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Welcome to ATL Teen Life, a blog by Atlanta youth for Atlanta youth.

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Your voice matters. Vote.

Listening and learning from one another.

Staying positive.

2022! What a year so far!

What is important now? Let your voice be heard. Vote!

Despite deep divisions, let's keep listening and learning from each other. Let's keep respectful dialogue going, and get vaccinated or boostered!

We will be continuing to feature local Atlantans who will share how they are staying positive during this time and what advice they would give to teens in Atlanta. 

We got this Atlanta!

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Nancy Beane

Wife, mother, and educator for 46 years including 28 years as a Westminster college counselor. 

Past President of Southern Association for College Counseling.

Past President of National Association for College Admissions Counseling.

"I am a total Wildcat at heart and “bleed” green and white!  I cherished each day with my students, believing totally that every single one had tremendous potential and trying to help them on their ways to achieving it."

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  1. What are you doing during this pandemic to stay positive, and what has helped you the most?

Retiring during the pandemic has been really strange, and I admit that I have found myself at “loose ends” quite a bit, trying to adjust from a life that was very structured and busy to one that is much less structured and often feels that I am not doing a lot that is worthwhile.  With that said, I know that I am very, very fortunate and privileged in so many ways.  I think the thing I have loved the most is spending time with my husband who is also retired.  We’ve always been close but having the time to talk, watch certain television programs together, and engage in other joint activities has been wonderful. We walk, usually with our precious dog, Wyatt, about two to four miles a day when possible.  I love that we are close to restaurants, our church, the Duck Pond, and Barking Hounds Doggie Day Care where Wyatt loves to go. I wear my mask everywhere and try to be responsibly safe in all that I do. We socialize with friends, usually on our patio where we can practice social distancing and enjoy each other’s company. I love history and current events and have been quite involved politically.  I love to read fiction and nonfiction as well as many magazines and newspapers.  I’m serving on two boards and trying to contribute positively in making our world a better place as best I can.  

2.If you could go back in time, what advice would you say to your high school self?

Believe it or not, I was a rather shy kid—an extrovert who nevertheless lacked confidence in myself socially and often felt awkward.  I loved my church youth fellowship, playing clarinet in our huge high school band, and being active in Girl Scouts.  I definitely was not “in with the in-crowd,” and at times it really bothered me. I “grew up” rather slowly socially and intellectually and was probably a pretty linear thinker until at least college.  I would tell myself just to enjoy being who I was, not worrying about my “status” with my peers, realizing that I was “building” toward the rich, abundant life that I have had as an adult.

3. If you were applying to college now, what advice would you give to yourself?

I would tell myself to relax, take the process a step at a time, and believe that it would work out incredibly well.  I would try hard not to compare myself to any other student--not my intellectual abilities, my test scores, my personality, or my activities and leadership.  I hope I would be able to understand that we don’t have any idea when we are in high school how successful we will be as adults, that success has many forms (not just making a lot of money), and that we all have abilities that the world sorely needs.  I would try to stay open-minded about the kinds of colleges I would consider, including looking at some “hidden gems,” ones that might not be as well-known but often are life changing and might be much better “fits” for me.  Once my college counselor was named, I would establish a relationship with him or her, knowing that my counselor would support me and help me tremendously if I do what I should and trust the process. I would also try to “grow” that relationship through my senior year, responding quickly when my counselor contacted me and meeting as often as we mutually perceived the need. I would research colleges of interest so that I would know well what they offer, visit them personally before senior year if possible so that I had a good “feel” for what might be my best fits, and attend any college fairs available. I would do my best to meet all the deadlines, starting my applications by the summer before senior year so that, hopefully, I would have my Common App essay in as good form as possible before school started and would work on supplementary essays as soon as they were available too.  I would make sure that I had talked with my parents about their parameters (financial, philosophical, geographical, or whatever ones they have) about where I could apply and possibly go. I also would also try to keep them abreast of what I was feeling, thinking, or doing so that they wouldn’t get too nervous (being a parent in the process can be very hard) and would ultimately let me go where I feel would be best for me.  I would apply to a range of schools (difficult to get in, realistic, and ones my counselor and I feel certain I would be admitted) so that hopefully I would have several good choices in the end.  I would resolve to continue to work hard the rest of senior year, forming good study habits that would help me do well in college, and that I would act responsibly in and out of school so that I wouldn’t create any unexpected difficulties for myself. Finally, I would try to understand that applying to college and going there would just be one step toward becoming the person I want to be, ultimately doing my best to make the world a better place as much as possible.  

