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For the first time ever, refugees will make up an entire team at the Olympic Games.

When their small inflatable raft began taking on water, sisters Sarah and Ysra Mardini knew they'd have to jump overboard.

It was their second attempt to travel by sea from Turkey to Greece. The Turkish Coast Guard turned their first boat around. This time, they boarded a dinghy, pushed to its limits with 20 other Syrian refugees and all of their possessions.


A dinghy similar to the one the Mardini sisters boarded in Turkey to cross the Aegean Sea. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

Strong swimmers, Sarah and Ysra knew they could make it to land if they had to, so they jumped out of the boat, giving the remaining passengers on board a shot at survival.

For three hours, they held tight to the dinghy's ropes as it made its way toward the Greek Island of Lesbos. After arriving, they traveled on land to Austria, then to Germany where they're currently seeking asylum. Oh, and training for the Olympics.

Sarah and Ysra are two of the many refugees training for the summer games in Rio de Janeiro—the first time refugees will have the chance to compete together.

Last fall, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach announced that the IOC had begun the process of identifying athletes living in forced displacement with potential to qualify for the Olympic Games. Many will receive scholarships and other support to assist in their training. And this summer, a team of refugee-athletes will compete under the Olympic flag in the Olympic Games in Rio.

IOC President Thomas Bach plays soccer with refugees at the Open Reception Centre in Athens. Photo by Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images.

It's not the first time the IOC has stepped in to support athletes without home nations or Olympic committees.

Athletes from South Sudan and East Timor competed under the flag in 2012 and 2000 respectively. And due to UN sanctions, competitors from a then-splintered Yugoslavia competed in a similar manner in 1992.

However, this is the first time refugee-athletes from multiple nations will compete together under the Olympic Flag.

Independent Olympic Participant Guor Marial from South Sudan at the London Games in 2012. Photo by Saeed Khan/AFP/GettyImages.

Athletes from around the world hope to compete for a spot on the small team.

Bach expects five to 10 refugee-athletes will qualify for the games.


Russian Olympic medalists hold the Olympic torch during the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics. Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images.

Meet a few of the few athletes hoping to make the cut:

Sarah and Ysra Madrini — swimming, from Syria

Sarah, 20, and Ysra, 17, were competitive swimmers back in Syria, but the conflict dashed their hopes.

Shortly after arriving in Berlin, a local charity put the sisters in touch with a swimming club and the young women are back in training under the guidance of a coach.


Popole Misenga and Yolande Mabika — judo, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo

During the 2013 Judo World Championships in Rio De Janeiro, Misenga and Mabika put everything on the line and made a risky bid for asylum. They didn't speak Portuguese and had no knowledge of asylum laws, but they knew this was their only chance to flee cruel national coaches and a country locked in a brutal conflict that left more than 5 million people dead.

"I’ve seen too much war, too much death," Misenga told The Guardian. "I do not want to get into that. I want to stay clean so I can do my sport."

Focusing on judo and the upcoming games helps these athletes cope with the challenge of starting over in an unfamiliar and unforgiving place. The duo live in poverty, Misenga trains with sneakers he found in the trash. Mabika travels two-and-a-half hours each way to training sessions. But they won't give up, not when they're this close.

"If we compete in the Olympics, our lives could change," Mabika said.

Yolande Mabika (second from left) and Popole Misenga (right). Image via The Guardian/YouTube.

William Kopati — track and field, from Central African Republic

William Kopati, 22, was an accomplished long jumper and high jumper in the Central African Republic. But when militants attacked his home in 2013, Kopati was forced to flee. He now resides at the Mole Refugee Camp. Since the conflict in CAR began in 2013, the camp has welcomed more than 20,000 refugees, a small fraction of the 800,000 who've been displaced by rebel groups.

Though Kopati has shelter and a safe place to sleep, he’s without the equipment and training facilities he needs to pursue his dream. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying.

"My first dream is to continue with athletics," Kopati told CNN. "I love it so much, but I had to abandon it because of the situation in my country."

William Kopati is a refugee athlete. The 22-year-old is a high jumper and long jumper. He was the Central African Republic’s national champion in 2009. But then the war came, and he was forced to flee in late March 2013, when militants attacked the house where he was living. Read more: https://cnn.it/1WKSpFw (Photo: UNHCR/Brian Sokol/RF1CT29) #refugees#highjump #longjump#centralafricanrepublic
A photo posted by CNN Africa (@cnnafrica) on

Displacement is at an all-time high, and diversions like sports can do a world of good.

