Adolescent Youth in Prison

This is Ismael Nazario.

As a young teen under the age of 18, he was convicted in the state of New York, one of the only states that imprisons individuals under the age of 18. He spent 400 days in prison before the age of 18 and spent 300 of those days in solitary confinement. Ismael claims reminds us that no matter how much you scream or yell, you are the only one that is hearing your voice and that eventually, your thoughts become your worst enemy.

He mentions that correctional officers have a significant impact on not only his time in prison, but the majority of inmates as well. Prisons are meant to be a place of rehabilitation and depending on the correctional officer you have, it can be a decent time or a nightmare. He tells a story of how one correctional officers agreed to fight him and to keep things quiet, in which they both gained respect for each other. Ismael stresses the importance of assisting youth in prison systems and to encourage rehabilitation techniques to prevent them from entering again.

Until next time,



When I first began this blog project, I didn’t understand what the big deal about blogging was. I expected the assignment to be overly difficult, especially for something that I likely would never use after the project was done. As the weeks progressed, I quickly understood why the existence of blogging was so important. I have discovered that the medium provides valuable opportunities to present research and communicate information in an interesting way, while maintaining a natural, casual style of writing.

As somebody who has always under-appreciated the humanities, this blog project, along with the two first-year English classes I am taking this semester, have contributed to my realization of how vital the humanities are and the role they play in our daily lives. Communication, for instance, is rooted in the humanities. Blogging connects people through reading and writing, informing and educating. Blogging is communicating, and communication is what connects humans with one another. I was fortunate to have another fellow blogger from Texas, who I am unaffiliated with, comment on one of my blog posts in appreciation of one of the posts that I had written. That individual was so passionate about housing-first, and it was very uplifting to have a stranger appreciate my post when I wasn’t sure I even appreciated what I had written. That is how I began to find a similar appreciation of the concept of blogging and how effective blogs are at communicating.

In addition, this blog assignment has opened my mind to a topic I had previously not given much critical thought. I grew up in a Methodist church and have been exposed to outreach and service my entire life, but after thoroughly researching and writing about housing first, I now have a more comprehensive understanding of homelessness in general and the role substance abuse and mental illness play in chronic homelessness. After completing this assignment, I now understand that homelessness is a much more complex issue than I previously thought, and that housing first is the most effective and most cost-efficient approach in ending homelessness.

Over the course of this project, I believe that I have grown as a writer, a researcher, a communicator, and a student in general. With the help of review by my peers, my writing skills have noticeably flourished. I have grown to appreciate research more than I previously had, and have actually found interest in it. I have been educated on how to efficiently communicate through blogging, which I previously had not known how to do, and quite frankly, had not been interested in doing. With the blogging freedom I was provided, I saw a boost in creativity and productivity as well, ultimately providing me with the ability to become more passionate about the topic in which I was writing. After researching housing first and its relativity to homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness, and after considering the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of the approach, I am now an advocate for housing first. The project in general has also made me a better student in general, for I truly believe that learning to appreciate the work being done as a student is a step in the right direction to becoming a better student.

TED Talk With Dr. Sam Tsemberis: Housing First

For my final blog post related to housing first, I wanted to introduce a TED Talk by Sam Tsemberis. If the name looks familiar, it is likely because Dr. Tsemberis is a Greek-Canadian clinical and community psychologist that has contributed to multiple works that I have cited throughout this blog project. He is the founder and executive director of Pathways to Housing in New York City, the earliest housing program modeled after housing first. Pathways to Housing, first introduced by Tsemberis in 1992, was the first program of its kind. The program proved be so extraordinarily successful, and in the following video, Dr. Tsemberis details exactly why.

Hope you all enjoyed the video as much as I did, and until next time,


A Self Analysis of my Blogging Journey

Hey guys! Today’s post is going to be a reflective one! I am going to analyze my growth as a thinker in relationship to this blog.

When I started this blog, I thought I already knew everything about mental illnesses, because I have two. However, I was quickly proven wrong. I had to research more than I thought I would have, and had to go more in more depth than I normally would have. I had a decent understanding, but I definitely did not know everything. This blog was a learning process for both you and me, and I am thankful to have grown amongst you!

