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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

From awesome kiddos to delightful doggos, here's this week's roundup of joy.

10 things that made us smile this week

10 snippets of delight from around the internet.

Hi friends!

Spring is finally springing, thank goodness. We've had some weirdly late wintry weather the past couple of weeks where I live, so seeing the daffodils and tulips bursting into bloom is refreshing. "Earth laughs in flowers," wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson. So succinct and so true.

Every season carries its own delights; we simply need to look for them. The same goes for all of the spaces we inhabit, from our homes to our communities to the big wide, world. It's a basic, fundamental truth that when we look for joy, we will find it. It might be buried under a bunch of detritus, and we may have to wade through some much and mire to find it, but it's there. Always is and always has been.


Pulling together these smile-worthy finds each week feels like gathering a bouquet of flowers. Such a simple act—to find beauty and take the time to hold and appreciate it—is often underestimated. Maybe it's not earth-shattering or life-changing, but it's good. And sometimes good is more than enough to bring some much-needed joy to our hearts and smiles to our faces.

With that, enjoy these 10 things that made us smile this week:

First, a happy hello from Boomer the "land cloud." 

Isn't "land cloud" the perfect description of this doggo? (And more importantly, how did they get Boomer into that backpack?)

Four cellists play Ravel's Bolero on a single cello and WOW.

"Bolero" is known for its insistent, repeated snare drum rhythm and for building tension with the addition of more and more instruments in the orchestra as the piece progresses. Playing it on one instrument seems impossible, and yet, here we are. Amazing. Read more about this fabulous collaboration here.

Man shares a heartwarming letter thanking a neighbor for letting him pet sit two dogs and a cat. 

"They motivated me to restart my life again." So beautiful. Read the full story here.

The evolution of motherhood laid out in this one panda video.

1.) Awww, she's so gentle with that tiny baby!

2) Oh, she's still picking him up by his head!

3) "Mom, I'm way too old for this!"

The personality of a cat summed up in one video.

"I know this is clearly where you eat, but I've decided it's my bed now and I'm not moving."

Watch how this sweet doggo shares his treat with a friend.

That little reassuring paw pat, though. "Hey buddy, you good." So darn sweet.

And then there are the goofy things humans do for fun.

Movies like to portray girls at sleepovers having pillow fights in their underwear, but this video is much closer to reality.

Woman gets invited on a sleepover by her 92-year-old grandpa who was feeling lonely.

Welp, I'm gonna need a tissue now. What a precious thing. Read the full story here.

Neighborhood kids teaching a boy how to ride a bike is just pure childhood goodness.

@heressometlcfoya

This made my heart melt. ❤️

This is what community looks like. Love to see it.

Kid comforts and peps up his teammate who was feeling inadequate.

Best teammate ever, indeed.

Hope that brought some sunshine to your day! Come back next week for another bright bouquet of the internet's best.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

A young woman drinking bottled water outdoors before exercising.



The Story of Bottled Waterwww.youtube.com

Here are six facts from the video above by The Story of Stuff Project that I'll definitely remember next time I'm tempted to buy bottled water.

1. Bottled water is more expensive than tap water (and not just a little).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube


A Business Insider column noted that two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That's about 2,000 times higher than the cost of a gallon of tap water.

And in an article in 20 Something Finance, G.E. Miller investigated the cost of bottled versus tap water for himself. He found that he could fill 4,787 20-ounce bottles with tap water for only $2.10! So if he paid $1 for a bottled water, he'd be paying 2,279 times the cost of tap.

2. Bottled water could potentially be of lower quality than tap water.


via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

Fiji Water ran an ad campaign that was pretty disparaging about the city of Cleveland. Not a wise move. The city ordered a test of the snooty brand's water and found that Fiji Water contained levels of arsenic that weren't seen in the city's water supply.

How was that possible? Sarah Goodman of the New York Times explains:

" Bottled water manufacturers are not required to disclose as much information as municipal water utilities because of gaps in federal oversight authority. Bottom line: The Food and Drug Administration oversees bottled water, and U.S. EPA is in charge of tap water. FDA lacks the regulatory authority of EPA."

3. The amount of bottled water we buy every week in the U.S. alone could circle the globe five times!

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

That sounded like it just had to be impossible, so we looked into it. Here's what our fact-checkers found:

"According to the video, ' People in the U.S. buy more than half a billion bottles of water every week.' National Geographic says for 2011, bottled water sales hit 9.1 billion gallons (roughly 34 billion liters).

A 'typical' water bottle is a half-liter, so that's about 68 billion bottles per year. Divided by 52 weeks would be a little over 1 billion bottles of water sold per week in the U.S. Because that's based on a smaller 'typical' bottle size, it seems reasonable that a half billion bottles a week could be accurate.

