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

We just love NPH.

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.

RELATED: What Happens When A Pretend Homophobe Meets Neil Patrick Harris?

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.

RELATED: A celebrated teacher's 5-point explanation of why she's quitting has gone viral.

"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.

Education & Information

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

Culture
via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
True
Walgreens
via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture