“Golden Rule Moments, from #LiveGoldenaz!” in the AZ Republic

Golden Rule Moments, from #LiveGoldenaz!

Kendra Ruth

Special to Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK

It was a Live Golden Reunion – true Golden Moments to celebrate! Nivea Krishan and Grant Williams, the original Live Golden hosts, have set an amazing example, addressing important topics with teens and sharing them with the general public. #LiveGoldenaz episodes are three minutes long, encouraging teens to voice their opinions on difficult issues, then reflecting how the Golden Rule can be applied for solutions.

The excitement could be felt! After several years of different hosts and videographers, topics and a pandemic, current and former Live Golden Teams came, including Nivea Krishan, Grant Williams, Trisha Panse, Anusha Rahman and James Kinney. We missed Live Golden team members Evan Crabtree, Sean-David Ta and Manvi Harde.

As the conversations began, one topic addressed was how Live Golden helps create a new image for youth. Grant expressed his feeling that people’s opinions really do matter and that you can find goodness in those that are very different from yourself. Nivea also reflected, “Live Golden really taught me the importance of making sure people are engaged.” Larry Fultz, executive director of AZIFM, expressed his warm appreciation for the youth and the example they set that grants multigenerational hope for the future.

LeAnn Basha, AGREE coordinator, who joined the reunion virtually, shared her sentiments, “With youth like this in the world, I can ‘Imagine’ a beautiful future,” referencing John Lennon’s song. She continued, “Where you would like to see the world to be in five years?” The group collectively shared their desire for people to unify, for example identifying primarily as American or a global citizen, versus being so divided. James mentioned how the Olympics were a great example of this desired global energy.

Reflecting back a few months, Manvi, Trisha, Anusha and James were featured on AZTV7’s “Daily Mix.” Show host Brad Perry named them Golden Rule ambassadors. Trisha heartily agreed with this title and stated that Live Golden is “all about giving a voice to teenagers and showing how they use the Golden Rule in their daily lives.” Manvi expressed, “(We) really need to make sure we are careful about what we say and how we make other people feel.” Videographer James also chimed in, stating that it is important to “get the student perspectives out there.” In the concluding moments of the feature, Perry concluded that the Live Golden ambassadors help show Arizonans the importance of listening to the voices of our youth.

During the #LiveGoldenaz Reunion, the truth of Brad’s statement echoed as the ambassadors were asked to pick a word that summed up their personal Live Golden Experience. The words they chose were profound, including: “transformative,” “pragmatic” and “community.” They each clarified their word choices with statements of impact and hope. Anusha, the Live Golden publicist, shared, “I think it is a very realistic way that we approach common social issues and we have this connection that is so real and so (practical) with the community around us, especially with teenagers and peers.” Their comments can assist us in reflecting on the positive impact diverse conversation can have on all of us.

After a countdown and a hearty cheer of “LIVE GOLDEN!,” the teens departed together, smiling and laughing. The sun’s light reflected in the atmosphere around them, and yet it seemed as though the light was coming from within each one of them. They had all experienced a change through their engagement with the Golden Rule. It was as though an army of “golden” civilians were marching out into the world, educated and ready to generate a brighter future.

See video highlights of the Live Golden Reunion at https://goldenruleeducation. org/category/news/ and BELOW.

PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2021 The Arizona Republic 9/11/2021

“Bringing Golden Rule to the playing field” published

The fresh green grass lay crisp with a hint of morning dew as the sun rose above my neighborhood park. The playground still stood proudly over the sea of messy wood chips, and the faint buzzing of the sprinklers could be heard occasionally throughout the day.

However, this familiar landscape felt stranger than ever before. The swing sets helplessly croaked, while the basketball courts were left as a barren desert. Fields that were once brimming with competition and excitement reeked of negligence and surrender. Sports had always been a major part of this neighborhood, but after months of isolation, the image of a bustling park on a Saturday afternoon before the weekly mini-volleyball tournament seemed like a foreign concept.

The realities of my specific neighborhood park can be applied to the rest of the nation, as sporting events have been canceled again and again while the pandemic passes. Sports have served as an important part of social interaction for many teens across the country and integrated itself as a favorite pastime of many people. Parents play catch with their kids in the backyard, families go for early morning walks, and friend groups ride bikes in the evening together. Every moment is a special instance of community in which actions can speak louder than words.

But after sports have started to return in recent months, athletes have recognized an important lesson from their times in quarantine, one that utilizes the Golden Rule to its full potential.

Mountain View senior Pratik Shah said, “Kindness and empathy really helps with forming a new bond with your teammates.” Hamilton High junior Megan Misener furthered, “Treating others with respect can really bring out the best performance from everybody.” These teens have constructed a compelling narrative about the personal development that sports can bring them during such a difficult time and how their normal routines have been drastically shifted.

The Golden Rule is a flexible principle that can be applied to any aspect of life, and through these shared experiences, living golden within sports can be as simple as being there for your teammates by cheering them on at practices and meets.

Resilient youth illustrate how deep the values of respect, honesty, civility and kindness impact the way we view and participate in sports today. Winning, winning, winning — is that what sports is really about? Well, according to these athletes, integrity must be placed on the same pedestal as winning in sports. Integrity is the foundational principle for creating uplifting and supportive environments that allow all of the athletes, whether they are on the same team or opposing team, to flourish. The Golden Rule is cultivated on the soil of integrity, and this is demonstrated by these youth who work hard and play hard.

So, my neighborhood park may not have as many people showing up to the mini-volleyball tournaments anymore, but I can still invite that warmth of community into my own home with my family.

Tune into our segment about sports during COVID-19 on March 23rd on AZTV Channel 7 at 8 a.m. or watch it on the AGREE Golden Rule website azGoldenRule. org under LiveGolden.

Anusha Rahman is the publicist for LiveGoldenAZ! She is currently a junior at Hamilton High School.

Live Golden

Anusha Rahman Guest columnist

PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2021 The Arizona Republic 3/12/2021

“Living Golden Rule helps teens through isolation of pandemic”

“Living Golden Rule helps teens through isolation of pandemic” by Anusha for The Arizona Republic

It’s noon.

After a lengthy night of binge-watching Netflix and mindlessly scrolling through TikTok, I finally trudge out of bed and fight every fiber of my being to plod my way into the bathroom. My phone softly buzzes on the sink countertop from the incoming assignments from Google Classroom, serving as a stark reminder of the outside responsibilities that lurk behind me. There was more than enough time in the world, yet so little energy to finish the tasks at hand. My life had turned into an endless cycle of monotony that consisted of prolonged naps, half-finished meals and an unhealthy amount of screentime.

This depressing reality mirrors the lifestyles of millions across the nation during quarantine, as isolation and remote learning have crumbled the foundation for stable mental health. A sharp incline in the prevalence of mental illness within adolescents has become the primary narrative for the harsh actualities of the global pandemic. According to a study held by the non-profit organization America’s Promise Alliance in June 2020, nearly one-third of surveyed high school students reported feeling unhappy or depressed. Additionally, Ann Murphy, an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Rutgers, stated, “Social isolation and loneliness is linked with poorer mental health and higher rates of depression and anxiety.”

However, despite the constant battle between seclusion and satisfaction, a light at the end of the tunnel can be seen. Even with the seemingly neverending repetition of the same schedule and lack of social interaction, a nationwide survey held by the Institute for Family Studies at the Wheaton Institution in October of the same year revealed that the percentage of teens who were depressed or lonely was actually lower in 2020 than in 2018. The survey findings further declared that “teens’ technology use did not appear to increase dramatically during the pandemic when compared with 2018.”

The results have demonstrated a ray of hope within the inevitable fate of extended solitude and can even be seen in the lives of those around us. When interviewing Arizona teens for the Live-Golden Segment, many expressed an improvement in their well-being regardless of their circumstances. Diya, a junior at Hamilton High School, affirmed, “People around me were going through the exact same thing, and we were able to share our thoughts together.” James, a senior at Perry High School, added, “People are much more open to mental health than ever before.”

These teens reflect an important aspect of the Golden Rule that has helped their journey on this rocky path. By utilizing empathy and respect, they are transparent about their emotional situations and share their experiences to have open conversations about mental health. They understand the hardships that their peers are going through.

And you can too. Through the Golden Rule, you can leverage your empathy and respect to be the best support system for both you and those around you. In difficult times such as now, people of different backgrounds and religions can unite and become the driving force for change. Whether it be through simply checking in with a friend through text or volunteering for a local community food drive, every action counts. Your struggles matter and your community is here for you.

Tune into our segment about mental health during quarantine on Feb. 23 on AZTV Channel 7 at 8 a.m. or watch it on the AGREE Golden Rule website (az-GoldenRule.org) under LiveGolden.

Anusha Rahman is the publicist for LiveGoldenAZ! She is currently a junior at Hamilton High School.

