Beaten and abused by her husband, Masume Rezai fled from Afghanistan to Iran, from Iran to Turkey, and eventually settled in Spokane, Washington, where she was able to claim refugee status.

As a young adult Rezai spent her years previous to 2011 illiterate, uneducated, without a job, a familiar story for many Afghan women. According to the Trust in Education website, Afghanistan is one of the most challenging places in the world to be a woman. 85% of women are illiterate and have no formal education, according to the Trust in Education website.

“Usually in Afghanistan women can’t go to school because they are women and have to stay at home to take care of children,” Rezai said.

Rezai is one of many Afghan women who are a part of a vicious cycle of gender inequality in Afghanistan. Rezai was married at the age of 14 through an arranged marriage by her parents. The man she married at the time was 29-years-old and Rezai had her first child at 16-years-old.

According the Trust in Education website’s article focusing on “Life as an Afghan Woman,” more than 50% of Afghan girls are married by the age of 12, 60% by the age of 16, and often to a much older man. This is typically a result of an arranged marriage.

Domestic violence among Afghan women is a common occurrence in Afghani unions, and such was the case for Rezai. Rezai was eventually able to divorce her husband in Turkey in 2011 and come to the U.S.

“He [my husband] was trying to kill me and take my son from me,” Rezai said.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are over 2 million refugees from Afghanistan and just fewer than 10,000 of those have returned to Afghanistan.

“I used to hate smiling at people,” Rezai said. “I had a very different life there.”

Rezai has been in the U.S. for four years now and is currently working on her General Education Development and plans to attend college or a university after completion. She is now able to read and write in English and would like to pursue nursing or pharmaceutical work.

Although educational opportunities for Afghan women increased after the overthrow of the Taliban, it is still an uphill battle for many Afghan women.

According to the 2012 Washington Post, “Women’s rising expectations are crashing headlong into persistent pre-Taliban traditions, including child marriages, trading girls to settle disputes and ritual hounding by in-laws.”

Rezai is one story of many women who are or have been trapped in the grip of an abusive husband, and silenced by the hands of women’s oppression in Afghanistan.

The first thing many people think when the words “Greek Life” are uttered is parties, alcohol, and exclusiveness.

“A lot of people think it is just based on looks but it is so much more than that,” Grace Gilman, a Kappa Alpha Theta at Santa Clara University said.

Greek Life is so much more than its stereotypes.

“A lot of the time people have a lot of misconceptions about Greek Life.” Pauline Douglass, an Alpha Chi Omega at Willamette University said. “All of the sorority houses on our campus are dry.”

Within the dry houses live a group of women who serve. At the heart of every sorority and fraternity is national philanthropy.

“I went through rush not really knowing what I was looking for,” Gilman said. “I really like the philanthropy aspect. I liked the idea of being part of a group that is bigger than itself.”

“Foundations are chosen through nationals,” Sabrina Pridemore, a Kappa Kappa Gamma at Washington State University said.

“Our foundation is Reading is Fundamental, we do an event where we go into the Pullman schools and read to children,” Pridemore said.

Sorority members plan elaborate events and put countless hours into raising money and awareness for the different foundations.

“Each house has to complete a certain amount of foundation hours and there are a certain amount of hours that you as an individual need to complete for your foundation,” Brittany McIntosh, a Delta Gamma at Washington State University said.

“Our philanthropy is called Service for Sight and it helps blind people,” McIntosh said. “For different foundation hours you can turn in glasses or do puffy pain on coloring books so the blind kids and feel the lines when they are coloring in it.”

Greek Life as a whole also comes together to show their commitment to service.

“We have Greek Week, which is a giant philanthropy event. Each year one foundation is chosen, this year at Washington State University the foundation was Make a Wish,” Pridemore said. “Each sorority paired up with a fraternity and you earned points by doing service projects.”

According to the National Panhellenic Council’s 2013-2014 annual report, chapters raised 5,793,394.84 for philanthropies and donated 977,567 hours to community service efforts.

Many of those hours are earned through mandatory community service in order to say a member of the sorority.

