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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 01:14:23 PM mt

He lost his daughter five months ago. On Father's Day he heard her heart beat.




This year was an unforgettable, heart-wrenching Father's Day for Bill Conner.

About five months ago, the Wisconsin dad lost his daughter, Abbey, while they were on vacation together in Florida, CBS News reported. The 20-year-old's body was found at the bottom of a resort pool, and tragically, doctors were unable to resuscitate her.

In her death, however, Abbey became a life-saver.

As an organ donor, several of Abbey's organs were given to people desperately in need, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. One of those people, 21-year-old Loumonth Jack Jr., of Louisiana, received Abbey's heart. In January, Jack had been given just days to live after his own heart began failing. Abbey's heart saved his life.

In May, Conner began a 2,600-mile cross-country bike trek to hear his late daughter's heart beating in the man whose life she saved.

It was a moment caught on video on Fathers' Day that neither of them will ever forget.

Organ donation may be a tough subject to think about but it's a truly selfless act that has the potential to save lives.

At any given moment, there are roughly 120,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. And each day, about 22 people on that list die because they didn't receive a transplant in time. That's a figure we don't have to accept.

"Knowing he's alive because of Abbey, Abbey is alive inside of him it's her heart having him stand up straight," Conner told CBS News. "I was happy for him and his family, and at the same time, I got to reunite with my daughter."

Learn more about how you can become an organ donor.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 01:14:23 PM mt

Queen Elizabeth condemned anti-gay discrimination but she left one big thing out.




The last time Queen Elizabeth II mentioned LGBTQ rights in a Queen's Speech was 2003.

On June 21, 2017, the monarch gave the community a long overdue shoutout.

Photo by Arthur Edwards/Getty Images.

"My ministers will seek to enhance rights and protections in the modern workplace," the queen read from a document prepared by ministers of Prime Minister Theresa May's conservative government. "My government will make further progress to tackle the gender pay gap and discrimination against people on the basis of their race, faith, gender, disability or sexual orientation."

The commitment to end sexual orientation-based workplace harassment was the first explicit call for LGBTQ equality in the address since the queen announced the government's support for civil union protections over a decade ago.

The speech is delivered annually at the opening of Parliament.

Many cheered the queen for standing up for Britain's LGBTQ citizens.

Critics, however, noticed that the speech failed acknowledge the "T" in LGBTQ.

"We are very concerned no mention was made of tackling discrimination based on gender identity," a spokesperson for British LGBTQ rights organization Stonewall said in a statement to PinkNews.

Prime Minister Theresa May's government has pledged to amend laws that require citizens to undergo intrusive "medical checks," before a legal gender change, but mention of legislation was nowhere in the speech prepared for the queen.

The 2010 Equality Act ban contains only limited protection for transgender workers, including banning employers from discriminating against employees who take leave for the purpose of gender reassignment.

While calling out anti-gay workplace discrimination is a good step, the U.K.'s trans citizens shouldn't have to wait forever to hear vital, validating words of recognition from their queen.

Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

According to comedian Stephen Fry, upon assenting to the country's 2013 marriage equality legislation, the 91-year-old monarch said:

"Whod have thought 62 years ago when I came to the throne, Id be signing something like this? Isnt it wonderful?'"

If British voters can hold the government to its commitments, perhaps she'll be celebrating extending fuller equality to people of all genders sooner rather than later.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 01:14:23 PM mt

When comedians and puppets perform stories written by kids the smiles are contagious.




In the world of Story Pirates, it's not at all unusual to watch a play featuring a talking carrot on Saturn or flying cats.

That's because the playwrights may seem a bit unconventional: They're kids.

Story Pirates is an organization that pairs actors and comedians with stories written by young students. The results are fantastical productions that celebrate the power of imagination while also empowering kids for a lifetime.

Check out their story:

This group takes stories written by little kids and turns them into into theater. And the results will make you smile.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Story Pirates is based on the belief that literacy and education aren't rooted just in ability, but also in self-expression and imagination.

And the results are real.

Founded in a single Harlem elementary school in 2004, Story Pirates has since traveled to schools across the United States to bring kids' stories to life on stage.

All images via Story Pirates/Cricket.

"Over and over again, we'll be in a classroom and teachers will come up to us and be like, 'Wow, this kid is often one of our most reluctant writers,'" executive producer Sam Kasru says. "But in the world of Story Pirates, where we sort of encourage them to use their imagination and be creative, it frees up some of those reluctant writers to become really enthusiastic writers."

