6 ideas for Lego minifigs that better reflect our ever-changing world.

You may have heard about Lego's big step toward inclusivity.

The toy manufacturer announced they're adding new minifigs (the little yellow figures) to their collection, including a young person (complete with a beanie and hoodie) using a wheelchair, a working mother, and a stay-at-home dad pushing an infant in a stroller.


Some of the new inclusive minifigs coming as early as this summer from Lego. Photo by Daniel Karmann/AFP/Getty Images.

The company's more inclusive offerings are an effort to accurately reflect rapidly changing demographics.

“We need to stay in tune with the world around us,” said Soren Torp Laursen, president of Lego Systems told Fortune. “We aren’t responding to demand from anyone. We are trying to ... listen to our consumer base.”

Yes! More companies like this please.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

In the spirit of encouraging creative play and keeping up with our ever-changing world, here are six more minifigures that represent our evolving demographics.

1. A minifig without a driver's license

In 2014,less than a quarter of 16-year-olds had a license, a nearly 50% decline from 1983. But it's not just young people getting out from behind the wheel. There are steady declines in licensure for people aged 20 to 54 too. These changes may be a result of more people living in urban settings, and lifestyle changes like people pursuing higher levels of education and delaying marriage and children.

Optional accessories: an audiobook and a bus pass.

Photo by Jewel Samad /AFP/Getty Images.

2. Minifig newlyweds on their second marriage

Lego already has minifig newlyweds, but to keep up with the current landscape, these newlyweds should probably be a little older and on their second (or even third) marriage. In 2013, nearly 40% of marriages included at least one person who'd been married before. Oh, and while we're at it, Lego should definitely include a gay couple too.

Optional accessories: a small ceremony with no gifts, but top shelf booze.

Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images.

3. A minifig college graduate with crippling loan debt

The student loan crisis is very real and very scary. Nearly 70% of students who graduated from not-for-profit public colleges and universities in 2014 had student loan debt, with an average of more than $28,000 per borrower. The standard repayment plan is 10 years, but borrowers can work out plans to extend that in exchange for higher interest rates, the last thing someone in debt needs.

Optional accessories: the sinking feeling you'll never own a home.

Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images.

4. A minifig caring for an elderly family member

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 40.4 million unpaid caregivers of adults over 65. 90% of that group are providing care for an elderly family member. These caregivers often balance full- or part-time jobs with their responsibilities, which often include housework, errands, home repair projects, and emotional support.

Optional accessories: a hug for doing something really hard, but really awesome.

Photo by Greg Baker/ AFP/Getty Images.

5. A minifig who thinks foreign languages are great, but only speaks English

75% of Americans don't speak a second language, though 43% believe it's vital to know as many languages as possible. America: Do as we say, not as we do. And please do it in English so we know you're not making fun of us.

Optional accessories: an unopened, dusty Rosetta Stone box.

Photo by Denis Charlet/AFP/Getty Images

6. A minifig with little to no confidence in Congress

When asked in a Gallup poll how much confidence they had in Congress, 11% of respondents in 1973 said, "Very little." By 2014, that number had climbed to 50%. Ouch.

It might have something to do with their elected officials missing votes to run for president, holding exercises in political theater to promote their own agenda, and standing firm on their vow to avoid doing their jobs.

Optional accessories: voter registration card and protest sign.

Activists rally outside the Supreme Court to push Congress to give President Obama's eventual nominee a fair shot. Photo by Larry French/Getty Images for People for the American Way.

Hats off to Lego for celebrating inclusivity and reflecting our changing world.

While some of these examples are a little tongue in cheek, I applaud Lego's sincere effort to push for inclusivity. Our diversity, culture, and traditions are what make us unique and what make life (and creative play) so compelling.

Here's to challenging norms and pushing for increased representation in all our toys and children's products.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

True

Some 75 years ago, in bombed-out Frankfurt, Germany, a little girl named Marlene Mahta received a sign of hope in the midst of squalor, homelessness and starvation. A CARE Package containing soap, milk powder, flour, blankets and other necessities provided a lifeline through the contributions of average American families. There were even luxuries like chocolate bars.

World War II may have ended, but its devastation lingered. Between 35 and 60 million people died. Whole cities had been destroyed, the countryside was charred and burned, and at least 60 million European civilians had been made homeless. Hunger remained an issue for many families for years to come. In the face of this devastation, 22 American organizations decided to come together and do something about it: creating CARE Packages for survivors.