Golden Rule Moments

Anusha Rahman Guest columnist

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Powered by TECNAVIAPART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2021 The Arizona Republic 02/12/2021

“Teen’s mask project is a golden lesson” by Anusha…published!

Teen’s mask project is a golden lesson

In an era of a global pandemic, masks have become the social norm in what could be deemed as the first line of defense. It’s hard to imagine a world without them after almost an entire year of mask mandates and limited outings.

But this nationwide challenge of protection also creates a nationwide challenge of communication for a group that has been hit even more severely: the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Masks serve as a prominent hindrance to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who rely on lip-reading and facial expressions to understand helpful cues needed for proper communication. In fact, the National Association of the Deaf has stated that “more and more medical professionals are treating COVID- 19 patients from behind a barrier, using masks that impede lip-reading, and not allowing in-person interpreters.”

However, there is a solution to this persistent problem.

Neil Pandey, a 15-year-old sophomore from American Leadership Academy, has led the initiative within the Valley to create masks that are designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to safely and effectively communicate. The masks consist of a clear window sewn into the cloth to allow both facial cues and lip movements to be read by surrounding people.

After taking American Sign Language classes in school, he realized that the deaf and hard-of-hearing community would face significant hindrances in holding conversations during the pandemic.

He then proceeded to develop a prototype by utilizing a template for the clear window masks and began the sewing process by getting some help from family members and friends. He also started a GoFundMe page for materials, which has raised over $2,200 in support for his project. It was imperative that these masks could be accessible and of high quality made with care, and Neil ensured just that, creating around 1,500 masks to be donated to local grocery stores and health care facilities.

His message is clear: “It’s important to empathize with members of the community in a time like this and see what we can do for them. I wanted to create something that would allow them to properly communicate on the same level as anyone else.”

When additionally asked about which pillar of the Golden Rule he thought his project best represented, he confidently responded by saying “kindness and empathy.” He added, “I believe that understanding (the deaf and hardof- hearing)’s challenges during the pandemic and creating the masks out of this sense of kindness is a valuable lesson.”

Through the immense consideration and inspiring passion to help others highlighted from his hard work with this mask project, Neil perfectly exemplifies the core essence of the Golden Rule and how we as regular citizens can utilize our privileges to do good for our community, no matter the age. He reflects a profound story about transcending the limitations of one’s challenges and going beyond to help those in need.

His journey does not stop here, though. For the future, he plans on expanding this project to other parts of Arizona and maybe even other states. The main focus will be to allow commercialized clear-window masks to be widely accessible and attainable.

Anusha Rahman works on the Live-GoldenAZ project and is a junior at Hamilton High School.

#LiveGoldenAZ / Golden Rule Moments

Anusha Rahman Guest columnist

PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2020 The Arizona Republic 12/17/2020

“Expanding literature in schools is an important step in embracing diversity”, published!

Expanding literature in schools is an important step in embracing diversity

It’s the worst fear of every high schooler, an unimaginable trepidation that lingers at the bottom of our stomachs before entering the dreaded confine we call the classroom: “OK, class, today we will start the Shakespeare unit.”

Such an inescapable fate within the realm of the average high school English literature class falls into the hands of the unfortunate students.

Shakespeare is an inevitable part of one’s academic career, from his illustrious sonnets about an unconventional declaration of love to the notorious “Romeo and Juliet” monologues that usually lead to awkward re-enactments by your half-asleep classmates. The universal experience has integrated itself into a staple of high school culture, and while the multitude of lessons about iambic pentameter are fun in realizing that you are godawful at counting, you begin to wonder, “How does an old guy writing in outdated 16th-century English relate to me?” coupled with “Why does it even matter now?”

These compelling questions that many American students like me and you continuously ask ourselves have reflected a larger, more pervasive issue that the current literature curriculum faces today: a prominent lack of diversity.

More than 50 years have passed since literacy experts first emphasized the necessity for more diverse books within the academic environment, and yet the reading lists look astonishingly the same as they did in 1970. The tale of the “white literary” canon restricts the boundaries of literary perspective to a white narrative, in which only conventional white protagonists encompass struggles that fail to connect with an increasing BIPOC audience that is approximately 50% non-white. Books such as “Lord of The Flies” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” have been praised as classics of “national common experience,” but the definition of “common” has changed.

