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A PERSONAL MESSAGE FROM UPWORTHY
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Family

When her 5-year-old broke his leg, this mom raised $0. It's actually inspiring.

Her crowdfunding alternative is so obvious, it's shocking America hasn't taken advantage of it.

When her 5-year-old broke his leg, this mom raised $0. It's actually inspiring.


Freddie Teer is a normal boy. He loves Legos, skateboarding, and horsing around with his older brother Ollie. But in March 2017, his mother faced every parent's worst nightmare.

Photo via iStock.

Freddie was doing tricks down the stairs of his front porch when he fell off his bike — and his bike fell on him.

"[He was] just crying, wouldn't let us touch his leg, couldn't put any weight on his leg. We knew," mom Ashley says.

Ashley rushed Freddie to the emergency room, where an X-ray confirmed the bones in his left shin were broken in half. He needed to be sedated, his bones set and put in a cast. It was an agonizing day for the Teers. But it's what happened next that was truly inspiring.


We've all seen heartwarming stories of communities coming together to raise money online to help people cover medical care for themselves and loved ones.

There was the Kentucky mom with stage 4 cancer whose family collected over $1 million. The New Orleans police officer whose unit banked thousands for her chemotherapy. The Colorado man who lost his legs and whose friends crowdfunded his recovery.

While Freddie's injury required major treatment, none of Ashley's friends raised any money for him.

No one from their town took up a collection or held a bake sale.

No GoFundMe page was started to help cover his bills.

Instead, Ashley and Freddie walked out of the hospital owing nothing. Because they live in Canada.

"You just leave," Ashley says. "You don't pay anything."

Incredible.

Under Canada's health care system, people like the Teers can see their doctors and go to the hospital when they're hurt or sick, and they don't get charged.

So heartwarming.

It almost wasn't this way.

Ashley was born and raised in St. Louis in the U.S. where health care is expensive and complicated. Twelve years ago, she fell in love with a Canadian man and moved with him to Abbotsford, British Columbia, where they and their five children will enjoy heavily subsidized, affordable health care coverage at a low premium for the remainder of their natural lives.

"We're able to go when we need help and we get help," Ashley says.

Just amazing.

As Freddie recovered, no one showed up at the Teer home with a large check or collection plate full of cash.

Instead, Ashley and her family were "supported through meals and just that kind of care" — meals they were able to enjoy without having to decide between enduring the shame of hitting up their friends for money or facing the prospect of sliding into bankruptcy.

Freddie (right) and his brother Ollie. Photo by Ashley Teer.

The most uplifting part? Middle-income Canadians like the Teers pay taxes at roughly the same rates as Americans and still get their bones fixed for free at hospitals.

Not everything about Freddie's recovery process was smooth.

The first night, Freddie tossed and turned in severe pain, unable to sleep. Ashley, however, was able to call her family doctor — who she never has to pay since he is compensated by a public system that continues to have overwhelming public support to this day — to get her son a codeine prescription. Miraculous!

Canada's public health care plan doesn't cover drugs. But, inspiringly, because of price controls, medicine is way cheaper there.

The Teers did lean on their friends and family for help while Freddie got better.

"We were kind of just asking people to pray," she explains — primarily to lift her son's spirits, and not, thankfully, to ask God to provide sufficient funds to cover basic medical care that every human living in a fair and prosperous society should have access to.

Even though he wasn't able to move around, friends and relatives eagerly invited Freddie to hang out during his recovery instead avoiding him out of guilt for not pledging enough to his GoFundMe campaign.

Just. Wow.

With support from his community — support that didn't include a single dollar — Freddie's cast came off six weeks later, right on schedule.

Healthy once more, Freddie went right back to enjoying extreme sports like BMX biking, skateboarding, and snowboarding, and Ashley is free to let him enjoy them without worrying about one fall wiping out their entire life savings and leaving her family destitute.

"Where we live, we're not stressful when things happen to our kids," Ashley says. "It's not a stressful time financially, so the whole family is not anxious."

It's peace of mind that she — and the residents of virtually every other rational, wealthy, industrialized country in the world — share.

"I feel safe, and I feel like my voice is heard," she says. "I can't imagine living in a place that I didn't feel that way."

