Lego Collection Pays Tribute To Female Space Heroes

Lego’s transition into bio-plastics is probably one of their greatest achievements to date. Having said that, the company has inspired children (and adults!) to think big for decades. Its most recent collection honors the women of NASA, validating that success doesn’t rely on gender.

“In all realms of science, engineering, and technology, pioneering women have historically been underappreciated for their often groundbreaking work,”[MIT News Deputy Editor and Lecturer Maia Weinstock who proposed the idea] said in a statement.

This is truly a big move, considering how the usual Lego collection depicts fantastical universes like Star Wars or Minecraft. Not only is the company pandering to the interests of young girls now, they are doing so with an inspirational agenda.

The set’s figures include Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel to space, and Margaret Hamilton, who developed software for the Apollo spacecraft. It will also come with miniatures of the Hubble Telescope and Space Shuttle, among other tools. Lego hopes to encourage more girls to explore various branches of science.

[Weinstock added,] “We have also seen that when girls and women are given more encouragement in the STEM fields, they become more likely to pursue careers in these areas.”

Remember, girls — science is, of course, also for you. And forget “nerdy.” Microscopes and bunsen burners are the new “cool.”

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Artist Creates Dolls With Vitiligo To Inspire Young Girls

More and more, people are becoming comfortable in their own skin. Plus-size model Natalie Hage shut down a fat-shamer who ridiculed her on an airplane. While the confrontation was awkward, it needed to happen. And anyway, who isn’t in love with their own curves? It’s 2018. Then again, it’s safe to say body positivity still isn’t present everywhere, especially for younger girls.

To combat this, Artist Kay Black is inspiring vitiligo sufferers, specifically, by creating dolls with rare skin conditions.

[Kay Black] began making the dolls as a hobby alongside her “normal” job. She said, “I’m motivated by everyday people I see walking up and down the streets.”

The dolls with vitiligo are made special for each customer and have been praised by a number of celebrities. But Black isn’t after fame — she just wants her buyers to feel appreciated.

“People are literally in tears when they get their dolls. I want to create dolls everyone can relate to.”

She also creates a plethora of other dolls that break the rather dangerous standards set by certain world-renowned toy companies. Other than the dolls with vitiligo, Black customizes ones with realistic features such as freckles or curly hair. This makes them super relatable for young girls.

In line with Black’s advocacy, a model with the skin condition even spoke up regarding her own life. Attached to a selfie showing Winnie Harlow’s whole body is her inspiring message.

“The real difference isn’t my skin. It’s the fact that I don’t find my beauty in the opinions of others. I’m beautiful because I know it. Celebrate Your unique beauty today (& everyday)!”

Making friends with your flaws isn’t the easiest — but it certainly is a step in the right direction. Thanks to people like Black and Harlow, young girls may be motivated to discover how to sincerely love themselves.

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Deaf Dog Rescues Lost 3-Year-Old

We all know dogs are capable of achieving amazing feats — that is just completely irrefutable. They rescue their owners from gas leaks, help calm veterans with PTSD, plant trees to restore burnt forests, track survivors of an earthquake, and even comfort anxious cheetahs.

Dogs do these awe-inspiring acts, sometimes in spite of their own disability. A partially blind and deaf dog recently became an honorary member of the police as he rescued a three-year-old girl who was lost in the Australian bush in Queensland.

Seventeen-year-old blue heeler Max stayed with the girl, named locally as Aurora, overnight and then helped lead her grandmother directly to her location after a huge search and rescue operation . . . Aurora wandered off alone on Friday afternoon and was found safe in bushland 2 kilometres from her house at around 7.30am local time on Saturday, according to ABC News.

100 volunteers were involved in the emergency search, but it was the deaf dog that eventually led to Aurora after camping with her the whole night. Queensland Police showered Max, the deaf dog, with praises and tweeted that he is now an honorary member of the police force.

[Aurora’s grandmother Leisa Marie Bennett] told ABC News: “I think [Aurora] was a bit overwhelmed by the tears and the howling, but I explained to her how happy those tears were. It could have gone any of 100 ways, but she’s here, she’s alive, she’s well and it’s a great outcome for our family.”

I swear, dogs just never run out of life-saving surprises for their human friends. And for rescuing a 3-year-old girl, Max truly deserves his yummy one-of-a-kind treat from the Queensland police.

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Female Pakistani Superhero Is A Role Model To Girls

Slowly but surely, the world of literature and television is finally becoming more diverse. People from marginalized populations are now gaining some representation, especially in global mainstream media. Last year, for instance, Sesame Street introduced their first Afghan member Zeerak. But things are also at work internally. The Middle Eastern comic book world is not far behind with Sarah, a female Pakistani superhero.

