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When a CEO realized many of his employees were on food stamps, he made a change to their paychecks.

He didn't do it purely out of the goodness of his heart, but it's still a big deal.

Let's be real. Health insurance companies are notoriously stingy.


"What do you mean you'll only pay for $2.79 of my $473,000 gum surgery?!"

But at least one big health insurer is fighting that reputation, at least where its employees are concerned.

Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini was shocked to learn that many workers in the company's call centers made so little money they rely on food stamps and Medicaid to get by, according to an NPR report.

Rather than let them continue to struggle, he decided to do something about it.

The Aetna CEO raised the salaries of all of his lowest-paid employees to $16/hr.

Bertolini didn't just do this out of the goodness of his heart.

He did it because it made good economic sense.

The cost of raising the wages for Aetna's lowest-paid workers is significant, even for a massive corporation:

"[Aetna CEO Mark] Bertolini ... discovered the cost of boosting compensation for his low-paid workers would be significant — about $27 million a year."

But, when you look at the company's long-term financial future, it turns out paying that $27 million a year is totally worth it.

"But he also found that research shows there are costs associated with paying low wages. Low-paid workers quit more often, and the turnover is expensive. There's also evidence higher-paid employees provide better customer service. Bertolini thought the potential benefits could offset the $27 million cost and improve his company's profits in the long run." — John Ydste, NPR

At a time when worker productivity is rising faster than wages, and workers across America are walking off the job to call for a $15/hr minimum wage, a move like this is a pretty big deal.

Paying employees a living wage is also part of a larger trend.

Not sure I need that giant bag of tilapia, but it's only $3.99!

Just a few weeks ago, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price announced that he was taking a pay cut and raising starting salary at the company to $70,000/year.

And thriving companies like Costco and The Container Store already pay their retail workers far higher average salaries than the industry standard on the theory that higher wages lead to greater productivity and better employee retention.

We shouldn't wait for more companies to do this voluntarily.

It's important to keep pushing for higher, fairer wages for employees across all industries. A $15/hr minimum wage should be the absolute baseline.

In the meantime, it's great that more and more corporations are realizing that treating your employees with dignity and respect — and paying them accordingly — is not just more ethical.

It's also good for business.

Photo from Dole
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As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

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Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash (left), Kimberly Zapata (right)

Picking a psychiatrist is a precarious situation, one I know all too well. I have bipolar disorder, depressive disorder and anxiety disorder. I have been in and out of therapy for nearly 20 years. And while I have left doctors for a wide variety of reasons—I've moved, I felt better and "been better," I've given up on pharmacology and stopped taking meds—I've only had to fire one.

The reason? She was judgemental and disrespectful. In her office, I wasn't seen, heard or understood.

To help you understand the gravity of the situation, I should give you some context. In the spring of 2017, I was doing well and feeling good, at least for the most part. My family was healthy. I was happy, and life was more or less normal, so I stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I decided I didn't need my meds.

But by the summer, my mood was shifting. I was cycling (which occurs when bipolar patients vacillate between periods of mania and depression) and when I suffered a miscarriage that fall, I plunged into a deep depressive episode—one I knew I couldn't pull myself out of.

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Photo from Dole
True

As you sit down to eat your breakfast in the morning or grab an afternoon snack, take a minute to consider your food, how it was made, and how it got to your plate.

The fruit on your plate were grown and picked on farms, then processed, packaged and sent to the grocery store where you bought them.

Sounds simple, right?

The truth is, that process is anything but simple and at every step in the journey to your plate, harm can be caused to the people who grow it, the communities that need it, and the planet we all call home.

For example, thousands of kids live in food deserts and areas where access to affordable and nutritious food is limited. Around the world, one in three children suffer from some form of malnutrition, and yet, up to 40% of food in the United States is never eaten.

Keep Reading Show less
via @Kingkeraun / Twitter

Keraun Harris, who goes by the name King Keraun, is a popular comedian on social media who's appeared as an actor on HBO's "Insecure" and ABC's "Black-ish."

On Monday, he posted a video on Twitter sharing the story of how a white woman had his back during a recent traffic stop.

"I just got pulled over, and for the first time, I watched a white woman record my whole traffic stop," she said.

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via Tania / Twitter

Therapy animals have become a controversial issue of recent, even though they've helped over 500,000 people overcome psychological and physical issues that have made it difficult to perform everyday tasks.

It's because countless people have tried to pass off their pets as service animals, making it hard for legitimate, trained animals to gain acceptance in public.

So when people hear about emotional support llamas, they're met with understandable cynicism. However, studies show they are great at helping children with autism spectrum disorder, and they are routinely used to cheer up people residents in retirement homes.

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