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As 2016 came to a close, Tani Adewumi was just five years old, and living in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. He and his family lived in a constant state of fear because the terrorist group Boko Harum was very active there; they endured harrowing attacks that eventually forced them to flee the country, their homeland.

The family ended up in a homeless shelter in Manhattan, a desolate berth after such a difficult journey. But it was in New York that young Tani would find something that would change his family's life forever: chess. Today, Tani is a 9-year-old chess phenomenon who has appeared on the Today Show and across the talk show circuit. And unbelievably, he recently moved his family into ...

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Celebrity trappings aside, Chef José Andrés considers himself, above all else, to be a cook. So after a tragic earthquake devastated Haiti, Andrés did what a cook would do: he came up with a plan, and got to work feeding the people displaced by the disaster.

That was back in 2010. Today, in the face of Covid-19, World Central Kitchen has pivoted to safely feeding people in a pandemic. And in a brilliant move intended to support restaurants by helping them to feed the hungry, they've created Restaurants For The People.

Andrés' program has hired workers in Covid-19 hotspots from NYC to the San Francisco Bay area, and identified communities that need food the most. The...

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For the last eight years, TotalLink2 Community has worked with young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, offering a wide range of services promoting employment, independence and durable social connections. They also provide career and vocational services, including support with skill development and job placement. Based in Northbrook, Illinois, the organization's mission is to enhance their community by providing opportunities for these citizens to grow and contribute through social connection, employment and life-long education.

Sadly, the Covid pandemic has put much of this vital organization's regular programming on hold--and like many of us, they've had to pivot to th...

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The founder and CEO of Making Authentic Friendships (MAF), a web-based app that helps kids and adults with special needs to make friends, Juliana Fetherman has always had a uniquely strong motivating force: her younger brother Michael, who was diagnosed with autism and ADHD. Michael struggles with forming friendships, a common problem among those with his diagnosis.

Like many new entrepreneurs, Fetherman faced a steep learning curve when she started out. But she stuck with it, and MAF is currently serving the special needs community in 30 states, 12 countries and 5 continents – and all this from a 23-year-old with no prior business experience.

In the recent Forbes feature, the young entr...

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The concept of mutual aid is a simple one: in difficult times, we should all do what we can to help each other, whether we be friends or strangers. Chances are a lot of you have already seen one of the many spreadsheets out there, lists that compile the contact info of people who'd like to volunteer to help those in need.

A lot of resources have popped up just over the last few weeks alone. One mutual aid group started when Alli McGill, director of care at Washington DC's Table Church, sent out a simple tweet: “If you are in DC and are in the at-risk demographic and need errands run so you can limit exposure — will you email me?”

McGill was amazed when her message was retweet...

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As we head into the third week of April, most of us are still struggling to deal with the new realities of the Covid crisis. And while we are beginning to see some very hopeful signs in many parts of the country, we still have some difficult times ahead of us. And for now, people are hurting.

For the more fortunate among us, the question at times like this becomes: How do I help? There are stimulus checks going out to a lot of people who in reality are doing just fine--and that opens up a lot of opportunity for giving. And when it comes to volunteering, clearly people have more time on their hands than ever.

Thankfully, the people at Vox have taken the time to put together a helpful survey of ...

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A summer youth camp for disabled kids that operated in upstate New York starting in the 1950's, Camp Jened was a refuge for an entire generation of special needs kids. Run by a group of what were then called hippies, the camp gave disabled kids a chance to experience all the things a "normal" kid would in summer camp.

But Camp Jened wasn't just the source of a lot of treasured memories. It also proved to be the wellspring of a landmark piece of legislation: the Americans with Civil Disabilities Act. And now, the camp has been immortalized in Crip Camp, a fascinating documentary now airing on Netflix.

A former camper himself, James Lebrecht directed the film with Nicole Newnham, with Michelle a...

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If there is one thing that has become clear over the last several weeks, it's that we are all in this together. And as we often see in times of duress, people all over have been showing the better angels of their nature, and extending a helping hand to others in need.

The stories come from all walks of life: there is the Minnesota State Trooper who pulled a doctor over for speeding--but rather than giving him a ticket, gave the doc his stockpile of protective masks instead. Then there is the CEO who sacrificed his bonus and base salary so his company's workers would continue to get paid during the coronavirus pandemic. These are just two of the many stories demonstrating people's willingness ...

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When Felecia Gaston founded Performing Stars of Marin in 1990, a nonprofit art academy serving the underprivileged, she began with no budget whatsoever. “I had no idea about fundraising, writing grants, doing all the networking, filling out the 501(c)(3)s,” Gaston says.

Fast-forward 30 years, and today more than 3,000 young people have attended the program--and many have gone on to achieve at a level they never thought possible. By making classes, scholarships and other assistance accessible to families unable to afford performing arts programs, Gaston opened up a new world to kids who otherwise may have never had the chance to participate in the arts.

One excellent example is John...

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As we and our families struggle to accustom ourselves to the COVID-19 pandemic and all the ways it's impacting our daily lives, it's important to remember to stay as informed as possible. There is a lot of conflicting information out there, and a new interview from Salon with Dr. Timothy Brewer, of UCLA's Fielding School of Public Health, helps sort fact from speculation.

The author points out that China's infection rate appears to be falling quickly--and that it's the way we respond to the crisis that will determine its ultimate severity. And crucially, he reminds us that compassion is part of any proper response to an outbreak of this kind. It's a timely read, and you can check it out here....

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