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Press, Awards, and Buzz

Stage of Life in the PressLook Who's Talking About Stage of Life®

Because Stage of Life® is a global writing community looking to change the world, the real-world issues being talked about by our contributors has attracted the attention of the press, especially in regards to the student bloggers participating in our monthly writing contests.  We are excited to provide bloggers, writers, and regular people a forum that is attracting attention for our mission to make the world a better place...one story at a time.  

PRESS MENTIONS...

 Student blogger mentioned on TIME.com  StageofLife.com and student blogging and SocialTimes.com  MarketWatch mention
Stage of Life Teen Trends quoted by eMarketer
FoxBusiness quotes Stage of Life on etiquette
Stage of Life teen essays featured on Mint Education
 Tech Goes Strong shares StageofLife.com teen blogging initiative  Keystone Edge feature
 StageofLife.com digital story telling and Teach.com mention
StageofLife.com mentioned on Mashable

and more...

Media Attention & Press Releases

Teen Blogging Lesson Plan

Curriculum and Lesson Plans About Teen Blogging Released by High School Writing Community StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Aug. 31, 2014

Teen blogging community, StageofLife.com, releases its "Be The Change - Teen Blogging Research Project" for teachers and parents to use during the 2014-2015 school year. The 35-page blogging lesson plan for high school students provides a road map for educators to help teenagers create a positive change in their world through blogging.

View the Be The Change Preview Document...

Lesson Plan for Teen Blogging
Statistics about Teen YouTube Usage

1 Out of 2 Teens Have Uploaded a Video to YouTube Reports Teen Writing Community StageofLife.com via Its Monthly Writing Contest and Student Poll

(PRWEB) Aug. 31, 2014

In an effort to understand the relationship between YouTube and teenagers, international blogging community, StageofLife.com, asked over 4,700 junior high, high school, and college students questions about YouTube's impact on their world as part of its writing contest and teen poll. Statistics about teens and YouTube were announced along with the essay finalists.

View the Trend Report on Teens and YouTube...

Teens and YouTube Statistics

Read the national press release:
Teen press release - statistics about teens and YouTube
High School Graduation Statistics

41.7% of Teens Know Someone Who Dropped out of High School, Reports Teen Blogging Community StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Aug. 30, 2014

Teen blogging website, StageofLife.com, asked over 4,400 junior high, high school, and college students questions about the importance of graduation as part of its international writing contest and teen trend report. Statistics about teens and their thoughts on high school and college graduation were announced along with the writing contest essay finalists.

View the Trend Report on Teens and Graduation Statistics and the Best Graduation Speeches...

Best Graduation Speeches and Statistics

Read the national press release:
Teen press release - high school graduation statistics
Teens and Prom Statistics

More Than 1 Out of 3 Teenagers Have Not Told Their Parents About Their Current Relationship, Reports Teen Blogging Community StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) May 30, 2014

Teen blogging community, StageofLife.com, asked over 4,900 junior high, high school, and college students questions about love, relationships, and prom as part of its international writing contest and teen poll. New statistics about teens, prom, and their relationships were announced along with the essay finalists.

View the Trend Report on Teens and Prom...

Teens and Prom

Read the national press release:
Teen press release - prom statistics
StageofLife.com Visitor Traffic

Online Blogging Community Startup, StageofLife.com, Grows Visitor Traffic 30%

(PRWEB) April 30, 2014

Online startup, StageofLife.com, grew its unique user website traffic by 30% in Q1. The award-winning educational online blogging community welcomed 154,463 unique users Jan - March of 2014 verses 118,013 during same period in 2013.

Read the national press release:
Teen press release
Teens and Mental Illness

86% of Teenagers Know Someone Who Suffers from a Mental Illness, Reports Stageoflife.com

(PRWEB) April 30, 2014

Teen blogging community, StageofLife.com, polled over 5,100 junior high, high school, and college students about mental illness as part of its international writing contest that asked the question, “How has mental illness impacted your life?” New statistics about teens and mental illness were announced along with 12 essay finalists..

View the Trend Report on Teens and Mental Illness...

Teens and Mental Illness

Read the national press release:
Teen press release
Teens and the Olympic Spirit

One Out of Four Teens Tweeted or Created a Facebook Post About the 2014 Sochi Winter Games Reports StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) March 31, 2014

Social media usage by teenagers following or talking about the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games on Twitter or Facebook touched 27% of all high school and college students. Over 5,300 junior high, high school, and college students visited the teen blogging website, StageofLife.com, to view its writing contest and answer the teen trend survey about the Olympic Spirit.

View the Trend Report on Teens and the Olympics...

Teens and the Olympics

Read the national press release:
Teen press release
Published Authors Sign Books for StageofLife.com

Teen Writing Contest About Mental Health Issues Gets Support From Published Authors Donating Autographed Books Reports StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) March 27, 2014

Eleven published authors are donating autographed copies of their books or novels dealing with mental health issues to the teen and adult winners of the "March Madness" writing contest sponsored by writing community StageofLife.com

Teen Writing Contests

Read the national press release:
Press Release
Teen Trend Report - Teens & the New Year

88% of Teens Feel They Have the Power to Make a Difference in the World Reports StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Feb. 28, 2014

StageofLife.com released the results of its latest teen trend report and writing contest about the hopes and fears of the 21st century teenager. Over 7,600 junior high, high school, and college students visited the online writing community to view its writing contest and answer the survey and essay prompt about New Year’s resolutions and making a difference in the world.

View the Trend Report on Teens and the New Year...

Open Letter - Teen Hopes & Fears

Read the national press release:
Teen trend report press release
Our Teen Statistics Quoted

StageofLife.com Cited in eMarketer Report

Feb. 11, 2014

As one of the leading teen trend sources, StageofLife.com helped supply data and statistics on today's teenagers for eMarketer's cutting edge report, US TEENS - Sizing Up the Selfie-Expressive Generation.  The report cites several of StageofLife.com's teen studies.

US Teens - Sizing Up the Selfie-Expressive Generation
Reaching Startup Milestone

Blogging Community StageofLife.com Welcomes One Millionth Visitor and 25,000th Post

(PRWEB) Jan. 31, 2014

With its growing base of teen, college, teacher, and parent users, writing and blogging community StageofLife.com announces its 1,000,000th visitor.

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release
Etiquette & Civility Statistics

92% of Teens Say Social Media is Creating a Less Civil Society, Reports StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Jan. 31, 2013

Blogging community, StageofLife.com, released its 40th teen trend report this month about etiquette, civility, and manners of the 21st century teenager. Over 5,500 junior high, high school, and college students visited the blogging portal to view its national writing contest and answer the survey regarding the etiquette habits of today's teens.

View the Trend Report on Teens and Civility...

Teen Etiquette

Read the national press release:
Teen etiquette press release
Teen Shopping Statistics

Teen Shopping Habits and Statistics Released by StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Dec. 31, 2013

Teen blogging community, StageofLife.com, released its trend report about the shopping habits of teenagers. Over 7,215 junior high, high school, and college students visited the site to view the national writing contest and answer the survey regarding the topic of consumerism the shopping behaviors of the 21st century teen.

View the Trend Report on the Shopping Behaviors of Today's Teens...

Teen Shopping Trends

Read the national press release:
Teen shopping statistics press release
Goal Setting Resources

2014 Goal Setting Resource For All Ages Released by StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Dec. 31, 2013

StageofLife.com, an online writing community best known for its national teen trend reports and monthly writing contests, released a multi-generational goal setting worksheet. The 10 step worksheet guides people with setting personal and professional goals..

View Goal Setting Worksheet...

Goal Setting Worksheet

Read the national press release:
Goal Setting press release
Parent & Educator Resources

10 Tips For Creating Stronger Student Writers Released by International Writing Community StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Nov. 30, 2013

From writing contests to journals to mentor texts, StageofLife.com releases its 10 tips to create a writing-centric English and Language Arts classroom. The writing resources on the site help over half a million teens, college students and teachers improve their writing.

View the full 10 Tips for Creating Stronger Writers...

Tips for Creating Stronger Writers

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release
What Scares Teens?

National Teen Writing Contests Reveal High School and College Students Fear Miley Cyrus More Than ObamaCare, Reports StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Nov. 29, 2013

Through its monthly, international writing contests, StageofLife.com releases its latest teen trend report about what scares the 21st century teenager. Over 8,100 junior high, high school, and college students visited the site to view the writing contests and survey about teens and their fears.

View the StageofLife.com Teen Trend Report on "What Scares Teens":

What Scares Teens?

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release
Recommended Young Adult Books

Young Adult Book Recommendations Dealing with Real Life Teen Issues Announced by StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Oct. 31, 2013

Student blogging community, StageofLife.com, released its first list of recommended Young Adult books tied to issues and challenges relating to teenagers. The newly featured list of YA Novels and Memoirs are part of Stage of Life's Teen Challenges initiative to encourage more teens to read and write outside of the classroom.

View StageofLife.com's full list of Recommended YA Books:

Recommended List of Young Adult Books

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release
Teens and Goal Setting

Teen Statistics about Goal Setting Released by StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Oct. 31, 2013

StageofLife.com released its monthly trend report centered around the topic of how teens approach goal setting. 500+ high school students from across the US participated in the national survey and hundreds submitted a personal essay about a goal they succeeded or failed at accomplishing.



View StageofLife.com's Teens and Goal Setting Trend Report:

StageofLife.com - Goal Setting for Teens

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release
New Educational Resources

“Notes to the Teacher” Writing Resource Tips Launch on StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Sept. 27th, 2013

Teen writing resource, StageofLife.com, launched its latest educational component this week – Notes to the Teacher. With over 400,000 high school and college students visiting the start-up website each school year, the teen writing platform has geared up various tips to help teachers integrate its writing prompts and content into the classroom.

View StageofLife.com's Notes to the Teacher Introduction:

StageofLife.com's Notes to the Teacher

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release
Moments of Awesomeness

Teen Writers Celebrate Life with the “Moments of Awesomeness” Blogging Contest on StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Sept. 26th, 2013

Over 6,200 junior high, high school, and college students visited StageofLife.com to share personal stories about the “most awesome moment” in their lives. It was part of the national “Moments of Awesomeness” writing and blogging contest hosted by the educational start-up which has a mission to help make the world a better place through storytelling.



View StageofLife.com's Moments of Awesomeness Teen Trend Report:

StageofLife.com's Teen Trend Report - Moments of Awesomeness

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release on teen trends
Trends on Millennials

StageofLife.com Releases 35th Consecutive Monthly Report on Teen Trends

(PRWEB) Aug. 30th, 2013

Over 400,000 teens and college students visit StageofLife.com each school year to read, blog, and participate in the monthly surveys and essay contests sponsored by the educational writing resource. From these visits, the site has produced its 35th monthly teen trends report.

View the StageofLife.com Teen Trend Reports:

StageofLife.com's Teen Trend Reports

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release on teen trends
Teen Trend Report - Teens and Patriotism

1 Out of 3 Teens Feel Edward Snowden is a "Patriot" Reports StageofLife.com

(PRWEB) Aug. 30th, 2013

High school and college students visited StageofLife.com last month to read and share their views about "patriotism" as the teen blogging community asked the question, “What does it mean to love your country?” Statistics and original essays about patriotism are released in this exclusive Teen Trent Report.

View StageofLife.com's Patriotism Teen Trend Report:

StageofLife.com's Teen Trend Report - Patriotism

Read the national press release:
StageofLife.com press release on teen trends
Educational Resources - Homeschooling Resources

Homeschooling Writing Resources for Teens Launches on StageofLife.com

Teens and their parents are now able to use new writing resources, writing contests, and other literacy materials developed by StageofLife.com for the homeschooling community.

York, PA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

StageofLife.com, a student blogging website and literacy initiative, launched its newest educational resource last week – Homeschool Writing Resources. This new section of educational content was created to help families find innovative blogging resources for teens, and it stemmed from Stage of Life's growing population of homeschool users.

View StageofLife.com's Homeschooling Resources:
StageofLife.com's Homeschooling resources

Read the Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release on homeschooling resources
Teen Trend Report - Teens and Summer

75% of High School Bloggers Will Volunteer This Summer Reports StageofLife.com

Writing resource, StageofLife.com, releases its latest teen trend report. Over 6,200 teenagers visited the national teen poll and monthly writing contest asking students about their summer plans.

York, PA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

With the summer of 2013 in full swing, StageofLife.com, a blogging community and writing resource for teenagers, wanted to understand how high school and college students were planning to spend the summer.

View StageofLife.com's Teens and Summer Teen Trend Report:
StageofLife.com's teens and summer teen trend report

Read the Teens and Summer Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release on teens and summer
10,000 Contributing Bloggers

Online Writing Resource, StageofLife.com, Adds 10,000th Contributing Blogger

The 10,000th blogger joined the multi-generational literacy and educational writing resource, StageofLife.com, as Millennials, Gen X'ers and Baby Boomers share their stories to make the world a better place.

York, PA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

StageofLife.com, an educational and writing resource for students, high school teachers, and bloggers of all ages, from teens to Baby Boomers, welcomed its 10,000th member last week.

Become a part of our growing community. Share your story:
stageoflife.com share your story

Read the Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release on moments of awesomeness
Moments of Awesomeness

Call for Submissions – “Moments of Awesomeness” Campaign Launches on StageofLife.com

Starting August 1st, 2013, StageofLife.com is accepting stories, photos, and Tweets from teens to Baby Boomers to share their “Moments of Awesomeness" as the website celebrates the best life has to offer.

York, PA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

Throughout the month of August 2013, StageofLife.com, an international blogging and writing community, will ask people to celebrate the best moments of their lives and to then share that news with the world through its new "Moments of Awesomeness" campaign.

View StageofLife.com's Moments of Awesomeness details page:
StageofLife.com's Moments of Awesomeness page

Read the Moments of Awesomeness Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release on moments of awesomeness
Social Media Presence

Education Start-Up StageofLife.com Beefs Up Its Youth Marketing Strategy by Adding 8th Social Media Account

Online teen blogging portal, StageofLife.com, is now maintaining and growing eight different social media accounts as it keeps pace with the hundreds of thousands of teenagers and college students reading and writing on the website. 

York, PA (PRWEB) June 30, 2013

In an effort to keep pace with its growing student user base, StageofLife.com, a teen blogging website and start-up company, added its eighth social media account. As society welcomes generation growing up with advanced technology, more and more small businesses like StageofLife.com must take full advantage of the benefits of social media platforms to drive youth engagement with their brands.

View StageofLife.com's Social Media outlets:
StageofLife.com's twitterStageofLife.com's facebookStageofLife.com's instagram

Read the Social Media Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release on social media
Teen Trend Report — Teens and News

Gay Marriage, Gun Control, and North Korea Top List as Most Important News Stories to Teenagers According to StageofLife.com National Student Poll

Teens and the News: Over 6,000 junior high, high school, and college students from across the United States visited StageofLife.com to view the national poll asking students about how they consume news and which news stories are most important to them.

York, PA (PRWEB) June 30, 2013

In an effort to better understand which news stories resonate with today's teenagers, StageofLife.com, a blogging community focused on literary and free educational resources, asked students from across the country the question, “What national or international news story do you think more teens and college students should care about, and why?

View StageofLife.com's Teens and News Teen Trend Report:
StageofLife.com's Teens and News Teen trend report

Read the Teens and News Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release on teens and news
Education Resource – Word of the Day

Word of the Day Writing Campaign Launches on StageofLife.com

Online writing resource, StageofLife.com, introduces its "Word of the Day" campaign as its latest educational resource for the 2013-2014 school year to help encourage more teenagers to write outside of the classroom.

York, PA (PRWEB) June 28, 2013

Starting July 1, 2013, StageofLife.com, an education start-up and teen blogging community, will officially launch its latest educational campaign for the 2013 - 2014 school year. The initiative is entitled "Word of the Day," and it’s a daily writing exercise for the quarter of a million teenagers, college students, bloggers, parents, and educators visiting StageofLife.com to find and participate in inspirational writing activities.

View StageofLife.com's Word of the Day:
StageofLife.com's Word of the Day

Read the Word of the Day Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release on Word of the day
Teen Trend Report – Gun Debate Mini Documentary

Mini-Documentary on Teens and Guns Released by StageofLife.com

After gathering poll data and personal essays from students across the country, StageofLife.com releases its first mini-documentary on the subject of teens and guns.

York, PA (PRWEB) June 28, 2013

StageofLife.com, a blogging community for teens, released its first Mini-Documentary created from the data collected in its monthly teen trend reports. The topic for the opening release of the short video was on the subject of teens and guns.

View StageofLife.com's Teens and Guns Mini Documentary:
StageofLife.com's Teens and Guns mini documentary

Read the Teens and Guns Mini Documentary Press Release:
teens and guns mini documentary press release
Interview

Audio Interview with Stage of Life CEO, Eric Thiegs

Interview from May 22, 2013 

StageofLife.com's CEO, Eric Thiegs, was interviewed by SuperChangeYourLife.com.

Listen to the interview with StageofLife.com's CEO:
StageofLife.com's Photo Contest
National Contests - Photo Contest

International Photo Contest Starts June 1 on StageofLife.com

Photo Contest- StageofLife.com the award-winning blogging start-up is taking its literacy initiatives "visual" with a new photo contest using Instragram.

York, PA (PRWEB) May 31, 2013

StageofLife.com, an educational and writing resource for high school teachers, students, and bloggers launches a photo contest.

Enter StageofLife.com's Photo Contest:
StageofLife.com's Photo Contest

Read the Photo Contest Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  photo contest
Education Resources - Writing Resources

High School Language Arts Teachers and Home Schooling Parents Receive Writing Resources to Support Curriculum Development for Teen Blogging Using StageofLife.com

Writing Resources: StageofLife.com announces the launch of its writing resource section to support educators and parents looking for writing prompts, writing contests, classroom posters, mentor texts, lesson plans about blogging, and other student writing and blogging resources
.


York, PA (PRWEB) May 31, 2013

StageofLife.com, an educational and writing resource for high school teachers, students, and bloggers discusses their writing resources.

View StageofLife.com's Writing Resources:
StageofLife.com's Writing Resources

Read the Writing Resources Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  writing resources
Teen Trend Report - No Fear

66% of Teenagers are Afraid of Life After Graduation per Latest StageofLife.com Teen Trends Report

Teen Trends - StageofLife.com polled teenagers and college students on their fears dealing with topics such as money, academic performance, bullying, peer pressure, suicide, family, and life after high school or college.

York, PA (PRWEB) May 31, 2013

StageofLife.com, an educational and writing resource for high school teachers, students, and bloggers discusses their newest Teen Trend Report.

