Kids in his town were using trash bags as backpacks. He had a chance to change that, and he did.

Mike Morse is an attorney who lives in Michigan, where he owns and runs a law firm.


Hold the attorney jokes 'til you hear about what he did. This guy's a class act. Images and GIFs via The Mike Morse Law Firm/YouTube.

Toward the end of last school year, he learned there was a serious need for backpacks and supplies in local Detroit schools. So he decided to give 400 backpacks to kids in need.

That's when he was hit with a stark reality.

The need for backpacks and school supplies in Detroit is so much bigger.

Morse was humbled by the scope of the situation. "The truth is," he told me by phone, "I didn't even know it was a need. I was not aware that kids didn't have backpacks — that they were taking garbage bags to school with the limited supplies they had in them. I just didn't even know."

Morse decided he needed to do something much bigger.

Last month, he donated 23,000 backpacks stuffed with supplies to students from kindergarten through fifth grade in the Detroit public school system.

That's a lot of backpacks and school supplies. I'd heard the number $250,000 in relation to the donation, so I asked Morse about it — whether that was accurate and whether he was the one who donated the money. He told me that yeah, he wrote the check and yeah, it was for a quarter of a million dollars.

But he asked me not to focus on that number — or the fact that he was behind it — for this article.

What he wanted to talk about was the 23,000 kids who get to attend school with the things they need. The kids who were no longer carrying trash bag to class or missing essential supplies — the kids who felt more "worthy," as Morse said, of studying and succeeding in school.

The cool thing about giving is that it truly benefits the giver as much the recipients.

I asked Morse what it was like, seeing the kids receive their backpacks and open them up. "Oh, my God. It brought tears to my eyes," he told me.

"I got a call from a mother who said the day before I gave her daughter the backpack, they were at a store and they literally had to make a decision between pencils and a new outfit for school ... they were going without pencils until my backpack came. I get chills and well up with tears," he said, trailing off.

The things we take for granted...

School supplies are important to kids. As many of us parents know, many kids are given supply lists at the beginning of each school year. But we don't always stop to think about what happens to the kids whose families can't afford to buy the supplies on those lists, especially when that's the case for at least half the class.

"I have three daughters, and every year we go and get backpacks and supplies," Morse said. "We take it for granted. My kids get backpacks and supplies, whether they need them or not. I wanted the kids to have that experience. It's just a fairness thing."

...even the small things can be so vital.

Morse also included a reusable water bottle in each backpack. He thought of it as just a throw-in item for fun, but he later heard from the teachers that the bottles were actually a big deal. "It's 90 degrees in the schools that have no A/C," Morse told me, "and they are all using these water bottles."

Teachers have said that the backpacks and supplies are really helping to level the playing field for the kids.

In a city where more than half the children live in poverty, an act of kindness like this makes a big difference. And in some schools that benefited from the donations, things are even more dire. Morse told me that one principal said that over 70% of his school's students live in poverty.

The backpacks aren't going to fix all the problems in Detroit schools, but the people who work with the kids every day — the principals and teachers — agree: This is a big deal.

Principal Davenport, who called the donation "phenomenal."

Marcus Davenport, the principal at Edison Elementary School in Detroit, said about the donation, "We definitely have students who come to school without backpacks. Some students come to school without uniforms. So when you have a gentleman like Mike Morse who donated 23,000 backpacks, that's just phenomenal."

Davenport also had some wise words for his students — many of whom may be at an economic disadvantage now, but he encourages them to reach their full potential: "It's important that people give to you when you're in need, but you don't want to be a recipient all your life. You want to be the person that's giving. And I encourage my students to one day be in this same position, to make the world a better place."

Perhaps most important? The students were shown that people in their community care about them.

Morse knows that a lot of people care, but he said they might not know how or where to help. He's hoping that people are inspired to help the kids in their own communities if they can.

"It's really important for these kids ... to see another person, a business, come in with this type of gift," he said. "To care about them — it can go really deep in their souls and they will remember that other people care."

As for his future plans, he's now fundraising because he wants to help even more students across Michigan get the supplies they need next school year. You can visit Morse's website and, if you're interested and able, make a donation.

Check out this short video about the backpack giveaway and see what it meant to the students.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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