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One of the biggest impacts on an adult's life is how they spend 10 minutes a day as a child.

Think when adults aren't successful it's due to the choices they've made in their lives? Not always. It often has to do with how they started out. Doing one thing for 10 minutes every day could change someone's whole future.

One of the biggest impacts on an adult's life is how they spend 10 minutes a day as a child.

Nearly 1 billion people worldwide can't read this sentence.

And it has nothing to do with the language it's written in.

See, in America, some estimates say around 12% of children grow up without basic reading skills.

Meanwhile, Save the Children, over in the UK, estimates over 1.5 million British children will suffer the same fate by 2025.


And things are even worse in many developing countries.

Which is a big problem.

And while it's dangerous to to draw a cause and effect relationship, there is a strong correlation between reading ability by third grade, graduation rates, and ultimately, incarceration rates.

Literacy is an issue right here at home. Here's President Obama working with kids during a literacy project. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

But even when kids who are failed by the reading curriculum don't wind up dropping out of school, or worse, in jail, they're still likely to face enormous challenges throughout their lives.

According to the Literacy Foundation, the problems with illiteracy are vast.

On a personal level, people who can't read have trouble getting and holding down high quality jobs. They're also prone to low self-esteem, or self-efficacy, and more likely to battle depression.

Other issues are more abstract. Those who suffer from illiteracy struggle to understand and keep up with big cultural issues like global warming and equal rights. They're less likely, as a result, to become positively involved in their communities.

But it's not hopeless. There's a lot you can do to help raise the literacy rate.

Getting kids excited about reading in a group is super important. Photo from ThinkStock

For starters, read to your kids often and encourage them to spend time with great books. Even if it's only 10 minutes a day.

If you can, start a book club for your child and her friends, or even for you and yours! Creating a structured environment for reading and discussion can have a big impact.

You can also donate books, whether to your favorite charity or through a local book drive. Just do what you can to help more kids have access to reading materials.

Finally, you can contribute to organizations already fighting illiteracy around the world, like PlanetRead and Books for Africa, and help them get the resources they need to keep going.

Whatever you do, don't overlook the importance of reading proficiency among children.

The stakes are way too high.

And if you're still not convinced, watch this powerful video from Save the Children about the roots and consequences of our worldwide literacy problem.

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.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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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."