Sunday Mornings with Rania: Most-Read 2017 Articles

I remember going back two (almost three years now) to that coffee with Joni Hoffman. It was there that I pitched the idea of a weekly blog post, one that would not be scary or gloomy but rather insightful, telling, informative and hopefully of value to Buzz readers. It didn't take much to convince the Buzz team and, within days, Sunday Mornings with Rania was born.

Each week, the team at Crime Stoppers and The Buzz Magazines discuss potential story ideas for SMWR - what will resonate, what will be newsworthy, is there an uplifting angle, what must we share? Undoubtedly, what we pick toward the beginning of the week changes due to breaking news at the end of the week. Regardless, I love those conversations and the ability to discuss the trends and then just, write.

And so as we hit the last day of the year, I'm reflecting on the wild twists and turns of 2017 and the many stories and topics we have covered. We've also studied how you have responded. Here's a look back at the top five most-read SMWR and why I hope these resonated with you:

1. Sloane G. Soler: When They Disappear 

Whenever a child goes missing, it is horrifying but the story of Sloane Soler forced us as community to ask different questions. This beautiful young lady with the most beautiful of families was gone. Why? How? Could she have left willingly? And what does it mean for each of us? While the topic is an awful one to consider, we were all forced to consider it and walk our way through it. I hope that this article helped you do just that.

2. Spring Break Tragedies, Gone Too Soon 

SMWR covers local and national headlines, of course, but sometimes, the stories stem from personal connections to community. Spring break 2017 was one filled with heartbreak for many of our family and friends. I wrote about it in a very honest way and shared basic safety measures for all families everywhere.

3. 13 Reasons Why Not 

The Netflix phenomenon, 13 Reasons Why, swept the nation and captured the attention of teens everywhere. The responses were good, bad and frightening. Psychologists and psychiatrists were saying the teen series was leading to higher suicide rates and urging parents to ban the show. We know that teens still watched it and were still seeking it out and so I felt it was important to address 13 Reasons Why Not - the 13 reasons teens should never consider suicide. Of all the posts I've written, my hope was this one would be shared the most. I was so thankful to see it was on the top 5 list.

4. The Michelle Carter Case 

Parenting is hard enough but in the age of social media, it is much harder. Add to that the fact that crimes and punishments for youthful online activity is being defined daily and it's no wonder many are left unsure what to say to their growing children. The Michelle Carter case out of Boston was one such case. Not only did it define a new level of legal punishment for texting but it opened the door to so much more - the lasting life consequences stemming from the online virtual world most kids live their lives in... A review of this topic and the outcomes was important for many to read and I was thankful they did.

5. The Women Behind the Movement 

2017 was an incredible year for Houston and also a historic year for Crime Stoppers of Houston. Not only did we open the first Crime Stoppers headquarters anywhere in the world but worked hard to make Public Safety part of the mainstream conversation and hopefully opened the door to many more conversations around the kitchen table at home. We certainly did not cut the ribbon or move the needle alone and it was important to highlight those - especially the women - who helped us get to where we are as a community. I am not only so thankful to all those listed but am appreciative to anyone who took the time to read, share or give a word of thanks to those who did so much to help!

Thank you for allowing me into your spaces and places and for taking the time to read SMWR! I can promise you this, as word after word pours through my fingers and onto the page, I am thinking of each of you and hoping that this column enriches your life and helps you in any way possible.

My hope is that we continue to talk, ask questions, share information and do everything possible to keep you and yours safe. My sincerest wishes to you all for a happy, healthy and SAFE 2018!

About the author

Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston