One Country's Plan To Save Unwanted Dogs Is Pure Genius
Sometimes all it takes is a little creative packaging to get people to understand how great something can be.
Each organization has gone above and beyond to make our world a better place.
Since 2009, the Classy Awards have celebrated nonprofits for their unique approaches to making our world a better place for everyone. Winners are given a platform to amplify their cause and showcase the positive impact of their programs.
This year, we are proud to announce that the Classy Awards have partnered with Upworthy, and we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on the 2023 winners.
From championing gender equality, to massively reducing food waste, to providing trade-based skills training to the neurodivergent community, each organization has made an incredible contribution to the betterment of our world.
Collectively through their efforts, nearly 1.5 million people and animals were served across 34 countries worldwide last year alone. That’s a win in itself.
Check out the 11 winners for 2023 below:
In an effort to address the growing concern of food waste, hunger, and environmental sustainability, 412 Food Rescue uses an innovative app to match volunteers, aka Food Heroes, with other organizations that might have a surplus of perfectly good but unsellable food that would otherwise be wasted and redirect it to people who need it.
Food Heroes has redirected 137 million pounds of edible food from landfills to the people who need it most.
She made the cardinal offense of being 37 and daring to not dress like a grandma.
Once women reach a certain age, society does something weird. It starts sending messages that you're simply too old to dress as if you have a social life. In general, it seemed as if society had been moving away from those unrealistic expectations laid upon moms and women over the age of 35, but maybe not.
Jessica Buwick, a mom on TikTok, found out fairly quickly that people still have interesting ideas about how "old people" should dress when going out in public. The 37-year-old mom ordered a plethora of outfits to try on to wear for her son's graduation, prompted by her seeing other moms on social media dressing much more fancy for graduations than parents did when she graduated.
It was a silly, lighthearted video showing her trying on all of the outfits that did not make the cut for various reasons. One was too short and didn't zip. Another was ill-fitting and confusing. They were obvious catastrophes that just didn't work, so she made the misfortune into funny content. And people had a lot to say.
Many people laughed along, while others took the opportunity to take jabs at the mom's fashion choices.
One commenter decided to point her in the right direction by commenting, "Maybe YOU should have shopped in an age-appropriate section of the store so you don't look like a SKANK in your clothing, thereby humiliating your poor son."
Yikes, that was a bit harsh and sadly a common theme as multiple people pointed out how she was going to embarrass her son.
#graduation #graduationfail #dressfail #graduationoutfit #graduationoutfitideas
But instead of letting the haters get to her, she decided to follow up with a video of more "appropriate" outfits for an elderly mother to wear while attending her child's graduation.
"Apparently I triggered a whole demographic of y'all when I shared my dress options for my son's high school graduation. A lot of you were horrified with my choices," Buwick continued. "Apparently they were not appropriate for a high school graduation nor for someone of my age...37."
Clearly, the mom received the message and proved it by donning a floor-length gown with long sleeves to make sure minimal skin was showing. In another outfit that gave off Julie Andrews vibes, she burst into song to complete the look, though she nixed that dress because the sleeve was slightly sheer. The outfit she settled on at the end was clearly more the speed she thought the commenters were expecting.
Thank you for coming #graudation #graduationdresses #formaldresses
She took the comments in stride and made others laugh while doing so. Her son's graduation had already passed, and in a follow-up video she showed the outfit she decided to go with—a cute pair of dress shorts, a tank top and a brightly colored blazer. While I'm sure someone will disagree with that outfit choice as well, Buwick seems to have found a perfectly hilarious way to handle the negativity.
Gina, Nathalie and Helga share their reactions to being diagnosed with MS and how they stay informed and positive in the face of ever-changing symptoms.
