Today’s Good News

In NewPodcasts, Outreach by Josh

MORE GOOD NEWS from days gone by…

Friday, December 1, 2023

When Hannah was in second grade, she brought her grandmother in for show and tell. Grandma Cynthia was a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines and she dazzled the class with a song and shared stories of flying around the world. That moment stayed with Hannah who eventually decided college wasn’t for her – the friendly skies were calling.

At her graduation from flight attendant school her grandmother had the honor of pinning on her wings. And for her first flight – guess who was on Hannah’s flight crew? Her grandmother wasn’t going to miss that!

Hannah and Cynthia kept the entire plane in stitches, teasing each other as they did their flight checks, demonstrated how to buckle a seatbelt and handed out snacks. Cynthia shared with her granddaughter the secret to being the best flight attendant is compassion for every person who nervously sets foot on their plane.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Peter Mutabazi has lived a dramatic life. He grew up on the streets of Kampala, Uganda after fleeing his abusive home. It was through the gift of a stranger that he was able to go to high school – and excelled so much he earned a scholarship to an American college. Peter will never forget feeling cold, alone, unwanted and unsure where his next meal would come from.

That’s why Peter is now a model foster parent. Living in Charlotte, NC, the former homeless refugee from Uganda takes on the hardest cases. He’s fostered over three dozen kids since 2016 and even adopted three children as his own. As a single, black, immigrant man – Peter is a rarity in the foster system.

Unlike most bachelor pads, Peter’s is overrun with six kids – his three adopted children and three foster children. Throw in two dogs and endless toys and stuffed animals – it’s a house full of love. These children know what it feels like to be chosen – to be loved no matter what. That kind of love sound familiar?

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Thank God for incredible doctors and hospitals. An Ohio teenager, Meghan Krafty, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Her care team had her prepped for surgery in just a few days time – with follow up care from her Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. Their immediate care probably saved her life.

But at 17 years old, the sweet teenage girl was pretty bummed she missed her homecoming dance because of something so trivial like brain surgery. Her care team worked with her mom and Megan’s boyfriend Tommy put together their own homecoming dance in the hospital!

Tommy was all dressed up with a boutonnière in place and Megan even wore her new pink dress, though she had to dance from her wheelchair. The cute couple danced, ate snacks and invited other patients and hospital staff to join in the fun.

 

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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

For almost 45 years, God has used the overflowing, generous hearts and gifts of listeners, families, churches and local businesses to make the radio ministry of LifeSongs possible. Almost HALF A CENTURY of hearing God is Good all the Time on the radio – because of YOU!

Today the world is celebrating generosity with Giving Tuesday – and at LifeSongs, we celebrate your generous heart every single day! Every perfect song – every game, contest, concert, prayer school, uplifting story – all of that happens because of God providing through you. Today, on Giving Tuesday, when you support LifeSongs we will help deck your halls!

For every gift of $100 or more, we’ll send you the exclusive, new LifeSongs Christmas ornament! And every time you look at it on your Christmas tree you’ll remember how God used you to bring light into darkness – hope into hopeless lives – and joy for every person who sings along a song of praise on LifeSongs. Give now!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Do you have a work-mom? You know – the veteran employee who always takes care of everybody – and does it with a smile? That’s Karen Collinsworth through and through. The 65-year old Starbucks supervisor loves her employees like they are her kids. And she has impacted many kids’ lives because her Starbucks is on the campus of Marshall University in Huntington, WV.

When your mom needs help – you jump to it, right? Karen’s 2004 Kia was sputtering its last breaths and one day someone jacked her catalytic converter. Karen’s “kids” at Starbucks decided to secretly rally the many students whose lives she had touched.

The Starbucks crew started a We Love You Karen GoFundMe page and spread the word around the school campus. The lofty goal was $10,000. They hit that in just hours. In a couple of days, they topped $40,000! That included hundreds of gifts from students – and a big $5000 gift from the President of the college.

 

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people took up gardening – including a high school sophomore named Lauren Schroeder. Her family set aside a half-acre of their Iowa homestead to the future farmer Lauren and it turns out she has quite the green thumb.

During the pandemic Lauren noticed that there was a real shortage of healthy fruits and veggies available for people in need at local shelters. With that in mind, Lauren began donating crops from her garden to several nonprofit organizations in her area.

In less than two years Lauren has given away about $15000 worth of produce to help feed her community! She was given a grant from Future Farmers of America to expand her garden to a full acre that now produces over 20 types of produce including potatoes, tomatoes, squash, broccoli and much more. Lauren won’t graduate high school until May of 2025 – and by then she aims to have delivered over 20,000 pounds of healthy food to her community.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

When Beethoven went deaf, he continued to compose music based on what he knew and what he FELT. Music is vibration. And with that in mind, Chicago’s Lyric Opera and some innovative scientists built SoundShirts to help the deaf and hard of hearing experience music in a very cool new way!

Microphones around the stage feed into a computer which triggers wireless over shirts. The soft moments of the song produce light tapping near the clavicle – while booming bass thumps the lower back sensor in the SoundShirt. Wearers of the SoundShirt can literally FEEL the performance in real time with the hearing audience!

Fully immersive experiences are being born out of technology designed to do something truly lovely – provide a sense of music to the deaf community.

 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Today is the final day of National Collection Week – although you can always build a shoebox gift online with Operation Christmas Child. Thank you to everyone who has already dropped off gifts at local Operation Christmas Child drop off site – which you can easily find on lifesongs.com/occ.

You have partnered with so many other folks – like Amie Winstead in Tennessee who volunteers year round with OCC. And with Ravina Kumar, who is a discipleship coordinator on the islands of Fiji, where many Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes have been distributed. Children can now go to school because of the flip flops they got in their Christmas present shoebox!

After you drop off your gifts, it’s time to pray that the message of Jesus would fall on hearts ready for His wonderful Grace this Christmas!

Friday, November 17, 2023

Pastor John of the Saramaccan people in Suriname prays diligently as his church passes out shoebox gifts to an ethnic group who have never heard about Jesus. He says, “The shoeboxes are an open door for us to spread the Gospel to the unreachable people, both the children and their parents.”

Meanwhile, in Georgia, Pastor Ken Bevel is having a great time packing gifts with his congregation, excited to ship out a box of light to future brothers and sisters in Jesus. It’s a partnership, even though neither pastors have met.

Operation Christmas Child is growing God’s Kingdom – and many of the stories we won’t get to hear until Heaven. Do you have an eternal perspective on celebrating Christmas?

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry that is built on service and prayer. And as volunteers pack gifts to go around the world, they are also praying through their own real-life struggles. Rhonda is a year-round Operation Christmas Child volunteer, who had been praying for her daughter Sarah to turn back to Jesus, as she was also praying for the kids who would receive each gift she packed.

One recent Sunday Sarah came to church and rededicated her life to Jesus – and over in the Philippines, another mom, named Mary Joy, celebrated as her daughter Geraldine got her first Christmas gift from Operation Christmas Child. Rhonda’s prayers were both answered! Her daughter returned to her faith and Geraldine experienced a true Christmas for the first time ever!

As you pray through life’s challenges, live out your faith by getting some gifts to an Operation Christmas Child drop-off site near you! National Collection Week is now through Monday.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

10-year-old Ava has lots of Christmas Spirit – but not because she has a long list of presents she wants. Quite the opposite – she gets fired up to pack shoebox gifts with her family for Operation Christmas Child.

Ava said, “It made me feel happy because we’re spreading God’s Word to people who have never heard of Jesus. It’s important that they know that He loves them.”

And on the other side of the world, a deaf African student named Kavari beams with joy as he opens his shoebox gift, complete with The Greatest Gift storybook that introduced him to a loving Savior.

The shoebox gifts you prayerfully pack this season will be a part of changing lives—both here and around the globe. God will use your generosity and the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to transform children, their families, and their communities!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Many of us have faith in Jesus today because of the prayers of our mothers. Just as that’s true in SELA, it is true in Tanzania, Africa. That’s where Kwale grew up, in complete poverty. He often was sent home from school because he did not have any shoes. The shame of being so poor made Kwale angry – but not his mother, who was praying for her family. She alone stood on faith in Jesus for her family.

Kwale attended church with his faithful mother but did not share her trust in God. Until God answered his own angry prayers. One Sunday there was a green and red shoe box with his name on it – a gift from Operation Christmas Child. Inside were new socks and shoes. That’s when Kwale’s heart began to change.

He was so grateful, he went on to attend the 12 lesson discipleship course called The Greatest Journey and ultimately gave his heart to Jesus. When Kwale’s father saw the change in his son, he too joined his wife and child in following Jesus. Samaritan’s Purse offers The Greatest Journey through churches and Christian partners in more than 100 countries. Your gifts and prayers will help reach more than 4 million girls and boys just like Kwale this year.

Monday, November 13, 2023

El Cayo is a densely populated town on the Honduran Bay Island of Guanaja. With winding canals, thousands of people and the sparkling waters of the Caribbean, you would think it was paradise.

But being that remote comes with dangers – like a small fire went wild and left hundreds homeless in 2021. Years before a hurricane ravaged the island. In fact, Samaritan’s Purse has been praying for and searching for ways to impact El Cayo since the 1990s! Finally though – a group was able to go and serve the people of El Cayo, because of your generosity through Operation Christmas Child!

With the Gospel alive in their hearts, the communities on Guanaja now see the fires as a blessing in disguise, because it wiped out a growing drug problem and ultimately brought safety and hope to their children. With the help of the local church, many homes and businesses have already been rebuilt – with more to come.

 

 

Friday, November 10, 2023

The Bara people of Madagascar are cattle rustlers and known to be violent thieves who do not welcome outsiders. Years ago they drove all Christians out of their villages and shut the door to the outside. Pastor Soja, a church planter from southern Madagascar felt the Lord leading him to bring the message of Jesus to these dangerous folks, but wasn’t sure how to even start.

Over the years, Pastor Soja built relationships with some village chiefs by sending them needed supplies. The Bara began to ask for help to establish private schools and this led to sharing Christmas presents from Operation Christmas Child to some students at one of the new schools.

Turns out these hard people had soft hearts, because when they heard about the Love of Jesus, along with the special gifts and new education programs – 75% of those present wanted to know Jesus personally. Now three villages are teaming up to plant their first church!

Operation Christmas Child isn’t just about fun presents, but sharing the Gospel and providing education opportunities and needed healthcare as well.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Amidst the green forests and dense South American jungles of Suriname are vibrant communities loving and serving Jesus. These on-fire churches are being served by Samaritan’s Purse and Operation Christmas Child, not only with great Christmas presents for children – but discipleship programs that are creating the future leaders of the faith in South America.

Charahja is a 15 year old young woman who remembers her first shoebox gift of socks with a warm smile. Now she serves as the National Discipleship Coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Suriname. And yes – she’s only 15! She’s actually been leading The Greatest Journey discipleship course out of her grandfather’s home since she was 14.

Not too far away is Isha, who at 19 is a worship and dance leader who has been serving her community with OCC since she was 16. If you want to see a community changed by the power of Christ – watch a young generation who love Jesus!

Maybe your shoebox gift will impact the next leader in Suriname!

 

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

When you hear the words “Operation Christmas Child” you probably imagine some scrappy kids in an orphanage with gap tooth grins ripping into smartly wrapped presents – and that’s a big part of what OCC does around the world. But Samaritan’s Purse also partners with local churches to make a difference even after the presents are all unwrapped.

Following the big shoebox gift distribution parties, local churches are equipped to teach a 12-lesson discipleship program for anyone interested in learning more about Jesus. It’s called The Greatest Journey – and through this Bible study program many folks in Central and South America have given their lives to Jesus.

Of course to them the program is called La Gran Aventura – because OCC is devoted to sharing the Hope of Jesus to people worldwide in their heart’s first language. A little girl named Dayla in Peru, a 12 year old boy named Juan in Colombia and Erneston in Mexico are just a few of hundreds of thousands who not only gave their lives to Christ, but completed the discipleship classes and started bringing friends and family to church!

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Today, Andy Castillo and his wife Carmen, serve God in a local church in Honduras. They also volunteer as a distribution point for Operation Christmas Child because they’ve seen how that ministry has transformed many lives. In fact, Honduras receives over 300,000 shoebox gifts each year. However, Andy didn’t always want to be in ministry. He intended to run his family business, until he was kidnapped.

One evening at a gas station, Andy and his family were held at gunpoint. His wife and her sister were released, but he was held prisoner for 10 days. For 10 days, Andy called out to God for help. It was blindfolded in a small room, not knowing if he would live for die that Andy fully submitted to God – ready to live or die for the cause of Christ. Less than 24 hours later, his captors vanished and he went home.

Inspired, Andy went to seminary and served at a church in Michigan before God called his family back to Honduras to serve in children’s ministry. And with a partnership with Operation Christmas Child, Andy helps share the Gospel with on average, 350,000 families each Christmas!

Monday, November 6, 2023

The Kazakh people are a minority in remote parts of Mongolia. And yet, even inner Asian shepherds are hearing the Gospel thanks to Operation Christmas Child! There are few churches in the mostly Islamic country – but the Gospel is spreading quickly through families.

Family is incredibly important to the Kazakhs – and hearing how God wants them to be in His family is reshaping their entire world. And for many of those families, it all began with a Christmas present you sent through Operation Christmas Child!

Friday, November 3, 2023

There are still many communities around the world who have not yet heard about Jesus – and wherever Jesus is preached, hearts are transformed!

That’s always been the purpose of Operation Christmas Child – to share Jesus through a Christmas present. In the Philippines, a 13 year old girl named Princess loved her gifts from Operation Christmas Child – but it was the story of Jesus that changed everything! The host church invited her to join the Greatest Journey bible study and Princess began her walk with Jesus right then and there!

Princess declared her faith saying, “I wanted Jesus to save me. Now, I am more confident because He is with me.” It’s a challenge to get the Gospel to the many remote villages in the Philippines, but more and more hear about Jesus each year through Operation Christmas Child.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Jessica was just 9 years old when she got her first Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift. Along with toys, there was a book called The Greatest Gift – which shared the Gospel with this little Egyptian girl, in her native language. Meeting Jesus changed Jessica’s life forever.

Now, four years later, Jessica has become a little evangelist in Minya, Egypt – where she shares Jesus with other kids and has led more than a dozen to faith in Christ, using that little book she received from Operation Christmas Child!

During the pandemic, Jessica’s church had to shut down – so what did the on-fire-for-the-Lord tween do? She bought a little amplified microphone and shared Jesus outside in her neighborhood!

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Elena is a fine arts teacher from Ukraine. It’s been a hard couple of years with the ongoing war against the Russian incursion. She and her daughter had to flee to Poland and essentially begin a new life.

That life began in a converted hotel (shout out to the people and government of Poland for being incredible neighbors to the people of Ukraine). Polish churches have been instrumental in providing housing, food, social services and jobs for the Ukrainian refugees. One church next to Elena’s hotel-home was having an Operation Christian Child party.

At this church, Elena’s daughter got a loving Christmas present and then was able to go to a Bible camp called The Greatest Journey where she was able to worship freely and grow in her walk with Jesus! Elena and her daughter are just one family that got Christmas because of your generosity! About 400,000 shoebox gifts were distributed to children from Ukraine last year.

 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Maggie is just seven years old and in first grade. While many of her peers would rather sit in a corner with a Nintendo Switch, Maggie loves two things more – giving warm hugs and reading. Maggie’s mom works at an assisted living community, so after school Maggie began toting in books from her school library and going room to room to read to the residents.

Patti Griggs, a resident at Heritage Grove used to teach first graders and she swears Maggie is the best reader she’s ever seen at that age. Her mom isn’t surprised. She says Maggie usually falls asleep each night with a pile of books on her bed with her stuffed animals.

Monday, October 30, 2023

In 2016, Jeison Aristizábal became the first CNN Hero of the Year from Latin America. Born with cerebral palsy, Jeison never let his circumstances dictate his limitations or his dreams. Now hundreds of young people in Cali, Colombia are enrolled at a University designed for special needs students – named for Jeison – who continues to inspire.

Jeison took his prize money and immediately sewed it back into his community. Thousands of students with special needs have received a free education, specialized job training and more. And their fearless leader has continued to conquer his own personal dreams, graduating from law school – ready to represent the under-served.

This bright and brave young man wants every person to know “Yes, you can. You can dream and you can achieve your dreams.”

Friday, October 27, 2023

When Clinton Blades was dispatched to a wreck on I-55 Monday morning, he didn’t know what to expect. He was one of the first paramedics there, going car to car through heavy fog, looking for people who needed help.  In his 19 years as a paramedic, Clinton says he’s never seen anything like it – a crash of that scale. But, he says, something else stood out, too.

“People were offering any assistance they had, even just a set of hands to help people move.” People involved in the crash who were not injured jumped into action, helping each other while first responders were still trying to get there.

Darla Bankston, a nurse at North Oaks Medical Center in Hammond, was one of those people wasn’t injured in the crashes. So she immediately stopped her car and ran back toward the jumble of twisted wreckage to help whoever she could.

Thank you to everyone who did what they could to help in Monday’s incident, from first responders to everyday heroes. Even the staff at Middendorf’s jumped into action by opening up to serve water and food to those in need.  Please keep those affected by this in your prayers with us, and please be careful on the roads!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Miss Sparkles teaches kids that “kindness is the cure for everything.” Lori Brooks is a joyful school bus driver, but all of her kids know her as Miss Sparkles.

The 60 year old grandmother hugs each student as they climb on her bus. She knows each one by name – and all of their parents. Miss Sparkles is the kind of dream bus driver parents wish for. Day in and day out, she is a safe place for all of the students she transports to and from school.

And Lori experienced that love right back a couple of years ago when her husband unexpectedly passed away. Lines of students and their families sent cards, provided food and continue to take excellent care of her. Because kindness is the cure for everything.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

As long as you have breath in your lungs, you can still chase your dreams. That’s what 85-year-old Joann Dehardt of South Carolina is living out. She and her husband ran Frandeena’s restaurant for decades in their home town of Prosperity. When he passed in 2010, Joann turned the restaurant into a thrift store to help her community.

But Joann knew something was missing. Specifically … hot dogs. Frandeena’s was one of only a few restaurants in town. Now that it was a thrift store, it was time to get back to feeding her friends and family. So Joann put a hot dog stand out in front of her old restaurant, launching J’s Hot Diggity Dogs.

Joann says it is a “joy to come to work” because she loves people and slinging hot dogs – specifically she says get one with chili, mustard and onion.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Kelli Boehle misses her son Nik – but she is also inspired by his short life. When Nik was 17 he was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer. He battled his disease for four hard years, but in the battle he also demonstrated uncommon kindness and generosity.

Nik was blessed with a Make-A-Wish family vacation where his entire family could enjoy Hawaii together and for just a little while, pretend like everything was alright. Many of his peers he met during treatment weren’t as fortunate – having aged out of the Make-A-Wish program. So Nik asked his mom to find a way to make dreams come true for young adults like him, after he was gone.

Flash forward a few years and that’s exactly what Kelli is doing to honor her son’s memory. She built Nik’s Wish – a non-profit that provides blessings for terminally ill young adults between the ages of 18-24. They’ve sent families on vacations, gifted gaming computers, provided celebrity meet and greets, concert tickets and much more.

It’s been 11 years since Nik passed away – but his family is keeping their promise to him, having granted over 300 wishes across more than 30 states.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Did you know that Crayola Crayons is a subsidiary of Hallmark? So it makes sense that the card kings would expand to flowers. Crayola Flowers is selling colorful flower bouquets that you order online to ship around the country.

But Crayola Flowers is much more than a way to capitalize on guys who waited too late to get an anniversary gift. Crayola Flowers is being marketed to non-profits as a fundraising tool – where they can get up to 50% of the sales funneled right into their charity!

Bouquets are priced from $49 to $150 and are shipped directly from farms to customers – with proceeds going to the selected charity. What a beautiful way to spread color, love and hope!

Friday, October 20, 2023

Three generations of one family are currently enrolled at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI. Sisters Samantha and Mia have a dorm room together as they work on their undergrad degrees. Their mom Amy is a graphic designer who enrolled to get her Masters and convinced her mom Christy (Grandmother to Samantha and Mia) to get her Masters as well.

Of course, the youngest of the family have literally grown up on Carthage College’s campus. Their mom has worked there for 20 years. Amy says her daughters drop by her office on campus pretty frequently … for money to go to Starbucks.

And their grandmother Christy is having so much fun being back in school, she’s talking about going for her Ph. D when she’s in her 80s.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

A marathon is a really long distance to run. Honestly, it’s a long drive in traffic. Courtney Rich was on her last mile of a marathon in Salt Lake City, Utah and her body was shutting down on her. But that’s when her 10 year old daughter hopped over a barrier to help.

With her words of support, Avery held her mom’s hand and ran the last mile side by side – in her crocks and jeans – to get Courtney across the finish line.

Think of the people God puts in your life – maybe a daughter, spouse or best friend – that were there to run beside you in life’s big challenges – and give God thanks for them today!

 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Warrick Dunn is a legend – and not just on the football field. The former NFL running back has devoted his life to making a difference for single moms in the South. Warrick Dunn Charities, Habitat for Humanity and Catholic High School in Baton Rouge – where Dunn graduated himself – just handed the keys to a brand new home to a single mom and her daughter. That’s impressive on its own – but to make it even more spectacular – that house was the 218th home Dunn has helped give away!

Oh – and those homes? Fully furnished. When Dominique and Miracle entered their new Baton Rouge house, they found sheets on the beds, a TV in the living room and food in the fridge. Dunn wants to make sure the future of Louisiana is founded on stable homes for families.

In fact, this Louisiana super star did some major work for SELA after Hurricane Katrina – challenging his NFL peers to give and raised over $5 million to rebuild in 2005. That kind of love makes it easy to forgive him for playing for both the Bucs and the falcons during his pro career!

 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Summer is a busy time for Best Cleaners – a dry cleaning shop in Middletown, CT. Not just because their clients have suits and dresses that need to be cleaned and pressed, but it is turtle migration season – and their shop is smack in the middle of the path from the turtles’ spawning pond and the banks of the Connecticut River.

Every employee and customer knows that from May to September, you are going to be recruited to help turtles safely cross the street to the river bank. In fact, helping the tiny turtles has probably increased business, because who wouldn’t want to help baby turtles cross the street!?

The Eastern painted turtle is not endangered – but they are precious to this community. And helping these baby turtles on their commute is something residents believe makes Middletown and Best Cleaners truly special.

Monday, October 16, 2023

The Hapeville Police received a call from a resident complaining about a young black boy in their neighborhood. When Officer Colleran arrived on the scene, he took time to get the full story. This entrepreneurial boy was going door to door advertising his lawn mowing business.

Officer Colleran said, “The young man was polite, respectful, and truthful.” Turns out the kid was saving up to buy a PlayStation – something the police officer was all about, as a gamer himself.

After sharing the story with his fellow officers, they all pitched in $500 to get the child a new PS5 and an annual subscription to the PlayStation gaming service. Officer Colleran also connected with the boy with his gamer tag so they could play together.

Friday, October 13, 2023

22-year-old Patrick Palepoi works as the fishing section manager in Sandy, Utah’s Scheels store. He loves talking about fishing – answering questions about fishing – if it’s about fishing, Patrick is your guy. So when a little boy named Xander showed interest at the store, the pair chatted for nearly half an hour.

Xander’s grandfather was an avid fisherman, but Xander hadn’t gone fishing since his grandfather passed away last year. Touched by his story, Patrick bought Xander a new fishing pole – and then worked with his mom to take the family on a fishing trip to a nearby reservoir. He even wrangled a couple of fishing pros to join the day on the water so they could pass on the legacy and knowledge to young Xander!

Xander got a once in a lifetime personal fishing experience – even snagging a big rainbow trout on the outing. It was an experience and a kindness that his family will never forget.

 

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Thursday, October 12, 2023

Summer Erdel is a military spouse who was traveling with two small children and even well practiced, great kids have their limits. For Summer’s girls, it was the third connecting flight. Thankfully, an angel was on this flight with them.

Jenny Martin was traveling solo, but saw Summer wrestling with her kids and luggage at check-in. As a mom of four, she was well aware of the special kind of stress Summer was dealing with. Jenny introduced herself and offered to help. She held Summer’s baby and helped check the stroller while boarding.

It was a Southwest flight, so Jenny chose to sit in front of the Erdel clan, letting Summer know that the noise and seat kicking wouldn’t bother her. Mid-flight, the baby projectile vomited all over Summer. Four times. Jenny calmly told the struggling mom that it was going to be ok. Then she took the baby (still covered in vomit) and rocked her to sleep so Summer could go to the lavatory and get cleaned off – Jenny even lent Summer a jacket.

After the flight, Jenny walked the family to baggage claim where Summer’s husband was waiting and then went on her way. The moms were able to reconnect over social media when Summer went looking for her guardian angel – sharing the story with the world.

Wednesday, October 11,  2023

The Pick of the Litter Thrift Shop in San Francisco exists to help fund the Peninsula Humane Society. And truly honest, good folks are working there behind the scenes. Oliver Jolis was busy sorting donated clothes for pricing and display – when he picked up a shirt and cash started pouring out on the table. Wrapped up in the clothes was $5000! Also in the bundle was a scrap of paper with car insurance information on it.

Oliver and his coworkers contacted the woman who had dropped off the clothes and were able to return the large sum of money. She was astounded by the honesty and incredibly grateful, as you can imagine.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Issy Spurway is a talented 20 year old. She uses her skills with a sewing machine and her savvy with TikTok to not only upcycle old clothes – but help keep memories alive. When Issy’s beloved grandfather passed away, she couldn’t bare the idea of throwing out his old clothes. They were memories. They were a comfort. But they were also taking up a lot of space.

So Issy got designing and began to alter her grandfather’s shirts into fashionable tops for herself. The Fashion School student uploaded her project on TikTok and of course, with her skillful designs and heartfelt purpose, the internet took her viral. This kept her busy during the pandemic and helped her through the grieving process.

Now Issy is helping others in a similar situation with tutorials on how to upcycle their own hand-me-downs.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Coffee is helping develop the economy of Mozambique all while reforesting the continent AND providing a haven for elephants, lions and hundreds of thousands of citizens!

The Gorongosa Coffee Project began in 2013 to reforest a 1500 square mile national park. It’s in central Mozambique, home to 200,000 people and many endangered animals. Combining coffee plant growth and other indigenous plants, the reforesting process is happening quickly – and the job creation of the coffee industry has poured money into central Mozambique!

In 2013 the Gorongosa Coffee Project was started by 10 families – now 1000 families work for the project, sending many children to schools and transforming the economy of Mozambique – and the model is now being used by neighboring countries as well!

Friday, October 6, 2023

We don’t deserve dogs. They provide love, without expecting a thing in return. Maybe they are a kind of angel. Certainly Scout is. Scout is a big black mutt who decided to escape the kennel at the Antrim County Animal Control, climb over multiple fences and cross a highway to take up residence at Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility.

The Sheriff was called multiple times by the old folks home to come pick Scout up. He just kept making his way back. And so the staff and residents decided to make it official and adopt the pup!

Scout fits right into his new home, brightening up the facility with a friendly disposition and a habit of falling asleep on a couch in the main lobby. Scout was even voted “Resident of the Month.”

Thursday, October 5, 2023

The post-pandemic office landscape is a little bit different. While many have returned to regular office hours, many businesses have seen their cultures completely transformed with less office space needed. That means in the BIG cities, there is a lot of unused real estate in great centralized locations.

Arlington, VA sits just outside of Washington D.C. and they have gotten innovative with some of their newly emptied office spaces. Area 2 Farms is transforming old office buildings into vertical indoor farms – which both fills the space and provides fresh local produce to the inner city space of Washington D.C.! They even office a monthly subscription to local residents who get boxes of fresh, organic produce delivered right to their homes.

 

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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

While Southeast Louisiana has been in a drought for months – other parts of the country have experienced other kinds of extreme weather. SoCal got a hurricane and mudslides, and New England saw crazy flooding. This is going to sound wild to us, in our current state of insurance drama – but a 175 year insurance company did some major good in the state of Vermont!

The National Life Insurance Company lives by the moto “Believe in tomorrow. Do good today.” The Montpelier, VT company held their annual benefit concert called Do Good Fest. While it is usually a small affair in a sleepy New England town, this year national attention on New England floods led to record generosity!

With NLIC matching half a million dollars in donations, they raised over $1.5 million to help restore and rebuild flooded communities in Vermont. And that was just one event – The Vermont Flood Response & Recovery Fund has had close to $2.5 million donated this year.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

No matter how prepared you think you are for an emergency, when one happens and the adrenaline hits, real heroes keep their cool and follow their training. Thankfully Shana Turnage, a school nurse at Franklinton Elementary knew exactly what to do when a scary situation hit the school.

The school custodian, Mr. Richard, was on the floor having a seizure. He was unresponsive, not breathing and had no heartbeat. Nurse Turnage immediately began CPR and instructed other staff members to call 911 and grab the school’s AED (Automated External Defibrillator).

First responders arrived shortly, but by then Nurse Turnage had already saved Mr. Richard’s life. He woke up in a hospital room surrounded by cards from kids at the school and hopes to get back to work soon. His coworkers also can’t wait to see their “ray of sunshine” back in the school halls.

 

Monday, October 2, 2023

Demario Davis is a beast on the football field. But more importantly, the linebacker is also a Man of God. (He literally got fined for wearing his Man of God headband as a part of his Saints uniform.) After a Saints win a couple weeks back, Demario was in the press booth and took his time sharing about how much God loves each and every one of us.

He also shared how Jesus healed his little 4 year old girl who had suffered an epileptic seizure just days before the game. Davis and his wife prayed in the ambulance and the hospital and their daughter had an immediate and complete recovery – something doctors didn’t understand because the recovery from such a seizure usually takes days.

Demario Davis wrapped up his time with the press promising to talk football in the future, but for that moment, he wanted everyone to “listen for the knock and let the Lord in.”

 

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Friday, September 29, 2023

Mary Ruth is feeling the love at her job in a Kentucky Walmart! 86 year old Mary Ruth always has a smile and a hug if you’re willing for folks browsing at the Carrollton, Kentucky Walmart. But her journey to this calling came from a sad time in her life.

Mary Ruth is grateful for the lifetime of love she had with her husband Jacky. But after a five year battle with Parkinson’s, Jacky went to be with Jesus. Mary Ruth knew that the loneliness would destroy her if she wallowed, so she went to Walmart and got a job.

Turns out, a whole new life was waiting for the outgoing sweet lady. She is a magnet for kindness – pulling smiles out of everyone she greets. She has connected with special needs shoppers and often gets stopped for selfies because she’s become a bit of a celebrity. She shines bright and shares love, even through a time of grief.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Eric Kilburn Jr. is a gentle giant in the classroom, and a monster on his high school football team. The 15 year old defensive end is already 6 foot 10, with feet even bigger than Shaquille O’Neal. In fact, that was a big problem – his mom was spending thousands of dollars on special-made shoes so her son could play football and even just walk to class without blisters.

A friend set up a fundraiser to help with the cost of shoes and the story went viral. That’s when shoe company Puma and athletic wear company Under Armour stepped in. They measured the giant high schooler and produced 4 pairs of cleats and 2 pairs of tennis shoes as a special gift to the student athlete!

And of course, word got to Shaq that there were some bigger feet than his, so he sent his personal tailor to the Kilburn’s house to fit the teen for custom suits for prom and homecoming! The family felt so blessed they started a Facebook Group called The Big Shoe Network to connect other families with help to get properly fitted shoes to their exceptional teenagers.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The mythical phoenix is famous for being reborn through the fire. Phoenix Bigler is no myth, but in many ways his story is far more incredible. The Covington teenager was just casually riding his bike when he had a heart attack that left him dead on the street. He lay there for 20 minutes with no oxygen to his brain. Fire fighters refused to stop resuscitation efforts and miraculously Phoenix responded.

The teenager was in a coma, unresponsive for days. His parents and community believed God would do a miracle and He surely did. Phoenix woke up! He is in rehab and will be for a very long time. Doctors believe Phoenix is 100% still in there, but his body has to relearn how to move and communicate.

Before the heart attack, Phoenix played saxophone at St. Paul High School. The other day his marching bandmates showed up to serenade him, his family and the staff at the hospital. They even paused to spend time thanking God for rescuing their friend and praying for Phoenix and his family. Miracles still happen. They happen all around the world and even around the corner on the northshore.

 

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Competitive swimmer Merle Liivand is passionate about two big things: teaching the next generation the joys of swimming, and also, cleaning up the planet’s waterways. The Estonian native holds multiple world records because she swims with a monofin. It’s not uncommon for passersby to think they just saw a mermaid!

Recently Merle set a Guinness Record by swimming the circumference of Biscayne Bay in Miami – over thirty-one miles! It took her 14 hours, but that was because she wasn’t just swimming, she was collecting garbage and filling bags for her team to collect. She pulled 35 pounds of trash out of the bay that day.

 

Monday, September 25, 2023

Earlier this year Lahaina, Hawaii suffered devastating fires. Homes, cars, entire towns were swallowed whole by the fires. A family in Seattle watched the news, devastated. They had recently been on a family vacation to Hawaii and the destruction was heartbreaking.

Five-year-old Edison took his sadness and turned it into hope with a lemonade stand to send proceeds to the community of Lahaina. He set up on a hot Summer day and was overwhelmed with the community response. Neighbors often paid way more than $1 for their cup of lemonade. On top of generous tips, Edison’s parents’ jobs said they would match Edison’s sales with contributions to the cause.

After one week of selling lemonade, collecting donations, and corporate matches, Edison was able to send $17,000 to Hawaii to help rebuild. That’s some God math there. And some generous hearts, which we know a thing or two about here at LifeSongs.

Monday, September 11, 2023

It’s incredible, considering we live in one of the wealthiest countries in the History of the world – but every day millions of American children are food insecure. They don’t know if or when their next meal is going to come. And for many, the only meals they can count on come at their public school.

14-year-old DeJuan Strickland remembers that feeling of hunger and worry. Back when he was in 4th grade, his family was in a rough place and the food he could count on came from school. Wanting to make sure no other kid in his elementary school had to worry about whether they could have lunch, DeJuan launched a fundraiser to completely pay off the lunch debt for every student.

What started out as a goal to raise $200 has now turned into a positive fund of $6000 to pay for future students! Taking a willing heart and turning it into enough for many sure sounds a lot like what Jesus does. Something we are praying God does with your generous support during the LifeSongs Fall Shareathon, beginning Wednesday!

Friday, September 8, 2023

Jason Aussin was out playing golf with his father, Tony, and grandfather, Jose, on July 24. His grandpa had a great shot onto the green. They thought he was celebrating, but upon closer examination, he collapsed and started turning purple. Checked his breathing, checked for a pulse, nothing.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Jason sprung into action. He learned CPR while training to be a lifeguard just a couple of months ago and put his skills to good use. “Immediately, I knew what to do. I turned to my father and said, ‘Hey I need you on breaths. I’ll do the CPR’,” he told the news station. Jose can’t say enough about his son and grandson. “It’s like they’re professional doctors. They saved my life!” he said.

Jason is now encouraging others to learn CPR. You never know when you could become someone’s hero!

How’d you spend YOUR summer vacation? Maybe it wasn’t through CPR, but you HAVE had a positive impact on the lives of others – just by supporting the ministry of LifeSongs! Thank you!

Thursday, September 7, 2023

It was the hottest Summer on record for the Northern Hemisphere this year. Literally. Sweltering heat all across North America left many in need of air conditioning repair. Peggy Moore of Kansas City thought she was on top of it by getting her AC work done back in February.

Peggy paid an HVAC contractor $5000 in February to make sure her AC was operating for Summer. The 75 year old was being proactive. The problem is, by late May it was 90 degrees in her house. She couldn’t breathe!

Peggy couldn’t get the contractor back to her house, so she contacted a local news team to get her justice. The contractor finally showed up and installed a new air conditioner – but her house was still sweltering. Another contractor, Harry Frame, was following the story on the local news channel and offered to come take a look.

It turns out, the AC unit pushed by the first contractor was way too small for Peggy’s house. In an act of extraordinary generosity – given the super hot Summer and guaranteed sales in the air conditioning business – Harry installed a new, properly sized unit so Ms. Peggy could live in comfort and safety.

Whew! We know just how important a working AC is! And we also know how wonderful it is to have your needs met through the kind generosity of others. It’s how we feel on a daily basis! Thank you for supporting the ministry of LifeSongs!

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Ronnie was 13-years-old when he lost both of his parents. Dr. James Wittig had given his life to his career, but always wanted a son. Through a God orchestrated series of overlapping friendships, the pair were connected into a new family.

Dr. Wittig had long been praying for a chance to have a family. A former patient of his knew of a boy who had lost both parents in a matter of months. 13-year-old Ronnie was described as “adorable, kind, caring, energetic [and] very loving.” The lifelong bachelor and the orphan bonded immediately and the good doctor went on to raise Ronnie as his son.

We’re grateful God has chosen us and called us His children. And we know how incredible it is to be part of a loving family, even if it’s not by birth. Thank you for being part of the LifeSongs family through your giving, and thank you for inviting even more people to join by sharing God’s love everyday!

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

In rural Ghana, the nearest hospital could be hours away. That means even treatable conditions become a matter of life and death. Osei Boateng (pronounced: Oh-say Boa-tang) grew up in one such rural village and felt a strong call to help. After studying biology at Cornell University and earning a master’s in Healthcare Administration, he started looking for a flexible way to tackle the problem.

Boateng started the nonprofit, OKB Hope Foundation, and in 2021, he converted a van into a mobile doctor’s office to bring health care directly to those in need. A few times a week, the mobile clinic and a medical team travel to remote communities, running basic labs, doing bloodwork and providing medications the rest of the developed world takes for granted.

Since its launch, the Hope Health Van has served more than 4,000 Ghanaians across more than 45 rural communities. Dozens of volunteers now serve as clinicians and the hope is to convert two more vans soon, to reach thousands more – even expanding into other Sub-Saharan countries.

 

Have you ever felt a strong call to help? We know that to be true, based on the amazing response to the needs of LifeSongs – THANK YOU so much!

Monday, September 4, 2023

It’s a lot easier to cheer on golf when you know it means help for those hurting in Hawaii! Golf champion Collin Morikawa committed $1000 for every birdie he made across three FedEx Cup Playoff events. For Morikawa, it’s about taking care of the people who welcomed his family to America.

Collin Morikawa was born and raised in California, but his family originally immigrated from Japan to Maui. And the golf fans of Hawaii are pleased to note that Morikawa is on a hot streak – having counted six birdies in the first of three events.

The donated funds will be spread between United Way and World Central Kitchen – helping families both rebuild and feeding them at their point of need right now.

We know all too well the struggles that come with rebuilding after a disaster, and we also know the feeling of so many selfless strangers stepping in to help. We’re continuing to pray for the people of Hawaii (Maui), and expressing our gratitude to YOU for your generosity.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Barbara Lakin, a former fashion designer in New York City, spends a lot of time playing with dolls. She sews them tiny new dresses, dyes and styles their hair and generally gives worn-out old Barbies a new life. However, these dolls serve a bigger purpose: Lakin is a volunteer with Team TLC NYC, an organization that meets migrants upon their arrival in the city and provides them with necessities and other forms of aid.

In March, the organization opened the Little Shop of Kindness, where immigrants and refugees can shop for free and young girls can receive the Barbies that Lakin so lovingly refurbishes. Barbara also does her best to source Barbies and dolls besides the stereotypical blondes, so the children from all over the world get dolls that look more like them.

It’s a small gesture, but Barbara says seeing children receive their own little piece of hope in the midst of so much change makes a big difference.

What helps provide hope in the midst of change in your life? LifeSongs is able to anchor you to the hope we have in Jesus every day, and that’s possible because of YOUR support. Thank you so much!

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Zack Conti loves football. He’s a walk-on Offensive Lineman for Eastern Michigan University. Zack has spent years of college going from class, to football practice to odd jobs to pay for it all. He’s worked in landscaping, demo, even selling his blood plasma to be able to stay in school and play ball. Then there’s the added stress of his mom needing a kidney donor back home.

Zack is a hard worker, and quiet. He didn’t raise a fuss, complain or even ask for help – but his friends on the team saw his struggle. Brian Dooley, a fellow lineman went to their coach and asked for help transferring his scholarship to Zack. They worked with the University and got it all sorted out. Now Zack has a full ride for the rest of his undergraduate degree – and for grad school too!

Both lineman will play tomorrow night against Howard University in the season opener for the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

Stories like these remind us of the power of hard work, determination and teamwork. We’re so grateful to those who give to support the ministry of LifeSongs. It helps our team grow and helps us know we can lean on each other when we need that support. Thank you for being part of this team!

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

When Sharaine and Wilson Caraballo moved into their new home, they were nervous about how their family would be received; a big family of seven – also, the only Black family in the Pawtucket, Rhode Island neighborhood. But the very first day in their home, their 82-year-old neighbor from across the street showed up with his ladder to welcome them to the street and help with some minor repairs.

Paul Callahan is the neighborhood handyman, and has become like a grandfather to the Caraballo children. He spends every day at their house, playing with the kids and sharing his life story. He’s at every family cook-out and holiday. He is no longer a neighbor, he’s family.

Turns out the big loving Caraballo family was just what Paul needed, after losing his wife earlier in the year. Now he’s got 5 grandkids to play with each day. Also, since Paul is a handyman, Caraballo dad Wilson can kick back and relax in his new home!

 

What makes YOU feel like part of a family? We are so grateful we get to call you part of the LifeSongs family – and your support keeps this ministry going, inviting even more people to join in and become part of this community. Thank you!

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

According to the non-profit “No Kid Hungry,” more than 12 million children in the U.S. live in “food insecure” homes and that’s exactly why “Blessings in a Backpack” was born.  They first started in 2013 when they gave backpacks full of food to 42 kids in three schools. Along with the food, they also include handwritten notes inside each bag. At one school that is benefitting from the program in Atlanta, they’re seeing a 100% attendance rate.

Melissa Archer, a spokesperson for Blessings in a Backpack said, “From what we’ve heard from the kids, they say that when they get something like this, that it comes from people that don’t even know them, that it shows them that the community out there cares about them, even though they don’t know who we are.”

Thank YOU for showing that our community is cared for, too, through your support for LifeSongs. We’re so grateful for you!

Monday, August 28, 2023

When Gary Benitez was 14, he was nearly killed by a falling tree. He and some friends were playing wiffle ball when the rotted branch knocked him unconscious. He woke up two days later in the hospital with no clue what had happened.

Sixteen years passed. Gary grew up and became a first responder at his local fire department. He wanted to help save lives, just like the fire fighters who saved him as a teenager. With the help of a local news team, Gary was able to finally meet the men who saved his life.

It was a very emotional moment when Gary got to share how he now saves lives because they first saved him.

You may never meet the people whose lives you’ve been a part of, but you are part of the stories of so many in our community. Your support for LifeSongs helps remind SELA of God’s love for them every single day. Thank you!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Alvin Irby is a first grade teacher who stopped by a barbershop in the Bronx to get a fresh cut for school. Before long he saw one of his students come into the shop as well.

Alvin watched as his first grader squirmed in boredom. He couldn’t help but think this would have been a great opportunity to practice his reading … but there were no books around. That moment inspired Alvin’s non-profit Barbershop Books.

Since 2013, Barbershop Books has placed more than 50,000 free children’s books in over 200 barber shops across the country! His hope is that young children (especially kids in underserved, poor communities) will discover that reading isn’t just a school assignment – there’s so much joy and adventure to be found!

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Colby is crazy about his neighborhood mailman, Mike!

We live in a time where so much gets delivered to us from our friendly mail carriers – and Mailman Mike loves getting to smile and chat with Colby every day. For his second birthday, Colby’s mom Jessica organized a parade of mail trucks, sprinkled in with the garbage truck and local police.

At the end of the parade, Mailman Mike pulled up and delivered a special present for Colby – his own toddler-sized custom painted mail carrier truck! Mike even presented Colby a certificate declaring him an honorary mail carrier in the state of Connecticut. And Jessica had a special Postal Worker uniform for her baby boy!

 

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

8-year-old Lyla Thomas loves growing up in Tulsa, OK. She loves her hometown and wants everyone in the community to be able to have fun. She was at a parade with her family and saw a homeless person. This sparked an idea for the compassionate little girl. Her program is called Fair Share.

Lyla is working to raise thousands of dollars with the help of other kids and social services. The program connects unhoused individuals with a case worker, who takes them out for a night at the state fair, providing food, a bag of hygiene supplies (packed by the kids) and the opportunity to see the various services available to them.

Lyla and her friends not only want to see everyone enjoy the state fair, but to feel loved and reminded that they are not alone – there is hope and help.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Chris Lane is a country music super star – but he hopped on Instagram to share a lovely story with his fans, that has nothing to do with honkey or tonk. He just wanted to brag about his sweet wife, Lauren.

Chris and Lauren got married in 2019 and have two young sons. Chris shared that as he was climbing into bed he saw his wife was on her Amazon app. But she wasn’t shopping for herself. Lauren was pulling up teachers’ amazon wishlists and buying their entire lists for them!

Chris said of his wife Lauren, “I’m not surprised because I feel like she’s constantly always trying to help somebody. She just has the sweetest soul, sweetest heart, and I just feel like the luckiest man in the world that I like was able to marry such a sweet soul.”

 

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Monday, August 21, 2023

A 12 year old in North Dakota spent his Summer not chilling by the pool or playing Fortnite with his peers – but working hard to improve the lives of the heroes in his community.

Alex Lattergrass has been mowing lawns to make money for years – but this Summer he launched a 50 Yard Challenge as a way to say thanks to law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical responders and military families. His mowing, hedging and weeding skills are impeccable – as displayed on yards across his community.

Alex’s dad works for the Fargo Police Department, so he knows how busy they are serving and protecting. This was his way of taking care of their families, while they are busy taking care of the whole community.

 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Being a politician has got to be stressful. Every move you make is criticized. Everything you say can be misconstrued or used against you. Good thing our Louisiana State Representatives can blow off some steam in a healthy, fun way!

About 40 state reps played in a charity basketball game on the hardwoods of LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The Senate beat the House of Representatives 32-31. Not exactly a blow out.

After the game, a drawing was held to see which district would get a fully refurbished basketball court, funded by the Pelicans. Keller Center on Magnolia Street in Central City was the big winner! The work was done quickly and kids were able to hoop it up before school started back.

 

Thursday, August 17, 2023

In 2008 Stacey Buckner had a stroke that left her with traumatic brain injuries. She nearly died. The long road of therapy to get back the ability to talk and her fine motor skills was difficult to say the least. But that work led to a job working for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, VA.

Stacey’s post recovery job involved connecting with veterans about their medical appointments. She made friends fast. And she also learned about the problems these new veteran friends faced – many of them homeless. This inspired Stacey to launch the Off-Road Outreach program.

Stacey rigged up her Jeep with a mobile shower, laundry machines and a cook station. She takes the off-road full service vehicle to meet up with the homeless veterans and gives them company while they take care of themselves. Because of her connection with the V.A., she’s also able to get these homeless veterans plugged into social services available to them. So far, Stacey’s Off-Road Outreach has helped over 1,000 homeless veterans!

 

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Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Kristi Hadfield’s official title is “paramedic” but she might need to change it to “Guardian Angel.” Six years ago, Kristi was in the ambulance that responded to a heart attack call. John Cunningham’s heart had stopped, but Kristi performed chest compressions all the way to the hospital where he was jolted back to life.

Kristi Facebook-friended John’s family (something she often does with patients), including his daughter Molly Jones. Flash forward six years later and this time Molly was in need of medical care. She was placed on the kidney transplant list.

Kristi messaged Molly, “Listen kid, I saved your dad and I’m going to save you too!” A few months later and a successful surgery later, the families are now forever linked.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The power that TikTokers wield is truly impressive – especially when they use it for good. Jerrad posts under the name @internetfamouslol. One day he was out grocery shopping and saw a local author with a table set up to sign his debut novel.

The author is Shawn Warner. The former software engineer and Army veteran had put everything into his adventure book “Leigh Howard and The Ghosts of Simmons-Pierce Manor.” The path to being a successful writer is filled with challenges – like having a book signing in a grocery store.

When Jerrad first saw Shawn Warner, the author looked pretty bummed. But with a little TikTok love, and a few hours of internet magic, Warner’s book shot up to the top of Amazon’s bestseller’s list!

Monday, August 14, 2023

Grandpa Reads the Comics is a YouTube channel for anyone who could use a little more happy grandfather in their lives. During the pandemic, Grandpa Reads the Comics was started to connect with family. Grandpa reads the funnies, and occasionally fiddles with the banjo, ukulele and piano.

Not too long ago, Grandpa Reads the Comics had around 200 subscribers and his videos only got a couple views, mostly his actual grandkids. That’s when Cole Caetano discovered the channel. Cole is a king maker in social media, connecting his large audience to worthy channels. He put the word out about this adorable channel and well … things have changed.

Now Grandpa has half a million subs and is filling the internet with wholesome kindness. Grandpa says he’d put Cole Caetano on the Mt. Rushmore of his life for his kindness. Cole was just happy to help get a little more kindness out in the world.

@karvetv Grandpa Reads the Comics❤️ #wholesome #grandpa #comic ♬ Married Life (From “Up”) – Sergy el Som

 

Friday, August 11, 2023

Mom, Siobhan and daughter-Indie were browsing at the shopping mall. Indie was looking at the Apple store and some make-up. Looking good, helps her feel good – which is imperative because Indie is on her fifth round of chemotherapy.

While at the Apple store a man walked up to the mom and daughter, telling Siobhan his son had cancer and he knows exactly how they feel. His son is now 10 years into remission and he wanted to encourage young Indie as she battles it out. Then he gave the girl a £100 note.

Indie burst out, “Mummy I’m rich!” and the pair cried for joy there in the middle of the Apple store. Indie spent her gift on some make-up which she uses for video tutorials on social media – a way to encourage other girls going through chemotherapy.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

A firefighter and his wife in Ocala, FL had been praying for a decade to have a child. And God answered their prayers.

In Florida, many fire stations are equipped with Safe Haven Baby Boxes. This is a small door on the building where new parents can safely and anonymously surrender their newborns if they are unable to care for them. When the alarm went off in the middle of the night, the firefighter expected it to be a false alarm, but there in the Safe Haven Baby Box was a tiny baby girl, wrapped up in a snuggly blanket.

The firefighter said that when he locked eyes with the infant, it was pure love at first sight. At the hospital, he left a note with social services letting them know about his desire to adopt the little girl – he and his wife were already registered to adopt. Two days later, that baby girl became their daughter, Zoe.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Cragun Foulger’s bucket-list ambition was to complete a 45 mile hike along the west coast of Vancouver Island. The West Coast Trail is an iconic backpacking trail for elite hikers. And Cragun was ready to take it on. However when he landed in Vancouver, his luggage did not.

All of his hiking gear – missing. Cragun blitzed through the stages of grief that he would not be able to make the hike and posted about the situation to his friends on social media. His hiking buddies, however, had his back.

Nearly twenty folks donated clothes and equipment, like a backpack, tent and other equipment needed for the long West Coast Trail hike. Not only did Cragun get to check off a major bucket-list dream, he made a bunch of new friends on a once in a lifetime adventure!

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Labrador Retrievers have been one of the most popular dog breeds in America for YEARS! They are loyal and fun and great with kids. But they need a lot of exercise, which is why Kelly Mason takes her 4 year old golden lab Daisy for a long walk every day in their local park.

One of Daisy’s favorite things to do is sniff out and retrieve long lost frisbees. These discs are often lost and abandoned along the Frisbee Golf course in Grand Vue Park. So far Daisy has retrieved 155 lost discs!

Grand Vue Park is always grateful when Daisy and Kelly drop off the sports equipment and recently launched Daisy’s Discs – a program to sell the recovered frisbees as a fundraiser for park maintenance! Of course, if the disc has someone’s name on it, they return it free of charge, but most end up donating to Daisy’s Discs anyway.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Have you ever locked yourself out of the house? It happens. And it happened to 78 year old Nancy Reburn not too long ago. Nancy is pretty feisty and decided to try and break into her own home by climbing through a window. Unfortunately for Nancy, her two hip replacements weren’t rated for breaking and entering.

Nancy was stuck for five long hours. She cried out in prayer and yelled for help with every breath. Jose Sanchez was delivering newspapers down the road and heard Nancy’s cry for help. He rushed to her side and called 9-1-1 for assistance.

Jose is now considered the neighborhood’s guardian angel!

Friday, August 4, 2023

The numerical expression of the sentence “I love you” is 143. One letter, four letters, three letters. Mr. Rogers popularized using the number 143 to sneak in I love you’s. And Mr. Rogers is a personal hero of Kevin Bonecutter, who is taking 143 to the next level.

Kevin started on June 1st with a mission to do 143 acts of kindness in just 40 days. And his hometown of Cincinnati has been watching in awe. Kevin has cut grass at vacant homes, picked up trash in the community and handed out free food to anyone in need. He’s raised money for pediatric brain cancer research and even helped an elderly man cross the street in a driving rain.

Through all of the acts of kindness, Kevin has made new friends and inspired others to pay it forward. Just one man – saying “I love you” and changing his world!

 

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Oliver turned 8 this Summer. While he didn’t have many friends to invite over for a birthday party – he had one of the wildest, coolest birthdays a little boy could have. Oliver’s grandfather and uncle are both truck drivers, and he’s been obsessed with big trucks since he was a toddler. He has a subscription to a trucker’s magazine and already knows what he wants to do when he grows up!

Oliver’s mom Katherine took to Facebook to see if any local truck drivers would come give Oliver a ride for his birthday. But the trucking community knew they could do even better than a ride around the block. Local truckers put together a 40 truck convoy! Dozens of truck drivers came in for the parade of trucks – at great expense – to rally around Oliver.

 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

James Porter has that all-American entrepreneurial spirit. He runs a small lawn maintenance business in upstate New York. Also, James is legally blind. Since he can’t drive, he pulls his lawn equipment in a hand-pulled trailer to his job sites. Things were going well until his trailer broke.

Paul Koenig so greatly admires James enthusiasm for his work that he stepped in and not only bought James a new hand-pulled trailer, but also a new lawn mower as an investment in the local business. Of course James was incredibly grateful – not only for the gift of equipment, but for Paul’s five-star rating on Facebook where he has been recruiting new business for the blind entrepreneur.

Tuesday, August 1, 2023

11 year-old Zac worked hard to earn his e-bike. He helped launch a clothing business with his mom, building the website, designing the company logo and working the stall at local markets on weekends. Not to mention the little entrepreneur donates 10% of his profits to a local children’s charity. And all the hard work paid off when Zac finally saved enough and got his new bike in January. Then, in June, the family’s apartment was broken into and his bike was stolen.

Knowing how hard Zac worked to buy his bike, a friend of the family started a GoFundMe campaign to help raise funds to replace it. So far, $3,115 has been raised of the $3,300 target. Zac’s mom said she’s been blown away by the “community spirit” and something tells me little Zac will be back on a new bike very soon.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Just a couple of weeks ago, Demario Davis, All-Pro Linebacker and the New Orleans Saints captain held the first graduation ceremony for his Devoted Dreamers Academy mentorship program for 8th through 12th-grade students.

Demario and his wife, Tamela, founded the Devoted Dreamers Academy in 2013 and have provided the next generation of leaders with a decade of tools to be successful spiritually, mentally, and physically. Students receive everything from college prep resources to interacting in sports business labs, ensuring they are well-prepared for life after grade school.

This is the kind of Jesus-behavior we’ve come to expect from the Saints own Man Of God. For more information, check out Devoted Dreamers Academy.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Unfortunately life as a veteran can be quite challenging. 78 year old Navy veteran Judith McElven found herself in dire straits. Her partner had passed, she was dealing with Parkinson’s disease and could no longer make rent.

Diane, who lives across the hall in the apartment complex, went to check on Judith and could see she was overwhelmed. Judith said she could really use some help. So Diane took to social media and soon a group of strangers were taking good care of Ms. Judith.

A local realtor had some donated furniture. Another person paid to have Judith’s busted and ruined furniture hauled off. Others pitched in to clean, get her a new TV and cable, and most importantly let this Navy veteran know that she was not alone anymore.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

A great way to process big emotions is to write it all down – which is what fifteen students at High Achievers Student Enrichment Center in Houma did – and they had the entire collection published as a book.

Fifteen children, ranging from first to fourth grade, wrote about their experiences through Hurricane Ida. They share about being scared, watching their parents’ reactions and worrying about their pets and visiting family out of state.

Pamela Pellegrin, the school’s director, wanted to guide these children in processing their feelings. Many of the younger kids drew pictures for the book which can be read, but not checked out, at the Terrebonne Parish Library. And while the stories talk a lot about fear and sadness, many children shared about how people took good care of their families, building new houses and how the community came together like they had never seen before.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Marty and Myriam have a love story that spans over 30 years. And it all started with the rich smell of chocolate. Marty, an American from California, was visiting Brussels, Belgium. He poked his head into a local chocolate shop and fell instantly in love.

Myriam was working the counter that day at the Belgian chocolate shoppe. Marty flirted and bought some chocolate. And did the same the next day. And the day after that. Five days straight! Eventually Marty would return home to California, but the pair wrote letters back and forth for nearly a decade – falling deeply in love.

Finally Myriam moved across the pond and they married. Thirty years later they are more in love than ever. And it all started with a little chocolate shop in Brussels.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The police department in Greenville, SC decided to take a new approach in handling the growing homeless issue in their community – they began working with folks who wanted to reconnect with their families.

Mr. Bryant had been living on the streets for two whole years. That’s where Lt. Conroy found Mr. Bryant. With a little legwork, some Facebooking and phone calls – the police were able to find Mr. Bryant’s family, who were living a couple states to the north, in Virginia.

His family was so filled with joy that their prodigal had been found, they jumped in the car and drove down to South Carolina to pick Mr. Bryant up and bring him home.

Monday, July 24, 2023

The Jefferson Parish Library has launched an innovative program, “Beyond Books: Library of Things.” The Library of Things allows library cardholders access to temporary loans of practical and recreational objects, ranging from cookware, such as baking pans, cookie cutters, an Instant Pot and air fryer, to an Instax camera, sewing machine, tape measure and telescope.

The Library of Things concept is a growing trend in public libraries. The process is similar to checking out a book. Patrons are allowed to check out objects for a two-week period. Items must be returned to the same location as checkout. They will not travel between branch locations.

The ultimate goal is to include a collection at all 16 branches of the Jefferson Parish Library. All available objects will be displayed in catalogs at the hosting libraries and online at jplibrary.net.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Dr. Robert Moore of San Jose, CA was celebrating his 100th birthday. Friends, family, former colleagues and students all joined forces to give this doggy-loving retired dean from San Jose State. Over 200 dogs (along with their owners) showed up for an organized parade of pups to honor the centenarian!

Dr. Moore’s daughter Alison was expecting maybe 20 folks to show up. Instead, the parade wrapped around the block and down the street with hundreds in attendance! And Dr. Moore was thrilled – petting every single puppy that came by to wish him a happy 100th birthday.

 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Industrial Tech teacher Rob Van Der Hagen runs his Minnesota shop class like a business and the students have risen to the expectations.

During the pandemic, Mr. Van Der Hagen closed his auto parts stores and decided to start a new career as a teacher. His innovation of shop class has students lined up to join. New senior Austin says “I feel like I’m getting prepared for a career!” And that’s sort of the goal of the class – to prepare teenagers to be treated like adults, with expectations on their decisions and performance.

To give some added pressure, Mr. Van Der Hagen’s class is actually serving the community – repairing and rebuilding a variety of vehicles like snowmobiles and four wheelers. Last year the class repaired over 100 vehicles!

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Thirteen years after losing both his legs in war, Hari Budha Magar, a British Nepali Veteran, became the first double above-the-knee amputee to climb Mount Everest. Hari’s story is a true testimony and one of redemption.

After battling severe alcoholism and depression as a result of his experiences in war, he eventually channeled this pain and decided to climb Mt. Everest instead. Most Napali veterans have been banned from the feat, but Hari overcame this opposition and completed this incredible task with the help of some friends and several pairs of prosthetics.

Hari now says that he wants to return to the spot in Afghanistan where he lost his legs to say “thank you”. He says because if he still had his legs, he would have never climbed Mt. Everest.

 

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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

It’s a pretty big honor to be the valedictorian of a graduating class – but what about national honors? The US Secretary of Education published the 59th Class of US Presidential Scholars. This nationwide list of only 161 graduating high school seniors celebrates great academic accomplishments – and three Louisiana Seniors made the cut!

Daniel Liu out of Baton Rouge, Ananya in Shreveport and closer to home – Khalil McKnight of Hammond High! There are 3.7 million graduating seniors in America this year – only 5000 qualified as Presidential Scholars and only 161 received the honor! Very impressive.

Smart cookies in Louisiana – and don’t forget to sign up your school to be a prayer school of the day for the coming school year.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Mama Shu lost her 2 year old son to a hit and run in 2007. She thought the grief would end her – but she persevered for her family. Then in 2021 she lost another son, who was killed while participating in the neighborhood watch for their community.

Mama Shu said she had to “change grief into glory – pain into power.” But how do you turn that level of pain into something beautiful? For years Mama Shu has run Avalon Village – a nonprofit that is revitalizing her neighborhood by converting abandoned properties and green space into community buildings, parks and playgrounds.

Avalon Village now owns 45 lots across three city blocks. Their biggest success was converting an old home into The Homework House for afterschool resources. Helping kids with school is close to Mama Shu’s heart, because she spent nearly 30 years as an administrator at Highland Park public schools.

The Homework House went from abandoned eyesore to a community library with computers, a 3D printer, music studio kitchen and handicap accessible bathrooms!

Friday, July 14, 2023

Lenita Edge is a traffic control officer in Detroit. One day while on her job, she was interviewed by TikToker Zachery (@MDMotivator). And her interview gained the hearts of millions (like 9 million views worth of hearts). Lenita spoke about why she enjoys her profession directing traffic; she likes making sure that people are able to take care of responsibilities and stay safe while they do them. The recently widowed, single mother is also a huge Detroit Tigers fan.

Zachery asked Lenita if she wanted to attend a game with him, surprising her with $500 along with her tickets. Then the TikToker started a secret fundraising campaign for the single mom who protects so many.

At the Tigers game, Lenita was given a check for $50,000 from Tigers catcher, Jake Rogers!

@mdmotivator $50,000 for single mom 🥺❤️ #mother #baseball #detroit #kindness #money ♬ original sound – Zachery Dereniowski

Thursday, July 13, 2023

The Gift of Adoption is a nonprofit organization just achieved an incredible milestone – placing their 5000th child into a family! 11-year-old Josue from Ecuador was the 5000th child to be placed with a family as a result of the efforts of Gift of Adoption.

Nicole and David, Josue’s new parents were like many families who wanted to adopt but couldn’t due to the financial burden. The Gift of Adoption provides help in the form of grants to families so they can achieve their dream of adoption.

In addition to Josue being placed with a family, he was adopted along with his two biological brothers, Darwin, 9, and Abraham, 6. Their mom Nicole said, “We are so happy that we can provide a permanent home for these brothers, and they can now grow up together in a stable environment.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Rehan Staton was always more into physical activity than school work. His grades were terrible, but he was winning martial arts and boxing competitions left and right. After high school Rehan couldn’t get into any colleges and an injury ended his fighting career. This led to a job as a sanitation worker, so he could provide for his father who had a stroke and was out of work.

It was in this job as a garbage man that Rehan found “his people.” A group of men invested in Rehan, encouraged him and helped him believe in himself. Rehan managed to enroll at Bowie State University and saw his grades hold steady at a perfect 4.0. He then transferred to Maryland State and then on to Harvard!

His story garnered attention at NBC News – and then Tyler Perry stepped in to cover Rehan’s tuition. Wanting to give back, after so much was given to him, Rehan began a nonprofit to encourage other sanitation workers at universities around the country, thanking them for their hard work and giving them the respect they deserve.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

The crowd shouted in fear – the firefighters tried to wave him off – but a Colombian man was determined to save more than 2 dozen puppies from a fire.

The blaze happened at an apartment building in Lima, Peru. Sebastian Arias scaled the building up to the third floor, busted out a window and rescued 25 puppies who were trapped upstairs. Others from the building used mattresses and sheets below to catch the puppies as Sebastian lowered them down.

The hero said he wasn’t sure how he managed to climb the building – it was just pure adrenaline, but he hoped that someone would rescue his dog in a similar situation.

 

Monday, July 10, 2023

When Stephanie Peach shopped at her local Pick and Save she was always excited to see a store clerk there, named Dennis Raitan. During one of their encounters, Dennis mentioned that he hoped that the weather would stay warm because he didn’t have a functioning boiler. Dennis’ boiler had been out for over a year and he had no heat or hot water.

After hearing this, Stephanie was propelled into action and decided to start a GoFundMe for Dennis. Stephanie said, “No 65-year old should have to take cold showers and not have heat.” In just a few weeks, Stephanie’s GoFundMe had raised $5,000 for Dennis’ new boiler and even a new A/C too for the summer months.

Dennis said of Stephanie, “I’m just flabbergasted. I guess she’s one of the few people that leaves me speechless. So, she did that.”

Friday, July 7, 2023

When the Perceful family moved to a new town in Oklahoma, their daughter Magnolia had just one big request – to get her swing hung on the tree in front of the house. But the trees at the Perceful’s new place were BIG and they didn’t have a ladder nearly tall enough to accomplish the task. Mom-Meaghan posted on their community Facebook page looking for help – and help soon arrived, in a flashy red truck.

The local fire department was very happy to help hang the swing for Magnolia and welcome the Perceful family to the hood. Meghan said the looks on all of her children’s faces (Magnolia, Marin, Colt and Kinsley) was “priceless.” Each child got their own plastic firefighter helmet as well.

One of the firefighters, Ariel Shepherd, was the department’s first female firefighter and she was excited to show Magnolia, Marin and Kinsley that they could grow up to be one too!

Thursday, July 6, 2023

Shaquille O’Neal is known for a lot of things, and no, one of them is not his 90s Shaq Diesel album. He is a Hall-of-Fame basketball player and a BIG man, with an even bigger heart. Shaq has said, ‘”My favorite thing to do is when I’m in Best Buy, Walmart, if I see a kid, get them something that I see he’s looking at.”

He recently put this generosity on display when he bought a washer and dryer for customers at Home Depot. The ladies were totally shocked by the surprise act of kindness from the athlete while they were on what seemed like a regular shopping day.

This isn’t the first time Shaq has gifted items to his fans. He has bought scooters for kids, vans for families, and even an engagement ring for a stranger!

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Jamie West has had a hard go of it. Both her parents were addicts and from a very early age, she struggled with bouts of homelessness and eventually in-and-out of the foster care system. Jamie spent a large portion of her adolescence hitchhiking. One day after being hungry for a week, Jamie wandered into a White Castle. Upon seeing Jamie, an employee allowed Jamie to not only wash-up in the bathroom, but also gave her 3 days worth of food.

Eventually, Jamie’s aunt took her in and she no longer had to live on the streets. But she never forgot the kindness of the White Castle employee and every time she saw one it reminded her that it was a safe place. When it was time to get married to her future husband Andrew Schmidt, where else would she choose to get hitched but a White Castle restaurant! And if you get married in any kind of castle (even a White Castle), you have to dress the part. Jamie donned a ballgown and her groom was dressed as a prince.

Although she hasn’t kept in touch with the kind employee who gifted her with grace and grubs, Jamie says if she did see her again, “I would hug her and just say, ‘Thank you for being the reason I exist right now, not knowing what you were doing and just feeding somebody because you’re a good human.'”

 

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Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Finding a safe place to make a life after serving in the armed forces is a challenge both for our veterans here in the US – and for service members fighting in Ukraine. And that’s not just the human vets. Rambo is a 3 year old German shepherd who was a frontline soldier with the Ukrainian defense. He was injured during a rocket attack but was mercifully rescued with life saving surgery.

After eight months of recovery and multiple surgeries, Rambo is now serving as a police dog with the Budapest Metropolitan Police. Rambo has plenty of battle scars and interacts with kids and citizens to help teach them about understanding others who are differently abled.

 

Monday, July 3, 2023

Sam Kaplan became the first of his seven siblings to earn a bachelor’s degree this year. He got his degree in Cinema and Media Arts from Georgia Gwinnett College. And like most of the graduates, his mom was there to cheer him on as he crossed the stage in his cap and gown. The only difference is that his mom is 99 years old. And Sam is 72.

Sam has had a very full life, having run a cleaning service, a telemarketing company, working as a taxi driver and customer service. During the pandemic, at the age of 68, he decided to enroll in college! He said he was just listening to the radio in his car when he heard an ad to get a degree in script writing.

The father of five had to relearn many study skills, but particularly enjoyed getting to know his fellow students – most of whom are fifty years younger than him. (Sam’s Dad-game is strong) Sam enjoyed showing off pictures of his family and telling stories to his classmates – but more than that, he loved hearing what their dreams for the future were.

