What difference does a washer and dryer make? In this school, it's huge.

Saul Calzadilla is one of those teachers kids just love. He can always find ways to make learning fun.

All images via Whirlpool.

And his "Green Machine" gardening program is Exhibit A.  


During a typical day at his school in Nashville, Calzadilla's students learn about life, death, and the consequences of their actions (like don’t pick a melon too early or it won’t become ripe) in a garden right outside the classroom.

"For almost every other science class, we find ourselves out in the garden exploring," Calzadilla says. "Putting the seeds in, pulling the weeds out, and making sure there’s hay spread out to keep the weeds from coming back up. It’s a lot of fun."

And of course, with all that dirt, mud, and water, the kids get really messy in the process. (But, hey, isn’t that part of the fun?)

While it can be fun to be messy, it didn’t take long for Calzadilla to realize all that dirt might not be so fun for some families that didn't have easy access to a washer-dryer.

And that's why laundry programs, like the Whirlpool Care Counts™ laundry program, can be so helpful.

Many of Calzadilla’s students are from low-income families that don’t have access to laundry machines at home, and the frequent laundromat visits can get expensive quickly. That meant not everyone was having fun in his class.

Some kids wouldn’t participate in the gardening activities out of fear that their parents would get "really mad" at them if they came home dirty. A few even started missing school because they didn’t want to re-wear their dirty clothes to school.

Instead of learning and playing uninhibited, these kids were letting their fear of getting dirty affect their learning. And most importantly, they were missing out on a class that taught them valuable life skills at the same time.

It was hard on the parents too.

Monica, a mom at the Nashville school, remembers how stressful it was once when she couldn’t afford to repair her dryer after it went on the fritz. You don’t have to be a parent to realize that getting kids ready for school each day is no joke — but in addition to the common morning ritual, Monica also spent her mornings deciding whether she should send her kids to school in damp clothes or in something from the dirty pile.

Something seemingly as simple as access to clean clothes has a far-reaching impact on the education and self-esteem of children.

That’s why the school knew it had to do something, and thanks to a donation from the Whirlpool Care Counts™ laundry program, they were able to install a washer and dryer for all to use.

Suddenly, families could visit the campus and do their kids’ laundry free of charge.

Calzadilla noticed positive results from the jump.

"Kids come to school with more confidence and focus on the things that matter, like playing in the garden or making friends when otherwise it might have been difficult for them," he says.

Plus, thanks to parents like Monica, using the laundry facilities is stigma-free.

As a member of the parent-teacher association, she knew the onus was on people like her to reassure other parents that no one would judge them for using the washer and dryer. "Knowing other parents are there to support you is really helpful," she says. "It’s a lot easier than hearing the teacher say it."

Having the facilities is good enough for most, but the effects of the program are more profound than just clean clothes for the kiddos.

It fosters a sense of inclusion in the community that wasn’t present before.

While they’re waiting for the laundry, parents are able to volunteer in the classrooms and spend time getting to know their fellow moms and dads.

For Monica, a stay-at-home mom, it gave her the adult interaction she desperately craved by helping others. "It gave me a sense of purpose," she recalls.

Thanks to this program, teachers can focus on learning, parents can focus on parenting, and kids can focus on being kids.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  

Parenting is a really tough job, but the washer and dryer at the school has helped to alleviate some of that stress. Instead of spending money and time at the laundromat on a Tuesday night, parents can save their money and help their kids with homework.

Overall, parents at the school are a much happier bunch because of it.

"It’s just an amazing thing, not having to worry about if clothes are going to be clean or dirty or if their kids are going to be smelly," Monica beams.

Often, it’s easy to take clean clothes for granted and forget how much of a privilege it is. An unavoidable aspect of childhood is getting dirty — and no kid should feel ashamed to do what comes naturally to them.

That's why the Whirlpool Care Counts™ laundry program has already donated washers and dryers to 58 schools nationwide, and they plan to donate even more in the coming months so that other kids can learn and play without being afraid of getting a little dirty.

"It’s something so small, but it’s so big at the same time," Monica says.

Anything that helps make the world a better place is always a big deal. Even if it’s just cleaning up life’s little messes.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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