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They raised seven kids while drowning in debt. Here are the lessons they’re passing on.

The Kunziers were rich in the things that matter most—family and love—but their finances were in shambles. John Kunzier had been running a successful construction business when 9/11 happened and changed everything. When the business started struggling, John didn’t want to fire his employees, so he made some decisions that, in hindsight, were the wrong ones. The following year, the business failed. John Kunzier. All photos via Upworthy. “It was a big blow to my ego,” says John, “to have something you built completely collapse.” John had to declare bankruptcy.…

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How this woman went from amateur yogi to extraordinary studio owner.

Adrianne “Ajax” Jackson discovered her true passion while pondering her future during a yoga class. All photos courtesy of Ajax and Magnolia Yoga Studio. She’d just turned 30, and her week had been a roller coaster. The first 30 years of her life had been amazing, she recalls thinking, but now she wanted more. “The next 30, for me, felt like that’s when I was really going to make my mark in the world,” she says. “I just started having those thoughts that you have in yoga where you’re reflecting,…

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She found microplastics in a local water sample. Here’s what she did about it.

Five years ago, when marine research scientist Abby Bowers looked through her microscope at a local water sample, she saw a bunch of multicolored pieces of plastic. Image via Science Sandbox. These strands of plastic were less than 5 millimeters in length — smaller than the average sesame seed — and were what scientists call “microplastics.” “Seeing all these technicolored pieces of plastic led me to think of all these larger questions,” says Abby. “How is it affecting the ocean? Our drinking water? Are microplastics everywhere?” Abby Bowers. Image via…

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These women were in prison. Thanks to an extraordinary program, they’re now entrepreneurs.

When she decided she wanted to start her own business, Rebecca ‘Cafe’ Brown was in the unlikeliest place — prison. Posted by Rebecca Brown on Thursday, March 8, 2018 She was partway through a five-year sentence for domestic violence-related charges when she realized that something had to change in her life. Due to a particularly traumatic childhood, Brown found herself in abusive relationships, and those abusive relationships led to incarceration. Though prison wasn’t pleasant, she credits it with helping her come to terms with her history. It’s also where she made…

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He was a struggling kid. Now he’s a successful career man. Here’s how.

Daniel Jones never had it easy. Before he was 18, he’d lost his mother and any chance at a stable home life. Then he had to change schools. Jones, who was living with his older brother at the time, was reaching a breaking point. His brother had three children of his own and Jones knew that, family or not, his sibling couldn’t take care of him for long. He also knew he needed to get back into school as quickly as possible. He had two choices: either go to school…

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She once judged people who were on SNAP. Now it’s helping keep her and her family healthy.

For Kristyn Fayewicz, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) was an unexpected lifeline. Three years ago, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a serious disease that causes her body’s immune system to attack itself. After she was diagnosed, work became difficult and then untenable. Fayewicz, who worked at a dog training facility, found that the physical nature of the job made the symptoms worse. At one point, she even lost sight in one eye. It took Fayewicz a year after her diagnosis to apply for SNAP benefits. She knew that…

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It’s incredibly hard to get by as a contractor in America. It shouldn’t have to be.

Retirement, paid sick days, a steady schedule — in theory, these should be a given for all working people. In practice, not so much. Right now, a little over 10% of the American workforce is part of the “gig economy,” according to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, which means that most or all of their main income comes from work they do as independent contractors or through temp, on-call, and contract work. They aren’t guaranteed direct deposits, they don’t get paid-time off, and they often have to grapple with stagnating…

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They’re each famous for different reasons. But as kids, these women wore the same uniform.

When was the last time a Girl Scout inspired you to follow your dreams? If your answer involves dreaming of Girl Scout cookies, then I don’t blame you — getting your hands on those Thin Mints can be a real motivator. But what you may not realize is that Girl Scouts have influenced the world in much bigger ways that don’t involve their awesome cookies. In fact, some Girl Scouts have changed the course of history. We’re talking astronauts, political leaders, activists, and more. Girl Scouts of the USA reports…

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Heres why revitalizing a city doesnt have to mean erasing its history.

Imagine your childhood neighborhood. Now imagine waking up one morning to a bulldozer ready to plow it down. Plenty of people would, understandably, have an emotional reaction at the idea that the place they grew up was about to be torn to the ground. For some, a city full of little boutiques and expensive coffee shops is the ultimate sign of progress and growth. But for the people who have lived there much longer — whose homes stood long before the frozen yogurt and the bike lanes — this can…

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Her future was laid out. But a passion for justice took her places she never imagined.

Christine Bischoff grew up in a small southern West Virginia coal town. “Everyone’s dad was a coal miner, and very few people were educated,” Bischoff says. It was the type of place where opportunities were few and far between. There were about six career choices in the whole town. Christine Bischoff. All photos courtesy of XQ. “You basically picked one, and that’s what you were going to be,” Bischoff says. She went with the one that, to her, sounded the most fun: physical therapy. Then Bischoff’s life changed permanently because…

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This football player is stepping up to help break the taboo behind people’s periods.

When my sister used the words “free bleeding,” I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. Rachel had started an organization called Kitty Packs to help eradicate free bleeding in the homeless community, and she wanted my support. The only problem? I really didn’t know what “free bleeding” was. My name is Joshua Garnett. I’m an offensive guard for the San Francisco 49ers. I bleed all the time. And I was a human biology major at Stanford too, so blood and the human body are subjects I’m pretty…

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These moms are conquering a huge obstacle: helping kids see that exercise is fun.

When the moms at Roosevelt K-8 School got together to start a fitness program for their kids, one mom was not feeling enthusiastic. “When I was in school it was, ‘How many pullups can you do?’” Jesse Farren-James says. “Well, I could do zero, and it was horrible.” Having struggled with her weight on and off throughout life, Farren-James felt like the last person who should be helping lead an exercise program. But one problem at her sons’ school left her feeling like she had no choice but to do…

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For these vets, getting the right surfboard was more than a gift it was a lifeline.

After 15 deployments, Navy SEAL Alex West returned home a different man. “[It] really put a lot of strain on my body,” he explained, and that strain left West struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and a traumatic brain injury. But, despite the pain and trauma from his time in Iraq and Afghanistan, one thing still remained a constant: West’s love for the water. “I joined the Navy to be a SEAL,” he says. “I think there is something special about the saltwater.” All photos provided by Starbucks.…

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Kids playing with electronic devices too much? This program will get them on their feet.

Little Candace scored six three-pointers in her basketball game this weekend. Too bad it was on her iPad and not on the court. Sound familiar to any parents out there? Kids spending an inordinate amount of time in front of electronics instead of getting up and running around on their own two feet? Well, mom Kathleen Tullie was not a fan of this scenario, so she decided to create a morning fitness program to get kids going before school. But she had to fight for it, even with a community…

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This museum is fighting to preserve the near-forgotten history of black New Orleans.

Francis Sylvester was walking home at the end of Mardi Gras when he saw a part of someone’s costume lying in the street. 30 years later, it became the first official piece in the Backstreet Museum’s collection when its doors opened to the public. “He saw someone take the suit off and discard it, without even looking back,” says Bruce Barnes, current president of the Backstreet Museum, of the founder’s impulse to nab the garb. Clearly, it was no longer of any use to its owner since Mardi Gras was…

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