It’s been 155 years since neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot gave the first lecture on a mysterious progressive illness he called “multiple sclerosis.” Since then, we’ve learned a lot. We know MS causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, including damaging the brain and spinal cord. Resulting symptoms can be debilitating and include fatigue, blurred vision, memory problems and weakness. Huge advancements in our understanding of MS and its underlying causes, as well as treatment advances, have been made in the past few decades, but MS remains a complex and unpredictable reality for the 2.8 million+ people diagnosed around the world.
Ironically, the only real constant for people living with MS is change. There’s no set pattern or standard progression of the disease, so each person’s experience is unique. Some people with MS have mild symptoms that worsen slowly but sometimes improve, while others can have severe symptoms that drastically alter their daily lives.
All people with MS share some things in common, however, such as the need to stay informed on the ever-evolving research, find various lines of support and try to remain hopeful as they continue living with the disease.
To better understand what navigating life with MS really looks like, three women shared their MS stories with us. Their journeys demonstrate how MS can look different for different people and interestingly, how the language used to talk about the disease can greatly impact how people understand their realities.
Gina loves riding her horse, Benita.Courtesy of Sanofi
When her youngest son was 4 months old, Gina started having problems with her eye. She’d soon learn she was experiencing optic neuritis—her first symptom of MS.
“Immediately after the diagnosis, I looked up facts on MS because I didn’t know anything about it,” Gina says. “And as soon as I knew what could really happen with this disease, I actually got scared.”
As her family’s primary income provider, she worried about how MS would impact her ability to work as a writer and editor. Her family was afraid she was going to end up in a wheelchair. However, for now, Gina’s MS is managed well enough that she still works full-time and is able to be active.
“When I tell somebody that I have MS, they often don't believe me the first time because I don't fulfill any stereotypes,” she says.
Overwhelmed by negative perspectives on living with MS, Gina sought support in the online MS community, which she found to be much more positive.
“I think it’s important to use as many positive words as you can when talking about MS.” It’s important to be realistic while also conveying hope, she says. “MS is an insidious disease that can cause many bad symptoms…that can be frightening, and you can't gloss over it, either.”
To give back to the online community that helped her so much, Gina started a blog to share her story and help others trying to learn about their diagnosis.
Though she deals with fatigue and cognitive dysfunction sometimes, Gina stays active swimming, biking, riding horses and playing with her sons, who are now 11 and 6.
Cognitive dysfunction is common in MS, with over half of people affected. It can impact memory, attention, planning, and word-finding. As with many aspects of MS, some people experience mild changes, while others face more challenges.
Gina says that while there’s still a lot of education about MS needed, she feels positive about the future of MS because there’s so much research being done.
Nathalie is an award-winning rower with multiple international titles.Courtesy of Sanofi
Nathalie was a teenager and a competitive athlete when she noticed her first symptoms of MS, but it would take four years of “limbo” before she was diagnosed.
“Ultimately, the diagnosis was more of a relief, than a shock,” she says. “Because when you have signs and you don’t know why, it’s worse than knowing, in the end, what you have.”
However, learning more about the disease—and the realities of disease progression—scared her.
“That glimpse of the future was direct and traumatic,” she says. Her neurologist explained that the disease evolves differently for everyone, and her situation might end up being serious or very mild. So, she decided to stop comparing herself to others with MS.
She said to herself, “We’ll see what happens, and you’ll manage it bit by bit.”
By 2005, Nathalie’s MS had progressed to the point of needing a wheelchair. However, that has not dampened her competitive spirit.
Nathalie began her international rowing career in 2009 and has won multiple world titles, including two Paralympic medals—silver in London and bronze in Tokyo. Now, at 42, she still trains 11 times a week. Fatigue can be a problem, and sometimes hard workouts leave her with muscle stiffness and shaking, but she credits her ongoing sports career for helping her feel in tune with her body’s signals.
“Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to my body, letting my body guide when I need to stop and take breaks,” she says.
Nathalie explains that she used to only look backwards because of the initial shock of her diagnosis. In time, she stopped thinking about what she couldn’t do anymore and focused on her future. She now lives in the following mindset: “Even when doors close, don’t miss out on those that open.” Instead of focusing on what she can’t do, she focuses on the opportunities she still has. Right now, this includes her training for the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris, where she will compete for another rowing medal.
