DIY Shampoo!

DIY Shampoo:

Matteo baratta-senza



There are things in life we just don’t seem to think about or bother with, and making our own skin and hair products is one of them. We spend lots of money each year on shampoos and conditioners, hair gels and moisturizers, and countless other products. The shock comes when we realize just how much we spend on this stuff, and even more so if we choose the organic, healthier options. But, little do we know, there are cheap, simple, and healthy, hair and skin products out there, and they can be made right in our own homes.

The do-it-yourself mentality is a great one to have. If something is too expensive, or doesn’t exist, simply make it yourself. When we look at the world through the lens of “could I make that?” we find millions of projects just begging to be created. Good shampoo is expensive, so why not start there? For this recipe we will be making a coconut milk shampoo, but the fragrance is up to you.

First you will need the following:

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup castile soap
  • 1 tsp vitamin E oil
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (for scent)
  • A jar or container for the finished shampoo


Note that as long as you keep the same amount of coconut oil and castile soap, the other ingredients can be altered to fit any scent you please (lavender or vanilla work great).

Now, heat the coconut oil till it melts (30 seconds in a microwave will do it). Once fully melted, combine all the other ingredients together in a closed jar and shake firmly for two to three minutes. Once the mixture settles, it is finished. Use one to two tablespoons depending on your hair’s length. This mixture be kept in the shower for up to a month, and which point it should be disposed of. You have just made your own coconut shampoo, it’s really that simple.

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Become a mentor TODAY!

January is National Mentoring Month in the US. Each year, advocates of mentoring rally to get more funding for mentoring programs, showcase the impact that mentoring has on young people, and recruit more mentors during this month.

In this recent interview on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Run the Jewels rapper and social justice activist, Killer Mike, reminds us again why mentoring is so crucial for young people. Take a few minutes to watch this important message:

“Find a child…help them by mentoring them…teach them the path you were taught to help them be a successful human being. It grows you as a human being to have empathy and apathy for someone who doesn’t look like you.” – Killer Mike

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Star Wars: Review by Matteo Baratta-Senza

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

A Short Review by Matteo Baratta-Senza


After much waiting and speculation, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was finally released on December 18th, 2015. I was lucky enough to be given a free ticket, due to the generosity of the Railroad Street Youth Project staff. Their Youth Operational Board had purchased ten tickets for youth who could make it, to see TFA in 3D at the Triplex Theater. It had rained all day, and I arrived at the theater damp and eager to see the film which everyone could not stop talking about. Around two hours later, as a stumbled back out into a slight mist and removed my 3D glasses, I was speechless. At first I was absolutely in love with the film, and claimed that JJ Abrams had done a splendid job, but as the infatuation wore off, I began to notice something horrible. I had just watched Star Wars: A New Hope.

Many people have made the joke that the two films, although more than twenty years apart, are strikingly similar in plot, but this overused dig still rings true nevertheless. There was so much that was right with this film, but sadly, in the end, the good was overshadowed by the overly referential nature and recycled storytelling. We have encountered a planet (or moon) sized super weapon twice before in the Star Wars films, and each time they were defeated by a single structural weakness. So when fans discovered that there was to be a third such super-weapon in The Force Awakens, they were outraged, and rightfully so. This was not the only similarity, in fact, many fans have analyzed A New Hope  and The Force Awakens side by side, finding countless recycled plot points, characters, and locations. There was so much potential to take fans on an adventure through new parts of the galaxy yet to be seen in film on the search for Luke Skywalker, but instead the film’s potential was squandered on forced humor, uncomfortably chunky exposition, and a plot that sort of gives up and throws in the towel an hour in.

While there was a lot of disappointments with The Force Awakens, but one thing that I still found enjoyable was the overall “feeling” of this film. When looked at from a purely aesthetic standpoint, TFA really feels like a Star Wars film. That was what I really fell in love with, and is what stood out to me about the film. Sadly, it is not enough to redeem the feeling of disappointment that came with the weak plot, cardboard characters, forced humor, and the sickening feeling that the entire film was produced only to set up the next two. We can only hope the coming films will be better, and not glossy remakes of the original trilogy.

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Hip-Hop Dance + Music Session with Open Thought Productions

Today, we had the incredible opportunity of having Open Thought Productions. As part of Mahaiwe‘s school residency, artists Baba Israel, Yako 440 and Ken Fury came to the Youth Project to share with us some tools and tricks of the trade.Hip hop session 6

Baba and Yako worked with Matteo, Donovan, Tymell and David to write rap lyrics, taught basics of beat boxing and how to work a turn table.
Hip hop session 2

While Matteo and Donovan were working on the music, Ken Fury choreogrpahed a breakdance routine with LJ, David, Georgia, Luiza and Sonam. We learned some essential break dancing moves, such as two-step and freeze. At the end of the 3 hour session, we put the music to the moves. Shout out the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center and our board member Dave Barrett for this amazing opportunity. It was a great way to spend a day off from school on a rainy day. More pictures and maybe even a video to come! Stay tuned!

Hip hop session 1

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