This teacher promised to always support her students — years later she went the extra mile.

Being an educator is a profession, but most people who choose to be teachers aren’t there for the money.

Their career choice comes from a deep need to nurture and develop their students and communities.

Recently, Chicago teacher LaShonda Carter showed how being an educator goes well beyond what happens in the classroom.


Carter was up late on the morning of August 23rd and received a message on Facebook from Larresha Plummer, 18, a former student at Harper High School. “We always talk, even though I left Harper, I still keep in contact with all of my students,” Carter said told CNN.

Photo by LasShonda Carter/GoFundMe

Plummer has a three-week old baby named Taliyah and was struggling to get by. She wanted to attend a job fair the next day, but didn’t have a ride or anyone to babysit.

“There was no way I would have let her take a baby in a bus, I told her right away that I would pick her up in the morning,” Carter told CNN.

Hours later, Carter picked up Plummer and Taliyah and drove them to the job fair. She sat with the baby in her car while Plummer filled out job applications. Carter posted a video on Facebook to ask for help for Plummer and her baby.

“I’m reaching out because I need you alls help. I need my village because this beautiful little baby needs some things,” Carter said. “I'm going to do what I can as much as I can as an educator.”

The Heart of Educator Pt.2 (I need your help)

Posted by LaShonda Carter on Thursday, August 23, 2018

After the job fair, Carter took Plummer to apply for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), to get some milk for Taliyah.

She also started a GoFundMe page for additional help.

She also gave some important advice to her former student at a pivotal time in her life.

“My previous student needs to know she can still be successful, even though she's a teenage mother. A teenage mother does not equal failure,” she wrote on Facebook.

According to Carter, Plummer now has a job and is looking to attend college in the fall.

Carter’s actions are just another example why educators are a vital part of our communities. And why real communities, where people look out for each other, are so important.

“As an educator, it goes beyond the classroom. There are things that nobody ever knows that educators do,” she wrote on Facebook.

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The past year has changed the way a lot of people see the world and brought the importance of global change to the forefront. However, even social impact entrepreneurs have had to adapt to the changing circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The first barrier is lack of funding. COVID-19 has deeply impacted many of our supporters, and we presume it will continue to do so. Current market volatility has caused many of our supporters to scale back or withdraw their support altogether," said Brisa de Angulo, co-founder of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a non-profit that prevents childhood sexual violence in Bolivia and winner of the 2020 Elevate Prize.

To help social entrepreneurs scale their impact for the second year in a row, The Elevate Prize is awarding $5 million to 10 innovators, activists, and problem–solvers who are making a difference in their communities every day.

"We want to see extraordinary people leading high-impact projects that are elevating opportunities for all people, elevating issues and their solutions, or elevating understanding of and between people," The Elevate Prize website states.

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize is dedicated to giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and to ultimately help inspire and awaken the hero in all of us.

"The Elevate Prize remains committed to finding a radically diverse group of innovative problem solvers and investing unconventional and personalized resources that bring greater visibility to them as leaders and the vital work they do. We make good famous," said Carolina García Jayaram, executive director, Elevate Prize Foundation.

The application process will take place in two phases. Applicants have till May 5 for Phase 1, which will include a short written application. A select number of those applicants will then be chosen for Phase 2, which includes a more robust set of questions later this summer. Ten winners will be announced in October 2021.

In addition to money, winners will also receive support from The Elevate Prize to help amplify their mission, achieve their goals, and receive mentorship and industry connections.

Last year, 1,297 candidates applied for the prize.

The 10 winners include Simprints, a UK-based nonprofit implementing biometric solutions to give people in the developing world hope and access to a better healthcare system; ReThink, a patented, innovative app that detects offensive messages and gives users a chance to reconsider posting them; and Guitars Over Guns, an organization bridging the opportunity gap for youth from vulnerable communities through transformational access to music, connectivity, and self-empowerment.

You can learn more about last year's winners, here.

If you know of someone or you yourself are ready to scale your impact, apply here today.

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

The Matt Gaetz sex-trafficking allegations have become the biggest political scandal since Donald Trump left office. The Republican congressman from Florida is being investigated by the Justice Department for having an alleged "sexual relationship with a 17-year-old and paid for her to travel with him."

Gaetz is known as one of Donald Trump's most fervent supporters and was among the Republican Congressman who fanned the conspiracy flames that many say led directly to the Capitol riot on January 6.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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