The trickle-down theory has had a long run to show us that it doesn't work. Could the answer be strengthening the group that represents the majority of the population? Give the middle class a chance.
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
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
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
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.
Indianapolis Police Officer Jeff Stagg selflessly maintained the roadside memorial of Shelby Smith, who had been killed by a drunk driver. He picked up trash and placed little plastic flowers, figurines and rocks around it to keep it presentable. Though Shelby died nearly 22 years ago, Officer Stagg didn't want her to be forgotten. And now, his act of kindness won't be forgotten either.
Passerby Kaleb Hall (@kalebhall00 on TikTok) noticed the officer cleaning up the site and asked him what he was doing here. Kaleb had already thought the behavior a little uncharacteristic, "a cop cleaning up trash in the hood," so he went over to inquire.
After explaining that Shelby's memorial was in his patrol area and that he guessed her family had moved away, Officer Stagg told Kaleb, "no one's keeping it up anymore, so I just wanna make sure it stays kept up."
Stagg had noticed the memorial had become surrounded by overgrown grass, weeds and trash. After driving past it every day, Officer Stagg thought enough was enough.
@kalebhall00 👮🏻♀️Police officers reason for picking up trash is amazing!!! 🤯🙏🏻💯##CODAduets ##fypシ ##goodcop ‼️PLEASE SHARE ‼️
♬ original sound - Kaleb Hall
He would later tell CNN: "I believe strongly that this is part of the job. When we can try to do something to make things a little bit better as a result of a tragedy, that's what we do."
Kaleb posted a TikTok video of their interaction, which quickly racked up nearly 330,000 views and well-received comments like "I wish all cops had a heart like this," and "It's so nice to see officers doing things like this for our city. Indy needs more cops like him."
The video's popularity led to Shelby's mother, Sherry Smith, reaching out to meet in person. Say what you will about TikTok, it has a powerful way of bringing people together.
Sherry had in fact moved to Texas 12 years ago, and the pandemic made visiting the memorial difficult. On hearing the news of Officer Stagg's heartwarming act, Sherry knew she "had to meet him because he had to be a very special person, and he is," as she told CNN.
On Monday, Oct 18 Sherry and Officer Stagg did have their meeting, but not before Stagg had a new white wooden cross built for the memorial, with Shelby's name in bright pink letters. He also made sure to bring the officer who arrested the drunk driver who killed Shelby, who Sherry recognized instantly.
Sherry and Officer Stagg met at the memorial site, which had the freshly made wooden cross, surrounded by pink toy ponies and flowers. Sherry brought her own bouquet and a picture of Shelby. She immediately gave Officer Stagg a warm hug and big "thank you." On seeing the memorial—pristine, maintained and well loved—the mother got emotional, understandably.
Nowadays we don't often get news of police officers that make us feel much more than injustice. But every now and then there's a "good cop" story that reinstills our hope in humanity. Thank you, Officer Stagg, for your kindness and empathy. And for honoring those you protect and serve.
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."