“We have to have eight hours of community service a semester,” Vreni Hutt, an Alpha Phi at Washington State University said. “We do a bunch of different stuff. If you don’t have a certain amount of hours around halfway through the semester you won’t be able to do the fun events like date dashes.”

While service does play a huge role in Greek Life, as college students there is also a strong focus within each house to be successful as a student.

“The dumb sorority girl stereotype is not true at all,” Gilman said.

“You have to have above a certain grade point average to be in the house,” Pridemore said.

With an environment that includes study parties, older girls who can give guidance in regards to classes and homework, and overall motivated individuals surrounding you, it is hard not to want to excel as a student.

“For two years I was in the house. It really helped because in each room you have three roommates and they motivated me to do homework and study,” Douglass said. “Seeing so many women driven to do well in school inspired me to do the same.”

Gilman found similar motivation within her house.

“We have study parties and the education chair puts on finals week gatherings. It is hard to not want to do well academically when those around you are striving to be good students.”

Schools and grade point averages are taken seriously in the Greek Life community.

“At a certain grade point you have to be on study tables,” Hutt said. “Overall though we don’t have mandatory study tables. Having good grades is an incentive to not have to do study tables.”

The drive to do well and succeed does not stop after college.

“Being part of a sorority allows a lot of networking opportunities for college girls. So many girls have opportunities they give to other students,” Gilman said.

“Alums come and help us build our resume and give tips on how to interview,” McIntosh said.

Advice and tips that should be listened to, according to a USA TODAY article 85% of Fortune 500 executives were part of Greek Life.

“It make a bigger school smaller. You make connections especially with those graduates,” Pridemore said.

Not only does being part of a sorority make a bigger school smaller, it also allows students the opportunity to connect with others and serve the community they are part of for four years.

“It is one of those things that if you are not involved in Greek Life it is easy to have ideas,” Gilman said. “When you are in one you see the real reason people are part of it and it is not for the superficial reasons.”

While Greek Life may not be for everyone, those who have decided to make it part of their college career and beyond are thankful they did.

“A lot of my best friends are part of the sorority. Being part of a sorority at a small school created my connection,” Douglass said.

Rushing and joining a sorority gives girls a chance to meet and serve with others on campus that they may have not met before.

“I rushed because I wanted to meet a bunch of new people,” Hutt said. “I was nervous about having and making friends and college, but what I have found is a community that is so much more than a friend group. I have found sisters who support me, a group I can serve with, and friends on campus.”

While parties and alcohol may be part of Greek Life occasionally, it comes with the scene of college.

“The partying stereotype is not true,” Hutt said. “Everyone thinks you are in a sorority because you want to party. There is more to it than that. The philanthropy and community service is what you should think of first.”

Next time the words “Greek Life” are uttered think legacy, service, commitment and education.

There is more to it than that. The philanthropy and community service is what you should think of first.”

Next time the words “Greek Life” are uttered think legacy, service, commitment and education.

image2Despite having hundreds of thousands of followers between the three of them, Cory Crawford, Shawn Thompson and Vanessa Schmidt are not celebrities and they do not think their fame is a big deal.

They are Instagram famous—a new brand of user-generated fame sweeping the nation. People who would otherwise be nobodies are gaining thousands of followers and many want to know what it is like.

The three share their thoughts on the effects of Instagram fame and the accompanying journey.

“It’s a lot less exciting than you’d think,” Crawford said, an aspiring photographer with more than 153,000 followers.

Thompson, who now has more than 60,000 followers, shared similar thoughts.

“It’s normal now for me,” he said. “It’s just a number.” Despite numerical fame much of his life has not changed in the ways that people would normally suspect, he said.

For Crawford and Thompson, Instagram fame has been about showcasing their work and networking with those who share similar passions. For both Instagrammers, and many others, their Instagram fame came out of a passion for art and a desire to meet people.

“It [Instagram] came at the perfect time,” Thompson said. “On weekends Instagram gave me something to do and people to meet.”

Thompson started his Instagram journey in 2012 after graduating high school. Thompson started attending “Insta meets,” Instagram-organized meet-ups where popular users announce when and where they will be and people who are interested join.

