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I asked this kid what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said, 'Nothing.'

While education isn't an all-encompassing solution for refugee kids, it can make a big difference.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

When you ask a lot of kids this question, they usually have quick answers. They want to be doctors, artists, firefighter ... you name it, they'll dream it up. Kids have pretty awesome (and hilarious) ambitions.

Most kids, that is.


When I asked Zeinab, a 9-year-old girl living at the Mosaab al-Telyani refugee camp in Lebanon, this question, her answer had a completely different tone.

"I don't want to be anything. I won't become anything," Zeinab said

Zeinab, 9 years old on her first day at the program. All photos taken by the author, used with permission.

Zeinab is one of those kids you'd expect to be at the top of her class.

Unlike the other kids in her school, she is very quiet and often sits by herself. She's exceptionally thoughtful and beyond her years in education. I imagine she'd be the one raising her hand all the time at an American elementary school, the one acing vocabulary and math tests.

But at the Mosaab al-Telyani camp school, Zeinab rarely attends class. She has even said that she plans to drop out of school completely when she turns 13.

Zeinab has been assured for years that she would not become anything in life.

She had no hope for a life different from the one she was living, and her weak, almost nonexistent, education hadn't encouraged ambition. She had migrated from Syria to Lebanon over two years ago and lost both her parents and all her family members to the war. She lives at an orphanage in the Mosaab al-Telyani camp, which is right across the border from Syria in Beqaa Valley, Lebanon. It's home to hundreds of Syrian refugees. Zeinab is expected to marry in her teenage years in order to survive.

Zeinab writes her name in English.

Many Syrian refugee children like Zeinab miss years of school and receive little to no education after they leave their home countries. The UNHCR found last year that 66% of the 80 refugee children they interviewed in Lebanon did not attend school. And a World Bank report revealed that failure and dropout rates among Syrian children are now almost twice the national average for Lebanese children.

While education is certainly not an all-encompassing solution for refugee kids like Zeinab, it can make a big difference.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre reports that 9,500 people a day — approximately one family every 60 seconds — are being displaced in Syria. The average global displacement for all refugees is 17 years, and it's likely that for Syrians, the time period will be longer. So while the proportion of the refugee crisis is unprecedented — a generation without education is a lost generation — the impact of quality education could be huge.

A recent Human Rights Watch study concluded that ensuring Syrian refugees have education will reduce the risks of early marriage and military recruitment and will increase their earning potential. Most importantly, education will shape Syrian youth to tackle the challenges they will face rebuilding their country or adjusting to unpredictable futures.

For three months, Zeinab was part of an education project that hoped to improve basic language and math skills for children with significant gaps in their education.

The program was aimed at helping these kids eventually enter the Lebanese public school system, but it was also about instilling hope and reinvigorating ambition in a generation that seems to have given up. The classrooms became safe spaces not only for education but also for building self-esteem and inspiring dreams for the future.

When the program ended, I asked Zeinab the same question again: "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

This time she had an answer ready: "I want to be a teacher."

Zeinab, on her last day of the program.

Sponsored

3 organic recipes that feed a family of 4 for under $7 a serving

O Organics is the rare brand that provides high-quality food at affordable prices.

A woman cooking up a nice pot of pasta.

Over the past few years, rising supermarket prices have forced many families to make compromises on ingredient quality when shopping for meals. A recent study published by Supermarket News found that 41% of families with children were more likely to switch to lower-quality groceries to deal with inflation.

By comparison, 29% of people without children have switched to lower-quality groceries to cope with rising prices.

Despite the current rising costs of groceries, O Organics has enabled families to consistently enjoy high-quality, organic meals at affordable prices for nearly two decades. With a focus on great taste and health, O Organics offers an extensive range of options for budget-conscious consumers.

O Organics launched in 2005 with 150 USDA Certified Organic products but now offers over 1,500 items, from organic fresh fruits and vegetables to organic dairy and meats, organic cage-free certified eggs, organic snacks, organic baby food and more. This gives families the ability to make a broader range of recipes featuring organic ingredients than ever before.


