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Sweden’s parental leave laws have revolutionized the lives of moms

Amanda J

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Paid family leave positively affects a mother’s health as well as her newborn baby’s development. Imagine that! A new study about parental leave further solidifies what everyone has claimed as true for the past few years. 

In Sweden, lawmakers give new moms and dads 16 months of combined paid time off after welcoming a newborn. The country recently decided to slightly alter its rules so that both parents can take up to 30 days off at the same time. Sweden’s laws previously allowed parents to divide the 16 months as they saw fit but prohibited both the mom and dad from being at home with the baby on paid leave at the same time. The result was often a situation in which the mother spent 14 months at home alone with the baby while the father used the remaining two months of paid time to bond with his newborn. 

Sweden’s new rule change was an effort to allow fathers to get more bonding time with their newborn babies. The results had a positive impact on the health of mothers as well. 

Researchers found that new moms who spent the first few weeks of postpartum with both their babies and partners were less likely to need anxiety medication and avoided significant stages of depression that typically come after childbirth. Specifically, anti-anxiety prescriptions decreased by 26 percent and the need for new moms to visit a specialist after childbirth decreased by 14 percent under the new laws. In addition, antibiotic prescriptions decreased by 11 percent after Sweden allowed both parents to take family leave at the same time. Now, how’s that for waging war against the opioid crisis?

Some wonder why Sweden’s rule change impacts moms in such a positive manner. The secret, according to researchers, is in support. New moms feel like the world is on their shoulders after giving birth to a child. Not only are they charged with caring for a precious baby, but new moms also go through changes in their bodies that require adjusting and coping. Having another adult present during the learning curve relieves tension and allows the new mom to ease into the process of caring for herself while also tending to the needs of her child. Who better than the newborn’s father to provide such support? 

Maya Rossin-Slater, one of the researchers to hail Sweden’s story of family leave a success, gives further insight. “A lot of focus has been on what we can do in the hospital immediately following childbirth, but less on mothers’ home environment, which is where the vast majority of women spend most of their postpartum time,” she explains. “What we’re saying is one important component of that home environment is the presence of the father or another adult caretaker.” 

Of course, the United States is one of few developed countries to still deny the reality of paid family leave being essential to a child’s positive upbringing. Perhaps, this new study will further support what everyone has been saying. 

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Amazing

Michael Jordan Opens a Clinic in Charlotte for the Uninsured and Underinsured

Danielle S

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Without a doubt, Michael Jordan’s most famous moments are on the basketball court. He won a national title with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels basketball team and then went on to write his name in the history books with the Chicago Bulls. In the minds of most, he is the best to ever have played the game of basketball. Even though his career on the court is behind him, he still tries to use his fame and fortune to make a positive difference in the local community. Now, he is a pillar of the community in Charlotte, NC, where he makes his home and owns the Charlotte Hornets basketball team. He is always trying to give back to the community that has given him so much. Recently, he did this by trying to help people who are struggling to find healthcare, which many consider should be a human right.

There are too many people who don’t know how they are going to pay for healthcare. Maybe someone has been diagnosed with cancer. Others might need surgery. Some might have a chronic disease that requires regular doctors’ visits. Michael Jordan decided to help out the people who need it most. He recently opened up a clinic in the local area of Charlotte, NC that has been designed to cater specifically to those who either do not have health insurance or do not have enough insurance. The clinic is called the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic. Novant Health is one of the two major medical networks in Charlotte and is the sponsor of the Charlotte Hornets basketball team. Michael Jordan spent more than $7 million of his own money to make this clinic come to life. There are countless people in the local area who, without a doubt, breathed a sigh of relief to finally have some place to go when they need healthcare. 

Better yet, this is also the first of two clinics for low income families that Michael Jordan is going to be funding out of his own pocket. He recently spoke at the opening of this first clinic and many people were smiling as Michael Jordan broke down in tears. He was so excited to give back to the community that has supported him for years. From his ventures with the UNC Tar Heels (which are incredibly popular in Charlotte) to his homecoming as a member of the Charlotte Hornets, the community has supported Jordan from day one. Now, he is using his success to give back to the members of the community who need it most. He considers himself to be a member of the Charlotte community and now his name is emblazoned across the front of a medical clinic for the uninsured.

The clinic has 12 separate exam rooms along with an x-ray room for diagnostic procedures. There is also a separate space in the clinic for those who need physical therapy. This clinic is located close to home for many families, in an area of the community that is mostly impoverished. This is a great clinic for a community that struggles with social and economic mobility. Many children in Charlotte who are born into poverty never find their way out. The second clinic is already under construction and he is looking forward to opening this clinic soon. There are tens of thousands of people who do not have access to key primary care services in Charlotte. These two clinics are going to go a long way toward fixing this serious situation.

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Culture

20 by ’20: Tackling Climate Change One Tree at a Time

Danielle S

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The world’s problems never rest easy on anyone’s backs, but a group of YouTube celebrities and angel investors have shouldered the weight with excitement and joy. The group’s commitment to plant 20 million trees springs from the ethos that even small steps beat no action at all toward mitigating climate change.

