Are energy bars healthy?

Energy bars are a convenient source of nutrition and come in a wide variety of flavors to satisfy different palates. They are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, which can help fill nutritional gaps.

But, like many foods in a specific category, not all energy bars are created equal. Those that are low in saturated fat and sugars, with a decent amount of protein and fiber, can provide a nutritious, satisfying pick-me-up. Others can closely mimic a candy bar. For example, some bars covered in chocolate contain as much saturated fat as a Snickers bar; others contain almost as much sugar.

Energy bars containing mostly fruit and nuts can serve as satisfying snacks. But if you’re looking for a meal replacement, aim for a bar with a higher amount of protein: about 10 to 20 grams. Athletes can also benefit from choosing a bar with more protein and carbohydrates, as their needs are higher.

You can afford more calories if bars are consumed in place of meals and not as snacks. But if a bar is intended only to tide you over until dinner, limit it to 150 to 200 calories.

In general, try to aim for bars with less than 3 grams of saturated fat and at least 4 grams of fiber. Palm kernel oil in yogurt and chocolate coatings will boost saturated fat. Also watch out for bars with ingredients such as brown rice syrup or cane invert syrup listed first, as they are generally higher in sugars than others and are better suited for athletes, not weight watchers.

Note that some bars contain sugar alcohols such as maltitol or erythritol, to lower the sugar content. Because they are not fully absorbed, sugar alcohols provide fewer calories than sugar — but they can also cause some gastrointestinal distress.

One last point: Don’t be fooled by the word “energy.” In the nutrition world, energy is synonymous with “calories,” and all food gives you energy because it provides calories. There’s nothing magical about energy bars in and of themselves, and they won’t give a boost in strength or focus unless you’ve been skipping meals and snacks.

Additionally, energy bars shouldn’t take the place of whole foods, especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts, which provide a package of beneficial nutrients that are important not only for energy but for overall health.

So stock up on a stash of healthful energy bars to keep in your bag or at your desk and enjoy them on days that don’t allow for a break to sit and eat. Just don’t make them the main staple of your diet.

Seven energy bars that meet the above recommendations:

SimplyProtein’s Maple Pecan protein bar: 150 calories; 5g fat; 0.5g sat fat; 16g protein; 7g fiber; 1g sugar

PowerBar’s Plant Protein snack bar: 230 calories, 2.5g sat fat, 10g protein, 8g fiber, 10g sugars

Kind Snacks’ Cranberry Almond + Antioxidants with Macadamia Nuts bar: 190 calories, 13g fat, 1.5g sat fat, 4g protein, 5g fiber, 8g sugar

Luna Whole Nutrition Bars’ Chocolate Peppermint Stick: 190 calories, 2.5g sat fat, 8g protein, 4g fiber, 8g sugar

Kashi’s GoLean Plant-Powered Dark Chocolate Cashew Chia bar: 200 calories, 2g sat fat, 8g protein, 4g fiber, 8g sugars

Lärabar’s Apple Pie: 190 calories, 1g sat fat, 4g protein, 5g fiber, 18g sugar

Pure Protein Plus’ Apple Pie bar: 190 calories, 1.5g sat fat, 20g protein, 16g fiber, 3g sugar (2g sugar alcohols)

Google is offering a test for depression

Google has a new feature designed to help people suffering from depression.

Users in the United States who search for “depression” or “clinical depression” will now be offered a questionnaire to test their depression levels and help determine whether they should seek professional help, Google said in a blog post.

Users who search for information on depression will be shown a box at the top of their screen encouraging them to “check if you’re clinically depressed.” The clinically validated test, called PHQ-9, asks about energy, appetite and concentration levels, among other things.

The tech firm said it recognized that the information was “sensitive and private,” and that it would not store the responses.

Google said the initiative was developed in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“The results of the PHQ-9 can help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor,” wrote Mary Giliberti, CEO of NAMI.

Clinical depression affects roughly one in five Americans at some point in their lives. But individuals with depression symptoms take an average of six to eight years before they seek professional help, according to NAMI.

“We hope that by making this information available on Google, more people will become aware of depression and seek treatment to recover and improve their quality of life,” explained Giliberti.

