Bea Arthur gave big to homeless LGBTQ youth in her will. This is what came of it.

Back in 2009, Carl Siciliano wasn’t sure if his nonprofit was going to survive the throes of the Great Recession.

The Ali Forney Center, a group committed to helping homeless LGBTQ youth in New York City, was on the brink of eviction. Between paying rent, payroll, and the critical services it provided to its youth, Siciliano, director of the center, had doubts Ali Forney could run much longer.

Carl Siciliano. Photo by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

Then he got a phone call from the estate of Bea Arthur.

Arthur (“Maude,” “The Golden Girls”) had recently passed away. And Ali Forney was in her will.

It wasn’t necessarily shocking news — the late actor had been a supporter of the organization, giving donations to the group and using her one-woman show, “Bea Arthur on Broadway: Just Between Friends,” to raise funds for the nonprofit’s work.

But Ali Forney, Siciliano learned, was at the top of her will’s list of charities.

Bea Arthur (right) attends the Emmys in 1987. Photo by Alan Light/Flickr.

Arthur left $300,000 to the Ali Forney Center.

In times as tough as they’d been, the donation was the buoy keeping Ali Forney afloat. “I honestly don’t know how we would have made it through the recession without that extraordinary gift,” Siciliano later blogged about the experience. “Bea Arthur truly meant it when she said she would do anything to help our kids.”

Carl Siciliano (left) and Skye Adrian (right), who has benefited from Ali Forney’s services. Photo by Michael Calcagno/Upworthy.

Eight years after her death, the folks at Ali Forney can still remember how crucial Arthur’s generosity had been when times were tough. So they made sure her legacy of helping homeless LGBTQ youth will live on for decades to come.

In December, Ali Forney opened its doors to its latest facility for homeless LGBTQ youth: the Bea Arthur Residence.

Photo by Erin Law, courtesy of Ali Forney Center.

Nestled in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the 18-bed residence will save and change lives, acting as a safe and nurturing environment for youth in transitional housing.

Photo by Erin Law, courtesy of Ali Forney Center.

It doesn’t look like your average “shelter,” either … because it’s not.

Young people who stay at the Bea Arthur Residence enter a 24-month program aimed at giving them the tools they need to succeed on their own. They deserve every bit of help they can get, too — most homeless LGBTQ youth were either kicked out by unaccepting parents or ran away from hostile home environments.

Photo by Erin Law, courtesy of Ali Forney Center.

Homophobia and transphobia at home leaves far too many queer youth high and dry, and it shows in the numbers. While some estimates suggest about 7% of all youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, up to 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ. A disproportionate number of them are transgender and people of color, too.

With warm beds, comfy sofas, and a kitchen to prepare meals, the residence provides an ideal space for young people to transition into stable, independent housing.

Photo by Erin Law, courtesy of Ali Forney Center.

They benefit from a range of programs provided through Ali Forney too, like job readiness and education, health screenings, and free legal services.

These programs are vital, and Arthur understood it.

“These kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay or transgender,” Arthur once said.

“This organization really is saving lives.”

Photo by Erin Law, courtesy of Ali Forney Center.

“I would do anything in my power to protect children who are discarded by their parents for being LGBT.”

It’s a promise Arthur is still keeping long after she said her goodbyes.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/bea-arthur-gave-big-to-homeless-lgbtq-youth-in-her-will-this-is-what-came-of-it-2

CNN mocked for airing segment on Trump’s soda consumption while NYC faced terror attack

An attempted terrorist attack caused massive chaos during Monday morning’s rush hour in New York City, but some CNN viewers could be in the dark because the network spent an inordinate amount of time covering an anti-Trump story about the president’s soda consumption while details of the chaotic situation unfolded.

At 8:45 a.m. ET a law enforcement official told reporters, including the Associated Press, that a man had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off on a New York City subway platform. That was roughly the same time that CNN was in the middle of a segment that featured the chyron, “NYT Report: Trump drinks a dozen diet cokes per day,” while a large graphic promoting Tuesday’s Election Night in Alabama took up a significant portion of the screen.  

Viewers quickly took notice. Media crisis guru Yossi Gestetner tweeted, “More than an hour after the pipe-bomb story broke, CNN was busy with Trump’s diet Coke,” while another viewer asked, “Why are you talking about this!”

“Astonishing how quickly CNN pivoted from NYC explosion to ridiculous story Trump drinking a lot of Diet Coke,” Newsbusters Senior Editor Rich Noyes tweeted.

Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor used the situation to mock CNN’s recent ad campaign in which the network uses an apple in an attempt to combat its “fake news” reputation.

“U.S. News was talking about the bombing at 7:54. Nearly an hour later, CNN is whining about Donald Trump drinks Diet Cokes and watches too much TV instead of reporting about terrorism in New York City,” Gainor told Fox News. “CNN might tell you what it’s giving you is an apple, but if it is, it’s rotten.”

The suspected bomber was identified as 27-year-old Akayed Ullah and police have called the incident an “attempted terrorist attack.” An “effectively low tech device” was detonated in a subway passageway just before 7:30 a.m., New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news conference.

While viewers scrambled to hear the latest news, several people took to Twitter to mock CNN’s programming’s decision. Blogger Ann Althouse noted that the New York Times article that first mentioned Trump’s soda habit came out a few days ago and added, “CNN is hopeless,” after expressing frustration that CNN didn’t offer the live report on the attempted terror attack. 

One user wrote, “CNN was talking about the bombshell reporting that @realDonaldTrump drinks 12 diet cokes and watches 4+ hours of TV news per day AFTER the news broke about the bombing in NYC. I kid you not!” while another joked, “We interrupt our story on the suicide bombing in NY subway to update the current tally on President Trump’s daily consumption of diet cokes! We now return you to our regular broadcasting!” 

The explosion reportedly occurred around 7:30 a.m. near 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue, NYPD and FDNY officials confirmed to Fox News. An NYPD source on the scene told Fox News a device went off, and there was a bomb strapped to a person. Port Authority police took down the suspected bomber at gunpoint, Port Authority Police Benevolent Association tweeted. A law enforcement official also told AP that police believe the explosive device was set off on a Manhattan subway platform. 

Fox News reporters Katherine Lam and Greg Norman contributed to this report. 

Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/12/11/cnn-mocked-for-airing-segment-on-trumps-soda-consumption-while-nyc-faced-terror-attack.html

Someone’s been watching A Christmas Prince 18 days straightand Netflix is concerned

BTW

Ah, the holidays. A nice time to curl up on the couch with a mug of hot chocolate, your favorite sweater, and watch… A Christmas Prince 18 times in a row?

Netflix released the new original movie—about a reporter who goes undercover and ends up falling in love with a prince—less than a month ago, and it seems to have a specific, dedicated fanbase. Maybe it’s the Meghan Markle mania that has descended upon us, maybe it’s a bunch of dentist waiting rooms that are just playing the movie on repeat, but according to a tweet the streaming company sent out Sunday evening, 53 of its 109 million users have watched the rom-com every single day for the past 18  days:

“Who hurt you?” the streaming giant wrote.

At first, fans seemed tickled by the tweet, but for a company that’s notoriously private about its metrics and internal numbers, people couldn’t help but pick up on a certain “Big Brothery” vibe to how (and why) it shared the information.

Writer Amanda Bell tried to get a quote straight from the horse’s mouth late Sunday, asking the company why it was “calling people out like that.”

“I just want to make sure you’re okay,” Netflix replied.

When Bell countered with, “You’re not my mom,” the company fired back with, “Ok sweetie.”

The streaming giant’s Twitter bio currently reads simply “Christmas Prince.”

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/netflix-christmas-prince-tweet/

There’s A New Moon Landing Conspiracy Theory, And It’s Utterly Bonkers

There are so many versions of the Moon landing conspiracy that we think we’ve lost count. Apart from the fact that it’s bonkers to suggest that, say, the entire Soviet Union and the hundreds of thousands of amateur astronomers also tracking the mission decided not to pipe up about it not actually happening, you can also see the landing site(s) for yourself through glorious satellite imagery – unless you think that’s fake too, of course.

And yet, because it’s 2017, Fox News has decided to peddle another. In a tweet sent out yesterday, the “news” network shares an article explaining that fresh “evidence”, provided by a conspiracy theorist, could prove the lunar landing missions never took place.

“You be the judge,” the network offers in the text accompanying the tweet.

No. This is a factual event, something that really took place. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it did or not, because that’s not how facts work. People aren’t “allowed” to judge facts, because that’s also not how they work.

Imagine if someone stood on a podium and claimed that psychic vampire repellents were both real and effective, or that humans are basically batteries with a finite amount of total energy. If you let the general public openly judge whether or not these are genuine facts, then we suspect that civilization, quite frankly, is doomed.

