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A teacher tells a story about a boy in her class. It has a beginning, a middle, and no end.

"This is a boy who is trying to learn how to carry the one while his life is in upheaval."

A teacher tells a story about a boy in her class. It has a beginning, a middle, and no end.

Anna teaches third grade.


She's here to tell a story about a boy in one of her classes.

He is Aboriginal, 8 years old, and the oldest of three children in a single-parent household. His mother just moved the family to get a fresh start. They live in public housing.

One day:

What's worse is that this story is not unique. She ends on the following note:

To be clear, this is just one story of one student in my class. I could tell you others of refugee families making a new home for themselves with a child who has nightmares every night of his father being shot in front of him, or of a student who was physically pulled away from the only parent she's ever known, or of a child living with her disabled grandmother and having to, at ten years old, do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping and maintenance, because this grandmother is the only one in the family who was able to nurture and love her.

I could tell you about a girl and her brother who chase the mice that live in their house back and forth from one bedroom to the other as a game. I could tell you about a little girl whose dad carefully butters one single piece of bread for her to take for lunch every day. There's more of them, too, and they're all just trying to learn, and it's too hard, because learning is about taking risks and trying your best, and it's about sometimes making mistakes, and when you're poor, when you're so poor that you're worried and anxious and insecure, learning to carry the one is almost impossible.

As troubling as these stories are, they beg the question: If they're not supposed to make us feel bad, what are we supposed to do now that we know? For starters, it should help put an end to all those calls for the poor to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." Second, it's important to support policies that address poverty in meaningful ways — ensuring a living wage, keeping welfare benefits up-to-date with inflation, and a lot more.

Awareness is only as good as the action it inspires.

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.