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These backpacks are making a world of difference to kids with autism.

A uniquely designed backpack is helping change lives.

Zach has been pretty rough on his backpacks, according to mom.

“I would probably say we’ve gone through three or four backpacks in the last three years," Krista Bau explained. Her son has autism, so wearing a backpack — and keeping it in good shape — hasn't always been the easiest throughout his time in school.

But Zach's new blue backpack has been a big help.


GIF via Nesel Packs/Kickstarter.

Zach is one kid who's benefitted from a Nesel Pack — a backpack uniquely designed to benefit kids who have autism.

The backpack, created by students at the University of Minnesota, has special features that make wearing it much more convenient and comfortable. And it's helping kids like Zach succeed in school.


Photo by Jerry Holt, Star Tribune.

Many kids on the autism spectrum have sensory input issues, which can make them feel overwhelmed by stimuli like light, sound, and touch. Wearing a weighted vest can provide a sense of calm for many of these kids, according to National Autism Resources. So the Nesel Pack has pockets where parents can easily store weights.

The backpack also comes with hip and hugging chest straps to give kids an extra sense of security and comfort, as well as clips for sensory tools.


Photo by Nesel Packs/Kickstarter, used with permission.

The Nesel Pack is designed with durability in mind too, with a bottom that's made out of ballistic fabric (what you'd find on bulletproof vests) and waterproof material that's often used in military and hunting bags. So keeping it in tip-top shape shouldn't be a problem.

Since the backpack's launch, the students in Minnesota have seen a remarkable response to their product.

Since they launched a Kickstarter on March 19, 2016, for parents and supporters to purchase the packs, the group has already exceeded their fundraising goal of $10,000 — in less than one week.

The whole concept of Nesel Packs came out of a class assignment for an entrepreneurship course. But it's turned into something so much more.

Photo by Nesel Packs/Kickstarter, used with permission.

Martha Pietruszewski, the team lead and CEO of Nesel Packs, said she knew the group was really on to something when she got en email from Australia regarding the product.

"I don't know anybody in Australia," she told Upworthy, noting the team started receiving orders before the Kickstarter even launched.

For the Kickstarter campaign, Nesel Packs partnered with Fraser— a Minnesota-based group that provides services to folks with autism — to help supply backpacks to the kids who could use them.

That partnership has been huge in making Nesel Packs a success, Pietruszewski said: "We were all just happy to have someone believe in us and believe that this product will change lives."


Photo by Nesel Packs/Kickstarter, used with permission.

For every $100 donation to the campaign, Fraser provides a backpack to a child in need. Any interested parent looking to purchase one for their child can buy one for $115.

The Nesel Pack team understands that may be a hefty price tag for many families, so they're working on getting it down.

"In order to get this bag into as many hands as possible, we would like to lower the cost," the Kickstarter reads. "We hope that this Kickstarter will be successful so that for our next production run, the bags will be produced at a lesser cost."

One of the coolest things about Nesel Packs? The benefits aren't just for kids with autism.

The design and accessibility of the backpack may also help kids with anxiety issues, ADHD, or dyslexia, Margaret Semrud-Clikeman of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Pediatricstold the Star Tribune.

“The child would know that it’s theirs," she explained. "It’s safe and I think that’s the most important thing, that things are safe.”

Although Nesel Packs reached its initial fundraising the goal, the team has set the bar higher.

"The more that we are funded, the more backpacks we are able to give to those in need," the page explains.

And that means more kids like Zach will feel ready to take on the day.

GIF via Nesel Packs/Kickstarter.

Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

Photo by Syed Ali on Unsplash

Mosquitoes are attracted to certain viral smells in both humans and mice.

As much as I love summer, there is one thing I could do without: bugs. More specifically, mosquitoes. Those pesky little buggers can wreak havoc on a beautiful summer day. Who hasn't spent time outside in summer and then come in all itchy and covered in bites? There are multiple reasons why some people are more susceptible to mosquito bites than others, but there's a new one that likely isn't on people's radars. Mosquitoes could be attracted to the odor certain viruses create in the body.

There is evidence that mosquitoes are attracted to the odor given off by mice infected by the parasite that causes malaria. Now, a team is looking at how the scent of mosquito-borne viruses such as dengue and Zika would attract mosquitoes to people rather than mice.

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The dog lovers in your neighborhood.

Is there anything that dogs can’t improve? They make us healthier, happier and even more attractive. That’s right. If you have a photo with your dog in a dating profile people are more likely to swipe right.

Now, a new study reported by Ohio State News shows that having more dogs in your neighborhood can make you safer by lowering the overall crime rate.

The study, conducted by sociologists at Ohio State, was recently published in the journal Social Forces.

According to researchers, dog-walking isn’t just about getting exercise—it makes us all security guards whether we know it or not.

“People walking their dogs are essentially patrolling their neighborhoods,” Nicolo Pinchak, lead author of the study, told Ohio State News. “They see when things are not right, and when there are suspect outsiders in the area. It can be a crime deterrent.”

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This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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