The latest conspiracy theory regarding our lunar companion comes courtesy of one of those gloriously self-serving YouTube channels. According to them, newly found video footage of the Apollo 17 mission – NASA’s last human foray to the surface of the Moon – shows that a set stagehand is reflected in the helmet of one of the astronauts.

If you believe this to be true, then you are probably on the wrong website right now.

To be fair, the article itself does point out that humans have indeed set foot on the Moon, but it’s the tweet itself that has become the focus of most people’s ire. Still, it isn’t as if the network hasn’t dipped its toe in the crazy pool several times before.

A marvelous piece over on The Atlantic has pointed out that Fox News has hosted Moon landing deniers at least twice since 2001, which was the year that they aired an hour-long special that questioned the veracity of the dramatic space missions.

They have, of course, also hosted plenty of other conspiracy peddlers, including most prominently those that think climate change is a hoax, or that vaccines cause autism.

Here’s the long and short of it: don’t suggest that people get to decide whether or not reality is real. Bad things will happen when people start questioning the objective truth en masse.

Oh, wait.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/space/fox-news-asks-people-to-be-the-judge-of-new-moon-landing-conspiracy-theory/

Melania Trump Tells Children Her Dream Christmas Would Be on A Deserted Island

First lady Melania Trump dont want a lot for Christmasthere is just one thing she needs. She dont care about the presents underneath the White House Christmas tree. She just wants to be on her own, more than you could ever know. Make her wish come true: all she wants for Christmas… is to be on a deserted tropical island.

The first lady was visiting with patients, families, and staff members at Childrens National Hospital in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, when she let slip her ideal holiday plans. The visit, a tradition dating back more than 60 years to Bess Truman, began with a tour of the hospitals neuroscience center, after which Trump, accompanied by 25-year-old Alena Sydnor and 7-year-old Damian Contreras, both patients at Childrens National Hospital, joined Santa onstage to read The Polar Express.

If you could spend the holidays anywhere in the world, where would you go? asked 10-year-old Andy, a patient at the hospital, after Trump read Chris Van Allsburgs Caldecott-winning classic to patients assembled in the hospitals atrium.

The first lady, clad in a cream long-sleeved dress, draped in a cream coat, and flanked by Santa Claus himself, considered Andys question.

I would spend my holidays on a deserted island, a tropical island, the first lady said. With my family.

I was so grateful at the opportunity to spend time with the children and their families today, and want to thank the medical staff at Childrens National for their lifesaving work, Trump, who as first lady has committed to supporting childrens issues, fighting cyberbullying, and aggressively post-modern interior illumination, said.

The holidays are a time for hope, love, traditions and family, and it is my wish for everyone to be able to celebrate them in good health with their loved ones, she continued. Many of the patients and families I visited with today cannot spend the holidays at home this year, so I ask everyone to keep them in their thoughts and prayers as we hope for a speedy recovery and joyous New Year.

The first lady has been a fervent supporter of the holiday season during her husbands time in office. The unveiling of the White House Christmas decorations sparked a national dialogue about the importance of downlighting, and encouraged even Babadooks to join in the holiday spirit.

Pressed by a little girl named Sammy, the first lady also said that she would ask Santa for peace on the world, health, love, [and] kindness.

President Donald Trump and the first lady are planning on spending the holidays at Mar-a-Lago, their Palm Beach estate, which is, technically, on an island.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/melania-trump-tells-children-her-dream-christmas-would-be-on-a-deserted-island

The Most Promising Cancer Treatments In a Century Have ArrivedBut Not For Everyone

In 1891, a New York doctor named William B. Coley injected a mixture of beef broth and Streptococcus bacteria into the arm of a 40-year-old Italian man with an inoperable neck tumor. The patient got terribly sick—developing a fever, chills, and vomiting. But a month later, his cancer had shrunk drastically. Coley would go on to repeat the procedure in more than a thousand patients, with wildly varying degrees of success, before the US Food and Drug Administration shut him down.

Coley’s experiments were the first forays into a field of cancer research known today as immunotherapy. Since his first experiments, the oncology world has mostly moved on to radiation and chemo treatments. But for more than a century, immunotherapy—which encompasses a range of treatments designed to supercharge or reprogram a patient’s immune system to kill cancer cells—has persisted, mostly around the margins of medicine. In the last few years, though, an explosion of tantalizing clinical results have reinvigorated the field and plunged investors and pharma execs into a spending spree.

