How a D.C. group is persuading more women to run for office across America.

Courtney Peters-Manning was sick of complaining. She wanted to do something.

The results of the election had surprised and unnerved her, and reading her social media feed felt like running in circles.

"I was getting really frustrated with just the Facebook algorithm showing me everything from people who already agreed with me, and I felt like I needed to do something concrete," says Peters-Manning, a New Jersey attorney.


Facebook did, however, serve up one key piece of useful advice. Shortly after Election Day, Peters-Manning stumbled on a post about She Should Run, a nonpartisan, Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that encourages and trains women to run for office. She joined the group's candidate incubator, which she says helped her crystalize her thinking and vision while giving her the confidence to firm up her plans.

The statehouse in Trenton, New Jersey. Photo by Marion Touvel/Wikimedia Commons.

Since then, she's been networking furiously across her county, where she hopes to run — and where currently only two of seven officeholders are female.

"My husband is really excited for me, and he’s ready to step up and do whatever he has to do to make it happen for me," she says.

According to She Should Run co-founder Erin Loos Cutraro, the group saw a surge of interest after Nov. 8 from women like Peters-Manning who responded to the shocking defeat of the nation's first major-party female nominee with a feeling of urgency to act.

Prior to November, the organization offered support to 100-200 new women per month. Since Election Day, more than 6,000 women have signed up for the group's incubator.

"We know that women, when they run, win at the same rate as men, so very simply, we need more women running," Cutraro says.

She Should Run was founded in 2008, initially to study the challenges to achieving gender equity in public office.

Photo by Ryan McBride/Getty Images.

After surveying women and analyzing races across the country, Cutraro and her co-founders concluded that much of the research, which was conducted on women in the business community, applied to women in politics as well — particularly the finding that, unlike most men, most women don't apply for jobs unless they can check every requirement.

"There’s a saying: ‘Either you’re at the table or you’re on the menu.’ So I think we need to be at the table."
— Courtney Peters-Manning

"A lot of women will question their qualification," Cutraro says. One goal of the incubator is to disabuse prospective candidates of the idea that they need to be an expert in everything in order to start the process.

For Chelsea Wilson, joining the She Should Run incubator has given her a community of like-minded women to talk about the fears and risks of running for office.

She Should Run "really meets women where they’re at," says Wilson, an Oklahoman and Cherokee Nation member who works on Native American economic development. "That’s one of the best things about it."

Wilson hopes to return to Oklahoma to run for local office, where she plans to continue her work representing Native interests and advocating equality for women and girls.

Recruiting more women for office is more than an issue of fairness, according to She Should Run.

"If we want the smartest policies possible, we can’t possibly expect to get there if we’re not tapping the talents of half the population in our country," Cutraro says.

Kamala Harris, freshman U.S. senator from California, takes the oath of office. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images.

One of the organization's biggest challenges is getting women who are working on causes in their home communities to see their own power and potential for effecting change on those issues in office. The group has ambitious expansion plans, including adding staff in the coming year to help manage the onrush of interest and expanding its technological capability to reach more women virtually.

The group also aims to ensure the interests of half of the population are fairly represented at the highest — and lowest — levels of American government.

"There’s a saying: ‘Either you’re at the table or you’re on the menu.’ So I think we need to be at the table," Peters-Manning says.

For many of She Should Run's staff and clientele, 2016 demonstrated the brutality that women can subjected to on the campaign trail. Cutraro notes, however, that there are hundreds of offices at the state, local, and municipal levels where women can run issue-based campaigns without being subjected to a barrage of personal opposition research.

Chelsea Wilson with She Should Run's "All-Barbie female ticket." Photo via Chelsea Wilson.

Still, for those who are interested in running for higher office, the program hopes to embolden those nervous about meeting that brutality head-on to emerge clear-eyed and unafraid.

On that count, it's succeeding.

"I know that it’s going to require a lot of courage," Wilson says, "more courage than I thought it would even a year ago. And a lot of hard work. But it’s definitely not something I’m going let anyone intimidate me about, and it’s something that will be worth it, no matter what the outcome of a run for me would be."

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

This article originally appeared on 06.28.21


After Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man, was pursued and shot by three white residents while jogging through a Georgia suburb, Ellen and Patrick Miller* of San Diego hung a Black Lives Matter flag in front of their house. It was a small gesture, but something tangible they could do.

Like many people, they wanted to both support the BLM movement and bring awareness about racism to members of their community. Despite residing in a part of the county notoriously rumored to be marred by white supremacists and their beliefs, their neighbors didn't say much about it—at first.

Recently, though, during a short window when both Ellen and Patrick were out of the house, someone sliced the flag in two and left the remains in their yard.

via Paula Fitzgibbons

They were upset, but not surprised.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."