View StageofLife.com's No Fear trend report:
StageofLife.com's Teen Trend Report

Read the No Fear Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  No Fear
StageofLife.com Goes Mobile

Creative Writing Goes Mobile as StageofLife.com Launches its Mobile Storytelling Website for Teens and Baby Boomers to Share Their Life Experiences

Educational start-up, StageofLife.com, announces the launch of its mobile storytelling website, which allows students, teachers, writers, bloggers, and anyone with a story to tell to share their wisdom and life experiences with the world via any smart phone.

York, PA (PRWEB) April 30, 2013

StageofLife.com, an educational and writing resource for high school teachers, students, and bloggers launches a mobile version of their website.

Read the Mobile Site Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  Mobile Website
Education Resources - Library Resources and Information

StageofLife.com Launches Library Resources Section as Latest Educational Benefit

Literacy and education resource, StageofLife.com, introduced its new library resources section in an effort to encourage more teens and college students to utilize their local libraries. 

York, PA (PRWEB) April 30, 2013

StageofLife.com, an educational and writing resource for high school teachers, students, and bloggers launched a new Library Resources section of their website.

View StageofLife.com's Library Resources:
StageofLife.com's Library Resources

Read the Library Resource Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  Library Resources
Writing Contest - Short Short Story

Writing Resource StageofLife.com Witnesses 238% Growth in Twitter Followers After Launching “Short Short Story” Writing Contest

StageofLife.com witnesses substantial social media growth after the launch of its new writing resource - a national writing contest using Twitter.

York, PA (PRWEB) Mar. 31, 2013

StageofLife.com, an educational and writing resource for high school teachers, students, and bloggers rolled out a new monthly writing contest using Twitter.

Enter StageofLife.com's Short Short Story contest:
Short Short Story

Read the Short Short Story Writing Contest Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  Short Short Story
Wrting Resource - 10 Tips for Bloggers

Writing Resource StageofLife.com Offers 10 Tips For Bloggers

Top 10 Blogging Tips: With over 10,000 contributing blogging members, StageofLife.com, a blogging resource, shares 10 quick tips that writers should consider before starting a blog.

York, PA (PRWEB) Mar. 31, 2013

In talking and working with thousands of bloggers as one of the largest, multi-generational, writing communities in the world, StageofLife.com complied 10 tips that every blogger should consider before starting a blog. This blogging resource is intended to help writers improve the quality of their blog and gain more traffic and readers.

Read StageofLife.com 10 Tips for Bloggers:
10 Tips for Bloggers

Read the Tips for Bloggers Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  10 Tips for Bloggers
Trend Report - Teens and TV

StageofLife.com Reports 67% of Teens Have a TV Show They Just Can't Miss

Teens and TV: StageofLife.com, a national literacy and writing initiative, surveyed thousands of teens and college students on their TV viewing habits and favorite TV shows.

York, PA (PRWEB) Mar. 30, 2013

In an effort to better understand how teenagers watch TV in today's media-rich environment, and to discover which shows resonate with today's high school and college teen generation (Generation Z), StageofLife.com, a free educational resource and online community, asked student bloggers the question, “What TV Show Can't You Stop Watching?” for its most recent national writing prompt and survey.



500 students fully completed the teen TV viewing habit survey and over 100 submitted a personal essay about their favorite TV show .

Read StageofLife.com Trend Report on Teens and TV:
Teens and TV

Read the Teens and TV Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  Teens and TV
Teen Trend Report - Gun Debate

Teens and Guns - National Survey Results Released by StageofLife.com

In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, StageofLife.com polled teens from across the United States regarding their views on the 2nd Amendment, current gun laws, school security, mental health services, the media, and other important aspects of the gun debate.s.

York, PA (PRWEB) Feb. 28, 2013

In an effort to better understand how teenagers feel about guns, StageofLife.com, an educational resource and blogging community for teens and college students, asked over 7,000 students and teen bloggers the question, “Where do we go after the Newtown school shooting?” for its most recent national writing prompt.

600 students fully completed the gun survey and over 350 submitted a personal essay on the gun debate issue.

Read StageofLife.com Trend Report on Teens and the Guns Debate:
Teens and Guns

Read the Teens and Guns Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  Teens and Guns
Teen Trend Report - Body Image and Making a Change

Teen Body Image Survey Results Released by StageofLife.com

Teens and Body Image: StageofLife.com releases its national trend report on how teens view their bodies, the media's impact on their body image, and how they can make a positive change in 2013, both in terms of their body image and other aspects of their lives.

York, PA (PRWEB) Jan. 31, 2013

Many American teenagers struggle with increasing waistlines. In an effort to better understand how teenagers feel about their body image, StageofLife.com, a blogging community for teens and college students, asked young adults to participate in its national teen body image survey and “Be the Change” writing contest.

Read Teen Trend Report on Body Image:
Teens and Body Image

Read the Body Image Press Release:
StageofLife.com press release:  Teens and Body Image
Teen Trend Report - Literacy and Reading Habits

StageofLife.com Announces Results on Teen Reading Habits

Teens, Books, and Literacy: StageofLife.com releases its national trend report on teen reading habits and student book buying behavior. As a part of the report, high school and college students share how their favorite books positively impacted their lives... and in many cases saved them.

York, PA (PRWEB) December 31, 2012

In an effort to better understand the reading habits of teens and the positive impact of reading in a teenager's life, StageofLife.com, a writing community for teens and college students, asked young adults from across the US to participate in its “Books and Teens” survey and writing contest.

8,500+ people visited StageofLife.com during the monthly survey and writing prompt with 400+ students completing the national literacy poll, and over 155 students submitting a personal essay nominating how their favorite book made a positive impression in their lives.

Highlighted teen statistics from the survey include:
  • 34% of teens see their mothers reading more than their fathers, compared to just over 12% of teens who see their dads reading more. Nearly 30% of teens rarely see either of their parents reading
  • 29.4% of teens use an eReader (Kindle, Nook, etc.) and 13.5% say they read on their mobile phones
  • The majority of teens (63.5%) buy printed books from big brand brick & mortar stores like Barnes & Noble
  • 40.2% of teens have purchased a book online from web retailers like Amazon.com
  • 1 out of 2 teens will buy an average of 2 books spending anywhere from $10 to $20 per month on books
  • 3 out of 4 teens had a parent, teacher, church leader or other adult recommend or give an inspirational book to them in the last year

After taking the survey, students submitted an essay about their favorite book to the StageofLife.com writing contest. From the qualifying submissions, several themes emerged:

1) Inspiration: Many teens felt moved, bettered, and inspired by their chosen books.

2) Life-Saving: A surprising number of teens admitted that their book choice saved their lives as books acted as guides or crutches for support during particularly harsh moments.

3) Educational Resource: Some teens praised books for helping them fine-tune and hone in on their writing skills. Reading books is a great way to discover what kind of writer you are: in terms of narration, dialogue, and plot.

4) Life Lessons: Many teens commented on the important life lesson they learned from their books: of life, death, kindness, and charity. These books taught them to be stronger and better people.

The 1st place essay, Catcher in the Rye Helped Me Realize That Innocence is Sacred, was submitted by Annika La Vina, a student at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Maryland.

In her essay, La Vina shared, “My innocence was slowly fading. I would talk behind my friends’ backs. I’d smile at one person one minute and then trash them the next...I was fake, mean, and phony. My life had been taken over by the idea of growing up that I didn't realize that I actually was, but not in the way that I wanted to.”

StageofLife.com's Teens and Books writing contest drew attention and social media support from published authors like Judy Christie and Deb Calatti, both of whom had essays submitted about their works. In response to the essay on her book, "Wreath," Christie said, “An author dreams of a response like that when she writes a novel.”

All of the personal essays and statistics from the literacy survey are found at http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandBooks.aspx.

StageofLife.com also recently launched a fundraising campaign for the development of the first collaborative storytelling mobile gameWriting Race™. Anyone can make a donation to support the literacy project at Kickstarter.com.

StageofLife.com was founded in 2009 with a literacy mission to encourage life-long readers and writers through a blogging community designed for all generations, from teens to Baby Boomers. With over a quarter of a million visitors each year and 5+ million uploaded words, it is becoming the world's largest collection of multi-generational stories.

The site features free educational resources ranging from writing contests, free blog resources, Language Arts lesson plans about blogging, writing prompts, and more.

Contact CEO and Founder, Eric Thiegs, at contact(at)stageoflife(dot)com
CollegeMagazine.com interview

"What's on your Desk?"

Stage of Life CEO interviewed by College Magazine.


Dec. 17, 2012

CollegeMagazine.com interviewed StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, about the items on his desk.  Writer and Emerson College student, Justina Tran, conducted the interview as she and Thiegs discussed everything from desk clutter to tips on staying organized to the necessary items for success.

To read the full article by CollegeMagazine.com...

College Magazine
Pre-Teen Blogging in JA BizTown

Junior Achievement of South Central PA Launches Pre-Teen Digital Literacy News Blog

StageofLife.com and the Junior Achievement of South Central PA team up to replace the JA BizTown newspaper with "BizNet News," a student-run news blog platform.

York, PA (PRWEB) November 30, 2012

Junior Achievement (JA) of South Central PA, StageofLife.com, and Affinigent, Inc. joined forces to launch “BizNet News” - a student run news blog to replace the paper format previously used by schools when participating in JA BizTown, the experimental educational program that enables students to learn economic concepts in an interactive, hands-on environment.

StageofLife.com, an educational blogging community, approached its local chapter of the financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship non-profit, Junior Achievement, with an idea to build a customized news blog platform for JA to utilize in its BizTown sessions to help bridge the gap between traditional media formats (newspapers or newsletters) and new-media channels (blogs and social media).

Eric Thiegs, CEO of StageofLife.com, said, “With newspapers and other forms of traditional print media in flux, more people are getting their news online from blogs like the HuffingtonPost.com or the DrudgeReport.com. It will become crucial that students in today’s digital world be prepared to utilize, read, access, and understand the world of blogging and blog news-environments as they will become the next users of that media format.”

Junior Achievement Director and head of the BizTown experience, Heidi Potter, was intrigued by the idea and started working with StageofLife.com on the custom news blog concept over the course of six months, eventually naming their platform, BizNet News.

“We had limitations with our old newsletter software. We wanted to take our BizTown 'newspaper' and turn it into something interactive, modern, and digital. It was time for a technical upgrade,” said Potter.

For implementation and design, StageofLife.com pulled in web development partner, Affinigent Inc. of York, PA, to customize the BizNet News blog environment with features that include:
  • --News story posts using a blog-format with unlimited word count and photo posts within the story
  • --Streamlined BizTown business ad listings that take the shape of more internet-friendly advertising concepts
  • --“Shout-Outs” that combine aspects of social media with business ad listings
  • --Junior Achievement corporate sponsorship placements
  • --Pre-work upload options for teachers or JA Staff
  • --Customized news blog for each individual BizTown school session
  • --“Comments” field that allows for students, parents and educators to continue interacting with the BizTown experience through the Biz Net News portal after the actual BizTown session is complete
  • --Real-world practice of students using a web-based news blog interface to write, upload and publish stories and articles

After the platform was built, Affinigent, Inc. CEO, Don Bishop, shared, “We focused on two goals during our design. 1) We wanted to make it easy for the students to use and 2) we wanted the blog platform to have the ability to grow.”

Several York County, PA and Lancaster County, PA school districts were first to trial the new blog platform during its launch this fall. In one case, after its BizTown experience was over and the students returned home, the BizNet News site for that school saw over 60 post-visit comments to the stories and articles uploaded by the student staff from their peers, teachers and parents re-visiting the news blog in the days following their actual JA BizTown session.

“This is exactly what we wanted to see happen – their experience didn't end with the close of the BizTown doors that day... the students and teachers came back to us, digitally, for more,” said Tom Russell, President of the Junior Achievement of South Central PA.

He continued by summarizing the collaborative partnership, “We couldn't have found better partners in StageofLife.com and Affinigent, Inc. to execute and launch this amazing new digital literacy experience for the schools and 7,000+ students that utilize our JA BizTown each year!”

# # #

For more on this story, reactions from teachers, or other information relating to any of the organizations mentioned, please contact:

Junior Achievement of South Central PA
Non-profit organization that brings the real world to students through hands-on curriculum
Heidi Potter, Director of JA BizTown or Tom Russell, President
heidi(at)jascpa(dot)org or tom(at)jascpa(dot)org
610 South George Street
York, PA 17401
(717) 843-8028

StageofLife.com
Teen blogging and educational consultants
Eric Thiegs, Founder and CEO
contact(at)stageoflife(dot)com
24 S. Franklin St.
Dallastown, PA 17313
(717) 244-0006

Affinigent, Inc.
Web site design, web marketing, and web applications
Don Bishop, CEO
info(at)affinigent(dot)com
4 Kent Rd Ste. 200
York, PA 17402
(717) 600-0033 x101

To read the full press release and get additional downloads...

Pre-Teen Blogging
Literacy and Gift Giving

"The New Father: Christmas Shopping for Your Baby"

Stage of Life mentioned in Consumer Media Network article


Nov. 19, 2012

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, was asked his opinion by the Consumer Media Network on what new fathers should buy for their new babies this holiday season. 

He told Travis King of CMN.com...

“I don’t care if the baby can’t hold the book yet. It’s the number one thing parents can do to lay a solid foundation for literacy development for their child.  Literacy skills start soon after birth, as babies begin to track patterns, shapes, letters, and more with their eyes. If parents can put books into the hands of their baby (even if the baby is using the book as a teething ring), they are helping lift that child rungs ahead of his or her peers on the competitive, academic ladder later in life.”

Read the full article by CMN.com
Teens and Sports - Teen Trend Report

Teen Trend Report – National Survey on How Teenagers Feel Sports Play a Role in Building Family Traditions


StageofLife.com releases its monthly teen teen report. Thousands of high school and college students visited the Stage of Life national poll and essay contest. This month's topic dealt with how sports impact family traditions.


York, PA (PRWEB) November 26, 2012

Impact of Sports on Family TraditionsThe fall is the perfect storm for professional sports. Consider that the World Series caps the end of baseball season just as the college football, NFL, NASCAR, NBA and NHL seasons get into full swing.

This led StageofLife.com, the educational writing community for teens and college students, to ask its student bloggers how sports play a role in forming family traditions (positively or negatively). Over 7,000 teens visited StageofLife.com during the monthly survey and writing prompt, with many participating to share their views on the effects sports have on family traditions.

Highlighted teen statistics from the student sports survey include:
--61% of students say their parents are more into sports than they are
--57% of students play sports outdoors with their family
--54% of students describe their grandparents as “big sports fans”
--66.7% of students cheer for the same sports teams as their parents; 21.2% cheer for completely different teams; and 12.1% of teens (or their parents) do not cheer for sports teams at all
--Teens feel that "doping and drugs" is the biggest problem in sports today (compared to player salaries, behavior/antics, and rules/referees)
--27% of teens say they play in a sports fantasy league
--63.6% of teens were introduced to sports by their Dads
--36.4% of teens only watch the game for their favorite team while 30.3% of teens watch as many sports as they can
--21% of teens spend $50 - $100 on sports-related items per month
--Teens have made the following sports-related purchases in the last 12 months: tickets to a game – 36.4%; clothing (hats, jerseys, etc.) - 63.6%; memorabilia (mugs, bobble heads, posters, etc.) - 27.3%; equipment (gloves, pads, balls, etc.) - 42.4%; sports-themed video game – 33.3%; sports-themed mobile app(s) - 18.2%

After taking the sports survey, students submitted their personal essays to the StageofLife.com monthly writing contest. Several themes and trends emerged about how teenagers feel sports impact family traditions:

Sports are Positive:
Teens overwhelmingly agreed that sports and sports traditions are positive influences in their lives. Sports are a reason for families to hang out with each other and for teens to stay active while having fun.

Sports are Negative: There were dissenters, too. Some teens felt that sports either made no impact in their lives or made a negative impact. They questioned why sports were so important and why athletes were glorified.

Friendly Competition: One thing was clear: Sports brought families together—by watching, playing, and discussing the topic with each other. Although most teens rooted for the same teams as their parents, some teens liked the competition with family members who rooted for other teams.

Football: Nearly one-quarter of the stories submitted were about football. Essays about the Oregon Ducks, the Ravens, LSU, the Saints, the Giants, the Cowboys and many other college and professional football teams were submitted.

Other sports mentioned included baseball, basketball, biking, cheerleading, cross country running, dance, drill team, football, gymnastics, hockey, paintball, skateboarding, soccer, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

The 1st place essay, Crossing the Gap, was submitted by 12th grader, Paul Kim, a self-proclaimed teen nerd attending Bergen County Academies in New Jersey. His story shares how tennis served as a bridge for communication with his Korean-born father. Kim won the majority of votes from the 26 Editors and staff who facilitated the national sports writing contest for StageofLife.com.

The winning monthly StageofLife.com student writer received two movie ticket passes from sponsor, Fandango.com, and featured blogger status on StageofLife.com.

All of the teen sport essays and statistics can be read at http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandSports.aspx

StageofLife.com's current national writing prompt asks high school and college students to share a story about their favorite book and a personal impact it's made on them. Essays are due by midnight (US Pacific Time) November 30th.

# # #

StageofLife.com is a privately held company founded in 2009 with a literacy mission to encourage life-long readers and writers through its interactive blogging community designed for all generations, from teens to Baby Boomers.

With over a quarter of a million teen and teacher visitors each year, 5+ million uploaded words, and thousands of submitted essays, it is becoming the world's largest collection of multi-generational stories. The site features free educational resources in the form of monthly writing contests, free blog resources, Language Arts lesson plans about blogging, writing prompts, and more.

You can reach StageofLife.com by contacting Founder and CEO, Eric Thiegs, via email at contact(at)stageoflife(dot)com
PCTELA "Voices of Literacy - A Celebration of Reading and Writing" conference
StageofLife.com co-Founders, Eric & Rebecca Thiegs, serve as featured presenters on the topic of teen blogging

StageofLife.com co-Founders, Eric & Rebecca Thiegs, were featured session speakers on the topic of "Extending Writing Outside the Classroom through Blogging" at the PCTELA's annual conference (Pennsylvania Council of Teachers for English and Language Arts).

The 2012 conference for English and Language Arts teachers was entitled: "Voices of Literacy: A Celebration of Reading and Writing."

US News & World Report - EDUCATION
US News & World Report - Education article: "What High School Teachers Wish Parents Asked at Conferences"

Monday Nov. 5th, 2012

Reporter, Kelsey Sheehy, quoted StageofLife.com co-Founder and veteran 15-year high school teacher, Rebecca Thiegs, in the US News & World Report Education Blog today.  Ms. Sheehy was looking to get answers from experienced teachers on the important question, "What High School Teachers Wish Parents Asked at Conferences?"

We thank US News & World Report for tapping into our educational expert, Rebecca Thiegs, for their article.  To read Rebecca's educational viewpoint on parent-teacher conferences (which serves as the lead-off quote in Ms. Sheehy's piece), click below...

Stage of Life Co-Founder Rebecca Thiegs quoted
Teens and Nature - Teen Trend Report

88% of Teens Agree That Their Generation Is Disconnected From Nature


StageofLife.com releases its Teens and Nature student trend report. Over 4,442 teens and college students visited the StageofLife.com national survey and writing prompt page about nature this summer. The below press release shares the results on teens' attitudes towards nature from the full report available at http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandNature.aspx
.

Teens and Nature - StageofLife.com Trend ReportYork, PA (PRWEB) October 31, 2012

Between jobs, Facebook, online gaming, school, or in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, bad weather, many teens forgo opportunities to breathe in an autumn breeze or otherwise connect with the planet around them by doing something in nature.

In fact, 88% of teens feel that their generation is disconnected from nature reports StageofLife.com, an online blogging community for teens and college students.

The site asked over 4,442 high school and college students to answer the question, “How has nature inspired you?” via a 500 word essay as part of its national writing contest, along with a 15-question national survey that polled the students about their attitudes towards nature.

The idea for this teen blogging contest prompt and survey came from Richard Louv's book, Last Child in the Woods. According to Mr. Louv, today's children (and adults) are deprived of a basic necessity we have as humans - to connect with the outdoors. Louv labels this phenomenon - "nature-deficit disorder."

Statistics and key insights from the StageofLife.com teen survey concluded that teens are concerned about their connection to nature, but there's often a dichotomy between how they feel and what their actions are. For instance...
  • 73.3% of teens went outside more as an Elementary student than now, as a High School student
  • 69.4% of teens would rather listen to their favorite songs on an iPod (or other music device) than the sounds of nature
  • 88.8% of teens feel that their generation is disconnected with nature
  • 68.5% of teens are either “indifferent,” “don't care,” or “care but don't take an active role” in being concerned about the effects of man on nature
  • 73.3% of teens have not heard of the term, "Anthropocene" (how man is effecting the planet's biodiversity and nature) before the Stage of Life writing contest
  • 30.1% of teens spend less than three (3) hours per week outdoors during the school year (whether that's for work, sports, or a hobby)

At a more anecdotal level, after taking the survey, students submitted essays to the StageofLife.com writing contest. From the qualifying teen essay submissions, several themes and trends emerged about how students feel about nature:

1) Technology:
Almost all teens agreed that their peers (and probably themselves) spend too much time on the computer or on their phones. Nature is a much more interesting place; teens should log off, if just for an hour, and go spend it outside.

2) Memories: Teens wrote about fond memories, both past and recent, about time spent in nature: family vacations (some forced, some fun), sports activities, and even just relaxing with the trees.

3) Life-Changing: Quite a few teens wrote about how their experiences with nature changed their lives in some way. From something as simple as caring more about the environment, to deeper issues about spirituality and friendship, nature is close to these teens’ hearts.

4) Environmental Issues: These teens agreed that all people need to treat nature with respect. After all, we love our mother; why not mother earth?

5) Peaceful and Simple:
These were the words most used to describe nature. Nature does not boast and is always willing to listen; it is not complicated and always around. So what are you waiting for? Shut off your computer and enjoy the peace and simplicity of nature!

The winning student blog post shared a personal story from a teen who lived in the desert.

All of the essays and teen trend statistics about nature can be read at http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandNature.aspx

# # #

StageofLife.com is a privately held company founded in 2009 as a free educational resource with a digital literacy mission to encourage life-long readers and writers through its interactive blogging community for all generations, from teens to Baby Boomers.

With over 5 million uploaded words and thousands of submitted essays, it is becoming one of the world's largest collection of multi-generational stories. The site features blogging resources in the form of monthly blogging contests, free educational blog resources, Language Arts lesson plans about blogging, writing prompts, and more.

You can reach StageofLife.com by calling Founder and CEO, Eric Thiegs, at (717) 244-0006 or via email at contact(at)stageoflife(dot)com.
Teens and Politics

High School and College Bloggers Favor President Obama Over Governor Romney by 22 Point Spread per National Writing Contest and Teen Political Survey

StageofLife.com releases its monthly, educational teen trend report. This month's topic tackled the pending Presidential election. Over 4,700 teens and college students visited the StageofLife.com monthly student survey and writing contest page. The below report shares the results from the students visiting StageofLife.com and participating in the political survey and national essay contest..

York, PA (PRWEB) October 24, 2012

While it's assumed by the Obama and Romney campaigns which way many niche audiences will vote, the candidates may be interested to know that over half (55%) of teen and college bloggers will (or would) vote for President Obama verses 23.6% for Governor Romney, as reported by StageofLife.com, a non-partisan, digital literacy, educational resource, in its most recently completed national student survey and writing contest.

Statistics revealed in the StageofLife.com teen and politics survey included:

  • 1 out of 3 students did not realize there are other candidates other than Obama and Romney running for President, i.e. Libertarian, Green Party, etc.
  • 70% of teens indicated their parents talk freely about politics at home.
  • 40% of teens either "completely agree" or "agree on the major political issues" with their parents compared to less than 7% of teens who say they do not agree with their parents politically ("at all" or "on major issues").
  • 14% of students have no idea of their parents' political viewpoints.
  • 32% of teens have had an argument about politics with their parents. The top three most cited topics of the argument centered on gay marriage, abortion, and healthcare. More than a dozen other topics were volunteered by the students too.
  • Nearly 50% of all teens said that one (or both) of their parents took them to the local polling center when they were in elementary school to experience the voting process.
  • When asked which forms of media the family uses to get its political news, the top five responses were Network TV (NBC, ABC, CBS) = 79% of families; Internet News Sites (Huffington Post, DrudgeReport.com, etc.) = 46%; Local Newspaper = 43%; National Newspaper (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.) = 38%; Conservative Cable TV (Fox News, Hannity, etc.) = 37%
  • The majority of students (53%) feel they have a political voice in this country.

The political survey results stemmed from StageofLife.com's monthly, national writing contest. In addition to providing links to resources that help college students and teens get involved politically, the writing prompt asked students to share their political “passion issue” and indicate which candidate best supported their issue. Over 4,700 teenagers visited Stage of Life's writing contest page, 140 completed the political survey, and 75 submitted a qualifying 500 word essay sharing their political passion issue.

In their essays, teens addressed political topics ranging from the support of Israel, the economy, gay marriage, women's rights, education, immigration, job growth, healthcare, national security and more.

The winning student essays tackled two very different political issues. The 1st place Pro-Obama essay, “Grateful for Homework? The Issue of Education in the 2012 Presidential Election,” puts Obama in a more positive light on educational opportunities for teens while on the other side of the aisle, the winning Pro-Romney essay, “A Taxing Workday,” paints Governor Romney favorably for wanting to reduce taxes.

Both essays won the majority of votes from the 26 Editors and staff who facilitate the national writing contest for StageofLife.com each month.

Additional teen statistics from the Teens and Politics report and all of the political teen essays can be read at http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandPolitics.aspx

For October, in a month dominated by the NFL season and the World Series, StageofLife.com's current national writing prompt asks students to share a story about how sports have shaped family traditions (positively or negatively).  Essays must be submitted to StageofLife.com by midnight PST on October 31st, 2012.

# # #

StageofLife.com is a privately held company founded in 2009 as a free educational resource with a digital literacy mission to encourage life-long readers and writers through its interactive blogging community. With over 5 million uploaded words and thousands of submitted essays, it has become one of the world's largest collection of multi-genational stories as it features monthly writing contests, free educational resources, Language Arts lesson plans, writing prompts, statistics, and more for each life stage and generation, from teens to Baby Boomers.

Mashable.com
Mashable.com feature article - "The Teacher's Guide to Facebook" - mentions StageofLife.com

Monday October 29, 2012

Educators navigating the pros and cons of using Facebook can face multiple challenges, but they don't have to.  If you are a parent or teacher, the "The Teacher's Guide to Facebook" - a Mashable.com feature article by Matt Petronzio - is a must-read.  Get some great ideas on how to harness social media to benefit your classroom and role as an educator. 

If you're not familiar with Mashable.com, they are one of the world's most widely read websites as the experts keeping tabs on what's new on the web and social media trends.

P.S.  We're a big fan of this particular piece because you'll find StageofLife.com and our founder, Eric Thiegs, quoted in the article too...

Teacher's Guide to Facebook
KeystoneEdge.com
KeystoneEdge.com interviews StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs

Thursday October 17, 2012

Read the interview that KeystoneEdge.com, a site showcasing up-and-coming Pennsylvania businesses and start-ups, conducted with Eric Thiegs, Founder of StageofLife.com.  KeystoneEdge.com talked with Eric about where StageofLife.com is going, its challenges and who he would thank for the success of his growing digital literacy initiative.

KeystoneEdge.com interview with StageofLife.com Founder, Eric Thiegs
Central Penn Business Journal

Stage of Life CEO, Eric Thiegs, named in Central PA's Forty Under 40

HARRISBURG, PA – On Wednesday, October 10, Eric Thiegs was honored as one of Central Penn Business Journal’s 2012 Forty Under 40 award recipients for his commitment to business growth, professional excellence and community service at an evening reception and awards program at Hilton Harrisburg. This year marks the program’s 18th anniversary.

Forty Under 40 AwardsEric Thiegs is currently the President & CEO of Stage of Life LLC, the start-up behind the international blogging and digital literacy initiative at StageofLife.com.

He gave up health benefits, a retirement package and a stable six-figure income as the director of partnership marketing to start his own company with no definable revenue, just two months before his second daughter was born.  It was a leap of faith that made sense only because Thiegs knew he could "make it work."

And he has.

Thiegs launched StageofLife.com in 2009 as a blogging community with a mission to make the world a better place through multi-generational storytelling.  The website saw a 253 percent increase in site traffic between 2010 and 2011 as well as a 197 percent increase in page views during that time.

Through a variety of PR, blogger outreach, educational partnerships, and viral marketing techniques, StageofLife.com continues to grow.

"I wouldn't have won this award if it wasn't for our loyal readers, bloggers, editors and sponsors who are using StageofLife.com to truly make a positive difference in this world by sharing their personal stories and experiences" said Thiegs.

Thiegs and the other award recipients will be featured in a special publication distributed in the October 12 edition of the Central Penn Business Journal. The list of winners will also appear in the 2013 Book of Lists publication.

Sponsors of the 2012 Forty Under 40 program include Members 1st Federal Credit Union, Comcast Business Class, Highmark Blue Shield, Hilton Harrisburg, Infiniti of Mechanicsburg, and Classic Drycleaners & Laundromats.

For more information about the Forty Under 40 awards program, the complete list of the honorees and/or to register to attend the awards reception, visit www.CPBJnow.com/events or contact Nicole Morgan at nicolem@centralpennbusiness.com or (717) 236-4300

Teens and Music

49% of Teens and College Students Don't Buy Music

StageofLife.com releases its national survey report about "Teens and Music." It shares statistics about teens' music purchasing behavior, trends on how teens feel about music in relation to their parents, and nearly 200 personal essays submitted by teens about their favorite, inspirational songs from national recording artists.

YORK, PA--(PRWeb - Sept. 28, 2012)

Music plays an emotional role in the lives of teenagers. There are the songs playing in the background on the radio during a first kiss, or the songs hanging in the air during the those memorable, sometimes awkward, high school slow dances. Then there are the songs that help teens through a difficult time.

However, as important as music is, many students are no longer paying for it. StageofLife.com, an educational, digital literacy initiative for teens, teachers, and bloggers, reports in its most recent national survey that nearly half (49.2%) of teenagers do not spend money on purchasing music - instead choosing to copy music files friends, download songs from free music websites, or listen to free web-based music services like Pandora Internet Radio.

Other statistics revealed in the Stage of Life teen music survey included:

  • 34% of teens like the music their parents listen to, and 83% claim that their parents like all or some of their music.
  • 10% of teens state their parents have no clue about what type of music they listen to or is downloaded on their music devices.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 teens (49.2%) spend $0 (zero) per month on music; 38.7% of teens buy 1 album a month (spending $10-$15); and 2% of teens spend more than $50 per month on music.
  • 41% of teens bought a CD or paid to download a song or album without having first heard the music simply because of a good review or it was recommended to them.
  • 35% of teens rank "Friends" as the #1 source to find out about new bands or music. Also ranked high as sources for new music are internet/blogs (22.3%) and the radio (19.4%).
  • And more.

The music survey results stemmed from StageofLife.com's monthly, national teen writing contest. This particular writing prompt asked students to share a specific story about a song that was inspiring to them at an important point in their life. Over 9,000 teenagers visited Stage of Life's writing contest page, 425+ participated in the music survey, and nearly 200 students submitted a qualifying 500 word essay to nominate a song important to them.

StageofLife.com founder, Eric Thiegs, stated, "We had an incredible outpouring of heart-felt essays submitted for this writing prompt as teens shared their personal stories tied to inspirational songs from national recording artists" such as Phil Collins, Cold Play, Mumford and Sons, Jason Mraz, Taylor Swift, Eminem, Jack's Mannequin, Trading Yesterday, Connie Francis and scores more.

The winning student essay discussed how the song, “I Wonder” by Kellie Pickler, made the writer think about the mother she never had.

StageofLife.com's current national writing contest addresses the topic of “Politics and Passion” as it asks students to share a personal essay about the one political issue that is the most important to them in the upcoming U.S. Presidential election.

Teens and college students interested in having their political voices heard can submit their essay and enter the national writing contest by visiting StageofLife.com. Essays are due by midnight (Pacific Time) on September 30th.

# # #

StageofLife.com is a free blogging community with a digital literacy mission to encourage the development of life-long readers and writers. It features monthly writing contests, free educational resources, financial literacy tools and more.

Front Page Story on Stage of Life
York DispatchStageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, was featured on the front page of the York Dispatch.  Below is the story from business reporter, Candy Woodall

Dallastown businessman changes lives while nurturing his dream website

Wednesday August 15, 2012

Settling into a chair at a local coffee shop, Eric Thiegs is ready to tell a story.

What began with an idea as untamed as his brown hair has blossomed into a blogging business that reaches about 300,000 unique viewers every month.

As CEO of Dallastown-based Stage of Life, Thiegs is seeing a dream come to fruition, where lives are shared and language is expanded.

"While most social media sites condition people to truncate their language, our site encourages them to write more," he said.

Stage of Life is both a marketing agency and a free blogging community. Its website -- www.stageoflife.com -- contains 10 categories that correlate with life stages: high school, college, being single, planning a wedding, being married, having a baby, being a homeowner, parenthood, becoming grandparents and settling into retirement.

Editors: Megan Tyson, an editor for the college category, started working for Stage of Life as a Red Lion High School student, editing the high school category. It's been a great way to see how writing can change the world, she said.

"I've learned that writing can be an even more powerful form of communication (than) I thought before. Stage of Life is a great site (where) people from, literally, all over the world can come together and talk about life and their own personal experiences," said Tyson, a junior English education major at Shippensburg University. "It's great to read stories from other people to see how different the same thing can be from place to place."

Eric Thiegs at PETE&C ConferenceNearly 7,100 bloggers use the site each month, sharing their journeys and fulfilling Stage of Life's mission of "changing the world, one story at a time."

One of those bloggers is Elle Lamboy, campaign associate at the Cultural Alliance of York County and editor for the category catering to writers who are married without kids.

"It's a great place to share experiences and get feedback from other newlyweds," she said. "It really has everything you need on lifestyles, and there are some really cool coupons there, too."

Featuring the best:
Each month, bloggers have the opportunity to enter the site's writing contest, in which the best bloggers are awarded a prize package and featured spot on Stage of Life for their take on a particular topic.

Hundreds of entries are submitted by bloggers ages 13 to 94 and reviewed by eight category editors, with 11 to 25 stories selected as finalists. Those finalists are emailed to editors, who then pick their top three. And Thiegs typically reads about 10 entries before a winner is chosen, he said.

As more young people have flocked to the site, so have teachers, he said. Thiegs' wife, Becky, is an English teacher at Red Lion High School, and she and other local educators have used the site as an extended classroom.

Thiegs is definitely pleased with the site's unplanned branding as an educational resource.

And like any story, he said, it has come a long way from its beginning.

Origins: In 2008, during an economic downturn, Thiegs left a 15-year marketing career to spend more time with his family. With that move, he left behind a rigorous traveling schedule that took him away from his wife and their two daughters, and he also gave up a six-figure salary.

"It couldn't have been a scarier time," he said.

It's a choice he couldn't have made without the support of his wife -- and her health insurance, he said jokingly.

"At the time, Stage of Life was a little idea, but ideas can change the world," he said.

"In April 2009, 105 people visited the site -- my mom, college friends, aunts, uncles and cousins," he said.

Since then, the site has grown to nearly a million visitors and has been featured on Time.com, ABC, FoxBusiness.com, The Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, WITF radio in Harrisburg and more.

While the site continues to grow, it's not yet profitable. Instead, Thiegs makes money from the marketing side of his business, he said.

"I want this to be recognized as the premium blogging community on the Web," he said. "I'd love to see my company grow and become the family business."

For Thiegs, that would, indeed, be a happy ending.
Student Blogging Presentation
StageofLife.com speaks to educators at Tech.It.U Institute about student blogging

Wednesday July 11, 2012

Stage of Life CEO, Eric Thiegs, was the featured presenter at Tech.It.U today, guest speaking about the benefits and classroom possibilities of student blogging as enhancements to traditional curriculum methods. 

Tech.it.U is an educational technology conference and grad course designed to inspire and generate practical classroom ideas that will help educators teach with power and focus to impact students' futures.  Eric spoke to a session of 60 educators. 

Stage of Life is a leading innovator in the role of incorporating student blogging into curriculum and the classroom instructor at the junior high and high school level.

Watch Eric's student blogging presentation below.  If you are interested in having Stage of Life present on student and classroom blogging, please feel free to contact us.

Teen Pregnancy

StageofLife.com Reports Reality TV Lowers Teen Birth Rates

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Jun 19, 2012) - According to teenagers, reality TV shows have a bigger influence in reducing teen birth rates than the impact made by parents or abstinence.

In response to a recent CDC report showing teen birth rates at an all time low, StageofLife.com, a non-partisan, education-based blogging community, launched a national teen survey and writing contest to understand the social trends behind the drop in teen birth rates.

4,065 teenagers visited Stage of Life's writing contest throughout May 2012 and hundreds of students participated by answering the question, "What do you attribute to the decline of teen pregnancies?"

With students able to select more than one reason, survey results revealed several areas for why high school students think teen birth rates are dropping:

  • 52%: More sexually active teens use contraceptives.
  • 39%: Teens know someone with a baby -- they do NOT want that to happen to them.
  • 33%: Young adults are scared by shows like MTV's Teen Mom.
  • 32%: Students have better sex-education at school now.
  • 10%: Teens are focusing on academics and activities.
  • 9%: More teens practice abstinence or wait till marriage.
  • 8%: Parents are involved -- serve as positive role models.
  • 7%: Friends provide positive influence to not get serious in a relationship.
  • 10%: Other

While the majority of teens felt contraceptives played the most influential role in reducing teen pregnancies, interestingly, 1 out of 3 attributed an impact of reality TV.

