Tag Archives: Claudia Balthazar

Alternative Spring Break 2013, Hofstra University

Some Hofstra University students decided to spend their spring break in Bayboro, North Carolina to help out out with a service project. This life changing experience, as cliché as it may sound, has been the high light of some students semester. From March 24 to 29, nearly 30 Hofstra students along with administrators Ashley Gray and Sara Hinkle, lived closely with each other. They made new friends and most of all, helped to change a small community and in the biggest way.

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Online Flirting: Is it Cheating?


By Claudia Balthazar

There’s a fine line between cheating and flirting. Boundaries between the two vary from couple to couple. There are always discussions about what’s considered cheating and what’s not. However, in today’s day and age, there’s one particular issue that falls in a gray area; online flirting.

Eighty-two percent of women believe online flirting is a form of cheating, according to the State of Dating Report, a study conducted by JDate and Christian Mingle; two online dating sites. Only 56 percent of men agreed it was considered cheating.

“It’s very hard to draw conclusions with regard to cheating,” Rachel Sussman, a New York-based marriage and family therapist and licensed clinical social worker said. “What is important to remember when looking at this stat [about women’s and men’s different definitions of cheating] is that the difference of opinion about this topic can create problems for relationships.”

Sussman partnered with JDate and Christian Mingle to analyze their findings. About 2,700 U.S. singles between the ages of 18 and 60 were surveyed.

One of the major reasons flirting could be considered cheating is many people believe it could lead to physical contact. Another finding the State of Dating study found was all women believed passionately kissing is considered unfaithful, compared to only 86 percent of men.

“Communication and talking it through before it becomes an issue is important to build trust and make sure both people in a relationship are on the same page,” Sussman said. Open communication is key for couples, she says, particularly on sensitive subjects like cheating. “When people start dating, there should be a talk regarding what the boundaries and lines are with cheating or similar topics. The more issues you can sort out early on, the less likely a problem will happen, particularly a relationship-ending issue.”

So the next time you’re confused about the difference between flirting and cheating, talk it over with your significant other, and they’ll let you know.

Published in Amour Creole Magazine, A magazine dedicated to French-speaking Caribbean readers living abroad, specifically Haitians.



Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty of PR

The Presenters: Jenelle Hamilton, Jonathon Woods, Cheryl Overton [Photo Credit: Gerald Peart]

The Presenters: Jenelle Hamilton, Jonathon Woods, Cheryl Overton [Photo Credit: Gerald Peart]

On Tuesday, January 29, 2013, individuals throughout New York City gathered for the Black Public Relations Society-New York (BPRSNY) PR Bootcamp “Getting Down with the Nitty-Gritty of PR”. Guest speakers included: Jonathon Woods, Senior Account Executive of Edelman; Cheryl Overton, Senior Communications Strategist of Cheryl Overton Communications; and Jenelle Hamilton, International PR Consultant.

They all spoke about different strategies and techniques to get ahead of the game in PR and what it really takes to master your craft.Cheryl outlined ten simple rules to “mastering public relations”. The communications firm owner advised audience members to “be a problem solver”, “always operate ethically”, and “draw inspiration from outside of the PR industry.”

Photo Credit: Gerald Peart

Photo Credit: Gerald Peart


Jonathon “got down to the nitty-gritty” of the fundamentals of crafting a strategic message, the perfect media campaign, and press release. He said that strategic messaging should be your foundation. PR practitioners can get so caught up in the ‘sexy’ headline that they forget the most important part – the mission. He stated, “organizations always have a central mission so you should always ladder up to their core mission; always ladder up to the client’s objective.”

Photo Credit: Darius Bradley

Photo Credit: Darius Bradley

Jonathan went on to describe the key components in developing a media campaign: develop objectives; identify key stakeholder targets; outline story angles and key messages; develop PR tactics; conduct outreach and launch the media campaign; follow-up; and of course evaluate the success of the campaign once its completed. He then dived into constructing the press release and he noted to keep it “simple and short”. People with lives won’t have the time to read six-page press releases filled with jargon – one page will do.

