Want to help the planet while shopping? Take a lesson from this teen designer.

Like a lot of 8-year-old girls, Maya Penn was all about fashion. Unlike most 8-year-old girls, however, she had an idea to change the industry rather than just buy from it.

With a dad who won NASA awards for solar energy projects and a mom who loved to garden, Maya was always encouraged to be eco-conscious. When she decided to start her own clothing line, she knew she wanted it to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Of course, like any savvy businessperson, Maya recognized this meant doing a lot of research first.


"I did a lot of research about fashion and the environment and how the fashion industry has such a negative impact," Maya explains.

In fact, she learned the fashion industry is the second largest planet-wide polluter, right behind oil.

In order to shrink her clothing line's carbon footprint, Maya first began creating her own designs using vintage clothes she had around the house.

"I love vintage so much," says Maya. "Every piece has its own story to tell you."

It's also a great way to repurpose cool fashion, which means you're not using energy to make it or creating waste.

"I thought, let me try something different that won't create as much of a strain on the planet," Maya recalls.

Once she'd amassed a number of revitalized vintage pieces, Maya opened her own store on Etsy. It didn't take long for her to get noticed. After all, how many 8-year-olds are running a fashion line — and an eco-friendly one at that?

The buzz around her store snowballed, and by the time she was 10, Maya had been featured in a number of publications.

Maya in Essence Magazine. All photos via Maya Penn, used with permission.

Naturally, that led to a huge spike in sales, so she decided to start her own website. By herself.

Since she's a "bit of a techie," Maya decided to learn how to code and construct her own website. She called it Maya's Ideas. The end result was more than Maya could've ever hoped for.

Once it was clear she's a wunderkind of many talents, Maya was asked to speak at a number of tech organizations, including Google and IBM. She's also the youngest woman to give back-to-back TED Talks — in fact, her latest is one of TED’s official top 15 TEDWomen Talks of all time.

Mind you, this is all before she turned 20.

Despite all this early notoriety, Maya's not taking her eyes off her main goal — to offset the environmental impact of fashion. That's why she started consulting with major brands on eco-friendly practices.

The fashion industry is starting to move in an eco-friendly direction largely because consumers are becoming more and more conscientious. However, there's still an accessibility issue — either eco-friendly products aren't available locally, or they're too expensive for the average consumer. Maya is helping brands tackle this by showing them how she's made it work on the boutique level.

Along with the recycled vintage materials she initially used, Maya creates fashion pieces from 100% organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo. She's always working on fabric production methods to make her carbon footprint even smaller. What's more, she sends 10% of all her profits to local and global charities and environmental nonprofit organizations.

Needless to say, she's on the cutting edge of eco-fashion (pun intended).

And she hasn't stopped there. Maya also has an ongoing project where she designs eco-friendly sanitary pads for people in developing countries.

Maya's eco-friendly sanitary pads.

It's just one aspect of her nonprofit, Maya's Ideas 4 the Planet.

"Many [people] don’t have access to [sanitary pads]," Maya explains. "It prevents their ability to work and get an education for days out of every month." Not only are the pads organic and durable — they're washable and biodegradable.

Anyone else thinking this girl is a real-life superhero?

After working 10-plus years in eco-friendly fashion, Maya's still finding new ways to advocate for sustainability. But her mission is about more than the environment now.

The aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Photo Via Roosevelt Skerrit/Flickr.

"I think now more than ever people are starting to realize that environmental issues are human rights issues as well," explains Maya.

Climate change is already affecting the human race on a massive scale. Just this past year, there have been a monumental amount of catastrophic weather phenomena that devastated entire island chains, inspiring a new and terrifying term — climate refugees.

While that may sound overwhelming, thankfully there are brilliant young people out there like Maya who are working tirelessly to help clean up our act and slow the change.

That said, she can't do it alone.

The next time you want to pick up a new outfit, try looking for eco-friendly brands, or head to your local secondhand store and hunt for an awesome vintage piece. It's one fashion-forward way you can do your part to protect the world we call home.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.

Usually when we share a story of a couple having been married for nearly five decades, it's a sweet story of lasting love. Usually when we share a story of a long-time married couple dying within minutes of each other, it's a touching story of not wanting to part from one another at the end of their lives.

The story of Patricia and Leslie "LD" McWaters dying together might have both of those elements, but it is also tragic because they died of a preventable disease in a pandemic that hasn't been handled well. The Michigan couple, who had been married for 47 years, both died of COVID-19 complications on November 24th. Since they died less than a minute apart, their deaths were recorded with the exact same time—4:23pm.