Shows like 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, and Secret Life of the American Teenager proved to be successful scare tactics for teens as a deterrent for not getting pregnant. Viewers watched young moms struggle to maintain healthy relationships with their "baby daddies," find jobs, make money to support themselves and the baby, and finish high school... let alone start college.

Less than 1 in 10 think parents or abstinence make an impact in reducing teen births.

These survey results played out in the themes of the submitted writing contest essays too. To read the full Teen Pregnancy Prevention report and essays visit http://www.stageoflife.com/TeenPregnancyPrevention.aspx

StageofLife.com is a blogging community with a mission to get students writing outside of the classroom. It features writing contests, free educational resources, Language Arts lesson plans, classroom posters, writing prompts and more.

Teach.com Features Stage of Life Co-Founder
StageofLife.com Education Consultant and Co-Founder interviewed by Teach.com

Monday, June 11 2012

Read the interview that our very own Rebecca Thiegs, StageofLife.com Educational Consultant, gave with Teach.com.  She discusses the power of storytelling and how StageofLife.com, as one of the few free educational resource websites available, has been built and designed to provide students an opportunity to blog and write about real-world issues.

Teach.com features Rebecca Thiegs
StageofLife.com wins two 2012 Communicator Awards
May 2012:  StageofLife.com was awarded two 2012 Communicator Awards of Distinction, honoring creative excellence for communications.  The website was selected as one of the winners from a pool of over 6,000 international entries. 

Awards were granted to StageofLife.com in the categories of:
  • Community - website category
  • Education - website category
"It's an honor to be recognized for our core mission - building an online blogging community built on providing an educational resource for everyone...from teens to Baby Boomers," said Eric Thiegs, CEO of StageofLife.com.

The Communicator Awards is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of Visual Arts, an invitation-only body consisting of top-tier professionals from acclaimed media, communications, advertising, creative and marketing firms. IAVA members include executives from organizations such as Airtype Studio, Big Spaceship, Conde Nast, Coach, Disney, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Estee Lauder, Fry Hammond Barr, Lockheed Martin, MTV Networks, Pitney Bowes, rabble+rouser, Sotheby's Institute of Art, Time, Inc, Victoria's Secret, Wired, and Yahoo! To learn more about the IAVA please visit www.iavisarts.org.
Teens and Movies

May 16, 2012 14:28 ET

Teens More Willing to Give Up Social Media Than Movies

YORK, PA--(Marketwire) - With recent blockbusters such as The Hunger Games and The Avengers driving theater ticket sales this spring, StageofLife.com, a multi-generational blogging community, released its Teens and Movie Report. It provides insight on teens and their movie viewing habits along with featured essays from the student writing contest that asked 4,000+ teen visitors across the US, "What movie has made the biggest difference in your life?"

Survey results of participating high school students revealed:

  • 56% of teens see a movie in the theater at least once per month, with 11% paying for more than four theater movies per month
  • 41% of teens watch an additional 2-3 movies at home each week
  • With multiple methods to view movies at home, teens reported that they utilize their personal DVD collection (53.9%) and Netflix (45.1%) in greater numbers than DIRECTV / Dish Network (21.4%) or Hulu.com (16.5%)
  • When asked if they had to give up one form of entertainment, teens are more willing to forgo Social Media (28.2%) and TV (21.8%) than Movies (5.8%) or Music (3.4%)

Of the submitted essays, 11 finalists were selected. These students shared life lessons learned from the films Taare Zameen Par: Every Child is Special, Star Wars, Singin' in the Rain, Rocky, In Time, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, A Goofy Movie, and 50/50.

One finalist discussed her sister's battle with leukemia in her essay about My Sister's Keeper, "Cancer cannot cripple love, it cannot corrode faith, it cannot eat away peace, it cannot destroy confidence...it cannot shut out memories, it cannot silence courage, it cannot reduce eternal life. It cannot destroy families..." while another finalist said Prayers for Bobby "inspired me to accept myself for who I am."

Two winning writers were awarded a StageofLife.com gift package that included free movie tickets from Regal Entertainment Group. To see the full Teens and Movie Report, visit http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensFavoriteMovies.aspx.

For May, in honor of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, StageofLife.com's monthly teen writing contest asks students, "What do you attribute to the decline of teen pregnancies?"

# # #

StageofLife.com is a grassroots blogging community for all generations hosting writing contests, blog directories, coupons, and free educational resources including Language Arts lesson plans, classroom posters, writing prompts and more

MarketWire press release
StageofLife.com named a Top Parenting Blog
StageofLife.com featured on FrugalDad's top parenting blogs list

Monday, March 19, 2012-- FrugalDad  named StageofLife.com #38 on their top parenting blogs list.

"Stage of Life: The site shares stories with readers to help celebrate each stage of life. In addition to the insightful articles, the site also provides opportunities to find money saving coupons and discounts. The essays written by readers and shared on this site range from a birth mom telling her child that she loved him enough to choose a wonderful adoptive family for him to tricks parents have used to get their toddler to go to bed at night."



Source: FrugalDad
Editor Interview

Interview with Wedding & Marriage Editor, Elle Lamboy

Megan Colyer, StageofLife.com's PR/Marketing Coordinator, hosts a Blog Talk Radio interview, with StageofLife.com Wedding and Married without Kids Editor, Elle Lamboy.

Teens Talk Love

StageofLife.com Reports 41% of Teens Think Their Parents Set a Bad Example for Love

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Mar 19, 2012) - StageofLife.com, an education resource providing a free blog for teachers and students, discovered that teens look to their parents as the example when it comes to defining love. The website is on track to see over 200,000 teen visitors in 2012 and recently asked 652 high school students across the US, "What is your definition of love?" From this writing prompt and its corresponding survey, StageofLife.comfound...

Teens and Love Survey Results:

  • 70% of teens believe in true love
  • 19% of teens are hesitant about marriage due to concerns over divorce
  • 41% of teens feel that their parents set a bad example for love
  • Most teens have parents who say "I love you," but 17% of teens say their parents do not

From the hundreds of essays submitted, several themes emerged:

Teen Trends on Love:

  • "All You Need is Love": Most teens can't wait to fall in love. Love is magic, love is warmth, and love makes you feel better no matter what.
  • Love is Complicated: On the other hand, love isn't as easy and carefree as some people think; love requires listening, friendship, and compromise.
  • Love Hurts: Some teens felt jilted by love; bad break-ups, rejection, and heart break. This inspired these teens to say that love doesn't exist, or that not everyone finds love.
  • Different Types of Love: Love comes in all forms -- your family, your friends, your partner, your passion, etc. Teens agreed that it doesn't matter who or what you love as long as love makes you better.

One teen writing finalist wrote, "Love is a story that autonomously takes its own course of action. In this respect, love is animated and therefore, very real." The education report on this writing contest, the love writing prompt, and teen survey results are available athttp://www.stageoflife.com/DefinitionofLove.aspx.

In preparation for April's National Poetry Writing Month, StageofLife.com asks teens and college students to write a poem in dedication to someone who matters in their life.

StageofLife.com is a grassroots community hosting stories, education resources and ablogging platform for all generations. Special content includes free Language Arts lesson plans, writing contests, and a savings program providing printable coupons and coupon codes for every stage of life.

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

Poetry Contest

Twitter Mention

March 13- Academy of American Poets tweeted about Stage of Life's March Writing Contest. 

"Free  writing contest for teens and college students"

About the Poetry Contest: In preparation for April’s National Poetry Writing Month, we are asking teens and college students to write a poem in dedication to someone who matters in their life.  Whether it is a family member, friend, teacher, celebrity or kind stranger, write an original poem about what that person means to you.  
FREE Workshop for Artists and Writers

More Creative Endeavors at Scholastic Art Awards

By: JANE HOLAHAN    
Staff Writer

If the thousand-plus pieces of art at the Ware Center aren't enough for you, head over to the Lancaster Museum of Art, where high school students are showing their work in the Scholastic Art exhibition.

The show features 135 pieces accepted into the show from 300 entries, according to Amanda Forry, program coordinator at the museum. The work is from 90 students.

"It's up from last year, when we had a little over 100 pieces," she says. "Three panels of judges made the selections. There are 30 Gold Key winners. They go on to the national Scholastic awards."
Awards will be announced tonight at 6 p.m. The opening reception runs from 5 to 8 p.m.

"This year, we have some excellent drawings. I believe that's our largest category," Forry says. "We also had a large amount of digital art. There are a lot of kids out there playing with Photoshop."
The museum and the Lancaster Public Library, which sponsors the Scholastic writing awards, are joining forces for a workshop, being held March 17 at the library.

"The Power of Collaboration" features guest speaker Eric Thiegs, of StageofLife.com. He will talk about his personal and business experiences in blogging and lead the group in walking through writing a story concept, story-boarding and the final literary and artistic combination of the two.
The workshop is free for students in grades 9-12.

2012 Lancaster County Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibition Schedule

Opening reception, Fri. from 5-8 p.m.  Cont. through March 25

Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sun. noon-4 p.m. Free

Lancaster Museum of Art
135 N. Lime St., 394-3497
www.lmapa.org

Read more
FREE Workshop for Artists and Writers

StageofLife.com Sponsors Free Writing Workshop

LANCASTER, PA, FEBRUARY 16, 2012: Lancaster Public Library and the Lancaster Museum of Art will host a new workshop sponsored by StageofLife.com. The Power of Collaboration: A free teen workshop demonstrating the power of a collaborative partnership between writers and artists will be held Saturday, March 17th from 1-3pm for students in grades 9-12.

Literary and artistic students will work hands-on with workshop guest speaker, Eric Thiegs, President and CEO of StageofLife.com. Thiegs will share his personal and business experiences in launching a blogging and writing initiative that collaborated with an artist to create the original artwork and branding for their nationally recognized website. The workshop will include a walk-through on writing a story/concept brief, story-boarding, and final literary and artistic combination. This workshop will give a real-world example in how teen writers and artists can plan for a future to impact the lives of others AND make a living for themselves in and after college using their literary and artist talents.

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, and workshop presenter feels the session will be impactful for students' future career paths. "Giving teens specific examples and tips on how writing and art are utilized in real-world settings, whether that's in business or for art's sake, will inspire the participating students to think about how to maximize their literary or creative talents to engage today's marketplace," said Thiegs.

To register, visit the Museum’s website at www.lmapa.org or call 717-394-3497. Space is limited.

This workshop is a collaboration between the Lancaster Museum of Art and the Lancaster Public Library; affiliates of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

As one of the oldest public libraries in the country, Lancaster Public Library has been providing library service in Lancaster for over 250 years and has nearly 2,000 visitors a day. Lancaster Public Library has three locations in the county including the main branch at 125 N Duke Street in the City of Lancaster, the Mountville Branch at 120 College Ave, Mountville, and the Leola Branch at 46 Hillcrest Ave, Leola. For more information about the library please visit the Lancaster Public Library website.


Free Workshop for Artists and Writers
Stage of Life Sponsors Kids Food Festival

StageofLife.com Sponsors Kids Food Festival

January  21-22, 2012- Stage of Life is sponsoring the Kids Food Festival. This free event helps in the fight against childhood obesity. Learn about the importance of achieving balance in food choices, through fun activities and sampling family-friendly foods.

Kids Food Festival
NPR Member Station: WITF's Money Works Interview

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, Interviewed by Witf's Craig Layne

November 16, 2011- As part of the Witf Money Works series, Witf's Craig Layne, spoke with StageofLife.com founder and CEO, Eric Thiegs, about his business's Website that combines advice, interaction - and coupons.  Wift is the NPR member station serving Central Pennsylvania
Teens, Trust, & Safety Report

StageofLife.com Reports 59% of Teens Don't Trust the Government to Keep Them Safe

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Nov 7, 2011) - There are scarier things for teens than textless mobile plans or a world without Facebook. StageofLife.com, a blogging community for teenagers, released its Teens, Trust and Safety report after it asked thousands of high school and college students, "Do you trust your parents, school or government to keep you safe?"

Throughout October, 5,216 people from all 50 states visited StageofLife.com during the data gathering phase, with 684 teens answering the survey and over 100 students submitting a personal essay about the issue.

Survey results:

  • 88% of teens trust their parents to keep them safe; 12% do not
  • 64% of teens trust their school to keep them safe; 36% do not
  • 41% of teens trust the government to keep them safe; 59% do not

From the essays, several themes emerged:

School Safety: Schools received a mostly negative wrap for their take on safety. Teens argued that cameras in the classroom, lockdowns, and metal detectors aren't doing enough to keep them safe.

Government Safety: Many teens are concerned the government is not doing enough to keep its citizens safe as a majority of teens have a vote of no confidence in the government to protect them.

Cyber Safety: Teens worry about the growth of cyber bullying, with many noting that their parents have never discussed online safety. A good rule of thumb from teen responders: do NOT add anyone you don't personally know as a friend on Facebook!

From the writing contest portion of the report, the winning essay was submitted by Amanda Tucker, 20, from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. In her essay, "Trust & Safety: It's Yours, Own It," Tucker wrote, "You shouldn't trust someone with something that is ultimately your own responsibility. In today's society, projection of blame and continual displacement of responsibility are leading to a generation of youth who can't make their own decisions because all their lives they've been taught that someone else is responsible."

The Teens, Trust and Safety report and essays are available atwww.stageoflife.com/TeensTrustandSafety.aspx

StageofLife.com is a blogging community for teens to Baby Boomers featuring writing contestslesson plans, and education resources to encourage students to write outside of the classroom.

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

Blog Talk Radio

Intern Interviews Staff

Gabriella Lee, StageofLife.com's college intern, hosts a Blog Talk Radio interview, where she interviews several members of the Stage of Life staff, such as CEO, Eric Thiegs, and two life stage editors.

Blog Talk Radio Interviews
Teen Communication

StageofLife.com Reports Results on Teen Communication Trends

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Oct 12, 2011) - High school teachers know teens "text" and use Facebook, but do they know more and more students are blogging, or nearly half no longer pass paper notes, or Skype is more popular than Twitter?

To help teachers understand the latest in teen communication trends (as part of its nationalwriting contest for high school students), StageofLife.com asked teenagers to answer the survey question, "Which writing activities do you engage in?" before submitting an essay about a favorite teacher.

5,000+ students from all 50 states visited StageofLife.com during the writing contest, with 600 teens participating in the survey and hundreds submitting a qualifying Teacher Appreciation essay.

Survey results revealed teens use the following forms of communication:

  • 90.15% email
  • 86.36% text
  • 83.57% Facebook
  • 57.80% write in an "old school" journal
  • 52.84% write notes on paper
  • 49.05% Skype
  • 42.55% IM
  • 32.33% blog
  • 28.35% Tweet

As for the essays, unlike much of the recent, negative national media attention about education ranging from reports on failing schools or inadequate teachers, StageofLife.com's essay contest revealed something to the contrary: teachers make a positive impact on students' lives.

This feedback comes from high school students across the U.S. who submitted a Teacher Appreciation essay, which combined confirmed five teacher-student relationship trends:

1. Inspiration: Today's teachers inspire teens to work harder in school, be a better person, or follow their dreams.

2. Friendship: Teachers lend an ear when students are in need of help.

3. Guidance: Teachers help teens find their strengths or natural talents, fit in with friends, and give advice on college.

4. Motivation: Thanks to teachers, many teens try harder in school -- or stay in school -- and go on to college. Beforehand, these teens felt that school didn't matter.

5. Life Lessons: Teachers instill "life lessons" ranging from "relax," to "respect others," to the basic concepts of professionalism.

Full survey results and Teacher Appreciation essay finalists can be found atwww.stageoflife.com/TeensandTeachers.aspx

StageofLife.com is a blogging community for teens to Baby Boomers. It features nationalwriting contestsfree lesson plansfree classroom posters for high school teachers, and other education resources to help get students writing outside of the classroom.

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

MarketWatch talks about our Bullying report/survey

MarketWatch Features Stage of Life Bullying Survey Results

August 25, 2011-  The Wall Street Journal's Digital Network, MarketWatch, reported on our writing contest survey results about bullying.  It's exciting to see our writing initiative generating mentions from sources like WSJ's MarketWatch.

SOURCE: MarketWatch

Bullying Summary

StageofLife.com Reports 91% of Teenagers Have Been Bullied

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Aug 25, 2011) - School's starting and teens once again face the ugly reality of bullyingStageofLife.com, a free blog for high school students, reached out to teenagers during its national essay contest to ask high school and college students, "Have you ever been bullied?"

Over 1,000 teens participated in the survey and writing contest, and StageofLife.com collected scores of courageous testimonials from students.

From the survey, StageofLife.com revealed the following bullying statistics:

  • 91% of teens have been a victim of bullying

  • Top five bullying reasons were: Looks/Size (23%), Being Smart/"Nerdy" (19%), Interests/Hobbies (13%), Race (9%), and Family (6%)

  • 3% admitted to having been a bully and now regret their actions

  • 6% have never been bullied

  • Other reasons identified for the cause of the bullying: being poor (5%), being rich (2%), having physical or learning disability (4% combined), sexual orientation (2%), and receiving food assistance from food stamps or a food bank (1%).

From the essay submissions, StageofLife.com revealed five bullying trends:

1. Confidence: Teens learned that the best way to overcome bullying is to be proud of yourself; have faith in who you are as a person. 
2. Friends: It's important to have a friend who helps you in standing up for yourself, or at the very least, understands what you are going through. 
3. School Officials: Sadly, many teens expressed frustration that school officials did nothing to stop bullying, even after it was reported. This has been a crisis in many school systems, who wave bullying off as a "he said, she said" situation. 
4. Racism: Teens are frustrated and surprised that in a melting pot like America, people could still be this intolerant. 
5. Body: The majority of essays submitted dealt with bullying because of looks, body shape, or body size. Several wrote about their therapy or hospitalization because of harsh bullying.

The winning essay was entitled, "I was bullied because of my acne" written by Ann Sangeun Cho from Westlake High School in Austin, TX.

A summary report is available at http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandBullies.aspx with survey results, links to over 100 teen essays about bullying, bullying prevention resources and more.

StageofLife.com is a free blog for all generations with free lesson planswriting contests, and My Life Rewards®, a free savings program providing printable coupons and coupon codes for every stage of life.

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

Back to School

StageofLife.com Lists Top 10 Back to College Tips

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Aug 3, 2011) - Every teen worries about starting college. "Will I make friends?" "How will I know where I'm going?" "Is it lame to get home sick?" You get the picture. StageofLife.com compiled a quick guide to help incoming freshmen get ready for college.

