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A kid who barely communicated with anyone leads his school to sports victory.

Being part of a team helped this middle-school student thrive in a big way.

A kid who barely communicated with anyone leads his school to sports victory.
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Lots of parents get emotional when they see their kids playing sports. This mom is no different. But her son's story is.

As reported by Fox 46 Charlotte, just a few months ago, Tequila Coulter was the only one who her 13-year-old son JaQuise would fully communicate with.



"Quise," as he's affectionately called, has autism. And despite being a good student, a trumpet player in the band, and an usher at church, he was very shy and quiet.

So when he decided to try out for the competitive Knights basketball team at Charlotte, North Carolina's Grier Middle School, his mom was all for it.

"Coach Hunter made sure that he tried out. He did not just get put on the team because of his special needs. He actually tried out and worked hard, and for that I'm so proud of him."
— Tequila Coulter

Yes, Quise made the team. And that was just the beginning.

With the support of his family, teammates, and head coach Marquise Hunter, Quise quickly gained confidence and became an integral part of the team.

"As the season progressed, he definitely started to feel his self, like he definitely started to, you know, get some swagger to him."
— Marquise Hunter, Knights head coach

Here are Quise and his teammates dancing up a storm to get pumped up for the game:

It was that kind of teamwork, sportsmanship, and camaraderie that led them to the middle-school championship for the the third year in a row.

The once quiet, shy seventh-grader helped lead his team to victory.

Quise isn't just a victor on the basketball court. He's a winner all around. And his mom couldn't be prouder. She says confidently: "Just because he has a disability doesn't mean that he can't do things that he wants to do. He's a normal child, has normal dreams, and he's gonna do it."

To see JaQuise in action during the Knight's final game, check this out:

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.

Amazon

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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In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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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.