Inspiring.


This article originally appeared on 03.27.17

Pop Culture

Here’s a paycheck for a McDonald’s worker. And here's my jaw dropping to the floor.

So we've all heard the numbers, but what does that mean in reality? Here's one year's wages — yes, *full-time* wages. Woo.

Making a little over 10,000 for a yearly salary.


I've written tons of things about minimum wage, backed up by fact-checkers and economists and scholarly studies. All of them point to raising the minimum wage as a solution to lifting people out of poverty and getting folks off of public assistance. It's slowly happening, and there's much more to be done.

But when it comes right down to it, where the rubber meets the road is what it means for everyday workers who have to live with those wages. I honestly don't know how they do it.


Ask yourself: Could I live on this small of a full-time paycheck? I know what my answer is.

(And note that the minimum wage in many parts of the county is STILL $7.25, so it would be even less than this).

paychecks, McDonalds, corporate power, broken system

One year of work at McDonalds grossed this worker $13,811.18.

assets.rebelmouse.io

This story was written by Brandon Weber and was originally appeared on 02.26.15

Family

Overwhelmed new mother hears the perfect parenting advice from her mom on doorbell cam

Monica Murphy was just one month into welcoming her third child into the world.

@monica_murphy/Instagram

Sometimes mom knows just what to say

“How on earth can one person do it all?”

This is a question so many mothers ask themselves. Especially after giving birth, when life seems to expect them to take care of their newborn, get their body back, return to work and keep a clean house all at the same time.

It’s a question that had completely overwhelmed Monica Murphy, only one month into welcoming her third child, while still recovering from a C-section and taking care of her other children, who were also nursing, according to Today.com.

Luckily for Murphy, her mom had the perfect piece of advice to ease her troubled mind. And luckily for us, it was all caught on the family’s doorbell cam.

In a now-viral Instagram post, Murphy wrote her formidable to-do list, which included:

Working

Staying present on social media

Maintaining a clean home

Tandem breastfeeding

Being present with my kids

Eating a nutritious diet

Making time for my husband

Keeping in touch with friends

Making time for myself

Planning activities for kids

Frick decorate for Christmas

Followed by that burning question: “How on earth can one person do it all?”

Of course, Murphy hadn’t expressed any of these stresses to her mom, who had been visiting. But still, her mom knew something heavily weighed on her daughter's mind.

So, as she was walking out, Murphy’s mom left her with these words of wisdom:

“They aren’t gonna remember a clean house, they are gonna remember how much you loved them and hung out with them.”

Murphy told Today.com that she “broke down” crying after her mom had left, and was instantly inspired to share the video for other moms who needed similar encouragement.

Indeed, the message struck an emotional chord with thousands of viewers.

“The way I would’ve just bawled if she said that to me,” one person commented.

Another added, “I needed to hear this today.”

Some shared how it was a sentiment they sadly would never hear from their own mothers, and how they are now re-parenting themselves.

“My mom would just nag I’m lazy and how am I supposed to leave my house a mess. So I’m just easing my anxiety with gentle words from other people’s mothers. As I’ve been doing my whole life. Clean house was above happy children,” one person wrote.

It can be so easy for moms to lose themselves in the never ending cycle of responsibilities and, frankly, unrealistic societal expectations. But hopefully this sweet message can help moms everywhere go a bit easier on themselves, and actually enjoy the time they have with their kids. That’s part of what family is all about, after all.


This article originally appeared on 11.15.23

Pop Culture

Middle class families share how much money they have in savings and it's eye-opening

"I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back."

Many middle class families are sharing that they have nothing in savings right now.

According to an April 2024 Gallup poll, 54% of Americans identify as part of the middle class, with 39% identifying as "middle class" and 15% identifying as "upper-middle class." That percentage has held fairly steady for years, but for many, what it feels like to be a middle class American has shifted.

Notably, inflation caused by the pandemic has hit middle class families hard, with incomes not keeping up with cost-of-living increases. Housing costs have skyrocketed in many areas of the country, mortgage interest rates have risen to levels not seen since the pre-Obama era and grocery bills have increased significantly. One government study found that cost of living has increased between around $800 and $1,300 a month depending on the state since 2021, putting a squeeze on everyone, including the middle class.