“It used to be pretty random, but now it’s really organized,” Thompson said. Thompson went to more than 60 meet ups over the course of a year.

Often, Instagrammers will post portraits of people who come to the meets and tag them in the posts. “I got up to 8,000 that way,” Thompson said.

Instagram meets are common practices now that have helped create connections and boost Instagram user numbers.

The main way to grow numbers, however, is through Instagram’s suggesting system. Once an Instagrammer reaches a certain number of followers, Instagram will suggest the user to others to follow. This was how Crawford gained many of his followers.

“I gained about a thousand followers a day for a month,” Crawford said

In person, thousands of followers translate into people they have never met knowing those Instagrammers.

When Crawford started his job at Apple “it was a place where I didn’t know anyone but everyone knew me,” he said.

Recognition does not end with co-workers though. Schmidt, an Instagrammer with over 6,000 followers and a calligraphy, floral-crown and tattoo-designing business, said it has been happening more and more often.

“That has been happening a lot recently,” said Schmidt, who gets recognized via her Instagram persona tribesnpines by people in the Portland area about once a week.

Instagram has allowed for the opposite to happen as well. Those Instagrammers have been able to connect with people they admire to collaborate on posts.

Thompson shared a story about a few people in Arkansas that he had been following “since day one.” He met up with his Instagram idol Tim Landis, also known as curious2119, and others to collaborate, but it quickly created a friendship.

“I consider him as one of my friends now and he used be a random famous guy on Instagram,” Thompson said.

Crawford and Thompson said they have contacts all around the U.S. because of Instagram.

“[The best part is] the people that I’ve gotten to meet that I wouldn’t have gotten to otherwise,” Crawford said. “Getting to know people is a fun thing.”

As far as perks, there are a few, like building clientele in Schmidt’s case or getting free tickets to Sasquatch, the yearly music festival hosted at the Gorge, in Crawford’s case. Ultimately, though, “it’s kind of a side deal,” Crawford said.

For Schmidt, Thompson and Crawford, remaining authentic, making friendships and sharing art are their main goals with the app.

“I try to keep it as real as possible,” Thompson said. “I like stories.” Schmidt shared similar thoughts on being genuine.

“That number of followers doesn’t influence what I post or say,” Schmidt said. “When I caption, I want it to be for me.”

While Instagram fame has created recognition for those artists, the user-generated aspect of it has helped the journey remain personal in the process.

“[Instagram] helped me realized I am a creative person. You can make art out of anything,” Thompson said. “I am satisfied with the direction it took me and the people it led me to.”

Several professors at Whitworth University have said they didn’t realize they wanted to be teacher’s until they did it. Once those professors got into the classroom they realized how much they loved seeing their students understand the material and succeed.

“I love learning, I love organizing information,” said Linda Buff, a professor of 11 years in the education department. “I think that’s why I became a teacher, and then I found out that I love being with students and seeing learning occur.”

Buff is just one of several professors who say their love for the students pulled them toward the classroom. In fact, nine of 14 Whitworth professors interview said they either never wanted to teach or didn’t know they wanted to do so.

“I actually studied to be an engineer,” said Damion Jablonsky, an assistant basketball coach. “I started my career as an engineer. Then I got into coaching, and coaching is really what led me to where I am here at Whitworth in the position as an assistant basketball coach.”

English professor Laurie Lamon said she had never thought about getting a Ph.D. for the purpose of becoming a professor. She loved writing so much that she continued to pursue a graduate degree, and later her docterate.

“I sort of came back to Whitworth through the back door,” Lamon said. “I got a call from my former professor who said, ‘Do you want to teach a couple of adjunct courses for us [Whiworth English department]’ and that was in 1985.”

However some professors at Whitworth say they knew they wanted to be a teacher all along.

“It was just something that I always wanted to do,” said Donna Sampson, a senior lecturer in the world languages and cultures department. “I have a sister who is two years younger than I, and when we were little girls we would play school where everyone else would be playing other things.”

Like Sampson, theatre professor Brooke Kiener, said she played school instead of the typical playing house like other children. Both Kiener and Sampson also had parental influence to become teachers.

