How a father-daughter duo is bringing joy to people's lives by doing what they love.

Each holiday season, father-daughter team Ty and Vicky Shen pull out their trusty map and deliver delicious meals to people in need.

Vicky (left) and Ty Shen. Image via Vicky Shen, used with permission.

Once they've planned out their route, they load up their station wagon with all the hot meals and holiday baskets they can fit and then drive around Massachusetts — going door to door until their car is empty. They do this over and over all day until there's nothing left to be delivered.


"I've been a firm believer that those who can help, should," writes Ty in an email. "Regardless if it's time or other resources, helping our fellow man is our responsibility."

That's why, in 2001, Ty and Vicky decided to start this tradition in the first place. They loved volunteering, and Community Servings, a local nonprofit food program, was the perfect choice since they could share the open road together and, most importantly, bring joy to people's lives.

Community Servings provides medically tailored meals to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses.

With 15 different medical diets on their menu, clients across Massachusetts and Rhode Island receive the perfect nutrition combination for their specific health conditions right on their doorstep. On top of that, Community Servings also provides supplementary meals for caregivers and dependent children to make sure every tummy in the house is filled up daily.

Volunteers happily hard at work. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

Vicky fell in love with the cause when she first entered their kitchen some 16 years ago as a corps member of City Year Boston — an education-focused student support organization. Once she learned about the holiday deliveries, she knew she needed to get her family involved right then and there. After all, the spirit of helping others, Ty says, runs in Vicky's veins.

"Volunteering with [Community Servings] with my dad is one of my favorite things to do," writes Vicky. "I get to spend time with my dad, and the people at [Community Servings] who are so wonderful, and really do something that on a daily basis helps people's lives be a little bit better. "

And since they've started, they've done everything from chopping cabbage to chatting up guests to prepping the actual baskets. Whatever's needed, they're right there, ready to push the mission forward.

Delivering holiday meals in style. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

Community Servings offers an important and much-needed service — and it wouldn't be possible without the dedication of all their volunteers.

"Each year, our volunteers give more than 55,000 hours of service, which is the equivalent to almost 30 full time employees," explains Community Servings CEO David Waters in an email. "There's no way we'd be able to serve the 1,850 individuals and families we do each year without their generous efforts."

In fact, thanks to their volunteers, Community Servings is able to prep 2,200 made-from-scratch meals every day. And just this past January, they celebrated their 7 millionth meal. (That's right. 7 million!)

8 million meals, here we come. Image via Community Servings, used with permission.

For everyone who hits the road for Community Servings, it's all about bringing joy to as many people as possible.

So whether you're a college student, retiree, parolee, or corporate professional, all Community Servings asks for is a shared passion for service. That's the heart of their mission and exactly why Ty and Vicky got involved to begin with.

Vicky goes on to add, "My involvement in [Community Servings] has been one of the pieces of my life that has made me realize how important it is to try to make a difference and make the world a better place every day."

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A new Harriet Tubman statue sculpted by Emmy and Academy award-winner Wesley Wofford has been revealed, and its symbolism is moving to say the least.

Harriet Tubman was the best known "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, a network of safe houses that helped thousands of enslaved black Americans make their way to freedom in the north in the early-to-mid 1800s. Tubman herself escaped slavery in 1849, then kept returning to the Underground Railroad, risking her life to help lead others to freedom. She worked as a spy for the Union Army during the Civil War, and after the war dedicated her life to helping formerly enslaved people try to escape poverty.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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The Hillary Clinton email scandal was a major right-wing talking point during the 2016 election that aimed to create an air of suspicion around the candidate.

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The controversy surrounded Clinton's use of a private email account in which over 30,000 emails were sent during her time as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. An FBI interrogation found there were 110 confidential emails sent from her private account.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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