This kids-first ethos is even rooted in the name Story Pirates itself.

"With Story Pirates, we wanted a name that sounded awesome to kids," CEO Benjamin Salka says. "We wanted it to be kids-centric. We wanted kids to hear the name Story Pirates and feel like rock stars were coming into their classrooms, not teachers."

And Story Pirates' productions feel a lot different from your typical school talent show.

That's because the organization connects schools with big-city producers, creatives, and improvisors who know how to put on a professional-level performance.

And when the kids see their own words brought to life with big, thoughtful productions? That's when the magic happens.

"I'm so thrilled that I'm with them," says Amber Castillo, a young writer who participated in the program. "I felt, like, really positive for myself and my story."

Beyond encouraging students to write, it helps them understand that the things they produce are worthy, exciting, and unique.

"In addition to just being a celebration, it's really a validation of them," Kasru says. "The idea that these talented professional actors are, like, taking their work and treating it like it's an amazing theatrical text that we can make great art out of."

Anyone can relate to wishing to be understood and accepted when they're a kid. Story Pirates taps into that idea, specializing in giving kids the validation and confidence they deserve while also embracing a love of writing and learning.

"Story Pirates treats kids as creative peers," artistic director Lee Overtree says. "And I think everyone secretly remembers a little bit of what its like to be a kid and be in the world as a kid."

If you wish you had a program like this when you were a kid, check out the Story Pirates' donation page to get them into more schools or get your kid involved by submitting their own story.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 08:20:24 AM mt

This man's moving story shows why caring for others must start with self-care.




"Caregiving is nothing but confusion when you first start out."

70-year-old Frank Blood, who has been caregiving for his wife, Mary Ann, for almost two decades, adds, "It took me years and years to learn this stuff."

"The biggest challenge was knowing what was important and what wasn't."

Image via Frank Blood, used with permission.

Mary Ann has lived through cancer twice. Most recently, she was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung condition that makes it difficult for her to breathe, as well as vascular dementia, which involves memory loss due to multiple strokes.

The couple has been married for 41 years, and Frank says caregiving for Mary Ann has brought them closer than ever before. He points to one night in particular 10 years ago.

"She had chest pains," he recalls. "We were driving to the hospital and I looked over at her and said, 'You know something? This time I'm scared.' And she said, 'Me too.'"

"I didn't think of it again for about a week probably, but I thought, 'Wow. I've never opened up like that. I've never said anything like that.' And since then, we start telling each other what's in the deepest part of our hearts. ... There was another level to go to."

Image via iStock.

Mary Ann isn't able to move on her own, so she relies on Frank to get her ready for the day, take her from room to room, feed her, and make sure she's comfortable.

Frank also takes all of Mary Ann's vital signs regularly and even keeps a journal with her daily medical history.

In his nearly 20 years of caregiving, Frank has discovered one thing that may seem counterintuitive: Taking care of himself actually helps him give Mary Ann the best possible care.

"When we take care of ourselves," Frank explains, "Everything else about caregiving becomes much more joyful."

As a caregiver, preventively caring for your own health can help head off problems down the road.

Image via iStock.

Now, Frank is doing all he can to spread this positive message and his learnings to other caregivers who may be feeling just as lost as he once was.

To do this, he left his job as a sales rep for a construction company and started Caregiver Harbor. "I offer free phone support," explains Frank. "A caregiver can call me up and talk about anything they want." On top of that, he also writes helpful online articles and conducts talks at local libraries and senior centers.

Here are seven of the most valuable things Frank's learned throughout the years about caring for yourself as a full-time caregiver:

1. Get your energy up and running.

Image via iStock.

"I get up really early," Frank says with chuckle. "Between 4:30 and 5:00."

From there, he takes his morning coffee, goes on a leisurely walk, and then hits the treadmill for some aerobic exercise.

2. Exercise the mind too.

"I have to have that quiet time in the morning before I start out," adds Frank.

After he's gotten through his workout, he'll throw in a 15-minute meditation session to get his mind calm and focused on the present.

3. Pay close attention to your nutrition. (You might forget.)

Image via iStock.

This is no doubt one of the hardest parts for Frank. "Since I have to cook and feed my wife," he explains, "either I'm gobbling down food before it gets cold or I don't eat. The challenge is the amount of time to prepare and eat and clean up."

