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  • March 2010
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Teen FAP Review: Money Hungry

Money Hungry by Sharon G. Flake

Name two characters (or if a magazine, two people you read about) and give brief personality descriptions.

Raspberry: She loves money, she sells things just to get money

Raspberry’s Mom: Is a nice person and works hard to keep a roof over Raspberry’s head and her own.

Write a sentence or two about what happened in the plot:

The main character in this story is a girl named Raspberry Hill. She ‘s only thirteen and will do almost anything to have money. Her mother and her live in the projects. Raspberry likes this boy named Sato but he is a total jerk to her when his friends are around. Raspberry’s dad is on drug’s and living on the streets. Raspberry’s father steals her money every time he goes to her house to get a bath and something to eat. At the end of the book Raspberry’s mother is trying to move into an better environment but the people who live in Pecan Landing won’t agree to let them move there. So Raspberry’s mother’s friend Dr. Mitchell went to see one of his lawyer friends so now Raspberry and her mother can get out the projects.

Write two sentences about what it was that you enjoyed about this work (or about what you didn’t enjoy):

I enjoyed this book because the things that happened in this book also happen in real life. I also liked this book because the details were so descriptive. I would recommend this book to people that like to read things that deal with life. After you read the book and really think about what happened throughout the book you kind of learn a life lesson.

**The above review was written by Breanna as part of the Teen Fine Alternative Program.  If you’re interested in working off fines owed on CLP materials and are between the ages of 12-18, please contact your local CLP location.**


Willow was sixteen when both her parents were killed in a car accident. In a car that she was driving. The feelings of guilt and pain are so overwhelming that Willow cuts herself.

According to HelpGuide.org, an estimated 2 million people in the US are self-injurers. The most common form of self-injury is called “cutting,” making cuts and scratches on the body with sharp objects. The cuts are usually made on the arms, legs, and front of the torso.

Cutting is not a suicidal impulse, rather a way to relieve the tension created by painful emotions. It can also be a way to produce feeling—to distract from the numbness or distance often experienced by victims of abuse.

Cutters tend to have these things in common:

  • Expressions of anger discouraged while they were growing up
  • Co-existing problems with obessive-compulsive disorders, substance abuse, or eating disorders
  • Lack necessary skills to express strong emotions in a healthy way
  • Limited social support network

Famous cutters include Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, and Brody Dalle of The Distillers. Check out self-injury.net for a more complete description.

If you know a cutter, or are one yourself, follow the links in this post for helpful information and support, and check out these books:


Sara Dora, CLP-Hazelwood

Where am I?

Last week I was two hours early for one appointment, twenty minutes late for work, showed up for a party a week early, and went to the completely wrong school to give a presentation. I thought this blog was due today, when really it was due last Monday. I didn’t know March had five Mondays. I would not say I am a terribly organized person, but I’m usually not this bad. So what gives?

At first, I thought it was daylight savings time. Maybe I am still an hour behind? However, that doesn’t explain showing up an entire week early for something. And wouldn’t I be an hour late for work? My husband, in an effort to help me, gave me an iPod Touch. I promptly bought the Organizer app and promptly failed to ever enter anything into it. I bought a datebook. It would work great if I could ever find it. This weekend, I picked up a large desk calendar. I hope this will work for me. I work every day, so this will be in front of me every day. I can’t lose it because it will never leave my desk. I’ll keep you updated (as long as April only has four Mondays.)

In the meantime, if you are suffering from the same organizational disability as me, here are some good resources to help you get it together.

Where’s My Stuff: The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide by Samantha Moss with Professional Teen Organizer Leslie Schwartz

Separated by tabs into sections such as School Stuff, Time and Activities, and Your Room this easy to use guide has advice on creating an organizational system that fits your personality, managing your time, and even has a section devoted to getting your closet in order.


Organizing from the Inside Out for Teens by Julie Morgenstern and Jessi Morgenstern-Colon

Subtitled The Foolproof System for Organizing Your Room, Your Time, and Your Life, the first chapter of this book has a quiz aimed at figuring out what you need to organize. Is your school stuff always in order, but you can never find two matching shoes? Are your photos alphabetically filed by date, but you haven’t seen your backpack in two months? Inside Out will help you focus on the areas you need help.

Life List for Teens by Pamela Espeland

Unlike the other two organizing books for teens, this book is completely in list form. Easy to flip through and scan, this books offers advice on everything from quitting smoking to shopping online to taking notes in class. There is also a section devoted completely to Health and Wellness, which is lacking in most time management literature. I am saving a list called 10 Tips for Procrastinators for later.

Some other useful books, although not specifically written for teens:

 Look at that! I’m finished with my blog post. And it’s only a week late. *sigh*

-suzy from Knoxville

April 1, 2010 is Census Day!

Every ten years the US Census Bureau does its best to count every man, woman and child that lives in the United States.  The official count is on April 1, 2010.  Many people have already completed their forms.  As of today, March 27, 2010, 40% of Pennsylvanians have completed and returned their forms.  Nationwide, 34% of the people have responded.  In my neighborhood, Mt. Washington, only 30% have responded. 

To see where your neighborhood ranks, take a look at the Take 10 Map:  2010 Participation Rates.

The Census bureau is using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to get the word out about the 2010 Census. 

In honor of Census Day, I would like to share a few fun facts that I found about US.

  • As of March 27, 2010 the population of the US is 308,949,802.
  • 24.3% of the US population is under the age of 18!
  • Pennsylvania has the 6th highest population in the country.
  • Pittsburgh is the 2nd biggest city in Pennsylvania, but only the 54th largest in the country population wise.
  • There are 257 bowling alleys in PA.
  • There are 85 miniature golf courses in our state.
  • There are 160 museums in PA.
  • There are 36 ice skating rinks too! 

The U.S. Census Bureau’s website has a lot more than just population statistics.  Another good website for information about the United States is USA.gov


CLP–Mt. Washington

Ralph Munn Creative Writing Program

Do you love to write? Do you want to hone your craft with the help of published authors?  Do you want to win great prizes for your work?  Then this is for you!

The Ralph Munn Creative Writing Workshop and Contest is a series of three workshops, and a contest with cash prizes, open to all high school students in Allegheny County.  We’ll also publish the best contest entries in an anthology that will be available at libraries throughout the county.  You don’t need to go to the workshops to enter the contest, but they’re a great opportunity to work with some really phenomenal local authors.

Poetry: Renée Alberts
Saturday, April 17 | 1-3 PM
CLP – Main, 4400 Forbes Avenue (Oakland), Classroom A (Portal Entry)

In this session, we will play writing games, read poems aloud and participate in a guided workshop of each others’ poems. We will offer each other support and constructive criticism and share our writing tips and experiences. Please bring a poem you wrote and would like feedback on. Also, bring another poet’s poem or song lyrics you like, a pen, and an open mind.

Short Fiction: Siobhan Vivian
Saturday, April 24 | 1-4 PM

CLP – Main, 4400 Forbes Avenue (Oakland), Classroom A (Portal Entry)

Siobhan Vivian will lead several creative writing exercises aimed at inspiring teens to produce great fiction. The interactive exercises will touch on three foundations of creative writing – plot, character and prose. Siobhan will also discuss her path to becoming a published author.

Siobhan Vivian is the acclaimed author of A Little Friendly Advice and Same Difference.

Narrative Nonfiction: Brian O’Neill
Saturday, May 8 | 1-3 PM
CLP – Allegheny, 1230 Federal St.

Narrative nonfiction uses literary styles and techniques to tell a true story. Brian O’Neill will preach the underappreciated virtues of short words, short sentences, simplicity, precision and wit in storytelling. He will show students how to cut to the chase and draw readers in.

Brian O’Neill is an award winning columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

For more information about the workshop leaders and complete contest rules, including how to enter, check out the Ralph Munn website.


Teen Book Review: The Fight

The Fight by L. Divine

The book Drama High: The Fight, by L. Divine chronicles the relationship between Jade–kind but you don’t want to get on her bad side: she has powers she came from a long line of voodoo queens–and KJ–who is self-centered, doesn’t care about anything but basketball and sex, he also has a big ego which makes him act like jerk. Jayd was going out with KJ which is one of the most popular boy at South Bay High. But that all comes to an end because a girl named Trecee is interfering with Jayd and KJ’s relationship. Trecee wants to fight Jayd because of KJ which is senseless to me. At the end Trecee got kicked of South Bay High for starting the fight. I enjoyed this book because of the drama that was portrayed thru out the whole book. I also enjoyed this book because when you read it felt like you were really there watching every event unfold right before your eyes.

**The above review was written by Breanna as part of the Teen Fine Alternative Program.  If you’re interested in working off fines owed on CLP materials and are between the ages of 12-18, please contact your local CLP location.**

Sharon Flake at CLP — RESCHEDULED

Sharon Flake’s visit on February 6th has been rescheduled for TOMORROW, March 20th, at 10:30am.  Cookies, punch and book signing will follow.

If you mention you saw this blog post you can get tickets to see her speak for only $5.

Sharon Flake is the Corretta Scott King award winner and is a Pittsburgh local.  Her books include The Skin I’m In and The Broken Bike Boy.

For more information and to order click here.

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