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As a youngster growing up in California's Salinas Valley, Fabiola Moreno Ruelas dealt with more than her share of hardship. She saw her father deported, and her family routinely struggled with housing and basic needs, at one point facing eviction.

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When Ali Takata and her husband moved to Austin from the San Francisco Bay Area three and a half years ago, she was immediately struck by the lack of diversity. "I was surprised by how white Austin felt," she says. But Takata soon realized that Austin wasn't particularly white--it was just very segregated.

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Peter Tabichi teaches science to schoolchildren in Keriko, Kenya, a region frequently blighted by drought and famine. His students come from very poor families, many having to go without adequate food at home. It's an often bleak landscape, and drug abuse, early school dropout and suicide are all too common.

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Though difficult for most of us to even imagine, it's a reality for tens of millions of impoverished kids around the world: living every day without shoes on your feet. In India, it's shockingly common to see shoeless infants and toddlers, an obvious health risk that can lead to infections like hookworm and even elephantiasis.

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When Mohan Sudabattula was volunteering in the prosthetic department of a Utah hospital, he noticed that medical rehab equipment like crutches and wheelchairs tended to have a short life: that is, it was typically used by one person, then thrown away.

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Last year, bicycle-sharing startup oBike ceased operations in Singapore, leaving the city with an inconvenient parting gift: thousands of abandoned bicycles, left behind in parks and other public spaces.

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Just before her seventh birthday, Jenny Shaw was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The doctors told her and her stricken parents that the tumor had metastasized to Jenny's liver, and would require chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

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A 22-year-old entrepreneur in New Jersey is challenging attitudes around the abilities of people with Down’s Syndrome, and he’s doing it by leading by example: John Cronin, who himself has the chromosomal condition, is the co-founder of multimillion-dollar startup John’s Crazy Socks.

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Without question, working with homeless youth is not for the weak of heart. Remarkably, Deborah Shore has been doing it for forty-five years, in one of the nation's toughest urban markets: Washington D.C. Raised on union songs in Pittsburgh, PA, Shore began working with young people at the outset of her career, and has never looked back.

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