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With their talent, they ought to take the show on the road. But they can't. They're behind bars.

Would you be where you are in life without the books, art, music, and other culture that has changed you deeply?

These women in Pennsylvania are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole. In case we forgot that prisoners are human beings with a story, they sing a song in this TEDx video packed with so much emotional power that you can't help but see their souls shine through.

Video from TEDx Talks.


The arts can have a profound impact on a person.

Prison life can erode a soul (understatement of the year, surely) and programs like the following ones can do a little bit to keep a person growing. Here are a couple of those programs:

Shakespeare Behind Bars brings a new kind of introspection to inmates' lives through dramatic acting.

From their vision statement:

"Shakespeare Behind Bars was founded on the belief that all human beings are born inherently good. Although some convicted criminals have committed heinous crimes against other human beings, the inherent goodness still lives deep within them and can be called forth by immersing participants in the safety of a circle-of-trust and the creative process.

Within the circle-of-trust, Shakespeare Behind Bars seeks to transform inmate offenders from who they were when they committed their crimes, to who they are in the present moment, to who they wish to become.

Shakespeare Behind Bars offers participants the ability to hope and the courage to act despite their fear and the odds against them."



GIF via Shakespeare Behind Bars.

Inmates With Talent is a project and an upcoming documentary about helping inmates tap into their gifts for entertaining.

The project started when comedian and producer Johnny Collins heard about Tim Allen's story (he was locked up for five years for drug trafficking) and how he credited standup comedy with saving his life. Collins got the idea to go to various prisons and try to find the next Tim Allen.

It helps one to see themselves making a new life when they can find other strengths, possibilities, and joy in positive efforts.

And it's narrated by one of the best "Law & Order: SVU" cast members, Ice-T.


GIF via Inmates With Talent.

Now, one note:

None of these inmates are claiming to be perfect angels.

Some people may proclaim: "Inmates are serving time for a reason. Who cares what helps them grow?" Sure — if incarceration were only about punishment. But it's also about rehabilitation and sending out citizens who are better able to survive in society without returning to crime.

Inmates are varied, often brilliant people who could have a chance at doing things differently.

The road to redemption is tricky, and not everyone can make it. But shouldn't they have a chance?

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

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Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

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Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

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This article originally appeared on 07.22.21


As if a Canada goose named Arnold isn't endearing enough, his partner who came looking for him when he was injured is warming hearts and having us root for this sweet feathered couple.

Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts shared the story on its Facebook page, in what they called "a first" for their animal hospital.


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Think all cats are the same? These pictures prove they each have their own personality

Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.

All images used with Nils Jacobi's permission. @furryfritz/Instagram

Catographer purrfectly captures cats' purrsonalities.

People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.

This photographer has the pictures to prove it.

Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
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