The unique challenge of being gifted … and gay … and learning to fit in.

Ever feel like you're that one person in the crowd who doesn't fit in with the rest? (Photo by Michael Freeman).

RENO, NEVADA – It’s not easy, Teresa Manzella said, to be a highly intelligent and gifted person, because that can often make them feel left out, like they just don’t fit in.
Now imagine, she added, being highly gifted – and gay.
In some instances, those teens become a magnet for harassment.
“Bullying is an issue for gifted kids who are not gay, but even more so for the gifted students who are,” she said.
And this is a particularly rough burden, she said, because of the significant emphasis placed in this society on fitting in.
“This is about some of the unique challenges being faced by people who are gifted – and are Q,” Manzella said. “The ‘Q’ can either be questioning, or queer – and in some, it can be both.”
Manzella is the Gifted Children’s coordinator for Minnesota Mensa. She’s also a member of the Human Rights Commission in her hometown of Maplewood, Minnesota. Continue reading

Speaker says growing senior population poses huge economic challenges.

Elna Tymes talked about "Some Interesting U.S. Demographic Changes from the 2010 Census" during the 2012 Annual Gathering of American Mensa. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

RENO, NEVADA – In the past decade, Elna Tymes notes, the face of America changed quite a bit – and not just because of the recession that started toward the end of the decade, around 2008.
When the 2010 Census figures we released, they revealed some interesting demographic changes that had happened in the United States between 2000 and 2010, indicating that this nation is moving in unique directions, different from any past trends.
And one of the long term implications, she added, looks particularly ominous.
Because while some demographers focus on the shifting minority population in the United States – particularly the fast-growing Latino and Asian immigrant groups coming here – and what impact that shift might have on American culture, Tymes sees a very different, even more significant statistic in the Census: Americans are getting older. They can now live to ages that earlier generations simply couldn’t reach. Continue reading

Art shop in Winter Park donates part of its sales to a worthy cause.

Wearable Art, a shop on Park Avenue in Winter Park, donated a percentage of its sales on Thursday to Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

WINTER PARK – Vanessa Echols felt privileged to be at Wearable Art on Thursday, and the shop’s owner, Scott Alles, was equally pleased to have the WFTV Channel 9 news anchor there.
On a sunny afternoon, after the last of Tropical Storm Debby’s heavy downpours were finally over, Echols was happily greeting customers at the shop at 340 Park Ave. North in Winter Park, which goes by the full name Wearable Art by Scott Laurent.
“It was a chance for us to get out into the community and let people know we’re here,” Echols said.
Alles added that he was pleased to be taking part in this because “My heart goes out to everybody.”
What Alles and Wearable Art did was host a fund-raising event for Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach, the Orlando-based non-profit organization founded by Echols, which raises money to help women struggling with breast cancer. Continue reading

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