Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.
Elaine Hamel founded Girls at Work, Inc. in 2000 because to her, empowerment isn't just a buzzword but a way of life. Their mission is to challenge traditional norms and normalize girl power, focusing specifically on uplifting and supporting inner city girls between the ages of 8 and 18, who need stability, safety, and confidence.
The girls attending summer camps or after-school programs work in groups and learn how to problem solve, communicate, and use tools to build something practical. Hamel believes that learning how to use power tools shows the girls that they can do anything they put their minds to, better preparing them for a bright future.
Photo courtesy of TD Bank
Elaine's forward-thinking, positive leadership, and passion for the community is exactly why TD Bank chose to honor her for the 2022 #TDThanksYou campaign, a North American campaign demonstrating the bank’s gratitude and commitment to their customers by celebrating, recognizing, and thanking unsung heroes in exciting and meaningful ways. Hamel is one of six honorees recognized this year and was presented with power tools and gift certificates to purchase additional items needed to enhance the program.
Hamel understands what it feels like to hear the word “can’t.” Growing up, she struggled to find her place in a world that seemed to be built by, and for, men. As a kid she loved to “create or fix things” and always found something to tinker with. Before long, she discovered not only did she enjoy building and repairing things, but she was very good at it.
She spent the next several decades breaking down the multitude of barriers that a woman pursuing a career as a general contractor faced in the 1980s and 1990s.
“It was really brutal when I first started out in construction,” Hamel said. “The men were so cruel. But I grew up with five brothers and I was used to it. I told myself I’d be the boss one day…and now I am.”
Photo courtesy of TD Bank
The process of learning how to become stronger and more confident in her natural abilities sent her career soaring, and drives her life’s work—empowering girls to take up space and take control of their own lives.
“These are kids who grapple with neglect, food insecurity, and extreme poverty,” said Hamel. “They’re not soaring in school because they’re in survival mode. They’re hungry and unable to focus and learn.” Hamel’s solution is a fully stocked food pantry, where the girls can shop for groceries before heading home. Girls at Work, Inc. also has a “kindness closet,” stocked with clothing, shoes, outerwear and other items.
After addressing their immediate needs, the girls are ready to get to work. “There are many programs out there devoted to teaching trades and skills to girls,” said Hamel, “But this is about learning how to think critically and problem solve. Pushing through that is what actually empowers them.”
Photo courtesy of Girls at Work
The nonprofit is a vital part of the community, relying heavily on donations and volunteers to keep it going. For example, a club of retired men volunteer their time to pre-cut the lumber for Girls at Work, Inc.'s projects. The girls use that lumber to create things—like picnic tables, benches, and birdhouses—which in turn are donated to local organizations.
Hamel says she’s built with over 20,000 girls so far, and her goal is to hit one million. Her dream is to secure funding to open up new locations to serve even more communities and says that watching these girls' step into their power and believe in themselves is what keeps her moving forward. The world needs more heroes like her.
To learn more about this year's #TDThanksYou heroes, visit https://www.td.com/us/en/about-us/customers/humans-with-heart
'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'
There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.
According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.
“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.
\u201cDevastated bride goes ahead with party after groom stood her up on their wedding day \ud83d\udc4f\n\n[THREAD] \ud83e\uddf5\u201d— Manchester News MEN (@Manchester News MEN) 1664276377
Stead spoke with the groom at 4 p.m. the previous day, but they stayed the night with their respective parties to save some mystery before the big day. “The groom and I had already agreed not to speak the night before the wedding anyway, so I didn’t know what was happening on his end, I didn’t have a clue,” Stead told The Metro.
Stead was in absolute shock after hearing the news. She had paid for nearly the entire wedding herself, using up all of her life savings on the £12,000 ($13,000) affair. “As a joke, the videographer said ‘Why don’t you carry on, girls? You’ve spent all this money, you’re not getting it back, all your guests are there, why don’t you just go?’” Stead told The Metro.
So, she did just that. Stead decided that the wedding would go on without her fiance.
\u201cKayley Stead made the brave decision to carry on with the celebrations without her partner of four years Kallum Norton after he ditched her before the ceremony\n\nhttps://t.co/BoBM7KUSOh\u201d— The Daily Record (@The Daily Record) 1664316000
“That’s when I was like, I’m going to do it,” she said. “I’d spent all this money, I’d been looking forward to the food, a dance with my dad, spending time with my family, so why not?”
Stead, her friends, family and even the groomsmen didn’t let things go to waste and they enjoyed her wedding entrance, food, speeches, dances and even posed for photos. “I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness,” she said.
“She was the most beautiful bride we had ever seen,” Cullen added.
The good news is that after the party, Cullen set up a GoFundMe page to help Stead recoup her losses and it has already reached its goal of £10,000 ($10,830). Almost two weeks after the event, Stead still doesn’t know why she was stood her up on her wedding day.
\u201c"There were so many special moments, like my wedding entrance, the sparkler walk, the first dance and punching the wedding cake, so there was still happiness in the day. I'd spent all this money." - Kayley Stead\u201d— Birmingham Live (@Birmingham Live) 1664199021
The Sun caught up with Norton and he refused to apologize. The only thing he had to say was, "I don’t want to talk about the article.”