“I only go forward,” she says. “Well, I try, anyway…It’s easy to say, it’s not always easy to do. But that’s what I try to do.”
Helga's Great Dane has become a helpful and beloved companion.Courtesy of Sanofi
When Helga first started having balance issues and numbness in her feet, she chalked it up to her training as a runner. But when the numbness moved to her face, she knew something was wrong. She never guessed it was MS.
“When I was diagnosed, I felt completely overwhelmed and clueless,” Helga says. “I felt that I had nowhere near enough information. I did not know anything about the disease…I had no idea that it was going to be a process of continually monitoring and adjusting your lifestyle.”
In the beginning, Helga’s symptoms developed slowly, and she didn’t appear ill to others. She was even able to run for a few years after her diagnosis, but she couldn’t do marathons anymore, and she began to fall frequently due to balance issues and right-foot dragging. Then her cognition issues became more problematic, especially in her job as a trainer in a printing company.
“My executive function, decision-making and short-term memory were affected to the point that I was eventually medically unfit for work,” she says. She stopped working in 2017.
However, she didn’t stop living life. Even though she could no longer run, she continued to swim competitively. She got a Great Dane puppy and trained him as a service dog to help her walk. She also serves as vice chair of the patient support organization Multiple Sclerosis South Africa, and she advises others who have been diagnosed to join a patient advocacy group as soon as possible to get reliable information and meet others with MS.
Helga says she is “hopeful” about the future of MS. “I must say that I am so grateful that we have all the new medications available, because my life would not be the same if it wasn't for that,” she adds.
Part of how she manages her MS is by looking at the positives.
“If I could tell the world one thing about MS, it would be that MS is an incurable disease of the nervous system, but it's also the greatest teacher of valuing your health, family, friends, and managing change in your life,” she says. “My life is diversified in a way that I never, ever thought it would, and MS has been honestly the greatest teacher.”
Each MS journey is unique – with each person impacted experiencing different struggles, successes, and feelings as they manage this unpredictable disease. But the common thread is clear – there is a critical need for information, support, and hope. We are proud to participate in World MS Day and share these incredible stories of living life while living with MS. To learn more about MS, go to https://www.sanofi.com/why-words-really-matter-when-it-comes-to-multiple-sclerosis.
This article was sponsored by Sanofi. Participants were compensated when applicable.
"This is not a safe platform."
Technology is constantly changing and teens are usually ahead of the curve when it comes to the newest tech on the block. Many parents are asking their children how apps work or using their teens as in-home tech support for anything technology related, so it's not a surprise when parents are two steps behind in warning their children about a problematic app or unsafe trend.
Think about being a teen in the late 90s and our not-so-smart greeting of "ASL" (Age, Sex, Location) for AOL chatrooms full of strangers that used to offer to pick us up for parties. Most of our parents didn't know how to get past the Ask Jeeves screen, let alone navigate to an AOL chatroom to see who we were talking to. In many ways, teens today are doing the exact same thing but with a faster internet connection, more platforms and high-definition cameras. But now, we're the parents trying to Ask Jeeves what Omegle is.
I'll give you a hint: Jeeves doesn't know, but this cyber security educator does, and she's sending out massive smoke flares to get parents' attention.
Tiana Sharifi, a cyber security educator, replied to a question asked on her TikTok page. The commenter asked if Sharifi thought Omegle was inappropriate and was given an in-depth answer about the dangers of the app for children.
"I educate parents but I also educate kids and teens, and what I will tell you is that when I go into these presentations, from grade six and upwards, they've all heard about Omegle," Sharifi says. "When I say, 'Have you heard of Omegle?' everybody's hands go up. But when I ask parents in parent nights, you get maybe two or three hands go up. This is not a safe platform."
Omegle is a video platform that essentially allows you to video chat with strangers for a few minutes at a time. Sharifi explains it as webcam chat roulette where the only safeguard is a box that you click saying you're 18. No math required to try to guess the correct birth year, just a box to check. There are no moderators and you can't choose the rooms you get dropped into, so kids can and do get paired with adults, and not always safe adults.
"If you want to do an experiment, you can go on Omegle yourself and you will see within five seconds of being on the platform, there will be a lot of inappropriate nakedness," Sharifi reveals.
Replying to @eveybevy70 #parenting #parentingtips #onlinesafety #childsafety
But if you think kids being dropped into random rooms with anonymous strangers is the worst part, Sharifi drops a bomb that most parents aren't ready to hear.
"The most alarming part is that the kids are being recorded without their knowledge," the educator shares.
Since the platform is live-streamed, the kids believe the interaction is completely temporary, unaware that the adult could be filming them. If a child decides to engage with the naked individual in any way, including in a way that's inappropriate, these screen-recorded interactions are then uploaded to inappropriate adult entertainment sites, according to Sharifi. But there's no extortion or blackmail, so neither the kids nor parents ever find out their children are on these sites that are specifically frequented by people looking for sexual content involving minors.
Teens aren't aware of the recordings and their parents aren't aware of the sites, so Sharifi bringing this to light on a public platform that teens and parents both frequent could make a positive impact.
They're just sitting there while my kids sleep.
When it comes to babysitting, you can hit the jackpot with someone who not only enjoys hanging out with your kiddos but also cleans out of boredom. The only babysitter I've had that experience with is my mom, but I do hear they do exist. While walking into a spotless house after a much-needed night out would be amazing, it's not really part of a standard babysitting package.
Typically, whoever babysits for you is solely there to focus on the well-being of your children. They feed them snacks, play games with them, and follow their bedtime routine to the letter. Then they hang out on your couch reminding Netflix that they're still watching and wait for you to return. Sure, they clean up dishes from dinner and whatever toys were pulled out during their time with your kids, but they don't typically clean your house.
But in a private parenting group I belong to, a long debate was started when a mom asked a group of 260k of her closest friends if it would be appropriate for a parent to ask a babysitter to clean their home.
The anonymous mom explained that her college-aged daughter had recently started babysitting for a family, but on the second day, her duties suddenly changed. There was a list of chores waiting for the babysitter that included cleaning the family's dishes and cleaning up messes that were there before the sitter arrived.
This revelation set off a firestorm of comments with many agreeing that anything outside of cleaning up after the children while they're in your care is a separate job. But not everyone was on the same page and it was clear that this was a topic that was going to cause some intense debate. Since summer months are here, there's no wonder this topic is coming up and views are split.
Should babysitters be expected to clean, one mom asks.Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash
Scary Mommy recently published an article posing a similar question, only this was coming from a parent who wanted her babysitter to clean while her children slept. Elizabeth Narins explains that she and her husband are stretched thin and have an active toddler she jokingly calls a "toy tornado."
"Given the amount of housework that clearly needs to be done, paying someone to sit on our toy-covered couch during naps or after bedtime just seems... inefficient," Narins wrote before posing the question. "Is it completely out of line for me to ask her to declutter when my kids are in bed?"
Whether it's the expert interviewed for the Scary Mommy article or the parents in the private group, there does seem to be one common theme among the discourse: Any additional chores should be clarified in the original job description, and if it wasn't, then it should be directly brought up in a conversation with the babysitter.
Many parents in the comments believed that a housekeeper should be hired in addition to the babysitter, while others thought the babysitter should be offered more money for the additional work. But there were several people who thought it was just common courtesy for a babysitter to clean the house while the kids were asleep.
It may seem that you're paying a babysitter to do nothing while your children sleep, but you're paying them to be there in the event of an emergency. No matter which side of the debate you're on, it seems proper communication about expectations will save everyone a headache in the future.
