Summer Jobs in Forsyth County for Teenagers

Summer Jobs in Forsyth County for Teenagers

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central. Today she is sharing some ideas of summer jobs for teenagers in Forsyth County.

As summer approaches and school begins to make its final stretch towards the finish line, we as teenagers begin to long for more freedom: freedom from classes, responsibilities, and worries. What most of us don’t realize, however, is that everything always comes with a price, and this independence is no different. The price at this point in time, of course, is actual money, and for many of us, therein lies the problem. By now, most of us have been able to scrape by through the use of our parents’ money, allowing us to buy lunch and snacks at school, or maybe even go out with our friends from time to time. Now that we have been graced with privileges like a driver’s license and a car (and we have more time on our hands), I think many of us have come to the conclusion that it’s time to become our own source of income. Maybe we should get our own jobs to pay for our needs and wants.

Of course, there are still some of us who are too stubborn to want to even think about getting off of the couches this summer. For those of us who still need an extra push to get out into the work force, here is a list of opportunities and ideas to pick and choose from!

Fast Food:

One of the most go-to jobs for teenagers nowadays are those in the fast food industry. Not only are these jobs readily available for teenagers (especially around this time of year), but you can also get some free food or discounts from time to time, which always sounds like a good idea. There are, however, certain places with more welcoming environments for teenagers than others. Chick Fil-A, for one, is always up for new, dedicated recruits. And while I may be a little biased here, considering the fact that my first job was in this establishment, this really is a wonderful place to work. On top of being Christ driven, they also pursue the long-lasting effect on their employees that encourages leadership, responsibility, good character, and relationships. Add all of this with a side of fries, and your teenager will be gaining experiences that will help them with future job opportunities, as well as allow them to have the resources for a great summer!

On top of Chick Fil-a, places like Dairy Queen and Zaxby’s are also great restaurants to make their first step into the world of adulthood. Here, your teenager will not only be able to learn the basic mechanics of the industry, but they will also take away necessary communication skills that will allow them to prosper in the years to come.

Lifeguarding:

Another seasonal job opportunity for teenagers is lifeguarding. After all, who doesn’t like to spend their time by the pool? While this job does entail much more than relaxing their days throughout the summer, it will help your teenagers gain responsibility and allow them to take on leadership roles, all while getting a paycheck! Opportunities like this are available through AMS (Aquatic Management Specialists) and the Cumming Aquatic Center.

Grocery Stores:

Another possibility for a summer job is one within particular grocery stores. Whether it be Ingles, Kroger, or Publix, each pride themselves on the high standard to which they hold their employees, building on their character in the process. Because of this, you can rest assured that, should your child work here, they will continue to gain professional attributes, even though they may only be working in a store.

Boutiques:

In almost every shopping center you enter, whether it be the Collection at Forsyth, Vickery Village, or the Outlet Mall –  there is always a new local boutique around every corner. Because most of us are amazed by the stores because we mainly want to spend money there, we often miss the fact that with options continually opening up, job openings tend follow. And if your child is lacking basic skills in the realm of, say, hanging and folding (which I hear are necessary to adult life), this may be the perfect solution! Let’s also not forget the inevitable discounts on amazing clothes!

With this plethora of opportunity just behind our backyard, there should be no issue in finding a job that will specifically suit your teenager’s need for this summer’s activities. Hopefully this list can help point you and your teenager in the right direction for summer!

TIP: We have a post on Facebook where we have shared current job opportunities for teenagers. You can see that conversation, by clicking here. Also, Forsyth County Schools has a listing of job opportunities specifically available to high school students in Forsyth County and they are listed by employment category. Visit the FCS Job Board for more information. 


Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

The Wonders of Writing by Christina LaPlaca

The Wonders of Writing by Christina LaPlaca

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central. Today she is sharing what she learned being an intern for Cumming Local this school year. 

This year, through the wonderful aid of the Honors Mentorship Program, I have had the great pleasure of working closely with Cumming Local, and even been able to write for them as often as I can. While you all may have seen my articles on this website, there has been a whole other part to this experience that took place behind the scenes. Because I was given this opportunity through my interaction in the Honors Mentorship Program, I also have several obligations through the Program, the most important of which is my capstone. This project, an accumulation of everything I’ve done all year, embodies all of the research I have conducted regarding the journalism and all of its inner workings. Because I only post certain articles on this website, I thought that it would be a nice change to let everyone see the final product of what I have worked so hard to accomplish.

Here, you’ll be able to find an online presentation overviewing the entirety of my project:

If you are interested in taking a look at her final capstone online, visit her blog at The Wonders of Writing.


Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

An Interview with Disney On Ice Performer Rhys Anderson

Rhys Anderson

An Interview with Rhys Anderson

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Disney on Ice performer, Rhys Anderson. He skates as Prince Hans, the evil villain in the popular production of Frozen. My kids (ages 4 and 7) helped me come up with the interview questions to ask him. I hope you enjoy!

Because I know you were curious (like me) – his name is pronounced like “Reese.” And he has the nickname is “Reese’s Pieces.”

Also, just as a reminder, Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment will be at Infinite Energy Arena this week! Click here to purchase tickets

Rhys Anderson

At what age did you begin skating? And share any details about this experience. 

I started ice skating at 4 years old. During my first couple of skating lessons, I cried a lot. I started skating because my sister was taking lessons, and since I was already at the rink watching, my mom signed me up.

Do you have any role models that you look up to?

I have four role models that I look up to. They are Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Alexei Yagudin, my father, and grandfather.

What are some of your interests or hobbies outside of ice skating?

I used to bartend and I think its fun to do flair bar tending. I don’t have a signature drink to make. It’s more of a performing act with spinning bottles around and pouring drinks creatively. I also enjoy cycling, snowboarding, watching movies, and PC gaming.

How did you become part of the Disney on Ice Show?

I just decided to send in my audition video online. And I was chosen to be part of Feld Entertainment’s Disney on Ice shows. 

What made you decide to audition?

One of my life goals is to bring creative and innovative skating that connects with the audience emotionally. I love to perform for audiences so it just made sense to audition. I knew it would be a great experience and I’d be given an opportunity to travel all over the world!

How do you like performing as Prince Hans?

Because Frozen has been so popular, that has made this a really fun experience. I have enjoyed being Prince Hans in the performance. 

What does a typical day look like for you when you are on tour?

Well, we are in a new city each week. Every city has unique qualities that I get to experience. On show days, the team gets everything ready for the show. That means we will do a dress rehearsal, exercises, practice on the ice, and spend time warming up before the show. 

What is your favorite city that you done a show in so far?

Man, that is a hard question because I’ve really liked every city I’ve been to so far. But if I had to choose – I’d say it’s a tie between South Africa, England, Manchester, Miami & Vancover. 

What is one message you’d like to share with Cumming Local readers?

Please come out to a show this week!  It will be a great family experience for the parents and kids. Opening night is April 20th at 7:30pm and then we have 6 other showtimes you can get tickets to. Hope to see you there!

More About Rhys Anderson:

Rhys Anderson is from Cobble Hill, B.C., Canada, which is near Victoria, B.C., Canada. At his hometown, he performed at Kerry Park FSC. Rhys has been skating since he was 4 years old. In 2014, he auditioned and join the Disney on Ice team with Feld Entertainment. Here’s a fun fact about Rhys – he always puts his left skate on first.

 

Connect with Disney on Ice online: Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Feld Entertainment: 

Feld Entertainment is the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment experiences that lift the human spirit and create indelible memories, with 30 million people in attendance at its shows each year. Feld Entertainment’s productions have appeared in more than 70 countries on six continents and include Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Feld Motor Sports, Disney On Ice and Disney Live.

 

7 Hidden Gems in Forsyth County

7 Hidden Gems in Forsyth County

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central. Today she is sharing what she believes to be the hidden gems in Forsyth County. I think we all can agree on  her choices! And as a bonus, I (Rachael) added a hidden gem to the list. 

Throughout this wonderful town in which we live, there are places where we can all go to get away and enjoy ourselves. They allow us to escape the hustle and bustle of our normal, everyday lives, even if only for a short while. Whether it be a soft and comfortable coffee shop to relax in, or a fun-filled restaurant to take everyone for a celebration, we all have special places to take our family. But what about the places that we’ve never even heard of? Well, worry no longer. This week, I’ve made it my mission to find all of the most sought after hidden gems of Forsyth County & Cumming, GA so that you and your family are able to fully enjoy this town to its fullest extent.

Marie’s Italian Deli

Located right in the heart of Cumming, Marie’s Italian Deli serves mouthwatering and authentic Italian food, never failing to disappoint anyone who walks through their door. Open for both breakfast and lunch, Marie’s offers a multitude of different options, ranging from breakfast pizzas and pancakes to calzones and Stromboli’s. No matter what time of the day, Marie’s Italian Deli has made it their mission to make sure that every one of their customers is well taken care of and filled to the fullest with delicious, authentic Italian food.

