Every day we share stories of hope – joy – Love! Enjoy some GOOD NEWS each day with LifeSongs. And if you know of some good news, share it here! Thank you for sharing hope each day with listener-supported, uplifting LifeSongs!
Friday, December 3, 2021
Kelly and Anthony had quite the meet-cute. They were hanging with some mutual friends on the Jersey Shore. Anthony is blind. He didn’t have a cane with him, so Kelly grabbed him by the arm to guide him around for the day. In some ways, she never let go.
Their first date was to a film premier. That film was a documentary about Anthony – who wrestled in high school against sighted opponents, and practiced Judo – going so far as training for the Paralympics. Kelly needed a dress for the premier, but thoughtfully considered her sightless date by picking a dress made of velvet, so he could touch it to “see” she had dressed up special for him.
Anthony swoons over his now-wife about how his life changed when they fell in love. Kelly became his eyes for the world – describing the sights on their many adventures together. For her wedding dress, Kelly was intentional to pick a dress that had many tactile embellishments like embossed flowers and velvet tassels with a mix of fabrics so her husband could “see” how beautiful she was on their special day.
When Kelly met Anthony at the altar and she placed his hands on her dress he immediately began crying for joy.
*I imagine the dress looked like this:
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Thursday, December 2, 2021
One of the most dangerous parts of a natural disaster is dealing with power generators. They can cause fires and put off enormous amounts of carbon monoxide.
Thankfully a quick to act 9 year old in Brockton, Massachusetts knew about the dangers of carbon monoxide. Jayline heard her father call for help and saw him pass out as she approached. Her mom was also overcome by the invisible carbon monoxide. Jayline held her father’s locked iPhone to his face to open the phone with Face ID, and called 9-1-1.
In the end, emergency responders treated 5 people in the home for carbon monoxide poisoning – but all made a full recovery – all thanks to the quick reaction of 9 year old Jayline.
Tuesday, November 30 – Wednesday, December 1, 2021
The LifeSongs family came together for the SPIRIT OF GIVING and provide over $20,000 for this radio ministry! Factor in the special matching and you brought in $40,000 for the ministry of LifeSongs in just a couple of day! That’s some real GOOD NEWS!
Monday, November 29, 2021
Retired FBI boss steps up to help community with school bus driver shortage
After retiring from the FBI, Michael Mason wasn’t quite ready to completely stop working, and when he heard there was a bus driver shortage in Chesterfield County, Virginia, Mason knew he found his calling.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m transporting the future of America, and that’s what I really love about the job,” he said. While at the FBI, he was executive assistant director, making him “fourth on the FBI’s food chain,” Mason told WTVR. “I’ve done some important things, but guess what? This is important, too.”
Driving the bus gives him a routine, and allows Mason to do his part assisting others amid the pandemic. He would love for people to hear his story and consider doing something to help in their own backyards. “I believe if all of us gave a little something, wow, how we could impact the world,” Mason said. “How we could change the world.”
Today's Good News - Heroes & HelpersShare your GOOD NEWS stories! Tell us about the Helpers & Heroes in your life - folks that make a difference - so we can share the good news!
Friday, November 26, 2021
There’s a tragic lack of fatherhood in the world today. One group of about 40 dads is trying to fill that void in their Shreveport neighborhood.
Michael LaFitte started Dads on Duty to help curb violence that was breaking out at Southwood High School. Kids were getting in fights, some had been arrested. A few dozen active fathers decided they could help, so they take turns hanging out at the school campus, providing protection and being a loving presence to help the many kids who don’t have any positive male role models in their lives.
How do you get high schoolers to trust you? Turns out just being there, and always having a dad-joke ready to role is all it takes!
Since Dads on Duty stepped up, there have been zero fights on campus and the students say you can really feel the happiness in the hallways.
Thursday, November 25, 2021 – Happy Thanksgiving!
Dottie is 95 years old and gets around in her wheelchair pretty well. She went with her family for a week-long vacation to Orange Beach, Alabama. Her wheelchair was not made for sand, so that’s where God sent Shane.
Shane was the lifeguard on duty the very first day of Dottie’s vacation. He saw the family coming to the beach and offered to take Dottie to their spot at the waterfront. He put her in his 4×4 and drove her as close as he could. Then the lifeguard picked up Dottie and carried her to her beach chair by the water.
Shane made sure that every day that followed during Dottie’s beach week, a lifeguard was there to collect and deliver her to her spot – and bring her back whenever she was ready to return to her condo. Dottie’s family was overwhelmed with gratitude and tried to tip the lifeguards multiple times a day – of course they declined the gesture saying, “All the pay we need is watching [Dottie] smile.”
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Sometimes creation really reflects the Love of our Creator. Luna was a black leopard cub that was rejected by her mother, who was a part of a traveling zoo. A woman volunteered to adopt and care for the leopard cub and took her into her home.
That’s where Luna would meet her big brother, a Rottweiler named Venza. These two big, dangerous animals have become snuggly, adventurous pet siblings over the last year – and star in a series of Tik Tok videos posted by their adopted mom.
Sometimes family is the people and puppies that choose you. Thank you for being a part of the LifeSongs family. As you celebrate the holidays, know that you are truly loved. The same God that provided a home for a little leopard is watching over you too.
Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Two middle school students are being praised for their brave actions that helped save their school bus driver. Conner Doss and Kane Daugherty, both students at East Paulding Middle School outside Atlanta, were on a crowded bus when their driver, Miss Julie, pulled over and yelled for help.
When Kane ran up to her, the driver was bright red and shaking. He managed to pick up the dispatch radio and ask for help. The dispatch called 911 and helped the boys set the emergency brake, flashing lights and emergency stop arm. The boys knew Miss Julie had diabetes, and got her to eat and drink something as they waited for help. Together with their classmates, they waved down cars from bus windows and caught the attention of a pastor, who prayed with the worried students.
The driver is now recovering, and school leaders recognized the pair’s bravery at a recent school board meeting.
Monday, November 22, 2021
Do you enjoy working with your hands? Ken Postema has always been a builder. The Western Michigan native built go karts and bikes as a teenager and got into wood work after purchasing 10 wooded acres in rural Michigan – where he built his family a dream home with his bare hands and lumber from the property.
Ken has honed his skills over the decade. Now retired, he’s putting his building skills to work for the cause of Christ. Working with his friends from church, his grandkids and his 91 year old father, Ken processes trees from his forest and produced 10,000 toy wooden cars to go into Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!
Sounds like Ken is quite the overachiever. You don’t have to make 10,000 toys to make a difference. Today is the last day for collection week with Operation Christmas Child – so you still have time to help!
Friday, November 19, 2021
Barbara and Margarita are just two grandmas, retired in Miami, FL who love to sew and share Jesus with children. For years the duo made stuffed animals and donated them to orphanages and hospitals in south Florida – but they wanted to do more to directly share Jesus along with their custom-made toys. Then someone connected these talented grandmas with Operation Christmas Child.
Barb and Marg met in Sunday School nearly 20 years earlier. Now their nimble fingers turn out hundreds of stuffed animals made from donated fabrics and even gently used t-shirts. Each stuffed animal tells a story and comes with a handwritten note from one of the ladies, sharing about Jesus.
“We make them, God places them,” Margarita said. “One box is going to reach a child—that’s a soul that is going to be touched by Jesus. One child at a time, it’s going to make a difference.”
Thursday, November 18, 2021
On board the 57 foot long sailboat christened Cloud 9, a small group of missionaries and hundreds of shoebox gifts sail a 40 mile stretch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The destination is Ennibur Island. It’s one of the most remote places on earth, between Hawaii and the Philippines. But dozens of children are about to celebrate the real reason for Christmas thanks to Operation Christmas Child!
Four missionaries bring the Gospel and a ton of presents to the nearly 300 children on the island. Everyone is sweating through their clothes. Christmas in the South Pacific is a balmy 85 degrees. Songs are sung and the Christmas story is acted out in their native language. Then the kids start tearing into gifts sent to them from families just like ours!
The joyful sound of hundreds of children playing and shouting echo across this remote island with no electricity or even a landing strip for small planes. At the end of the day, over 130 children, not including many adults, prayed to make Jesus King of their lives. The small churches on the island are given many resources to continue growing this new faith.
Wednesday, November 17, 2021
25 years ago, Sallie Simmons retired from a lifelong career as a nurse. She had a new car – and an exciting new season in front of her. But she felt in her heart that a life of leisure was NOT what God was calling her to. So she doubled down in her commitments at church and was soon introduced to Operation Christmas Child. That’s where Sallie found her second life calling.
This was over a quarter century ago! Now Sallie is 93 years old and leading her church’s Operation Christmas Child ministry. She packs shoebox gifts, praying for the children and families that will receive them.
“A box may go to a child who has never had a gift. It shows them that someone in the world loves them. That can change a life… Those boxes go to the ends of the earth to tell others about Jesus.”
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
“Amor a la Vida” means “Love for Life” – it’s also the name of a church congregation hidden in the mountains of Pichincha, Ecuador. Pastor Segundo Santacruz leads his excited and growing congregation as they meet needs and share Love with the native community.
Amor a la Vida provides food for their community – as well as virtual education through their one shared laptop computer. But every year at Christmas – that’s when the real magic happens! Kids and families get shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child when Amor a la Vida hosts the gift distribution each December.
It was at such a Christmas party that 12-year-old Romina heard the Gospel, saw the Gospel lived out, and decided to commit her life to Jesus! Romina is a talented pre-teen who loves to sing and do artwork. She prayed that God would provide some art supplies and sure enough – when she opened up her Operation Christmas Child shoebox there was a brand new pack of fine-tipped, colored markers front and center!
Now she sings her gratitude to God for providing for her needs and wants. Imagine what dreams God can use you to fulfill this Christmas!
Monday, November 15, 2021
16-year-old Jane Marie Franks is just a small town girl in Tennessee, making a difference around the world through Operation Christmas Child!
“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” That’s the heart of Jane Marie’s message when the teenager toured elementary, middle and high schools in Linden, TN. She rallied students and teachers to pack over 1,000 shoebox gifts – which is pretty impressive considering the entire town only has about 2,000 residents.
Where does Jane Marie’s excitement for spreading the Gospel through Operation Christmas Child come from? Jane was adopted by her Tennessee based parents when she was just 6 months old. She was born in Guatemala – a place she and her family have returned to for mission trips. She’s seen first hand the difference that can be made with a simple gift at Christmas.
CLICK HERE to read more!
Friday, November 12, 2021
Four years ago, a heartbreaking assignment changed Lt. Brian Zach’s life for good — and for the better. Zach responded to a welfare check in Kingman, Arizona, where he met 2-year-old Kaila. The little girl was covered in bruises and other injuries. As they waited for social workers to help get Kaila out of her abusive home, Zach made friends with his small charge.
In fact, they got on so well that authorities later contacted him when they were searching for a foster family. Zach, along with his wife and two children, immediately said yes. They were only supposed to have a short time together, but before they knew it, the family was making memories with Kaila. They were seeing her off to school and taking fun trips. Now, they’re her real, adoptive family.
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Thursday, November 11, 2021
Andrew, who is on the autism spectrum, was really struggling to make friends at his new school. But lonely lunches are now a field of dreams with new friends. A football coach at the school saw Andrew’s struggle and encouraged his team to befriend the teenager. Soon his table was full of football players who became fast friends.
The footballers invited Andrew to hang with them after practice and ultimately he became the team manager. He got more than just a friend to eat lunch with – he found his place with a new family at school.
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
The Love In Action food bank is not just about the food; it’s really about showing and spreading the love of Jesus. It takes nearly 50 volunteers to handle the volume of food that gets distributed one Saturday every month. Along with hundreds of dollars in free food, the Gospel gets passed along to each family.
Love In Action began 20 years ago when husband and wife team The Campbells felt called to step up and help their community in Alabama. They organized support from several local churches that helped make this dream a reality.
We all know there aren’t many expressions of love more well received than the gift of food! Locally, our friends at Second Harvest Food Bank supply many other regional food pantries. You can learn more about volunteering or supporting Second Harvest at no-hunger.org.
Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Over the years, there have been several studies showing the physical effects that being kind can have, but there hasn’t been much research into how university-aged students respond to treating others with kindness.
Dr. John-Tyler Binfet and Dr. Sally Stewart from the University of British Columbia just completed one such study. Participants in the study completed 353 acts of kindness ranging from helping others to demonstrating appreciation.
Dr. Binfet said, “We know being kind yields a number of wellbeing benefits, such as stress reduction, happiness and peer acceptance, and we know mental health impacts learning. The post-secondary environment is often the last training ground to prepare students for life, so we want to understand how we can prepare students for optimal mental health as adults.”
So there you have it, college kids; scientific proof that being kind will help you do better in school AND be happier in life.
Monday, November 8, 2021
At one time in our lives, we all need second or third or fourth chances and Peter Mutabazi knows all about second chances. He was born in Uganda to an abusive father and ran away when he was 10 years old. After graduating college, he moved to the U.S. and began serving as a foster parent so he could give kids what he didn’t have – a safe, loving home.
Since then, Peter has fostered more than a dozen children, one of which is now his legally adopted son. In March 2020 when the pandemic was beginning, the father-son duo took in another one and another one. He now has four kids at his home.
Peter says, “My goal is to lift up those who have been forgotten and to say you’re special, you matter.”
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Friday, November 5, 2021
Sophie took her children to a restaurant last weekend last week. While her children were playing in the play area, she was trying to win a pink and purple teddy bear for her little girl on one of those claw machines. After three attempts, she gave up and proceeded back to her table for the meal. Little did she know, a 10 yr. old boy was watching her quest to win that bear, so he tried his hand at the claw game – and won! He walked over to her table with the same stuffed animal she was trying to win in his hand and said, “I’ve just won it for your little girl.” Sophie said, “I was nearly in tears it was such a nice thing to do.”
Thursday, November 4, 2021
Today’s story shows the power of kindness and reminds us it’s never too late for gratitude.
When’s the last time you got a thank you card? One letter that a police department in Kentucky received last week really stuck out. The letter was thanking the department for a random act of kindness one of their officers performed 71 years ago!
The letter read: “Back in 1950 my bride and I stopped in your city for lunch & when we left, this little card was under my wiper. For two 17 yr. old’s we didn’t have extra money for a parking ticket. My wife carried this card in all her wallets since then & we often talked about how kind your city is. I have lost her recently & just wanted to send this. Thank you.”
The department doesn’t give out those little cards anymore, but Police Chief Darrel Kilburn said small acts of kindness will always be a part of their culture.
Wednesday, November 3, 2021
For medical reasons we have to say this – laughter is not actually medicine. But sometimes it is the best medicine! When Neiva Fett of Madison, WI was recovering from back surgery, it was laughter that kept her inspired in the long road to recovery.
Laughter specifically brought on from cheesy “dad jokes.” Neiva’s neighbors, Tom and Jennifer Hanser, would post a dad-joke on a sign in front of their house. Neiva’s doctors told her the best recovery exercise for her was to walk around her neighborhood. It was the dad jokes that pushed her to go that extra block each day.
The Hanser’s jokes started as a way to bring joy to their neighbors during the pandemic shut-down. Wisconsin gets real cold for like 6 months out of the year, but every day Neiva would suit and boot up so she could get her prescribed exercise and joke of the day.
Would this joke (taken from the Hanser’s yard) inspire you to brave the Wisconsin Winter?
“I canceled my subscription to the Scrabble club. Now they’re sending me threatening letters.” 😂
Tuesday, November 2, 2021
The newly reopened Country Diner in Hegins, Pennsylvania was packed during a lunch rush when a diner asked manager Lorrie Renninger if she could pay for everyone’s bill. The diner went on to pay for all of the customers’ meals AND she also tipped the two servers a total of $100.
It was an act of kindness not only for the customers at Country Diner but also for the employees, especially during a difficult time. Lorrie the manager said, “Business has been up and down. Even though we’re opening, we still can’t get the help, you know. We had to do reduced hours.”
The generous patron wanted to remain anonymous, but employees want her to know how many people she touched by her generosity.
Monday, November 1, 2021
Portsmouth West High School and visiting Waverly High School were ready to begin their basketball game in Ohio when the sound system went out and their anthem couldn’t be played. After just a moment of awkward silence, a clear, strong voice burst forth from the stands.
Trenton Brown, father to one of the basketball players, sang the anthem a Capella to a stunned gymnasium. Trenton was used to singing with his church choir and band but he had never performed like this. Thankfully a friend captured the moment and put it on Facebook!
Later Trenton revealed he wasn’t planning on singing but his wife nudged him and said “Just sing!” The anthem is special to his family, whose oldest daughter Grace is currently serving in the US Air Force. After his impromptu performance he got to watch his song Zeke play in his very first varsity basketball game – but no word on the final score.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021
Hattie Craft is a living legend. The Lower 9th Ward mother to all has spent half a century dolling out frozen cups and plates of food through a slot in her front door to generations of children. She fought for and won federal help in the 9th ward after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. She’s spent every year since as an advocate for her community.
In the late 70s she organized a petition to have Mayor Dutch Morial pave the neighborhood roads of her community. Hattie is known for her kindness and generosity.
That’s why a couple of weeks ago for her 99th birthday, cars lined up for blocks to drive by and celebrate her loving spirit from the drive-way of her daughter Alice.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
How do we combat violence and hate in our country? It might be as simple as popping open a lawn chair.
21 Days of Peace took a look at the homicide numbers in the suburbs of Minneapolis and the local churches and community simply set up their lawn chairs and sat there. The idea was to be “violence interrupters” with just their presence. And guess what… It worked!
Violent crime bottomed out in the areas where folks were sitting in their lawn chairs. Inspired by their success, groups in Nashville and Baltimore did the same thing – and they saw a 40% drop in violent crime and far fewer arrests.
The organizers of the first 21 Days of Peace credit local churches saying, “We draw on the power of congregation—of family, of friends, and of community to try to interrupt the violence. And our faith gives us the courage to put ourselves in harm’s way.”
Monday, October 25, 2021
School pictures are usually terrible for everyone. The student has anxiety – the photographer is exhausted and the parents are dropping a lot of money on a terrible picture that may or may not end up in a wallet.
North Farmington High School decided that the Seniors deserved to have more fun with their school pictures – so ever since 2014 they’ve been allowed to wear costumes for their school ID pictures. And if you were worried about the imagination of today’s youth, you need not be – these kids had a ball with their costumes.
Forrest Gump? That’s an easy costume to put together. A couple of friends synced their pictures up to be a scene from Disney’s Tangled – one posed as Rapunzel, the other as Mother Gothel.
— hannah schryer (@hannahschryer) September 14, 2021
Disney makes a bunch of costume appearances, one of the best being the angry tea lady from Mulan.
— Teresa (@Tere3n) September 14, 2021
CLICK HERE to see even more awesome student ID photos!
Friday, October 22, 2021
It’s amazing how near-strangers can somehow become deeply connected to our lives. In 2013, Jacqui Webb spent three weeks at Tufts Medical Center in Boston after suffering life-threatening wounds in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Jacqui says she was deeply grateful for the caring staff there, and the thought crossed her mind that if she ever had a baby, she would want to be back at the same hospital.
Sure enough, this past August, Jacqui returned to the same hospital to deliver her first child. Nichole Casper, one of the nurses, recognized Ms. Webb and her fiancé, Paul Norden, on the list of incoming patients. (Norden and his brother, J.P., each lost their right legs in the bombing.) Casper had cared for them in the aftermath of the attack.
The nurse made sure she was there to greet the new parents, and they shared a touching reunion. Jacqui said it was comforting to be treated by someone who knew what she had been through. And for Nurse Casper, it was a rare and precious moment to be able to see two people, whom she had helped through the worst moments of their life, find a new happiness.
