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Field trips cost money. So they came up with a brilliant plan to bring the fun straight to kids.

Instead of bringing the kids to the world, this nonprofit is bringing the world to kids.

Field trips cost money. So they came up with a brilliant plan to bring the fun straight to kids.
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At my middle school, the “cultural education" element of Spanish class consisted of reading about Spanish-speaking countries in a textbook ... and an annual potluck day.

Don't get me wrong — I love a good tamale as much as the next person! But eating culturally inspired meals can only get you so far in terms of cross-cultural understanding.

Teachers and schools understand this, too, which is why field trips and visits to museums are built in to most schools' curricula. But that can be expensive, and many schools don't have the funds to take their students off-campus to learn about other cultures very often.


The Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum is a great solution to small field trip budgets. GIFs via ConnectingCulturesMM/YouTube.

One nonprofit saw this problem in their own backyard, so they devised an ingenious solution to provide cultural education to under-resourced schools.

Instead of bringing the kids to a museum, they would bring the museum to the kids.

Los Angeles' Connecting Cultures museum on wheels is now 20 years old, and thousands of kids (most of whom attend low-income schools) have gotten to see the world each year, all without leaving their own campuses.

The mobile museum has three main exhibits.

There's the commercial collection, which focuses on resources, trade, and colonization. The spiritual exhibit teaches kids about world religions, rituals, and music.

But my favorite is the "Everyday Connections" exhibit. It shows kids the stuff that other cultures considered parts of their day-to-day lives — boring details that we probably wouldn't think to share but are actually super-interesting to learn about. Students get to try on clothes that people from other countries wear, see what games they play, and learn about what other cultures cook and eat.

Image provided by Connecting Cultures.

Remember how awesome it was when the Scholastic Book Fair set up shop at your school for a week?

The whole idea of the museum-on-wheels is kind of similar … except instead of buying books, students get to learn about other countries' ways of life.

Students can grind and taste their own spices at the museum.

The museum staff drive to different schools each week to set up a collection of artifacts in a big room inside the school, like the library. Kids get an opportunity to explore the museum during their social studies class. They learn about the artifacts — but unlike some museums, they also get to pick up and touch some of the things on display.

That means there isn't a glass case between you and the thing you're supposed to be learning about — it's right there in front of you.

Image via Connecting Cultures.

This is especially important because we all learn in different ways. Some students may be able to absorb lots of information about, say, what goes on in a Moroccan marketplace by seeing a market on a video and hearing the market's ambient sounds. Other students might learn better by handling a 50 dirham note or touching the fabric that a vendor might sell.

The point here is that there's a huge difference between looking at a picture in your world geography textbook and actually holding a piece of culture in your hands.

Kim Moreno, a teacher at a school that hosted the mobile museum, said the exhibit allowed her students — a group of kids with diverse, international backgrounds and families — to understand each other better. Rather than relying on stereotypes, the mobile museum gave them a way to see other cultures as three-dimensional and real.

This is the type of learning that I can really get behind.

The Connecting Cultures Mobile Museum leaves a lasting impression on students, and we need more programs like it

In the words of the mobile museum's founder, Valerie Lezin, “I can take kids from bewilderment to understanding, and from shock to acceptance."

Check out this video of students getting the full mobile museum experience here:

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
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With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

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Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via Jody Danielle Fisher / Facebook

Breast milk is an incredibly magical food. The wonderful thing is that it's produced by a collaboration between mother and baby.

British mother Jody Danielle Fisher shared the miracle of this collaboration on Facebook recently after having her 13-month-old child vaccinated.

In the post, she compared the color of her breast milk before and after the vaccination, to show how a baby's reaction to the vaccine has a direct effect on her mother's milk production.

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"I cried, and I'm not even American!" That's one of the thousands of comments posted on the newest Black Eyed Peas video, which has been viewed more than 28 million times in one week on YouTube. "THE LOVE" with Jennifer Hudson and Black Eyed Peas was produced by will.i.am and it might be the most powerful campaign-ad-that's-not-actually-a-campaign-ad that's ever been made.

The video is a remake of the Black Eyed Peas' popular song "Where is the Love," but with revised lyrics and a powerful opening of Jennifer Hudson singing along with Joe Biden's DNC speech. As Biden recalls the events of Charlottesville, the video shows clips of news coverage from three years ago, followed by the prayerful chorus, "Father, father, father help us. Send some guidance from above, because people got me, got me, questioning, 'Where is the love?'" Soon will.i.am comes in rapping about the hatred in the world today, we see more of Biden's words backed up by the music, and the effect of the whole thing is just deeply moving.

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