"What affected me… was hearing that these were gifts from average American people," remembers Mahta, who, in those desperate days, found herself picking through garbage cans to find leftover field rations and MREs to eat. Inspired by the unexpected kindness, Mahta eventually learned English and emigrated to the U.S.

"I wanted to be like those wonderful, generous people," she says.

The postwar Marshall Plan era was a time of "great moral clarity," says Michelle Nunn, CEO of CARE, the global anti-poverty organization that emerged from those simple beginnings. "The CARE Package itself – in its simplicity and directness – continues to guide CARE's operational faith in the enduring power of local leadership – of simply giving people the opportunity to support their families and then their communities."

Each CARE Package contained rations that had once been reserved for soldiers, but were now being redirected to civilians who had suffered as a result of the conflict. The packages cost $10 to send, and they were guaranteed to arrive at their destination within four months.

Thousands of Americans, including President Harry S. Truman, got involved, and on May 11, 1946, the first 15,000 packages were sent to Le Havre in France, a port badly battered during the war.

Thousands of additional CARE Packages soon followed. At first packages were sent to specific recipients, but over time donations came in for anyone in need. When war rations ran out American companies began donating food. Later, carpentry tools, blankets, clothes, books, school supplies, and medicine were included.

Before long, the CARE Packages were going to other communities in need around the world, including Asia and Latin America. Ultimately, CARE delivered packages to 100 million families around the world.

The original CARE Packages were phased out in the late 1960s, though they were revived when specific needs arose, such as when former Soviet Union republics needed relief, or after the Bosnian War. Meanwhile, CARE transformed. Now, instead of physical boxes, it invests in programs for sustainable change, such as setting up nutrition centers, Village Savings and Loan Associations, educational programs, agroforestry initiatives, and much more.

But, with a pandemic ravaging populations around the world, CARE is bringing back its original CARE packages to support the critical basic needs of our global neighbors. And for the first time, they're also delivering CARE packages here at home in the United States to communities in need.

Community leaders like Janice Dixon are on the front lines of that effort. Dixon, president and CEO of Community Outreach in Action in Jonesboro, Ga., now sends up to 80 CARE packages each week to those in need due to COVID-19. Food pantries have been available, she notes, but they've been difficult to access for those without cars, and public transportation is spotty in suburban Atlanta.

"My phone has been ringing off the hook," says Dixon. For example, one of those calls was from a senior diabetic, she remembers, who faced an impossible choice, but was able to purchase medicine because food was being provided by CARE.

Today, CARE is sending new packages with financial support and messages of hope to frontline medical workers, caregivers, essential workers, and individuals in need in more than 60 countries, including the U.S. Anyone can now go to carepackage.org to send targeted help around the world. Packages focus on helping vaccines reach people more quickly, tackling food insecurity, educational disparities, global poverty, and domestic violence, as well as providing hygiene kits to those in need.

From the very beginning, CARE received the support of presidents, with Hollywood luminaries like Rita Hayworth and Ingrid Bergman also adding their voices. At An Evening With CARE, happening this Tuesday, May 11, notable names will turn out again as the organization celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the CARE Package and the exciting, meaningful work that lies ahead. The event will be hosted by Whoopi Goldberg and attended by former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, as well as Angela Merkel, Iman, Jewel, Michelle Williams, Katherine McPhee-Foster, Betty Who and others. Please RSVP now for this can't-miss opportunity.

Motherhood is a journey unlike any other, and one that is nearly impossible to prepare for. No matter how many parenting books you read, how many people you talk to, how many articles you peruse before having kids, your children will emerge as completely unique creatures who impact your world in ways you could never have anticipated.

Those of us who have been parenting for a while have some wisdom to share from experience. Not that older moms know everything, of course, but hindsight can offer some perspective that's hard to find when you're in the thick of early motherhood.

Upworthy asked our readers who are moms what they wish they could tell their younger selves about motherhood, and the responses were both honest and wholesome. Here's what they said:

Lighten up. Don't sweat the small stuff.

One of the most common responses was to stop worrying about the little things so much, try to be present with your kids, and enjoy the time you have with them:

"Relax and enjoy them. If your house is a mess, so be it. Stay in the moment as they are temporary..more so than you think, sometimes. We lost our beautiful boy to cancer 15+yrs ago. I loved him more than life itself..💔 "- Janet

"Don't worry about the dishes, laundry and other chores. Read the kids another book. Go outside and make a mud pie. Throw the baseball around a little longer. Color another picture. Take more pictures and make sure you are in the pictures too! My babies are 19 and 17 and I would give anything to relive an ordinary Saturday from 15 years ago." - Emma H.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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