See the beautiful kites these kids designed after their parents were deported.

It was a family living in constant fear of deportation that inspired Rosalia Torres-Weiner to shift the direction of her art from commercial to social activism.

The members of this family, who also lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, were terrified of being deported, Torres-Weiner told Upworthy. She wanted to find a way to make them feel safe and for the couple's three children to know everything was going to be OK.


Rosalia Torres-Weiner. Image by The Red Calaca Studio, used with permission.

In 2012, Torres-Weiner created an organization called the Papalote Project. "Papalote" means "kite" in Spanish.

The organization allows the children of deported parents to work through their feelings of hurt, confusion, and fear by channeling those feelings into art. As part of the program, children are given the supplies to create a kite and encouraged to include a piece of clothing from a loved one who was deported.

Image via Papalote Project, used with permission.

Why kites?

Torres-Weiner said she sees the kites as part of a symbolic process. The children can attach their emotions and fear and trauma to the kites, and by setting the kites free, they are left to heal in a safe environment.

Image by Papalote Project, used with permission.

Torres-Weiner says the entire kite workshop is filled with symbolism.

In many ways, the kites symbolize caterpillars that turn into butterflies and fly away. The "caterpillars" are made of paper and filled with painful memories, before turning into beautiful paper butterfly "papalotes" which fly away, taking those memories with them.

Some of the kids have never even flown a kite, so that in itself gives them a sense of freedom, fun, and wonder — allowing them to liberate themselves from the past.

Image by Papalote Project, used with permission.

The goal of Papalote Project is to give a voice to those left behind when friends and family are deported.

It is estimated that half a million parents have been deported from the U.S. since 2009, which means roughly 5.3 million kids have been affected so far.

Children of deported parents typically have less access to health services, including help with mental health issues, early education, and other social services.

Image by Papalote Project, used with permission.

Validating and working through feelings of neglect, fear, or confusion that anyone — but especially children — may be having after their parents or loved ones are suddenly gone is an incredibly important part of the healing process.

The Papalote Project helps them do that.

Image by Papalote Project, used with permission.

Eventually, Torres-Weiner hopes to bring Papalote Project to even more kids through an app that allows them to design their own kites and upload them to a website.

These kids deserve to know that they are not alone.

The incredibly personal and colorful papalote creations are a way for them to tell their heartbreaking stories and heal from them at the same time — together.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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