+
Looking to make an impact in your community? These people have some ideas.
True
Stand Together

We're always talking about giving back to our community. It's important. But sometimes it's hard to figure out where to start.

[rebelmouse-image 19397694 dam="1" original_size="750x513" caption="Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash" expand=1]Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Volunteering and helping others isn't just good for the people around you, it's good for you, too. However, deciding what you want to do to help make an impact is often the trickiest part. Perhaps you're wondering whether or not the skills you already have can translate into actions that will elevate the lives of those in your neighborhood?


The answer is: Yes. There are endless ways to be an arbiter of change no matter where you live. Below you'll find some great places to start.

Build relationships with young people to help them gain the tools and skills they need to reach their full potential through programs like Thread.

[rebelmouse-image 19397695 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash" expand=1]Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

The relationships a child develops early on play a crucial role in their educational and future life successes. Few organizations know that better than Thread in Baltimore Maryland, which has seen first-hand how positive bonds with adults has turned disadvantaged children's lives around.

The basis of their program is simple — as they note on their website: "Thread engages underperforming high school students confronting significant barriers outside of the classroom by providing each one with a family of committed volunteers and increased access to community resources. We foster students' academic advancement and personal growth into self-motivated, resilient, and responsible citizens."

Their methodology seems to be working. Out of all the kids who've been part of Thread for 6 years, 85% have graduated high school, and 83% have completed a two or four year degree or certificate program.

But it's about more than helping students. Thread fervently believes everyone who forms relationships through the program benefits, because we could all use more ties to a community.

Becoming a volunteer is easy — as long as you can connect with a student once a week, you're more than welcome.

Leverage your unique knowledge and skills to help others learn, like Oliver Ballou.

[rebelmouse-image 19397696 dam="1" original_size="750x532" caption="Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash" expand=1]Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Olivier Ballou is a graphic designer in Washington, D.C.. Through Stand Together's Needs and Offers Marketplace, a volunteer platform that connects people to organizations that can benefit from their skills, he created two infographics for The Nevada Youth Empowerment Project. It's a community-based organization that helps "homeless, aged-out, unprepared, and parentless youths" gain the skills necessary for a limitless future. The program helps youth finish high school, enter college, find jobs, obtain housing, and maintain employment all while building the interpersonal relationships they need to create a strong support network that can offer help if they need it.

For the first project, Monica DuPea, Executive Director at NYEP, was looking for an infographic that could “highlight our breadth of accomplishments and experiences during that time that we can hand out to community members and add to our website for a quick reference for newcomers," She hoped it would "help increase donors and raise awareness about the organization."

The second was a bit more specific. “Each year, NYEP organizes the Washoe County Homeless Youth Count," explained DuPea. "The data collected at these counts is used by our agency and others to tell a story about a single point in time with regards to the Homeless Youth situation. When it comes to data about youth want to be sure that the information is easy to understand and is visually exciting."

Each infographic is estimated to have saved MYEP $4,212 — so Ballou ended up saving them a combined total of over $8,400.

If you're interested in helping youth reach their potential, gain the education they need to live their best life, and fight poverty, NYEP is a great organization to give your time and money to.

Look for ways to reduced barriers in your community through apps like Be My Eyes and programs like The Path Project.

[rebelmouse-image 19397697 dam="1" original_size="750x500" caption="Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash" expand=1]Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Jennifer Bristol struggled for a long time about how to give back. Not only has she relocated many times in her life — attaching her to "many geographic communities" — but she's also an introvert. Being around others for too long drained her of energy. So while she's always been passionate about helping others, she sometimes found it hard to do.

"I give back to my global community through an app called Be My Eyes," Jennifer writes. "This app connects sighted people with blind people who need assistance with pretty much anything having to do with sight." She's helped people choose items of clothing, read the directions to a recipe, and select the movie they might want to see that night. While they might sound like small things, the help has made a make huge differences to blind people all over the world.

"I find it really satisfying to do something for someone else that I do on a daily basis and take for granted," Jennifer adds. "It's grounding and a great reminder to be grateful for all I have. I also love that it gives the recipients a sense of independence. Instead of one pair of eyes, they have tens of thousands at their disposal."

While the barriers Jennifer helps blind people navigate are often physical, there are other barriers, like a lack of access to education, that are similarly limiting. That's where organizations like The Path Project come in.

The Hollandsworths, who started The Path Project, saw a gap in the educational outcomes of young kids in their neighborhood. Not only were the families that lived there fighting poverty, but language barriers prevented their children from succeeding in school. So they started a volunteer homework helping program that took off in a big way.

The Path Project's success speaks for itself. 95% of its students attend school regularly, 87% have passing grades in reading and math, and 92% have good behavior reports in school.

If you live in Georgia, you can volunteer as a tutor, but there are opportunities to give a hand to kids all over the country through Stand Together's Catalysts — organizations with similar social good goals.

Whether you mentor kids, offer your skills to those in need, or use your eyes to help others see, you're helping others get where they want to go. That's making the world a better place.

Thread, NYEP and The Path Project are able to offer that support to a large community thanks to their partnership with Stand Together, an organization that's helping break the cycle of poverty by supporting the country's most innovative social entrepreneurs.

Stand Together's support allows these organizations to scale their efforts in existing communities and other places that need it.

Want more ideas for how you can help out your community, or the global community? Check out their site to learn about many other organizations that are making a difference and get involved!

To find out which organizations supports your values, take this quiz here and let Stand Together do the searching for you.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less