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Greg Goodwin

Founder and CEO, Mentoring Viable Prospects

"MVP is a summer baseball tournament whose mission is to provide opportunities and exposure for young athletes pursuing a college education. Its objective is to positively mentor each player in the areas of character development, social and emotional growth, academic achievement, and physical well- being. "


How can people support the BLM movement?

I think first and foremost, people should know that the Black Lives Matter  Movement never said Only Black Lives Matter, we know All Lives Matter, We just need everyone's help

with Black Lives Matter for Black Lives are in Danger.  Understand, the mission of the Black Lives Matter movement is to eradicate White Supremacy, in 2020 it's unbelievable that this type of racism still exists.  There are several ways to support this movement and they can all be found on the Black Lives Matter website.  There are peaceful demonstrations as well as donations that are always accepted to advance the various rallies and overhead for fighting systemic racism.  

What advice would you give to teens in Atlanta? How can they make a difference?

I would advise Atlanta teens to get involved, get educated and start now trying to make this country and this world a better more socially tolerant place.. It's simply that everyone should be treated the same.  They can make a difference because eventually they will be the leaders and voters for this country. I would advise our young people to get involved, unfortunately these issues are not issues that they created  but they have inherited these issues.  We have learned that people's silence is often deemed as being complicit.  Everyone has an opportunity to voice their opinion hopefully to eradicate social injustice and racism.

What would you like to see in the future regarding BLM and how do you think this can be accomplished?

I would like to see the Black Lives Matter Movement continue its efforts to end White Supremacy.  I would also like everyone to understand that the BLM movement does not advocate violence.  I also would like people to realize that the BLM movement will not be able to accomplish their goals alone,  It will take all of us to make effective and sustainable change for the better in our country.  You don't have to join BLM but if you care about your fellow man you can take a stand because at the end of the day we are all members of the same race, the HUMAN Race... 

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Westminster icon

Graduated from Westminster in 1970; attended Davidson College; served 2 years in the Peace Corps in West Africa; married Maggie Dimon in 1976; has two sons (both Wildcat grads!); taught and coached at Westminster for 26 years.

What are you doing during this pandemic to stay positive, and what has helped you the most?         

Two things are helping me stay positive: I try to stay appreciative of all the many blessings that have been given to me over the past 68 years. Being thankful is more important than ever during this really difficult Covid-19 era.

            Secondly, I try to get outside a lot and stay active. Living here in Naples , Florida, the weather is great EVERY, single day so my wife, Maggie, and I, walk our dog, Rambler, pretty much every morning and every evening, and I play quite a bit of tennis, golf, and pickleball.

How are you using any extra time? If you were a teen, what would you do?

I'm doing a lot of reading and listening to music. I've always loved to read, especially history and biography, and I've always loved rock n'roll music, especially The Allman Brothers, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead. 

If I were a teen, I'd use this extra time to explore the amazing worlds of art, books, dance, world religions, meditation (Tara Brach has great guided meditations!)  and music ( and ALL kinds of music: Pop, jazz, classical, rock etc!). 

If you could go back in time, what advice would you say to your high school self? 

I would tell myself to be confident, be curious, and be nice to everyone! 

Go Cats!


 Dr. Scott Boden MD

Professor and Chairman

Emory University Orthopedics

Father of five

  1. What are you doing during this pandemic to stay positive, and what has helped you the most?

No alternative for a “half full” person but to stay positive.

Also, have been making a list of the good/amazing things that have resulted from COVID crisis, rather than focusing on the losses and bad things.

  1. How are you using any extra time? If you were a teen, what would you do.

Have had no extra time. Working seven days a week last 4 weeks.