By the end of 2014, nearly 60 million people were forcibly displaced and sought refuge elsewhere, up from 37.5 million people in 2005. While sports may not bring an end to the strife and conflicts waged the world over, for athletes and spectators, it can provide a welcome diversion from the stress and unease that comes with crises.

"Sport can heal many wounds, " IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge said. "Sport can bring them hope, can help to forge their ideas and to integrate in society. Ultimately it brings them hope and dreams. Sport is not the solution but it can make a great contribution.

Syrian refugees play soccer in the Al-Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan. Photo by Jordan Pix/Getty Images.

Ileah Parker (left) and Alexis Vandecoevering (right)

True

At 16, Alexis Vandecoevering already knew she wanted to work in the fire department. Having started out as a Junior Firefighter and spending her time on calls as a volunteer with the rest of her family, she’s set herself up for a successful career as either a firefighter or EMT from a young age.

Ileah Parker also leaned into her career interests at an early age. By 16, she had completed an internship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, learning about Information Technology, Physical Therapy, Engineering, and Human Resources in healthcare, which allowed her to explore potential future pathways. She’s also a member of Eryn PiNK, an empowerment and mentoring program for black girls and young women.

While these commitments might sound like a lot for a teenager, it all comes down to school/life balance. This wouldn’t be possible for Alexis or Ileah without attending Pearson’s Connections Academy, a tuition-free online public school available in 31 states across the U.S., that not only helps students get ready for college but dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well.

“Connections Academy allowed me extensive flexibility, encouraged growth in all aspects of my life, whether academic, interpersonal, or financial, and let me explore options for my future career, schooling, and extracurricular endeavors,” said Ileah.

A recent survey by Connections Academy of over 1,000 students in grades 8-12 and over 1,000 parents or guardians across the U.S., highlights the importance of school/life balance when it comes to leading a fulfilling and successful life. The results show that students’ perception of their school/life balance has a significant impact on their time to consider career paths, with 76% of those with excellent or good school/life balance indicating they know what career path they are most interested in pursuing versus only 62% of those who have a fair to very poor school/life balance.

Additionally, students who report having a good or excellent school/life balance are more likely than their peers to report having a grade point average in the A-range (57% vs 35% of students with fair to very poor balance).

At Connections Academy, teens get guidance navigating post-secondary pathways, putting them in the best possible position for college and their careers. Connections Academy’s College and Career Readiness offering for middle and high school students connects them with employers, internships and clubs in Healthcare, IT, and Business.


“At Connections Academy, we are big proponents of encouraging students to think outside of the curriculum” added Dr. Lorna Bryant, Senior Director of Career Solutions in Pearson’s Virtual Learning division. “While academics are still very important, bringing in more career and college exposure opportunities to students during middle and high school can absolutely contribute to a more well-rounded school/life balance and help jumpstart that career search process.”

High school students can lean into career readiness curriculum by taking courses that meet their required high school credits, while also working toward micro-credentials through Coursera, and getting college credit applicable toward 150 bachelor’s degree programs in the U.S.

Alexis Vandecoevering in her firefighter uniform

Alexis, a Class of 2024 graduate, and Ileah, set to start her senior year with Connections Academy, are on track to land careers they’re passionate about, which is a key driver behind career decisions amongst students today.

Of the students surveyed who know what career field they want to pursue, passion and genuine interest is the most commonly given reasoning for both male and female students (54% and 66%, respectively).

Parents can support their kids with proper school/life balance by sharing helpful resources relating to their career interests. According to the survey, 48% of students want their parents to help them find jobs and 43% want their parents to share resources like reading materials relating to their chosen field.

While teens today have more challenges than ever to navigate, including an ever-changing job market, maintaining school/life balance and being given opportunities to explore career paths at an early age are sure to help them succeed.

Learn more about Connections Academy’s expanded College and Career Readiness offering here.

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

via Pexels

The Emperor of the Seas.

Imagine retiring early and spending the rest of your life on a cruise ship visiting exotic locations, meeting interesting people and eating delectable food. It sounds fantastic, but surely it’s a billionaire’s fantasy, right?

Not according to Angelyn Burk, 53, and her husband Richard. They’re living their best life hopping from ship to ship for around $100 a night, depending on the cruise. "Cruise costs vary quite a bit, our goal is to average about $100 per night, for the couple, or less across and entire calendar year," Richard told Upworthy.