Connect with Marie’s online: Facebook | Website    

Lake Burrito

Serving both lunch and a uniquely-styled Mexican breakfast, Lake Burrito is a restaurant filled to the brim with great food and quality prices. On top of all of that, it also has an astounding atmosphere. The employees are always more than willing to do whatever they can to help make your day better, and the restaurant itself even has a welcoming and calming feel to it. Every customer always knows that the quality of their food is valued as much as their time, and so they are treated with a great amount of respect. At Lake Burrito, you’ll find that everything you need is right at your fingertips, and you’ll leave satisfied every single time.

Connect with Lake Burrito online: Facebook | Website

Baba’s Gyro and Kabob

Sometimes, we all need to spice up our dinner options and venture out of the usual “burger, tacos, and pizza” phenomenon. What better way would there be to do just that than to try out Baba’s Gyro and Kabob? Serving brilliantly prepared Mediterranean food in a comfortable and intimate setting, this restaurant will allow you the opportunity to expand your horizons while also ensuring that you’ll leave satisfied. Don’t judge this gem by the cover! Even though it shares a building with a gas station, you would never know that once you are inside the restaurant.

Connect with Baba’s online: Facebook | Website

Rendezvous Café

A little step away from your usual Starbucks, Rendezvous café is not simply a tasteful coffee shop. It is also a restaurant, highlighting many delicious specials (like Paninis, soups, salads, and pastries), while also having a cozy feel to it. There, you can either sit and have lunch with friends and family, or simply catch up on your work. It’s a great place to get away from the daily stresses life presents us with, and a place in which all of its customers can take a deep breath and relax.

Connect with Rendezvous online: Facebook | Website 

Los Rios

If you’re looking for a worthwhile, lively Mexican restaurant to take your family out to, Los Rios is most certainly a great pick. With its amazing food, low prices, and great customer service – this is a place that should most certainly go in the books. Parents and teenagers alike have both fallen in love with this restaurant; most of my friends have visited as frequently as possible! It’s most certainly the place to go when you and the whole family are craving some Mexican food. I promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Connect with Los Rios online: FacebookWebsite

Ferguson’s Meat Market

 

Even on days when you feel as though you just want to stay home with your family for dinner, Ferguson’s Meat Market is certainly the place to gather whatever it is you want, while still making sure that your meal tastes as good as any other homemade meal! From delicious selections of meat (like steaks, chicken wings and sausages), to savory southern cooked sides, this shop is the perfect place to gather everything you need to make dinner both tasty and memorable. And to make matters even better, their service is nothing short of impeccable.

Connect with Ferguson’s Meat Market online: Facebook | Website

The Chill Hill (An added gem by Rachael)

Tucked away inside of Vickery Village is this little gem – The Chill Hill. At Chill Hill, you can enjoy a delicious dessert out with friends, family, or a date night in the heart of Vickery Village. This summer they are the location of the Outdoor Summer Movies in Cumming, GA.

NEWS: Chill Hill doesn’t charge by the weight of your soft serve anymore! They are NO OFFERING a fixed pricing (small, medium and large) for your soft serve and toppings. As a mom, this is a HUGE WIN!

Connect with The Chill Hill online: Facebook

So whether you’re looking to try something new, or are simply trying to explore our city to its fullest extent, these hidden gems are most certainly wonderful places to begin. Spending time at any one of these locations will guarantee you and your family’s satisfaction, while also acknowledging the significance of these local businesses.


Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

Review of Monster Jam 2017 {The Last Event at GA Dome}

Monster Jam 2017

Monster Jam 2017 at the Georgia Dome

March 5th, 2017 will always be a special day to me and my family. Why, you ask? Because we were able to attend the very LAST event at the Georgia Dome. We said goodbye to the Georgia Dome with dirt, diesel gas,  popcorn, sweets, and MONSTER TRUCKS! That’s right – we attended Monster Jam on Sunday, March 5th at 3:30pm.

Monster Jam 2017

As seen in the photo above, ear protection was a MUST! It’s super loud in the arena with all those trucks. We all wore ear protection and I’m so glad we did! 

I realized a few minutes into the show that I hadn’t been to Monster Jam since I was in college. And I didn’t really remember that particular show because I was too distracted with the handsome guy I was with. This time around I was all into the show. Oh and that handsome guy is now my husband! Both of my kids are BIG Grave Digger fans and they were loving cheering him on. Last month, Finn (age 7) got to interview one of the drivers of Grave Digger. You can see what Finn asked Morgan Kane by clicking here.

Monster Jam 2017

Let’s talk for a minute about the tricks these guys and gals did in the monster trucks. I was amazed at the way they can navigate such a large piece of equipment. At one point of the show, Monster Energy flipped the truck and landed back up after being upside down on the hood. Crazy! The Grave Digger also had quite the spectacle performance during the freestyle competition. Watch this video to see what i’m talking about…

After talking with my family, we believe that Monster Jam is a great date night or family night (or afternoon) out. The show keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Our show lasted 2 1/2 hours with an intermission but it certainly didn’t feel that way. And actually when it was over we said that we could have easily watched more.

