My days on the planet

Naam:
Locatie: Netherlands

When I was young, I delayed prosperity for my country.

maandag, juni 11, 2012

Supreme Court Rejects 'Dirty Bomber' Case


The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court decision that said federal officials cannot be sued for damages for the torture of Americans on U.S. soil.

Without comment, the justices set aside a petition�(.pdf) from Jose Padilla, the so-called ?dirty bomber.? Padilla claims high-ranking Defense Department officials and others are liable for developing ?the global detention and interrogation policies? that paved the way for his torture while he was secretly held without charges at a Navy brig in South Carolina for more than three years.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January ruled that the judiciary had no role in the matter.

Special factors do counsel judicial hesitation in implying causes of action for enemy combatants held in military detention. First, the Constitution delegates authority over military affairs to Congress and to the president as commander in chief. It contemplates no comparable role for the judiciary. Second, judicial review of military decisions would stray from the traditional subjects of judicial competence. Litigation of the sort proposed thus risks impingement on explicit constitutional assignments of responsibility to the coordinate branches of our government.

Padilla/Photo: Justice Department

President George W. Bush declared Padilla an ?enemy combatant? after he was seized in 2002 at O?Hare Airport and originally held as a�?material witness? in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Padilla, of Brooklyn, was charged originally in connection to an al-Qaeda plot to unleash a radioactive ?dirty bomb? in the United States. He is serving a 17-year sentence after being convicted of unrelated charges of conspiring to commit murder overseas.

His lawsuit demanded $1 in damages from each of the defendants and a declaration that his constitutional rights were breached.

Monday?s outcome likely means the justices won?t disturb a May decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In that case, Padilla sued John Yoo, the Bush administration lawyer who wrote memos used to rationalize American torture of suspected terrorists.

The appeals court said Yoo should be immune from the suit because it was not clearly established that harsh treatment was unconstitutional. Padilla claims he ?suffered gross physical and psychological abuse? by government authorities, which included death threats, psychotropic drugs, shackling and manacling, and being subjected to noxious fumes and constant surveillance.

Source: http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/lvxUErZGSww/

gadgets sports interesting photography

Dork Tower Monday

Dork Tower #1079 by John Kovalic


Read all the Dork Towers that have run on GeekDad.

Find the Dork Tower webcomic archives, DT printed collections, more cool comics, awesome games and a whole lot more at the Dork Tower Website.

John Kovalic

A co-founder and co-owner of Out of the Box Games, and a cartoonist for Steve Jackson Games, John has illustrated over 100 games and game supplements, and is at least in part responsible for best-sellers like APPLES TO APPLES, BLINK, MUNCHKIN and CHEZ GEEK. In his spare time, John searches for spare time.

Read more by John Kovalic

Follow @muskrat_john on Twitter.

Source: http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/UyaE5QkT4-Q/

sports interesting photography wired

Liveblog: iOS 6 to Headline Apple's WWDC 2012 Announcements

iOS 6 banners went up at the Moscone Center on Friday afternoon. Photo: Roberto Baldwin/Wired


SAN FRANCISCO ? Today Apple kicks off its 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Wired will be live blogging the keynote right here, beginning at 10am Pacific time.

Apple will definitely unveil iOS 6, and probably share the low-down on OS X Mountain Lion. It?s also possible we?ll see a rebooted Apple TV platform and new Mac computers.

Gadget Lab staff writer Christina Bonnington (@redgirlsays) and senior editor Jon Phillips (@JonPhillipsSF) will be at Moscone to cover the action in real-time, while staff writers Roberto Baldwin (@strngwys), Alexandra Chang (@alexandra_chang), and Nathan Olivarez-Giles (@nateog) will provide blogging support from Wired HQ.

Stay tuned and keep refreshing this page for the latest updates from the event.

Christina Bonnington

Christina is a Wired.com staff writer covering Apple, robotics, and everything in between. She's also written for Gizmodo and Wired magazine. Check out her Google+ profile here.

Read more by Christina Bonnington

Follow @redgirlsays and @gadgetlab on Twitter.

