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When Will Aliva got out of prison, he’d paid his debt to society - but that didn’t help him pay his bills. Like many ex-cons, he struggled to find companies that would take a chance on hiring him. Too often, this roadblock results in ex-cons winding up back behind bars as they turn to old illegal activities to make ends meet. He decided to tackle the problem head on and founded a landscaping company, Clean Decisions, that clears a path for returning citizens to a successful life on the outside. Not only do they provide employment, they help train people for successful careers - and provide a strong, positive community where people can share their struggles and help support each other. It’s made a huge impact on the lives of those who participate in it, and it’s also helping clean up Washington, DC: they’re fast becoming a leading contractor for landscape work in DC.

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Human Nature
Advice from a Death Doula: Unlocking Life Before Death
Advice from a Death Doula: Unlocking Life Before Death
Human Nature
Advice from a Death Doula: Unlocking Life Before Death
Talking about death can actually make it a much less frightening topic. Here’s how working with a death doula or attending a local death cafe can help.

Talking about death can actually make it a much less frightening topic. Here’s how working with a death doula or attending a local death cafe can help.

Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
Transitional employment
Catalysts
This Social Enterprise is Cleaning Up Chicago One Street at a Time
This nonprofit is not only polishing the streets of Chicago, but providing a "clean slate" for its interns. Those with a criminal background, dealing with addiction recovery, or domestic violence, are welcome to take part in job training and counseling.

It's a muggy Wednesday morning in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood, the temperature and humidity rising before the sun. Lena, decked out in her eye-catching slate shirt and chartreuse vest, leans slightly out into the busy rush-hour traffic, sweeping litter (wrappers, cups, lots of cigarette butts) from the gutter into her dustpan. On the sidewalk, she empties her collection into a cart. As she moves down the street,...

CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
CATALYSTS
Life Jackets Are Used to Create Jewelry, Opportunity for Refugees
Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded...

Hordes of bright orange lifejackets are strewn across the rocky beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. Discarded after a perilous journey at sea, they exemplify the risk that refugees are willing to take in search of a better life. A Minnesota fashion start-up creates jewelry from discarded refugee life jackets. There are currently 26 million refugees worldwide....

Making a Difference
Ever Wonder What Happens to Leftover Crayons?
Ever Wonder What Happens to Leftover Crayons?
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Making a Difference
Ever Wonder What Happens to Leftover Crayons?
This dad is melting down old crayons for kids who need them most.
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The Crayon Initiative began when father Bryan Ware wondered what happened to the old crayons his kid used at restaurants. It turns out that not only are they not recyclable, they’re toxic to the environment - and typically wind up in landfills after they are thrown away. He had an idea: what if they were melted down and used to make new crayons for kids in need? He decided to do just that, and now hundreds of volunteers are...

Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
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Catalysts
Introducing Catalysts
It’s time to change how we make change. Join us as we meet inspiring social entrepreneurs who are exploring bold new solutions to big social problems.
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How can we make progress on a problem as huge and seemingly intractable as poverty? How can we not? There is no silver bullet to eradicating poverty, but all across the country, a diverse array of social entrepreneurs are doing their part to take on this monumental challenge, building amazing organizations that are having a real impact in their communities. Catalysts, a Freethink original series presented by Stand Together,...

Dispatches
FDA Approves the First Marijuana-based Drug
FDA Approves the First Marijuana-based Drug
Dispatches
FDA Approves the First Marijuana-based Drug
The drug has been proven effective at reducing seizures from certain types of childhood epilepsy.

The drug has been proven effective at reducing seizures from certain types of childhood epilepsy.

Afghanistan’s First Female Tech CEO
Afghanistan’s First Female Tech CEO
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Afghanistan’s First Female Tech CEO
Despite getting death threats from the Taliban, Roya Mahboob realized her dream of a successful career in tech.
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As a girl growing up in Afghanistan, Roya Mahboob was offered few opportunities for a life outside the home. Her conservative society had limited options for women and actively discouraged dreaming bigger. But Roya knew she wanted more. When she went to an internet cafe as a teenager and saw a world outside of her town, she realized technology could be her ticket to the life she dreamed of. Roya studied information and...