The 'legen—wait for it—dary' Neil Patrick Harris is pushing snack bars to help teachers
Courtesy of Quaker Chewy

Neil Patrick Harris is known for his diverse talents as an actor, singer, dancer, producer, emcee, writer, and even magician. Dude's got serious skills.

Off screen and offstage, he's also known for his diverse philanthropy, lending his fame and resources to various causes including cancer and AIDS research, green building initiatives, clean water access, hunger, LGBTQ support, and books for children in low-income communities.

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I recently spoke with Harris and asked him how he chooses what charities to support. He said that his personality doesn't really lend itself to choosing a singular cause—for him, it's more about the integrity of a charity. "I'm interested in knowing what organizations are actually giving a large percentage of what they get back to the actual charity itself," he says. "And then getting to know the people behind the charity. I'm kind of a stickler for authenticity in that way."


This month, Harris is partnering with Quaker Chewy granola bars and AdoptAClassroom.org to help teachers get supplies for their classrooms. According to AdoptAClassroom's website, 92% of classrooms have students whose families cannot afford school supplies, and teachers and principals often end up filling the gap out of their own pockets. The non-profit organization helps provide supplies for schools in need.

Throughout the month of September, Quaker will donate $1 of every Quaker Chewy purchase, up to $250,000, to AdoptAClassroom.org. To process the $1 donation from your purchase, go to choosechewy.com and enter the UPC code of your Quaker Chewy package. (You have to enter your birthdate to access the UPC code page, just FYI.) On the same page, you can also enter a favorite teacher in a drawing for a $500 gift card.

Harris says he decided to lend his voice to this partnership because he's invested in education and in "teachers being treated with the respect that they deserve." His own kids—twins Harper and Gideon, who will turn nine in October—are another reason.

"I'm a parent with kids who are an appropriate age for Quaker Chewy bars as a wholesome snack," he says, noting that the bars are a more nutritious and convenient alternative to many snacks they could eat in New York. "And they love them. They're all about the chocolate chip," he says, adding, "I like that they like the chocolate chip, because I'm all about the peanut butter."

Harris slips into humor naturally, but he's serious about helping teachers. He says that hosting an awards event for teachers really drove home how much educators sacrifice in their careers.

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"Teachers are so giving and selfless," he says, "and even dig out of pocket to get pencils and Kleenex and things that kids need because they're passionate about their job. And they're not acknowledged enough for it. So the fact that people can buy Quaker Chewy bars, go to choosechewy.com and put their UPC code, and then start giving money towards an organization that gives to teachers—that seems like the least we can do."

Harris and his husband, David Burtka, make a point of including their kids in their charity work, which Harris has said helps give them "a valuable and much-needed perspective on life." After chatting a bit about parenting, I asked him what the hardest part of raising kids has been so far. His answer undoubtedly rings true for most parents:

"I'm having to realize that the only certain thing is uncertainty. Just when I feel like I've figured out the crawling thing, they walk. And just when I figure out the walking thing, the talk. And just when I figure out the talking thing, they disagree. They're just constantly phasing up, and just when I think I've figured out the new phase, there's a newer phase. And that's been the most complicated thing, because I assumed some of my strengths would be in my wisdom and perspective, but my wisdom and perspective continues to change...I just feel like you wind up growing together and learning together and figuring it all out. And that makes everyone stronger. Part of being a parent is being willing to acknowledge that you're imperfect, and that you're trying to figure it all out together."

Thank you for that, NPH. And thank you for acknowledging the needs of teachers and classrooms, giving us an easy way to help, and generally being an awesome role model for all of us.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less