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Thursday, October 21, 2021
A nice hairstyle can mean so much more than fashion. For kids, it can give them the confidence to take on the challenges of a new school year. That’s why Brittany Starks, a single mom in Nashville, Tennessee, started offering free hair braiding services.
Despite knowing plenty of struggles herself, Brittany was moved to share her skills with struggling families in her community so their children could go back to school looking their best. She didn’t think she’d receive a big response, but was shocked at how many people were in need of such care.
This school year, Brittany has braided the hair of more than 35 children, and has enlisted the help of fellow hairstylists. She’s also launched a GoFundMe for supplies, and it’s smashed her initial goals. “As a single parent who has gone through so much of the same struggles they did, I know what these parents are feeling,” Starks said. “And if I can help in any way, even if it’s just putting a smile on their faces and easing this burden, I’m going to do it.”
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
Marie Robinson just turned 100 and she says, “serving the Lord and not hating anyone is the secret…” to a long and happy life. Marie Robinson celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family at a local community center – because they needed room for all of the people who love her!
When asked to share her wisdom to younger generations, Ms. Marie warns everyone to raise their children right, “..tell them how to love one another.”
Family is very important to Marie. She and her late husband Moses raised nine children and were blessed with 35 grandchildren, 101 great-grandchildren and 18 great-great grandchildren… so far.
Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Josh and Cassie Sutton are realtors from Virginia. Their preschooler Harvey has boundless energy, so the family loves to go on hikes together. This past spring/summer the family took off of work and hiked the entire 2100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine.
The family spent 209 days on the Trail, camping most of the way. Harvey loved climbing rocks, finding tree frogs and other wildlife – and making his world famous Peanut Butter and Skittles tortillas for snacking.
Harvey was just 4 years old when the family started their hike, turning 5 along the way. His parents said keeping his imagination engaged over the months of hiking was a real challenge but his enthusiasm was contagious, especially as they met and travelled with other Trail hikers.
Just a couple of days after finishing their journey on Mount Katahdin in Maine, Harvey started Kindergarten. They survived a snow storm and camping as a family for over half a year. I think it’s safe to say that Harvey can handle Kindergarten, no matter what challenges that may bring!
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Monday, October 18, 2021
It was super exciting when The Magnolia Network launched this Summer, bringing Chip and Joanna Gaines back into our living rooms … but fans were pretty split on the return of Fixer Upper – not for the show – it’s great. No, the problem was Chip Gaines’ hair. It just kept getting longer and longer …
But the reason Chip Gaines grew his long hair during the pandemic was to spark others to generosity. Chip cut his hair and donated the locks to Children with Hairloss, while asking fans to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The hope was to raise $100,000. They ended up raising over half a million dollars!
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Friday, October 15, 2021
Three years ago, at age 8, Eleanore Lowe decided to sell lemonade in her Metairie neighborhood to help provide entertainment for children at local hospitals.
Her second lemonade stand was for the Order of the Sister Servants of Mary, a nonprofit organization that cares for the sick and terminally ill. And more recently, Eleanore held a third lemonade fundraiser. This time, social media users decided where the money went, with people voting for their favorite nonprofit.
In all, Eleanore has raised $800!
Eleanore is now a veteran do-gooder at 11 years old. While the pandemic has put many of her extracurricular activities and fundraising events on hold, she encourages everyone to try something new and practice, practice, practice.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Imagine getting all the way to the Olympics, only to take a bus to the wrong venue for your event. It’s enough to make you sweat, right?
That’s exactly what happened to Jamaican runner Hansle Parchment when he accidentally ended up at the aquatics arena instead of Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium on the day of his semifinal in the 110m hurdles. Luckily, a kindhearted volunteer helped Parchment get there just in time. The Japanese Olympic volunteer gave the runner some money to take a taxi to the stadium.
Here’s the best part: Hansle Parchment went on to qualify for the final, and then won gold! Afterward, he tracked down the volunteer to thank her and show off the gold medal she helped him win! That attitude of gratitude is expected of Jamaican olympians, according to Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, who praised both the athlete and volunteer, saying “Every Jamaican knows gratitude is a must.”
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Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Officer Thomas noticed a man walking in the rain without shoes on and asked him if he needed socks and shoes. He bashfully replied, “Yes.” So she ran to go get him some shoes, but when Officer Thomas returned, the man was gone. She continued to carry around the shoes in the trunk of her car just in case she happened upon him later.
Later, while working an extra security job at a grocery store, Officer Thomas noticed the shoeless man outside. Since still had the shoes in her car, she was finally able to give them to the homeless man.
This kind police officer was not aware that she was being filmed during her act of kindness. She simply saw a person with a need that she could fill and did so.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Orion Jean is a young man on a mission – to share the gift of reading with hundreds of thousands of kids.
In 2020, Orion won a student kindness contest where he displayed his own campaign of compassion. He says, “Kindness is a virtue we can all possess. If we are willing to. So why not start today. Because right now, it’s what we need more than ever.”
For Orion, winning that contest “was really just the catalyst to something so much bigger.” With his $500 prize, he donated toys to a Dallas Children’s hospital. Next, through food drives and partnering with a relief group, he helped collect 100,000 meals for Texas families. Now, his focus is books for children who may not have them at home.
“I hope that the impact that I have had is enough to keep people continuing to race to kindness and continuing to join me in this marathon because it’s not a sprint,” Orion said. “It’s not a one-time thing, it’s not a three-time thing. It’s something that can hopefully be continued on for years and years to come.”
Monday, October 11, 2021
Anyone who says that miracles no longer exist have never heard Brittney Bedwell’s story. Years ago, she was in an ATV accident that left her paralyzed and unable to have future kids. Several doctors told her that she’d never be able to walk again, but her determination said otherwise.
But Brittany WAS able to walk. In fact, she walked down the aisle at her wedding! And, despite what doctors said about her never being able to have kids, she’s now four months pregnant!
Brittney’s sister said, “She leaves me speechless. So, I’ll just say – Brittney Bedwell inspires me to never give up. To believe in miracles. To stay strong. To defy the odds. To love deeply and freely. Happy wedding day, baby sister. You are STUNNING and STRONG!”
Friday, October 8, 2021
Student debt is at an incredible all time high in the United States – an estimated $1.7 trillion. That might as well be a fictional number, it is so much debt. But in the face of despair comes hope.
South Carolina State University announced they will use federal stimulus money from the pandemic to forgive almost $10 million in student debt – impacting 2,500 students!
Thursday, October 7, 2021
Six-year-old Blake asked his mom to make him a shirt that simply said, I WILL BE YOUR FRIEND. He just wanted to be welcoming to new kids at his school in Fayetteville, GA.
Blake’s Mom, Nikki shared the story in USA TODAY. She said, “Blake… wants to meet people right where they are, just like Jesus does.”
What would your custom back-to-school t-shirt say? (Might I recommend: God is Good All The Time)
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
A group of high school students have designed and built a wheelchair stroller attachment so that people with disabilities can walk their babies.
The idea was born when one of their teachers was expecting a baby and they learned how nervous her wheelchair bound husband was. It was going to be tough for him to get in on some precious parenting moments. These high schoolers put an intense amount of thought into the project, working for months, taking into account the terrain around the dad-to-be’s house and making sure the design was something he could operate independently.
The result is the “WheeStroll,” a simple wheelchair attachment that allows parents to place their baby safely in front of them as they wheel around.
The students won two international awards by the Make:able 3D Printing Challenge for their wheelchair project: “Best Inspirational Story” and “Best Showcase of Iterative Design.” And they aren’t looking to get rich off of their innovation, either. The school shared the 3D printable plans and necessary tools for free to the internet.
Tuesday, October 5, 2021
Most people who become nurses do the job because they want to help people. Over the last 18 months that has been a next to impossible task. Sadly these titans of healthcare often put their own needs on the backburner. How can you give back to the nurses who have given so much? Well we can start with a mani-pedi.
The Marco Pelusi Hair Studio in West Hollywood, CA has been doing free makeovers for some of the local nurses. Marco said, “They have worked so hard, so diligently, so ferociously… We wanted to make them feel good so when they get in the mirror in the morning, they’ve got some pretty color to look at and they’re energized to go back out on the front lines.”
We can make a difference for our local nurses too. For starters, take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But also check with your church about ways to care for healthcare professionals.
Monday, October 4, 2021
A good parent wants a hope filled future for their children. Parents of children with special needs face even more challenges as their kids become young men and women. There are simply not as many education and job opportunities for folks with learning disabilities – but all hope is not lost.
Joel Wegener has two adult children with Down syndrome. Josh and Mary Kate wanted to work, but finding a job proved challenging. So dad Joel made them a job. He purchased an ice cream truck and started the family business. And business is booming!
The Special Neat Treats ice cream truck rolls throughout town, frequently selling out – the Sponge-Bob popsicle is the best seller. Joel, Josh and Mary Kate have connected with their community in many special ways – and encourage other families with special needs kids each day.
Dad Joel says, “No matter what your abilities are, there’s something you can do and you can spread joy and interact with people.”
Monday, September 27, 2021
Liz Cooke is better known as LionheartLiz – her Instagram handle. She’s an influential designer and owner of Lionheart Prints on Magazine Street in New Orleans. While she survived Hurricane Ida with minimal damages, she wanted to help Terrebonne Parish in the aftermath.
LionheartLiz encouraged her Instagram followers to join her in making a difference. Together they raised thousands of dollars and were able to deliver cleaning supplies, essential personal items for women and children, plus a generator and solar lights to be distributed at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.
Cooke and her followers literally filled up a uHaul trailer with as much as they could fit and delivered it to the scene of so much devastation. Her act of goodwill is a great reminder that you don’t need to be some huge organization like the Red Cross or the Cajun Navy to make an impact.
Friday, September 24, 2021
Lucille Fortin usually relied on her husband Waldo to take the lead when it came to hurricane preparation. But Waldo passed away last year and 70 year old Lucille was left to fend for herself during Hurricane Ida.
Lucille was able to evacuate safely with family to Texas during the storm. While there, she called to pay her PosiGen energy bill, and found herself sharing about how overwhelmed she was about cleaning up her home to account manager Elizabeth Newell. The phone conversation turned into a therapy session.
Lucille said, “I was kind of upset, and [Elizabeth] nurtured me.”
Elizabeth was inspired to help Lucille, a customer she’d never met in person, clean up her house after the storm, so she enlisted the help of her colleague Manuel. They met at Lucille’s house in New Orleans East a few weeks after the storm. They cleaned the refrigerator and freezer, which was jam-packed with spoiled food. They hauled debris, soiled rugs, and spent hours battling a yard of knee-high weeds.
Elizabeth and Manuel took care of it all. They were angels for Ms. Lucille.
Thursday, September 23, 2021
LifeSongs has long supported and worked with Second Harvest Food Bank (remember all of those awesome Strike Out Hunger bowling days at Rock ‘n Bowl?). Second Harvest meets food needs for 23 parishes across Southern Louisiana. Ever since Hurricane Ida, Second Harvest has been a non-stop buzz of activity. Not only are the loading docks of their Elmwood facility rolling out supplies to trucks all day everyday, but on the other side of the building, their chef run kitchen is cranking out tens of thousands of hot meals.
Executive chef Matthew Taylor leads a team of cooks and volunteers cooking and packaging hot meals to be delivered across the region every day. With dueling assembly lines and constantly refreshed hot pans of delicious and nutritious food – it’s a well-oiled machine of goodness that puts out around 7,000 meals a day. Since Ida, Second Harvest has delivered nearly 2 million pounds of food.
Second Harvest is always looking for volunteers – and now the need is greater than ever. You can learn more about serving and supporting Second Harvest at no-hunger.org.
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Our Daily Bread is a local food bank that has faithfully served the disadvantaged of Tangipahoa Parish since 1999. Their mission is to alleviate hunger and make an eternal impact by sharing kindness and compassion with everyone who is in need. And they have been VERY busy these past few weeks.
Ms. Joy in Ponchatoula recently retired from her job of 24 years to commit her time and focus to serving at Our Daily Bread Food Bank in Hammond. [CLIPS] She told us, “We have been serving 2,500 meals a day since Wednesday after the storm. It is heartbreaking to see so many still in need, but I am thankful I am part of the team that gets to serve.”
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Individuals, families, church groups – so many folks have come to SELA to help pick up after Ida. One group of landscapers from Houston visited St. John the Baptist Parish and helped clear out properties, cut down trees and clean up neighborhoods.
Lorena Mercado-Hunter was a part of this team of Houston landscapers. She was floored by the devastation, telling WWLTV, “Every single house… everyone just lost everything.” Adding, “..it’s heartbreaking but I’m glad I was able to come out here, make a little difference, help people out.”
And Lorena did help. Her whole team from Don A Cut Above the Rest Landscaping worked hard all weekend long. And so did many many others. And we cannot thank everyone enough for their willingness to serve. Long months of hard work lay ahead for many communities stretching from Terrebonne through the river parishes, on up to Tangipahoa.
Monday, September 20, 2021
10th Ward Buck and Lucky Johnson got together to turn an abandoned McDonald’s parking lot on the corner of Downman and Morrison into a place where locals could pick up free food and resources as they rebuild and restore after Ida. Many volunteers have joined the cause and bring food – boil seafood on the spot – and help load water and ice into cars.
The bounce rapper and local actor hope to eventually turn the site into a food truck hotspot, but right now they are just glad they can help their neighbors during this trying time.
Friday, September 17, 2021
In the middle of a community in shambles, First Baptist Church Golden Meadow is meeting needs by becoming a one-stop, drive-thru needs meeting beacon of hope. No AC, roof damage and downed trees are a lot to deal with. The needs are great, so FBC Golden Meadow is doing what they can to meet as many needs as possible.
Pastor Matthew Chouest decided to make the church building a drive-thru makeshift shop to distribute resources. Anyone can pull up and hand over their list of needs – and then volunteers gather everything they can for that person and load it in their car. Food, clothes, cleaning supplies – whatever they have is going to anyone in need.
The Cajun Navy set up in the parking lot to cook and hand out meals. In between distributions, volunteers work on cleaning up the debris at the church house, which also took heavy damage during Hurricane Ida. Now that’s what I call Bayou Hospitality!
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Just a couple of days after Hurricane Ida devastated Southern Louisiana, the Virginia-based non-profit Mercy Chefs was on the scene, utilizing volunteers and churches to provide hot meals to the hardest hit places.
Thirteen sites were set up; from Celebration in Metairie and Church of the King in Kenner – out to Violet in St. Bernard parish, LaPlace in the River Parishes, on down to Houma and Golden Meadow. And Mercy Chefs knows how to get it done – they learned in Lake Charles just last year after Hurricane Laura.
Mercy Chefs may be based in Virginia, but their roots are right here in Southeast Louisiana. Founder Gary LeBlanc is from Gonzalez and lived in New Orleans for 20 years. He went through Katrina – he knows the devastation and decided he would spend the rest of his life on the frontlines, helping people recover.
While Mercy Chefs is faith-based, they are not pushing religion on folks who are hungry – they are just meeting needs, like Jesus demonstrated. Many people who received meals immediately signed up to be volunteers for days afterwards.
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Breeze Airways made New Orleans one of their four main hubs – connecting other Southern cities like Little Rock, Louisville, San Antonio and Tampa. The new airline is offering $1 million in free flights to get New Orleans residents home, first responders to the worst hit areas and volunteers into town to help with the Ida recovery.
Anyone can apply for the free flights at flybreeze.com. What a beautiful gift to Southeast Louisiana?! The deadline to apply is next Wednesday, the 22nd.
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
The video game industry is helping Louisiana (and others impacted by Hurricane Ida) with a bundle of games. These games don’t teach you how to shingle a roof or run power lines – but their proceeds are supplying the Cajun Navy, Bucket Brigade, food banks and more!
A bundle of 15 video games put together by local developers aimed to raise $5000 by packaging their games for a suggested $10 donation. The bundle sale ended last Friday.
They did not raise their target of $5000.
They raised nearly $30,000!
Monday, September 13, 2021
One of the first “heroes” many children meet are firefighters. Fire departments do a great job of being involved in the community – letting kids climb around on the big red fire engines – and teach fire safety at local schools. This they do when they are not busy being superheroes.
Like the name says, firefighters fight fires – something they have been called to do frequently with much of Southern Louisiana depending on generators for power. But they are also usually the first on the scene at accidents, as emergency medical responders. For the last couple of weeks Bridge City Firefighters have also become ice delivery people – checking in on an elderly community slow to get power back.
The ice helps, for sure, but a friendly face full of concern might mean even more. Especially after a weekend where as Americans we remember the impact thousands of firefighters made responding to the September 11th attacks 20 years ago. The famous Mr. Rogers’ quote about looking for the helpers still holds true,”.. you can always find people who are helping.”
Friday, August 27, 2021
College is very expensive. There are all kinds of grants and scholarships you can apply for, but millions of Americans still end up drowning in student loan debt. Now the largest private employer in the country is declaring NO MORE to student debt.
Walmart announced a program to pay college tuition and the cost of books for its full time AND part time associates! That’s over 1.5 million people that essentially just got a full-ride scholarship because of their generous employer.
Not to be outdone, Big Box rival Target says they’ll pay for college for their employees too – and even help cover the cost for grad school! So if you were worried about your future after high school, two of the world’s largest employers will give you a job and a free college education … it’s gonna be ok, friends.
Thursday, August 26, 2021
18 year old Sebbie Hall of Great Britain is making the most out of pandemic life.. Sebbie suffers from a rare Chromosomal issue, which creates learning disabilities. His mom Ashley asked him to think about what skills he could use to raise money for charities.
Without missing a beat, Sebbie responded, “I can be kind.”
Every day Sebbie performs at least one act of kindness. So far he’s done over 1,600 good deeds in his community. And with that “wonderful determination” (according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson) Sebbie has raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity.
Sebbie has walked neighborhood pets, watered gardens, washed cars and baked cakes. He’s handed out PPE for medical personnel and even given warm coats to the homeless. A bit of a Lothario as well, Sebbie has handed out 100 roses to 100 women just to make them smile, on his way to serve at a local food bank.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
The Baltimore Museum of Art is arranging an exhibition called “Guarding the Art,” which will feature a selection of works chosen by unsung giants in the art community: Museum security officers.
One officer chose a series of pre-Columbian sculptures because they made him feel connected to his Puerto Rican ancestry. Another officer with a classical music background chose a piece by German painter Max Beckmann that depicts the artist’s second wife, a violinist.
Whether it was a personal connection to the artwork or a more indescribable one, the 17 officers involved are changing ideas of what it means to “know” art.
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Lisa Radcliffe’s son Buster was born with a neuromuscular condition that requires him to wear adaptive braces. The medical wear scared other children in Buster’s preschool and that led to a world changing business.
Lisa thought, “if the orthotics looked like superhero gear, every kid would want to wear them!”
So Lisa started PunkinFutz, which produces super cool looking orthotics for kids. The name PunkinFutz was a loving childhood nickname from Lisa’s dad. The product line, which includes bags for wheelchairs, compression vests for children with sensory issues and fidget toys for the ADHD crowd has been so successful that Lisa was able to quit her full time job and focus on the business.
About 75 percent of the company’s staff has special needs and Lisa hopes to build an entire product line factory that is built to be manned by people with all manners of disabilities.
Monday, August 23, 2021
Pianist Tonee “Valentine” Carter received the biggest tip of his life last Wednesday, courtesy of strangers who heard him play virtually. Carlos Whittaker was dazzled by Carter when he spotted him playing the piano at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and shared videos of the performance with his 200,000 Instagram followers.