Though he didn’t have the molecular tools to understand why it worked, Coley’s forced infections put the body’s immune system into overdrive, allowing it to take out cancer cells along the way. While the FDA doesn’t have a formal definition for more modern immunotherapies, in the last few years it has approved at least eight drugs that fit the bill, unleashing a flood of money to finance new clinical trials. (Patients had better come with floods of money too—prices can now routinely top six figures.)

But while the drugs are dramatically improving the odds of survival for some patients, much of the basic science is still poorly understood. And a growing number of researchers worry that the sprint to the clinic offers cancer patients more hype than hope.

When immunotherapy works, it really works. But not for every kind of cancer, and not for every patient—not even, it turns out, for the majority of them. “The reality is immunotherapy is incredibly valuable for the people who can actually benefit from it, but there are far more people out there who don’t benefit at all,” says Vinay Prasad, an Oregon Health and Science University oncologist.

Prasad has come to be regarded as a professional cancer care critic, thanks to his bellicose Twitter style and John Arnold Foundation-backed crusade against medical practices he says are based on belief, not scientific evidence. Using national cancer statistics and FDA approval records, Prasad recently estimated the portion of all patients dying from all types of cancer in America this year who might actually benefit from immunotherapy. The results were disappointing: not even 10 percent.

Now, that’s probably a bit of an understatement. Prasad was only looking at the most widely used class of immunotherapy drugs in a field that is rapidly expanding. Called checkpoint inhibitors, they work by disrupting the immune system’s natural mechanism for reining in T cells, blood-borne sentinels that bind and kill diseased cells throughout the body. The immune cells are turned off most of the time, thanks to proteins that latch on to a handful of receptors on their surface. But scientists designed antibodies to bind to those same receptors, knocking out the regulatory protein and keeping the cells permanently switched to attack mode.

The first checkpoint inhibitors just turned T cells on. But some of the newer ones can work more selectively, using the same principle to jam a signal that tumors use to evade T cells. So far, checkpoint inhibitors have shown near-miraculous results for a few rare, previously incurable cancers like Hodgkin’s lymphoma, renal cell carcinoma, and non-small cell lung cancer. The drugs are only approved to treat those conditions, leaving about two-thirds of terminal cancer patients without an approved immunotherapy option.

But Prasad says that isn’t stopping physicians from prescribing the drugs anyway.

“Hype has encouraged rampant off-label use of checkpoint inhibitors as a last-ditch effort,” he says—even for patients with tumors that show no evidence they’ll respond to the drugs. The antibodies are available off the shelf, but at a list price near $150,000 per year, it’s an investment Prasad says doctors shouldn’t encourage lightly. Especially when there’s no reliable way of predicting who will respond and who won’t. “This thwarts one of the goals of cancer care," says Prasad. "When you run out of helpful responses, how do you help a patient navigate what it means to die well?”

Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb have dominated this first wave of immunotherapy, selling almost $9 billion worth of checkpoint inhibitors since they went on sale in 2015. Roche, AstraZeneca, Novartis, Eli Lilly, Abbvie, and Regeneron have all since jumped in the game, spending billions on acquiring biotech startups and beefing up in-house pipelines. And 800 clinical trials involving a checkpoint inhibitor are currently underway in the US, compared with about 200 in 2015. “This is not sustainable,” Genentech VP of cancer immunology Ira Mellman told the audience at last year’s annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer. With so many trials, he said, the industry was throwing every checkpoint inhibitor combination at the wall just to see what would stick.

After more than a decade stretching out the promise of checkpoint inhibitors, patients—and businesses—were ready for something new. And this year, they got it: CAR T cell therapy. The immunotherapy involves extracting a patient’s T cells and genetically rewiring them so they can more efficiently home in on tumors in the body—training a foot soldier as an assassin that can slip behind enemy lines.

In September, the FDA cleared the first CAR-T therapy—a treatment for children with advanced leukemia, developed by Novartis—which made history as the first-ever gene therapy approved for market. A month later the agency approved another live cell treatment, developed by Kite Pharma, for a form of adult lymphoma. In trials for the lymphoma drug, 50 percent of patients saw their cancer disappear completely, and stay gone.

