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Mom gets surprising wave of praise for letting her daughter skip school once a month

“I’m a teacher and I’m not mad about it."

kids, mental health, mental health days, moms
@_the1stnoel/TikTok

Mental health days belong to everyone

We know how important it is for adults to take a mental health day once in a while. But allowing kids the same privilege isn’t quite as mainstream. It’s easy to forget that, while maybe not the exact same as clocking in for a job, going to school everyday for upwards of 6-7+ hours a day can be physically and emotionally draining.

That said, parents who do allow their kids to skip school once in a while have noticed how beneficial it can be for their wellbeing.

Recently a mom named Noel LaPalomento shared in a TikTok video her 6-year-old daughter Giada enjoying a day off from school at the mall—something she now gets to do every month, “without being sick.”

LaPalomento told "Good Morning America" she had noticed a dip in her daughter's energy levels and mental health since taking on private school full time, depleting her motivation to keep going back.

"Last year, there [were] times she would literally come home from school, she'd be sleeping on the step before I could get her off, then she'd be sleeping in the hallway. It was like, the kid was a zombie," she told GMA. "And then she comes home, and I don't even have time to spend with my kid. I'm making dinner, trying to do homework [with her], and then it's time for bed."

One morning, LaPalomento wasn’t really feeling great either. And certainly wasn’t eager to make the 30-40 minute drive to Giada’s school. So, she offered a trip to the mall instead, and Giada was thrilled.

In the clip, Giada can be seen sipping boba, playing arcade games, eating cotton candy, and, perhaps most important of all, smiling from ear to ear.

@_the1stnoel

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And now, playing hooky is a monthly tradition—a choice most viewers wholeheartedly support…even envy.

“A mental health day off would have done so much good for my hurting brain and heart when I was growing up. This is amazing!” wrote mom blogger Elyse Myers.

“This should be normalized! So happy to see this!” wrote another.

Of course, others were critical of the decision, arguing that weekends offered the needed amount of relaxation time and the Giada could be missing out on important education days.

But according to LaPalomento, Giada’s grades haven’t been compromised at all. In fact, the days off have even boosted her with a little more motivation.

“It only accounts for 9 days out of an 181-day school year. I don’t see the problem if the student is doing well in school, which in that case she is doing great!,” she reasoned with the New York Post.

Actual educators even weighed in, most in favor of Giada taking a monthly mini break.

“I’m a teacher and I’m not mad about it. Mental health days are super important and let kids be kids!” one person wrote on TikTok.

Meanwhile, psychologists also noted the benefits.

Amy Morin, LCSW, argued that it could help offset anxiety—a serious issue in today’s pressure-inducing, performance-oriented world. And Dr. Kimberly Alexander of the Child Mind Institute in New York City remarked days off as “very restorative when done strategically." (Insider, GMA)

The key to this strategy is being clear on exactly why a kid might want to skip school. There is of course a difference between needing to prioritize self care avoiding facing fears, which can make mental health issues worse.

It also helps if parents plan for rejuvenating activities rather than allowing bad habits such as excessively playing video games or sleeping all day to form. But the common denominator between all these things is open communication. Checking in, asking questions, and validating a child’s experience.

Not every parent might be able to pull off a monthly day off like LaPalomento, but it helps to at least recognize the value in letting kids have the autonomy to actually voice when they need a break. Just think of how different our world might be if it were full of adults who didn’t think the world would end if we sat back and enjoyed life once in a while.

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If you're on a quest for wellness, you've likely heard about the latest buzzword in hydration: hydrogen water. It's not just a trend among health enthusiasts; this cutting-edge concept is gaining traction for its remarkable health benefits.

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Pop Culture

UPS driver shares his weekly paycheck, and now everyone wants to apply

People are shocked to find out how much delivery drivers make.

@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

People were shocked to find out how much Skyler Stutzman earned as a UPS driver

People are seriously considering switching careers after finding out how much can be made as a UPS delivery driver.

Back in October, Skyler Stutzman, an Oregon-based UPS delivery driver went viral after sharing his weekly pay stub on TikTok.

In the clip, Stutzman showed that for 42 hours of work, and at a pay rate of $44.26 per hour, he earned $2,004 before taxes, and ultimately took home $1,300 after deductions.

This both shocked the nearly 12 million viewers who saw the video…not to mention it stirred their jealousy a bit.

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Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

How to clear a stuffy nose instantly.

With cold season upon us, there's no better time to learn a couple of awesome and easy tricks that will clear up the dreaded and annoying stuffy nose.

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116 years ago, the Pasterze glacier in the Austria's Eastern Alps was postcard perfect:

Snowy peaks. Windswept valleys. Ruddy-cheeked mountain children in lederhosen playing "Edelweiss" on the flugelhorn.

But a lot has changed since 1900.

Much of it has changed for the better! We've eradicated smallpox, Hitler is dead, and the song "Billie Jean" exists now.

On the downside, the Earth has gotten a lot hotter. A lot hotter.

The 15 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1998. July 2016 was the planet's hottest month — ever.

Unsurprisingly, man-made climate change has wreaked havoc on the planet's glaciers — including the Pasterze, which is Austria's largest.

Just how much havoc are we talking about? Well...

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Southwest praised for 'customer of size' policy that gives larger passengers priority

Southwest believes that no one should be charged for taking up an extra seat.

via Bill Abbott/Flickr and DiamondPaintingLover/TikTok

Southwest's inclusive 'customer of size' policy.

Flying on an airplane can be highly stressful for people of size. Navigating through the tiny aisles and finding comfort in the extra-small bathroom can be challenging. But one of the biggest problems is getting an extra seat if necessary. Every airline has its own policy, and most charge for additional seats.

To make things easier for people of size, plus-size travel influencer Jae’Lynn Chaney has petitioned the FAA to standardize fare policies for plus-sized travelers. The need for some standards across the airline industry makes sense in a country where airplane seats are getting smaller and obesity is on the rise.

The petition requests that airlines require larger passengers to be “provided with an extra free seat, or even multiple seats, to accommodate their needs and ensure their comfort and safety, as well as those around them, during the flight.”

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Pop Culture

Former car dealership employee reveals the best way to get a cheaper price on your vehicle

Buying a new car can be an overwhelming process. But Roxy Stylez has a few tricks of the trade to help it go in the buyer's favor.

@roxystylezz/TikTok

A former car dealership employee shares some tip to get a fair price

Buying a car is, as we know, can be overwhelming. Especially during that inevitable moment the salesperson goes away for 15 minutes (which feels more like an hour) and comes back with, supposedly, the best deal available.

When in reality, that “best deal” includes all kinds of sneaky charges that most customers don’t know they can counter. So by the end of the draining process, they leave exhausted and paying more than they technically should.

And even those that do know dealerships aren’t upfront with their cheapest prices might not always have the confidence to negotiate for themselves. Which makes this bit of advice so helpful for car buyers everywhere.
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Taylor Bruck comes out live on TV.

Weekend morning news anchor for Spectrum News 1 Ohio, Taylor Bruck, came out of the closet on live TV recently and the big moment happened on a whim. She was discussing Thanksgiving plans with her co-anchor, Alexa Maslowski, when she casually mentioned she was planning on visiting her “girlfriend” in Cleveland.

She told People it was a “spur-of-the-moment" thing.

“I told myself, ‘Just say it,’” she said. “When I finally said it out loud, I smiled inside because it was a big moment for me." She posted a clip of the milestone across her social media profiles, where it has been seen hundreds of thousands of times.

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