Sampson said her mom wanted to be a teacher but was unable to because she lived through the Great Depression and couldn’t afford to go to school. Sampson said she and her sister were always encouraged to become teachers as a way to live out their mother’s unfulfilled dream. On the other hand, Kiener’s father was a teacher which positively influenced her decision to become an educator.

“My dad used to tell stories around the dinner table about his day at school,” Kiener said. “I think that had a really big impression on me because his stories always sounded cool.”

Though each professor started their teaching career in a different way, they all said humility is a quality that all good teachers should have. Many said a good teacher is compassionate and should also listen to their students.

“I think listening is a very important quality and listening does not necessarily mean you have to agree with what you read,” said Raja Tanas, the department chair for the sociology department.

A teacher must think well, speak well, interact well and write well because if a teacher cannot do those things that teacher cannot properly teach their students Tanas said. Eric Sartell, an assistant professor of business agreed with Tanas, but added that a teacher must be passionate and dedicated.

“I would do this [teach] even if I didn’t get paid for it,” Sartell said. “Number one I think you have to be passionate about what it is that you’re teaching, and it can’t be a fake passionate. You have to really love what you’re doing otherwise why should your students care if you don’t care?”

Cynthia Wright, an assistant professor in the health sciences department, and Forrest Baird, a professor in the philosophy department, both said their teaching styles combined ideas they took from other professors.

“Honestly I think almost all the teaching strategies I employed are things I learned from someone else or I learned from experience,” Wright said. “So probably the exact way I put it together is unique, but the things I’m teaching, the methods I’m using are pretty common amongst many teachers.”

Wright also said she was blessed to have received materials from professors who previously taught the courses she now teaches. In fact, Baird said that when he first started teaching he told his students that a particular method came from English professor, Leonard Oakland and later Oakland told him off.

“I had just come out of grad school where you carefully footnote everything,” Baird said. “So I made this point and I carefully emphasized that this came from Leonard Oakland. Afterwards Leonard came up to me and said, ‘Don’t to that; just take it.’”

Several of the professors noted they have developed their teaching over time. They have learned from their mistakes, added more discussion time and developed their material as technology advances, they said.

“I have learned two things over the years that have helped me to become better,” Buff said. “Unless I find out how much my students learned I don’t know if I did my job, and I cannot assume that because I taught a clear lesson that they understood.”

Tanas has focused on technological changes over the years, he says. When he began teaching he used outlines written on the board, then went to a handout system and then to overhead projectors. Now, Tanas uses the projector and screen system, with PowerPoint presentations and videos.

Several professors mentioned that they believe a teacher should know how to teach to all styles of learning. They should use tools such as paired activities where students are able to learn through kinesics, writing activities and visual aids, Sampson said.

“If you’re enjoying what you’re learning you may a) remember more and b) perhaps pursue it a bit farther and a bit longer,” Sampson said. “There’s a lot of interaction. I create partners and I create small groups so that the students have to communicate and use their language.”

Wright also uses some unique styles of teaching. She said she uses an activity where the students learn, in a simulated situation, about how to handle being the one in charge and taking control in a high-pressure situation.

“I get our team docs to come out to an evening class and we’ll set up four stations with one of us at each station and we’ll just fake injuries for about two hours,” Wright said. “They provide great feedback to our students. I think our students are always really scared to start with and then realize, ‘Oh I do know how to handle this.’”

Professors have said they are trying to strive to teach the students so that after graduation the students no longer need the professor. The professors have said they know that the students won’t remember everything they learn at college, but they want to let the students explore new concepts.

“The goal always is that eventually I disappear,” Baird said. “The content is the key, that’s why we’re here, we’re here to learn something. Ultimately the goal is learning.”

Twelve times, One Award

Communication professor Ron Pyle has worked at Whitworth for 27 years. Pyle planned to be a youth pastor, but fell in love with teaching, he says.

“The funny thing is, all along the way, I kept having these people say, ‘You should be a teacher,” Pyle said. “It’s been getting increasingly clearer that my calling is to be a pastor and a teacher. So at a place like Whitworth I get to be a teacher who, in some ways, functions like a pastor.”

