From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV


Emily Adams is twenty years old and is currently working on a B.A. with a major in music at Bishop’s University. When she’s not playing her clarinet, she can be found singing in the choir, hanging out with her Little Buddy, serving on the Students’ Representative Council, volunteering, or just listening to Sarah McLachlan or Ani DiFranco. On a more personal note, she would like to formally dedicate “Label This!” to her good friend Shara, who taught her that it’s okay to be different.

Donata Allison is a sixteen-year-old student. Her upcoming plans are to attend Central Bible College to become a youth pastor. She plans on bringing her brother along with her wherever God leads her after college. Without her little brother and God she would be a completely different person. She can be reached at [email protected]

Scott T. Barsotti is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated from North Allegheny High School in 1999 and Denison University (English) in 2003; he is currently pursuing a master of fine arts degree at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Scott is also a working playwright and a member of the Roundelay Theatre Company.

Al Batt is a husband, father and grandfather who lives on a farm near Hartland, Minnesota. He is a writer, speaker, humorist, storyteller and newspaper columnist. He does a regular television and radio show, contributes to numerous magazines and is an avid birder. He can be reached at [email protected]

Mary Berglund currently teaches A.P. English in Grand Forks, North Dakota. While she was the sports editor and feature writer of her local newspaper for twelve years, she wrote hundreds of weekly columns and has compiled these for publication. She has three sons, all of whom work in athletics and public relations. She can be reached at [email protected]

Donya Brown grew up in the small town of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania. She’s nineteen years old and currently lives with her boyfriend of seven years in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She enjoys reading and writing, and she intends on beginning a novel in the fall. “Tear-Stained Eyes” is her first published piece and she’s looking forward to building off this and using it as a starting point for her future writings. She believes that this was exactly the start she needed. She can be reached at [email protected]

Irene Budzynski, R.N., is a medical-surgical nurse in a Connecticut city hospital. Married thirty-five years, she has three sons, and her spare time is spent surrounded by books, volunteering in the public library’s used-bookstore. Her stories have appeared in Heartwarmers of Spirit: Triumphs Over Life’s Challenges and Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul, and have been heard on Nightsounds Radio (FM), an inspirational radio program. She can be reached at [email protected]

Cazzey Louis Cereghino, a singer-songwriter-actor-screenwriter-model-novelist, is a native of Milwaukie, Oregon. He resides in Los Angeles, California, with his quadruple bunkbed and couch on stilts. A Polar Bear Club member, Cazzey enjoys skydiving, bridge jumping, running marathons, bodybuilding, wiffle ball, traveling, spontaneity and embellishing. Check his on-screen and writing credits at

Cheryl Costello-Forshey is a poet whose work has been published in the books, Stories for a Faithful Heart, Stories for a Teen’s Heart, Stories for a Teen’s Heart 2, A Pleasure Place, Serenity for a Woman’s Heart, Open My Eyes, Open My Soul and numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She can be reached at [email protected]

Jennifer Danley grew up in Nebraska and plans on attending the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she is going to major in journalism. “Let Me Live” was written when she was thirteen, though she continues to write. When it was written it was dedicated to her best friend, Morgan Farrell, and her mom, Lisa Chastain. She can be reached at [email protected]

Beth Dieselberg is a poet, writer, world traveler and lover of all languages. She graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Spanish and Portuguese, and is currently using her bilingual skills within the social service sector. She can be reached at [email protected]

Christina Dotson is an education major at Ashland University in Ohio. Her stories have been published in numerous magazines including Guideposts for Teens, as well as Chicken Soup for the Christian Teenage Soul. She would like to thank her family for their love and encouragement. She can be reached at [email protected]

Harold Eppley and Rochelle Melander are popular speakers and personal coaches. They have published six books, including Timeouts with God: Meditations for Parents and The Spiritual Leader’s Guide to Self-Care. They can be contacted through their Web sites at or, by telephone at 414-963-1222, or by e-mail at [email protected]

Sarah Erdmann is seventeen years old. She lives in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. She enjoys writing stories, playing flute, participating in school plays and musicals, drawing, and painting. Sarah learned many important lessons early in life when her momdied of brain cancer. Sarah is planning on pursuing writing or art as a career and is looking forward to college. She can be reached at [email protected]

Brian Eule is a graduate of Stanford University and a current M.F.A. candidate in Columbia University’s creative writing program. He is the author of the children’s book Basketball for Fun (Compass Point Books, 2003). He can be reached at [email protected]

Greg Faherty is a published author with more than six years of professional resume writing experience and over fifteen years of experience in technical, scientific, clinical, business, educational and creative writing. He’s also a skilled proofreader and editor, as well as an author of four published educational study guides. Lastly, he has multiple publications in the fields of poetry and photography.

