Heroes

What happens when a supermodel learns how to code? She passes it on.

Supermodel Karlie Kloss is tackling a new field: coding. And now that she has a year of classes under her belt, she wants to pass along the learnings.

What happens when a supermodel learns how to code? She passes it on.

Meet supermodel Karlie Kloss.

Karlie's a supermodel, ballerina, and self-proclaimed "cookie expert." If you don't know Karlie by name, you've probably seen her walking the Victoria's Secret runway or hanging out with her bestie Taylor Swift. But now she's tackling a whole different field, the world of code.


After falling in love with code, Karlie wanted to help young women discover this incredible tool.

Like most creative people, Karlie wasn't satisfied with just having a few skills under her belt. After taking classes in code, she was pleasantly surprised to learn how fun, challenging, and rewarding this technical language could be. That's why in April 2015, she partnered with the Flatiron School for #KodeWithKarlie, which will provide summer coding scholarships to girls across the country.

"I think it's crucial that young women learn to code as early as possible. To ensure that we as young women have a voice and a stake in what the world looks like." — Karlie Kloss

Why's it so important for girls to learn how to code?

Too often, young girls are discouraged from taking an interest in science, tech, electronics, and math, commonly referred to STEM. Whether it happens at home, in the classroom or more discreetly through gendered toys and books, boys are often encouraged to pursue science and technology while girls are stuck with pink-washed toys and gender stereotypes. The result? STEM industries are largely male-dominated, thus widening the gender pay gap.

"In a country in which the average women still earns 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns, and in a country in which the majority of single parents are single mothers, getting more women into STEM could both reduce the gender wage gap and ensure that single mothers don't have to struggle to put food on the table. Not only are there currently more jobs in STEM than in any other industry, but most of these high-tech jobs are high-paying, as well." — "Closing the STEM Gender Gap: Why Is It Important and What Can You Do to Help?"

Technology is a huge part of today's world. From mobile phones, video games and computer software, code is part of our daily lives, and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. The more young women are exposed to coding at a young age, the more who are likely to go into technology in the future. There's no denying technology has come a long way in recent years, but it can only stand to go further with as many new and diverse voices as possible.

Know a high school girl who'd like to learn to code? Check out the #KodeWithKarlie scholarship video and apply by May 1, 2015!

Can't apply for #KodeWithKarlie? There are more programs out there!

Full disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I just love the idea of young women getting interested in technology. I was fortunate enough to spend a summer at computer camp when I was in middle school where I learned how to write HTML, C++, and even code my own video game. To this day, I credit that camp with sparking my interest in technology, which is a huge part of my career. So, if you can't apply for the #KodeWithKarlie scholarship, (maybe you've missed the deadline or it's not available in your city) don't fret; there are a bunch of programs available for aspiring female coders like Girls Who Code, Made With Code, and Black Girls Code.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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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

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

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

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

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

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

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.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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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."