Presenting a refreshingly new way to help keep people from poverty and homelessness

They begin this video with a request:

"Tell me about your kids."


And the people who follow do exactly that.

People like Christina, who got pregnant at 18. Everybody told her that her life was going to end, that she'd always be stuck in minimum-wage jobs. But she pulled herself up, with help from LIFT. She's now an advocate for the nonprofit, and as she tells it, "I work with [the members]. I don't make them feel like they're in this word alone."

Teaser: Her adorable kid shows up near the end of the clip. Well, OK. Here he is:


All images via LIFT.

LIFT is a member-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people get out of the cycle of poverty and into a place where they can excel, grow, and learn.

People like Kelsey, who ended up working there:

Currently, LIFT is active in six major cities: New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The problem they're trying to fix?

The problem is made worse by the system itself.


LIFT takes a three-pronged approach to working with its members in creating that foundation:

1. Personal
People arrive at LIFT near the end of their rope, sometimes beat down to a point where getting back up is an insurmountable challenge. The staff at LIFT helps folks build the self-confidence they need to get back out into the world on their terms, through things like mock interviews, strength assessments, and access to learning new skills.

2. Social
Support networks are huge: family members, advocates, and friends who know what you need, when you need it. When you lose those for whatever reasons — a crucial part of your safety net is lost, too. LIFT helps people build and rebuild these support networks to function, grow, and survive.

3. Financial
People near or in poverty find themselves with fewer and fewer financial resources to go around, and it's like a dead end … or a vortex that eventually pulls them down into oblivion. In combination with the other two pillars — social and personal — the financial piece is crucial to helping members find jobs, safe homes, and access to decent education for their kids so they can flourish.

What this means is that, over time, a LIFT member builds a set of skills and develops access to resources that help them stay out of the hard times in the future.

Why is it important to build that foundation?

Let's let some of those who have lived it say more.

"We are different at LIFT because we are putting humanity at the center of our work. We are with our Members every step of the way. We listen. We cry together. We celebrate together. Because we believe that all people, regardless of income, deserve the same things to get ahead, we make sure that every Member who walks through our doors are treated with dignity and respect, have networks to tap into, and have a partner with whom to work hard on to achieve goals." — Patience Peabody, Vice President of Communications & Creative at LIFT
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.