Carlos asked them to help him deliver Carter his biggest tip ever, and within 30 minutes, $10,000 had been sent via Venmo and Cash App. When Whittaker told Carter about the tip, he was stunned. “I love giving and donating and helping people, but I never expected someone to do it for me!” Carter said.
The money kept coming in, and that $10,000 grew to $70,000 by Saturday. Carter has kidney disease and receives dialysis treatment nightly, but that doesn’t stop him from going to the airport nearly every day, because when he plays the piano, “I feel like the happiest man in the world.”
Friday, August 20, 2021
A cute kitty wearing glasses would make anybody smile. This is a story about how a bespectacled cat is helping children regain their confidence.
Danielle Crull runs a pediatric optometrist office in Mechanicsburg, PA. She specializes in helping young children with severe ocular problems. Many of her patients have had surgery and are keyed up when it comes to anyone touching their eyes.
That is until a glasses-wearing rescue cat named Truffles hops up into their lap. Dr. Crull says Truffles loves to accessorize with glasses and loves to snuggle with the kids, helping ease their anxiety when getting their own glasses.
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Brayden Morton grew up in rural Canada and became hooked on drugs at a young age. He became a dealer – was involved in gangs and violence. He nearly died multiple times and even tried to take his own life. After 15 failed attempts to get off drugs, the 16th time was the charm.
When a drug addicted young woman stole his dog Darla for some quick cash, Brayden was crushed. But he was able to find the young woman, retrieve his Shar-pei Darla and instead of pressing charges, has offered to help the young woman get clean.
Braydon told her that he recognizes the struggle – he truly has been there before. Westminster House is a drug addiction treatment facility with a bed now waiting on this girl, whenever she is ready to do the work.
Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Tripp Hughes is a winner. The 7 year old has spent the last three years battling cancer – and recently rang a Fire Truck bell to celebrate his final chemo treatment. When you feel like a winner – you want others to feel like winners too. And so Tripp got to work.
For his seventh birthday this young fighter collected cash and new toys to donate to other kids in the hospital still in the middle of their own fight. Thanks to some generous friends, Tripp was able to donate over 2500 toys and $6000 to the children’s hospital he had just left.
Tuesday, August 17, 2021
Have an old clunker lying around? Eliot Middleton will cut you a deal. The restaurant owner/mechanic fixes up old cars and donates them to people in need throughout rural South Carolina. To get the vehicles, he trades people a plate of ribs from his restaurant, Middleton’s Village BBQ.
“You don’t have a car, you don’t have a career,” Middleton says simply. “I want to help everybody looking to better themselves when transportation is what’s holding them back.”
So far, he’s collected 100 cars and surprised 33 people with a repaired ride. Middleton says he is committed to using his time and skills to help hard-working community members. It’s also a way to help himself heal: He learned how to fix cars from his father, who passed away in 2020. Every car he fixes, every life he changes, is carrying on that beloved legacy.
Monday, August 16, 2021
Joan Cather runs a Martial Arts training school in Bridgeton, Missouri and this Summer, she and her class were invited to ride on a float in the town’s 4th of July parade.
Halfway through the parade, a fellow karate instructor stopped the parade when he noticed a man in need of medical attention. The other instructor – an off-duty cop – began chest compressions. At first there was no pulse – but the CPR worked and the man was breathing on his own when the ambulance arrived.
A few minutes later, after re-starting the parade, Joan and her co-instructor stopped everything once again to help someone in distress from the heat. CPR and emergency response is a skillset taught and required at Joan’s dojo – and the parade put that need on full display.
After the parade was over, Joan and her team took home 1st place trophy for the performance category – which was just icing on the cake!
Friday, August 13, 2021
The fire started at the entrance to the apartment building and quickly shot up the stairwell to apartments above. Firefighters and first responders came as fast as they could – but it wouldn’t have been quick enough to save everyone from the burning building.
But neighbors and strangers alike saw the flames and began to work together to save everyone. Some scaled the outside of the building to help residents escape through windows. Three people had to go to the hospital but dozens of others were saved because of the swift action of their neighbors.
The chief fire warden praised his community saying, “It’s amazing to see this kind of involvement and to act when other people are in danger, I am proud to see that the residents acted the way they did.”
Thursday, August 12, 2021
Over the last five years, Rodney Smith Jr. has inspired thousands of young people to mow dozens of yards in their communities for free. Smith, 33, is the founder of Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2017, he took his lawn care service on the road, traveling to all 50 states to help out veterans, cancer survivors, senior citizens, and people just trying to get by. He’s also started a program called the 50 Yard Challenge, which challenges young people to mow 50 yards in their communities.
More than 2,000 people have signed up, and they get t-shirts and other perks along the way — including new lawn care tools if they finish. Why mow so much? Smith says it builds character, and helps people feel connected to their communities.
“My mission in life is to give back,” he says. “Especially to those who need it the most.”
Wednesday, August 11, 2021
THANK YOU to our amazing superheroes in the medical field. We couldn’t be more grateful for you and the hard work you’re doing.
Florence “SeeSee” Rigney, is said to be America’s oldest working nurse. After more than 70 years caring for patients, 96-year-old Rigney is officially hanging up her scrubs for a well-earned retirement. Rigney’s career in nursing started when penicillin had just been introduced to the medical field, and she ended it as a beloved operation room nurse in Washington state.
Imagine the the thousands and thousands of lives she’s cared for in 70 years! Nurse SeeSee may get to put her feet up now, but her legacy is far from over. The hospital system has established the SeeSee Rigney Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund to inspire future generations of nurses.
Tuesday, August 10, 2021
Officer Rose Cauthron’s home in Bridge City was severely damaged in a storm last month. The roof began collapsing and needed to be replaced. Officer Rose works with Causeway Police and formerly worked with the New Orleans Police Department. The collapsing roof isn’t even the biggest trial she’s currently facing. About a month ago, she lost her stepson to an accidental gunshot. The grief, the roof, and her brother’s mental health have all been overwhelming.
Seeking help for PTSD, Rose reached out to Michael Parker, who volunteers with Project Refit. Project Refit is an organization that helps first responders, active duty military, and veterans dealing with isolation or PTSD. Parker said, “I knew we couldn’t do anything about her stepson or her brother, but I was like we can raise this money, we can help her out [with the roof].”
The group raised $8,500 to fund repairs and NOLA church volunteers helped out along with volunteers from all over including New Jersey, Arkansas, and Northern Louisiana, who camped outside in tents so Rose would not feel alone or afraid while construction was underway.
Monday, August 9, 2021
They go by the nickname, The Shathi Sisters – which means “togetherness” in Bangladeshi. The Shathi Sisters get together once a month to cook up a storm at the St. George’s Anglican Church for a multifaith food kitchen in downtown Montreal.
One Saturday a month, the Shathi sisters produce 100 meals for the homeless and less fortunate of their hometown. They noticed the increase in homelessness due to the pandemic and wanted to make a difference. The plan is to do even more than a once a month cook day.
Friday, August 6, 2021
Hidilyn Diaz did something for her home country of the Philippines that no other Fillipino Olympian has ever done – brought home the Gold!
Diaz is a two time Olympian – and at 30 years of age she was able to deadlift 127 kg (around 280 lbs) – setting a new world record and for the first time since The Philippines began sending athletes to the Olympics in 1924, Diaz is bringing home a Gold medal!
But how she got to the Olympics is the real story. Like many athletes, Hidilyn spent the last year on COVID lockdown. She wasn’t able to see her family after getting stuck in Malaysia due to a travel ban. Stranded without proper training equipment, the innovative Olympian used water jugs to weight train!
Diaz thanks God for opportunities and encourages young Filipinos to “..dream high… That’s how I started. I dreamed high and finally, I was able to do it.”
Thursday, August 5, 2021
When Rayssa Leal was 7 she went viral for skateboarding in a fairy costume. But now Rayssa is trending on Twitter because she’s an Olympic champion!
Rayssa became internet famous back in 2015 when Tony Hawk shared a video of the costumed little girl nailing a heelflip at her home in Brazil. Now she’s rocking a Silver medal on the Olympic podium as one of the first Olympic Skateboarding champions in history – at just 13 years old!
The teenager now has over 6 million Instagram followers, but doesn’t want to be bogged down by fame. She said, “I want to go on with being a little girl that I am, having fun with my friends. I don’t want to have too many responsibilities right now. I just want to be a lovely, lively little girl that I am for the whole [of] Brazil.”
View this post on Instagram
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
There is a lot of expectation heaped on Olympians. South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker was feeling the pressure so the devout Christian took to her Instagram to pray for peace.
The swimmer wrote: “Father God, may Your will be done, may Your peace fill us up, may we praise You no matter what the outcome. May we be empowered by Your strength to give our all and may we forever be in awe of Your goodness! Thank You for bringing us to this very moment.”
But that “outcome” was going to be better than Tatjana could have possibly anticipated. She started destroying records – setting an Olympic record in the prelims for the 200-meter breaststroke, then setting a new world record and winning the Gold medal in the finals! She also took Silver in the 100-meter breaststroke.
Tatjana became a Christian in 2016 and has used her social media presence as a way to give God glory as she competes on the international stage. At the Olympics, she wears two swim caps – one for South Africa, and another with the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” written on it. Glory to God Alone.
Tuesday, August 3, 2021
From fleeing the Syrian Civil War to saving refugees all the way to swimming in the Olympics – this is the story of young Yusra Mardini.
The Mardini family lived a relatively comfortable life in the suburbs of Damascus, the effects of the Civil War were minimal for them. But steadily the violence grew. One day their father, a member of the national swimming team, was arrested and beaten. Their world began to collapse. It was decided that Yusra and her sister Sarah would have to flee the country.
The pair of teenagers went to Turkey and were then crammed on a boat built for 7, but had 20 refugees trying to get to the Greek Island of Lesbos – which has become a waystation for refugees. Just 15 minutes into the voyage, the little boat’s engine sputtered out. Yusra and Sarah got into the cold water, along with a couple of other refugees and used ropes to literally pull the boat through the Aegean Sea to port at Lesbos. They weren’t just swimming for their own lives, but the others on the boat.
Once on dry land, the sisters traveled to Berlin, Germany – often by foot – to live in a refugee camp. While living in a foreign land, Yusra and Sarah connected with a local swimming club for young athletes. With help of their new friends, the sisters were able to get papers and officially immigrate into Germany.
Yusra then went on to become the youngest ever UN Refugee Agency Goodwill Ambassador. And just a week ago in Tokyo, the young woman proudly carried the flag for the Refugee Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremonies.
Monday, August 2, 2021
First Lieutenant Amber English draped herself in the American flag, with her skeet shotgun resting on her shoulder and a gold medal between her teeth! She won top marks and even set an Olympic record by hitting 56 out of 60 targets.
Lt. English’s journey to the Olympics has been a long and difficult path. She went out for the Olympics in 2012 but came up short. Then just before trials in 2016 her father passed away. Again, a missed opportunity. But after 4 years in the Army, at the age of 31, she’s an Olympic champion.
Amber is one of nine US soldiers representing America in the Olympics this year.
Friday, July 30, 2021
An Argentinian fencer lost her Olympic match but still won something even better than Olympic Gold. After losing 15-12 against a Hungarian fencer, Argentina’s Maria Maurice was giving an interview when her coach and boyfriend handed her a large handwritten note saying “Do you want to marry me??? Please!”
Maria turned around to find Perez on one knee for the proposal. After screaming in glee she said “YES!!” Maria’s fiancé is a gold medalist fencer himself. Soon the pair will return home to Argentina to celebrate with their friends and family.
Thursday, July 29, 2021
Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix is making sure mothers of young children, like herself, have the resources necessary for childcare. She and her sponsor Athleta have created The Power of She Fund: a $200,000 childcare fund for athletes competing this year.
The grant program helps fund child care costs for mothers who are also athletes while they travel to competitions. Ahead of the Tokyo games, The Power of She Fund gave nine mom/athletes $10,000 grants to help cover childcare while they win medals for Team USA.
Tokyo will be Allyson’s 5th Olympic Games. She’s won nine medals, six gold and three silver. She’ll once again be running the 400m dash.
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
When Sydney McLaughlin qualified for the Tokyo Olympics for track and field, she also set a new world record. She was the quickest woman ever to compete in the 400-meter hurdles.
As soon as a microphone was put in her face what came rushing out was “All the glory to God!”
The outspoken Christian went on to praise God and thank him for her coaching team. This is her second trip to the Olympics. The hurdle competition begins on Saturday in Tokyo.
The Olympian wrote on her Instagram, “by grace, through faith, Jesus has given me everything. Records come and go. The glory of God is eternal. Thank you Father.”
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
It’s been a really challenging few years for track star Quanesha Burks. She excelled in high school and went to the University of Alabama on scholarship. In 2019 her grandfather (who helped raise her) passed away, causing her performance to drop off. Then 2020 hit and the pandemic impacted every athlete. While training for an Olympic run, Burks was sidelined with a bone injury for three months. Her coaches didn’t think she would be ready for trials, but hard work and determination prevailed.
At the trials for the Tokyo Olympics Quanesha Burks landed a personal best long-jump of 6.96 meters, and took third place overall, securing her spot on the Team USA roster.
Quanesha said, “I didn’t have everything laid out for me. I didn’t have all the eyes on me. I feel like still to this day I get overlooked. That’s okay. I just know it all starts with your confidence within. Everything I’ve become is because of my mindset and my determination. It’s been a journey and it all started with a little girl working at McDonald’s and here I am.”
Monday, July 26, 2021
18 year old Kieran Moise just graduated high school and is preparing to enter the Air Force Academy – but first, he was going to need a very important haircut. Six years earlier Kieran lost a friend to cancer. Inspired to help children recovering from chemotherapy, Kieran decided to grow out his afro to donate hair to be turned into free wigs through Children with Hair Loss.
By the time school was over, Kieran had grown an impressive 19-inch afro. He then organized a hair cut event to raise $1000 per inch that got chopped ($20,000) before signing up for life in the Air Force.
Kieran noted, “There’s nothing special about helping others, you just have to want to do it.”
Friday, July 23, 2021
Danielle Gletow is the founder of One Simple Wish, an organization that helps donors grant wishes from foster kids, foster parents and young adults who have aged out of the system. It’s emotional work, and one night last month, Gletow was feeling the full weight of it. Her friend had just passed away from ALS, and she was overwhelmed with anxiety over whether she could support all of the people counting on her.
In fact, she had made a special birthday wish days earlier, asking the public for donations on One Simple Wish‘s page. Little did she know that at the same time, a Reddit user was writing a post on the message board site that would change everything. The Redditor, who goes by dartdoug, answered the question “What is something you’ve done purely out of the goodness of your heart but have not told anyone?” by mentioning the One Simple Wish site.
Within hours, the Reddit community had donated sneakers, books, toys, electronics and more, fulfilling dozens of wishes. By last count, donations after the post have totaled more than $185,000. Danielle was blown away.
Danielle Gletow expressed her gratitude by sharing about the young people who would be helped by the outpouring of support: “I want them to feel valued and seen and not for what they’ve been through, not for their trauma, but just for who they are. For their sense of humor. For their intelligence. For their quirkiness. For their interest in writing or art. I want all of them to have some sense of wonder and hope and childhood. And this is what Reddit did.”
Thursday, July 22, 2021
Some kids as young as 2 or 3 are getting ticketed by police in Bogalusa – but not for breaking the law, rather, for being upstanding young people. And by tickets, I mean coupons for free snowballs and ice cream!
The Bogalusa police force are pumping up their numbers by issuing over 200 tickets for local treats to kids of all ages, hoping to build a better relationship with young people and stop crime before it starts.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Jonathan Bright is a police officer in Tennessee and last week, he and six of his fellow officers just finished a 12-hour shift and stopped by Waffle House to get something to eat, but it was closed. The reason was that several employees walked off the job mid shift leaving them so short-handed that they were forced to close the restaurant.
After working their 12-hour police shift, the officers jumped in and started helping out at the Waffle House by cleaning, taking orders, and getting the restaurant running again.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Retired Judge Keith Davison decided that grief would not get the best of him. A few years ago he lost his wife to cancer after 66 years of marriage. His grown children have yet to provide grandkids, so Keith became the unofficial grandpa to all the kids in his neighborhood. And he became their favorite grandpa by putting in a HUGE pool.
There is no community pool in Morris, MN – but Judge Davison has extended the invite to his new, huge, 32 feet long, 9-feet deep backyard swimming pool for everyone in the community. Parents are required to be present with the kids. Keith’s backyard has become the Summer hangout spot for dozens of kids and families.
The 94 year old former judge stays fit by swimming laps before and after the children descend on the pool – and then enjoys talking with the families as they live up some Summer fun.
Monday, July 19, 2021
When someone is in trouble – heroes act fast. 16 year old Joseph and his friend 15 year old Dominic are absolutely heroes. The two boy scouts were riding their bikes surveying the damage after flood waters moved through their hometown of Columbia, Missouri when they heard cries coming from a flooded basketball court.
The two young men saw a young woman fighting to keep her head above water. She had tried to swim through the flooded playground but was caught in a current and cramping up. Joseph and Dominic did not hesitate – jumping into the deep and dangerous waters to rescue the flailing woman. She was later taken to the hospital and is expected to be ok.
For their part in the rescue, Joe and Dom were awarded the Citizen Life Safety Award by the local fire department.
Friday, July 16, 2021
We’ve heard so many stories about how during the pandemic, there has been a surge in generosity. Those with the means, blessing those in need. Stumble Inn Bar & Grill in Londonderry, New Hampshire is a local dive known for their chili dogs. A new customer must have really enjoyed his meal because he left a whopper of a tip.
The bill was for $37 – the tip was for $16,000! The diner told the staff to not spend it all in one place as he walked out the door. That is a baller move!
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Chicago police officers were patrolling the 6th district and saw some kids having fun playing basketball. But the milk crate they were using as a hoop had seen better days. So the officers hatched a plan. They collected cash from their coworkers and surprised the neighborhood kids with a brand new basketball goal and some fresh basketballs.
The kids were so excited it was high fives all around. It took 9 officers a few hours to put the goal together, but afterwards they stuck around to shoot some hoops with the kids. This is a gift these families will never forget – and maybe some of these kids will grow up to become cops because they experienced the difference that can be made.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Captain Jennifer Dowker was busy cleaning her glass bottomed boat, docked on the Cheboygan River in Michigan, when she saw something glimmer in the sunlight. It was an old timey glass bottle … and inside was a piece of rolled up parchment.
Jennifer fished the bottle out of the river and read the note inside. Dated November 1926, the note said, “Will the person who finds this bottle return this paper to George Morrow and tell where it was found.”
Jennifer’s crew shared the message in the bottle on Facebook and folks tracked down Michele Primeau – the daughter of George Morrow, who wrote the message nearly 100 years ago. George passed away back in 1995 – but this past Father’s Day Michele got to reminisce about her dad with this special glimpse into his past.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
When Richard Scott William Hutchinson came into the world last year, doctors at Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis gave him a zero percent chance of survival. The infant was born five months premature – recognized by Guinness as the world’s most premature baby. Richard weighed just 11.9 ounces and was so tiny, he could fit in the palm of his parents’ hands.
But inside his little body beat the heart of a fighter.
After six months in the hospital, Richard was discharged from the NICU. This June, he celebrated his first birthday as a thriving, smiling little boy.
Monday, July 12, 2021
For your average 8 year old boy – a Pokémon card collection is the equivalent of your grandmother’s fine china or those Beanie Babies you “invested” in back in the 90s. It’s a priceless possession. Bryson started collecting Pokémon cards when he was just 4. But at age 8 he put up a sign, “Pokémon 4 Sale” in his front lawn.