Research released in May found the percentage of younger children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions in the U.S. has doubled over nearly a decade.

The life-saving message in Logic’s hit song

“I’ve been on the low / I been taking my time / I feel like I’m out of my mind / It feel like my life ain’t mine / Who can relate?”

The opening lines of Logic’s most successful song to date are, quite literally, a cry for help. The title of the track, “1-800-273-8255,” is the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

In a series of tweets the week the song was released, the 27-year-old rapper explained the motivation behind his music. “Over the years so many of you guys have told me that my music has helped you through so many tough times,” he wrote. “Many of you have told me its even saved your life. I’m beyond humbled. But I felt I haven’t done enough. … I made this song for all of you who are in a dark place and can’t seem to find the light.”

Logic found himself in his “dark place” in late 2015, according to an interview with the New York Post.

“I was so scared because I was thought I had to work, work, work, because I thought I might only be around for five years,” Logic said. “I thought I wasn’t good enough to last.”

Logic found his proverbial “light” by learning the power of one word to deal with his anxiety: no.

“I turn down really well-paid shows all over the world because I want to spend more time with my wife and myself,” he told the Post. “I could sit here and think, ‘I got all these people around me that I need to pay,’ which is true … but ain’t nobody getting paid if I’m dead.”

The first verse of “1-800” is sung from the perspective of a person who has given up on their life and is ready to end it. The second verse, fronted by Alessia Cara, showcases the response of a suicide hotline crisis worker.

“It’s holding on though the road’s long / And seeing light in the darkest things / And when you stare at your reflection / Finally knowing who it is / I know that you’ll thank God you did”

The song ends with a verse featuring Khalid, again from the perspective of the suicidal caller but who now realizes the endless possibilities of the future.

“I don’t wanna cry anymore / I wanna feel alive / I don’t even wanna die anymore / Oh I don’t wanna / I don’t wanna / I don’t even wanna die anymore”

As part of a contest to be featured on the cover of Logic’s album “Everybody,” fans submitted videos detailing how much the the rapper’s music means to them. He shared some of them on Twitter.

“When I was alone with myself, the stress was unlike any other time of the day,” said Faith Martinez, 18, fighting back tears. “I’d put my headphones in, and it would all subside, because I knew that there was someone out there that cared for their fans so much that if I took away my life the way I had thought about, he would be hurt, and somebody would care that I was gone.

“I put it on until the end, and I stood up, and I kept going,” she said. “His music helps people keep going, and I’ll forever be grateful for that.”

John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, said, “The impact has been pretty extraordinary. On the day the song was released, we had the second-highest call volume in the history of our service.” Overall, calls to the hotline are up roughly 33% from this time last year.

“We can certainly attribute and have seen call increases relative to tragic events and alarming portrayals of suicide in the media — anywhere from (musicians) Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington’s suicides, and (the Netflix show) ’13 Reasons Why,’ ” Draper said. “But here’s what’s really important: Logic is generating calls with a song about getting help and finding hope. It’s not focusing on tragedy or suicide. In fact, he’s starting conversations about suicide prevention, as opposed to suicide.”

The video for “1-800,” released last week by Def Jam Recordings and Visionary Music Group, has racked up more than 12 million views on YouTube. The seven-minute short film illustrates the story of a young man, beginning when he is just a baby.

His happy childhood is followed by difficulties in high school — extreme bullying and struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity — which cause serious strife with his friends and family. One day, he decides he’s had enough, collapses in tears and raises a gun to his head, ready to pull the trigger — but he doesn’t. Instead, he calls the suicide hotline.

The story flashes forward to the man’s wedding, where his father is standing by his side. The plot comes full circle, ending with the birth of his own son.

The message: It gets better. It always gets better.

“In many ways, Logic’s video and song completely embody this message that everybody can take an action to prevent suicide,” Draper said. “A lot of people think that it requires a professional or even a hotline. But the fact is that while those are extremely helpful — and I would always counsel somebody to consider those options — what we also know is that most suicides are prevented by people being caring with one another.

“How, when a person in your life is in crisis, can you help them get through it?”

Logic is scheduled to perform his inspirational hit live Sunday night on MTV’s 2017 Video Music Awards.

