Today’s Good News

In Blog, Home Page, NewPodcasts, Outreach by Josh

Every day we share stories of hope – joy – Love!

“..you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

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!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Our police serve and protect. It’s a hard job. It’s a job under a lot of scrutiny. But they perservere. And they aren’t just serving people…

Neighbors were worried when they noticed a dog locked inside a parked vehicle on 88th St near Third Avenue in New York. They paced and waited for someone to show up. And after a while they called the police for help.

When the police showed up, they wasted no time busting open the window and rescuing the pup. Then officers brought the literal “hot” dog to a vet to get checked out. Once given the all clear the dog was placed in the care of the ASPCA, but not for long – because Officer Aruna Maharaj, who had been on that call, could not stop thinking of the sweet fluffy dog and decided his forever home was in her home!

YOU ARE THE GOOD NEWS!

Everyday that you hear an uplifting song, a message of hope or a word from God through LifeSongs Radio is because of the generous support of you – the listening family of LifeSongs! You can still make a difference and GIVE HERE!


Today's Good News - Heroes & Helpers

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Monday, September 12, 2022

Devon Linden was having a bad day. She was wrangling her two kids to swim practice and the littles were both throwing tantrums. Devon was about to lose it when a stranger walked up and slipped her a note.

The Bentonville mom managed to get her kids into the car and then looked to see what the note said. The small blue sticky read, “Your life and purpose is HUGE! Everyday is a gift, so make it count.”

Wadded up in the note was a $100 bill.

Devon immediately started bawling her eyes out in the car. Not only was she not being judged as a struggling mom, but she was encouraged and blessed!  Devon now tries to pay it forward by being mindful of how a stranger can make a bad day much better.

Ever get just what you need in the moment you needed it? God uses the ministry of LifeSongs to do just that every day! Thank you for your support, which makes that possible!

Friday, September 9, 2022

In January 2021, Gean LeVar of Glendale, AZ had the worst day of her life. Her husband of 58 years passed away in their home. When police arrived they found Gean living in such squalor that the house had to be condemned. Without her husband and her home, Gean didn’t know what to do.

Across the street, her neighbors the Silvas did not hesitate to step in to help the grieving, homeless widow. Carmen Silva said “Don’t worry Gean, we’re going to fix it.”

The Silvas live in a small 3 bedroom home and have 8 children – but without a moment’s notice took their neighbor in. The boys moved to the living room so Gean could have her own room. Soon after Operation Enduring Gratitude – a nonprofit that helps veterans and their families – showed up with an army of volunteers to completely renovate Gean’s home across the street.

It took a year and a half to fix the house during a pandemic – and Gean is now back in her own home. But during a time of devastation she ended up with a whole new family – a new support system – and something far greater than a practically new home – she has a life filled with love.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Service in the armed forces is a part of the legacy for many families in Olivia, Minn. 17 year-old Dominique Claseman’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served. For his Eagle Scout project, Dom decided to honor not only his family’s past but the others in his community.

Olivia did not have a veterans memorial, so Dom decided to build one. It was a major project – not just the art – the construction – but gathering city approval and a location. From start to finish this young man put in the work. Since his dad Mark is both a veteran and his Eagle Scout troop leader, it was a go big or go home size project.

The Scouts don’t allow social media or online fundraising for these kind of projects so Dom sent out fliers around the community. He estimated the memorial installation would cost around $15,000 to build. Checks started coming in the mail and pretty soon he had $77,777 to work with. Seems his community was also excited to honor the service men and women in their families.

The finished memorial was unveiled to the public on Memorial Day. It features 280 engraved pavers leading to flag poles and places to sit, surrounded by landscaped plants.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

About a dozen neighborhood kids in Peoria, IL got together for a fundraiser lemonade stand and ended up giving $3500 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital!  The annual Summer tradition of a neighborhood lemonade fundraiser began a decade ago – when they raised $220.

The parents of these young entrepreneurs loved that this connected the dots for their kids to realize that they could actually do something to help others. That’s what YOU are doing when you support LifeSongs, too! Thank you so much!

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

At the next Tigers game you might want to get some LipSmack’n Lemonade to refresh yourself – and the community.

In 2012, 6-year-old Leroy Hayward III founded Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade as a part of Lemonade Day Louisiana. Leroy had just been diagnosed with autism, so some of the profits went to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, where doctors had been helping his parents Sherilyn and Leroy Jr. equip for some new parenting challenges.

1 part hustle, 2 parts lemonade – the family venture did the festival circuit for a while before getting some major distribution through Rouses and other local stores. LSU got on board with Leroy’s LipSmack’n Lemonade with stands at the Pete Maravich Center and Alex Box Stadium. This football season you’ll be able to find the delicious lemonade at Tiger Stadium as well!

A portion of proceeds are still being funneled straight to Children’s Hospital! The business has grown and the impact for other families navigating autism is immeasurable.

We love to see and celebrate those who make a difference in our community – which means we love to celebrate YOU! Thank you so much for giving to this ministry so we can share God’s love together!

Monday, September 5, 2022

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Langley of Louisiana was confirmed to be a four-star general in the U.S. Marine Corps. He is the first Black four-star general in the history of the Marines.
Lt. Langley has been a Marine for 35 years.

Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement, “Congratulations to Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Langley for his historic confirmation. He represents the best of Louisiana and our country, and we could not be more proud of all that he has accomplished and the path he has created for others to follow.”

Congratulations! That’s a wonderful accomplishment after so many years of service. Local pride is something we’re all about at LifeSongs, and we’ve been serving this community together for 43 years now! Thank you so much for being part of that legacy of sharing God’s love with SELA!

Friday, September 2, 2022

When you were an unruly child, you were much less likely to act out when your dad was around, right? Just the very presence of a father-figure can keep the peace. At least that’s the hope for the Dads in Schools program.

Troy Martinez watched his kids deal with school violence in Los Angeles during the 90s. Now his grandkids see more acts of violence in their Las Vegas high school. Troy hopes to be a calming presence in the hallways. He’s joined the program Dads in Schools. Student fathers and other local volunteers get trained in de-escalation tactics by the school principal and then simply – hang out at school.

Their presence in the hallways between classes, the lunchroom and bus stops make a huge impact in keeping the peace.

(Volunteers helping to make a difference in their community, hmmm. Sounds familiar! Thank YOU for making a difference every day as part of our LifeSongs family!)

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Seven-year-old Arabella of Old Town, Maine decided she wanted to share her love of flowers and make a difference at the same time.

A few years ago she asked her dad if she could convert their garage into a flower shop. He laughed it off, but soon Arabella was set up on the front lawn selling flowers to folks driving by. Every dollar she made was donated to a non-profit, Ending Hunger in Maine. The next summer her profits went to the Maine Parkinson’s Society.

