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Seth Owen's dream was to go to college. But after his parents kicked him out for being gay, it felt like he'd never achieve it.

The 18-year-old, who was valedictorian of his graduating class, was all set for the future. With a GPA of 4.16 and an acceptance to his first-choice college — Georgetown — he thought his life had been made.

But Owen's parents — strict Southern Baptists — made him leave home when he refused to go to church or continue any type of conversion treatment. Without his parents' help, he wouldn't be able to afford to go to school.


“I started to cry, because I realized there was no way that I could go to college,” Owen told NBC. “Georgetown was my only option, because I had already denied my other acceptances.”

[rebelmouse-image 19397516 dam="1" original_size="750x753" caption="Seth Owen. Photo via GoFundMe." expand=1]Seth Owen. Photo via GoFundMe.

It's not uncommon for parents to force their children to leave home when they've come out as gay. Up to 40% of homeless youth in America identify as members of the LGBT+ community. Owen spent his nights on friends' couches, he told NBC. He had no idea what he was going to do next.

But, Jane Martin, Owen's teacher and mentor, knew she had to step in to help.

Knowing that Owen was not the type of person to ask for help, Martin rallied students and faculty together to see what they could do. Martin posted a GoFundMe with the goal of raising $22,000 — enough to fund Owen's first year at Georgetown.

"I taught Seth biology and mentored him throughout his high school years. He was the ring bearer in my wedding. Last month, I watched him walk across the stage in a Jacksonville arena weighted down by more cords and medals to count. I’m writing this community for help," she wrote on GoFundMe.

In six weeks, the community had raised more than $82,000 for Owen. He's still hoping that Georgetown will adjust his financial package and, if they do, he and Martin plan to use the money to create a fund for kids going through the same situation.

[rebelmouse-image 19397517 dam="1" original_size="750x499" caption="Seth Owen (left) , Jane Martin (center) and friends. Photo via GoFundMe." expand=1]Seth Owen (left) , Jane Martin (center) and friends. Photo via GoFundMe.

Martin's act of kindness is the support all students — queer or not — deserve to help them achieve their dreams and express self-love.

“It’s difficult to be who you genuinely are when you have all this pressure around you from all these different people in your life,” Owen said. “But if you become comfortable with who you are, you're that much more equipped to face these difficult times.”

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

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Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


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