How one man is helping at-risk youth by providing a place to do what they love.
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Nowadays, it feels like skate culture has become synonymous with Long Beach. But it wasn't always that way.

In fact, before the year 2000, Long Beach, California, didn't have a single skate park to its name. But Mike Donelon, a former city councilman, helped change that.

In 1996, Donelon noticed more and more kids around the neighborhood picking up skateboards. But they didn't have a safe — or even legal — place to skate. Kids ended up skating on private property or the streets most of the time, which led to them being ticketed by police or getting into serious accidents.


Donelon knew that if he could provide a proper venue for the kids to skate, they'd take full advantage of it.

All images via ASK, used with permission.

But many members of the community were against the idea. They latched on to negative stereotypes such as kids destroying property and thought more skating would lead to more crime.

"Most of the opposition was the unfounded negative impression of skateboarders," Donelon writes in an email.

But Donelon, who calls himself a "a rebel with a positive mission," had a plan to enlighten the naysayers: have the kids talk to the community themselves to highlight just how important this was to them.

The plan was a success. Says Donelon: "I was blown away by the kids' involvement. We would invite 25 kids to a meeting and 50 would show up."

The city listened. In time, the kids had a skate park they could call their own.

In 2000, Donelon helped open the El Dorado Skate Park to finally give kids a safe and legal place to do their thing. But soon after, Donelon saw that skate parks could have an even bigger effect in the community.

When he noticed kids from all over Long Beach traveling long distances to enjoy El Dorado Skate Park, Donelon realized that expanding the program and building more skate parks across the city — including in under-resourced areas — would engage at-risk youth unlike ever before.

In 2003, the Michael K. Green Skate Park was established.

The best part? After just three years, the city of Long Beach let Donelon know just how effective the skate park was. According to Donelon, drug-related incidents and violent crime have dropped in that neighborhood since the skate park was built.

To keep this incredible momentum rolling, Donelon then founded the Action Sports Kids Foundation (ASK), where he now serves as executive director.

Their main mission is to provide at-risk youth with an alternative to gang life through action sports, education, and community activities. And since day one, they've been flourishing.

Mike Donelon (left) and ASK team co-founder Alberth Mimila.

"Our team started with 8 kids in 2011," writes Donelon. "We now have 180 members with 60 that show up to our monthly meetings."

ASK also regularly invites guest speakers to share their wisdom — from the mayor to the police chief to professional skaters and their official teams. ASK even hosts fun events like best trick contests and field trips to other skate parks in the city.

Since its inception, ASK has undoubtedly played a major role in changing countless lives and establishing eight skate parks across Long Beach.

In fact, legendary pro skater Tony Hawk uses ASK as a model in his own foundation to show cities across the country just how effective a skate park program can really be.

"Skateboarding and skate parks give at risk youth a sense of belonging to something positive," Donelon writes. "It works and we are proof."

Donelon and Tony Hawk with the kids of ASK.

ASK welcomes anyone to come in and join their mission. All you need to do is reach out to them to let them know you're interested, and they'll find the perfect spot in their organization where you can help out. You can also attend any of their upcoming events to see how they're creating change firsthand.

If you're unable to work with them directly, though, there are so many other ways you can make a similar impact in your community. Whether it's becoming a mentor, throwing events to shine a light on important issues, or even reaching out to your local government about starting your own skate park, there are countless ways to follow ASK's incredible example.

At the end of the day, if there's anything that their story shows us, it's how creating lasting change in the community simply starts by listening to the people who make it so special.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

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Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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