POSTS WITH TAG: inspiring teens

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    A boy who was told that he would never walk or talk has beaten the odds yet again: he's been accepted into college. Noah Van Vooren, a senior high school student with Down syndrome, had applied to Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin and was eagerly awaiting a response.

    So when the letter came in the mail, he was more than eager to open it. It took a couple of seconds to sink in, but once he read that he'd been accepted, he immediately embraced his dad and declared: "Dad, you rock! I love you." Then he promptly tore off his sweatshirt and triumphantly flexed. Check out how amazingly excited he is:

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    Teen Michaela Smith found out one of the worst things a daughter could possibly find out about her father -- he'd been reportedly secretly taping her in her bedroom and bathroom with a hidden camera. Her father, Michael, was eventually sentenced to a year in prison. He was convicted of setting up a video camera four times to catch her over the course of a couple of months as she changed clothes and went about her life in what she thought was the privacy of her own room.

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    Everyone knows Channing Tatum is one hot papa, but did you know he is one helluva sweet guy too? And did you know he goes by "Chan"? I didn't know, but Alisa Finley, an 18-year-old from Colby, Kansas, knows. In fact the teen, who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, is on smooching terms with the Magic Mike hunk -- at least via video. Facing the devastating reality that she might not be here much longer, Alisa made a bucket list of 48 things she wanted to do. Number one on that list? Kiss Channing Tatum.

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    Not that any of us ever cut class when we were in high school, but (cough, cough) those of us who did probably wasted a whole lot of time goofing around at the park or stuffing our faces with fast food. That might have been the initial goal three 17-year-old seniors from California had in mind this week when they broke out of school in search of McDonald's burgers and fries, but they decided to make a little pit stop on their way to the restaurant -- in order to save a 94-year-old woman and her dog from a house fire.

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    It's never easy hearing about a child who has been fighting a grave illness. It's heartbreaking to think that at a time when they should be worrying about school dances, they have to deal with such a grown-up issue. Still, teens like Jayci Glover have a way of showing just how strong and inspiring they can be even while facing the scariest battle of their lives. Diagnosed with a rare form of terminal lymphoma, she was given a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and what she asked for will totally floor you.

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    The following is a post from our sponsor, Procter & Gamble.

    What I love most about the Olympics is hearing the human stories behind the amazing athletic performances. Sure, it’s fun to watch people zip around the ice. (Since I can barely stand on skates without wiping out, I find this amazing.) But during the event, we only see them for a few minutes. Learning how they got there, and who was rooting for them as they trained, makes their accomplishments hit home.

    I particularly love the stories about the athletes’ moms. Because, sure, it’s the athlete putting in the long hours, recovering from the injuries, and getting back up and trying again. But I can really identify with the sacrifice and the courage it takes to stand on the sidelines and watch your kids do something that seems so hard and takes so much energy.

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    Sometimes kids with autism have difficulty expressing themselves, particularly when it comes to showing affection with hugs and kisses. And that was often the case for Lewiston High School student Caleb Lussier. But what you are about to see is the progress Caleb has made, along with one of the most heartfelt and tear-jerking military reunions I've seen. I gasped. Tears flew out of my eyes when I saw Caleb, who is his school's Public Affairs Officer for the Air Force Junior ROTC, have an unexpected reunion with his father, who was the surprise guest. Caleb's dad, Marine Staff Sgt. Richard Lussier, is a Desert Storm veteran who re-enlisted to help our country and grant the young military men with multiple deployments a break.

    He's a hero, that's for sure. Now check out his hero welcome from his son, who is a hero in his own right.

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    Sam Berns, the 17-year-old boy who became the face of progeria has died. Also called "the aging disease," it is a rare genetic condition that causes you to age rapidly. He was diagnoses at just 22 months old and his parents, both doctors, were intent on finding a cause and a cure for the disease and started the Progeria Research Foundation. While they didn't have their breakthrough during his lifetime, Sam himself was able to accomplish more than anyone thought possible. 

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    Mention ADD or ADHD within a group of parents and you’re bound get some interesting discussions going. You may find people commiserating over finally having a diagnosis for what’s “wrong” with their kids or, on the other side of it, a group bemoaning the over-diagnosis of it.

    There will be the parents that believe medication saved their sanity, and the ones that are so anti-medication that they never even considered trying it. Everyone has an opinion, and when it comes to our kids, we tend to be more committed to our own thoughts and feelings on any given matter.

    But how do the kids with the attention deficit label feel about their diagnosis and medication or lack thereof? One teenager put together a short film based on his experience with ADHD.

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    It took me a long time to shake myself free from the chains of New Year's resolutions. While the idea of starting afresh and banishing old habits is great in theory, it's a whole lot of pressure to put on yourself. Now I don't even bother. I'm hostile about it, too. Ask me what my New Year's resolutions are and I'll probably sneer, if not spit, outright at/upon you. 

    When I was a teenager it was different. Unhappy with who I was, I leaped at an opportunity to change everything about myself and start again as somebody totally new. I wrote down a list of resolutions annually in my journal. I wanted to be somebody who might be capable of, you know, conning a dude who looked like Devon Sawa into smooching her and maaaybe touching one of her boobs. Ah, to be young. In this arduous process of non-self discovery, New Year's resolutions were key. 

     

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