True
Macy's

When Officer Kimberly Jung  was looking for roadside bombs in Afghanistan, she couldn't help but notice a vicious cycle.

"It felt like every time we found one, a new one would take its place," Jung recalled in an interview with Bunker Labs.

She was a route clearance platoon leader, so it was a big part of her job. But constantly uncovering weapons of war made her wish they could interact with the land and its people in a more positive way.


She wasn't the only one who felt like this; several of her friends who served with her also saw the symbolism behind the seemingly unending activity. It was time to change how they related to Afghanistan.

When Jung returned to civilian life, she and her colleagues decided to start cultivating peace by working with Afghan farmers to harvest saffron.

[rebelmouse-image 19346109 dam="1" original_size="700x358" caption="Rumi (right) with her fellow co-founders. Photo via Bunker Labs/YouTube." expand=1]Rumi (right) with her fellow co-founders. Photo via Bunker Labs/YouTube.

They co-founded a company called Rumi Spice in Chicago to help make the expensive and rare saffron spice more available in the states.

For them, it's not just about turning a profit. They have hired Afghan employees and created lasting partnerships with Afghan farmers to encourage a more healthy relationship with the war-torn nation.

"What we’re doing here is laying a sustainable foundation for peace through economic empowerment," Jung explained.  

By working with Afghanistan in this way, Rumi Spice is helping to infuse economic prosperity back into a country that desperately needs the boost. This, in turn, helps the farmers think positively about American businesses that want them to maintain their seat in the world's marketplace.

As of last year, Rumi Spice has been able to export 5% of Afghanistan’s total saffron available for it. It's a huge leap for such a small business, especially because they're simultaneously strengthening a key link between Afghanistan and the Western world.

Their thriving business is largely possible due to assistance from Bunker Labs — a national nonprofit that empowers veterans to become leading entrepreneurs.

[rebelmouse-image 19346110 dam="1" original_size="658x327" caption="Photo via Bunker Labs." expand=1]Photo via Bunker Labs.

Bunker Labs was founded by former veteran Todd Connor, whose own experience returning home from the Navy sparked this idea for an interactive support system for veterans interested in starting their own businesses.

"He realized that one of the main barriers to success was the resources, networks, and a connected ecosystem in which to support them," Becca Keaty, Chief Development Officer for Bunker Labs, explains in an email.

So that's exactly what Bunker Labs provides. It inspires and equips veterans through immersive workshops, active mentorships, and innovative programs both in-person and online via its Launch Lab Online. But perhaps most importantly, it helps them establish a tribe of fellow veterans who are also pursuing their business dreams.

Jung, in particular, has found that network incredibly helpful and motivating.

"Our biggest supporters have been other veterans," Jung said. "Being part of a veteran community has been key to our success."

[rebelmouse-image 19346111 dam="1" original_size="700x348" caption="Jung works with another veteran at a Bunker Lab. Photo via Bunker Labs/YouTube." expand=1]Jung works with another veteran at a Bunker Lab. Photo via Bunker Labs/YouTube.

And she's far from alone. As of February 2018, Bunker Labs entrepreneurs have helped create 1,581 new jobs and generate $67,449,544 in revenue. What's more, the organization has headquarters in 22 major cities across the country, with a three-year goal of getting one in all 50 states, so those numbers will only continue to climb.

Thanks to brands like Macy's, that goal will likely be reached even sooner. As part of its July 4 Give Back campaign, if you donate $3 at checkout in stores or online, you'll receive 25% percent off your purchase, and a portion of your donation goes to Bunker Labs. Your donations will help them expand their programs, making them more accessible to a larger population of veterans.

It can be especially hard for veterans making the transition back to civilian life to set themselves up for success in business. According to Bunker Labs, while 25% of returning veterans want to be entrepreneurs, only 4% manage to do it because they don't know where to start. But now, with organizations like Bunker Labs in place, they can avoid a lot of that guesswork and turn to fellow veteran entrepreneurs for advice when they're feeling overwhelmed or looking for assistance.

Being in the military means never leaving someone behind. That sentiment doesn't expire when their uniforms are off.

To learn more about Bunker Labs, check out this video:

Salute those who serve by donating at Macy's to organizations that support veteran and military families from June 28th — July 8th.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


Keep Reading Show less
All photos from Pilllsbury used with permission

Pillsbury is partnering with non profit, Operation Homefront, to provide housing for veterans

True

It’s the dream of many veterans: a safe and swift return to the security of home – to a place where time can be spent with family while becoming part of a community and creating new memories. With the partnership of non-profit Operation Homefront, Pillsbury is helping give military families the opportunity to do just that.

For many of our American soldiers, the dream of making a comfortable return to civilian life is often dashed by harsh realities. Pew Research Center reports that 44% of veterans who have served since Sept 11, 2001 noted having a difficult time re-adjusting. From re-entering into the workforce to finding healthcare services, returning to civilian life can be a harrowing transition. While serving in the military is incredibly stressful, it also provides routine, structure and purpose that is not easily replicated in civilian life. Couple this with a lack of helpful resources for veterans, and the hope for a brighter future can be easily derailed.


However, some companies and organizations are stepping in to show support and provide resources. Operation Homefront, an organization dedicated to helping military families transition back to civilian life, launched its Transitional Homes for Veterans (THV) Program in 2018. The program places veteran families in safe, secure, rent-free single-family homes for a period of two-to-three years while providing financial coaching and training to reduce debt, increase savings, and prepare for independent home ownership. Since the THV’s inception, Operation Homefront has defrayed more than $500K in mortgage costs to military families.

Keep Reading Show less

TikTok about '80s childhood is a total Gen X flashback.

As a Gen X parent, it's weird to try to describe my childhood to my kids. We're the generation that didn't grow up with the internet or cell phones, yet are raising kids who have never known a world without them. That difference alone is enough to make our 1980s childhoods feel like a completely different planet, but there are other differences too that often get overlooked.

How do you explain the transition from the brown and orange aesthetic of the '70s to the dusty rose and forest green carpeting of the '80s if you didn't experience it? When I tell my kids there were smoking sections in restaurants and airplanes and ashtrays everywhere, they look horrified (and rightfully so—what were we thinking?!). The fact that we went places with our friends with no quick way to get ahold of our parents? Unbelievable.

One day I described the process of listening to the radio, waiting for my favorite song to come on so I could record it on my tape recorder, and how mad I would get when the deejay talked through the intro of the song until the lyrics started. My Spotify-spoiled kids didn't even understand half of the words I said.

And '80s hair? With the feathered bangs and the terrible perms and the crunchy hair spray? What, why and how?

Keep Reading Show less