Do you think cleaning should be expected from a babysitter?
The emission-free fuel is key to decarbonizing maritime shipping. Here’s why.
The world economy runs on maritime shipping. More than 80% of international goods by volume are transported by ships, which together weave the essential fabric of the global supply chain.
But all of that shipping comes at a high cost to the climate: Right now, every ship is powered by carbon-emitting fuel, which means maritime shipping is responsible for an estimated 3 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Curbing those emissions as soon as possible—and fully decarbonizing the industry as a whole—is an important piece of the worldwide project to fight climate change and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Just to get on track, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has concluded that international shipping emissions must remain steady through 2025, then decline by three percent annually until the end of the decade. And the average lifespan of a shipping vessel is 25 years, which means that ships built from 2025 onward will need to run on zero-emission fuel or be powered by engines that are convertible to zero-emission fuel.
We need to build ships that can run on zero-emission fuel, we need to build them as soon as possible, and we need to scale up the production of fuel that will keep those ships running efficiently.
Today’s industry standard is bunker fuel, also known as heavy fuel oil (HFO), because it has a high energy density and it is easily and efficiently transported. Both of those characteristics will be necessary for any fuel source that powers zero-emission maritime shipping. Unfortunately, batteries don’t offer enough energy density to compete with bunker fuel in most situations, and the hydrogen that powers fuel cells is expensive and difficult to transport in liquid form. While methanol offers both high energy density and efficient transportation, it still has carbon intensity and the production of green methanol is not cost-effective.
That’s where ammonia will make a difference. While batteries, liquid hydrogen, and methanol will all play significant roles in reaching Net Zero 2050, ammonia is the most promising affordable, zero-emission fuel. Ammonia is three times more energy dense than hydrogen, making it a clean and efficient solution that’s also easier and faster than battery charging without the size and weight constraints. The production of green ammonia is scalable and cost-effective, sufficient to provide hundreds of million tons of affordable fuels.
At Amogy, we’ve pioneered an ammonia-to-power technology that uses its unique properties as a carrier for hydrogen. The key is a process called “cracking,” which converts ammonia into hydrogen. By combining our cracking system with hydrogen fuel cell technology, it is possible to use ammonia as fuel without any combustion or carbon emissions.
Maritime shipping is a gigantic industry. Ammonia-to-power technology must develop concurrently with increased production of blue and green ammonia, supported by public policy encouraging both. And ammonia is just one piece of the Net Zero 2050 mission to fight climate change.
But the technology exists to make it happen. At Amogy, we’re using it to retrofit a tugboat into the world’s first ammonia-powered, zero-emission ship. By acting urgently—by taking the steps now that will speed the transition to carbon-free shipping tomorrow—we can transform that knowledge into real progress for our decarbonized future.
Upworthy's weekly roundup of joy.
What do you get when you combine a beautiful gentle parenting interaction, a whole school singing along with a 7-year-old performing "Peaches" in a Bowser costume and a flying squirrel pretending to be attacked by a broom?
You get this week's 10 things that made us smile, of course.
We hope you get as much joy and delight from these fabulous finds as we did. Enjoy!
The song was originally performed by Jack Black, and it shot up the charts. Love how the kid played off the audience's enthusiasm.
Sometimes inclusivity means welcoming everyone into a space and sometimes it means creating spaces where everyone can feel welcome. Find out more about sensory-friendly film showings from major theater chains here.
Swipe through to read the whole story. A good reminder that hurt people hurt people, and that sometimes "bad" kids need people to see the good in them and to help them see it themselves.
A beautiful full-circle moment. Read the full story here.
\u201cThis flying squirrel faked his own death, and created a whole crime scene\u2026for attention. I think I\u2019m in love. \u201d— Sarah Bee\ud83d\udc1d (@Sarah Bee\ud83d\udc1d) 1685808791
Not a headline you see every day, but that's the only way to describe it. Absolutely an Oscar-worthy performance. Read the full story here.