Kite’s ascendance in particular is a stunning indicator of how much money CAR-T therapy has attracted, and how fast. The company staged a $128 million IPO in 2014—when it had only a single late-phase clinical trial to its name—and sold to Gilead Science in August for $11.9 billion. For some context, consider that when Pfizer bought cancer drugmaker Medivation for $14 billion last year—one of the biggest pharma deals of 2016—the company already had an FDA-approved blockbuster tumor-fighter on the market with $2 billion in annual sales, plus two late-stage candidates in the pipeline.

While Kite and Novartis were the only companies to actually launch products in 2017, more than 40 other pharma firms and startups are currently building pipelines. Chief rival Juno Therapeutics went public with a massive $265 million initial offering—the largest biotech IPO of 2014—before forming a $1 billion partnership with Celgene in 2015. In the last few years, at least half a dozen other companies have made similar up-front deals worth hundreds of millions.

These treatments will make up just a tiny slice of the $107 billion cancer drug market. Only about 600 people a year, for example, could benefit from Novartis’ flagship CAR-T therapy. But the company set the price for a full course of treatment at a whopping $475,000. So despite the small clientele, the potential payoff is huge—and the technology is attracting a lot of investor interest. “CAR-T venture financing is still a small piece of total venture funding in oncology, but given that these therapies are curative for a majority of patients that have received them in clinical trials, the investment would appear to be justified,” says Mandy Jackson, a managing editor for research firm Informa Pharma Intelligence.

CAR-T, with its combination of gene and cell therapies, may be the most radical anticancer treatment ever to arrive in clinics. But the bleeding edge of biology can be a dangerous place for patients.

Sometimes, the modified T cells go overboard, excreting huge quantities of molecules called cytokines that lead to severe fevers, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. In some patients it gets even worse. Sometimes the blood-brain barrier inexplicably breaks down—and the T cells and their cytokines get inside patients’ skulls. Last year, Juno pulled the plug on its lead clinical trial after five leukemia patients died from massive brain swelling. Other patients have died in CAR-T trials at the National Cancer Institute and the University of Pennsylvania.

Scientists don’t fully understand why some CAR-T patients experience cytokine storms and neurotoxicity and others come out cured. “It’s kind of like the equivalent of getting on a Wright Brother’s airplane as opposed to walking on a 747 today,” says Wendell Lim, a biophysical chemist and director of the UC San Francisco Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology. To go from bumping along at a few hundred feet to cruise control at Mach 0.85 will mean equipping T cells with cancer-sensing receptors that are more specific than the current offerings.

Take the two FDA-approved CAR-T cell therapies, he says. They both treat blood cancers in which immune responders called B cells become malignant and spread throughout the body. Doctors reprogram patients’ T cells to seek out a B cell receptor called CD-19. When they find it, they latch on and shoot it full of toxins. Thing is, the reprogrammed T cells can’t really tell the difference between cancerous B cells and normal ones. The therapy just takes them all out. Now, you can live without B cells if you receive antibody injections to compensate—so the treatment works out fine most of the time.

But solid tumors are trickier—they’re made up of a mix of cells with different genetic profiles. Scientists have to figure out which tumor cells matter to the growth of the cancer and which ones don’t. Then they have to design T cells with antigens that can target just those ones and nothing else. An ideal signature would involve two to three antigens that your assassin T cells can use to pinpoint the target with a bullet instead of a grenade.

Last year Lim launched a startup called Cell Design Labs to try to do just that, as well as creating a molecular on-off-switch to make treatments more controlled. Only if researchers can gain this type of precise command, says Lim, will CAR-T treatments become as safe and predictable as commercial airline flight.

The field has matured considerably since Coley first shot his dying patient full of a dangerous bacteria, crossed his fingers, and hoped for the best. Sure, the guy lived, even making a miraculous full recovery. But many after him didn’t. And that “fingers crossed” approach still lingers over immunotherapy today.

All these years later, the immune system remains a fickle ally in the war on cancer. Keeping the good guys from going double-agent is going to take a lot more science. But at least the revolution will be well-financed.

Read more: https://www.wired.com/story/cancer-immunotherapy-has-arrived-but-not-for-everyone/

Senators share photos of GOP tax bill pages, and they’re pretty illegible

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to his office in the Capitol as he awaits the vote on his party's tax plan.
Image: alex wong/Getty Images

We’ve all been there. You have your assignment printed and ready to go, but are frantically scribbling down last minute additions in the desperate hope that you’ll get a passing grade.

This was OK in high school English class, but what about in the U.S. Senate? 

After several failed attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare, Senate Republicans are really doing everything they can get a legislative win once and for all with their tax plan—including making hasty and nearly illegible handwritten notes and straight up crossed out sections of the bill. 

Their Democratic counterparts have been sharing photos of the absurdity, and they’re not too happy about it. 

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana posted an angry video calling out his Republican counterparts and their scribbled legislative notes on Twitter. He said he had received his copy of the bill 25 minutes earlier, just a few hours before the Senate vote. 

Just an hour before she had to report to the Senate floor for a vote, Sen. Elizabeth Warren also posted a video of her trying to read the messy bill. She couldn’t. 

If passed by the Senate and the House and signed into law, the tax plan would make a massive cut to the corporate tax rate, give several tax cuts and benefits to the wealthiest Americans, and get rid of the individual health insurance mandate, among many, many other things. 

With so many changes to the way our tax system works on the line, representatives should at least be able to know what decisions they’re making on behalf of their constituents, because, you know … democracy.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/01/senators-gop-tax-plan/

This educator didn’t punish troublesome kids. She gave them a closet full of stuff.

This time last year, the top three most misbehaved boys at Equetta Jones’ elementary school were from the same family.

As assistant principal, it fell to Jones to figure out how to solve the problem. Other educators might prescribe detentions, suspensions, extra tutoring help, or even a doctor’s appointment to be evaluated for an attention-deficit issue. But Jones sensed that the problem ran deeper — and she had a solution.

“No child comes in every day and says ‘I want to be angry. I want to hit you. I want to curse you out. I don’t want to learn,’” she says. “So it is our responsibility to find out why they’re verbalizing those things.”

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

Often, the problem is the same: Many kids are not having their basic health, shelter, and nutritional needs met. “The middle class, we forget about the fact that when we wake up every morning, we wake up with shelter,” Jones says.

Not all of her students have that luxury.

That’s why Jones’ school worked with an organization called First Book to install a “Care Closet” — a supply of basic essentials for kids in need.

First Book, which supplies books and educational tools for kids in low-income communities, started offering living essentials when they heard from teachers that they’re just as important when it comes to helping kids do well in school.

With the Care Closet in place, Jones can give kids what they need and establish a sense of security so they can focus on school.

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

Her students are no longer worried about whether or not their basic needs are being met. “Their focus is now on coming in and being the best student they can be.”

The Care Closet project gives kids what they need to succeed. But they’re not handouts — they’re hand-ups.

Jones has a system in place to make sure the supplies make the greatest possible impact on the lives of the students.

Parents can come and ask for help, or if teachers notice that a child has an issue, they can discreetly let Jones know and she’ll take the child aside and get them what they need.

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

“I will give them the care package, let them go to the bathroom, clean themselves up, give them a fresh pair of clothes, fold up the dirty clothes, and then send them back home and call up the parents and let them know what I did,” she says. The whole process is discreet; Jones even bought department store-style shopping bags to keep their contents private.

Once the kids have what they need, that’s when the real work begins. When Jones calls children’s parents, there’s an understanding: Though the Care Closet doesn’t cost money, it doesn’t come for free.

“You need to give Ms. Jones back some time,” she says. Parents are asked to come into school and be engaged — either through volunteering or through coaching sessions that help the parents deal with some of the pressing problems in their families’ lives.

“We feel that the information we’re giving is going to not only help them as a parent but also help the child within the classroom.

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

Jones’ method has already created big changes for some of the families at her school.

The three boys who were at the top of the disciplinary chart last year? They’re thriving now — thanks to Jones’ care closet intervention.

She found out that the boys’ mother was in an unhealthy relationship that was having a toxic effect on the whole family. “But she was afraid to leave because then the children wouldn’t have anything,” she says.

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

So Jones brought her in for a conversation.

“I connected her with some outside resources, gave her a scripted plan of what we expected of her,” she says. “And then we said, ‘Mom, follow through with us and we’ll do everything we can to support you.’” That was in September.

“Now it’s November, and Mom just recently moved into her own place,” Jones says. “She meets with me regularly for coaching sessions, we helped her write a resume, and she now has a job at one of our elementary schools.”

Now that their basic needs are being met, the three boys can concentrate on being successful kids. “They’re starting to smile,” she says. “They’re proud of who they’re becoming.”