1. Meet your roomie: Call, Facebook, or meet up to avoid the awkward first introductions. This way you'll know if you're going to be "BFF's" or want to avoid each completely.

2. Pack plenty of clothes: Business casual is a necessity for class speeches, interviews, etc.  Avoid clothes/accessories that can be more pain than beauty.

3. Take rolls of quarters:  Mom's not there to do your laundry anymore, and it's a long time until Thanksgiving break.

4. Bring a coffee pot/mug:  Some will drink it for taste, procrastinators will use it to fuel an all-nighter.

5. Invest in organizational storage: Bed, Bath & Beyond has a cool over-the-bed storage piece.  Don't forget under-the-bed storage for clothes, shoes, or food.

6. Go to class: Screwing up the first semester can set you up for G.P.A. disaster, get your butt out of bed.

7. Get involved: Greek Life, on-campus employment, clubs, etc. Without friends, you're just that weird kid on campus that no one knows.

8. Eat healthy: You are what you eat. You'll need energy so avoid fast food, high sugar snacks and other wasteful food items. Know where your dining halls are located, hours of operation, and payment options

9. Reduce stress: Exercise your body and don't gain the freshmen 15... Americans are fat enough as is it. Exercise time management -- don't cram

10. Recreation: Large groups attract attention, but never go out alone.  If you're not 21, you simply shouldn't drink. But the reality is that many underclassmen will. Having the "parentals" see your name in the newspaper for an underage drinking citation will not be an enjoyable experience. Be smart and be aware of your surroundings.

StageofLife.com is a free blog for college students featuring writing contests, college resources and My Life Rewards®, a free discount program providing printable coupons and coupon codes for students and every stage of life.

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

Teens Talk about Bullying

Teens Share Personal Stories About Bullying on StageofLife.com

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Jul 15, 2011) - Many students experience bullying during high school. For some, it may have occurred just once, but for others, it happens daily.

In an effort to dig deeper on the issue of bullying, StageofLife.com, a free blog and writing resource for teenagers, launched its national July student writing contest around the topic.

However, rather than asking adult experts to weigh in, StageofLife.com is instead taking essay submissions directly from teens who answer the writing contest prompt, "Have you ever been bullied, teased or picked on? If so, about what?"

So far, over 2,000 college and high school students have visited the StageofLife.com writing contest page. Hundreds of teens have answered the bullying survey and scores have entered the essay contest as they explore facets of bullying in their lives. Early essay submissions have come from students who were all bullied for a specific purpose, i.e. being fat, being bisexual, talking differently, being smart, being a girl, being a foreigner, and other reasons.

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, said, "Teens aren't alone in their fight against bullying. Our hope is that one student's essay will help another realize that there are others out there struggling with the same problem."

In conjunction with the writing contest, StageofLife.com showcases resources for teens and parents from Learning Disabilities Association of America, American Disability Association, Stop Bullying, and bullying prevention videos from KidPower.org and LearntobeHealthy.org.

StageofLife.com's writing contests deal with "real-world" teen issues. A teen trends page outlines observations learned from past writing contests as teenagers shared their thoughts about the media, education, prom, money, parents, marriage, stress, heroes, and other topics important to students.

Submissions for the bullying writing contest will be accepted through July 31, 2011 at Midnight PDT. One winner will be selected and will receive a prize package worth over $100 from sponsors KodakGallery.com, T-Shirts.com, and Comfort Research, along with SWAG and Featured Writer status from StageofLife.com.

StageofLife.com is a non-partisan, grassroots blog community hosting stories, resources and a free blog for all generations. It touts free lesson plans, writing contests, and My Life Rewards®, a free savings program providing printable coupons and coupon codes for every stage of life.

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

Kidzworld.com Promotes Teen Writing Contest about Bullying

July 2011 Teen Writing Contest Topic: "Have you ever been bullied, teased or picked on?  If so, about what?"

Friday, 15 July 2011- Stage of Life Intern, Katie Morris, reached out to Kidzpower.com to encourage their viewers to enter this months teen writing contest based on bullying.    The site featured Stage of Life under their advice column.

SOURCE: Kidzpower.com

Stage of Life a Featured Start-Up

THE AMERICAN DREAM: CELEBRATING ENTREPRENEURSHIP – STAGE OF LIFE

Monday, 04 July 2011- On July 4th, StageofLife.com was featured as the American Dream start up of the day.  This article outlines Stage of Life CEO, Eric's, journey from working with Fortune 500 companies to the creation and start up of StageofLife.com.  

Stage of Life feature on 365 Days of Start Ups

Teens Top Challenges

StageofLife.com Reports School and Self-Image Are Top Challenges for Teens

YORK, PA--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2011) -  StageofLife.com, a free blog resource for teenagers and college students, asked the question, "What was the most difficult thing you overcame this school year?" as part of its monthly national writing contest.

Over 6,000 students visited StageofLife.com's writing contest, with 1,400+ votes registered in the corresponding teen survey. Teens ranked the following issues as the greatest challenges during the 2010-2011 school year:

School (bullying, teachers, homework, graduation): 27%
Self-Image: 20%
Parents: 16%
Friends: 14%
Boyfriend/Girlfriend: 8%
Siblings: 4%
Drugs and Alcohol: 2%
Extended Family: 1%
Other: 9%
Hundreds of students submitted an essay about their personal obstacles. Topics dealt with break-ups, rape, psyche wards, a soldier's transition from combat to civilian life, losing a parent/friend, and more. From the submissions, five trends emerged about teen problems:

1. School: By far, school was the #1 stressor for teens this year. Teens talked about AP courses, problems with grades, long-term projects, and high expectations they set for themselves -- and were afraid they couldn't reach.

2. Self-Image: Teens struggled with confidence. Many of these stories boiled down to a similar moral: be yourself, love yourself, and most importantly, enjoy yourself.

3. Sports: Many teens suffered sports related injuries and failures. While this had teens sitting on the bench, it did not have these teens settling with disappointment or failure -- these mishaps only inspired teens to try harder, and do better.

4. Drugs/alcohol: The good news -- many teens did not write about struggling with drug or alcohol problems, which speaks positively of the Stage of Life community. Stage of Life strives to be a support system and community for all walks of life -- without the interference of nuisances like intoxicants.

5. Positive: All teens wrote about viewing these struggles positively. If nothing else, these teens discovered that life is a learning experience; a journey, not a destination.

A full summary of the writing contest, with a list of finalists and the winning essays, can be viewed at: http://www.stageoflife.com/Teen_Challenges.aspx

StageofLife.com is a free blog for all generations. It hosts writing contests, printable coupons, coupon codes, and blog directories geared towards each stage of life. Other specialized content includes free lesson plans, life resources, videos, statistics, and more!

SOURCE: StageofLife.com

93.1 KRO Country Radio featured Stage of Life

Prom Drama

May 25, 2011-  Stage of Life discovered that KRO Country Radio (www.wkro.fm) featured our Prom facts on their Did You Know page.  The KRO is stationed in Florida and covers Daytona Beach- Melbourne and Metro Orlando. 


Teens and Prom

StageofLife.com Reports 34% of Teens Don't Like Prom


YORK, Pa., May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Going to prom is a high school milestone, and prom traditions have been around for decades: Dresses.  Dinner. DJ's.  Dancing.  For most teenagers, it's about celebrating life with friends and/or a significant other.  However, there are also the negative aspects often associated with prom too: Drinking.  Drugs.  DUI's. Damaged self-esteem. Date rape.

StageofLife.com, a blogging resource for high school students, Baby Boomers, and every life stage in between, wanted to know how teens really felt about prom.  As part of its monthly teen writing contest series, StageofLife.com asked thousands of students the question, "Is prom a positive or negative high school tradition?"

Over 5,345 students from all 50 U.S. states and dozens of countries visited the site's writing contest page and scores of high school and college students submitted their thoughts about prom via a 500 word essay to the StageofLife.com website.

From the submissions, of which over 80 essays are showcased on StageofLife.com's teen trends summary page, 51% of teens find the idea of prom positive and enjoy the activity, while 34% think it's negative/"dumb," and another 15% have a neutral view of prom.  StageofLife.com also posed the prom question on its Facebook Fan Page and found more favorable results from a mixed audience of college and older individuals:  85% thought prom was a positive event, while only 15% said it was negative.

From the writing contest essay submissions about prom on StageofLife.com, five key themes and trends emerged:

1. Rite of Passage:  Many teens felt that prom is a rite of passage and a high school milestone.  Prom signifies the end of a high school career, more so than graduation.

One finalist, katimae, wrote, "I say that if going to prom can bring you that sense of completion, then what's the harm? We have the rest of our lives to be discontent with so many open-endings that will undoubtedly arise. If you're able to look past the stress, following the crowd and going to prom can be a major highlight of your younger years" in her essay Prom: A Necessary Evil.

2. Dangerous:  On the other hand, teens also felt that prom has lost its original intentions of being a relaxing night out. Many students wrote about the problems of excessive drinking, drug use, car accidents, date rape, pressure, and low-self esteem issues that prom can spur.

Finalist, Shana Zucker, of Deerfield High School, from Deerfield, Illinois, wrote in her essay Prom: Is it really worth dying for, "Some girls dream of going to prom. 'I'd die to go to prom this year!' they exaggerate. Yet they forget that students have died on the night of a school dance. 'I'd do anything!' But is it worth it? The girls who aren't asked to the dance are left with wounded self-esteem and a low self-image; they starve themselves or binge in an effort to be skinny. Those who are asked will do anything to be cool, even if it means drinking and driving, doing drugs, or engaging in sexual behavior that they are not comfortable with. Even students who don't drink and drive can be hit by a car due to a student driver who didn't make wise decisions."

3. Cost:  Almost everyone agreed that prom is an expensive tradition -- between the ticket, dress, and other accessories, some prom-goers spend $300 or more to attend the event.

Teen Blogger, Callie Ridenour, wrote in her essay, Prom: How Much is that Dress Really Worth, "Last year's expenses: the deep royal blue dress itself -- $380, the delicate alterations on the beading of the straps -- $75, the glittering stoned silver shoes -- $125, the ever so stylish hairdo -- $87, the French nail gels -- $105, the aqua blue stone earrings and ring -- $60, the silver bag that matched perfectly -- $36, and lastly the ridiculous amount of gas used to drive all over New Jersey to find these things -- oh, somewhere around $200. A year later as I'm beginning my frantic prom search again, I am disgusted with the amount of money I spent!"

4. Safety:  Many teens agreed that prom needed to be safer, or that students needed to make better choices. Regardless, prom is about having fun with your friends; and if you stay away from dangerous decisions, you will probably have a good time.

Teen blogger, Priyanka Garigipati, of Clark High School from Plano, TX, wrote, "The excitement prom gives is like a drug itself that keeps you dancing on the top of mountain ecstasy. On the other hand, we tend to make stupid decisions. We expose ourselves to alcohol, sex, and drugs; the whole package in one night" in the essay Prom: The Night of Doom.

5. "A Night to Remember":  Interestingly, multiple teens titled their essays "A Night to Remember," which suggests that prom still has some sort of "magical" allure. Most teens wrote about the hype that is associated with prom; but teens were almost split on whether this hype was positive or negative.

Felicia Czochanski, of Metuchen High School, from Metuchen, NJ, a contest finalist wrote, "This year alone, I've seen my sisters reading books such as Prom, and now Disney Channel has come out with a movie called "Prom". Expectations for prom are rising for young kids. By the time it's their turn to experience the big night, I'm afraid that it might not be everything they dreamed for. Next year I will be a junior, the first year I'll be able to attend and I'm so excited for the magic of the night. I've waited so many years to catch my own fairytale and I'll admit, my expectations are pretty high" in her essay Prom: Catching a Fairytale.

College blogger, Kay Porter, of Stephen F. Austin State University from Nacogdoches TX, wrote, "Prom was wonderful for all of five minutes. After I realized these were just the people I went to school with, we were in our poorly decorated basketball gym that smelled of sweat, and my date was a guy that meant nothing to me, the magic of the prom was gone. Of course, I danced and laughed with my friends at the already drunk couples making fools of themselves but this was just me hanging out with my friends in expensive clothes: Nothing new. The night ended as it began with excitement for going somewhere, however, the excitement at the end of the night was I could finally go home, change into comfortable clothes, take out the torturous pins in my hair, and watch a bad romantic comedy with my sister" in the essay Prom: A Truly Unmagical Experience.

StageofLife.com prom writing contest finalists were:

  • Shana Zucker, Deerfield High School, from Deerfield, IL
  • Priyanka Garigipati, Clark High School, from Plano, TX
  • Julia Rhodes,  Friends School, from Wilmington, DE
  • Kay Porter,  Stephen F. Austin State University, from Nacogdoches, TX
  • Maxie Lindholm, Groves High School, from Southfield, MI
  • Christine Fossaceca, Urbana High School, from Frederick, MD
  • William Gage Dingeldein, Pelion High School, from Lexington, SC
  • Hope Roberts, Rim of the World High School, from Crestline
  • Felicia Czochanski, Metuchen High School, from Metuchen, NJ
  • Aaron Englebardt, Greenville High School, from Greenville, SC
  • Callie Ridenour, West Morris Mendham High School, from Chester, NJ

A full recap of the writing contest along with postings of the teen prom essays can be viewed athttp://www.stageoflife.com/prom.aspx

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, added, "The majority of the student essays we had were quite positive.  With titles like 'Time of My Life,' 'A Day to Remember' and 'My Date With Mr. Amazing,' reading many of these essays brought me back to my senior prom 20 years ago... which is important to me because my date later became (and is now) my wife!"

May 2011 Writing Contest for High School Students

This month's writing contest for high school students on StageofLife.com asks the question, "What was the most difficult thing you overcame this school year?"

Entries will be accepted up till May 30th at Midnight PDT and the essay winner will receive a gift card/cash prize from prize sponsors like KodakGallery.com, StageofLife.com SWAG, and featured writing status on the site.

StageofLife.com works with thousands of bloggers from all stages of life along with its sponsors, like Mint.com et al, on its mission of making the world a better place, one story and one resource at a time.

About Stage of Life®:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan, grassroots blogging community that hosts stories, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations. Its specialized content allows users to share and archive their life stories. StageofLife.com also touts free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests, blogging resources, a platform that helps people promote their blogsteen trends analysis, custom news feeds for each stage of life, and much more.  The site also features My Life Rewards, relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life as StageofLife.com works to provide, "Rewards for Life's Journey®."

SOURCE StageofLife.com

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Teens Talk Money

ABC's Livewell Network program, Mary Talks Money, features Stage of Life

May 23, 2011 -  Three Stage of Life teen bloggers and their families, CEO Eric Thiegs, and PR/Marketing Coordinator, Megan Colyer, visited ABC studios in mid-February for the recording of Mary Talks Money. Stage of Life was approached about this opportunity after running a teen writing contest that asked, "What is your relationship with money?" Two segments where recorded including: Teens Talk Money and Tackle Your Money Dilemmas.

Mary Caraccioli, MBA, is an EMMY award winning financial journalist who is the host and lead reporter for the national money show Mary Talks Money produced by 6ABC WPVI-TV, airing daily on the Live Well Network and weekends on ABC-owned and operated stations in the nation's top television markets.

Watch the Mary Talks Money segment 



Stage of Life appears on Mary Talks Money

Stage of Life Teen Bloggers, CEO Eric Thiegs, & Marketing Coordinator, Megan Colyer take their photo at the ABC Studio's in Philadelphia with  Mary Caraccioli, after taping of Mary Talks Money.

Teens and the Media

YORK, Pa., May 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The "media" is an undeniably powerful entity in our daily lives.  It's even more invasive for teens and college students, a generation growing up with more forms of media choices than any other generation before them.

StageofLife.com, a blogging resource for high school students, Baby Boomers, and every life stage in between, wanted to know how teens felt about the media, so they asked its teen and college visitors, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?" as part of its national monthly writing contest series for students.

Over 5,190 students from all 50 U.S. states and 69 countries visited the teen writing contest page.  From the scores of submitted blogs to StageofLife.com, four trends/ themes emerged about teens' attitudes towards the media:

1. Internet:   Nearly a quarter of the student writers said that Internet was the media that affected them the most, citing that it's the perfect place to research, and to keep in touch with friends and family.

One contest finalist, Jenny Zhang, of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School from Middle Village, NY, wrote, in her essay entitled,Media: Are we really using the internet, or is it vice versa, "Our fast-paced society demands technology to be always moving at its fastest speed and to the best of it's ability with little to no errors. But has anyone considered the toll the internet has taken on our lives? Technology is frightening. The utmost terrifying development ever created by man. I won't deny that I am a victim of the internet because I find myself drawn to these technologies in ways I never thought I would be."

2. Television:  While some students get their information from television, many wrote about the "mind numbing" effects of this medium. It received the most negative responses; students feel television is "distracting."

Essay finalist, Justina Tran of Garden Grove High School, Garden Grove, CA, wrote, "In essence, the news media presents us with what it thinks we should know, but it's ultimately our responsibility to use that knowledge to make a difference and thus spread hope to those who need it most.  As a wise mentor advised me, two types of people dwell in this world: talkers and do-ers. The news media are fundamentally the talkers and it's up to us to be the do-ers," in her essay Media: The Difference Between Newscasters and Whom They Inform.

3. Facebook: It's no surprise that a large percentage of teenagers cited Facebook as their most influential form of media in their lives, since it connects the students to friends, family, and gossip.  Several students raised privacy concerns about using Facebook in their essays, as well as larger issues like cyber-bullying.

Finalist Riley Brewer, of Rhea County High School from Cookeville, TN, wrote, "The power of Facebook isn't easily defined...I am aware of the most intimate details of my high school classmates' lives; I know who is getting divorced at 22, who is preparing to graduate summa cum laude, who has moved to Vegas to pole dance, and who has traded in football practice for burger flipping. True, I could choose not to read friends' status updates, but I must admit the temptation is too much for a mere mortal to resist," in the essay Media: The Facebook Juggernaut.

4. Overall, Media is Positive: Although there were some dissenters, the majority of student writers felt that media—in all forms and varieties—is an important, powerful, and positive influence on a person's life.

In the essay, Media: Children of the Techno-Revolution, teen blogger Katie Garner, of Vista High school from Oceanside, CA, wrote, "Nearly every aspect of my life, in some way or another, is consumed by the functions of modern technology. But I revel in it, for I am a child of the techno-revolution, an age that has spawned millions of other faithful offspring and captivated our thoughts and imagination. Friends may speak to each other from California to Tokyo without delay. Blogs may swap philosophical concepts or short stories, and people around the planet can share their experiences in a chat room.  So, how could only one form of media possibly affect me when so many intertwine to shape the way I live? These innovations are all strands of the same web. They constantly surround us, my fellow children and I, so that we remain entangled together. Some might find this instant gratification distasteful; but quite frankly, I think it is wonderful."  