Source: http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/uaEBobZNRDo/

bbc hot topics news gadgets

Olympic champ: Why I had to quit

Olympic gold medal gymnast makes 'hardest decision ever'
  • Shawn Johnson won four Olympic medals and a season of "Dancing with the Stars"
  • She is retiring at 20 because of recurring knee problems
  • "It was definitely one of the hardest decisions I've ever made," Johnson says

(CNN) -- Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, who announced over the weekend she would retire because of recurring knee problems, said Monday the decision was one of the hardest of her life and that she thinks its impact hasn't truly hit her.

"Having that period of my life over with is surreal. I don't think it's settled in yet. It just came to a point where my body couldn't take anymore and kept telling me I had to face the science," she told CNN's Erin Burnett.

"It was definitely one of the hardest decisions I've ever made," she said.

Johnson, 20, won one gold and three silver medals during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She also won a season of "Dancing with the Stars," waltzing her way into the hearts of millions of American fans.

Johnson swings for more Olympic gold

Even though she won't be able to compete at the Olympics this year, Johnson told Burnett she still plans to go to London to cheer on her teammates.

"If I can't be on the podium competing, I'll be in the stands cheering my head off for them," she said.

Asked by Burnett what she plans to do next, Johnson said she will take a year off and then hopefully start college.

"I've had that on my list ever since I was little and my parents are going to make sure that happens," said Johnson.

"As for career, I have no idea. I don't even know what I'm going to be doing tomorrow right now because my plans have changed a little bit, but I'm excited to see what opportunities are going to arise."

Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_sport/~3/fEgIlByEFB4/index.html

wired bbc hot topics news

Refresh Roundup: week of June 4th, 2012

Refresh Roundup week of June 4th, 2012

Your smartphone and / or tablet is just begging for an update. From time to time, these mobile devices are blessed with maintenance refreshes, bug fixes, custom ROMs and anything in between, and so many of them are floating around that it's easy for a sizable chunk to get lost in the mix. To make sure they don't escape without notice, we've gathered every possible update, hack, and other miscellaneous tomfoolery we could find during the last week and crammed them into one convenient roundup. If you find something available for your device, please give us a shout at tips at engadget dawt com and let us know. Enjoy!

Official Android updates

  • Motorola Droid RAZR and Droid RAZR Maxx: According to CNET, Verizon Wireless will begin the Android 4.0 rollout for these two handsets on June 12th. We'll know for certain very soon. [CNET]
  • HTC One S: Like expected, T-Mobile is now rolling out a maintenance update for the One S. It's said to fix to the voicemail indicator, improve WiFi calling and resolve signal fluctuation. [Android Central]
  • Telus: The Canadian carrier has released a revised timeline for its planned Android 4.0 deployment. With respect to smartphones, a tipster tells us that the update is now rolling out to the Samsung Galaxy S II X, although official Telus documents peg the date as June 12th. The Sony Xperia Ray is also on board for an Ice Cream Sandwich arrival later this month. The HTC Desire HD, LG Optimus LTE and Samsung Galaxy Note will all receive the upgrade in July. As for tablets, both the Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 models should receive Android 4.0 in late July. Telus also expects to deliver Android 2.3 to the LG Shine Plus on June 12th. [Android Central]
  • Motorola Droid Bionic: A minor update is available from Verizon Wireless which brings visual voicemail notifications to the status bar, improves LTE connectivity and adjusts the volume of certain notification tones for Bluetooth users. [Droid Life]
  • LG Lucid: Some minor changes are in store for Lucid users on Verizon. With the latest update, the weather widget is said to sync properly based on location coordinates, instant search is now part of the dialer widget and the GPS widget has been improved for navigation and the battery temperature threshold has been modified to show less overheating warnings. [Droid Life]

Unofficial Android updates, custom ROMs and misc. hackery

  • HTC One S: HTC has made the kernel source available for its middleweight champion. Unfortunately, the US T-Mobile version is wholly absent from the release. [Android Police]

