How one determined mom's great idea led to these innovative, one-of-a-kind masterpieces.

This is more than a piece of art.

"The Road to Helping Hands." Photo courtesy of Kimberly Resh, used with permission.


It's a commitment. It's a movement. It's a whole lot of love.

It was created by a group of kind and amazing (and kinda amazing) middle-school students to celebrate their classmate with disabilities.

When Kimberly and Michael Resh welcomed a daughter in 1994, right away they knew something wasn't right.

Sleeping baby, sans ventilator, tubes, and beeping monitors — a newborn experience Michael and Kimberly didn't have with their first daughter, Mikayla. Photo by Morgan/Flickr.

Immediately after her birth, their daughter Mikayla required a ventilator to breathe. Five days later, doctors informed the Reshes that Mikayla had a severe and permanent brain injury.

At best, Mikayla might have cerebral palsy. Worst case? They were told she might be in a vegetative state, or not survive at all. It was a terrifying moment for the first-time parents, but with the diagnosis came a decision.

"All I could control was what I could control," Kimberly told Upworthy. "And I wanted to give her the best life possible."

Thankfully, Mikayla survived, and the Reshes set about creating a great life for their daughter, who is now 21 years old.

Due to her brain injury, Mikayla is non-verbal, deaf, and legally blind. She also uses a wheelchair to get around.

Mikayla today. Photo via Kimberly Resh, used with permission.

When it came to choosing an elementary school, despite Mikayla's significant disabilities, it was important to the Reshes for their daughter to attend their neighborhood school with kids her age.

"The district had never included a child like Mikayla [in a regular classroom] but agreed to give it a try," Kimberly said.

With the help of teacher's aides, assistants, and physical and occupational therapists, Mikayla thrived in her mainstream classroom with her peers. Kimberly even worked with Mikayla's classmates and, in 2006, published a children's book ("Our Friend Mikayla") about having a friend with disabilities.

Before long, Mikayla was in middle school and Kimberly needed a way to introduce her daughter to her new classmates.

She came up with the idea to create a project with Mikayla's art class. The students painted Mikayla's chair wheels and helped roll her across the canvas.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Resh, used with permission.

After that, students added their own hand prints and tissue paper to create two four-by-six-foot works of art.

Not only did the project provide the opportunity for Mikayla to work with her new classmates, but the resulting projects were stunning. Both still hang in the school today.

The first, shown in full at the top of this piece (the handprints in the shape of a heart), is called "The Road to Helping Hands." The second, shown below, is titled "The Wheels of Friendship."

"The Wheels of Friendship." Photo by Kimberly Resh, used with permission.

After pushing for classroom accessibility for her own daughter, Kimberly founded Mikayla's Voice to encourage classroom inclusivity for kids with disabilities.

"The single most important thing for her and our family has been her inclusion," Kimberly said. "So it only made sense that when we started a nonprofit, it would center around including kids in regular environments."

Since the painting projects had such a positive impact on Mikayla both socially and physically (her aides remarked how relaxed she was after art class), it only made sense for Mikayla's Voice to to start with art.

As part of the nonprofit, each year students at three or four schools across Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley complete their own paintings, working together to make large works of art for their school.

Kimberly and Mikayla also travel to local schools and community events to lead Wheels of Friendship workshops and demos.

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Resh, used with permission.

The results are bigger than beautiful paintings. For the kids with disabilities, the project is a akin to art therapy, a tool widely used to encourage communication, express emotions, and relieve stress. Additionally, Wheels of Friendship workshops offer a unique starting point for students of all abilities to make art and come together as a team or class.

Photo by Kimberly Resh, used with permission.

By teaching children about disability, empathy, kindness, and teamwork, Kimberly hopes they'll serve as advocates for inclusion.

"If you want to create a cultural change, you have to start with the kids," she said.

"Because these are the people who in 25 years are gonna be the doctors, are gonna be the teachers, are gonna be the parents teaching their own children."

Children create a work of art at Peepsfest. Photo courtesy of ArtsQuest, used with permission.

The Wheels of Friendship paintings are now on display to the public.

To make it happen, Mikayla's Voice teamed up with ArtsQuest, a local nonprofit that promotes art and cultural education. Because the large canvasses hang at schools around the Northeast, the general public often doesn't have a chance to see the beautiful works in person.

For the first time, high-resolution digital reprints are being displayed at the Banana Factory, a gallery and arts space in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

It's part of a larger initiative, "Arts & Access," which was organized by the local Lehigh Valley Arts Council to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

"The Keys to Friendship." Photo by Kimberly Resh, used with permission.

"More than 30 different arts and cultural organizations in our area have teamed up with local social service agencies to offer exhibits, performances, exhibitions, film screenings and more," said Stacie Brennan, senior director of visual arts for ArtsQuest. "[All] with the goal of expanding access for people with disabilities and their families and friends."

It's a fitting honor for Mikayla and Kimberly, who have dedicated much of their lives to encouraging inclusivity.

Mikayla, now 21, will finish her formal education this summer and is already taking painting classes at the community college. She also volunteers in the art room at her former middle school, where the work of art she created with her classmates still hangs.

Though she's never said a word, the work Mikayla has done to teach, inspire, and connect kids of all abilities speaks volumes to her heart and character.

It's no wonder Kimberly smiles through a few happy tears when she thinks about it.

"I'm so proud of Mikayla, and I'm so proud to be her Mom."

Mikayla and her mom, Kimberly. Photo via Kimberly Resh, used with permission.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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