Teens struggle to break the cycle of pregnancy and violence

Teen mom Joreena Horris turned to the streets for love because she wasn’t getting love at home. She joined a gang and eventually became pregnant.

“My mother didn’t really guide me … I looked for love and support on the streets,” said the 19-year-old from North Minneapolis. “I tried to fill my life with men, and then I wanted something to love and hold on to so I thought a baby was the best thing.”

Asked directly if she sees a connection between teen pregnancy and violence, the mother of three said no, but when she started talking about her past it became clear that violence had played a big part in her life.

Lonely at lunch

I walked into the lunchroom and sat down at my usual spot, next to Kyle, across from Mr. E, and adjacent to Mr. J. The room smelt terrible, like bad food and kids who wear cheap cologne. I shot a glance at Kyle and gave him a nod. He returned the gesture.

Doing lunch: at Patrick Henry students mix it up

It’s 12:40, yet another day at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, and the bell is just ringing for lunch. We walk into the lunchroom and see groups of kids rush into two lunch lines, anxiously pushing and talking passing the time while waiting to get their food. We see the vast diversity of Minneapolis public schools, the ‘Thugs’, ‘Asians’, ‘Jocks’, and ‘Goths’, but at lunch, it looks like one big mob. We smell a combination of over-cooked food and sweat. Half an hour. That’s it. Thirty minutes to get in line, be pushed around and eat. This is our only break, our only social time.

The misperceptions and realities of high school all come to life in the lunchroom. Our school is half African American a third Asian and 13 percent white and the smaller groups are Hispanic and Native American. There are distinct tables- specific groups of friends that hang out with each other. But at least in this public school we divide more by interests than by race. And when there are fights they usually come from personal dramas- he said-she said- than ethnic tensions.

Looking beyond the label

Stereotypes are everywhere. Blacks are loud. Asians are smart. White boys can’t jump.

In each case, the stereotype generalizes about all members of a group without regard for individual differences. Sociologist Buffy Smith views stereotyping as the seed that grows into prejudice. In this month’s ThreeSixty, she describes why we create stereotypes, the damage they cause and how to resist them.

Portrait of a Soccer Coach: "It's a family matter"

Sharon Swallen may be the Mounds View varsity girls’ soccer coach, but her players know her better as a “mentor, friend, big sister,” and sometimes, even a “mom.”

Blonde and youthful, Swallen is in touch with the fickle psyche of teenagers. She gently nurses a cup of coffee and explains how she manages four kids under the age of seven and an entire gaggle of girls.

“I am highly organized,” Swallen said, “and I really believe in communication. I’m straightforward, honest, and approachable. I work extremely hard and really take pride in our team on and off the field…I couldn’t ask anything of the players I wouldn’t do myself.”

Losing touch -- a broken cell phone leaves teen out of the loop

On a standard Friday evening, I finish up dinner and get ready for a night out. As my curling iron heats up, my make-up palette awaits and my chosen outfit lies on the bed, Nelly Furtado’s ring tone alerts me to a text message. It’s from a close friend who texts everyone on weekends to alert us of plans.

Tonight it’s bowling and then a late-night movie. Sounds good. A minute later, Nelly’s tone rings again, alerting me that my friends are texting to make sure I’m coming and to figure out who’s driving.

Drink Knot

It was like a flag exploding, an electric mesh of red, white, and blue lights reflecting in the rearview mirror. My friend pulled his car over, seatbelts clicked, sweatshirts tossed to hide the evidence- the two cases of beer beside me in the back seat. I imagined I heard the policeman’s footsteps as he approached the car, ballpoint pin clicking ready to write a ticket and perhaps to take us to jail.

Summer 2006 Workshop Articles

Fourteen students from Minnesota high schools spent two weeks in June 2006 at the ThreeSixty summer workshop at the University of St. Thomas. The result: four pages of stories published in the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

Pressured to Play

Back in the spring I was listening to my cousin’s phone conversation with a girl who just told him that she was pregnant by him. Five minutes later, he was on MySpace trying to get a number from another girl.

This got me to thinking, why do so many young men like me and my cousin feel they’ve go to be players and have a lot of girls? And what about the consequences?

Kenny, a 17-year-old senior at Johnson High School in St. Paul, has a steady girlfriend. Still, he finds it easy to get caught up in a player mentality.

“It’s a game, you just gotta play it right,” he said. “It’s like a game to have and hit the most girls without them knowing.”

Former crack user is a sister to 'sisters'

{{“Former crack user is a sister to ‘sisters’”}} by Tiana Daun, Patrick Henry High School

Watching the Moves

Danielle Goodwin is a senior in St. Paul where she is also a student government leader. Her friendships with guys and girls have given her an expansive view of the dynamics of “playing,” including how girls can feed into it. In an interview with ThreeSixty director Lynda McDonnell, Danielle described what she sees going on at school and how it affects girls and guys alike.

Cliques -- place to belong, a way to exclude.

Humboldt Junior High students know exactly {{what cliques their peers belong to.}} Most are groups of friends who share certain interests or activities. But immigrant kids called Fresh Off the Boat speak out about how it hurts to be labelled.

Choosing to Wait

Isiah Dennis has pledged to delay having sex until he is married. Isiah explains his decision.

The Pain of Being Played

Most people go into relationships expecting fulfillment, happiness of some sort, someone to call at the end of the night just to say ‘good night’ to. But the new trend is being in a relationship with a guy who has a few different women calling to say ‘good night.’

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