These sisters weren’t close. But a tragedy and a spontaneous trip brought them together.

Clare McBride and her older sister, Becca Lamar, barely spoke to one another for most of their lives.

"I would meet [Becca's] friends [and] they didn't even know she had a sister," Clare remembers.

Being just 20 months apart and looking so much alike, they were often compared with one another. This led them to be competitive, and they bickered often. They'd also regularly steal each other's clothes, which, of course, only led to more squabbles.

"I just [wanted] to be my own person," Clare says. "And if I need to completely ignore my sibling [to do it,] so be it."

That distance between them continued well into Clare's college years, even though they attended colleges near each other for a while and Becca even ended up transferring to the same college as Clare.

But the sisters' relationship changed drastically after their family went through an incredibly difficult and tragic time.

Sisters Becca (left) and Clare (right). All images provided by Clare McBride.

Between 2011 and 2013, Clare and Becca attended 11 funerals. It shook their family to the core. "Most of our family died," Clare says.

Then, their dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He died just a few months later.

Those were some of the most painful months in Clare's life. She and her dad were very close because they had a lot in common, including a dry sense of humor, a love of 1960s rock music, and interest in the outdoors. When he died, Clare could barely go outside, her grief too difficult to process.

But through all the pain, there was one thing that began to change: how she felt about her sister.

"No one knows what it's like to be like, 'my dying dad is sitting in my living room,'" Clare says. "No one gets that. [Becca] was the only person."

Clare says it was at that time that she realized her sister was one of the few family members she had left and that, with all the tragedies happening around them, they needed each other more than ever.

That's when Clare started looking for opportunities to rebuild a relationship with her sister.

"It gets to the point when you just have to do something. Anything," she says. "Because [you realize] life is so short."

One night, about a year after losing their father, the sisters were sitting at the table with their mom, when Becca threw out a crazy idea: Why not go to Europe?

Clare laughed at first. Becca was just being impulsive like always, she thought.

But then again, after spending the night looking through photo albums from their parents' travels, maybe it wasn't that wild an idea. Their mom even liked the thought; in fact, she seemed even more enthusiastic than Becca.

Clare realized that if she didn't take a trip like this at that time, she might never work up the courage.

By the end of the night, they were buying tickets to Amsterdam.

"We left, like, six weeks later," she remembers.

That's how their impromptu trip around Europe began. And it became not only a trip of a lifetime but the spark that created a lasting connection with her sister.

Their journey started in Amsterdam, and the rest was left to chance. "The lack of planning was totally my dad," Clare laughs. Wherever was cheapest to fly to in the direction they had planned to go in, that's where they ended up.

"Thinking back, I honestly feel like [my dad] was directing our trip from some cosmic beyond," Clare says.

The trip included unexpected trains to London, the overwhelming chaos of Rome, and dancing on tabletops in Nice, France. There were hikes down mountainsides and sunbathing on secret beaches. Clare and Becca even placed a padlock with their dad's name on it on the Pont des Arts in Paris, France, a bridge that was once covered in locks with names of loved ones scrawled on each one. (This practice has since been banned — but the sisters will always treasure the memory.)

Of course, things didn't go smoothly all the time on the trip. Just three days in, their train to Germany caught on fire. Then, they found themselves in a death metal club days later, and it nearly led to Clare's feet being stomped on by overly enthusiastic metalheads. More than once, they weren't even sure they'd find a place to stay.

But through it all, they stuck together.

The grief they shared allowed them to be vulnerable with each other in ways they never had before. "[I realized] she missed him just as much as I did," Clare says. It was that vulnerability that ultimately allowed their friendship to deepen.

Whether it was homesickness or just missing ranch dressing (they were from the Midwest, after all), being with Becca day in and day out for those six weeks helped Clare see her sister in a different light.

Clare realized they made an amazing team. "Maybe [as kids] we were competitive, [but] we figured out the force is stronger together," Clare says.

Becca's spontaneity and free spirit lit a fire in Clare, and Becca's impulsiveness was kept in check by Clare's resourcefulness that allowed their plans to go smoothly. They also realized the many ways they were similar. They could appreciate each other's sense of humor, adventurousness, and creativity — something they both shared with their dad and then realized they share with each other.

It was that connection that not only brought Clare closure but helped her find her best friend — her sister.

"We've been inseparable ever since," Clare says. "If you met us today, in this very moment, you would've never known that we did not speak for years of our life."

While their grief united them, Clare says you don't have to wait for a tragedy to reconnect with a loved one.

Her advice? "It's going to be uncomfortable, [but] get yourself in a room together," she says. After all, it wasn't the destination that made them closer — it was spending time together and truly connecting with each other.

"Going to Europe, I knew it was going to be awkward at times with my sister," she continues. "But I wanted to do it. I wanted that relationship." It's a relationship that Clare now says she wouldn't trade for anything.

Since then, she and Becca continue to make memories together they'll never forget. They've since taken a cross-country road trip (with Becca's French bulldogs in tow). Clare was the maid of honor at Becca's wedding, and Becca was moving back to Michigan to be close to family.

"We will probably tell these stories to our children," Clare says, "as we send them off with a backpack to some far-off land for an adventure."

Extra Chewy Mints

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience

via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit

WE Teachers
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less