How far would you go to make sure your child felt included? This mom got creative.

What a single mom's viral dad disguise can teach us about accepting all families.

When 12-year-old Elijah helped his mom, Yevette, put on a fake mustache, a plaid shirt, and a dash of cologne, he had no idea what was going on.

Yevette Vasquez is a single mother. Since Elijah was born, she's raised him alone.

So when Yevette found out there was a Donuts With Dad event at her son's school Sept. 1 in Fort Worth, Texas — an event her son thought he couldn't attend — she got creative.


Check out Yevette's Facebook post below about that special day:

Good morning, today at my son Elijah's skewl as I was dropping him off i ask him why there was so many cars... He said...

Posted by Yevette Vasquez on Thursday, September 1, 2016

Here's the full text:

Good morning, today at my son Elijah's skewl as I was dropping him off i ask him why there was so many cars... He said Donuts 🍩 with Dad, so we quickly went back home cause I wasn't about to let him miss out..... I know seeing other dads with there kids isn't easy for mine but its life, at least I can do whatever it takes to put a smile on that face, so here it goes..... and please don't hate I know I'm a woman an so do my sons lol #ilovehim#wegettingthemdonuts#noexcuses

Yevette showed up at Donuts With Dad looking hilarious in her "dad" costume.

She said most of the parents' reactions to her get-up were really cool, although she admits to sensing a little negative energy from a few dads who might have felt uncomfortable with her obvious disguise.

And while her costume was funny, it also reveals an important thing about inclusive school events.

Yevette takes a selfie of herself dressed as a dad. Image by Yevette Vasquez/Facebook, used with permission.

Sure she could have just gone as herself — a mom — and still have proven a point by setting an example. But by dressing up as a dad, she drew attention to a major issue.

Vasquez grew up without a father, so she knows the feeling of not having a dad in your life well. In fact, her situation is pretty common these days: U.S. Census data shows there were 9.9 million single mothers in 2014. That number marks a steep 3.4 million increase from 45 years ago.

Her Donuts With Dads story is also part of a larger issue, though: There are many types of families who don't necessarily consist of the "traditional" nuclear setup of mom, dad, two-point-five kids, and a pet.

Actually, less than half of kids in the U.S. live in a home with two married parents.

So events like Donuts With Dads can inadvertently feel like exclusion to students, like Elijah, who aren't raised in what many consider a traditional family headed by mother and father figures.

Image via Yevette Vasquez/Facebook, used with permission.

Yevette put herself out there so her son wouldn't feel excluded, and it was a beautiful act.

She says Elijah was happy and excited to go back to school after the Labor Day weekend to see the reactions of his mom's story going viral.

"I know I can't replace a man in his life, but I can turn a negative moment into a positive one," she said. "And at that moment, he is all that mattered."

More

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

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

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.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture