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After hearing how she spent her 9th birthday, it's no wonder she's being recognized globally.

Most kids are all about playing with their toys, but Neha Gupta gave hers away. You could say that decision paid off.

After hearing how she spent her 9th birthday, it's no wonder she's being recognized globally.
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Microsoft Office

Neha Gupta is pretty remarkable.

When she was young, her grandparents introduced a super-cool way to celebrate birthdays in their family.


"My grandparents, in India, had a tradition that if it was someone's birthday in the family, they would go to a local orphanage and celebrate their birthday there — get gifts and bring them to the kids."

So, when Neha turned 9, she decided to do something really brave that most kids would probably freak out about.

"It was when I was 9, that I felt that it was my responsibility to help these kids. I took all of my toys that I had, and I sold them. And I realized that, if I can raise so much money from one event, imagine the things that I could do if I kept going."

Her fearless decision to sell her toys sparked something bigger. Neha started Empower Orphans, her very own nonprofit that helps to empower orphans by providing them with education and resources to amp up their tech skills. And although she's young, she's confident of her mighty vision.

"This is our time to stand up and let our voices be heard. It is our time to be the igniters of change ...
I am a strong believer in the power of youth helping other youth. ... I want to grow it into an organization that supports the education of children around the world, and we need people's help for that. We want people to act as our ambassadors, spread the word, do their fundraisers, and implement projects in their own communities."

Neha's big dreams and bold actions have already brought in some impressive cash. Empower Orphans has raised $1.69 million and counting! She was also awarded the 2014 Children's Peace Prize for all of her fabulous work. Go, Neha!

To hear her story firsthand, check out the video below.

If you're inspired by Neha's story, visit the Empower Orphans website to learn more.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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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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Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

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It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

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