Here's to the dedicated dads who delight in dancing with their daughters.
Owls look so dignified and regal until you see the silly pantalooned legs they're hiding under their feathers.
Thank you for coming #graudation #graduationdresses #formaldresses
Jessica Buwick's initial video was a comical showing of outfits that didn't work either because they were too short or tight or the style was too confusing to wear, and some people decided to be critical of her choices…of the things she didn't wear. Both videos are hilarious. See the full story here.
Gentle, conscious parenting for the win.
Practicando con thiaguin. #thiago #xiagopluscami #gatitobebe #algocontigo #cover #acustico #algocontigoritapayes #guitarra #naranjito #
I don't know about you, but I would pay good money to see this concert.
That's it for this week! If you don't want to go searching for these posts each week and would like them delivered right to you instead, sign up for our free newsletter, The Upworthiest, here.
"The Bun 91.3" is giving unknown artists massive followings and even record label deals.
TikTok is a place where obscure music is celebrated, retro comedy is king and lives can be changed overnight. But it’s a rare feat for all three of those corners to intersect on the platform.
As is the way with many TikTok sensations, faux radio show “The Bun 91.3” started off as a fun hobby. The DJ, known only to listeners as “The Bun,” highlights songs by up-and-coming artists all while sporting aviator sunglasses and mastering that cheesy, old-school radio voice.
Much to his surprise, The Bun’s passion project has actually been bringing major attention to aspiring musicians who might otherwise go unnoticed, just like real radio shows did back in the day.
Take for instance the band Bird Photos. In his video playing their song “Dove,” The Bun said that the group had only 85 monthly listeners. After the clip was viewed over 650,000 times, Bird Photos’ reach skyrocketed to over 36,000 monthly listeners on Spotify.
@thebun91.3 Next song up: Dove - Bird Photos #rock#indierock#indie#indiepop#thebun913#radiohost#spotifyplaylist♬ Dove - Bird Photos
“Man really gave them a 7800% increase in listeners in four days. We LOVE small artist promoters,” one person commented.
Or singer/songwriter Sarah Crean, whose song "2:00 AM" blew up with over 4.6 million views after The Bun professed he "couldn’t get enough of it” (one of his signature phrases). Crean went from having only 295 monthly listeners to 170,000 monthly listeners and ended up signing with well-known record label AWAL.
@thebun91.3 Next song up: 02:00 AM - Sarah Crean #indiepop#indierock#menitrust#japanesebreakfast#indie#sarahcrean#thebun913#radiohost#spotifyplaylist♬ 02:00 AM - Sarah Crean
“My gratitude for it all is immense," Crean told Insider. "He's putting really incredible artists forward to such an open-minded following and it's opening so many doors for them…I think he's got something really special there."
Following successes like these, The Bun’s creative outlet has turned into something of a mission—one which he is fully committed to. The DJ also shared with Insider that he not only spends every morning scouring the internet for cool tracks, but he’ll also find local bands and solo artists to see them play at nearby venues.Of course, with his newfound internet clout, musicians often reach out to him for coverage. Like Minova, who submitted their song “I Miss You So” and got so many new followers they released a whole new single. (Of course, The Bun covered that, too.)
@thebun91.3 Next song up: I Miss You So - Minova #minova#dayglow#wallows#clairo#sarahcrean#indiepop#sadgirlstarterpack#thebun913#spotifyplaylist#radiohost♬ I Miss You So
For The Bun, helping aspiring artists potentially get out of any side hustles and instead focus on what they love is the best part of the job. "I just get a lot of joy out of them winning," he told Insider.
We see plenty of videos on TikTok with folks sharing their art, but it’s not every day that we see someone going out of their way to showcase someone else’s. The Bun is out there doing the dang thing, and doing it all with a huge dose of quirky charm. It’s something we can’t get enough of.
By the way—you can also find The Bun’s special curated playlist featuring these artists, and more, over on Spotify.