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Every day, hundreds of kids in Mexico wake up extra early to cross the border and attend school in the U.S.

It's an unusual commute with border traffic, security checks, and metal detectors all before your first class, but parents jump at the opportunity to have their kids educated in the United States. And for the most part, the schools are happy to have them.

The border in El Paso, Texas. All images via XQ Super School Project.


It's no secret that many of these kids face serious disadvantages in school. There are language barriers and discrimination to deal with on top of the fact that many of the children come from impoverished communities.

Additionally, the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico threatens to tear some of these communities in half and leave kids further behind.

El Paso, Texas, is a city that shares a deep relationship with its twin city — Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

The teachers in El Paso welcome Mexican students as their own and recognize that giving them the best education possible isn't just the right thing to do, it's essential to building a better world.

"It's really important for people to understand that Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, we are one community," says Liza Montelongo, executive director of the El Paso STEM Foundation. "Yes, we have a river that divides us, and yes, we are two countries, but ultimately if we are depriving one part of our community, then we are doing a disservice to all of us."

To help bring their community together, one school in El Paso decided to form a group that takes aim at another issue.  

Women entering careers in science, technology, engineering, and math face a multitude of barriers. There are large systemic biases like the gender pay gap as well as smaller, more personal impediments.

For example, young girls who do well in STEM classes are often teased, and their potential interest in the subjects isn't cultivated as much as it might be for a young boy.

That's where the "Chicas" come in.

XQ Rethink High School: El Paso

They may live in different countries, but they tackle science projects together as classmates.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Chicas are a badass group of girls who are bridging international borders with their love for science.

They work together building robots, programing computers, and cultivating their love for STEM.

"As girls get older, sometimes it's not cool to be smart," Montelongo says. "So our goal is to try and say, you know what, it's OK to be a nerd."

Not only are the Chicas helping to close the gender gap in STEM, they're creating leaders in a marginalized community.

People in STEM are the leaders and innovators of the future. They're the ones who can use their talents and out-of-the-box thinking to solve the biggest problems facing the world — and researchshows that when STEM fields are diversified, they produce better ideas.

For the twin cities of Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, the Chicas provide an opportunity to come together and celebrate a common passion.

"It doesn't matter if you live on the north side of the river or you live on the south side," Montelongo says. "We need to be able to give them some type of opportunity to be able to have their dream."

It's a simple idea — bringing marginalized students together to celebrate science — but anyone who loves STEM knows that simple ideas can change the world.

Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

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Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


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