When her nursing plans got derailed, help from people like you changed everything.
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Johnson & Johnson - Donate a Photo

Linda Ruggiero was in nursing school when her mother was diagnosed with cancer. As a result, she almost gave up on her dream.

Linda Ruggiero and her mom. Photo courtesy of Linda Ruggiero.

Ruggiero, who was changing careers, needed her mom to help her pay for nursing school. But the diagnosis changed everything. Not only did Ruggiero have the weight of her mother being sick on her shoulders, now the aspiring nurse couldn't count on any financial support. And even though her mother got better, Ruggiero's last year of nursing school was incredibly difficult.


"It was a dark year," Ruggiero recalls. She didn't qualify for financial aid so she started taking on work outside of school. At one point, she was working five jobs at one time just to make ends meet.

"I almost had to leave," she says. "I was tired, and I had meltdowns pretty often. When my mom got sick, I felt like I really couldn't take it anymore, you know?"

But then a scholarship came along that changed her life.

Linda Ruggiero giving the convocation speech at her nursing school graduation. Photo courtesy of Lina Ruggiero.

In her last year, Ruggiero was awarded $5,000 by the The Foundation of the National Student Nurses Association (FNSNA), which is supported in part by Johnson & Johnson — a company that has a century-long commitment to helping nurses. Johnson & Johnson recognizes that front line health workers are vital to changing health and wellbeing, which includes supporting the FNSNA and the scholarships they award.

The money made it possible for Ruggiero to finish the program and do what she loves. While this was certainly great for her, Ruggiero's newly acquired certification would also make a profound difference to people in need of medical assistance and care.  

With a nurse shortage looming over the United States, Ruggiero's entry into the workforce is good for all of us. She's now one of the essential people in the medical community fighting to ensure that everyone gets proper care.

And none of this would've been possible without people like you.

That's right. You have the power to change a life. All it takes is the snap of your camera.

Photo by Kendra Kamp/Unsplash.

When you take a photo and share it through Johnson & Johnson's Donate a Photo app,  Johnson & Johnson will donate one dollar per picture to causes that make the world a better, healthier place. What's more, if you share those photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you may inspire others to get snapping and donating, too.

With nearly four million photos shared, Donate a Photo has proven to be an easy (and fun) way to both spread awareness and make meaningful change in the world.

Johnson & Johnson has always been focused on changing human health for the better. And they know that progress is faster and more efficient when we all work together.

Donate a Photo is just one of the ways that J&J is helping to make the world healthier. They also created a Global Public Health organization dedicated to causes like ending Pediatric Tuberculosis and working to eliminate HIV/AIDS as a public health threat within the next decade, just to name a few.

Now it's your turn to make a difference: It starts with capturing the people you love and ends with improving the lives of people you've never met.

Photo courtesy of Linda Ruggiero.

Because Linda Ruggiero got to stay in school, she's been able to help so many others.

Aside from earning her degree and becoming a Registered Nurse, Ruggiero's also started a program that provides hats and blankets for premature babies at a local hospital. She's been awarded a grant to perform public health research in order to teach muslim women in her community about vitamin D deficiency. And she's won awards for the outreach work she's done.

"I didn't just get money to go to school to help myself," she says. "Because I stayed, it benefited others, too."

When you "Donate a Photo" and then post your donated snaps to social media, you'll be showing people the causes you care about, and creating an altruistic ripple effect that will have an effect long after your friends and relatives have scrolled through your timeline.

It only takes a second, but when we all work together, there's no telling just how much better we can make the future.

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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."

This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.