just a steady hand and some glitter polish!
Credit: Dressed Up NailsUm, how cute are those bows? Major props to our gal at Dressed Up Nails for perfecting this intricate design!
Credit: Dressed Up Nails
And for a less obvious option, this solid red, white and blue manicure with glitter embellishments will have you feeling all 'Merica without the fuss!
Credit: @Onthecoastnails InstagramRaise your hand if these nails make you want to open up one of those red white and blue firework popsicles! *Raises hand*
Credit: Wondrously PolishedThe good ole American Flag. Simple, traditional, chic. And have you ever seen more perfect stripes? The artist behind Wondrously Polished really ~nailed~ this patriotic mani.
Which July 4th nail art design is your fave? Let us know in the comments!
- Posted on 06/27/2014 by baileyb2112
Summer is totally heating up, and that means trips to the beach, days by the pool, and a soundtrack of the hottest songs of the season! This Friday, TeenNick Top 10 is bringing you the Top 10 Hot Artists of the Summer, featuring the perfect tunes for those lazy summer days.
And where better to count down the hottest songs of the summer than from the most amazing vacation spot on Earth...Hawaii?! That's right, Nick Cannon will host this week's episode from the island paradise surrounded by sun, sand and tons of palm trees.
Plus, TNT10 will be welcoming special guests Rita Ora and our newest Fresh Artist, 5 Seconds of Summer! You might be a little jealous (and you'll definitely want the summer to last for more than 5 seconds), but this is a countdown you won't want to miss!
Can't wait for Friday? In the meantime, take our quiz to find out "What's Your 2014 Summer Song?" Maybe your song will make it onto the Hot Artist countdown!
So this Friday, sit back, relax and sip on an iced tea sporting a tiny umbrella while you find out the Top 10 Hot Artists of the Summer at 10 pm ET on TeenNick!
- Posted on 06/26/2014 by Rachel1016
TeenNick Top 10 fans, we have some BIG news! This Friday at 10pm ET on an all-new episode, pop star Rita Ora will visit Top 10 HQ for a special interview. This British PYT (Pretty Young Thing) has made a name for herself in the music world with hits like "Party (This Is How We Do)" and "I Will Never Let You Down," but did you know that Rita's fashion game is on point, too?
From casual street wear to glamorous red carpet ensembles, she uses fashion as another form of self expression -- and here at TeenNick Style, that's what we're all about. When she's rocking out on stage, you'll always find her making a statement. In honor of Rita's appearance on TeenNick Top 10 this Friday, check out her top ten most memorable, outrageous and downright AMAZE performance outfits!
Credit: Getty Images
A bodysuit may not be the most practical or inconspicuous off-stage ensemble, but for dancing around to a crowd of screaming fans? it's perfect. Plus, with those fresh sneakers, cartwheels and karate high kicks have never been easier.
Credit: Getty Images
In Tokyo, Rita took a tip from Japanese fashion in a baby-blue mini-dress accented with furry pom poms. And at last year's MTV Video Music Awards, she walked the red carpet in a show-stopping gown with a spectacular feathered train that went on for days. (Rumor has it, she needed an assistant just to help her move around!)
Credit: Getty Images
Color explosion! One thing's for sure, this girl is not afraid of hues. For a recent television performance, Rita danced around in an all-white mid-length dress while paint was splattered all over her. And at a 2012 concert in New York City, she opted for a bedazzled, almost-reflective skirt and jacket combo.
Credit: Getty Images
But just as well as she can do polychromatic, Rita's got the monochromatic look down, too. Simple and sleek in both an all-black and all-white ensemble (backpack included), this pop-star is totally versatile.