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

First Book continues to expand the Care Closet project across the country.

When kids have a caring presence like Jones and the resources they need, they have an opportunity to succeed.

“Unfortunately, if we don’t catch those signs in advance, we’re faced with some of the situations that some of my older students are faced with,” she says. When their basic needs aren’t met, kids become desperate.

“It’s never, ‘I plan to grow up and be this criminal,'” she says. “It’s ‘I was faced with a situation and I found out this was a way for me to get things I couldn’t get.'”

That’s why Jones is so adamant about making sure her students have a solid foundation to further their education.

“All of their needs are being met here,” she says. And now that they have established that stability, “They know that their job is to go and learn.”

For more, take a look at how First Book’s Care Closets are changing schools across the country:

Millions of children from low-income areas don’t have the tools needed to learn, placing them at a disadvantage that perpetuates poverty. First Book is a community that believes education is the way out of poverty for kids in need.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-educator-didnt-punish-troublesome-kids-she-gave-them-a-closet-full-of-stuff

Indulgent grandparents ‘bad for health’

Image copyright SolStock

Indulgent grandparents may be having an adverse impact on their grandchildren’s health, say researchers.

The University of Glasgow study, published in PLOS One journal, suggests grandparents are often inclined to treat and overfeed children.

The study also found some were smoking in front of their grandchildren and not giving them sufficient exercise.

Lucy Peake, of the charity Grandparents Plus, said grandparents needed to be “better recognised and supported”.

“Grandparents want the best for their grandchildren, and the more they’re informed and enabled to play a positive role in their grandchildren’s lives the better things will be,” said Ms Peake.

The researchers looked at 56 studies with data from 18 countries, including the UK, US, China and Japan.

The report focused on the potential influence of grandparents who were significant – but not primary – caregivers in a child’s early years.

The review considered three key areas of influence:

  • diet and weight
  • physical activity
  • smoking
Image copyright Getty Images

In terms of both diet and weight, the report concluded that grandparents’ behaviour had an adverse effect.

Grandparents were characterised by parents as “indulgent” and “misinformed”, and accused of using food as an emotional tool.

Many studies found they were inclined to feed grandchildren high-sugar or high-fat foods – often in the guise of a treat.

Parents felt unable to interfere because they were reliant on grandparents helping them out.

The study also found that grandchildren were perceived to be getting too little exercise while under the care of their grandparents.

Physical activity levels appeared to be related to whether grandparents were active themselves, or whether there was appropriate space where children could be active.

Some grandparents actively promoted exercise by taking grandchildren to sporting events or the park.

But where grandparents were sedentary, children were likely to be too.

‘Unintentional’

Smoking around the children, even when they had been asked not to, became an area of conflict between grandparents and parents.

Conversely, in certain cases, the birth of a grandchild became a catalyst to a grandparent giving up smoking – or changing their habits.

Lead researcher Dr Stephanie Chambers said: “From the studies we looked at, it appears that parents often find it difficult to discuss the issues of passive smoking and over-treating grandchildren.

“While the results of this review are clear that behaviour such as exposure to smoking and regularly treating children increases cancer risks as children grow into adulthood, it is also clear from the evidence that these risks are unintentional.

“Given that many parents now rely on grandparents for care, the mixed messages about health that children might be getting is perhaps an important discussion that needs to be had.”

According to Grandparents Plus, grandparents are “the largest provider of informal childcare” in the UK.

The charity’s chief executive, Ms Peake, said: “We know that children benefit enormously from having close relationships with their grandparents right through childhood into adolescence.

“What this study shows is that the role they’re playing in children’s lives needs to be better recognised and supported.

“We’d like to see more focus on ensuring that information available to parents about children’s health reaches grandparents too.”

Prof Linda Bauld, from Cancer Research UK, which part-funded the study, said: “With both smoking and obesity being the two biggest preventable causes of cancer in the UK, it’s important for the whole family to work together.

“If healthy habits begin early in life, it’s much easier to continue them as an adult.”


Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41981549

Its Time for a Grand Anti-Trump Coalition

Benjamin Wittes is one of those names you may have gotten to know in the Trump era. Not that you shouldnt have known him before, but in the past 11 months, the Brookings scholar has produced more than his share of posts that have gone viral on the Lawfare blog, especially the ones he wrote about his friendship with James Comey just after President Trump fired him.