Aside from the themes listed above, the student writing contest took in a wide variety of entries addressing various forms of media / communication that included blogs about social networking, cell phones, the internet, television, blogs, books/print, Facebook, celebrities, music, gossip, YouTube, texting, computers, video games, photo editing, prayer, verbal communication, the news, Skype, and the media in general.

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, stated, "If you get a chance to read these essays, you'll find they are truly amazing when you look at how the students break down and analyze the media.  Our winner, Keilah Sullivan, a home schooled student from St. Louis, MO used a tongue and cheek approach to champion her love for print media in her essay, Media: I Like it Black, White, and Read All Over."

Interested readers can read the summary report and find links to over 140 featured essays about Teens and the Media at http://www.stageoflife.com/TeensandMedia.aspx.

Teens & Media Writing Contest Finalists

  • Kaleigh Somers, James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA., from Royersford, PA
  • Yipeng Xie, Carlisle School, from Martinsville, VA
  • Riley Brewer, Rhea County High School, from Cookeville, TN
  • Jenny Zhang, Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, from Middle Village, NY
  • Justina Tran, Garden Grove High School, from Garden Grove, CA
  • D.J. Schaefer, Waukesha South High School, from Waukesha, Wisconsin
  • Keilah Sullivan, Home schooled, from St. Louis, MO
  • Kimmy Tejasindhu, Cajon High School, from San Bernardino, CA
  • Felicia Czochanski, Metuchen High School, from Metuchen, NJ
  • Jennifer Pasatieri, Wellington C. Mepham High School, from North Merrick, NY
  • Andrew Rauh, Divine Child High School, from Dearborn, MI
  • Kammy Liu, John T. Hoggard High School, from Wilmington, NC
  • Katie Garner, Vista High School, from Oceanside, CA
  • Angela N., John F. Kennedy High School and California State University Northridge, from of Los Angeles, CA

May 2011 Writing Contest for High School Students

This month's writing contest for high school students on StageofLife.com asks high school students the question, "What was the most difficult thing you overcame this school year?"  From friends to family to graduation to grades to self-esteem, teens go through a lot in the course of nine months.  With graduation just around the corner (and already have happened for many college students), this contest writing prompt has already begun to elicit some unique responses.  Entries will be accepted up till May 30th at Midnight PDT and the essay winner will receive a gift card/cash prize from sponsors like KodakGallery.com, StageofLife.com SWAG, and featured writing status on the site.

About Stage of Life®: StageofLife.com  is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community that hosts blogs, information, and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations. Its specialized content allows users to share and archive their life stories. StageofLife.com includes free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform that helps people promote their blogsteen trends, custom news feeds for each stage of life, and My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder Eric Thiegs, please call (717) 244-0006, or use the Contact Us  form on the website. You may also contact PR/Marketing Coordinator Megan Colyer at (717) 654-9554 or megan.colyer(at)stageoflife.com.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

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Start-up of the day

StageofLife.com – making the world a better place, one story at a time

May 4, 2011 -  Shoestring Venture featured StageofLife.com as the start-up of the day on The Startup Bible Blog.  Feel free to read the interview and get a little insight into the start-up phase of our Stage of Life project.

Read the full article...

Press about StageofLife.com

Fox Business sources StageofLife.com

Graduation Etiquette 101: Have Some Class

May 4, 2011 -  FoxBusiness.com talked to our very own in-house etiquette guru, Jay Remer, about graduation etiquette.  Fox Business reporter, Emily Driscoll, was doing research for her story and needed an etiquette expert for the high school and college stage.  She came across StageofLife.com and we were more than please to introduce her to our protocol expert, Jay.

Read the full article

"Making a Splash" features StageofLife.com

StageofLife.com featured on BlogTalkRadio.com

April 30, 2011 -  Co-hosts of Symphony of Peace, a global humanitarian project, Seph Dietlin and Shairon Beale, interviewed StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, on their weekly Blog Talk Radio series, "Making a Splash." 

The "Making a Splash" episodes support a mission to "empower you to “Make A Splash” in the world by “Making A Splash” in yours."  Dietlin and Beale cover a wide range of topics from the green and sustainability movement, to self empowerment, to the quickly expanding world of heart centered enterprise.

We were honored to be contacted and highlighted in this interview for their BlogTalkRadio.com program.

Listen to internet radio with Symphony Of Peace on Blog Talk Radio
StageofLife.com makes Top 10 Social Media Highlights

Weekly Top 10 Social Media Highlights

April 29, 2011 -  GOSO.com listed StageofLife.com as one of the Top 10 Social Media Highlights of the week of April 29th.  We garnered the #6 spot, between #5 (MySpace Is For Sale) and #7 (The Royal Wedding Lights Up the Web).

Korenne Richardson is GOSO's Automotive and Social Media guru, specializing in social media innovations and popular culture. With the influx of news from 24-hour cable, blogs and social media, it’s hard to catch every story. So GOSO finds stories that matter in the automotive and social media industry and featured ten stories you might have missed.

To have our humble writing project here at StageofLife.com land between the news about MySpace and the Royal Wedding is, well, flattering.

See the full Top 10 List...

Press about StageofLife.com

2000+ bloggers writing for StageofLife.com

YORK, Pa., April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Since its launch last April, over 2,000 bloggers joined and contributed to StageofLife.com – a free, international writing project that takes submitted stories from bloggers and organizes them by stage of life.

Using a multi-generational approach, the site works with both amateur and professional bloggers/writers across the entire age spectrum, from teenagers in high school to Baby Boomers in retirement, as it aspires to build the world's largest collection of cross-generational stories.

Bloggers submit essays, bits of wisdom, links to articles, stories from their existing blogs and other insights about their lives which are coded and displayed in one of ten life milestones on StageofLife.com.  The core mission of the blogger collaboration is to make the world a better place, one story at a time.  Over two dozen editors (personally living in the life stages for which they edit) monitor the incoming essay submissions and lead off each life stage in the site with a From the Editor welcome message.

Homeowner editor Amy Mullis says, "Stage of Life® reminds us that even in our differences, we are all alike. We all have fears and failures, hopes and dreams, goals and accomplishments; and we all want someone to share these things with. We're all one big family–and that gives me an endless stream of cousins who have to laugh at my jokes!"

Two key benefits

The two benefits bloggers enjoy most about StageofLife.com are a) it's free to join as a contributing writer-member, and b) StageofLife.com actively encourages its writer network to include a back link to their blogs from their StageofLife.com posts and profile page.

These promotional elements for key for people as they look for credible channels in which to promote their blogs and gain more traffic.  Additionally, Stage of Life® drives thousands of visitors to its site each month through its public relations, marketing and advertising channels, all of which bring traffic to the site and an opportunity for bloggers to court new readers.

Wedding Editor Elle Lamboy says, "I wanted a place to showcase my writing but was new to the whole blogging scene. Stage of Life® offered a friendly playground to not only share my writing but also learn from so many talented writers."

Featured Bloggers

If members want to get more involved, they can apply for Featured Blogger status. Stage of Life's Featured Bloggers' essays receive additional placements on the website in exchange for contributing on a more regular basis and writing across several of the life stages on the site.

On My Own Editor, Laura Parson, was a former Featured Blogger who become an Editor.  Parson said of the project, "In the age of social media there are an abundance of ways to connect, but Stage of Life® stands out from the crowd because it brings together individuals in the same stage of their life. (It) gives me the opportunity to seek advice, share my struggles, and celebrate triumphs with people who understand the unique nature of my life. Additionally, it allows me to find news and information relevant to my life and needs and sends me deals that I actually want!  It is a safe and positive environment that I can trust to meet my unique stage of life needs!"

Interactive community

StageofLife.com readers can comment on, share and follow their favorite posts and bloggers on the site, as each essay submitted is coded to that blogger's profile page, thus forming a public-facing life journal.  This fosters an interactive community between the reading public and the blogging members, placing StageofLife.com as a central hub for people to find wisdom from others for their current life stage or gain insights on the transitions into future ones.  

College Editor Michelle Pease says, "I am a firm believer that words can change the world; one person's story may be another person's life saver. It is a wonderful mission, and I fell in love."

Save money

As a final perk, StageofLife.com touts My Life Rewards®  a propriety benefit program designed to give bloggers and readers discounts and coupons to relevant national merchants as part of a secondary mission to provide "Rewards for Life's Journey®."  

Over 100 national brands participate directly in the program as Stage of Life® groups discounts, coupons and savings by life stage, just as it does its blogs, thus allowing its users and readers to not only gain wisdom through story sharing but also save money throughout their entire lives.  

Get involved

There are three ways to get involved in StageofLife.com:

  • If you're interested in sharing a story to impart wisdom from your life for others to benefit, look for the "Share Your Story" buttons throughout the site.  
  • If you're a blogger looking for ways to get more exposure for your blog, become a StageofLife.com member, add your blog to your public profile page and start sharing essays and stories from your life.  
  • If you're simply looking for some of the best discounts on cruises, shoes and things you need for your everyday life, check out the My Life Rewards® listing of national merchant offers and start saving today.

Stage of Life® celebrated its one year anniversary this month.  Site traffic is trending to eclipse last year's visit count by over 195% and each month new bloggers are getting involved to help build the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.

About Stage of Life®:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community that hosts blogs, information, and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content allows users to share and archive their life stories. StageofLife.com includes free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform that helps people promote their blogs, insights into teen trends, custom news feeds for each stage of life, and My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder Eric Thiegs, please call (717) 244-0006, or use the Contact Us form on the website.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

Mint Education

StageofLife.com featured on Mint Education

April 3, 2011 -  Mint.com named StageofLife.com as one of its two launch partners for Mint Education - an initiative designed to teach kids the basics of money management. From saving and budgeting to setting goals, Mint.com makes learning about personal finance fun.  Essays from StageofLife.com's teen writer and blogger members are featured on the site.

Find out more about Mint Education

Teens Attitudes on Marriage

YORK, Pa., March 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the wedding season kicking off in mid-spring,StageofLife.com—a resource and  blogging website for high school students, Baby Boomers, and every life stage in between—asked its teen and college visitors, "What is the value of marriage?" This question is part of StageofLife.com's ongoing monthlyblogging contest series.

Over 4,520 students from all 50 US states visited the marriage writing contest page.  From those who submitted a blog entry to StageofLife.com on the topic, 55% of the teenagers shared a positive view about marriage, 28% had a negative view, and 17% took a neutral, unbiased, or more academic approach.  In less than 30 days, over 41,500 words were uploaded to StageofLife.com as students shared their opinions and feelings about marriage.

The winning college student essay, You're Stuck With Me, came from Kaleigh Somers, a Creative Writing minor at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.  When asked why she submitted an essay, Somers explained, "As soon as I read the contest description, I had this strong visceral reaction to it. I knew that I wanted to remind people that college students haven't lost sight in marriage. Some of us, myself included, still believe in the sanctity of marriage. Writing it out was the best method to express that."

Outside of the positive or negative emotional reaction, five common themes/trends about marriage emerged from the scores of essays written by high school and college students:

1.  Religion:  Students used religion—mostly Christianity—to describe the importance of the sacrament of matrimony.  However, some students took an anti-religious tone.  

York College of Pennsylvania junior Michelle Pease confessed in her essay, A Word, "I don't care much for the religious undertones in the word marriage. Words don't belong to certain groups of people, and so there is no reason for the religious to "triumph" the non-religious in the gay marriage debate."

2.  Parents:  Students' parents' marriages affected how these students viewed marriage.  If the parents' marriage was successful, then the student viewed marriage positively; if not, then the students often resented marriage.  

StageofLife.com blogger purpleoveralls broke away from this trend in the winning high school essay, Let me keep my childhood dream.  She wrote, "I know from personal experience the effect divorce has on children, and I would never put my own child through that misery. But instead of giving up on marriage...I will take the risk because I'm a fighter. I will get married, stay married, and raise my children with the one thing I lacked: the assurance that yes, marriages do last."

3. Marriage definitions:  Most students summed up marriage using the same, or similar, words—that marriage involves both love and commitment.  These two values were also detrimental in defining a successful marriage.  

High school contest finalist luvsleepcandy wrote in her essay, Key to Success, "Ever since I've been able to hold comprehensible conversations, my mom has drilled into my head: 'Don't ever rush into marriage. A good marriage ALWAYS needs a strong foundation, and it can't be built entirely on love alone. Successful marriages can only happen when a couple is compatible; the husband and wife's personalities balance each other out.'"

4. Reality strikes:  Many students wrote about the "reality" of marriage as much as they wrote about the idealism and romanticism of marriage. These students understand the commitment involved in marriage.  Not one student wrote about the positivity of divorce.  

Maddie Ann Cramer, a 10th grader in the International Baccalaureate program at Lakewood High School in Lakewood, CO, busted Disney's bubble in her essay, Stay Strong, when she wrote, "When picturing marriage, every little girl imagines the sensational Cinderella reunited with the glittery, but obviously uncomfortable glass slipper. She is gliding down the palace steps, arm in arm with the preppiest prince the kingdom had ever seen. She is escorted into a bedazzled carriage that disappears into the sunset with a staged kiss. But the little girl does not know that as soon as the curtain falls, Cinderella pushes our Preppy Prince off, wipes her lips, and demands to know why his breath smells like rotten tuna."

5.  Marriage is Serious:  The majority of the essays submitted all revolved around one common thread: marriage is serious.  

Dozens of students echoed one student's thoughts: Desiree van Arkens, a graduate from Horizon Honors High School, wrote in her essay, I Gotta Watch You Get Old?, "The value of marriage is decreasing rapidly in society today unfortunately, but if everyone knew the deeper meaning of marriage, I believe more couples would remain married."

StageofLife.com organized a summary page from its findings on the "Value of Marriage" writing contest, which features links to more than 80 of the teen StageofLife.com essays on marriage at http://www.stageoflife.com/marriage.aspx.  

For the March writing contest, StageofLife.com asks its student bloggers, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?"  Students have until Midnight (PDT) on March 31, 2011 to submit their 500 word essay.  Winners receive a gift card or cash prizes from national sponsors, along with swag from StageofLife.com.

Previous StageofLife.com teen writing prompts addressed topics such as teens and stressteens and moneyteens and herosteens and education, and more.

About Stage of Life®:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community that hosts blogs, information, and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content allows users to share and archive their life stories. StageofLife.com includes free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform that helps people promote their blogs, teen white papers, custom news feeds for each stage of life, and My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder Eric Thiegs, please call (717) 244-0006, or use the Contact Us form on the website.  You may also contact PR/Marketing Coordinator Megan Colyer at (717) 654-9554 or megan.colyer(at)stageoflife.com.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

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Teens and Volunteering

YORK, Pa., March 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In honor of National Volunteer Week starting on April 10, 2011,StageofLife.com, a free blogging platform, asked teens, "What organization, company, non-profit or 'cause' will help make the world a better place in 2011?"

The writing prompt was part of StageofLife.com's monthly student essay contest.  Over 3,950 students from all 50 U.S. states and dozens of countries visited the writing contest page with scores submitting essays to nominate their favorite volunteer organizations.  From the blog submissions, four types of organizations emerged as those held most dear to teens' hearts.

  1. Medical related: Teens feel strongly about finding cures and spreading awareness for debilitating conditions like cancer, concussions, and Celiac Disease.
  2. Self-image:  Many teens focus on promoting self-worth and healthy living, including healthy relationships and healthy eating habits.
  3. Poverty: Teenagers want to give back to those who do not have their basic needs met.
  4. Animal rights:  Students care deeply about the humane treatment and protection of animals.

StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs, explained, "The variety of volunteer organizations and causes nominated by the students was astounding.  One student gives his time to help senior soldiers at a VA hospital and another emphasized 'family' should always come first as the way to make the world a better place."

The winner of the writing contest, writexmusic, tackled self-image issues in her essay entitled, "To Write Love On Her Arms promotes more than ink poisoning." She shared, "According to my friends, self-injury is a way to release the pain they feel inside...that's where the non-profit organization To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) comes into play. The idea behind the name was to write the word 'love' on your arm, instead of cutting yourself.  Use a pen, not a knife."

In its call-to-action leading up to April's National Volunteer Week, StageofLife.com encourages teenagers, college students and people from all stages of life to consider the following four steps as a way to get involved and help make the world a better place:

  • Step 1: Research organizations that align with your personal belief system.
  • Step 2: Contact those organizations to see how you can help or get involved.
  • Step 3: Take action by volunteering, fund raising or creating awareness for the organization.
  • Step 4: Spread the word about what you're doing with family, friends, your school and community. You can do this by making updates on Facebook or by writing about it on StageofLife.com.  With each post a blogger or writer makes on StageofLife.com, their efforts and stories will reach thousands of readers, hopefully inspiring another to get involved in a particular cause.  It starts with one person.

A summary report with links to dozens of the teen essays showcasing the goodwill nominations can be found at StageofLife.com's "Making the World a Better Place" page.

Organizations featured by the teens in their StageofLife.com essays included Hope Academy, Invisible Children, Text Free Driving Organization, Wildlife Warriors, The American Cancer Society, World Vision, Doctors Without Borders, Key Club, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Glutino, National Cattleman's Beef Association, Operation Beautiful, Serving in Missions, Kiva, National Eating Disorder Association, Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman Family Foundation, Share Our Strength, Teach For America, Amnesty International, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and more.

StageofLife CEO, Thiegs, hopes that, "this list of essays will serve as a starting point for young people around the nation to start exploring the philanthropic side of their lives."

For the March student writing contest, StageofLife.com asks teenagers, "What form of media impacts your life the most, and why?" and ends at Midnight (PDT) on March 31, 2011.  Winners receive gift card or cash prizes from national sponsors along with SWAG from StageofLife.com.

StageofLife.com will release a summary/white paper outlining its findings from the last teen writing contest dealing with teens' attitudes about marriage later this month.  Previous StageofLife.com teen white papers address topics such as teens and stressteens and moneyteen heroesteens and education, and more.

About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content allows users to share their life stories and includes free lesson plans and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform for writers and bloggers to promote their work and much more, including My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

Teens and Marriage

How Do Teens Feel About Marriage?

YORK, Pa., Feb. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- How do teenagers feel about marriage? That's the controversial question posed by StageofLife.com, a writing and blogging resource for teens to Baby Boomers.  As part of its monthly writing contest series for high school and college students, the site is asking young people, "What is the value of marriage?"

With an essay submission deadline of February 28th, 2011, over 3,440 high school and college students have already visited the student writing contest page.  From the first wave of essay submissions, teens have shared thoughts on gay marriage, traditional values and a wide range of attitudes about matrimony running the philosophical gamut.

