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There are blind doctors, lawyers, and athletes. It's time more workplaces caught up.

If the first thing you think of when you hear 'blind person' is all the things they can't do, this campaign is for you.

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Perkins School for the Blind

There are more than 23 million people who are blind or have experienced vision loss in the United States and Canada.

They are doctors, lawyers, and professional athletes. They're actors, writers, and daredevils. They love skiing, dancing, and watching movies.

Check out this moving video about ways that blind or visually-impaired people are challenging misconceptions:


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There's also an audio-described version of the video here.

While being blind or vision-impaired has little bearing on people's ability to do many jobs, it does affect their ability to get a job in the first place.

Fred LeBlanc knows this all too well.

LeBlanc is the star of a PSA created by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). After 29 years working as a firefighter, he began to lose his sight in 2011. A diagnosis of legal blindness followed soon after. In an interview with the CNIB, he talked about how his diagnosis made him doubt his abilities to remain in the workforce:

"I questioned myself. If I struggled with everyday tasks, how was I going to lead a fulfilling career?”

With the support of the CNIB and other blind workers, LeBlanc found his confidence. He decided to run for the position of 13th District vice president with the International Association of Fire Fighters, a job he still holds.

"I thought 'why can’t I do what I set out to do?' I had to tell myself 'don’t be silly, this is not your fault, there’s nothing to be ashamed of,'" he told CNIB.

‌There's plenty of room at the table for blind workers — as long as we give them the chance. Image via iStock. ‌

In Canada, about 60% of people of working age are employed. That number drops to just 32% for the visually-impaired. Similarly, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, only about a third of working-age Americans with visual impairments or blindness were employed in September 2016.

Diane Bergeron, the executive director of CNIB, says that's not for lack of trying. In an interview with the Toronto Star last month, she relayed her frustrations, saying, "We go out, we get an education and then we come out of education and when we want a job there’s no job to be had."

According to the CNIB, creating a workplace that is inclusive and welcoming for blind and sighted workers isn't as daunting as it might seem.

‌A man reads on his tablet. Substituting printed correspondence for digital is one easy way to make a workplace more accommodating for people who are visually-impaired. Image via iStock. ‌

Jim Lee, Chief of Staff to the General President, International Association of Fire Fighters, is Fred LeBlanc's boss at the IAFF. For him, working with Fred is a mind-opening experience.

Prior to working with LeBlanc, Lee had no experience interacting with someone who is blind or partially sighted. Lee quickly saw firsthand that LeBlanc's abilities didn't change, even though his vision did. "Unless he tells you, you wouldn't know that Fred has vision loss," Lee told the CNIB. "His abilities didn't change at all."

To accommodate his colleague's vision loss, Lee and his team made minor adjustments to their workplace. Rather than printing hard copies, they focus on email correspondence. Documents use an off-white background to provide easier visual contrast.

Realizing how little things needed to change helped Lee understand that vision impairment doesn't mean workers needed to exit or stay out of the workforce.

"People with visual impairments have a lot to offer," said LeBlanc. "They just need the opportunity to prove that. Employers have to give them a chance to come in and show what they can do. A lot of employers would be amazed."

It would be easy to tell a story about blindness that focuses on depressing statistics around working or employment. After all, there are a lot.

‌A doctor and a patient look at a computer screen. A more inclusive workplace benefits everyone. Image via iStock. ‌

But the real power is in flipping that story to one of empowerment. Whether they choose to become athletes, artists, or professionals, individuals who are blind can and do lead rich, fulfilling lives, like anyone else. It's time to elevate the work experiences of people like Fred LeBlanc and remind everyone that blind workers can thrive in whatever career they desire — when employers give them the chance.

Courtesy of Elaine Ahn

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The energy in a hospital can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you’re experiencing it as a patient, visitor or employee. However, there are a few one-of-a-kind individuals like Elaine Ahn, an operating room registered nurse in Diamond Bar, California, who thrive under this type of constant pressure.

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via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

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Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

Screenshot taken from a live video of the trial.

A recent (and fairly insensitive) sketch from “Saturday Night Live” said it best regarding the widespread fixation many have on the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial:

“It’s not the most pertinent story of the moment, but with all the problems in the world, isn’t it nice to have a news story we can all collectively watch and say ‘glad it ain't me?’”

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard Trial Cold Open - SNL www.youtube.com

Schadenfreude, celebrity fascination and previously inaccessible information now being at our fingertips is a potent combination in this trial, making amateur lawyers and psychologists of all who feel compelled to unleash their hot takes. And though the right to converse and speculate exists, is it always in our best interests to do so? Especially when it means potentially spreading misinformation, or at the cost of empathy and compassion?

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Photo from Upworthy Library

A proud sloth dad was caught on camera.

Teddy the two-toed sloth has become a proud papa and thanks to a video posted by the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park, we all get to witness the adorable reunion with his newborn son.

Mama sloth, aka Grizzly, gave birth to their healthy little one in Feb 2022, which delighted more than 3,000 people on Facebook.



The video, posted to the Florida zoo’s YouTube page, shows Grizzly slowly climbing toward her mate, who is at first blissfully unaware as he continues munching on leaves. Typical dad.

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