“We believe every customer should have access to affordable, organic options that support healthy lifestyles and diverse shopping preferences,” shared Jennifer Saenz, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer at Albertsons, one of many stores where you can find O Organics products. “Over the years, we have made organic foods more accessible by expanding O Organics to every aisle across our stores, making it possible for health and budget-conscious families to incorporate organic food into every meal.”

With some help from our friends at O Organics, Upworthy looked at the vast array of products available at our local store and created some tasty, affordable and healthy meals.

Here are 3 meals for a family of 4 that cost $7 and under, per serving. (Note: prices may vary by location and are calculated before sales tax.)

O Organic’s Tacos and Refried Beans ($6.41 Per Serving)

Few dishes can make a family rush to the dinner table quite like tacos. Here’s a healthy and affordable way to spice up your family’s Taco Tuesdays.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 22 minutes

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 packet O Organics Taco Seasoning ($2.29)

O Organics Mexican-Style Cheese Blend Cheese ($4.79)

O Organics Chunky Salsa ($3.99)

O Organics Taco Shells ($4.29)

1 can of O Organics Refried Beans ($2.29)

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Add 1 packet of taco seasoning to beef along with water [and cook as directed].

3. Add taco meat to the shell, top with cheese and salsa as desired.

4. Heat refried beans in a saucepan until cooked through, serve alongside tacos, top with cheese.

tacos, o organics, family recipesO Organics Mexican-style blend cheese.via O Organics

O Organics Hamburger Stew ($4.53 Per Serving)

Busy parents will love this recipe that allows them to prep in the morning and then serve a delicious, slow-cooked stew after work.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 7 hours

Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 ½ lbs O Organics Gold Potatoes ($4.49)

3 O Organics Carrots ($2.89)

1 tsp onion powder

I can O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 cups water

1 yellow onion diced ($1.00)

1 clove garlic ($.50)

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano

Instructions:

1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat until thoroughly browned; remove any excess grease.

2. Transfer the cooked beef to a slow cooker with the potatoes, onions, carrots and garlic.

3. Mix the tomato paste, water, salt, pepper, onion powder and Italian seasoning in a separate bowl.

4. Drizzle the mixed sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker and mix thoroughly.

5. Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it on low for 7 to 8 hours, or until the potatoes are soft. Dish out into bowls and enjoy!

potatoes, o organics, hamburger stewO Organics baby gold potatoes.via O Organics


O Organics Ground Beef and Pasta Skillet ($4.32 Per Serving)

This one-pan dish is for all Italian lovers who are looking for a saucy, cheesy, and full-flavored comfort dish that takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.

Prep time: 2 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Total time: 27 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb of O Organics Grass Fed Ground Beef ($7.99)

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 can O Organics Diced Tomatoes ($2.00)

1 can O Organics Tomato Sauce ($2.29)

1 tbsp O Organics Tomato Paste ($1.25)

2 1/4 cups water

2 cups O Organics Rotini Pasta ($3.29)

1 cup O Organics Mozzarella cheese ($4.79)

Instructions:

1. Brown ground beef in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks.

2. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder

3. Add tomato paste, sauce and diced tomatoes to the skillet. Stir in water and bring to a light boil.

4. Add pasta to the skillet, ensuring it is well coated. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Remove the lid, sprinkle with cheese and allow it to cool.

o organics, tomato basil pasta sauce, olive oilO Organics tomato basil pasta sauce and extra virgin olive oil.via O Organics

@jennielongdon/TikTok, Photo credit: Canva

It might not be hip, but it makes sense!

Online shopping is an integral part of adult life no matter what age group you fall into. But apparently there’s one digital spending habit that didn’t make it to Gen Z.

UK-based radio host Jennie Longdon recently went viral for sharing how—despite being able to do virtually everything from our phones—folks over the age of 30 can’t seem to part with using their laptops for “big purchases.”

