blog, pr writing

Finding Futsal, an athletic outlet for inmates at Marion Co. Jail

Over the past several years, it has become increasingly common for correctional facilities to provide sports recreation for their inmates as a potential diversion from illicit activities. A 2012 report from the Prisoners’ Education Trust, even states that becoming actively involved in a sports league during detention can foster “an alternative social network, access to positive role models, improved employability, and develop a pro-social identity.”

The practice of encouraging sports in correctional facilities can be found locally, at the Marion County Jail, which has provided a basketball court for those seeking physical activity. The jail, which is part of four-facility system that houses over 2,500 inmates, noticed a recent decline in interest in basketball from its inmates but an interesting innovation on their parts: deflating the facility basketball and kicking it around in makeshift games of soccer.

Major Tanesha Crear began reaching out to local soccer organizations and brought the idea to her supervisor. The Public Information Officer for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Katie Carlson, connected with Indiana Futsal. As a game that requires less space than soccer and can be played indoors, futsal seemed like a natural fit.

Due to one Deputy’s thoughtfulness and a collaboration among Indianapolis community members, Indiana Futsal was able to donate two inflatable futsal goals, futsal balls, and an air pump to the Marion County Jail in June, giving inmates the athletic outlet they really needed.

Justin Becht, Director of Indiana Futsal, says that the new set-up will be especially beneficial for the younger inmates, “There’s a need for incarcerated youth to be able to play and to release some tension, we were happy to help with that. A large part of Indiana Futsal’s mission is to bring the sport to populations that really need it.” Representatives from the jail also added that while physical activity helps people while inside, it is also encouraged for inmates preparing for re-entry as a way to bond with their families once they’ve left the facility.

As a result of the community connection made between the two organizations this summer, Indiana Futsal will partner with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office for the Mayor’s International Futsal Cup later this year.

Click here to view the article as it was originally published.

blog, pr writing

Student commencement speaker Amber Kriech discusses her path before and after graduation

Click here to read my most recently published article, where I had the opportunity to chat with IUPUI’s 2017 commencement speaker, Amber. It was an enlightening interview for me as an ambitious young professional and future graduate!

blog

Why “girls plus” should not be a clothing section

 

I have belonged to a separate category, according to the fashion industry, since elementary school. As young as 10 years old, I remember searching stores for the section that had clothes for girls like me. My wide blue eyes would take in all the pink and sequins and glitter that make up the girls’ clothing sections and fall sad as I checked the tags, seeing sizes that my round tummy and chubby legs wouldn’t fit into.

More often than not, finding those sizes meant I had to find a different part of the store and read signs until I found one reading “Girls Plus” or something else insanely demeaning. To this day, as a grown woman, I am forced into back corners to find the three or four racks of clothing that are made for women like me.

It’s still disheartening, but because I am a grown up I understand that larger sizes do not mean less worth as a human being, no matter how many times per day messaging like that is pushed towards me like an unappetizing meal I’m supposed to eat out of politeness. For young girls though, like the one that I was not too long ago, such realizations do not come easily.

Girls plus should not be a section.

Girls with belly rolls and full cheeks should never have to feel sad about their bodies. Girls who have attained hips a little sooner and a little bigger than their friends should not feel that they are different, should not have to look for special signs and special sizes and their clothes should not be more expensive.

We are young and naive and frightened that people who see us buying girls plus clothes see us as strange. We think that it’s strange that we have to look for special signs and special sizes and that our mothers have to pay more than other mothers do.

Girls who walk into stores looking for their back to school outfit should never sit in a dressing room crying because the biggest skirt they had wouldn’t fit their waist. Think about all these girls, looking for the girls plus, and their self-esteem. There is so much waste, so many wasted tears and frustrations and steps to separate sections.

We grow into young women who avoid mirrors and photos and don’t smile at our reflections. And it takes years to remember what it’s like to not care about the number on our tags and we’re still confused about why our clothes cost three times as much. We believe that there is an “us” and a “them” and the them is girls who have never had to worry about finding the girls plus and have never cried in dressing rooms.

