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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Humanitarian Helen Keller circa 1920.

In a 1954 documentary short, humanitarian Helen Keller expressed that her greatest regret in life was being unable to speak clearly. But given that she could not see or hear, her speech was quite remarkable.

Keller was born in 1880 and, at the age of 18 months, contracted an unknown illness that left her deaf and blind. But with the help of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, she was able to overcome her disabilities and become an outspoken advocate for the voiceless and oppressed.



Throughout her life, Keller advocated for peace, women’s rights and the worker’s rights movement. She was a devout socialist and an early member of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Her most lasting work was with the American Foundation for the Blind, which she joined in 1924 and would work for over 40 years. Over that time, she visited 35 countries, met with world leaders, and advocated for improved healthcare and education for those with vision loss.

However, even though her efforts changed the lives of millions, she always thought she could do more if she spoke more clearly. But her inability to do so gave her a greater understanding of the human condition.

"It is not blindness or deafness that bring me my darkest hours. It is the acute disappointment in not being able to speak normally," she said. "Longingly I feel how much more good I may have done, if I had only acquired normal speech. But out of this sorrowful experience, I understand more fully all human striving, thwarted ambitions, and the infinite capacity of hope."

From puppies riding roosters to puppy panda costumes, here are 10 reasons to smile this week.

I don't know about you, but all of this [gestures widely at the general state of things] has been getting to me a bit lately. And when that happens, I've learned that the best way to pull myself out of the funk is to find joy in simple things. The fleeting colors of a beautiful sunrise. The hilarious quirkiness of my cats. The sound of my kids' laughter.

Big happiness can be found in little things, especially when you add a bunch of them together.

So without further ado, here are 10 things that can bring us all some joy as we head into our weekend.


A puppy riding a rooster is the unexpected therapy we all need.

What is even happening here? How did these puppies and roosters meet? When did they become friends? Who knew a rooster would ever do anything like this? So many questions, but honestly, who cares. It's friggin' adorable.

You can see the exact moment this cat says, "Oh crap," and it's just perfection. 

It's the cat's Jim Halpert stare at the camera at the 10-second mark that pushes this video over the edge. Hilarious.

Spanx founder surprised her 500 employees with two first-class plane tickets and $10,000.

After selling the majority share of her company, Sara Blakely shared the wealth with her workers in the form of two first-class plane tickets and $10,000 to spend wherever they went. An awesome example of taking care of the people who help you build success. Rock on, Sara Blakely. Read the story here.

A dad of an autistic boy shared how a U.K. football club made him feel at home.

Emirates Stadium has a sensory room for autistic spectators and others with sensory sensitivities.

Arsenal/Twitter, @TheresYourDC/Twitter

A dad took his autistic son to an Arsenal football game, and when he became overstimulated, he was going to take him home. But a kind employee intervened and took them to the club's sensory room, which is set up for people who might experience sensory overload at the game. Read about this beautiful example of inclusion here.

Every parent has experienced the planking baby vs. carseat fiasco. Too familiar, and too funny. 

@benandlex

Light as a feather, stiff as a board! #TargetHalloween #carseat #uppababy

Seriously, when they do this it's nearly impossible to get them to bend without feeling like you're going to break them. It's like a superhuman ability all babies are born with.

Awesome teacher wrote an official letter to the tooth fairy on behalf of a student who threw away their tooth.

It's even on official school letterhead! Gotta love a grown-up dedicated to keeping magic alive for kids.

Chris Evans' giddiness over playing Buzz Lightyear is the most delightful thing ever.

Chris Evans can't contain his delight at getting to play his dream role.

Chris Evans/Twitter

You'd think playing the studly superhero Captain America would be the pinnacle of an actor's career, but Chris Evans has never gushed over that role like he has over getting to play Buzz Lightyear in Pixar's upcoming film, "Lightyear." Check out how he talks about playing his dream role here.

These twin toddlers giggling their way through their first Target experience are all of us.

@savyjane

It’s @target right? 🎯 #myheros #preemiestrong #micropreemie #medicalmom #thattwinlife #twins #laughter #smiletoday #foryourpage #fyp

This is the soundtrack in my head every time I get to peruse the perfectly organized aisles of Target by myself. Target is magical.

A kid wanted her "most precious" rock to be put on display at the museum. Mission accomplished.

The plaque reads, "On 23rd August 2019, Bethan visited Poole Museum. After talking with her mum about what museums do, Bethan decided she wanted to donate her 'most precious' rock to the museum. She asked that we put it behind glass and look after it, so that everyone could see and enjoy it."

This is the way. Well done, Poole Museum.

Puppy pandas. I REPEAT. PUPPY. PANDAS. 

And just when you think it can't get better, puppy lions show up. This is seriously the greatest thing I've ever seen.

If that last video alone didn't make you smile, please seek help.

Hope that brought a little sunshine to your day. Come back next week for another roundup of joy and delight!

Looking for a reason to smile? Here are 10 of them.

Feeling blah? Need a little pick-me-up? Having a "no-bones" day? Unsure of what a "no-bones" day even is?

No worries, we've got you covered on all counts.

Each week, we round up 10 tasty morsels of joy to help you hop through the weekend with more pep in your step. If you're feeling even a little bit blue, here are 10 doses of dopamine to flip that frown upside down. (Trying to see how many cheesy colloquialisms I can squeeze into one intro. Forgive me. It's Friday.)

Enjoy, friends!


1. First, let Noodle the pug predict if it's a bones day or a no-bones day.

@jongraz

plan your day accordingly 🔮🦴🔮 #nobones #bonesday #noodletok #pug

Noodle the 13-year-old pug has become a huge viral sensation with his daily fortune telling. If Noodle stands on his own four feet, it's a bones day. That means a day filled with energy, productivity, ambition—all the things! But if Noodle flops back down onto his bed, it's a no-bones day. That's a day to take it easy, practice some self-care, leave the hard stuff for a bones day. "No hard pants on a no-bones day," as Jonathan says. Read more about Noodle and his predictions here.

2. Ever seen a baseball player do ballet on the field? Now you have.

The fact that there's actual baseball being played in the background while Zack Frong dances ballet is hilarious. But that's intentional. The Savannah Bananas are a bit like the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball, selling out all of their "baseball circus" home games since they formed in 2016.

Check out the amazing story of how the Savannah Bananas got their start, thanks to the vision of one man:

3. Sweet puppers anxiously waits for her bestie to get off the school bus.

That tail wag, though! She can hardly contain her excitement, even though this probably happens every day. It's too dang much.

4. Speaking of cute puppers, this chihuahua is the cutest bather everrrrr.

Why is this so cute? Why? Literally everything about it makes me want a dog, and I'm 100% a cat person.

5. If you need a boost of confidence, just watch this pony overcome a humongous, enormous, practically insurmountable hurdle.

Can't you just hear the pony's internal pep talk? And that little"Yes! I did it!" dance at the end! If this pony can push through her fear of That Big Gigantic Step, you can do anything.

6. Son being surprise-woken-up by his dad who had been on deployment—PHEW.

Sorry to make you cry when we said we'd make you smile, but tears of joy borne of love totally count. Father-son love is a beautiful thing.

7. Keep that tissue handy, cuz here comes another good dad tears of joy video.

This is one lucky, lucky baby girl.

8. Squishy the chipmunk. Enough said. 

Squishyyyyy! (Seriously, though, how does a mouth that small hold so many nuts that big?) Brad the human has a page where he shares videos of his chipmunk friends he's made in the past five years: Dinky, Squishy, Mooshy, SpongeBob, Boris, Stinky, Bubba, Hershel, Crazy, Chippie, Shooshi, Inky, Squeaky, Hishkabibble, Mr. Fuji, Betty, Squeegee, Cookie, Stubby, SweetPotato and Friends. SERIOUSLY, BRAD? You are the best.

