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.

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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.

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.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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