Bryson’s best friend is his puppy Woodruff, a black lab mix. Woodruff got sick with a virus and Bryson overheard his parents talking with the veterinarian that it would cost hundreds of dollars to save the dog. Bryson wanted to help so he put his Pokémon collection up for sale. When neighbors got wind of what Bryson was up to, the donations started pouring in. Most didn’t want the cards – just to help Woodruff.
While Bryson did sell a few cards – a lot of neighbors made donations of both cash and their own Pokémon cards to the cause. The family quickly had enough to treat Woodruff, who is now back to his healthy happy self. Someone told the Pokémon Company what Bryson did for his pup, and they sent him a ton of new Pokémon cards to make up for the few he sold.
Friday, July 9, 2021
A young man named Jabari Richardson – a student at Texas A&M – was in the process of moving when he saw a man on the side of the road. The man was homeless, holding a sign that simply said “Anything helps, God Bless.”
Jabari pulled some clothes and shoes out of his trunk and gave them to the grateful man. What Jabari didn’t know was the person behind him in traffic filmed the entire thing and posted it to TikTok.
That kind of generous act quickly went viral – set to the country song “The Good Ones” by Gabby Barrett. It’s been viewed well over 6 million times. Jabari was identified and interviewed by local news. He told reporters that his mom raised him to understand not everyone is as blessed as he is and to never take that for granted.
@amburandlex##DADMOVES ##summerschool ##goodpoint ##viral ##helpingthehomeless ##tallahasseeflorida ##foodtiktok ##intothethickofit ##blackmusic ##blacklivesmatter♬ The Good Ones – Gabby Barrett
Thursday, July 8, 2021
A dad wanted to inspire his kids to never give up in pursuing their dreams – and in the process raised a ton of money and got super jacked. Over the course of 12 months, Nate Carroll completed 1,500,231 pushups. He averaged 4,100 pushups a day – often doing many more.
Not only is he the toughest dad on the block, Nate raised money for Tunnels to Towers Foundation – a nonprofit that pays housing bills for families of fallen police and firefighters.
For Nate it was never about breaking records – which of course he did – it was always about showing his children that the key to tackling incredible challenges in life is to take it a little bit at a time.
Wednesday, July 7, 2021
Michael is 18 years old and is on the autism spectrum, experiencing extreme emotional outbursts. He’s mostly non-verbal but has found a handful of ways to express himself – like editing short videos with special effects, trying to make his dad Mike laugh and playing video games.
Michael was with his dad in Walmart one day and spotted a full-sized old school arcade cabinet. The young man was so enamored by the expensive hardware, his dad, Mike (who was laid off from his job during the pandemic) decided to put his engineering skills to work and built an even better arcade system just for his son.
Mike wired together a stereo with a computer system loaded with games and put it all into a custom built wood frame, tricked out with paint and lights. Michael LOVED his new arcade cabinet. Since completing the project and sharing it online, another family with an autistic child has hired Mike to build one for them.
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Cancer patients look for inspiration and hope everywhere. Faith, family, friends, art and music give strength in the fight. Juan Lopez of Marrero spent a year battling cancer. The 13 year old found peace in listening to classical music.
Now that the hardest part of Juan’s battle against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is over, the teen is living his best life – and learning to play the piano. While in the hospital, Clair de Lune became his anthem – a challenging piece on the piano. And Juan now gets to practice the piece in style.
Make A Wish, Chick-Fil-A and Larargue Piano banded together to gift the survivor a Yamaha Baby Grand Piano! Juan is now cancer-free and getting better at the piano every single day.
Monday, July 5, 2021
Stefani Shamrowicz really hates litter. It’s her pet peeve. The Colorado native had to take a month off of work in May, so she decided to travel and see family and friends – and along the way, she collected 126 bags of litter.
Steff used GoFundMe to pay for gas and lodging as she travelled and collected litter into garbage bags, chronicling the entire thing on Instagram. She picked up waste in 12 states – the biggest offender being Ohio – Arizona and Florida rounding out the top 3 littered states visited.
Friday, July 2, 2021
Timothy Harrison spent a lot of his senior year working part time at a local Waffle House in Alabama. Timothy had taken a Saturday morning shift off to attend his high school graduation – but the morning of – he showed up to work.
His manager, Cedric Hampton asked him what was going on and it turned out Timothy couldn’t get a ride to the graduation venue, about a half hour drive away, nor could he afford his cap and gown – so he just decided to come into work.
The staff and patrons of the Waffle House quickly put together the cash to pay for the cap and gown, and manager Cedric grabbed his keys to take Timothy to his graduation ceremony. After a local news channel did a story about Timothy and his Waffle House family, a local State college offered the young man a full scholarship.
Just recently the soon to be college freshman took a tour of the school campus – with Cedric, his manager and mentor from Waffle House right by his side.
Thursday, July 1, 2021
Thank you to the men and women in local police forces that are out to serve and protect everyone – everyday. It’s a hard – sometimes impossible job. We’re praying for you – and thankful for your service. Usually when police make the news, it is for all the wrong reasons – but the unsung acts of good public servants will not go unnoticed.
Recently police in Pasco, FL were called to a gas station in response to someone loitering behind the building. When they pulled up, deputies noticed the man looked hungry and had no shoes. They talked with the man, bought him a sandwich and some flip flops to protect his feet and then he went on his way with some basic needs met.
That type of story happens in communities all over the country every day. Let’s be like these cops, today.
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Last year, 8-year-old Desiree Mohammadi wanted to help care for the healthcare heroes in New York City. She emptied her piggy bank – a grand total of $52.65 – and donated it all to Northwell Health to buy snacks for front-line workers. Desiree dreams to one day be a doctor on the front-lines as well.
One day came on her 9th birthday.
As a way to say “thank you” to the thoughtful little girl, LIJ Medical Center invited Desiree to shadow some doctors on her 9th birthday. She got a white coat, a stethoscope and jumped right in at the Labor and Delivery Unit. Throughout the day Desiree learned how to dress wounds, use various health instruments and experience a day as a doctor.
The staff at LIJ Med Center all said you didn’t need a stethoscope to experience Desiree’s big heart – she showed compassion to every person she met.
It might be a few years before Dr. Desiree is treating patients at the hospital, but she knows the path before her and is walking it with lots of hope and a group of healthcare professionals already cheering her on.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
Hats off to Verda Tetteh, a graduating high school senior from Massachusetts who graciously accepted a $40,000 scholarship from her school — and then asked that it be donated to a student attending a community college instead.
Verda was inspired by her mom Rosemary – who works two jobs to provide for the family. Verda’s mom immigrated from Ghana and graduated from Community College, so that’s where Verda wants to invest her $40,000 scholarship – in the lives of others like her mom.
Meanwhile Verda is off to Harvard to study biochemistry. She has other scholarships and financial aid so tuition won’t be a burden on her family. Verda said matter of factly, “We’re blessed to be a blessing. I thought that I was in the position where God has blessed me so much, and I thought it was the right thing to do to bless somebody else.”
Monday, June 28,2021
7 year-old Lawson Haas is a really cool kid. He loves fishing, hunting, martial arts – and especially baseball. Back in May he helped his Northshore team to a nearly undefeated season. But after one game he wasn’t feeling very well. He had a fever, headaches and bruises. Two days later Lawson was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
The brave 7 year-old has already begun chemotherapy. His family says he is a fighter and will beat this. But Lawson will eventually need a bone marrow transplant. But he will not be walking this journey alone.
Next time you are on the Northshore you might see someone wearing a Lawson Strong bracelet or t-shirt. The community is rallying around the family with blood drives, online fundraisers for medical expenses and a huge baseball tournament to help raise money for the family as they focus on the fight ahead.
Twenty-four local teams signed up to play in a fundraising baseball tournament for Lawson. Of course his team is fired up to win it all for their friend and teammate.
Friday, June 25, 2021
A mega church in Ohio – Crossroad Church – has multiple campuses and boasted a weekly attendance of over 35,000 people pre-pandemic. This year marks the 25th anniversary for the church and to celebrate, they are spreading their considerable resources to a host of other non-profits and ministry organizations.
To celebrate 25 years the church will dole out $2.5 million in grants over the next several months, starting with a $100,000 gift to City Gospel Mission, which cares for the homeless in Cincinnati. They also plan to help fund organizations in Haiti and India.
The generous spending spree was actually inspired by the federal government. In the middle of a global shutdown, Crossroad Church was fortunate to make their operating budget with the help of the Payment Protection Program loans. Grateful for the help in their time of need, the church now wants to give until it hurts to help as many other organizations as they can.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
One new mamma was trying to balance her new family with completing a graduate degree at MIT. Can you say overachiever? Her supervising professor of neuroscience, Dr. Troy Littleton wanted to help ease his student’s burden so he bought a pack ‘n play for his office, so he could watch the 9 month old while her mom got some research work done.
Dr. Littleton calls it a win-win because while mamma gets to finish her graduate studies, he gets to play with a baby!
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
Tia’s husband Rodney and Susan’s husband Lance were both on dialysis. Tia and Susan are both nurses at Children’s hospital in Atlanta and connected so they could encourage each other on the difficult journey. Both women had been tested and were not a match for their own husbands – but a chance conversation in the hospital bathroom led to the discovery that the ladies were a match for each other’s husbands!
Instead of waiting forever on the kidney donor list, the wives immediately went into surgery to give kidneys to both Rodney and Lance. Now the families are forever linked – they literally share body parts!
Interested in learning more about kidney donation? kidneyregistry.org
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Tom Stevens was working hard to get the Majestic Ventura Theater open for business now that COVID restrictions have eased in California. While wiggling through a crawl space to do some electric work, Tom discovered a long-forgotten wallet. There was no cash – just some old photos, a Grateful Dead ticket stub and an expired California driver’s license for Colleen Distin.
Tom shared his find on Facebook hoping to get the wallet back to Colleen. In just a couple hours – with over a 1,000 shares of the post, Colleen responded to Tom – excited to see the 40 year old photos again. Colleen had lost her wallet when it fell out of her purse while on a date in 1975. The old family photos immediately brought tears to her eyes.
Monday, June 21, 2021
Yeva crossed the finish line of the 4×1 relay – arm in arm with three of her teammates. They didn’t win the race – but they brought everyone to tears. Yeva Klingbeil was a senior at Shenendehowa High School this year. She’s also been battling an aggressive cancer since 2019. Her friends from the school’s track and field team have gone every step of the journey with Yeva. They’ve done fundraisers to help pay for treatment and included Yeva in every way they could at school.
Yeva has never given up hope for a full recovery, largely because of the support of her friends. She’s undergone chemo and radiation and the tumor has shrunk by half – praise God! At the last track and field race of the year, her teammates half-carried Yeva across the finish line where she was met by all of the competitors cheering her on – a celebration of her won’t quit spirit.
Friday, June 18, 2021
In America it can be hard to fathom the type of poverty experienced in the developing world. A family in Paraguay was living in literal garbage until strangers from all over the world heard their story – and bought them a house.
A mom and her three children were left homeless when the children’s stepfather burned their home to the ground and was sent to prison. They scrapped for building material and were living behind the city dump. One little boy would collect recycling to make money for the family to get food.
Their story was told via TikTok by Aaron Murphy – an American who went to South America to learn Spanish. Raising over $30,000, Aaron was able to purchase this family a house, clothing and furniture. These children had never been in a shower before. The mom is now operating a small restaurant out of the house and the children are all back in school. They have hope and a future thanks to the generosity of strangers from around the world.
View this post on Instagram
Thursday, June 17, 2021
Chef Q. Ibraheem runs an upscale catering business and underground supper club in Evanston, Illinois. It took her years to grow her dreams, and she was finally tasting the fruits of all her labor when the pandemic hit.
Chef Ibraheem watched as schools shut down and families were plunged into food insecurity. Putting aside her own fears for her business, the chef started a program called Kids with Coworkers (referring to children who were home with their parents). Kids With Coworkers prepares and delivers healthy meals to struggling families.
The work came naturally to Chef Ibraheem, since she had volunteered for years with youth programs in the Chicago area, teaching young people how to grow and prepare vegetables from local community gardens. Word of her efforts quickly spread, and donations started arriving, which enabled her to expand. Since March 2020, Ibraheem says she has provided more than 60,000 meals to more than 600 people.
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Since 2015, Virginia Rose has been helping mobility-challenged people like herself participate in her favorite pastime: birding. Rose says there’s something deeply satisfying about being engrossed in nature, appreciating the present moment and searching out feathered beauties that leads her to pick up her binoculars time after time. But navigating trails with a manual wheelchair can be nearly impossible. So she founded Birdability, a non-profit group that helps people find birding locations that fit their needs.
So far, the group has mapped out more than 500 birding sites along with their accessibility scores, both in the US and a few internationally. Anyone can access their interactive trail map, and Birdability members can even become captains to help lead inclusive excursions. That’s the other beautiful part of Birdability: connecting people so they can nerd out about birds, together.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Devarius Peters showed up excited to graduate from Hahnville high school this past Spring – he even got some brand new black and white leather Alexander McQueen shoes for the ceremony. But as he was walking in, a school employee informed Devarius that the shoes broke the dress code and he could not wear them if he wanted to walk across the stage.
Devarius was heartbroken and embarrassed. That’s when his former teacher, Mr. John Butler stepped in to help. Mr. Butler quickly slipped his own shoes off and had Devarius put them on so he could walk the stage with his peers. John’s own daughter was also graduating with Devarius, so he took his seat in the auditorium with no shoes, just socks. The folks around him chuckled – they had no idea that the teacher’s shoes were on the feet of his former student on stage.
Devarius, whose feet were a little too small for his borrowed shoes, proudly slid across stage and accepted his diploma with a special grin for his former teacher’s kindness. And the St. Charles School Board is working to change their graduation dress code rules to be more inclusive.
Monday, June 14, 2021
A father and his two children were out fishing on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL. It was a hot day, so while anchored, the kids were swimming by the boat. That’s when the current suddenly kicked up and swept them away. Thanks to a cool minded dad and a strong swimming 7 year old, everyone survived the scary ordeal.
When the current became too much for 7 year old Chase and his 4 year old sister Abigail, their father Steven jumped into the water to help. He was able to reach 4 year old Abigail, who was in a life vest, but could not get back to shore. His 7 year old son Chase, who was not in a life vest, battled the rough water for an hour, inching towards shore. Thankfully Chase is an incredible swimmer. As soon as his feet hit dry land he ran to the nearest house to get help.
Rescuers arrived and were able to save Steven and Abigail, who had drifted almost 2 miles further down river. Chase is the hero of Jacksonville for never giving up in the face of great danger.
Friday, June 11, 2021
When California couple Krystal Duhaney and her husband Patrick had their first baby, they struggled to make ends meet. Now Krystal owns a successful business and they wanted to help out other struggling new parents. Krystal & Patrick decided to spread some kindness by leaving $1,000 worth of cash inside baby products at various Target stores in Southern California. They slipped dollar bills into diaper boxes and under unopened formula lids at the Target stores.
Krystal posted about her Target adventure on Instagram at the end of April and in the weeks that followed, Krystal’s post went viral and has since earned nearly 96,000 likes and hundreds of comments from people commending the couple for their generous actions.
Though the couple was praised on social media, Krystal said she just hopes their gesture will inspire their children, and people raising kids all over the world, to be kind to others.
“As parents raising two young children, it’s really important for us to let our children know… kindness matters and that you never know what somebody’s going through.”
View this post on Instagram
Thursday, June 10, 2021
Charter boat captains Mark Pisano and Paul Strasser have a whopper of a story to tell! Thirty-five years ago, Mark & Paul were piloting a charter back from Catalina Island off the California coast, when they came across a capsized boat and an orange life vest bobbing in the waves. Mark jumped in and pulled out 9-year-old Desiree Rodriguez — the only survivor. Her mother, father, sister, aunt, and uncle all perished in the incident. Desiree had been in the water for 20 hours when they found her.
Thirty-five years passed. Mark & Paul always wondered what happened to Desiree. Then a podcaster invited both men on his show, along with a surprise guest. On the show, Mark & Paul were reintroduced to Desiree Rodriguez and they could not hide their joy.
Now Captains Mark and Paul keep in touch with Desiree, who said the podcast recording really gave her a sense of closure about the tragedy in her past. Desiree and her aunt, who raised her after the incident, were invited to join Mark & Paul on their boat. It was the first time Desiree had been back on the ocean since she was rescued at age 9.
The journey was their first memorial — a commemoration of the family she lost — but also a celebration of guardian angels she gained.
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Zohaib Begg is one incredible 8 year-old. He fought and beat cancer at age 4. When the pandemic hit last year, the then 7 year-old self-proclaimed “Chief Kindness Officer” collected more than 6,000 pieces of Personal Protection Equipment for the doctors who helped heal him as a preschooler. Now Zohaib has turned his big heart to helping the homeless in his hometown of Washington DC.
Zohaib gave himself a lofty goal of helping 1,000 homeless people on Global Youth Service Day. He got some help from Sharon Wise, who was once homeless and now advocates for the homeless in the D.C. metro. The pair passed out food, toiletry kits and other supplies to people in need at an underpass off New Jersey Avenue in the shadow of our nation’s Capital.
Each supply pack was filled with donations from local companies that 8 year-old Zohaib personally reached out to, including socks from Bombas, food from Chickfila and groceries from Trader Joe’s.
Zohaib says, “I believe in spreading kindness, and all my donors and partners for this event share this vision and also believe that no one is too young to make a difference.”
Tuesday, June 8, 2021
Meredith Crane watched with frustration as her children (born deaf) struggled to find jobs. With that in mind, she started a company called Keepsake. She produces T-shirt quilts and blankets out of Columbus, OH. Over the last twenty years, Meredith has employed around 125 deaf and hard-of-hearing people at her company.
Keepsake takes old t-shirts and turns them into quilts for their clients. It’s pure comfort – and for many of the deaf employees at Keepsake, each blanket is a vote of confidence in their abilities and achievements.
Monday, June 7, 2021
It was March 29, 2011. Michael Shannon was off for a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway near Dana Point, about an hour’s drive south of Los Angeles. But this joyride wasn’t going to end well. A tractor-trailer crashed into Michael’s SUV.
Michael was alive – but trapped – and he could feel a fire starting to move towards him. He had no way of calling for help. Michael probably shouldn’t have survived. But that’s when the heroes showed up.
A team of two county firefighters and two paramedics were on their way back from another call. Two minutes after the crash they were on the scene of the accident and helping free Michael from the wreck. The paramedics broke out the Jaws of Life and extracted him from the vehicle while other firefighters worked to put out the fire. Michael was air-lifted to a hospital, where he spent the next 45 days undergoing treatment. The crash cost him two toes, which had to be amputated, but he otherwise — miraculously — survived and recovered.
And in a strange way, he had himself to thank.
Orange County paramedic Chris Trokey was one of the heroes of the day, helping rescue Michael from the fiery crash. And while Chris didn’t know it until he arrived at the hospital, it turned out that they had met before – 25 years earlier.
Chris Trokey was just 3.2 pounds at birth, and doctors had initially given him a 50/50 chance at surviving, but the attending pediatrician monitored his health around the clock and made sure he was stable. That pediatrician? Dr. Michael Shannon.
Trokey’s family long credited Dr. Shannon for saving the future paramedic’s life, and as coincidence would have it, the once-premature baby was able to repay the favor. They’ve made a habit of keeping in touch since. The pair get together for dinner every year on the anniversary of the car accident. And Chris recently became a father. Can you guess who his son’s pediatrician is? Dr. Shannon.
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