“This past year, our audience was forced to say goodbye to musicians too soon because of suicide,” said Garret English, executive producer of the 2017 VMAs. “We want to do more than remember these artists. We want to remind people that suicide is preventable and that there are ways to get help and feel better if you’re struggling emotionally.

“Logic’s song ‘1-800-273-8255’ is not only a phenomenal track, but it has struck a chord with its inspiring message of hope, and we are honored to offer the VMA platform so it can reach even more young people.”

Draper said, “It’s not just about the calls; it’s about increasing awareness about suicide, and suicide prevention in particular. The calls don’t even begin to count the number of people who, just by listening to the song and hearing the lyrics, feel more hopeful and less alone. There’s really no measuring that impact.”

Facebook quietly added new diverse family emoji

Facebook’s emoji offerings have become a little bit more diverse, but the changes may leave some families wanting.

The social media giant released a slate of diverse family emoji recently with skin tones that range from light to dark in recent months. But the update doesn’t offer an option for families with mixed backgrounds — all the members of the emoji families have the same skin tone.

The 125 new family emoji options mark the first time black families have been represented as emoji on Facebook, according to a blog post from emoji reference site Emojipedia on Thursday.

Facebook told CNN Tech these emoji have been live on its desktop site since April, and that they’ve gained attention recently because of the post on Emojipedia.

Previously, Facebook only offered yellow family emoji, which is a default standard also used by Apple.

The updated family emoji are only available on desktop for now. It’s unclear when they will roll out on mobile. Facebook declined to comment further.

Last month, Apple announced a new collection of emoji set for release later this year. The Apple offering includes icons such as a woman wearing a headscarf and a breastfeeding mom.

The Unicode Consortium, a nonprofit that sets the global standard for emoji and other software, has significantly increased the number of official emoji in recent years.

The group has approved 2,666 new emoji as of June, compared to 722 of them two years ago. It has also stepped up efforts to include diverse skin tones, flags and careers.

How artificial intelligence and robots can change your living spaces

Dutch designer Joris Laarman has built his career through emerging technologies like 3D printing and robotics.

But as a student 15 years ago, he didn’t even own a computer.

“After my graduation I got a computer, which changed everything,” he said in a phone interview. “My generation was the first to know what it was like before computers, but who also grew up with them.”

Now the 37-year-old can’t work without one. From open source furniture designs to a 3D-printed footbridge made from stainless steel, Laarman’s work lies at the intersection of design and technology.

His company, Joris Laarman Lab, pushes at the experimental edges of an industry that has digitalized rapidly since he graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven in 2003.

Read: Shape of things to come: A peek at tomorrow from today’s top designers

“We’re trying to figure out what the design of the future will be — what it could look like,” he said.

Digital toolbox

One of Laarman’s best-known designs is the Bone Chair, which was created through algorithms that mimic bone growth. Using a large volume of computer-generated calculations, Laarman’s program systematically adjusted and strengthened the chair’s design.

“Birds’ bones have super-optimal construction — they constantly adapt themselves by taking away material where it’s not needed and adding material where it is, without losing strength,” he explained.

“To me, an algorithm is just a new high-tech version of a saw or a pair of scissors — it’s just a tool. The designs that we make are never finished objects, they’re more like programs that we can tweak into new forms and adapt themselves accordingly.”

Technology is not only changing designers’ methods, but also the type of products they can create. More than a simple efficiency measure, Laarman says that digitalization makes entirely new concepts possible.

“(The shape of the Bone Chair) could never have been invented without the algorithm. You’d need really heavy calculations for such an evolutionary process.

“If you were to do this manually, without a computer, you’d have to break the legs of the chair thousands of times to make it stronger and to know where to add or take away material.”

Design to download

The Bone Chair is set to go on display at the New York’s Cooper Hewitt, The Smithsonian Design Museum, alongside other highlights from Laarman’s career, including a set of tables made from reprogrammable molecular building blocks called voxels.

The exhibition, titled “Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age,” encourages visitors to interact with technologies that may soon become commonplace, said the show’s curator Andrea Lipps.