“Takeaway , clothes, shoes within reason, yeah,” she says in a clip posted to her TikTok. “But…a plane ticket? That’s a laptop job!”

Longdon continues to feign disgust as she imagines big purchases being made from the phone, as these items obviously require the larger screen. It’s just something that a millennial brain cannot get behind. “We cannot make a big or significant purchase on the phone. You can't browse properly."

“Bigger screens for the big things please,” her video caption reads.

@jennielongdon Bigger screen for the big things please. #millennial #millennialsoftiktok #millenialmum #fyp #foryou ♬ original sound - Jennie Longdon

But there may be some sound reasoning behind this seemingly outdated logic. According to Fluid Commerce, the average desktop provides “over 3 times as much information” as a smartphone screen, allowing for more research. Laptops might not offer quite as much information as a desktop, but they certainly offer more than a phone, and it’s just good common sense to want as much information as possible before making an investment.

Either way, most millennials seem willing to die on this hill.

“Big purchases on the computer because I don’t trust mobile apps to show me everything I need to know,” one wrote in the comments.

“Big purchase requires the big internet,” added another.

A third said, "I will literally look at the information on my phone, then go get my laptop to go to the same site to book it.”

A few even shared horror stories of trying things the newfangled way and it backfiring immediately.

“I lived dangerously the other day and booked a hotel room on my phone and it tools ages buffering at the confirmation screen and I was fuming and knew I should’ve done it on my laptop,” one person lamented.

Another wrote, "I booked a mini break on my phone once and I accidentally refreshed the page with my thumb midway through booking.”

Still, there are some millennials who are on board with the phones-only approach.

"I booked flights, accommodation, and extracurriculars for four people on my phone recently,” one person wrote. "I was so proud."

Another said, "I'm a millennial and I just booked my Vegas hotel and flights on the phone. It's.....fine....."

Lastly—kudos to this commenter, who truly got to the root of this issue by saying:

“We grew up in an age when mobile websites were terrible and we’ve never forgotten it.”

That really hits the nail on the head, doesn’t it? Some scars just never truly heal.

via COmedy Pet Photography Awards

Two funny entries in the Comedy Pet Photography Awards.

It's that time of the year again when Upworthy shares our favorite snaps from the Comedy Pet Photography Awards. We've handpicked 15 of the top 30 nominees in this year's competition to share, which include a headless horse, an angry Yorkie and a hungry tortoise.

The Comedy Pet Photography Awards were started by Paul Joynson Hicks and Tom Sullam, who are both professional photographers. They created this fun competition to highlight pets' vital role in our lives and to promote animal welfare.

While the contest is all about funny photos, it carries a meaningful message. “Through the Comedy Pets, we want to promote positive awareness of animal welfare issues and celebrate the incredible and valuable contribution that pets can and do have on our lives," the founders say on the competition's website.


Go to the Comedy Pet Photographic Awards' website to see all 30 of the competition's photos and vote on the People's Choice Category through June 2, 2024.

Here are Upworthy's 15 favorite photos from the competition.

1. "Dancing Queen" by Vera Faupel (Germany)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Vera Faupel /Comedy Pets


"What can I say, this dog (Pepper the Pointer) loves to jump!" — Vera Faupel

2. "Cat in a Trap" by Kenichi Morinaga (Japan)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Kenichi Morinaga / Comedy Pets

​"Cat in a trap it looks like the video game Super Mario World." — Kenichi Morinaga

3. "Hard Workers" by Atsuki Ohshima (Japan)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Atsuki Ohshima / Comedy Pets

"They give their all in every situation." — Atsuki Ohshima

4. "Not Just for Cats" by Sarah Haskell (England)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Sarah Haskell / Comedy Pets

"Hector saw the cat do it...so thought he would give it a try ....and this is about as far as he got before reversing out the way he came. But the cat made it look so easy." — Sarah Haskell

5. "What am I Thinking?" by David Kertzman (Brazil)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© David Kertzman / Comedy Pets

"A little shake of the head and... where is everyone? I was lucky enough to click at the exact moment the head disappeared." — David Kertzman

6. "Grumpy Dog" by Luiza Ribiero (Brazil)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Luiza Ribiero / Comedy Pets

"Meet Nick Barry, a 5-year-old Yorkie with a special talent for hilarious expressions. This may not be his most flattering photo, but that frown is undeniably captivating — a true portrait of a dog who doesn't need smiles to win our hearts." — Luiza Ribieo

7. "Who Are You?" by Sylvia Jiang (England)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Sylvia Jiang / Comedy Pets

"Loki and a lion." — Sylvia Jiang

8. "Peekaboo" by Bernard Sim (Singapore)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Bernard Sim / Comedy Pets


"Look, ma, no eyes!" — Bernard Sim

9. "New Rose" by Jonathan Casey (United Kingdom)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Jonathan Casey / Comedy Pets

"Edgar loves to eat flowers, and her favorites are dandelions for spring, snapdragons for summer and here she can be seen gobbling a whole Gertrude Jekyll rose last September. We grow them for her and as she is elderly we handfeed her, sometimes snapping her in between bites as you can see." — Jonathan Casey

10. I Believe I Can Fly" by Julie Smith (Ireland)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Julie Smith / Comedy Pets

"Flying poodle." — Julie Smith

11. "I Think I Saw A Mouse" by Debby Thomas (USA)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Debby Thomas / Comedy Pets

"This beautiful and athletic gelding loves to try to fly off the ground! This is one of the series of leaps he performs." — Debby Thomas

12. "It's Cold" by Tammo Zelle (Germany)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Tammo Zelle / Comedy Pets

"Our dog had a lot of fun in the snow, but unfortunately ice crystals always stick to his paws." — Tammo Zelle

13. "Sun Lover" by Alina Vogel (Germany)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Alina Vogel / Comedy Pets

"This is Freddie, he was my first Hamster and probably the most photogenic ever. Freddie died recently and that's the last honor I want to pay my little friend." — Alina Vogel

14. "It's Time to Get Up" by Lock Liu (China)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Lock Liu / Comedy Pets

"Every morning, my dog wakes me up by lying on my chest until I open my eyes." — Lock Liu

15. "The Proud Pup and His Best Friend" by Darya Zelentsova (USA)

comedy pet awards, funny pet photos, photography awards

© Darya Zelentsova / Comedy Pets

"Ludo von Lickenface, the sweetest 16-year-old rescue pup, strikes a pose alongside his beloved guardian, David." — Darya Zelentsova

Tom Hanks and Bill Murray


What do you think?


via Reasons My Son is Crying/Facebook

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE ANSWER

Given the narrow beauty standards in Hollywood, there are a lot of actors and actresses that look look amazingly similar.

Heath Ledger and Joseph Gordon-Levitt look a lot alike…



As do Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel…

But has anyone ever said, "You know which 60-something actors look identical? Tom Hanks and Bill Murray." Because they don't look alike. Although, funnily enough, Bill Murray did famously turn down the leads in Hanks' hits "Forrest Gump" and "Philadelphia," but I'm guessing nobody has ever screamed, "Loved you in 'Ghostbusters'" at Hanks as he walked down the street.

But for some reason, call it fate, call it luck, call it karma, the man making the "waaah" face in the orange raincoat above could easily be either man.

Here's what people are saying on Facebook:

The truth (should you choose to accept it):

The photo above is of Bill Murray and Laura DiMichele-Ross holding her crying son, Alexander, at the Alfred Dunhill Links golf competition at St. Andrews in October 2012. DiMichele-Ross posted the photo to a popular Facebook blog "Reasons My Son Is Crying" in May 2013. The photo resurfaced in October 2016 on the Today Show website, reigniting the controversy all over again.

Regardless of what the Internet is saying, DiMichele-Ross backs her original claim that it's Murray. "It's totally Bill," she reiterated in a comment on her post. "I can vouch cause I'm the one in the photo with the massive grin thinking 'Oh my god this is going to be an awesome photo!'"


This article originally appeared on 10.26.16

Strangers improvise incredible dance to music they didn't know

Improving anything isn't always easy and can sometimes be hilarious, which is why improv shows are so popular. Usually when someone is improvising dance moves, there's not a partner involved and if there is, they're generally not trained in dance. Limbs are jerking or smoothly flowing to the beat while feet and hips do their best to make coordinated motions.

But Rose City Swing dance studio, which specializes in West Coast Swing, has gone viral several times for their improvised dances. What they do is take two random dancers and pair them up, while the dancers are on the floor music starts playing. The dancers have no idea what song will be played and must come up with dance moves on the spot that coordinate with their partner.

It sounds nearly impossible but one duo that got paired together make it look easy. They dance so intuitively with each other that their video has gone viral multiple times on its own.


The video first appeared on social media in December 2023 where it had over 2.2 million views. It was posted again garnering millions more views before being posted on the Rose City Swing Instagram page where it grabbed a massive 3.6 million likes. Needless to say people love this random pairing's dance chemistry.

Watch it now:

The dancers in the video are PJ Turner and Tashina Beckmann and they flawlessly devoured this challenge. People in the comments can't get enough of the pair.

"Every time this pops up on my feed I watch it like 12x in a row," one person writes.

"They're dressed so unsuspecting and then bust out the SICKEST MOVES," another says.

"Every time I see this, across my feed, I have to watch it again. And every time I watch it, I feel the same Joy I did the first time. Smiling throughout," a commenter gushes.

"I’ve watched this so many times. This is how dance is supposed to be: fun. They have such an incredible ease. I want to take a class," someone else writes.

The dance studio is in Portland, Oregon if you're wanting to give it a try but there are no promises you'll be this smooth with an impromptu song, dance and partner. Totally worth a shot if you're local, if nothing else you'll have a blast trying.


@aguyandagolden/TikTok

All of their videos are so well done.

If you’re not following Jonathan Lower and his golden retriever Teddy on their @aguyandagolden TikTok channel, you’re missing out on some grade A wholesome entertainment.

According to an interview with Fox, Lower noticed that audiences were more interested in videos of Teddy than his regular videos home improvement projects. So Lower gave the people what they wanted—extremely well edited skits, all with Teddy as the star. And now, they are both full-time content creators.

To give you a taste of what they do, Lower recently posted a video of Teddy revealing some pretty impressive piano playing skills.

In the clip, Lower drops Teddy off at grandma’s for the day, where Teddy is so moved by grandma’s piano rendition of “Beauty and The Beast” that he sheds a single tear.

As soon as grandma leaves, Teddy begins tinkering at the keys, and even pulls up a Youtube tutorial for piano playing. Teddy’s hard work pays off too, because by the time Lower gets back, he’s able to play “Colors of the Wind” like it’s nothing!

Watch:

@aguyandagolden My dog learned how to play the piano! #dog #goldenretriever #dogsoftiktok ♬ original sound - AGuyandAGolden

That wide shot at the end is particularly cool. It really does look like Teddy has turned into Beethoven. The composer, not the movie dog.

Needless to say, people were blown away by Teddy’s talent.

“Johan Sebastian Bark,” one person commented.

Another wrote, “Wow Teddy is a fast learner. When is he going on tour?”

Another just commended Teddy’s acting chops, saying he “should have his own movie.” We are past due for another movie series starring a gifted dog.

Of course, Teddy might be too busy to film, as he’s already taken on other jobs, including electrician, caped crime fighter and “dogtor.” On the bright side, Lower told Fox that they still have plenty of skit ideas to bring to life.

“I have a notebook at home with about 500 to 600 video ideas,” he said. "A lot of them are ambitious and they might take a little bit of time to come to fruition but we think of a lot of short hitting ones and easy ones that we can do now and we knock those out.”

To not miss any of those videos, be sure to follow Lower and Teddy on TikTok.