Actual Holocaust survivors have a hopeful message about America's new president-elect.

The other night as the votes rolled in, I started to get really upset my parents were seeing what was happening.

It sounds weird, but those were my first thoughts. And they’ve been sticking with me. It’s partly my own damaged psyche, but I feel ashamed this happened.

My dad survived the Holocaust, lost his entire family, fought with the partisans, and is a full-fledged hero. My mom survived Kristallnacht 78 years ago. She escaped to a children’s home in France and eventually made her way to America, where she’s been working to help educate people and end prejudice against all types of people for her entire adult life.


They endured the absolute worst life could offer. They saw the worst in their fellow citizens right down to their next-door neighbors. Imagine bad — it was worse.

But somehow, they’re not angry people. They’re not hateful.

They are good, smart, deeply aware of international issues, and news junkies. They’ve never looked away from the world, no matter how bleak the view.

After all they’ve encountered, it pained me that they were home watching the same results as I was. I thought maybe their experiences could help put this election into perspective —  and maybe even make me feel a little better.

I called my dad, who's seen it all. He’s experienced loss; he crawled on his hands and knees from his town to the Polish forest where he survived alone for months; he fought back; he came to America with nothing; he made himself into a remarkably successful real estate developer and philanthropist.

After we shared our common disbelief at the choice Americans made, he told me he didn't understand how people could have voted for Trump.

I called my mom.

Her message was clear: “Yes, it’s a bummer, but the real message here is that we all need to become activists. Today.”

She thought back to her experiences as a child. “You know, maybe if we had organized and fought back against Hitler’s rise right from the beginning, we could have prevented what happened. We could have made it more difficult for him to do what he did if we hadn’t waited and just assumed that ‘this too shall pass.’”

I’m not arguing that Trump is Hitler. He’s not. I hate the constant comparisons and feel they are counterproductive. Trump deserves a chance to lead. But he can do a lot of damage to progressive values and important democratic institutions in a short time.

We can look forward to 2018 and 2020, but in the meantime, we should all become activists and make it as difficult as possible for him to enact policies counter to our values.

If we don’t, this too shall not pass.

At the end of the conversation, my mom said, “Sorry, I don’t think I did a very good job of cheering you up.”

Pretty amazing, right? She thought it was her job to cheer me up.

Don’t underestimate the resilience of good people. Don’t underestimate your own power to make things better.

And don’t forget to take my mom’s advice. She’s almost always right. It runs in the family.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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