Junior Leandra Sexton said that Pyle plays a pastoral role even in the classroom. She said Pyle will stop a class to pray for a student who needs support. For example, one student in her class needed to leave early to go in for surgery and Pyle stopped and prayed for him with the rest of the class, said Sexton.

Another of Pyle’s students, Addison Koneval, said that Pyle is a professor who is genuinely caring and makes each student feel special and unique.

“Ron is extremely unique in that he’s very very smart, but at the same time he is very intentional about relationships,” Koneval said. “You don’t often get to say he’s so kind and sweet, but he’s also just geniously smart.”

Junior Sasha Siclait said Pyle is one of few professors who push students to their limit, but who also cares about them. Pyle is good at expressing complex ideas in ways that simplify the concepts and makes them more understandable says Siclait.

“For me, a student that struggles with school, he’s good for me because I know that he understands that I have a difficult time, but he also challenges me at the same time,” Siclait said.

Pyle said he loves everything he teaches, but if he had to teach one class for the rest of his life it would be interpersonal communication because that class changes people’s lives.

“A good teacher needs to listen well, care about the people they are teaching, and to make a distinction between teaching content and teaching people,” Pyle said. “I don’t teach a subject matter, I teach human beings.”

Pyle said he had a student in his interpersonal communication class many years ago who had a horrible upbringing, but the content of the class changed the way that student viewed herself. The student was a completely different person by the time she graduated, Pyle said.

“He’s inspirational regardless of whether you’re in his class or not,” Siclait said. “He’s just the kind of person that he’ll just walk in the room and it’s an immediate warmth, even if you’re having the worst day.”

Koneval and Siclait said Pyle has been an inspiration because he is genuinely caring. When they talk to him, he makes them feel as though they are the only person in the world for those few minutes, they say.

“He’s so wise and he has so much life experience and has so many traits about him that would surprise people,” Koneval said.

Pyle has an impression of Hulk Hogan that no one would expect from him because Pyle is so quiet and collected, but that’s one way that he reaches out to his students, Koneval said.

Sexton said Pyle shocked her with his humor one day in class when she and another student showed up on Halloween as Nightwing and Robin, the comic book characters.

“We [Sexton and her friend] walked into class and Ron said, ‘step out of the room and enter in properly,’” Sexton said. “So we stood outside in the hall debating what to do when we heard from inside the classroom, ‘Commissioner Gordon, Commissioner Gordon criminals have run amuck at Whitworth.’ Ron then gasped and said, ‘look Batman and Robin,’ so we reentered the room and acted out a fake fight scene. Later, we found out that Ron had recorded the whole thing.”

Pyle uses education as a tool to change lives, said Koneval. She said getting to learn from Pyle has been an amazing experience for her because he knows the information so well and he’s so kind.

Because of the relationships that Pyle forms with his students and his caring personality, he has received the “most inspirational teacher” award 12 times. He has no idea why he has received it so many times, and he doesn’t spend much time dwelling on it, he said.

“I think the award is more representative of what I hope is happening across campus than it really is selective,” Pyle said.

Pyle has a board in his office that he calls “the wall of sanity.” On that board there are a couple of quotes that he uses to remind himself that relationships are the most important thing both inside and outside the classroom, he said.

One quote comes from Parker J. Palmer’s article “The Heart of a Teacher: Identity and Integrity in Teaching.”

“Good teachers join self, subject, and students in the fabric of life because they teach from an integral and undivided self; they manifest in their own lives, and evoke in their students, a “capacity for connectedness.” They are able to weave a complex web of connections between themselves, their subjects, and their students, so that students can learn to weave a world for themselves. The methods used by these weavers vary widely: lectures, Socratic dialogues, laboratory experiments, collaborative problem-solving, creative chaos. The connections made by good teachers are held not in their methods but in their hearts.”

The other quote on Pyle’s board is from C. Roland Christensen’s article “Every Student Teacher and Every Teacher Learns: The Reciprocal Gift of Discussion Teaching.”

