via Good Morning America
Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.
So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.
Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.
<p>"I'm going to make the most of my time," Klein told "<a href="https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/story/kindergarten-teacher-continues-teach-virtually-chemotherapy-2nd-cancer-75054946" target="_blank">Good Morning America.</a>" "I don't take anything for granted."</p><div class="rm-embed embed-media"><iframe allowfullscreen="" height="360" scrolling="no" src="https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/video/embed/75260661" style="border:none;" width="640"></iframe></div><p>Klein battled cancer five years ago and had to take off about six months due to treatments. But this time, she swore she wouldn't let that happen again. For Klein, teaching gives her the ability to keep her spirits up in a depressing situation.<br></p><p>"Teaching 5-year-olds I always say is like going to Disney World. Everything is exciting and they're so excited about everything that it gets me excited," said Klein. "When you're at chemo and you're around a lot of sick people, it's kind of a depressing place to be. For me, to be around 5-year-olds during that time, it's like a slice of normalcy in an abnormal environment."</p><p>Klein told <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kelly-klein-kindergarten-teacher-virtual-classes-chemotherapy/" target="_blank">CBS News</a> that her students give her strength. "It's real easy to go down the 'Why me?' — and I think if I didn't have five-year-olds to teach every day, I would spend a lot of time thinking about that," Klein said.</p><p>She also hopes that by continuing to teach she can show her students and their families that even with cancer, people can continue to live.</p><div id="6a4fd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="d78c946817d872b5506a8f7fd3407879"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1353447549382893569" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">As elementary school teacher Kelly Klein undergoes cancer treatment for a second time, she’s finding strength from… https://t.co/pQUxfbAx8T</div> — NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt)<a href="https://twitter.com/NBCNightlyNews/statuses/1353447549382893569">1611522016.0</a></blockquote></div><p>After the mother of two learned she had cancer last summer, she pleaded with her principal Beth Behnke to stay on the job. "Please don't make me take a leave," she told Behnke who was "not surprised because of who she is as a person and what teaching means to her. It's her tapestry."<br></p><p>"She's a very beloved teacher and she deserves it because she's the type of teacher who shows up every year," Behnke said of Klein. "And what she's doing is part of living in our world, just helping kids manage through lots of situational things that don't have to define us but are part of our lived experience."</p><p>Receiving a cancer diagnosis has to be completely devastating. But two doctors from Stanford have noticed that one of the most important factors in recovery is maintaining the desire to continue living. "Patients with positive attitudes are better able to cope with disease-related problems and may respond better to therapy," Ernest H. Rosenbaum, M.D. and Isadora R.<a href="https://med.stanford.edu/survivingcancer/cancers-existential-questions/cancer-will-to-live.html" target="_blank"> Rosenbaum, M.A. writes.</a></p><p>Klein's decision to continue teaching may mean a lot more than finding fulfillment in a tough situation, it could prolong her life.</p>
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Let's Do More Together
If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.
Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.
Here's a look at the five winners:
Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.
Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.
