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This teacher's thank-you letter to her students went viral because we all needed it.

'I want you to know I'm rooting for you from the sidelines, silently cheering you on, even if it's a decade from now.'

This teacher's thank-you letter to her students went viral because we all needed it.

At the end of the creative marketing course Jessica Langer was teaching at Ryerson University in Toronto, she wanted to find a special way to say thank you to her students.

"I've had really great students in the past, but I don't know that I've ever had a group that's so big [about 90] and yet so uniformly great," writes Langer in an email, explaining that her students are "rightfully anxious about the future."

"The creative industries are changing so rapidly," she explains. "It's hard enough to graduate into a field that's stable: to graduate into an industry that's going through such change is anxiety-making. I wanted to give them some reassurance."


She decided to send her students a heartfelt letter, imparting one final lesson.

Image via Jessica Langer, used with permission.

Her e-mail is an honest depiction of the obstacles and challenges she knows her students will face in the real world.

And not just in their chosen field of marketing either. More than 4 out of 5 students graduate college without a job lined up according to The Washington Post. In 2014, the overall unemployment rate for people under 25 in the United States was 14.5% — more than twice the national average at that time.

Langer concludes the letter by offering a perspective on success and failure that reminds her students not to define themselves by their obstacles or setbacks by writing (emphasis added):

"These things happen to everyone. They are not a reflection of who you are: they are a reflection of the circumstances, usually outside your control. And if you have a setback, please don't give up. I want you to know I'm rooting for you from the sidelines, silently cheering you on, even if it's a decade from now."

In response, Langer's students flooded her inbox with gratitude. One student named Blayne Stone, who had been rather quiet in class, sent her an email that said he would carry the lessons he learned from her with him his whole life. Another wrote a letter to Langer's department asking they keep her on at Ryerson.

One of Langer's students was so moved by the letter that she posted it to Twitter, where it quickly went viral.

Langer's message about personal value resonated far and wide beyond the doors of her classroom. It was a message many people needed to hear.

Being an adult means having successes and failures. In those moments, Langer wants her students — and anyone who reads her letter — to remember that work is not the end-all-be-all of their value as a person.

When there are setbacks, it's important to remind yourself that there are people in your corner you can call upon to give you strength. Perhaps that's why Langer's thank you resonated with so many people; her sentiments represent every teacher and mentor who inspire us to keep pushing forward, even during our darkest hours.

Her letter's conclusion says it all (emphasis added):

"Success looks different on different people, and your success will look different than your friends'. Each of you also has different strengths, and different challenges. That's also okay. Each and every one of you is valuable.

You matter. To me, to your friends and family, and to the world."

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.