While it’s terrible that Stead was stood up on her wedding day, she should be applauded for making the best of the worst day ever. It’s also wonderful that her bridesmaids and family stood by her side and supported her as she dealt with a serious blow. Let’s hope she finds someone better soon. It shouldn’t be too hard—standing someone up at the altar and then not even explaining yourself is a pretty low move.
A little comfort goes a long way.
We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?
Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.
A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.
Socks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to
When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.
Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.
Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.
Raines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best
Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.
Running helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery
Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”
Welcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!
The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.
Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.
You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.
Thank goodness we no longer have to talk to random people in the house when calling a friend.
There are always stories about how great the '90s were, but actually, when compared today, they were many things that were pretty inconvenient. Sure, you got to roam the streets doing who knows what for who knows how long while your mom watched an "Unsolved Mysteries" episode on all the ways you could be kidnapped. But you also couldn't just pick up your cell phone and ask if dinner was ready or if you could get another 15 minutes outside. The notion of inconvenience in the '90s had one Reddit user asking people what they don't miss from the decade of neon and cassette tapes.
The question turned out to be a fun twist on the old rose-colored glasses nostalgia that generally happens when we reminisce on decades past. Personally, I don't miss having to talk to random people in someone's house when I call to talk to a friend. If we're being completely honest here, I don't miss actually having to talk on the phone. Text me, please and thank you because if you call me I will absolutely stare at my phone until it stops ringing and then text to see why you called. It's nothing personal, I just prefer very little human contact. People can be very peopley, but what were other people's gripes?
Man, it feels like we were once pirates. Blue, pink and yellow lines zigzagging across a map of your state or worse, the entire country if your road trip was taking you out of state, just seems reckless now. Sure, if there's ever some sort of crazy apocalypse and Siri is no longer yelling at us for making wrong turns, map reading will come in handy. Until then, "Hey Siri, give me directions to the children's museum."
The younger generations will never know the annoyance of wondering something with no answer for literally days until you make your way to the library to research it. Imagine for a moment having a question and instead of walking your fingers over to the Google, you have to put on real pants and go to the library, look through the card catalogue then search the aisle for the title of the book you need that holds this secret knowledge. The whole thing just sounds exhausting.
Remember when you missed your favorite television show and … you just missed it. That's it. There was no watching it later unless you had a VCR that could record, otherwise you had to wait until the summer for the reruns. Sometimes missing one episode of a show ruins the whole show because you missed a key piece of information.
No. Just, no. Getting fully dressed to wander the aisles of your local Blockbuster or Hollywood Video to read the back of empty movie boxes only to come home to watch a crappy movie you feel obligated to watch, does not sound like a good time. People in the '90s really liked leaving the house.
There would be plenty of people confused if their parents handed them a handful of coins because they were going out, but it was how we had to live. You either had quarters to call home or you left really fast messages after the beep of a collect call meant for you to leave your name. Plenty of parents got the "mompickmeupthemoviesover" messages, then promptly hung up the phone without accepting any charges.
The only internet was dial-up in the '90s and it was a fickle beast because internet was still new and shiny. Not only did you have to wait for your connection to load with that god-awful sound it made, but you couldn't use the internet if someone was yapping on the phone. The absolute frustration that came with the early years of internet would be enough to make someone's head explode today.
You just want to play Street Fighter and the dang thing won't work, so you do what any kid in the '90s did, you start blowing the dust out of it. I've heard this doesn't actually do anything, but it certainly did something when I was a kid because after blowing your hot Dunkaroo breath in it, the game miraculously worked.
When CDs came out it seemed that they were a game changer. You no longer had to re-spool your unraveled tape with a pencil because it kept getting stuck in your boom box, but CDs came with their own problem. They scratched easily and the portable music player was too big to fit into your back pocket like the much smaller Walkman that played cassette tapes.
Developing pictures was really the wild west in the '90s. Would you get a cool close-up of you and your friends, or would you get a blurry picture of your thumb? It was anyone's guess. Taking a million pictures and hoping for the best was really the only strategy because Polaroid cameras were too big to carry everywhere.
There was nothing worse than being ready to leave some place or having your car break down only to dig through your pocket for a quarter to put in the payphone just for no one to be home. How wild is it to think about that now? Someone had to literally be inside their home to receive a phone call.
It's truly amazing how quickly we adapt to things as humans. While most of the things on the list are little annoyances, it goes to show how far we've come with technology and convenience. We have really embodied the term "work smarter, not harder."
This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019
Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.
(That could be why throughout most of the United States — where the majority of lawmakers are men — feminine hygiene products are subject to sales tax.)
So we should give some love to the guys who make an effort to learn a bit about the menstrual cycle so they can help their family members when they're in desperate need of feminine hygiene products.
Personally, as a guy, the feminine hygiene aisle can be a little intimidating. There are multiple brands, styles of products, scents, absorbency levels, and they are all color-coded.
What do the colors mean?
Knowing there's a lot I don't know, I take a picture on my phone of the box I'm about to purchase and send it to my wife, asking, "Is this the right one?"
A dad in the U.K. is getting some love on social media for the hilarious way he navigated the world of feminine hygiene products while showing how much he loved his daughter in the process.
It all began when Tia Savva sent her dad to Tesco, a popular U.K. drug store, to pick up some tampons.
For all the guys out there that need a solid primer on what goes on in the feminine hygiene product aisle, this quick tutorial from Mel magazine does a pretty great job.