A self-proclaimed 'redneck' just ended the debate on gay marriage.
Each organization has gone above and beyond to make our world a better place.
Since 2009, the Classy Awards have celebrated nonprofits for their unique approaches to making our world a better place for everyone. Winners are given a platform to amplify their cause and showcase the positive impact of their programs.
This year, we are proud to announce that the Classy Awards have partnered with Upworthy, and we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the 2023 winners.
From championing gender equality, to massively reducing food waste, to providing trade-based skills training to the neurodivergent community, each organization has made an incredible contribution to the betterment of our world.
Collectively through their efforts, nearly 1.5 million people and animals were served across 34 countries worldwide last year alone. That’s a win in itself.
Check out the 11 winners for 2023 below:
In an effort to address the growing concern of food waste, hunger, and environmental sustainability, 412 Food Rescue uses an innovative app to match volunteers, aka Food Heroes, with other organizations that might have a surplus of perfectly good but unsellable food that would otherwise be wasted and redirect it to people who need it.
Food Heroes has redirected 137 million pounds of edible food from landfills to the people who need it most.
She made the cardinal offense of being 37 and daring to not dress like a grandma.
Once women reach a certain age, society does something weird. It starts sending messages that you're simply too old to dress as if you have a social life. In general, it seemed as if society had been moving away from those unrealistic expectations laid upon moms and women over the age of 35, but maybe not.
Jessica Buwick, a mom on TikTok, found out fairly quickly that people still have interesting ideas about how "old people" should dress when going out in public. The 37-year-old mom ordered a plethora of outfits to try on to wear for her son's graduation, prompted by her seeing other moms on social media dressing much more fancy for graduations than parents did when she graduated.
It was a silly, lighthearted video showing her trying on all of the outfits that did not make the cut for various reasons. One was too short and didn't zip. Another was ill-fitting and confusing. They were obvious catastrophes that just didn't work, so she made the misfortune into funny content. And people had a lot to say.
Many people laughed along, while others took the opportunity to take jabs at the mom's fashion choices.
One commenter decided to point her in the right direction by commenting, "Maybe YOU should have shopped in an age-appropriate section of the store so you don't look like a SKANK in your clothing, thereby humiliating your poor son."
Yikes, that was a bit harsh and sadly a common theme as multiple people pointed out how she was going to embarrass her son.
#graduation #graduationfail #dressfail #graduationoutfit #graduationoutfitideas
But instead of letting the haters get to her, she decided to follow up with a video of more "appropriate" outfits for an elderly mother to wear while attending her child's graduation.
"Apparently I triggered a whole demographic of y'all when I shared my dress options for my son's high school graduation. A lot of you were horrified with my choices," Buwick continued. "Apparently they were not appropriate for a high school graduation nor for someone of my age...37."
Clearly, the mom received the message and proved it by donning a floor-length gown with long sleeves to make sure minimal skin was showing. In another outfit that gave off Julie Andrews vibes, she burst into song to complete the look, though she nixed that dress because the sleeve was slightly sheer. The outfit she settled on at the end was clearly more the speed she thought the commenters were expecting.
Thank you for coming #graudation #graduationdresses #formaldresses
She took the comments in stride and made others laugh while doing so. Her son's graduation had already passed, and in a follow-up video she showed the outfit she decided to go with—a cute pair of dress shorts, a tank top and a brightly colored blazer. While I'm sure someone will disagree with that outfit choice as well, Buwick seems to have found a perfectly hilarious way to handle the negativity.
Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.
It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.
Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.
All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.
To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.
Gina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi
When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.
“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”
As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.
“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.
Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.
“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”
To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.
Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.
Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.
Nathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi
Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.
“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”
However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.
“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.
She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”
By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.
Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.
Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.
“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”
Helga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi
When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.
“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”
In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.
“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.
However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.
Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.
Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.
“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”
Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.
This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.
Best. Host. Ever.
Seeing the northern lights is a common bucket list adventure for many people. After all, it ticks a lot of boxes—being a dazzling light show, rich historical experience and scientific phenomenon all rolled into one. Plus there’s the uncertainty of it all, never quite knowing if you’ll witness a vivid streak of otherworldly colors dance across the sky…or simply see an oddly colored cloud. It’s nature’s slot machine, if you will.
Traveler and content creator Pency Lucero was willing to take that gamble. After thorough research, she stumbled upon an Airbnb in Rörbäck, Sweden with an actual picture of the northern lights shining above the cabin in the listing. With that kind of photo evidence, she felt good about her odds.
However, as soon as she landed, snow began falling so hard that the entire sky was “barely visible,” she told Upworthy. Martin, the Airbnb host, was nonetheless determined to do everything he could to ensure his guests got to see the spectacle, even offering to wake Lucero up in the middle of the night if he saw anything.
Then one night, the knock came.
In a video Lucero posted to TikTok, which now has over 12 million views, we hear Martin ushering her out to take a peek. Then we see Lucero’s face light up just before seeing the sky do the same.
“I thought it was a prank,” the onscreen text reads in the clip. “And then I see it….”
I’m on the verge of crying every time I watch this video I still cannot believe it. 📍 Rörbäck, Sweden
“I was mostly in awe of what this Earth is capable of,” Lucero recalled. “I never expected it to be THAT beautiful for the naked eye.” This is a hopeful sentiment against the widely accepted notion that the northern lights are often better looking in photos than they are in real life.
As Lucero asserted in a follow-up video, “Our video doesn’t do it justice at all…I would argue it’s even better for the naked eye.”
@penslucero Replying to @PatriotFamilyHomes ♬ Golden Hour: Piano Version - Andy Morris
Others were quick to back Lucero with anecdotes of their own experience.
“It’s definitely possible to see it like in the pics. I saw it this winter in Norway, there was bright green, purple and so much movement.”
“They’re so much better in person, the way they dance and move around is insane and beautiful.”
Of course, if you ask Martin, who everyone agreed was the best host ever, seeing guest reactions of pure wonder and joy is even “better than the lights themselves.” But still, he can’t deny that there’s a breathtaking magic to it all. He shared with Upworthy that “Sometimes it feels like it will pull you up in the sky like you are in the middle of it. I wish everyone would have the chance to witness it.”
A photo from Martin's Airbnb listing
When it comes to tips for actually seeing the northern lights, Martin admits it still mostly comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Luckily, his Airbnb listing can help with that.
Nature has a great way of reminding us that beyond the distractions and distresses of modern life, there is sublime beauty waiting for the chance to capture our hearts.
This article originally appeared on 03.27.23
They're just sitting there while my kids sleep.
When it comes to babysitting, you can hit the jackpot with someone who not only enjoys hanging out with your kiddos but also cleans out of boredom. The only babysitter I've had that experience with is my mom, but I do hear they do exist. While walking into a spotless house after a much-needed night out would be amazing, it's not really part of a standard babysitting package.
Typically, whoever babysits for you is solely there to focus on the well-being of your children. They feed them snacks, play games with them, and follow their bedtime routine to the letter. Then they hang out on your couch reminding Netflix that they're still watching and wait for you to return. Sure, they clean up dishes from dinner and whatever toys were pulled out during their time with your kids, but they don't typically clean your house.
But in a private parenting group I belong to, a long debate was started when a mom asked a group of 260k of her closest friends if it would be appropriate for a parent to ask a babysitter to clean their home.
The anonymous mom explained that her college-aged daughter had recently started babysitting for a family, but on the second day, her duties suddenly changed. There was a list of chores waiting for the babysitter that included cleaning the family's dishes and cleaning up messes that were there before the sitter arrived.
This revelation set off a firestorm of comments with many agreeing that anything outside of cleaning up after the children while they're in your care is a separate job. But not everyone was on the same page and it was clear that this was a topic that was going to cause some intense debate. Since summer months are here, there's no wonder this topic is coming up and views are split.
Should babysitters be expected to clean, one mom asks.Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash
Scary Mommy recently published an article posing a similar question, only this was coming from a parent who wanted her babysitter to clean while her children slept. Elizabeth Narins explains that she and her husband are stretched thin and have an active toddler she jokingly calls a "toy tornado."
"Given the amount of housework that clearly needs to be done, paying someone to sit on our toy-covered couch during naps or after bedtime just seems... inefficient," Narins wrote before posing the question. "Is it completely out of line for me to ask her to declutter when my kids are in bed?"
Whether it's the expert interviewed for the Scary Mommy article or the parents in the private group, there does seem to be one common theme among the discourse: Any additional chores should be clarified in the original job description, and if it wasn't, then it should be directly brought up in a conversation with the babysitter.