If I was a teen, I’d practice my sport at home (golf, baseball, tennis swing, shoot baskets etc).  I’d learn a foreign language or how to program computer apps and start making apps.

3.If you could go back in time, what advice would you say to your high school self? 

Have more self confidence and don’t worry about what others will say or think.

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Mother of two and Atlanta native

The host of Star 94.1's "Jenn & Friends" morning-drive radio show.

Jenn is a well-known Atlanta personality featured on radio and television for more than 18 years.

1. What are you doing during this pandemic to stay positive, and what has helped you the most? 

Counting my blessings! I think about what I am grateful for daily - my husband, my daughters, our dog, our good health and the health of my parents, in-laws, friends and neighbors. I am grateful for the beautiful Spring weather in Atlanta too. Our daily walks and bike rides have been a saving grace. I am also endlessly grateful for our healthcare workers, grocery store employees, and all essential workers who are keeping us afloat. And finally, I am grateful for teachers and all educators supporting our kids. This is such a strange time, especially for children who love going to their classroom everyday. The teachers and administrators are working over time to reach out to every student. 

2. How are you using any extra time? If you were a teen, what would you do.

Since I am still working and have two small children, there's not a ton of extra time right now. We have a cycle in our house right now: cook, clean, chase kids, play referee to their fights and REPEAT. Haha! If I have found any extra minutes, I have been cleaning closets and doing at-home yoga workouts. If I were a teenager, I would build a tree house, decorate it just as I dreamed and climb inside to read classic novels. (Invisible Man, Beloved, The Bell Jar or The Color Purple to name a few favorites!)  

3.If you could go back in time, what advice would you say to your high school self? 

I would spend more time following my curiosities in art, literature and nature. I would tell my young self to stop wasting time in relationships that feel so significant at the time, but are not worth the emotion they require. (And Mom and Dad actually are really smart!)  

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Coach Katie Trainor
Assistant Athletic Director and Head Coach of Varsity Girls Lacrosse
at The Westminster Schools

1. What are you doing to stay positive during this time?

There are a few things I do every day to keep me in a positive mindset.  The first is exercise, moving every day has been important for my self-care.  The second is acknowledging 4 things for which I'm grateful every day, I write these in a journal before I go to sleep and it allows me to reflect upon how blessed I am.  Lastly, I have been reaching out to my family and friends as we are all at home.  We are so fortunate to have technology that allows us to call, text, facetime, and zoom our loved ones while we all practice social distancing and are unable to physically be with each other.   

2. How are you using this time?

Now that I have afternoons free since sports were canceled, I have challenged myself to be outside for the two hours I would have normally been out at lacrosse practice.  Some days I tend to my yard and gardens, other days I go for a run or walk, and some days I sit outside and read a book or listen to a podcast, but I use that time to honor our lacrosse team and the two hours daily that we lost when school went virtual.

3. If you were a teen, what would advice would you give to yourself?

If I were a teen, I would use free time to be active.  With virtual learning and working, we are all sitting in front of our computers a lot, so if I wasn't studying or in class, I would find ways to be active.  Practice your sport, learn a new sport, or work on your fitness.  Read a book for fun, play a board game, paint, cook a new recipe.  Help out your siblings or parents.  Ultimately do something that allows you to disconnect from technology and do something for yourself or your family.

3. The advice I would give to my teen self would be "run your own race".  I read this quote as an adult and it truly resonated with me.  I think so much time as a teen is spent worrying about grades/test scores/college applications, and comparing one's successes/failures to peers' successes/failures that one loses sight of the wonderful journey he/she is on.  I would want my teen self to focus on my own race: celebrate my successes, learn from my failures, and as cliche as it sounds, know it will all work out in the end.  Don't focus so much on the final destination that you are unable to enjoy the journey along the way.

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It's pretty clear we're in a rough time and history is going to remember it as such. I find it encouraging when I look around and I see people doing their part to "flatten the curve", as they say. The virus is especially frightening because of its incubation period and it is encouraging seeing people like my family and yours staying home to prevent further spread of the disease. I actually had a friend my age who got it and is fine now. The recovery rate is high in reference to the global reaction, which is one of the only upsides.