Other platforms

  • Nokia Lumia 900: A software update is now available for AT&T users of the Lumia 900, which is said to resolve a purple hue that had affected some screens in low-light conditions. The refresh also brings improved sensitivity for the proximity sensor and a few otherwise minor tweaks. [Nokia Conversations]
  • BlackBerry Curve 9360: Fido users will notice that BlackBerry OS version 7.1.0.391 is now available for download, which brings BlackBerry Tags and improved mobile hotspot functionality to the smartphone. [MobileSyrup]
  • BlackBerry Torch 9810: Telstra has made BlackBerry OS 7.1.0.428 available for download. [N4BB]

Refreshes we covered this week

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/06/10/refresh-roundup-week-of-june-4th-2012/

sports interesting photography wired

Euro refs 'will deal with racists'

Platini: Officials to act against racism
  • UEFA president says players will be booked if they leave the field in protest
  • Michel Platini responds to comment by Mario Balotelli about racist abuse
  • Platini says it is up to referees to take action if there are such problems
  • There are fears that crowds in Ukraine and Poland will target black players

(CNN) -- Football stars upset by racist abuse at Euro 2012 must let match officials deal with the problem, insists UEFA president Michel Platini.

The buildup to the tournament, which kicks off in Warsaw on Friday, has been marred by reports highlighting incidents of racial violence in the East European nations.

The families of two of England's black players, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, will not be traveling to Ukraine and Poland, while Italy striker Mario Balotelli says he will walk off the pitch if he is targeted by racists.

Balotelli has had such problems while playing for Italian club Inter Milan and latterly with England's Manchester City -- UEFA fined Porto last season after the Portuguese team's fans abused the striker during a Europa League match.

However, Platini told reporters that players will be booked if they decide to take matters into their own hands and leave the field in protest.

Euro 2012 preview
Who will win Euro 2012?
Can Spain win without Villa and Puyol?
Can Ronaldo fire Portugal to Euro glory?

"It will be a referee's decision to stop the match. It's not a player --- Mr. Balotelli -- who's in charge of refereeing. Refereeing is a referee's job," said the former France international, who won Euro '84 as a player.

"It is a referee's job to stop the match and he is to do so if there are any problems of this kind. I count on the fans from Western and Eastern Europe to come to participate in a great football feast. If I am here as a UEFA chairman and you all are here it is because we want this to be a football feast, not a problem."

European football's governing body has been continuing to collaborate with anti-racism groups for the finals.

Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) will provide 30 international monitors, with at least two at each of the tournament's 31 games.

The Warsaw-based Never Again Association is also involved with the program.

"This is the first major football event to be held in Eastern Europe in the modern era and it is one that we have been anticipating for a long time," its co-ordinator Rafal Pankowski said on FARE's website.

"We have well documented issues with discrimination in football but I am also confident of the strong messages that will be sent out, and the contingencies we have to deal with problems.

"There is also no doubt that the majority of the people of our countries will do their best to welcome visitors regardless of their background or nationality.

"Our biggest achievement has been to start a dialogue and to raise difficult issues, a process that will contribute to the social development of both our countries. We have a close working relationship with UEFA and are proud to be implementing partners of the 'Respect Diversity -- Football Unites' campaign."

Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_sport/~3/KLHqt4imp84/index.html

interesting photography wired bbc

Revolution in Art & Design using 3D Printing | Objet for Neri Oxman

*I like to see Prof. Neri Oxman kept busy. There must be some other female public figure with an affect that is this otherworldly. I mean, an educated female professional who?s entirely technically capable, without being a seeress, an actress, a novelist, a performance-artist, a singer, a supermodel on drugs in orbit, nothing all showtime and glitzy.

*Natalie Jeremijenko, maybe. Esther Dyson, sorta kinda. Genius women just going about their own daily routines, and you, some mere center-bell-curve guy, you?re kinda nodding and harmlessly eating potato chips, and they sit up all bright-eyed and emit some well-considered statement like ??�????????�???�??�??�?��?�?�!!? And you?re like ?Whaaah?? What the heck? Run the tape back!?

Source: http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/8At5d53MIEI/

hot topics news gadgets sports

13 years old and taking care of mom

Under 18 and taking care of mom

Boca Raton, Florida (CNN) -- At 13 years old, Nickolaus Dent is his mother's primary caregiver.

He's responsible for the grocery shopping and cooking. He cleans the house. He does all the laundry.

His mother, Janine Helms, has been battling HIV for as long as Nickolaus can recall, and her health has deteriorated in the last couple of years. Nickolaus makes sure she takes her medication. He often helps her get dressed, and at times, he has helped her bathe.

Nickolaus' father died two years ago. Since then, ensuring Helms' well-being has been a full-time job for Nickolaus, leaving him with little energy to socialize or study.

"It does make it hard to pay attention in class," he said. "Helping her out is a bigger priority than going to school and getting (an) education, because I feel if I don't have her, I don't want to go to school. Whatever happens to her happens to me."

Nickolaus is just one of the estimated 10,000 youth caregivers living in Palm Beach County, Florida, according to the American Association of Caregiving Youth. The nonprofit, founded by county resident Connie Siskowski, was instrumental in bringing this previously unrecognized population to light in 2002, and it has since provided support to more than 500 area youths who are caring for an ill, disabled or aging family member.

Connie Siskowski knows firsthand what it\'s like to be a child and take care of a loved one.
Connie Siskowski knows firsthand what it's like to be a child and take care of a loved one.

"No child in the United States should have to drop out of school because of caregiving," said Siskowski, 65. "These children suffer silently behind closed doors. ... They don't have the help and the support and the recognition that they need."

According to a 2006 study conducted by Civic Enterprises for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 22% of high school dropouts in the United States leave school to care for a family member (PDF).

It's these children who Siskowski had in mind when her group started the Caregiving Youth Project at Boca Raton Middle School. The project, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to intervene early on in the academic lives of youth caregivers.

Special classes, led by a mental-health professional or social worker, cover topics such as coping with stress and anger, managing finances and setting goals.

Periodic field trips and overnight camps offer recreational, social and educational activities. There are home-care demonstrations and workshops.

The program also makes teachers and school administrators more aware of the children's extenuating circumstances and how they can lead to truancy, absenteeism and dips in academic performance.

The hope is to reduce the negative effects -- anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation -- that caregiving responsibilities can have on a child's mental, physical and emotional health.

CNN Hero helps teen who cares for mom

"We can't change the health condition of the person (receiving care)," Siskowski said. "But what we can do is provide the skills and the resources and the value to the children so that they can have a little more balance in their life. And also so that they know that they're not alone."

Since 2006, the program has been introduced into eight area middle schools and followed hundreds of students into 17 area high schools.

"We stay with them to graduation, and it's amazing," Siskowski said. "We've watched these kids grow up before our eyes. It's nothing that happens overnight, but it's very gratifying. It's like, 'OK, there's one more kid that's going to make it.' "

Nickolaus joined the program last year. The group provided him with a computer, a bed, clothing and tutoring. Now, he has raised his grades and aims to make the honor roll. He was also able to attend the group's overnight camp while a nurse's aide stayed with his mom.

"I found out there are more people that do the things I do, and some do more," he said. "Now I'm getting As and Bs, and I feel more confident in school."

Children in the program are also offered a home study by a medically licensed staff member or contractor who assesses what skills and resources are most needed to support a child. Working with dozens of community partners, Siskowski's group helps families with unique needs.

"We've provided clean-water systems and enlisted the support of community members to build wheelchair ramps or relocate a family from a moldy environment," said Siskowski, whose group relies solely on donations and grants. "We've provided in-home tutoring, light cleaning, translation and transportation support, counseling, access to medical care, financial assistance and food resources.

"We've donated computers and printers. And slow cookers, as we've had several fires in homes where children are cooking for their families."

Do you know a hero? Nominations are open for 2012 CNN Heroes

Siskowski knows the toll that caring for a loved one can take. As an 11-year-old, she cared for her grandfather until his death two years later. She remembers waking up at 2 a.m. to give him his medication and finding that he had died.

"I don't think I realized he was going to die. No one prepared me for that," she said. "It was very traumatic. But way back then, nobody really appreciated the trauma or the impact of losing someone."

Siskowski became a registered nurse in 1967 and has worked in Florida's health-care community for decades. Over the years, she has witnessed how technological advances have affected aging baby boomers and their families.

