KIOS-FM

Maureen Pao

For Jernica Quiñones, the reality of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, hit close to home this year when a friend woke up on New Year's Day and discovered the lifeless body of her baby girl.

That's why Quiñones' 4-month-old son, Bless'n, has spent a lot of his life so far sleeping in a cardboard box.

The 33-year-old mother of five took part in a program in New Jersey that promotes safe sleep education through the distribution of "baby boxes" that double as bassinets.

Being a parent is hard, even if you have a partner and a steady income (or two). Now, imagine doing that job solo.

It's a trend that's risen steadily in the past few decades. In 1968, 85 percent of children were raised in two-parent families, according to U.S. Census data. By 2015, the share of U.S. kids in families with one parent had more than doubled, to 27 percent.

Life is pretty busy for Mike Buchmann, a high school art teacher and football coach, and his wife Shannon, who works as an assistant controller at a small private college near their home in Mishawaka, Ind.

Everyone is out the door by 7:45 each morning: Mike shuttles their two older kids to before-school care, while Shannon drops off their 14-month-old at a church-based child care center before they head off to their full-time jobs.

Half a century ago this summer, labor activist Cesar Chavez joined thousands of striking farmworkers in Texas as they converged on Austin, the state capital, to demand fair wages and humane working conditions.

Their march, which started from the punishing melon fields of South Texas, was his march, too. It was a deep and abiding understanding of the challenges of the farmworker's life that drove his commitment to labor rights. The life of Cesar Chavez mirrored that of the people he was trying to help. Their cause — La Causa — was his.

When Pope Francis meets with American bishops at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, seminarian Stefan Megyery will participate in the midday prayer service.

He can hardly contain his excitement.

"How often do you get the chance to meet the pope?" Megyery says.

The images continue to haunt: storm surge from Hurricane Katrina pouring through gaps in failed flood walls, rapidly rising waters, desperate New Orleanians trapped on rooftops.

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