People love to ask: "What's your secret?" Sometimes they want to know how I defy gravity on the mat. Other times they want to know how I went from foster care to the Olympics.
My answer to both is the same: a mix of talent, hard work and grabbing the right opportunity when given the chance. When I was far too young to know it, others around me saw that I had a gift for gymnastics. Without their encouragement and support, I would have never been a gymnast.
I was blessed to have both a gift and the chance to develop it. But many people aren't so lucky.
Did you know that in the United States there are nearly 400,000 children and youth in foster care? In my mind, those are 400,000 talents waiting to be discovered. But as few as 3% of foster kids go on to earn a bachelor's degree, compared to about 30% of the general population.
Is it possible that all of these young people have no desire to go on to higher education? Clearly not. They simply lack the support, and often the financial resources and opportunity to realize their potential.
So, I'm speaking up on their behalf to say it's time for an education revolution. It's time for a new model, where everyone has an opportunity to learn no matter their background.
And I want to advocate for these kids because I was a foster care kid myself. My road to success began the day my grandfather and his wife officially adopted my sister and me. My birth mother suffered from drug addiction, and when I was just three years old, my siblings and I were removed from her custody. From there, we bounced around until I was six and my grandparents made the brave move to adopt us.
Read all that Simone Biles had to say here.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning against a set of products generally known as:
For more information, the FDA warning can be found at https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/danger-dont-drink-miracle-mineral-solution-or-similar-products
OLYMPIA – People around the state can safely dispose of their unused medications during events on Oct. 26.
Everyone who had been diagnosed with autism is eligible.
We are moving forward when it comes to addressing addiction in our communities. Over the past 15 years, growing numbers of recovery community organizations have opened their doors, recovery high schools have been established, family support organizations have been founded, and both state and federal legislation has been passed. Every accomplishment has terrific positive impact in a community, and should be celebrated.
OLYMPIA – Today the Washington State Board of Health passed an emergency rule banning the sale of flavored vapor products or any products that will be used to create a flavored vapor product. The rule takes effect on October 10, 2019 and lasts for 120 days. The Board of Health and Department of Health will work closely with the Liquor and Cannabis Board on plans for implementation and enforcement now that the emergency rule is final.
“This is a critical part of our response to the youth vaping epidemic and the outbreak of vaping associated lung injury in Washington and throughout the country,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman, who is also a member of the board. “While we don’t yet know the exact cause of the lung injury, we know these products are not safe and we must act quickly to protect young people.”
Earlier this month, Governor Jay Inslee signed an executive order directing the department to ask the board to adopt this emergency rule and take other actions to address the outbreak of vaping associated lung injury. There are currently seven cases in Washington and over 1000 nationwide. The outbreak is concentrated in young people. Nationally, the median age of patients is 23. Five of the seven Washington patients are between 10 and 29 years old.
“We know from our health impact review of House Bill 1932 that flavors get adolescents and young adults to start vaping and smoking, and the health effects of added flavors in marijuana vapor products have not been well researched,” said Keith Grellner, chair of the State Board of Health. “Eliminating flavors from these products is an important first step to better protecting the health of people in Washington, especially to prevent and discourage youth and young adults from starting or continuing to vape unknown, unspecified, untested and unverified chemicals.”
In addition to the emergency rule, the department is investigating the outbreak, taking steps to warn consumers of the risks of vaping, asking health care providers to report all suspected cases and expanding educational campaigns to raise awareness of the hazards of vaping, including an emphasis on the high risk of buying and using products from the illegal market.
The healthiest option is to not smoke or vape. Regardless of the ongoing investigation, if you don’t use e-cigarettes or vapor products, you should not start doing so, and youth, young adults and pregnant or breastfeeding women should never use them.
Adults who use e-cigarettes, vapor products or other tobacco products and are attempting to quit should use evidence-based treatments, including counseling and FDA-approved medications. Resources are available at www.doh.wa.gov/quit. For those trying to quit marijuana, resources for quitting are available at www.warecoveryhelpline.org.
Many states — including Washington — are struggling to follow a law meant to help students in foster care
As families sent their children back to class last month, Education Lab and The Seattle Times reported on the reasons why school districts in Washington spend as much as $31.5 million on transportation for homeless students.
FYSPRT Coordinator, Colleen Bradley