In the past, he'd settle on quick bites, such as cookies and candy, to get by. But since he's prioritized nutrition, he now consumes fresh fruit juices and lots of veggies.

4. Never try to do it alone.

"I don't hesitate to ask for help," says Frank. "If somebody volunteers to help me, I never turn it down."

In particular, don't be afraid to ask for help from your doctor. They're there to help you with your health better than anyone. And a good place to start is by getting to know your four health numbers blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index (BMI).

5. Manage your time to a T.

Image via iStock.

"You just cannot let things happen without some kind of a plan," adds Frank.

Each hour of every day is dedicated to a specific activity from his morning routine, to taking Mary Ann's vitals, to catching up on some TV with her at the end of the day.

6. Don't feel guilty for taking a little me-time.

In the beginning, "I felt very guilty about not spending all my time with my wife," Frank explains. This is common for caregivers.

Frank explains that it can take a while for a person to develop the confidence to break away once in a while. But as he got more familiar with the nuances of caregiving, he knew that being there for Mary Ann was about way more than physical presence.

7. It's OK to have your own life too.

Image via iStock.

Frank keeps his social life healthy by staying active with his church group; he's also part of the local chamber of commerce and will sometimes volunteer at community events to lend a helping hand.

"I'll sometimes tell my wife, 'No, this is my time. I need it,'" explains Frank. "And I have to walk away. That wasn't possible for a few years."

At the end of the day, giving others the best care possible requires a commitment to caring for yourself.

Not sure where to start? Take a step forward and visit a health care professional for your annual checkup and learn about your health numbers. Once you have a clear picture on how to better care for yourself, you'll be able to care for others.

And if you ever feel a little lost along the way, there are people out there like Frank who are always ready to listen and help in any way they can.

Image via Frank Blood, used with permission.

"I just want to let caregivers know that if I can do it, you can," adds Frank. "And you will be very happy if you just don't try so hard. Let things happen and take good care of yourself."

Learn more about how to take control of your health at Cigna.com/TakeControl.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 08:20:24 AM mt

How one teacher's aquarium dream made science at this Texas school 10 times cooler.



He found a beautiful way to make his school a better place to learn.


What do you do if you're an awesome science teacher and you want your kids to learn about water animals but don't have water nearby?

That's what James Jubran was up against as an aquatic science teacher at Alief Elsik High School in Houston, Texas.

"We dont have the ability to go to lakes, rivers, oceans or streams," Jubran explains. The nearest large body of water is Trinity Bay, which is an hour away. Big field trips like that cost money, and the school doesn't have the funding to make them feasible.

Elsik is far from being the only school with this problem. Schools nationwide are dealing with massive budget cuts to their STEM programs (science, technology, education, and mathematics). That's a big obstacle for students looking to have careers in any of these fields.

Thankfully aquatic science enthusiasts at Elsik have Jubran grant writer extraordinaire.

Jubran with some of his students. All photos via Elsik High School, used with permission.

Jubran grew up in Florida surrounded by the ocean, and he was always fascinated by underwater ecosystems. He often went out on boats with his family, and he never missed an opportunity to go snorkeling or scuba diving.

He became a science teacher in Florida 10 years ago, but due to statewide school budget cuts, he lost his job and decided to move inland to Houston, Texas, in 2006. He's been at Elsik for five years but has always felt somewhat limited by the lack of access to water.

So in 2016, he wrote a grant proposal for State Farm's Neighborhood Assist Program asking for help in building a gigantic aquarium for Elsik students as well as students at other nearby schools.

State Farm accepted the first 2,000 applicants for the grant, and narrowed that number down to 200. Those proposals were then made public so that people could vote on their favorites. Elsik students made it their mission to vote as much as possible.

The top 40 proposals received $25,000. The grant Jubran wrote came in at #8.

State Farm grant dispatchers and members of the school board.

Jubran immediately began pulling resources to build his dream aquarium, and within a couple months, it was finished.

The aquariumis 12 feet long, 9 feet tall, and 3 feet wide and can hold 1,100 gallons of water.

He decided to create a tropical ecosystem in the tank, home to all kinds of tropical fish. The aquatic residents were added slowly to the tank in order to build up good bacteria, which allows the tank to better handle fish waste. The slow process also helps make sure the fish all get along.

Today, there are 14 different species of fish living in the tank. They include threadfin geophagus, known for their digging skills, Silver arowana, which can grow to two feet long, carnivorous tiger oscars, shovelnose catfish, which look like their name sounds, and Redhooks the vegetarian version of piranhas.

