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A new company combines action figures with dolls, and boys love them.

A new toy company can be a game-changer for young boys.

A new company combines action figures with dolls, and boys love them.

When mom and psychotherapist Laurel Wider heard her young son say boys aren't supposed to cry, she knew she had to do something.

Laurel Wider believes we need to flip the script on how we talk to boys. Photo from Laurel, used with permission.


It's no secret that the way we use our emotions to empathize, solve problems, and relate to others is extremely important in terms of living a happy and successful life.

Our daughters have received that message for generations, but what about our sons? How can we teach boys to empathize, solve problems, and relate to others in a healthy way while they're young?

Wider thought we should start with the things they spend the most time with: toys. She wondered why toys that encourage friendship and empathy are usually marketed to girls.

"The lack of dolls for boys sends the message to our sons that this kind of play isn't for them," Wider said.

So Wider created a company to smash stereotypes about boys and dolls. And people are loving it.

Who wouldn't love to have a dinosaur explorer as a buddy? All photos are from Wonder Crew and used with permission.

Enter Wonder Crew, a new line of dolls inspired by boys. The premise is simple: Each 15-inch soft-bodied doll, known as a Crewmate, combines the adventure of an action figure with the emotional connection of a stuffed animal.

When playing with Crewmates, the goal is to have boys realize that the dolls are just like them instead of idolizing action figures for superhuman strength and other unattainable abilities. A successful Kickstarter campaign proved the idea had merit.

"Kickstarter not only funded our first production, but it's proven that there is public interest," Wider said. "We're thrilled to get the opportunity to make a difference."

Parents can purchase a Crewmate and various interchangeable packs for different adventures. The cool part? Each pack includes gear that a child can wear to be a part of the action.

"That helps form the teamwork vibe and brings kids further into the imaginative play experience," Wider said.

Transform from a superhero to a chef just like that.

This is a cool concept, and all — but will boys really want to play with dolls? Is society ready for this?

We just might be.

Recently, a Super Bowl commercial featuring grown, muscular men who violently run into other on a football field for a living, used their hands to style the hair of their young daughters.

The response to the ad was overwhelmingly positive. Why? Because people love seeing men with a sensitive side.

In order to grow into a man with a sensitive side, it helps if our boys start by embracing theirs at a young age.


Quality time between a boy and a doll may not be a bad thing.

"Boys have feelings, and it's time for their toys to catch up," Wider said. "Why wouldn't a boy want a friend or little one to take care of, nurture, adventure out with?"

Having boys who learn to embrace their emotions properly is serious business — especially since a recent study found that over 80% of men were uncomfortable sharing their emotions and problems with others. Surely it's not a coincidence that 3 out of 4 suicides are committed by men. It's hard to seek help if you're not willing to talk about it.

And if you think this is another toy company that lacks diversity, think again.

An African-American Crewmate named Theo is in production this year, and there are female Crewmates on the horizon as well. Wider and her team want to ensure every child feels represented.

Girls can join in on the fun too.

Girls dig Wonder Crew as well.

But to start, she wants to focus on boys.

"Let's give boys the option to create a play experience that resonates," Wider said. "Human connection is not gender-specific."

A group of very happy boys.

From the looks of it, Wonder Crew is delivering on that message.
Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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I remember being baffled that so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Racist jokes are one of the more frustrating manifestations of racism. Jokes in general are meant to be a shared experience, a connection over a mutual sense of humor, a rush of feel-good chemicals that bond us to those around us through laughter.

So when you mix jokes with racism, the result is that racism becomes something light and fun, as opposed to the horrendous bane that it really is.

The harm done with racist humor isn't just the emotional hurt they can cause. When a group of white people shares jokes at the expense of a marginalized or oppressed racial group, the power of white supremacy is actually reinforced—not only because of the "punching down" nature of such humor, but because of the group dynamics that work in favor of maintaining the status quo.

British author and motivational speaker Paul Scanlon shared a story about interrupting a racist joke at a table of white people at an event in the U.S, and the lessons he drew from it illustrate this idea beautifully. Watch:

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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