"People are living longer," she said. "We have much more technology and electronics that are available. ... More and more people who maybe yesterday would've been in a nursing home are being cared for at home. And so that puts a burden on a family.

"The hospital is in a unique situation. ... Technically, they're supposed to be able to give instruction to a caregiver. But sometimes that caregiver is a child."

The tasks can be sophisticated, too, from monitoring respiratory devices to cleaning catheters and preparing syringes. And not all of the children are caring for just one parent like Nickolaus. Others have to care for multiple family members, including siblings.

A report released in 2005 (PDF) by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the United Hospital Fund said there were at least 1.3 million caregiving youths, ages 8 to 18, nationwide. It's a population that has been virtually hidden for several reasons, including the reluctance of many sick parents to go public with their infirmity.

"Parents are embarrassed to tell school members, or the principal, that they have medical problems. ... Their pride goes out the window, and most feel more vulnerable," Helms said.

Children also fear trouble for themselves and for their families. While they might know that too many truancies and absences could land them in court, they're often more fearful that a parent could be deemed incapacitated and the family split up.

"Children are afraid to reach out because they don't want to be taken away from the parent," Helms said. "It's scary. And people don't want to be near you when you have an illness. It's just as hard on the disabled parent as it is the child, to open up. That's why it's kept like under the table."

Siskowski and her group are determined to create other options and provide other solutions. She says the first step is acknowledging youth caregivers and telling them they are not alone.

"We have definitely turned around lives and kept kids in school because they feel valued," she said. "They never knew anyone noticed or cared.

"It can turn their frustration and anger and flip it around to feel valued and supported in the role they are having for the family as well as society. If they weren't doing some of the things they are doing, who would be?"

Want to get involved? Check out the American Association of Caregiving Youth website at www.aacy.org and see how to help.

Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/pSmiqXduV_w/index.html

gadgets sports interesting photography

Spain rescue 'a victory for euro'

Breaking news

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has hailed a decision by eurozone finance ministers to help Spain shore up its struggling banks as a victory for the common currency.

"It was the credibility of the euro that won," he told reporters.

On Saturday, the eurozone ministers agreed to lend Madrid up to 100bn euros ($125bn; �80bn) to help banks hit by bad property loans.

The US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also welcomed the move.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-18385634#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

bbc hot topics news gadgets

zondag, juni 10, 2012

Revolution in Art & Design using 3D Printing | Objet for Neri Oxman

*I like to see Prof. Neri Oxman kept busy. There must be some other female public figure with an affect that is this otherworldly. I mean, an educated female professional who?s entirely technically capable, without being a seeress, an actress, a novelist, a performance-artist, a singer, a supermodel on drugs in orbit, nothing all showtime and glitzy.

*Natalie Jeremijenko, maybe. Esther Dyson, sorta kinda. Genius women just going about their own daily routines, and you, some mere center-bell-curve guy, you?re kinda nodding and harmlessly eating potato chips, and they sit up all bright-eyed and emit some well-considered statement like ??�????????�???�??�??�?��?�?�!!? And you?re like ?Whaaah?? What the heck? Run the tape back!?

Source: http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/8At5d53MIEI/

bbc hot topics news gadgets

Gunmen attack Nigerian churches

Map

Gunmen in Nigeria have attacked two churches during Sunday services, killing and wounding a number of worshippers, reports say.

In Biu in Borno state, five gunmen opened fire, killing one woman and injuring three other people.

In the central city of Jos, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a church, injuring several people.

No-one has admitted the latest attacks, but radical Islamic sect Boko Haram has targeted churches before.

The group has carried out numerous attacks in northern Nigeria, killing hundreds of people since 2009.

Boko Haram - whose name means "No to Western education" - wants to impose Sharia law across Nigeria.

It has targeted churches, schools, police stations, and other government buildings.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18386156#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

wired bbc hot topics news

Kenyan minister killed in crash

Breaking news

Kenyan Internal Security Minister George Saitoti has been killed in a helicopter crash, Kenyan media report.

They say Mr Saitoti and his deputy were among six people who died when the aircraft crashed outside Nairobi.