One woman shared that her family is just getting by and asked other people who identify as middle class to "chime in" with what they have in their savings account.

"I swear, every paycheck I am putting money into my savings, but needing to transfer it back within a few days," shared @abbyy..rosee on TikTok. "My registration is due. My husband's registration is due. He needed two new tires, even though they had a warranty. That's $300. My oldest needs braces, he needs a palate expander, that's $120 a month. Not to mention groceries are $200 more a week. Forget about feeding your family great ingredients because who has $500 a week to spend on perfect ingredients to feed your family?"


@abbyy..rosee

somethings gotta give #savings #middleclass #relatable

She explained that her husband makes enough money that they should be able to live comfortably, and that she quit her job because the cost of daycare was more than she was making.

"At some point, something has to give," she said. "What is going on? How do I save money?"

People in the comments chimed in with their savings account totals and it was quite eye-opening. Many people shared that they have $0 saved.

"We make the most money we ever have and have zero savings. We live paycheck to paycheck and every month I don’t know how we get by."

"I think the middle class is 1 personal disaster away from bankruptcy."

"Y’all got savings accounts?!?! 😂"

"I used to freak out if I had under $10k in savings, now I’m happy when I have over $150. 😫"

"We make almost 100,000 a year with no savings!!!! It's always something!!"

"I'm lucky if we have $500-$1K for an emergency. every single time we start saving something happens. the vet, the cars, the kids... something."

"Savings account? I transfer money each paycheck but always end up needing to transfer it back. My husband makes great money too but we are scraping by."

"$803 but we have to pay a $750 deductible this week b/c my Husband hit a deer soooo… back at it 😭 It’s exhausting. Constantly draining it, refilling it, transferring."

Some people shared that they do have some savings, but several said it was because they'd had an inheritance or other chunk of money come their way. Many people shared that their savings has dwindled as increased costs have taken their toll. Some people gave lifestyle advice to save money, but most agreed that just the basics have gotten so expensive it's harder to make ends meet much less put extra into savings.

Thankfully, the inflation issue appears to be waning, but even just plateauing at their current financial reality isn't ideal for many American families. Middle class is supposed to be a comfortable place to be—not rich, but well enough off to feel secure. That's not how many middle class folks feel, though. Most Americans don't have anything close to the amount of money saved that is recommended across the age spectrum, but at least hearing that others are in the same boat is somewhat comforting.

It can be vulnerable to put your financial reality out there, but it's helpful to hear what other people are doing and dealing with so we all feel less alone when we're struggling. Perhaps if people were more open about money, we'd all be able to help one another find ways to improve our financial situations rather than lamenting our empty savings accounts and wondering how to change it.

@our.mama.guide/Instagram

Where was this camp when we were kids?

There’s a wide variety of summer camps out there with activities ranging from classics like bonfires and water balloon fights to the uber niche, ala putting on musicals or prepping for space adventures.

Still, even with the plentiful themes in existence, people are calling one mom’s unique but oh-so-practical camp idea pure genius.

Kaitlyn Rowe, mom of four and content creator in Utah, gave her kiddos a list of super basic, but very important life skills to learn at home throughout summer, in what she calls “How To Be A Person” camp.

The difficulty level of each task would be age dependent. Rowe’s 3-year-old son learned things like making the bed, safely using scissors and glue, introducing himself to a new friend and organizing his toys. Whereas Rowe’s eldest daughter, age 6, would learn slightly more complex things like scrambling an egg on the stove, blow-drying her hair and packing an overnight bag. There was also a list of skills the siblings would learn together, like putting away groceries, pool safety and talking on the phone.

As Rowe shared in an interview with Good Morning America, she actually got the idea from fellow mom Emily Ley, who created this alternative camp during the peak days of COVID-19.

Overwhelmed with homeschooling, Ley thought if she could teach her kids “some age-appropriate independence,” it would take the load off of her as well. Rowe borrowed the idea and the “How To Be A Person” camp title as she compiled her own list of activities in lieu of sending her kids to an actual camp. So far, her kids have loved it. And with her post currently having over 54,000 views on Instagram, it seems other parents are in love with the idea as well.