The creator, [Hassan Siddiqui], of the English-language comic says he hopes the superhero will give young girls across Pakistan a role model and embolden them to fight corruption and violence in a country where crime is rife in major cities and corruption is the norm.

It’s a step towards abolishing gender discrimination in a country where honor killings are frequent. The comic does not only tackle crime and corruption, but even zooms in on gender-based violence and domestic abuse, shedding light on very important issues.

But while the online community has received “Pakistan Girl” with open arms, local readership could be a problem. Illiteracy rates are at an all-time high. However, believing in its significance, schools across the nation are now implementing the comic into curriculums.

“I think we should be teaching them through this kind of literature because that’s actually the tender age when they are building their own images of their future life,” said [new comic book fan and school principal Saadia Adnan] after browsing through a bookstore copy.

Siddiqui’s previous works include “The Burka Avenger” and “Pakistan Man”, with both titular superheroes combating the crisis of corruption. But as “Pakistan Girl” targets gendered issues and provides a different representation, I hope that Sarah, the female Pakistani superhero, becomes to young women all over the region a great figure to look up to.

With the future of this world in the hands of young ones, inspiring respect and dignity seems the way to go.

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Young Bug Lover Helps Write Scientific Thesis

Kids these days are ditching Playstations for programming tools, priding themselves on being the smartest generation yet. However, there are some who prefer going back to basics. Classmates bullied 8-year-old Sophia Spencer for her obsession with bugs. The young bug lover got back at her tormenters, co-writing a paper in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

“I really thought loving bugs wasn’t the best hobby,” [said Sophia] “But after I realized bugs are for girls I thought to myself, ‘Well, I think I should start loving bugs again, because just because people say they’re weird and gross doesn’t mean I shouldn’t like them.’”

This kid is more self-aware than I am. Sophia’s passion inspired mom Nicole to contact the Entomological Society of Canada for advice. The group tweeted Spencer’s plea, garnering replies from bug enthusiasts all over the world. Eventually, Ph.D. candidate Morgan Jackson invited Sophia to help compose a scientific thesis promoting women in science.

“It felt good to have so many people support me, and it was cool to see other girls and grown-ups studying bugs,” she wrote. “It made me feel like I could do it too, and I definitely, definitely, definitely want to study bugs when I grow up, probably grasshoppers.”

Sophia’s contribution to a cool scientific thesis at age 8 is living proof that one’s interests are never age nor gender-specific. So a word to parents — encourage your children’s passions, even when it seems “weird” or “gross” or “not for boys/girls.” The era we live in nurtures a plethora of possibilities, and so should you.

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Hockey Player Purchases Arena Suite For Needy Kids

When people like Bill Gates are donating billions of dollars to charity, your own efforts may seem eclipsed. But, as I like to say, every good deed counts, no matter the extent. Hockey star Jonathan Drouin decided to surprise underprivileged children by purchasing them an arena suite to attend games.

“From the first day I got here, I wanted to get involved and do something for children by giving them an opportunity to enjoy memorable experiences. By giving them a chance to attend a hockey game, I am hoping that an evening in the suite will provide the kids and their families with some relief from the personal hardships they are facing,” Drouin said.

Prior to the suite stunt, Canadiens player Drouin also pledged $500,000 to a Montreal medical center over a 10-year span. The Bell Centre suite cost him a sizable check of $165,000. Regardless of numbers, Drouin seems to be more than willing to help.

“They’ll have a chance to be together and have a great time, and for me, it’s an opportunity to contribute in my own way to their well-being.”

While the Canadiens are off to a somewhat rocky start, Drouin has confirmed his rightful place as MVP.

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Disney Commits $100 Million To Kids’ Hospitals

When it comes to health, hospitals are necessary but hardly ever enjoyable. Despite the rise of surgical robots, many prefer to self-diagnose. Still, Google remains a breeding ground for hypochondriacs, in spite of Apple’s efforts to create health-centered mobiles. To make pediatric wards a little less daunting, Disney is donating $100 million to institutes around the globe.

“Disney’s timeless stories have touched hearts and lifted spirits for generations, and we believe they can bring comfort to children and families going through a very difficult time,” [said] Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

Disney will be bringing games, entertainment, and movie magic into infirmaries. Familiar characters will likely put children at greater ease and perhaps even pull some laughs. Patient rooms will be laden with murals (Disney-themed, of course), and staff will undergo extra training.

“The renowned Disney Institute, a part of The Walt Disney Company that provides professional development training focused on leadership, employee engagement and high quality service, will create a customized program for healthcare professionals designed to foster a less stressful, patient and family-centric hospital experience,”

Truth be told, I’d be slightly less nervous getting my blood drawn by Mickey Mouse. Or, if not, who doesn’t love Pluto?