In the pro-marriage camp, one student writer wrote, "To me, I believe that the value of marriage is priceless. It is the true meaning of unity between two people in love. It shows the trust, the devotion, and the hope for an amazing future between the two. When people get married, they want to live the rest of their lives to make their partner happy, and they will try their best to do just that. Even if they live in the Projects or in a mansion in Florida, a loving marriage could make your life better, just the way a loveless marriage can ruin you."

On the other end of the spectrum, a different StageofLife.com teen blogger wrote, "Since I was a small child, I've always wondered what the heck I would do when I grew up and had the option to…dare I say it? Get married. The prospect scared me, and at age seven, I decided that marriage was not for me. Who would want to live with me forever, and more importantly, who would I want to put up with forever?"

Keeping with the marriage theme throughout February, StageofLife.com also launched its wedding writing contest that asks, "What is your engagement proposal story?" to adult couples currently or previously married.

The current wedding and student writing contests end at Midnight (PST) on February 28th, 2011.  Winners from the contests receive gift card or cash prizes from national sponsors along with SWAG from StageofLife.com, and a new writing contest dealing with a real-world topic that concerns teens will start on March 1st, 2011.

StageofLife.com will release a formal summary/white paper outlining its findings from the teen writing contest about marriage in mid-March.  Previous StageofLife.com teen white papers address topics such as teens and stressteens and moneyteen heroesteens and education and more.

About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan, grassroots online community hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content allows users to share their life stories and includes lesson plan ideas and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, a platform for writers and bloggers to promote their work and much more, including My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please use the Contact Usform on the website or contact PR/Marketing Coordinator Megan Colyer at (717) 654-9554 or megan.colyer(at)stageoflife.com.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

TIME.com's Money Blog

StageofLife.com featured on TIME.com's Money Blog

February 14, 2011 -  TIME.com business/money blogger, Brad Tuttle, mentioned Stage of Life and one of our teen essay contest winners in the TIME.com business section. 

Read the mention on TIME.com...

StageofLife.com mentioned on TIME.com

Teens and Money

Teen Bloggers Share Their Stress About Money

YORK, Pa., Jan. 31, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Can money buy happiness?  The answer is "no" if you're a teenager, but it certainly stresses them out.  StageofLife.com, a national blogging and writing resource for generations of Teens to Baby Boomers, released its summary report on "Teens and Money."

The report is complied from the anecdotal insights of 3,335 teenagers and young adults who visited StageofLife.com's recent monthly writing contest for students - many of whom submitted 500 word essays answering the writing prompt, "What is your relationship with money?  How do you spend (or save), and why?"

Major themes emerged from the blog submissions detailing the delicate and often contentious relationship between young people and money.  From anger towards world financial and economic institutions to more pragmatic insights on personal budgeting, StageofLife.com's teen blog summary report provides links to over 60 of the submitted student essays/blogs.

The winner of the blogging writing contest, Justina Tran, a student at Garden Grove High School in Garden Grove, CA, personified money as a living being in her essay, "Affinity Gone Awry."  When asked about her current relationship with money, Tran stated, "(It) still stresses me out to an extent, but I'm confident it won't overshadow my life. I guess money and I can still be friends."

Although stress and money were tied together in many of essays, that relationship is one that can be broken.  StageofLife.com featured Mint.com as its free, educational resource that can help young people establish a budget, learn the benefits of saving, and plan financial goals, thus relieving stress associated with money.

"At Mint.com, we believe money is for living," said Aaron Patzer, VP and General Manager of Intuit PFG and founder of Mint.com. "It's important for teens and students starting college to be financially literate and know how to budget for life. In just a few years, they will be in control of their own bills, bank account, and credit card, so they want to have good financial habits that they can use for the rest of their life."

StageofLife.com teen blog editor, Amanda Konstantine Perlmutter, takes this advice to heart.  "It's important for teens to budget their money. I've been a teen for four years already, and...if I'd have spent less money on unnecessary things in the past, then maybe I'd have been closer to saving up for a car then I am now!"

When asked why she entered the writing contest with her essay, "Money:  Guilty As Charged", Rose Sulentic, a senior at St. Agnes Academy in Houston, TX, stated, "I needed extra practice with personal essay skills.  The question about money was perfect because it was a way for me to vent about my then-recent car accident without being too morose."

The current writing contest for college and high school students asks, "What organization, company, non-profit or 'cause' will help make the world a better place in 2011?"

"This month's essay contest is an opportunity for teens and college students to shed light and share with us worthwhile 'causes' that we should all know about," states StageofLife.com CEO, Eric Thiegs.  For each person submitting an essay to the current writing contest, their nominated cause will receive a link on a newly created resource page called, "Making the World a Better Place."  

Site sponsor, KodakGallery.com, is providing the monthly prize and StageofLife.com is offering up SWAG and Featured Blogger status to the next student writing contest winner.

The contest summary report page about Teens and Money can be found at: http://www.stageoflife.com/Teens_and_Money.aspx

About Stage of Life®:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan grassroots project with a mission to make the world a better place, one story at a time.  By hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations, its hope is that cross-generational story telling will weave a network of wisdom from which all can benefit.  Specialized content includes free lesson plan ideas and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthlywriting contests, blogging resources, goal setting worksheets, a free national platform for writers to promote their blogs and much more, including My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please use the Contact Usform on www.stageoflife.com or call 717-650-0699.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

What are Teens and Students Most Thankful For?

Marine Corps Veteran Wins Holiday Blogging Contest for Teens and College Students

YORK, Pa., Dec. 21, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- What are teens and college students most thankful for this holiday season?  That's a question StageofLife.com, a blogging and writing resource for teens and students, poised in its latest monthly writing contest.

Over 3,550 students visited StageofLife.com during the month to review the writing contest. 


From the essay and blog submissions, twelve major themes emerged about where teens and college students give the most thanks:  1)  Family, 2) Friends, 3) Physical Abilities, 4) Health, 5) Their Pet, 6) Home, 7) School, 8) The Arts / Creativity, 9)  God and Spirituality, 10) Opportunity, 11)  Nature, and 12) Miscellaneous  Topics, which includes giving thanks to things such as "Guardrails," for saving the lives of reckless teenage drivers (and older generations alike).


The winner of the holiday writing contest is 24-year-old freshman, Jason Gerringer of Crestwood, IL, who started at Trinity Christian College after completing four years in the United States Marine Corps.  After surviving two deployments in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, he offered a unique perspective on where to give gratitude this holiday. 


In his essay entitled, "I'm Thankful for Quiet," Gerringer writes,

"There are a lot of things I'm thankful for. I'm grateful to have a lovely wife who supports me and makes my life warm and more meaningful. I'm thankful for real food that is cooked in a real kitchen, running water, a real shower, and a comfortable bed at night. These things I used to take for granted... It is hard to imagine a world without these simple pleasures. For most of us we see a lot of these things as necessities. Yet the places I've been to in Iraq and Afghanistan, I didn't always get these things, and I witnessed other people who didn't have it as good as we do here. The sad truth of our society is, we don't realize how good it really is, unless we step away from it into a different world. 

"Although I'm thankful for these things, there is nothing I am more grateful for than the solitude I feel as I write this (essay). Each morning I have the freedom to wake up and drive to this college. Every morning I get here early, so that I can find a quiet spot in the library where I can challenge and expand my mind in ways other than the ways of war. Here I can sit and read such things as literature or philosophy, and I am able to ponder the ideas of the scholars before me. I am no longer expected to be a warrior. And I am not so sure now what exactly I am called to be from now on, but for now I'll sit here quietly, soaking up the serenity."
For those interested in reading other essays about giving thanks this holiday season, StageofLife.com offers a holiday writing contest summary page featuring links to 100 of the student and teen blogger submissions.  

When asked why he entered, Gerringer said, "I found out about the essay contest through a Google search for college writing contests  and Stageoflife.com was one of the results, so I looked into it and began writing.  I am an aspiring writer, and this is a great way for me to practice writing...it helps to have a topic to write about.  I love it."


The current
writing contest for college and high school students deals with the topic of "Money." The writing prompt asks  students, "What is your relationship with money? How do you spend (or save) your money...and why?"

The contest submission deadline is Dec. 31, 2010 - Midnight PST.  Mint.com is recommended as a financial resource for the students and KodakGallery.com is providing the monthly prize.  StageofLife.com is offering up SWAG and Featured Writer/Blogger status to the next student writing contest winner.


About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan grassroots project with a mission to make the world a better place, one story at a time.  By hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations, its hope is that cross-generational story telling will weave a network of wisdom from which all can benefit.  Specialized content includes free lesson plan ideas and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students  and college students, blogging resources, a free national platform for writers to promote their blogs and much more, including My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.


If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please us the Contact Us form on www.stageoflife.com or call 717-650-0699.


SOURCE StageofLife.com
Having a Baby Advice

10 Tips to Help with a Winter Pregnancy

YORK, Pa., Dec. 14, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pregnant women in their 2nd or 3rd trimesters may not feel as agile as they once were.  This becomes even more relevant as winter looms and snow or ice make navigating front steps and driveways across the U.S. more difficult.  

Husbands and partners of soon-to-be mothers should consider these 10 ways to not only help around the house during the final terms of a winter pregnancy, but also emotionally support their pregnant partner.

  • #10:  Encourage Nesting Instincts. Many pregnant women possess strong urges to paint, remodel, move furniture, and otherwise begin to make changes to their environment.  This is biology telling her to get things ready for the baby.  Rather than fighting these urges or getting frustrated with the changes, get involved and ask how you can help with the nesting process.
  • #9:  Keep the Car Parked on a Level Surface (and Warm it Up for Her).  If you have a slope to your driveway, park the car in a fashion that reduces the risk of falling or slipping, especially during icy or snowy conditions.  While you're monitoring car care, run out and start it a few minutes before she has to get in, too.  Chivalry ranks above saving the planet by the 3rd trimester.
  • #8:  Ask How She's Feeling.  It's hard for the other person to truly understand the full extent of the physical changes occurring during a pregnancy.  Stay engaged and make sure to ask your partner how she's feeling.  It's important for her to know that a) you're interested and b) that you care.
  • #7:  Make Dinner. As the pregnancy develops, the motivation and ability to move around the kitchen may diminish.  Keep your partner happy and healthy with surprise meal preparations that are good for her and the baby.  
  • #6:  Say I Love You.  Saying these three simple words allows your partner to know that she's not alone during a sometimes scary, bodily transformation.
  • #5:  Talk to the Baby. By the second trimester, the baby can hear you.  Ask your partner if you can read to the baby or even talk to her belly during bedtime.  Cuddle up at night and pick a story that will keep all three of you interested.
  • #4:  Start a Pre-Birth Journal.  Suggest to your wife or partner the idea of keeping a "Daddy" or "Soon-to-be-Parents" Journal.  This can be something as simple as a notebook in which you keep daily thoughts on world events, life, and/or the conversations you are having together leading up to the birth of your child.  It'll be a piece of you that your teenage son or daughter can read one day.  For those more inclined to start a blog, parents-to-be can also use the free blogging tools at StageofLife.com to create a profile that will archive their stories online.
  • #3:  Help Her Feel Sexy. For some women, the last thing on their minds during pregnancy is sex.  For others, their drive becomes stronger.  No matter the situation, continue letting your partner know how sexy she is.  This can be accomplished with something romantic like a candle lit backrub in front of the fireplace, or as simple as a surprise greeting card with a personalized inscription.
  • #2:  Talk Money.  Don't wait until the baby arrives to share breaking news on your finances or the fact that you can't afford the crib you both have been talking about for four months.  Sit down before the baby is due and look at your budget together.  Talk openly about the economic changes and opportunities a baby will bring.  Make it a positive conversation...not something scary or negative.  Talking money isn't about adding stress, it's about taking it away and being prepared financially.  Websites like Mint.com can help with these conversations, or completing  the New Year financial planning and goal setting work sheet found on StageofLife.com.
  • #1:  Vacuum. Yes.  Vacuum.  Better yet, vacuum AND dust.  Believe it or not, it's often the little things that count the most during this time, especially when you're cooped up inside during the winter months.  If you happen to already vacuum, then pick up a chore that she typically does (laundry anyone?) no matter how much you hate it.

If you have other suggestions or additions on how to help a pregnant partner during the 2nd or 3rd trimesters, Stage of Life is taking suggestions and stories at www.StageofLife.com.  For the remainder of December, Stage of Life is also running a baby story writing contest for soon-to-be mothers and fathers that asks the question,

"If you could share one piece of advice about your experiences of being a new parent (however long ago it may have been) during that first month home from the hospital, what would it be?"

National sponsor, KodakGallery.com, is providing the essay prize, and StageofLife.com is offering up SWAG and Featured Blogger status to the baby story writing contest winner.  Enter the Stage of Life writing contest for parents today.

About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan grassroots project hosting blogs, information and resources for parents, teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content includes baby story writing contests, free lesson plan ideas and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students  and college students, blogging resources, opportunities for writers and bloggers to promote their writing and much more, including an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.
If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please use the Contact Us form on the website

SOURCE StageofLife.com

BLOGGING CONTEST: TEENS TALK STRESS

Teens Talk Stress

YORK, Pa., Nov. 22, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today's teens feel stressed out.  From school to relationships to college and beyond, high school students deal with pressure from a variety of sources.  StageofLife.com, a teen blogging and writing resource, welcomed 2,733 students to its monthly blogging contest for teens to answer the prompt, "What stresses you out?"

Teens shared personal experiences ranging from a sibling's drug addiction to the day-to-day stress of dealing with homework.  From the collection of these student essays, six major themes emerged on teen stress:

1.  School:  Students talked candidly about the pressures from homework, grades and school transitions.  Teen blogger, laura310, stated, "School is the thing that most high school students dread...There's so much homework, projects, and tests due in a short amount of time and sometimes it feels like it's the end of the world."

2.  College:  Many students worry about college.  One teen writer, coffeeinthebin, talked about making the right choices for getting into college,  "Every choice I make has to be thought through...I need to think about the consequences. Getting high, or drunk some night like half the population of my school do, won't help me. I'll be tired and will fail a test the next day."

3.  Romantic Relationships: Teen relationships can be a perfect recipe for stress.  Youthful expectations.  Untested emotional boundaries.  Hormones.  One student shared that this stress doesn't come from a crush on Justin Bieber, but the emotional commitment given to "people, places, activities, and ideas...which is why it stresses me out constantly!"

4.  Friends and Family: Like romance, this category heavily involves interpersonal relationships, a natural cause of stress. One high school blogger pointedly observed, "Friendship stresses me out to the point that I want to rip out my hair and scream on the top of Mt. Everest. Because reality is, friendship isn't just hard. It's downright difficult."

On the family side, an essay finalist in the teen writing contest talked about her stress of losing a loved one, in this case her father, "In order to deal with the pain of his passing I turn to God and pray to him to relieve me suffering. Sometimes it works yet other times the pain remains. (The) stress of losing a loved one is like feeling the weight of the world crushing down on your shoulders and no matter what you do the weight never goes away."

5.  Social Expectations/Society:  People of any age, especially teens, can often become overwhelmed by what is often "expected" of them.  Several writers described frustrations with "what you should look like, how you act, how much money you should make to be successful."

6.  The Future:  As if school, college, love, family, friends, and society weren't enough, there was a consensus amongst many of the teens that "the future" stresses them out. One of Stage of Life's high school editors, Amanda, a junior at the Keystone National High School, summed up what many of the teens expressed, "Facing the unknown is a scary thing, and many teens don't have much experience outside of high school, their peer-to-peer social life, and bucket-loads of extracurriculars. When the future is suddenly thrown at us, we're lifted completely out of our environment, and therefore out of our mental comfort zone."

In fact, it was an essay about this stress category that propelled writing contest winner, Lily Nguyen, to stand out from the group of eleven finalists. Her essay, "What Stresses Me Out: the Future", addressed her worries about the future and living up to parental expectations,

"(My mother) and my father had escaped Vietnam during the war, hoping for a better life.  So I can see why they have a 'the sky is the limit' attitude on everything I do. I'm also not saying that it's a bad thing. But on a journey to find a profession that both fills my personal needs and my parent's expectations is where I find most of my stress."

So what can students do about stress?  How can they find positive coping mechanisms for it?

Humera Proctor, eLearning Instructional Designer for LearntobeHealthy.org, the online extension of the Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center in York, PA, commented, "Writing/blogging is a great way to reduce stress for teens. It gives them a chance to describe what is overwhelming.  And by reading it, they can reflect on how they are feeling and think of ways to solve their problem."

Because chronic stress can lead to long-term health issues, which are the leading cause of death in the U.S., Proctor went on to encourage teens to identify what is causing them stress so they can avoid it (if possible), prioritize their work, get enough sleep, find time to relax, be optimistic while setting realistic goals, and engage in positive coping mechanisms, like writing.

Rebecca Thiegs, M. Ed., Education Consultant for StageofLife.com and current high school Language Arts teacher at Red Lion Area Senior High School in Red Lion, PA, expanded on Proctor's comments,

"We see examples of negative coping mechanisms everyday in the stories we examine in the classroom.  For instance, look at Holden Caulfield or Hamlet.  Both of these literary characters deal with stress in very destructive manners.  At StageofLife.com, we're working to give students a positive outlet, each and every day, to release stress through that process of writing and blogging."

StageofLife.com consolidated many of the "What Stresses You Out?" teen essays on a summary page for review at http://www.stageoflife.com/Student_Stress.aspx along with a link to an informational video about teen stress from LearntobeHealthy.org.

The current writing contest for high school students asks the question, "What are you thankful for?"  National sponsor, KodakGallery.com, is providing the monthly prize and StageofLife.com is offering up SWAG and Featured Blogger status on the site to the next student essay winner.

About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan grassroots project hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content includes lesson plan ideas and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students  and college students, blogging resources, a platform for writers and bloggers to promote their work and much more, including My Life Rewards, an area dedicated to providing relevant coupons and discounts exclusively geared towards each stage of life.

About LearntobeHealthy.org:  LearntobeHealthy.org is an online health education center that has been designed to help educators, teachers, parents, families and the community communicate physical and mental health science education concepts to students K-12 through health educational resources such as games, activities, and lesson plans. LearntobeHealthy.org's web-based kits meet many National and State Health, Science and Technology Education Standards and make health education fun.  It is a part of the Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to keeping people WELL!

If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please us the Contact Us form on the website or call 717-650-0699.

SOURCE StageofLife.com

RELATED LINKS
http://www.stageoflife.com/
http://www.learntobehealthy.org/

WHO'S YOUR HERO - BLOGGING CONTEST

[October 14, 2010]

MOM RANKS #1 ON TEENS' HERO LIST

YORK, Pa., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Move over Lady Gaga. Gandhi and Nick Jonas, please take a back seat. In fact, Oprah, Michael Jackson, and Coach Nick Saban can take the bench as well. In its national essay contest for high school students, StageofLife.com, a writing resource for teens, discovered that “My Mom” is the number one answer given when teens were asked the question, “Who is your Hero?”

2,500+ high school and college students visited the writing contest page, and hundreds of students submitted essays describing their hero. The essays nominated a wide variety of people ranging from Ellen DeGeneres to Todd Beamer (Flight 93 hero on 9/11) to Maurice Jones-Drew to Delta Force Snipers to...Dobby, the House Elf from the Harry Potter Series.

As judges poured over 100,000+ words written about heroes, several insights emerged about today's teens:

1) Teens are inspired by family: Whether it was Mom (#1 most named “hero” in the contest), Dad, Grandparents or a variety of other blood relations, nearly half of the teen essays named a family member as their personal hero, indicating that those closest to the daily routines and life of a teenager often have the best chance to make a positive impact.

As one of the essay finalists wrote her about mother, “Some people may look at a famous cartoon character as their hero, but my mother is my own superwoman.”

Another finalist had this to say about her father in her essay entitled, My Hero is My Knight in Shining Armour, “Of all the superheroes, mythical monsters, and epic warriors of time long past my hero was always right at my side.”

2) Teens find inspiration from celebrities and athletes: The second largest group of nominated heroes fell into the “famous person” category. Essays about Britney Spears, Walt Disney, Bruce Lee, Tyra Banks, Tupac Shakur and dozens of others poured in as many students looked to public figures as their role models.

One student said of rapper, Eminem , “One of [his] most famous quotes is 'Success is my only option, failure's not'. I live my everyday life from this quote. I will never let anyone bring me down, or say I am not good enough.”

3) Teens rely on those around them: While celebrities drew scores of nominations, there was another group nearly just as large – everyday people. These were non-family individuals who come in contact with the student on a regular basis. Teens found heroes in their friends, significant others, coaches, and teachers.

One essay finalists had a creative introduction about a favorite teacher, “An army of rabid school children stand before him. Fueled by teenage angst and enraged by having last lunch, these monsters are ready to devour all who dare to educate them. But one man, armed only with a tome of infinite knowledge, and the legendary sword of 'Expo', awaits these savages with a wink and a smile. That man is (my) World History teacher and my hero”

4) Teens want to change the world: Some of the essays did not name a specific person, but rather a concept or a larger group of people as their hero. From lifeguards to men and women of the armed forces to anyone with a disability, students expressed a need to make a difference in the world, and their heroes reflected that desire. For instance, one student named “Cancer Fighters” as her hero – defined as anyone fighting the battle of cancer.

A blog comment left on the Cancer Fighter essay read, “I wanted to say thanks...because it is like you are saying my mom is a hero to you even though you have never meet her...she is a cancer survivor.”

The winning essay, written by homeschool student, Taylor of Putnam, CT, honored Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a woman who died in a Nazi gas chamber in 1944, but who was better known for spending her time selflessly teaching children art and other forbidden subjects in the Terezin Concentration Camp.

Taylor's essay shared, “Her story shows that hope can bloom even in the coldest of environments; that creativity can change the world, even if that world is the dream world of a child; and above all that even in the darkest of situations, the kindness and goodness inside of us can find a way to shine.”

In partnership with StageofLife.com, the MY HERO project will also featured Taylor's about Friedl Dicker-Brandeis on MyHero.com.

Margaret Dean, Communications Director for the My HERO Project comments, “Her thoughtful reflection on the character qualities that prompted Friedl Dicker-Brandeis to teach art and bring hope to children during the darkest of times, at great risk to her own life, paints a stirring portrait of the best of humanity.”

As an extension of the hero essay contest, StageofLife.com released its monthly free lesson plan for history and language arts teachers on its education resources section of the website. The lesson plan asks students to define “hero” and leads the class through a series of activities, including a “Hero Walk,” that challenges, refines and/or supports their original hero definition.

Rebecca Thiegs, M. Ed., Education Consultant for StageofLife.com and current high school Language Arts teacher at Red Lion Area Senior High School in Red Lion, PA, stated,

Archetypal theory applies to so much of history and literature. Teachers will find the application of the hero lesson plan flexible for a variety of texts, and the closure/homework section of the lesson supports our core mission of getting students to write and blog more outside of the classroom.”

StageofLife.com has consolidated many of the “Who Is Your Hero” essays on a summary page for review at http://www.stageoflife.com/Who_Is_Your_Hero.aspx . When asked why she participated in the writing contest by naming Ash Ketchum, college student and essay finalist, Allison, answered,

I like Stage of Life because it's a convenient forum to share life experiences with others in similar situations, and give/receive advice from people in all stages of life.”

The current writing contest for high school students asks the question, “What stresses you out?” A resource video about understanding stress from LearntobeHealthy.org is available for teens to view, and national sponsor, Shutterfly.com, is again providing the monthly prize. StageofLife.com is offering up SWAG and Featured Blogger status on the site to the next student essay winner.

# # #

About Stage of Life™: StageofLife.com is a free, non-partisan grassroots project hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations. Its specialized content includes lesson plan ideas and writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students and college students, blogging resources, and much more. Its My Life Rewards® program provides site visitors a wide collection of in-store coupons, shopping discounts and exclusive cruise and resort offers as StageofLife.com provides “Rewards for Life's Journey®.”

If you’d like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please us the
Contact Us form on the website.

30

HOW WOULD TEENS IMPROVE EDUCATION?

[September 29, 2010]

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS OFFER SOLUTIONS FOR IMPROVING EDUCATION

YORK, Pa. - StageofLife.com/PRNewswire-USNewswire

Teachers and tax payers are surrounded by media buzz on the education debate. From President Obama's Back to School address, to Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million donation to Newark public schools, to the NBC News “Education Nation” summit, to the recent release of the film documentary on charter schools, “Waiting for Superman,” the national conversation over education is heating up. Some would argue boiling over.

However, through all of the hype and hyperbole, little has been gleaned about the student perspective on the education crisis. In an effort to capture the voice of teens on this issue, StageofLife.com, a non-partisan blogging resource, asked a simple question in its recent writing contest for high school students:

What suggestion(s) do you have to make a positive change at your school or with the educational system as a whole?"

Over 1,500 visited the student writing contest page and scores of teen leaders submitted a response. From the essays, five themes emerged. These student-generated, education solutions could play an integral part of the road map that teachers, administrators, and public policy decision makers use to chart the fate of education in America.

Rebecca Thiegs, M. Ed., Education Consultant for StageofLife.com and current high school Language Arts teacher at Red Lion Area Senior High School in Red Lion, PA, stated,

The education system in the U.S. needs an overhaul. Students' voices could help find a solution. We've been allowing state and federal mandates to drive what's happening in the classroom and it's not working.”

If student voices are to be heard, five themes were transparent in the teen responses:

  1. Focus Less on Test Scores: Students strongly feel that teachers' primary role should be to produce critical thinkers and shape young minds, not churn out test takers. They want the classroom environment to emphasize the learning process versus hammering away on rote memorization or test taking skills. At a larger level, students feel the education system perpetuates a test taking culture verses the advancement of critical thinking, analysis, and passion for learning. One student went so far as to suggest that “multiple choice and true and false tests should be eliminated” as they do not challenge analytic thinkers but simply reward those with a talent for memorization.

  2. Get Out of the Classroom: Students desire experiential and out-of classroom instruction. Essay examples ranged from a request for more field trips to the desire for greater access to online courses to some encouraging schools to foster partnerships with community, civic and volunteer organizations as a way to round out a secondary education. As one StageofLife.com student writer aptly put it, “School is not life,” but it should reflect more of it.

  3. Refresh Teacher Training: Students feel that many teachers are not trained or equipped to deal with the “Facebook nation.” One teen blogger specifically called for an “Education Renaissance” by asking teachers to “target and talk to students directly”, at a level that will better engage them in the learning process. Another high schooler asked what many students probably feel...when will favoritism stop? These types of issues could be tackled with innovative teacher training addressing the new social-networked-generation.

  4. Reduce the Cost of College: The stress of planning for college, financially, has students upset. One student suggested a system of university internships for freshmen based on intended major, vocation or trade to reduce the cost of tuition. Increased involvement from high school schools and guidance offices on the financial aspects of college preparation, in addition to assisting with the admission process, is needed.

  5. Combat Peer Apathy: Finally, and most importantly, the writing contest named an ugly truth that for many students is no surprise...student apathy. Essays painted pictures of “jocks who rarely show up for class” or unmotivated burnouts “sleeping on their desks.” While these may seem like gross stereotypes, for teachers, it is often a reality dealt with everyday. However, for an increasing number of high school students - they are fed up with it.

Students are tired of watching their peers waste class time, disrupt the education process, or simply float through the school day disengaged with the opportunity for learning. These disconnected students hamper the learning environment for those that want to be in school. The spark of change to improve this issue will need to come from the students themselves, at a local level. Young leaders must emerge in their schools to hopefully change apathetic cultures and combat classmate apathy.

StageofLife.com has consolidated some of the “How to Improve Education” essays on one landing page for review at www.stageoflife.com/How_to_Improve_Education.aspx

The current writing contest for high school students asks the question, “Who is your hero?” National sponsor Shutterfly.com is providing the monthly prize and StageofLife.com is offering up SWAG and Featured Blogger status on the site to the student essay winner.

MUST READ HOME OWNER TIPS

[September 2, 2010]

10 Tips for Hiring a Home Remodeling Contractor

YORK, Pa., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the US economy facing the lowest home sale statistics in fifteen years and home values continuing to slide in many regions, it's not surprising to hear that housing trends point towards a large percentage of American homeowners looking to improve and maximize their existing property investment versus buying a new home.  When deciding to undertake a remodeling project however, there are several invaluable tips to keep in mind as you discuss your home make-over with potential contractors.

Through advice and stories shared by both contractors and consumers, StageofLife.com, a blogging resource for homeowners, discovered 10 important tips on how to find a trustworthy home remodeling contractor to help ensure the right person or company is hired for your next home improvement project.

Tip #1:  Does Your Contractor Have Proof of Insurance?
Ask the contractor to have his insurance company mail or fax a copy of his current contractor insurance card to you.  If the contractor can't do this - stay away.   Why?  If there is an accident at your home, you are then liable.   This also applies to any sub-contractor or employee that the contractor may use - those individuals should have active insurance cards faxed or mailed to you as well.

Tip #2:  Did You Check References and See Photos?
Ask for at least three references - with two of them being for the same type of project you are planning - and then call the references.  Additionally, ask the contractor to provide photos of previous work, especially for the same type of project.  If he produces lawn and garden photos and you're planning a bathroom remodel, you may want to check out another contractor.

Tip #3:  Does Your Contractor Take Debit or Credit Cards?
Besides your ability to earn a few points, bonus miles, or cash back on your project, a good sign that a contractor is financially savvy and has a bank behind his business is his ability to take debit and credit cards.  This doesn't just apply to big contracting companies.  Many small, one-man shops will take cards if they have a good relationship with their business bank or credit union.

Tip #4:  Manners and Appearance?
If the contractor drove his vehicle to your home to give you an estimate, take a look at the way he keeps the equipment and vehicle.  Are things clean?  Neatly arranged?  If not - that's a big warning.  The way a contractor treats his tools is a direct connection to how he'll treat your home.   During the initial meeting,  does the contractor present himself in a professional way?  Do you feel comfortable around him or his employees?  They will be working in your home after all.

Tip #5:  Clean Up Policy?
Ask about the clean-up policy.  For example, if your home improvement is a multi-day project, will the contractor be cleaning up at the end of every day or will he leave the dust, wood chips, and other mess laying there for day #2?  The more mess in your home - the more it gets tracked around.  Many homeowners find themselves with mouths gaping wide after the contractor has left for the day and their floors and home are dirty and messy around the project area.

Tip #6:  Will the Contractor Put It In Writing?
Is your contractor willing to put both his bid and the scope of work in writing?  If not - walk away immediately.  You'll be surprised how many homeowners have been duped by contractors who verbally tell you what's included in their scope of work, but will then, in the middle of everything, require extra money to finish the remodel, thus holding you hostage with an uncompleted home project.

Tip #7:  Availability?
Can the contractor get the job done in your timeline rather than his timeline?  There's nothing more frustrating than if a contractor tells you that a job will be done by a certain date and then it isn't .  On the flip side, if you can't find a good contractor that's willing to commit to your timeline, your expectations may be too high and you may need to adjust your timeline.

Tip #8:  Does Your Contractor Use "Subs?"
Does your contractor plan on doing everything himself?  Or will he "sub out" work to the "trades?"  For example, if you are remodeling a bathroom, you may need a plumber, electrician, and carpenter.  It's okay if the contractor subs work out to these specific trades - it shows he wants the work done right. 

Also, it's fair to say that you can expect your contractor to make money off the trades, or other sub-contractors, by marking up those quotes for the project.  That is a standard practice to help the general contractor recover costs in the time it takes to manage the schedule.  If you don't want to spend the extra money on your contractor marking up the trade quotes, then you should prepare to project manage the remodel yourself, but know this may limit your options on contractors willing to work with you.

Tip #9:  Quoting & Billing Procedure?
Ask the contractor about his quoting procedure.  Will it contain general information, or will it be specific?  For example – most contractors will charge you for a fuel surcharge, material up-charges, waste removal, labor, etc.  Some will show you these exact costs in a line item invoice, but others roll it up into one big bill.  How much detail do you want?  You should clarify that with your contractor upfront. 

Also - what is the payment or billing policy?  Is money required upfront?  If so, go back to #1 and #2 above to make sure you have the contractor's references checked and have a copy of his contractor's insurance.

Tip #10:  Did Your Contractor Get the Permits?
Ask your contractor to take care of the permits.  Although permits cost you money, the inspection process is meant to protect you from poor workmanship and to make sure that everything is being built to code.

By following these 10 tips for hiring a home contractor, you'll feel more confident that you've found the right contractor for your remodeling job.

About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, grassroots project hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Millennials/Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content includes housing statistics, lesson plan ideas for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students  and college students as well as baby story writing contests.  In its My Life Rewards® program, site visitors have access to a wide collection of in-store coupons and shopping discounts as StageofLife.com helps provide "Rewards for Life's Journey®."
If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please us the Contact Us form on the website

SOURCE StageofLife.com

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http://www.stageoflife.com

TEENS ANGRY ABOUT OBESITY

[20-August-2010]

Teen Bloggers Outraged By America's Obesity Problem 

YORK, Pa., Aug. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teenagers are extremely concerned about America's relationship to food.  In a national writing contest for high school students hosted by StageofLife.com, a blogging and writing resource for teens, high school students were asked, "Do we have an obligation to take better care of ourselves by making changes in the way we eat and/or buy and consume food?"

Teens from all 50 states visited the writing contest page and scores participated by submitting an essay.   As a whole, the teen bloggers passionately spoke out on a variety of ills tied to the 21st century food industry.  Topics ranged from customer observations by a student working at a fast food chicken restaurant to insights that lower-income families often don't have the education, incentive or money to eat healthy.

"Lower socioeconomic groups aren't looking to spend a ton of money at Whole Foods when they can easily go to the nearest fast-food restaurant and pick up the same amount for a lot less," wrote one teen blogger.

Could there be some hope?

StageofLife.com's education and curriculum consultant, Rebecca Thiegs, M. Ed., an honors Language Arts teacher at Red Lion Area Senior High School in Red Lion, PA, thinks so,

"Popular TV shows like NBC's 'Biggest Loser' pull in millions of viewers, and books like Michael Pollan's Food Rules fly off the shelves.  Even independent film documentaries like 'Food, Inc.' and 'Super Size Me' now push the conversation of America's unhealthy relationship with food into the mainstream consciousness." 

Unfortunately, the truth is that obesity in America is nearing an epidemic, and young people are caught in the crossfire.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, 32% of US children are overweight and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation states the nation is now in danger of raising the first generation of American children who will live sicker and die younger than their parents' generation.

In an effort to fight these trends, StageofLife.com released new lesson plans on its education resources page for junior high and high school teachers that provide writing prompts encouraging teenagers to think about their relationship to food and the traditions around the family dining room table.  Eating habits develop at home and the website wants to start a dialogue between teens and their parents.

But lesson plans for teachers aren't the only tools being used to help spread the word on the problem.  High school senior, Audrey Keathley from Milton Academy in New York, NY was the StageofLife.com winner for the food essay blog contest and she felt a personal responsibility to share her viewpoint,

"I entered the writing contest because I had something to say about this topic...I encourage more students to try putting their writing out there, because chances are somebody, somewhere is going to want to hear what you have to say."

That's StageofLife.com's hope.  That students will continue to share their voice and weigh in on real topics that concern them, their community and the world at large.

The August 2010 StageofLife.com writing contest for high school students tackles the subject of improving education.  The writing prompt asks teens, "What suggestion(s) do you have to make a positive change at your school or with the educational system as a whole?"

It's a big question, but dozens of the blog entries have already begun to appear.  Teen writers must submit their essays through the site by August 31.  Rules, details and the submission button can be found at StageofLife.com.  Winners receive a gift certificate from Shutterfly.com, SWAG from StageofLife.com, and Featured Writer status on the website.


About Stage of Life™:  StageofLife.com is a free, grassroots project hosting blogs, information and resources for teens, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomer generations.  Its specialized content includes lesson plan ideas for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students  and college students as well as baby story writing contests.  In its My Life Rewards® program, site visitors have access to a wide collection of direct merchant partnerships, sponsors and coupon offers giving money saving discounts as StageofLife.com helps provide "Rewards for Life's Journey®."

If you'd like more information about StageofLife.com or an interview with CEO/Founder, Eric Thiegs, please us the Contact Us form on the website

SOURCE Stage of Life LLC

Media Contact: Eric Thiegs of StageofLife.com

Web Site: http://www.stageoflife.com

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Stage of Life - Make the World a Better PlaceStage of Life® is a free blogging community for everyone from students to Baby Boomers.  Our mission is to become the world's largest collection of multi-generational essays as we encourage blogging across generations to inspire people and help make the world a better place.  Whether you have a powerful life experience to talk about or are participating in one of our national writing contests, every essay you upload will be stored in your Profile as part of your "life journal" and added to the collective pool of public blogs/stories.

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StageofLife.com is an education-based, grassroots, non-partisan, free blogging community with a mission support digital literacy by making the world a better place, one story, essay, and blog at a time.  Stage of Life users (teens, college students, Millennials, Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) can share and archive their life stories via their Stage of Life profile page.  Specialized content includes literacy resources, free lesson plans, writing prompts for Language Arts teachers, monthly writing contests for high school students (and older generations), student blogging initiatives, blog directories, and financial literacy tools - including Life Rewards® - our free discount program for all Stage of Life users, readers and writers dedicated to providing printable coupons and coupon codes tailored towards each stage of life.

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