Monster Jam 2017

The overall winner of the show we saw was…. Monster Energy

And it was a close competition the whole time. Great job to all the drivers and staff of Monster Jam 2017! We really enjoyed being there for the last event at the Georgia Dome.

See you in 2018 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Monster Jam!

To read more about the history of Monster Jam at Georgia Dome, click here.


Disclosure: We were provided with four tickets to Monster Jam. However, my opinions are 100% my own. 

All Things Prom in Forsyth County

prom in forsyth county

All Things Prom in Forsyth County

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central.

Since we were little girls, we have always dreamed of elegant dresses and handsome princes at the dance; for most of us, it was all that kept us from leaping out of our seats in our fifth grade math class. Once we got to high school, however, we began to notice the tangible lack of actual princes and elegant balls; instead we were exposed to more math, and yes, the dreaded chemistry course; nothing really seemed all that glamorous. What we all eventually came to realize, though, was that there was a way in which all of our dreams and fantasies could come to fruition, even in such a seemingly bland time in our lives: we had Prom to look forward to. Finally, there was a time set aside just for us and our peers to have fun and dance the night away; finally, we could just run with our imagination, even if it was in a more practical way than a royal ball. The breathtaking possibilities that come with prom cross everybody’s mind, leaving us all sitting on the edge of our seats with anticipation. This is especially true for juniors like me who haven’t been able to focus on anything else all year long. We are all ready for Prom to be our own dream come true.

Still, we have to find some way to plan this evening out; no matter how hard we wish, things like this don’t simply fall into place. This is why Cumming Local has put together a list of tips and tricks that will help all of us survive the days leading up to the infamous Prom.

Top three dress styles for 2017:

An issue most young ladies face this prom season is deciding on which style fits their personality the most, while still wowing everyone they see… a combination much easier described than found. With all of the styles, colors, materials, lengths and sizes… I know I personally feel like I’m constantly drowning in an ocean of opportunity every time I look through a catalog. Thank goodness for modern-day trends lighting my path to the perfect dress, otherwise I’d be lost in this madness!

This magnificent, high neck, beaded and sleeveless chiffon (A-line) dress is certainly one of the more elegant ensembles available. While it’s more modest, its long and flowy nature paired with the jeweled top is sure to capture the attention of everyone at the dance while you have the time of your life!

Princess V-neck, long sleeve chiffon dresses (A-line) like this are taking the market by storm! Both conservative and stunning, this dress epitomizes the combination of class and modern style!

This modern, two-piece mermaid dress is captivating the attention of teenage girls across the country! It’s both a stunning and a flattering piece that will help ensure your night to be a great success.

Places to get dresses:

There is, of course, a mild bump in the road that these ladies must also face: how can they possibly find the perfect dress, and where can they even look? They can find amazing deals online without any issue, but most of the time, they always seem too good to be true; even then, the size never seems to quite fit them as well as they had envisioned. Even if they choose to go down the electronic route, they then find ourselves opting out of the sacred prom shopping experience! And yes, I promise it’s a real, fun, activity to have with your friends, family, and of course over-protective dads.

Well, fear no longer! Below are lists of all of the prime shops and stops, located in or around the Cumming area, that are perfect for buying your perfect prom dress and having fun at the same time!

  • Cinderella’s Wardrobe Rental (located at 1465 Dahlonega Hwy Suite 4, Cumming, GA 30040)
  • Bravura Bridal and Prom (located at The Collection at Forsyth, 410 Peachtree Pkwy #376, Cumming, GA 30041)
  • Girli Girl Prom and Pageant (located at 74 E Main St NE, Buford, GA 30518)
  • Treasures Formal and Bridal (located at 7300 North Point Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA 30022)
  • RSVP Prom and Pageant (located at 111 W Crogan St, Lawrenceville, GA 30046)

Places to get tuxes:

And, of course, the men mustn’t be ignored! While this particular time of year may just seem like a season filled with high expectations paired with a semi-expensive dinner, it too can be filled with laughter and excitement! From dancing, to good food, to simply hanging out with your friends, prom can be a night of splendor, even for the guys.

One issue remains at large, however; where can they rent tuxes for this special night? Don’t they have enough to worry about already? When will they even find time to research for a place in which they can browse?

I guess it’s good that we’ve compiled a list for the young men to peruse as well!

