The Parkland survivors were just awarded a global peace prize.

Parkland school shooting survivors and founders of March For Our Lives have been awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize.

After a gunman shot and killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last February, a group of survivors—part of a generation of kids who spent their childhoods doing active shooter drills in their classrooms—decided enough was enough. They took advantage of the microphones being thrust in their faces and used their voices to start a movement that has taken off like no other gun legislation campaign ever has.

These students are now being recognized on the world stage for their ongoing work to end gun violence. On November 20, anti-apartheid activist and renowned cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu presented the Parkland teens’ organization, March For Our Lives, with the International Children’s Peace Prize in Cape Town, South Africa. The prize from the KidsRights Foundation is “awarded annually to a child who fights courageously for children’s rights. All winners have shown a remarkable commitment to combating problems millions of children face worldwide.”


Desmond Tutu called the students “true change-makers.”

“The peaceful campaign to demand safe schools and communities, and the eradication of gun violence, is reminiscent of other great peace movements in history,” Tutu said. “I am in awe of these children, whose powerful message is amplified by their youthful energy and an unshakable belief that children can—no, must—improve their own futures.”

It’s an inspiring yet sad commentary, as theoretically adults should be the ones improving the future for children. However, since American grown-ups have spent decades proving they won’t take meaningful legislative action to curb gun violence, kids have been left with no choice but to take it on themselves. And take it on they have.

March For Our Lives released a statement that reflects the students’ commitment and laser sharp focus on the issue: “We are truly humbled and grateful for this award, but know that our work will not stop until we end the appalling and preventable epidemic of gun violence in the United States.”

Emma Gonzáles, David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, and brothers Matt and Ryan Deitsch, who have helped serve as the public faces of March For Our Lives, received the award in Cape Town. More than 100 children from around the world were nominated for the prize, previous recipients of which include Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani youth who refused to stop speaking out for education even after being shot in the face.

The Parkland activists haven’t slowed down since the shooting.

The Parkland students organized March for Our Lives, a demonstration that drew hundreds of thousands of people to Washington, D.C. on March 24, 2018, and spurred hundreds of sister events around the world. MFOL has since evolved into an advocacy organization that pushes for lawmakers to stand up to the gun lobby, fund gun violence research, eliminate restrictions on the ATF, and pass various common sense gun legislation.

This summer, the students organized the Road to Change campaign, visiting communities in more than 20 states to help register young voters and spread the message that it's time to take action—legislatively and culturally—to end America's gun violence problem. They also pushed for youth turnout for the 2018 midterms with their #TurnoutTuesday series.

The Parkland survivors are on a serious mission to save lives, and they're clearly not going to stop until that missions is accomplished.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

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Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Ready for the weekend? Of course, you are. Here's our weekly dose of good vibes to help you shed the stresses of the workweek and put yourself in a great frame of mind.

These 10 stories made us happy this week because they feature amazing creativity, generosity, and one super-cute fish.

1. Diver befriends a fish with the cutest smile

Hawaiian underwater photographer Yuki Nakano befriended a friendly porcupine fish and now they hang out regularly.

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