One of the final walls of discrimination in sports is coming down right in front of our eyes, and I couldn't be happier that I get to witness it.
Maria Ducasse of Brooklyn is an inspiring example of how one person can unite a community to ensure no one loses their pet because of hardship.
Three years ago, she founded East New York Dog Lovers a nonprofit that has grown to have 29 foster homes, 200 volunteers, and helped reconnect more than 50 dogs with their people. It's a safety net where struggling pet owners get emergency fostering, help with medical bills, and food for their fur babies.
"Our biggest mission is to end pet surrendering," Maria told Chewy. "So whatever help may be needed—food, vet care, whatever you need to keep your pet at home—we are willing to supply and help you."
Maria has arranged for people struggling with homelessness, domestic violence, and medical emergencies to connect with fosters who care for their pets until they're back on their feet. Her hard work keeps families intact and pets safe.
"We just keep getting bigger," Maria says. "Every time we go out there and help somebody, they're like, 'I'm in—how can I help?'"
Maria's wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Community Pet Foster."
"How heavy is this glass of water?"
That was a simple question posed by a professor to his students. This video initially came out in 2019, but recently was reposted by @thementorhouse on TikTok and has gone viral yet again.
The students began to guess. 8 oz? 12? 16?
Their answers all received a shake of the professor's head, because the lesson wasn't about physics. It was about stress.
With a gentle sincerity, he tells the class, "The absolute weight of the glass doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold onto it. If I hold it for a minute, nothing happens. If I hold it for an hour, my arm will begin to ache. If I hold it all day long, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. While the weight of the glass hasn't changed, the longer I hold onto it the heavier it becomes."
Nods of agreement fill the room, and the professor continues.
"The stresses and the worries of life are like this glass of water. If you think about them for a little while, there's no problem. You think about it for a little bit longer … it begins to hurt. You think about them all day long and you'll feel paralyzed, incapable of doing anything."
Placing the glass on his desk, the professor concludes, "Always remember: put the glass down."
POWERFUL story on stress.♬ original sound - The Mentor House
This video seems to be a staged reenactment of a lesson originally taught by a female psychologist (or at least, that seems to be how the story goes). However, the moral stays the same: Carrying the burden of the past memories—or fears about the future—causes unnecessary pain. Find a way to lighten the emotional load, otherwise you'll be weighed down and unable to move freely.
Letting go sounds easy in theory. But it's often easier said than done. PTSD, chaotic homes and unfair systems make stress next to inescapable. There are some proven ideas for "putting the glass down" though, even when it's difficult. Things like:
No matter what glass of water you're holding onto at the moment, setting it aside, even momentarily, whenever possible might be the best way to overcome it. After all, everyone deserves a lighter load these days.
Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.
"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."
This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.
"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."
She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."
Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."
So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.
"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.
"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."
"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"
Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.
In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.
"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."
She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.
"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.
To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!
At Upworthy, we're on a mission to make the world a better place, and part of that mission includes bringing more joy into people's lives. Sometimes that means sharing stories of hope and humanity to warm your heart, and sometimes it means sharing silly animal videos you can't help but laugh at.
Each week, we round up 10 things from around the internet that spark joy and delight in the hopes that it brings a little lightness to your day. If you've had a long week and are looking for some reasons to smile, here are 10 of them:
Are all dogs this smart? If so, I want one.
The Make-a-Wish Foundation grants wishes of kids with terminal illnesses, and typical wishes range from getting to meet a hero to getting to go to Disneyland. But when Abraham Olagbegi, who was born with a rare blood disorder, got a chance to get his wish, he chose to feed people who are homeless once a month for a year. "My mom always says it's a blessing to be a blessing so I just wanted to do something for other people to make it last long," he said. What a sweetheart. Read the full story here.
British Columbia got hammered by a once-in-a-century weather event that caused unprecedented flooding and mudslides, cutting off Vancouver from the rest of Canada by road and rail. As we've seen countless times before, the Sikh community stepped up to help out, cooking thousands of meals and arranging a helicopter to deliver them. Read the full story here.
Why do red pandas always look like little kids dressed up in costume? They're so stinking cute.
We are all set for year 6! 🦃 pic.twitter.com/wEQioizWGd— Jamal Hinton (@Jamalhinton12) November 14, 2021
Wanda Dench and Jamal Hinton met in 2016 when Wanda thought she was texting her grandson to invite him to Thanksgiving dinner but reached 17-year-old Hinton instead. The two formed a sweet friendship and have been sharing Thanksgiving dinner ever since. Read the wholesome, heartwarming story here.
I mean, how can anyone top that? Meet the lucky couple and read the full story here.
That guy's a keeper.
Every kid deserves to grow up with a good pup… pic.twitter.com/XHhn3aevSi— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) November 19, 2021
What pure emotion. Oof. And the way the pup goes up and licks his face? It's too much joy for one video.
“Five more minutes” 😂 pic.twitter.com/HlbNXofcvB— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) November 19, 2021
Dying. There is absolutely no way that doggo is getting out of the water.
