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Everyone Matters on the Family Farm, Even a Five-Legged Calf No One Else Would Buy at Auction

Kelly Taylor

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When You’re a Farm Animal Who’s Different, Your Life Can Be At Risk

It was a balancing act of common sense and compassion, and compassion won. At the cattle auction, the bidding was going down, rather than up, on the little calf who had an extra leg. It was a disturbing sight, after all, attached to her ear. Normally calf prices at this auction started with a $100 bid, but even at a $50 starting bid no one wanted to take a risk. Farmers were there to add to their herds and make money, after all, and Elsie’s condition was an unknown risk. But farmer Matt Alexander had a plan.

Matt and Maghin Had a Heart for Elsie

Lousiana farmer Matt Alexander was thinking differently from the other farmers, and when he shared some photos of the little one with his fiancee, Maghin Davis, she went all-in on the deal. She said the little one was perfect for their farm. He started bidding on Elsie. Then, Maghin confessed, she had more practical thoughts, but Matt was already on a roll. He bid, and he knew that Maghin would take to the calf and fall in love with her. She did, and fully supported the decision.

Only a Week Old, She Still Needed Her Mom — So They Bought Her, Too

Little Elsie, as they called her, was not the only deal they had to make. She was too young to survive well on her own, only a week old at auction time. With her condition uncertain at that point, proper care was important. To ensure that she could continue nursing and receive maternal care, Matt also bid on her mother. He planned to keep them together while Elsie grew and weaned.

A Farmer’s Balancing Act: Business Decisions and Caring For Animals

As a farmer and a businessman, he was putting his own bottom line at risk. With the other farmers probably thinking of their bottom lines as well, he realized that Elsie’s chances were not good. If nobody bids, she’ll just stay with the barn and eventually die, he thought. Other farmers told him she wasn’t a good investment. But when he got her back to his farm, she thrived.

A Rare Condition, Elsie’s Missing Twin

Elsie’s extra leg and also a third ear were the result of being a twin. Before she was born, her body absorbed the other twin, leaving her with a few complexities. It’s a rare condition called Vanishing Twin Syndrome, where the miscarriage of one twin results in the reabsorption of the fetal tissue into the other twin, the placenta or the mother’s body. In this case, Elsie was born with her sibling’s remaining leg and ear attached to her body.

Watching Elsie Grow as Part of the Couple’s Loving Louisiana Farm

Matt and Meghin have been watching little Elsie grow, and are happy that she’s fitting in nicely with their other calves, growing and staying healthy. In a way, they got a bargain, but eventually they’ll get a veterinarian to consult on her condition. They’re sharing Elsie’s progress on Facebook, @Elsiecowsjourney. Maybe compassion is common sense, after all.

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Culture

Being a Community Means Everyone In It

Kevin Wells

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People with significant autism tend to realize a lot of support from family, school, support programs and community when they are minors. However, the world dramatically changes when adulthood is reached, and the ability to be self-functional with what many take for granted, i.e. having a job and livelihood to support living, can seem almost impossible to achieve. The fact is, many employers don’t want to deal with an autistic employee, which makes it very hard for such folks to find work that can support their independent living, even if entirely trained and proven to be capable of doing the work.

Things Change After 21

Michael Coyne was just such an individual as an autistic minor who now faced adulthood at 21 trying to find his own career path. Originally proven to be highly competitive, even ranking a spot as a Special Olympics Athlete when younger, now his autism was becoming a stumbling block in his success. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Coyne easily classified as a protected disability employee candidate, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. No one would hire him. But he didn’t give up.

Breaking the Paradigm

Instead, Coyne took advantage of business classes and training provided by the Rhode Island’s Developmental Disabilities Council to improve his employable skillset. He then finally found work through a partnership program and a coffee shop that specifically employed workers with disabilities. And that’s where Coyne became part of an experiment proving people with disabilities are just as viable in the employment world as anyone else.

Red, White & Brew and a related craft store, Budding Violet, are part of a venture to provide inclusive work opportunities for those with disabilities. In doing so, both operations show the community what is possible versus assumption. Many have been moved by example and others have been motivated. Many parents who take care of their own children with disabilities get emotional at realizing there is a venture locally that will give their children work at adulthood.

Community Means Integrated With Everyone

As for Michael Coyne, his opinion is that the next step is to combine folks. Don’t just hire workers with disabilities, hire all kinds of workers so that regular people can work, interact and learn to accept those with disabilities even more in everyday life. For a man who could justifiably be bitter about how he has been treated so far prior to Red, White & Brew, that’s a pretty admirable position to take on the high road. In the end, Coyne knows it takes people experiencing the truth to change minds. And that’s why he shows up every day for work. He wants those opportunities to not just exist but to increase for folks like him. It’s about integration and being a complete community, not just a community of people and then those with disabilities on the side.