There is no official confirmation, or details about the cause of the crash.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18384861#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

hot topics news gadgets sports

Extended! Celebrate Father's Day With Geek & Sundry's Tabletop (GeekDad Weekly Rewind)

Think of this as an opportunity to roll again. Last week, we let you know about a great opportunity for you and your family to appear alongside Wil Wheaton and a gallery of geek celebrities on Geek & Sundry?s�Tabletop. We set the deadline for this Friday, but we?ve decided to extend the date to enter until Monday, so you have the weekend to make your video. This is a pretty great prospect, so don?t miss out! Details below:

We?d like to give you and your family the chance to appear in a Father?s Day Bonus video on the Geek & Sundry channel. All you have to do is grab a camera ? anything from a Scarlet-X to your mobile phone ? and record a video. In 60 seconds or less, tell us what board games mean to your family.

Maybe you have a great memory of passing the hours during a winter storm by playing Axis & Allies, or perhaps your dad always let you win ? every game you ever played together, or your house rules included a provision that dad always went last. Whatever your best memories are about gaming with dad, we want to know about them.

Upload your 60 second videos to YouTube and send us the link by noon PST, Friday June 8th. All of the submitted videos* will be included in a special TableTop Father?s Day video playlist on the Geek & Sundry Channel and our five favorites will be compiled with an introduction from Wil, which will be linked to the June 15th TableTop show and featured as our Bonus content on Thursday, June 21! Have fun, include the whole family, be creative, and be sure to tag your upload with the words ?GeekDad,? ?Tabletop,? and ?Father?s Day? so we can find it!

*Geek & Sundry and TableTop are rated PG-13 so please make sure the content of your videos appropriately reflect our family-friendly nature.

Enhanced by Zemanta

This article, by Dave Banks, was originally published on Thursday.

Source: http://feeds.wired.com/~r/wired/index/~3/n5igF3gaWBI/

photography wired bbc hot topics

13 years old and taking care of mom

Under 18 and taking care of mom

Boca Raton, Florida (CNN) -- At 13 years old, Nickolaus Dent is his mother's primary caregiver.

He's responsible for the grocery shopping and cooking. He cleans the house. He does all the laundry.

His mother, Janine Helms, has been battling HIV for as long as Nickolaus can recall, and her health has deteriorated in the last couple of years. Nickolaus makes sure she takes her medication. He often helps her get dressed, and at times, he has helped her bathe.

Nickolaus' father died two years ago. Since then, ensuring Helms' well-being has been a full-time job for Nickolaus, leaving him with little energy to socialize or study.

"It does make it hard to pay attention in class," he said. "Helping her out is a bigger priority than going to school and getting (an) education, because I feel if I don't have her, I don't want to go to school. Whatever happens to her happens to me."

Nickolaus is just one of the estimated 10,000 youth caregivers living in Palm Beach County, Florida, according to the American Association of Caregiving Youth. The nonprofit, founded by county resident Connie Siskowski, was instrumental in bringing this previously unrecognized population to light in 2002, and it has since provided support to more than 500 area youths who are caring for an ill, disabled or aging family member.

Connie Siskowski knows firsthand what it\'s like to be a child and take care of a loved one.
Connie Siskowski knows firsthand what it's like to be a child and take care of a loved one.

"No child in the United States should have to drop out of school because of caregiving," said Siskowski, 65. "These children suffer silently behind closed doors. ... They don't have the help and the support and the recognition that they need."

According to a 2006 study conducted by Civic Enterprises for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 22% of high school dropouts in the United States leave school to care for a family member (PDF).

It's these children who Siskowski had in mind when her group started the Caregiving Youth Project at Boca Raton Middle School. The project, the first of its kind in the nation, aims to intervene early on in the academic lives of youth caregivers.

Special classes, led by a mental-health professional or social worker, cover topics such as coping with stress and anger, managing finances and setting goals.

Periodic field trips and overnight camps offer recreational, social and educational activities. There are home-care demonstrations and workshops.

The program also makes teachers and school administrators more aware of the children's extenuating circumstances and how they can lead to truancy, absenteeism and dips in academic performance.