The Earth is about 131.5 million feet around, so yep, half a billion bottles of varying sizes strung end-to-end could circle the Earth five times."

4. Paying for bottled water makes us chumps.

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

Beverage companies have turned bottled water into a multibillion-dollar industry through a concept known as manufactured demand. Bottled water advertisements used a combination of scare tactics (Tap water bad!) and seduction (From the purest mountain streams EVER!) to reel us in.

Well, we now know their claims about the superior quality of bottled water are mostly bogus. And research shows that anywhere from a quarter to 45% of all bottled water comes from the exact same place as your tap water (which, to reiterate, is so cheap it's almost free).

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

5. Bottled water is FILTHY.

It takes oil — lots of it — to make plastic bottles. According to the video, the energy in the amount of oil it takes to make the plastic water bottles sold in the U.S. in one year could fuel a million cars. That's not even counting the oil it takes to ship bottled water around the world.

And once we've guzzled our bottled water, up to 80% of the empty bottles end up in landfills or noxious-gas-producing incinerators. The rest is either recycled or shipped to countries like India where poor people without environmental and labor protections have to deal with it.

On top of all that, the process of manufacturing plastic bottles is polluting public water supplies, which makes it easier for bottled water companies to sell us their expensive product.

6. There are 750 million people around the world who don't have access to clean water.

Photo by H2O for Life.

A child dies every minute from a waterborne disease. And for me, that's the core of what makes bottled water so evil.

The video wraps by comparing buying bottled water to smoking while pregnant. That may sound extreme, but after learning everything I just did about the bottled water industry, I can't disagree.

via The Story of Stuff Project/YouTube

If you're properly disgusted, here are a few ways you can help destroy the bottled water industry:

  1. Don't buy bottled water. Get a reusable water bottle. The savings will add up.
  2. Rally your schools, workplaces, and communities to ban bottled water.
  3. Demand that your city, state, and federal governments invest in better water infrastructure.


This article originally appeared on 5.7.15

Images provided by P&G

Three winners will be selected to receive $1000 donated to the charity of their choice.

True

Doing good is its own reward, but sometimes recognizing these acts of kindness helps bring even more good into the world. That’s why we’re excited to partner with P&G again on the #ActsOfGood Awards.

The #ActsOfGood Awards recognize individuals who actively support their communities. It could be a rockstar volunteer, an amazing community leader, or someone who shows up for others in special ways.

Do you know someone in your community doing #ActsOfGood? Nominate them between April 24th-June 3rdhere.Three winners will receive $1,000 dedicated to the charity of their choice, plus their story will be highlighted on Upworthy’s social channels. And yes, it’s totally fine to nominate yourself!

We want to see the good work you’re doing and most of all, we want to help you make a difference.

While every good deed is meaningful, winners will be selected based on how well they reflect Upworthy and P&G’s commitment to do #ActsOfGood to help communities grow.

That means be on the lookout for individuals who:

Strengthen their community

Make a tangible and unique impact

Go above and beyond day-to-day work

The #ActsOfGood Awards are just one part of P&G’s larger mission to help communities around the world to grow. For generations, P&G has been a force for growth—making everyday products that people love and trust—while also being a force for good by giving back to the communities where we live, work, and serve consumers. This includes serving over 90,000 people affected by emergencies and disasters through the Tide Loads of Hope mobile laundry program and helping some of the millions of girls who miss school due to a lack of access to period products through the Always #EndPeriodPoverty initiative.

Visit upworthy.com/actsofgood and fill out the nomination form for a chance for you or someone you know to win. It takes less than ten minutes to help someone make an even bigger impact.

Democracy

Australia is banning entry to anyone found guilty of domestic violence anywhere in the world

"Australia has no tolerance for perpetrators of violence against women and children." 👏👏👏


Australia is sending a strong message to domestic abusers worldwide: You're not welcome here.

Australia has recently broadened a migration law to bar any person who has been convicted of domestic violence anywhere in the world from getting a visa to enter the country. American R&B singer Chris Brown and boxing star Floyd Mayweather had been banned from the country in the past, following their domestic violence convictions. Now the ban applies to all foreign visitors or residents who have been found guilty of violence against women or children.

Even convicted domestic abusers who already have visas and are living in Australia can be kicked out under the new rule. The government is using the rule, which took effect on February 28, 2019 to send a message to domestic violence perpetrators.


“Australia has no tolerance for perpetrators of violence against women and children," Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs David Coleman said in a public statement. “The message is clear: if you've been convicted of a violent crime against women or children, you are not welcome in this country, wherever the offence occurred, whatever the sentence."

