This nonprofit has a really genius way to give people in your life something they'll like — not just another piece of plastic junk they don't need. In fact, it's made me wanna purchase one for everyone I love.
Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.
Elaine Hamel founded Girls at Work, Inc. in 2000 because to her, empowerment isn't just a buzzword but a way of life. Their mission is to challenge traditional norms and normalize girl power, focusing specifically on uplifting and supporting inner city girls between the ages of 8 and 18, who need stability, safety, and confidence.
The girls attending summer camps or after-school programs work in groups and learn how to problem solve, communicate, and use tools to build something practical. Hamel believes that learning how to use power tools shows the girls that they can do anything they put their minds to, better preparing them for a bright future.
Photo courtesy of TD Bank
Elaine's forward-thinking, positive leadership, and passion for the community is exactly why TD Bank chose to honor her for the 2022 #TDThanksYou campaign, a North American campaign demonstrating the bank’s gratitude and commitment to their customers by celebrating, recognizing, and thanking unsung heroes in exciting and meaningful ways. Hamel is one of six honorees recognized this year and was presented with power tools and gift certificates to purchase additional items needed to enhance the program.
Hamel understands what it feels like to hear the word “can’t.” Growing up, she struggled to find her place in a world that seemed to be built by, and for, men. As a kid she loved to “create or fix things” and always found something to tinker with. Before long, she discovered not only did she enjoy building and repairing things, but she was very good at it.
She spent the next several decades breaking down the multitude of barriers that a woman pursuing a career as a general contractor faced in the 1980s and 1990s.
“It was really brutal when I first started out in construction,” Hamel said. “The men were so cruel. But I grew up with five brothers and I was used to it. I told myself I’d be the boss one day…and now I am.”
Photo courtesy of TD Bank
The process of learning how to become stronger and more confident in her natural abilities sent her career soaring, and drives her life’s work—empowering girls to take up space and take control of their own lives.
“These are kids who grapple with neglect, food insecurity, and extreme poverty,” said Hamel. “They’re not soaring in school because they’re in survival mode. They’re hungry and unable to focus and learn.” Hamel’s solution is a fully stocked food pantry, where the girls can shop for groceries before heading home. Girls at Work, Inc. also has a “kindness closet,” stocked with clothing, shoes, outerwear and other items.
After addressing their immediate needs, the girls are ready to get to work. “There are many programs out there devoted to teaching trades and skills to girls,” said Hamel, “But this is about learning how to think critically and problem solve. Pushing through that is what actually empowers them.”
Photo courtesy of Girls at Work
The nonprofit is a vital part of the community, relying heavily on donations and volunteers to keep it going. For example, a club of retired men volunteer their time to pre-cut the lumber for Girls at Work, Inc.'s projects. The girls use that lumber to create things—like picnic tables, benches, and birdhouses—which in turn are donated to local organizations.
Hamel says she’s built with over 20,000 girls so far, and her goal is to hit one million. Her dream is to secure funding to open up new locations to serve even more communities and says that watching these girls' step into their power and believe in themselves is what keeps her moving forward. The world needs more heroes like her.
To learn more about this year's #TDThanksYou heroes, visit https://www.td.com/us/en/about-us/customers/humans-with-heart
'I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness.'
There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.
According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.
“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.
\u201cDevastated bride goes ahead with party after groom stood her up on their wedding day \ud83d\udc4f\n\n[THREAD] \ud83e\uddf5\u201d— Manchester News MEN (@Manchester News MEN) 1664276377
Stead spoke with the groom at 4 p.m. the previous day, but they stayed the night with their respective parties to save some mystery before the big day. “The groom and I had already agreed not to speak the night before the wedding anyway, so I didn’t know what was happening on his end, I didn’t have a clue,” Stead told The Metro.
Stead was in absolute shock after hearing the news. She had paid for nearly the entire wedding herself, using up all of her life savings on the £12,000 ($13,000) affair. “As a joke, the videographer said ‘Why don’t you carry on, girls? You’ve spent all this money, you’re not getting it back, all your guests are there, why don’t you just go?’” Stead told The Metro.
So, she did just that. Stead decided that the wedding would go on without her fiance.
\u201cKayley Stead made the brave decision to carry on with the celebrations without her partner of four years Kallum Norton after he ditched her before the ceremony\n\nhttps://t.co/BoBM7KUSOh\u201d— The Daily Record (@The Daily Record) 1664316000
“That’s when I was like, I’m going to do it,” she said. “I’d spent all this money, I’d been looking forward to the food, a dance with my dad, spending time with my family, so why not?”
Stead, her friends, family and even the groomsmen didn’t let things go to waste and they enjoyed her wedding entrance, food, speeches, dances and even posed for photos. “I didn’t want to remember the day as complete sadness,” she said.
“She was the most beautiful bride we had ever seen,” Cullen added.
The good news is that after the party, Cullen set up a GoFundMe page to help Stead recoup her losses and it has already reached its goal of £10,000 ($10,830). Almost two weeks after the event, Stead still doesn’t know why she was stood her up on her wedding day.
\u201c"There were so many special moments, like my wedding entrance, the sparkler walk, the first dance and punching the wedding cake, so there was still happiness in the day. I'd spent all this money." - Kayley Stead\u201d— Birmingham Live (@Birmingham Live) 1664199021
The Sun caught up with Norton and he refused to apologize. The only thing he had to say was, "I don’t want to talk about the article.”
While it’s terrible that Stead was stood up on her wedding day, she should be applauded for making the best of the worst day ever. It’s also wonderful that her bridesmaids and family stood by her side and supported her as she dealt with a serious blow. Let’s hope she finds someone better soon. It shouldn’t be too hard—standing someone up at the altar and then not even explaining yourself is a pretty low move.
A little comfort goes a long way.
We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?
Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.
A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.
Socks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to
When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.
Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.
Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.
Raines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best
Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.
Running helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery
Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”
Welcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!
The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.
Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.
You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.
The Germans were terrified of these pilots whose silent planes swooped in like ghosts.
If you like stories of amazing women, buckle up, because this one is a wild ride.
During WWII, the Soviet Air Force's 588th Night Bomber Regiment flew incredibly harrowing missions, bombing Germans with rudimentary biplanes in the dead of night. The Germans called them Nachthexen—"Night Witches"—because the only warning they had before the bombs hit was an ominous whooshing sound akin to a witch's broom.
The "whoosh" sound was due to the fact that the women would cut the planes' engines as they approached, gliding in stealthily before dropping their bombs. And the Night Witches moniker was fitting, considering the fact that the 588th was an all-female regiment.
Their missions were incredibly dangerous, especially considering how the women were equipped. Most of the recruits were in their late teens to mid-20s, and crew members had to learn how to pilot, navigate and maintain the aircraft so they could serve the regiment in any capacity. They underwent an intensive year of training to learn what usually took several years to master.
The planes they flew were rickety biplanes made of plywood and canvas, which were usually used for crop dusting and training. According to the Wright Museum, a tracer bullet could easily cause the plane to burst into flames, causing some of the women to refer to their aircraft as "a coffin with wings." The planes' top speed was just 90 mph, and the weight of the two bombs and crew they carried meant they had to fly low. That made the planes easily visible targets, so the women only flew their missions under the cover of darkness.
The open design of the aircraft and the fact that they flew at night also meant that the women were fully exposed to frigid temperatures during Soviet winters. According to The History Channel, the planes would get so cold, touching them would tear off bare skin.
Since there had been no women in combat in the Air Force before, they were given hand-me-down men's uniforms and had to tear up bedding to stuff into the end of their boots to make them fit properly. Due to the limited capacity of their aircraft and limited funds, they also were deprived of the modern equipment their male counterparts had access to—radar, radios, machine guns and even parachutes. Instead, they had to use maps, rulers, compasses, stopwatches and pencils to perform their missions. And if they needed to bail out, they just hoped they were close enough to the ground to survive.
Up to 40 two-person crews would be sent out each night to complete between eight and 18 missions each. They would go out in groups of three, with two planes acting as decoys to draw the German searchlights and flack gun attacks away from the third. The one advantage the small, slow biplanes had was maneuverability, so they relied on fancy flying to create a diversion. When the navigator of the third plane tapped the pilot on the shoulder, she would kill the engine and silently swoop in for the bomb drop. The three planes would each take turns in this manner until all three planes had dropped their payloads.
The term "Night Witches" was coined by the Germans, but the women took on the nickname with pride. They had every reason to be proud. They were so feared that any German who downed one of their planes was automatically awarded the prestigious Iron Cross medal.
From June 1942 to October 1943, they flew more than 23,000 combat sorties, collectively logging over 28,000 flight hours and dropping more than 3,000 tons of bombs and 26,000 incendiary shells on Nazi targets. Their bombing raids wreaked havoc on river crossings, railways, warehouses, fuel depots, armored cars, firing positions and other valuable logistical targets. They also made 155 food and ammunition supply drops to other Soviet armed forces.
By the end of the war, the Soviets has lost 32 Night Witches in service. The 588th Regiment was highly decorated; of the 89 Soviet women who received the Hero of the Soviet Union award—the country's highest honor in WWII—22 were Night Witches.
However, when the Soviet Union held a massive victory parade after the war, the Night Witches weren't included in it. Their planes, which these badass women had painted flowers on to add a feminine touch, were deemed too slow.
Learn more about the Night Witches with NBC News Learn:
This article originally appeared on July 2, 2019
Sadly, a lot of men go out of their way to avoid learning anything about a woman's period.
(That could be why throughout most of the United States — where the majority of lawmakers are men — feminine hygiene products are subject to sales tax.)
So we should give some love to the guys who make an effort to learn a bit about the menstrual cycle so they can help their family members when they're in desperate need of feminine hygiene products.
Personally, as a guy, the feminine hygiene aisle can be a little intimidating. There are multiple brands, styles of products, scents, absorbency levels, and they are all color-coded.
What do the colors mean?
Knowing there's a lot I don't know, I take a picture on my phone of the box I'm about to purchase and send it to my wife, asking, "Is this the right one?"
A dad in the U.K. is getting some love on social media for the hilarious way he navigated the world of feminine hygiene products while showing how much he loved his daughter in the process.
It all began when Tia Savva sent her dad to Tesco, a popular U.K. drug store, to pick up some tampons.
For all the guys out there that need a solid primer on what goes on in the feminine hygiene product aisle, this quick tutorial from Mel magazine does a pretty great job.