College move-in week is an exciting time in parents' and students' lives — but it doesn't come cheap.

We've all heard about the rising cost of college tuition, and anyone who's purchased a college textbook knows how financially daunting higher education can be.

But there are other costs that often get lost in the discussion — things that many Americans may take for granted, but are a significant challenge for others. Dorm living requires some basics that some students struggle to afford. Considering the fact that the average family spends close to $1000 on college back-to-school items, kids who are coming from disadvantaged communities or are the first in their families to go to college may not be prepared for the cost of moving in to their dorm rooms.


The toll of student debt...

Posted by Grown and Flown on Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Some moms recognized that students who couldn't afford dorm essentials needed some help — so they took action.

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa Heffernan are the moms behind the website Grown and Flown — an online community for parents with kids ages 15 to 25. When one of their readers suggested raising funds for college students who could use some assistance with getting settled at school, the moms created an initiative now known as Move In Moms.

Harrington, an alumna of University of Texas at Austin, enlisted the help of businesses and other parents — in partnership with her alma mater — to raise funds for over 200 students in the UT Austin Foundation Scholars Program to get dorm supplies last year.

Each student received a dorm bundle, which included a laundry hamper, sheets, a pillow, a shower caddy, a surge protector, towels, a mattress pad, and a bed bug encasement. Harrington said that it was exciting to support students by offering them items "to feather their nest a little bit."

Target donated $10,000 for Move In Moms to purchase supplies for 250 hard-working college students.

The University of Texas has been on a mission to increase graduation rates, especially for students at risk of dropping out. Anything that eases the financial burden of these students makes a difference. Move In Moms is making move-in week less stressful for 250 students, many of whom are first generation college students working multiple jobs to pay for their education.

With a big corporate partner like Target in their court, hopefully Move In Moms will achieve their goal to spread to other universities. Surely plenty of parents facing their own empty nests would be happy to help other young people get a solid start in their college career.

Pretty much.

Posted by Grown and Flown on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Unless or until college in the U.S. becomes more affordable, such programs are a necessity for many students.

As college costs rise higher education falls out of reach for many people. Even for those who receive scholarships or financial aid, additional expenses are sometimes unaffordable. Until we make some major changes on a broad level to make college less costly, communities helping communities will have to be the way we solve individual financial hardships.

If there's anyone we can count on to make sure kids are taken care of, it's moms. Keep up the awesome work, Move In Moms.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less