Friday, June 30, 2023

Kit Kat has partnered with the Trombone Shorty Foundation to celebrate New Orleans music for Black Music Month. The Trombone Shorty Foundation is a non-profit organization named for home-grown musician Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews. His foundation is focused on inspiring the next generation of musicians through a variety of art-centered opportunities including education and mentorship.

In addition to the special jazz-themed wrapper, Kit Kat has also created “Hear it from Here,” which is a series of documentary shorts where local artists discuss the impact of Black music in their community.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Brandi Tuck was determined to become a high powered New York lawyer, while studying at the University of Florida 20 years ago. One Spring Break, her entire life trajectory changed. She couldn’t find friends to hit the beach with her, so she decided to rack up some extra credit by volunteering at a homeless shelter.

Brandi had never been in a homeless shelter before. She wasn’t exactly excited to travel to inner city Atlanta but once there, she was astounded. The women they were serving were just normal people. In fact, they reminded her of her own mom. Brandi played with the kids at the shelter and fell in love with each one of them.

Brandi nearly dropped out of college right then and there to devote herself to helping homeless families. Her friends convinced her to finish school first, but fresh out of college Brandi began a non-profit called Path Home in her hometown of Portland. Path Home focuses on helping families dealing with homelessness in a holistic, safe and welcoming facility, built in an old church space. They take up to 17 families at a time for up to six months, helping transition to permanent housing along with job placement.

Last year Path Home helped 360 families. Brandi says, “When I see families succeed, that’s all that I need to continue doing this work.”

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Missouri 8th grade Xavier Jones chose to walk to his middle-school graduation after he missed couldn’t get a ride to the ceremony. How long and how far did Xavier go? Along with his brother and a friend, he walked 10,000 steps. That’s 6 miles, which took over 2 hours!

When Xavier arrived at the ceremony, his mentor, Darren Seals, who was speaking at the ceremony, had the crowd give Xavier a standing ovation. Not only did the young man get recognized by the entire audience in attendance, he caught the attention of a college president and Miami Dolphins football player Terron Armstead. Ironically, he was offered not only a free ride to college, complete with tuition and books, he also got an electric bike.

When asked what motivated him to walk all the way to his graduation, he recalled what his mentor, Mr. Seals told him, “If I want it, I got to go get it.”

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Spencer founded SB Mowing company 11 years ago in Wichita, KS. He and his team now maintain about 40 properties each week. His success has provided opportunities to serve his community. For the last couple of years, whenever Spencer or his team are on a job and see a yard that is in obvious need of care – they knock on the door and offer their services for free.

SB Mowing makes cute videos of their helpful services – and currently have over a million subscribers on YouTube. Fans of the good work have sent in thousands of dollars to help fund the good deeds.

It might take a lot of time and effort, but Spencer has seen the gratitude of strangers who feel like they can be proud of their homes again.

 

Monday, June 26, 2023

It’s America’s pastime – catching a baseball game in the Summer. Whether it’s at a Major League Stadium, the College World Series or a local Little League game – just buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks already!

But what about when parents are not well-behaved at the ballfield? Parents are their kids’ biggest fans, which sometimes leads to confrontation with coaches and umpires with less than holy vocabulary and behavior. In Deptford, New Jersey, if you pick a fight with the Ump, you get stuck with the job!

The new rule this season only allows unruly parents back to the ballfield after they have served a sentence of playing umpire for three games. So maybe have a little compassion for the volunteer Little League umpires.

Friday, June 23, 2023

That Smoothie Place in Montgomery County Maryland is so much more than just a cold drink on a hot day. That Smoothie Place was founded by Monique Sotomarino to provide a safe haven for her sons, both with special needs.

The Sotomarinos offer jobs and internships for high schoolers with special needs. Sure, it might take a few extra minutes to get your smoothie, but you are providing incredible opportunities for these kids. And to make it fun for the whole family, Monique put games out at the waiting tables so you can put your phone away and spend some quality time together.

That Smoothie Place sounds like it isn’t just good for your health, but your heart! And it has been a big success, so much so that the family is looking to create franchise opportunities around the country to help other families provide special needs jobs in their communities.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

It all started with a Kindness Week Challenge from Brennan’s 8th grade teacher. Brennan’s way to embrace this challenge started by sending little gifts (especially chocolate) to an elder of his community, Ms. Ann. These tiny acts of kindness sparked a now almost 6 year friendship between the teen and 84 year old Ms. Ann.

They love to share stories of what’s going on in each other’s lives– Brennan talks with Ms. Ann about the day-to-day life of a teenager, while Ms. Ann loves to recount stories from when she grew up. Brennan’s mom says “The best thing a teenager can do is befriend someone elderly. I’m so glad our son has added more sunshine to her life.”

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Jane Pearson is a hero. For 38 years Jane was a kindergarten teacher. Same school. Same classroom. Generations of students passing through her care. This year was her last, finally taking her retirement after a job well done.

I’m sure there was cake and a moment to honor her at the end of the school year commencement, but what might possibly mean even more to a 38 year kindergarten veteran?

One of her students reached out to Ms. Pearson’s daughter and they contacted some of her past students to surprise the retiring teacher. Jane’s daughter caught the reunion on camera. As you can imagine there were lots of happy tears.

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Wildfires are raging across multiple portions of Canada. The East coast of the United States turned into an orange haze – erasing the iconic New York skyline as the smoke blew south. The fires are so out of control that other countries are sending in firefighters to help the Canadians.

One group of firefighters, from the South African organization Working on Fire just sent 200 troops into battle so to speak. South Africa understands the danger of wildfires and is one of the few countries that keeps a government funded full time firefighting force. They also have a longstanding relationship with Canada – the countries often support one another in times of crisis.

That’s beautiful. The US, Australia and New Zealand have also sent hundreds of firefighters to help Canada as well.

Monday, June 19, 2023

The legend of Dolly Parton continues to grow. The 12 time GRAMMY winning country singer is one of America’s greatest showpeople – and was recently inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. She has a viral cake mix in grocery stores and a constantly out of stock custom strawberry pretzel pie ice cream from Jeni’s. But if you ask the country crooner what she wants to be known for, without hesitation she’ll point to her Imagination Library.

For decades Dolly Parton has sent HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of books to kids for free to honor her father, who she says was so very smart, but never learned to read and it cost him dearly. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library was founded in 1995 to inspire children to love reading. Recently the Imagination Library got a boost in funding from California who qualified every child in the state to receive a free book in the mail every month – with options in both English and Spanish.

Friday, June 16, 2023

When you write your essay for a college application, it’s important to really grab the readers’ attention. 18-year-old Aurora Sky Castner did just that with her application to Harvard. She wrote, “I was born in prison.”

And it’s true. Aurora’s mom gave birth to her in the Galveston County Jail. Her father picked her up from the medical ward and raised her as a single father. While her mom has not been a part of her life, many other men and women have raised her well. A mentorship program connected Aurora to Mona Hamby who in many ways has been her surrogate mom.

Aurora’s life maybe didn’t start out glamorous, but her future is bright! She’ll be starting at Harvard this fall with a full ride scholarship! She is planning on becoming a lawyer someday.

 

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Sand is used to stop flood waters and rebuild wetlands and make family friendly beaches. And what is sand but very fine pieces of glass! Thus was born the Glass Half Full recycling program – the brainchild of Franziska Trautman while she was studying at Tulane for chemical engineering.

In just three years Trautman’s Glass Half Full organization has diverted 4 million pounds of glass from landfills and put the sand to good work protecting the coast. It’s been so successful that Glass Half Full has expanded to picking up not just in New Orleans, but Baton Rouge, commercial waste and soon will be expanding to the Mississippi coast as well!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Some are born heroes – others are forged in the fire. Jonathan McCray might be both. He was driving down Reverend Richard Wilson Dr. in Kenner when he noticed smoke pouring out of a home that also serves as a local in-home daycare.

Jonathan ran to the door and started banging. Once they were alerted to the flames, Jonathan helped evacuate the building – 15 people in total fled the flames with this local hero, including 10 children. Jonathan also managed to rescue three dogs in the dramatic events.

The Red Cross and community are helping the family as the damage is assessed and investigated.

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

The Hittle family took a trip to the Louisville Zoo – a much needed outing with their 3 month old baby, Judah.  When Judah’s big brother and Dad were checking out the orangutan enclosure, they saw one of the orange great apes pointing at Mom Dakota who was holding baby Judah at the moment. The orangutan (named Amber) wanted to see the baby closer!

The family posted a video of Dakota holding Judah down so the orangutan could coo and the newborn through the glass. That video has been liked over half a million times! The Louisville Zoo staff says Amber the Orangutan often taps on the glass to get folks attention when she wants to see them up close.

 

Monday, June 12, 2023

Joy Ryan and her grandson Brad have spent the last half decade racking up mileage on their quest to visit every US National Park. Grandma Joy’s Road Trip took six years to complete because there was that pesky COVID pandemic, but this year 93 year old Joy became the oldest person to accomplish the feat.

The Grandma and Grandson wrapped up their quest at the 63rd national park in American Samoa. Brad just loved the time he got with his grandma, saying “It was the greatest privilege of my life to be in the driver’s seat for Grandma Joy’s Road Trip.”

Friday, June 9, 2023

You might notice a hustle and bustle of work being done around New Orleans this weekend. That’s thanks to more than 1000 volunteers in partnership with the Send Relief Tour. New Orleans is the 5th of 8 stops around the world with the volunteer program aiming to clean, beautify and spread the Gospel. Work is not only happening in the states, but also in Thailand, Kenya and Greece!

In the GNO area, Send Relief will host a block party for the NOPD – as well as parties and service events in underserved neighborhoods with healthcare services, a mobile dental unit and meals from Second Harvest.

Send Relief is an outreach of the Southern Baptist Convention – which has been in town all week. Alex Brian, Pastor of Vieux Carre Baptist Church and Community Ministries Strategist for the New Orleans Baptist Association says “Actions often speak louder than words, and there’s no better way for local churches to express their love for the people of New Orleans than to help the community in a tangible way like this.”

Thursday, June 8, 2023

The Lost Voices program uses music and songwriting workshops in juvenile detention centers and treatment facilities to help young men and women process trauma and find their true voices.

Mike Ball founded Lost Voices to help children process hurt in a safe and productive way. Mike says, “Words can be so powerful. Expressing yourself is so powerful.” And through songwriting these troubled kids find fun and beautiful ways to process their trauma.

The weeklong program begins with songwriting and ends with individual and group performances. Over 2500 kids have been through the program and learned positive ways to express themselves.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Playing on a sports team can really bond two people. It’s like having a friend who sticks closer than a brother. And that played out at the finish line of the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in England – a fundraiser to battle Motor Neuron Disease.

Kevin Sinfield is a famous rugby player, current Defensive coach for the England Rugby Team and ultramarathon runner. Rugby is a sport kind of like football but infinitely more violent (and New Orleans has our very own professional Rugby team called the NOLA Gold). It’s a hardcore sport played by hardcore athletes. Kevin didn’t just run the 26.2 mile long marathon, he pushed his friend in a wheelchair all the way to the finish line.

His former teammate Rob Burrow, the namesake of the race, was riding in the wheelchair. At the finish line, Kevin paused and hoisted up his brother, Rob and literally carried him across the finish line in a show of love and pure strength.

 

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

American cuisine is a melting pot of the many cultures that have built our communities. From Taco Tuesday to Chinese take-out, meal planning is a global adventure. But maybe Nigerian food doesn’t make your regular rotation. Nigerian Chef Hilda Effiong Bassey (Hilda Baci on socials) wants to change that!

Chef Hilda Baci just completed a bid to set a Guinness World Record (unconfirmed) by cooking nonstop for 100 hours. Hilda wants the world to fall in love with the comforting nature of Nigerian cuisine. Over the 100 hours she prepared more than 55 recipes and 100 meals.

Hilda said the first six hours were the hardest – but the support got her over the hump. Does this story have you craving Nigerian cuisine? What are the best African restaurants in Southeast Louisiana?

Monday, June 5, 2023

It costs $100 just to go outside these days. Life is expensive. But going to a Taylor Swift concert goes beyond expense. It’s nearly impossible, since her Eras tour essentially sold out nationwide in a matter of hours. What’s a loving husband to do, when all his wife wants is to see the mega-pop star, but tickets are long gone?

Well Zander White leveraged all he had. Zander runs Zee’s Pizzeria and posted online that he would give away free pizza for a year if anyone would part with a couple of Swifty tickets. Jeannine Davidson responded and now everyone is happy!

Zander and his wife get to see Taylor at the Houston stop and Jeannine gets to grab a slice anytime she wants! Which sounds better to you? Seeing Taylor Swift live or getting pizza EVERY DAY FOR A YEAR!?

Friday, June 2, 2023

In 2011 Jennifer Maggio was a single mom of two young kids who was tired. Tired of EVERYTHING. But especially of feeling like she had to do it all on her own. She founded The Life of a Single Mom with the mission statement that “No single mom walks alone.” In just 12 years The Life of a Single Mom has grown to serve over 1 million moms worldwide! 12,000 of those single moms are right here in Louisiana.

The Life of a Single Mom has formed over 1700 support groups in the United States, creating community support, resources and friendships. Jennifer also created Single Mom University – an online training program that covers everything from parenting help, financial literacy courses, trauma counseling and so much more!

The success of the Life of a Single Mom is uniquely tied to churches partnering to create safe spaces for moms in crisis. Wanna get involved? Check out thelifeofasinglemom.com!

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Willow School figured out a way to make perfect attendance much more alluring – you could win a brand new car!

Willow graduating Seniors with perfect attendance were entered into a drawing to win a brand new, donated 2023 Toyota Corolla to take to college.

Premier Automotive donated the car. And Mcailen Davis won it! Hopefully Troy Dun had the radio preset to LifeSongs! Congratulations Mcailen!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Throughout History there have been people groups who had to flee their homes or were run out from persecution. This sadly holds true today all across the globe. While we are safe from that persecution in the United States, many Churches are on the frontlines when it comes to helping refugees from the Middle East.

Cooperative Baptist Church congregations in the States are working with resettlement agencies specifically to aid refugees from Afghanistan. Old buildings, youth rooms, and old parsonages have been retrofitted to housing. They are careful to work with the government and keep costs down for all parties, while connecting the refugees to social services to help acclimate.

Not only are the congregations providing affordable, safe housing, but the church members are also serving the families with food and cleaning the new homes for these refugees. What a beautiful example of the Body of Christ doing the work of Jesus.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Bryce Newman was a 15 year old baseball star. He was good. Really good. In fact, he was practicing for the Under 15 World Series in Japan. But something was wrong. Bryce started dropping the ball. He was suffering major headaches. And it didn’t take long for the doctor to sort out the problem.

Bryce had a large, malignant brain tumor. Instead of getting on a plane for Japan, Bryce got prepped for surgery. Four brain surgeries and years of radiation and chemotherapy later – Bryce is now seven years cancer free!

While his playing days are over, Bryce is still very involved in sports. He is currently getting a graduate degree in sports management at Texas A&M, but his family who lives in Mandeville continue to celebrate the miracle that is Bryce’s health. Every year they donate laptops and iPads to pediatric cancer patients to help fight what Bryce said was one of the hardest parts of being a kid with cancer – keeping the boredom at bay!

Monday, May 29, 2023

Are you a runner? 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons or a whole marathon – you’re doing great. Keep it up. But you can’t compete with Russell Cook. This 26 year old English runner is running the length of Africa. Yes. The entire CONTINENT of Africa!

The equivalent of 360 marathons in just 240 days – the Southern tip of South Africa to Northern Tunisia! By Christmas of this year. Why is Russell running the full length of an entire continent? To raise money for The Running Charity and Water Aid – and also to draw attention to the mental health crisis of young people and how physical activity can help!

Russell struggled with self acceptance and purpose as a teenager. Distance running was not on his radar, but once he started, the sense of accomplishment and control helped him establish healthier rhythms in his entire life.

 

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Friday, May 26, 2023

Cookie sales are an essential part of providing for Girl Scout activities across the country, but even more so for Troop 6000. This specific troop is made up entirely of girls who are experiencing homelessness or living in shelters in the Greater New York area. Providing hope, encouragement and inspiration to these girls is something the Girl Scouts take very seriously. Providing adventures and resources to these families in their time of need is straight up joyous.

Troop 6000’s cookie sale covers all fees for the girls including trips, summer camps and other activities. The troop has sold more than $1.6 million worth of cookies since 2017, benefiting about 2,500 women and girls across more than 20 shelters. Troop 6000 is also inspiring other communities across the country to form similar troops for their communities.

 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Seagulls can be quite aggressive when they see food. It’s become a problem at the Blackpool Zoo, so much so, that they have hired seagull deterrents to protect zoo visitors while they enjoy lunch.

The seagull deterrents are visitor service team members dressed up as giant birds, who swoop around the eating zones to keep the REAL birds at bay. Plus they take pictures with kids, which is sweet.

 

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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Is it Family Game Night?

Hasbro is re-releasing new versions of many of their games, including Scrabble, the Game of Life and Trivial Pursuit. The differences? larger game pieces, bigger fonts and other little changes to make it easier for seniors to enjoy the games.

One spectacular tweak they are making to the new Trivial Pursuit is some blank cards where you can add your own personal trivia! No matter your age or physical abilities, we should all get to enjoy playing board games together.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Kenyatta Coleman and her husband Derek, of Baton Rouge, learned late in her pregnancy that their baby had a rare and dangerous brain condition known as vein of Galen malformation. When the couple learned of a clinical trial run by a trio of Boston-area hospitals to address such a condition, they were in.

Despite serious potential risks for mom and baby, surgeons were able to successfully perform the ultrasound-guided procedure in March. In utero surgery has been used for other issues before, but this was among the first for such a rare and delicate condition. Two days later, Denver Coleman was born, weighing 4 pounds and 1 ounce. Doctors say she’s doing very well, and there’s no sign she needs any further intervention.

“She’s shown us from the very beginning that she was a fighter,” Kenyatta said. “She’s demonstrated … ‘Hey, I wanna be here.’  It was just… the most beautiful moment being able to hold her, gaze up on her and then hear her cry.”

Monday, May 22, 2023

St. Mary’s Academy is on a roll! Earlier this year a couple of their students made national headlines for uncovering a way to use trigonometry to prove the Pythagorean theorem. But smart kids is sort of St. Mary’s thing.

In fact for the last 17 years they have a 100% college acceptance rate for their graduating seniors. This year was no different – however it was even MORE spectacular. They set a school record for most scholarship offers in school history!

St. Mary’s have just 24 girls in their graduating class this year. 2 dozen young women. Not only were they all accepted into college, collectively they were offered almost $12 million in scholarships! WOW! I hope they walk with confidence into their grown-up lives. They all walked the stage to get their diplomas last Thursday.

Friday, May 19, 2023

As beach season really kicks off, one big concern stretching from the Caribbean to the Florida coast, on around to Mexico, is the massive amount of sargassum seaweed washing up on shores. The stinky suffocating mass is making a mess, but where some see a nuisance, Omar Sanchez sees the building blocks to a better life.

Omar was hired to clean up piles of sargassum off the beaches along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Instead of just burning it off or adding to a landfill, Omar combines the seaweed with clay to make a super affordable, highly sustainable brick through his company SargaBlock.

To prove how great his building blocks are, rated for 150 years of solid building material, he uses the bricks to build affordable housing for single moms.

 

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Thursday, May 18, 2023

Protecting the environment has a new superhero … well at least he’s dressed like one. Jonathan Olanlokun swiftly moves through the streets of Osogbo in Nigeria picking up garbage off the streets. And he does it all in a very form-fitting Spider-Man costume!

Why the tights? To draw attention to the work! Cleaning up the environment can be fun and funny. No one bats an eye when a regular citizen picks up some garbage to clean the streets, but when kids see Spider-Man raking up garbage in their neighborhoods, they are more likely to pick up some too on their way home.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Run For Good program was started by Saucony shoes to encourage kids to get active and express themselves with fun, youthful design. They invested $25,000 in the design program and partnered with Children’s Hospitals to find their designers.

Five of those kids were right here in New Orleans. KK Roots, Brenna Roberts, Zachary Cression, An-Nour Shakov and the late Colt Wolfe were a part of the pilot program and they turned out some stunning designs.

 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Perry Schaffer is a Ravens fan – born and raised in Glen Burnie, MD. He’s been rockin’ purple, gold and black since he was a little kid. Perry is especially a fan of quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has been open about his faith and giving God glory for any success he’s found.

That inspired Perry to help raise up the next generation of Ravens fans by personally purchasing 20 (pretty expensive) Lamar Jackson jerseys to give to kids who can’t afford them. Perry set up at a local run/walk family event and just started handing out the free jerseys to kids as they crossed the finish line!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Ginny Schrappen was at church when a minister friend handed her a letter. It was from an inmate serving decades for murder, who simply wanted someone to talk to. Ginny wrote back and thus began a pen-pal friendship that spans decades.

Lamar Johnson never gave up hope that his wrongful conviction would be overturned. He served 28 years of the sentence before the evidence overturned his conviction. Shortly after his release, how do you think Lamar celebrated? He got together with pen-pal, Ms. Ginny!

Friday, May 12, 2023

Chivalry is alive and well – lived out by 6 year-old Kaiden Montague. While on a field trip to the zoo, a downpour interrupted the fun. Kaiden saw some classmates, a couple of little girls, getting cold and wet, so he quickly took off his jacket and held it over them to keep them dry.

For real? What a gentleman! A teacher saw the gracious act and snapped a picture for Kaiden’s mom to see the kindness her son did not hesitate to show. Just a few days later, the school presented Kaiden with a certificate celebrating his chivalrous act.

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Austin, TX Fire Department Engine 6 saw a 95-year old resident struggling to mow his lawn and immediately pulled over, hopped off the truck and made quick work of all the yard work, while joking and talking with their neighbor/new friend. In the Texas heat, that’s quite a gift, but these civil servants didn’t think twice about it. Do you have servant’s heart like that?

 

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

When Russia invaded Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians were forced to abandon their homes and, in many cases, their beloved pets. When days of abandonment turned into weeks, Odesa-based veterinarians Valentina and Leonid Stoyanov, decided to stay put and care for the animals left behind.

Within a week of Russia’s invasion, the Stoyanovs had around 400 animals in their care. They take in pets and wild animals alike, treating them and adopting them out or returning them to their natural home. They’ve even wound up keeping some of their patients, including a blind husky named Casper whose owner died during the conflict.

Despite the challenges of their work, including a health scare for Leonid, the Stoyanovs told CNN Heroes that they remain committed to their work. “We just hold on and continue to do what we do because we see how it is important for animals, for all these lives around us,” Valentina said.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

This Summer we’ll see a bunch of Barbies take over the silver screen – but in stores there is already a genre defying Barbie Doll waiting in the toy aisle, wearing a stunning puffy-sleeved floral dress with pink accessories and a winning smile. She’s also the first-ever Barbie to represent a woman with Down syndrome!

Created in collaboration with the National Down Syndrome Society, the new Barbie was sensitively designed to share several of the same physical characteristics as people with Down syndrome. She wears hot-pink shoes, which match her necklace with three upward chevrons, a symbol of the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which cause the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.

She’s the latest doll to join the Barbie Fashionista collection, a line that features dolls of several races, skin tones and body types, as well as dolls that use wheelchairs or have a prosthetic leg. Lisa McKnight, Mattel executive vice president and global head of Barbie & dolls, said the doll was made to “counter social stigma through play” — and look good doin’ it!

 

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Monday, May 8, 2023

A North Carolina church radically changed the lives of thousands of local families – and for pennies on the dollar. Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem bought $3.3 million of medical debt belonging to over 3,300 area families, and the parishioners made it happen with just over $15,000 in donations.

The church partnered with the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which buys bundles of debt “at a fraction of the original cost” and typically purchases large amounts from low-income families whose debt is debilitating. Debt forgiveness has Biblical roots, AJ writes: In the Old Testament’s Book of Leviticus, “jubilees” during which debts were forgiven were held every 49-50 years.

Trinity Moravian Church Rev. John Jackson said that while he hopes the medical system is eventually “fixed” to prevent medical debt from weighing so heavily on people, “what we can do is what we’re doing now, buy some of the debt and forgive it.”

Friday, May 5, 2023

Not only is it Cinco de Mayo, it’s also nearly National Nurses Week! To celebrate, Chipotle is giving away over $1 million in free fresh-Mex lunches for healthcare professionals. I love living in a world with “Burrito Care Packages.”

2,000 healthcare workers will win Burrito Care Packages that include 50 free entrees for their team. Over 100,000 nurses and their support staff will be swimming in burritos, chips and guac by next weekend.

But this isn’t a one time deal for Chipotle – they’ve donated over $4 million in food to medical workers since the pandemic began back in 2020.

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Dillon Reeves was presented an award for “an extraordinary act of courage and maturity” by the school Superintendent at Lois E. Carter Middle School. Dillon happened to be seated near the front of his school bus when his bus driver got on her walkie to alert the bus hub she was feeling dizzy.

Before she could pull the bus over, the driver passed out and the loaded school bus began to drift into oncoming traffic. Dillon threw his bag to the ground and leapt up front, steering the bus to a stop in the middle of the road. He got the school bus into park and yelled for another student to call 9-1-1.

Within minutes first responders were on the scene and treating the driver. No students, property or the bus suffered any damage. While the driver was treated, other buses came to take the kids home. But no one will be forgetting Dillon Reeves anytime soon! The hero 7th grader!

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Dennis Barnes is a graduating senior at International High School in New Orleans – and his future is still up in the air. He’s definitely going to college, he’s just got to figure out which one.

He applied to 200 schools – so far he has offers from 125 colleges and universities and over $9 million in scholarship offers. If that sounds like a lot – you are not wrong – it’s a US record, far more than any other college-bound high school senior has ever achieved.

And Dennis has EARNED these offers – he has a 4.98 GPA, is a leader in the National Honor Society and fully fluent in Spanish to the point he’s received accolades from the Consul of Spain. Technically Dennis is already a college student, having been dually enrolled in high school at and SUNO for the last 2 years.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Covenant Presbyterian Church committed to pay off over $20,000 in lunch debt for the Austin Independent School District. For many of those students, the food they get at school is the most secure meal they know. But it wasn’t enough to just cover the overdue bill, Covenant Church is also covering the cost for lunches through the rest of the school year!

This isn’t the first time this Church has demonstrated God’s love in Austin, either. In previous years they paid off medical debt and provided services for the homeless population of Central Texas.

Pastor Thomas Daniel said, “[T]his is a gift given to every student who qualifies – no strings attached – [it] embodies the free and unmerited grace we have all received and is the foundation of our Christian faith.”

Monday, May 1, 2023

When faced with lost luggage, you could rightfully get angry, but out of such a situation, one woman became a beacon of hope!

While her husband waited in line at Southwest customer service, Brittany waded through the sea of luggage searching for their bags; a needle in a haystack scenario. But Brittany is a problem solver and didn’t want her search to go to waste. She began snapping pictures of luggage that had tags and texting the number with the bag to the owner letting them know exactly where their bag was.

Brittany sent nearly 80 texts, connecting folks to their bags before she found her own. Some were so appreciative they sent her gift cards in gratitude!

Friday, April 28, 2023

Sixteen year-old Sammy Berko was rock climbing at the gym. He reached the top, rang the bell and then had a life ending heart attack. Gym workers and paramedics spent two hours doing CPR and trying to revive the young, vibrant boy, but to no avail. Finally paramedics called his time of death.

Sammy’s parents sat with him in shock. They spoke with him, apologizing that they couldn’t save him; praying and crying over their son’s body. And then Sammy Berko came back to life!

The parents started screaming for the doctors again. How could this be? It had been nearly two hours since his heart stopped! There was simply no way. And yet, Sammy is alive. He is in physical therapy now, and despite his brain being without oxygen for so long, has only suffered minor short term memory issues. A certified miracle!

 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Brittany Thompson was all set to walk down the aisle – she had her something “old” – a family heirloom, her late grandmother’s bracelet, featured heavily in her pre-wedding pictures. But somehow the clasp had given out and it fell into a pile of hay at the venue.

PANIC. What could they do? It was a last ditch effort, but they begged the garbage truck operators to search the garbage they had picked up after the photo shoot. After getting permission, Waste Pro worker Jeff began the search and sure enough – nestled in a bag of decorative hay was grandma’s bracelet!

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Boston Marathon is one of America’s premier sporting events. Runners not only get to brag that they did it (and marathoners LOVE to brag) but they get to tour one of the nation’s oldest cities. And for years, one of the sites included a happy golden retriever holding a Boston Strong flag. That was Spencer.

Recently Spencer passed away at the age of 13. But he had become sort of a mascot for the Boston Marathon over the years – and a superstar in the New England Golden Retriever community. This year, to honor Spencer, more than 100 golden retrievers and their families walked together to the Boston Marathon finish line in bright yellow Golden Strong bandanas.

Not only did 100 golden retrievers make exhausted marathon runners grin at the finish line, but the families raised $1000 for the Morris Animal Foundation in honor of Spencer.

 

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Tuesday, April 25, 2023

When he’s not starring in an action movie, encouraging people to reach their health goals or speaking out against hate, Arnold Schwarzenegger is … fixing potholes, apparently! The former governor of California posted a video showing him and his team patching up a hole on a street that had worsened after bad weather delayed attempts to fill in a temporary paving job.

In the video, a man even stops by and exclaims that he’d been waiting a long time for the hole to be fixed. Yeah, we’ve all been there.

You know we often refer to our elected officials as “public servants” but here’s 75 year old Arnold actually being a servant for the public!

 

Monday, April 24, 2023

A woman in Maine heard about a local little boy who had his bike stolen and she felt led to help. She purchased a new Spiderman bike, complete with helmet, bike lock and training wheels for the 3-year-old and then dropped the new bike off at a police station so they could connect with the family.

The police were so impressed with her kindness – and gave her some cash for the toll roads home. Then they found out she was currently living out of her car.

Now there is a fundraiser to help this bike delivering angel and she even inspired others to donate bikes to the police department to give to other kids in need.

Friday, April 21, 2023

Libby the cat has been a comfort to patrons of the Ashville Free Library for a long time. Libby is 19 years old! Generations of kids have come in to borrow The Hobbit or Where the Red Fern Grows or a Judy Blume book, and enjoyed a cuddle with the beautiful gray cat.

But as Libby gets older, her vet bills get higher. As you can imagine, a little free community library doesn’t have a lot of extra cash to take care of a 19 year old cat. The staff decided to start a fundraiser to help care for Libby in her later years and to say there was an outpouring of love would be an understatement.

Families smashed the $1500 goal, more than doubling the need, in order to provide the best life for Libby, who has been the perfect reading companion for so many.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

William was born with quadriplegic spastic cerebral palsy. The brave young boy is all smiles from his wheelchair, but like most little boys he wants to be running! His parents Mark and Jessica did some research on how to build parallel bars so William could practice walking at home. The family went to their local Lowes to try and figure out just how to make this dream come true.

At Lowes the family met an employee, Dave Urban. Dave was inspired by their idea – grabbed their online plans and began hunting down materials and getting them cut just right. Together Mark, Jessica and new friend Dave watched William test the rig out.

As this brave kid pulled himself up and began to shuffle forward, all three of the adults were fighting back tears of joy and pride.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Daniel Kablutsiak’s son Hunter was diagnosed with Stage-5 Kidney Disease at the age of 16. Daniel was a blood type match, but because of his weight, he wasn’t allowed to be a kidney donor. That was all he needed to know to make some major life changes.

Over the course of one year, Daniel worked with doctors to manage his food, increase his exercise and he was able to drop 85 lbs. Surgery is scheduled and both Daniel and Hunter are enjoying a new lease on life.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Forget the Easter bunny, it’s six-year old Luke Flerlage of O’Fallon, MO delivering pastel candy. Luke has volunteered with Alleluia Baskets over half his life, since he was just 3!

Alleluia Baskets delivers easter baskets to senior citizens and kids whose families are in need. His mom inspired him to be a volunteer, but the first time he saw someone smile because he brought them an Easter basket, it became his passion!

Last year Luke set out to collect 100 items for Alleluia Baskets. He recruited friends and family and eventually put together over 1000 items! This year, he needed a moving truck for the over 12,000 items he and his Easter crew put together.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Getting lost in a good book can be like therapy for your soul. You make friends, go on adventures and see the world all on the pages of a good story. Emily, a 19 year old woman from Maryland, spent a lot of her childhood with her nose in a book, and now uses her love of reading to bring hope to children and families all over.

While Emily was in high school her father (Mike) battled stage 4 thyroid cancer. As Emily worked at her family’s restaurant and cared for her father all while trying to graduate high school, she dealt with severe depression. She found a lot of hope in books and decided to be proactive about life instead of wallowing in self-pity.

Emily founded For Love and Buttercup, a book collection and donation non-profit to get used books to children’s hospitals for kids fighting cancer. She says “I thought about how buttercup flowers represent everything pure and innocent and happy in the world.” And she knows how a good book can provide hope.

As Emily prepares for college next year, she’s still actively distributing books through For Love and Buttercup – so far she’s donated over 15,000 books! And she gets help moving those big boxes from her now cancer-free dad.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Watson Elementary School in Chilliwack, British Columbia has spent the last seven years teaching their students the joy and benefits of KINDNESS. Their annual Kindness Project has only grown in scope and impact each year. It used to be just one or two classes of third graders participating, but this year, multiple classes from 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade wanted to make a difference!

Step One: Raise money by selling cupcakes. The classes managed a net profit of $1400.

Step Two: Go to local parts and hand out flowers, chocolates, dog treats and coffee to strangers.

Step Three: Put together care packages for homeless people.

The community was so touched that many strangers found the teachers and gave them some cash saying, “This is for next year’s Kindness Project!”

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue – the four things every bride is supposed to have on her big day. When Tanya Walsh walked the aisle, her beautiful wedding dress was her “something new” and it held a very special place in her heart.

Tanya’s dress was a gift from her mother, who was already in palliative care and passed away just weeks after the family-centered nuptials. Tanya put the dress in storage at her father’s house and always planned on making it a “something borrowed” for her two daughters. But in a comedy of errors her father accidentally donated it to Goodwill while cleaning out closets!

Tanya took to Facebook in a last-ditch effort to recover the heirloom. Friends and strangers helped by sharing her story over 1500 times and just a few days later, an employee at a nearby Goodwill contacted Tanya with the good news – her dress was found and waiting for her!

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Damar Hamlin is making sure his near death experience helps prevent others’. Last season in the middle of a game, Damar Hamlin went down and didn’t get up from the field. The Buffalo Bills safety suffered a heart attack and his life was saved from well trained medical personnel using an automated field defibrillator to restart his heart.

Now the pro football player is using his platform to push Congress on the Access to AEDs Act that would get life saving equipment to schools around the country and provide training to make sure student athletes are given every chance of success and safety on and off the field. More than 7000 kids a year in the United States suffer from a sudden cardiac event and this bi-partisan program will go a long way to ensure their recovery.

 

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Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Make-A-Wish was able to grant a dream for a young Oakland Athletics fan. Gabriel De La Cruz is battling cancer – and staying active is a key part of that battle. So he was thrilled to throw out the ceremonial pitch for his A’s on opening day!

Not only was the pitch a solid strike, he was greeted by his favorite player, Tony Kemp, who let Gabriel know he’s got summer plans this year. The Oakland A’s and Make-A-Wish also secured Gabriel an invite to attend the Major League Baseball All-Star game later this Summer in Seattle!

Monday, April 10, 2023

Arizona resident Coral Amayi lost her precious digital camera 12 years ago when her tube flipped over while on a river tubing trip. It had pictures from her wedding and bridal shower. She thought it was lost forever.

But just a couple of weeks ago, Spencer Greiner was walking along the Animus River and spotted a rusted old camera on the banks. He rescued the SD card and sure enough, the computer recovered all of the picture files! He posted his find on social media and it didn’t take long for the internet to do its thing.

Coral said she literally got up and was dancing for joy when she saw her pictures.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Katrina Mullen is a 23 year veteran of the neonatal intensive care unit at Community Hospital North in Indianapolis. She’s also a mom of five. But her heart just made room for an even bigger family.

Katrina grew close to one of her patients – a 14 year old teen mom who had triplets at just 26 weeks. As the very young new mom waited with her babies in the NICU, Katrina and Shariya formed a special bond.

When the Indiana Department of Child Services became concerned for the living conditions of this 14 year old mom and her preemie triplets, Katrina stepped up and adopted all four of them. The teen mom and her babies!

Now the babies are doing great, growing strong – and their mom is back in school and on track to graduate this Summer!

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Some folks can look at equations and numbers and see the hidden patterns and ancient truths – while I have to download an app that tells me if I can afford to get lunch out today. Two New Orleans East students have that special mathematic minded vision and are making waves in the global math world!

St. Mary Academy’s Calcea Johnson and Ne’Kiya Jackson gave a presentation at the American Mathematical Society’s Annual Southeastern Conference showing how they proved the Pythagorean Theorem using trigonometry without using circular logic – which was thought to be impossible for THOUSANDS of years! The math geniuses say their school motto “No excellence without hard labor” is what drove them to do the impossible.

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

John Watson has always been a fitness enthusiast. He’s also an advocate for people with disabilities, inspired by his daughter Emma, who has cerebral palsy. When he was looking for ways to help adults with intellectual disabilities find employment, he hit upon a great idea to combine his passions.

His nonprofit, Bloom Fitness, brings the life-affirming benefits of movement to people with intellectual disabilities. Bloom Fitness partners with programs like adult daycare centers or residential homes, where Watson’s trained volunteer instructors lead classes like cycling, yoga, Pilates and dance. Classes are free to the athletes, many of whom are low-income, and they’re designed to be accessible to anyone.

“Wellness and movement – for this population, that’s critical,” John says. “We create a sense of pride, belonging and love.”

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Kevin Pearce’s life was changed forever in 2009 when a snowboarding accident left him with a traumatic brain injury. He had to relearn how to do almost everything — how to walk, how to talk — and he says he couldn’t have done it without the help of his older brother Adam.

From their hard work together was born the Love Your Brain Foundation! Founded in 2014, the Love Your Brain Foundation offers weeklong retreats and community-based yoga classes across the US for people who have a traumatic brain injury as well as their caregivers.

Recovering from a TBI can be very isolating – and community is essential to recovery! Adam says, Adam said. “At these retreats, people are given the space to lean into those deep challenges and express them and talk about them.” The organization also trains yoga teachers on how to incorporate their rehabilitation techniques into their own classes.

Monday, April 3, 2023

On March 21st, the World celebrated Down Syndrome Day. 3/21 represents the 3 copies of the 21st chromosome in the DNA of people with Down Syndrome. LifeSongs is honored to have friends at GiGi’s Playhouse who share a passion for loving some wonderful families who have members with Down Syndrome.

20 years ago, Nancy Gianni was inspired by her newborn daughter GiGi to change the way the world views Down syndrome and send a global message of acceptance for all. She established the first GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center in the suburbs of Chicago in 2003. Since then, the GiGi’s Playhouse network has grown to over 55 Down Syndrome Achievement Centers in the US and Mexico, and even a Virtual Playhouse that serves people in over 80 countries around the world!

Each location provides free educational and therapeutic-based programs to individuals with Down syndrome and their families, from prenatal diagnosis to adulthood through the loving work of many volunteers. A committed group of parents and friends in our community established GiGi’s Playhouse New Orleans in October 2020 and they are spreading the message of acceptance and kindness in our community every day.

Friday, March 31, 2023

When Sterling Heights police responded to a car accident, they didn’t plan on becoming delivery drivers for the night, but “to serve and protect” is what they do!

Bryanna Fantozzi was delivering dinner and groceries for DoorDash when she hit a patch of ice that rendered her car undriveable. The six-month pregnant mom and her daughter who was also in the car were ok, but in desperation to get her job done she asked if the cops could help her finish the delivery.

Officer Allen quickly took on the job, making sure the groceries were still cold and the Texas Roadhouse meals were hot when they arrived on time at the customer’s home. Turns out the order was for another mom who was stuck home caring for four sick kids, so it was pretty essential!

Officer Allen simply jokes it was a miracle the hot yeast rolls made it to the delivery site because they made the police cruiser smell way too good.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

A South Carolina family felt an abundance of compassion and concern for their Dominos delivery driver, Barbara Gillespie. At 72, Barbara is beloved by her Dominos family, in fact she was elected Team Member of the Year in 2022. But the job was becoming taxing for this sweet lady who always has a smile on her face.

While making a delivery to the Keighrons, she tripped and dropped the food. She was ok, but embarrassed. The family, however, wanted to show her some love – so they started a fundraiser to help her retire in comfort. A quarter million dollars later and Barbara turned in her two weeks notice!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Katrina Kohel has got SPIRIT – even if the rest of her cheer squad doesn’t. The high school cheerleader found out just weeks before the big state cheer competition that her fellow squad members quit the team. Her coach told her not to worry, they would still go to the event as spectators, but Katrina had other plans.

She performed on her own.

Katrina whooped and hollered and jumped and flipped and had the entire arena going nuts! Just a single determined cheerleader who wanted to make her school proud. In fact, she finished in 8th place for their division – the highest ranking her school had received in years!

 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

8 year-old Kayzen Hunter LOVES going to Waffle House! It’s his favorite restaurant which he and his grandpa frequent. Kayzen even has a favorite waiter named Devonte.

Over MANY trips to get pecan waffles and hash browns, the Hunter family got to know and love Devonte, his wife Aissa and his young daughters Jade and Amoura. One day Kayzen found out his friends were struggling to find a home and living out of a motel. Plus Devonte’s car was falling apart which kept him from making all of his shifts at Waffle House.

Kayzen worked with his mom to create a GoFundMe page for his favorite Waffle slinger. What started with a lofty $5,000 goal ended up six figures – over $100,000 for the family to get a new car and move into a much better apartment!

Monday, March 27, 2023

When disaster strikes – help floods in. We see it time and again, around the world. Earlier this year when terrible earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria the world reacted with incredible generosity. Teresa Gray and her nonprofit Mobile Medics International were on the scene in mere hours. Her team treated hundreds in that first week and a half. They befriended locals and interpreters which allowed them to communicate with many injured and bring peace and calm to a crazy and devastating situation.

Around the block other groups worked in response to the earthquake thanks to funds pouring in from sports stars around the world – especially beloved soccer players who did a telethon the day after the earthquake and brought in over $44 million dollars!

Bad things happen every day. But good people respond with hope and love every day too. Be encouraged! And thank you for being one of those good people making a difference in the world!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Aaron Cabrera is a real life hero, but it has cost him dearly. Born in Cuba, Aaron and his family sought political asylum in the United States. He grew up in Texas and the day after 9/11, at twenty years old, he joined the Army.

Aaron Cabrera served his country with valor for nearly a decade – doing two ours in Iraq. He earned a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Badge, a 2-starred Iraq Campaign Medal, five Army Commendation Medals and many other awards and accolades. But these were hard fought awards. Aaron took shrapnel to the back and nearly lost his life. To this day he is dealing with PTSD and traumatic brain injuries.

But this is a GOOD NEWS story. Aaron continues his journey of recovery through counseling and music and teaching yoga to other veterans. After losing a son to suicide he founded Diego’s Wish to help other families going through loss. Instead of all of his medals, he wears his heart on his sleeves and that is why he was honored by Operation Finally Home with a newly built house, fully furnished and the mortgage paid in full!

Overwhelmed by the life changing gift, Aaron Cabrera said, “Moving forward, tomorrow is a new day, thanks to all of you. A new life begins on the other side of that door; a new life that hopefully makes my sons proud.”

Friday, March 10, 2023

Jason was in line getting groceries and struck up a conversation with Kevin, who was waiting just behind him. Then that awful stomach squeezing thing happened where the cashier told Jason he had “insufficient funds” to get his groceries. Jason had just deposited his check and apparently it hadn’t hit the bank yet.

Kevin stepped up and quickly flashed a card saying “I got you.” And groceries are NOT cheap. The newly cemented grocery buddies went viral on social media not just because of Kevin’s generosity to a stranger, but because now the two are inseparable, even going to each other’s family gatherings!

 

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Delayne Ivanowski loves her dad. And she got to honor and DISobey him in the most amazing way. Her father, John Ivanowski, suffers from a kidney disease. The chronic illness put him in complete kidney failure and the doctors didn’t give him much time to live without a kidney donor.

The problem was, John had outright forbidden Delayne from donating her kidney. Years before, John had lost a son, Delayne’s brother, to cancer. He couldn’t bare the thought of kidney donation complications for his daughter. But Delayne worked with the doctors and donated her kidney in secret.

After the successful surgery, Delayne in a matching hospital gown and portable IV, visited her dad’s hospital room. He was shocked and a little angry … but that faded pretty fast at the enormity of the gift given by his loving daughter.

And to top things off, after going viral on social media with the story, financial donors helped cover the cost of both surgeries.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Chris Sweeney was a missionary for 12 years in Africa. Now back home as a Brother of Sacred Heart, he’s finding ways to continue living out the mission. His plan and hope is to build a cafe on the Northshore that employs people with special needs. It’s a cause close to his heart because his nephew Reid has Down Syndrome.

After having knee surgery last year, Chris found biking to be great exercise and physical therapy. So he’s going to go on an epic 6,000 mile bike quest from New Orleans to Washington D.C., Seattle and San Francisco. He’ll sleep at campgrounds and travel light as he shines Jesus from the bike lane and raises funds to open that cafe!

The bike trip began on March 1st and will end this summer in July, hopefully fully funding the Reid Rocks Cafe.

 

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Pastor Corey Brooks was led by the Holy Spirit to build a transformational community center in the heart of Chicago. But that’s crazy expensive! How would he raise the $35 million needed? Corey says God told him to pitch a tent on the roof and wait. So he did.

Pastor Corey Brooks camped each night in a tent on the roof of a building in Chicago. The building is in a rough part of town – O Block. Gang violence runs rampant. The need for the Gospel and hope is evident everywhere. And the community has heard about Jesus from the Rooftop Pastor – as Corey Brooks has come to be known.

After nearly a year in often freezing Chicago temperatures, the community and donors from around the world have already raised over $28 MILLION to make this new community center happen. Wow! (We can’t tent camp on the roof of LifeSongs, but we will be fundraising soon – Shareathon starts next week!)

Monday, March 6, 2023

Belle Irvin-Partridge regaled her children for years with stories from her time in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. But there was an important detail she left out, one that her daughter Brenda didn’t uncover until after Belle’s death: She was an integral member of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only all-women, predominantly Black unit to serve in Europe during the war.

Brenda did some digging on the internet and stumbled upon a black-and-white photo of her mother in uniform alongside the other women of her battalion. Though the women didn’t see combat, their time in Europe wasn’t short on danger: They dodged German U-boats in the North Atlantic and survived a rocket explosion upon their arrival in England. The women worked tirelessly to sort and send mail to US service members stationed overseas.

It took decades for their work to be recognized but last year, President Joe Biden awarded the surviving members of the battalion the Congressional Gold Medal, and Tyler Perry is directing a film about the women. To Brenda, though, Belle Irvin-Partridge was just her mom — a quiet hero whose humble work made history.

 

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Friday, March 3, 2023

Gloria and Victoria Guerrier are brilliant twin sisters! They spent all of high school competing for the best GPA – neither ever scored under 100% on any test in all four years. They also compete in three varsity sports, earning county and state honors in track. But there can be only one BEST.

Gloria ultimately was named Valedictorian, with her twin Victoria as second place Salutatorian. But Victoria is itching for a rematch, in college! Both girls are headed to Yale University to keep egging each other on to greatness!

The overachieving twins plan to study computer science. “It’s like the saying, ‘How iron sharpens iron,’” Gloria said. “We really use each other to improve upon ourselves.

@abc7ny Gloria and Victoria Guerrier are twin sisters and they are also West Hempstead Secondary School’s valedictorian and salutatorian. #abc7ny #twins #smartkids #hardwork #fyp #news ♬ original sound – ABC7NY

 

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Diane Gordon was walking to work. It’s a 2.7 mile trek in the brutal cold of Detroit. Her car broke down last February and she’s had to choose groceries over transportation ever since.

As Diane walked to work she saw an abandoned sack outside of a convenience store. Inside was nearly $15,000 in cash and gift cards. That amount of money could have really helped Diane, but she did the right thing. She took the cash inside the store and called the local police.

It turns out the money belonged to a newly married couple – it was from their wedding earlier that very day. They were beyond grateful to have it returned. And that would be the end of this story were it not for a wife of one of the police officers who responded to the call. She was so touched by Diane’s determination to do the right thing even though she was in great need.

The police department said “the world could use a few more Dianes” as they posted a GoFundMe page for the good Samaritan. In less than 24 hours they had raised more than $40,000 for Diane! They are also working with a local auto dealer to secure her a new ride to and from work. (Ultimately over $80,000 was raised!)

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Local Jewish Chef Alon Shaya has won many awards for his Israeli cuisine. Now he is doing his part to rescue and restore what was lost during the Holocaust nearly a century ago.

Chef Shaya is working with Holocaust survivor Steven Fenves who managed to secure his grandmother’s cookbook while fleeing the former Yugoslavia. Afterall – nothing makes History and Culture come alive – nothing can bring people together – quite like a home cooked meal.

Fluffy potato circles stuffed with beef, garlic and sour cream with a touch of paprika sounds more than a little mouth watering – but the History of the dish comes from war-torn former Yugoslavia.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Rev. Farrell Duncombe was very grateful for those who inspired and challenged him.

Growing up Rev. Duncombe was known as “Little Farrell ” and was your quintessential pastor’s kid, always getting into trouble. He grew up in 1950s and 60s Montgomery, AL at the epicenter of the Civil Rights movement. Along with his father, pastor of St. Paul Church, his Sunday School Teacher Miss Rosalie never gave up on Little Farrell.

And because of their love and patience, Farrell would become a public school band teacher, then a principal and finally pastor of the church he grew up in. And by the way, Miss Rosalie, Little Farrell’s Sunday School teacher, was pretty famous.

Most folks knew her as Rosa Parks.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Many different styles of music were honored at the GRAMMY awards a few weeks back and yet so many of them owe their existence to little buildings in New Orleans where jazz was born. One of those little spots was called Perseverance Hall. In the early 20th century, along the river, jazz musicians cut their teeth looking for work just blocks away in the French Quarter.

Then the building became a church. And just a year and a half ago, the structure was demolished by age and Hurricane Ida. But good news – the Holy Aid and Comfort Spiritual Church of Eternal Life – AKA Perseverance Hall – is making a comeback. A federal grant, the dedication of Rev. Herald Lewis, his congregation and others pitching in are working to restore the space along Villere St.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Heroic acts throughout History inspire us to be the better versions of ourselves. That’s an idea that cardboard-artist Luanga Nuwame took to heart when he created a special mirror for Black History month. The mirror is surrounded by 14 other faces – the faces of legendary Black heroes throughout History.

The artist wants kids who are facing so much in the world today to look at themselves surrounded by the visionaries that came before them. Faces include Dr. King, Bessie Coleman, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson and others. Nuwame wants children to know that these great heroes were also once young and scared and uncertain.

What heroes would you want by your side in the mirror?

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Martha and Lehman Tucker were happily married in 1952. They would enjoy a romance for the ages, raise a family and see their world change. The world they lived in as young adults was filled with anger and hate. Segregated Alabama was a painful place to live and love for the Black couple. When Martha and Lehman married, it wasn’t in the beautiful white lace gown she had always dreamt of. Because of Jim Crow laws she couldn’t even go into the store to purchase such a thing.

Flash forward 70 years and Martha’s granddaughter Angela wanted to make some beautiful memories for her 94 year old grandmother. Angela, Martha and other family and friends went out to brunch, got their make-up done and waltzed into David’s Bridal to find Martha the perfect wedding dress! Full lace sleeves, matching veil, it was like a fairy tale for the family.

With happy tears in her eyes, Angela said, “Happy doesn’t really paint the picture of how this made me feel. My grandma has always been a giver, so to be able to finally give her an experience so dear to her was priceless. Happy is an understatement.”

While Lehman passed some years back, Martha fondly remembers the love of her life and she promised him that she would one day get the wedding dress they were denied so many years ago. A dress worthy of the sacred vows they shared.

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023 Ash Wednesday

Amy and Erik are Believers from North Dakota. Amy says, “We might not be able to change the whole world, but we can change the world for one person.” And she and Erik have lived this out in spectacular fashion.

While visiting Rapid City, South Dakota during the holidays, Amy and Erik saw a man struggling in his wheelchair. It was a cold icy day. The homeless man’s name was Wayne, the couple found out as they stopped to help. Amy and Erik helped Wayne to a motel he was living in. Someone had paid for a couple nights for him to stay warm from the cold Winter. Amy and Erik paid for Wayne’s room for another week.

Later Amy shared Wayne’s needs online and her friends raised enough to keep Wayne housed through April and got him a brand new wheelchair! Amy and Erik’s fundraiser provided new clothes and other essential items for Wayne as well.

That helping hand is getting Wayne off the streets and into a brand new life, with his own apartment. And he knows there are Jesus-people in his corner. Wayne told Amy and Erik he had prayed for help just two days before God brought them into his life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023 Happy Mardi Gras!

In many cultures around the world there is still a stigma attached to mental health. Despite all that we’ve learned about caring for our thought life just like we care for our physical well-being, it can be extremely vulnerable to trust and speak with a mental health professional. And in some cases, the cost is so high that people don’t even try. But what if getting help was as simple as sitting on a park bench with a grandmother?

Dixon Chibanda is a psychiatrist in Zimbabwe. He and a group of grandmothers have created a program they call the Friendship Bench, so no one in their community goes without a listening ear. Dr. Chibanda trains the group in basic therapy techniques and they are assigned a park bench to be present at and talk with anyone who needs some help.

The concept has been a HUGE success. 60,000 people in Zimbabwe and over half a million people worldwide have now benefited from sessions at a Friendship Bench and the rates of depression, suicide and undiagnosed mental health issues is declining. All thanks to some well-trained grandmothers who offer no judgment, just friendship.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Adolfo Burgos was driving a snowy Interstate 93 headed to pick up friends at the airport in Boston. Adolfo saw a small blue car swerving across the road and it became obvious that the driver was unconscious. Adolfo pulled his truck over and sprinted across traffic to keep pace with the car. The passenger door was locked so he and another helpful driver began pushing the car into the guardrail to get it to a complete stop.

First responders then showed up and whisked the driver to the hospital. Exhausted, Adolfo went home to bed. When we woke up from his nap, he found out his heroic deeds had gone viral on TikTok as other drivers on the Interstate filmed the whole incident. When asked if he ever considered the danger he was in, Adolfo said confidently, “I didn’t even see any of the other cars during that time. I think God really watched over me.”

 

 

Friday, February 17, 2023

Vernon Jackson has a lot of patience and love for special needs children and it started with little 7 year old Ellison.

Ellison has Down syndrome and some physical disabilities that led to several open heart surgeries. Getting a haircut was a scary event for young Ellison, until the very patient Vernon turned it into a game! Ellison is in the driver seat demanding when to start, stop and go! It might take a little longer to give Ellison a haircut but now it ends in giggle fits instead of tears.

Vernon created the GIFTED program that offers special haircut experiences for kids like Ellison who need the extra care and love. Not only do the kids get a nice cut, the parents get to see others invest in their kids with patience and love.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

A mystery man in the United States was so moved by the catastrophic disaster in Turkey (Turkiye) & Syria that he walked into the Turkish Embassy in Washington DC and donated to help the earthquake victims. And it was a very big gift.

$30 million.

What a tremendous gift! And hopefully it will inspire many others as every humanitarian program in the world tends to the disaster. Some of those include ministry partners with LifeSongs, including: Mercy Chefs, Samaritan’s Purse and Send Relief.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The athletes in the Single Leg Amputee Sports Association in Sierra Leone are an incredible embodiment of strength. Their creed is “Strength through injury, through war and through division”. The organization was started by pastor Mambud Samai in 2001 after he returned home toward the end of Sierra Leone’s deadly civil war.

During those dark years, 50,000 people were killed and thousands lost limbs during brutal terror campaigns. When Samai met other amputees and was introduced to adaptive soccer, he saw an opportunity for those like him who were struggling to find purpose and passion after their injuries. Players have represented their country in international tournaments, and give back to their communities.

In addition to all the good they do, Samai says SLASA athletes are also ambassadors for peace.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023 – Happy Valentine’s Day

It was 1982 and Vickie was 22 years old, a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee, and going on her first overseas flight. She was nervous, but London was calling, where she was to join a work-study program with her best friend Sandra. After some Lifetime movie level drama of being on standby for the flight, both young women boarded the plane and were seated next to a curly-haired ginger from England named Graham.

Graham was returning home after a post college road trip around the United States. And he started sharing the ins and outs of England with his row-mates. The trio became fast friends. And soon, after exploring London together, Graham and Vickie became much more. By Summer they were engaged and married on December 28th.

After over 40 years, the couple still loves sharing their story, especially when it embarrasses their two children that they brought up in the States with plenty of trips to see family in England.

 

Monday, February 13, 2023

There were literal tons of extra food still in the kitchens of State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ after the last fan left and the clean-up process began. But that Super Bowl food isn’t going to waste!

As soon as the gates were closed, the Food Recovery Network moved in with their refrigerated vans moved in. This is the third Super Bowl that FRN has battled food insecurity by preventing food waste at the massive sporting event.

They collected thousands of pounds of extra food from the Players’ Pregame Tailgate Party, which will provide thousands of meals for families in need in Arizona. Food staples and treats are great – but the big win is all the leftover protein like seafood and meats. The food is being distributed to various pantries and non-profits like the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Friday, February 10, 2023

A few weeks ago Bryanne and her son Mason were making a quick stop at the grocery to get snacks for the Eagles-Giants NFC division game. The Philly fans ran into a man who asked for a dollar to grab the bus. Bryanne kindly fished out a dollar from her purse before realizing she was being filmed.

Turns out the random stranger was Zachery “MD Motivator” Dereniowski, who runs a popular social media channel that rewards everyday folks for their acts of kindness. Instead of accepting the outstretched dollar, Zachery handed Bryanne and Mason two tickets to the Eagles game and $500 cash to spend on snacks at the stadium!

At the game Mason even got to meet some of his favorite Eagles players on the field!

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Peter Davies is a World War II veteran of the Royal British Armed Forces. He’s lived a very full life that included 72 years married to his sweet wife. When she passed away Peter said he felt like a lost soul, but this 100 year old British Empire Medal winner knew exactly how his wife would want him to continue on.

Peter began volunteering as a reader to young children at Dean Valley Community Primary School in the village of Bollington. Now when one of his young students says “Hello Mr. Davies” Peter says he feels 10 feet tall!

He was a hero in a global conflict some 80 years ago, but perhaps more importantly, he’s a friend to these kids he is investing his time in. And Peter jokes it is giving him lots of “street cred” in his village.

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Bessie Coleman was born in 1892 to Texas sharecroppers. Later she decided she wanted to fly while watching planes come into bustling Chicago in the early 1900s. Both Black and Native American, Bessie had the world against her. But she traveled to Paris to attend aviation school and in 1921 became the first Black woman to earn a pilot’s license!

Bessie Coleman became a global superstar in the 1920s as a stunt pilot touring the states performing flips and tricks to delight the crowds below.

Bessie was an exceptional pilot that broke a lot of barriers as a black and native American female aviator. This year Matel is celebrating the American hero with her own Barbie doll! Even better – portions of the sales will go to Bessie Coleman Aviation All Stars, a non-profit started by Bessie Colman’s granddaughter that introduces students to careers in aviation!

 

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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Ronald is a clumsy, sweet BIG 64-lb puppy with a cheerful disposition that many families thought would be perfect for them. 14 families actually. 14 times Ronald was adopted and returned to the Wake County SPCA.

He’s a mixed breed and so huge and sheds everywhere. But Ronald is smart! He’s learned several commands and never gave up hope he’d find his forever home. His story was shared on social media and soon there was a waitlist 800 families deep wanting to bring Ronald home.

The Davis family were the lucky krewe stationed at Fort Bragg who became Ronald’s forever home. Now, along with millions of fans on social media, Ronald has a mom, dad, two little boys and a 3 year old Australian Shepherd big sister!

 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Rema Kabore was born with cerebral palsy. This made her extremely fragile. In fact, doctors did not expect her to see her first birthday. Flash forward half a century and Rema is still celebrating birthdays! It took a lot of work, multiple surgeries, great care and support but Rema is thriving.

A friend threw her a 50th birthday party at a local restaurant. She was so surprised to see friends and family gather for her. One of the young men working at the restaurant grabbed his saxophone and serenaded the party as they sang happy birthday to a beaming woman who means so much to so many.

Then – the cherry on top – another customer was so touched by the birthday party for Rema that they secretly paid for the entire bill!

Friday, February 3, 2023

Maria Andrejczyk is an Olympic silver medalist for Poland. She won the silver medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the sport of javelin. Her journey to the winner’s podium was filled with struggle and triumph. She didn’t quite make the cut in 2016. Then she had shoulder surgery. THEN she fought bone cancer. But she persevered and brought great honor to her country.

At 25 years-old, Maria is still looking for ways to bless her native Poland. She found out about a little 8 month-old Polish boy named Milo who was born with a serious heart defect. There was a life saving surgery available in Spain, but it cost $380,000! The family had raised about half of the cost but the baby was running out of time.

That’s when our Olympian Maria stepped in. She didn’t hesitate to auction off her Silver medal to raise the remainder of the cost to help save baby Milo. The winning bid came from a popular Polish supermarket chain called Zabka. They told Maria that her sacrifice inspired them and that she should keep her medal. The real prize was helping Milo’s family.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Not only does Grace work hard as an asset specialist for UPS in Michigan, she’s an inventor and world changer for premature babies! In college as a part of a material science project, Grace created the Warmilu. It’s a special blanket that requires no electricity to provide and maintain heat.

Around the world neonatal hypothermia is still a great risk to premature and underweight babies. The Warmilu has been embedded in over 19 countries at this point and tens of thousands of babies have been saved because of Grace’s invention.

She also credits her work with UPS to show her how to run a small business and get her product to the parts of the world where it is needed most. Perhaps sweeter still is the name Warmilu, which is a shortened version of “Warm, I love you.” A message every mother and child could use.

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A Delta flight attendant is going viral for being a kind and gentle person.

It was a bumpy flight from Charlotte Douglas International into JFK in New York. For one passenger the turbulence was terrifying. Flight Attendant Floyd Dean-Shannon saw the woman clenching her seat and turning green, so he calmly sat down in the aisle and held her hand to reassure her.

Other passengers watched the kindness unfold and shared the story on social media. Others have begun sharing stories of kindness they’ve also received from flight attendants who went the extra mile for them.

 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Last April, 19-year-old Seren Jones got very sick and lost both of her kidneys. She spent every night hooked up to a dialysis machine until a kidney donor was found. Since her dad Arfon wasn’t a match for his daughter, he went ahead and put his information into the national kidney donation registration in hopes to be a help to another family.

Soon Arfon got the call that there was someone in need and he was a match. The 70-year-old joyfully went under the knife to pass along the blessing his family had received with his daughter. While he wasn’t informed about who received his kidney, the hospital did tell him that it was a successful transplant and that their health is improving every day!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Quiana “Q” Rowe knows that single moms often go without to ensure their kids have what they need. Rowe, herself a single mother of five, oversees eight Walmart stores in New Orleans, and one day at work came up with an idea: What if she could connect with other single moms and brighten their day with a special present?

Q knows that these moms are so used to putting their kids first they never think about themselves. She went on her Facebook page and invited friends to nominate single moms for some special gifts. Soon, Rowe was purchasing presents for women in Louisiana, Kansas, and Texas, which they picked up from their local Walmarts.

“Being able to do this is not something I would have thought of 15 years ago,” Rowe said. “Being able to gift the mothers, it’s tears from me and tears of gratitude from them.”

Friday, January 27, 2023

There are many wonderful ways to keep your muscles and bones healthy along the journey and for one 101-year-old lady in England, the secret to staying young is to cut a rug!

Dinkie Flowers is one of the oldest women in the United Kingdom but is more mobile than many who are decades younger. Her secret? Dancing! She began her dancing career at just 3 years old and each week can still be found teaching future generations the art of dance at Dinkie Flowers Stage School.

“I just love dancing, I always have and I always will. I’d advise anyone—and everyone—to start dancing to keep your body and mind young.”

 

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Gary McKee spent 2022 pounding the pavement. He ran 26.2 miles every single day to raise $1 million for charity!

A father of three, Gary McKee lives in Cumbria, England. He turned his 26 mile commute to work a daily run. Sure, he showed up to the office very sweaty and too tired to accomplish much else, but he did manage to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support and West Cumbria Hospice at Home. When 2022 came to an end, Gary had raised £1 million ($1.2 million) from supporters.

On his final run, a crowd cheered him on, and fireworks went off when he was finished. “It was raining, but everybody was out clapping and shouting,” he said. “It was fantastic seeing everybody there. It’s something I’ll always remember.”

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Warren Marion of Cumberland, MD is an 82 year old Navy Veteran working full time at Walmart to make ends meet. And he serves with a smile. Rory McCarty wanted to do something special for this beacon of light at his local Walmart, so he got on social media and started to fundraise.

The goal was to raise enough cash for Warren to fully retire and spend more time in Florida with his grandkids. Rory said he just got the ball rolling and the Lord took over. Over 5000 donors put together nearly $120,000 so Mr. Marion could start living that retired life!

The veteran says, “All I can tell you is the good Lord has blessed me…”

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

An Arkansas Mexican restaurant extended some kindness to a homeless person and the act of Love has gone viral. A person came off the streets to the front counter at El Sur Street Food Co. in Little Rock. He asked the guy behind the counter if they had any food they could spare.

Without hesitation the employee offered to buy the guy a meal – walked him through the menu and made recommendations and prepared a table for his guest. He didn’t cheap out either. It wasn’t the value menu options he bought for the guy – but a full spread of delicious food. More importantly the homeless man was shown compassion and treated like the valuable human being that he is.

Sitting at a table nearby was a patron of El Sur named Ronda Chung. She watched the whole thing unfold and shared the story on Facebook – which took off with the caption “Amazing food, amazing folks. This is the Arkansas I want.”

Monday, January 23, 2023

For about a decade, Mr. Childress, who has now moved into Heaven, kept his generosity a secret. Hody lived in Geraldine, AL – a small, poor town. One day while at his local pharmacy he found the owner/manager and slipped them $100, saying “This is for anyone who can’t afford their medicine.”

Hody began donating $100 each month to help pay for other folks’ medicine. It was a secret between him, the owner of the pharmacy and Jesus. This started in 2012. Just recently as Hody Childress’ health began to deteriorate, he asked his daughter Tania to deliver $100 to the drug store. She had no idea why – but soon found out he had given thousands over the last decade to care for his community!

At Hody’s funeral the family shared the story and the community has responded by taking up the mantle and partnering to continue helping cover the cost of medicine for their little town.

 

Friday, January 20, 2023

The Phoenix Fire Department motto is “our family helping your family” and recently they did some big time helping one of their own families. Abel Parra works in administration for the PFD. Abel uses a wheelchair ever since an accident many years ago damaged his spinal cord. And for the past few years, his daily commute using public transportation in the hot Phoenix sun took a couple hours each way.

His co-workers decided enough was enough for their friend and began fundraising and researching how to get the Parra family a wheelchair accessible van. It took some time to get the money and secure the specially modified van – but just a couple of weeks ago the keys were handed to Abel. Now his daily commute is in style – and just 30 minutes instead of hours!

 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Jeanette Stevens was an avid cyclist, but after an accident took her eyesight at just 34 years old, she grieved the loss of her favorite pastime.

But before long she was connected to a charity called Charlotte’s Tandems.  The specialty biking non-profit builds, teaches and connects folks to tandem cycle together. Soon Jeanette and her riding partner were feeling the wind whip the sides of their helmets, exploring the bike paths of England together.

Tandem bikes can be expensive and rare – but when Jeanette’s one year loaner came due, Charlotte’s Tandems and a local bike shop got her a rebuilt tandem bike for just £50!

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

A driver for DoorDash was so astounded by a generous tip on Christmas Eve that they took a moment to write a Thank You letter and left it on the door of the customer.

Vivica tipped the DoorDash driver $100 on a $60 dinner order. It was Christmas Eve and she was grateful for the service. But Vivica had no idea just what a blessing she was. The driver wrote about losing their job months earlier. They took a few DoorDash orders on Christmas Eve just to pay for a tank of gas in the family car. The generous tip that Vivica gave left the driver in tears of joy all the way home.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

The owner of Modell Sporting Goods went undercover in his store and met one of his associates named Angel. Angel is rey of sunshine – a bundle of joy – in spite of difficult circumstances.

Angel is a mother of three – a hard worker – but her family was homeless and living in a shelter. Still she came into work each day with a smile for every customer. Angel was assigned to show a new employee the ropes – but that trainee was actually the owner of the store. She so impressed him and touched his heart that he set out to radically change Angel’s life.

Shortly after shadowing Angel, her boss met with her and promoted her to assistant manager, gave her a $14,000 annual raise AND THEN gave her a check for $250,000 to buy a home for her family!

Monday, January 16, 2023

The best way to prevent History from repeating itself is to learn from History. Knowing is half the battle! Have you seen the commercials recently for the Civil Rights Trail in Montgomery, AL?

The capital of Alabama was a hot seat for the Civil Rights movement in the 60s. There are many historical sites and museums to experience – from Dr. King’s church to the site of Rosa Park’s arrest.

Perhaps in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it’s time to plan a little day trip to learn the lessons of the past and find hope for the future! There are many sites in many cities, including New Orleans that are a part of the Civil Rights Trail. Learn more at civilrightstrail.com.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Back in early December, the Parrett family flew from their home in Fargo, ND to visit grandparents and family in Texas. They had a marvelous time – and even befriended a stray dog they named Country. The pup had wandered on the family property and bonded immediately with the two young Parrett kids.

But they couldn’t take Country home with them. As you can imagine, it was devastating to the kids who cried all the way to the airport.

Flash forward a few weeks to Christmas morning, when Grandpa Mike arrived in Fargo, ND – having driven over 1,200 miles from Texas to Fargo to deliver his grandchildren the ultimate Christmas present – the newly adopted Country.

 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

It was 2 PM on a Friday in Buffalo, NY when the snow started coming down too fast to see through. Since they had power and food at McDonalds, they started pulling customers and stranded motorists inside to stay warm. They tweeted that they had hot coffee, working heat and that they’d put the Bills game on the TV.

Soon the local police department started dropping off stranded motorists at the fast food joint. More than 50 folks ended up spending time surviving the Christmas blizzard at that Buffalo McDonalds throughout the weekend. There was hot coffee and hot chocolate and plenty of food for everyone.

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

A little boy named Jude found a keyboard in the basement and his father was blown away by his son’s natural talent. Jude has autism and turns out – he’s a musical prodigy!

Jude’s story was shared on the local news in Denver and a professional piano tuner named Bill Magnusson happened to see the uplifting piece. He connected with the family through the news station and donated a grand piano to the family saying “This kid is Mozart level!”

 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A blizzard blew through upstate New York and a bus carrying 10 tourists outside of Buffalo got stuck in the snow. The folks from Korea were traveling from DC to Niagara Falls when the weather hemmed them in.

Two of the men decided to knock on a nearby door and ask to borrow snow shovels so they could dig the bus out and try to make their way through white-out conditions, but they knocked on the Alexander Campagna’s door and he wasn’t about to let these visitors from another land get trapped in a Polar Vortex!

Alexander and his wife made up couches, sleeping bags, air mattresses and their spare bedroom for all ten Korean tourists. It became an incredible holiday celebration, sharing food and stories and making new friends.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Callie Blue got a text at 4:50 AM Christmas morning from her boss – she was needed at Gus’s Diner. So Callie put on her Rudolph sweater and her smile and was at Gus’s in less than an hour.

A short time later she got her very own Christmas blessing!

Her second guest of the morning was Michael Johnson. Callie says he was kind, ordered breakfast and headed out – after leaving Callie a $1000 tip! Michael is the President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and went to Gus’s Diner in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin on Christmas morning specifically to bless someone.

Friday, January 6, 2023

Norwegian Cruise Line hosted a Teacher Appreciation contest where deserving educators got nominated for going above and beyond – and 100 teachers from across North America were awarded with a free cruise for two, featuring an exclusive concert by Kelly Clarkson while sailing to Mexico.

Plus the top three Grand Prize winners scored tens of thousands of dollars for their schools. Whether you won a cruise or not – thank you to all of the amazing teachers daily giving their best for our students and communities.

CLICK HERE to sign up local schools to be the LifeSongs Prayer School of the day!

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Congratulations to great-grandma and graduate Joyce DeFauw, who just earned a bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University more than 70 years after she first enrolled!

Joyce was months away from earning a degree in home economics when she fell in love with a man from her church. She decided to pause her studies to start a family with him. Today, she’s got dozens of grandkids and great-grandkids.

In 2019, she mentioned to them that she came close to completing her degree, and her ever-supportive family encouraged her to follow through. And so she did! This time, though, she opted to study from her retirement home.

She took one online class per semester — her first time using a computer! — which kept her busy during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the virus kept her family from visiting. And now, three years after she picked her studies back up, she received her degree in general studies. Why’d she go through all the studying and cramming of college again? Well, why not?

“It’s nice to finish something you started,” Joyce says — whether it’s a lengthy book, an art project or even a long-paused college education.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Joseph Cook took up metal detecting to occupy his idle hands at Hammock Beach in St. Augustine, FL. No one was more surprised than he was to stumble across a massive diamond ring!

Through the power of social media, the owner was found and the ring returned. In fact, that has sort of become Joseph’s hobby – returning lost and found jewelry that he digs up with his metal detector. He even wears a necklace that has nearly two dozen found rings on it, just in case he runs into someone who lost their ring while hitting the beach.

 

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A post shared by Joseph Cook (@joedigger2021)

 

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

To serve and protect; that’s the motto for the police force. And it is perhaps harder than ever to accomplish that mission. But officer Clarence Carr of the Kenner PD is giving his best. And that has many folks calling him a hero, though he shrugs off the label. Officer Carr says he’s just doing his job. But his job has put him in some incredibly dangerous situations.

Thanksgiving weekend Clarence got a call that a car had crashed into the water along I-10 near Loyola. He thought it must have been a mistake because there isn’t a lake or canal there but when Officer Carr arrived he saw just how dire the situation was. A construction pit from the ongoing airport exit work had filled with rainwater and mud. A car had spun out into the hole and was sinking fast, with three adults and a small child trapped inside.

The driver managed to get out, but Officer Carr slogged into the quicksand and rescued the other three passengers. Then firefighters had to pull Clarence out from the mud. A few months earlier this brave Kenner Police officer had rescued a man out of a canal on West Metairie Rd. So if you meet Officer Carr, buy him a coffee and thank him for being the hero we need.

 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Adam was working his shift at Home Depot when he found an envelope with $700 cash inside. Being an upstanding young man, Adam immediately took the money to his manager.

Home Depot manager Alissa turned to social media to see if they could track down the person missing the cash. Very quickly the right person was found and the money was returned. Which was good, because it turns out the envelope was full of money for Christmas presents!

Friday, December 23, 2022

It seems like prices just keep rising. Groceries seem to cost more every week!
But what if you didn’t have to worry about the cost of groceries for an entire month? During the month of December, when you have so many other expenses?

A digital marketing company in the Netherlands, gave their employees – all 100 of them – free groceries for an entire month as a Christmas gift. The owner of the company said that he trusts his employees not to take advantage of his gift, so there is no limit on how much they buy.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Cities in Canada are allowing citizens to pay their parking fines with TOYS. With the “Toys for Tickets” campaign, people can donate toys, in lieu of money, to pay for any parking ticket this holiday season.

In fact, they’d prefer you to donate a toy instead of paying in cash! The toys are delivered to a local toy drive and distributed to children over the holidays.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Back in 2009, Patricia Gallagher was an empty nester and she was lonely. So she and her mother decided to go to nursing homes to read Twas the Night Before Christmas to the residents. They brought along some of her kids stuffed animals for the seniors to hold while they read. But when it was time to gather up those stuffed animals and take them to the next nursing home, none of the residents wanted to give up their teddy bears!

On that day, Patricia saw the power of a simple Christmas gift. So she put an ad on Craigslist asking for gently used stuffed animals. Thanks to churches and local schools and many others donating, in her first two years of collecting, she received more than 11,000 donations! And she takes all of those donated stuffed animals to senior living facilities and homes for retired nuns and veterans.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

For the last 10 years an anonymous donor has played Santa Claus by giving a big Christmas gift to Children’s Hospital to take a shopping spree at Learning Express Toys of Metairie – the toy store also matches a portion of the gift to make the gifts go even further.

Hospital staff fill bags with Christmas toys for kids in the hospital. Most of the toys are selected with specific developmental skills and rehabilitation uses in mind. The healthcare professionals say having toys to play with helps settle nerves and actually improves recovery times for kids in the hospital! But just putting a smile on the face of those children and their parents is more than enough.

 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Twelve years ago a stranger paid for Krista and Jeff’s three young sons’ haircuts. It was just a random act of kindness. The family was so overjoyed by the kind act that they wanted to immediately pay it forward.

Krista took her boys to Walmart, purchased three gift cards and had her sons randomly pick strangers in the store to bless. The practice in generosity became an annual tradition for the family to spend December 1-25 doing random acts of kindness in their community.

 

Friday, December 16, 2022

Bryan started his 30th birthday outreach by writing a long list of all the things he is grateful for in life. He was so overwhelmed by thankfulness for the many ways others had supported him throughout his life – all of his blessings – that he was inspired to try and be a blessing to others.

And Bryan’s 30 Acts of Kindness by 30 are pretty huge. He made dessert for 400 firefighters, put together 150 supply kits for middle schools in Oakland, arranged for $12,000 worth of supplies from various sponsors to flow into local schools and most recently packaged 118 care boxes for animal shelter workers, which he hand delivered!

I can’t wait to see what he does next on Instagram @30actsby30! You don’t need a major milestone birthday to do good in your community. Maybe start by monthly supporting LifeSongs

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Since its founding a quarter century ago, the Highway Angels Program has recognized over 1300 truck drivers for the kindness, courage and courtesy shown while on the job. Recently the award went to Tony Doughty – who was a real action hero!

Tony was driving his truck on I-40 near Albuquerque, NM when he witnessed a horrifying accident going the other direction. A red car slammed into a Jeep, both going 70 miles per hour. The Jeep flipped over and the car slammed into a cement barrier.

Tony carefully pulled his semi-truck over, called 9-1-1 and grabbed his EMT bag. Not only is Tony a truck driver, he’s been a volunteer firefighter for 12 years. A cop who happened to be passing by saw that Tony was trained and they worked together to secure the two injured drivers.

The pair were able to keep both injured parties stable and patched up for the ambulance who whisked them away to the hospital. Because of his training, Tony says he’s always ready to lend a helping hand – an opportunity he’s had countless times while logging in over 2 million miles of safe driving of his rig.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Christmas came a little early for five music and child-related nonprofits in New Orleans, courtesy of none other than Lauren Daigle.

During her two Christmas concerts at the Saenger Theatre last weekend, she announced that her foundation, The Price Fund, had donated $100,000 apiece to the Ellis Marsalis Center, the Roots of Music, the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, KidSmart and Young Audiences of Louisiana.

Lauren says, “I’m truly moved and inspired by the passion and commitment that I’ve seen from every single person involved with all of these organizations, not to mention the tireless and seemingly endless work done by their volunteers. The thousands whose lives they touch each and every day, not only provides light and hope for so many in need, it sets an example for all of us to follow and shows us what we do mean to each other.”

 

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A post shared by Lauren Daigle (@lauren_daigle)

 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Adam Armstrong grew up in a neighborhood where Christmas was just another day of survival. Parents struggled to keep food on the table, so presents were just something on TV. Fifteen years after moving away, Adam has done well for himself and wanted to play Santa Claus for his old hood.

He showed up to the Harris Gardens Apartments with a moving truck loaded up with $12,000 worth of toys for all the families living on the edge of poverty. Kids lined up to get brand new bikes and toys galore! Making it a very merry Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2022

Leisa Duckwall works in food services for Nansemond Parkway Elementary School. And Mrs. Leisa happens to be deaf. A fourth grade teacher, Kari, noticed the kids in her class would just point to the food they wanted and wave hello to Mrs. Leisa, but they didn’t know any sign language. Since Kari grew up with deaf family and knows ASL, she decided to teach her students some of the basics.

But word (or signs ?) spread and everyone at the school wanted to learn how to better communicate with Mrs. Leisa! The school started daily ASL lessons during Disability Awareness Month in October – but everyone loved it so much it has become a daily feature for all classes in the school all year long now.

The children love being able to better communicate with Mrs. Leisa – like learning any new language, it has opened up everyone’s world!

Friday, December 9, 2022

Romello Early (who goes by “Mello”) is one awesome 7th grader. He might be shorter than his classmates but he’s got a bright smile that he’ll share with anyone. When Mello’s best friend Melvin was getting picked on for having worn out tennis shoes, Mello had an idea.

He had been saving his allowance and chores money for a while, so he asked his mom to take him shopping – and got his bestie a brand new pair or Nike’s. He didn’t make a big deal out of it – he just wanted his friend to feel loved.

Mello had dealt with bullying at his old school and wasn’t going to let his best friend Melvin feel that hurt any longer. Shout out to all the Middle Schoolers out there looking out for one another and being true friends.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Good Dog Foundation in Hudson, New York trains about 300 dogs a year – every kind of pup – to become therapy dogs. With special training, dogs can go to public spaces like offices, hospitals, elderly care facilities and schools – bringing their comforting presence to cold corners of the modern world.

The Good Dog Foundation estimates that 300 trained dogs can impact over 100,000 a year! Martha Gold, a teacher in Manhattan, took her dog Oliver through training and has spent the last 4 years bringing peace to her classroom. The kids love to read to Oliver – and have much more confidence because of him!

One student said, “When I read to Oliver, he’s somebody that actually listens to me.”

Emily Kaye got her husky Laska volunteer certified and brings cheer to her local nursing home each week. Residents say that Laska is as important as the medicine they take.

 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Nina Archuleta is a single mom to a 10-month old baby. She’s working full-time and a recovering addict. It’s a full life that has been especially difficult without reliable transportation. That is until God’s Garage stepped in.

Nina was gifted a 2012 Toyota RAV4 from the non-profit called God’s Garage – who specialize in getting wheels to people in need. When Nina saw her new car with a big red bow on it she couldn’t stop crying in gratitude.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

A Georgia woman glided into the gas station on fumes and was on the verge of tears as her card was declined. Officer Harrison of the McDonough Police Department happened to be close by filling up his cruiser and noticed her frustration. She started getting her things together to try and walk the rest of the way to work in the rain, hoping to come back for her car later.

Officer Harrison stepped in and paid for her to have a full tank of gas. It wasn’t a special promotion by the police department – just a neighbor being a neighbor. But what a great example of serving and protecting!

Monday, December 5, 2022

Devan Bonagura is one of those guys at Walmart with a display table trying to convince you to switch your cellular service. But he’s also a rising star on TikTok as he shares life inside a Big Box store. He posted a video of an older Walmart Employee named Nola who was just catching her breath in the break room.

Nola shared with Devan how she wants to retire but her mortgage is what is keeping her at work. With the caption, “Life shouldn’t be this hard…” Devan and over 13,000 TikTok followers set out to change Nola’s life.

The video was shared MILLIONS of times and in less than a week over $170,000 was raised on GoFundMe so that Nola could turn in her two weeks notice and embrace the retired life with her family.

@dbon973_ :/ I feel bad. #fyp #blowthisup #sad #walmart ♬ Jocelyn Flores – XXXTENTACION

 

Friday, December 2, 2022

Michael McGuire might be the University of Kentucky basketball team’s most dedicated fan! At least, he is an incredibly dedicated Dad. Michael is a Kentucky coal miner – and he had a choice when his shift ended last weekend: Drive 45 minutes to the Wildcats’ charity scrimmage game and arrive on time, or drive back home and clean up but miss half the game.

The decision was easy, though – McGuire wanted to be there when his young son Easton went wild for the home team at his first-ever basketball tourney.

So McGuire arrived straight from work, still coated in black dust in his work clothes. Michael and his son Easton had a great time together – and the soot covered coal miner caught the attention of the Wildcats coach. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari invited the family to attend a home game at the school’s stadium (VIP treatment included).

 

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A post shared by John Calipari (@ukcoachcalipari)

 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

There are countless untold stories of heroism coming out of Ukraine and Eastern Europe defending against the Russian invasion. One hero is Roman Dobryak. This Ukrainian soldier lost one of his legs in an attack this past May.

Maybe not all in one piece, but Roman’s family and friends were relieved to have him back after his medical discharge. And it wasn’t long before Roman proposed to his girlfriend – now fiance – Julia. Getting down on one knee took a little help but Julia was quick to swoop in for a kiss and that ring.

The video was super sweet and has been shared many times to encourage other Ukrainian soldiers still on the frontlines – there is a life worth fighting for!

 

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A post shared by Roman Dobryak (@dobryakproduction)

*That’s a lot of road flares right? Like maybe too many?

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Ashley Garner lives near Fort Myers, FL. A few days before Hurricane Ian arrived, she lost her wedding ring. She searched for it relentlessly but didn’t have any luck. After the storm, she had all but given up on recovering the precious ring.

Following the storm, Ashley and her husband were cleaning the yard. About 10 minutes into cleaning, her husband was cleaning up the brush and the trees right next to the garage door and low and behold – the ring!

Ashley says she just sat on the curb, and I prayed to God and thanked him for providing and giving us a sign that there’s hope for the community.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Someone walked up to an officer and handed him a white envelope. Inside was a stack of 8 $1 bills. The donation came from the homeless community of Richmond.  The homeless residents of Richmond were grieving the loss of a friend on the force and wanted to give what they could to her family.

The Police Lieutenant said, “This gift was in a wrinkled dirty well-used envelope. They handed the envelope to the information officer and on the envelope was written these four words: people from the street. There have been many valuable gifts given. However, none, and I mean none, are more valuable than the gift of 8 $1 bills in a dirty white envelope.”

As this story broke, the community came together and filled a local firehouse with donations of clothes, food and blankets for the homeless community who gave what little they had.

Monday, November 28, 2022

When you experience incredible kindness – you want to pay it forward right? Sarah Pulley spent four months practically living inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with her premature daughter Amelia. It was a stressful, scary time – made survivable by kind hospital staff and Ronald McDonald House.

The hospital wanted to expand their offerings in caring for parents as they wait and pray for their children in the NICU. Sarah knew this was her chance to give back. She owns a hair salon called Three Seventeen Hair Design. Sarah donated a chair from her salon, doing shampoo, blow-outs and scalp massages every month.

Sarah also shares her story of hope and encourages the new moms who get a moment of peace in a hydro massage chair while getting pampered and treated like a queen.

Friday, November 25, 2022:

Gretchen Caiazzo was out to eat with her 14-year-old grandson Cole in Chandler, Arizona. When it came time to pay the bill, their server informed them that it had been paid for already. The waiter then handed them a note from the couple who paid for their meal.

Then note read: “We enjoyed watching your special date. It got us talking about how much we miss those times with our own grandmothers. This time is so precious. Love that you’re living memories together. Enjoy each other. God bless – Vernon and Christine.”

A photo of note got posted on social media with the caption: “Random acts of kindness amaze me!!! I’m so grateful there is still beauty and kindness in this world especially when it seems so far to find some days!”

Thursday, November 24, 2022:

Elizabeth Groff received an Operation Christmas Child years ago in Ukraine. Now she’s helping to pack the 200 millionth gift on a tour across the United States.

Elizabeth wants people to know that God is using these gifts to demonstrate His love to children who are in desperate need. “There are so many children out there just like me who have never heard of Jesus or experienced His everlasting love,” she said. “I know the impact a single shoebox can make. It absolutely changed my life. There’s no greater reward than being able to serve through this ministry.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2022:

Several gifts in Manar’s Operation Christmas Child shoebox have become decades-long reminders of God’s love.

Mana was born to Christian parents in a Middle Eastern country who’s majority are not followers of Jesus. His name means “beacon,” and he is certainly shining the light of Jesus to others. When he was 13, he received an Operation Christmas Child shoebox gift that seemed to radiate with God’s love. He says, “I thought there would be only one item in the box but was astonished to see that it was full of gifts. The toy store came to me!” The first thing he saw in the box was a stuffed animal—a bear wearing a red sweater. There also was a football, an Etch A Sketch, crayons, a monkey-shaped keychain, and a note from the sender that said, “Jesus loves you and I’m praying for you.”

Mana says, “I felt the love of Jesus through the shoebox. It taught me how God is great, that God thought about me and sent me that gift.” That thought stuck with him. Wanting other children to experience the joy that he had through this gift, at age 18, Manar decided to make his own version of shoebox gifts for his neighbors’ four children. He is now an Operation Christmas Child project leader at his church, encouraging others to pack shoebox gifts, too. He says, “The light of God’s love that I felt at age 13 when I received a shoebox gift continues decades later each time I look at one of the items from my box.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Why are there cars and trucks parked all along the road leading to a classic rough-hewn timber barn in Wadsworth, Ohio? For Christmas Magic. Inside the beautiful classic barn there are tables set up – strands of lights wrapped around the beams for ambience – and a stack of red and green Operation Christmas Child boxes ready to be packed!

Matt and Kristel Stone run the Styx and Stones Farm – and host 40 shoeboxing events a year, with over 1,000 friends and family members pitching in. This year they put together 5,000 gifts for children and families around the world.

For two hours nearly every Saturday the community turns out to assemble cardboard boxes, write notes to boys and girls around the world and pack those shoeboxes with Christmas presents. Then the group prays over the gifts that will also carry the Gospel to those who haven’t yet heard about Jesus!

It’s probably too far to drive to Wadsworth, Ohio to pack up a gift – but you can still put an online order together here.

Monday, November 21, 2022

If you have a nine year old – or remember what it was like being nine – you know that kids around that age can become OBSESSED. It could be the sport they are playing or a YouTuber’s channel – but thankfully, for Ava Smith’s parents, she is obsessed with Operation Christmas Child.

Ava learned about Operation Christmas Child through her Christian school, when her class packed shoebox gifts for other young children around the world. She was so excited to tell her little brother Jack all about it – and her parents Justin and Danielle. Pretty soon the whole family was volunteering with Operation Christmas Child!

It became a year-long passion for Ava. She held a yard sale in the Spring and began designing and selling custom t-shirts, all so her family could fill even more shoebox gifts this Fall.

In each box, well over 100 gifts, Ava includes a note saying, “Hi, I’m Ava and this is my brother Jack. We hope you like your gift and know that Jesus loves you!”

Friday, November 18, 2022

The room was noisy with boxes opening and packages being unwrapped – it was a room full of excited, grateful children getting their first Operation Christmas Child gifts. But there weren’t many cheers or loud whoops of joy – because it was a classroom full of deaf students.

These boys and girls of the Himba people in Namibia – all deaf – were smiling ear to ear as they read books about Jesus and played with their new toys. Most of these children come from farming families and live in mud huts in isolated villages. Their time in school was sporadic before Klaudia started the class for deaf students. The only other option was to travel 10 hours away to the capital city to receive any specialized education for the deaf.

Ms. Klaudia was called by God to serve these children. She is not deaf – doesn’t have deaf parents or any deaf friends – but God put this marginalized group of special needs kids on her heart – so she learned sign language, got a teaching degree and set out to change her world. Operation Christmas Child has helped equip her to impact many lives.

 

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Yuri Lopez had a hard start to this life. She was separated from her family at the age of 2 in Honduras, and spent years hopping between 14 different orphanages in Central America. When she was six years old, Yuri got her very first Christmas present from Operation Christmas Child. And at six years old, she experienced her first taste of Hope.

“Everything in my shoebox was special,” Yuri said. “But the most important thing was the picture and note from the little girl who sent that shoebox to me. Her note said, ‘Jesus loves you and I love you too.’ At that moment it made a big impact on me, and it continued to for many years.”

Now an adult who loves and serves Jesus, Yuri has packed hundreds of shoebox gifts herself, including a special letter in each with the hope that some child around the world will experience the same Hope she did as a child.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Ken Postema is a craftsman. He lives on 10 wooded acres in Western Michigan, in a house he built himself with the poplar wood growing on his land. He’s been tending the land and forest for over 50 years.

One of his skills is making little toy wooden cars in his workshop. The custom toys started out as a project to do with his elderly dad, making gifts for their community, but once he connected with Operation Christmas Child he started mass producing the toys – he built 20,000 of them this year!

Ken’s grandkids call his workshop “Papa’s Christmas Car Show” as they help share Christmas and Jesus through Operation Christmas Child.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Baka people are from Central Africa – mostly Gabon and Cameroon. They live on the fringes of society, with little access to the modern world and certainly no access to the Gospel. God put the Baka people on the heart of Aristide, a volunteer coordinator for Operation Christmas Child in Gabon. In 2020 Aristide began leading others in prayer for the Baka and asking God for direction on how to reach them with His Good News.

The very next year an outreach was launched and over 350 Baka came to the very first Operation Christian Child event! They were able to share Jesus in the Baka’s native language of Fang. The village was so amazed by Jesus and hungry for the truth that the newly converted Chief founded a dedicated church space at the center of the village.

Now the Gabon outreach to the Baka is growing to reach seven more nearby villages!

 

Monday, November 14, 2022

Operation Christmas Child is a partnership of millions of people working to spread the Gospel. There’s folks like us who put together gifts and drop them off. Then there is an army of volunteers that organize the gifts, packaging them for global travel.

And then – there are the Operation Christmas Child missionaries that are on delivery duty – and they go to extreme lengths to get the Gospel and these Christmas presents into the hands of families and children in the hardest to reach corners of the globe!

Gifts are delivered by canoe in Fiji – fighting monsoons in the Philippines – via private sailboats in the depths of the Pacific Ocean – four-wheel drive trucks barreling through Madagascar – a caravan of camels in the desert of Namibia – Farm trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, horse and even by foot!

Both the prophet Isaiah and the Apostle Paul say in God’s Word, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

It’s National Collection Week – so get those gifts in today!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Christians around the world face persecution for expressing faith in Jesus Christ – who has called us to love, perhaps especially, our enemies. A small group of Christians live in a village in Central Asia, where they are treated like filth.

When one woman’s mother died the community denied her a burial site and threatened to stone her to death for being a Christian. Still she forgives and loves. The Christian woman reached out to Operation Christmas Child on behalf of the children in her community – and volunteers traveled 10 hours off road to bring 1000 gifts to people who were very much opposed to Jesus.

They were not, however, opposed to getting presents – and welcomed the visitors with surprising warmth. Seeds of hope have been planted because folks like you and me have sent those shoebox gifts! Want to volunteer for National Collection Week? Email Lauren Bernard!

Thursday, November 10, 2022

A boat loaded with Christmas presents docked at the forgotten island of Vridi Ako. It’s a small, lonely place off of the Ivory Coast – accessible only by boat. Vridi Ako is a place of poverty and desperation; a den for pirates and criminals.

A church on the mainland has tried three times to plant a new church on Vridi Ako – with no success. But the believers never quit trying to reach their neighbors. It was through Operation Christmas Child that they were able to share their faith – and Christmas – with the residents of the troubled little island. 150 children received their first Christmas gifts ever!

And a year later, a small congregation has formed as Jesus has transformed lives!

 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

A volunteer with Operation Christmas Child, who we’ll call Yusif to protect his identity, felt God prompting him to slow down when he spotted two young shepherds tending their flock by the side of a rural highway.

The boys were just 5 and 7, yet they sat proudly on their donkeys, managing the family’s flock. Yusif cautiously approached the boys and told them God wanted them to have these gifts – giving them each a green and red Operation Christmas Child present, along with a copy of a booklet called The Greatest Gift.

No one had ever given these young shepherds a gift before. Their life had been hard work from the start. We pray with Yusif that the seed of the Gospel will grow in their lives. And Yusif also prays for reminders to slow down on the highway so he doesn’t miss an opportunity to show God’s love in China.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Romario grew up unaware of Jesus in a small village deep in the jungles of South America. But Romario says, “I always had a hungry heart, looking for something special. I knew there was something missing in my life.”

As a teenager, Romario met Jesus in a church near the capital of Suriname. He also got really sick – near death – before a miraculous healing through prayer. As a young man, he shares the Gospel with his village by explaining life without Christ is like being sick to the point of death.

Romario and his pastor share the Gospel of a healed heart and soul through Jesus Christ, by bringing Operation Christmas Child gifts to villages throughout the jungle. People groups who have never before heard about Jesus are being saved because you are building shoebox gifts!

 

Monday, November 7, 2022

Simply by living in the developed world – we are blessed. We don’t know poverty the way many around the world do. Edouard grew up in the West African nation of Senegal, where his family experienced real poverty.

One meal a day. Candles for light. A bare floor for a bed. The family home was scrap pieces of tarp tied to scrap wood. And yet Eduoard says his family was happy, because they were all together. His father, a pastor, would pray over the family each morning, “God You are good, and I’m giving you the day.”

At the age of 14 Eduoard was given a shoebox gift from Operation Christmas Child. Inside he found a pack of two toothbrushes – which he was excited to share with his sister – their very first toothbrushes. Also inside was a green Yo-Yo. No one in their community had ever seen such a toy – and it was passed around to everyone to try and figure out the skill.

Years later Eduoard was in the United States training as a track and field athlete. His church recruited him to help move some boxes – but when he saw the red and green OCC boxes he broke down in joyful tears, exclaiming, “I received one of those!”

Friday, November 4, 2022

Seven missionaries set sail on a 57-foot boat through rough weather, finally making anchor in the lagoon of an island in a hard to reach part of the Marshall Islands. This cluster of islands is home to about 11,000 people – situated deep in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Indonesia.

Why take such a risky journey? To share Jesus through Operation Christmas Child! Once the ship made anchor off the island of Mejatto, smaller boats came by to help ferry the gifts and missionaries to shore. There, children opened nearly 100 shoeboxes filled with toys and supplies. 87 of those children also prayed to welcome Jesus as King of their hearts!

The next day, the crew of the Cloud 9 made harbor at The Forgotten Island of Ebadon. This tiny South Pacific island is home to only 74 people – and over half of them began their journey with Jesus that day. By packing a shoebox gift you can impact the farthest reaches of the world!

Thursday, November 3, 2022

In the West African country of Benin, on a lake near the largest city of Cotonou, is a village built on stilts. Ganvie is a community of fishermen. Adults and kids alike have their own boats to get around their town.

During Christmas time, a long dugout canoe filled with red and green shoeboxes makes its way to the dock. It is quickly unloaded and someone puts music on the community building’s sound system. Soon families swarm the area with kids joyfully unwrapping Operation Christmas Child presents while singing along to the radio.

Dozens of families heard about Jesus. And while children were excited for the toys, the parents were grateful for the blankets given to every family for the cold nights. The Gospel is alive and thriving in Benin thanks to every person who helps put together an Operation Christmas Child gift!

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

One day, on a long walk in Latvia with her foster mother to get food assistance, a stranger presented a 10 year old Elizabeth with a shoebox filled with Christmas presents – and that gift changed her entire world.

Elizabeth and her two siblings were removed from her parents’ home when she was only 7. They were abusing drugs and alcohol and neglecting their children. After a short time in an orphanage, the girls went to a foster home with five other foster children. They experienced poverty and ridicule. Elizabeth, being the oldest of the foster kids, stayed busy cooking, cleaning and shouldering responsibility for the makeshift family.

When Elizabeth returned home with unexpected Christmas presents, she witnessed pure joy on her siblings’ faces – and she got her very first toy. A little purple mouse stuffed animal that was just hers. Included with the gifts was a little pamphlet about Jesus. Elizabeth began to pray to Jesus and then she and her sisters were adopted by a family in the United States.

Their new family was very loving – and took the girls to church, where she discovered more shoebox gifts just like she had received years before. Now she and her sisters and her new family pack Operation Christmas Child gifts every year with the hope that other sisters will hear about Jesus and experience the joy of their very own Christmas present.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Himba people were scared. Endless drought, deep poverty and failed ancestral worship had left them without hope. The Himba live a nomadic life, without running water or electricity. They have no written language and live in temporary mud huts. The Himba live deep inside Namibia – four hours off the beaten path.

But where the world largely forgot these people, God did not forget. God sent his Son Jesus for them. And he sent Pastor Rizera Hipakua to tell them about Jesus and invite them into His Kingdom.

It was Operation Christmas Child that enabled Pastor Rizera and his church to open communications with the Himba. By handing out Christmas gifts and medical care, conversations quickly turned to the reason for all of the generosity. And the gift of hearing about Jesus trumped all of the other presents.

Multiple Himba communities have been introduced to Jesus through these outreaches and many have had their lives forever changed by the Spirit of the Living God. We’re inviting you to make a difference with Operation Christmas Child today!

Monday, October 31, 2022

The loss of a child is a pain no one should ever have to experience. And it impacts many more than mom and dad. 8 year-old Greyson still misses his baby brother, who passed away in 2017. He carries a framed picture of his brother Wyatt with him to school every day.

Greyson wanted to honor his brother by taking care of other little kids entering kindergarten. He went to his parents with the idea of doing a fundraiser for school supplies in Wyatt’s memory. With some hard work and a loving heart, Greyson raised $350, went shopping for the supplies and delivered them himself to Estes Elementary School.

Friday, October 28, 2022

A stack of pizzas is the go-to for a child’s birthday. A Dominos store in Australia went the extra mile to make it a memorable birthday for a little girl. A mom had to call her local Dominos to change her initial order. A group of kids invited to her daughter’s birthday party canceled at the last minute, so instead of a stack of party pizzas, they only needed one.

Shift supervisor Miles could tell the woman was pretty upset that the friends had canceled, so when she showed up to pick up dinner, Miles had a special chocolate dessert pizza and a happy birthday pizza box waiting for the family.

Miles turned their frowns upside down. And when the story got shared on social media, the community started hounding the local Dominos to collect birthday presents for the little girl – everyone wanted to get in on the blessing!

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Isaac is a sweet, special needs, 11-year-old boy who decided to invest his birthday card money to launch a home-grown food bank, which he runs from the shed in his backyard! It’s a simple but proven method. Isaac collects food donations and then packages them into grocery bags before handing them out to folks in need in his hometown of Redditch.

The project has become known as Friends of Isaac Food Bank – and it is growing FAST! The family put a logo wrap on their minivan for distribution days, but they can’t keep up with the generosity pouring in from the community. A local charity is sponsoring Friends of Isaac Food Bank to open a full service food bank in town – which is needed because that shed in the backyard is overflowing with donated goods!

 

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Ryan Carney says “I’m not a doctor, but I know that music is known to be the universal language.” Ryan has seen first hand the power of a good song. His father, who recently passed from brain cancer, couldn’t speak from all the chemo. But one day at his care center, the song “Stand By Me” came on the speakers and the quiet frail man began to sing!

Now Ryan, to honor his father, visits nursing homes and performs with his cello for residents. The sound of music fills the hallways and without fail, people shuffle in for the free concert every single time.

Ryan is a realtor by profession. But for the nursing home residents, he is their own musical angel.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

A professor at UC Berkeley has created a program to celebrate the ordinary goodness happening every single day.