Arabella’s flower shop has continued to grow by word of mouth, so this year her parents got her a storefront on Main Street: A Touch of Grace Flowers. Proceeds are going to the Northern Light NICU this year. For Arabella, it’s simply not about the money – it’s about sharing a smile with a stranger, through the beauty of flowers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Felix knows how awesome that crack of the bat can be. He hit two home runs in one game as his entire family cheered him on. After the game, his parents said he should sign his homerun baseballs. On the first ball, Felix wrote “best feeling ever!”, but on the other he wrote a very special message.

Felix presented the baseball to his grandfather, who he calls Papa. Written on the homerun ball was “Papa I Love You.” Papa burst into tears asking “Why did you do that?” To which Felix said “Because you taught me everything about baseball.”

 

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A post shared by Melissa Carrier-Damon (@carrierdamon)

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Jimmy Amisial was on break from Texas State University, visiting his mom in their native Haiti. He brought presents for the children at an orphanage next door to his mom Elicie’s house. On his way to deliver the gifts, Jimmy noticed a group of people gathered around a garbage bin. Lying inside was a four-month-old baby boy.

No one was helping and Jimmy knew immediately he was meant to care for this child. He brought the baby home to his mom, where they fed and clothed the child and met with authorities to track down the parents. They were never found. A judge asked Jimmy if he would become the child’s legal guardian – and despite college tuition to pay, he knew it was not just the right thing to do – it was his purpose.

Jimmy named the child Emilio and is still working towards officially adopting the child. He has split time between the US and Haiti, where he and his mom have been raising Emilio for five years now. Emilio just started school and is a joyful little boy who wants to be a musician when he grows up. Jimmy never had a father – so he is grateful that God gave him the opportunity to be Daddy for Emilio.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Sydney McLaughlin is a gold medal winning US Olympian who knows the real source of her record setting speed – that’s her relationship with Jesus.

When the 22 year old crossed the finish line of the 400-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championship this Summer, she knew she had first place – then she saw she had broken her own world record time!

She posted to Instagram “Praise. His. Name,” along with a passage of scripture from Hebrews: “So let us come BOLDLY to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Sydney has always been outspoken about her faith – using her platform to not only break world records but show the world Jesus. LifeSongs hopes to always use this platform to tell our world about Jesus – and hopefully set some records too. Shareathon in just a week and a half away. Give now!

Friday, August 26, 2022

How can soccer positively impact climate change? A teenaged football star from Kenya is issuing a challenge to FIFA and professional soccer stars with his Trees4Goals program.

Every time amateur footballer Lesein Mutunkei scores a goal in his African league, he plants 11 trees – one tree to represent each player on his team. He hopes to score a lot of goals and plant a lot of trees – and secure some endorsements from professional soccer players willing to do the same.

Mutunkei says “Football is a universal game and climate change is a universal problem.”

 

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A post shared by Lesein Mutunkei (@trees4goals)

Thursday, August 25, 2022

You know that sinking feeling of dread you get when a police officer flashes his lights and siren for you to pull over? It’s the worst. But remember, the motto for police is to SERVE and Protect. When Chy-Niece Thacker got pulled over she had no idea what kind of full service Officer Jenkins of the Henrico County Virginia Police was going to offer.

When Officer Jenkins informed Chy-Niece that her brake lights were out and she was just getting a warning, but needed to get them fixed, Chy-Niece breathed a sigh of relief and then began to vent about how she had just had them replaced and couldn’t afford another trip to the mechanic.

Thankfully Officer Jenkins is a bit of a mechanic. He had her pop her hood, started investigating the problem and a few minutes later, when Chy-Niece merged back into traffic, she did not have a written warning and she DID have working brake lights. And a new friend.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Sid Edwards noticed his 17-year-old son staring at a young man stocking the orange juice display while out at Rouses in Baton Rouge. It is not uncommon for Jack Ryan to fixate on things as a part of how his brain is wired with autism. When Jordan Taylor, the grocery worker noticed Jack Ryan’s interest he asked the boy if he’d like to help.

For the next THIRTY MINUTES, Jordan patiently taught Jack Ryan how to stock the wall of orange juice. Sid caught some of it on his cell phone – he can be heard nearly in tears saying “I’m watching a miracle in action.”

Because Jordan invested just 30 minutes of his day in Jack Ryan, an entire family was able to experience relief and love. The video has been shared nearly half a million times. Others were so inspired by Jordan’s patience with Jack Ryan that they raised over $135,000 for the young man’s education and Neighbors Federal Credit Union bought him a new car to reward him for his kindness.

And Jack Ryan has come back multiple times to stock shelves with Jordan. He has become such a permanent fixture that Rouses offered the young autistic man a full-time job.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Jeff and Susan Grant were forced to evacuate their home in Shasta, CA during one of the largest forest fires in California history.

The couple feared the worst as they spent a week and half in a hotel, waiting for the all clear to return and pick up the pieces of their life. A friend snuck back to their neighborhood and was able to confirm their home still stood. When the couple returned home they found not only their house in pristine condition, but their garden and yard were green – their pen of baby turkeys were thriving. And they found a note on the door.

Red Bluff Fire Chief Ray Barber had saved the family’s home, watered their garden, checked on the livestock every day the firefighters were in the area. He even left a kind note to encourage Jeff and Susan. The grateful, relieved couple were able to track down Ray and thank him in person, as well as share the story of kindness on social media.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Sometimes your intuition might just be God’s Spirit putting you in the right place at the right time.

That’s what happened with Jessica Higgs. She was delivering groceries for Instacart. The groceries were for an elderly man, ordered by his daughter on his behalf. When Jessica got to the home, something inside of her let her know something was wrong.

Once she dropped off the groceries, she noticed the older gentleman looked very sick. When she stepped inside the home she also immediately began feeling dizzy. She helped evacuate the older man and his grandson who was at the house. Turns out there was a propane leak in the house and Jessica likely saved two lives by listening to her gut.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Larry is a retired veteran of the United States military. He’s a proud man who does his best to take care of his wife and family. In 2020 he suffered a stroke but pushed hard to relearn how to walk and get around. Still, it is a struggle. His roof needed expensive repair work, so Larry took a job delivering groceries in the Ogden, Utah area.

Jen Weiss ordered groceries for delivery – but when she later saw the doorbell cam footage of Larry struggling up the steps, carefully delivering her food, her heart broke for the man. She wanted to know his story, so she got on social media and was eventually connected to Larry’s family and learned his story. Together they set up Venmo to get Larry’s roof repaired – and help flooded in!

Larry and his wife were overwhelmed by the kindness but have since asked folks to give to Toys for Tots or other worthy organizations (like LifeSongs!) now that they are provided for.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Metairie store NOLA Forever by K is featuring the work of a young artist with a purpose.

16 year old Brent Normand II spent the pandemic expressing his creative side by working with his parents to upcycle his collection of bottle caps. The stylish art is now being showcased at NOLA Forever and bringing awareness to the struggles and talents of kids with autism.