9. 4-year-old called the police in New Zealand to show them his toys.

How adorable is this? All of the adults handled it so perfectly. And there's seriously nothing cuter than a preschooler with a New Zealand accent. Read the full story here.

10. One more sweet dad-kiddo video, but this one is just pure, unadulterated joy.

BRB, starting a petition for every flight to have the pilot's adorably proud kid on board from now on. So darn precious.

Hope that brought a little joy to your day! Join us next Friday for another roundup of happiness and hope.

Anderson Cooper has interviewed hundreds of people, from top celebrities to heads of state to people on the street. He is fairly unflappable when it comes to chatting with a guest, which is what makes his reaction while interviewing inaugural poet Amanda Gorman all the more delightful.

Gorman stole the show at President Biden's Inauguration with a powerful performance of her original poem, "The Hill We Climb." People were blown away by both her words and her poise in delivering them, especially considering the fact that she's only 22 years old. But it's one thing to be able to write and recite well, and another to be able to impress in an off-the-cuff conversation—and Gorman proved in her interview on Anderson Cooper 360 that she can do both at a level most of us can only dream of.

In the interview, Gorman explained how she dove into research to prepare her poem to fit the occasion, and then how that work was disrupted by the attack on the Capitol.

"I'm not going to say that that completely derailed the poem, because I was not surprised at what had happened," she said. "I had seen the signs and the symptoms for a while, and I was not trying to turn a blind eye to that. But what it did is it energized me even more, to believe that much more firmly in a message of hope and unity and healing. I felt like that was the type of poem that I needed to write and it was the type of poem that the country and the world needed to hear."

After explaining how she used tweets and articles and messages about the Capitol insurrection to hone parts of her poem, she shared thoughts on reclaiming the power of words.


"To me, words matter. And I think that's kind of what made this inauguration that much more sentimental and special. We've seen over the past few years the ways in which the power of words has been violated and misappropriated, and what I wanted to do was to kind of reclaim poetry as that site in which we can repurify, resanctify not only the Capitol building that we saw violated, but the power of words, and to invest that in kind of the highest office of the land."

Cooper and Gorman discussed the last few lines of her poem before delving into Gorman's speech impediment. Cooper shared that he himself had a form of dyslexia and a slight stutter as a child, and Gorman shared that even up until a few years ago she would drop entire letter sounds from her speech. In fact, she said, writing and reciting poetry served as a kind of speech pathology for her. The "R" sound gave her particular trouble even into college, so she would practice singing along with the song "Aaron Burr, Sir" from Hamilton because it contained so many "R" words. (She also included allusions to Hamilton lines in her inaugural poem, which Ham fans quickly noted.)

But the part of the interview that got Cooper tongue-tied was when Gorman shared the mantra she says before every performance. Watch:

Gorman said she closes her eyes and says, "I am the daughter of Black writers. We are descended from freedom fighters who broke their chains and changed the world. They call me."

Cooper had to take a moment before saying, "Um, wow...just...you're awesome. I'm so transfixed." So funny to see one of television's most familiar faces being so awestruck. He's not the only one, though. She is truly mesmerizing.

"Your mom must be so proud of you," Cooper added. Gorman mentioned in her poem that she was raised by a single mother, and considering how proud the whole country is of this young woman, her mom is undoubtedly bursting with pride. Gorman shared how "a village" of support has helped lift her up to where she is today, and that her mom was right there with her filming her as she did this interview.

Anderson Cooper was all of us here. Amazed by Amanda Gorman's talent. Stunned by her grace and wisdom at such a young age. Moved by her personal story. Awed by how she captured this significant moment in our nation's history so beautifully.

Pure brilliance. We will definitely be keeping our eye on Ms. Gorman as we work to build the brighter future she envisioned for our nation.