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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.

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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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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

Brielle Asero lost her job after 2 months.

TikTokker Brielle Asero, 21, a recent college graduate, went viral on TikTok in October for her emotional reaction to the first day at a 9-to-5 job. The video, which received 3.4 million views, captured the public’s attention because it was like a cultural Rorschach test.

Some who saw the video thought that Asero came off as entitled and exemplified the younger generation’s lack of work ethic. In contrast, others sympathized with the young woman who is just beginning to understand how hard it is to find work-life balance in modern-day America.

“I’m so upset,” she says in the video. "I get on the train at 7:30 a.m., and I don't get home until 6:15 p.m. [at the] earliest. I don't have time to do anything!" Asero said in a video.

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