Read: ‘Bioneers’ and techno-organic ‘Globjects’: Karim Rashid’s post-analog world

“(Experimental) designers often end up creating things that are so completely foreign that they become almost indigestible,” she said. “What’s interesting about Joris’ work is that there’s a familiarity to it that makes it feel less threatening. These designers are the early adopters — they’re taking our hand and leading us into the future.”

While Lipps wants the exhibition to be an “interactive, participatory experience,” visitors won’t get a chance to sit on any of Laarman’s chairs. They will, however, be able to download some of the design blueprints.

“You can download one (of the chairs) for free and make it yourself — or have it produced by your neighbor if they have a 3D printer,” Laarman said. “There are now platforms that show where the 3D printers in your neighborhood are.”

The ‘next industrial revolution’

This tools used by Laarman are just some of the digital methods transforming the design industry. Robotics, 3D printing and virtual reality are all changing the way products are made — from super-strong digitally fabricated materials to cars designed in thin air using VR goggles.

Read: This new virtual reality tool could transform how we design cars

According to research by the consulting firm McKinsey, the cost of 3D printing fell 60 percent between 1990 and 2014, while the price of industrial robots fell by 5 percent every year between 2000 and 2012.

This move from industrial to digital production represents a fundamental shift in the economy of design, said Laarman, comparing the transition to the industrial revolution.

“Modernists in the early 20th century were developing new form languages for the dawn of a new industrial period. It was very much dependent on standardization and geometric shapes.

“Right now, you can see digital fabrication is taking off and this leads to a completely new type of form language. It’s still very early, but everybody sees the potential. Digital design, biotechnology, AI and robotics are going to completely change everything in the world, at every level of society. It’s very important to start working on it.”

“Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age” will be exhibited at Cooper Hewitt, The Smithsonian Design Museum from 27 September 2017 to 14 January 2018

Baltimore native partners with City of Gary, Hill Harper to kick off BrownGirl Village Tour

— Gary, Indiana was the site for the 2017 inaugural BrownGirl Village tour. Over 200 girls participated in this highly-anticipated summit hosted by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the City of Gary.

Founded by Baltimore native, Sharon Page, BrownGirl Village is a non-profit organization with headquarters at City Garage in Baltimore City. The organization places an emphasis on underserved girls of color, between the ages of 12-18 and helps them realize that their goals are possible with hardwork, dedication and determination. The organization’s mission is to deposit self-esteem and to inspire girls to serve, innovate and to lead by exposing them to things outside of their normal environment.

Over 200 girls participated in this highly-anticipated BrownGirl Village summit hosted by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the City of Gary. BrownGirl Village is a non-profit organization with headquarters at City Garage in Baltimore City.

Courtesy Photo/BrownGirl Village Tour

Over 200 girls participated in this highly-anticipated BrownGirl Village summit hosted by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and the City of Gary. BrownGirl Village is a non-profit organization with headquarters at City Garage in Baltimore City.

Featured speakers at the summit included accomplished actor, philanthropist and author Hill Harper; along with Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; former Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake; Emmy Award-winning journalist and news anchor Cheryl Burton of ABC 7 News-Chicago; Former Miss Black America and WWE wrestler Queen Sharmell; “Girl Power Hour” Radio Host Maria Wills, Detroit MBA President Paulina Johnson; and Digital Marketer Alicia Glenn – just to name a few.

Hill Harper, co-star of the new ABC series “The Good Doctor,” was the highlight of the day. He reminded the girls they were FINE (Fantastic, Interesting, Necessary and Exceptional). His personally penned, acclaimed release “Letters to a Young Black Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny” was a steady narrative for the summit. Hill used excerpts from his book that related to the perils young teens face today in relation to inspiration, self-esteem, support of one another and self-love.

“I am overwhelmed by the success of the inaugural event. I am amazed at the number of participants and parents who have expressed how positive the experience was for them. We have the opportunity to grow this event in Gary, Indiana and look forward to building villages in other urban cities,” said Sharon Page, founder, BrownGirl Village.

The retreat was a full day experience. Summit topics included: Women in Politics, The Beauty of Business, Social Butterfly, Naturally & Authentically You, Fit BrownGirlz, Youth Financial Literacy, BrownGirls Love Science and an Etiquette Lunch. The girls also participated in a 40-minute Zumba class, which was a first for many. The attendees were also surprised and provided a free book bags courtesy of The City of Gary.

