Today’s Good News

In Blog, Home Page, NewPodcasts, Outreach by Josh

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!

Wednesday,  May 25, 2022

It’s a sad but true fact that the celebration and sense of accomplishment that comes with graduating college also often means the looming realization that student loans and debt have not, in fact, magically gone away. But for the Wiley College Class of 2022, it looks like that’s exactly what happened when an anonymous donor cleared the balances of the graduating class.

The historically black college in Marshall, Texas, hosted its 133rd Commencement Convocation over the weekend, where more than 100 students were set to walk the stage and earn their diplomas. Hermon J. Felton, president and CEO of Wiley College, told graduates in a surprise announcement during the ceremony: “If you have a balance, you had a balance. You no longer have a balance.”

The students’ balances were cleared by an anonymous donor. Typical tuition, including room and board, costs $17,500 per student at Wiley.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A dramatic rescue happened just off the coast of Grand Isle. Sgt. Stephen Rhodes was issuing a boating ticket when he noticed a boat capsize just off shore – The passengers crawled on top of their capsized boat and began screaming for help. Without hesitation, the Wildlife and Fisheries officer, with the help of some good Samaritans in the area, launched an emergency rescue operation.

Many of the boaters couldn’t swim and few spoke English. They were able to communicate that a young girl was missing. Sgt. Rhodes dove under the capsized boat and recovered the unconscious 7 year old who was not breathing. Rhodes performed CPR and she began to breathe again – after a short stay in the hospital, the girl is expected to make a full recovery.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Twenty-three years ago, Tracy slipped a $100 bill and note to a couple of young sisters headed to America as refugees. And it forever changed their lives.

In 1999, 12-year-old Ayda Zugay and her older sister boarded a plane to America, fleeing the former Yugoslavia with barely anything to their name. On board, a fellow passenger slipped the young refugees an envelope with $100, a pair of earrings, and a note. “I am so sorry that the bombing of your country has caused your family any problems” it read. “I hope your stay in America will be a safe and happy one for you — Welcome to America — please use this to help you here. A friend from the plane — TRACY ”

For years, Ayda has been trying to find the woman who she says brought an immeasurable amount of comfort and hope with her gesture – comfort and hope that neither sister has ever forgotten.

Recently CNN wrote a story about the sisters, and within days, the mysterious Tracy was found! Tracy Peck says she clearly remembers seeing the two girls on the plane, scared and unsure, surviving violence and displacement that Peck couldn’t imagine.

Peck and the sisters had an emotional reunion over video call. “You both are remarkable young women,” Tracy told them. “I’m so thankful I was sitting next to you on that airplane…and so proud of you both for what you’ve become.”


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Today's Good News - Heroes & Helpers

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Friday, May 20, 2022

12 year old Gabriel Clark likes to do woodwork – specifically making beautiful wood bowls and cutting boards. Gabriel started selling his wares in order to buy a dream mountain bike – but internet fame has led to so much more.

Gabriel’s dad Richard was bragging about his son’s skill when the pictures of the woodwork went viral. Suddenly there were 20,000 requests for hand hewn bowls in his DM’s! That was a bit overwhelming, so Gabe decided to make one special bowl.

Richard and Gabriel invited fans to buy into a lottery to win the Clarkie Woodwork bowl – with all proceeds going to Save The Children Ukraine non-profit. The internet did its thing – famous people shared the raffle – and the Clarks raised over $300,000 with just the one bowl!

The winner was Renuka Chapman who declared, “This bowl will be one of my most treasured possessions. It represents hope, compassion, and kindness… It will have pride of place in my home.”

Thursday, May 19, 2022

46% of formerly incarcerated people return to prison after their release. But one program called Education Wins, or Edwins for short, is boasting a far better stat of less than 1% of the more than 500 people that have now gone through their program in nearly a decade!

The program is actually a Cleveland, Ohio restaurant that specializes in French cuisine with a mission to educate, support and employ those who were previously incarcerated. The employees learn about leadership, life and fine dining skills that they can apply in and out of the kitchen. And all of the employees also have access to classes and housing through donations.

“You give someone a great chance and you support them. This is what happens,” Brandon Chrostowski says. He runs Edwins and he knows first hand. He said, “I received a break when I was 18 going on 19 and the judge gave me probation instead of a long sentence.” He later found a chef who mentored him and he went on to work in Michelin-starred kitchens in Paris and New York.

He says, “We’re not asking about what you did. We’re not looking at your experience, we’re not looking at your past. Whatever it may be, we’re looking at taking you to where you want to go.”

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Traditionally, adults with intellectual disabilities who might not thrive at typical colleges don’t have a lot of higher education options after high school. But at the College of Adaptive Arts in San Jose, California, adults with special needs can have a college experience full of intellectual inquiry and discovery.

