Deanna and Justin In The Morning

5:30am - 10:00am

This photo hung in my parent's house for as long as I can remember. It now, hangs on my wall in my home as a reminder.

This past weekend I spent some time with friends in NYC. They were visiting from out of town and one of them asked me what it was like for me to experience the 9/11 attacks.

I stopped in my tracks. I realized I had never been asked that question before. Most people I knew had loved ones lost on that horrific day and others, like me, knew people who lost loved ones. We were all affected, especially because we lived on the east coast, so close to New York City.

But this person was from out of town and visiting from California. She was also much younger than I was when it happened. So her experience, was completely different than most people I knew.

One Of The Lucky Ones

My personal experience is surely not as bad as many other people. However, it was something traumatic I had lived through and hadn’t realized until that moment, just how big of an impact it had on me.

I was in my Freshman year of college at Montclair State University. I must have been in school for about a week. Everything was so new to me. I had never been away from home. I was scared, nervous, and excited all at once.

Watching the 9/11 Attacks From My Window

On the morning of September 11, 2001, my dorm room phone rang. I can’t quite remember if my roommate was there and she had answered the phone or if I was alone and awakened by the ringing. Upon reflecting, this was my first clue that maybe I had not fully processed what I had witnessed. I never really spent the time to think about what it was like for me to experience the 9/11 attacks.

My mom was on the other end of the line, worried and frantic she said “A plane just crashed into one of the twin towers, look outside your window.” My dorm room window, on the 8th floor of Bohn Hall, had an amazing view of the New York City skyline. But this morning, this awful morning, it was completely covered in a cloud of smoke and I couldn’t see much.

Not long after that, the second plane made its way into the other tower and it seemed like the rest was a blur. My mom was so worried about me but I assured her that I was safe and there was no need to panic, for now.

I didn’t quite understand what was happening at the time, and I still couldn’t fully grasp the rest of the week, month or year when I attended vigils and sit-ins that were held on campus. I locked hands with people I didn’t know, held candles and said prayers for those I’ve never met. Classes were cancelled, professors weren’t in their offices, the halls were empty. Commuters could not get in and out of the city.


After telling the story for the umpteenth time, one thing I do know, is that I will NEVER forget. That day, the world changed.

As I recounted this story to the woman walking beside me down the sidewalks of Greenwich Village, I was filled with gratitude, fear and realization.

I had gratitude for the fact that I was here to tell the story. I had fear for the unknown or possibility of it happening again. Finally, I had a realization that this tragic event had such an impact on me and I didn’t realize it until just now.

Picture of World Trade Center/twin towers

This photo hung in my parent’s house for as long as I can remember. It now, hangs on my wall in my home as a reminder.

Music That Heals: Songs That Resonate In The Wake Of 9/11

How To Manage Back To School Stress As A Parent In Delaware

It’s hard to believe it’s already September and the kids are back in the classroom already. This can be a tough time of year for students and for parents. So I decided to gather some helpful info if you’re wondering How To Manage Back To School Stress As A Parent In Delaware, and anywhere really!

For me, most of my childhood and elementary school years were spent being bullied. I know I had good times, and a few friends and for that I am grateful. But overall, the majority of my memories involve coming home crying or feeling like I didn’t fit in.

Unfortunately, a lot of students experience this no matter what grade they’re in. Bullying can happen in any grade or age range. It’s important to prep your children for the potential of other students being not so nice.

Add the daily pressures of performing to your best abilities, and any student can feel easily overwhelmed or stressed out.

So how do we help our kids manage back to school stress?

I’ll give you a hint, it doesn’t have anything to do with buying them the newest and coolest backpack, but that would help.

Well, I’m not a parent but I’m an aunt, a former teacher and a former student who experienced it all. I can tell you from experience, that I wish I had more tools to cope in a healthy way when it came to school stress.

My parents did the absolute best job they know how but we could all learn from the experience and just hope to help someone currently going through it.

  • Talk To Your Kids

    Sounds simple right? It’s more difficult than it seems.

    Some children won’t answer honestly right away when you’ve asked “How was your day?” It has to go beyond that.

    Sit them down. Reserve focused time. Speak to them one-on-one. Ask specific questions.

    Start with “Tell me the worst part of your day today”. Listen. Ask more questions if you need to get them to elaborate.

    Finish with “Tell me the best part of your day”. Usually when you go through the hi’s and the lows of each day or week, you’ll get more straightforward and honest answers and your student/child will feel more comfortable opening up to you about their experiences and you have a shot at helping them solve problems before they get out of hand.

  • Share Your Experiences

    Not everyone’s experience is the same. Share what you went through. Recall times where you may have felt vulnerable, insecure, unsure of yourself, etc. Let your child know that it’s ok to feel these things. These feelings don’t make them weak. They are feelings and they are ok and common. Allow them a safe space to talk through them.

  • Discuss Their Strengths And Weaknesses

    Every student is different and every one learns in different ways. Some subjects come easier to some people and some don’t.

    Speak without judgement. Understand that everyone learns on a different level. Just because you are an accountant doesn’t mean that your child should be great at math.

    Hear them when they mention struggles. Ask them what is the difficult part for them and ask them if there is anything about the particular subject that they do understand.

    Suggest a variety of ways they can get better at it and see what they are comfortable with. Some students do well with one-on-one tutoring, others just need a few more minutes in a small study group.

  • Do Your Homework

    No, I don’t mean try to teach yourself Common Core Math.

    Cyberbullying, problematic peers and overwhelmingly hectic schedules are stressors teens face.

    Research, read, study what’s going on currently in your child’s school, activities, classrooms, home life.

    Get familiar with your child’s habits and schedule.

    Dr. Cheryl L. Green, a professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, addresses the unique stress factors that disproportionately impact teen girls and shares concrete ways for parents to help in her new book, Heal Your Daughter: How Lifestyle Psychiatry Can Save Her from Depression, Cutting, and Suicidal Thoughts.

    This is just one example of an educated publishing that can help you navigate your child’s stressors.


IG @deannaontheair Deanna started her radio career in Reno, Nevada. A jersey girl at heart, she found her way back to the east coast and is now the Morning Show lead at WJBR. Check out Deanna and Justin In The Morning weekdays 5:30-10am!

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