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These kids’ parents were incarcerated. How one community organization is helping them heal.
Children of Promise, NYC
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Sharon Content loved working on Wall Street. A genius when it came to numbers, she thought she'd spend her entire career working in finance. But at some point, she says, she realized that the career she'd worked so hard for wasn't her calling. Content wanted to make a meaningful impact in her community — to give back; to help make life better for the people around her.

Content's decision led her to the non-profit sector. She became the director of programs at a youth entrepreneurship program. Then she took on the role of Chief Operating Officer at Pathways For Youth at the Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx borough of New York City. It was there, while working with youth in an incarceration avoidance program that she realized that something was missing.

"Whenever I met a family that was impacted by incarceration, I didn't have a referral," Content says. There was no organization to which she could send her clients — no group which worked specifically with the unique needs of youth whose parents had been imprisoned. So 11 years ago, in the basement of her home, Content started laying the plans for Children of Promise, NYC.


"Children are the invisible victims of mass incarceration," Content says. "They are a forgotten population. I wanted to establish an organization that was specifically designed to meet the needs, interests, and concerns of children of incarcerated parents."

Today, CPNYC serves 300 families a year. The organization has a flagship location in Brooklyn and will soon open a center in the South Bronx which will double the number of families that Children of Promise can serve. CPNYC is currently the only program of its kind in the city — and it offers children of incarcerated parents an unprecedented level of support.

Aside from an after-school program that's open until 6:30pm every day, youth enrolled in the program can also take part in a full-day summer program which offers a wide variety of programs — from sports to academic enrichment to art and music classes. The programs are absolutely free to those enrolled and every activity is created with best practices in youth development and the participants' unique needs in mind. But CPNYC doesn't just offer the youth a safe place to go after school and during the summer — the program's unique in that it offers extensive mental health services as well. The organization is licensed as an outpatient mental health clinic with therapists and psychiatrists on staff.

"In addition to the stigma of having an imprisoned parent, there's a stigma around mental health services. We provide services that de-stigmatize both of those challenges for young people," Content says.

Children of Promise, NYC

"We infuse mental health in all aspects of our program. So it's therapeutic art, it's music therapy, it's drama, it's theater, it's activities that allow our young people to feel and express what they're feeling. Especially around the stigma, the shame and, for so many of our young people, the secret of having a parent in prison."

Because mass incarceration disproportionately affects people of color, Content says it's important that these services be offered in a way that destigmatizes mental health in culturally competent ways that reduce shame and stigma while strengthening bonds in the community.

The services CPNYC provides are important every day, but especially now, when so many children's lives have been affected by the current pandemic. And as CPNYC has escalated their services to offer even more support during this difficult time, Upworthy is partnering with TBS and The Last O.G. to help the organization give even more back to the community. And you can help. All you have to do is tweet.

For every retweet of the message above, TBS will donate one dollar to CPNYC between now and May 5th, 2020. That's money that will help CPNYC pay its staff, provide virtual therapy and mentoring to the youth it serves, and help families with necessities such as sanitizer, face masks, and food.

"The Last O.G. really speaks to the mission of the organization. This is a show that talks about someone who was incarcerated and then comes home. So this particular partnership is a dual benefit in that it really is one that speaks to our mission," Content says.

"Partnering with an impact-driven Brooklyn-based organization has been an important component to each season of The Last O.G., a series that's centered around second chances," said Brett Weitz, General Manager, TNT, TBS and truTV. "There is a natural connection to Children of Promise, NYC and we are proud to partner with an organization that provides such an invaluable service."

"If there's anything the pandemic has highlighted," Content adds, "it's the need for community-based organizations like CPNYC. And how important it is that we all stand up to support such programs in our own communities."

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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