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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.
Elaine Hamel founded Girls at Work, Inc. in 2000 because to her, empowerment isn't just a buzzword but a way of life. Their mission is to challenge traditional norms and normalize girl power, focusing specifically on uplifting and supporting inner city girls between the ages of 8 and 18, who need stability, safety, and confidence.
The girls attending summer camps or after-school programs work in groups and learn how to problem solve, communicate, and use tools to build something practical. Hamel believes that learning how to use power tools shows the girls that they can do anything they put their minds to, better preparing them for a bright future.
Photo courtesy of TD Bank
Elaine's forward-thinking, positive leadership, and passion for the community is exactly why TD Bank chose to honor her for the 2022 #TDThanksYou campaign, a North American campaign demonstrating the bank’s gratitude and commitment to their customers by celebrating, recognizing, and thanking unsung heroes in exciting and meaningful ways. Hamel is one of six honorees recognized this year and was presented with power tools and gift certificates to purchase additional items needed to enhance the program.
Hamel understands what it feels like to hear the word “can’t.” Growing up, she struggled to find her place in a world that seemed to be built by, and for, men. As a kid she loved to “create or fix things” and always found something to tinker with. Before long, she discovered not only did she enjoy building and repairing things, but she was very good at it.
She spent the next several decades breaking down the multitude of barriers that a woman pursuing a career as a general contractor faced in the 1980s and 1990s.
“It was really brutal when I first started out in construction,” Hamel said. “The men were so cruel. But I grew up with five brothers and I was used to it. I told myself I’d be the boss one day…and now I am.”
Photo courtesy of TD Bank
The process of learning how to become stronger and more confident in her natural abilities sent her career soaring, and drives her life’s work—empowering girls to take up space and take control of their own lives.
“These are kids who grapple with neglect, food insecurity, and extreme poverty,” said Hamel. “They’re not soaring in school because they’re in survival mode. They’re hungry and unable to focus and learn.” Hamel’s solution is a fully stocked food pantry, where the girls can shop for groceries before heading home. Girls at Work, Inc. also has a “kindness closet,” stocked with clothing, shoes, outerwear and other items.
After addressing their immediate needs, the girls are ready to get to work. “There are many programs out there devoted to teaching trades and skills to girls,” said Hamel, “But this is about learning how to think critically and problem solve. Pushing through that is what actually empowers them.”
Photo courtesy of Girls at Work
The nonprofit is a vital part of the community, relying heavily on donations and volunteers to keep it going. For example, a club of retired men volunteer their time to pre-cut the lumber for Girls at Work, Inc.'s projects. The girls use that lumber to create things—like picnic tables, benches, and birdhouses—which in turn are donated to local organizations.
Hamel says she’s built with over 20,000 girls so far, and her goal is to hit one million. Her dream is to secure funding to open up new locations to serve even more communities and says that watching these girls' step into their power and believe in themselves is what keeps her moving forward. The world needs more heroes like her.
To learn more about this year's #TDThanksYou heroes, visit https://www.td.com/us/en/about-us/customers/humans-with-heart
What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?
Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?
Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.
Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.
“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”
Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
“I wish he hadn't got that disease.”
“I wish he hadn't been affected by the exhaustion of his role.”
One of Ledger's most notable roles is queer cowboy Ennis Del Mar in Ang Lee's iconic 2005 romantic western drama "Brokeback Mountain." In a time when queer storytelling was still taboo, Ledger's honest and compassionate portrayal broke down a lot of barriers for future stories.Though Ledger officially died due to an overdose, many believe it was his role of The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” that pushed him over the edge.
Joplin would be 79.
“I wish she hadn't sought the inspiration she needed elsewhere.”
The powerful singer with electric stage presence is still one of the greatest female rock stars of all time. Scratch that—one of the greatest rock stars of all time, period.
Hendrix would be 80.
“I wish he hadn't sought the inspiration he needed elsewhere.”
“I wish he hadn't faced vitiligo.”
However questionable his personal life was, the King of Pop made some of the biggest contributions to music of all time. People continue to sing his songs, and likely will for a very, very long time.
Cobain would be 55.
“I wish he had decided to stay.”
Lee would be 81.
“I wish he hadn't taken that painkiller that day.”
“I wish he hadn't been in New York that day.”
Legendary artist and activist John Lennon was fatally wounded by a gunshot in December 1980. The last thing he talked about, revealed ex-wife Yoko Ono in an interview, was the desire to see his son before he went to sleep.
Presley would be 87.
“I wish he decided to live a life where he paid more attention to the health of his heart.”
Had Presley not died of cardiac arrest, he would be 87 this year.
“I wish he hadn't been involved in that event that would cause him to face the mafia.”
The cause of Tupac’s untimely death is also one of debate and speculation. According to some, he never died at all. What we can all agree on—he was one of hip-hop's most iconic figures.
This one seems to be a new addition to the collection, so no wistful message. Although I’m sure the general sentiment is “I wish she were still here.”
AI-generated art is a controversial topic, to be sure. Some consider it a new, innovative medium. Others see it as devoid of any real creativity at all, as it’s produced by a machine, rather than a human. Many are concerned that, as is the case with many jobs that get machine automated, it will threaten the livelihood of actual illustrators.
Those concerns are certainly valid, but perhaps there’s a balance to be found here, as Yesiltas seems to have accomplished. Previously, another artist similarly created stunningly lifelike portraits of cartoon characters from “Encanto” and ”The Simpsons.” These works still required the human touch, and were carefully crafted over time rather than cracked out in mere seconds, as is the case with a lot of AI art.
At its best, AI art helps remind us, as Yesiltas puts it, that "anything imaginable can be shown in reality.” Which, at the end of the day, could be said for any art.
How we can create equity for all communities?
Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.
Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.
Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)
This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.
To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.
This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.
After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”
“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”
Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).
As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.
Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.
“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”
"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/
The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.
It was a magical time when animals played sports and yet somehow things were just simpler.
Everyone knows that '90s movies just hit different. From sports movies to rom-coms to even horror, there was an undeniable innocence, without being overly simplistic or juvenile. They didn’t have nearly the amount of money going into production as they do today, but somehow managed to transport us to magical places.
Movies of the '90s are so iconic that there have been several attempts to reboot beloved titles. Which, let’s face it, tends to be a fool's errand at a cash grab. These movies are so timeless that simply viewing the original is more than fine.
Not sure which movie to start with? You’re in luck—a Reddit user by the name of YouBrokeMyTV asked ’90s kids to share movies that took them “back to a better time,” and because the internet can be a wonderful place, tons of people responded with some beloved classics.
These answers certainly don’t make a definitive list (there are just so, so many gems) but they're a fun glimpse into what made '90s cinema so special. A nostalgic romp through memory lane, if you will.
Enjoy these 14 titles that just might leave you jonesing for a rewatch:
A perfect example of how '90s movies were silly, but smart at the same time. And oh so wholesome.
It taught us nothing about baseball, but everything about friendship, rooting for the underdog and (most important) how to make s’mores.
Critics might have run this cult classic through the mud during its inception, but audiences fell in love with the bizarre charm of this story about a mischievous little girl and her anarchist imaginary friend. So take that, snotfaces!
Everyone just wanted to set off an epic quest with their friends for pirate treasure after seeing this movie.
Before the superhero genre was the behemoth it is today, a quirky director and the dude who was best known for playing the creepy demon in "Beetlejuice" breathed new life into comic-book movies. Marvel might be the leader on creating stories with adult themes that are digestible for kids nowadays, but this DC film was the first of its kind. Plus, that soundtrack … forget about it.
