When Melissa Chance Yassini came home from work on Dec. 8, she found her daughter Sofia in tears.

Melissa Chance Yassini and her daughter Sofia. Photo by Melissa Chance Yassini/Facebook. Used with permission.

Sofia had been watching the news with her grandmother, when she heard about Donald Trump's call to deport refugees and ban Muslims from entering America.

"She ran to me with a look of absolute fear on her face," Melissa told Upworthy.
Sofia, who is 8 years old, was convinced that Trump wanted to kick her and her family, who are Muslim — and American citizens — out of the country.
"It was the first time that it really drove home to me that we’re in a dangerous place right now," Melissa said.

Melissa stayed up most of the night comforting and reassuring her daughter. Exhausted and frustrated, she posted about the experience on Facebook the next day.

The post caught the eye of Kerri Peek, an Army veteran from Colorado, who responded to Melissa a few days later.

"Salamalakum Melissa!" Peek wrote on Facebook. "Please show this picture of me to your daughter. Tell her I am a Mama too and as a soldier I will protect her from the bad guys."

Photo by Kerri Peek/Facebook. Used with permission.


Peek — who is Hispanic — told Upworthy that her heart broke reading Melissa's post, which reminded her of similar statements that have made her own family feel unwelcome.

"It bothered me all night. Stuck in my craw, so to speak," Peek said. "This rhetoric and fear, hate, and violence is not okay. It's not the United States that I would fight for. I was awake all night."

Peek started a hashtag — #IWillProtectYou — and encouraged her fellow vets to respond. The messages of support began pouring in.

"Calling all vets. I've been reading reports of kids being harassed and accosted because of their faith. This is UNAMERICAN. Now is the time to act," veteran Andres Herrera wrote on Facebook.

Andres Herrera. Used with permission.

"Let Muslim children know that we will not hurt them. That they are safe here in America. That we will protect innocents as we always have and by added benefit keeping our oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution," Herrera added.

"I am not Muslim," veteran David Bruce wrote on Facebook, "But when anyone says the Army that I served with will go on to remove Muslims from my country, they'll have to take me too."

Photo by David Bruce/Facebook. Used with permission (on the contingency that I mention Bruce said, "I thought photo filters would hide how messed up my gear looks. They didn't. Oh well.”)

"Sweet girl, I am no longer in the Navy, but know you are protected," veteran Sarah Cullen wrote. "‪#‎IWillProtectYou‬ to the moon and back if necessary. Many hugs sent your way."

Photo by Sarah Cullen/Facebook. Used with permission.

"We are Muslim, an Army family, and we will protect you," Aneesah Hydar wrote on Facebook.

Photo by Aneesah Hydar/Facebook. Used with permission.

As the responses continue to come in, Peek remains blown away — but not surprised — by her fellow vets' willingness to stand up to bigotry.

"I have always been proud of my Battle Buddies (we are all comrades-at-arms)," Peek said. "But this is outstanding."

Melissa told Upworthy she is incredibly moved by the show of support for her daughter.

"I have probably received close to 500 messages from various people in our military, from just people," Melissa said.
"Christians, atheists, Jews, every walk of life, every stage, have reached out to Sofia and I with overwhelming support and love."

Most importantly, Sofia now knows there’s an army of her fellow Americans who have her back.

Peek's message came through loud and clear: No matter what Donald Trump says that makes Muslim-Americans feel unsafe and unwanted, there are men and women in America's armed forces who won't stand for it.
"I read each and every message to her," Melissa said. "And she now understands that we’re all part of a fabric which is America."
Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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