A few redhooks in Elsik's new aquarium.

The tank is located in the school cafeteria so that all of the students can enjoy it and, well, because it was too big to put upstairs near Jubran's classroom.

The aquarium's been in place for two months now, and everyone seems to love it and all its colorful inhabitants.

Threadfin geophaguses hanging out together.

Students are often seen pressed up against the glass watching the fish swim around and interact with one another.

Jubran doesn't love the thousands of fingerprints on the glass, but he appreciates the enthusiasm. He even has kids he's never met before coming up to him saying things like, oh, are you the guy who built the aquarium? Its so cool."

I don't know about that guy in the middle. He looks pretty fishy to me. HEYO!

And Jubran's students, especially the ones interested in aquatic science careers, can't get enough. Even though it's the end of the school year, he's begun assigning special teaching projects on species in the aquarium.

"Next year, students will learn everything they need to know about the fish, then develop and present a curriculum focused on the aquarium," Jubran says. That way, when students from other schools come by to check out the aquarium, Elsik students can actually teach them about what's going on inside it.

And Jubran is not finished with his plans to bring water to Elsik he's got even loftier plans up his sleeve.

Jubran teaching his students about the aquarium.

"I'm going for a $100,000 grant next year to build an even larger salt water aquarium for the other side of the school," Jubran says.

It might be four times as much as the previous grant, but considering his success at getting that, there's a very good chance he'll be filling a larger aquarium with more exotic fish soon enough.

Jubran's initiative just goes to show there's enormous power behind one person's desire to make a difference.

You don't have to have a ton of money or a fancy upbringing to make huge waves in your community. All you need to have is an idea and the tenacity to see it through.

One teacher can make a school a better, cooler place to learn and grow. As long as Jubran's at Elsik, he'll be working on exciting ways to do just that.

If you want to find out more about Neighborhood Assist, and how it's helping improve communities across the country, check out the program here.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 08:20:24 AM mt

How one high school in Utah is teaching kids an invaluable lesson about community service.




For one week each year, the students and staff of Juan Diego Catholic High School don't show up to the campus at all.

It's not a vacation, and it's not a school trip.

They're spending the week volunteering with an organization of their choice as part of a service program made to teach kids about community, hard work, and the value of helping those in need.

Juan Diego Catholic High School. Photo via Sydney Barnes/YouTube.

Juan Diego is showing firsthand the value of service for students and the community.

Over 200 seniors at the school choose to spend a week volunteering at one of the 27 service agencies involved in the program all of which are organizations that help serve marginalized communities.

"We have everything from students going to the Utah AIDS Foundation and dealing with HIV prevention and awareness to Saint Vincent de Paul soup kitchen," Director of Campus Life Dave Brunetti says over the phone.

Photo courtesy of Mickelle Marston/Juan Diego Catholic High School. Used with permission.

While volunteering, students get experience with real service work, and they help uplift the community and themselves in the process.

"Our school's motto is Spiritus Donorum, which translates to 'the spirit of giving,'" says Brunetti, adding that schools don't often give their students a vantage point to think about marginalized communities, let alone a specific opportunity to help them.

Photo courtesy of Mickelle Marston/Juan Diego Catholic High School. Used with permission.

"When you put a student in an intensive week such as this, our experience has been that it is completely transformative," he continues.

While community service is a standard high school extracurricular, Juan Diego approaches it a little differently.

"It goes beyond volunteering," says Brunetti. Since the program is about helping marginalized communities like the homeless, it provides one-of-a-kind learning opportunities. "When you are the person assisting [a homeless woman] coming in and getting food for her and her children, it changes the way you look at things."

Photo courtesy of Mickelle Marston/Juan Diego Catholic High School. Used with permission.

While anyone in high school can volunteer to fill out an obligatory requirement or college prerequisite, building the program this way ensures that students come face to face with people less fortunate than them.

"It's eye-opening and it will benefit everyone," Apiak Gai, a student at the school, told news station Good 4 Utah. "I'm learning that not everyone is the same and not everyone has the same opportunities. We shouldn't shut them out; we should give them a helping hand."

The school also believes that service is essential to a well-rounded education.

"If we just graduate students that are smart but we dont give them a sense of compassion and empathy about how to show up in the real world, then we have totally ripped them off," says Brunetti.

