This CEO knows how hard it is to be a new dad. So he changed one company policy in a big way.

Being a new dad is hard.

There is vomit literally everywhere outside this frame. Photo via Thinkstock.


It's not just about the sleepless nights, changing diapers, doctor visits, and all that jazz.

Fact is, it's so hard to get paid time off from work that it's tough for lots of dads to even get to be dads to begin with. Especially in the first year of a child's life.

(And, for the record, it's hard for lots of moms as well).

But take heart, new dads (and moms)! At least one CEO has your back.

Specifically, this guy:

Richard Branson's hair (L) and Richard Brandon (also L). Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Yep. Virgin CEO Richard Branson just dropped an extraordinarily generous parental leave policy.

"I'm very proud that Virgin Management has introduced a new initiative giving all employees in our London and Geneva offices a year's full pay for shared parental leave," Branson wrote in a June 10, 2015, blog post.

And while the new policy only applies to employees in two of Branson's offices (with four years of service or more), it's still a big deal. Because unlike many parental leave policies, it doesn't just apply to new moms. It applies to new dads too.

Yep. Dads.

A full year off to do all the things that dads do best.

I don't know if a year is enough time to really introduce you to Steely Dan, son. But I will ... try. Photo via Thinkstock.

In doing so, Branson one-upped the British government, which recently passed a law mandating 37 weeks of shared leave per family upon the birth or adoption of a child.

Which in turn somewhat hilariously one-upped the United States, which requires employers to provide ... none at all. Yep. Really. Only 10-15% of U.S. employers offer any sort of paternity leave whatsoever.

More companies can and should follow Branson's model.

Not just because it's good manners. But because, according to Branson, it's good for the bottom line. "If you take care of your employees they will take care of your business," Branson writes in his blog post.

Plus, the last time I checked, it was 2015. It's high time for dads to step up in the parent-o-sphere. And policies like this will only help them do it. After all, some kids only have dads. And, like, if none of their dads can get time off, then who's gonna dad? Also, it's just generally, you know, good for kids to have their parents around. That's a good thing.

I guess what I'm trying to say is...

...fly on, Richard Branson. Fly free.

Whee. Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

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.

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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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."