Brent has Asperger’s Syndrome, so the pandemic shutdown was very difficult for him. He was cut off from friends in his Boy Scout troop. Brent is working towards Eagle Scout status, but instead sitting and waiting for COVID to run its course, he got to work creating art which is generating enough money to help pay for future Scout trips. Plus, this should totally earn him an Entrepreneur badge!

Not only is NOLA Forever by K selling the young artist’s work, but anyone who brings in extra bottle caps for his continuing work gets 10% off any purchase in the store.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Alena Analeigh Wicker is 13, and she has already got her life together.

Last year she graduated high school at the age of 12. Now Alena is going to medical school to become a real life Doogie Howser. This Spring she was accepted to the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Heersink School of Medicine.

Alena shared her exciting life news with her 20,000 Instagram followers – because she is also a social media influencer, of course! She claims to be a normal 13 year old, but I don’t know any other teens who are working on two undergraduate degrees from two separate Universities in preparation for medical school all before she can even take her driver’s test.

Plus Alana created the Brown STEM Girl Foundation to encourage other young women of color to pursue education in the sciences.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Some guys grow their hair out to hide a bald spot. Or maybe they were really into the Pirates of the Caribbean. But 27 year-old Matt Shaha grew his strawberry blonde locks out for his mom.

Matt’s mom Melanie lost her hair while battling cancer. The brain tumor was successfully removed not once – or even twice – but three times. After the third return, doctors prescribed radiation treatment and with that, her hair was gone. Melanie continued to fight, but said “I don’t mind being sick… I mind looking sick.”

That’s when Matt decided to grow out his hair for a wig for his mom. She would joke as it grew longer and longer, “I love your hair.” To which, Matt quickly responded “Coming soon to a head near you!”

Compassionate Creations fashioned the wig out of Matt’s hair for Melanie. Now they both look lovely whenever they go out.

Monday, August 15, 2022

The Tytovas had to flee their home in Hostomel, Ukraine because the Russians were targeting it as a strategically located town. Kateryna, Olexandr and their two kids literally ran from the shelling near an airport. They not only left their home behind, but they could not bring their beloved pet husky with them. They prayed and hoped to one day be reunited with their home, their neighbors and their dog.

Months passed. Hope diminished. Finally the family was able to return home and dig through the rubble of their town. And sitting on the doorstep was a Siberian husky, happy to greet the family as if they had just come back from the grocery store! The pup had scrounged for food and managed to stay safe from Russian attacks, but never gave up on his family.

 

Friday, August 12, 2022

Every Ukranian is doing their part to help battle against the Russian invasion, even 10 year-old Valeria Yezhova, the European Checkers Champion.

Valeria sits outside a shopping center challenging shoppers and passers-by to a friendly game of Checkers. They usually drop some money in the bucket for the Ukrainian Army. And then get demolished by this 10 year old Checkers wiz.

She has raised hundreds of dollars to donate to a foundation that secures humanitarian aid and equipment for Ukraine’s military. Which takes the sting out of getting destroyed in checkers by a 10 year old girl.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Marksteen Adamson found a bride stranded in downtown London and offered her a ride to the church. Anastasia had multiple ride shares cancel but was fortunate enough to hitch a ride with Marksteen as he was on his way to a reunion.

Though she was 45 minutes late to her own wedding, her fiance was still there waiting for her – and they got married without further delay.

So if you are planning your wedding, either rent a limo or have at least one bridesmaid with a car.

 

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A post shared by Marksteen Adamson (@marksteenadamson)


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Eric Akers’ car broke down. It took all of his savings just to tow the car to a shop. He couldn’t afford to get it fixed, so he began walking to work – 33 miles!. That is determination! Once he made it to town, he couch surfed with friends so he could work his shifts – and would then walk home for the weekend. A local news station shared this story and Chris Arsenault was so inspired by Eric’s work ethic, he and his wife gave Eric a car!

Chris had a primary vehicle, so his beloved ‘97 Honda Civic wasn’t getting much use, just taking up space in the driveway. He says, “we need to help our neighbors. It’s a rough time. People are divided, and so I wanted to help him.”

Now Eric can work his job that he loves – and be home with his family every day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Chelsea Bell Lantrip is a single mom working as a bartender in Texas. One REALLY good night just changed her life and her son’s.

A couple of girls she had never met before came into the Charles Dance Hall to enjoy an evening out. They befriended Chelsea and were generous tippers. They initially gave her a $1000 tip on a $179 tab. That was overwhelming. But then they said ‘ double it! That left Chelsea in tears.

But wait … there’s more. When the customers finally paid, they tipped Chelsea $4000! Her son is enrolled in Texas A&M as a freshman this Fall – and one generous tip is going a long way to help pay for that education!

Monday, August 8, 2022

Nelly Cheboi grew up in a level of poverty we can barely imagine. Her single mother worked tirelessly so Nelly and her three sisters could attend school in rural Kenya. Often they went to bed hungry or were sent home because the family couldn’t afford tuition. Still, Nelly worked hard and ended up with a scholarship to attend University at Augustana College in Illinois.

Not only was it a massive cultural exchange, but Nelly was introduced to computer sciences and her entire life was transformed. Everything just clicked. She worked hard to improve her typing skills and learned coding. She ended up double majoring in Mathematics and Computer Science.

Wanting to give back to children still growing up in poverty back home in Kenya, Nelly created Technology Literate Africa (TechLit Africa for short!) – a nonprofit organization that recycles used laptops and supplies the machines to individuals and schools in Kenya.

To date, more than 4,000 computers have been provided for kids ages 4-12, providing education that will propel a generation of Kenyans to new heights!

Friday, August 5, 2022

Alexis Burns of Omaha, NE believes in her 17 year-old son A’Ron so much that she quit her job, cashed out her 401k and went all in on this high schooler’s business idea.

A’Ron can be found after school rollin’ ice cream at Roll-N-Sweetz in North Omaha. It’s the store his mom funded. The family didn’t just want to create a successful ice cream parlor, but a safe place in their community. A’Ron and Alexis are providing jobs, safety and ice cream because Alexis believes in her son’s dreams and work ethic.

The young entrepreneur dreams of taking his business around the country with franchising opportunities. He’s a dreamer AND a doer.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

When Tony Philiou started working at McDonald’s in 1962, he was paid 90 cents an hour to slice cheese. He slowly took on more responsibility and became a supervisor, then manager — until he bought the franchise.

He knows restaurants are a challenging business, and to him, ensuring employees are properly paid is a key to success. That’s why, earlier this year when his restaurant closed for renovations for over three months, Mr. Tony continued paying all 90 employees their regular wages.

And it’s that kind of generosity that has dozens of staff members dedicating several decades of their lives working at Mr. Tony’s McDonald’s, many of them rising through the ranks from maintenance to management positions.

Ms. Mary, who is 78, started out at the restaurant in 1977 as a crew person. She is now a manager and has no plans to leave. She says, “He is very thoughtful. He takes everybody individually under his wing. He treats us like family. That’s the main thing.”

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Kevin Cate was having breakfast at a Florida Waffle House with his family. He noticed a man eating by himself and struck up a conversation. The man was friendly. He was also flipping through a large wad of cash and pinning little printed notes on individual $5 bills.

Kevin asked what the man was doing with so much cash – and he shared a story. The man said the last words his mom spoke as she passed on into eternity was “Love Every Body.” And that message deeply challenged him. So for years he has printed little “Love Every Body” notes – sticks them on the cash and hands them to random people he comes across – often at his favorite breakfast spot, Waffle House.

Since 2014 the generous stranger estimates he has given away around $13,000. What words do you live your life by? Are they words of hope and generosity?

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A stranger – passing by a house – saw flickering flames in the garage and went to the door to alert the family of 10! And it was all captured by their Ring doorbell.

Homeowners Josh and Brittany had no idea the house was on fire – they were watching Stranger Things on Netflix – their 8 kids sound asleep in their rooms. The passing stranger was Moss Strong. It was dark – so she spotted the flames blocks away and followed them to the home. There were no cops or firefighters – no movement at all. So Moss immediately banged on the door to alert the family.

Brittany and Josh grabbed the kids and rushed out of the house. Neighbors and friends have been pouring out support to get the family through as the house is repaired.

 

Monday, August 1, 2022

Farm-To-Table is all the rage in the upscale dining community – but Bobby Wilson has literally brought the farm to inner city tables. Bobby founded Metro Atlanta Urban Farm – a five-acre farm smack in the middle of Atlanta that provides freshly grown fruits and veggies to low-income housing complexes and schools.

And Metro Atlanta Urban Farm has been quite … fruitful! During the pandemic, Bobby fed 25,000 families who live near the farm and helped keep farmers of color afloat by purchasing the food they’d grown outside of the city. Now, he offers free produce to families weekly and teaches them how to start their own gardens.

 

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A post shared by @atlantaurbanfarm

Friday, July 29, 2022

Firefighters were called to help save a kitten trapped inside a vending machine at Walmart in Morristown, TN. Lindsay Russell was on her lunch break when she heard meowing coming from the vending machine and spent her entire break trying to rescue the kitten. None of her co-workers could get her out either, so they called in the hero brigade.

The firefighters made short work of it, rescuing the distressed creature. Lindsay, at the epicenter of the kitten rescue decided to adopt the little kitten – naming her Pepsi.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

The first time the fire siren sounded it was to celebrate the graduating seniors of Port Jefferson High School. Caps flew in the air – families cheered – it was a beautiful moment. But then the siren went off again as six of the graduates knew it was GO TIME!

Shane, Ryan, Andrew, Hunter, Keter and Kasumi aren’t just new high school graduates – the six seniors are volunteer firefighters with the Port Jefferson Fire Department. When the alarm sounded at the end of their graduation ceremony the team raced across the street in their caps and gowns – quickly suited up and responded to a garage fire down the street.

The fire was actually next door to one of their teacher’s houses – and Ms. Filippi was immensely grateful for her fearless former students. Thankfully there were no injuries and only the garage suffered damage. The six graduating seniors also reported that their diplomas were safely put away in lockers at the fire station.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Social media was furious on behalf of Kevin Ford, a food service employee, who recently posted an Instagram video, unwrapping a thank you gift he received for 27 years of perfect attendance on the job. Seeing how it contained a reusable Starbucks cup, a bunch of candy, a pen, and a single movie ticket, people decided to give Ford their own gift for his exemplary service—$270,000 in personal donations for the man so near to retirement.

The original unwrapping video was viewed 2 million times, though not everyone was as happy and understanding as Kevin, who said thank you for every item he received. In just over a week, this call for mutual appreciation of a good man who works at the Burger King at Las Vegas McCarren International Airport amassed a quarter-million dollars.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Corion Evans and his friend KJ are just 16 years old they’ve already saved four lives! The friends were nearby when a car of three teenage girls plummeted into a river at a boat launch in Pascagoula Mississippi.

Without hesitation, Corion swam out to the girls and helped them escape through the windows. KJ pulled them on top of the sinking car and then Corion swam them back to shore.

Corion jumped back in the water to rescue a police officer who was trying to help the girls, but ended up in distress himself.

Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley said “The police department and I commend Mr. Evans’s bravery and selflessness he displayed by risking his own safety to help people in danger. If Mr. Evans had not assisted, it could have possibly turned out tragically instead of all occupants rescued safely.”

Monday, July 25, 2022

Mrs. Brenda’s day job is at the McDonalds in Ocean Springs, MS – but her CALLING is to be a prayer warrior. She is well known for mixing McNuggets and Fries with a personal prayer.

Dylan Brooke shared on social media that she was grabbing some breakfast at McDonalds when Ms. Brenda came up to her and said “God told me to pray with you.” Turns out Dylan was going through some things and the tears flowed as Ms. Brenda got on her knees and prayed with her in the middle of McD’s.

Ms. Brenda spends only about 15 seconds with each person she serves at work – but guaranteed each one is being prayed for. Dylan now comes in at least once a week to pray with Ms. Brenda.

Friday, July 22, 2022

From somewhere in a bustling warehouse in Warsaw, Poland – a volunteer calls out “God is good!” and a chorus response from dozens of others echoes “All the time!” A simple truth turned into a tearful chant as workers organize and distribute essential items to millions of Ukrainian refugees.

A pastor out of Ukraine told his wife on the phone, “We’ve gotten too used to comfortable Christianity.” That’s no longer an option for the Church in Europe. And the response has been beautiful and miraculous. Small congregations housing hundreds. Millions of meals and beds provided across a continent where faith had been quiet and cultural – now loud and roaring like a Lion!

Poland has been ground zero for the response to fleeing Ukrainians. Churches mobilized food and housing faster than the government could – and now many countries and Christian organizations are working hand in hand to manage the growing crisis.

As people who know what it feels like to flee home because of natural disasters, let our hearts be tender to the needs of those evacuated due to man made disasters.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Linda Taylor has spent most of the last 20 years working in the Minneapolis area, helping the homeless and assisting her neighbors with their gardens. At 70 years old, the retiree was about to lose the home she had rented for 19 years – but her loving neighbors could not fathom their community without her.

The neighbors on 10th Avenue in Powderhorn Park banded together and raised $250,000 to buy the house Ms. Taylor was living in – and gifting it to her free and clear!

The community held fund-drives, bake sales, an art show and in just a matter of months had all the cash needed to buy the property for Ms. Taylor.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Scotsman David Flucker just celebrated his centennial birthday with a boat tour in his beloved Scotland. But it was the next day that he shared a delicious birthday cake with raspberries with his co-workers and co-volunteers.

Three times a week, David takes 2 buses, plus a 20 minute walk to the St. Columbus Hospice Shop in Edinburgh. It’s a 4 hour round trip. The retired widower volunteers at the shop to help fund the hospice facility after he himself received weeks of treatment there for prostate cancer.