  • Jim’s Formal Wear (located in Marietta at 1977 S Cobb Dr #290, Marietta, GA 30060)
  • Tuxedo Warehouse (located at 3345 Hutchinson Rd A, Cumming, GA 30040)
  • JCPenney (located at North Point Mall and the Mall of Georgia)

Places to eat:

Whether you’ve got a date or are flying solo, most of the time, prom-bound teenagers create a larger group of their own. They meet up to take pictures, carpool, and, undeniably, eat a substantial amount of food together before the big night. It’s, of course, common knowledge that before the night truly takes off, both dresses and tuxes alike must be a little snug from dinner. After all, they’ll be dancing like there’s be no tomorrow, so stuffing themselves beforehand is acceptable… right?

At any rate, a nice, tasty dinner is a must. But, because there are so many delectable options around every corner of every street, it may seem difficult to even find a place worthy of our attention. Even if the options are narrowed down, there will most certainly be confrontations regarding the final decision; what will be the best choice for everyone? Well the good news is that no matter where you go, it’s sure to be a restaurant worthy of your imminent satisfaction. From Osaka and Kani House to Longhorn and Texas Roadhouse, the possibilities are endless! And even if you or your group isn’t up for indulging in Japanese restaurants or family steak houses, Italian will never fail! From the classier stores, like Provinos, to a simple pizza joint like Sydney’s Pizza, there’s a fit for everyone.

Even though this is only one night of your teenager’s life, it’s a time in which they can truly let go and have fun with their friends. Hopefully, through this little tips, tricks and guidelines, we have helped turn this prom into even more of an entertaining, magical night.

(Photo Source for Dress Photos – Dress 1 | Dress 2 | Dress 3)


Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here

5 Questions I Asked Clay Elliott of Driven MX Racing

Monster Energy

5 Questions I Asked Clay Elliott

Amsoil Arenacross – February 24th at the Georgia Dome

Monster Energy Supercross – February 25th at the Georgia Dome 

This past week I was given the opportunity to interview Clay Elliott. He manages a team of riders for Amsoil Arenacross. I had a great time talking with him and I look forward to seeing his team race on February 24th at the GA Dome. Click here if you’d like to get tickets!

#1 – How long have you been managing a team?

“I’ve been riding on dirt bikes since I was 4 years old. It runs in my family. My dad grew up racing four-wheelers. At age 11, I won my first Nationals. In 2010, I got my pro-license and 2015 was my last year racing. 2016 was my first year managing a team. I absolutely love what I do!”

#2 – What is the most fun thing you’ve done?

“There are so many fun things that we do. But, I’d have to say that the most fun I’ve had was when we went to a Children’s hospital to hang out with kids. We all signed autographs and loved on the kids. It was a great experience for all.”

#3 – What is the most dangerous or scariest thing you’ve done?

“This one is easy – the most dangerous time is definitely when we are done with training and practicing. We get bored. And then we start playing around on the track. Everyone wants to one-up each other.”

#4 – What do you recommend for kids that are interested in your type of business?

“That is great that you are interested! I would say that the best thing to do is find a local bike ship. Ask them for help in determining what is the best dirt bike for you. Then once you have a bike, you can look into doing pro-rider lessons. For the area of Forsyth County, I would recommend Mountain Motor Sports. Mountain Motor Sports. They have a Roswell location as well as a location at the Mall of GA.”

#5 – What is one thing you’d like to tell Cumming Local readers?

“Dirt bikes are meant to be fun and exciting! Also, watching my team race is a really fun time for the whole family. We have a great show for you coming up on Friday and Saturday, February 24th-25th. I hope you will come out to see us. Also, there will be a pre-show pit party where you can meet the riders before the show and get autographs. For more information on that, click here.”

More Information about Driven Mx Racing:

Owner/Manager– Clay Elliott
Riders – Jared Lesher #13, Chance Blackburn #28, JeramyTaylor #32, Jake Hogan #65, Andy Daggett #140, Wilson Fleming #747
Social Media – Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat – @drivenmxracing
Sponsors – MEPMX, Action Extreme Sports, AXO Racing, Moto Option, Wiseco, ProX, Spectro Oils, Arai Helmets, Hinson Racing, Devol Racing, No Toil, Mika Metals, SRS Suspension, MX Graphics, True Mx, Kenda Tires, Polar Global, Ankle Savers, Moto Seat, Cometic, All Balls Racing, Motion Pro, 4 Arm Strong

 

The Feeling of Being Left Out

left out

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central. Today Christina shares part of her story of the feeling left out and how she is overcoming it daily. Our hope is that this article will encourage you to not give up! 

