November 26, 2011

Great New Website and Resource - Bedsider!

A new health campaign started by the Ad Council is aimed at preventing unwanted pregnancies and helping and empowering women find a method of birth control that is right for them. is a new website aimed to educate and empower women about their choices in birth control.  The U.S. has one of the highest rates of unplanned pregnancy in the entire developed world. Nearly one in ten unmarried young women (ages 20-29) has an unplanned pregnancy each year. This means fewer opportunities to complete their education or achieve other life goals, and increased health and social risks for mother and child.  Know your choices, ask questions and keep yourself safe while having fun! 

November 16, 2011

Life's Defining Moments: The Moment I Knew

Thank you for this opportunity to share my excitement with you and your readers.

We all have them. We're in the midst of some minor or major quandary and suddenly or not so suddenly, after much toiling and heartache, the clouds part and the view becomes clear. Deeper understanding breaks through the chaos and confusion and sheds the light we need to propel us forward The Moment I Knew: Reflections from Women on Life's Defining Moments by Terri Spahr, Editor is a collection of thirty real-life stories or poems of just such events.

It has been a thrill for me to have my story included in this candid, inspiring anthology. "This One's On Me" chronicles my friendship with a sweet girl friend that ends in heartbreak. But then a surprising epiphany assures me that all is okay.  

From concept to publication and beyond, Terri Spahr-Nelson and her Reflections From Women crew have labored tirelessly, keeping each author in the loop with regular emails and publicity opportunities. Further, proceeds from the sale of The Moment I Knew are donated to charities that empower women. To order a copy of the book and learn more about the Reflections From Women organization and to learn how you can submit a story for future anthologies, please click onthe link.

WCC guest post contributor Grace Peterson is a married mother of four grown children. She is an avid gardener and writes a garden column as well as a garden blog. She is pursuing publication of a memoir and also authors a writing blog. Her essay titled, "This One's On Me" is included in the women's anthology The Moment I Knew. She lives in western Oregon. Her blog is,

November 14, 2011

Research Participants Needed - African American Girls and Physical Agression Study

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As many of you know, I am a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work Program at the University of Pennsylvania. My dissertation topic is “African American Girls and Physical Aggression: A resilience study on how adult African American women overcame physically aggressive behavior post adolescence”. My study hopes to identify and interview approximately 12 college educated women who used physical aggression (fighting) to resolve conflict as an adolescent. For this study, I would like to interview African American women ages 22-32.

I choose this topic because African American girls who use physically aggressive behaviors to resolve conflict are perceived to be a menace to society with a bleak future. However, in my experience, the physically aggressive behaviors are a phase, much like other adolescent behaviors in which the African American girl eventually outgrows.  Some girls go on to graduate from college and often become positive contributors to society. My goal is to conduct a study that will demonstrate the resilience of these girls despite the negative messages that many of them receive as an adolescent.     

I am in need of your help. I am soliciting your assistance in identifying participants willing to participate in the study. The study is voluntary and there are no negative consequences for declining participation in the study.  For those who agree to participate they will receive a $25 gift card.

Again, it is important to state that participation is voluntary and participants can withdraw at any point without consequences. To participate in the study, participants must be willing to complete a short informational questionnaire and sit down for an audio taped one on one interview. Both components combined should not exceed 2 hours. 

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email or call me.


Kietra Winn
Cell: (302) 494-9019

November 09, 2011

Professor X and the Half Breed - Half Breed Haven

Magneto holds his hand up and with all his might, attempting to bend the metallic water tower he sees in the distance. As he furrows his brow, he thinks about the sadness and anger that fuels him, about how different he is from the rest of the world.

Professor X can see the future, his telepathic powers helping to save lives and cities. Like Magneto, he feels out of place, but there is this powerful emotion that rings inside his head, telling him Belong! Belong!

Last weekend after meeting these two X Men for the first time (yes, I know I am many decades late…) I had to ask:

What does the half breed do with his or her pain?

The X-Men, of Marvel Comic fame, present two courses of action for all of us half breeds.

Conform (to society, blend in and hide our superpowers) or Separate (and celebrate our difference even if it means a life of eternal isolation)?

In the few months since I began my blog, Half Breed Haven, I have pondered this question trying to understand both what a half breed is, (Is it someone who is of mixed race or religion? Is it anyone who feels out of place? ) and what influences a half breed’s decision-making process around the question posed by the X Men- Conform or Separate?

At times I am Magneto, angrily crushing the skulls of those who don’t except me and then there are moments when I am Professor X, eager to be considered an honored member of the place where I am.
I caught myself acting like Magneto this week when I couldn’t pronounce a word with the right Hebrew accent and I said to my staff, “You know what I mean, I can’t say it in your accent” separating myself from everyone in the room. The looked at me quizzically, perhaps not understanding why I was isolating myself from them.

Happily there are also times when I feel like I really belong, like that email I got from my boss a few days ago telling me how eloquent I am in Hebrew and how I can’t use the “new immigrant” ticket anymore to differentiate myself from the people around me.

Unlike Magneto and Professor X, more often than not, my reactions to feeling out of place are unconscious and reactive. My out of place-ness does not dictate everything I do, but it is always there, hovering above my soul like a humming bird, flitting around in and out of sight, reminding me that I am loved when I feel like a wall flower and kicking me in the butt when I am feeling powerful, part of the group. I am a half and half breed- I have the fury of the outcast Magneto and the determination to belong of Professor X.

I guess we are all half and half -breed- We are at once like Magneto and Professor X, toying with these alternate states of belonging and loneliness, forever searching for a place that makes us feel normal, whatever that is…

WCC guest post contributor Tamar Zaken is a social worker, informal educator and writer who lives in Jerusalem. She is the Director of Volunteer Service Learning at Memizrach Shemesh- the Center for Jewish Social Activism  in Israel. She started, a blog about mixed ethnic/racial identity, in order to explore her Kurdish/Hungarian/Jewish/American/Israeli identities, and to create a place for other halfbreeds (however they may define themselves...) to discuss, deliberate, enjoy and celebrate their halfbreed heritage.