Professor Alan Ross created the Chris Kindness Award – named after a beloved preschool teacher who recently passed away. Anyone in the Berkeley area can nominate a person who they believe exemplifies kindness and service. Once a month, a winner is selected and awarded $1000!

Professor Ross hopes the idea catches on in other communities as well – because “kindness can change the world around us!”

Monday, October 24, 2022

When Francesco was born, doctors told his mom and dad that he would only live for 30 minutes. That was three years ago. Francesco has a rare form of skeletal dysplasia that makes it especially challenging to breathe and for his lungs to grow. He has spent his entire life so far in the hospital on ventilators, with feeding tubes for nutrition.

1,000 days. That’s how long the Brunos essentially have lived with their son at the hospital. Until a couple of weeks ago when they finally got to take their toddler boy home. Miraculous and beautiful.

No matter what you face, God is bigger than your circumstances. And there is great growth in the waiting.

Friday, October 21, 2022

Dustin LaFont knows hardship can be a way of life in Louisiana. The former history teacher also knows that hardship breeds a special kind of resilience. That’s why LaFont founded Front Yard Bikes, a nonprofit that serves hundreds of students in Baton Rouge.

At Front Yard Bikes, students work to build their own bicycle, learning skills like mechanics, welding and cycling safety, while receiving mentoring, academic support, and job training opportunities. The project started in 2010 when LaFont was inspired by the neighborhood kids who gathered in his yard for tips, tools, and bike parts.

Students involved with Front Yard Bikes even helped renovate a community park near the non-profit’s headquarters which now serves as a safe place for kids to learn, play and ride.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Many writers in the Bible compare the Christian life to running a race. And running races is … well, really hard! Young Andrew crossed the finish line of his first ever cross-country race in Liverpool, New York and collapsed from exhaustion.

Andrew couldn’t move – he just struggled to catch his breath and sobbed from exhaustion. One of his competitors, Cooper, who had finished just ahead of Andrew came over to comfort his competition. After a moment of encouraging Andrew and talking him through some deep breaths, the new friends fist bumped and moved off from the finish line.

Andrew’s mom watched the whole interaction from the sidelines and said it “just really fed [her] soul.” Let this be a reminder to all of us to always be good sports. It might just lead to new friendships.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Chick-Fil-A is known for its delicious food but maybe even more so for its awesome employees. Customer service is priority number one. That goes for everything from refilling your sweet tea while you dine, to keeping a spotless dining room, to even fighting off carjackers.

A woman was getting her child out of her car in the parking lot of a Fort Walton Beach Chick-Fil-A when she was approached by a man wielding a big stick demanding her keys, pushing her and the child out of the way and hopping into the car.

Mykel Gordon was working inside when he heard the cries for help, rushing outside to see what was going on. The Chick-Fil-A team member got between the woman and the car, and managed to wrestle the thief out of the driver’s seat. After a few punches were thrown, the man was apprehended by police. Mykel was a hero and the woman and her child were unharmed.

*Bonus Good News: Chick-fil-a’s Avocado Lime Ranch dressing is coming to grocery stores!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Several of the young women on the homecoming court at Crossville High School hatched a plan to make it a very special homecoming for a very special friend. When Juleydi Ramos won homecoming queen, she gave a nod to Principal Peppers and walked the crown over to the runner-up – Lilliana Roque.

Lilliana is a ray of sunshine with a permanent smile in place, even though she spends most of her time in a wheelchair. Lilliana suffers from Cerebral Palsy, but doesn’t let her diagnosis keep her from being her joyful self. Her friends wanted Lilliana to know just how special she is to them, so they made sure the crown could ultimately go to her.

Principal Peppers said , “I am so proud of these students. They exemplify outstanding character, generosity and kindness. Juleydi is always thinking of others and Lilliana is a bright spot in our lives every day through the smile on her face. We are so blessed to have these types of students in our school.”

 

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Monday, October 17, 2022

A year ago, Hurricane Ida destroyed all the musical instruments at Marrero Middle School Band in Jefferson Parish. The response to this great loss was immediate – and generous! Three different organizations came to answer the call: Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, Save the Music Foundation, and Guitar Center Music Foundation (GCMF).

GCMF is providing a brand-new drum line, various brass instruments, and much-needed storage components; Music Rising and Save the Music Foundation are providing several dozen additional instruments.

The instruments were presented to the school a couple of weeks ago in a spectacular celebration that featured a performance by the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band. The next generation of jazz musicians are being crafted in love.

Friday, October 14, 2022

Caroline Rollins took a break from picking up debris after Hurricane Ian hit her home town of Fort Myers, FL. She went to her local Publix grocery store with high hopes but low expectations. It was her daughter Anna’s 3rd birthday and she was in search of a birthday cake. Given the state of the roads after Ian, she didn’t expect the grocery store to be in cake-baking mode, but she had to ask. Sure enough, there were no cakes in the display case, but a Publix employee (Natasha) was about to give Anna a very happy birthday.

Natasha tapped Caroline on the shoulder and told her she found some buttercream vanilla cakes in the freezer and wanted to know what Anna was into, so they could get it decorated for her. Caroline was ecstatic, saying Anna is her 100% girly girl, so anything pink and princessy would be perfect.

The Publix bakery got to present a tiara decked birthday cake to little Anna who was so grateful and excited – and that video of course went viral – as life returns even during a hurricane recovery.


Thursday, October 13, 2022

Nearly a decade ago, in 2016, a group of Louisiana boat owners responded to flooding in St. James Parish – and thus began the Cajun Navy. Ever since the organization of volunteers has grown as they respond to natural disasters across the South. When Hurricane Ian hit Florida, there was already a long convoy of snorkeled pickup trucks and fishing boats headed down I-10 to help.

The Cajun Navy has become such a staple in emergency response that they get called in by many states, much like the National Guard. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis welcomed them with open arms. Mostly veterans who are used to dangerous conditions, these heroes staged from a closed truck stop outside of Fort Myers and were already conducting rescue operations before the storm’s winds had passed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Stories of compassion and courage have poured in after Hurricane Ian disrupted Florida and the Carolinas. One outstanding hero is WESH Channel 2 reporter Tony Atkins out of Orlando.

Atkins was broadcasting live from a flooded intersection when he noticed a sedan behind him had stalled in the floodwaters. He paused his report and waded in waist-high water over to its driver. Hanging off the side of her car door, nurse Tonya McCullough handed Atkins her purse, which he dutifully held above the water, and climbed on Atkins’ back. When they reached a safe spot, he carefully set nurse McCullough on her feet and she quickly headed off to work.

Nurse McCullough is a hero herself – reporting for her hospital shift in the middle of a storm. With the driver saved from a flooded car, Tony Atkins calmly returned to his report. McCullough caught up with Atkins later on and dropped off thank-you letters from her grandchildren for saving her from the storm.

Oh, and all of this happened during Atkins’ first time covering a hurricane!


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

7 year-old Dominic D’Andrea took his piggy bank to his mom and asked her help to give his savings to people in Florida suffering after Hurricane Ian. His mom chronicled her son’s generosity on TikTok.

Dominic said “I was really saving up for a Corvette or an electric shooter, but people need this.”

Dom’s $200 gift for relief has gone viral and inspired many others to give as well. And his family is going the distance, organizing donation and supply drives for the Fort Myers area.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Chef Andres is the founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit that jumps right in providing food and supplies.

Over the pandemic World Central Kitchen battled food insecurity. They have been on the front lines for Ukrainian refugees. More recently WCK has been helping flooding victims in the Dominican Republic and now they are set up in Florida.

During their first day in Tampa Bay, they prepared and distributed over 20,000 meals. Continue to pray for Florida and Carolinas and the islands impacted by hurricanes this season – and if you want to do more, check out THIS LIST of great organizations on the ground.

Friday, October 7, 2022

High School English teacher Larry Abrams was genuinely surprised to see how many of his students struggled with reading. Mr. Abrams teaches in an under-resourced community in New Jersey. Some of his students are also teen-parents and they weren’t reading to their toddlers either. This lit a fire in the teacher to spread the joy of reading to his struggling charges.

Larry founded BookSmiles, which provides children’s books to young mothers. In just a few short years BookSmiles has collected, sorted and distributed hundreds of thousands of books throughout the Mid-Atlantic – and are pushing for that 1 millionth book given!

Mr. Abrams says, “There are millions of kids in America who’ve never owned a book in their lives. I want to change that.”

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Twenty-four hours, 116.5 rounds, 14,664 strokes, and almost 20 miles of walking: that’s what it took to set a new Guinness World Record … playing putt-putt. But for a good cause!

Father-son duo Chris and Cole Hetzel, Tony Centers, and Bob Schoettinger powered through 2,097 holes on their beloved 18-hole local putt-putt course in northern Kentucky to set the record for the most holes of miniature golf in 24 hours by a foursome. But it wasn’t just about making the record book – the friends wanted to help their neighbors in Western Kentucky after devastating floods earlier this year.

Kevin Shea, the owner of the course, went all out to make the attempt a community event, complete with food trucks and a DJ. When every putt was putted, the team raised about $3,000 in relief – and inspired even more giving from amazed onlookers.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Mike Huss attended Ione Elementary school as a boy. As an adult he became the janitor for the school while putting his wife through college. At the encouragement of his coworkers and family, Mike then went to school and as soon as he graduated with his teaching degree Mike was hired as a teacher at his school.

Now years later he has stepped up to become the new Principal! He is a champion of committed teachers saying “there are really good teachers out there doing really amazing jobs – It’s just about growing a world, making it a better place.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

You’ve heard about emotional support animals visiting hospitals to cheer up patients fighting cancer – but a nursing home in Japan has secured an even better surprise for residents – BABIES!

The nursing home provides families with generous compensation: baby formula, diapers and a tea time for the moms – while their babies get passed around to residents who coo and cuddle and fawn over them.

The head of the facility was paying attention to how her residents would cheer up for days after a visit with their own grandkids and wanted to see if she could give everyone that kind of bonus joy with the new baby program. The hope is that these families connect in meaningful ways and continue the relationships even once the toddlers grow up.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Julio Castro teaches for an all boys high school in Santa Clarita, CA. His morning starts very early – at 4:30 AM, so he can scooter to the bus stop and get to class on time. After a long day at work, he makes his way back home, arriving well after his own 3 young children have gone to bed.

Julio is the kind of teacher that goes the extra mile, even if it means taking public transportation. The math teacher inspired so many of his students and impressed his faculty peers, so they banded together and gifted the teacher a new-used car!

The school raised $30,000 to get Julio a 2019 Mazda – PLUS a year’s worth of gas cards and car insurance. Julio was so surprised – but tearfully realized he could now spend mornings with his kids, taking them to school before heading to work each day.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Isabella Payne and her father Matthew share a passion for space. Since the 8-year-old was just a toddler on her father’s knee, she has watched him operate a licensed amateur radio station from their home in Kent, England. Sometimes, when things align, amateur radio operators can speak to astronauts on the International Space Station when they pass overhead. The astronauts use the radio connection to contact schools, and occasionally make “call-outs” to radio station operators in their path.

Matthew Payne has helped organize some radio chats before, but Isabella had never gotten to experience one until one night, American astronaut Kjell Lindgren made contact. Even though it was the middle of the night on Earth, her dad woke up the 8 year old to have an out-of-this-world chat.

“His voice instantly changed from normal to joyful,” Isabella said. “You could hear his smile.” It’s good practice for when she becomes a NASA communications specialist, her dream job.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Treyvon Adams, 16, Antwion Carey, 16, Tyson Brown, 17, Alto Moore, 16, and Cesar Parker, 16, were heading to school one morning when they came across an awful crash. The teens jumped into action and were able to free a woman trapped inside the car, who was in pain and yelling for help.

Treyvon admitted that, though he and his teammates are strong – all football stars at their Rome, GA high school, and likely future Georgia Bulldogs. But it still took everything they had to pry open one door and pull the woman out.

Their heroic actions have rightfully earned them a lot of praise and love from Rome High School and the community. And while the crew of teens appreciate the praise, they shrug off the label of hero saying, “..we just did the right thing.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Carlsey and Caden are getting married this October in their small hometown in rural Tennessee. They’ve gone with a Mediterranean/Italian countryside theme for the nuptials – which is super romantic, but a challenge to recreate in Tennessee.

The engaged couple’s photographer, Shea, wanted to capture their love for Tuscany in their engagement photos so she mapped out the perfect shots that would not require an expensive trip abroad. She took the soon to be newlyweds to Olive Garden!

You would swear these pictures were taken at Lake Como or outside of Sorrento. Carefully selecting angles outside the Olive Garden, a parking lot became rustic Italian romance! The lesson here is when planning your wedding, don’t skimp on the photographer. (And Vance wanted me to add, invest in a good DJ)

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Win or lose – it’s important how we play the game. Because if life is a game, we’re all on the same team!

When a pitcher accidentally hit a batter at the Little League Southwest Region Championship, it could have been an ugly scene. Kaiden Shelton was clearly upset that his pitch had hit 12-year-old batter Isaiah Jarvis in the head, knocking off his helmet and leaving him lying near home plate.

Luckily, Isaiah was unharmed and came over to comfort the shaken Shelton and give him a hug. That video went massively viral, but Isaiah said the reason for his act of kindness was simple.

“I wanted to go over there and spread God’s love and make sure that he’s OK, and make sure that he knows that I’m OK and that I’ll be OK.”

Kaiden said when asked about Isaiah’s hug. “I also cared about him, and that just showed that baseball is sportsmanship .” (Major Leaguers, take note: Baseball needs more hugs! Also … I watched the video and cried like a baby. I love Baseball so much…)

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!

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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A post shared by 4thQuarterTV (@4thquartertv_)

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.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Ben Miller loves animals and is a burgeoning entrepreneur – combining his loves by using his lemonade stand to fund his local Humane Society.

Over the last couple of years of running a lemonade stand has allowed third-grader Ben to give $2000 to the Idaho Humane Society – which he did in style. He put the cash in a large plastic bag and walked it into the Humane Society office.

If you are ever in Boise, Idaho – look for Ben Miller’s lemonade stand. He’s got classic lemonade, lavender lemonade, cookies and even dog treats on sale!

Thursday, April 28, 2022

When Omar Hegazy lost his leg in a car accident he was very angry. But he channeled that energy into swimming – and now he holds 2 Guinness World Records!

31 year old Omar Hegazy just broke the records for longest distance swam underwater with one breath AND longest distance swam underwater with one breath with fins. Not only is he accomplishing unprecedented feats under water, but the athlete has become a motivational speaker to teach kids to not be overwhelmed by negative circumstances.

Omar has done other notable things since his accident. He swam across the Gulf of Aqaba in 2017 and cycled 700 kilometers! He says, “I found a way to let out my anger and frustration, but it was also where I felt really free and capable.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Mobile Medics International is in the danger zone, helping Ukrainians as they escape the war with Russia. Teresa Gray began her career as a paramedic, then became a nurse and then founded Mobile Medics International out of her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska.

When Russia attacked Ukraine, MMI set up on the Ukrainian/Romania border to provide medical care to refugees by the hundreds. It’s the most dangerous mission Mobile Medics International has taken on to date.

Normally MMI teams of 5-10 medical professionals are on site for a couple of weeks, but this time they are staying put to continue to help – since over a quarter of the population of Ukraine has had to flee their homeland. Lots of lives to help – so Teresa Gray holds the line.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

During the pandemic food insecurity grew at unprecedented rates. Unemployment was up – the cost of food was up – healthy meals became more difficult for many families to provide. And with that need, community fridges began to appear. Think of it as a micro-food bank, the food version of a little free library.

Refrigerators began appearing in safe to access spots. Residents with extra food from their grocery run and local restaurants keep them full of fresh produce and other grocery staples. And it is free for anyone to come and grab something to cook for dinner.

Need food? Or just want to be involved? CLICK HERE to find community fridges in New Orleans!

Monday, April 25, 2022

Students in Mr. Julian’s class often gave him a hard time about his well-worn 4 years-old shoes. Students at Tech Freire Charter School in North Philadelphia started a GoFundMe page to raise money for some cooler shoes for Mr. Julian – specifically the Nike Blazer 77s.

But generosity bloomed inside the gag and the GoFundMe page raised over $3000! So Mr. Julian took the class on a field trip to the mall to buy him new tennis shoes and grab lunch at Chick Fil A. The rest of the funds were donated back into the school.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Millions of refugees have fled Ukraine – most into neighboring Poland. The Polish people have been pouring out resources, opening their homes and being incredible hosts during this scary time for the Ukrainian people. But even in such a stressful situation, the refugees have proven to be the very best house guests.

There is a tradition in Ukraine called “subotnik.” Basically every Saturday it is tradition to clean up your house and public spaces. So the Ukrainians in Poland are continuing that tradition in their temporary homes in Poland.

Many refugees have taken to cleaning up the parks, forests and public spaces in Poland on Saturdays as a way to thank their host country.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

What was your job during college? For Maria Balboa, it’s working at a local H-E-B grocery store near her school in Corpus Christi, TX. Not too long ago she was bagging groceries for a woman who found out at the register that her SNAP card was down to just $19 – about $140 short of the grocery bill. The woman began to pull things aside to return to the shelves when Maria felt a prompting in her heart to take care of the bill.

$137 is no small bill for Maria either. But she knew she could help and so she did. The woman was very grateful and trying to hold back tears in front of her two grandsons. She later wrote the store manager to share her difficult circumstances and the life changing good deed that Maria had done for her.

The store’s manager paid Maria back in full and gave her a gift basket as a reward for her kindness

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

The cost for adoption within the United States runs between $20,000 – $45,000. In comparison, the cost for having a baby runs on average around $11,000 before insurance. But still Joel and Kendra Paris knew they wanted to adopt a child. So they got creative in their fundraising.

After living abroad, the couple had become used to high quality baked goods – the types of bread that were missing in their new home of Abilene, TX. But Joel has a knack for bread-making and decided to bake their way to adoption.

Fundraising is a long hard road, but the couple is walking it out, with each artisanal loaf of bread. Their efforts are also going viral as people share their beautiful work and bring light to the rising cost of domestic adoption.

 

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Betty Reid Soskin is the National Park Service’s oldest active ranger, and she just retired a few months after her 100th birthday. Soskin worked at the Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California, which highlights the work of American civilians on the World War II home front.

As one of those civilians herself, Soskin shared her own World War II experiences with visitors, illuminating the largely untold stories of African Americans and other people of color during the war.

Ms. Soskins says, “Being a primary source in the sharing of that history — my history — and giving shape to a new national park has been exciting and fulfilling.”Monday, April 18, 2022

Generations of the Johnson family called the house on Adams St. in Lake Charles “home.” Linton Johnson Sr.’s father was a sharecropper. He sold 30 bales of cotton and used the money to build the house. It stood the test of time and weathered many storms. But the one-two punch of Hurricanes Laura and Delta took out the remaining structure.

The Johnson family has countless memories in that house – on that street. Kids playing football out front – the garden full of okra in the back – the smell of pies coming from the kitchen. In the wake of Hurricane Laura, Linton Johnson got connected with Samaritan’s Purse – an army of volunteers in the region to help clear debris and help families.

After the debris fields were cleaned, all that was left of the Johnson family home was a plot of land. But with the help of Samaritan’s Purse, a foundation was poured. Walls were built. A roof. Electrical. Drywall. Soon total devastation gave way to a brand new home!

Through the Samaritan’s Purse rebuild project in Lake Charles, God began to write a new chapter for this close-knit family. When the home was complete, the Johnsons, their church family and Samaritan’s Purse prayed over and dedicated the home to the Lord – and then the bill was handed over to Linton Sr. Stamped in bright red letters were the words PAID IN FULL.

Friday, April 15, 2022 – Good Friday

Our friend Greg in Brentwood, England shared with us about a music program his daughters Lissy and Maddie are in – and how these kids are helping Ukrainian refugees.

The Brentwood Youth Band was formed in 1990 as a way to teach children how to play instruments and read music. It’s inexpensive (about $1.50 a week) to participate and kids don’t need to know anything about music prior to joining. They simply need to commit to two practices a week.

In early March The Brentwood Youth Band was given the chance to help Ukrainian refugees with a fundraising concert. The kids learned the Ukrainian national anthem and worked it into their Spring recital. The performance was 2 hours of music and fun – and the children’s band raised about $20,000 to support the British Red Cross work for Ukrainian refugees!

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Merrill Pittman Cooper is Harpers Ferry, West Virginia’s newest high school graduate – at 101 years old. Mr. Cooper attended Storer College in the mid 30s, one of the few education opportunities for Black Americans back in the day. When his family moved to Philadelphia during his senior year, he had to drop out of school and work to support the family.

Mr. Cooper went on to have a very full life. On a recent trip with his family to visit Harpers Ferry – now a part of the National Parks system – he told his family how he regretted never getting his high school diploma. The family reached out to the park staff, worked with the department of education and on March 19th, they threw a graduation ceremony and presented the 101 year old with his diploma!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Bismack Biyombo is honoring his father with a grand gesture. Biyombo is an NBA player for the Phoenix Suns. His father passed away just last year in their native homeland of the Democratic Republic of Congo. To celebrate his father’s legacy and give back to his home country, Biyombo has dedicated his entire annual salary to building a hospital in the Congo.

The NBA player says, “This year, to give my father a gift that will continue to service people, my salary for this season will be going towards the construction of a hospital that will be named after my dad back home to give hope to the hopeless and for those individuals that cannot take their family out. The idea is to give them better conditions so that they can somewhat have hope that their loved ones could potentially be able to leave and see another day.”Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The 2022 version of a “Gone Fishin'” sign is apparently, “Took my son to Legoland!”

Genji Sato owns and runs Sushi Sasabune in Glendale, CA. It’s a hopping joint – and the sushi chef has confessed he doesn’t feel like he spends enough time with his young family. So one day last month, he decided to close the restaurant for a day of fun with his son at Legoland. He left a note on the door and headed out.

Fans of the restaurant shared the note online – cheering on their favorite sushi chef for his priorities. Hundreds of thousands of internet likes and shares later – it feels like the entire world was more excited to see a dad play with his son than to get a tuna and crunchy roll for lunch!

Monday, April 11, 2022

A Citgo gas station in North Carolina decided to throw their community a gas sale out of gratitude for their hard work and perseverance. The Burnsville Citgo listed gas for $2.25 a gallon for a few hours and word got out fast.

HUNDREDS of cars lined up down the street to take advantage of the gift of cheaper gasoline. Usually idling in your car in a long line leads to outbursts of anger – but the crowd was so thankful and thrilled for the break at the pump, that it was all smiles for miles.

Friday, April 8, 2022

We all have parts of our jobs that we love and parts that we dread. Does anyone enjoy those job review meetings with management? Absolutely not! Some police officers in Southern California recently got the PRIZE assignment – to hand out money!

Police near San Diego received a $20,000 grant to help their community deal with absurdly high gas prices. Officers took envelopes of $50 gift cards to local gas stations and started handing out the gifts to help fill up residents’ cars!

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Back in the 1940s, during WWII, mail was a primary source of communication between the battle front and the home front. And many letters were backlogged. That’s where heroes of the Six-Triple-Eight come in.

In 1945, the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, nicknamed the “Six-Triple-Eight,” traveled to England to wade through 6 months of backlogged mail from the war in Europe. This all-Black women group in the Army Corps sorted MILLIONS of pieces of mail in just a couple of months, while working in dangerous post-war conditions. They dealt with rampant racism – the military was still segregated at the time – no heat in their warehouse – and even tangled with a German U-boat and rocket explosions.

You’ve likely never even heard of the Six-Triple-Eight before – but perhaps Hollywood will pay attention. They were just recently awarded the highest Congressional honor in America – the Congressional Gold Medal – for their effort to restore communication lines through mail.

To quote the son of the late Army Major Charity Earley, who led the Six-Triple-Eight, “It’s wonderful. And it’s time.”

 

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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Allison’s dad Bill Collins was a firefighter in Des Moines, Iowa for almost 40 years before retiring last year. Allison wanted to make this birthday special, so she took to TikTok to share her idea to get t-shirts from fire departments in all 50 states. A quarter million views later, t-shirts began pouring in from all over the country!

Some of the fire department shirts came with notes from other firefighters telling stories of harrowing adventures and wishing Bill a very happy birthday. One handwritten note came from a widow of a firefighter who lost his life on 9/11.

Allison was overcome by the generosity of so many people helping make her dad’s birthday special, saying “Being a firefighter, you’re part of a family.”

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Move over, Clark Kent – Kayden Reid of Mobile, AL is the new Superman. Kayden is only six years old, but he leapt into action to save his 2 year old sister, Kaycee. The toddler darted into the street in front of their home and was in the path of an oncoming car when Superman came to her rescue.

Kayden saw the car coming and jumped in front of his sister, throwing her out of the way. But that meant that Kayden got clipped by the car in the process.

The driver immediately stopped to make sure the children were alright – Kayden and Kaycee’s mom is not pressing charges saying it was not the driver’s fault. Kayden went to the hospital to get a few stitches, but was mostly just a little scuffed up.

Kayden was rocking a Superman costume a few days later when the Mobile Fire and Rescue truck came for a visit, letting the pint-sized hero explore the truck and tell his hero origin story.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Students at West Side Elementary School in Healdsburg, California, have recorded a series of bilingual “pep talks” to help anyone who needs a little encouragement (and frankly, who doesn’t?). Dubbed the “Peptoc Hotline,” the public art project was concocted by Jessica Martin, a local artist who doubles as the art teacher for the small school.

“The adults among us have been holding everything up for so long, it’s amazing to see what comfort children can bring. I was moved by the incredible collection of advice and encouragement they gleaned, and how easily and distinctly they were able to communicate it.”

In less than a week, the project went viral, receiving between 300 and 500 calls an hour, and up to as many as 5,000 calls a day.

The advice is refreshingly kid-like: Get some ice cream. Think of groundhogs. Punch a pillow and cry.

It’s incredibly precious. Call and hear for yourself: 707-998-8410.

Thank you to everyone who has given to support recovery efforts – to everyone who has served a hot meal, provided shelter and prayed for Arabi. And also, thank you for your generosity lived out loud by supporting LifeSongs during Shareathon!

Friday, April 1, 2022

A group of elementary school students found a thoughtful way to comfort their creative art teacher who is mourning the war in Ukraine. Arina McAllister is a Ukrainian native, and says her heart is broken witnessing what’s happening around her family and friends, and to the country she loves.

An idea was cooked up by a cafeteria lady at Pevely Elementary, who suggested McAllister’s students surprise her with a colorful display of flowers along the school’s hallways.

“A lot of our students don’t know what’s going on but they know their teacher, their favorite teacher, was in need of extra love this week,” Principal Katie Dunlap said.

When Arina McAllister came into school Monday, she was greeted with dozens of colored-in blooms, many of them sunflowers — a symbol of Ukraine.

“I never expected to grow a garden of love,” Arina said. “I think every single sunflower represents love and support and I have hope.”

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Nearly 4 million Ukrainians have fled their invaded country – and strangers from all over Eastern Europe are leaving strollers, car seats, winter coats and toys at the Polish border for the refugees.

To help alleviate some of the stress and emotions attached to fleeing Ukraine, Polish communities are helping strangers get settled with basic necessities in a place that may not feel anything like home. That compassion greets the refugees the moment they step off their train onto the platform. Strollers, carriers, jackets, toys, stuffed animals, diapers, even walkers for the elderly, have filled the area alongside the railway.

The generosity appears to be spread largely by word of mouth. And help isn’t just available in the form of physical supplies – some people have been holding up signs, offering rides to different places across Europe and volunteers are helping refugees find a place to stay – be it a school gymnasium or families who have offered to take in women and children.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Liam Moore is a passionate kindergartner from Ontario, Canada. He doesn’t completely understand what’s happening in Ukraine, but he knows that help is needed, so he is ALL IN to offer help. Liam emptied his piggy bank to send to Ukrainian refugees.

His $20 came from weeks of doing chores around the house. He had been saving for quite some time, but suddenly the need in Ukraine was more important than anything else he could put it towards.

Liam was participating in a school wide fundraiser at St. Paul’s Catholic School. Those Kindergarteners through 7th graders had a goal to raise $500 – but thanks to the excitement of Liam and other kids – they smashed that goal and raised over $2000.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

One of the great challenges with the Russian invasion of Ukraine is how it impacts adoptions. A couple from San Antonio, TX has been waiting since 2020 to bring home their adopted son. Now 4-year-old Ruslan – who suffers from cerebral palsy – is home in Texas with his new family.

Special needs children rarely get adopted out of the Ukraine. They live short lives in underfunded medical facilities. But God opened doors through Reece’s Rainbow for Kelci and Theron to find their son Ruslan. In December the couple flew to Ukraine. But then Ruslan got sick and they had to figure out the complicated visa situation. It was on February 16th, just ahead of the invasion that the family was able to escape back home to the United States.

It was a whirlwind of miracles and kind acts from strangers that allowed the three travelers to escape before Russia invaded Ukraine. Some of those strangers have since lost their lives, fighting for their country. But Ruslan lives on – receiving medical care and the love of his new family in San Antonio.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Chef Jose Andres owns and operates World Central Kitchen. Over the years, he’s responded to several humanitarian crises such as hurricanes and tornado aftermath and now, he’s on the ground at the Polish border with Ukraine making sure no one goes hungry. It’s estimated that around a million Ukrainians have fled their home country for the safety of Poland or Belarus.

Last year, Chef Andres was the recipient of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos’ Courage and Civility Award, which came with a reward of $100 million. (Yeah you read that right – big prize money) He’s using that award money to help the people of Ukraine.

 

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Monday, March 14, 2022

31-year-old Tom Littledyke is a former Royal Marine in Great Britain. He’s trained to help in crisis, so he knew exactly what to do when Ukrainian refugees began pouring into neighboring European countries.

Tom loaded up a 16 seater bus with sleeping bags, pillows and toys for scared children and drove 1,000 miles to Poland to distribute the goods and help with boots on the ground. His friends and family helped – they raised over $5000 worth of support to pay for the supplies and trip in less than half a day.

After dropping off the goods, Tom plans to use his van to help move refugees to homes throughout Europe, saying “It doesn’t matter what we do as long as it’s something in the right direction.”

Friday, March 11, 2022

Justice Smith and his 5 year old son Justus Mateo were driving home from a dentist appointment when they noticed a homeless man on the corner. The elder Justice felt led to give to the man, but was out of cash. That’s when his 5 year old son spoke up, insisting they give the man the 30 cents he had in his pocket.

Justice was proud of his son, but hesitant to hand the homeless man 30 cents for fear that he would think it a useless gift. But he shook his head and rolled the window down saying to the man “I’m sorry man, I don’t have any cash on me, but my son back here wants to give you everything he has right now. He just turned 5.”

The man’s eyes lit up and looked at Justus Mateo saying “God bless you little man! Thank you so much!”

Justus Mateo’s dad recognized he almost missed an opportunity to live out kindness, writing “I almost told our son by my inaction that what he had wasn’t enough. I almost showed him that what he sees as a good thing, and is in fact a good thing, isn’t good enough to make a difference in someone’s life. I almost taught him that pride was more important than helping another human.”

He says his son reminded him “It doesn’t matter how much you have or how little; giving in love and sincerity will often bless others more than we think.”

Thursday, March 10, 2022

The New Orleans Saints were looking for a new coach. One thing the Saints never expected was for a child to apply for the head coaching spot… but Izzy did!

She’s a Saints fan who lives in Tennessee. When Saints owner Gayle Benson received Izzy’s application, she sent back a heartwarming reply that explained why they hired Dennis Allen instead. Mrs. Benson added, “Keep up the good work on your grades. I am so proud of you for 100% on your math report card. Stay well, continue to work hard in school and always remember you can do anything you work for and set your mind to.”

In addition to the personal letter from Ms. Benson explaining the organization’s decision to hire Allen, Izzy also received a team photo & an official Saints football signed by the team.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Linda Durrence is a foster parent in Georgia who started the Blossom boutique to help foster kids with clothing & hygiene needs.

Fostering children is a special kind of love. Many of these kids come into a home with just the clothes on their back – so Blossom will provide foster kids with seven full sets of clothes and shoes for FREE! And they’ll do it again as the seasons change and the children grow!

Linda told news outlets, “We just want to be able to be just be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

When Jared Veldheer retired from his 11-year NFL career as an offensive tackle, he had one thing on his mind – being present for his kids. So the ex-NFL-er took a $15-per-hour part time job as a lunch worker at his children’s elementary school. The 34 year old traded in 2-a-day practices for a 7:45 AM start time, preparing pizza, corn and chicken nuggets for 250 children at St. Paul The Apostle School.

Not only does he get to take his kids to and from school every day, he gets to see them at lunch and in the hallways. Plus he has a background involving nutrition and is able to shape the food offerings to a more healthy, balanced diet for the kids. He says the kids are less interested in his NFL past and more excited to see what’s for lunch.

Monday, March 7, 2022

Disheartened and lonely after losing her best friend to a sudden heart attack, Cynthia posted on Nextdoor to see if anyone would be open to building a new friendship. She suggested starting a women’s group and over 200 ladies around Houston, TX responded with interest in joining.

Cynthia invited her neighbors to meet up and the group was born. They have now been meeting for nearly five years! The group even set up a friendship fund where the women chip in just $25 a year to put away in case any of the members fall on hard times, are battling an illness, or need a bit of extra support.

Due to the incredible response, Cynthia now helps other women in Houston create their own friendship groups to form new connections.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Before the pandemic, in 2018, Naoki opened a miniature railway model-train themed ramen restaurant in Osaka, Japan. It’s a VERY niche market. And when the pandemic shut Japan down, times were tough for the family. But in their distress, God sent a miracle in the form of a helpless kitten.

Despite having very little, Naoki fed the kitten. The next day its mamma showed up and he fed her too. After that the whole family of cats descended on the closed ramen restaurant looking for food.

Not only did caring for the cats soothe Naoki’s heart, but the cats loved to explore the model train displays. That led to some great pictures. And if there is one thing the internet loves, it is cute cat pictures.

The Instagram posts went viral and now the restaurant is thriving as fans from all over the world come to see the cats and trains! Plus visitors can adopt the stray cats – more than 60 have found forever homes through the work of Naoki and his family.

 

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Thursday, March 3, 2022

Steve Robinson and his family were on a trip to Detroit when they got the chance to have dinner with Steve’s old college roommate, Richard Koonce. The families enjoyed eating and reminiscing, but Steve couldn’t help but notice Richard looked thin and unwell.

Turns out Mr. Koonce was battling a rare liver disease. Treatment wasn’t going well and he was looking for a living donor for a liver transplant. Steve didn’t even hesitate – offering to share his liver. After a blood test confirmed he was a match, the pair went under the knife on Valentine’s Day.