The hope is to reduce the negative effects -- anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation -- that caregiving responsibilities can have on a child's mental, physical and emotional health.

CNN Hero helps teen who cares for mom

"We can't change the health condition of the person (receiving care)," Siskowski said. "But what we can do is provide the skills and the resources and the value to the children so that they can have a little more balance in their life. And also so that they know that they're not alone."

Since 2006, the program has been introduced into eight area middle schools and followed hundreds of students into 17 area high schools.

"We stay with them to graduation, and it's amazing," Siskowski said. "We've watched these kids grow up before our eyes. It's nothing that happens overnight, but it's very gratifying. It's like, 'OK, there's one more kid that's going to make it.' "

Nickolaus joined the program last year. The group provided him with a computer, a bed, clothing and tutoring. Now, he has raised his grades and aims to make the honor roll. He was also able to attend the group's overnight camp while a nurse's aide stayed with his mom.

"I found out there are more people that do the things I do, and some do more," he said. "Now I'm getting As and Bs, and I feel more confident in school."

Children in the program are also offered a home study by a medically licensed staff member or contractor who assesses what skills and resources are most needed to support a child. Working with dozens of community partners, Siskowski's group helps families with unique needs.

"We've provided clean-water systems and enlisted the support of community members to build wheelchair ramps or relocate a family from a moldy environment," said Siskowski, whose group relies solely on donations and grants. "We've provided in-home tutoring, light cleaning, translation and transportation support, counseling, access to medical care, financial assistance and food resources.

"We've donated computers and printers. And slow cookers, as we've had several fires in homes where children are cooking for their families."

Do you know a hero? Nominations are open for 2012 CNN Heroes

Siskowski knows the toll that caring for a loved one can take. As an 11-year-old, she cared for her grandfather until his death two years later. She remembers waking up at 2 a.m. to give him his medication and finding that he had died.

"I don't think I realized he was going to die. No one prepared me for that," she said. "It was very traumatic. But way back then, nobody really appreciated the trauma or the impact of losing someone."

Siskowski became a registered nurse in 1967 and has worked in Florida's health-care community for decades. Over the years, she has witnessed how technological advances have affected aging baby boomers and their families.

"People are living longer," she said. "We have much more technology and electronics that are available. ... More and more people who maybe yesterday would've been in a nursing home are being cared for at home. And so that puts a burden on a family.

"The hospital is in a unique situation. ... Technically, they're supposed to be able to give instruction to a caregiver. But sometimes that caregiver is a child."

The tasks can be sophisticated, too, from monitoring respiratory devices to cleaning catheters and preparing syringes. And not all of the children are caring for just one parent like Nickolaus. Others have to care for multiple family members, including siblings.

A report released in 2005 (PDF) by the National Alliance for Caregiving and the United Hospital Fund said there were at least 1.3 million caregiving youths, ages 8 to 18, nationwide. It's a population that has been virtually hidden for several reasons, including the reluctance of many sick parents to go public with their infirmity.

"Parents are embarrassed to tell school members, or the principal, that they have medical problems. ... Their pride goes out the window, and most feel more vulnerable," Helms said.

Children also fear trouble for themselves and for their families. While they might know that too many truancies and absences could land them in court, they're often more fearful that a parent could be deemed incapacitated and the family split up.

"Children are afraid to reach out because they don't want to be taken away from the parent," Helms said. "It's scary. And people don't want to be near you when you have an illness. It's just as hard on the disabled parent as it is the child, to open up. That's why it's kept like under the table."

Siskowski and her group are determined to create other options and provide other solutions. She says the first step is acknowledging youth caregivers and telling them they are not alone.

"We have definitely turned around lives and kept kids in school because they feel valued," she said. "They never knew anyone noticed or cared.

"It can turn their frustration and anger and flip it around to feel valued and supported in the role they are having for the family as well as society. If they weren't doing some of the things they are doing, who would be?"

Want to get involved? Check out the American Association of Caregiving Youth website at www.aacy.org and see how to help.

Source: http://rss.cnn.com/~r/rss/edition_world/~3/pSmiqXduV_w/index.html

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