The ban is supposed to make Australia safer, but not everyone is happy about it.

“By cancelling the visas of criminals we have made Australia a safer place," Coleman said. “These crimes inflict long lasting trauma on the victims and their friends and family, and foreign criminals who commit them are not welcome in our country."

However, Australia's neighboring country of New Zealand has long taken issue with Australia's policy of exporting convicts, and this new policy highlights why. Under the new rule, New Zealanders who have already served their sentences for domestic violence and lived in Australia most of their lives could be kicked out and sent to live in New Zealand. Such circumstances raise questions about when justice has been served and the role of rehabilitation in domestic violence convictions.

Australia, like many other countries, is trying to come to terms with its domestic violence problem.

Barring domestic violence perpetrators from other countries sends a strong message, but it's only meaningful if the country also tackles the problem among its own citizens. According to a Personal Safety Study conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 17% of Australian women and 6% of Australian men have experienced partner violence since the age of 15. And the numbers have remained relatively stable since 2005.

That may seem to indicate that little progress has been made; however, as Australian law professor Heather Douglass points out, the numbers only tell part of the story. Since most people in abusive relationships don't report the abuse until after they've left, it could simply be that more are leaving, which is a good thing. There has also been a marked increase in people seeking domestic violence services in some areas, which, again, is a good thing. For far too long, domestic violence was swept under the rug while victims were often too afraid or embarrassed to seek help. More calls for help could mean that the stigma associated with domestic violence is starting to fade.


This story originally appeared on 04.01.19


You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying.



All you want to do was walk in, sit down, get out your notebook and (try to) pay attention. But now? Now you've got to talk to a stranger about moving their stuff and there goes your day, already bogged down with petty annoyances.

Sound familiar? It should.

We've all got so much to do these days that interacting with people we see every day — not our friends, but our classmates, fellow commuters, co-workers, the people in line for coffee with us every day — can feel like a burden.

So, when these people do something we perceive as annoying, like putting their stuff on our desks, we don't have the time or the energy to assume their intentions or think about the lives they're leading.

But if we stepped out of ourselves for a second, we might just realize that we're all much more connected than we think, that our preconceived notions of others are usually just that — preconceived. And, often, inaccurate.

That's why this Twitter story about a guy who learned an important life lesson from a classmate he was frustrated with is going viral.

It's the perfect example of that "don't judge a book by its cover" adage we should have all learned in preschool but sometimes forget. And it starts the exact same way as this post — with a college student groaning on the inside as he sees someone's stuff on his desk.





If not for this one day running late, McFall may have never realized what his classmate was trying to do. And he may have continued to think of him as annoying, maybe telling others about "the weird guy who was always trying to take up my space"... when all the guy was really trying to do was be kind.

We all misinterpret the actions of others sometimes. It's easy to do that!

But if there's one thing this story reminds us, it's that it's important to stop and remember that while you're living your life, other people are living theirs, so assuming best intentions can do us a great favor.

That's why we should step outside of our bubbles and engage with the world on a regular basis.

You could make a new friend. You might brighten someone's day.

But most importantly, getting out of your own head, checking your own biases, and giving others the benefit of the doubt will make you a more compassionate person.

You don't have to engage with everyone you meet, but the next time someone smiles and offers you a high-five?

Maybe just take them up on it.


This article was originally published on April 16, 2018.

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.


The first video featured the following facepalm-inducing quotes:

“I think you should just get a C-section. This is taking too long.”

“How long is this gonna take? I have plans this weekend.”

“Are you sure you want an epidural? My mom didn’t have one. Before you make a decision, we should talk about it.”

“Sew an extra stitch down there for me, doc. We want everything just the way it was before all of this.”

@hollyd_rn

Part 1: Some partners are hard to live up to! Get you a good one #laboranddelivery #labor

It’s unbelievable that anyone would make such selfish comments while their partner is in the throes of giving birth. Anyone who would ask, “How long is this gonna take?” definitely isn’t prepared to raise a child.

Some TikTok users thought that these women should have left their partners right there in the delivery room.

"LOL immediate divorce, I'm not joking," Rig wrote. Little_n_often agreed saying, "I’d be getting the divorce papers ready."

“I would sign the divorce papers while in labor and pushing,” another commenter wrote.

The video was a massive hit on TikTok, receiving over 10 million views. So, the nurse followed it up with a sequel where she shared more “inspirational” delivery room quotes from men.

@hollyd_rn

Part 2: some partners are hard to live up to! Get you a good one! #laboranddelivery #babydaddy #labor

"Wake me up when the baby gets here I'm tired." (Rolls over, puts cover over head and slept thru the birth of his baby.)