“Our inaugural BrownGirl Village Summit was held in Baltimore last year and was very successful, so we decided to take BrownGirl Village on the road. Being a brown girl from Baltimore, I was eager to continue this tour across the United States to inspire and encourage other brown girls to walk in their destiny, in spite of their current situation,” Page said. “Our goal is to have a village in every urban city and we are excited that our first ‘Sister City’ is Gary, Indiana.”

Embrace racial healing to change hearts and minds

Prior to the displays of hatred and the tragic loss of Heather Heyer, a young woman who seemingly embraced the virtues of healing, a transformation was taking place in Charlottesville, Virginia. This college town, where roughly 80 percent of the residents are white, culminated a lawful process in February when its City Council voted to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee from a city park.

Passionate acts came from opposing sides, as opponents filed suit to stop the removal and the city changed the name of Lee Park to Emancipation Park. But there was honest dialogue and truth-telling, the ingredients for healing. Neighbors learned more about one another, their culture and motivations. But the progress was derailed.

The protesters who converged in Charlottesville were largely white men often perceived as privileged in our society, and among their slogans was “We will not be replaced” by immigrants, blacks, Jews, or homosexuals. Instead of feeling empowered, they were threatened and seemed in pain. Their hearts and minds needed healing.

However, racial healing doesn’t begin until you intentionally, respectfully and patiently uncover shared truths, as Charlottesville residents had begun to do before the violence and turmoil. Shared truths are not simply the removal of physical symbols, like monuments.

While it may begin to change narratives, it doesn’t reach the level of healing that jettisons racism from the land or creates equitable communities. Racism has persevered because remedies ranging from public accommodation laws to Supreme Court rulings are limited in scope and reach: They fail to change hearts and minds.

A new approach is needed that penetrates the full consciousness of our society, draws in all communities and focuses on racial healing and truth-telling.

Racial healing can facilitate trust and authentic relationships that bridge vast divides created by race, religion, ethnicity and economic status. Once the truths are shared, racism is acknowledged and hearts begin to mend, only then will communities begin to heal the wounds of the past and together move forward to address the bias in employment, education, housing and health that causes widespread disparities, and denies opportunities to our children.

To be sure, racial healing is predicated not just on an emotional encounter, such as saying, ’you’re sorry,’ rather it’s predicated on a truth-telling— but whose truth? We all have our own truth and we need collective conversations to help us in reaching a common truth and a vision for the future, based on what we decide together.

And while sharing each of our individual truths requires sharing stories, reaching a common truth is more than a blending of stories. It’s about co-creating a common set of morals, principles, wisdom and guidance that is written on our hearts, captured in our faith and in how we treat each other as human beings. It is developed by all of us in the courtyard, in town halls, in living rooms with family and neighbors, all in the crucible of human goodness. That’s where we develop “the” truth.

At the W. K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), we promote racial healing because it moves people to act from their hearts. Real change happens when people work together and build relationships. Rarely does it occur when it is forced upon communities by laws and rulings. Last January, WKKF coordinated an annual National Day of Racial Healing, which inspired civic, religious, community and philanthropic organizations to collaborate on activities to facilitate racial healing. But we can’t wait until next January to embrace racial healing.

Today, with the threat of unrest billowing through communities, our country needs to heal. All sides must air their pasts, fears, and anxieties, and articulate their visions for a future where all children can thrive.

After centuries of racial hierarchy, all sides have been wounded: Whenever a policy or decision gives privileges to some and not others or perpetuates injustices, the collective community suffers, and part of our common humanity is lost. It leaves some wounded and unable to work towards our collective interest.

What is inspiring is the healing that is happening around the country.

Earlier this year, 200 people gathered at the Chicago Theological Seminary for an extraordinary day of racial healing. People of all races, genders, religions and ethnicities, gathered in healing circles to share their “truths” on the racism they endured or consciously or unconsciously unleashed on others. The healing circles were sanctuaries for truth-telling, and helped people see one another, acknowledge differences and begin to build authentic relationships.