Many parents in the comments believed that a housekeeper should be hired in addition to the babysitter, while others thought the babysitter should be offered more money for the additional work. But there were several people who thought it was just common courtesy for a babysitter to clean the house while the kids were asleep.
It may seem that you're paying a babysitter to do nothing while your children sleep, but you're paying them to be there in the event of an emergency. No matter which side of the debate you're on, it seems proper communication about expectations will save everyone a headache in the future.
Do you think cleaning should be expected from a babysitter?
If you've got the space, why not rent it out?
With the cost of living skyrocketing, people are looking for clever ways to make an additional buck. The good news is there are many ways to make extra money, whether driving for Lyft, freelancing on Fiverr, babysitting through Care.com, running errands with Task Rabbit or renting your pool out with Swimply.
Joe Gorham, 54, of Brighton, England, told The Mirror that renting out the three parking spaces in front of his home was a low-key way to rake in some passive income with little effort.
He said that renting out the spaces brings in an additional £8,000 ($10,000) annually. The money comes in extra handy because he is a full-time caregiver for his partner.
Joe came up with the idea after paying around £200 ($250) per week to park his car in Southampton when he and his partner went out on cruises. His friend told him about an app called YourParkingSpace, which saved him money when he was out at sea. So, he figured, why not rent out the spaces in front of his house?
'I make an extra £8,000 each year by renting out my driveway - how you can too'https://t.co/iEzyETM8i0pic.twitter.com/rV8G5hC3y8— Mirror Money Saving (@MirrorMoney) June 9, 2023
"I started doing it because we had the spaces spare, and we also had some issues with the house that needed to be sorted, we had to get a new roof because of a leak, and we also had to get the windows and the garage doors sorted, too,” he told The Mirror.
"It was initially for this but with all the price hikes going on, it's really helped us keep going,” he added.
One reason why Gorham has been so successful is that he lives in an area where parking is prohibitively expensive for tourists and people who work at the local hospital. He lives near the Brighton Seafront, a popular tourist destination known for its pier, railway, aquarium and fishing.
But he doesn’t do it just for the money; he posts his spots because he believes it’s good for the local community and prevents people from being ripped off.
“I don’t do it specifically for an income–I do it because I think that the council in Brighton just charges so much money for parking, and it doesn’t encourage people to come and spend in the city,” he said according to MSN.
"If you parked on Brighton Seafront, you are only allowed to park for 11 hours, and that will cost you £33 ($42); if you go to the NCP car park it will cost you £48 ($60) for the day,” he said.
Gorham charges people an affordable £12.50 to park in a spot for the day ($15.75), and they can also use the car charger that cost him £350. He says the number of people using his charger is rising as more people adopt electric vehicles.
Renting out your parking space could bring in some easy extra money, especially if you live near a tourist destination, hospital, university or sports stadium. Also, those who live in heavily populated areas with fewer parking spaces or stringent parking restrictions can also make some good money, too.
In the UK, Gorham uses the YourParkingSpace app to rent out his space, for those of you who live in the United States, Spacer,Pavemint, and ParkStash offer similar services.
Her "invisible labor" quickly became impossible to ignore.
“Invisible work,” aka “invisible labor,” was a term coined in 1987 by socialist Arlene Kaplan Daniels to describe unseen, unacknowledged and unpaid work most often performed by women—though in an academic sense, it pertains to all marginalized groups.
The unpaid aspect, Daniels noted, has been a particularly important factor, since in Western society we have come to believe that it isn’t work unless there’s monetary pay involved. This philosophy has a two fold effect. One, even things that are enjoyable and easy are considered work if you receive an income from them. And two, domestic duties like childcare and house cleaning, no matter how arduous they are, are not recognized as work simply because they don’t result in a paycheck.
It’s easy to see how this widely accepted concept falls short of reality, especially for women performing said domestic duties with little to no recompense. What’s more, many women now have to balance out these tasks, which require time and effort, with a “real” job just to make ends meet.That’s why more and more women are making their invisible labor impossible to ignore, be it in lighthearted or more serious ways.
Lindsay Donnelly (@lindsaydonnelly2), chose the former approach. In a video clip posted to her TikTok, Donnelly shared how her husband made a comment that she “did nothing around the house.”
Donnelly’s response? Why, to actually do nothing, of course. For two days, she picked up nary a dish or garment…all before leaving on a girls' trip.