There’s a couple of months of recovery involved but so far, everything looks good. Instead of a heart on Valentine’s – these friends shared a liver of love.

LifeSongs has been part of this community for over 40 years now, and that’s because of YOU and your DONATIONS! Grateful we haven’t been in need of a liver, but we sure are appreciative of all you give to support LifeSongs!

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 – Ash Wednesday!

In Wisconsin, during the Winter, nobody wants to bundle up, brave the cold and snow, simply to bring the garbage cans back up to the house after the trucks have run. To many neighbors’ surprise, their garbage cans started magically moving back to the house on their own. Of course it wasn’t magic – just a very kind neighbor.

75-year-old retiree Dick Pontzloff was tired of being trapped inside and decided to use his time helping neighbors by returning their garbage cans from the street. He rides his bike around the neighborhood and helps every family with a garbage can on the street.

One of Dick’s neighbors, Melody, said, “You know the kindness that strangers give is an unexplainable feeling. And he doesn’t even realize how nice of a gesture it is and how much we appreciate it.”

Tuesday, March 1, 2022 – Happy MARDI GRAS!

Los Angeles Rams star Andrew Whitworth has had quite a month. Not only did his Rams win the Super Bowl, Whitworth was also honored with the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Considered one of the biggest honors in football, the award recognizes a player’s “outstanding community service actions off the field, as well as excellence on it.”

Whitworth has committed to helping families in both the LA area and his home state of Louisiana through various programs, including his newly-launched “Big Whit Homes for LA Families” program. Through the program, Whitworth donates money to repair homes in Louisiana and help low-income families in LA move into affordable housing. He’s also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide scholarships and school supplies for Louisiana schoolchildren, wishes for terminally ill children, and to the NFL players’ social justice fund.

Whitworth told CNN helping people feels just like making a winning play on the field. “When I can make them appreciate that someone cares about them, when I can just let them feel more confident in themselves because of something I’m able to do, I feel that same feeling.”

“Helping people feels like a winning play.” Thank you for helping our community hold on to hope through your support for LifeSongs!

Monday, February 28, 2022 – Happy Lundi Gras!

One thing that is glaringly obvious is that we have all gotten a little weirder after a 2 year long global pandemic. That was the complaint from Curtis Kimball’s wife. He says, she said he’s getting weirder and needs to make some friends.

Curtis didn’t disagree – he got to work on fixing his loneliness – with the help of some pancakes. Curtis set up a pancake making station in front of his San Francisco home on a Saturday morning. He had taped invitations to telephone poles around the neighborhood inviting his neighbors.

Curtis didn’t expect anyone to show up, but at the very first pancake Saturday there were 100 people hanging outside his home. Turns out, he wasn’t the only one feeling lonely. The joyful community event has continued and grown each time – over 300 people attended the second pancake breakfast and helped prepare and serve food for their neighbors.

We are so grateful that YOU make it easy for us to be friends by being part of our LifeSongs family! Thank you for your support!

Friday, February 25, 2022

16 year olds Ryan and Dominic have almost 80 merit badges between them. Swimming, first aid leadership, service, community engagement and all the skills of being lifelong scouts. They’ve done it all!  But just a couple of weekends ago the pair were elevated to the elite Eagle Scout classification.

They were Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and now the highest rank you can climb. The teens say it took a lot of work and discipline but it was well worth it. Not everyone who joins a boy scout troop makes it this far. According to Boy Scouts of America, from 1912 to 2019, about 2.5 million boys have earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Jackie Dean loved picking up a couple of Caramel Macchiatos while out with her mom, Millie Burnham. When her mom passed away during the pandemic, planning the funeral became an impossible task – they have had to reschedule three times. One morning, on the way to the funeral planners office she pulled into the drive thru and instinctively ordered two drinks before pausing and changing the order to just one.

She had been crying all morning already and the tears began to flow again as she explained her mistake to the barista. When Jackie pulled up embarrassed and ready to pay, Starbucks gave her the coffee on the house – and even drew a little heart on the lid for Jackie.

Just a small thing – a free coffee and kindness. But it meant the world to a grieving daughter.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

A blizzard hit Regina, Saskatchewan – super high winds and whiteout conditions on the road. Shannon St. Onge and others found themselves stranded on a rural road. 911 was jammed. Emergency responders could not get through. In a last ditch effort for help, Shannon posted on Facebook letting friends and family at least know where she was trapped.

Andre Bouvier Sr. (an 80 year old retired man on a nearby farm) saw the message and bundled up to brave the storm – armed with mittens and a flashlight. It was no short walk from his farm to the road. He found Shannon and others drifting towards oncoming traffic in the white out conditions – many running low on gas, trying to keep warm.

The retiree helped them off the road to safety and perhaps made some lifelong friends. He says:

“Life is what you make it. When you can help somebody out, that’s the joy of it.”

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Dolly Parton is a national treasure. Decades of music, film and a love of literacy for children. She even funded one of the premier COVID vaccines. Now she is making sure her employees have hope for their future.

Dollywood – yeah, she even has her own theme park in TN – will pay for their employees to go to college! Full time and part time employees will have their college tuition paid in full – plus cash to cover books and fees.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Warrick Dunn was born in New Orleans – was a high school football star in Baton Rouge – shattered college records with Florida State and then was a first round draft pick into the NFL – snagging a lucrative deal with Tampa Bay in the 90s. He would go on to play 12 years in the NFL. That’s a really successful career. But it’s Dunn’s off-the-field work that is even more impressive.

When Dunn was drafted by the Bucs, his coach was Tony Dungy. Coach Dungy is a very outspoken Christian and encouraged his players to invest in their communities, not just in the weight room. Warrick Dunn took that to heart and started the Warrick Dunn Charities with a focus to help single parents purchase their own homes – a dream his mother never got to accomplish before her passing.

Just before this year’s Super Bowl Dunn’s charity helped a single parent close on their new fully furnished home in Los Angeles – the 200th home provided by the charity! He partners with Habitat for Humanity and helps provide grants for down payments as well.

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis by Dillon Helbig is handwritten in a leather bound red gator skin journal. 8 year old Dillon and his grandmother slipped it onto the bookshelf at Ada Community Library’s children’s section. When Dillon’s mom found out what they had done, she went back to the library to find the book was missing. Turns out the librarians had stumbled upon the 88 page original work and LOVED IT.

The library got permission from Dillon’s parents to put a barcode on it and made it an official library book. Word spread and now The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis has a 55-person waitlist!

Dillon is already working on his sophomore book, The Jacket Eating Closet.


Thursday, February 17, 2022

A Chicago non-profit is equipping and enabling some young moms to pursue higher education by providing money for childcare and coaching.

25 moms are getting financial help from New Moms and City Colleges of Chicago to finish their degrees after dropping out to care for their families. Only about 8% of single moms in Illinois complete an associates degree within 6 years – New Moms hopes to help change that trend.

And it’s not just the money – it’s coaching and tutoring and all kinds of support for these awesome women. Not only will these degree tracks help encourage these women, but provide new job opportunities moving forward.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Imagine getting an email from your dream school – yes you have been accepted – AND you have won a prestigious full ride scholarship with room and board! Only one such Centralis Scholar Award exists for Central Michigan University. However, 58 students got the congratulatory email.

Chaos ensued. That’s a pretty big “oopsie.” And the school is doing their best to make it right. The 57 students who didn’t actually land the scholarship are still being given a full tuition scholarship to make up for their mistake.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

From fighting for his life against cancer to a Winter Olympian, Max Parrot has had quite the journey. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December of 2018 and underwent 12 rounds of chemotherapy. 7 months later, Max rang the bell declaring that he had beaten cancer. Then it was right to the weight room to begin training for the Olympics.

Max is a snowboarder for team Canada and a 7 time X-Games champion. After fighting and beating cancer, his next task was to beat the rest of the world in the slopestyle snowboard contest in Beijing. And that’s exactly what Max Parrot did – winning Gold last week at the Olympics!

Monday, February 14, 2022 – Happy Valentine’s Day!

A little kindness and some pasta can go a long way. A customer put in an order for fettuccine shortly before closing time for a restaurant. He realized his faux pas and wrote a note with his order saying he was stuck at home, sick in bed and had just woken up hungry. He understood if they couldn’t make his order.

The restaurant was touched by the customer’s thoughtfulness – and not only did they make him some delicious fettuccine carbonara – they included free garlic bread and a note of their own, thanking the customer for his thoughtfulness and wishing him well.

That landed the restaurant a 5 star Google review and viral goodwill on social media.

Friday, February 11, 2022

The Buffalo Bills won’t be in the Super Bowl … again. But their quarterback Josh Allen is inspiring fans of every team to do good. He started the Patricia Allen Fund to honor his grandmother. The money goes to the Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

When Josh Allen made a game of it against the Chiefs – sending the game to overtime with only 13 seconds on the clock – that inspired a Facebook group of Chiefs fans to donate $13 each to the special fund out of respect. In less than 24 hours Chiefs fans had given over $178,000 to Josh Allen’s charity. That number nearly doubled as the week rolled on – over $306,000 was given – and that number continues to climb!

So even though the Bills (and eventually the Chiefs) didn’t get to the big game – they did make a BIG difference in the world. And that is even more Super.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Imagine being the parent of an aspiring Olympian. Constant gear to replace – uniforms to purchase – practices to drive to and from all the time. No Olympian gets to the Games on their own. So Anna Hoffman knew the first person she had to tell when she made the USA ski jump team.

Anna recorded herself calling her mom and posted the entire thing on TikTok. She says telling her mom that she made the Olympics was one of the best highlights of [her] life. But what did her mom have to say to the incredible news?

“Oh, Anna Banana!”

Which is kind of perfect. Thanks to all the parents that shuttle their kids and encourage them to chase their dreams.

@hoffmann__anna Getting to tell my mom I’m going to the Olympics is probably one of the best highlights of my life @Team USA #skijumping ♬ original sound – anna

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Mikaela Shiffrin has plenty of Olympic jewelry – 2 Gold medals and 1 Silver from the Sochi and Pyeongchang games in 2014 and 2018. But she’s back in the Olympics this time, racing for a more emotional reason than victory for the United States.

In 2019, her father died in a tragic accident. It left her entire family stunned and overwhelmed. Mikaela’s dad was her biggest fan – and an avid photographer who would spend his days capturing her and her brother as they skied the mountains of Colorado.

Losing her dad led Mikaela to a dark depression. At the encouragement of her brother, she decided to put her skis back on to honor her father’s memory – and she has done just that! She has since set a record for the most World Cup wins in History in women’s slalom. And while it has been a difficult start for the skier – quickly faltering in her first 2 races, she is competing in 5 different disciplines at the Beijing games with 3 more to go.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

A real friend sticks closer than a brother … or sister. Brittany Bowe and Erin Jackson are both Olympic speed skaters for Team USA at the Winter Olympics in Beijing – and they are besties that push each other to greatness. Weirdly enough, the speed skaters are from Ocala, FL – which has become the epicenter of speed skating for Team USA.

Erin had a mishap in a qualifying round that bumped her from the 500-meter team race. That would not stand for Brittany who stepped down from the race and had Erin replace her. Both speed skaters are currently participating in the Olympics this week!

Would you give up the spotlight for a friend? Jesus said there is no greater love than to lay your life down for a friend.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Lafourche Parish was beaten down by Hurricane Ida last year. But wherever there is great need – there is great opportunity to do good! Ms. Andi Sonnier had an idea to provide many necessities for the Nicholls State community and it didn’t take much to get others onboard.

Andi is a licensed social worker and Nichols Case Manager of Student Affairs. With just a couple days of hard work, she opened The Colonel Closet – a thrift store on the Nicholls State campus – but a store with a twist. The Colonel Closet has nice clothes, food and household items – and everything there is free for students, faculty and their families.

Hundreds of folks donated money and resources to make it possible – and as much of the community is being rebuilt, it is deeply impacting lives. Pallets of supplies and donations have poured in from around the country.

Friday, February 4, 2022

When you are in charge – the buck stops here. No matter what the need is, it’s on the leaders to take on the challenge. And sometimes that means grabbing a mop.

There’s a shortage of teachers, custodians and lunchroom workers all over the country. An elementary school principal in Las Vegas still got the job(s) done. Principal Joseph Uy of Gwendolyn Woolley Elementary has been vacuuming classrooms, preparing food in the lunchroom and substitute teaching, in addition to his administration duties. Just one example of all our hard working administrators and teachers going above and beyond to serve our kids!

Principal Uy (His name is pronounced, “Ooh-eey”) pitches in wherever the needs are. When his staff took pictures and his story went public, the Las Vegas Raiders heard about it and decided to send him to the Superbowl! It would be awesome if every great teacher and principal and frontline worker could be recognized with Super Bowl tickets – but SOFI Stadium is only so big.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Tampa Bay resident Patrick Rhodes began the Lunch for Healthcare Heroes program back in April of 2020 – it was the early days of the pandemic. Patrick bought and delivered more than 600 pizzas and sandwiches to local hospitals. It was a way he could do good.

Word got out and Dwayne The Rock Johnson thought what Rhodes was doing was awesome, so he personally paid for 200 more meals. In 2021 Patrick Rhodes partnered with the Inspire Foundation and together they delivered 2,021 meals to frontline heroes.

As the program grows, food and school supplies are being delivered to teachers too. Patrick says, “I strongly believe that small acts of kindness will change the world.” And he is proving that motto true.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022 – Happy Groundhog Day! (Phil saw his shadow, so 6 more weeks of Winter)

A supermarket in the Netherlands wants to help combat loneliness for their elderly customers with what they call “chat checkouts.” Unlike streamlined self-checkout counters designed to get you out in a hurry, the Kletskassas (chat check-outs) are specifically designed to slow things down and create opportunities for conversations.

The head of Jumbo Supermarkets says, “Many people, the elderly in particular, can feel lonely. As a family business and supermarket chain we have a central role in society. Our shops are a meeting place and that means we can do something to combat loneliness.”

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

A team from Seytons Electrical in Hull England did wiring work for 6 weeks at the Anderson family’s home. Theo Anderson, the five your old who lives in the house, quickly befriended the electricians and was so interested in all the work they were doing.

Theo would follow the workers around with endless questions and help whenever he could safely help. Theo basically became their mascot during the rewiring project. Once the job was done, Theo’s mom got the bill and Theo got a paycheck!

Seytons Electrical wrote out a check for £15 (about $25 US), listing Theo’s jobs of measuring items, counting sockets, delivering cookies and “Quality Assurance” – defined as asking lots of questions!

Monday, January 31, 2022

Nate Armstrong runs Big Oak Tavern. Like everyone else, he struggles to care for his staff and keep the business afloat – once again switching to a take-out only model for safety. It’s exhausting, but nothing compared to local hospital employees.

To make sure those medical workers are getting fed, Nate has relaunched the Hero Meals program in Roswell – with the hope to inspire other restaurateurs to do this statewide. Through fundraising efforts Nate’s restaurant is providing free meals to hospital workers, COVID testing site employees and keeping his own employees on the payroll.

The goal is 20,000 to 30,000 meals given in the next six months. It’s all about touching the people that really saved our lives,” Armstrong said. “It’s a simple thank you that we need to deliver.”

 

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Friday, January 28, 2022

A Southwest Airline employee found a stack of handwritten letters dated from the 1940s to the 1970s left on a flight. They belonged to the family of Rachel DeGolia. They were a collection of letters from her mother Lois, written to family members – a glimpse into her mom’s heart – Lois had passed away from cancer many years back. Rachel’s brother had flown with the irreplaceable letters with the intent of scanning them for digital copies – but he got off the plane without the priceless documents.

Sarah Haffner with Southwest Airlines poured over the letters and Googled every name she could find, hoping to connect with the family – and eventually she found Rachel DeGolia. She called immediately and before Sarah even finished saying “Southwest Airlines” Rachel KNEW they had found the priceless letters from her mom. They have since been digitally backed up.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

23 year old Dusti Talavera was smiling as she watched three kids from her apartment complex slipping and sliding on the frozen over pond. As Dusti continued doing her dishes she saw a terrible accident happen – the ice gave way and the three children fell into the deep frozen pond.

Dusti raced out her door and pulled two kids to safety. When she went back for the third, a six year old girl, Dusti also fell through the ice into the 16 foot deep pond. Thankfully another neighbor brought rope and they were pulled to safety.

Emergency responders began CPR on the unresponsive little girl and secured a pulse before she was rushed to Children’s Hospital. Thanks to Dusti and others, all three children will be ok.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

A boy named Fallon loves to visit the local JB Hart Music Co store in his hometown of Grand Junction, CO. Fallon was born with Williams Syndrome, a developmental disorder that can cause a lot of medical problems. But Fallon has a talent on the guitar and he loves to play a specific axe – what he calls the Pantera guitar – and Fallon can shred.

One day another customer watched in awe as Fallon played on his dream guitar with so much passion. The shopper later asked the store if he could buy the guitar and gift it to the boy anonymously the next time he came in. Unbeknownst to the shopper and store, Fallon’s family moved to Texas – but 8 months later, while in town visiting family – the boy showed up to play on the guitar and was so excited when the store told him it was his to keep!

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Melanie and her grandfather Rene Neira shared a lot of the college experience. Back in the 1950s Neira dropped out of school to get married and start a family. Over the years he picked up credits. And when his granddaughter Melanie started college – he enrolled too!

This past December Melanie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communications and her grandfather got a degree of recognition in economics. Mr. Neira’s studies are still a little incomplete because he suffered a stroke shortly before the coronavirus sent classes online – a challenge he hasn’t quite conquered. But since he was just a few hours shy of his degree the school honored both granddaughter and grandfather together at the graduation ceremony. Melanie even got to push her grandfather’s wheelchair across the stage to receive his diploma!

Monday, January 24, 2022

DaVante Williams was an Uber driver who got stuck on the frozen I-95 a few weeks back. Thousands of motorists were trapped for nearly a day on the shutdown interstate outside of Washington DC. His passenger was a young teenage girl trying to get from the train station to her parent’s house. It should have been a 2 and a half hour trip – but it turned into much more.

DaVante was trapped with a scared young woman just trying to get home. He didn’t have blankets in the car and was running low on gas – so he communicated with his passenger and her parents via phone and was able to book the girl a hotel room, using his own money. While he offered to complete the journey when the roads opened up the next day, a family friend was able to come and pick up the teenage girl.

Hours later DaVante heard from the family who were so grateful for his hard work and for caring for their daughter. Uber reimbursed the young man for his expenses – but as the story spread, DaVante was offered a new job making much more money.

Alto is an upscale rideshare company that operates in just a few select areas – including DC, where DaVante lives. His new job has him teaching other drivers customer service and maintaining their elite vehicles.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Just a couple of weeks ago, snow and ice shutdown I-95 in Virginia just outside Washington DC. Motorists were stranded. No one could escape for 16 long, cold hours. And before long, folks started getting hungry.

Casey and John Holihan were stuck in that wintry mess. But their car wasn’t far from a beacon of hope on the frozen interstate – a Schmidt’s Baking Co. truck. Casey was quick to call the local bakery and coordinate with the owners to distribute the fresh baked bread to other stranded motorists.

The driver opened the back of his truck, and the Holihans started delivering loaves of bread to cars along a two-mile stretch of road. The couple gave out bread until there was none left – and expressed to local news crews how grateful they were to Schmidt’s Baking Co. to choose caring for people over the loss of profits that day.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Jennifer Smith is a nurse at the adult day health care program at the Grand Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Rome, New York. Right before Thanksgiving, one of her favorite patients called her, distraught. John Burley had been hospitalized for pneumonia and lung problems, and no one was available to take care of his 12-year-old dog, Boomer. The dog had been picked up by animal services, and John was desperate.

Jennifer didn’t hesitate to help care for Boomer while John was in recovery. She tracked the pup to a local animal shelter and adopted him on behalf of her patient. Jennifer and Boomer go visit John at his recovery center so the two can spend some time together each week.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Dayvon Johnson is only 11 years-old, but he is a legit superhero. Back in December, Dayvon saw one of his classmates choking. Having watched a YouTube video on the Heimlich maneuver, he successfully saved his friend who had tried to swallow a water bottle cap.

Later that afternoon while walking home he saw a house on fire and an elderly woman trying to flee. She was using a walker and Dayvon knew she needed help, so he sprinted across the street and helped her to safety.

The young man says he wants to become an EMT when he grows up – but he’s already been made an honorary deputy thanks to his courageous acts!

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

The employees of Sanipac, the local waste management company in Springfield, OR, have really gotten to know their community. They are forever going up and down the streets of neighborhoods, getting to know everyone as they pick up the trash.

For the last 10 years, Sanipac has provided bikes for kids in their community. For some, it’s the only way they can get to school every day. At the Sanipac family Christmas party, while eating and laughing and dancing – families put together over 150 bikes that were then given to families from the school district that were in need.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Shortly before Christmas, a beloved former teacher, Irma Vitrano and her husband, John, who is currently principal at Fontainebleau High, saw their home damaged by a fire. Thankfully no one was hurt, but the damage was severe.

Together, the Vitrano’s have impacted so many lives. Before becoming a principal, John was Coach Vitrano – raising up high school basketball players for decades. Many of their former students have joined together to help the Vitrano’s rebuild their home. A GoFundMe account was created with a goal of raising $15,000. That goal has been more than doubled already.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Olivia Jennings of Memphis was about to pump gas into her car, joking with a couple of young men who were headed out of the convenience store with a bag of orange juice. As Olivia went to put her card in the gas pump, one of the young men said, “Oh it’s ok, I got it.” He handed her $20 to fill her car up.

Olivia was stunned by his generosity and took a picture with the young man and shared it on Facebook – bragging about the quality of the youth in Memphis. That post has been shared hundreds of times on social media.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Shaq wants every child to be able to unwrap presents on Christmas morning. And while he can’t do it all (yet) he was able to make dreams come true for some kids south of Atlanta, but handing out 1000 Nintendo Switches – another 1000 PS5’s. And he bought out a Walmart of every bike they had.

Imagine rolling into an elementary school and just watching kids scream for joy with tears in their parents eyes? The former NBA star has been hosting Shaq-a-Claus events in communities since 1997!

 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Proverbs 3 says “If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, ‘Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.'” If you get the chance to do good – just do it!

That’s the mindset that a friend in San Angelo, TX had when he saw a family sitting together on the street corner shortly before Christmas. They had a sign asking for any help of any kind. While this stranger didn’t have any cash on hand, he felt led to feed the family.

So he went to a nearby restaurant and bought a family-sized meal – and brought it over to the mother, father and their young daughter outside. The family was incredibly grateful and joyful over the gift of food for Christmas.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Sydney Raley spent last Summer – just 15 years old and on the autism spectrum – working at McDonalds in her hometown of Eden Prairie, MN. Between fixing the ice cream machine and frying the fries, Sydney managed to become a hero.

One Saturday while working the drive-thru, Sydney noticed a customer looked in pain. The woman was coughing and choking – her young daughter in the car was terrified. Sydney had learned first aid as a babysitter and knew she had to act fast.

15 year old Sydney leaped through the drive-thru window, got the choking woman out of the car and performed the Heimlich maneuver – but she wasn’t strong enough. So she coached another customer standing nearby and he was able to clear the woman’s esophagus. Then Sydney instructed the girl in the car to call 911.

When local police arrived they hailed young Sydney as a hero – and even gave her $100 as a cash reward!

Monday, January 10, 2022

North Philadelphia has been on a downward trend for decades. Generations live together in households, struggling to get by and stay safe. In Philly, 1 in 23 people are on parole. And the best way to keep out of trouble is to get a job. But former prisoners often struggle to find employment. Michael Carter knows. He spent 12 years in prison. But today he’s the executive chef at Down North Pizza.

Down North Pizza was created by Muhammed Abdul-Hadi to help save his grandmother’s neighborhood. The pizza shop exclusively hires ex-cons to help provide a legitimate way forward. And delicious pizza of course.

Down North Pizza is one of many local businesses aimed at both revitalizing Philly and humanizing a massive part of the American population. The key word here is “Redemption.” And that’s something Jesus people can really understand.

 

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Friday, January 7, 2022

Kenneth Allen is an attorney in Indiana. For years he has purchased Christmas presents to distribute in local schools. This year, he thought why not let everyone pick out their presents. So Kenneth purchased 300 $100 gift cards (That’s $30,000 worth of gift cards) and handed them out through school officials and at the store itself.

The store – Meijer – did a quick 10% sale for everyone who had the gift cards to help out even more. The attorney told the local paper, “I’m doing what God put me on the planet to do… help people.”

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Dusty Hudgins was digging through his late mother’s belongings when he happened across some old cookbooks. His mom had once worked in a school cafeteria in Abilene, TX – back in the 60s and 70s. Dusty wondered if anyone would remember those favorite recipes.

So Dusty shared his find on a Abilene Facebook Group and discovered that a LOT of people remembered his mom’s food and were excited to get the recipes. Dusty decided to have the old recipes republished in a cookbook – the proceeds going to charity.

The newly published cookbook features recipes from generations of school cooks with Southern classics like cornbread and barbeque chicken and some very vintage feeling options like Chicken loaf with fruit.  To order a copy of Our Favorite Recipes, email Dusty at [email protected].

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Carol Mack has lived a life of service to Jesus and to children. She was a teacher for 45 years – leading 1st and 2nd graders at Christ Lutheran School in Big Bend, WI. For years Carol has battled cancer and now, her battle is drawing to a close.

Carol’s condition is worsening and she had to step down from teaching and begin hospice care. Though Carol has no children of her own, she has helped raise countless children for nearly half a century. A couple dozen of her students gathered at her hospital room and sang worship songs for Ms. Mack.

Not only was it a beautiful display of Christ’s love for Carol Mack, but it touched the hearts of the many nurses at Aurora St. Luke’s Hospital as well.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Ebony works for Dunkin Donuts and Suzanne frequents the store. Smiles and greetings became a full fledged friendship over the years.

Suzanne got worried when Ebony wasn’t at work for several weeks in a row. She did some digging and found out that Ebony and her children had been evicted from their home. So Suzanne stepped in to help her friend in her time of crisis.

Suzanne contacted many local organizations that help with housing. Working closely with several non-profits, Ebony was given a fully furnished home for her family! Ebony and her children had Christmas in their new home thanks to Suzanne.

Monday, January 3, 2022

When disaster strikes, one of the first needs everyone has is simple – food. So when tornados devastated Mayfield, Kentucky a few weeks ago, Jim Finch put his grill and a truckload of food in the pickup and drove over to serve.

Over 40 tornadoes touched the ground, devastating many communities in December. Jim knew that folks need to eat as they dig through the rubble and decided to help in every way he could.

Jim knew folks had no power – had no restaurants – nothing – and he knew he could cook simple meals for many. So he did. Be like Jim.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Serving his community is something Wilmar, an Amazon delivery driver from New Jersey, takes very seriously. And that worked out well for a grandma named Gigi when she wandered away from home.

Wilmar was working in her area when he spotted the 92-year-old, who has Alzheimer’s, and stopped his van to check on her. He read her medical alert bracelet and saw that she lived nearby, so he got the number on the bracelet, called her granddaughter Karen, and drove her home.

He says, “I think it’s very important that the community looks out for one another. If something happens, see something, say something. You just wanna make sure that your neighbors are safe, everybody’s happy. It benefits all as long as we’re all contributing.“

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Thousands of kids around the world are born with mouth problems that keep them from the simple act of smiling. One plastic surgeon has devoted his life to helping these kids to smile again.

Dr. Subodh Kumar Singh has performed over 32,000 surgeries for free to restore a beautiful smile to kids all over the world the past few decades. Dr. Singh said, “My father Gyan Singh and mother Giriraj Kumari (she died last year) taught me to serve the poor and live ethically. I feel God made me a plastic surgeon to serve a divine cause.”

Perhaps you can’t surgically repair a broken smile – but you can be the source of a smile wherever you go this holiday season.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Make-A-Wish foundation grants thousands of wishes for sick children each year. A lot of kids wish for a trip to Disney World or a new gaming console, but 13-year-old Abraham of Jackson, Mississippi wished for something different. He wished to feed the homeless.

In September, Make-A-Wish organized a one-day event to hand out free food to Jackson’s homeless population, but that’s not all they’re doing. Once a month for the next year, Make-A-Wish is going to partner up with Abraham to do the same thing.

Abe hopes and prays this can turn into a nonprofit someday. He plans to call it, “Abraham’s Table.” Don’t let Make-A-Wish have all the fun this Christmas – partner with your church or LifeSongs to be a difference maker in your community!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

In 2014, John Russo said that if and when he beat throat cancer, he’d celebrate with a grand Christmas display for his New Jersey neighborhood to enjoy. So when he beat the disease the following year, he started a decorating tradition that has brought joy every year since.

John’s tricked-out lawn celebration includes inflatable décor and lights set to a computerized, 40-minute, 15-song holiday playlist in an award-winning display that adds $200 to his monthly electric bill. All just to make kids smile!

The local police department has even gotten involved to help this year. For the first time, visitors can donate to the department’s annual holiday toy drive via a drop box placed outside Russo’s home.

Monday, December 20, 2021

Texas businessman and philanthropist Mattress Mack of Houston surprised a family from Houma with … everything.

The Thomisees lost everything in Ida, so they decided to start over in Houston. They found jobs, scraped by and were living in a hotel for nearly two months before they could afford a deposit on an apartment. Even after securing an apartment, they had no furniture or home supplies.

Until one Wednesday morning when a moving truck showed up outside their door. Inside the truck was a home full of free furniture, dishes and home supplies – all a Christmas present from Mattress Mack and Gallery Furniture.

Friday, December 17, 2021

There’s no I in TEAM. One football team in California has proven that to be true with the incredible way they work together. The varsity football team out of Riverside went undefeated, 12-0 until losing in the championship game. That’s a miraculous season, especially after losing every single game the last seven seasons. But despite their incredible turn around the team hasn’t heard a single cheer from the stands. Because all 23 players on the team and their coach are deaf!

The Cubs don’t play in a special league – they dominated teams with many more players without disabilities – and they crushed the competition. The team has inspired not only their community, but NFL coaches have reached out to the Cubs to congratulate them and share how they’ve inspired the pros! Whatever you may struggle with, God can still do amazing things with your willing heart and use you to inspire others.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Jenni immigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia 20 years ago. She used to work for a technology company and she drove Uber on the side, but all that changed the day she met 88-year-old Paul Webb. Paul is isolated because his wife passed a few years ago and his memories are nearly gone because of dementia.

Jenni knew that this was a sign from God to care for someone on a deeper level so she quit her main job at the tech company to care for Paul full time. Jenni and Paul simply spend quality time together each day.

Jenni said, “A lot of people with a lot of wisdom, they are dying at home alone so the rewarding part is changing his life. Changing his last days. He’s 88. You don’t deserve to be alone.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

8 year old Summer Linn believes everyone needs a little Christmas. She wants kids in foster care to not feel forgotten, but “wanted and loved.” So Summer hit the kitchen and whipped up some delicious cupcakes to inspire her community to generosity.

Summer is selling cupcakes to raise funds to buy Christmas presents for foster children in her home town of Pearland, TX. The 8 year-old has a full baker’s dozen of kids she’s already bought presents for – and with each cupcake sold, more children will be able to unwrap something special next weekend.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

For over 10 years Chad Turns has been the UPS driver that delivers packages in Dauphin, AL – a little town with fewer than 800 residents. You could say he’s one of the most popular people in town – because he delivers all the goods. And he goes the extra mile.

It’s the small attention to details that makes Chad a superstar. He delays delivery of presents til after the kids are in bed, so as not to ruin the surprise. Since everyone knows everyone, Chad has learned the living rhythms and tries to meet people where they are. He’ll track folks to relatives’ houses so they can sign for anticipated packages.

During the pandemic, Chad regularly worked 60-80 hour weeks. Folks depended on deliveries more than ever. And Chad always showed up. The town wanted to treat their hero to a big tip, so they started a secret Facebook page to organize donations. They collected over $1000 and surprised the UPS driver on his last pickup of the day with the entire community holding up signs of thanks for Chad. As you can imagine, there were plenty of tears of gratitude all around!

 

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Monday, December 13, 2021

Kitty is the coolest Great Grandmother. At 80 years old she decided to put in a fancy in-ground pool for her 29 grandkids and great grandkids to enjoy. She invested her life savings in the new home with a backyard that dreams are made of. But those dreams turned into a nightmare.

A strong winter storm destroyed the pool, causing the concrete to crumble and fiberglass shatter. There was nothing she could do about it. Insurance wouldn’t pay out the $80,000 repair bill. Kitty’s trouble was shared with a local news team who wanted to draw attention to how poorly her insurance company treated her. But the story also caught the eyes and hearts of several local construction companies.

They teamed up to put in a brand new pool for Kitty and her family at no cost to them! Eight companies and dozens of employees donated time and resources – some of these companies are actually rivals, working together to help restore Kitty’s dream.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Kindness beats accomplishment every day of the week. The world might remember you for great accomplishments – but the people who matter will remember your character.

When Wichita State University whooped Tarleton State 65-51 on the basketball court, Wichita star Dexter Dennis had every right to party it up with his team in the locker room. Dex, however, threw on his workout hoodie and headed to the stands of the arena to help pick up trash.

A local newsman snapped a video of the basketball star on clean-up duty and asked around. Dexter wasn’t being punished, he just wanted to lend a helping hand to the cleaning crew who make their home games clean and comfy.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Boy Scouts are always prepared. They are literally trained to help anyone in need. That training came in real handy for 12-year-old Scout David King while he and his mom were hiking the hills of Kailua, Hawaii.

David and his mom found a couple lost in the wilderness with no water and an injured 100-pound dog. After sharing water with the wanderers, David fashioned a stretcher out of some branches and a t-shirt so he could carry the dog to safety.

Give David ALL the badges!

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

There are a lot of blue roofs across SELA as Winter approaches. Many are living in rough conditions as the post-Ida rebuilding continues. This puts some in danger as colder temperatures eventually make their way South. That’s where Janice Hamilton is making a difference.

Janice created the Blankets for the Bayous Facebook page to make and deliver warm blankets to people in need. Janice started out making blankets for the homeless community of Montegut. But the need has grown and now she is recruiting others via Facebook to give and participate in making blankets for the devastated bayou parishes.

So far she has given out over 400 blankets and pillowcases. Many more are being made. And many more lives will be warmed both inside and out by this hometown hero!

