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Reading This List Put Me In The Best Mood I've Been In In 2 Days

It's Thanksgiving! Yeah, I know this holiday has some sketchy origins. That's for another post (and trust me, I'm with you). But since we're here, let's take a look at eight things that happened in 2014 to be grateful for.

Reading This List Put Me In The Best Mood I've Been In In 2 Days

8. The data's in, and it turns out the stuff that's being done to help alleviate global poverty and health problems IS WORKING! So let's double down!


7. We are closer and closer to the world being polio-free. In 2014, it was eradicated in India, and now there are only three countries left to quell it in.

6. Time magazine "let" us keep the word "feminism" (where's the sarcasm font when you need it?). And 11-year-old girls everywhere are sitting in little feminist incubators listening to Beyoncé and Taylor Swift, who both fully embraced the best F-word ever this year. Because let's be real: Feminism helps EVERYONE break free of the harmful rules of the patriarchy.

5. This was the year that science made a comeback in America in a big way. Neil DeGrasse Tyson unified everyone who wants to make decisions for our future and sustainability based on empirical evidence.

4. Speaking of sustainability, the United States and China reached a pretty important pact on how to not do ourselves in, Earthlings.

3. Some big retailers are getting the hint and hearing that shoppers aren't interested in making employees work on Thanksgiving. We give thanks to those like Costco and Nordstrom that refuse to be part of the problem. We give thanks for the workers who get to be home with their families and friends, and wish for everyone to be able to.

2. 15% of people who didn't qualify for state-sponsored health insurance now do, thanks to the 2014 rules for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. And all health insurance plans this year were required to step it up to provide a better standard of coverage. That's better health coverage and less uncertainty for everyone!

1. More dominoes keep falling in the victory for gay rights. State by state, same-sex marriage is becoming the law of the land. And if XKCD's predictions are right, we may achieve it in all 50 states lickety-split (though yesterday wouldn't be soon enough!).

I love thinking of all the things I'm happy about, don't you?

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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.