There is a difference between supporting our enlisted service people when they go off to do their job and actually supporting them when they make it out. Unfortunately, we're not so good at the latter ... not by a long shot.
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.
Sometimes sighted people can easily forget that beauty isn't just something for the eyes to experience. It can be heard, smelled, and touched as well. Nowhere was this more evident than at Anthony and Kelly Anne Ferraro's wedding on October 2.
Anthony is a blind Paralympian and winner of the gold medal in the 2018 USA Judo National Championships for Blind & Visually Impaired. He's also an accomplished guitar player and motivational speaker.
Kelly Ann wanted her husband to experience her in a beautiful dress so instead of having one designed that was pleasing to the eye, she reached out to Loulette Bride to make one that felt amazing to the touch.
"Kelly really wanted to ... make it really special for me," he told Newsweek. "She went above and beyond" to find the wedding dress, which was made "tactilely pleasing" with use of chiffon, lace, silk, and velvet.
The dress has a beautiful fringe on the arms that looks angelic when she waved her arms. It probably feels wonderful, too.
In a traditional wedding, the groom isn't allowed to see the bride in her dress until she walks down the aisle. At the Ferraro wedding, he wasn't allowed to touch the dress until that magic moment.
"She wouldn't let me know anything about it until she came down the aisle and I got to touch it, so it was incredible," he said. "It was so beautiful to me ... I could picture her in my head perfectly," said Ferraro.
"The textures are everything," said Ferraro. "I see through my fingers, and through my hands, and through ... touch."
A video clip of the wedding posted by Anthony on social media has gone viral because people love the idea that beauty isn't just about what we see with our eyes. Since it was posted on October 13 it has over 550,000 views.
One commenter called the dress "the sweetest thing ever."
🤍🎥I married my camera person @turmericteatime #blind #wedding #relationshipgoals #lucky #pov
The couple met in 2018 after being introduced by friends. Anthony told USA Today he felt an "instant connection" when they first met. Their relationship inspired Kelly Ann to learn how to create a safe living space for Anthony by putting bubble wrap or pillows over sharp objects in the house.
She also learned to appreciate his love of the feel of soft fabrics such as velvet.
Studies show that blind people have heightened senses of hearing, smell and touch. Researchers from Society for Neuroscience also found that blind people have the ability to process sensations associated with touch faster than sighted people.
"Our findings reveal that one way the brain adapts to the absence of vision is to accelerate the sense of touch," Daniel Goldreich, PhD, said according to Science Daily. "The ability to quickly process non-visual information probably enhances the quality of life of blind individuals who rely to an extraordinary degree on the non-visual senses."
The wedding dress was an incredibly thoughtful gift for Kelly Ann to give her husband on their wedding day. It also sends a wonderful message to the rest of the world. Every couple is different. Every person is different. But when we branch out and learn to experience the world the way others do, we can find beauty in places we never imagined.
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."