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4-Year-Old Donates Allowance To Cop With Cancer

Let’s be real — the notion that our children know nothing about the value of money is a myth. Kids across the nation have donated their savings to disaster victims and the deaf community, among other groups. Next to climb on board the donation train is Sidney Fahrenbruch. The 4-year-old pledged her entire piggy bank to help a policeman with cancer.

“It all started about two years ago when she saw an officer directing traffic. It was hot outside and she said, ‘He looks thirsty; he needs water,’ and she brought him a bottle of water,’” [said Sidney’s mother Megan.]

Sidney, an avid fan of the Longmont Police Department, donated $9 to Officer Kyle Zulauf. The army vet was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015. A regular at the precinct delivering cookies and candies, Sidney has surely done her mother proud.

“It feels good that she’s so giving. She wanted to save the money for a toy but decided someone needed it more than her,” said Fahrenbruch.

 When Barbies and Nerf guns are all the craze at age 4, I can say with certainty that Sidney is doing pretty darn well.
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Daycares Ban Glitter To Prevent Microplastics Pollution

As oceans fill to the brim with discarded plastics, communities are doing what they can to manage the destructive material. While independent brand Eco Connect is finding ways to make plastic reusable, places like Kenya are simply banning the medium entirely. In the U.K., environmentalists are taking a less radical but highly effective step towards cleaner oceans. Daycares in southern England are officially banning glitter to prevent microplastics from contaminating water.

“Glitter is absolutely a microplastic and has the same potential to cause harm as any other microplastic…” [said research associate Alice Horton.]

Considering glitter is purely ornamental, there truly is no use for the material. Effective in only 19 Tops Day Nurseries, the ban won’t make a significant impact, but it sends a clear message.

“On a small scale, one nursery banning it is unlikely to have any environmental impact, but it’s a good environmental statement to make, like one person choosing not to buy bottled water to reduce plastic bottle waste. [It is] not going to change the world but [it] sets a target for others.”

Sometimes, change isn’t all about results — making a difference can arise from how one inspires another.

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Brighten Up The Future For Underprivileged Kids

They say the future is millennial, with a touch of Gen Z. With teens making headlines for diagnosing eye diseases and generating clean energy via passing traffic, I wouldn’t doubt it for a second. Still, where tomorrow looks bright for some, the sun has set on others. Despite a constantly advancing society, poverty often plagues potential, and a lack of opportunities for young minds persists. All the same, there is an abundance of ways to help underprivileged kids get hold of the opportunities they deserve.

For young professionals on the go, donating in cash or kind is a perfectly safe and practical option. While necessities such as clothing and food are useful options to circulate within youth groups, most prefer monetary pledges. This is because shelters can break down a budget to its greatest efficiency as they are familiar with their tenants’ needs. Regardless, materials such as school supplies and other equipment are welcome all year-round.

Instead of dedicating your weekends to B-movies on Netflix, lend your skills to an organization of your choice. As with most volunteer programs, schedules are flexible — so why not use your downtime to bring smiles to kids who need it? In place of an academic education, you can teach dozens of juveniles the handy art of stitching, or perhaps toy-building. You never know when brightening your impromptu students’ day with a lesson in programming can set passions on fire.

If fitness gets you going, coaching a sport may be just your caliber. The goal isn’t to craft the next LeBron James or Cristiano Ronaldo, but to mold team players. Game mechanics aren’t the simplest of things, but your trainees may walk away with a brand-new life skill. And anyway, what ten-year-old isn’t a fan of running wild with a ball or racket in hand?

Be that as it may, crawling through the mud isn’t everyone’s forte. For avid literature geeks or voracious art enthusiasts, take your kids on a field trip. Museums may not be every second-grader’s cup of tea, but a planetarium or dino-exhibit may just be up their alley. On the plus side, they’ll learn a thing or two. Being able to name a prehistoric animal other than a T-Rex usually earn plus points in a classroom setting.

Taking part in a youth group often makes bonds with certain children inevitable. You may be keen on the pigtailed girl with the square glasses or buck-toothed boy who can’t quit rambling about Pokemon. Your undeniable connection with a bright-eyed mass of unrestrained energy might inspire you to sponsor a child. By all means, it’s life-changing. The possibilities? Limitless. And the best part is being able to visit and stay in touch with your surrogate sibling.

Kids are the building blocks of what lies ahead and it’s us older siblings who have the tools to guarantee it. If you’re an only child, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring someone into the picture. If you aren’t? The more the merrier.

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