Credit: Getty Images
And finally, one of Rita Ora's signature looks: High fashion pieces paired with more casual street wear. Girl can rock a beanie OR a flat-brim baseball cap (and with a pom on top, because why not?) just like she can own a pair of army pants or white slacks with a pair of EYEBALLS on the thighs. *Fans self* *Drops mic*
Want to see more of Rita Ora and her fashionable self? Tune in to TeenNick Top 10 this Friday at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 06/25/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
Last night's Degrassi continued to shed light on the complicated relationships of family life and the ripple effect that can occur with friends. If you haven't seen "My Hero" yet, watch it online here and then read our recap below!
IN REAL LIFE
When Becky got Grace's help to confirm the identity of Sir Excellence, Becky's virtual boyfriend from Realm of Doom, she found out that Sir Excellence was actually Miles' little brother, Hunter. Who's in Grade 9.
Realizing how uncomfortable it made her, Becky broke up with Sir Excellence without revealing her true identity. Eventually, however, Hunter figured out who she was and confronted her, saying that dream world was meant to be make believe. He was furious that she brought the Realm of Doom into reality (what a noob, Becky!!?!) and Becky realized that if she really wanted to make things better, she would have to get a life.
She decided to finally confide in her mom about how she was feeling unloved and alienated in the midst of her brother's trail. Becky's mother comforted her and recognized that, of course, Becky was going through a trying time as well. But when she said they needed to stick together as a family, she meant that Becky had to stand up for Luke at his trial. Knowing deep down that Luke was guilty, Becky was now faced with an even harsher dilemma.
WHEN IT RAINS...
From his falling-out with Clare to getting fired from Mr. H's campaign for hugging his wife, it seemed like nothing was going right for Drew -- he even pushed Dallas away when he tried to help keep Drew's mind off of his troubles. Not sure who to turn to, Drew sought Imogen's advice. She encouraged Drew to fight for his job on the grounds that losing his position because of what happened between him and Mrs. H was actually wrongful termination.
But when Drew went to campaign headquarters to confont Mr. H and demand his job back, he made a little too big of a splash. Literally. Drew accidentally pushed an already-peeved Mr. Hollingsworth into the pool. Now he was straight-up livid. But just as a dismayed Drew made his way out of the Hollingshousehold, he crossed paths with a reporter who witnessed the altercation. She sensed something suspicious was going on, and offered to hear what Drew had to say. Feeling like his side of the story was being ignored, Drew was tempted to speak up.
Later on in the cafeteria, Miles pleaded Drew to not go to the media about his dad. Miles knew about the affair, and suggested that with all of Mr. H's connections, keeping his mouth shut could actually work in Drew's favor. So Drew took Miles' suggestion and asked Mr. Hollingsworth not for his job back, but for a reference and contacts. Now, returning to Dallas with an apology, an order of honey garlic wings, and a few high-society phone numbers, the two amigos were ready to get Double D Party Planning started for real.
And with his life starting to fall back into place, Drew even mustered enough courage to talk to Clare. It took only an exchange of honest apologies to suggest that maybe, just maybe, their relationship was on the mend.
FOOD FOR THE SOUL
Finally, we learned this episode that Zig was kicked out his house for dealing pot from his family's store. Evidently, an armed gang member came to rob Zig a while back and Zig wasn't there, leaving his mother and little brother in serious danger.
Now that Zig has started to turn his life around, however, his gang mediator set up a meeting for him to try to reconcile with his mom. But when it came time to finally speak to his mom face-to-face, he couldn't bear the thought of her never forgiving him, and he backed out.
But the unfinished business with his mom started to affect Zig at his new job in the restaurant. The head chef noticed his preoccupation and sympathetically, but firmly, implored Zig to deal with his issues outside of the kitchen.
And a little tough love from his boss was just what Zig needed. He whipped up a nice a dinner and followed through on finally talking with his mom.
What are your feels, Degrassians? With the trial coming up, what do you think Becky will do? Are Drew and Clare back on track, or will it take some time? Share your thoughts in the comments!
- Posted on 06/19/2014 by Rachel1016
The battle for number one is fiercer than ever, and this Friday we're letting you in on ALL the action with a brand-new episode of TeenNick Top 10!