CAA co-founder DeAnna Pursai watched her sister Angel, who has Down syndrome, deal with frustrating higher education limitations. So the College of Adaptive Arts offers 10 unique Majors – everything from business to theater and health and wellness – so her sister and others like her can get excited about their future and realize their potential.

“There are adults out there everywhere who are languishing because they’ve been sidelined because traditional college is not for them,” Pursai said. “But when you give them a safe space, it’s an unbelievable transformation.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

What if ordering a pizza saved your life? That’s Caryn Sullivan’s story. She ordered a pizza late one night and while waiting for the DoorDash delivery, she fell suffering severe brain trauma. When Sophia Furtado arrived with Caryn’s pizza, the DoorDash driver knew exactly what to do!

Sophia had taken EMT training. She called out for help, waking Caryn’s husband Robert who had been asleep in the house (I mean, she ordered a pizza at 10 PM so go easy on Mr. Sullivan). They called 911. While the ambulance was on the way, the 911 operator worked with Sophia over the phone to secure and stabilize Caryn, who was unresponsive.

Caryn spent weeks in the hospital recovering from two severe brain bleeds caused by her fall. She’s had to relearn how to walk, drive and write. But despite a terrifying experience, her life was saved and she made a new friend – her guardian angel, Sophia from DoorDash.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Henry DeHart was filling up his car with gas in Chattanooga, TN. He says he wasn’t really paying attention to the price – knowing it was going to be high. What choice did he have? But when his tank hit full, he noticed his total was only $5.64! That was for 12 gallons of gasoline! Obviously there was an error at the pump.

Now, Henry could have decided this was someone else’s problem and tore out of there with some super cheap premium unleaded. But Henry has honor. He understands that this gas station is someone’s livelihood. So he went in and reported the error to the clerk. Would you have done the right thing?

Friday, May 13, 2022

To quote Dr. Ian Malcom, “Life, uh, finds a way.” Even in war torn Ukraine, babies are being born. Sometimes in evacuation sites and bomb shelters. This presents many healthcare problems – but problems that can be solved when we work together.

Incubators are vital technology that have saved countless newborn lives in the past decades. They are expensive though – costing around $20,000 a unit. And they can be clunky so they aren’t exactly portable in a warzone. Jane Chen of Embrace Global got to sciencing and developed an ultra portable baby-bag incubator that uses hot wax to maintain warmth for a newborn preemie.

The low-cost incubator costs only a couple hundred dollars to make, doesn’t require stable electricity, is light-weight and reusable – it is a miracle product. And Embrace Global is providing THOUSANDS of them to Ukraine.


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Thursday, May 12, 2022

I like to imagine the faces on the staff at the Idaho Human Society when nine-year-old Ben Miller recently stopped in and dropped off a plastic bag filled with $1,150 in cash. For three years, the young man has been raising money through a lemonade stand after he visited the shelter in 2019 and noticed that some cats didn’t have toys.

According to Ben’s mother, Amy Miller, Ben has spent hours selling lemonade – even offering lavender flavor – alongside treats like cookies. In total, he’s raised about $2,000, and his mom says she’s blown away by the support. Some people have traveled nearly an hour to get some refreshments and make a donation, and others have sent money virtually.

A representative from the shelter said they’re in the middle of kitten season, and every dollar they can get helps pay for medical care, food, and yes, toys.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

David Rush is from Idaho, father to two boys, and has a love for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – also known as STEM. He has an electrical engineering degree from MIT and has worked in the tech sector his entire career. But success for David isn’t just in his career accomplishments or educational achievements – he wants to INSPIRE!

So David set out to beat or create 52 Guinness World Records in 52 weeks. One year – one record a week. And he’s very close to achieving the goal! 49 records have been verified with 4 more being verified. In fact, David has over 200 world records to his name – everything from “Fastest 100-meter dash while juggling blindfolded” to “Popping 10 balloons between 2 people in 15.25 seconds.”

David’s hope is to use these fantastical feats to inspire his sons and other students to pursue education in STEM.


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Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Police departments often have special pushes to fight drugs, stop human trafficking or even a sting on parking without feeding the meter – how often do you hear about a police department with a Random Acts of Kindness Project?

The Oceanside Police Department in SoCal is showing some California Love by taking time each month to help in their community. In March they handed out cash at local gas stations when gas topped $6 a gallon. Now they are helping shoppers pay for their groceries!

High gas, inflation and market instability means that the cost of food has skyrocketed across the globe. The OPD has been surprising shoppers with Random Acts of Kindness cast to pay for their groceries.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Retired Maj. Ray Ferman served in the U.S. Army and later U.S. Air Force for two decades. But he didn’t stop there.

When he returned to Sherman, Texas, after fighting for his country, Ray volunteered with the senior center to help deliver food for Meals on Wheels. And at age 96, Ray still continues to deliver meals to elderly people in need across Texoma.

Hometown Heroes founder Rayce Guess says of the retired major, “Servant’s heart, like it says, Jesus was a King, but he came to serve, and so Ray epitomizes that, and he’s serving even now. What more can you say about that?”

But Ray Ferman doesn’t see himself as a hero. He says, “I just enjoy the opportunity to be helpful.”

Friday, May 6, 2022

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and one teacher in Louisville, Kentucky is teaching students the importance of kindness — and providing creative outlets for them to practice it daily.

Stefany Bibb is a teacher at John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School.
She also leads the school’s “Kindness Crew”. Students in the Kindness Crew often hold doors for others, greet students and teachers each morning with posters that have positive messages, focus on being helpful and respectful, and help others to remember to be kind.

Fourth-grade member Aniyah Cox said her favorite act of kindness is giving hugs. “I like to make people smile and I like to make them smile because it lights up my world and I know it makes them feel warm inside, too.”

5th grader John Johnson says, “My favorite act of kindness is being able to hold the door for other people, because it shows that you care about them.”

Ms. Bibb hopes these students take the foundation of kindness they’ve started at Kennedy Montessori and continue to build upon it in the future. I hope so, too! Sounds like they’re off to a great start. What’s your favorite way to show kindness to others?

Thursday, May 5, 2022

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Food is a love language.

Lasagna Love is a non-profit program that connects community members through gestures of kindness, goodwill, and support.

In 2020, prompted by the COVID-related struggles of families in her community and her own feeling of helplessness, Rhiannon Menn launched the platform to deliver home-cooked meals to neighbors in need.

The San Diego mom says, “There were so many moms that I knew who had lost childcare, who had lost jobs. They were just feeling stressed out,. And so literally one day, I was just like, I’m gonna make extra meals.”

Before long, her effort to comfort members of her community had grown into something much larger.

In just two years, Lasagna Love has successfully united participation of more than 30,000 men and women from around the world. More than 200,000 meals have been delivered through the platform, feeding over 850,000 people. As more meals are delivered, the ripple effect has become more profound, as recipients said they were inspired to pay it forward.

Rhiannon shares, “When we launched Lasagna Love, our mission was to provide comfort during a time of uncertainty. As we move into our third year of operation, we recognize that our true power is so much greater. We are inspiring pay it forward acts of kindness across communities and increasing feelings of connectedness and support among neighbors.”

It turns out a little lasagna goes a long way.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Tom Perri is about to hit a major milestone: 600 marathons. The avid runner from Maple Grove, Minnesota averages 36 races a year. He’s run marathons in all 50 states – 5 times each!! Believe it or not, that’s the least of Perri’s achievements.

He has stage 4 prostate cancer and has continued running marathons since the diagnosis, saying he didn’t want to sit and watch on the sidelines. He’s also continued to help other runners reach their goals, motivating them when the going gets tough.

Tom says, “I just love to help people do that stuff. It’s all about helping another runner.” and that he’d rather be remembered not for his accomplishments in running (although they are impressive!). He wants his legacy to be that of helping others.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

It was Shawen Christenson-Bueckers’ first year of college when she was offered the opportunity to save a stranger’s life.

Shawen is a registered bone marrow donor for Be The Match, a nonprofit organization that helps patients who need bone marrow transplants. When they matched her with a little girl on their list, she didn’t think twice about donating.

One-year-old Amelia Bellmore was the child in line to receive Shawen’s marrow, and naturally, her parents were thrilled! Amelia was only seven months old when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

So, at two years old, Amelia received Shawen’s life-saving bone marrow. The rules of the organization require the identity of the donor and recipient to be kept secret from each other for a year. However, Shawen and the Bellmore family were allowed to exchange anonymous letters.

Amelia’s mom says, ”I remember getting the letters from her that she sent anonymously and crying and just praying that we could meet her someday and that she could be part of Amelia’s life.”

When the year was finally up, it was time for the big reveal. And Shawen and the Bellmore’s decided to meet during a special Be The Match event at Brigham Young University, where Shawen is a student. When they first laid eyes on each other, the moment was magical.

Shawen was able to get to know the Bellmore family and bond with little Amelia. Thanks to Shawen, Amelia is now living her life as a free-spirited toddler, attending preschool, and making friends.

Monday, May 2, 2022

When she’s not working as an ER nurse at Southern Hills Hospital in Las Vegas, Brooke Johns is often still at the hospital, serving as a volunteer instead. She spends some of her free time offering hair care for patients, going from room to room to see who would like to have their hair brushed or braided or receive a head massage. She enjoys being a soothing presence for patients who are recovering from surgery or have been in the hospital for months, and likes that she’s not rushed as she would be during regular work hours. “If somebody needs me for an hour, I can give them an hour. If somebody needs me for 15 minutes, I can give them 15 minutes. There’s freedom in that,” she says. In the last year, Nurse Johns estimates she’s provided this extra care to more than 100 grateful patients.

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