Lauren Fritsky is a recent graduate of La Salle University in Philadelphia, where she received a B.A. in English. She is originally from Brick, New Jersey. Lauren hopes to start a career as a journalist and eventually write a few books of her own. She can be reached at [email protected]

Linnea Gits-Dunham has been an artist living and working in Chicago since 1993. She is also co-owner of a design consulting company in Chicago, Binthhaus and recently completed a design project with the furniture company Herman Miller for their Chicago showroom, as well as a lighting line at Manifesto showroom in Chicago. She currently released a print series for a children’s alphabet that is available through Binthhaus at 312-243-7326, or the Chicago stationary company Alphabetique. She can be reached at [email protected]

Phyllis Anne Guilmette worked as a reporter and editor in New York, covering issues relating to the welfare of children, social issues, entertainment, crime and politics. She works as a freelance writer for several magazines. While writing, she is pursuing an advanced degree in education. She lives with her husband, an army pilot, and her daughter, Phylicia. She can be reached at [email protected]

Deiah Haddock is a student at Western Carolina University. Currently studying Spanish and psychology, she continues to write in her free time as a form of healing. Deiah is also a musician, playing and writing songs on the piano. She turned nineteen in 2004, and has been cancer free since May 2000! She can be reached at [email protected], or visit her at

Cynthia M. Hamond has been published numerous times in both the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and Multnomah’s Stories for the Heart. Her stories have been printed in major publications and magazines. She has received two writing recognitions, and her short story “Goodwill” has become a television favorite.

Katie Hays wrote “Live Your Dream” when she was fifteen.

Olivia Heaney is a student and a national laureate of the Canada Millennium Scholarship. She has won many national awards for leadership, speaking, community innovation and as a singer/songwriter. Olivia plans to pursue law. She enjoys volunteering and her future aspirations include traveling the world to become “the difference that makes a difference.” She can be reached at [email protected]

Jeff Heisler is a freelance writer from Marshall, Michigan. You can learn more about him at

Lauren Henderson is a nineteen-year-old young woman living in Kansas City, Missouri. She is finishing up her senior year in high school and will soon begin college courses. She writes on a daily basis and has plans to move to Los Angeles, California, in the future to pursue her writing career. She is currently in the process of completing her first screenplay. Lauren’s Web site can be found at She can be reached at [email protected]

Julie Hoover is currently a senior at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and wrote her story when her sister first went off to college. She is studying health science and hopes to continue to physical therapy school after graduation. She is the president of the Baylor Water Ski Team, member of Phi Theta Physical Therapy Organization, and member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority. She gives honor to the Lord and would like to thank her family for always supporting her.

Arielle Jacobs will graduate from Tufts University in May of 2005 with a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy. She would like to say thanks to her wonderful friends, without whom this particular story (and a myriad of others) could not have taken place. She can be reached at [email protected]

Neil Katcher is a working writer-producer in Los Angeles. He is currently producing “Mortified,” a television pilot for Comedy Central. Previously, Neil served as Authentic Entertainment’s director of development for two years, where he created and developed projects for cable networks including Discovery, VH1, Bravo, Comedy Central and Travel Channel.

Jim Lauer wrote his poem as a guide for children and their parents while he was chief medical officer at a comprehensive child and adolescent treatment center. Having been fortunate enough to receive most of these gifts as he was growing up, he reflected on what often was missing in the lives of children and teens he had been treating since 1966 as a family psychiatrist.

Dan Levine writes for magazines, newspapers, the Internet, film and television.

Peter Lim spent his childhood in Shaker Heights, Ohio, absorbing the ’80s and trying to shake his fear of clowns. He received a B.A. in English from Ohio State University, before moving to San Francisco, California, where he now resides. He writes, and wins staring contests in his spare time. He can be reached at [email protected]

Joseph Losardo received a bachelor of fine arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2002. He also studied in Florence, Italy, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. After graduation, Joe began work in the film industry, but now focuses on writing. He can be reached at [email protected]

Julie Lucas is a marketing communications expert with experience in education, broadcasting and First Amendment initiatives. She directs Illumination, a strategic marketing communications company and is education chair of the National Television Academy (NTA), which governs the Emmy Awards. For NTA, she coauthored a book of broadcast journalism lessons for high school with Av Westin (former executive producer of ABC’s World News Tonight and 20/20).

Melody Mallory is a seventeen-year-old high-school senior from Paris, Texas. She is an honor roll student and is involved in many clubs and activities including Extemporaneous Speaking, CX Debate, and One Act Play. She’s a varsity cheerleader and loves playing softball and being with the people who mean the most to her. She would like to thank her parents for everything they’ve done for her and says she loves them very much!