The shop receives many donations of toys, books and puzzles. David’s job is to inspect them for quality control – and to chat with patrons of the shop. As a grandfather of seven, David easily chats up visiting children and their families.

When David isn’t working at the hospice shop, he likes to build model railways, which he auctions off to help raise money for the hospice care of others.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A trio of organizations in San Diego has teamed up to provide food and employment to those who need it most, and in the process they’ve reached a milestone.

Here’s how it works. With funding from the Lucky Duck Foundation, The Salvation Army hires residents of its homeless shelter and trains them to be food rescue route drivers for Feeding San Diego. These drivers pick up perfectly-viable food from places like Costco, Starbucks, and Amazon warehouses, that would’ve otherwise ended up in a landfill. The food is then distributed to those in need—often to the residents back at The Salvation Army shelter.

This heartwarming partnership hit a milestone in June, by saving more than half a million pounds of food so far, and every one of The Salvation Army residents who has participated in the program has secured full-time employment and is still housed.


Monday, July 18, 2022

What started as a free power washing job turned into a complete home makeover. A father and son duo who run the YouTube channel “Cabin on the Hill” spend their free time helping their community with free yard work and home improvements. The whole channel is very heartwarming.

They recently painted the entire outside of a woman’s house who couldn’t afford the work. The home was in desperate need of a paint job. It took them six full days of work. They funded the project on their own, which included dozens of gallons of paint and primer. And to top it all off? They even bought flowers to spruce up the yard to go along with the newly painted home.

So, they’re not just restoring houses, they’re restoring faith in humanity.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Madison and her husband just moved to the country. They must have lived in the city their whole lives, because when she sent her husband to the store to buy his first lawnmower, he came back with a small push-mower for their new (very large – we’re talking country acreage here) yard. It would have taken him days to mow their lawn. When Madison peeked out the window, she saw a team of people on yard duty. Neighbors who they had not even met yet noticed him out in the lawn and decided to help out. Madison says she was so moved by the gesture and that it serves as a reminder that “there is still good in this world.”

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Ever get a feeling you can’t shake? Maybe you can relate to today’s good news story.

David and Candace recently welcomed their baby girl, Luna. Prior to their daughter being born, the couple, who currently lives in California, had been preparing for the baby shower and sent out evites via text message.

In error, a message was sent to Angela White’s phone, who lives in Camby, Indiana.
Angles just couldn’t shake it. “Every time I thought about it, I was like I didn’t get that text just randomly,” she said. “I don’t know why, but there was a reason why I got that text and evite to that shower.”

Those thoughts nudged her to send the couple a gift through her small business, Brayve Blanket Co. In her special delivery to the couple, she included a typed letter explaining the error and why she felt compelled to send it over.

The couple was blown away by her act of kindness and how someone they never met could be so generous to them from thousands of miles away.
Candace’s mom put it best: “Luna is so blessed.”

The new parents reached out to their local news station to “pay it forward” after the kind gesture.

Respond to the nudges! Can’t shake something? Act on it! You never know the lasting impact your kindness can have.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Construction has begun on a new café in Pearl City, Oahu. But it’s not just the menu items causing a buzz. There’s coffee, baked goods and snacks, sure, but the goal here isn’t Michelin stars – it’s a combination of animal rescue, skills training, and wellness.

Dr. Karen Tyson, a neuropsychologist and family therapist, teamed up with KAT Charities, a nonprofit that unites children with disabilities and animals with loving people, to launch Toe Beans & Dreams.

The café will hire young adults with developmental disabilities to serve coffee, snacks and baked goods while also connecting Oahu with furry friends that need homes.
The café will also include space for community groups specializing in behavioral therapy and skills training for children and young adults with disabilities.

“When individuals with disabilities connect with animals, an incredible relationship is formed,” said Dr. Tyson. “Animals are unconditionally accepting and place no judgment or social expectations on people. This breaks down common barriers for individuals with social, attention, learning or physical disabilities and fosters a therapeutic relationship built on love and mutual trust.”

The coffee is just a bonus. Sounds like purrrrrr-fection to us!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Flint, MI is usually in the news for some sort of disaster – like their well documented struggle providing safe water. It’s a poor community and COVID hit them very hard. Good Church, led by Pastor Leo Robinson didn’t balk at the need in the community – they just got to doing what Jesus said to do: love God and love people.

People were out of work and school and families needed food – so Good Church provided groceries and hot meals. One day someone mentioned needing a place to do laundry and that set Pastor Robinson down a new path. Many folks in Flint rely on public transportation – and the nearest laundromat is miles away. That meant it was a full day of work to get laundry done. Teachers mentioned that kids were missing school because they didn’t have clean clothes to wear.

So Good Church transformed their basement into a free community laundromat. Thanks to some donations, the church set up 4 washers and 4 dryers – with hopes to expand to help at least 100 families each week.

Love God, love people. A simple message, and a powerful one.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Myles Copeland plays minor league basketball on the side, but his day job is being a hero. He’s a firefighter. But recently the 25 year old saw his lives overlap.

While playing a game in New York, one of the referees suffered a major heart attack. Myles checked for a pulse – not there. He checked for breath – nothing. He immediately began CPR and continued chest compressions for 10 minutes waiting on EMS. His swift action saved the man’s life.

 

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Friday, July 8, 2022

If you saw someone in trouble, would you help – or pull out your phone and start recording? 18 year old Mia was parked by the bay in Suffolk. She accidentally hit the gas instead of the break and launched her car over the barrier and into the water.

She was screaming and trying to escape as water came pouring in. All the while, folks along the water’s edge just watched – or pulled out their phones to stream the video. But not 17 year old Anthony Zhongor. The young man dove into the water and managed to force open the driver’s side door to help Mia escape to safety.

The wild rescue happened in just seconds. But Mia is safe because one young man didn’t hesitate to help a stranger in danger – while the world around him acted like it was their chance to go viral with a video.


Thursday, July 7, 2022

The joy of reading opens up worlds of imagination, understanding, empathy and knowledge. Kaila and Raymond Sykes love books so much that they opened the Hidden Gems Literary Emporium – a donation-based bookstore in their hometown of New Brunswick.

Some folks give a dollar – others hundreds – and book donations have poured in – over 40,000 books for Hidden Gems. With such a surplus, the family took the show on the road, taking books out to communities in their minivan. The couple described it as a life changing experience as they recalled the smiles they encountered after giving away free books, games, and educational tools to families.

Since the minivan broke down, they are now fundraising to get an RV which they’ll convert into a mobile book experience as they grow their non-profit.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

You know that flip flop your stomach does anytime you see flashing police lights behind your car? Ashlye Wilkerson was sure she had been doing the speed limit but then realized the limit had changed and she had not. Her father Tony was in the passenger seat, ready to protest as Trooper Jaret Doty walked up and asked for her license and registration.

Tony explained to Trooper Doty that his daughter Ashlye was driving him home after a round of chemotherapy at nearby Duke University Medical Center. The officer let Ashlye off with just a warning, but went a step further, asking if Tony would mind if he prayed with him.

No longer a passenger and a state trooper – now just Tony and Jaret – held hands and prayed together right there on the side of the road. Jaret slipped a small silver cross into Tony’s hand and assured him that he would continue to pray for him.

Two months later, Tony passed into eternity. But Ashlye will never forget the kindness of Trooper Doty. She now keeps that little silver cross on her dresser where she sees it each morning.

 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Hurricane Ida did widespread damage, but the loss of life associated with the storm was largely due to the loss of power. It was dangerously hot, folks couldn’t charge their phones and essential home medical equipment couldn’t be powered. A program called Project Lighthouse aims to make sure that never happens again.

The plan is to install solar panels and backup batteries at a network of dozens of public buildings, mostly church buildings across New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. Imagine churches once again being a beacon of hope in a darkened world… These solar powered resilience hubs would be a safe place to get cleaned up, grab a meal, charge devices – including essential medical equipment.

The current models predict once completed, nearly all residents in the New Orleans metro would be within a 15 minute walk of electricity, even in another catastrophic event like Ida.

Monday, July 4, 2022 – Happy Independence Day!

For four years, Lucas and his Boston Terrier Bailey spent the Fourth of July at his frozen lemonade stand in Middlebury, Connecticut. In 2019, he made just over $300 in a day, but the following year, the coronavirus scuttled his plan. Lucas couldn’t physically serve his community refreshing frozen lemonade, but this preteen was still determined to do something good for his community.

“We are in this together,” he wrote on his GoFundMe page that aimed to raise $1,000 for the Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department. “Dear Friends, I’m sorry I’m not able to provide you with my frozen lemonade this year due to the pandemic. This year I’m donating every penny raised to help the Middlebury Volunteer Fire Department. These heroes are on the front line every day, so I hope I can help them during this very difficult time.”

The community responded, surpassing the goal, and proving they are, in fact, in it together to make a difference. I hope Lucas is back with the frozen lemonade this year. I could really go for some frozen lemonade…

Friday, July 1, 2022

Great news for aspiring mermaids: There’s a career for you! Ariel might have believed you won’t get too far by flippin’ your fins – but Merle Liivand is disproving that.

Marine conservationist Merle Liivand is so at home in the water that she doesn’t even need to use her arms to swim – just give the girl a mermaid tail, and she’ll travel a whopping 26.2 miles off the coast of Miami. It took more than 11 hours and earned Merle a Guinness World Record (and a jellyfish sting, but that hardly stopped her).

And though she couldn’t use her arms to complete the swim, she did pick up floating debris she found on her way, adding it to a kayak that paddled next to her. “At the end of the day this isn’t just about a record, it’s about helping the community and the world,” she said – even that pesky jellyfish.

Thursday, June 30, 2022

In 2021, Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work fighting for freedoms of speech and press. He did so from his home country of Russia, which was and is extremely risky. Muratov was so grieved by Russia’s war in Ukraine that he recently decided to auction his Nobel prize off to give the proceeds to UNICEF’s work caring for Ukrainian children who are now refugees.

Previous such auctions had brought in a couple of million dollars – but this World Refugee Day auction just became one for the record books. The Nobel prize auctioned off for $103.5 million!

Within hours of the concluded auction, UNICEF confirmed the money had already been given to help Ukrainian refugees.


Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Are you or someone you know an “overachiever”? The world needs people like you and Ashley Adirika.

Ashley is the student council president, leader of the debate team and founder of a program called Our Story, Our Worth – which works to empower and mentor girls and young women of color. Her dream is to expand this local program into a nationwide non-profit.

And Ashley should have no trouble doing just that because she is going to have one exceptional pedigree. She was accepted into every single Ivy League School (plus seven other elite schools) for college!

Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale all want Ashley enrolled this Fall. Various scholarships were offered as well. In the end, only one school gets the honor of claiming Ashley Adirika – and that school is Harvard, where she will major in government for her undergrad starting in September.

 

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

In Massachusetts, State Representative Orlando Ramos is careful to listen to even his youngest constituents.

During a career day at a Springfield City school, 5th grader Xavier got to talking with the State Representative about tacos. Xavier’s complaint was that the school lunches never included lettuce on their tacos. A small thing, sure. But the issue of fresh vegetables in school lunches is an important one.

That conversation with a 5th grader led to Representative Ramos’ Home Grown legislation, which now guarantees lettuce will be on the menu for Xavier’s tacos – and for every student district wide.

The State Rep says “I hope this serves as a message to all young people in the city that their voices are important, and they are heard when they speak up, and we’re here to listen.”

Monday, June 27, 2022

An animal shelter in Utah is partnering with an addiction rehab center to provide short-term housing for pets whose people are going through a difficult time. The Ruff Haven Crisis Center already serves as a place where people in other kinds of crises like hospitalization or homelessness can bring their pets for a bit.

Through the center’s partnership with Odyssey House, Utah’s largest addiction program, furry loved ones don’t have to be a barrier to getting addiction help. That could mean 60 to 90 days without being able to care for a pet — but the Crisis Center has their back. The shelter has served around 510 animals through their crisis sheltering program and more than 1,500 through other programming, like their free vaccination and microchip projects.

Clients get videos and pictures while their pets are in Ruff Haven’s care, so they can make sure they’re thriving. What a beautiful way to show support and care for both people and pets!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Have you seen the video of a man finding a kitten on the side of the road — only to be overrun by a dozen more hiding in the grass? Understandably, people are a little obsessed. The man is Robert Brantley, a professional shooter from Louisiana, and he simply couldn’t contain his surprise as the adorable ambush overtook him.

Somehow, he managed to herd all 13 cats into his car and take them home. After going viral, folks from around the country have been calling to offer supplies and adopt the assertive little kittens. Brantley said almost all have been spoken for, and he’s been posting updates about the kittens on his Instagram page.

 

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Thursday, June 23, 2022

It was a terrifying scene at the Chicago Red Line train station. A man had fallen onto the electrified tracks and was convulsing while unconscious. People shouted from the safety of the platform while others pulled out their cell phones to stream the incident. When 20 year old Anthony Perry saw what was happening, he didn’t hesitate – he leapt down to help the man, pulling him to safety. Another person helped Anthony with CPR until EMS arrived.

That act of selfless heroism got Anthony lots of local and national attention, but he wasn’t trying to be a viral internet success, he was just trying to save a stranger’s life.

An anti-violence group leader named Early Walker was so impressed with Anthony, he wanted to pay it forward. Turns out Anthony’s car had died recently which was why he was on the train that day. So Mr. Walker gave him a free car – a lightly used 2009 Audi A8! Now Anthony’s commute time has been cut in half! And each time he starts the car it is a reminder to always look for ways to help people in need.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The average cost of gasoline is around $5 a gallon in the United States. In Louisiana, we are fortunate – our gas is hovering around $4.50 a gallon. But out West – gas prices are MUCH higher. In Phoenix, AZ, gas costs around $6 a gallon. The profit margin for gas stations is razor thin already – but one gas station owner in Phoenix decided that he would skip making a profit – in fact, he’s taking a loss – just so he can help his community survive this costly Summer.

