For medical professionals on the front lines, protective equipment is a priceless gift
Photo courtesy of Betina Slataper, BS, RN.
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Betina Slataper is, by nature, a nurturer. She worked for nearly a decade as a night charge nurse in the ICU, mentoring new nursing graduates that came onto her floor. A night owl who doesn't mind working while the rest of the world sleeps, she typically clocked in at 6:45 p.m. and headed home around 7:15 the following morning—just in time to dress and feed her oldest before taking him to school.

After her kids grew up, Slataper took a job as a Wellness Nurse at an assisted living facility in Baton Rouge—just as the worst infectious disease outbreak in more than a century swept through the United States. But the pandemic hasn't stopped her from her life's work.

"Caring for others gives me a sense of purpose," she said. "It satisfies my need to nurture…I want to save lives and make a difference."


And so, every day, Slataper heads to work knowing that she has to protect herself in order to stay safe from the novel virus, while at the same time making a difference in the lives of people who are suffering. Louisiana is no stranger to COVID-19 deaths; outbreaks in assisted living and nursing homes are rampant.

Slataper explains, "PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) is worn in caring for all COVID-19 patients/residents. We must wear eye protection—usually goggles or a face shield—an N-95 facemask, a gown, and gloves. This helps to protect us all from getting the virus and also from giving it to other patients."

Photo courtesy of Gillette

Face shields are big visors that are worn over N95 respirator masks to protect them from being soiled or damaged, which is especially important when mask supplies are in limited supply. Every piece of equipment is vital, obviously, but the face shield is what protects your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Slataper has enough PPE to do her job safely, she says, but there are many hospitals and healthcare facilities across the nation struggling to provide an adequate supply of gear for doctors, nurses, and medical staff. That's what drove the Gillette team in Boston, Massachusetts to expand its manufacturing capabilities beyond blades and razors and begin producing face shields for healthcare workers on the front lines of the response to coronavirus.

In just 14 days, a team of passionate Gillette employees put their engineering and manufacturing knowhow to work, created a prototype and began producing the shields that are critically needed. To date, Gillette has donated more than 100,000 face shields to Massachusetts healthcare organizations and will have donated an additional 200,000 face shields by early June — all with the goal of helping to save lives.

"It has been the most inspiring project," reflects Jimmy Jia, Head of Marketing and Operations at Gillette Ventures. "Watching this volunteer community come together to execute something that's not a part of our core business and breaking down barriers to get [face shields] out the door in a matter of days— there isn't a better way to make an impact on our community."

Tim Quigley, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer for South Shore Health, an independent, non-profit health system in southeastern Massachusetts, said the system recently modified its PPE guidance to require clinicians wear a face shield or goggles at all times while working with patients — whether or not they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are suspected of having contracted the virus. "When you are wearing a Gillette face shield for extended periods of time, you appreciate the craftsmanship even more," he said.

It's easy to get discouraged by what is out of our control, but even a pandemic can't stop individuals, organizations and companies from doing good. So, what gets Slataper out of bed every day? "My motto is 'let's go make a difference,' she said. 'Helping others is how I do that.'"

Turn your everyday actions into acts of good every day at P&G Good Everyday.

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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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Who would have thought that giving the world access to all human knowledge via the internet, the ability to follow and hear from experts on any subject via social media, and the ability to see what's happening anywhere in the world via smartphones with cameras would result in a terrifying percentage of the population believing and spouting nothing but falsehoods day in and day out?

Those of us who value facts, reason, and rational thought have found ourselves at some of our fellow citizens and thinking, "Really? THIS is how you choose to use the greatest tool humanity has ever created? To spew unfounded conspiracy theories?"

It's a marvel, truly.

Between Coronavirus/Bill Gates/5G conspiracies and QAnon/Evil Cabal/Pedophile conspiracies, I thought we were pretty much full up on kooky for 2020. But apparently not. The massive fires up and down the West Coast have ignited even more conspiracy theories, some of which local law enforcement and even the FBI have had to debunk.

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In 1945, the world had just endured the bloodiest war in history. World leaders were determined to not repeat the mistakes of the past. They wanted to build a better future, one free from the "scourge of war" so they signed the UN Charter — creating a global organization of nations that could deter and repel aggressors, mediate conflicts and broker armistices, and ensure collective progress.

Over the following 75 years, the UN played an essential role in preventing, mitigating or resolving conflicts all over the world. It faced new challenges and new threats — including the spread of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a Cold War and brutal civil wars, transnational terrorism and genocides. Today, the UN faces new tensions: shifting and more hostile geopolitics, digital weaponization, a global pandemic, and more.

This slideshow shows how the UN has worked to build peace and security around the world:

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Malians wait in line at a free clinic run by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission in Mali in 2014. Over their 75 year history, UN peacekeepers have deployed around the world in military and nonmilitary roles as they work towards human security and peace. Here's a look back at their history.

Photo credit: UN Photo/Marco Dormino

I worked as a substitute teacher in my early 20s, almost exclusively in middle schools and high schools—my age of specialty. Once, I accepted a two-day subbing assignment in a first grade classroom. Only once. Halfway through the first day, as the kids ate lunch in the cafeteria, I sat at the teacher's desk in an exhausted daze. Teaching little kids was a completely different animal than teaching big kids. While adorable, they had so many needs and so little attention span. It was like herding a bunch of flies that constantly needed to go potty.

Trying to herd those flies virtually during a pandemic is too much to even fathom.

So the real-time story that mom and writer Stephanie Lucianovic shared on Twitter of what happened when her son's second grade teacher dropped from the class Zoom call was not the least bit surprising. Hilariously entertaining, but not surprising.

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Katie Neeves (L) photo by Jayne Walsh, JK Rowling (R) photo by Sjhill, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dear JK Rowling,

I am writing this letter to say a big thank you to you. You may think it strange that a gobby trans woman such as me would wish to thank you after all your recent transphobic outpourings, but let me explain…

I certainly don't thank you for your lengthy essay last month where you describe the abuse you have suffered (for which you have my sympathy) and in which you stated that you do not hate trans people, while at the same time peddling even more anti-trans mis-information. Sadly, your diatribe directly caused some trans children to self-harm and other to attempt suicide.

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