Last week, Rixton's "Me and my Broken Heart" won out over Justin Timberlake's "Not a Bad Thing". but this week, will J.T. be able to inch his way to the top? The fate of your favorite artists is in YOUR hands! Vote right here for this Friday's episode and don't forget to tune in at 10pm ET to see if your fave videos made the cut.
But that's not all we have to look forward to this Friday! Pop-rock trio New Hollow will be in the house, chatting it up and counting it down.
While you're patiently waiting for Nick Cannon to reveal this week's countdown, check out TeenNick Top 10's Spotify playlist. Jam out to some countdown favorites and keep tabs on the best songs of the week!
Who will take the cake this week? It's up to you to decide! Vote for Friday's episode and leave your best predictions of the winner in the comments below!
- Posted on 06/17/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
Last night on Degrassi, there was a little bit of family drama. Drew got caught up in Hollingsworth baggage and Becky had to bear the cold shoulder from her own parents in the midst of her brother's trial. If you haven't seen "How Bizarre" yet, watch it here and then read our recap below!
DON'T KILL THE MESSENGER
While working on Mr. Hollingsworth's's campaign, Drew walked in on Mrs. H. crying in the pool house. Upset over her strained relationship with her husband, she confided in Drew as he comforted her.
It seemed he may have been a little too comforting, however, because later on Drew received a half-nude photo from the boss man's wife! And to make matters worse, he received it right when he was trying to prove to Alli and Jenna that he wasn't using Clare for a meaningless hookup.
It turns out, Mrs. H. sent that photo in an embarrassing moment of weakness and apologized. She vented to Drew about her husband was sleeping with his campaign manager (of which Drew was previously unaware) and wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine. Despite being relieved that the Mrs. didn't have the hots for him, Drew felt obligated to let Mr. H. know about the picture.
Unfortunately for Drew, who was now armed with knowledge of the affair, Mr. H. decided it would best to put out this fire... by firing Drew.
Ever since Becky turned in Luke for Zoe's assault, things have gotten tense at home. Her parents and Luke have become distant, and although they never blamed her for reporting Luke, she felt their fingers pointing at her. To escape, Becky began playing a computer game called "Realm of Doom" in which she met a particularly dapper, but completely simulated, medieval knight.
And with little more than a kiss and some alone time in the alternate universe, things got pretty serious between the two warriors. Hm... wonder where this could be going? Mysterious? Or Magical?
After deciding to leave the gang, Zig started to show a new-found interest in cooking and got a job at a trendy new restaurant through his mediator Jose. But when the executive chef at the restaurant halted Zig's dreams of becoming a culinary artist by insisting he start with basics (which meant watching another cook chop onions), Zig felt like he was being treated as nothing more than a delinquent charity case.
Back in the Rubber Room, Grace suggested that if he wanted respect, he'd have to demand it. But Zig's chef made it clear that respect had to be earned. And back to chopping onions he went.
Zig made a big decision to leave the gang and start anew, but will he be able to keep his head up? Will Drew be able to get his job back? Will Becky fall farther into the "Realm of Doom"? Tell us what you thought of this episode in the comments, Degrassians!
- Posted on 06/17/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
If you're not from the U.K., there's a chance that your ears have yet to stumble upon the sweet sounds of British pop-rock quartet, The Vamps. These fresh-faced lads are not only perfectly well-coiffed crooners, they're also masters of catch-as-heck tunes that basically inspire impromptu dance parties.
The Vamps are breaking out in a major way, and we are SUPER excited to have them join the distinguished roster of TeenNick Top 10's Fresh Artists! To get you up to speed on all of their awesomeness, check out our exclusive interview with the boys below. And don't forget to tune in to see more The Vamps on TeenNick Top 10, this Friday, at 10pm ET!
1. You guys have a pretty cool story about coming together as a band. Exactly how did The Vamps come to be? Did you ever think you'd get to where you are today?
