This 9-yr-old who got a law banning snowball fights dropped is a real American hero.

Dane Best convinced lawmakers to change a century-old law banning snowball fights—and he's only 9 years old.

Dressed in a sharp pink dress shirt and black bowtie, Dane Best approached the microphone at the Severance, Colorado city council meeting. His goal: To convince the city to overturn a century-old ban on snowball fights.

The small town of Severance averages 43 inches of snow per year, but for the past 100 years, throwing snowballs within city limits has been illegal. Packed balls of snow fell under the town's definition of "missiles," and a town ordinance prohibited the throwing of stones or missiles at people, animals, buildings, trees, or other property.  


Best found out about the law a month and a half ago and decided it was time for that law to change.

Best was encouraged by town officials to present his case to the city council.

Kyle Reitkirk, assistant to the Severance town administrator, and other town officials told Best that he should do the research and present it to the town council. So the 9-year-old put together a presentation.

Best and his classmates wrote letters encouraging officials to overturn the law. Then Best made his case in front of the council using logic and common sense.

"The children of Severance want the opportunity to have a snowball fight like the rest of the world," he told the lawmakers. "The law was created many years ago. Today's kids need a reason to play outside."

He articulated a list of reasons why the law is outdated, and even presented his arguments on a slide projector.

Rietkirk said before the meeting, “All of the kids always get blown away that it’s illegal to have snowball fights in Severance. So, what ends up happening is (town leaders) always encourage the kids with, ‘You have the power you can change the law.’ No one has.” Until now.

The town council meeting was filled with families eager to see Best's presentation. After hearing Best's arguments, the council unanimously voted to overturn the law. The kids of Severance can now throw snowballs at one another without breaking the law.

This is what civic engagement looks like. We should all take notes.

The best part of this story is seeing a kid not just learn about, but actually engage in, the process of getting laws changed—something that many adults don't take the time or energy to do. So many of us like to complain about outdated or unjust laws, but don't take the steps democracy offers to get them changed, whether it's at the local, state, or national level.

It's not always as simple as overturning a snowball ban, of course. But it's also not as complicated as we might believe. It's our right and duty as citizens to take our lawmakers to task when we want to see change, and there are many avenues for us to do that.  

Thanks, Dane Best, for the awesome reminder of our civic duty. And good luck in your first legal snowball fight, kiddo!

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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 www.youtube.com

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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.

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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 walgreens.com/metowe.

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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.

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