These glimpses into the lives of caregivers prove they're real unsung heroes.
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Ad Council + AARP

You only need a day to see how much caregivers do for their loved ones.

Being a caregiver is a labor of love. More than 40 million Americans do it for no pay and little recognition. So many caregivers started out caring for someone, then stepped up to take care of them.

If we looked into their daily lives, what would we see?


We'd see them keeping up the good memories.

Like Patty and Justin Lancaster, who have a lifetime of great memories from their mom, Lulu. There was no question in their mind that they'd be there for her when she lost most of her short-term memory abilities to Alzheimer's.

"She'll say to me, 'It's so great that you take me to all these places,' and I'll say, 'Mom, you were the one that took all my friends, surfboards, stinky wetsuits, everything, down to the beach at 6 a.m. [and] came back at 6 p.m.' ... She was the perfect mom. So I have no recourse but just to be ... a good son." — Justin

All GIFs via Ad Council/YouTube.

We'd see them doing everything for family.

Brent Hamer takes amazing care of his wife, Ruth, who lost nearly all of her mobility to Parkinson's disease. He does everything from scratching her nose to waking up in the night to turn Ruth over in case she gets uncomfortable. And when he faced a real transportation need, his community recognized his service and stepped up to give back.

"As for me, I feel privileged to be able to do this [for my wife]." Brent

We'd see them honoring what it means to be a friend.

After their friend Bill suffered a stroke, Donna and Nicki went above and beyond to honor their friendships and stepped in as his caregivers. What better way to show that family is what you make it?

"I honestly get something out of it. ... When you [get to] continue interacting with someone who you've been interacting with for 40 years, it's like a gift." Donna

Basically, we'd see them caring. A lot.

That's why AARP spent 24 hours filming a day in the life of caregivers of all sorts across the country, giving us snapshots into what they do every single day.

Why do we need to see this? Because caregivers do so much, and it doesn't get enough recognition.

According to a study done by AARP:

  • One-quarter of those caregivers have been in their roles for five years or longer.
  • Only half of family caregivers say they get unpaid help from another family member or friend.
  • On average, caregivers spend 24.4 hours a week providing care to their loved one.
  • Nearly one-quarter provide 41 or more hours a week.

That's a lot of care.

So let's take a moment to truly recognize and appreciate caregivers everywhere — they deserve it.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Photo by R.D. Smith on Unsplash

Gem is living her best life.

If you've ever dreamed of spontaneously walking out the door and treating yourself a day of pampering at a spa without even telling anyone, you'll love this doggo who is living your best life.

According to CTV News, a 5-year-old shepherd-cross named Gem escaped from her fenced backyard in Winnipeg early Saturday morning and ended up at the door of Happy Tails Pet Resort & Spa, five blocks away. An employee at the spa saw Gem at the gate around 6:30 a.m. and was surprised when they noticed her owners were nowhere to be seen.

"They were looking in the parking lot and saying, 'Where's your parents?'" said Shawn Bennett, one of the co-owners of the business.

The employee opened the door and Gem hopped right on in, ready and raring to go for her day of fun and relaxation.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."