His mom took care of him when he was a sick child. Now he's paying her back big time.
True
Old Navy Cozy Socks

Dashawn Hightower was only 3 years old when doctors discovered he had a tumor wrapped around his kidney.

He went through two years of intensive treatments that included having a needle stuck under his chest to make sure his kidney was still working.

Eventually, he made it out the other side cancer free but sans one kidney.


"Every day, I just think I’m lucky to be here," Dashawn says.

Dashawn Hightower. All photos via Dashawn Hightower, used with permission.

However, the experience wasn't only hard on him — his mother and two younger sisters were seriously affected as well.

Dashawn's mother became extremely overprotective of him, even after he was declared healthy again.

"She didn’t want me to do anything," Dashawn recalls. "No sports. No after school activities."

His mother raised him and his sisters on her own, and it was always difficult to make ends meet. So when Dashawn got into his teens, he decided to find a way to lift some of the burden off of her, even if it meant worrying her a little bit in the beginning.

It began with him attending a 6 a.m. meeting at his school about a student-focused career-building program.

When he reached high school, he joined This Way Ahead — an internship program designed to help teens get a leg up on their future.

An intern working at Old Navy.

The internship program is one of the efforts under Old Navy's cause platform ONward!. The brand is actually expanding the program through a trigger donation this Black Friday. You can buy their cozy socks for $1, and each purchase will result in a $1 donation to Boys & Girls Clubs, up to $1 million. The money will go to creating an employment program for Boys & Girls Club youth, offering them career coaching and a first job at Old Navy stores.  

It's all about giving kids the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

Every day, the program focused on a different job-based subject — what questions to ask at an interview, how to write a great resume, customer conflicts, etc. Slowly but surely, Dashawn felt his confidence building. He knew he could be a great business leader.

"It taught me responsibility," Dashawn says. "I own all my actions."

As a result, Dashawn started taking care of his sisters more. He'd help them with their homework and get ready for school. And soon, he landed his first job.

Dashawn with his mom at his Old Navy job.

"[The program] helped me to have the upper hand when I interviewed for a position at Old Navy," Dashawn recalls.

Not surprisingly, he aced the interview and was brought onboard as a paid intern in 2014. Last year in November, he was hired as a full-time staff employee, and today, he's a business and training operations specialist at Old Navy's Herald Square location in New York City.

He's finally getting to lift some of the financial strain off his mom, and she could not be happier with how far he's come.

She even remembers the first time he bought her a pair of shoes. She had the receipt framed.

Today, Dashawn takes every opportunity that comes his way to make life better because he knows he might not have had a life at all.

Dashawn with interns in the TWA program.

"I could’ve died when I was 3," Dashawn says. "So I’m going after everything I can, the most I can. I’m hungry."

He tries to instill the same go-getter attitude in his associates and the interns he now manages. Many of them come directly from Old Navy's first jobs program, so they're already at the top of their game. But they still come to him sometimes with questions or concerns about their next steps. Since he's been in their shoes, he shares the same advice he's given himself in the past.

"No matter what you do, you always show your best," he says. "And every time you complete a certain chapter, it’s just a chapter. You have the whole book to complete. You have the whole journey to look forward to."

Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less
via WatchMojo / YouTube

There are two conflicting viewpoints when it comes to addressing culture from that past that contains offensive elements that would never be acceptable today.

Some believe that old films, TV shows, music or books with out-of-date, offensive elements should be hidden from public view. While others think they should be used as valuable tools that help us learn from the past.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of FIELDTRIP
True

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected diverse communities due largely in part to social factors such as inadequate access to housing, income, dietary options, education and employment — all of which have been shown to affect people's physical health.

Recognizing that inequity, Harlem-based chef JJ Johnson sought out to help his community maximize its health during the pandemic — one grain at a time.

Johnson manages FIELDTRIP, a health-focused restaurant that strives to bring people together through the celebration of rice, a grain found in cuisines of countless cultures.

"It was very important for me to show the world that places like Harlem want access to more health-conscious foods," Johnson said. "The people who live in Harlem should have the option to eat fresh, locally farmed and delicious food that other communities have access to."

Lack of education and access to those healthy food options is a primary driver of why 31% of adults in Harlem are struggling with obesity — the highest rate of any neighborhood in New York City and 7% higher than the average adult obesity rate across the five boroughs.

Obesity increases risk for heart disease or diabetes, which in turn leaves Harlem's residents — who are 76% Black or LatinX — at heightened risk for complications with COVID-19.

Keep Reading Show less

Going against most standard business advice, Bill Penzey has never hesitated to make his beliefs known to the people who buy his products. The outspoken CEO of Penzey's Spices, America's largest independent spice retailer, made headlines when he directly called out President Trump's racism after his election, and this February he published a public statement decrying the "corruption and cruelty" he says have taken over the Republican party.

Penzey, whose business headquarters reside just outside of Milwaukee, has been openly supportive of the protests against racial injustice taking place all over the nation. But after protests in Kenosha became riotous, someone wrote him a letter suggesting that if it were his store being looted, he'd be singing a different tune.

Bill Penzey pondered this idea. Then he sent out a letter to subscribers and explained that no, he actually wouldn't.

The letter reads:

Keep Reading Show less

Judging by social media posts, one of the most common reactions to Joe Biden's town hall last night was a feeling of calm. Throughout the evening, comment after comment from viewers praised the former vice president's full, coherent sentences (a low bar, but here we are) and detailed policy explanations, with many remarking that they felt a sense of calm wash over them as he spoke.

There was no shortage of comparisons of the two candidates as people flipped back and forth between the two town hall events, with the individual-focused format allowing the contrast between them to be made crystal clear.

And oddly enough, one of the most apt comparisons came in the form of a remarkable self-own from a senior adviser on Trump's campaign team. In response to someone complaining that Savannah Guthrie asking tough questions of the president was "badgering," Mercedes Schlapp responded, "Well @JoeBiden @ABCPolitics townhall feels like I am watching an episode of Mister Rodgers Neighborhood."

Keep Reading Show less