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

(As the patient is pushing) "Do you guys do DNA tests here? My mom wants me to get one before we leave."

"Call me when you're about to have the baby. I'm gonna go with [name redacted] to the bar and watch the game."

Holly also told TODAY Parents that men should also keep their thoughts on pain medication to themselves and to stop looking at the contraction monitor and making comments.

“She can feel it!” Holly said. “You don’t need to ask her if she felt it. Trust me, she did.”

Holly’s public airing of men’s bad behavior had to be therapeutic, because, as a nurse, she can’t tell them off in the delivery room. But it's also a warning to men out there on how not to behave when their partners are giving birth. If there was ever a time in the world to stop thinking about yourself, it’s while your partner is giving birth.

Remember guys, think before you say anything in the delivery room, the nurses are listening.


This article first appeared on 09.23.22

America Ferrera|Wikicommons and Christina Aguilera|Wikicommons

Millennial women reflect on body standards of the 2000s

The early 2000s was certainly a time to be alive. At that point in time most Millennials successfully survived Y2K, watched 9/11 unfold in real time and discovered the real Slim Shady. But by the time many were in middle or high school they saw the landscape of how bodies are "supposed" to look change.

It seemed like overnight Christina Aguilera and Paris Hilton's naturally thin youthful frames were now the ideal, while Nicole Richie and Raven Symone were considered "plus sized." Millennial women are looking back on these photos from the late 90s and early 2000s wondering what society was thinking. Nothing about a teenage Raven Symone was plus size, yet somehow an entire generation was convinced if they were built like the then teen, they were fat.

Briana Reyes shared a collection of images of these 2000s "fat" celebrities to Facebook with the caption, "Celebrities that were considered “fat” or “plus sized” in the 90s-early 00s. This is obviously why so many women struggle with body image."


The post has since gone viral with over 12,000 reactions and 9.3K shares on the social media platform. Over the years there has been a movement towards body positivity and body neutrality. While both movements mean slightly different things, the main focus is on learning to accept the body that you're in and treating it well.

The way in which we view our bodies whether positively or negatively can affect the way we speak to ourselves about our bodies. This is something that many moms of young daughters have become acutely aware of as their own children pick up the negative self body talk they hear from their caregivers. But the media consumed also plays a significant role on what bodies are considered "normal," "desirable," or "sexy," which means it also sets the standard for what is the opposite of those things.

In the 2000s, being extremely thin was the standard being set and the fashion was designed to cater to those with thin bodies. Jeans that used to ride well below the hip bones paired with crop tops that stopped mid-ribcage were common staples on thin celebrities. But the actors or singers with curves were outfitted in layers of varying lengths or larger tops to camoflauge the woman had a larger chest.

Some examples in Reyes' post of "plus size" celebrities shows exactly how off base the media was with labeling people as "fat," "plus-size," and "obese." In the post are pictures of Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears who were performing after having recently given birth, yet the focus was on how "large" they were. Looking at the photos from today's lens it's easy to see the unrealistic body standard placed on these celebrities who's bodies simply were no designed to be extremely thin.

Demi Lovato who rose to fame in 2008 after staring in "Camp Rock" admitted to struggling with an eating disorder due to the pressures to be thinner. Commenters under Reyes' post pointed out how the unrealistic standards contributed to their own body issues.

"I used to be smaller than I am now, but I was always bigger than other girls. I look at pictures of myself back then thinking I was so huge and I wasn't. But I was made fun of because I wasn't as skinny as the other girls and now all I see is a disgusting person when I look at myself in the mirror. I've always been considered plus size (I really am now) but I would love to go back to being the size I was way back when....," one person reveals.

"I look back to pictures in the late 90s of myself when I thought I was so fat and I just think about how I probably couldn't be any thinner. I imagine many people have this experience," another says.

"Look at all those healthy beautiful, individual bodies. It’s sad how I and thousands of girls grew up and never appreciated our normal healthy bodies - because the rhetoric that circled around about how healthy and normal wasn’t the desired body type," someone else writes.

While people focus on how the standards of beauty affected them, many of the celebrities people were picking apart were children and young adults. Demi Lovato was just 15 as Raven Symone when the two stars were being told they needed to lose weight. The criticism led to Symone getting a breast reduction twice and liposuction before she turned 18.

One woman sums up the struggle of Millennial women still healing and trying to do better by their own children. "This post sums up my adolescence - the reasons for my unhealthy relationship with the reflection I see in the mirror/the number I see on the scale. It’s so sad because I know better but I can’t unlearn it even after all these years. I just try to teach my daughters the right thing instead - to grow up as healthy women who take great care of their bodies and to truly take the time to get to know and love themselves for who they are and how they treat others."