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Meet Pearl and her awesome mom, Natalia.


They love ballet.

It just so happens that the New York City Ballet has an outreach program for kids.

The kids get to interact with real ballet dancers, and the program helps them build confidence in their dance skills.

But there was a complication. Pearl has cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture, and balance. It can also affect fine motor skills, gross motor skills, and oral motor functioning.

Pearl's mom was worried about what that would mean for her daughter in the class.

So she wrote the NYC Ballet a letter, requesting a private session.

"It would mean so much [to Pearl] to take part in a NYC Ballet workshop, so they too could become ballerinas."

"The worst thing they'll do is say they're not interested," she thought.

The NYC Ballet's response was a little better than she had imagined.

Not only did they set up four workshops for Pearl, they invited more children struggling with cerebral palsy to participate as well.

Then the NYC Ballet decided to write a letter too, hoping to get medical expertise on how to help the kids dance.

They sent an email to an expert in cerebral palsy, Dr. Joseph Dutkowsky at the Weinberg Family Cerebral Palsy Center at Columbia University.

"Would you be willing to come and help us set up some workshops for children with disabilities?" they asked.

His response was also better than they imagined.

At first, the professional dancers were nervous about how to behave around the kids.

A lot of kids with cerebral palsy struggle to move without braces, crutches, or other equipment. So the dancers asked Dr. Dutkowsky what to do with it during the lesson.

His answer was right to the point:

The decision to not use the braces made a huge difference to the kids and their families.

Juliet was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was 2. She's slightly wobbly when she walks. It was not lost on her mother, Joanne, just how big of a deal it was for Juliet to be free of her braces.

For Juliet, it was a truly liberating experience.


For the professional dancers, it was an eye-opening experience.


19 kids got to participate in the program.

All because one mom wrote a letter.

It turned out to be a wonderful experience for all.

So wonderful, in fact, that the New York City Ballet will be continuing the program for the foreseeable future.

Awesome indeed.

You can watch their full story here.

Brandon Conway sounds remarkably like Michael Jackson when he sings.

When Michael Jackson died 13 years ago, the pop music world lost a legend. However markedly mysterious and controversial his personal life was, his contributions to music will go down in history as some of the most influential of all time.

Part of what made him such a beloved singer was the uniqueness of his voice. From the time he was a young child singing lead for The Jackson 5, his high-pitched vocals stood out. Hearing him sing live was impressive, his pitch-perfect performances always entertaining.

No one could ever really be compared to MJ, or so we thought. Out of the blue, a guy showed up on TikTok recently with a casual performance that sounds so much like the King of Pop it's blowing people away.

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Joy

5 things that will make you smile this week

If you're looking for a little sunshine, we've got you covered.

Things to make you smile.

Are you looking for something to make you smile? Well, you've come to the right place. Starting off on a positive note can set the tone for the rest of the week. For those who enjoy our weekly 10 things that made you smile this week article, here's an extra dose coming at the start of each week. Now you can find some bright spots to look forward with each passing day!

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1989 video brings back strong memories for Gen Xers who came of age in the '80s.

It was the year we saw violence in Tiananmen Square and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. The year we got Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" and Michael Keaton in Tim Burton's "Batman." The year "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons" debuted on TV, with no clue as to how successful they would become. The year that gave us New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul while Madonna and Janet Jackson were enjoying their heyday.

The jeans were pegged, the shoulders were padded and the hair was feathered and huge. It was 1989—the peak of Gen X youth coming of age.

A viral video of a group of high school students sitting at their desks in 1989—undoubtedly filmed by some geeky kid in the AV club who probably went on to found an internet startup—has gone viral across social media, tapping straight into Gen X's memory banks. For those of us who were in high school at the time, it's like hopping into a time machine.

The show "Stranger Things" has given young folks of today a pretty good glimpse of that era, but if you want to see exactly what the late '80s looked like for real, here it is:

Oh so many mullets. And the Skid Row soundtrack is just the icing on this nostalgia cake. (Hair band power ballads were ubiquitous, kids.)

I swear I went to high school with every person in this video. Like, I couldn't have scripted a more perfect representation of my classmates (which is funny considering that this video came from Paramus High School in New Jersey and I went to high school on the opposite side of the country).

Comments have poured in on Reddit from both Gen Xers who lived through this era and those who have questions.

First, the confirmations:

"Can confirm. I was a freshman that year, and not only did everyone look exactly like this (Metallica shirt included), I also looked like this. 😱😅"

"I graduated in ‘89, and while I didn’t go to this school, I know every person in this room."

"It's like I can virtually smell the AquaNet and WhiteRain hairspray from here...."

"I remember every time you went to the bathroom you were hit with a wall of hairspray and when the wind blew you looked like you had wings."

Then the observations about how differently we responded to cameras back then.

"Also look how uncomfortable our generation was in front of the camera! I mean I still am! To see kids now immediately pose as soon as a phone is pointed at them is insanity to me 🤣"

"Born in 84 and growing up in the late 80’s and 90’s, it’s hard to explain to younger people that video cameras weren’t everywhere and you didn’t count on seeing yourself in what was being filmed. You just smiled and went on with your life."

Which, of course, led to some inevitable "ah the good old days" laments:

"Life was better before the Internet. There, I said it."

"Not a single cell phone to be seen. Oh the freedom."

"It's so nice to be reminded what life was like before cell phones absorbed and isolated social gatherings."

But perhaps the most common response was how old those teens looked.

"Why do they all look like they're in their 30's?"

"Everyone in this video is simultaneously 17 and 49 years old."

"Now we know why they always use 30 y/o actors in high school movies."

As some people pointed out, there is an explanation for why they look old to us. It has more to do with how we interpret the fashion than how old they actually look.

Ah, what a fun little trip down memory lane for those of us who lived it. (Let's just all agree to never bring back those hairstyles, though, k?)