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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

Metallica live in London in 2017 and Sheriff Drumman.

Anthony Eugene Sheriff, known to people across the Los Angeles area as Sheriff Drumman, had his life turned upside down last December when his truck and drum set were stolen at 4:30 a.m. outside his apartment in Hawthorne, California.

“When I got outside, I had a total panic attack,” Sheriff, 34, told the Los Angeles Times. “I fainted in front of my neighbors. I started screaming, I was calling for help like someone had shot me. It felt like the devastating news of a loved one being murdered.

“It means the world to me,” he said about his music. “Without drums, my life would have went a completely different way. There’s no other way to say it. It’s my therapy, it’s my fun, it’s my life.”

After his truck was stolen, Sheriff immediately took to social media to tell his followers to be on the lookout.


Sheriff’s truck and drums weren’t just for transportation and self-expression, they were his livelihood. He built a special rig in his truck’s flatbed so that he can play drums while being driven all over town. They also allowed him to easily set up and play at Los Angeles Rams' tailgate parties and in shopping centers.

Sheriff was "discovered" at a gas station and subsequently made an appearance on "The Steve Harvey Show."

"I went to a part in my life and I said 'You know what? These drums is keeping me going,'" he told Harvey. "I said, why have a gift being able to do something and not be able to make money from it?"

During the pandemic, Sheriff was playing up to six gigs a day, getting paid $300 a for an hour's gig.

The truck also had sentimental value. Sheriff spent six years building the rig, handcrafting the metal supports and eye-catching #SheriffDrumman sign that hovers above the makeshift stage.

A few days after his truck went missing, it was located near train tracks on Slauson Avenue. But unfortunately, his drum kit and the elaborate setup he created to play on the truck’s flatbed were gone. Sheriff started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for the repairs he needed to get working again.

So far, the campaign has earned nearly $20,000.

Last week, Sheriff got a big help from people who understand the importance of music, Metallica. A representative from the legendary heavy metal band caught up with Sheriff in Hollywood and gave him a new drum set.

Videos on Sheriff’s Instagram page show that he did have a kit to play when he received the new set, but as any musician will tell you, one set of drums is never enough.

Sheriff couldn’t believe the band’s generosity. "Man, thank you guys so much," he said. "Thank you for taking the time and the resources to support and help what I do. I love you for that."

Even though Metallica is known for songs such as “Creeping Death” and “Ride the Lightning,” it's touching to see they still have some love in their dark hearts to help out a fellow musician. Now, it would be great if Sheriff could post a video on his Instagram page of him playing a cover of Metallica's “Fight Fire With Fire.”

Police arrest man suspected of scamming an elderly woman.

There has been a rise in scams against the elderly during the pandemic. According to the FBI, American seniors were scammed for $1 billion dollars in 2020, up $300 million from the previous year.

To stay connected with friends and family during the pandemic, more seniors joined social media, opening them up to new avenues for fraud.

“The combination of online shopping and social media creates easy venues for scammers to post false advertisements,” the FBI report said. “Many victims report ordering items from links advertised on social media and either receiving nothing at all or receiving something completely unlike the advertised item.”

But when scammers came after 73-year-old Jean Ebbert in Long Island, New York, they had no idea they were dealing with a law enforcement veteran. Ebbert is a former 911 dispatcher, so she knows exactly what a scam looks like.



Ebbert was texting with her son when she got a phone call from someone claiming to be her grandson who said he was in jail after being arrested for DUI. The problem was that Ebbert doesn’t have a grandson old enough to drive.

“I knew he was a real scammer. I just knew he wasn’t going to scam me,” Ebbert told CBS News.

Ebbert decided to play along with the scammer for fun. "It took about three hours of back-and-forth phone calls, maybe 15 phone calls," Ebbert told Fox News.

The fun stopped when her family told her to call the police.

At that point, Ebbert was talking to someone posing as her fake grandson’s lawyer who said he needed $8,000 in bail money. “I told him I had the money in the house, and I figured, he’s not going to fall for that. Well, he fell for that hook, line, and sinker,” she said.

When a man arrived at the door claiming to be a bail bondsman, Ebbert handed him an envelope filled with paper towels and the police sprang out of nowhere to arrest him. They charged 28-year-old Joshua Estrella Gomez with attempted grand larceny in the third degree.

She attributes her 911 training to her success. "You have to think quick. You have to be able to multitask,” she told Fox News. "I had to come up with why I had money in the house."

Local law enforcement are using the incident to remind people that scams against the elderly are rampant.

“Speak to your families. Speak to your neighbors. Visit those that are vulnerable. Let them know, don’t listen to these scams,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. “These individuals sit at home and have nothing else to do but think of a way to take advantage of our elderly.”

Ebbert believes that elderly people should remain vigilant as well.

“I feel like gotcha, and I feel like, like you say, so many people fall for this and you only hear about it on the other end after they’ve lost $8,000,” she said.

It feels incredibly satisfying to see a senior citizen put one over on a scammer. But people should be careful when dealing with criminals and leave the dangerous job of law enforcement to the professionals.

Here at Upworthy, we cherish our loved ones and although Valentine's is not all about gifts, if you are looking to buy a special gift for a special someone, then you came to the right place! We have curated a list of our personal favorites from our store, Upworthy Market, where you can feel good about your shopping because every dollar you spend directly supports local artisans who craft their own products. In this gift guide, you'll find all products have special thought, hand-made with love and they are all under $30 to help you stay within a budget.



1. Heart-Shaped Sterling Silver Stud Earrings

Crafted of sterling silver with a high-polish finish, two simple hearts adorn the ears with beauty. Wadarat Supasirisuk presents this pair of stud earrings, crafted by local artisans from Thailand.

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2. Romantic Wood Sculpture

Voluptuous curves circle and meld in a fervent kiss that forms a single heart. In this elegant abstract sculpture, the harmony between lovers is manifest as their figures curl together in utter bliss. This exquisite statuette from Made Wirata is a celebration of couples.

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3. Blue-Green Calcite and Brass Double Stand Beaded Bracelet

This double strand bracelet features cylindrical blue-green beads accented with brass. Handcrafted by Tiraphan Hasub of Thailand, this bracelet is a lovely pop of color accessory.

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4.Silver Heart Pendant Necklace

A length of elegant black cord is centered by a pendant of silver by Karen hill tribe silversmiths, crafted in the shape of a heart with a small hole in it. Thai artisan Srimuang designs and crafts this striking necklace.

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5. Green and Black Onyx Hand-braided Shambhala-style Bracelet

Rituu honors Buddhist meditation practices with the design of this Shambhala-style bracelet. Meaning 'bliss' in Sanskrit, the Shambhala-style bracelet symbolizes tranquility, peace and happiness – the oneness of all. Rituu expertly knots the cotton bracelet by hand with macramé techniques and crowns it with black and enhanced onyx, believed to protect against negativity.

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6. Sterling Silver Dreamcatcher Earrings

Two circular dream catchers are crafted of sterling silver, with elegant wire work and feathers with a combination finish hanging just below. Featuring petite blue stones of resin within their webs, these dangle earrings from Thailand are presented by Pichaya.

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7. Sterling Silver and Turquoise Cocktail Ring

A single stone of blue composite turquoise rests atop this cocktail ring, presented by India's Aparna. The stone is surrounded by rope and swirl motifs on a sterling silver band for a look that attunes its wearer with the wisdom of the universe.

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8. Artisan Crafted Sterling Silver Heart Anklet

Crafted by hand, this anklet features a single heart charm with brushed satin textures. Jantana in Thailand works in sterling silver to handcraft a design for the modern romantic.

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9. Handcrafted Sterling Silver Love Stud Earrings

Handcrafted from sterling silver, these delightful stud earrings are designed by artisan Lalana of Thailand. Each earring is fashioned into the word 'love' for a modern and charming design.

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10. Heart Motif Sterling Silver Link Bracelet

Crafted of sterling silver, petite heart-shaped links circle the wrist with lots of love. Working with local artisans, Thailand's Aoy presents this dainty bracelet.

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11. Men's Howlite and Leather Pendant Necklace

Oceanic charm defines this men's pendant necklace from Thai artisan Chaloemphon. The pendant is crafted from rich blue leather and howlite, suspended from an adjustable cord of faux suede. Beads of raintree wood complement the design.

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12. Brushed Silver Heart Earrings

Crafted by hand of sterling silver, these delightful button earrings depict a heart. Jantana depicts the heart as both an individual stud as well as a cutout motif within a circle that evokes the moon.

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13. Artisan Crafted Woven Black Alpaca Blend Scarf

Celinda Jaco selects a cozy blend of Andean alpaca for this handsome men's scarf. Classic in style, it features fine stripes of white and gunmetal grey woven through the midnight-black textile. Hand-tied fringe completes a distinguished design.

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14. Sterling Silver Heart Elephant Earrings

Elephants are caught within hearts shaped by their own trunks in the modern design of these earrings. Resplendent with a brushed satin finish, these sterling silver earrings are crafted by Jantana in Thailand.

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