A homeless man says he got 100s of job offers when his story went viral. That's a problem.

On July 27, a tweet about a homeless man looking for work went viral.

David Casarez, a web developer and Texas A&M graduate, was looking for work in the Bay Area, where he'd moved to achieve his dream of working in Silicon Valley. Eventually, Casarez had to move into his car because he couldn't afford housing — then it was repossessed. Now he sleeps on park benches.

He took to a crosswalk with a sign and hundreds of copies of his resume. Someone passing by took one and posted it to Twitter.


The tweet was shared over 100,000 times. Casarez told The New York Post that he's since had hundreds of job offers from companies like Google and Pandora. And while he was celebrated far and wide for his grit, the reality of Casarez's situation is far from a fairytale: "tonight, I'll be back on my bench in Rengstorff Park," he said.

On the surface, this story is one of triumph, but it exposes a huge problem in America.

When we read stories like this, we want to feel good about the fact that people help other people (they do!) and that those who are struggling get the support they need (that sometimes happens too!). But there's a problem with that — and it's the fact that support like this isn't built into our communities. And that trend is troubling, especially when so many people need help.

Homelessness is a huge problem. And it won't be solved by virality.

According to the latest statistics, more than half a million people are homeless in the U.S. on any given night. And prevalent myths about homelessness — that it's caused by laziness and not systemic issues, that homeless people just aren't trying hard enough to succeed, or that a job guarantees that one will have a place to live, to name a few — don't help the situation at all.

In order to end homelessness, we must support and call for programs that both create housing and make people feel like they're part of the community. We must take a closer look at programs that offer citizens a universal basic income, comprehensive and accessible health care, and other social safety nets. We must check our own biases about homelessness.

And we must vote to usher in policies that make it easier for all people to have safe and affordable housing — so that in the future no one has to go viral in order to just survive.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.