Monthly Archives: May 2013

Lessons of Akin

Lessons of Akin

1. Do your best & be your best.  Life is not fair but you can still do your best.

2. Laugh & laugh well.  Akin was a quiet witty guy.  He was still really serious but could definitely turn that frown upside down.

3.  Love.  Love.  Love.

4. Don’t be afraid.  We can live in fear, or we can face the fear.  And we will be stronger for it.

5.  Love, love, love.


Happy Birthday Akin! Honoring my cousin Akin’s life & legacy today. A strong, witty, sweet, stubborn, loving, courageous, honorable, & wonderful soul.


Trying to Change Social Norms: Start Strong’s Admirable Efforts to Decrease Violence in Schools

*This blog post was previously written when I worked at The Prevention Researcher on March 14, 2011 while I was in graduate school at the University of Southern California and was asked to analyze a policy for one of my courses.  Changing Norms & School Policy

Exposure to violence in relationships, families, and communities influences children and adolescents.  Adolescent intimate partner violence (IPV) can impede students achieving their academic goals, compromise their physical and mental health, and in extreme cases, result in injury (Schaeffer, Lee, Gallopin, Rosewater, Vollandt, Rosenbluth, et al., n.d.).  IPV touches the lives of every person in the U.S. in one way or another.  There are serious ramifications for adolescent IPV victims that include higher risks for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide and the likelihood that IPV will continue in their adult relationships (National Teen Dating Violence Prevention Initiative, 2006).  Dating in early adolescence often occurs in the context of peer relationships, which often happens in the schools (n.d.).  With 30% of adolescents worrying about their personal physical safety in a relationship, one in four feeling pressured to date, and 14% reporting they would do almost anything to keep a boyfriend or girlfriend, the need for preventive policies have become more apparent (Teen Research Unlimited, 2006).  While it is hard to say exactly how many adolescents have been affected by IPV, there have been projections that approximately 400,000 adolescents have been victim to IPV (Jouriles, Platt, & McDonald, 2009).

Last week our Associate Editor, Colette Kimball, introduced the Start Strong school policy (A School Policy to Increase Student Safety: The Promote Healthy Relationships and Prevent Dating Violence Through Improved School Climate) in her blog post.  The Prevention Researcher was excited to hear about all the progress this initiative has made; we’d like to provide an in depth look at this school policy and the unique approach this policy takes.

The Start Strong school policy takes a preventive approach on establishing a positive social climate, where positive relationships are expected and reinforced by everyone on the school premises (Schaeffer, Lee, Gallopin, Rosewater, Vollandt, Rosenbluth, et al., n.d.).  The authors of this policy believe investing in the prevention of violence requires:  defining and teaching core behavioral expectations and skills utilizing evidence-based curricula; acknowledging and rewarding appropriate behavior (e.g., compliance to school rules, and safe, respectful peer-to-peer interactions); and establishing a consistent continuum of consequences for problem behavior (n.d.).  These requirements are consistent with other existing school-wide interventions, such as School-Wide Positive Behavioral Supports and Positive Youth Development, which aim to improve discipline in schools (Ohser, Bear, Sprague, & Doyle, 2010).


Happy Birthday Alana!

Happy 11th Birthday to one of the most creative, courageous, funny, brave young girls I know.  I love you Alana and I know your mom would be so proud of you.


Sariah, Alana & I

Sariah, Alana & I

Anniversary Reactions

I’ve been trying not to pay attention to the news about Oklahoma’s tornadoes and death; as I feel the pain of the Boston bombings and my own physical reaction to bomb threats on the day of graduation at USC in Los Angeles last week. And then yesterday a friend pointed out that we’ve now passed 15 years since the Thurston High School Shooting (you can see photo and previous post here).  15 years ago.

I spoke with another woman who just over a month ago lost her home, kitties, and belongings to a fire and as I was describing a video of an Oklahoma woman and her dog coming out of the rubble; she explained to me she can’t watch the news at all.  It is just too close to home.  I’d mentioned I’d just found out about it being 15 years since the Thurston shooting and as I stood there staring out the rainy window I could feel her pain, the pain of our community, and our hearts hurting for those in Oklahoma.  The sadness worldwide.  As I left her I said something like, I guess what I’ve learned from my past experiences, is that our community does pull through and generosity overflows.  And so I hang on to that.

I’ve studied anniversary reactions to community tragedies.  Our bodies and minds, often still hold those memories clearly.  And when tragedy strikes again, often we find ourselves back in that space remembering our own terror, sadness, confusion and then we have empathy for others.  The pain connects us as humans; as well as the hope.  So I leave you with my image of hope.  IMGP3815

Lau Family

The trip to California provided me with a plethora of things and one of those was the opportunity to connect with my mom.  A bucket list item of mine, the first trip I have ever taken solo with my mom and something I’m grateful I thought to do and ask for.  Sharing family stories and experiences from earlier days as we made our way south, this time together was rich.  My Aunt Lily (Sister #1 of 6 in my mom’s family) let me pick out some paintings that my Aunt Peggy (Sister #3) had created in her younger years (her painting is on the right).  Today I took some time to add her painting to my Lau corner.  This part of my family has risen from war torn years in China, adapted to life in Hong Kong, and then the United States.  I’m ever so honored Gong-gong and Poh-poh (my grandparents) came to the U.S. to pursue their dreams of education for their daughters, which would eventually help pave the way for me.     IMGP3897

California Road Trip

I made the trek to Los Angeles and back with my Ma for graduation.  What a fantastic time full of family, friends, and fantastic weather.  There was more than 28 hours of total driving with two stops in Sacramento as well as time in Studio City, Pasadena, Upland, as well as Los Angeles.  Here are just a few captures in a very meaningful journey through my birth state.

Path at Aunt Wanda's

Path at Aunt Wanda’s


Aunt Wanda’s front porch 5/16/13


IMGP3885USC Shrine Auditorium Ceiling USC Shrine Auditorium Ceiling Graduation Night 5/17/13

Mother’s Day

Another beautiful day in Eugene & Springfield Oregon. During my afternoon photography project with CeaseFire Oregon, I caught these three photos.


I remember first seeing these flowers 2 or 3 years ago at the Farmers Market. Today, I had a hard time taking my eyes off of them.

With Heart & Soul Million Mom March 5/12/13

While listening to the speeches I caught this unlikely photograph which I love. For me it illustrates the playful youth of all ages, across cultures.


Wishing peace for us all; honoring mothers, motherhood, and mother nature.