That friendship and his frank posts have helped him carve out a unique space for himself in the Age of Trump. And he seems to know it and is prepared to use it. Over the weekend, in a move that ignited animated discussions in my circles, Wittes took to Twitter and produced 18 tweets dedicated to the proposition that all decent people of left and right must set aside their differences and unite to defeat Trump and Trumpism.

Under the hashtags #CoalitionofAllDemocraticForces and #IBelieve, Wittes argued that he wants to see a temporary truce on all [questions of disagreement], an agreement to maintain the status quo on major areas of policy dispute while Americans of good faith collectively band together to face a national emergency. #IBelieve that facing that national emergency requires unity. He wants Americans across the political spectrum [to] unite around a political program based on the protection of American democracy and American institutions.

Its a new and bold idea in the current context. In larger historical terms, of course, nothing is new. Its reminiscent of the old Popular Front idea on the left. The PF was the project of the communists of the 1930s who thought it would be of greatest strategic value to band together with socialists and even liberalswho communists in normal times reviled as servants of capitalismto defeat Hitlerian fascism. The project was launched in Moscow and thus took many different forms in England, France, and other countries. Here in the United States, the CPUSA under Earl Browder decided to support the New Deal. And when the USSR became our ally during World War II, Roosevelt and Stalin, two men with very different and indeed irreconcilable world views, were both Popular Frontists.

Wittes own politics are hard to distinguish. Hes not a liberal, though not exactly a conservative. On some matters, he has that I-dont-like-either-side posture that many liberals find infuriating. Here he is in The Atlantic in 2005, for example, saying that while he personally favors permissive abortion laws, hed much prefer to see Roe v. Wade die. A lot of liberals would say, and not without some justification, that centrists of this general type are partly responsible for Trump because their commitment to non-commitment, so to speak, prevented them from seeing the right for what it was these past 10 or so years and warning their publics about it. (I hasten to note here Im describing a type, not Wittes personally.)

But I say now, none of that matters. Im with him.

Hes correct about two basic things. One, that this is a national emergency. If I have to spell out why for you, youre reading the wrong column and should stick to the gossip pages. Trump is a clear and present danger the likes of which weve never seen. Two, that the top priority far and away of decent people of all ideologies has to be to confront Trumpism and to stop it.

The natural response of some partisans on both sides would be to refuse to commit to a project like this because of the past positions of some who might join it. Ill never work with Bill Kristol!, that kind of thing. Well, Bill Kristols done a lot of things I dont like. And Ive probably done a lot of things he didnt like, though I have only a fraction of his influence, so Ive never helped kill a major piece of legislation (Hillarys health care bill) or push the country toward war. But Im ready even to forget Iraq. Thats the very essence of Popular Frontism. If Kristol wants to stop Trump and is willing to commit to Wittes principles, then we should be too.

Those principles, by the way, are bipartisan and unobjectionable. Commitments to the First Amendment; to transparent government; to getting to the bottom of Russia; to science and evidence; to no Muslim-bashing, full stop; to fighting presidential abuse of power; and more along those lines. I think it could be a powerful and influential thing if Wittes can get 20 or 30 or 50 prominent people on both sides to sign a statement of principles, and thousands or maybe tens of thousands of regular citizens to co-sign on Facebook.

Of course one foresees problems. How exactly would this coalition make all politics stop and maintain the status quo on all our disagreements? What happens if Anthony Kennedy retires or dies? Would maintaining the status quo require conservative coalition members to oppose any Trump nominee, who would be by definition tainted by his or her association with Trump?

Such a coalition, too, would be propagandistic manna from heaven for the Our Revolution left, as it would affirm their view that sell-outs like yours truly always were destined to sacrifice their principles. Whatever. I look over the past 11 months, and I dont see that Ive changed a whit. Instead I see Kristol and George Will popping up on MSNBC, I see Max Boot emerge as one of the most powerful critics of Trumpism around, and I peruse Jennifer Rubins columns that with each passing week are reading more and more like Molly Ivins. Irving Kristol, Bills father, famously said that a conservative is a liberal whos been mugged by reality. Today, a liberal is a conservative whos been trumped by it.

Theyve changed. Not me. Im happy to make common cause with them. I dont know that Im important enough that history will judge me, but if I am, I will not have that judgment be that Tomasky abetted Trumpism by continuing to fight 15-year-old battles over Iraq. Ben, where do I sign?

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/its-time-for-a-grand-anti-trump-coalition