She was the first in her family to go to college. Now she's helping others do the same.

When Alondra Palomino was a kid, she wanted so badly to go to college. But she just didn’t know if it was possible.

"I have a somewhat complex family dynamic," Palomino explains in an email. She grew up in Colorado, raised by her godparents — first in Denver, where she lived in a neighborhood that spoke only Spanish, and then in Thornton.

"Thornton was a huge culture shock to me. I began to realize what it truly meant to be considered a minority," she writes.


Alondra (left) facilitating a workshop. Image provided by Alondra Palomino, used with permission.

Palomino's mother immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico "in search of a better life," after having to quit school in seventh grade to work. Both she and Palomino's godparents stressed the importance of a college education, but none of them had any experience navigating the application process.

By the time Palomino reached high school, she knew she'd give anything to go to college. "I needed to be the role model for my younger sister and brother," she notes. "They needed to know that if I could do it, they could too."

She just had no idea how to get there.

Unfortunately, Palomino's story is not uncommon.

A 2014 study found that just 15% of Hispanic young adults (aged 25-29) held a bachelor's degree — a number that lags far behind other demographic groups. Cost, unfamiliarity with the process, and needing to help support family are just a few barriers that first-generation college students face.

Image via iStock.

Luckily, Palomino's high school in Thornton offered a rigorous academic program that was able to guide her through the college application process. She successfully applied to the University of Colorado at Boulder, received scholarships, and started school in 2014.

Now a junior in college, Palomino's determined to give other first-generation college students the same opportunities she had.

One of the scholarships Palomino received, the Puksta Scholarship, requires students to design a civic engagement project. She writes, "I knew that I wanted to work with the undocumented community; I wanted to give back to my family, especially after everything they have done for me."

After reflecting on her own experience applying to college, she decided that simply providing workshops for parents of high school students could make a huge impact in the community. So far, she has facilitated four parent workshops.

"I want parents to know that it is possible [for their kids to attend college]," Palomino writes. "It may be challenging, but it's worth it."

Image via iStock.

The workshops address some common college myths (such as the grades required for acceptance), the differences between community colleges and universities, the common application questions, financial aid, and more.

Palomino likes to end the presentation by asking what parents dream for their kids' futures. She says the stories they share make her "realize how amazing and dedicated they are. They are so invested in their student's future and only want the best for them." The parents, she adds, are always extremely grateful.

Being a first-generation college student is anything but easy. But Palomino is fully committed to helping other students achieve their college dreams. "I truly believe that no matter what your legal status is, everyone should have the right and opportunity to go to college," she explains. "It is possible, si se puede."

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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