As I mentioned in my first blog post, my goals were to “educate you about mental illnesses and provide resources and materials to help #StopTheStigma”. Through my ten blog posts (I am not counting my shout-out post because that was not related to the topic at hand) I discussed many things. What mental illnesses are, and how stigmas are used in everyday language (such as using mental illnesses as adjectives, or clothing). What it means to be healthy and ways to be healthy. The empowerment of those with mental illnesses. What some think are necessary for those with mental illnesses (medication and hospitalization). What caused the stigmas of mental illnesses, and what will happen and continue to happen if these stigmas are not stopped. As a final post, a video of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver summarizing many of the ideas I discussed in this blog as a recap of most things discussed.

I think that I progressed as a blogger through this past month. I had so much freedom with my blog, but I wanted my audience to be informed on the subject at hand. In order to accomplish that, I used most of my blogs to explain what mental illnesses are, why it is important to stop the stigma on them, and why it is important to know all of this. My Stigma Saturdays were meant to be motivational and educational. I used many pictures and a few videos on my blog to drive home the ideas I was discussing.

Many of y’all would not know this, but I am currently in school to become a pharmacist. However, I do not want to be one who pushes drugs on people, especially those with mental illness. I have discussed this; if someone does not want to be medicated for their mental illness(es), by all means, I want them to go without medication.

When making this blog, I did have some difficulties. Finding videos that were not ableism or in some way discriminatory was my biggest challenge. Everyone has different emotions towards their illnesses, and I did not want to post something that had anything negative in it, or would hurt someone’s feelings. I tried to find enlightening posts—posts that visualized how mental illnesses feel to those who do not have mental illnesses. Again, that is difficult, because mental illnesses are a spectrum, and it is very subjective. Nobody feels the exact same way as somebody else. Basically, political correctness was my biggest challenge.

I am really proud of my blog. This was my first time blogging, and I had so much fun with it! I am especially proud that I got people from outside of my class to like my posts! I have followers from a few different countries that were reading my posts, and that made me excited, because it meant that I was engaging and y’all were engaged.

Thank you so much for your dedication, I have had so much fun blogging to y’all—

Medicated Normalcy♥

Stigma Saturday: Marketing Mental Illnesses

marketing mental illness

Why? Why do clothing companies think this is okay? Is this funny? Please, market on my mental illness, that is absolutely hilarious. *sigh* This is one fashion trend I just cannot get behind for a few reasons. To start, this is absolutely derogatory, and continues the stigma that mental illnesses are jokes and for attention. Do you see people wearing clothing that demeans physical illnesses? No? That is what I thought. It is things like this that perpetuate the stigmas surrounding mental illnesses. My illness is not a joke. I am valid. The Odyssey Online has a few more examples of offensive mental illness merchandise if you are looking for a few more examples.

Until next time, my Warriors—

Medicated Normalcy♥


This project allowed me to dig deeply into a topic that I did not previously know much about. I have enjoyed exploring the food industry in relation to poverty for the past few weeks, and think that this topic was just broad enough to allow for a new and interesting conversation each week, without being totally overwhelming. I appreciated that over the course of this project I was allowed to do research on this issue over a longer period of time. I feel like I’m now an expert on this issue, but it didn’t feel like I was just cramming the information in and the regurgitating it onto a single assignment. The task of writing 10 plus posts circulating around a single issue has given me the chance to take the facts, process them, and think of new ways to discuss and analyze them.

While working on this project, I started off with an incredibly broad topic. I had seen a documentary called “Fed Up” on Netflix a few years ago, which mainly focused on the detrimental effects of processed foods as well as this revolving door between government officials and influential members of the food industry. After watching it, I was really turned off by the amount of unnecessary sugar that is incorporated in practically every manufactured food product. For some reason, when this project was assigned, this food inequality as a social justice issue came to my mind.

I feel like I am much more acute when it comes to differentiating between reliable and unreliable resources after doing these assignments. The minimum external link requirement really helped push me to not fall back on the same dependable statistics and sources each week. I appreciated that we could hyperlink all of our sources because I feel like doing a formal works cited is antiquated and a bit of a waste of time.

