Things That Matter

Here’s How Demi Lovato Is Paying It Forward After Changing Her Life

CBS

Demi Lovato has long been outspoken about what it’s like living with addiction, bulimia and bipolar disorder, particularly in the wake of her time in rehab. Now the singer/actress is doing even more to give others the resources to become healthy by becoming a co-owner of CAST Centers, the same group of rehabilitation centers she turned to for help.

Demi told CBS’s “Sunday Morning” correspondent Tracy Smith that, even though she wasn’t exactly the most receptive patient to ever walk through the facility’s doors (“Yeah, I was a nightmare,” she said.), she ultimately benefitted from the experience and now wants to now do her part to help others find that same peace:

“It sounds ridiculous but, like, I kind of made a pact with God. And I don’t even think you’re supposed to do that, but I was, like, I promised, ‘If you make me a singer one day, I’m going to use my voice for so much more than singing, and I’m going to help people with it.”

CAST Centers has also previously teamed up with Demi on her Future Now tour with Nick Jonas, offering guest speakers and a forum to discuss mental health at various tour stops.

You can watch the full CBS interview with Demi right over here.

Keep being awesome, Demi.

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Credit: Demi Lovato VEVO

READ: These Latinas Rocked The DNC With Their Powerful Speeches

Selena Gomez Is Fighting To Make Sure That Everyone Can Speak Openly And Honestly About Getting Help For Their Mental Health

Entertainment

Selena Gomez Is Fighting To Make Sure That Everyone Can Speak Openly And Honestly About Getting Help For Their Mental Health

selenagomez / Instagram

Selena Marie Gomez (born in Texas in 1992) has been in the public eye for as long as she can remember. She has been a role model for young girls as a singer and an actress and now is involved in more risqué films such as Spring Breakers, a delirious film by indie filmmaker Harmony Korine. Besides having a strong onscreen persona, Gomez has been in relationships with the likes of Justin Bieber, which of course turned the paparazzi attention and cameras to her. Suddenly, when she was barely a teenager her every move was being followed. Her life was sort of predestined to be great when she was named after the great late Selena Quintanilla. However, she has had to deal with divorce (her parents separated when she was five-years-old) and with weak health, as she was diagnosed with lupus, an auto-immune disease, which ultimately forced her to get a kidney transplant. She found strength in her mom. Gomez has said that her mother “was really strong around me. Having me at 16 had to have been a big responsibility. She gave up everything for me, had three jobs, supported me, sacrificed her life for me.” That must provide so much strength for a woman of barely 26 but who has gone through more in her lifetime than many 50-year-olds.

This must not be easy for anyone, even more so for a Latino woman. Gomez knows that she has a microphone and that she can get to other girls and women. “The older I get, the prouder I am to be a woman in the industry. When I was younger and running around all the time on tour, I don’t think I took the time to notice how being a woman in my position is really a gift. I want to make sure I utilize all that power,” the young Latina star told Into the GlossShe has used this position of privilege to raise awareness on mental health issues, including suicide prevention, both as a celebrity and as a producer. She is also a supporter of associations such as Make A Wish (which grants children diagnosed with life-threatening conditions), the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Ryan Seacrest Foundation. 

Selena Gomez fights for friendships above anything else: girl power.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez values friendship and spreads the word. She has such loyal friends that one even donated a kidney when Gomez needed a transplant. She says: “People are put into your life for seasons, for different reasons, and to teach you lessons”: Selena, we couldn’t agree more.

She gets politically enraged when it matters.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez knows that a lot of mental health issues concerning young women are related to the policing of their sexuality and reproductive rights. She gets political when she feels the need to, particularly with issues concerning the mental health and general wellbeing of young women like herself. 

She asks her fans to be strong, but to also look for help when needed.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Her advice: “I’ve learned there’s power deep down inside yourself, and you can find it when you don’t give up on yourself and when you ask for help.” This is so real it hurts: even someone like her, who in the eyes of her fans might seem to have it all, needs to be humble and honest in reaching out to others when the world seems bleak. There is always someone who cares if you are OK. 

She stands up for migrants.

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Gomez doesn’t get political often, but when she does she always stands up for the minority communities. She has been a vocal advocate for migrant rights and the rights of women. She even wore a 1973 necklace as one of very few Latina celebs speaking up for abortion rights.

She even takes a stand from DACA recipients and Dreamers.

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She has used her social media accounts, which have followers in the millions, to call her fans to action. She is clearly showing the world that she does care and she is paying attention. 

She delivers a message of self-acceptance, which led her to produce 13 Reasons Why.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Gomez’s mother, Amanda, had her when she was just 16, and then raised her by herself. She was also the one that gave Gomez the book on which the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why is based. The show was controversial because it spoke about mental health issues and suicide, topics that are fundamental to discuss with young vulnerable populations but that remain a taboo. However, Gomez’s message is optimistic. She has said: “I promise you that each and every one of you is made to be who you are and that’s what’s so attractive and beautiful.” Preach! 

13 Reasons Why put mental health issues at the forefront of public media debate.

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“I get it all day, every day, that I’m not sexy enough, or I’m not cool enough, or if I did this I would be accepted… I promise you that each and every one of you is made to be who you are and that’s what’s so attractive and beautiful. Please don’t forget that, even when it gets hard,” she said in an interview for the Huffington PostAnd this is exactly the message that she conveys in her project. Taking on Jay Asher’s literary world, she and the series creative team were able to show mental health and suicide from all possible angles. 

She takes fame with a grain of salt.

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She has been famous for a big portion of her life, but she knows that todo es pasajero, and that at the end who you are does not depend merely on adulation: “You are not defined by an Instagram photo, by a ‘Like,’ by a comment. That does not define you.”

Body positivity is her mantra.

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“I feel very empowered and confident and comfortable with where I am. And I think it took me a long time to get there because, you know, the past year was so interesting because I’ve never been body-shamed before… I did gain weight, but I don’t care,” she said at On Air with Ryan SeacrestThis is a great, positive message for someone who is followed by millions of young women throughout the world, particularly in a day and age when standards of beauty are twisted and self-love is hard to achieve. 

She is an active advocate of girl power.

Credit: selenagomez / Instagram

Perhaps following the example of her mother, who basically raised her alone while holding down as many jobs as necessary to make ends meet, Gomez says: “I don’t want to become little or hurt or a victim. I want to be strong for girls…I just want them to know that there is an option of standing up for yourself.” Additionally, she was named a United Nations Ambassador in 2009, and in this role, she has worked particularly in empowering vulnerable children by helping provide clean water, education, and medical services. 

You learn from your mistakes.

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Perhaps most importantly, she knows that many see her as a role model and that this brings a huge deal of responsibility. “I’m human, I’m not perfect. I make mistakes all the time, but I guess my job is to keep those mistakes to myself, which I’m already fine doing and just try to be the best I can be for those kids,” she told E! Online.

READ: “13 Reasons Why” Does Much More Than Glorify Suicide, Selena Gomez Explained

He Underwent Nine Painful Surgeries To Correct His Cleft Lip And This Boy Is Raising $100K To Help Correct Other Children’s Left Lips

Things That Matter

He Underwent Nine Painful Surgeries To Correct His Cleft Lip And This Boy Is Raising $100K To Help Correct Other Children’s Left Lips

John Linton / YouTube

A very sweet 12-year-old boy in Centerville, Utah has taken it upon himself to pass on his own success story to children in Guatemala born with cleft lips and/or palates. His name is Jeffrey Linton, and he wants to raise $100,000 that would all go towards helping 400 children learn to smile and be understood by their peers.

Jeffrey Linton is all smiles about his project to get 400 more kids like him to be all smiles, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

In a truly adorable video, Linton tells his audience how he had to “undergo nine painful surgeries to get as handsome” as he is now. Uncorrected, cleft lip and palates can cause chronic ear infections, difficulty eating, drinking and speaking.

In the video, we see a series of baby photos of Jeffrey as his cleft lip and palate were corrected.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

“My first surgery was when I was only 10 weeks old and it was just a lip adhesion,” Linton says int eh video. “My cleft was wide enough that they thought it would help my muscles adjust to the repair if they did it in two stages. So although my lip was pulled together, I could still stick my tongue out above it. It looked like I was sticking my tongue out of my nose and I hear that everyone got a kick out of that.”

It’s been a long journey for the child, completed with speech therapy, and now, it’s time for him to give back.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

Jeffrey’s second surgery was when he was just six months old. “I had a hard time recovering and my parents had a hard time knowing how much pain medication to give me,” Jeffrey told ABC. “But I came out of it with a repaired lip. They fixed my soft palate at 9 months and put ear tubes in to drain all the fluid in my ears.” It was crucial for his parents to be able to work with doctors for many years to continue his treatment.

“I want you to think about what it would be like if you couldn’t smile. It would change your life,” he tells the camera.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

He had to go through all those surgeries but now says he “can smile, I can eat and just be happy the way I am.” He goes on to tell us, very enthusiastically, “I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have those wonderful doctors that could have given me the surgeries that I need and those same doctors are going to Guatemala to help kids like me.”

Linton reached out to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation, which goes to Guatemala annually to operate on kids like him.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

The organization is entirely focused on providing support to Guatemalans. It coordinates plastic surgery, dental and construction teams to offer a range of services, including cleft lip and/or palates.

All the doctors and nurses pay their own way to get there, so all the money goes directly to medical supplies.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

HSF only works because of the volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses who donate their travel expenses and time to these kids. Of course, HSF still needs to raise money for the medical supplies required to perform the surgeries.

This 12-year-old actually pitched Holiday Oil “and they went for it.”

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

They’re donating a portion of their car wash sales made on July 13th to Hirsche Smiles Foundation. He wants to raise $100,000 and says that “Holiday Oil has done their part, and now you get to do yours.

If you’re near a Holiday Oil, you can get a car wash on July 13, 2019, to help support the cause.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A portion of the proceeds will go to HSF, and you’ll get your car washed while you’re at it!

Even better, you can volunteer to help out at the car wash and tell your friends to show up, too.

Credit: John Linton / YouTube

According to Jeffrey, “You could help collect donations and drying off cars and things,” if you show up to volunteer that day as well. 

Or, you can donate directly to the Hirsche Smiles Foundation.

 
Credit: John Linton / YouTube

A donation of $250 will pay for the cost of one surgery, and 100 percent of your donation will go towards expenses for the hospitals and supplies. It’s a worthy cause, y’all.

READ: Spurred By Anger At The Trump Administration, One Latina Entrepreneur Raised $9,000 For Migrant Children

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