One-Third of Adults in This Major American City Struggle to Read and Write

Here’s how the mayor is trying to fix that. #projectliteracy

Image via Flickr user philaliteracy (cc)

Of America’s largest metropolitan areas, the City of Brotherly Love ranks near the top in a less than ideal way, claiming one of the highest rates of functional illiteracy in the country. An estimated half a million adult residents—or nearly one-third of the population—operate below basic education levels. And with 27 percent of the city’s population living in poverty, an astonishing number of individuals lack the basic skills necessary to advance out of their circumstances, whether within post-secondary programs or into gainful employment.

That’s where the Mayor’s Commission on Literacy enters the equation. Though originally assembled in 1983, the Commission was refocused in 2011 by the city’s current mayor, Michael Nutter—around the time the Philadelphia Inquirer called out illiteracy as the scourge of Philadelphia. Today, the Commission leads the nation when it comes to using technology for large-scale adult work-readiness, while working closely with other adult literacy and education initiatives across the city to combat the issues that stem from low literacy.

Keep Reading

A Brief History of Vitamins

Find out how pirates fought off scurvy with lime juice—and how vitamins have been curing sickness ever since.

Mankind has always been an adventurous species, exploring new lands and sailing the sea. Along the way, we succumbed to strange diseases. To cure ourselves, we used trial and error to boost our nutrition with vitamins, long before they were available in bottles. In ancient Egypt, the original “vitamin” took the form of liver paste—full of vitamins A, D, E, K, and B12—which we rubbed on our eyes to cure to cure night blindness, a malady caused by Vitamin A deficiency. By the 18th century, pirates accidentally figured out that a few drops of lime juice—rich in vitamin C—effectively fought off scurvy.

Keep Reading

How to Upcycle: Old Plastic Jugs

Next time you drink all the milk, don't just toss out the jug it came in.

Just because you’ve finished off the last of your milk or orange juice, you don’t need to toss out the jug it came in. Plastic containers can take hundreds or even thousands of years to biodegrade. But it’s easy to extend their usefulness by turning them into a flower pot, watering can, or pencil holder. Through the process of upcycling, or reusing objects or materials to create a new product, this everyday item can be transformed into something practical and even cool. All you need is a few household supplies.

What you’ll need:

Keep Reading

Here’s What Happens When We Ask You to “Take Back the Mirror”

Thank you for sharing your positive selfies. #100StartsWith1

Last week, together with Sambazon and I AM THAT GIRL, we challenged you to get vulnerable and take a selfie, write yourself a love note, then post it online. Emily Greener—I AM THAT GIRL co-founder—calls this “taking back the mirror.”

To facilitate the self-love live and in-person, we installed a large mirror in the middle of Santa Monica Place, an open-air mall in Los Angeles, then encouraged passersby to write positive and empowering notes to themselves on the mirror using lipstick. We also invited those outside the area to join the campaign online.

Keep Reading