This town built a homeless shelter. For school kids.
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WNET

The numbers are staggering: The number of homeless kids in public schools reached 1.36 million in 2013-14.

That's 3% of the school population across the country.

The number of kids who experience food shortages at home is even more dramatic: 16 million kids under the age of 18 in 2013.



Kids like these do not have much of a chance of making it. School becomes challenging, life even more so.

And often this continues throughout their entire adult lives.

It becomes a cycle when they have their own children: Low educational opportunities and attainment means that as adults, economic opportunities are even rarer and folks can't get jobs that help them reach the middle class. Then, when they have kids, they can't help them reach higher levels of education. And the cycle continues.

"The Door" — the Fairbanks Youth Advocates youth shelter. Image from its website.

In Alaska, Fairbanks Youth Advocates started out as a counseling service for these kids, but the emergency homeless shelter for kids kinda took over (though they still offer counseling). After all, when kids are in crisis, counseling and classroom work isn't exactly a high priority for them.

The shelter offers these kids a chance at making it.

When they have a place to sleep, nutritious food, and a support network, they can flourish.

Marylee Bates, director of the program, rather stumbled onto this project. She saw the problem when she was a teacher, and she kept hearing from others about the need for an emergency shelter for these kids.

“Five or six years ago, I didn't see this coming down my turnpike. I was actually happily teaching in my classroom, thinking that is where I'd stay. It just really seemed like it needed to happen, and it wasn't happening soon enough." — Marylee Bates

Those who work there, volunteer, and donate to keep the shelter going are heroes, and we need more of them.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

This article originally appeared on 10.05.15


Last week, a fan of the Scottish synthpop band Chvrches got a bit more than he bargained for when he yelled to the stage.

"Marry me!" an unidentified man yelled out during a pause between songs.

"Pardon?" Chvrches singer Lauren Mayberry responded, prompting the man to shout out, "Marry me! Now!"

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