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For some kids in Chicago, life is a war zone. But these military vets offer safe routes to school.

Danger and uncertainty were the norm. Now there's a better way.

Chicago is a world-renowned city. But for too many kids, it's downright dangerous.

Despite the fact that Chicago is home to several museums, a giant lake, and a free zoo, between 2010 and 2014, 114 Chicago schoolchildrenwere murdered.

Some were just walking home from school.


All GIFs via NationSwell.

But as you'll see in this video from NationSwell, hundreds of people are doing their part to create safer neighborhoods.

Hakki Gurkan, military veteran and former Chicago police officer, stepped up with a program called Safe Passage.

Hakki Gurkan serves overseas and at home. Image by NationSwell.

After serving in Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Hakki returned home to a mountain of family medical bills and student debt. He joined Chicago-based Leave No Veteran Behind, a nonprofit that provides retroactive scholarships to veterans in exchange for service to the community.


The goal of Safe Passage, Hakki's service project, is two-fold: protect children and teens from violence and gang activity while also providing transitional jobs for vets re-entering civilian life.

He launched Safe Passage in 2011. The program put military veterans on patrol to help students get to and from school safely.

Unarmed veteran employees and community members stand at key points along the "high risk" routes to over 100 schools in some of Chicago's toughest areas.

Safe Passage does not provide security and instead offers a positive adult presence, employing community engagement strategies to build trust and engage with the students they serve.

Safe Passage schools saw a 20% decline in criminal incidents and a 51% decline in student disciplinary reports.

The schools also improved attendance by 7%. And the program a huge win for returning veterans.

Since launch, over 400 vets have participated in Safe Passage. It allows them to earn a steady income while seeking long-term employment while giving back to their community using skills they honed in the service.

In fall 2014, Illinois announced a $10 million investment in Safe Passage.

That's on top of the $1 million Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pledged just months prior.

Together, the funds will expand the program to 133 schools, serving 16% of Chicago Public School students daily.

Now, 69,000 children can focus on their schoolwork instead of their safety.

Veterans, community members, and elected officials coming together to build safer, healthier neighborhoods — that's something we can all salute.

To see Safe Passage in action, check out this mini-documentary from NationSwell:

Finally, someone explains why we all need subtitles

It seems everyone needs subtitles nowadays in order to "hear" the television. This is something that has become more common over the past decade and it's caused people to question if their hearing is going bad or if perhaps actors have gotten lazy with enunciation.

So if you've been wondering if it's just you who needs subtitles in order to watch the latest marathon-worthy show, worry no more. Vox video producer Edward Vega interviewed dialogue editor Austin Olivia Kendrick to get to the bottom of why we can't seem to make out what the actors are saying anymore. It turns out it's technology's fault, and to get to how we got here, Vega and Kendrick took us back in time.

They first explained that way back when movies were first moving from silent film to spoken dialogue, actors had to enunciate and project loudly while speaking directly into a large microphone. If they spoke and moved like actors do today, it would sound almost as if someone were giving a drive-by soliloquy while circling the block. You'd only hear every other sentence or two.

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Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson in 2006.

A startling number of professional athletes face financial hardships after they retire. The big reason is that even though they make a lot of money, the average sports career is relatively short: 3.3 years in the NFL; 4.6 years in the NBA; and 5.6 years in MLB. During that time, athletes often dole out money to friends and family members who helped them along the way and can fall victim to living lavish, unsustainable lifestyles.

After the athlete retires they are likely to earn a lot less money, and if they don’t adjust their spending, they’re in for some serious trouble.

In a candid interview with NFL Hall of Famer and TV personality Shannon Sharpe, Chad Ochocinco (legally Chad Johnson) revealed that he saved 80 to 83% of the $48 million he made in the NFL by faking his lavish lifestyle because it made no sense to him.

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Nature

Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave that’s been closed for 70 years

You can only access the cave from the basement of the home and it’s open for business.

This Pennsylvania home is the entrance to a cave.

Have you ever seen something in a movie or online and thought, "That's totally fake," only to find out it's absolutely a real thing? That's sort of how this house in Pennsylvania comes across. It just seems too fantastical to be real, and yet somehow it actually exists.

The home sits between Greencastle and Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, and houses a pretty unique public secret. There's a cave in the basement. Not a man cave or a basement that makes you feel like you're in a cave, but an actual cave that you can't get to unless you go through the house.

Turns out the cave was discovered in the 1830s on the land of John Coffey, according to Uncovering PA, but the story of how it was found is unclear. People would climb down into the cave to explore occasionally until the land was leased about 100 years later and a small structure was built over the cave opening.

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Family

American mom living in Germany lists postpartum support and women are gobsmacked

“Every video you make gets me closer to actually moving to Germany.”

U.S. mom living in Germany shares postpartum support she received.

Having a baby is not an easy feat no matter which way they come out. The pregnant person is either laboring for hours and then pushing for what feels like even more hours, or they're getting cut from hip to hip to bring about their bundle of joy. (Unless you're one of those lucky—or rather not-so-lucky—folks who get to labor for hours only to still end up in surgery.)

Giving birth is hard and healing afterward can feel dang near impossible, especially given that most states in the U.S. only offer six weeks of maternity leave and it's typically unpaid. But did you know that not everyone has that experience?

A mom who had her first child in the U.S. before meeting her current husband and relocating to Germany is shedding light on postpartum care in her new country. The stark contrast is beyond shocking to women living in the U.S. and she's got a few considering crossing the ocean for a better quality of life.

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Meghan Elinor chimes in on the Starbucks tipping debate.

Tipping culture is rapidly changing in America, so understandably a lot of people aren’t sure what to do when they buy a coffee and the debit card reader asks for a tip. It used to be that people only tipped bartenders, drivers, servers and hairdressers.

Now people are being asked to tip just about any time they encounter a point-of-sale system. There is a big difference between tipping a server who lugged around hot plates of food for an hour-long meal and someone who simply handed you an ice cream cone.

"We're living in an era of inflation, but on top of that, we've got tipping everywhere—tipflation. I take it a step further and call it a tipping invasion. Because that's really what I think it is," etiquette expert Thomas Farley (aka Mister Manners) told CBS 8.

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Pop Culture

One moment in history shot Tracy Chapman to music stardom. Watch it now.

She captivated millions with nothing but her guitar and an iconic voice.

Imagine being in the crowd and hearing "Fast Car" for the first time

While a catchy hook might make a song go viral, very few songs create such a unifying impact that they achieve timeless resonance. Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” is one of those songs.

So much courage and raw honesty is packed into the lyrics, only to be elevated by Chapman’s signature androgynous and soulful voice. Imagine being in the crowd and seeing her as a relatively unknown talent and hearing that song for the first time. Would you instantly recognize that you were witnessing a pivotal moment in musical history?

For concert goers at Wembley Stadium in the late 80s, this was the scenario.

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