She's 95 and lives alone. This important organization keeps her life feeling full.

She's still learning every day.

As we get older, sometimes our bodies get a little slower and our physical worlds get a little smaller. But that doesn't mean our minds or our hearts have to do the same.

95-year-old Ruth Bryant is proof of that.

She dedicated her life to helping people learn, teaching kids and adults on two continents — a dedication that earned her a presidential medal for service. Even now, when her life is mostly limited to her home, she's still learning — this time from her Meals on Wheels volunteers.


Ruth was born in Chicago, the youngest of five sisters. By the time she was 12, her mother was widowed and looking for a new place to raise her family.

They hit the road, trading the Windy City for balmy, sunny Santa Monica, California. The ocean breeze, the flowers, the people, the city — everything made them feel welcome. And they never looked back.

Pictured: Heaven, also known as the Santa Monica pier at sunset. Image via Michael Wu/Flickr.

As Ruth grew up in her new hometown, she focused her future on one goal: becoming a teacher.

After all, it's a profession that runs in her family.

Ruth's mom liked to tell her daughters about her time teaching kindergarten through sixth grade to students in a small one-room schoolhouse "in the middle of the country." Like many teachers at the time, she was only 15 — barely an adult herself — and would ride her horse to the schoolhouse to teach.

One day in the middle of lessons, she watched her horse get loose and run away. As any teenager would do in the situation, she ran outside, sat on the stoop, and started to cry. Then, one by one, her students came outside to comfort her until an entire classroom's worth of kids joined her crying on the stoop in solidarity and support.

For Ruth, hearing that story from her mom was the moment she knew she wanted to teach. "That's unconventional and unconditional love," she said. "I knew I wanted to experience that too."

Ruth's dedication to teaching and empowering kids stayed with her through her entire teaching career.

She learned quickly that her philosophy of teaching was a little out of the ordinary. Lectures followed by worksheets followed by tests — that kind of teaching might work for other educators. But Ruth wanted to do things differently.

"My philosophy is that if you have students and you tell them something and they know it, that can be forgotten right away," explained Ruth. "But if you present something in a creative way, they get immersed and they want to be a part of it. It becomes a part of their very being."

Ruth on the phone for this interview. Image by Angel Howe, used with permission.

Her unique, thoughtful, creative way of looking at things helped move her career in fascinating directions. Including Venezuela.

Accepting an invitation from two of her students, Ruth started visiting Venezuela as a volunteer teacher in the early 1970s. She fell in love with the country at first sight. Over the next three decades, she went back every single summer to train teachers in creative ways of educating, earning the nickname the "Teacher of Teachers."

After returning from a summer abroad in the mid-1990s, Ruth learned that she was being considered for an award. Suddenly, she was back on a plane to Venezuela to accept a medal for service from then-President Rafael Caldera and the Minister of Education. "It was a great, great, great honor to me to have a president of a country give me a medal for the work that I'd done in their country, a teacher from California," Ruth recalled.

Ruth's medal from the president of Venezuela. Image by Angel Howe, used with permission.

Though she retired many years ago, Ruth still values teaching — only the tables have turned a little.

Ruth started using Meals on Wheels a few years ago after it became increasingly difficult to leave her home and care for herself. For many of the same reasons she valued her students and fellow teachers, Ruth loves her Meals on Wheels volunteers.

Meals on Wheels, she said, has been an actual lifesaver, helping her stay independent and live in her home. And while she is grateful for the food, it's the community and companionship that she finds truly rewarding.

"I'm hoping that people will understand that the meal that is delivered is good for the body. But Meals on Wheels also delivers food for the soul. They deliver smiles, compassion, companionship."

For Ruth, her experience with her Meals on Wheels volunteers is an extension of her lifelong love of teaching — but she's the student now.

"I learn so much from the people who visit me with Meals on Wheels, about their lives and their stories. We form friendships and real, lasting bonds. This program makes a real difference in people's lives to remind them to keep going on and keep living," she said.

"Ultimately, it's about delivering happiness."

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture