An 8-year-old girl rescued from abusive parents wrote the sweetest note to her social worker heroes.

"I think that if you never helped me my life would still be awful and lonely. Because they might not help me, not feed me or they would hit me when I cried. But now I'm much better. I now have a safe happy environment."Trigger warning for discussion of child abuse.

When she was just 8 months old, Marie was admitted to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, bringing with her injuries that would affect the rest of her life.

She weighed just 14 pounds and had suffered 14 fractures. Additionally, Marie's spinal cord was injured, leaving her paraplegic.

Marie's mother and her boyfriend were arrested. She was placed in the care of social worker Michelle Surprenant, who would eventually adopt her.



Though she's unable to walk, Marie has enjoyed a happy and healthy life.

She's taken trips to Disney World, learned to swim, attended art camps and drama clubs, and done just ... well, kid stuff.

Now 9 years old, Marie wants to let the world know just how special the detectives and social workers who helped her are. At age 8, she decided to write a letter to the people who helped her so much as a small child.

The letter reads:

Dear social workers and detectives,

I want to thank you for making me happy by giving me a new warm and safe environment. Now I have a home that is nice, and I have three nice meals a day. This is Marie Rose Surprenant. When I was a baby I got hurt and you were on my case. When I was little I got hurt and I wasn't going to walk at all. I couldn't walk because my spinal cord was broken and couldn't be fixed. So they asked how I got hurt in the ER. But I lied and said that I fell out the bed. So then that's when you got involved and solved my case and not letting the bad guy hurting me or anyone else.

I think that if you never helped me my life would still be awful and lonely. Because they might not help me, not feed me or they would hit me when I cried. But now I'm much better. I now have a safe happy environment. I'm also around smart people.
Now my life is much better. But the only thing that drives me crazy is our pet dog is named Jo. She snores as loud as a vacuum and sounds like an old man. I also have two cats their names are Gypsy and Mr. Fluffy. Gypsy is grey all over and has green eyes. She likes to play with yarn mice, she likes cat scratchers, she is very curious and likes to watch what we are doing all the time.

And Mr. Fluffy is a black and white cat with green eyes too. He likes to sleep on his beach chair all day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. But he's active at night. I love pets but I love lizards. My favorite lizard is a bearded dragon. My class has a class pet that is a bearded dragon his name is Mr. Cuddles.

I wish that you keep doing what you do to make the world a better place and to make kids feel protected. I also wish that no matter how big or small the case is you will at least try and help the kids.

Love,
Marie











Michelle shares Marie's gratitude, writing in a blog post:

"Her future looks bright, and we know very well that none of this success would have been possible without the amazing team of social workers, detectives and medical staff in Atlanta. Thank you for being the stepping stone that this little, baby girl needed." — Michelle Surprenant

This is Marie's story, but it's also that of so many others.

According to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, roughly 1 in every 50 infants is the victim of child abuse each year. Additionally, they estimate that 1 in 10 children will be sexually abused by the time they reach their 18th birthday.

Social workers save lives, and though most won't get the credit they deserve, they keep working away to create a better world for those they care for.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture