The wonderful reason this nonprofit is bringing people with disabilities together.

It's not easy for the average person to strike up a conversation with a stranger.

It's hard for people with developmental disabilities too.

Rachel with another Path to Success student. All photos via Upworthy.


That's why Rachel Goldschmidt went to Your Path to Success (YPTS). Started by Dreams for Kids D.C., it's a mentorship program that helps adults with developmental disabilities improve their social skills and gain independence.

Goldschmidt had been diagnosed with developmental delays in speech and fine motor skills when she was 3 years old. As an adult, she was looking to strengthen her social comfortability.

She ended up doing so well in the program that she came back as a mentor, so she could help others too.

"Now that I’ve overcome my own challenges, I want to share those strategies with other young adults who have disabilities," says Goldschmidt.

Rachel Goldschmidt.

Her first mentee was 20-year-old Jada Williams.

Williams has hydrocephalus, which means there's a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in her brain — a condition that has left her developmentally disabled. She hoped to gain more confidence in social settings with YPTS.

Williams and Goldschmidt started the program somewhat timidly, but eventually they began to let each other in.

Williams and Goldschmidt hanging out at a soccer game.

They spent time together cleaning up Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., along with other students, but their bond really grew when they hung out at a soccer game.

Soon they were having casual coffee dates outside the program on their own time.

But it's not just about forming friendships. YPTS wants to help students succeed professionally too.

Stacy Herman and Glenda Fu lead a YPTS workshop.

"We really want to help them build not only social relationships but also do their resumes and mock interviews to get them comfortable sitting in an interview and meeting someone for the first time," explains Stacy Herman, director of inclusion and accessibility at Edlavitch DC Jewish Community Center, which works with YPTS.

They're also finding companies that are amenable to having mentees go for a site visit and meet higher-ups who might one day call them in for an interview. The hope is they'll get more and more comfortable with unfamiliar social settings until they're able to rock a job interview.

After 21 days of mentorship, Williams' has more self-assurance to take on the world.

Williams and Goldschmidt meeting new people after the soccer game.

She also has a new friendship with someone who understands what she's going through better than most. That's no small accomplishment.

"I think as they progress, their walls and barriers will come down even more and they’ll really develop this friendship," says Glenda Fu, executive director of Dreams for Kids, DC.

Most importantly, though, Williams is learning how to connect with new people in a meaningful way, which will no doubt help her find her way in life.

Watch Williams and Goldschmidt's whole story here:

This program is teaching adults with disabilities the skills they need to build relationships and find careers.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

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State Farm

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

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WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

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Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

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It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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