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Culture

Take a Look at This Touching Hallmark Display Created By Mr. Rogers!

Kevin Wells

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In the era of online trolling, it can be hard to find consistently positive news stories. The world seems rife with strife and there is always some negative headline or another trending around the world. In order to buck the trend of cynicism that seems to have become so popular, we are going to highlight a sugar-sweet story about one of the most beloved figures in entertainment history, Mr. Fred Rogers.

With the recent release of A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the world seems to have gone slightly Mr. Rogers crazy. The majority of people reading this right now probably grew up watching Mr. Rogers on television. From how he took off his sweater to the way he laced his shoes before bringing us to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, we were all captivated and enthralled. As it turns out, Mr. Rogers wasn’t just a sweetheart on television, he also stood by his lifestyle when the cameras quit rolling. What do we mean by that? Well, that’s a great question!

According to a recent Washington Post story, Mr. Fred Rogers had been asked to help decorate one of Hallmark’s flagship locations in Manhattan for the Holidays. With Mr. Rogers an absolute sensation among children and families at the time, the collaboration made a ton of sense. After visiting the store, Mr. Rogers saw that the Hallmark shop had been decked out with ornate, elaborate, and luxurious decorations. This was never Mr. Roger’s style, so he decided to do something different. The Mister Roger’s Neighborhood star would decide to flip the fashion trend on its head by introducing his own unique display. What did the humble Mr. Rogers decide on for his decoration? Imagine standing before a small glass case that is completely clear and see-through. Within the tree, you can see a single growing Norfolk Island pine with roots and all bared for the world. At the bottom of the display was a small plaque that read, “I like you just the way you are.” Pretty on-brand for Mr. Rogers, right?

In recent years, Fred Rogers has reached an almost mythological level in the world of pop-culture. With a squeaky clean history and an understanding of children that has never been matched by kid’s television, Fred Rogers was a special and unique individual. Through his program, he taught children about community, being a good neighbor, treating others with kindness, and most importantly, treating yourself with kindness and compassion. Thanks to his gentle nature and depth of compassion, Fred Rogers was an instrumental figure in the lives of millions of boys and girls all around the world. Even 16 years after his passing, Mister Rogers Neighborhood continues to inform, guide, and educate children and adults alike.

To hear more about Mister Roger’s incredible story, fans of the man can see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood starring Tom Hanks.  While not an exhaustive biopic, the Tom Hanks-led vehicle was released to rave reviews and adoration from his fans and family.

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The World Needs More Social Impact Heroes

Kevin Wells

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A person who is a real success is one who makes a positive difference in someone else’s life. Many people believe that they can’t make a difference, or they just don’t know how to make a difference. But in fact anyone can make a difference, and make the world a better place. That is why it is so important to know the stories of these women who have made such a difference in their communities.

L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth is a program that recognizes women who have made a difference in their communities. Anyone can be nominated, as long as they live in the U.S., are at least 18 years of age, and consent to the nomination. The focus is on women who have volunteered in their own communities, and the volunteer work should be ongoing for at least 6 months before the nomination.

Here are just a few of the women who have been nominated for the program:

Shandra Woworuntu is a 2017 honoree who received a $25,000 grant for her chosen organization, Mentari. A survivor herself, Shandra formed the nonprofit organization to help other survivors of human trafficking at no cost, providing much-needed support to an often overlooked group.

Cassandra Lin was only 19 years old when she started Project Turn Grease Into Fuel (TGIF). TGIF is still run by students and allows businesses and individuals to recycle their cooking oil and turn it into biodiesel so that it can be used to heat the homes of people in need. Not only does the project recycle materials that would not otherwise be used, it brings awareness to issues of global warming and sustainability.

Valerie Weisler started The Validation Project after she experienced bullying herself. The Validation Project is currently working with 6,000 students in over 100 countries to give them support after they have experienced bullying. Not only that, the project helps its members engage in social justice projects so they can learn the power they have to help.

Deborah Jiang-Stein started the unPrison Project to help women who have been incarcerated so they can be successful after release. Too often, women are set up to fail, and the relationships with their children are destroyed. 2.7 million children under the age of 18 have a parent in prison, so it is important for them to find support before they end up in a vicious cycle.

More recently, Brittany Schiavone was honored for starting Brittany’s Baskets of Hope. She has Down’s Syndrome herself, and her organization helps provide much-needed support and resources for other parents who are welcoming a Down’s child into their families.

Judy Winter started Ricstar’s Camp because she noticed how much music helped her son with cerebral palsy. She helped her son deal with many challenges, and he got to attend music therapy classes before passing away at the tender age of 12. Ricstar’s Camp provides life-changing opportunities for people with disabilities to focus instead on their abilities.

Social activism is empowering women and giving them their own place in the community. Instead of living up to societal expectations, women are now finding their own passions and dealing with issues like homelessness, social injustice, and poverty on their own time. They are an inspiration for others now and for generations to come.

