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Comcast NBCUniversal & NationSwell

A solution for food waste and hunger, getting undocumented immigrants citizenship, an anti-cyberbullying app — these are things the world desperately needs.

And thanks to a handful of social innovators, we now have them.

The minds behind the technology and programs above have been named in the class of 2017 Tech Impact AllStars by the social impact media company NationSwell and Comcast NBCUniversal.


"The main goal is to find and uplift the everyday heroes who are changing their communities and slowly but surely, changing the nation and the world," writes Greg Behrman, CEO and Founder of NationSwell. "These are the people in your neighborhood who feel a fire in their belly to solve challenging social issues."

[rebelmouse-image 19527961 dam="1" original_size="645x361" caption="(From left) Seth Flaxman, Zakiya Harris, and Riku Sen. Images via NationSwell." expand=1](From left) Seth Flaxman, Zakiya Harris, and Riku Sen. Images via NationSwell.

Two years ago, NationSwell partnered with Comcast NBCUniversal to start recognizing these technology trailblazers for their endeavors and give them a leg up on their path. Comcast NBCUniversal is playing a defining role in shaping the future of media and technology, and believes social innovation  like the Tech Impact AllStars Campaign is good for communities.

Together with NationSwell, they've endorsed some extraordinary talent that more than deserves the attention:

But they also need your endorsement to be honored. You can vote for your favorite 2017 Tech Impact AllStars from Oct. 2 through Nov. 2 by clicking here.

Today, technology is often the power behind grand-scale social impact projects. That's why Tech Impact AllStars are using it to solve major problems.

[rebelmouse-image 19527962 dam="1" original_size="580x338" caption="Raj Karmani speaks about his company, Zero Percent. Photo via NationSwell." expand=1]Raj Karmani speaks about his company, Zero Percent. Photo via NationSwell.

"[Technology] is more relevant than ever before, and it’s changing the way we approach age-old issues," Behrman explains. "Technology provides the ability to scale solutions in extraordinary and rapid ways."

"Technology innovation is the fuel that moves our business forward," writes Jessica Clancy, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility at Comcast NBCUniversal, in an email. "We also believe it has unsurpassed power to solve complex social issues and improve communities."

The program specifically recognizes up-and-coming social innovators from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and the hope is that the recognition they receive as Tech Impact AllStars will propel their mission so that they can make an even greater impact.

"We’ve seen past AllStars graduate from the program and receive new funding or corporate partners, additional coverage on platforms like Nightline, NPR, + TED, and increased visibility and interest, helping them scale their work and do more good," writes Emily Chong, senior vice president at NationSwell.

If your social impact efforts utilize tech in some way and you're domestically-based, you can be nominated to be a Tech Impact AllStar.

[rebelmouse-image 19527963 dam="1" original_size="758x426" caption="Karen Washington of Black Urban Growers. Photo via NationSwell." expand=1]Karen Washington of Black Urban Growers. Photo via NationSwell.

For example, Karen Washington started Black Urban Growers to encourage primarily black communities to help turn vacant urban lots in the Bronx into thriving gardens.

In a somewhat different vein, Rose Broome created an online crowdsourcing platform called HandUp that solicits donations for homeless and at-risk people.

Neither endeavor would be possible if Washington and Broome weren't adept at utilizing technology to inspire people to do good.

And they're just two examples of a ever-expanding population of Tech Impact AllStars.

Every year, the program has grown exponentially, both in visibility and the number of nominations.

Raj Karmani, a recipient of the Tech Impact Award, with the NationSwell crew. Photo via NationSwell.

Obviously the tech impact world appreciates the boost. Since 2015, there's been a 70% increase in Tech Impact AllStars nominations. What's more, views of this particular group's content has increased by 500,000, so finalists are indeed getting a considerable amount of notice that no doubt draws greater attention to their missions.

"As the program grows, each Tech Impact AllStars class becomes more competitive, more incredible and generates greater visibility and impact for them and their solution," Chong writes.

It's understandable given all the things they will receive. All finalists get a three- to five-minute video about their work made by NationSwell producers, a feature article to accompany it, an all-expense-paid trip to New York City, where they'll be given a speaking slot at the NationSwell Summit of Solutions, and the chance to win the Tech Impact Award — a $10,000 grant to help further their work.

Social innovators like these are exactly who this country needs right now to help bring opportunities to those who are struggling.

[rebelmouse-image 19527965 dam="1" original_size="762x426" caption="AllStar Zakiya Harris, co-founder of Hack the Hood. Photo via NationSwell." expand=1]AllStar Zakiya Harris, co-founder of Hack the Hood. Photo via NationSwell.

"These are the innovations and the solutions that we’ll need to make our country a more equitable, inclusively prosperous place, and to have more people feel like the American dream is within their reach as well," Behrman writes.

Organizations like NationSwell and Comcast NBCUniversal are doing what they can to elevate the creators of these life-changing endeavors so that they'll reach as many people in need as possible.

These brilliant ideas can change the world as long as people know about them. Thanks to technology and solution-driven companies, many more people will.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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