“No matter how factually accurate and time-tested our data, how clear cut and disciplined our analytical methods, or how practiced and skillful our pedagogical techniques, true learning emerges only when we honor the human factor. One measure of pedagogical maturity is the ability to augment technical expertise with attention to people.”

Pyle uses these quotes to remind himself that teaching is about more than just the subject matter, Pyle said.

“I think that relationships are the most important gifts that God has given us,” Pyle said. “Which is part of why I think, in the Bible when Jesus was asked about the great commandments he said, ‘There are two commandments that are foremost: love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength,’ in other words be in relationship with God, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself,’ or be in relationship with other people.’”

He went on to say that the most inspirational teacher award is not an individual award, but is instead is representative of a collaborative effort of many professors. He heard last year or the year before there were 100 faculty members nominated for the award.

“The nature of all relationships, including the ones that happen in education, are collaborative,” Pyle said. “I can’t be an influential professor unless the students I’m with let me.”

Where did your Professors go to School?

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According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in eight children today battle Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Boys ages three to 17 are the most likely to be affected by ADHD, but numbers continue to rise among all children each year. The most practiced form of treatment is medication, and while medicines like Ritalin or Adderall have been used and developed for decades, their side effects can feel just as inhibiting as the ADHD itself.

Children medicated for ADHD commonly experience sleep deprivation, loss of appetite, growth stunts, migraines, and emotional “rebound” issues when their dose of medicine wears off. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, these rebound emotions can be as inhibiting for children as their initial struggle to focus, as children with ADHD are also more prone to depression and anxiety.

Parents often struggle with the decision of how (or even if) to treat their child for ADHD. Does wanting the best for their children mean medicating the child? Should they let the disorder run it’s course, and hopes that their family can develop healthy habits with the child in attempt to subdue some of the focus struggles they experiences daily?

Researchers Marc Berman, John Jonides and Stephen Kaplan believe they may have found a simple solution for anyone struggling with ADHD.

“Imagine a therapy that had no known side effects, was readily available, and could improve your cognitive functioning at zero cost,” they write. Their talking about a simple solution: go outside.

“Many have suspected that nature can promote improved cognitive functioning and overall well-being, and these effects have recently been documented,” Berman, Jonides and Kaplan write. They conclude from their study that our modern world, stuffed full of urban distraction, is inherently overstimulating, and that this is an especially stressful environment for children with ADHD, who are already prone to struggle with focus.

“Nature, which is filled with intriguing stimuli, modestly grabs attention in a bottom-up fashion, allowing top-down directed-attention abilities a chance to replenish,” Berman, Jonides and Kaplan write. “Unlike natural environments, urban environments are filled with stimulation that captures attention dramatically and additionally requires directed attention, to avoid being hit by a car for instance, making them less restorative.”

This bottom-up, top-down explanation of attention grabbing refers to the fact that in a natural environment there are far fewer stimuli that force us to pay attention. Other than watching your step, or having your attention sparked by birdsong, there aren’t many variables that trigger forced focus. Your mind can choose what to reflect on, and has time to take a break from the overwhelming sights, sounds, or daunting tasks one might encounter in an environment like a city street, classroom or a computer screen.

These findings are supported by a number of other studies, including a recent study by Elizabeth Nisbet and John Zelenski. Similar to Berman, Jonides and Kaplan, their research suggests that modern lifestyles have disconnected people from nature and its benefits on one’s mental and emotional well being, which is consequential to our ability to focus. They suggest that a culture so dependent on and confident in medication or other man-made remedies has led to an underestimation of natural “treatment” for dealing with anxiety, attention disorders, or overall emotional satisfaction.

“In two experiments, we found that although outdoor walks in nearby nature made participants much happier than indoor walks did,” Nisbet and Zelenski wrote. “Our findings suggest that people fail to maximize their time in nearby nature and thus miss opportunities to increase their happiness and relatedness to nature.”

Studies like these support the relatively new and increasingly popular Ecotherapy movement, which seeks to cultivate the benefits of being in nature. Families with children that land higher on the ADHD scale often seek help from a professional ecotherapist, considering they may have a harder time managing their child’s disorder on their own. Ecotherapy is something these families can turn to strike a balance between receiving professional and regulated help, and practicing treatment methods less harsh on the body.

“Being in nature is therapeutic, but Ecotherapy tends to be with some kind of a professional who is supporting another person to actually deal with something that’s challenging for them,” said Ecotherapist Ariana Candell in an interview with The Atlantic. “The prescription is to get out, you know? Get out in nature!”

Ecotherapy programs like Second Nature, an extended stay recovery program, apply their belief in the power of nature in a radical way. Participants in Second Nature programs, ranging in age from 11 to 30 or older, embark on an intense program that takes them straight into the heart of the wilderness for an average of eight to 10 weeks. Counselors participate with their group on a rigorous physical, mental and emotional backpacking and camping journey that seeks to empower participants to realize what they are capable of when they are removed from environments filled with distractions and barriers to learning and growth.

Programs this intense are generally only recommended for children with severe behavioral issues or attention disorders that are accompanied with other barriers to success like depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, past trauma, or substance abuse. But, positive results from programs like Second Nature that deal with extreme cases are encouraging to professionals and families who want to focus on natural treatment for children with more manageable levels of ADHD.

Professionals agree that even small amounts of time outside can make a vast difference on one’s ability to focus.

“Just ten minutes even walking along somewhere beautiful, and you can feel different,” says Candell. Researchers Faber Taylor and Frances Kuo from the University of Illinois report similarly. Their research, which specifically focused on children with ADHD, studied the effects of a simple walk in the park. Children ages seven to 12 years old were individually guided on a walk through various environments, ranging from natural to urban.

“Twenty minutes in a park setting was sufficient to elevate attention performance relative to the same amount of time in other settings. These findings indicate that environments can enhance attention not only in the general population but also in ADHD populations. ‘Doses of nature’ might serve as a safe, inexpensive, widely accessible new tool in the tool kit for managing ADHD symptoms,” write Taylor and Kuo.

Berman and Jonides agreed that simple and brief interactions with nature can produce marked increases in cognitive control. Their study’s conclusion states that “to consider the availability of nature as merely an amenity fails to recognize the vital importance of nature in effective cognitive functioning.”

What better place to experience the creator than in the wonders of His creation? A Christian Ministry in the National Parks sends teams across the nation to share God’s love with park visitors and employees.

The best of creation is showcased in the National Park system, drawing outdoor lovers from around the globe to marvel at its beauty. The microcosm created by the parks, creates an opportunity for multinational ministry within the United States.

A Christian Ministry in the National Parks takes a relational approach to ministry, mobilizing young people to serve as the hands and feet of Christ. Teams live, work, and play alongside their fellow employees amidst the ebb and flow of park visitors.

“Much of the ministering takes place among employees, many of whom are recruited from work and travel programs all over the world,” said Amy Bloomquist, director of recruiting and placement for A Christian Ministry in the National Parks. “The living situation among park employees creates a unique sense of community that makes it easier for our ministry teams relate to those people and love them well.”

The parks are places of escape, offering refuge to those bogged down by the noise of modern society, said Kary West, Denali National Park ministry team leader. The ministry takes their attention off what they are escaping from, and redirects it towards something they can escape to, she said.

“You can’t exaggerate the grandeur of Denali, and the ministry purposefully works in some of the most beautiful places in America in an effort to inspire people to worship God in nature,” West said.

Looking up at the Alaskan Mountain Range or laying out under the northern lights is a humbling experience, West said.  When you are put in a situation where you are at the complete mercy of nature, pretenses tend to fall away, she said.

Dave Degler, director of program and leadership at A Christian Ministry in the National Parks, said, “The remoteness of the parks creates a lack of availability of the things we take for granted, such as friends, family and technology. Simply sharing in this experience and showing God’s love through support, has the power to ignite life altering conversations,” he said.

Religion and the church have become taboo in current conversation, often wrought with baggage and implications, said Degler. Adventure ministry takes the church away from the politics and trivial distractions that often create barriers in heeding the Great Commission, he said.

“The great outdoors galvanizes folks attention, creating a context in which they are attentive to receiving spiritual things” Degler said. “It brings us back to our roots in Genesis where humanity connected with God through stewardship of nature.”