In an era of political and social revolution, the norms of the average American teenager are not reduced to a middle class, white, cisgender, neurotypical profile anymore. Instead, it is presented through a constantly changing identity that has no set assignment, a continuous experimentation of self-expression. The main point of these English classes is to unite students from contrasting ethnicities, religions, sexualities, and socioeconomic statuses through literature and increase exposure to different styles, but when they repeatedly read texts that are about the same white episodes, how can they feel a connection? More importantly, how can they ever extend their knowledge to learn about other cultures?

Your identity is not limited to a single allegory, and it is important that this point is portrayed accordingly in your education. According to English teacher Jabari Sellars, “an inherent part of developing culturally responsive instruction is coming to terms with our narrow view of literature,” and the need for thoughtful determination of how to contemporize the education system is evident.

It is our duty at LiveGoldenAZ to provide you with a comprehensive book list by diverse authors that you can read during your quarantine.

h “George” by Alex Gino.

h “The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie.

h “Ain’t I A Woman” by Bell Hooks.

h “Zami: A New Spelling of My Name” by Audre Lorde.

h “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri.

h “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros.

h “El Deafo” by Cece Bell.

h “American Born Chinese” by Gene Luen Yang.

h “Ghost” by Jason Reynolds.

Anusha Rahman is a junior at Hamilton High School. For more information and videos, visit azGoldenRule.org.

#LiveGoldenazGolden Rule Moments

Anusha Rahman Guest columnist

PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2020 The Arizona Republic 10/26/2020

“Live Golden at home” by Nivea and Evan, Published!

Live Golden at home

Given the unforeseen circumstances produced by COVID-19, it is more important than ever for the teenage community to stay involved and connected. As such, LiveGoldenAZ has continued to spread our message and bolster the voices of our peers across the state. Utilizing social media platforms has enabled us to not only get more students involved but broaden our audience as well.

Staying engaged is no easy task, and the current environment has made it even more challenging. Even so, Live-GoldenAZ improved the format of our television segment to elevate participation in the campaign. For one, we established contact with the Arizona Class of 2020 Instagram page, managed by the state’s student council representatives. Through this connection, we were able to raise awareness about our efforts and increase the number of our followers significantly. Our active participants in the segment grew as well, as we now conduct interviews virtually and thus remove the barrier of distance and travel. While this situation is by no means ideal, it has motivated us to find creative ways to include more young adults in our effort. Keeping with the current times, we found it most suitable to make our first “quarantined” segment about finding positive, healthy ways to keep ourselves busy.

Teenagers around the state proposed numerous innovative and artistic strategies to stay occupied while at home. Through several virtual interviews, many of our peers expressed that this time has given them the opportunity to try new things, like art, exercise and other hobbies. This time has also given them the ability to prepare for life after high school and spend more time with their families. Doing these things to keep yourself busy and positive is important — without them, it is easy to feel lost. Many students proposed to get motivation by setting up a daily schedule. For example, a senior that we interviewed discussed how they allocate the first half of their day to schoolwork and household responsibilities and devote the second half to digital community engagement efforts. Moreover, some individuals are taking active measures to lessen the impact of the quarantine on families. Cori Borgstadt, a sophomore at Centennial High School, dedicates her afternoons to a low risk activity to support the economy. These service actions of young adults in Arizona superbly demonstrate the creative ways in which we are spending our time.

Our senior class was especially hit hard by the cancellations of important events like prom and graduation. However, the class of 2020 is working to coordinate makeup events later on in the year. The Summer Nights Festival is the perfect example, as it is bringing together local businesses to plan celebrations for prom and graduation in June. Furthermore, high schools are recognizing the achievements of their seniors by posting on popular social media platforms. In an interesting way, these drastic circumstances have helped bring school communities closer.

In this unprecedented time, it is important to employ the Golden Rule and remain respectful and empathetic to those around you. It is also crucial that we practice kindness by reaching out to those we cannot physically interact with and maintaining healthy relationships.

We at LiveGoldenAZ hope that everyone remains safe and healthy during these historic times. Our new segments air on the second Thursday of each month on AZTV7 at 8 a.m. and can also be found at goldenruleeducation.org/ live-golden/. To help spread the message of the Golden Rule, please follow our social media @livegoldenaz and message us for the chance to be interviewed next! Stay safe, stay kind, and remember to Live Golden.

Nivea Krishnan is the co-founder, team leader and managing director/ producer of LiveGoldenAZ. Evan Crabtree is the co-host of LiveGoldenAZ.

Golden Rule Moments

Nivea Krishnan and Evan Crabtree Guest columnists

PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2020 The Arizona Republic 5/1/2020