We all met through YouTube. James was the first, he found Brad. They did some writing together and got on really well. Then they were shown videos of Tris drumming by a mutual friend and started putting covers on YouTube. The three of them got signed but they wanted to find someone else so they could be a full band. That's when I [Connor] joined!
2. Who are some of your musical influences?
The Kooks, Taylor Swift, Arctic Monkeys, and Green Day.
3. When you're not on tour or in the studio, what do you do for fun as a band?
We normally spend our days off outside exploring, depending on where we are. If it's cold and wet then we hit the gym and watch films. Brad is normally in the bath!
4. If you could collaborate with any musician, past or present, who would it be and why?
We all think Ed Sheeran would be great. His acoustic style could work really well with ours. Plus, he's such a nice dude.
5. What is one little known fact about the band that might surprise your fans?
We worked out the other day that our "home" venue is actually the O2 Arena in London, which holds 18,000 [people]. We've played it seven times in our first year, which is pretty crazy. Also, Connor used to be an astronaut.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
And now, the rapid fire round! We asked The Vamps a series of silly questions, and here are the first things that came to mind!
If you want to catch more of these guys, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in this Friday at 10PM ET!
- Posted on 06/13/2014 by baileyb2112
School's ending, the sun's out and it's FINALLY warm! Oh, and what's that you say? It's the perfect time to revamp your summer playlist? We think so, too! This Friday, we're getting into the summer spirit and bring you some sweet new jams on an all-new episode of TeenNick Top 10!
Last week, we kicked the off summer right with a Black Music Month celebration. This week, the video countdown is back this week with fresh videos and artists, and that can only mean one thing: It's time to vote! If you want to make sure your top picks make it onto the countdown this week, vote right here for this Friday's episode! And don't forget to tune in at 10pm ET to see if your fave videos made the cut.
This week's episode will not be one to miss because we're welcoming special guest, Cher Lloyd! This former X-Factor contestant has come a long way since her reality TV days thanks to her undeniable talent, and this Friday, you get to find out what she's up to! Plus, we'll be introducing our brand-new Fresh Artist, the unstoppable British heartthrobs, The Vamps!
While you're patiently waiting for Nick Cannon to reveal this week's countdown, check out TeenNick Top 10's Black Music Month playlist on Spotify in honor of this month's celebration. And as always, follow TeenNick Top 10's Spotify playlist to keep tabs on the best songs of the week.
Who will get to sit on this week's countdown throne? It's up to you to decide! Vote for Friday's episode and leave your best predictions of the winner in the comments below!
- Posted on 06/12/2014 by Rachel1016
Middle school can be a weird time, and no one knows that better than Addie Singer. With the help of three sidekicks (best friends Geena, Zack and her guitar, of course) Addie sang her way through all the tough, funny and unforgettable moments of being a teenager on Unfabulous.
To celebrate the second weekend of TeenNick's #BestSummerEver, we're bringing back this classic Nick sitcom starring Emma Roberts for a marathon that's sure to be anything but unfabulous! Tune in this Saturday at 12pm ET to catch up with Addie and the gang, but first, take a look back at some our favorites songs from our favorite singer. Addie Singer, that is.
Remember Jake Behari, Addie's saggy-haired crush? In this clip, Addie decides she wants to tell Jake how she feels by writing in his yearbook, so she puts her thoughts in song.
Addie may have gotten her head dunked in a punch bowl, but she turned it into an anthem for... you know, people who get their heads dunked in a punch bowl!
When Addie finds out Jake is at wedding with his old girlfriend, she decides she has to crash the party.
Randy Klein's bar mitzvah is coming up, but Addie's new braces are making her feel insecure about her looks. Her acoustic lament of the metal mouth is just what the doctor ordered.
When Jake tells Addie he loves her, she's not quite sure how she feels about it. Love is a really strong word, but she realizes it's okay to not have an answer right away.
What are some of your favorite Unfabulous tunes?