Sometimes, life just isn’t fair. We go throughout our day, dotting our I’s, crossing our T’s, and tying loose ends up. Somehow, though, nothing in our power can force every piece of the puzzle to fit together; sometimes, things just don’t fall perfectly into place. This truth is especially apparent in the youth of today. Between the towering standards society has built for us and the lack of sleep we are all fatigued by, nothing seems to sort itself out. In the end, we feel as though we can only lean on others, like our friends and family, to make us strong. What happens, though, when we feel abandoned? What happens when our friends don’t invite us places, sit with us at lunch, or even acknowledge us? Sure, most people would simply tell us that they aren’t our real friends, and that we should move on. While they may largely be right, the fact of the matter is, everyone feels left out; everyone feels ignored. Whether you’re a twelve-year-old girl, cowering from friends as you trudge through the halls of your middle school, or you’re a mom coping with your child’s heartbreak, the edge of acceptance, or lack thereof, touches each and every one of our hearts, pushing us to our limits. Even though we know that we should just “let it go”, that mantra is, at its simplest, easier said than done.

Take myself, for example. While I may seem like the girl who has it all put together, the girl that has the world at her feet and can accomplish anything, for most of my life, I’ve felt alone. Even though I’m involved in so many sports and activities, even though I make the grades, even though I seem to have all of the friends in the world: I still feel disregarded and alone sometimes. Maybe it’s because I’m too loud, or too annoying, or even “too Christian”; whatever the case, I’ve been plagued with this whirlwind of stagnation since elementary school, and it does not seem to want to sweep on past me any time soon. I guess that it’s just the way the world works: it’s in our nature to leave others out, whether we realize it or not. I’ve always felt as though I am on the outside looking in, watching as everyone else fits into their societal mold, while in their eyes, I was just a wallflower. Nowadays, I tend to think of this experience as one that God has intentionally and lovingly put me through. It has not only opened my heart to others, so as to help them to feel more accepted, but it has also helped my confidence to grow in strength. Through the years, I’ve found myself putting more faith in Jesus rather than people or fleeting worldly desires. And, while this may seem cliché, these blazing fires that the world has put me through has helped mold me into the person I was truly meant to be.

The real tragedy, though, is that the negativity and depression that accompanied my situation isn’t a rarity. Young men and women all around me feel the same pressures and the same distance. Rather than making connections, they are breaking down within themselves. From the lack of Instagram likes or Snap Chat streaks to the invitation that got “lost” in the mail, everyone feels this panging loneliness. Girls in my youth group or friends at school always share these grievances with me, and frankly, I’m floored. It’s as though no one is immune, and there seems to be no way to stop it. Even the girls who are leaving people out are feeling that same separation that they inflict! It has such an impact, that the mothers of these children don’t even know where to turn to or how to cope with the situations: their babies are hurting.

Even though this issue is one that is so pertinent to almost everyone in our immediate society, it’s also just as difficult to understand. Why do people have to be so rude, so unkind and judgmental? Quite frankly, I don’t have an answer for you. One thing that I can say, though, is to never give in to the hurt that may tower over you. For me, my shining light was The Word that Jesus came to give; it lead me through my dreariest days and brightened the sun on my happiest. Find someone or something that gives you strength, and don’t let the loneliness get to you. And no matter what, know that you are worth much more than the leftover time one person may have to give. In my opinion, the Son of Man died so that you could know Him, so I’d say that makes you pretty worthwhile.

If you are interested in finding a church to call home in Forsyth County, click here to review our church directory. 


Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

 

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

New Year Resolutions {The Teenager Edition}

New Year Resolutions {The Teenager Edition}

The following post is written by Christina LaPlaca, a high school student and part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central.

There’s one thing that always keeps a teenager motivated to push forward, one symbolic plan that helps us feel like we have more control over our lives: our New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you’re a freshman trying to get acclimated to your new school, or a junior hoping to get your grades together before college admission season, this one action at the beginning of the year helps all of us get back on track, propelling each and every one of us forward to finish out the school year with a bang. All we have to do is put the key in the ignition, and start rolling on the highway to change. It, of course, only sounds like the perfect road to take at the beginning. But when we realize that we actually have to work to change our lives, then all we want to do is jerk that car-of-change in reverse. Who needs a tangible life plan anyway? Twitter sounds a whole lot more intriguing…

But wait! I know that’s not how I want to spend the rest of this school year; my plans are worth fighting for! The issue is, though, so many teenagers give up on their resolutions just weeks after they’re made; sometimes, we don’t ever get as far as to come up with them! Well, this year is going to be different. Not only do I have a couple of popular resolutions that teenagers can use, but I also have a couple of ways to keep them!

