Every year, the winning NFL Super Bowl team gets to visit the White House and meet the president. It's supposed to be a great honor.

The champion New England Patriots got their tour on April 19, 2017 — only this year, there were some notable absences from some of the team's big-name players.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.


Some wouldn't say why they chose to pass on the invite — to be fair, many longtime Patriots players have visited the White House before — while others were ... less subtle in their reasoning.

Speaking to CNN, Patriots player Alan Branch said he skipped the trip because of the "disgusting" way that Donald Trump talks about women. "I have no interest in going and shaking his hand," Branch explained. "I've gotta [be able to] go back home and look my daughters in the eye."

Jacoby Brissett, a young third-string quarterback, had his own reason for accepting the White House invite.

Brissett was humbled by the opportunity to visit Washington and sat down before the visit to write a letter to the president.

Just not this president.

While at the White House, Brissett paused for a pic near a photo of former President Barack Obama that he posted to Instagram along with a moving open letter.

"I want to thank you for what you have done for this country — outside of politics," Brissett begins his letter.

"Honestly, I don't know enough about politics to judge what was good or bad, but I want you to know that when you said 'Yes We Can' — a young man dreaming a dream from rough circumstances in Florida heard you."

Dear Big O, I am writing you this letter to say thank you. I want to thank you for what you have done for this country – outside of politics. Honestly, I don't know enough about politics to judge what was good or bad, but I want you to know that when you said "Yes We Can" – a young man dreaming a dream from rough circumstances in Florida heard you. When you were elected President for the first time I was 16 and I watched you make the never-imaginable, attainable and I heard your cry to inspire hope. I used those words as motivation and saw your achievement as an opportunity and permission to work make my dreams come true too. You were the President of the United States – the highest office in the world. You broke a barrier and a stereotype proving not every minority has to use a ball to make a way. You've inspired a lifetime of dreamers young and old. Now, kids from my community – and my future children – will know that there is no dream too big – even they could be the President of the United States. As I prepare for the honor of visiting the White House, I will be there as a Super Bowl Champion – and I will think of you, mainly because the White House is a different, and better place because you lived there. I was a kid that came from nothing and I am living out one of the greatest dreams of my life. I am just grateful for the opportunity to walk on the same steps as you did, and to have a platform to inspire and I hope to leave my mark on history the way you did. One day, when I meet you, I will shake your hand and say thank you to your face but until then this kid is going to continue to dream until I can’t anymore. Thank you for blazing a trail, but for more than that, for leaving a paved road behind you for others to climb on. The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your DREAMS - Oprah Yes we can!! DREAM BIG!! Thank you, Jacoby Brissett P.S Holla at me to help you with your broke jump shot

A post shared by Jacoby Brissett (@jbrissett7) on

You can read the full text of Brissett's letter below:

"Dear Big O, I am writing you this letter to say thank you.

I want to thank you for what you have done for this country – outside of politics. Honestly, I don't know enough about politics to judge what was good or bad, but I want you to know that when you said "Yes We Can" — a young man dreaming a dream from rough circumstances in Florida heard you.

When you were elected President for the first time I was 16 and I watched you make the never-imaginable, attainable and I heard your cry to inspire hope. I used those words as motivation and saw your achievement as an opportunity and permission to work make my dreams come true too. You were the President of the United States — the highest office in the world. You broke a barrier and a stereotype proving not every minority has to use a ball to make a way. You've inspired a lifetime of dreamers young and old. Now, kids from my community — and my future children — will know that there is no dream too big — even they could be the President of the United States.

As I prepare for the honor of visiting the White House, I will be there as a Super Bowl Champion – and I will think of you, mainly because the White House is a different, and better place because you lived there. I was a kid that came from nothing and I am living out one of the greatest dreams of my life. I am just grateful for the opportunity to walk on the same steps as you did, and to have a platform to inspire and I hope to leave my mark on history the way you did.

One day, when I meet you, I will shake your hand and say thank you to your face but until then this kid is going to continue to dream until I can’t anymore. Thank you for blazing a trail, but for more than that, for leaving a paved road behind you for others to climb on. The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your DREAMS — Oprah Yes we can!! DREAM BIG!! Thank you, Jacoby Brissett P.S Holla at me to help you with your broke jump shot"







The letter went viral on social media because it's a message we all desperately need to hear.

There's no "throwing shade" at the sitting president. No doom and gloom. Just pure appreciation for how far we've come and for the hard work and relentless spirit of a man who has inspired so many.

It's a testament to the power of representation, to the impact of seeing yourself reflected in your leaders and what that can motivate new generations to accomplish.

"As I prepare for the honor of visiting the White House," Brisset's letter concludes, "I will be there as a Super Bowl Champion — and I will think of you, mainly because the White House is a different and better place because you lived there."

Sometimes it feels like we're going backward as a country, and it can be easy to forget the strides we made when we elected our first black president. But Jacoby Brissett hasn't forgotten, and neither have millions of other young people like him.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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As hunter gatherers, our ancestors ate a diet that was minimally processed and required more effort to chew. As a result, by adolescence their teeth would develop what’s called an edge-to-edge bite, where the jaw is elongated so that both the bottom and top teeth are completely flush with one another.

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But soon, reality sets in and if they have more kids, they'll probably be raised with a lot less attention. As a result, first-born kids turn out a bit differently than their younger siblings.

"Rules are a bit more rigid, attention and validation is directed and somewhat excessive," Niro Feliciano, LCSW, a psychotherapist and anxiety specialist, told Parents. "As a result, firstborns tend to be leaders, high achievers, people-pleasing, rule-following and conscientious, several of the qualities that tend to predict success."

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