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They woke up to sirens. Thanks to foster parents, they're falling asleep to a reassuring voice.

Foster parents can be a safe harbor for children who are lost and drifting.

They woke up to sirens. Thanks to foster parents, they're falling asleep to a reassuring voice.

No one wants to break up families. But sometimes it's what has to happen.

Although most social services programs work hard to keep families together, sometimes they have to remove kids from dangerous homes. Many children enter foster care confused, angry, and with literally nothing to their name.


There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States.

That's 400,000 disrupted lives. 400,000 questions about when or if they'll go home. 400,000 different stories.

Some of those kids will stay with their foster families for only a few days. Others may never go home. Around a quarter of them are eligible for adoption, but only about 10% will be adopted.

While the kids are in safe homes, their parents receive support services to try to make their home safer for the children, including drug rehab and parenting classes. Around half of the kids who leave foster care return to their parents.

All images via Foster Care Support Foundation.

The good news is, there are lots of great families welcoming these kids.

About 23% of them are relatives or close friends of the children — these "relative placements" help kids maintain ties to their birth families. Of the kids who end up being adopted out of foster care, over half were adopted by their foster parents.

The great news is, even if you don't have the resources to be a foster parent, you can totally help foster kids.

  • Mentor foster kids and teens. Young adults aging out of foster care are more successful when they have an adult they can trust to guide them through their first steps out on their own.
  • Serve as a special advocate to keep foster kids from getting lost in the shuffle of the legal system. You don't have to be a lawyer or a social worker. Anyone with good common sense and a desire to help kids can volunteer and receive training.
  • Volunteer for respite care, which is like being a foster parent but just for a couple of days at a time. Kids would come to you when their birth, adoptive, or foster families need a break. Think of it as a chance to be the fun aunt or uncle for a kid who could really use one.
  • Support political initiatives that keep families together and reduce stress on parents, like increasing the minimum wage and providing health care services for children.
  • Donate items to or fundraise for social work organizations. They need clean clothes in sizes from preemie to adult, safe infant equipment, and toys in good condition. They also need luggage because these children move around a lot; not having to use garbage bags gives them a little dignity.

The actors in the video below show the story of two children who have to leave their home in the middle of the night with nothing but their pajamas.

The next day, their foster parents take them to a distribution center run by Georgia-based Foster Care Support Foundation, where they can choose what they need from an array of donated toys and clothes. Cue all the good feelings. It's an example of how a community can come together to help children when their lives are turned upside down.


They miss their home and are uncertain about their future, but the support of their community stabilizes them.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

When the COVID-19 pandemic socially distanced the world and pushed off the 2020 Olympics, we knew the games weren't going to be the same. The fact that they're even happening this year is a miracle, but without spectators and the usual hustle and bustle surrounding the events, it definitely feels different.

But it's not just the games themselves that have changed. The coverage of the Olympics has changed as well, including the unexpected addition of un-expert, uncensored commentary from comedian Kevin Hart and rapper Snoop Dogg on NBC's Peacock.

In the topsy-turvy world we're currently living in, it's both a refreshing and hilarious addition to the Olympic lineup.

Just watch this clip of them narrating an equestrian event. (Language warning if you've got kiddos nearby. The first video is bleeped, but the others aren't.)

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