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Canada is adopting one of Finland's greatest ideas: baby boxes.

The first few months of parenthood can be hard. So Canada’s trying out “baby starter kits.”

Canada is adopting one of Finland's greatest ideas: baby boxes.

Remember those baby boxes Finland started giving out to parents of newborns for free?

They're boxes with basically everything you need to keep an infant alive, healthy, and happy: clothes, a towel, a quilt, diapers, bibs, a book, a toy. The kit even comes with a mattress, so the box itself can be used as the baby’s first crib.


Looks pretty comfy … do they come in queen size? Image by Milla Kontkanen.

Unsurprisingly, Finnish parents love the baby box.

Since its introduction in the late 1930s, the country has seen the infant mortality rate plummet, something experts partly attribute to the box. (National health care and a centralized hospital system played a role, too.) It’s one of those genius but simple ideas that can really improve and even save lives.

Now Canada is picking up on the trend too.

The University of Calgary is launching a study to see if new parents in Alberta could also benefit from these "baby starter kits."

The study is part of the University of Calgary’s Welcome to Parenthood program, which has previously offered parent coaching and parenthood packages, including a guidebook and a dry-erase board for parents to list the help they need.

An example of a baby box. Photo from Welcome to Parenthood.

Here’s how the study works: New moms will pick up the baby boxes from Parent Link Centers a couple months before their due date. While they’re there, they’ll also fill out a questionnaire and get connected with another parent mentor in their community. Researchers will follow up with the new parents after they give birth to see how they’re adjusting to life with a baby.

Karen Benzies, the lead researcher for the study, told the Calgary Herald that they hope the boxes and mentorship will help parents gain their footing during a time of transition. "You’re going to be successful, but every parent needs a little help," she said.

The period shortly after birth can feel lonely for new parents.

New babies require a lot of attention, and it can be overwhelming and isolating to suddenly be responsible for another human life. Particularly for moms struggling with postpartum depression, a support system (like the baby box) could be super valuable during this time.

Canada’s baby box isn’t just going to be a huge help to parents, either.

Researchers think that having better access to parenting resources will help the kids themselves in early childhood, too.

That’s something to cheer about.

Plus, the boxes could be coming to the U.S. soon, too.

They're such a good idea that a U.S.-based baby box mission is headed to Texas in the form of a pilot study, according to WFAA. And even though the U.S. doesn’t offer free baby boxes to most new parents just yet, you can also purchase your very own right here.

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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