Tag Archives: teen

Extraordinary Women: LeeRay Costa

As LeeRay Costa wraps up her spring semester as a professor at Hollins University, she looks eagerly towards summer and the fourth year of Girls Rock Roanoke—a volunteer-run, community-based organization that she began in 2012. The week-long day camp is part of a larger global network called Girls Rock Camp Alliance. It is a place where girls and gender non-conforming youth form bands, write their own songs, and perform at a final showcase. They also participate in workshops on topics like women’s music history, body confidence, and stage performance. This incredible experience is changing lives right here in the Roanoke Valley.

What made you want to bring Girls Rock to Roanoke?
Our family knew about the Girls Rock concept for a long time. We watched the documentary when our daughter, Tallulah, was young. When she became old enough to attend camp, we found one in Durham, North Carolina. We planned our summer vacation around camp so she could have that experience. She played keyboard for several years, but at camp she discovered the drums. Through working with the band, she found she had a real skill for it. At the end of each day she couldn’t wait to tell us everything she had learned.
Her excitement was inspiring, and I started talking to the organizers of the Durham camp because I wanted youth in Roanoke to have these opportunities and experiences.

Photo by Siobhan Cline
Photo by Siobhan Cline

How does Girls Rock Roanoke help empower its participants?
Some people think of us mainly as a music camp, but music and creativity are mediums for developing other skill sets. For example, campers learn risk-taking, because in one week campers learn an instrument, write an original song, work with a people they may not know, and then perform their creations live on stage. We live in a culture that tries to mold girls into a certain way of being. They are expected to be cute and silent. This crushes their potential in many ways. We want to create fertile ground for their potential to grow.

Has the camp opened doors for you to explore your own interest in music?
Yes. A few volunteers, including myself, attended Women’s Rock Retreat through a Girls Rock camp in North Carolina because we thought, “If we are going to ask the girls to do this, we need to put ourselves out there and see what it’s like.” I played bass and sang for the first time. At the end of the three-day camp, we played at the Pinhook. There I was, in my 40s, up on stage singing a punk rock song called, “Hormone Whiplash.” It was scary but very empowering at the same time.

How do you balance Girls Rock Roanoke and your work as a professor?
One important factor is the support of my partner, Andy Matzner. Not only does he happily claim the label of feminist, but he truly walks the talk in sharing all the responsibilities of being in a partnership and raising Tallulah. He was the first person to encourage my dream of bringing Girls Rock to Roanoke, and he has been there every step of the way.
Furthermore, Girls Rock is a team effort. It would be irresponsible for me to take credit for the tremendous labor and deep love that many others have contributed to Girls Rock camp over the years. Our program director, Lucy Coronado, our volunteers, and our Board work year round to make camp a success. Together with our campers, they inspire me to make Girls Rock a priority.

If you would like more information on Girls Rock Roanoke, go to www.girlsrockroanoke.org.

There are two camp options available this summer: one week for ages 8-11 (July 11-15) and a second week for ages 12-16 (July 18-22). This year’s theme, “Rocking for Change” will incorporate social justice issues into camp activities. Be sure to pick up our June issue for LeeRay’s interview and the interviews of nine other extraordinary women we are celebrating this month!

Top Tips for Getting Your Child Ready for College

Heading back to school can be stressful for a number of reasons, from new routines and lengthy shopping lists to preparing your students for the year ahead. It becomes even more stressful when you’re faced with the tough task of outfitting a college-bound teen for dorm life. But there’s no need to fret, the following tips will allow you to rest easy and have confidence that your child is prepared for the adventure ahead.

Plan-ahead packing
Unlike typical back-to-school shopping, college preparation takes a lot more planning. Begin shopping for school supplies and clothes at least two months in advance to avoid last minute stress. Many schools help by providing a shopping list of must-haves for the dorm, including power strips, refrigerators and toiletry kits – which is a great place to get started. You can also encourage your teen to reach out to their new roommates in advance through social media to discover their likes and dislikes. This can help them learn what kinds of supplies and furniture each person is bringing, so they don’t end up with two microwaves or small refrigerators in what will likely be extremely limited space.

