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Get Smart About Sustainability: Tips for teaching kids earth-friendly habits



(Family Features) For many parents, their interest in sustainability and earth-friendly living is driven by a desire to create a better world for their children. Taking personal action and responsibility are part of the solution but teaching the next generation to be environmentally conscious is an important part of the equation, too.

Connecting lessons about sustainability to familiar aspects of your child’s daily life, like school, can makes it easy for him or her to understand and establish earth-friendly habits from a young age. Here are some ideas for promoting sustainable behaviors this school year:

Be smart about supplies. Before restocking your student’s supplies, take inventory of what you have left over from last year. Your student probably had several items with plenty of life left, or things that were bought as backups, so you can avoid waste and save a little money while reducing your consumption of unnecessary goods.

Model good habits. Kids learn by example, so know they’re watching and internalizing your behaviors. If you’re not already practicing these habits, make an intentional effort to turn lights off before you leave the house each morning, turn off the water while brushing teeth, use alternate energy sources around the house and encourage your school district to adopt sustainable practices, such as propane-powered buses.

Reduce food-based waste. Convenient, single-serve packaging makes assembling school lunches a breeze, but all that extra wrapping is waste that ends up in the landfill. Other options, like buying in bulk and sending treats in reusable plastic bags, is a more earth-friendly approach. Bento-style boxes with compartments for different foods are another option to help make lunchtime more sustainable. Similarly, encourage your child to carry a water bottle at school each day, which reduces water fountain waste (and cuts back on his or her exposure to germs).

Enjoy nature together. As temperatures cool, it’s a terrific opportunity to spend quality time outdoors as a family. Showing your child reasons to appreciate nature can make it easier for him or her to understand and provide motivation to make choices that protect the earth.

Reinforce with reading. Multiple studies reinforce the benefits of reading with and to young students. Selecting books with earth-positive messaging helps them explore new ideas for sustainable living and see how beloved characters embrace values similar to those your family shares.


Safer, Smarter Bus Transportation

The way kids ride to school today is very much the way children traveled to school 25 years ago: in aging diesel school buses. However, diesel school buses are not only expensive to operate, but they pose risks to children’s health, the community and the climate.

Today, there are two main options for clean student transportation: propane and electric. While both can reduce emissions, propane can do it at a fraction of the cost.

Every day, 1.3 million American children ride to school in 22,000 propane-powered school buses. Propane buses are currently in 1,000 school districts in 48 states. That’s only about 5% of the nation’s total buses, but the number is growing. These are some of the reasons more districts are moving to propane-powered transportation:

Student Health and the Environment
The cloud of black smoke that comes from the tailpipe of a diesel bus contains harmful emissions that are classified by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen and are known triggers for issues like asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Propane school buses lower those emissions to near-zero levels, which improves air quality and eliminates concerns about breathing-related issues. In fact, according to a study by Georgia State University, students who ride to school on a low-emissions bus, like propane, had higher test scores than those who rode on diesel buses.

Compared to electric, propane buses provide a lower lifetime carbon option. That includes emissions that take place before the wheels start turning on the road, like charging a bus using the electric grid versus refueling it with propane. Coal and natural gas are still America’s primary sources of energy for electricity generation and drive up emissions.

Cost Savings
Three times less expensive than electric buses, the cost of a propane school bus and its refueling infrastructure is one of the most affordable options for school districts.


School districts can save money throughout the lifetime of propane buses, which cost 30-50% less per mile to operate than diesel, according to the Propane Education & Research Council. What’s more, a World LP Gas Association study found replacing diesel buses with propane buses would save enough money to hire 23,000 new teachers.

While electric vehicles make sense for several uses, propane has the fuel range and performance needed for large vehicles that drive long distances without stopping to recharge or refuel. A typical propane school bus can drive more than 2.5 times farther on a full tank than a comparable electric school bus can drive on a full charge.

Find more information about clean school bus operation at

Propane Education & Research Council

Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of TNC Network.

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The Media Trust Warns of Increased Digital Attacks Targeting Children and Elderly



2023 outlook reveals growing assault on consumer expectations of digital trust and safety

MCLEAN, Va. ( – The Media Trust, the preeminent leader in digital trust and safety for websites and mobile apps, released a report detailing the harms experienced by consumers through their everyday use of websites and mobile apps. When accessing common online environments — news, entertainment, shopping, travel — children and the elderly were increasingly affected by malware, a 3.7X and 11X growth, respectively, throughout 2022. 

The report CYA 2023: 7 Digital Safety Trends for Uncertain Times highlights malware and ad-quality challenges facing brands, publishers, and platforms as they navigate consumer-loyalty concerns and the economic uncertainties of 2023. From poor security to inappropriate content, the consumer experience is under attack, which threatens monetization channels including commerce and online advertising. 