Pretty much any '90s film starring Robin Williams was an absolute gem, but this one in particular is timeless. His gift of balancing childlike humor with emotional gravitas lent itself so well to playing the now grown and cynical Peter Pan, who must learn to reclaim his joy (relatable, millennials?). It was a bang-a-rang-er, no question.
It had Looney Tunes, it had aliens and it had Michael Jordan. That’s a winning combination.
I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that this movie helped a lot of kids make their way through difficult childhoods.
Even '90s reboots were awesome. And how fun it is to see that Lisa Ann Walker—the actress who played Chessy the housekeeper—is not only yet again gracing the screens in NBC’s “Abbott Elementary,” but is also being revered as a style icon on TikTok for her ultra casual looks in the film. We all knew she was onto something with long button downs and shorts.
No cartoon, not even “The Lion King,” was a better depiction of childhood grief. And yet, despite encapsulating tragedy, director Don Bluth still left viewers hopeful. The subsequent 14 (yes 14) sequels definitely pale in comparison to the original, but "The Land Before Time" continues to stand the test of time nonetheless.
The scene where they play tag on four-wheelers is simply iconic.
Man, the '90s were the golden age of animal-centered films. And not just monkeys either—we got sports playing golden retrievers and not one, but two movies starring talking pigs. What a time to be alive. These films were made before CGI had reached the levels it’s at today, and the authentic interactions between humans and creatures reached right through the screen.
Watch out for the tree!!!Giphy
Have I seen this movie at least 20 times? Probably. It doesn’t get any better than this in terms of silly action films with bird puppets. It’s crazy to think that this role would eventually lead Brendan Fraser to "The Mummy" franchise, turning him into a household name. Though his career has had some tragic ups and downs, we are all grateful for the glorious comeback he’s been having.
Yes, they were professional detectives.Giphy
Whether vacationing in London, Paris or Rome, whether playing magical witches or making a huge billboard so their father could find love … Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen offered zany, whimsical entertainment while wearing fun outfits. Sometimes, that’s all you need.
"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"
After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”
Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.
“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.
Part 1: Some partners are hard to live up to! Get you a good one #laboranddelivery #labor
The first video featured the following facepalm-inducing quotes:
“I think you should just get a C-section. This is taking too long.”
“How long is this gonna take? I have plans this weekend.”
“Are you sure you want an epidural? My mom didn’t have one. Before you make a decision, we should talk about it.”
“Sew an extra stitch down there for me, doc. We want everything just the way it was before all of this.”
It’s unbelievable that anyone would make such selfish comments while their partner is in the throes of giving birth. Anyone who would ask, “How long is this gonna take?” definitely isn’t prepared to raise a child.
Some TikTok users thought that these women should have left their partners right there in the delivery room.
"LOL immediate divorce, I'm not joking," Rig wrote. Little_n_often agreed saying, "I’d be getting the divorce papers ready."
“I would sign the divorce papers while in labor and pushing,” another commenter wrote.
Part 2: some partners are hard to live up to! Get you a good one! #laboranddelivery #babydaddy #labor
"Wake me up when the baby gets here I'm tired." (Rolls over, puts cover over head and slept thru the birth of his baby.)
"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"
(As the patient is pushing) "Do you guys do DNA tests here? My mom wants me to get one before we leave."
"Call me when you're about to have the baby. I'm gonna go with [name redacted] to the bar and watch the game."
Holly also told TODAY Parents that men should also keep their thoughts on pain medication to themselves and to stop looking at the contraction monitor and making comments.
“She can feel it!” Holly said. “You don’t need to ask her if she felt it. Trust me, she did.”
Holly’s public airing of men’s bad behavior had to be therapeutic, because, as a nurse, she can’t tell them off in the delivery room. But it's also a warning to men out there on how not to behave when their partners are giving birth. If there was ever a time in the world to stop thinking about yourself, it’s while your partner is giving birth.
Remember guys, think before you say anything in the delivery room, the nurses are listening.