Photo courtesy of Mickelle Marston/Juan Diego Catholic High School. Used with permission.

While there aren't many schools that build volunteering and community service directly into their curriculum, perhaps there should be.

As the Corporation for National & Community Service notes, volunteering can be incredibly beneficial to your community and even your health. One study found that volunteering led to improvements in stamina, memory, and levels of depression.And if you volunteer once, you're more likely to do it again, according to another study (PDF).

Most of all, though, Juan Diego's service program is about creating a better world for all of us.

Photo courtesy of Mickelle Marston/Juan Diego Catholic High School. Used with permission.

Juan Diego Catholic High School has committed to service not just because it helps teach their students unique lessons, but because it uplifts their entire community, helps provide a more well-rounded education, and goes a long way toward making the world a better, more selfless place.

"When you give them the opportunity to step up, there are some wonderful, wonderful students that are just waiting to become responsible, contributing adults," says Brunetti.

"And that's the reason I do what I do."


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 03:11:28 AM mt

Why the military got scientists to show married couples puppy pictures.




Marriage losing that spark? You know what could help? A corgi puppy running through a field of grass.

Image via iStock.

Or, more specifically, the picture of a corgi puppy.

Florida State University professor James McNulty and a colleague, University of Tennessee professor Michael Olson, got a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to find a way to help military couples cope with the stress of separation.

McNulty, knowing the human being's love of things like adorable animals, chose to show people cute bunnies and puppies to test the idea of automatic association.

As you see, hear, and feel things, your brain sifts and categorizes it, building unconscious associations. A picture of your spouse, for instance, might be tied to feelings of home, safety, and love. The next time you see them, your brain is immediately ready with a slew of positive emotions.

Unfortunately for newlyweds or military spouses separated by distance, their brains never shut off this sorting machine. Over time, the stress, boredom, and dark clouds of daily life can creep in and dull that emotional spark.

What the researchers suspected is that, just as anynegative association could dull the spark, any positive association could rekindle it.

Positive associations like, say, bunnies.

OK, this was just an excuse for another bunny picture. Image from skeeze/Pixabay.

They recruited 144 different couples. Every three days, the couples would be emailed short slideshows featuring pictures of their spouse mixed in with either positive words and pictures (puppies, beautiful sunsets, etc.) or neutral images (like drinking straws or buttons).

The paper did not say anything on the possibility of avid button-ophiles. Photo from Richard Wheeler/Wikimedia Commons.

At the end of the trial, the scientists compared both self-reported satisfaction and measurements of unconscious reactions from the two groups. The couple who saw the positive images (bunnies and puppies) not only had more positive unconscious reactions, they actually reported greater real-world satisfaction as well.

"I was actually a little surprised that it worked," said McNulty in a press release.

More than just an interesting psychological trick, this could actually help people.

McNulty and Olsen aren't saying this will empower each and every relationship. How we actually talk with and treat each other is still far more important. But they do think this kind of intervention could be helpful to people in marriage counseling or in long-distance relationships. Like, say, those deployed overseas.

And, for those not traveling abroad, maybe it's just a good reminder that our brains can both help and hurt our relationships but that either way, we have a bit of power over it.

McNulty and Olsen's work appeared in the journal Psychological Science on May 31, 2017.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 03:11:28 AM mt

A powerful story about being asked where you're really from is getting great responses.



It's a harmless question. Or is it?


CNN's Tanzina Vega is tired of being asked where she's really from, and for good reason.

"Where are you from?" might seem like it's just innocent small talk, and as Vega says in her latest story at CNN, it often is. But there's another layer to it also worth examining, especially when answers like "New York" or "San Francisco" aren't satisfactory for the questioner.

Vega set out to "question the question," exploring the emotional toll it can have on the people being asked, who usually aren't white or white-passing. One person Vega quotes touches on the idea that to the people being asked, especially when asked again and again, it becomes a question of one's legitimacy as a "true American."

On social media, Vega's readers shared their own thoughts and experiences being asked where they're really from.

A common theme quickly emerged.

It's not so much any single instance of being asked the question that causes so much frustration, but the cumulative effect of years of having to defend one's own authenticity what some might call a microaggression.

For some, "where are you really from?" feels like a way to put them in a racial or cultural box.

For others, there's a telling persistence to people asking the question, who refuse to take the place they were born as an answer.

Cartoonist Connie Sun shared one of her 2014 works, highlighting a very specific kind of annoyance that question can prompt.