The grandeur of the parks inspires a sense of reverence that transcends belief and culture. Christians and non-christians alike express the spiritual power that pervades the air in these places directing minds and hearts upwards, said Degler.

The National Parks are destination locations people plan their whole lives experience. It puts people in the park community on the same plane of being fully present, said West.

“I appreciated the overall calmness of the area that allowed me to find quiet place to pray or just think,” West said. “I loved being able to live in and explore a part of creation that many people never get the opportunity to see.”

The peace found in the parks is tenuous, like the slumber of a giant, said West. The National Parks are a dangerous mission field, averaging over 100 deaths per season, according to the National Parks Service statistics.

“Every year our teams are confronted with trauma and loss of visitors or fellow employees,” said Bloomquist. “In these situations, our ministry is often the only spiritual support on site and people look to them for guidance and communication in these times.”

Serving God in such wild places enhances the spiritual life of ministry team members as well as those they seek to serve.

“My experience with ACMNP pushed me to be bold and helped me to realize that I cant let worrying about what other people will think keep me from trying to accomplish great things, especially when it involves my faith,” West said. “I left Denali with a desire to be more brave in every aspect of my life.”

A Christian Ministry in the National Parks was founded in Yellowstone National Park in 1951 and currently operates in 25 parks across the nation.

For more information visit http://www.acmnp.com

By: Chelsea Wilson

Prom, vacations, hiding tan lines; teenagers always find a reason to be tan.

In June of 2014, Washington State passed the SB 6065 law, which prohibits any persons under 18-years-old from using ultraviolet tanning equipment without written permission from a licensed physician. The law requires tanning facilities to see proof of age by checking an ID containing date of birth and a photograph.

In the last 20 years there have been growing concerns about the correlation of tanning beds and skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation announced in July 2009, that the International Agency for Research on Cancer placed ultraviolet radiation-emitting tanning devices, to their list of most dangerous forms of cancer-causing radiation.

“I agree there should be a minimum age for tanning,” said Donna Wilburn, worker at Island Glow Tanning in Spokane, Washington. “As a parent though, I do not like somebody telling me how to raise my children. I think with parents permission teenagers should be able to tan.”

As the state nears the one-year anniversary of the law, local Spokane tanning salons are proud of their work to maintain business. Events like prom, homecoming and family vacations during school’s vacation breaks bring in a lot of business from the 18-years-old and under demographic.

“Prom season was super busy. Airbrush appointments were crazy, we had 24 this Saturday alone,” said Kelly Scherza, airbrush professional at Toucan Tan Resort and Spa. “We had a prom special for our clients too young for the tanning beds.”

Owner of Toucan Tan Resort and Spa, Shelby Thornsen and Scherza agree that the law did not affect business; the company promoted Airbrush tanning more this last year than previous years to make up for the restrictions of the new law.

“For the future, I am working on a back to school special for our high school clients. Airbrush tans to get rid of tan lines and give them a back to school glow,” said Scherza.

Wilburn said they promoted 15-dollar spray tans throughout prom season at Island Glow Tanning Salon and had specials for those that were under 18-years-old and specials for those in high school who were already 18-years-old in an effort to be inclusive.

“People tend to tan for everything now, homecoming, Halloween, vacations. We always have specials going,” said Wilburn.

Wilburn said that greater than the need for a law prohibiting minors, is a law and way of tracking “tan hopping.”

“Tan hopping is when people go tanning at multiple salons in one day so they can tan faster,” Wilburn said.

The law was put into action as a way of decreasing minor’s chances of skin diseases in the future. The Skin Cancer Foundation announced in 2009, that those who use tanning beds before the age of 30, increase their risk of Melanoma, the deadliest level of skin caner, by 75 percent.

The National Conference of State Legislatures published information on indoor tanning restrictions in May of 2015. The information shows that Washington along with seven other states has implemented laws prohibiting minors from using ultraviolet tanning devices. 35 states have lower restrictions than the state of Washington’s, but still have laws limiting those allowed to tan. Eight states have no indoor tanning laws in place.

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