Her future was laid out. But a passion for justice took her places she never imagined.
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Christine Bischoff grew up in a small southern West Virginia coal town.

"Everyone's dad was a coal miner, and very few people were educated," Bischoff says. It was the type of place where opportunities were few and far between.

There were about six career choices in the whole town.


Christine Bischoff. All photos courtesy of XQ.

"You basically picked one, and that's what you were going to be," Bischoff says. She went with the one that, to her, sounded the most fun: physical therapy.

Then Bischoff's life changed permanently because of her teacher, acclaimed poet Maya Angelou.

"To a 21-year-old, everything she said was mind-blowing," Bischoff says. "Because you'd never thought of the world like that."

Angelou — whose work extended far beyond poetry into activism, social work, and civil justice — was also an education advocate who spoke on numerous occasions about the power and importance of learning. Bischoff had her as a professor in college.

One day, Angelou gave her class a sage piece of advice: If you don't like the path you're on, step off of it.

"So I literally walked out of the class and said, 'I'm not going to be a physical therapist. I'm going to be a civil rights attorney. I'm going to change the world," Bischoff said.

Now she works as an attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center's children's rights department.

The SPLC's work for children fights for education reform on multiple fronts. They work toward ending the notorious school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately harms black and Latino students. They ensure equal access to education for children in poverty as well as disabled children, and they also provide the mental health services that low-income and marginalized children often can't get on their own.

Every day, Bischoff works directly with kids who have been discriminated against or put at a disadvantage by the education system.

"When school districts or the state department of education violates [student's] rights, we go in and try to remedy the violation so that all students have equal opportunity that they're entitled to under the law," Bischoff says. In other words, when the SPLC finds a systemic injustice in the education system, they try to fix it permanently.

For Bischoff, fighting for education is a direct way to make the world a better place.

"If we don't fix the problems in our education, every piece of our society is going to suffer," she says. From the global economy to growing industries in science and tech to seemingly insurmountable world problems like climate change, educating every single child is a necessity.

"It's very easy to lose sight — that we all are in this together," Bischoff says. "Everybody wins or loses with what happens to education."

For Bischoff, the path toward a better world began with a simple step off a predetermined path — an opportunity that millions of kids might not get.  

Giving kids equal access to education is giving them access to equal opportunity. It's giving them the knowledge that if they don't like where their path is going, they too have the ability to step off and forge a new one.

See Christine Bischoff's full story here:

XQ Luminaries: Christine Bischoff

Her roots in rural West Virginia inspired her to fight for equal education for all children.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Dr. David McPhee offers advice for talking to someone living in a different time in their head.

Few things are more difficult than watching a loved one's grip on reality slipping away. Dementia can be brutal for families and caregivers, and knowing how to handle the various stages can be tricky to figure out.

The Alzheimer's Association offers tips for communicating in the early, middle and late stages of the disease, as dementia manifests differently as the disease progresses. The Family Caregiver Alliance also offers advice for talking to someone with various forms and phases of dementia. Some communication tips deal with confusion, agitation and other challenging behaviors that can come along with losing one's memory, and those tips are incredibly important. But what about when the person is seemingly living in a different time, immersed in their memories of the past, unaware of what has happened since then?

Psychologist David McPhee shared some advice with a person on Quora who asked, "How do I answer my dad with dementia when he talks about his mom and dad being alive? Do I go along with it or tell him they have passed away?"

McPhee wrote:

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