The inspiring way this Grammy and Oscar winner is working to transform education.
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XQ

Common knows a thing or two about wrestling with tough subjects.  

In his 25-plus years as a Grammy- and Oscar-winning rapper, actor, advocate, and activist, the Chicago native has gone up against racial injustice, social inequality, and poverty with his powerful words and performances.  

But recently, he has taken an active role in another tough battle: education reform.


All photos courtesy of XQ.

In 2006, he started the Common Ground Foundation, a nonprofit that, as he puts it, isn't trying to "preach" to kids, but rather inspire them to lift themselves up.

"I always believed that if we started with the youth then we would be planting the seeds for our future to blossom," says Common in his organization's mission statement. "Give the children a sense of hope, self-esteem, and love that will better the world."

Common's idea for improving education revolves around one simple concept: Education has to evolve.

"I think education has to evolve when society evolves," Common says. "It's like a constant evolution of what the youth may need and what they're attentive to ... and finding out those things and letting that curriculum be something that's progressive."

"I still think about the periodic charts in science that I can still recite," Common says, remembering a science teacher from his youth who made his students rattle off the elements of the periodic table in a rhythmic pattern. He used an engaging and youthful form of communication to teach a lesson that stuck. "His method was fun," he explains.

XQ Luminary: Common

Thanks to one very special teacher, this rapper can still recite the elements of the periodic table.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, December 14, 2017

Around the country, more and more schools are helping their students by engaging directly with their interests.

There's Youth On Record, an organization that helps kids catch up on missed high school credits by teaching them music production, and classrooms like Makerspace in Phoenix, where kids can build whatever they want.

If the American education system is to be improved, finding out what kids actually enjoy — and using that to teach — could be a crucial way to do it.

"We have to relate to one another," Common says. "Teachers have to know how to relate. If we can relate as educators, and teachers and school systems to the youth, they will receive it and retain it. And go out and apply it at a higher level."

Whether it's music, fashion, or building robots, there are lessons to be learned everywhere. Common believes that harnessing the power of those natural interests is the key to our future."But I'm just offering my two cents," he says.

"My Common sense. Pun intended."

Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.

Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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via Fox 5 / YouTube

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But at about the 1:50 mark, he was interrupted by an unaccompanied puppy running down the street towards the news crew.

The dog had a collar but there was no owner in sight.

Barnard stopped everything he was doing to pick the dog up off the freezing road to keep it safe. "Forget the people we talked to earlier, I want to get to know this dog," he told his fellow reporters back in the warm newsroom.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

Keep Reading Show less