Friday, November 26, 2010

Holiday Community Service: Inspirational Teen, Jason O'Neill Gives to Needy Children

Many readers have written me about my Inspiring Teen articles – it is all about good news and how the next generation is making a difference in today’s world.  Jason O’Neill has had a busy year with his first book releasing and his expanding business of Pencil Bugs, but that doesn’t stop him from putting the needs of others first.  Especially children!  Read his note below and please help by donating a Teddy Bear!
Happy Holidays!!!!

Time is running out.  December 4th is the deadline to donate to give teddy bears to kids at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA this Christmas.

Last year, with the help of people around the world, I raised $5,130 which enabled me to buy 1800 teddy bears for the kids.
I was hoping to top that amount this year but we have a long way to go in a short amount of time.  If you are able to donate, every dollar counts.  100% of the money raised goes toward buying the bears.  I use my own money for shipping, PayPal transaction fees, and any other miscellaneous expenses.

With any amount donated, your name will be added to my website fundraiser page.  Thank you to those who helped last year and who have already donated this year.  Everything is appreciated.

Thank you,
Jason O’Neill
15-year-old Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Author

Learn more click here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Avoiding Fraud Both Online and Off

With more consumers at this time of the year, Black Friday and Cyber-Monday approaching, it is a perfect time to remind your adult teens as well as yourself about the high risks of fraud and scams that exist.

Warning Signs:
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  • People, sales reps, online pressure: Anyone or anything that pressures you to act "right away," stop and think.  Do your due diligence - it could save you money and grief at the end.
  • Guarantees of success.  In life there are two main guarantees: Death and taxes.  After that - use caution.
  • Requires an upfront investment, even if it is for a free nothing.  Run, and don't look back.  A perfect example is when an adult will approach a vulunerable teen and tell them they have the look of a model - but they need a portfolio.  Unless they are providing you the necessary means to get one (which could be nearly $1000.00 or more), don't believe it.  If an honest modeling agency wants you - they will pay to get your portfolio completed.
  • Buyers want to overpay you for an item and have you send them the difference.
  • Doesn't have the look or the feel of a real business.
  • Something just doesn't seem or feel right.  Your gut is telling you to run.
Play it Safe:
  • Never click on a link inside an email to visit a website.  Type the address into your brower instead.
  • It's easy for a business to look legitimate online.  If you have doubts, verify the company with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Only 2% of reported identity theft occurs through the mail. Report online fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at
  • Retain your receipts, statements, and packing slips.  Review them for accuracy.
  • Shred confidential documents instead of simply discarding them in the trash.
The FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, works hard to prevent fraud and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid it.  To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Safety matters!

Read more.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Teen Holiday Shopping Tips for Safety

Most teens love hanging out at the mall, and many mother's enjoy their shopping whether it is holiday time or not.  However when it comes to this time of the year, you need to take extra precautions and talk to your teens about using these shopping safety tips.

Holiday Shopping Tips:
  • Map your trip before you leave home. Take note of the contents of your wallet/purse and only carry the credit cards that are necessary for your purchases that day. (Write down your credit card numbers and leave this information in a safe place at home. Having your credit card information will make reporting easier.)
  • If you are shopping with young children (your younger sibling or someone else), invite a friend to join you, go with a family member or hire a babysitter. An extra set of hands and eyes can be extremely helpful, especially in crowded stores.
  • Wear shoes and clothes that allow you to move quickly and easily.
  • Carry a small amount of cash ($10) and, if money is demanded, throw it at the criminal and run.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings.  Remember where you came in and where you parked.  Write down the parking number, since after hours of shopping it is easy to forget where you parked.
  • Always park near overhead lights.  Be cautious of people around you.
Take the time to talk remind your teens of shopping safely!

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Morning Squeeze Video Contest: Get Involved

Many experts agree, a good start in the morning includes breakfast.  Especially for children and teens breakfast is a priority.

Today’s hectic schedules leave Americans with more to do in less time, which creates a balancing act for many families, particularly in the morning. 

According to a new survey, most parents identify with the role of personal assistant or traffic cop in the morning.In fact, more than one-third of those surveyed avoid morning disagreements by letting their children tune out to a TV, computer, cell phone or video game.   However, it is clear that parents want this pattern to change.  Two out of five respondents would go as far as to give up TV for an entire month or stay an hour later at work once a week in exchange for a year of peaceful mornings.

There’s no doubt American families continue to feel the morning squeeze.  While 75 percent of respondents agree mornings are an important part of the day to spend quality time with their children, few realize that it is really about making your interactions more meaningful – not spending more time.

The Morning Squeeze Video Contest:

To inspire families to make the most of their mornings, Florida orange juice has teamed up with celebrity mom and entertainment journalist Nancy O’Dell, who offers a glimpse into the situations her family faces through a series of behind-the-scenes videos on the Florida Orange Juice Facebook page. To show the importance of making daily connections with your family, Nancy is working with Florida orange juice to launch The Morning Squeeze video contest, which encourages parents to submit a video of their own morning challenges for a chance to win a family getaway to Florida.

I understand how challenging it can be to find family time when faced with such hectic schedules,” said Nancy O’Dell.  “That’s why I am partnering with 100 percent Florida orange juice to show parents across the country how a meaningful interaction, no matter how brief, can make a huge impact on everyone’s day.”

To challenge your family to a more meaningful morning and learn more about The Morning Squeeze video contest, visit or the Florida Orange Juice Facebook page.
Get involved as a family.  Chances are very good your teenager is familiar with video taping.  This is a great opportunity to create a project that everyone can take part in.

Learn more about the details of this contest here.

Read more.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Food for Fines: Is your Library Participating?

Do you have overdue library books?  Are those fines mounting and your finances dwindling?  Starting Monday, November 8th thru December, 22nd, you can pay them off with food!

That's right, it's time once again for Food for Fines at St. Johns County Public Libraries System (SJCPLS). From November 8th until December 22nd, bring in your non-perishable, non-expired food items and wipe out $1.00 in fines for each item! Get rid of your fines while  benefiting those in need in our community!

As the holidays approach many people are having lean times, some are without jobs and/or losing their homes.  Food banks need to be replenished and our community needs to come together to help each other.

SJCPLS is also collecting Boxtops to benefit our local school.  You may have seen these on cereal boxes, paper towels, soups and other products, but did you know that each Boxtop earns 10 cents for schools! All branches of the St. Johns County Public Library System will now be collecting Boxtops for Education for schools in their communities. Please help support the education for the kids of St. Johns County by saving Boxtops from these products and simply dropping them off at your SJCPLS branch library.

Community service and family go together.  Get your kids and especially your teens involved in giving back this holiday season.  There are many ways they can help others including volunteering and donating to organizations that assist the homeless or others that are in need.

Giving is what the holidays are about.  Be the example for your children, get involved today.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Support our Troops: Donate Your Halloween Candy

As many are on candy overload this morning, there is a positive direction you can take from this sugar uptake - Krantz Dental Care will pay $2 for each pound of candy brought in ($1 goes to the Feed a Needy Neighbor (FANN) program and $1 goes to the child).

The candy will then be donated to our troops serving overseas.  As the holiday season is officially taking off, start it off by giving back!  Encourage your children and teens to get involved and donate a portion, if not all of their candy to a good cause.

So, bring in your candy and receive GREAT PRIZES:
  • $1 for every pound of candy
  • Free Kids meal from The Red Elephant Pizza and Grill
  • Free entree from Aw Shucks
  • Free exam and x-rays from Krantz Dental Care
Krantz Dental Care will also donate $1 for every pound of candy to the Feed a Needy Neighbor - FANN - program.

Children can also bring in notes with personal messages to the U.S. troops that we will include in the shipment.

Make a difference in your community today!
For more information and dropoff info, contact Krantz Dental Care:
12058 San Jose Blvd
Suite 102
Jacksonville, FL 32223
(904) 880-3131

Ending Halloween on a positive note, and teaching your kids and teens about being a part of their community.

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