The last presenter of the evening was London native and International PR consultant, Jenelle Hamilton. Jenelle discussed becoming your own personal brand. She stressed that, “you have to find your niche, find what makes you different. You should want to be an individual and live outside of the box.” Jenelle closed the evening with the most important tip of all: be yourself, know who you are, and promote yourself as you would promote your clients.

Photo Credit: Keisha McCotry

Photo Credit: Keisha McCotry

If anyone came into the event confused on how to get ahead of the game, they definitely know now.

Published on the Black Pubic Relations Society – NY websitehttp://bprsny.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/getting-down-to-the-nitty-gritty-of-pr/



A Moment of Silence for the Sandy Hook Victims and Hope for Gun Control

Photo of Mayor of the Village of Hempstead taken by Elaine Rezende.

Photo of Mayor of the Village of Hempstead taken by Elaine Rezende.

The nation is weeping over the Sandy Hook massacre that left 20 children dead in Newtown Connecticut on Friday; a cry for more gun control.

“It’s important that we have gun control because anyone can buy a gun right now,” said Mayor of the Village of Hempstead, Wayne Hall Senior and a member of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, at a candle light vigil held at Hofstra University on Dec. 17. 2012. “There’s only a certain amount of mayors and some of them don’t believe in gun control. We need the voters to stand up and say enough is enough.”

The Xi Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. along with Hofstra’s Black Student Union and the Nu Tau chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. brought the Hofstra community together for a moment of silence, a prayer and an exchange of thoughts for the people who lost their lives at Sandy Hook.

“This was something that struck us as very important to speak up about,” said Amanda Medina, Vice President of the Nu Tau chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho.

Jessica Downing-Brown, President of the Sorority exclaimed, “This is not enough. We should step up more.”

After the vigil was over, Vice President of the Xi Psi chapter of Alpha phi Alpha, Deion Toppin said, “It upsets me when it takes something like this to bring people together. Gun violence has always been a problem.”

Mayor Wayne Hall Senior said, “We’ve seen our share of gun violence in Hempstead. In all the minority communities we have gun violence.” He added, “It can happen anywhere as you can see on Friday.

After the vigil, the division of student affairs at Hofstra University also held a prayer and an additional vigil for the Hofstra student body.

The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, was said to have a history of mental health illnesses. On Friday, he killed his mother, children and adults, and then committed suicide.

On Sunday evening, President Obama spoke at the Sandy Hook vigil,  “calling for an end to the epidemic of gun violence in America,” according to an article in the Huffington Post.

The nation is stricken by this tragedy.

-Claudia Balthazar

Published in Black Ink, the official newsletter for the Hofstra Association of Black Journalists.


Political Figures and Experts Discuss Poverty in America at Brookings

The New Year is right around the corner, and while most people are probably worrying about their New Year’s Resolutions, there are still concerns about the fiscal cliff.

Depending on the President’s and Congress’ decision, America’s economy may have to face reduced spending for safety net programs and tax increases on higher income families to address the nation’s deficit. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, the Center on Children and Families at Brookings and Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, held an event at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. to discuss what’s in store for the next four years.

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Photo taken at the Apollo on Sept. 17 2012 by Claudia Balthazar

It’s inevitable that voters will start lining up at the polls in no time and young voters are just as important to the 2012 elections as they were in 2008. “Young voters really made a difference in 2008,” said Cynthia Bogard, Former Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and the Chair of the Sociology Department at Hofstra University.

“[If] young voters [don’t] show up in the numbers they did in 2008 or simply sit this one out the only candidate it will hurt is President Obama,” said Salvator J. La Mastra V, Author of 2012 for Twentysomething’s: A Young Voter’s Guide to the 2012 Elections, a Baylor University Graduate. “Without the youth vote he will lose many of the states he won by less than 15,000 votes, 15,000 youth votes. Young voters will play a huge role in 2012, but it remains to be seen in what capacity?” Meaning that young voters were a major factor in Obama’s victory in 2008 and he will need them again this time around.

Bryanna Fabre, psychology major at New York University, observed, “There’s a lot more work to be done, and the job market is still not up… [But] the decisions we’re making as voters today, we’ll see the results as adults because politics doesn’t happen overnight.”