Melissa Malloy is a “born and raised” Calgarian and comes from a loving family of six. She has been writing since the age of eight and aspires to be a published poet one day. During her teen years she battled through drug addiction, alcoholism, teen pregnancy and depression. She is very aware of the difficulties and the emotional roller coaster that can come with being a teenager. She also knows that people have the capacity to overcome any obstacle; all it takes is a little faith and a little hope. She is twenty-two years old and has a beautiful three-year-old daughter. She is now completely sober and is in post-secondary school, doing very well. She can be reached at [email protected]

Cortney Martin is a newspaper reporter, fiction writer and magazine freelancer. She is a 2004 graduate of the University of Houston and plans to continue writing professionally and as a hobby. She is pleased to be a Chicken Soup contributor for the second time. She can be reached at [email protected]

Lizzy Mason is a graduate of Manhattan College with a degree in communications. She works in publishing as a publicist and is a resident of New York City. Her previous publications include an article in Positive Teens Magazine and poems in both The Anthology of 11th Grade Poetry and An Anthology of Amateur Poets.

Marianne Melcher graduated college and currently teaches math at Shell Lake High School. She enjoys spending time with her family, fiancé, friends and pets. In her free time she likes to read, write and work out. She wants to remind people that, “With God, all things are possible,” and to always follow your dreams. She can be reached at [email protected]

Dinaw Mengestu is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, New York, currently completing his first novel.

Eric J. Moore started writing and rambling at a young age. Various poems, essays and stories may be found in the spattering of high school, college, and local anthologies, as well as his photography and collages. Having relocated to the sunny traffic-laden city of Los Angeles, California, Mr. Moore still churns out endless journals of heartfelt swill.

Rachel Moore holds a B.A. in creative writing from Hampshire College. She can often be found browsing through her favorite bookshop or knitting in a café. She has also traveled extensively through Central America. Rachel lives and writes in San Francisco, California.

Rachel Louise Moore, age thirteen at the time of submission, is a college student and digital media designer. She enjoys creating1337 graphic art, the Mac OS and blogging. You can visit her blog at She can also be reached at [email protected]

Lauren Nevins is a magna cum laude graduate from Stony Brook University where she studied psychology, women’s studies, and child and family studies. She has been working in early childhood education since graduating and is currently in her first year of a master’s in social welfare program. She looks forward to becoming a professional counselor and will continue to pursue nonfiction writing based on her life. She can be reached at [email protected]

Amy Nicholson outlasted parochial high school and a football-centric college town before moving to Los Angeles, California, where she is a theater critic for the LA Weekly. Between plays, she invents quasi-Mediterranean recipes, teaches English and reviews documentaries for a mess of film festivals. She can be reached at [email protected]

Carrie O’Maley is twenty-four years old and lives and works in New York City. She wrote “My Amazing Brother” in 1998, and her brother, Mark, still remains one of her closest friends. She can be reached at [email protected]

Rianna Ouellette received her bachelor of arts in classical studies from Bryn Mawr College in 2004. She enjoys reading and sewing.

Lindsay Ann Parker is a student at Appalachian State University majoring in radio and television. She is a member of Chi Omega Sorority. Her story was written in memory of Gray Griffin and is dedicated to his wonderful parents. She can be reached at [email protected]

Laura Pavlasek is a twenty-one-year-old psychology major at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, and plans on attending graduate school in the future. She enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, Jacob, playing with her pug puppy, Louis, reading and going out on the weekends. She can be reached at [email protected]

Emily Peck is a sophomore at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where she is a poetry major. In addition to studying poetry, Emily enjoys singing, reading and watching old movies. She plans on being a professional writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

Sarah Provencal wrote her story when she was twelve and had forgotten all about it until Chicken Soup called and asked to publish it. She’s happy to share it with all of you and hopes that it makes you smile.

Michael Punsalan graduated from the University of Dayton in 1998 with his bachelor of arts degree, and is currently studying for his master’s degree. He has been published in both alternative press magazines and collections of work. Currently, he is working on his first novel, based on an emotionally charged, true story.

Sara Ronis is a university student who lives in Montreal, Canada. She wrote her story when she was fourteen and has also published a poem in Teen Love: On Friendship. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached at [email protected]

Danielle Rosenblatt is a twenty-year-old college student who studies English and creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a writing coach to West Philadelphia elementary-school students who, she says, keep her excited about writing. To learn more about Danielle and read samples of her work you can visit her Web site at

Alanna Schubach is a senior at American University majoring in journalism and Spanish and minoring in literature. She loves traveling, photography and not being a teenager anymore. Currently she is working with a friend on a comedic adaptation of Crime and Punishment set in a Long Island, New York, high school. She can be reached at [email protected]

Patrick Seitz is a freelance writer, voiceover artist, actor and former high school English teacher. He is pursuing an M.F.A. degree in creative writing and writing for the performing arts at University of California, Riverside, where he focuses on screenwriting and playwriting. He can be reached at [email protected], or visit him online at

Mary Shannon is a college writing teacher and the mother of two teenage boys. She is also the president of the board of directors of Alliance of Abilities, a day program for people with head injuries and other cognitive disabilities. You can find out more about this program at

Brittney Shepherd is a novice of many crafts.

