A homeless kid's path crossed with a kind Starbucks manager. The rest is history.

Add sheer determination to a stroke of good luck and you get a double shot of humanity for the win!

Matthew Tejeda has big plans for how he'll help others who started off like he did — with the odds stacked against them.

Having bounced around from home to home as a kid, relying on the help of friends and without the guidance of parents, Matthew had a rough transition into adulthood.

When school ended and he had no place to call home and no schoolmates' couches to crash on, Matthew was finally homeless.


Matthew, when younger, with a tiny friend. Images courtesy of Matthew Tejeda, used with permission.

A stroke of good luck paired with a tenacious drive to overcome his misfortune turned everything around.

According to Forbes magazine, a friend of Matthew's arranged an interview for him with a Starbucks manager, Debbie Dooknah. Debbie knew about Matthew's situation when she met him, and decided he was qualified and could do well if given a chance.

She trained him and kept his personal life between the two of them — she was the only one he worked with who knew he was sleeping in a shelter when he'd leave his work shift.

The room assignments at the shelter Matthew sought refuge in.

Matthew concentrating at work.

But it wasn't all smooth sailing for Matthew once he landed the job.


Matthew with his manager Debbie and a friend. She took him out to dinner for his birthday and took him shopping so he'd have something he could wear to a restaurant.

He had his work uniform stolen out of the laundry at the shelter, and he was unable to sleep at the shelter on the nights when it was loud.

He says a tenacious mindset is what helped him hang on.

"I just kept reminding myself that if I put one step after the other I could make it happen. My good friend Liz is an author of the NYTimes Best Seller 'Homeless to Harvard' and in one of her speeches she said 'What transforms a life? One empowered choice after the next over time.' I think that accurately described my thought process at the time. I knew what failure felt like and that absolutely wasn't an option."

Matthew also carried a key in his pocket every day. It was a talisman to remind him what he was striving toward — a home to call his own.

He eventually got his own apartment by saving his paychecks, along with a little help from a brilliant Starbucks program.

Starbucks partners (employees) who want to chip in to help other partners in need are able to do so through their "CUP Fund" (Caring Unites Partners). With that and his savings, Matthew was able to cover the deposit and first month's rent to move into his first home of his own.

The manager, Debbie, who took a chance on him, is now his best friend.

And now Matthew is working in real estate for NYC's renowned Corcoran group, but he still keeps shifts at Starbucks on the side because he loves it so much.

He plans to use his experiences, and what he learned from Debbie, to help others.

"In our hearts lies the key to change and growth, if we can unlock that we can help others accomplish amazing things. It is my dream to eventually give back and completely alter the lives of youth who have been cast aside, abandoned or written off.
Within their pain there are reservoirs of ambition and passion waiting to be tapped into and if you manage to get through you help not one but many more, as that person will likely go on to help others."


Leaders who empower others are exactly what the world needs more of.

The good you do for others can multiply in ways you'd never imagine.

This isn't just the story of one guy who caught a lucky break and overcame his lot in life. And no, not every person who finds themselves homeless will be so lucky or have the able body and mind to do what Matthew did, for a variety of reasons.

But it is a clear reminder to those in a position to be instrumental to others — in any way — that we can use our powers for so much good as long as we look out for those opportunities when they come.

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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

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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.

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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
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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.

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Culture