Jaswinder Singh is losing $500 a day by charging less for gasoline than he pays to keep the pumps on. Jess and his wife just say they are doing their part to help their neighbors get by.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Three police officers near Boston, Mass. responded to a call where a man had climbed out onto the side of a bridge and was threatening to jump. Sergeant Peter Sennott, Trooper Randy Roach and Trooper Paul O’Connor remained calm and had a conversation with the man.

After a few minutes, Trooper O’Connor helped the distressed man back over the guard rails and sat on the corner holding him as he cried.

EMS arrived and took the man to the hospital. This day could have ended in tragedy. But thanks to patient and wise police officers, a man is getting the help he needs.

Monday, June 20, 2022

31-year-old Abdul Hamideh is a budding restaurateur. He owns a series of IHOP diners across five states and most recently opened one in Thibodaux. To celebrate, Abdul got dinner Uptown at Hoshun Asian restaurant. He was graciously served by Ava Guan, who he blessed with a huge $777 tip.

So far, this is a good story. Now here is where it gets GREAT. Ava had been praying for days for God’s help to replace the air conditioners at her church, The Olive C. Church in Kenner. Ava joyfully donated her windfall to the church and the story was shared by local media. When Abdul Hamideh saw the story and realized his connection, he wanted to do more – so he showed up at the Chinese church with a check for $1300 to help cover the rest of the air conditioner repairs.

And since Abdul owns the local IHOP, he sent pancakes to the church on Sunday morning so they could enjoy breakfast as they worshiped.

Friday, June 17, 2022

When baby Evie-Mae was just a few months old, she was blind. Complicating matters, she suffered from hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in her brain – causing what the doctors said was irreversible brain damage.

But this is not a tragedy. This is a GOOD NEWS story. Hydrocephalus typically means a short lifetime of tubes and surgeries, but miraculously, by the time Evie-Mae was a toddler, her sight returned. She learned to walk and talk. AND the build up of fluid and pressure DISAPPEARED!

Evie-Mae is now thriving as a seven year old. She lives without shunts, is top of the class, and can see perfectly without any glasses.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

What do Birmingham, Alabama and Pakistan have in common? The answer is Shahzeb Anwer—a 31-year-old man who left his home country for an important surgery in the U.S. But he got so much more than medical help; he found his own ‘home away from home’ in the southern city, and now considers it and all its 211,000 residents part of his family.

When Shahzeb came to Birmingham for surgery to stop his chronic kidney stones, he found out what Southern Hospitality looks like. He made friends everywhere he went. These new friends made sure he had transportation when he needed it – took him out to eat the best food he’d ever had – were so very welcoming that when it was time to return to Pakistan, there were tears of sorrow from Shahzeb and his many new friends.

So when he was getting ready to be married, he did what anyone would do; he invited his new family—all of Birmingham—to his special day in Pakistan!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

In the mid 70s, Nissa Michael and her family fled their home country of Cyprus. They ended up in London and were able to build a new life. Nissa was a seamstress and her husband a chef.

Years later the family moved to Southwest Great Britain to run the Seaward Hotel along the coast. They raised four children – one of whom (Michelle) still runs the hotel on the sea. When millions of Ukrainians came pouring from the East after Russia launched their invasion, the Michael family knew just what to do: they closed the inn to visitors and turned it into housing for refugees!

Nissa (now in her 80s) greets each Ukrainian family and sits with them, listening to their stories. She says she loves seeing children running around the hotel, just like her kids used to.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

When Vicki Umodu found a lump in the cushion of a chair she had received for free on Craigslist, she thought it was a heating pad someone with a bad back had stuffed into it. The chair was from furniture being given away after a loved one passed.

But when she unzipped the cover on the chair, Vicki pulled out a dozen envelopes of cold, hard cash. She yelled “we’ve got to call the guy” to her son, and quickly returned every cent—saying it never once occurred to her to keep even a dollar.

The money totaled $36,000, which the family believes was hidden away by the deceased as part of a saving strategy. Mrs. Umodu was given $2,200 as a reward for her good deed, money she’ll use to buy a new refrigerator.

“God has been kind to me and my children,” Vicki said. “They are all alive and well, I have three beautiful grandchildren, so what can I ever ask of God?”

Monday, June 13, 2022

Kenichi Horie set a record as the world’s oldest solo yachtsman to sail non-stop across the Pacific Ocean. Mr. Horie set sail on his 19-foot-long sailboat, the Suntory Mermaid III, from San Francisco on March 27. It took him 69 days to cross the vast Pacific Ocean and arrive at the shores of his home in Japan.

This isn’t the first time Kenichi Horie’s made maritime history. In 1962, at 23 years old, he became the first person to successfully make a non-stop journey across the Pacific Ocean – from Japan to California.

“Don’t let your dreams just stay as dreams.” Horie says. “Have a goal and work towards achieving this and a beautiful life awaits.”

Friday, June 10, 2022

Mississippi native Aaron Welborn was on vacation at Gulf Shores. Aaron was snorkeling, hoping to spot sea life or maybe buried treasure. Imagine his shock when he found a half set of dentures near the coast!

The owner’s name was imprinted on the dentures – so using the power of social media, Randy Williams was hunted down – back home and toothless in Wisconsin. Aaron and his wife Blaire overnighted the dentures back to Randy saying “He’ll be eating steak again by Wednesday!”

Of course, before Randy was found, Aaron had some fun on Instagram posting pictures of the found-false teeth enjoying a beach vacation. He included some of the pictures in the box with the teeth when they were mailed to Randy in Wisconsin.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Betty Sandison just celebrated her 84th birthday with kids and grandkids. And then the following week the family cheered her on as she walked across the stage to receive her Bachelor’s degree!

Betty began working on her college education 67 years earlier. Life got busy – she got married and had children and moved into new adventures with her family. But the drive to get that degree was always there. Now, over half a century later – mission accomplished!

Betty learned new technology to continue working towards her degree during the COVID shut-down. She says, “Don’t let anybody stop you” from chasing your goals.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

When long-time school custodian Kerry Laing retired at the end of this school year, he didn’t expect a lot of attention. But it turns out that twenty years of investing in teenagers and serving his school had caught the eyes and hearts of many.

Oak Park High Principal Troy Scott calls Mr. Kerry the “..gold standard custodian, incredible human being, Raider legend.” The students built Mr. Kerry a throne to sit on as they cheered and thanked him at a big school assembly before Summer vacation.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

No matter how attentive a parent you are, kids seem to find a way to danger. Laura Forrester did all the work to make having a backyard pool safe for her littles.

Safety fence? CHECK.
Electronic door security? CHECK.
Teach the kids never to go out to the pool without an adult? CHECK.

