A nonprofit and a bank are helping girls take over the tech world
Courtesy of Capital One
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Capital One

Eighth grader Ailyn Moreno wants to save the planet, but she wasn't sure how she'd go about it until recently.

As a student at the Dallas Environmental Academy in Texas, Moreno knew she was interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), specifically science and engineering, but there are so many career choices that exist within these broad categories. She knew she wanted to hone in on her passion, but wasn't exactly sure how to apply her academic learning to the real world.

Then one of her teachers told her about Girls Inc., a nonprofit that empowers girls ages six to 18 to value themselves, take risks, and discover and develop their inherent strengths. Through long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and research-based programming, girls become equipped to navigate gender, economic, and social barriers, and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

Moreno was connected to the Eureka! STEM program at Girls Inc. of Dallas, which offers an intensive, five-year program to build a girls' confidence and skills through hands-on opportunities in STEM. She thought it "would open so many doors," so she decided to join.


From the moment she began the summer program, Moreno felt like she was seeing how careers in STEM, like doctors and software engineers, function in the real world. This helped her get a better sense of what areas she might want to pursue down the road.

During the first week, they focused on nursing and occupational therapy. "At every point of the day, we were always doing something fun and interesting," says Moreno. "We practiced giving shots to a football, pretending it was a real human being."

The Eureka! STEM program also gave Moreno the opportunity to participate in Capital One Coders. Through this program, volunteers work one-on-one with the girls, helping them explore coding and computer design technology, and build their own apps. The girls receive hands-on experience with app-building tools using algorithms and get the opportunity to ask the Capital One mentors questions about future career plans. "The mentors were really nice," says Moreno. "They guided us through the whole process of programming and controlling the apps [we made]."

Courtesy of Capital One

Capital One Coders is part of Capital One's Future Edge initiative, which helps more Americans acquire the skills and resources they need to succeed in a technologically-driven economy.

Dallas isn't the only place where Capital One offers a Mentor Day like this with Girls Inc. Capital One Café locations in San Francisco have worked with Girls Inc. on the island of Alameda in the San Francisco Bay area since 2018. After two successful financial literacy workshops with the girls, they decided to bring professionals from STEM-related fields within Capital One to a Mentor Day.

Denise Evans, a Capital One Café Ambassador in San Francisco who helps oversee the partnership with Girls Inc., says she loves helping people gain the tools they need to be successful. Expanding Capital One's reach into a mentorship program was a huge step in that direction.

"I'm always trying to find ways to empower young girls," says Evans. "I feel like [they're] our future."

The idea was to inspire these girls to look outside the box for career possibilities. For example, Evans says many of them didn't realize science and engineering careers existed at Capital One. Others, like Moreno, knew they liked STEM, but had no idea how that interest could turn into a career or what fields were available to them.

Throughout the partnership program with Girls Inc., Evans also noticed how important it was for the girls to have women mentors who have been professionally successful. "To see another female in that role helps them see that there are possibilities that they can achieve, too," she says.

"If we do get more women in STEM, that means [more] equality gender-wise, so that women are offered the same opportunities that men have," says Moreno.

At the end of the partnership program, there's a showcase day where students speak about their experiences, share their projects and apps they made with their families and friends, and even compete for awards. After the festivities, each girl receives a certificate for all they've accomplished.

But Evans says they leave with much more than that. She feels many walk away with a sense of, "Oh I can do this!" meaning they can achieve whatever career dreams they may have. It's why she's pushing for the Capital One Coders program to work with more nonprofits, offer job shadowing experiences for young people, and ultimately open more doors that might've been previously closed to them.

"If you have those doors and the doors are open, then that's going to lead them in the right direction," says Evans.

The program certainly did just that for Moreno, who now has clarity of what she wants to be when she grows up. "I want to become an environmental engineer and help find more ways to save our planet," she says.

To learn more about Capital One's community efforts, go to www.capitalone.com/about.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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