Unemployment levels right now are high and businesses, small ones especially, are experiencing extreme turmoil. This may not make much sense to you, but the economy is set up for a strong performance once the disease passes. Sadly, I don't think we are going to reach the level we experienced prior to COVID-19 for quite some time, but it seems extremely likely in an extended timeframe. Unfortunately, people are going to continue to be unemployed during that time. Lots of people are getting laid off and businesses are failing. What is promising in this instance is seeing what companies like Apple are doing with their donations and contributions to combat the spread. Once this passes companies will be re-hiring.

In terms of staying active - I'd recommend going on a run/walk outside each day. If you enjoy lifting weights (I know I didn't at 14) I'd recommend doing pushups, sit-ups, and other bodyweight exercises. You should be able to find some easy ones on YouTube or Google. Without PE and after-school sports it can be hard to fit things into your schedule but staying active is important. I try to get outside at least once/day to walk the dog, go on a jog, or just enjoy the good weather at a safe distance from everyone.

I'm currently using this time to catch up with high school friends that I haven't talked to in a while, get ahead in some of my classes, and read. I know it sounds a bit cliché, but I would tell myself to read more books - a wide variety of them. You become a fast reader, but more importantly you learn a lot about the world and the things around you, which is ultimately one of the most important things. I hardly read in middle school and high school and it's one of my biggest regrets. Next to last thing, work hard - the hardest workers are by far the most rewarded individuals in life. Lastly, be nice to everyone, especially your parents.

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I found this sweet message in my mailbox today. What a great idea -- pass it on!

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Colorful Balloons
Image by Mae Mu
Looking Out the Car Window
Packing Cans
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Stethoscope on the Cardiogram
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Woman with Mask
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Doughnut with Chocolate Frosting

Focus on what you can do, not what you can't:

1.Random acts of kindness: pick someone in your life and to try to make their day better

2. Organize a car parade for a friend's birthday

3. Organize a food drive for your local food kitchen.

4. Donate to hospitals or organizations fighting against COVID-19:

Emory Healthcare

Grady Health System 

Contribute to a student-driven fundraiser for the CDC Foundation

Help CHOA patients smile by sending silly videos

5. Take a virtual walk: call a friend and go for a "walk" together, although in your respective neighborhoods.

6. Check in on a neighbor or family member and help them out if needed. 

7. If you can, consider donating to local organizations in need.

8. Support your local businesses!

9. Make homemade masks.

N95 mask covers 

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CNN article: A guide to helping and getting help during the coronavirus crisis

By Mayra Cuevas, Christ Davson, Jennifer Grubb, and AJ Wilingham at CNN

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Check them out.

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Helping homeless men reclaim their lives and return to their families and communities as mentors and leaders

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For the first time ever, DoubleTree by Hilton, is sharing their famous signature cookie recipe!

Makes 26 cookies

½ pound butter, softened (2 sticks)

¾ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¾ cup packed light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 ¼ cups flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda            

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch cinnamon

2 2/3 cups Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts 

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add eggs, vanilla and lemon juice, blending with mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, then medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl. With mixer on low speed, add flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, blending for about 45 seconds. Don’t overmix. Remove bowl from mixer and stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.Portion dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper about 2 inches apart. Preheat oven to 300°F. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, or until edges are golden brown and center is still soft. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet for about 1 hour.Cook’s note: You can freeze the unbaked cookies, and there’s no need to thaw. Preheat oven to 300°F and place frozen cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are golden brown and center is still soft.

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Executive Director of@NYOsports1951

Founder of@TheSkillFactory

married to@KiraMarieBurr

& “dad” to Maddox, Marlow & Maclan

1. What are you doing during this time to stay positive?

I am focusing on quality time with my family. My wife and I have 3 kids (ages 6, 3 and 10 months) and we have really enjoyed getting some extra time with them. Life is normally so busy that this “break” has allowed us to really focus on our kids and spend some one on one time with each of them. 