Brittany Steward is sixteen years old and lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Besides writing poetry, she enjoys dancing, spending time with her friends and, like most girls, shopping. Brittany has been reading the Chicken Soup books since the sixth grade and hopes someone will find comfort in her writing as she has in others.

Sarah Strickler began writing when she took creative writing classes her senior year of high school. She would like to thank her writing teacher, Mrs. Shanahan, for teaching her the art of writing. Sarah enjoys writing, dancing and volunteering. She hopes to continue her writing when she attends the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Chris Sullivan is a writer and graduate student living in New York City. In addition to his research in emerging democracies and new methods to battle governmental and economic corruption, Chris maintains a Web site of his essays and humor writing at

Bethany Trombley is a twenty-year-old student and is currently partnered in business with her fiancé, Jim. She is excited about expanding their business, helping others along the way and soaking up the sunshine on the beaches of the world writing all the while, of course. She can be reached at [email protected]

Sarah Van Tine wrote her story as a reflection on how wonderful the Lord is in giving us what we need. For her, it was Brian. Brian is a great part of her life and never stops pushing her to be a stronger person spiritually and mentally. She believes you shouldn’t just push yourself into the dating world but to trust that God will hand over that perfect guy for you and to not be discouraged if you haven’t had a boyfriend by the time you think you should have had one. Three and a half years after their first date, Brian and Sarah are now engaged and will be getting married in two years. He was her first and only boyfriend. She can be reached at [email protected]

Mark Whistler currently lives in Denver, Colorado and is the author of Trading Pairs: Capturing Profits and Hedging Risk with Statistical Arbitrage Strategies—published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. He is also the key developer of, and has written for several publications including The Motley Fool, Working Money and Mr. Whistler comments that—though he often writes for rigid financial publications—contributing to Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul IV is truly an honor and a blessing.

Rebecca Wicks is a British legal alien, living in New York City. She works in advertising, sings in the shower and writes freelance for various publications. Check out more on To contact her for writing assignments, or just to have a cup of tea, she can be reached at [email protected]

Jessica Wilson has a bachelor of arts degree in English and over seven years of writing and editing experience. She works out of her home for a tax law publishing company, CCH. She’s currently enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature writing program. She can be reached by phone at 770-222-6936 or by e-mail at [email protected]

Kristina Wong is a solo performer, writer, actor, educator, activist and filmmaker. She performs and teaches at universities throughout the country. She was born and raised in San Francisco, California, and now lives in Los Angeles. Her Web site is

Dallas Nicole Woodburn is a sixteen-year-old high-school junior from Ventura, California. She has self-published a book of short stories and poems, won national writing contests and appeared as a featured author in the book So, You Wanna Be A Writer? Dallas has also created a nonprofit foundation called Write On! that encourages kids to read and write through projects such as book drives and essay contests. Please visit her Web site at

Heather Woodruff’s story happened nearly ten years ago, and in case you were wondering, she and her brother did travel the world together. In one year, they saw twenty-three countries, and to this day he remains one of the best friends she has ever had. She can be reached at [email protected]

Rebecca Woolf is a freelance writer/photographer living in West Hollywood, California.

Evan Wynns was born in 1979, and with luck, is still alive. He has been an apprentice curry chef to an A-bomb survivor, plasterer, poet and wage slave, and is currently trying to get someone other than his friends interested in his first novel. He can be reached at [email protected]

Yaa Yamoah was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. She has two stepsisters. She is the middle child. She moved to the United States to finish her last year of high school and to go to college. She recently graduated from college with a B.A. in communications. She is now living in New York City, and working at a public relations agency. One of her sisters attends school in New York City so it’s not so bad. Life is treating her nicely. Her mom still lives in Ghana and Yaa visits her every Christmas.

Lalanthica V. Yogendran was born in Sri Lanka but calls Boston, Massachusetts, her home. With a degree in microbiology and research in infectious disease, she is looking to enter medical school in the coming year. She is involved in various community service activities and enjoys writing in her spare time. She can be reached at [email protected]

Esther Young was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1984. She moved to California in 2000 for her last two years of high school. She currently attends Yale University, where she nurses a passion for film and travel. She still rides her bike all over campus. She can be reached at [email protected]

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