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The Circus Project teaches homeless kids to fly. It's awesome.

Being a homeless kid can feel like walking a tightrope — so this nonprofit is teaching them how to be acrobats.

There are an estimated 1.7 million homeless youth in America.

That's a huge number — and a huge problem. Homeless teens are more likely to develop depression and PTSD, and even if they do get off the streets, they may still experience emotional and behavioral problems.

That's why there are a lot of programs out there to help homeless, at-risk youth. Some programs focus on mentorship, some help kids develop leadership skills, and others give them something to do to keep them out of trouble.


... and then there's the Circus Project, which teaches homeless kids how to fly.

Seriously.

All photos in this story were provided by the Circus Project and used with permission.

The Portland-based program uses the circus arts to help homeless youth channel their energy into productive, empowering social activity.

The circus arts are more Cirque du Soleil than Barnum & Bailey. There are no animals involved in the Circus Project's performances — just humans using their bodies to make really awesome art.

The students in the High Flyers outreach program take classes for 8-10 weeks to learn how to suspend themselves from aerial silks...

And perform trapeze acts...

And become acrobats.

The program's founder, Jenn Cohen, said that High Flyers isn't just about learning how to balance, hanging from a trapeze, or becoming really flexible. It's actually mostly focused on developing healthy coping skills and self-confidence in a positive, productive environment.

"Part of the curriculum is teaching them the skills to be able to work with authority, to be able to work with our peers," Jenn Cohen told Upworthy.

"Our curriculum is actually very integrated with life skills training," Jenn added.

The program also continues to support the students in their social circus program after they graduate.

The Circus Project began with just the outreach program, but they have now grown to include an academy with paid classes for the public too, as well as a professional performance troupe.

So, after the students complete their classes in the program for at-risk youth, the Circus Project offers them scholarships to participate in the public academy and continue to develop their circus skills.

"The big goal is to find these kids in the outreach program who really respond well to it and communicate to them that there is a place for them at the Circus Project if they can make it here," Sean Andries, Circus Project program director, told Upworthy.

Having a place to belong is something that isn't always available for homeless youth, but it can be life-changing.

Jessica Coshatt, a former homeless young adult who became a High Flyer, can attest to that. After participating in the High Flyers program, she's became a wellness specialist at another nonprofit for homeless youth. She recently told The Lund Report that her time in the Circus Project helped her transition out of homelessness.

"I wanted to get back inside for trapeze and acrobatics training," she said.

"Circus is fun, it's exciting, it's tough, and the only way you're going to get better at it is if you actually invest in it and work hard at it," Andries says.

The founders hope that between the circus arts and the support of fellow artists, these at-risk teens and young adults can find stability.

“What we see with a lot of these outreach teams that really respond to it is that it gives them something they really care about, that they're passionate about," Sean said.

"They realize that if they want to get better at it and pursue it, they need to organize the rest of their life in order to support that," he said.

This is such an amazing, unique way to help provide support to some of the people who need it the most.

Want to learn more? Check out this video to see what an actual Circus Project performance looks like:

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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