A girl's love of painting fingernails sparked a global movement against child abuse.

Elliot Costello met Thea in 2013 after she'd been rescued from two years of physical and sexual abuse in a Cambodian orphanage.

Thea ended up there after her father, the family's sole breadwinner, died. Losing her father wasn't just an emotional loss for the family — it was a financial one, too. His death meant that Thea's mother could no longer provide for Thea in the way she deserved.

When Elliot met Thea at Hagar International, a safe space for women and children who've survived abuse and exploitation, the language barrier meant they didn't say much to each other, but her story changed his life no less.


"What really should have been a safe passage was anything but,” Costello said of Thea's experiences in the orphanage. “It struck me."

Elliot Costello, CEO of YGAP. GIF via Polished Man project.

Unable to communicate with each other, the two ended up playing games instead.

At one point, Thea used a marker to color all over Costello's hands and fingernails. The lighthearted fun ended up sparking the idea for a global movement.

That's why actor Chris Hemsworth decided to paint one fingernail on Oct. 9, 2016 — to help give a voice to kids like Thea around the world.

Hemsworth is a proud supporter of the Polished Man project — an initiative launched by Costello, the CEO of YGAP, to end violence against children after the social entrepreneur's eye-opening experience with Thea in Cambodia.

"Being a [Polished Man] isn't just about remembering to buy flowers, how many rounds you shout, or how much you lift," Hemsworth wrote in the caption. "It's about saying no to violence against children."

Hemsworth, the most notable face to champion the cause, has elevated the campaign on a global scale.

The premise of Polished Man is pretty simple.

Guys are encouraged to sign up to get a profile on Polished Man's website, paint a fingernail that acts as a conversation starter, then direct supporters to their page to learn more and donate to the cause.

Funds raised for the campaign go toward programs run by various groups, like World Vision Australia and Hagar International, that help kids with trauma relief and prevent abuse for other young ones living at risk.

The campaign, which runs through October, is resonating with men everywhere: As of Oct. 10, the campaign had raised over $435,000.

According to the World Health Organization, an alarming 25% of all adults report being physically abused as a child. What's more, 1 in 13 men and 1 in 5 women say they were sexually abused as a kid. These are issues that silently affect far too many of us.

The campaign is targeting men because men are overwhelmingly responsible for sexual and physical violence against minors.

As the campaign notes, about 90% of all abusers of children around the world are men. So while women are certainly encouraged to speak up and donate to the Polished Man project, the initiative's pretty clear: Men, it's largely on us to prevent this atrocity from happening.

Hemsworth wants all of us — including some of his fellow A-listers — to step up to the plate for kids at home and around the globe.

In his Instagram post, Hemsworth asks his brother, actor Liam Hemsworth, along with Zac Efron, to join the campaign by also painting their fingernails. (The ball's in your court, guys).

But even if you don't have millions of Instagram followers, remember that your voice can make a difference ... one man-i-cure at a time.

Learn more about becoming a Polished Man and the realities of worldwide child abuse on the project's website.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.