WKKF, through our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) framework, is supporting racial healing in the 14 places where the TRHT is being implemented. Since 2010, when our America Healing initiative launched, WKKF has actively promoted racial healing and supported racial healing practitioners who are available to help communities, concluding that:

•Racial healing accelerates human capacity for resilience, truly embracing one another and reconnecting many people who previously had their identities denied back to their roots, culture, language and rituals.

•The focus of racial healing is our “collective humanity,” and lifting up that which unites us rather than that which divides us, while discovering, respecting and indeed honoring our unique experiences.

•Racial healing will facilitate narrative change, which will help everyone in communities articulate the truth about their collective histories and be exposed to full, complete and accurate representations of themselves and their communities.

Communities must heal so they can grow. Let’s heal and build sustainable progress neighbor by neighbor, community by community to transform America so all children can have a brighter future.

La June Montgomery Tabron is President and CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Four million low-income Americans connected to high speed Internet

— In the summer of 2011, Comcast Corporation unveiled the Internet Essentials program for low-income families.

On August 15, 2017, just six years after the start of the program, Comcast Corporation announced the program has now connected more than four million low-income Americans, in one million households, to high-speed Internet service at home. Locally, this includes 27,000 Maryland families, or 108,000 Maryland residents. That is inclusive of more than 8,500 Baltimore families, or 34,000 Baltimore residents.

“When we started this program six years ago, we never imagined four million low-income Americans would benefit from it,” said David L. Cohen, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of Comcast Corporation. “We also never would have reached this milestone without our many dedicated nonprofit partners, elected officials, educators, employees, and advocates who were all united by the belief that the Internet is essential, not only to compete in the 21st century economy, but also to be connected to loved ones and the world.”

“While this milestone is a wonderful moment to celebrate,” he added, “It also inspires all of us to keep going to connect even more families to all that the Internet has to offer for education, jobs, healthcare, news, information, and entertainment.”

Cohen made the announcements in Miami, Florida with six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who will serve for the second year as Internet Essentials’ national spokesperson. The State of Florida is second to California with the most connected households in the country, having connected more than 120,000 low-income households benefiting nearly 500,000 Floridians. Cohen also introduced Adamari López, host of Telemundo’s Un Nuevo Día., who will become the program’s first ever national Hispanic spokesperson. The three kicked off a multi-city tour, which will run through October.

Cohen also announced three key Comcast Essentials program enhancements. They are: Plans to increase the program’s Internet service speeds; that program participants will receive 40 hours of free out-of-home WiFi access per month to the company’s growing network of 18 million Xfinity WiFi hotspots to help family members connect to the Internet on the go and save money on their wireless bills; and that Comcast is also expanding its pilot program for low-income senior citizens from five cities and metropolitan areas to 12.

Comcast Corporation is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Each year, the company has announced Comcast Essentials milestones as well as new enhancements that help reaffirm the company’s commitment to bringing the transformative power of the Internet to more low-income Americans.

While Cohen was ecstatic about the company’s latest announcement, he also noted that the company’s efforts must continue.

“While we are thrilled that Internet Essentials has come this far, there is still much more work to be done,” said Cohen. “Far too many families remain on the wrong side of the digital divide. Connecting these families remains our core mission and has become part of our organizational DNA. Our goal remains to ensure that all households, irrespective of their income or the zip code in which they live, can benefit from the life-changing resources and opportunities that having home Internet provides.”

Joyner-Kersee runs the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation in East St. Louis, where she grew up. The Foundation houses a computer lab where she helps underprivileged youth to connect to the Internet to do homework and learn after school and on weekends.

“I remain so honored that Comcast asked me to serve as the national spokesperson for Internet Essentials,” she said. “In my post-Olympic career, I’ve tried to inspire students and athletes to reach their dreams. They can’t do that, however, if they don’t work hard or have the tools they need to succeed. The Internet Essentials program gives every child access to a level playing field so we don’t leave an entire generation behind.”

López, who holds the distinction of becoming the program’s first national Hispanic spokesperson, also applauded Comcast’s efforts.

“I am thrilled to be joining the Internet Essentials program as the national Hispanic spokesperson,” said López. “Fifty five percent of Internet Essentials customers are Hispanic, which shows how much they appreciate the value of the Internet because it is a connection to their families and their culture. They also value it because of what it means for education and employment opportunities. I look forward to helping to connect even more Spanish-speakers to the amazing resources this program offers.”