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IMPROVING YOUR SELF WORTH THROUGH COMPASSION

Kelly Taylor

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We are born in a competitive world. Long before we can take our first steps, we are encouraged to challenge our limits by comparing ourselves with others in order to perform better. While this may prove to be excellent in the short term, this may weigh heavily on our ideals as there will always be people better than us and whom we may never outdo.

Being healthy should be the primary focus of every individual. Though this may be the case, we live in a society that is constantly focused on body shaming based on standards that are not achievable for all. However, it is possible to achieve a healthy body image by changing our mindset towards those we feel are better than us. Researchers at the University of Waterloo found that women who showed compassion rather than comparison were able to achieve a better body image and had less disordered eating habits! By showing empathy, we appreciate the fact that those we deem perfect have their own challenges and that we, too, need compassion for our own problems.

Women who deliberately exercise compassion towards females they compare themselves to, were more satisfied and had a lower tendency to diet others. This is according to release, which was published in the journal body image, which further found that, by showing compassion, comparison focused women had a reduced tendency to compare themselves with those around them. Comparing yourself to others is an indication of low self-esteem and should assess how they feel about themselves and how much self-confidence they have.

In a study of 120 females of diverse ethnicities, three strategies were used to determine the best self-help strategy that would boost their self-esteem. These had a competitive mindset, caregiving, and distraction mindset omen who showed compassion to the women who they perceived to be better than them, achieved a significant reduction in their unfavorable body comparisons. It was, therefore, concluded that by trying to cultivate compassion for others and wishing them to be happy and free from suffering, has a positive effect on one’s body image and eating habits.

Comparing ourselves to others has a negative impact on our wellbeing as it allows others to drive our behaviors. This is by allowing them to set standards as to what should be ideal while ignoring the fact that none of us is indeed perfect! Comparison is mainly done against the best features of our opponents as compared to our average ones. This becomes illogical as it would be comparing the left hand and the right hand, both have their unique capabilities. Our unconscious realization that we cannot be better than everyone often becomes destructive. At worst, when we compare ourselves to others, we focus our energy on bringing them down rather than raising ourselves. Our primary goal should be better people than we were yesterday.

The essential things in life are measured internally. By focusing on showing compassion, we improve the inner scorecard that allows us to be happier in our relationships and live a more fulfilled life.

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Culture

The World’s First Female African American Airline Pilots Make History

Kevin Wells

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The friendly skies just got friendlier as the world’s first black female pilot team took a plane full of passengers from San Francisco, California to Portland, Oregon on a history making a flight that had all of the passengers cheering.

On setting the plane down in Portland, the two tweeted out the following message which went viral.

“History has been made for Alaska Airlines this morning! First Officer Mallory Cave and I serve became the first 100% female African-American crew on Alaska Flt #362, San Francisco to Portland, OR.”

Everything seemed to be run of the mill and ordinary that morning when the 32 passengers boarded their seemingly routine flight. The pilots didn’t want to announce their history making trip until the wheels came down safely in Oregon. It wasn’t that they were unsure about their ability to fly the plane safely. After all, they had each logged several hundred hours in simulators and in practical training.

But when the plane came to a stop, the two emerged from the pilot’s cabin to announce to the passengers that they had just participated in the world’s first flight conducted by an all-woman, African American crew. Then, Captain Tara Dillon made the following announcement.

“Finally, we’re pleased to announce that you’re sharing a pretty interesting piece of Alaska Airlines history this morning. You have been piloted by two female African-American pilots for the first time in history.”

At this, the passengers unanimously exploded into uproarious applause and cheers. The First Officer made a video of the event which went super-viral on Twitter and YouTube, taking in several thousand views in the first hour.

The event proved that not only are black women able to complete a task that has long been the sole purview of white men, and proved that they too had the ability to perform a highly technical, and inherently risky endeavor- taking several dozen human beings through the air on a high-powered multi-million dollar aircraft.

Today, white male airline pilots still make up very nearly 98% of this professional demographic.

It’s worth pointing out that no one doubted the ability of the two to complete their first unsupervised flight. After all, their teachers and trainers had invested hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars training them. The scholarship they were able to obtain to earn their pilots’ licenses stand as evidence that an entire institution had every confidence in their ability to fulfill the role of major commercial airline pilot.

But, it’s still nice to see that at the end of the day, no one stood in the way of these two in their successful efforts to realize their dream of becoming full-fledged airline pilots.

Finally, earning the privilege of flying a large passenger plane is nothing to be sneezed at. It is among the most prestigious of all the accomplishments of licensed pilots. This is because managing the controls of such a large and powerful aircraft is widely recognized as a significant technical achievement.

So, this truly is a moment worth celebrating both for its historical significance, and in order to congratulate these two young pilots on their first major commercial flight. May their careers be long and distinguished.

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