The Burks have called cruise ships their home since May 2021 and have no plans to go back to their lives as landlubbers. Angelyn took her first cruise in 1992 and it changed her goals in life forever.

“Our original plan was to stay in different countries for a month at a time and eventually retire to cruise ships as we got older,” Angelyn told 7 News. But a few years back, Angelyn crunched the numbers and realized they could start much sooner than expected.


“We love to travel and we were searching for a way to continuously travel in our retirement that made financial sense,” she said. They looked into deals they could find through loyalty memberships and then factored in the potential sale price of their home and realized their dream was totally affordable.

The rough math makes sense. If the couple hits their goal of spending $100 per night to live on a cruise ship, that’s $36,500 a year. Currently, the average price of a home in Tukwila, Washington—where the couple has a house—is about $607,000. Let's say you moved there today, put down 20% and financed the rest, the mortgage would cost you around $44,000 a year.

Plus, on a cruise ship, the couple doesn’t have to pay for groceries.

The Burks are able to live their dream because they’ve spent a lifetime being responsible. “We have been frugal all our lives to save and invest in order to achieve our goal,” she says. “We are not into materialistic things but experiences.”

Angelyn says that cruising takes the stress out of travel. “It is leisurely travel without the complications of booking hotels, restaurants, and transportation while staying within our budget,” she told 7 News. The couple travels lightly with just two suitcases between them and if they need anything, they just buy it on the ship or in the next port.

The one thing to consider before embarking on a never-ending cruise is COVID-19. The coronavirus is easily spread in close quarters and a cruise ship that recently docked in Seattle had 100 people on board who tested positive for the virus. The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated before going on a cruise and that immunocompromised people should consult with their physicians before traveling.

Richard told Upworthy that he believes COVID-19 safety is still very important and has had both his shots and a booster. "I would suggest wearing a mask at all times when out in public no matter whether on a ship, in a movie theater, at a restaurant or even meeting with friends inside or outside," he said.

After leaving their jobs and the mainland behind, the Burks completed a 21-day cruise via the Panama canal. They look forward to a 50-day cruise around the Adriatic Sea, taking in the sights of Europe, as well as a 51-day cruise from Seattle to Sydney, Australia.

The Burks' favorite destinations, no matter how they get there, are Italy, Canada, Iceland and the Bahamas, but their ultimate favorite is Singapore.

Looking to give it all up and go on a permanent vacation just like the Burks? Angelyn has some advice for those wanting to get started.

This article was updated on May 17, 2022, after a conversation with Richard Burk.

The hosts of our podcast, "Upworthy Weekly" had a pretty funny take on the story.


This article originally appeared on 05.11.22

Democracy

This Map Reveals The True Value Of $100 In Each State

Your purchasing power can swing by 30% from state to state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

Map represents the value of 100 dollars.


As the cost of living in large cities continues to rise, more and more people are realizing that the value of a dollar in the United States is a very relative concept. For decades, cost of living indices have sought to address and benchmark the inconsistencies in what money will buy, but they are often so specific as to prevent a holistic picture or the ability to "browse" the data based on geographic location.

The Tax Foundation addressed many of these shortcomings using the most recent (2015) Bureau of Economic Analysis data to provide a familiar map of the United States overlaid with the relative value of what $100 is "worth" in each state. Granted, going state-by-state still introduces a fair amount of "smoothing" into the process — $100 will go farther in Los Angeles than in Fresno, for instance — but it does provide insight into where the value lies.


The map may not subvert one's intuitive assumptions, but it nonetheless quantities and presents the cost of living by geography in a brilliantly simple way. For instance, if you're looking for a beach lifestyle but don't want to pay California prices, try Florida, which is about as close to "average" — in terms of purchasing power, anyway — as any state in the Union. If you happen to find yourself in a "Brewster's Millions"-type situation, head to Hawaii, D.C., or New York. You'll burn through your money in no time.

income, money, economics, national average

The Relative Value of $100 in a state.

Image by Tax Foundation.

If you're quite fond of your cash and would prefer to keep it, get to Mississippi, which boasts a 16.1% premium on your cash from the national average.

The Tax Foundation notes that if you're using this map for a practical purpose, bear in mind that incomes also tend to rise in similar fashion, so one could safely assume that wages in these states are roughly inverse to the purchasing power $100 represents.


This article originally appeared on 08.17.17

Pop Culture

'Princess Bride' star Mandy Patinkin shared a moving detail about the film with a grieving woman

Two souls connecting over the loss of their fathers. (Phew, grab a tissue for this one, folks.)

via Mandy Patinkin / TikTok

There was an emotional exchange on TikTok between two people who lost their fathers to cancer. One was actor Mandy Patinkin, the other was TikTok user Amanda Webb.