You can imagine the panic when her sopping wet 2 year old daughter (Andie) with 4 year old son (Gray) found her in the house and said “I falled in the pool!”

2-year-old Andie snuck out to the pool and fell in, struggling to stay afloat. Her brother Gray jumped in and got his baby sister to safety. Their mom says it is a miracle that Andie survived and Gray was able to save her – calling it “a God thing.”

The very next week Laura enrolled Andie in swim lessons.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Jada Sayles had a very good reason for missing her graduation ceremony at Dillard University: she went into labor that morning.

21 year old Jada Sayles was studying criminal justice at Dillard University in New Orleans when she discovered she was pregnant. Although her May 14 due date was the same day as her college graduation ceremony, Sayles wasn’t troubled — due dates are just an estimation – and doctors figured she had a bit more time.

But the night before her graduation ceremony, Sayles felt contractions. She headed to the hospital saying, “I brought my cap and gown because I thought they would just send me home.” However, Sayles’ labor advanced and within hours she welcomed her first child, a son named Easton M’Kale Fuller.

Although Sayles had missed her 8:00 a.m. graduation ceremony that morning, she texted Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough with the update. He showed up the next day wearing a suit and carrying his presidential regalia, ready to re-create a proper graduation ceremony in the new mom’s hospital room.

Sayles was shocked. The improvised ceremony acknowledged years of hard work.

“This is memorable for all of us — I have been president for 18 years and this is the coolest thing I have ever done,” Dillard President Kimbrough said. “Jada persevered over a lot and she is a phenomenal person.”

Sayles is warmed by the love. “When people say how strong I am, it’s so encouraging,” says the new mom. “But I am also very sleepy.”

Friday, June 3, 2022

Women make up less than 4% of all construction workers, even though wages earned at construction jobs are often double that of restaurant and hospitality work, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nora Spencer taught herself the trade and became a licensed general contractor while renovating a home. She discovered that women she worked with at homeless shelters wanted to learn, too.

So Nora created Hope Renovations – a free 10-week program to teach women everything they need to know to break into the contracting business and find well paying construction gigs.

“We have folks from all walks of life that come to us… single moms, women in recovery, women who are just re-careering,” Spencer said. “If we really want to get women into this industry, we need to take out all the barriers that we can.”

Hope Renovations graduates even build for their community, often at no cost. It’s the gig that keeps on giving.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Max is a black Labrador retriever who just saved his person’s life. Sherry Noppe was recently diagnosed with dementia. Sherry took Max out for a walk and then the pair disappeared for three days. But thanks to Max, both are now safely recovered.

Sherry got disoriented and led her and Max to a marshy area three miles away from their normal walking spot. Max never left her side and barked non-stop – for THREE DAYS – to alert anyone that Sherry needed help. As volunteers searched for Sherry, they finally got close enough to hear Max’s barks.

Both were recovered and treated and safely back at home – thanks to Max.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Dr. Akaki Lekiachvili is a physician with the CDC in Atlanta, but he grew up in another Georgia – the country that was ruled by the former Soviet Union. After the fall of communism, Akaki was introduced to Star Wars and immediately fell in love with the galactic battle between Good and Evil.

Dr. Lekiachvili calls himself a “tinkerer” with a passion for space. Starting back in 2016, the good nerdy doctor started building a life sized replica of an X-wing fighter from Star Wars. The project got so big he had to build a 30 foot extension on his garage – and then later a full X-wing hangar in the backyard. His wife was less than thrilled.

Finally, after 6 years of tinkering, the 2/3 to scale X-Wing was complete – with articulating wings, inflatable R2-D2 droid, auto cockpit and a 4 mph ground taxi engine, controlled via remote control. Akaki put in buttons that light up, a targeting computer just like Luke Skywalker used to take on the Death Star and plenty of sound effects.

Six years – $100,000 in supplies – endless hours building – but for what? Well Dr. Lekiachvili has taken his build on tour, as a fundraiser for Ukraine, who is currently battling another evil empire. Lekiachvili and his wife, who is from Poland, both have family in countries neighboring Ukraine. So they set up the X-wing and take donations as kids climb into the cockpit and play.

When it comes to spreading hope, the good doctor quotes Master Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.”


Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Sadly people of faith have a bad reputation amongst wait staff – often rude, demanding and cheap. We can be better.

Maybe we can even be like a friendly couple who ate at The Big Cheese, where Jennifer Vernancio is a waitress. Jennifer was having a rough day – ran late to work because her sitter wasn’t available – it was just one of those days. But her first table of the day was going to change all of that.

A couple had sandwiches and drinks – were very kind to Jennifer – paid their bill and headed out. But they left Jennifer a tip that left her shook. An $810 tip on a meal that cost less than $50! Jennifer was sure it was a mistake and took it to her manager. But it was no mistake – it was just a HUGE blessing!

Jennifer was able to get her teenage daughter some new shoes, a toy for her toddler and pay off some pressing bills because of the generosity of one couple. Imagine if all of God’s people lived lives of extreme generosity!

Monday, May 30, 2022

Everyone wants to feel wanted. Imagine being wanted by every single branch of the US military! Graduating High School senior Noble Rasmussen plans to devote his life to serving his country – he just has to decide which military branch to join. The teen from Nebraska was accepted to all five military academies!

In the end, Noble decided to go with the Air Force – having already served as a cadet in the Civil Air Patrol. Who knows, he might be able to join the Space Force down the road.

If you have served in the Coast Guard, Navy, Air Force, Army or Marines – thank you. I know it isn’t Veterans day, but we can still appreciate you and your families sacrifices, right?

 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Elizabeth Bonker has a type of autism that severely affects communication abilities. And yet, when she gave the commencement speech at Rollins College in Florida as one of five graduating valedictorians, Elizabeth was heard loud and clear.

Using a text-to-speech program, this brilliant young woman urged her fellow graduates to live a life of service, just like Rollins’ most famous graduate, Mister Rogers. Elizabeth Bonker said because she cannot talk, she is often dismissed or minimized. Technology has opened up new opportunities for her to share her amazing brain, and she dreams of living a life in service to others like her.

By her estimate, there are approximately 31 million people with non speaking autism around the world, just waiting to share their voice. Using text to speech, Elizabeth says “We are all called to serve as an everyday act of humility; as a habit of mind; to see the worth in every person we serve.”

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Flavio Dantas is a proud new papa in Brazil who was so excited to meet his baby daughter. He spent the months leading up to the due date casually chatting with his wife’s growing womb – telling his not-yet born daughter Antonella how much he loved her and how much fun they would have once she was born.

Thankfully someone had a camera going when Antonella was born, because as soon as her daddy started talking to her, she beamed the biggest newborn smile ever! And that magical moment has been shared thousands of times online.

Flavio said, “It’s a lot of love in one photo. A love that doesn’t fit inside the chest.”

The beautiful Antonella even has her own Instagram account where she flashes quite a few epic smiles.

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.”

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.

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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