Throughout the past few weeks, I have sharpened my ability to sift through immense amounts of information online and find what is useful for the topic. Every week I would kind of come into the blog post not quite knowing what I was going to be focusing on, but by the time I had read through a few articles something important usually stuck out to me. I made an effort to tie in themes from the previous weeks while still focusing on something different. I feel like overtime I improved at this as well. I looked at the different aspects of my topic and narrowed them individually, rather than getting more and more specific about one facet each week. I think my topic was more conducive to this type of coverage because it allowed me to relay all of the information that I wanted to my audience, while still being explicit enough to relate to.

This project pushed me to use common language and mixed media in ways I had not tried before. I’ve only ever been assessed on my ability to perform in fairly formal writing assignments, and since my position in this case was much more casual, I was worried I would not perform as well. That said, with each post I tried to experiment with images, videos, and more common slang to relay my message to the audience.

I am a Peace War and Defense, Global Studies double major, so I’m here to study things like diplomacy and interactions of people on an international scale. My blog topic dealt with domestic poverty and large corporations, which does not directly relate to what I’m studying. However, both my majors and blog topic fall under a social science category. Learning about relevant issues and being tasked with crafting solutions is definitely an important skill to have. Additionally, the research and synthesis of information as a whole is an integral part of my liberal arts education. For example, I think that in my implications post, by looking at the possible consequences of this contentious issue, I was sharpening my problem-solving skills which will certainly help me in whatever career I pursue. Overall, this was a very influential assignment in my growth as a writer and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

What changed inside me: Self-analysis


This blog made me grow as a thinker. Now, I am more aware on the refugee crisis and their struggles to get a good higher education. Also, the blog helped me improve my ability to understand the refugee crisis from a refugee standpoint, make logical arguments that would help the refugees and connect with the common people who are not informed about this issue.

The refugee crisis is a serious and sorrowfully issue. In my blog, I had to explain how serious this issue is and find ways to entertain my audience. I chose a sarcastic dark tone when I was writing my blog. I never wrote in this way in my life. This tone was very useful because I, myself, was very entertained while I was writing. Likewise, I made a lot of jokes that made my readers enjoy my blog. Even though my tone was amusing, I still explained and connected to my readers the importance of the refugee crisis and their struggles in the country they move too. Furthermore, I learned how to inform a common reader about the history of the situation, the Syrian Civil War, to make them understand what is currently happening now. Lastly, I had to find some tools that could help me connect with my readers. I used memes and gifs. Memes and gifs are universal and they show a great deal of information in a small picture. Another method I used was comparisons that my audience knew. For example, comparing Jews refugees running away from Nazis and Syrian refugees, and refugees with squares. One critique, I have for myself is having a little more meaningful and not sarcastic pathos in my blog.

Not only did I connect with the audience, I had to relate to the refugee’s problems like, death, war, and running away to a brand-new country. Sometimes I tried to draw parallels between them and our lives to deepen my understanding. This helped me as a thinker because refugees and I do not have a lot of similarities but there are still ways to understand their pain.

The blog also helped my understanding to write papers, reason counterarguments, and use logic to help my writing. The counterarguments that I found were either in two categories. The first one was that the argument was built on a lie, like Breitbart. But, the second one had some reason or evidence to back up the claim like The New York Post and some of the 2016 presidential Republican candidates like Ted Cruz and John Kasich. For the false arguments, I had to show why these arguments are untrue with statistics and logic. With the reasonable counterarguments, I showed why my arguments are better logically and statistically in the long run. Another important element I learned from this blog assignment was how to deal with a liar like Trump. I had to understand what Trump was saying and try to find a logic behind his Trump ban. On top of that. I learned a new technique to write. I first type an outline and then type the bullet points into sentences. Next, I add topic sentences to each main bullet. Finally, I delete the bullets and add transitions. Other classes, I took helped out my blog too and I made critical connections with those class and the blog. In my Twentieth Century American Indian Art class I learned about how the Native Americans were oppressed for many years, and how did they coup with the oppression, assumption, and racism,  similar to the Syrians. Also in my Human Geography class, I learned about migration.  Lastly, I learned the struggles of a blogger. They have to write every week, proofread it and try to connect with the readers.