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."

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

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Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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A vintage post-card collector on Flickr who goes by the username Post Man has kindly allowed us to share his wonderful collection of vintage postcards and erotica from the turn of the century. This album is full of exquisite photographs from around the world of a variety of people dressed in beautiful clothing in exotic settings. In an era well before the internet, these photographs would be one of the only ways you could could see how people in other countries looked and dressed.

Take a look at PostMan's gallery of over 90 vintage postcards on Flickr.

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via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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