And author Anand Giridharadas shared an excerpt from his 2012 book, "India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking."

Check out Vega's story over at CNN for a more complete explanation of her take on this question. You'll be glad you did.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 03:11:28 AM mt

Heart beating like a washing machine: Prince Harry describes his intense panic attacks.




Photo by Chris Jackson/AFP/Getty Images.

After the tragic death of his mother, Prince Harry struggled to seek out the emotional support he needed, which culminated in debilitating panic attacks, he explained in an eye-opening new interview with Forces TV.

Through the royal family's Heads Together campaign, shining a light on the importance of mental health, the prince has recently been more open in sharing his own struggles dealing with the loss of his mother when he was just 12 years old.

This interview, however, marks the first time Harry has gone into detail about his experience as a public figure secretly struggling with panic attacks.

"In my case, every single time I was in any room with loads of people, which is quite often, I was just pouring with sweat, my heart beating boom, boom, boom, boom literally, just like a washing machine," he told Forces TV.

"I was like, Oh my God, get me out of here now. Oh, hang on, I cant get out of here. I have got to just hide it.

Photo by Jonathan Brady/WPA Pool-Getty Images.

Harry whose candid chat with his brother about Princess Diana's death went viral in April said serving in the armed forces played a pivotal role in helping him confront his mental health struggles.

Afghanistan was the moment where I was like, right, deal with it,'" he said, noting he spent nearly two decades of struggling in silence before he opened up. So many people who suffer from depression, anxiety, alcoholism, it can be from when you were younger, and Afghanistan is the trigger to bring it all to light and to deal with that stuff.

It was his experience serving in Afghanistan that inspired Prince Harry to create the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for ill and wounded armed service members.

Harry's interview with Forces TV was part of his promotional tour for this year's upcoming games, which will be held in Toronto.

"I have seen that the games have given competitors new hope as they recovered from serious injuries and illnesses," he wrote in the Toronto Star last week. "And just as importantly, its given their loved ones new hope as they support them along this journey."

Photo by Steve Parsons/Getty Images.

Confronting mental illness and helping wounded warriors might be heavy-hearted endeavors. But the prince isn't one to shy away from adding a little bit of levity to the conversation in hopes it brings more people together.

So many people are, you know, like slightly mental," he quipped to Forces TV. "Awesome! We are, we are all mental, and we have all got to deal with our stuff."

Need help managing your mental health? Learn how you can get help.


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Thursday June 22, 2017 @ 03:11:28 AM mt

An unforgettable spoken word piece explores the struggles facing refugees.




In her spoken word piece, "How Many More?" Lula Saleh shines a light on the treacherous journeys refugees endure and their uncertain futures if they survive the trip.

Throughout her stirring piece, equal parts poem and song, Saleh questions not just governments turning away refugees at their borders, but everyone who turns a blind eye to human suffering.

All GIFs from Infiniti Pictures/Vimeo.

Saleh is the daughter of immigrants and an immigrant herself, so this message is deeply personal.

Saleh is an Ethiopian-Eritrean American and spent her childhood on four different continents, so her global perspective and life as a third-culture kid informs much of her work.

Whether or not you're an immigrant, her words are poignant, thought-provoking, and more relevant than ever.

The powerful images accompanying Saleh's words also highlight an often overlooked refugee population displaced people from sub-Saharan Africa.

With continuing crises in South Sudan, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic, and recent conflicts in Burundi and Yemen, sub-Saharan Africa now hosts more than 18 million refugees. That's more than 26% of the world's refugee population.

Additionally, millions of people throughout the continent are also displaced within their own countries due to natural disasters, ongoing violence, and conflicts. In 2015, an estimated 12 million people in 21 African countries experienced ongoing displacement. In Nigeria alone, the figure reached 1.8 million people displaced at the end of 2016.

Refugee children from South Sudan in Bidibidi resettlement camp in the Northern District of Yumbe, Uganda. Photo by Isaa Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images.

While much of the world's attention has gone to the refugee population fleeing war-torn Syria and Libya, journeying to western Europe, it's important to remember and support organizations providing emergency shelters, supplies, education, and medical care to refugees and displaced people across Africa as well.

This is a global problem that will require thoughtful, compassionate solutions. There's enough passion, energy, and heart to go around.

A woman carries a flour sack during food distribution by the Catholic Church to refugees and displaced people in Juba, South Sudan. Photo by Samir Bol/AFP/Getty Images.


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