We are also staying in contact with all of our extended family via FaceTime or Zoom. We setup daily/weekly web calls with our family members to check on them, ask how they are doing and just share stories (outside of COVID-19). 

We have also done a lot around the house. Projects that have been pushed out for months/years. Our house is finally clean! lol

2. How are you using this extra time? (working out, spending time with family, catching up with friends, picking up knitting, getting off the couch, etc)

Well, I mentioned the family calls and projects around the house in answer #1 but we have been outside a lot. We go on at least one family walk per day (we have a new puppy and he needs it), we just built a new play set (swing, slide, monkey bars, etc) in the backyard so we spend a good amount of time back there with music playing, kids playing and relaxing. My son (6 years old) is doing online learning for kindergarten and my wife and I have really enjoyed helping him with his work. We seem to have plenty to do to keep us busy right now. 

3. Finally, if you were fourteen right now, what would you do during this time? What advice would you tell yourself?

1. Create a schedule and follow it to create some consistency. 

2. Stay active. Runs, walks, workouts, etc.

3. Stay social separate from social media. Call friends, FaceTime friends… have direct conversations with people. 

4. Talk to your parents. About anything. But, if you have questions or concerns about COVID-19, ask your parents. Setup a daily fun family activity with your parents/family. Take advantage of this time together. 

5. Use free resources. There are a ton of really cool things popping up during this time that have made the “break” easier. Technology and software made free, resources on COVID-19, erc. Take advantage of those and make them a part of your day. 

6. Lastly, plan & prepare. Think about your goals. All the things you want to do with your life and use this time to write/brainstorm about those goals.

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Write 3 things that you are thankful for today.
If this time in your life will be a story you tell 10 years from now, what story would you want to tell?

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As we continue to adjusting to shelter-in-place orders, great food can be a source of joy in these sometimes isolating times. We speak from experience-- a meal from these restaurants will definitely serve as the perfect mid-week pick-me-up! Plus, we get to support local restaurants and take a day off from homemade meals. Make sure to tip big if you can. Let us know your favorite pandemic takeout spot!

Mellow Mushroom
Whitehall Tavern (wings)
Bar Taco
Taco Mac
Jinya Ramen 
Taqueria del Sol
Figo Pasta
OK Cafe
Fellini's Pizza
Cafe at Pharr
Orient Express
Taco Villa
Saigon Cafe
Yakitori Jinbae

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Matt Pelot

Westminster football coach and teacher

1. What are you doing during this time to stay positive?  Being able to spend this extra time with my family, especially my kids.  Being more present in their lives during this time has allowed me to play a larger role in their early development.  I have avoided the news and only watched it in bits and pieces, it can be exhausting.  

2. How are you using this extra time? (working out, spending time with family, catching up with friends, picking up knitting, getting off the couch, etc). I have worked on a ton of football stuff, creating a virtual playbook and watching film.  We go on daily walks when the weather allows it.  I have started grilling more.

3. Finally, if you were fourteen right now, what would you do during this time? If I were 14 years old right now going through this I would spend a lot of time outside.  We didnt have the technology that you guys have now back when I was 14, so we spent more time outside as it was.  I probably would still play a fair share of video games.  Learn how to play card games with your parents, Spades, hearts, texas hold em, etc.  Play board games that has the entire family playing.  


"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."

Nature makes us feel better. Go outside. Take a walk.

If this isn't possible, check out images of nature

and other random things that make us smile below :)

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Washing Hands
Statue with Mask
Ice Cream Cone
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Vaccine Equality

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past year, you probably have heard about Covid-19 and more recently, the Covid-19...

Zoom school week #1

Zoom school week #1 thoughts: How to stay sane: Go outside during your breaks Stay connected to friends. I like snapchat or messaging....

WFH Setup


We believe it takes a village to make an impact. Atlanta is a great city and has a great community. With the election, movements for racial justice, and COVID-19 shaping much of 2020, we aim to connect youth with advice from respected community leaders, encourage positivity, and form a virtual community despite political or physical divides. 

Email us if you would like to be a guest blogger or if you have a suggestion.

James and Julia Rhee

Born and raised in Atlanta, GA

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