The results speak for themselves:
@lindsaydonnelly2 Then I left town for a girls trip… #marriagehumor♬ Karma (feat. Ice Spice) - Taylor Swift
Donnelly’s video ended up going viral with 14.5 million views. And comments generally fell into one of two categories—either “Yes, queen!" or “Get a divorce,” more or less. No matter the reaction, women across the board could relate in one way or another to Donnelly’s experience.
Donnelly later posted a follow-up video with her husband, giving him an opportunity to “redeem” himself with an apology. The tone is clearly playful, as Donnelly can’t stop giggling, and ends with her saying it was a “poo poo butt move” (there was a kid present after all) and that he is still a good husband.
@lindsaydonnelly2 Replying to @kris ♬ original sound - Lindsay D
Viewers weren’t convinced that the situation was benign, however, and some even viewed Donnelly’s laughter as a nervous reaction. Because the truth is, where Donnelly’s interaction with her husband might just be a slice of marriage humor, for many, it’s a stark reality. So many women are fed up with household labor not being equal that even the most trivial of examples can be triggering.
Donnelly even went so far as to post another follow-up video listing all the things that her husband did do around the house, like cooking all her vegetarian meals “just the way I like them,” cleaning more on a daily basis, paying the bills, etc. That, however, was mostly perceived as her partner doing the “bare minimum” and Donnelly performing “damage control.”
guys im screwed…♬ This Is a Work of Art (Sketchy)
We only get minute snippets of people’s lives through social media, so it’s impossible to truly quantify the actual health of Donnelly’s relationship—plus, there are professionals for that sort of thing. But one thing is clear: just because domestic chores aren’t considered labor in the eyes of society, their importance becomes evident once they disappear. People are ready for their efforts to be compensated. If not with monetary gain, with basic respect.
Just David Bowie being a normal, everyday dad.
Rock icon David Bowie and supermodel Iman’s daughter, Alexandria “Lexi” Zahra Jones, 22, shared an adorable clip on Instagram of herself dancing with her father as a young girl while listening to “Sing a Song of Sixpence.” The clip is beautiful to behold because Bowie clearly loves spending time with his daughter and has a big smile while singing along to the tune with his instantly-recognizable voice.
He also plays a classic “I got your nose” game with his daughter, just like every other dad would.
Bowie passed away in 2016 from liver cancer when Alexandria was just 15 years old.
“My forever sunshine," Jones captioned the video. “Never fell for that ‘I got your nose’ shiet,” she added.
“My goodness, this is priceless—he’s singing and playing to his best audience, you. You have his infectious smile and laughter. Thank you for this," brendamcnallytwistik wrote in the comments.
The video shows Bowie as a normal, down-to-earth guy. The image of him in Carhartt pants with white middle-aged-guy sneakers runs counter to his multiple public personas. Throughout his career, he embraced some other-worldly personas such as Ziggy Stardust, the Thin White Duke and the Blind Prophet. Here, he's just Dad.
According to people close to him, Bowie was a very nice, humble and funny guy in real life.
“Sometimes, because he was my friend, I forgot that he was David Bowie,” comedian Ricky Gervais told The Telegraph. “He was David Jones, a normal bloke. I think people assume he sits around in a silver suit with orange hair. But he’s just a guy who was brilliant at what he did and never stopped creating. He never let me down.”
People did a piece on Bowie’s neighbors after he died, and they shared Gervais' thoughts. “He was a very reserved person, very kind in the eyes,” Danilo Durante, who owns local Italian café Bottega Falai, told People. “He would sit here and write, scribbling away in a little notebook. Considering how he was singing and acting on stage — a rockstar, you know — he was a normal guy.”
“He was startlingly nice,” Allison Glasgow, who worked at his local bookstore, added. “He just looked like this friendly Irish guy. I was always struck by how completely unassuming [he was]. He would walk into the space, and you wouldn’t know it was him until he opened his mouth.”
Bowie and Iman worked hard to keep Alexandria out of the public eye for most of her life. But now, in her early 20s, she’s put herself out there publicly through Instagram. She has a personal account and one where she shares her artwork.
"Art has always been a rock in my life for as long as I remember," she wrote on her Instagram page. "As a kid, I was always doodling and painting in art class and during my free time. It wasn't until my mid-teens that I became serious and started finding and refining my style. That's when I developed a deeper passion and I knew I wanted to create and share my pieces with the intent to encourage others to create their own."