Those sections told all the girls that there is a “them” versus “us”. We get used to back corners, separate sections, and feeling like there is too much to us. That our bodies are too big and that they are wrong, and that the store had to go to all this trouble of making a separate section just for us.

We are not girls plus, they are not girls plus, they are just girls. Therefore, there should be no plus section.

 

blog, pr writing

Dear alumni, you are an inspiration

In the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to speak with some members of IUPUI’s class of 2016. One of those interviews formed the basis for my article Catching Up with a Recent IUPUI Grad, and was particularly inspirational for me. As you’ll know if you peruse the article all the way to the end, the graduate has met her goals and, I know from speaking with her, she is very happy about where her life is at one year after graduating college.

Why is this important? 

Graduating college feels like I’m about to be tipped unceremoniously out of wheelbarrow from the top of a cliff with a very small landing pad at the bottom and I’m expected to make it on my own after years of people guiding me.

We, as students, all have our doubts about what’s going to happen when we get that magic piece of paper that cost us years of time and thousands of dollars to obtain. My fears will likely not have truly set in until next fall, when I will be starting my senior year at IUPUI (woohoo!?!), but they do creep up on me sometimes and that dropping-from-a-cliff feeling seems very real.

Graduating high school was not nearly as unnerving; I had a path laid out before me, in the form of a college acceptance letter and some scholarships, so it was not difficult to figure where to go and what to do. Also, I’ve always been pretty good at and enjoyed school, so I was not very concerned about the academic aspect of it. The post-graduation path for me this time is little more than a thin line, and though I’ve never been drunk, I feel that it’d be very easy to misstep and lose my balance.File_000

Which is why, as a future graduate, it means a lot to me to speak with alumni from my university, and I’m so grateful that I had the chance to do so and to put the happiness of said students into words to be published, so that other students may feel the same temporary relief as I have upon reading Grace Perkowitz’s words. So keep being brave and adulting, alumni, and please don’t be shy about sharing your stories with current students (even the bad parts!). We all could use a little bit of reassurance, so if you’ve got the time, go ahead and let us know what you’ve been through, because we’re all just shaking in our young adult boots.

 

blog

Let’s have lunch

A note on healthy eating, mainly for myself.

Deviating from the normal today, I’d like to talk a bit about food. More specifically, my difficulty in making healthy choices regarding what I consume. At the beginning of this year, I had stopped drinking soda and was eating more healthily than I probably have, ever. After three or so months of eating better and exercising regularly, my motivation stalled. A pattern has thus developed wherein I make poor choices about what I put in my body, feel disappointed or angry with myself, and continue to make poor choices in these times of particularly low moods. During good times, I am also ‘treating myself’ way too much.

This struggle, which has re-emerged many times in my twenty year lifespan, is born out of a lack of self-discipline as well as lack of funds. It’s much easier, as we all know, to grab something at a drive thru than to be considerate about what we’re eating and to prepare meals ahead of time for occasions when you’re too tired to cook.

My point is, ultimately, that I need to get back to the mindset I had six months ago. The breakthrough at that time, which is something I let slip from my mind and need to grasp again, is that sugar is an addiction. Every time your brain says, “[Insert food, in my case, a McDonald’s Coke] is good and I think you deserve some!” It’s a lie. You don’t actually need or want the sugary item because it’s just so yummy. You want it because sugar is an addictive substance and your body, when it has sugar in system, is always going to want more unless you learn to tell your cravings to shut up.

The best way, obviously, to avoid this is to cut out sugar and artificial sweeteners altogether. It’s very overwhelming to consider going cold turkey once you realize all the things that have sugar in them. I made a chef salad for lunch today, which is not the healthiest option but better than what I often eat when I’m home alone, and the ranch dressing I used has sugar in it. Loads of every day foods that we don’t consider sugary have the substance in them! For me, it’s not realistic to cut sugar out entirely, but I do have to set boundaries, which starts with remembering that consuming sugary food items is not a reward, but enabling an addiction.

 

via Daily Prompt: Savor