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When Obama asks him about his dad, you can just tell that he knows exactly how he feels.

It's not obvious at first, but they have so much in common.

When Obama asks him about his dad, you can just tell that he knows exactly how he feels.

One day, Noah McQueen decided to do something really, truly difficult.

He decided to turn his life around.

Even though he was only 18, Noah had been arrested on more than a few occasions. He'd even been in juvenile detention.


As part of his mission of self-improvement, Noah got involved with My Brother's Keeper, a program dedicated to addressing "persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color."

One day not too long ago, Noah recorded an interview for StoryCorps, a program where regular Americans from all different backgrounds interview each other about their lives.

Usually people are interviewed by their friends, their siblings, or their parents. Sometimes they're interviewed by their husband or wife.

But Noah's StoryCorps interviewer?

THIS GUY!

And even though they don't know each other that well, it turns out they have more than a few things in common.

The most fascinating part is how deeply they connect.

Incredible.

On the obstacles Noah faces everyday, just because of what he looks like:

Noah: "I feel like, as a black man, just me coming on the train over here, I know how we're perceived. I know how people look at us. Every time we step into the room, we have to be on top of your game."

On the burden of being "a success story":

Noah: "People want to say, 'You are the success story.' And it's hard to always make the right decision, and It's hard to always want to be the leader."

On his plans for the future:

Noah: "I want to do education because I do want to work with kids — you know — to see the beginnings and to see where I was and to see the exact same kid doing the exact same thing. And it's like, we owe it to everyone and ourselves to come back and change that. That's our civic duty, I believe."

And here's what President Obama had to say in return:

Obama: "At the age of 18, I didn't know what I was going to be doing with my life. And you shouldn't feel like you can't make mistakes at this point. You're 18 years old; I promise you, you're going to make some more as you go along. But one of the things you've discovered is you've got this strength inside yourself, and if you stay true to that voice that clearly knows what's right and what's wrong, sometimes you're gonna mess up, but you can steer back and keep going."


Not everyone can do what Noah did. But everyone deserves the compassion and empathy Obama showed here in listening to Noah's story without judgment.

That's a story worth hearing and a story worth sharing.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.