Healthier Lifestyle

This is one New Year’s Resolution that everyone makes every year. We always promise ourselves that well eat better and run more, but let’s be honest; between school, our homework, and other extra-curricular activities, when would we even have time to plan it all out? That in and of itself seems impossible, so sticking to whatever loosely tied plan we may have come up with always ends with failure. Not to mention, French fries are really good…

There is, however, another solution. This year, for instance, I have made it my personal goal to live healthier. But between my never ending activities, sports, AP classes, and well, sleep, I never thought I would have time to figure anything out. It seemed so hopeless; I almost quit before I even started. What I ended up doing, though, kind of shocked me. I decided to write out a weekly schedule, and I figured out a way to fit my planning time in. Then, all I did was research ways to stay in shape. I even found a personalized meal plan I could revert back to. So far, I’m sticking to my guns!

More Optimism

This year has been a whirlwind of emotional confusion. I know that I can only speak for myself, but I’ve found that almost every teenager just goes through a period in which positivity is a foreign concept. In my case, for example, life just felt like it was slipping between my fingers; I couldn’t get a tangible grasp on anything! Between figuring out how to manage my classes, trying to balance a social life, and basically just finding time to sleep, I’ve been a mess of pure, unadulterated negativity. Because of this, I decided to go above and beyond the normal “resolution standards”. This year, I made not one, but two New Year’s Resolutions. The second was to simply look at the world through a different lens and try and see the best out of every day.

Now I know that everyone always says, “The day is what you make it”, but it wasn’t as simple as that for me. Don’t get me wrong; those words speak a heavy truth. When I was younger, all I had to do was choose to be optimistic, and everything would eventually work itself out. But last year, it seemed like a grey cloud loomed over me wherever I went. This year, though, I decided to take a firm stance on how I viewed the world. If I ever started to feel gloomy or stressed, I forced myself to focus only on the good, beautiful world around me. Even though some days I would end up thinking, “today just isn’t my day”, I found myself remembering that no day was ever mine to claim: every day was a day that The Lord made, so I needed to rejoice and be glad in it. As long as I remembered that verse and focused on everything good and positive in the world, a more optimistic attitude didn’t seem like such an unattainable goal.

Better Grades

Whether you’re a straight A student, or are just barely scraping by, almost all high schoolers want to keep their grades up to par. We always start out the school year by commanding ourselves to study, work hard, and achieve greatness; somehow, though, our plans just seem to fall apart. Once the New Year comes around and the second semester stars, however, we finally realize that we have a class to pass. But, what’s to keep us from abandoning our aspirations yet again? I mean, we do have the report card from the last semester to prove it can happen.

This careless way of thinking, though, is not the way to go about this situation. Everyone falls short of finishing our homework every once in a while, so a couple of mess ups are no excuse to give up. One way that has certainly helped me over the past year is to get a planner. I know, it sounds cheesy and typical, but flooding all of your ideas onto a page not only helps clear out your mind, but also helps give you a clear, written picture of how your planning should go. This way, you can fit in all of your homework, no matter how many other activities you have to do! I know that sitting down and writing a paper may not seem like the best way to end the day, but it has to be done. At least this way, some of that stress may be relieved and you can finally focus.

Work Harder

No matter what it is we are doing in life, we always end up letting ourselves down in one way or another. Whether it be a sport, school, or even obligations to family and friends, we teenagers somehow find ourselves not putting in enough effort. Maybe it’s just a phase that we all are forced to go through, or maybe it’s just plain laziness. Whatever the case, sometimes we just want to start the New Year with a fresh outlook on life, one that includes a particular drive and motivation that we always lack.

One way to keep yourself from giving up on a resolution such as this, is to reward yourself every once in a while. If you complete your task, let yourself celebrate! For example, if you finish your math homework, acknowledge your accomplishment with a coffee with your friends, or give yourself time out to watch your favorite television show. There are endless prizes you could give yourself, all while adding a sense of accomplishment to the mix! 

Figure Out Life

Eventually, each teenager is going to hit a wall of confusion, stress, and complete disorientation. (For some reason, Life decided that it was a good idea to put that in fine print on our job descriptions). Sometimes, our only way to get a solid grip on our surroundings is to just sit down and make a plan. What better time to do that than on New Year’s!

Even if one of the only goals you have is to just figure life out, there’s not much that can go wrong. While life is a lofty, daunting idea, as long as you don’t procrastinate on this one, you can check it off of your list in no time! All you have to do is collect yourself, and think through everything. Once you do that, contemplating life doesn’t seem like too great of a task! One never-failing trick that I use, which always focuses my mind, is to take a deep breath and relax. Take a nice, warm bath; read a book in front of a soft, cozy fire; drink a hot cup of tea. Immerse yourself however you please, and just relax. This way, not matter what challenging task may sit in front of you, you have the wits and strength to figure it out!

