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At the end, the camera zooms out and you see what these kids painted. Incredible.

It's pretty amazing what happens when people from one of the toughest neighborhoods in New York put aside their differences and work together using art.

At the end, the camera zooms out and you see what these kids painted. Incredible.

Brownsville is commonly referred to as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in New York.

Yes, it may have a past riddled with violence, crime, and addiction, but community leaders are garnering the support of local teens and young people — who have their own storied pasts — and giving them the opportunity to change the tide of their future.

Not all housing projects have to look the same.

This relatively small neighborhood has the highest concentration of housing projects in all of New York City. It's a pretty common stigma for people to immediately associate projects with ugly brown buildings and a generally ominous facade. But if you were to head down to Pitkin Avenue today, you'd see that veil of doom has been lifted.


Who is leading the charge to transform the neighborhood?

The New York City Department of Probation, Groundswell New York, and the Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District have been working together to inspire a community-driven neighborhood revitalization. Wow, that's a mouthful. And they have been able to do this because of a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Basically, Groundswell has brought in professional artists to collaborate with young adults on probation, and together they have painted massive murals all over the neighborhood buildings.

The results have not only beautified the neighborhood, they have changed the lives of the 90 young adults who signed up to work on the project.


It's about more than just painting a wall.

Creating these enormous works of art not only takes time and dedication, but it teaches important lessons. Lessons that haven't necessarily been missing from their lives, but ones that maybe have never resonated in an attainable way.

Through this program, these so-called "hardest to reach community members" have become leaders.

They have learned the importance and effectiveness of teamwork and have a strong sense of pride in the role they have played in revitalizing their neighborhood. Those skills will be invaluable as they continue to grow their careers and, more importantly, will play a major role in how they choose to interact with family, friends, and neighbors.

After you watch this video and see the response from the participants and from neighbors who have lived in Brownsville for generations, share it! Because who's to say you can't make this happen in your community. I'd like to think I've been to enough places to know that every community has room for improvement, so why not use art as the catalyst for change?

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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