This is the TwitterTok content I want to see pic.twitter.com/hR5gZudOyt— Dr. Raven the Science Maven (@ravenscimaven) November 15, 2021
As we saw with the wave of sea shanty videos a while back, TikTok can be used to create unique musical collaborations between total strangers. It's the best thing about the app, truly. And this one just takes the cake … er, muffin. So dang sweet.
Hope that brought a smile to your face! Join us at the end of each week for another roundup of joy-filled finds from around the internet.
The 1990s was a sweet spot in American history. The stifling Cold War with the Soviet Union had just come to the end in 1989 and it would still be 12 years before a new era of fear after the 9/11 attacks.
The 1990s was also a time of prosperity that lifted up Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum and an era that saw unprecedented peace in the world. In fact, things were going so well in America that President Clinton managed to have a budget surplus four years in a row.
The '90s was also the last gasp of the analog era when people couldn't contact you 24/7 and did things for the pure joy of it instead for the likes and shares.
To say that the '90s was the last great American decade may be looking back with rose-colored glasses but it's obvious that as we've entered this new era dominated by technology, we left behind a lot of things that brought us joy. Many of us wouldn't mind having them back.
A recent Reddit thread asked "What do you miss about the '90s?" and the answers will take you back to a time that most of us remember fondly. Will people ever say that about the 2020s? Only time will tell.
"Before we had mobile phones, my wife and I would plan to meet at a certain street corner at a certain time after work. We sometimes had to wait for the other person to show up, but we knew they would." — i_will_be_dead
"There was a period between the Cold War and the War on Terror when it seemed like there was hope for the world." — igetasticker
"Not being contactable 24/7. Peace of leaving school/work and not having to deal with their nonsense till tomorrow." — Soma_Tweaker
"Did you know that before 9/11, it wasn't a massive pain in the ass to go fucking anywhere?! Loved ones could walk you right to the gate. You could bring snacks, sandwiches, and drinks onto the plane with you. The prices at Hudson News were perfectly reasonable, because if they weren't, you could just walk out of the terminal and grab something." — GavinBelsonsAlexa
"Malls were awesome, and I hate that the strip mall style has taken over. Especially up in Canada, where it gets to -40 in the winter. Back in the day you could legitimately spend hours wandering the mall, indoors and warm. Now it is depressing. Maybe the big malls like Mall of America or West Edmonton Mall are still okay, but the ones in my city are shit." — Lexi_Banner
"In the '90s I would walk to my local record shop and talk to the guy. He would recognize me and ask about my thoughts on the Offspring album I bought last time I was in, and then recommend something that just came in from some guys called Green Day.
I'd then give a listen on the wall-mounted headphone player and take it home. Then, the whole next week would listen to nothing else... It was kind of great." — Koro
"I think people are more concerned with posting something and going viral now. I really hate that you can just be minding your business, doing something with family or friends and enjoying yourself, and somebody will randomly record what you're doing so they can call you 'corny' and get likes and views." — Enviornmental-Bank81
"Everyone had their favorites for whatever hobby or interest you had. For me it was 'Guitar World,' picking up the issues with bands I loved and plinking along to the tab on my crappy electric guitar! For my wife it was 17, checking out the most recent trends!" — JackFairy80
"Honestly the thing I miss the most, and the thing that is so hard to explain to modern kids, is 'hanging out.' Before cell phones, people used to just go to each other's homes, or to some public space, and just spend time together." — Vambot5
"It was so much fun to make them, carefully trying to fit as much as you could in the limited amount of time that you had, but still making each song work with the next. Getting one was just as thrilling, especially if you just put it on without looking at the tracklist (if whoever made it included one) and being surprised by each new song." — Edgar
"Music felt more special because you kind of had to take some risks when buying a cd. At best you could listen to it at one of the stations in the store, but other times you might have heard a song on the radio or watched a music video on MTV. I bought some albums where only the song I liked was good, but still tried to appreciate it all." — plentyfunk66
"Nowadays due to social media, especially sites like Instagram, so many young people feel like it's necessary to always be dressed well, always wear a full face of make-up, etc. Sure, we had unrealistic beauty standards and plastic surgery before, but to me it feels like it's gotten much, much worse and also much more uniform than before." — Owezara
"Maybe I'm in a minority, but I for one REALLY miss NOT having a 24-hour news cycle. Once that became a thing, it basically prevented journalists from actually doing thorough research before splitting 'information' on TV to satiate their corporate owners." — Minerva_Madin
"I miss going to coffee shops or bars and being able to meet new random people. I made some of my best friends that way. Now folks just leer up from their phones more often than not." – Shiller_Killer
"Concerts weren't a sea of phones in the air. People are so concerned with people knowing they were at a concert via social media, that they don't even pay attention or experience the show. It's so dumb." — thebestmike
"I still think this is underrated. Yes now we have a much much wider selection of stuff available instantly, but it used to be extremely fun to go out on a Sunday, go to a record store or video rental store with your friends, discuss options and settle on one." — Humble Shoulder