The report confirms:

  • 4,500+ active attacks targeting millions of consumers each month 
  • 1.3 billion malicious ads blocked on Fortune 1000 websites and apps
  • 2.2X growth in e-skimming attacks since 2020
  • 3X increase in just three months of an attack leveraging a particular corrupted JavaScript library
  • 16X rise in backdoors being installed on devices — personal, corporate, government

“Threat actors have greatly improved their ability to get their malicious wares in front of the most vulnerable consumers online,” explained Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust. “Every business with a digital channel — website, app, gaming console — needs to be aware of how these assets are used to target and harm your customers. You cannot simply look the other way and leave children and the elderly to fend for themselves. Your family, friends, and neighbors are all being hunted every time they use the internet.”

An informative, 30-minute webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. Register for  CYA 2023: 7 Digital Safety Trends Webinar

About The Media Trust: 


Today’s digital ecosystem relies on The Media Trust to safeguard the consumer experience. We fix the issues that harm your customers, drive data breaches, violate regulations, impede revenue, and tarnish your brand. Acting as your audience, our unique digital safety platform captures their true user experience and stops harmful activity so you can better monetize and govern your digital assets. Since 2005, hundreds of digital businesses have depended on The Media Trust to protect their strategic digital revenue channels. Why not yours? The Media Trust — your partner in digital trust and safety. Learn more at

Source: The Media Trust

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Indianapolis Community Celebration to Discuss Impact of School Choice in Black and Brown Communities



INDIANAPOLIS /PRNewswire/ — Hoosier families and national education reform leaders will learn from the past and look to the future as they mark School Choice Week 2023 with an in-depth discussion of school choice’s impact in Black and Brown communities on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the Indianapolis Artsgarden.

“There are many issues our society needs to address with regards to race, equality, and education, and we should look to school choice programs as one solution to actually make things better for people,” said EdChoice President Robert Enlow. “As part of National School Choice Week, we are honored to join education leaders to celebrate how far we’ve come not only in Indiana, but nationwide, and look ahead to the progress yet to come.”

Hosted by EdChoice in collaboration with the Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools, the event will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with drinks, appetizers, and the opportunity for community members to network and discuss the power of choice in K-12 education. It’s part of the annual National School Choice Week 2023, celebrated with events nationwide. As part of the local festivities, the AES Indiana building in Indianapolis will light up red and yellow. 

At 6:15 p.m., EdChoice President Robert Enlow will introduce a panel of esteemed education leaders, including civil rights activist and education reform icon Dr. Howard Fuller, Capital Preparatory Schools Founder Dr. Steve Perry, and Education Leaders of Color Chief Policy Officer Angelica Solis-Montero. Dr. Charles Cole, founder of Energy Converters, an initiative to help students activate their leadership through agency in education, will moderate.

More than 200 parents, educators, and legislators are expected to attend and hear the panelists’ perspectives on recent successes and challenges in expanding education outcomes for Black and Brown students, and how school choice can position students for a successful future. The panel discussion will wrap up with a Q&A.

“Studies show us that not only are school choice programs integrating schools in better ways than ever before, but they are giving all students – including minority students – greater hope for the future,” Enlow continued. “As we work to restore the learning lost during the Covid-19 pandemic – which was felt most strongly among Black and Brown students – we must give families more choices and agency in their children’s future.”


This event is organized by EdChoice, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers every family to choose the schooling environment that fits their children’s needs best.

Join the discussion on Wednesday at the Indianapolis Artsgarden, located at 110 W. Washington St. The event is open to the press and the public, but registration is required at

National School Choice Week (NSCW) informs, inspires, and empowers parents to discover the K-12 education options available for their children, including traditional public, charter, magnet, online, private, and home schooling. Every January, tens of thousands of schools, organizations, and individuals plan unique events and activities to shine a positive spotlight on effective education options in their communities. The Week is a project of the nonpartisan, nonpolitical National School Choice Awareness Foundation.

SOURCE National School Choice Week

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Creative, Talented and Inspiring High School Students Chosen for This Year’s Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort



Exclusive Walt Disney World Resort mentoring event fosters dreams of Black students and teens from underrepresented communities; 100 outstanding students from New York to California to be part of the multi-day event in March

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. /PRNewswire/ — A budding artist, an aspiring neurosurgeon and a creative storyteller are among the 100 talented high school students selected for this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy, an educational mentoring program hosted at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

The 100 students from across the country will descend on Walt Disney World Resort March 23-26 for the 16th annual event, aimed at broadening career awareness and creating exclusive opportunities for Black students and teens from underrepresented communities across America.

Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell pose with Newark Tech (N.J.) high school student Mosope Aina moments after she was surprised on national TV on January 13, 2023 with the news that she is one of 100 students selected for this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in March. Also, the names of all 100 Dreamers were displayed on a Times Square billboard. Disney Dreamers Academy is a mentoring program hosted annually at Walt Dis
Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell pose with Newark Tech (N.J.) high school student Mosope Aina moments after she was surprised on national TV on January 13, 2023 with the news that she is one of 100 students selected for this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida in March. Also, the names of all 100 Dreamers were displayed on a Times Square billboard. Disney Dreamers Academy is a mentoring program hosted annually at Walt Dis
Flanked by her mother amid a sea of confetti, Mosope Aina, an aspiring neurosurgeon, was surprised by Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell on national TV on January 13, 2023 at her school in Newark, N.J. with the news of her selection to Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney Dreamers Academy in late March is a mentoring program hosted annually by Walt Disney World Resort that fosters the dreams of Black students and teens from
Flanked by her mother amid a sea of confetti, Mosope Aina, an aspiring neurosurgeon, was surprised by Mickey Mouse and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion Tracey Powell on national TV on January 13, 2023 at her school in Newark, N.J. with the news of her selection to Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney Dreamers Academy in late March is a mentoring program hosted annually by Walt Disney World Resort that fosters the dreams of Black students and teens from

The full list of students is available at

To kick off the announcement of the 2023 class, Mickey Mouse, Disney executives, and international recording star Kelly Rowland surprised one of the students with the news of her selection live on national TV from her school in Newark, N. J. Afterwards, the names of the entire Class of 2023 were displayed on a Times Square billboard.

Rowland, the four-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and television executive producer, served last year as the program’s ambassador and as an advocate for the students. She shared personal insights, drawing from her own unique experience as a pre-teen performer, then as a teenager in one of the best-selling female groups of all time, Destiny’s Child.

The Disney Dreamers program is an important part of Disney’s commitment to support diverse communities. By encouraging the next generation to think big, Disney hopes the students will carry what they learn back home and continue pursuing their dreams.


“We’re ready to welcome another outstanding group of teens from across the country for our 16th year!” said Tracey Powell, Disney Signature Experiences vice president and Disney Dreamers Academy executive champion. “They are going to have the experience of a lifetime, setting them on a journey to go out and achieve their dreams, just like the classes who came before them.”

Since 2008, Disney Dreamers Academy has inspired more than 1,500 students from across the country by fueling their dreams and showing them a world of possibilities as they prepare for their futures. In the years following, graduates have become storytellers, artists, engineers, innovators, journalists and more, and have transitioned into mentors to the Disney Dreamers who follow them.

Each year, the Disney Dreamers are selected from thousands of applicants who answer essay questions about their personal stories and dreams for the future. The students and a parent or guardian enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida for the four-day event.

The Disney Dreamers embark on a journey throughout the Walt Disney World theme parks and behind the scenes of the 40-square-mile vacation destination. It is a vibrant classroom where students discover new career opportunities, pursue their dreams and interact with Disney executives, educators, business leaders, celebrities and motivational speakers.

Students participate in immersive, career-oriented workshops that explore a wide range of career disciplines while also learning essential skills, such as effective communication techniques, leadership and networking strategies.

Past celebrity participants have included stars from the big screen and television, noted sports figures and popular musicians, as well as personalities and cast members from across the Disney family, including “Good Morning America,” ESPN, Disney Channel and the ABC TV series “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish.”


For more information, visit Regular updates about Disney Dreamers Academy are also available on social media at and 

The 100 students selected for the 2023 Disney Dreamers Academy are (listed by state):

First NameLast NameCityState
EllaMilsteinLa JollaCA
TinaMaiNewport CoastCA
MadisonHendersonLos AngelesCA
BrookeSibalaChula VistaCA
SanviPrakashSan RamonCA
CiscoHernandezNational CityCA
XavierForbesSan DiegoCA
JonathanDe CaroMoodusCT
Mary AmmaBlanksonMadisonCT
SophiaJurovieskyBoca RatonFL
SophiaDupeyronCape CoralFL
KimoraReedSaint PetersburgFL
Bradley RossJacksonNormalIL
JaylynnPoweBaton RougeLA
Xin YueLuLutherville TimoniumMD
AriaSmithUpper MarlboroMD
MakaylaJoaquinFort WashingtonMD
NatalynTaylorEllicott CityMD
PrestonZabinkoAnn ArborMI
EliseTaoUpper Saddle RiverNJ
MariaMaioneEgg Harbor CityNJ
EmilyMelendezRego ParkNY
NeighujahHarmonOklahoma CityOK
AnjanaPramodWest ChesterPA
PrernaChakkingalMc DonaldPA
ShaneMushambiMissouri CityTX
MedhaPulluruCedar ParkTX
NiaCurryTrophy ClubTX
Eliora MargaretKwakyeOlympiaWA
JuliusZakariaOak CreekWI

About Disney Dreamers Academy:

Established by Walt Disney World in 2008, Disney Dreamers Academy’s mission is to inspire young leaders to dream beyond imagination by providing life-long access to personalized support for the Disney Dreamer, their caregivers and community through insightful content and uplifting experts, mentors, and sponsors. Each year, 100 high school students are awarded a trip to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to experience the immersive and transformational program.

SOURCE Walt Disney World

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