Whatever your New Year’s resolutions may be, as long as your motivation keeps powering on and you reward yourself every once in a while, this whole “sticking to your guns” thing doesn’t seem so out of reach. Even though teenagers may be fickle, unsatisfied creatures, through this symbolic plan, we are finally able to feel a sense of contentment. We can finally plow through our resolutions.


Christina LaPlaca is part of the Honors Mentorship Program at Forsyth Central High School. She recently shared some facts about herself. You can read that article here.

To learn more about Christina and our other contributing writers, click here.

Tools for 2017: Ways to Save

Each week on Tuesday for the month of January we are sharing Tools for 2017. This is our last week of the Tools for 2017. We hope that they have been helpful to you! If you’d like to review the other weeks in the Tools for 2017, click here: Week One – Getting Healthy with FitnessWeek Two – Finances, and Week Three – Relax, or Week Four – Getting Healthy with Meals.

This week we are discuss ways to save money!

Coupons Are Great

There are lots (and lots & lots) of couponing and deal websites out there.  It can become incredibly overwhelming.  But here’s my one tip – follow someone local!

The big sites are great – really they are.  And I “like” several of them on Facebook and try to keep up.  But if you’re looking to really save from stores that are actually here in town, I say find a local deal blogger.  And of course I have a recommendation for you – www.CouponsAreGreat.net.

Through this website, Coupons Are Great Leandrea shows you that coupons add up and give you more money to pay for the fun things in life.  As a parent Leandrea learned that toys often go on clearance and decided that if she wasn’t going to pay full price for brand new toys that she wouldn’t pay full price for essentials like toilet paper or toothpaste.

In addition to coupons & deals, she also hosts some really great giveaways, practical crafts & tips, and always has tips on getting products for FREE. You may run in to Leandrea shopping at a local store (yes, with coupons but without a huge coupon binder) or running/biking on the Greenway.

And don’t just take my word for it – over 85,000 people follow her site on Facebook!!

Connect with Leandrea & Coupons Are Great: Like Coupons Are Great on Facebook | Subscribe to Coupons are Great Emails

SWAG Bucks

Join Swagbucks!

I was introduced to SWAG Bucks a few years ago and have loved using it. Basically you give your feedback on short quizzes and you get rewarded with SwagBucks. Then you can use those bucks to purchase gift cards.

Click here to sign up for a FREE account.

CertifiKID

CertifiKID is pretty much like Groupon, Half Off Depot, etc. You sign up for a free account and then you can browse the deals for activities or products in your area. If you find something you like, you just purchase the voucher. I use it all the time for personalized gifts. Super easy to use!

Click here to set up a Certifikid account.

 

Southern Way Insurance

Maybe you need to update your insurance policies for home or auto? Give Craig a call at Southern Way Insurance Agency and he can help you consolidate and possibly save money on your insurance products!

Click here to read some questions I recently asked him about his services.

Connect with Craig at Southern Way: Online | Facebook | Phone: 678.965.4243

Amazon

I gave myself the gift of Amazon Prime at the beginning of last year. It has paid for itself already and more! I love the free two day shipping on anything (as long as it’s labeled “prime”). I also have enjoyed having another way to watch shows and movies.

For more information and to sign up for an Amazon Prime account, click here.

Meal Planning

I heart Eat at Home Cooks weekly meal plans very much! For as little as $1.61 a week (This is the price per week in the 12 month package), you will get a full weeks menu plan and a grocery list. You also get to choose from three types of plans – traditional, slow cooker, or whole foods. It really is a great deal! There are so many benefits to using a meal planner. But my two biggest reasons are – it keeps you from eating out all the time and makes life easier on you!

Click here to take a look at the different meal plan options and sign up today!

Goldstar

Right now Goldstar has discounted tickets to see Shrek, to go to LegoLand, 1/2 price tickets to Falcons games, and so much more! If you don’t have a free account – you will want to set this up. I never pay full price for tickets anymore since I got a Goldstar account.

Click here to sign up for an account

Online Grocery Shopping

This is a new one for me. But I have been using the online options for groceries the last month. And I can’t believe how much money I have saved. Ordering online is making me very disciplined to only purchase items on my list. I don’t see anything else on the aisles and that has helped. You should try it for yourself!

Click here to see the pros and cons of both grocery pickup options in Cumming GA

Don’t Miss Cumming Local News

We are always sharing great deals on CummingLocal.com. And the best way to make sure you don’t miss them is by subscribing to our weekly newsletter. If you depend on getting your news from Cumming Local on social media, you will miss some posts. Learn why in this article we published a few months ago, click here. In that article I do make some suggestions on how to change your settings so you don’t miss as much.

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