Internet Essentials provides low-cost high-speed Internet service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online and in person.

Now in its sixth year nationally, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program offers $9.95-per-month Internet, low-cost laptops and free digital literacy training. For more information about Comcast’s Internet Essentials, or to apply for the program, visit: or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.

Now in its sixth year nationally, Comcast’s Internet Essentials program offers $9.95-per-month Internet, low-cost laptops and free digital literacy training. For more information about Comcast’s Internet Essentials, or to apply for the program, visit: or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.

For more information about Comcast’s Internet Essentials, or to apply for the program, visit: or call 1-855-846-8376. Spanish-only speakers should call 1-855-765-6995.

JA kicks off partnership with Living Classrooms with Snowball City at UA House at Fayette

— Junior Achievement of Central Maryland Inc. (JA), a non-profit organization dedicated to educating young people to succeed in a rapidly changing economy, kicked off its partnership with Living Classrooms Foundation by hosting Snowball City, a classic Baltimore snowball stand run by middle school students from the UA House at Fayette summer camp entrepreneurship program.

On Friday, August 18, 2017, the young entrepreneurs showcased the successful results of their business lessons by selling nearly $150 worth of snowballs. The 16 students working the stand used the skills they developed this summer by working in a variety of real-life business teams, including customer service, marketing, social media, inventory/clean up and pricing/budgeting.

Snowball City team members serving customers

Courtesy Photo/JA

Snowball City team members serving customers

“The UA House at Fayette provides a wonderful platform to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in Baltimore City youth and give them a hands-on experience running a business,” said Kim Fabian, Senior Vice President of JA of Central Maryland. “During the operation of Snowball City, it was great to see the students’ enthusiasm and engagement. They really worked hard to attract people to the stand and provide great customer service. Our goal is that, because of exposure like this, some of these students will emerge as our future business leaders and innovators.”

Snowball City introduces the partnership between Junior Achievement of Central Maryland and Living Classrooms Foundation at the UA House at Fayette, which will be overseen by Jeneanne Collins, the Manager of Entrepreneurial Experiences, who will continue to work on entrepreneurial and business exploration activities with approximately 500 Baltimore City K-12 students this school year.

Jeremy Zuttah back with the Ravens and pushing to be starting center

— The Baltimore Ravens traded center Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers in March of 2016. Zuttah had been a starter at center for the Ravens for three years and was named to the Pro Bowl the same year he was traded.

Zuttah became available after the 49ers released him earlier this month. He had options but chose to re-sign with the Ravens. He is happy to be back in Baltimore.

“It’s cool,” Zuttah said after practice last week. “[I’m] just getting out here, getting back with some of the guys I haven’t seen in a while— like Marshal [Yanda]— getting back into the flow of things, learning the offense, and we’ll go from there.”

Zuttah cited his familiarity with the organization as a deciding factor in his return. He also appreciates the fact that the organization is equally as familiar with him. It will allow the change of teams to be a smooth transition.

Having been with the organization before, Zuttah knows what is expected of him. They haven’t told him that he will be the starting center.

Head coach John Harbaugh is glad to have Zuttah back in the fold. It creates competition at center with current starter Ryan Jensen.

Zuttah fully understands how the Ravens approach football as a meritocracy. He knows the starting job won’t be handed back to him. It has to be earned once again.

“The role for right now is to come out, work hard and earn playing time,” Zuttah explained. “They said to go out there, compete, and we’ll see where we’re at. That’s honestly where we are.”

Harbaugh expects him to pick up where he left off but pointed to some scheme changes that will take a subtle adjustment.

“Jeremy obviously gets right back into practice. It is good to have him back. He did a good job. It was a good start, and it helps us,” Harbaugh said last week. “There are some changes with the run-game scheme that are really different in the sense of calls, terminology and even the blocking patterns that he will have to learn and get up to speed on, but he is a veteran player.”

With so little time left before the start of the season, the starting center job is up for grabs. Zuttah has previous experience as a starter but Jensen has the inside track since he was around for the complete off-season. It will be interesting to watch the battle unfold.