5 things people are doing to help the victims of the California fires.

The fires engulfing Napa and Sonoma counties are rapidly becoming some of the worst in California's history.

Photo by Josh Edelson/Getty Images.

On Sunday night, flames swept into Santa Rosa and other cities across the region with little warning. At least 24 people have been confirmed dead, with hundreds displaced and nearly 300 still reported missing.


Meanwhile, hundreds of residents from hotel owners to teachers and students to local government officials to relief workers are marshalling help those to affected. Here's what they've been up to in the days since the devastation began.

1. Farms are taking in displaced animals, and high school volunteers are working around the clock to care for them.

Local students learning animal care and agriculture at Vintage Farm have been rescuing dogs, goats, horses, and other pets and farm animals and housing and feeding them in the teaching farm's facilities.

"I’ve actually been having to make the kids go home," teacher Emmalee Casillas told the Napa Valley Register. "They’re probably pulling eight to 10 hours each on average."

The Sonoma Valley High School farm is also accepting large animals.

2. Hotels are offering rooms to evacuees at steep discounts or for free.

The Napa Valley Register reports that the county's Meritage Resort and Spa, a luxury hotel whose rooms typical sell for upward of $300 per night, is providing accommodations to displaced locals at $99 a night.

The room-sharing service Airbnb is connecting evacuees with hosts offering their space for free. Photo by Lionel Bonaventure/Getty Images.

Meanwhile, individuals are opening their homes to evacuees. Airbnb hosts in the area are offering free stays to people displaced by the fires, and residents are circulating a public Google document with a list of donated housing.

3. Two local Boys and Girls Clubs sites are opening to all children during the day in the wake of widespread school closures.

Children whose classes have been cancelled can visit the Napa Clubhouse and the community gym at American Canyon.

"The Club is sensitive to the fact that a disaster of this nature puts pressure on families and will provide a diversion for school age children in a safe location where kids can just be kids," a spokesperson for the organization relayed in a news release sent to the Napa Valley Register.

4. Dozens of facilities across the affected area are currently operating as shelters.

These facilities include public spaces like high schools and community centers, places of worship, and private venues, like the Sonoma Raceway campground.

5. The U.S. postal service is still delivering mail.

On Wednesday, a drone operator captured striking footage of a postal truck making deliveries in a burned out neighborhood in Santa Rosa.

In a statement issued to The Mercury News in San Jose, postal service district manager Noemi Luna revealed, "A few customers asked the carrier to leave their mail if the mailbox was still standing," a request the carrier decided to honor.

There's also many ways for you to pitch in. Here's how:

The Sacramento Bee has compiled a list of requests and opportunities to help on their website, located here.

Unlike many disaster relief scenarios, local government and agencies are requesting supplies. The Sacramento Bee compiled a list of shelters, many of which are in need of bedding. The City of Sonoma and the staff of the local school district were requesting following items for their shelters as of Oct. 9: non-latex gloves, heavy duty garbage bags, adult diapers, baby wipes, prepared lunch foods, coffee creamer, to-go coffee cups, and ground coffee.

Many organizations, including the Red Cross, are looking for volunteers, including those with medical training, to assist evacuees.

Those too far away to deliver supplies or volunteer can donate to Redwood Credit Union's relief fund, United Way of Wine Country, or one of dozens of GoFundMe drives raising money for relief.

More

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture