Kids can drive mini cars into surgery at this hospital, leaving their anxiety in the dust.

All good parents want their children to live happy and healthy lives. But for parents of sick kids, particularly those with chronic and congenital health conditions, that's a much more difficult goal to achieve.

Unsurprisingly, anxiety is ever-present in both these parents and kids' lives.

As a mother of two children with congenital health conditions, I know first-hand how scary it can be when you’re worried and trying to process the “what if” or expected eventuality of surgery.    


We also often worry about what it will mean when our children are old enough to process the risks of surgery. It’s difficult for any parent to see their child fearful or in a state of discomfort.

And surgery is much harder to explain to a child than small medical procedures like shots — the stakes are higher and the unknowns can make the process even more terrifying, especially for young kids.

In California, one hospital is doing what they can to make the idea of surgery less daunting by allowing kids to drive mini cars into the operating room.

At Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, California, they know that fun can be a great distraction from anxiety.

The innovative solution to reducing kids' discomfort came from pre-op nurse Kimberly Martinez after she read about the long-term impact cars have on young kids. To put her plan into action, they let kids choose between a mini pink Volkswagen Beetle and a Black Mercedes.

So far, the results have been awesome (and adorable).  

“When the children find out they can go into the operating room riding in a cool little car, they light up, and in most cases, their fears melt away,” the hospital wrote in a statement to PEOPLE. “In addition, when parents see their children put at ease, it puts them at ease as well.”

Once the video started to go viral, folks in the social media world expressed their gratefulness for the opportunity to see something so positive vrooming down their timelines.

Doctors Medical Center is far from the only medical facility taking steps to reduce children's anxiety. A number of resources are dedicated to helping children headed to surgery, as well as their parents, however, sometimes adding a reading list to an already addled family isn't a practical solution.

Many of these parents are so busy and stressed they simply can't make the time to do socio-emotional research on reducing anxiety on top of learning about their children's health conditions.

Innovative programs like that at Doctors Medical Center take one more thing off parent's plates and make what can be a tense experience go more smoothly for everyone.

Other hospitals are catching on, too. It's why Sheffield Children’s Hospital offers it's kid patients their own sweet ride into surgery.

The more medical facilities that utilize creative solutions like this to easy young patients and their families' anxieties the better. Here's hoping we see many more fun, innovative ideas sprouting up in hospitals all over the country.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

The year 2018 was a pivotal one in the produce industry, the Red Delicious was supplanted as the most popular apple in America by the sweeter, crisper Gala.

It was only a matter of time. The Red Delicious looked the part of the king of the apples with its deep red, flawless skin. But its interior was soft, mealy, and pretty bland. The Red Delicious was popular for growers because its skin hid any bruises and it was desired by consumers because of its appearance.

But these days it's having a hard time competing with the delectable crunch provided by the Gala, honeycrisp, and Fuji.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."