Subway riders in New York are paying $2 for 5 minutes of advice from an 11-year-old.

Ciro Ortiz, a sixth-grader from New York, sometimes has a tough time at school.

All photos by EmotionalAdviceKid/Instagram used with permission.

Like a lot of kids his age, he's dealt with his fair share of bullying. He says getting picked on doesn't really bother him; it's the feeling that he doesn't fit in.


"Some kids are only nice to you if you are into what they're into," he writes in an email. "I'm not going to force myself to be someone I'm not."

He figured there were a lot of people like him that could use some advice or encouragement, so he decided to do something about it.

Ciro was sitting around watching TV one day when he came up with the idea of doling out advice to stressed-out New York subway-goers.

"I think I'm wise enough to give good advice!" he says. His parents agreed.

At Ciro's booth, at the Bedford L train stop in Brooklyn, he offers five minutes of advice for $2.00 — a total bargain.

He's out there for two hours every Sunday, listening to people's problems regarding work, relationships, and with life in general.

The money Ciro makes — about $50 per week on a busy day — all goes to helping kids at his school who can't afford to buy snacks or lunch.

His first day out on the platform, Ciro says he was super nervous. But pretty soon, "clients" started coming to him in bunches.

"I didn't know if people were going to stare or laugh at me," he says. But then they "saw that I was taking it seriously."

And, surprisingly, so were they. People were coming to Ciro with real problems, and truly listening to what he had to say.

So far, the reviews are stellar.

"Somebody came up to us and said that what [Ciro] told her is what she'd been feeling in her gut that whole time," Adam, Ciro's father, told the New York Post.

Out of the mouths of babes...

The thing that seems to be on most people's minds? Love, Ciro says.

People either are't happy with who they're with or they're worried they'll never find the right person.

His absolute best advice: "When you were brought into this world, you were born into someone loving you. Look at it like that."

As for Ciro himself, he says most of his friends at school don't understand what he's doing or why. But that's OK.

Because now, he has dozens and dozens of new friends he's met on the L train platform. He's helped them all by lending a kind ear, and they've helped him finally feel like he belongs somewhere.

"Everyone needs help sometimes," he says. "You can't get through life without help."

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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