+
True
Disabled American Veterans

When U.S. Marine Sam Johnson was on patrol in Iraq, he and his team came across a pressure plate IED.

It hit the front of his vehicle.

Fortunately, everyone survived the traumatic experience. Sam sustained some injuries to his knees, but after a number of surgeries, he was able to recover physically. "I feel good," he said. "Now I can walk downstairs without too much pain."


But as he transitioned out of the military, the next big hurdle was finding a new job — one that he would find as fulfilling as his last.

"I knew I wanted to have a great job," he said, so he turned to DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a nonprofit charity with the mission of providing a lifetime of support for disabled veterans who have made sacrifices for their country. They were holding a job fair in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Often what can be most terrifying for vets is what comes after their service.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, May 24, 2017

DAV was founded after World War I, a war in which more than 4.7 million Americans served.

At the time, the country wasn’t prepared to deal with the enormous scale of so many newly returned veterans, and it certainly wasn’t prepared to help the 204,000 vets who had been wounded or injured during this brutal conflict.

A wounded American soldier in Neuilly, France, during or shortly after World War I. Image via Library of Congress.

These men needed jobs, access to medical care, and other forms of support, and there was no single government agency like today’s Department of Veterans Affairs.

So groups of veterans with disabilities started gathering together all across the country to help fill that void, raise money for those who needed it, and create jobs for other veterans. Slowly a new organization began to take shape: the Disabled American Veterans of the World War. In September 1920, the organization held its first national caucus, attended by 250 disabled veterans. From there, the organization kept growing.

The attendees of the second national DAV convention. Image via DAV, used with permission.

Of course, a lot has changed over the last century since the DAV was founded. But the organization has never wavered from its core mission: helping veterans and their families get access to the resources and tools they need as they transition back to civilian life.

Today, DAV has more than 1,300 chapters and 1.3 million members across the United States.

Image via Upworthy/DAV.

Every year, they help 1 million veterans — such as Sam — with everything from health care and benefits to rides to medical appointments and other issues as they arise.

They also represent the interests of veterans on Capitol Hill, engage with the public, and, of course, hold job fairs like the one Sam attended in Charlotte where he landed his current job —  a career he is very proud of.

He said, "It gave me the opportunity to interview with these companies and land a job making this world a better place."

Image via Upworthy/DAV.

via FIRST

FIRST students compete in a robotics challenge.

True

Societies all over the world face an ever-growing list of complex issues that require informed solutions. Whether it’s addressing infectious diseases, the effects of climate change, supply chain issues or resource scarcity, the world has an immediate need for problem-solvers with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

Here in the United States, we’re experiencing a shortage of much-needed STEM workers, and forward-thinking organizations are stepping up to tap into America’s youth to fill the void. As the leading youth-serving nonprofit advancing STEM education, FIRST is an important player in this arena, and its mission is to inspire young people aged 4 to 18 to become technology leaders and innovators capable of addressing the world’s pressing needs.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Something joyful for everyone.

From sleepy pups to smooth skate moves, there's plenty of reasons to smile.

When the internet is full of dreary headlines, it’s even more important to balance it all out with things that spark joy.

Whether it comes from cute kids and animals, amazing art or wholesome acts of kindness, things that make us smile help remind our hearts that the world is indeed a big place, containing both the bad and the good. Sometimes it might take a little extra scouring to find what makes us smile, but Upworthy is here to make the search a little bit easier.

Without further ado, let’s get uplifted:

Keep ReadingShow less

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

Keep ReadingShow less