This summer camp might seem like any other, until you meet its campers.
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Whether it’s chasing frogs, scaling the climbing wall, or arts and crafts, everything about the Albert and Ann Deshur JCC Rainbow Day Camp seems typical — until you learn about the campers.

Summer camp is considered a rite of passage for many children, but we often forget that it can be inaccessible to kids who are sick or living with a disability.

Designed for children with medical conditions that require special attention, like cancer or sickle-cell disease, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, camp keeps nurses and doctors on staff so the kids truly have the best chance at "getting to be a kid for a day" for two days each year.


Counselor David, camper Alex. Photo by Josh T. Decker.

Siblings, who can sometimes be overlooked when their brother or sister needs more attention or care, are also invited.

They get the chance to totally let loose, an opportunity they don't always have when medical bills are high and private camp isn't always an option.

Only child? No problem — they can bring along a BFF.

"We’re used to dealing with a spectrum of needs for each kid," says Rainbow Day Camp director Lenny Kass.

Taking each kid’s unique challenges into account, the camp is committed to creating an experience that allows any kid in attendance to participate, no matter their limitations.

Scooter campers: Melvin, Adam and Memphis. Photo by Josh T. Decker.

But can a single camp experience really impact the kids, or is it just fun and games?

While an illness like cancer can really crush a child’s spirit, making connections at camp and embracing new experiences helps many of the kids walk away feeling lighter.

"There was a child in the clinic [who didn’t] speak much," Kass remembered. "He would hardly talk at all. Here at camp ... [we] literally could not keep him quiet."

Pool campers: Melvin and friend. Photo by Josh T. Decker.

There are many stories just like that, of kids who left Rainbow Day Camp with an outlook very different from where they began. And that's the magic of a camp like this — these kids are more than their illnesses, and creating a space for them to be themselves can do wonders.

Dr. David Margolis, a regular fixture at the camp, noted that it’s not just the kids who experience these transformations either. "This is soul food for the staff," he said.

"Some have gone on to become medical students and residents here."

Camper Athena (this was her last day of treatment!) and Dr. Stephanie. Photo by Josh T. Decker.

Parents, too, find joy in seeing their kids come out of their shells, living as children instead of as "patients."

As passionate as he is about supporting kids with diseases, Kass and his team are still invested in a future where a place like Rainbow Day Camp won’t be needed.

"We’d never have to have a camp because there’d be no kids with cancer," he said. "I hope it will be in my lifetime."

For now, he's content with "making even one child’s day phenomenal."

Making a difference in someone’s life can be as simple as that.

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.

The year 2018 was a pivotal one in the produce industry, the Red Delicious was supplanted as the most popular apple in America by the sweeter, crisper Gala.

It was only a matter of time. The Red Delicious looked the part of the king of the apples with its deep red, flawless skin. But its interior was soft, mealy, and pretty bland. The Red Delicious was popular for growers because its skin hid any bruises and it was desired by consumers because of its appearance.

But these days it's having a hard time competing with the delectable crunch provided by the Gala, honeycrisp, and Fuji.

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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."