20 Million Trees to Save the World

YouTube celeb MrBeast, AKA Jimmy Donaldson, reached a milestone of 20 million subscribers in 2019. His fans immediately spammed his channel’s comments section in celebration, challenging him to plant 20 million trees by 2020. MrBeast’s past radical acts of philanthropy have brought some recipients to tears of grateful wonder, so Jimmy has total faith that he will make this challenge a done deal with a little help from his friends.

Celebrating Radical Random Philanthropy

As MrBeast, Jimmy Donaldson gifted 3 million pennies to his 3 millionth subscriber in February 2018. Donaldson also bought out the entire inventory of a Sav-a-lot store in a single visit to donate to charity in May 2019. Topping that off, Jimmy opened a car dealership for a day in August 2019 so that he could give away all 12 of the brand-new vehicles he purchased for the occasion.

Power of One, Times 20 Million

From Treelon Musk to ”Lorax” Lutke, CEOs of major corporations have one-upped each other in a competition to be the biggest donors to MrBeast’s effort. Elon Musk generously donated $1 million — the cost of 1 million trees — on October 29, 2019. Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke followed on October 30 with a showcase showdown pledge of $1,000,001 to dislodge the Tesla founder from the top donor slot. Next, ELF Development A/S joyously donated 250 thousand trees, followed swiftly and happily by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki giving another 200 thousand trees that same day.

Each One Plant One

More than 329,742,464 people live in the United States of America alone, as of November 6, 2019. Planting just a single tree per person means nearly 18 times as many beautiful, carbon-sequestering trees going into the ground as MrBeast’s subscribers requested. How do you join the #TeamTrees effort, you ask? Join the Arbor Day Foundation.

Your $10 Arbor Day Foundation membership fee buys a tree for yourself and nine additional people to plant. The foundation sends carefully-selected trees designed to thrive in your plant hardiness zone. Charity Navigator, which evaluates over 9000 charities for their financial responsibility, gives the Arbor Day Foundation 3 stars out of 4 for fiscal responsibility and four stars for transparency and accountability.

Get Down in the Dirt

Your sports team or academic interest club, or your office or community group can host fundraisers, hold planting days, or join a #TeamTrees event. No money? No problem. Just grab a shovel, a post-hole digger, or a mini backhoe with a power auger attachment. Plant the trees yourself or with family and friends, any day between now and 2022, to take part in this heartwarming, globe-cooling attempt to combat climate change. Take a drone-assisted selfie of your group and post it online with the hashtag #TeamTrees and show your community pride.

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Cute

This Priest’s Mass Was Designed To Help These Dogs Get Adopted!

Sarrah M

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Father Joao Paulo Gomes is a priest from Brazil and he’s got a unique outlook. While there are some people out there who do not consider the plight of animals, Father Gomes is not one of them. He is happy to help animals out and we are glad to see it. In a world that is full of people who could not care less, it warms out heart to see someone who is more than willing to go above and beyond at all times.

When it comes to providing the flock with all of the love that they deserve, there are few priests who are more kind than Father Gomes. He does not care what their situation is. They do not even need to be human. Gomes treats all of God’s creatures with the same love and compassion. The stray dogs that typically run the Gravata streets now have a safe place to hear the word of the Lord.

He says that they are always going to be welcome with him. He is here to make sure that they do not have to spend any more time outside in the cold than they have to. Stray dogs do not always receive very much compassion. The homeless dogs of the world are typically left to fend for themselves. This is a sad state of affairs and Father Gomes is one of the few kind souls that is looking to change things once and for all.

The father’s mission extends well beyond giving these dogs a place to sit and worship. He also wants to make sure that they are able to triumph over their adverse circumstances. After all, every living creature deserves the chance to live comfortably. This is a principle that Father Gomes strongly believes in and he is happy to make sure that these dogs are connected with forever homes. 

When dogs are not given the chance to reside in forever homes, they are left to run the streets forever. They do not have access to food, clean water or any form of shelter. This is especially problematic in a place like Brazil. Imagine how you would feel if there was no place for you to hide once the sun starts beating down. It would be tough, right?

So why should dogs have to live this way? It breaks our heart to see so many people walking past them, instead of being willing to help. All it takes is a moment of compassion to change a stray animal’s life forever. This is one of Father Gomes’ strongest held beliefs and he adheres to it strictly. 

It is not uncommon to see Father Gomes interacting with the dogs as he preaches, either. He will allow them onto the pulpit with him and he even gives them scratches behind the ears. The parishioners at this church love to spend time with the dogs at this location, too. They are more than happy to take them home as well.

The strays need a good matchmaker and that’s where Father Gomes’ expertise comes into play. Let’s all do our part to raise awareness about these strays and share this story with our closest friends and loved ones. We want to live in a world where all of God’s creatures are able to find a decent place to stay.

It warms our heart to see a preacher taking time out of their sermon to make sure that these animals are given a second chance at life. If you know anyone in the area who would be willing to give these strays a proper home, please take the time to pass this story along to them! 

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This Goose Is Warming Everyone’s Hearts (And This Puppy)

Sarrah M

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The animal kingdom is a strange place, isn’t it? Most of us view the animal kingdom as an endless struggle. It is survival of the fittest for sure but that does not mean that these animals cannot become friends along the way. We do not wish to live in a world where animals do not show each other mercy. That is what makes this story such an amazingly heartwarming one.

When animals who are usually opposed come together, it is a great thing. This union will certainly throw you off if you were expecting something different. Animals of different species do not always come together but when they do? It is one of the most adorable things that we have ever seen. This is the story of a dog and a goose who have come together for the greater good. 

Geese are not always associated with kindness. They are a noisy animal and we are often timid in their presence. Have you ever walked through a flock of geese? It can be terrifying. They will eye you down and make sure that you do not mess with them. However, they are more maternal than you might think. When the puppy in this story was in need, it was a goose that decided that they would be willing to step up to the plate.

Animals who spend time together on a regular basis are able to develop awesome friendships. While you are not always going to see friendships between animals of different species in the wild, they tend to happen in home environments more. It is easy to see why. The animals who live in close proximity have the chance to get used to one another. 

This story does not take place on a farm or inside of a home, though. It actually took place out in the wild, believe it or not. A chilly puppy was in need of some warmth. When the puppy required a warm embrace, who was there for them? The goose, of course. There are some folks who would not expect the goose to be this kind or compassionate. They would be dead wrong, though. This is a goose who knows how to care for others.

The reputations that geese have precede them, for sure. When we picture birds that are known to attack, these are usually the first ones to come to mind. If the area that you are passing through is considered to be their territory, watch out! On the other hand, a goose can be a protector. The bond that they immediately shared with this puppy is simply too cute to put into words, isn’t it?

They instinctively knew that the animal needed help and were happy to provide it. There are also those who will defend the geese, knowing that they are kindhearted deep down. This team of geese defenders is receiving evidence that they were right all along now. This story provides a prime example of the kindness of geese and we cannot get enough.

Once you have had the chance to take a look at these pictures, you are going to be in the same boat. This is one of the most beautiful interactions that we have ever come across. Mothers simply know how to parent, no matter who is involved. If you are anything like us, you are going to want to share this one as soon as possible.

All of the true goose believers have the information that they need. Meanwhile, the rest of us are able to sit back and enjoy the show. This is one story that needs to be shared immediately. It will make your friends and loved ones’ day! 

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Living

Companies Show Girls That They Can Do What Boys Do Too

Liz L

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For the past four years, Delta Airlines has encouraged more girls to follow their skyhigh dreams.

That’s why they created the WING program that aims to get more girls involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers when they are young.

Boys often lead the way in STEM classes, and when they grow up, they become scientists, doctors, engineers, and yes – pilots. Often, girls don’t even know opportunities exist that would allow them to excel in these areas.

Delta wants to change that.

Each year, they host “International Girls in Aviation Day” and fly girls to places like NASA to expose them to women leading the field. But that’s not all. Delta also has the entire day planned and worked by women. From running the gate and ramps to flight control, and the entire flight crew – including pilots – women are in charge.

Why is this important? Because not many women are in aviation especially in the cockpit. Only 6% of pilots in the United States are women, but 75% of all flight attendants are women.

This year, Delta flew 120 girls, ages 12 to 18, from Salt Lake City to Houston to tour NASA. They met female aviation and engineering experts, including Jeanette Epps, a NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer.

Over the last four years, more than 600 girls have participated.

The first year Delta sponsored the day, girls were flown from Minneapolis to Seattle by retired Captain Joy Walker, the first female pilot for Delta.

STEM education has become a critical component for a vibrant future in the United States, and for the country to succeed, girls have to be a part of it. Women only currently make up 10 to 30 percent of all STEM jobs.
As the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math continue to grow in the 21st century, a need exists to hire talented, smart women for jobs such as pilots.

But women still have a long way to go. A 2017 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University study reported that that most people felt generally less comfortable flying with a female pilot behind the controls. Sexist? A bit.

To break that glass ceiling, more companies are realizing they have a part to play in encouraging girls to take STEM classes.

Disney Cruise Line highlights that girls can become cruise ship captains. They feature Minnie Mouse in a captain’s outfit to emphasize breaking stereotypes at their company. General Electric also hosts a girl day in San Ramon, Calif.

Many more companies – General Motors, Chevron, and Lockheed-Martin, to name a few – are investing millions into STEM education programs including those aimed at girls.

At Delta, they are showing girls that they are not just about show. In the past four years, since the WING program began, women have been 7.4% of all new pilot hires. Unlike many airlines, Delta also pays female pilots the same as their male counterparts.  

That would make Amelia Earhart, the famous aviatrix and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic blazing a path for future female pilots, very proud.

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