<p> In 2020, Mariposas shifted gears somewhat to help immigrants in the community who have lost their job or income stream due to the pandemic. The volunteers bring food and other essential supplies to families' homes, but Edith often lingers beyond the initial drop off, providing a sympathetic ear for families dealing with high levels of stress. Her patience and genuine concern inspires other Latinx people to come into the Mariposas circle and become community leaders, which in turn is making Memphis a more welcoming place for immigrants. </p><p> <strong>Tom Dittl, a first-grade teacher in Wisconsin</strong></p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUzMzI5Ny9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTMxMDU4MH0.6vIYClSTWC5slsZNaSd72jt2c54VN9xCKCQEsNPKjjc/img.png?width=286&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=381" id="cdf24" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9de87c04606a9667dfeea201fac3a16a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="286" data-height="381"> </p><p>Like most teachers in 2020, Tom Dittl had to find fun, creative ways to navigate the challenges of teaching his students virtually. And he took it to the next level. Recently, Dittl made a music video of Jack Johnson's song "Upside Down" while dressed up as The Man in the Yellow Hat — a character from Curious George children's stories — to cheer up his students who've been cooped up at home. But the song also had a deeper purpose: He hoped it would inspire them to be kind to one another and spread that kindness around their communities.<br></p><p> In the video, he tells his students that you can always be kind, even when you're going through something tough. In response, many of them made "kindness rocks" and put them all over their neighborhoods as reminders for others to be kind. </p><p> Teachers have had one of the toughest jobs last year (not to mention every year). When a teacher like Mr. Dittl makes such a noticeable impact on his students, despite the obstacles and distractions of 2020, it's unequivocally a win. </p><p> <strong>Nikki and Jonathan Romain, creators of the Art Inc. Center in Peoria, Ill.</strong></p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUzMzI5OC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3MzM1NDM3M30.nT5owLlOTiGZAw7cGt3NEJbgn86aZVWB2FZwDffz-EA/img.png?width=336&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=270" id="264c8" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="76dabc58784ed75d9500a605634efea4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="336" data-height="270"> </p><p>Arts education is so often overlooked, even though it can be a pathway to creative thinking, personal growth and a successful future. It's typically the first thing to go in lower-income public school curriculums, which leaves inner-city youth without an artistic outlet, or at least one that's professionally guided. So Nikki and Jonathan Romain decided to open up another artistic avenue for the inner-city youth of Peoria, Ill., in the form of an art center called <u><a href="https://www.artincpeoria.org/about" target="_blank">Art Inc.</a></u><br></p><p> The Center provides space and tools for the entire community to have an experiential arts education. Nikki and Jonathan also offer support and structure for young people to try their hand at various forms of artistic expression and pursue higher education goals. Nikki is the Executive Director and handles most of the business of the nonprofit, whereas Jonathan, using his professional artist expertise, runs development of the art and culture programs. He also serves as a counselor for youth who may be struggling to find their way. Together, they've made Art Inc. a haven for all community members and a place where art is always valued. </p><p> <strong>Kari Harbath, 'involuntary expert in grief' in Utah</strong></p><div id="cdd67" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="69268fcd99582b6116b71bf5b45dbcd8"><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"> </div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CJEYPoYhsLR/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top"></a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>Kari Harbath is no stranger to hardship and suffering. In April 2019, due to pregnancy complications, she gave birth to a daughter who is deaf, blind and has <u><a href="https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/charge-syndrome/" target="_blank">CHARGE syndrome</a></u>, a rare disorder that affects multiple organ systems in the body. If that weren't challenging enough, the following September, Kari lost her mother, and then this past June, she lost her husband of 13 years.<br></p><p> Yet somehow, after a year of unimaginable loss, Kari has managed to carry on with life and the care of her daughter, Sloan. In fact, she's taken what she's learned through her experience with grief and uses it to support others dealing with similar hardships. She's willing to return to that uncomfortable place over and over again just so she can help someone else climb out of it. Kari is <u><a href="https://www.instagram.com/sloan_strength_/" target="_blank">available as a resource for anyone who's struggling</a></u> or caring for someone who has disabilities and may feel lost. </p><p> <strong>Chavonne Hodges, Founder of Grillzandgranola in New York</strong></p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-rebelmouse-image"> <img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTUzMzMwMS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2NjM4ODM2Mn0.taU1KBmingcwNtQGbx_sDvoqKDqBrj1wQkZUfN4RLZ8/img.png?width=316&coordinates=0%2C0%2C0%2C0&height=236" id="35ad2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="dc123f1e7b44b1d2a3e99c38a02152fa" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="316" data-height="236"> </p><p>When Chavonne was 26, she was going through a divorce and struggling with a panic disorder. She knew she needed to do something to help herself feel better, so she started working out at a gym. While there, she noticed a serious lack of racial and body diversity, so she decided to create her own gym and exercise program that caters to both. The gym is called <u><a href="https://www.grillzandgranola.com/" target="_blank">Grillzandgranola</a></u>, and aside from physical health, it's dedicated to mental wellbeing and community collaboration.<br></p><p> Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Grillzandgranola has moved classes online and created a space for group therapy called FEEL Better. These free therapy sessions are led by a diverse group of mental health professionals and are designed to help Black, Indigenous and people of color cope with grief, isolation, and negative emotions during these challenging times. </p><p> <strong>Love Wins<br> </strong>Kind, selfless acts have the power to change lives. It doesn't matter how big or small your act of kindness is, if it's thoughtful and genuine, you're doing it right. Not sure where to start? By joining <u><a href="https://www.pggoodeveryday.com/" target="_blank">P&G Good Everyday</a></u>, you can lead with love through your actions. Each time you answer surveys, take quizzes and scan receipts, you can feel good knowing that P&G will automatically donate to your favorite cause like ending period poverty, saving wildlife, or providing natural disaster relief. </p><p> <strong>Join us and #LeadWithLove.</strong> We know that even the smallest acts of good can make a world of difference. </p>
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The entire study was fabricated.
Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.
After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.
<p>In the intervening years, millions have been spent on studying this further to see if there was anything that could connect autism and vaccines. This is what they found.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTQ4NzIzOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNzY2MDEzMn0.EnkMvPddtDRQyP_IgmJGHCAREarS2rBUYaW0tH0OM8I/img.jpg?width=980" id="945b4" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1c7b78066fde76ee81da8c1ad0550c7c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image"></p><p>If you think science is a real thing, you could share this. I'll owe you one.</p>
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In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.
When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.
Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.
According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.
<p>What started as 10 or 20 refugees asking for help soon grew to the hundreds. For six weeks in the summer of 1940, Sugihara issued and signed as many visas as he could before he was reassigned, sometimes working 18-hour days. The final tally totaled more than 2139, but experts estimate that 6,000 to 10,000 Jewish lives may have been saved by Sugihara when accounting for children and spouses traveling with the visa-holders. </p><p>The problem of the refugees safely making it to Japan was also taken care of by Sugihara. He spoke fluent Russian and managed to negotiate with Moscow for Polish Jews to be granted safe passage through the Soviet Union. </p><p>The visas issued by Sugihara would eventually become known as "visas for life," and according to the Washington Post, an estimated 40,000 to 100,000 people living today can trace their own lives back to those visas. One survivor has dubbed Sugihara the "Japanese Schindler." (German factory owner Oskar Shindler, of "Schindler's List" fame, saved the lives of an estimated 1,200 Jews.)</p><p>Sugihara's son, Nobuki, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/04/chiune-sugihara-my-father-japanese-schindler-saved-6000-jews-lithuania" target="_blank">told The Guardian</a> last year that several myths have crept into his father's story, including that he was signing visas and throwing them off the train as he left and that his wife would massage his hands after long days of signing visas. There's no evidence that those stories are true, but there's a lot about his father's story that was left untold for much of his life.</p><p>Nobuki said that he had no idea when he was younger that his father was a WWII hero at all. Sugihara had been unceremoniously dismissed from government work after the war, and through the 1950s and 60s, he'd worked as a trader in a small coastal town in Japan. He didn't talk about how many lives he had saved with his visas.</p><p>It wasn't until an Israeli diplomat contacted the family in 1969 that Sugihara's sacrifice and courage came to light, but even then, the significance of it wasn't clear to Nobuki. But in 1984, two years before he died, Sugihara was declared "righteous among the nations" by <a href="https://www.yadvashem.org/righteous/stories/sugihara.html" target="_blank" title="">Yad Vashem</a>, the Israeli state organization that commemorates the Holocaust—an title that honors non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from extermination during the Holocaust. Since then, books and films have been made to share Sugihara's story.</p><p class="shortcode-media shortcode-media-youtube"> <span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="4a466aee1a5e4c9156c18ceebf875b22"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IyPKaEkp4QM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span> <small class="image-media media-caption" placeholder="Add Photo Caption...">Chiune Sugihara - Righteous Among the Nations</small> <small class="image-media media-photo-credit" placeholder="Add Photo Credit..."> <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyPKaEkp4QM" target="_blank">www.youtube.com</a> </small> </p><p>Though the Holocaust is filled with stories of heinousness and horror, there are also gems of humanity that shine out from that darkness and offer hope. Sugihara's story reminds us that human beings always have a choice to do what's right over what's easy or expected. According to the <a href="https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/chiune-sugihara" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Jewish Virtual Library</a>, when asked why he signed the visas decades after the fact, Sugihara gave two reasons: "They were human beings and they needed help," he said, adding, "I'm glad I found the strength to make the decision to give it to them."</p>
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