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Chris Bullard: Sound Mind

At some point during Chris Bullard’s first stay in the psych ward, the musician and entrepreneur picked up a guitar and began strumming. Soon, patients emerged from their rooms and began to sing along. “A homeless guy off the street as well as an executive type,” he remembers. “And I was just like, ‘Wow! This music thing…
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The Secret Song

There was a stencil on the sidewalk outside of my old Hell’s Kitchen apartment that read, “Being impatient won’t get you the secret song.” We all have secrets, truths that gnaw at us, crush our spirit, and kill us from the inside out. Here’s mine. Like millions of Americans, adverse childhood experiences (divorce, assault) left me hypervigilant. Chronic…
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Alberto Mendoza: Bridge Builder

Alberto Mendoza is a master class in turning challenges into opportunities. As a Mexican-American teenager growing up in San Diego, California, Alberto was flummoxed by the lack of representation at Montgomery High School. “The high school was about 65% Mexican kids,” he explains. “But the Filipino kids ran all the activities: they ran the newspaper,…
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Wide Awake

When I’m really lucky, a whole verse or chorus will unfold in front of me. And I’ll grab my iPhone and press that big red record button. Such was the case on October 4, 2020, when the following fell from my lips onto my phone: “And I don’t know what you think that you heard,…
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Human Kindness Foundation: Free People

Though the United States represents just over 4 percent of the world’s population, it houses 2.3M or nearly 20 percent of the world’s prisoners. For most Americans, this is a rarely considered and largely anonymized population. But to the Human Kindness Foundation, this forgotten population is an untapped resource for love and creativity, and a…
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Michael Slackman: Planet Sandwich

When I first met Michael Slackman at Columbia University in 2014, he was the epitome of Bronx-born cool: fast-talking, wise-cracking, and whip-smart. A one-time bureau chief in Berlin, Cairo, and Moscow, and current Assistant Managing Editor for International at The New York Times, Slackman led reportage across the newsroom and oversees bureaus around the globe. For…
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