Many retailers even allow grads to create a college registry so family and friends know just what to get them. Soon-to-be college students can create an account and handpick specific gifts that range from dorm room essentials to tailgating supplies, bicycles, and even pepper spray. These retailers also often provide helpful registry guides so you don’t miss a thing. Creating a registry will allow you to start preparations early and shop throughout the summer for items that may not be purchased as a graduation gift, rather than darting out on a mad dash when it’s time to move.

Savvy storage
If there’s one thing your teen will need to adjust to when going to college, it’s dorm life. The rooms are typically a small, bland 200-square foot space with very little storage. And sharing with at least one other person is definitely not luxurious. While preparing for life in such small quarters may feel like a messy situation, it doesn’t mean your teen’s room has to look like one. With a little creativity and know-how, your teen’s home away from home will be an organized, cozy retreat.

For storing large items, look no further than under the bed. Use extra-long containers to store clothing, shoes and other items that require easy and often access. To eliminate clutter, you can also turn empty suitcases from move-in day into storage containers. If you need more space, consider requesting a lofted bed to create more height for additional storage.

When closets and horizontal space run out, look to the walls. GeckoTech Reusable Hooks help provide added storage to dorm rooms, allowing your teen to easily organize items such as desk accessories, jewelry and jackets. Utilize these hooks in the closet to organize scarves and hats, and by the door to keep keys, umbrellas and backpacks at hand. GeckoTech Hooks are easy to re-position and reuse, which means you can move them – and your belongings – around the room, to find the best organizational solution for your new space. Plus, the hooks remove cleanly so you won’t have to worry about damaged walls during move out next spring.

Life Basics
While purchasing the correct supplies is essential, it’s also important to teach your child to become self-sufficient.  Show your teen how to do laundry and insist that they do their own clothing, sheets and towels for the entire summer.  By the time they get to college with a roll of quarters in hand, they’ll have the hang of it. College kids also need basic financial know how. This summer, show them the basics of banking, including how to responsibly use an ATM and debit card, write checks, pay bills online and balance their account. You may also want to set a budget – late night pizza and movie nights can quickly add up – to ensure your teen is responsible enough to manage his or her own funds.

Sending your teen off to college can be an exciting and emotional time, but with these tips you can make sure they are well equipped to survive dorm life.

Open Communication with Your Teenager

Today’s changing social environment and confusing messages about drugs and alcohol may be making it even more difficult for teenagers to get their bearings as they move toward adulthood. That is why it is more important than ever for parents to know what is going on in their kids’ lives and have the skills to respond to their teens appropriately.

Specifically, as drugs and alcohol are becoming more accessible and more states are legalizing marijuana, many teens may believe that the use of marijuana or other substances is now okay. Parents should know that legalization of marijuana does not mean it is harmless, and increased availability of other substances does not make them less harmful, either. Marijuana and other substances can cause permanent damage to the teenage brain, and teens can become addicted more quickly than adults.

This is a time when parents need to become involved in their teens’ lives and help them navigate these complex issues. While many parents may think of their teens as grown-ups and able to fully take care of themselves, teenagers have said that this is a time when they need their parents the most. Asking questions and being involved shows teenagers that their parents care.

“Even though teens may sometimes indicate otherwise, through my experience as a psychiatrist to teenagers, I have found that most of them want their parents involved in their lives to provide guidance and support,” says Dr. Thomas Wright, chief medical officer at Rosecrance, one of the country’s leading teen substance abuse treatment centers. “Teens want their parents to actively parent them and provide them guidance they need, including direction around substances.”

Studies have shown that parents who play an active role in the lives of their teens can positively impact their children’s behavior and influence them to cease or abstain from ever using substances. In contrast, research shows that teens whose parents expect them to engage in risky behaviors such as drinking and using drugs are more likely to do so.

“It is critical that parents understand their role and take conscious measures to support their teens in living a healthy and happy life,” Wright says. “Parents should ask what their teens are doing, address the pressures they are facing, act immediately when they suspect their teen is in trouble, and advocate for help if their teen needs it to help them live a healthy life.”

Starting a conversation with a teen about substances can be daunting. It can be even more overwhelming for a parent when their teenage child approaches them with questions before they have had a chance to prepare. For a helpful guide to talking with a teenager about marijuana visit www.rosecrance.org/teens-weed.