It’s no secret that many of us reach adulthood having learned obscure academic subjects and somehow skimming over the things we would actually incorporate into everyday life. Nothing against algebra and trigonometry, but it sure would have been nice to have learned about doing taxes instead, you know what I’m saying?

Plus, it’s well documented that kids genuinely enjoy mimicking adults, so having them engage in grown-up duties is not only a rewarding activity in the moment, it potentially creates a positive relationship with household chores that they can hold onto throughout their life.

Another cool thing about the “How To Be A Person” camp idea is that it’s fully customizable. It can be a list that parents create, or it can be child-led. It can be 100% practical or silly. A healthy mix is probably the best of both worlds.

Per some suggestions in the comments, it seems that Rowe will be changing the name to “How To Do The Important Stuff” camp to be more inclusive towards those with special needs. Point being: this camp can be for every kid. And honestly, probably should be.

To see Rowe’s complete “How To Be A Person” camp list, go to Instagram.


This article originally appeared on 6.15.23

Gardiner Brothers/TikTok (with permission)

The Gardiner Brothers stepping in time to Beyoncé's "Texas Hold 'Em."

In early February 2024, Beyoncé rocked the music world by releasing a surprise new album of country tunes. The album, Renaissance: Act II, includes a song called "Texas Hold 'Em," which shot up the country charts—with a few bumps along the way—and landed Queen Bey at the No.1 spot.

As the first Black female artist to have a song hit No. 1 on Billboard's country music charts, Beyoncé once again proved her popularity, versatility and ability to break barriers without missing a beat. In one fell swoop, she got people who had zero interest in country music to give it a second look, forced country music fans to broaden their own ideas about what country music looks like and prompted conversations about bending and blending musical genres and styles.

And she inspired the Gardiner Brothers to add yet another element to the mix—Irish stepdance.


In a TikTok that's been viewed over 17 million times, the Gardiner Brothers don cowboy hats while they step in time to "Texas Hold 'Em," much to the delight of viewers everywhere.

Watch:

@gardinerbrothers

Beyoncé 🤝 Irish dancing #beyonce #countrymusic

Michael and Matthew Gardiner are professional Irish-American stepdancers and choreographers who have gained international fame with their award-winning performances. They've also built a following of millions on social media with videos like this one, where they dance to popular songs, usually in an outdoor environment.

The melding of Irish dance with country music sung by a Black American female artist may seem unlikely, but it could be viewed merely as country music coming back to its roots. After all, country music has its roots in the ballad tradition of the Irish, English and Scottish settlers in the Appalachian region of the U.S. And despite modern country music's struggle to break free from "music for white people" stereotypes, it has roots in African-American traditions as well. For instance, the banjo, which has long been used in bluegrass and country music, was created by enslaved Africans and their descendents during the colonial era, according to The Smithsonian.

People are loving the blending of genres and culture that the TikTok exemplifies.

"Never thought I’d see Irish step dancing while Beyoncé sings country," wrote on commenter. "My life is complete. ♥️"

"So happy Beyoncé dropped this song and exposed my timeline to diversified talent 👏🏽👏🏽," wrote another.

"Beyoncé brought the world together with this song 😭," offered another person.

"Ayeeee Irish Dancing has entered the BeyHive chatroom… WELCOME!! 🔥🔥🔥" exclaimed another.

"I don’t think I can explain how many of my interests are intersecting here," wrote one commenter, reflecting what several others shared as well.

The Beyoncé/Gardiner Brothers combo and the reactions to it are a good reminder that none of us fit into one box of interest or identity. We're all an eclectic mix of tastes and styles, so we can almost always find a way to connect with others over something we enjoy. What better way to be reminded of that fact than through an unexpected mashup that blends the magic of music with the delight of dance? Truly, the arts are a powerful uniting force we should utilize more often.

And for an extra bit of fun, the Gardiner Brothers also shared their bloopers from filming the video. Turns out stepping in the rain isn't as easy as they make it look.

Beyoncé Bloopers #texasholdem #gardinerbrothers

@gardinerbrothers

Beyoncé Bloopers #texasholdem #gardinerbrothers

This article originally appeared on 2.26.24