Patricia, who was 78 at her passing, had made her career as a nurse. LD, who would have turned 76 next month, had been a truck driver. Patricia was "no nonsense" while LD was "fun-loving," and the couple did almost everything together, according to their joint obituary.

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Courtesy of Macy's

Brantley and his snowman

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"Would you like to build a snowman?" If you asked five-year-old Brantley from Texas this question, the answer would be a resounding "Yes!" While it may sound like a simple dream, since Texas doesn't usually see much snow, it seemed like a lofty one for him, even more so because Brantley has a congenital heart disease.

On Dec. 11, 2019, however, the real Macy's Santa and his two elves teamed up with Make-A-Wish to surprise Brantley and his family on his way to Colorado where there was plenty of snow for him to build his very own snowman, fulfilling his wish as part of the Macy's Believe campaign. After a joy-filled plane ride where every passenger got gift bags from Macy's, the family arrived in Breckenridge, Colorado where Santa and his elves helped Brantley build a snowman.

Brantley, Brantley's mom, and Santa marveling at their snowmanAll photos courtesy of Macy's

Brantley, who according to his mom had never actually seen snow, was blown away by the experience.

"Well, I had to build a snowman because snowmen are my favorite," Brantley said in an interview with Summit Daily. "All of it was my favorite part."

This is just one example of the more than 330,000 wishes the nonprofit Make-A-Wish have fulfilled to bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses since its founding 40 years ago. Even though many of the children that Make-A-Wish grants wishes for manage or overcome their illnesses, they often face months, if not years of doctor's visits, hospital stays and uncomfortable treatments. The nonprofit helps these children and their families replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy and anxiety with hope.

It's hardly an outlandish notion — research shows that a wish come true can help increase these children's resiliency and improve their quality of life. Brantley is a prime example.

"This couldn't have come at a better time because we see all the hardships that we went through last year," Brantley's mom Brandi told Summit Daily.

Brantley playing with snowballs

Now more than ever, kids with critical illnesses need hope. Since they're particularly vulnerable to disease, they and their families have had to isolate even more during the pandemic and avoid the people they love most and many of the activities that recharge them. That's why Make-A-Wish is doing everything it can to fulfill wishes in spite of the unprecedented obstacles.

That's where you come in. Macy's has raised over $132 million for Make-A-Wish, and helped grant more than 15,500 wishes since their partnership began in 2003, but they couldn't have done that without the support of everyday people. The crux of that support comes from Macy's Believe Campaign — the longstanding holiday fundraising effort where for every letter to Santa that's written online at Macys.com or dropped off safely at the red Believe mailbox at their stores, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. New this year, National Believe Day will be expanded to National Believe Week and will provide customers the opportunity to double their donations ($2 per letter, up to an additional $1 million) for a full week from Sunday, Nov. 29 through Saturday, Dec. 5.

There are more ways to support Make-A-Wish besides letter-writing too. If you purchase a $4 Believe bracelet, $2 of each bracelet will be donated to Make-A-Wish through Dec. 31. And for families who are all about the holiday PJs, on Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1), 20 percent of the purchase price of select family pajamas will benefit Make-A-Wish.

Elizabeth living out her wish of being a fashion designer

Additionally, this year's campaign features 6-year-old Elizabeth, a Make-A-Wish child diagnosed with leukemia, whose wish to design a dress recently came true. Thanks to the style experts at Macy's Fashion Office and I.N.C. International Concepts, only at Macy's, Elizabeth had the opportunity to design a colorful floral maxi dress. Elizabeth's exclusive design is now available online at Macys.com and in select Macy's stores. In the spirit of giving back this holiday season, 20 percent of the purchase price of Elizabeth's dress (through Dec. 31) will benefit Make-A-Wish.You can also donate directly to Make-A-Wish via Macy's website.

This holiday season may be a tough one this year, but you can bring joy to children fighting critical illnesses by delivering hope for their wishes to come true.

via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

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via Elliot Page / Instagram

Elliot Page, once publicly known as Ellen Page, has announced he is transgender. The announcement makes the Oscar-nominated actor one of the most high-profile celebrities to come out as transgender.

The actor currently stars in Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy" and has acted in films such as "Juno," "Inception," and the "X-Men" franchise.

Page made the announcement on social media where he celebrated the joy of coming out while taking the opportunity to discuss the issues faced by the transgender community.

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