Patinkin currently stars on "The Good Fight" but one of his most famous roles is Inigo Montoya in the 1987 classic "The Princess Bride." In the film, Montoya is a swordsman who is obsessed with confronting a six-fingered man who killed his father.

Webb recently lost her father Dan to mantle cell lymphoma. She had heard a rumor that Patinkin used his father's death from cancer as motivation in a pivotal scene where he confronts the six-fingered Count Rugen (Christopher Guest) in a duel.


Rugen tells Montoya he will give him anything he wants after being bested by Montoya who passionately replies, "I want my father back, you son of a bitch."

@mandypatinktok @alaska_webb thank you for finding us and sharing this! ✨ Sending big love and light to you and yours. More in comments. #grieving #cancer #dads ♬ original sound - Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn G

Webb's father was a big fan of Montoya's performance in the film so she reached out to TikTok to learn if the rumor was true.

"I saw on the internet the rumor that when Mandy Patinkin said that line, he was thinking of his own father who had passed away from cancer," Webb said while crying. "And it was a very raw emotion. Ever since then, it's kind of really stuck with me."

Patinkin, who is a TikTok user, heard that the woman had reached out to him and he gave a heartfelt response.

"First of all, your dad is taking care of you," he said. "Secondly, it is true, 100% true. I went outside in this castle and walked around and I kept talking to my dad."

"The minute I read the script, I knew, I said to [his wife], I said, 'I'm going to do this part because in my mind, if I get the six-fingered guy, that means I killed the cancer that killed my dad and I'll get to visit my dad," he said.

"That moment was coming, and I went and I played that scene with Chris [Guest], and then I went back out there and talked to my dad," Patinkin said.

He then told Webb that she has the power to talk to her father, too.

"And so, you can talk to your dad anytime you want, anywhere you want," he said. "If you could somehow let me know your dad's name because I say prayers for anyone I've ever known. Now I feel like I know you, and therefore I know your dad, and I will list his name in my prayers every day, and they make me feel like they're with me, wherever I go, and I'd like your dad to hang out with me."

Webb responded with a video where she's so emotional she can hardly speak.

This story originally appeared on 08.25.21

@jac.rsoe8/TikTok

Some dads just get it.


There’s no shortage of stories out there showing how emotionally distant or out of touch some baby boomers can be. Younger generations are so fed up with it that they have their own catchphrase of frustration, for crying out loud.

The disconnect becomes especially visible in parenting styles. Boomers, who grew up with starkly different views on empathy, trauma and seeking help, have a reputation for being less than ideal support systems for their children when it comes to emotional issues.

But even if they often have a different way of showing it, boomer parents do have love for their children, and many try their best to be a source of comfort in some way when their kid suffers.

Occupational therapist Jacqueline (@jac.rose8) recently shared a lovely example of this by posting a video of her boomer dad helping her through a divorce in the best way he knew how.

Turns out, it was the perfect thing.


“My husband just said he’s divorcing me and my dad came over and I was non-functional in bed,” Jacqueline wrote her video, adding that “...boomer dad didn’t know what to do, so he played his favorite song, the Dua Lipa ‘Rocket Man’ remix 😂”

In the clip, Jacqueline’s dad never really looks at her, but shifts the focus by describing what he imagines while listening to the song and performing the sweetest dad dance ever.

Watch:

@jac.rose8 #divorcetok #divorcesucks #divorcesupport #divorcesupportforwomen #divorcesupportsquad #supportivedad #disabilitytiktok ♬ original sound - Jacqueline

The heartwarming moment served as a great reminder that words aren’t always necessary.

‘“I am CRYING. This is so precious, he is trying his hardest to be there for you in any capacity. How pure ❤️,” one person wrote.

Another added, “This would instantly make me feel better.”

Even Jacqueline shared in the comments that her dad “didn’t know what to say but he was there and helped me in such a sweet way. He’s the best 🥰”

Proving that he has multiple love languages, Jacqueline later shared that her dad also went out to Home Depot to replace her lightbulbs. Not only that, but her mom also made Jacqueline’s favorite dinner. Maybe boomers are okay after all.

Really, it goes to show that great parents can be found in every generation. Part of what makes them great is knowing that they don't need to be perfect in order to show up when things are hard. Being there and sharing their love is enough.


This article originally appeared on 6.12.23