Not only is the youth vote important for a candidate’s victory, Bogard feels that it’s important for society, “If you start voting when you’re young, it becomes a habit.  If you don’t, you become a non-voter and as a result other people make decisions that impact your life and future.” Bogard continued noting, “We need people to vote or democracy becomes meaningless.”

A pressing issue in the 2012 elections is the voter I.D. legislation introduced in 32 states, which may affect the number of youth voters. Bogard mentioned that young voters, specifically college students, may not have the time or knowledge to get proper I.D.

In many states, the proposed I.D. legislation requires voters to show identification at the polls. A number of states have and are mounting challenges to voter I.D. According to a 2012 report in The New York Times, “The voter I.D. decision underscores a widespread push, largely by Republican controlled legislatures and governor’s offices, to impose strict identification requirements on voters. But Democrats say fraud at the polls is largely nonexistent and that Republicans are trying to disenfranchise minorities, poor people and college students – all groups that tend to vote Democrat.”

Reverend Al Sharpton spoke at an “Uptown Hall” at the Apollo in Harlem for BET’s Vote 2012 Campaign, “Vote like Your Life Depends on it” during a September 17th event and expressed his thoughts on the voter’s I.D. law. He explained that it’s odd that voter I.D. regulation wasn’t pushed back in 2004 when there were rumors that said that not everyone’s votes were counted when President George W. Bush was elected into office for a second term. Rev. Sharpton exclaimed, “let us vote with the same I.D. we’ve voted with before. The same I.D. we used when we voted for Reagan or Bush.” Harlem Resident, Roger Jones said, “I’m against it [Voter’s I.D.  Regulation] because a lot of people don’t have I.D. There are people who are old and have other forms of I.D,” He added, “I feel if I don’t vote, I have no say so in what happens to me.”

Regardless of the race or age, “It’s important to have informed voters and educated voters,” said Ariel Flajnik, President of Women of Action at Hofstra University.

-Claudia Balthazar

Published in Black Ink, the official newsletter for the Hofstra Association of Black Journalists


Age Doesn’t Keep Mineola Seniors Off the Court

Published in the Mineola Patch Jan. 24 2012/To view article: Click Here

The love of the game never stops.

Russ Sutherland has been playing basketball his whole life and is always ready to play against anyone.

Six years ago, he and his friend Richard Arroyo set up a basketball program for Mineola residents at the Mineola Community Center to cater to an underserved demographic: seniors.

Although the program is set up for seniors ages 50 and older, they invite anyone to come. There are currently men from age 42 to 78 in the program. Arroyo’s daughter, Bella, used to play with them and is now trying out for the Mineola Middle School team.

“It’s a good opportunity for retired people. Instead of watching soap operas at home all day, you could come down, shoot some hoops and talk trash,” Arroyo said. The program meets on Monday and Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Arroyo and Sutherland met each other 17 years ago when Sutherland first moved to Mineola; they used to play ball one-on-one amid games of ‘horse.’

In the near future, Sutherland would like to set up a horse hoops tournament and have the proceeds donated to the starving children in Africa.

In the years of playing for the program, they won the championship for Long Island Senior games for 5 straight years (2005-2009). Unfortunately, there were no senior games for the last 2 years due to the lack of participation. In their last game, the Mineola group had to play against a woman’s team from Harlem.

“It was hard to get people involved because it was a lose lose situation. If we lost it would be humiliating to lose against girls. If we won then it looks bad,” Sutherland said. However he finally was able to get four players, including himself, to play. The women had them by one basket during half time but the seniors ended up winning.

Sutherland has no problem playing against anyone, in fact desiring to play a game against the Mineola High School girls team.

“With their youth and speed and our experience, it would be a good game,” he said.

A few of the members in the program have played at the college level as well: Sutherland played for Farmingdale State while fellow member John Gatley played for Iona College. “I played so long ago the ball wasn’t round it was square,” Gatley joked.

The members mostly play half-court games, using the full-court on occasion. Roughly a dozen people come to play but numbers vary week by week.

While there are different concerns for veteran players as opposed to younger members, there have been no serious injuries.

“It’s a good aerobic exercise,” Arroyo said. “You feel good that you’re at an age where you can still be active at a competitive game.”

Added Sutherland: “30 minutes goes by so fast you don’t even notice you were exercising.”