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Eddie Morgan owns Harbor Docks in Destin, FL. The family owned marina and restaurant is also Eddie’s pulpit for sharing a love for fishing and teaching kids how to bait their hook. Each November, he treats 300 children to Take-a-Kid-Fishing Day, a tradition that his own father started 27 years ago. The group heads off on about 50 fishing boats for a day of sunshine, fishing, and local history. The trip is free, and kids get a fresh fish lunch and a fishing rod to take home. So far Eddie’s family has taught more than 7,000 children how to fish!

 

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Monday, December 6, 2021

You know those neighborhoods where people go all out with the Christmas decorations? We’re talking, slow-down-the-car, is that Al Copeland, don’t-look-at-the-electric bill kind of stuff. That’s the kind of neighborhood where Dale and Julie Marks live, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Dale and Julie had a hard year.  They both caught Covid-19, and Dale survived two strokes and a heart attack while battling the disease. After all of that, putting up Christmas decorations seemed like an impossible task until a group of volunteers stepped in with kindness and muscle to spare.

Local contractor Bob Coffey heard about the Marks’ situation, so he and four of his employees came out to do the work for free. With some direction from Dale, who observed safely from the porch, they strung light after festive light until the house looked like they all knew it should: Full of holiday cheer.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Kelly and Anthony had quite the meet-cute. They were hanging with some mutual friends on the Jersey Shore. Anthony is blind. He didn’t have a cane with him, so Kelly grabbed him by the arm to guide him around for the day. In some ways, she never let go.

Their first date was to a film premier. That film was a documentary about Anthony – who wrestled in high school against sighted opponents, and practiced Judo – going so far as training for the Paralympics. Kelly needed a dress for the premier, but thoughtfully considered her sightless date by picking a dress made of velvet, so he could touch it to “see” she had dressed up special for him.

Anthony swoons over his now-wife about how his life changed when they fell in love. Kelly became his eyes for the world – describing the sights on their many adventures together. For her wedding dress, Kelly was intentional to pick a dress that had many tactile embellishments like embossed flowers and velvet tassels with a mix of fabrics so her husband could “see” how beautiful she was on their special day.

When Kelly met Anthony at the altar and she placed his hands on her dress he immediately began crying for joy.

*I imagine the dress looked like this:

Thursday, December 2, 2021

One of the most dangerous parts of a natural disaster is dealing with power generators. They can cause fires and put off enormous amounts of carbon monoxide.

Thankfully a quick to act 9 year old in Brockton, Massachusetts knew about the dangers of carbon monoxide. Jayline heard her father call for help and saw him pass out as she approached. Her mom was also overcome by the invisible carbon monoxide. Jayline held her father’s locked iPhone to his face to open the phone with Face ID, and called 9-1-1.

In the end, emergency responders treated 5 people in the home for carbon monoxide poisoning – but all made a full recovery – all thanks to the quick reaction of 9 year old Jayline.

Tuesday, November 30 – Wednesday, December 1, 2021

The LifeSongs family came together for the SPIRIT OF GIVING and provide over $20,000 for this radio ministry! Factor in the special matching and you brought in $40,000 for the ministry of LifeSongs in just a couple of day! That’s some real GOOD NEWS!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Retired FBI boss steps up to help community with school bus driver shortage
After retiring from the FBI, Michael Mason wasn’t quite ready to completely stop working, and when he heard there was a bus driver shortage in Chesterfield County, Virginia, Mason knew he found his calling.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m transporting the future of America, and that’s what I really love about the job,” he said. While at the FBI, he was executive assistant director, making him “fourth on the FBI’s food chain,” Mason told WTVR. “I’ve done some important things, but guess what? This is important, too.”

Driving the bus gives him a routine, and allows Mason to do his part assisting others amid the pandemic. He would love for people to hear his story and consider doing something to help in their own backyards. “I believe if all of us gave a little something, wow, how we could impact the world,” Mason said. “How we could change the world.”

Friday, November 26, 2021

There’s a tragic lack of fatherhood in the world today. One group of about 40 dads is trying to fill that void in their Shreveport neighborhood.

Michael LaFitte started Dads on Duty to help curb violence that was breaking out at Southwood High School. Kids were getting in fights, some had been arrested. A few dozen active fathers decided they could help, so they take turns hanging out at the school campus, providing protection and being a loving presence to help the many kids who don’t have any positive male role models in their lives.

How do you get high schoolers to trust you? Turns out just being there, and always having a dad-joke ready to role is all it takes!

Since Dads on Duty stepped up, there have been zero fights on campus and the students say you can really feel the happiness in the hallways.

Thursday, November 25, 2021 – Happy Thanksgiving!

Dottie is 95 years old and gets around in her wheelchair pretty well. She went with her family for a week-long vacation to Orange Beach, Alabama. Her wheelchair was not made for sand, so that’s where God sent Shane.

Shane was the lifeguard on duty the very first day of Dottie’s vacation. He saw the family coming to the beach and offered to take Dottie to their spot at the waterfront. He put her in his 4×4 and drove her as close as he could. Then the lifeguard picked up Dottie and carried her to her beach chair by the water.

Shane made sure that every day that followed during Dottie’s beach week, a lifeguard was there to collect and deliver her to her spot – and bring her back whenever she was ready to return to her condo. Dottie’s family was overwhelmed with gratitude and tried to tip the lifeguards multiple times a day – of course they declined the gesture saying, “All the pay we need is watching [Dottie] smile.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Sometimes creation really reflects the Love of our Creator. Luna was a black leopard cub that was rejected by her mother, who was a part of a traveling zoo. A woman volunteered to adopt and care for the leopard cub and took her into her home.

That’s where Luna would meet her big brother, a Rottweiler named Venza. These two big, dangerous animals have become snuggly, adventurous pet siblings over the last year – and star in a series of Tik Tok videos posted by their adopted mom.

Sometimes family is the people and puppies that choose you. Thank you for being a part of the LifeSongs family. As you celebrate the holidays, know that you are truly loved. The same God that provided a home for a little leopard is watching over you too.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Two middle school students are being praised for their brave actions that helped save their school bus driver. Conner Doss and Kane Daugherty, both students at East Paulding Middle School outside Atlanta, were on a crowded bus when their driver, Miss Julie, pulled over and yelled for help.

When Kane ran up to her, the driver was bright red and shaking. He managed to pick up the dispatch radio and ask for help. The dispatch called 911 and helped the boys set the emergency brake, flashing lights and emergency stop arm. The boys knew Miss Julie had diabetes, and got her to eat and drink something as they waited for help. Together with their classmates, they waved down cars from bus windows and caught the attention of a pastor, who prayed with the worried students.

The driver is now recovering, and school leaders recognized the pair’s bravery at a recent school board meeting.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Do you enjoy working with your hands? Ken Postema has always been a builder. The Western Michigan native built go karts and bikes as a teenager and got into wood work after purchasing 10 wooded acres in rural Michigan – where he built his family a dream home with his bare hands and lumber from the property.

Ken has honed his skills over the decade. Now retired, he’s putting his building skills to work for the cause of Christ. Working with his friends from church, his grandkids and his 91 year old father, Ken processes trees from his forest and produced 10,000 toy wooden cars to go into Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!

Sounds like Ken is quite the overachiever. You don’t have to make 10,000 toys to make a difference. Today is the last day for collection week with Operation Christmas Child – so you still have time to help!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Barbara and Margarita are just two grandmas, retired in Miami, FL who love to sew and share Jesus with children. For years the duo made stuffed animals and donated them to orphanages and hospitals in south Florida – but they wanted to do more to directly share Jesus along with their custom-made toys. Then someone connected these talented grandmas with Operation Christmas Child.

Prayer answered!

Barb and Marg met in Sunday School nearly 20 years earlier. Now their nimble fingers turn out hundreds of stuffed animals made from donated fabrics and even gently used t-shirts. Each stuffed animal tells a story and comes with a handwritten note from one of the ladies, sharing about Jesus.

“We make them, God places them,” Margarita said. “One box is going to reach a child—that’s a soul that is going to be touched by Jesus. One child at a time, it’s going to make a difference.”

Thursday, November 18, 2021

On board the 57 foot long sailboat christened Cloud 9, a small group of missionaries and hundreds of shoebox gifts sail a 40 mile stretch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The destination is Ennibur Island. It’s one of the most remote places on earth, between Hawaii and the Philippines. But dozens of children are about to celebrate the real reason for Christmas thanks to Operation Christmas Child!

Four missionaries bring the Gospel and a ton of presents to the nearly 300 children on the island. Everyone is sweating through their clothes. Christmas in the South Pacific is a balmy 85 degrees. Songs are sung and the Christmas story is acted out in their native language. Then the kids start tearing into gifts sent to them from families just like ours!

The joyful sound of hundreds of children playing and shouting echo across this remote island with no electricity or even a landing strip for small planes. At the end of the day, over 130 children, not including many adults, prayed to make Jesus King of their lives. The small churches on the island are given many resources to continue growing this new faith.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

25 years ago, Sallie Simmons retired from a lifelong career as a nurse. She had a new car – and an exciting new season in front of her. But she felt in her heart that a life of leisure was NOT what God was calling her to. So she doubled down in her commitments at church and was soon introduced to Operation Christmas Child. That’s where Sallie found her second life calling.

This was over a quarter century ago! Now Sallie is 93 years old and leading her church’s Operation Christmas Child ministry. She packs shoebox gifts, praying for the children and families that will receive them.

“A box may go to a child who has never had a gift. It shows them that someone in the world loves them. That can change a life… Those boxes go to the ends of the earth to tell others about Jesus.”

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

“Amor a la Vida” means “Love for Life” – it’s also the name of a church congregation hidden in the mountains of Pichincha, Ecuador. Pastor Segundo Santacruz leads his excited and growing congregation as they meet needs and share Love with the native community.

Amor a la Vida provides food for their community – as well as virtual education through their one shared laptop computer. But every year at Christmas – that’s when the real magic happens! Kids and families get shoebox gifts from Operation Christmas Child when Amor a la Vida hosts the gift distribution each December.

It was at such a Christmas party that 12-year-old Romina heard the Gospel, saw the Gospel lived out, and decided to commit her life to Jesus! Romina is a talented pre-teen who loves to sing and do artwork. She prayed that God would provide some art supplies and sure enough – when she opened up her Operation Christmas Child shoebox there was a brand new pack of fine-tipped, colored markers front and center!

Now she sings her gratitude to God for providing for her needs and wants. Imagine what dreams God can use you to fulfill this Christmas!

Monday, November 15, 2021

16-year-old Jane Marie Franks is just a small town girl in Tennessee, making a difference around the world through Operation Christmas Child!

“We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” That’s the heart of Jane Marie’s message when the teenager toured elementary, middle and high schools in Linden, TN. She rallied students and teachers to pack over 1,000 shoebox gifts – which is pretty impressive considering the entire town only has about 2,000 residents.

Where does Jane Marie’s excitement for spreading the Gospel through Operation Christmas Child come from? Jane was adopted by her Tennessee based parents when she was just 6 months old. She was born in Guatemala – a place she and her family have returned to for mission trips. She’s seen first hand the difference that can be made with a simple gift at Christmas.

CLICK HERE to read more!

Friday, November 12, 2021

Four years ago, a heartbreaking assignment changed Lt. Brian Zach’s life for good — and for the better. Zach responded to a welfare check in Kingman, Arizona, where he met 2-year-old Kaila. The little girl was covered in bruises and other injuries. As they waited for social workers to help get Kaila out of her abusive home, Zach made friends with his small charge.

In fact, they got on so well that authorities later contacted him when they were searching for a foster family. Zach, along with his wife and two children, immediately said yes. They were only supposed to have a short time together, but before they knew it, the family was making memories with Kaila. They were seeing her off to school and taking fun trips. Now, they’re her real, adoptive family.

 

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Thursday, November 11, 2021

Andrew, who is on the autism spectrum, was really struggling to make friends at his new school. But lonely lunches are now a field of dreams with new friends. A football coach at the school saw Andrew’s struggle and encouraged his team to befriend the teenager. Soon his table was full of football players who became fast friends.

The footballers invited Andrew to hang with them after practice and ultimately he became the team manager. He got more than just a friend to eat lunch with – he found his place with a new family at school.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Love In Action food bank is not just about the food; it’s really about showing and spreading the love of Jesus. It takes nearly 50 volunteers to handle the volume of food that gets distributed one Saturday every month. Along with hundreds of dollars in free food, the Gospel gets passed along to each family.

Love In Action began 20 years ago when husband and wife team The Campbells felt called to step up and help their community in Alabama. They organized support from several local churches that helped make this dream a reality.

We all know there aren’t many expressions of love more well received than the gift of food! Locally, our friends at Second Harvest Food Bank supply many other regional food pantries. You can learn more about volunteering or supporting Second Harvest at no-hunger.org.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Over the years, there have been several studies showing the physical effects that being kind can have, but there hasn’t been much research into how university-aged students respond to treating others with kindness.

Dr. John-Tyler Binfet and Dr. Sally Stewart from the University of British Columbia just completed one such study. Participants in the study completed 353 acts of kindness ranging from helping others to demonstrating appreciation.

Dr. Binfet said, “We know being kind yields a number of wellbeing benefits, such as stress reduction, happiness and peer acceptance, and we know mental health impacts learning. The post-secondary environment is often the last training ground to prepare students for life, so we want to understand how we can prepare students for optimal mental health as adults.”

So there you have it, college kids; scientific proof that being kind will help you do better in school AND be happier in life.

Monday, November 8, 2021

At one time in our lives, we all need second or third or fourth chances and Peter Mutabazi knows all about second chances. He was born in Uganda to an abusive father and ran away when he was 10 years old. After graduating college, he moved to the U.S. and began serving as a foster parent so he could give kids what he didn’t have – a safe, loving home.

Since then, Peter has fostered more than a dozen children, one of which is now his legally adopted son. In March 2020 when the pandemic was beginning, the father-son duo took in another one and another one. He now has four kids at his home.

Peter says, “My goal is to lift up those who have been forgotten and to say you’re special, you matter.”

 

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Friday, November 5, 2021

Sophie took her children to a restaurant last weekend last week. While her children were playing in the play area, she was trying to win a pink and purple teddy bear for her little girl on one of those claw machines. After three attempts, she gave up and proceeded back to her table for the meal. Little did she know, a 10 yr. old boy was watching her quest to win that bear, so he tried his hand at the claw game – and won! He walked over to her table with the same stuffed animal she was trying to win in his hand and said, “I’ve just won it for your little girl.” Sophie said, “I was nearly in tears it was such a nice thing to do.”

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Today’s story shows the power of kindness and reminds us it’s never too late for gratitude.

When’s the last time you got a thank you card? One letter that a police department in Kentucky received last week really stuck out. The letter was thanking the department for a random act of kindness one of their officers performed 71 years ago! 

The letter read: “Back in 1950 my bride and I stopped in your city for lunch & when we left, this little card was under my wiper. For two 17 yr. old’s we didn’t have extra money for a parking ticket. My wife carried this card in all her wallets since then & we often talked about how kind your city is. I have lost her recently & just wanted to send this. Thank you.”

The department doesn’t give out those little cards anymore, but Police Chief Darrel Kilburn said small acts of kindness will always be a part of their culture.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

For medical reasons we have to say this – laughter is not actually medicine. But sometimes it is the best medicine! When Neiva Fett of Madison, WI was recovering from back surgery, it was laughter that kept her inspired in the long road to recovery.

Laughter specifically brought on from cheesy “dad jokes.” Neiva’s neighbors, Tom and Jennifer Hanser, would post a dad-joke on a sign in front of their house. Neiva’s doctors told her the best recovery exercise for her was to walk around her neighborhood. It was the dad jokes that pushed her to go that extra block each day.

The Hanser’s jokes started as a way to bring joy to their neighbors during the pandemic shut-down. Wisconsin gets real cold for like 6 months out of the year, but every day Neiva would suit and boot up so she could get her prescribed exercise and joke of the day.

Would this joke (taken from the Hanser’s yard) inspire you to brave the Wisconsin Winter?

“I canceled my subscription to the Scrabble club. Now they’re sending me threatening letters.” 😂

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The newly reopened Country Diner in Hegins, Pennsylvania was packed during a lunch rush when a diner asked manager Lorrie Renninger if she could pay for everyone’s bill. The diner went on to pay for all of the customers’ meals AND she also tipped the two servers a total of $100.

It was an act of kindness not only for the customers at Country Diner but also for the employees, especially during a difficult time. Lorrie the manager said, “Business has been up and down. Even though we’re opening, we still can’t get the help, you know. We had to do reduced hours.”

The generous patron wanted to remain anonymous, but employees want her to know how many people she touched by her generosity.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Portsmouth West High School and visiting Waverly High School were ready to begin their basketball game in Ohio when the sound system went out and their anthem couldn’t be played. After just a moment of awkward silence, a clear, strong voice burst forth from the stands.

Trenton Brown, father to one of the basketball players, sang the anthem a Capella to a stunned gymnasium. Trenton was used to singing with his church choir and band but he had never performed like this. Thankfully a friend captured the moment and put it on Facebook!

Later Trenton revealed he wasn’t planning on singing but his wife nudged him and said “Just sing!” The anthem is special to his family, whose oldest daughter Grace is currently serving in the US Air Force. After his impromptu performance he got to watch his song Zeke play in his very first varsity basketball game – but no word on the final score.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Hattie Craft is a living legend. The Lower 9th Ward mother to all has spent half a century dolling out frozen cups and plates of food through a slot in her front door to generations of children. She fought for and won federal help in the 9th ward after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. She’s spent every year since as an advocate for her community.

In the late 70s she organized a petition to have Mayor Dutch Morial pave the neighborhood roads of her community. Hattie is known for her kindness and generosity.

That’s why a couple of weeks ago for her 99th birthday, cars lined up for blocks to drive by and celebrate her loving spirit from the drive-way of her daughter Alice.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

How do we combat violence and hate in our country? It might be as simple as popping open a lawn chair.

21 Days of Peace took a look at the homicide numbers in the suburbs of Minneapolis and the local churches and community simply set up their lawn chairs and sat there. The idea was to be “violence interrupters” with just their presence. And guess what… It worked!

Violent crime bottomed out in the areas where folks were sitting in their lawn chairs. Inspired by their success, groups in Nashville and Baltimore did the same thing – and they saw a 40% drop in violent crime and far fewer arrests.

The organizers of the first 21 Days of Peace credit local churches saying, “We draw on the power of congregation—of family, of friends, and of community to try to interrupt the violence. And our faith gives us the courage to put ourselves in harm’s way.”

Monday, October 25, 2021

School pictures are usually terrible for everyone. The student has anxiety – the photographer is exhausted and the parents are dropping a lot of money on a terrible picture that may or may not end up in a wallet.

North Farmington High School decided that the Seniors deserved to have more fun with their school pictures – so ever since 2014 they’ve been allowed to wear costumes for their school ID pictures. And if you were worried about the imagination of today’s youth, you need not be – these kids had a ball with their costumes.

Forrest Gump? That’s an easy costume to put together. A couple of friends synced their pictures up to be a scene from Disney’s Tangled – one posed as Rapunzel, the other as Mother Gothel.

Disney makes a bunch of costume appearances, one of the best being the angry tea lady from Mulan.

CLICK HERE to see even more awesome student ID photos!

Friday, October 22, 2021

It’s amazing how near-strangers can somehow become deeply connected to our lives. In 2013, Jacqui Webb spent three weeks at Tufts Medical Center in Boston after suffering life-threatening wounds in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Jacqui says she was deeply grateful for the caring staff there, and the thought crossed her mind that if she ever had a baby, she would want to be back at the same hospital.

Sure enough, this past August, Jacqui returned to the same hospital to deliver her first child. Nichole Casper, one of the nurses, recognized Ms. Webb and her fiancé, Paul Norden, on the list of incoming patients. (Norden and his brother, J.P., each lost their right legs in the bombing.) Casper had cared for them in the aftermath of the attack.

The nurse made sure she was there to greet the new parents, and they shared a touching reunion. Jacqui said it was comforting to be treated by someone who knew what she had been through. And for Nurse Casper, it was a rare and precious moment to be able to see two people, whom she had helped through the worst moments of their life, find a new happiness.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A nice hairstyle can mean so much more than fashion. For kids, it can give them the confidence to take on the challenges of a new school year. That’s why Brittany Starks, a single mom in Nashville, Tennessee, started offering free hair braiding services.

Despite knowing plenty of struggles herself, Brittany was moved to share her skills with struggling families in her community so their children could go back to school looking their best. She didn’t think she’d receive a big response, but was shocked at how many people were in need of such care.

This school year, Brittany has braided the hair of more than 35 children, and has enlisted the help of fellow hairstylists. She’s also launched a GoFundMe for supplies, and it’s smashed her initial goals. “As a single parent who has gone through so much of the same struggles they did, I know what these parents are feeling,” Starks said. “And if I can help in any way, even if it’s just putting a smile on their faces and easing this burden, I’m going to do it.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Marie Robinson just turned 100 and she says, “serving the Lord and not hating anyone is the secret…” to a long and happy life.  Marie Robinson celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family at a local community center – because they needed room for all of the people who love her!

When asked to share her wisdom to younger generations, Ms. Marie warns everyone to raise their children right, “..tell them how to love one another.”

Family is very important to Marie. She and her late husband Moses raised nine children and were blessed with 35 grandchildren, 101 great-grandchildren and 18 great-great grandchildren… so far.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Josh and Cassie Sutton are realtors from Virginia. Their preschooler Harvey has boundless energy, so the family loves to go on hikes together. This past spring/summer the family took off of work and hiked the entire 2100 miles of the Appalachian Trail, stretching from Georgia to Maine.

The family spent 209 days on the Trail, camping most of the way. Harvey loved climbing rocks, finding tree frogs and other wildlife – and making his world famous Peanut Butter and Skittles tortillas for snacking.

Harvey was just 4 years old when the family started their hike, turning 5 along the way. His parents said keeping his imagination engaged over the months of hiking was a real challenge but his enthusiasm was contagious, especially as they met and travelled with other Trail hikers.

Just a couple of days after finishing their journey on Mount Katahdin in Maine, Harvey started Kindergarten. They survived a snow storm and camping as a family for over half a year. I think it’s safe to say that Harvey can handle Kindergarten, no matter what challenges that may bring!

 

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Monday, October 18, 2021

It was super exciting when The Magnolia Network launched this Summer, bringing Chip and Joanna Gaines back into our living rooms … but fans were pretty split on the return of Fixer Upper – not for the show – it’s great. No, the problem was Chip Gaines’ hair. It just kept getting longer and longer …

But the reason Chip Gaines grew his long hair during the pandemic was to spark others to generosity. Chip cut his hair and donated the locks to Children with Hairloss, while asking fans to donate to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. The hope was to raise $100,000. They ended up raising over half a million dollars!

 

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A post shared by Chip Gaines (@chipgaines)

Friday, October 15, 2021

Three years ago, at age 8, Eleanore Lowe decided to sell lemonade in her Metairie neighborhood to help provide entertainment for children at local hospitals.

Her second lemonade stand was for the Order of the Sister Servants of Mary, a nonprofit organization that cares for the sick and terminally ill.  And more recently, Eleanore held a third lemonade fundraiser. This time, social media users decided where the money went, with people voting for their favorite nonprofit.

In all, Eleanore has raised $800!

Eleanore is now a veteran do-gooder at 11 years old. While the pandemic has put many of her extracurricular activities and fundraising events on hold, she encourages everyone to try something new and practice, practice, practice.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Imagine getting all the way to the Olympics, only to take a bus to the wrong venue for your event. It’s enough to make you sweat, right?

That’s exactly what happened to Jamaican runner Hansle Parchment when he accidentally ended up at the aquatics arena instead of Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium on the day of his semifinal in the 110m hurdles. Luckily, a kindhearted volunteer helped Parchment get there just in time. The Japanese Olympic volunteer gave the runner some money to take a taxi to the stadium.

Here’s the best part: Hansle Parchment went on to qualify for the final, and then won gold! Afterward, he tracked down the volunteer to thank her and show off the gold medal she helped him win! That attitude of gratitude is expected of Jamaican olympians, according to Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, who praised both the athlete and volunteer, saying “Every Jamaican knows gratitude is a must.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Officer Thomas noticed a man walking in the rain without shoes on and asked him if he needed socks and shoes. He bashfully replied, “Yes.” So she ran to go get him some shoes, but when Officer Thomas returned, the man was gone. She continued to carry around the shoes in the trunk of her car just in case she happened upon him later.

Later, while working an extra security job at a grocery store, Officer Thomas noticed the shoeless man outside. Since still had the shoes in her car, she was finally able to give them to the homeless man.

This kind police officer was not aware that she was being filmed during her act of kindness. She simply saw a person with a need that she could fill and did so.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Orion Jean is a young man on a mission – to share the gift of reading with hundreds of thousands of kids.

In 2020, Orion won a student kindness contest where he displayed his own campaign of compassion. He says, “Kindness is a virtue we can all possess. If we are willing to. So why not start today. Because right now, it’s what we need more than ever.”

For Orion, winning that contest “was really just the catalyst to something so much bigger.” With his $500 prize, he donated toys to a Dallas Children’s hospital. Next, through food drives and partnering with a relief group, he helped collect 100,000 meals for Texas families. Now, his focus is books for children who may not have them at home.

“I hope that the impact that I have had is enough to keep people continuing to race to kindness and continuing to join me in this marathon because it’s not a sprint,” Orion said. “It’s not a one-time thing, it’s not a three-time thing. It’s something that can hopefully be continued on for years and years to come.”

Monday, October 11, 2021

Anyone who says that miracles no longer exist have never heard Brittney Bedwell’s story. Years ago, she was in an ATV accident that left her paralyzed and unable to have future kids. Several doctors told her that she’d never be able to walk again, but her determination said otherwise.

But Brittany WAS able to walk. In fact, she walked down the aisle at her wedding!  And, despite what doctors said about her never being able to have kids, she’s now four months pregnant!

Brittney’s sister said, “She leaves me speechless. So, I’ll just say – Brittney Bedwell inspires me to never give up. To believe in miracles. To stay strong. To defy the odds. To love deeply and freely. Happy wedding day, baby sister. You are STUNNING and STRONG!”

Friday, October 8, 2021

Student debt is at an incredible all time high in the United States – an estimated $1.7 trillion. That might as well be a fictional number, it is so much debt. But in the face of despair comes hope.

South Carolina State University announced they will use federal stimulus money from the pandemic to forgive almost $10 million in student debt – impacting 2,500 students!

Imagine the joy and relief of these students! If you want to learn how to manage your finances in a Godly way – don’t miss Money Wise every weekday at 10 AM on LifeSongs.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Six-year-old Blake asked his mom to make him a shirt that simply said, I WILL BE YOUR FRIEND. He just wanted to be welcoming to new kids at his school in Fayetteville, GA.

Blake’s Mom, Nikki shared the story in USA TODAY. She said, “Blake… wants to meet people right where they are, just like Jesus does.”

What would your custom back-to-school t-shirt say? (Might I recommend: God is Good All The Time)

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

A group of high school students have designed and built a wheelchair stroller attachment so that people with disabilities can walk their babies.

The idea was born when one of their teachers was expecting a baby and they learned how nervous her wheelchair bound husband was. It was going to be tough for him to get in on some precious parenting moments. These high schoolers put an intense amount of thought into the project, working for months, taking into account the terrain around the dad-to-be’s house and making sure the design was something he could operate independently.

The result is the “WheeStroll,” a simple wheelchair attachment that allows parents to place their baby safely in front of them as they wheel around.

The students won two international awards by the Make:able 3D Printing Challenge for their wheelchair project: “Best Inspirational Story” and “Best Showcase of Iterative Design.” And they aren’t looking to get rich off of their innovation, either. The school shared the 3D printable plans and necessary tools for free to the internet.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Most people who become nurses do the job because they want to help people. Over the last 18 months that has been a next to impossible task. Sadly these titans of healthcare often put their own needs on the backburner. How can you give back to the nurses who have given so much? Well we can start with a mani-pedi.

The Marco Pelusi Hair Studio in West Hollywood, CA has been doing free makeovers for some of the local nurses. Marco said, “They have worked so hard, so diligently, so ferociously… We wanted to make them feel good so when they get in the mirror in the morning, they’ve got some pretty color to look at and they’re energized to go back out on the front lines.”

We can make a difference for our local nurses too. For starters, take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But also check with your church about ways to care for healthcare professionals.

Monday, October 4, 2021

A good parent wants a hope filled future for their children. Parents of children with special needs face even more challenges as their kids become young men and women. There are simply not as many education and job opportunities for folks with learning disabilities – but all hope is not lost.

Joel Wegener has two adult children with Down syndrome. Josh and Mary Kate wanted to work, but finding a job proved challenging. So dad Joel made them a job. He purchased an ice cream truck and started the family business. And business is booming!

The Special Neat Treats ice cream truck rolls throughout town, frequently selling out – the Sponge-Bob popsicle is the best seller. Joel, Josh and Mary Kate have connected with their community in many special ways – and encourage other families with special needs kids each day.

Dad Joel says, “No matter what your abilities are, there’s something you can do and you can spread joy and interact with people.”

Monday, September 27, 2021

Liz Cooke is better known as LionheartLiz – her Instagram handle. She’s an influential designer and owner of Lionheart Prints on Magazine Street in New Orleans. While she survived Hurricane Ida with minimal damages, she wanted to help Terrebonne Parish in the aftermath.

LionheartLiz encouraged her Instagram followers to join her in making a difference. Together they raised thousands of dollars and were able to deliver cleaning supplies, essential personal items for women and children, plus a generator and solar lights to be distributed at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.

Cooke and her followers literally filled up a uHaul trailer with as much as they could fit and delivered it to the scene of so much devastation. Her act of goodwill is a great reminder that you don’t need to be some huge organization like the Red Cross or the Cajun Navy to make an impact.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Lucille Fortin usually relied on her husband Waldo to take the lead when it came to hurricane preparation. But Waldo passed away last year and 70 year old Lucille was left to fend for herself during Hurricane Ida.

Lucille was able to evacuate safely with family to Texas during the storm. While there, she called to pay her PosiGen energy bill, and found herself sharing about how overwhelmed she was about cleaning up her home to account manager Elizabeth Newell. The phone conversation turned into a therapy session.

Lucille said, “I was kind of upset, and [Elizabeth] nurtured me.”

Elizabeth was inspired to help Lucille, a customer she’d never met in person, clean up her house after the storm, so she enlisted the help of her colleague Manuel. They met at Lucille’s house in New Orleans East a few weeks after the storm. They cleaned the refrigerator and freezer, which was jam-packed with spoiled food. They hauled debris, soiled rugs, and spent hours battling a yard of knee-high weeds.

Elizabeth and Manuel took care of it all. They were angels for Ms. Lucille.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

LifeSongs has long supported and worked with Second Harvest Food Bank (remember all of those awesome Strike Out Hunger bowling days at Rock ‘n Bowl?). Second Harvest meets food needs for 23 parishes across Southern Louisiana. Ever since Hurricane Ida, Second Harvest has been a non-stop buzz of activity. Not only are the loading docks of their Elmwood facility rolling out supplies to trucks all day everyday, but on the other side of the building, their chef run kitchen is cranking out tens of thousands of hot meals.

Executive chef Matthew Taylor leads a team of cooks and volunteers cooking and packaging hot meals to be delivered across the region every day. With dueling assembly lines and constantly refreshed hot pans of delicious and nutritious food – it’s a well-oiled machine of goodness that puts out around 7,000 meals a day. Since Ida, Second Harvest has delivered nearly 2 million pounds of food.

Second Harvest is always looking for volunteers – and now the need is greater than ever. You can learn more about serving and supporting Second Harvest at no-hunger.org.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Our Daily Bread is a local food bank that has faithfully served the disadvantaged of Tangipahoa Parish since 1999. Their mission is to alleviate hunger and make an eternal impact by sharing kindness and compassion with everyone who is in need. And they have been VERY busy these past few weeks.

Ms. Joy in Ponchatoula recently retired from her job of 24 years to commit her time and focus to serving at Our Daily Bread Food Bank in Hammond. [CLIPS] She told us, “We have been serving 2,500 meals a day since Wednesday after the storm. It is heartbreaking to see so many still in need, but I am thankful I am part of the team that gets to serve.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Individuals, families, church groups – so many folks have come to SELA to help pick up after Ida. One group of landscapers from Houston visited St. John the Baptist Parish and helped clear out properties, cut down trees and clean up neighborhoods.

Lorena Mercado-Hunter was a part of this team of Houston landscapers. She was floored by the devastation, telling WWLTV, “Every single house… everyone just lost everything.” Adding, “..it’s heartbreaking but I’m glad I was able to come out here, make a little difference, help people out.”

And Lorena did help. Her whole team from Don A Cut Above the Rest Landscaping worked hard all weekend long. And so did many many others. And we cannot thank everyone enough for their willingness to serve. Long months of hard work lay ahead for many communities stretching from Terrebonne through the river parishes, on up to Tangipahoa.

Monday, September 20, 2021

10th Ward Buck and Lucky Johnson got together to turn an abandoned McDonald’s parking lot on the corner of Downman and Morrison into a place where locals could pick up free food and resources as they rebuild and restore after Ida. Many volunteers have joined the cause and bring food – boil seafood on the spot – and help load water and ice into cars.

The bounce rapper and local actor hope to eventually turn the site into a food truck hotspot, but right now they are just glad they can help their neighbors during this trying time.

Friday, September 17, 2021

In the middle of a community in shambles, First Baptist Church Golden Meadow is meeting needs by becoming a one-stop, drive-thru needs meeting beacon of hope. No AC, roof damage and downed trees are a lot to deal with. The needs are great, so FBC Golden Meadow is doing what they can to meet as many needs as possible.

Pastor Matthew Chouest decided to make the church building a drive-thru makeshift shop to distribute resources. Anyone can pull up and hand over their list of needs – and then volunteers gather everything they can for that person and load it in their car. Food, clothes, cleaning supplies – whatever they have is going to anyone in need.

The Cajun Navy set up in the parking lot to cook and hand out meals. In between distributions, volunteers work on cleaning up the debris at the church house, which also took heavy damage during Hurricane Ida. Now that’s what I call Bayou Hospitality!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Just a couple of days after Hurricane Ida devastated Southern Louisiana, the Virginia-based non-profit Mercy Chefs was on the scene, utilizing volunteers and churches to provide hot meals to the hardest hit places.

Thirteen sites were set up; from Celebration in Metairie and Church of the King in Kenner – out to Violet in St. Bernard parish, LaPlace in the River Parishes, on down to Houma and Golden Meadow. And Mercy Chefs knows how to get it done – they learned in Lake Charles just last year after Hurricane Laura.

Mercy Chefs may be based in Virginia, but their roots are right here in Southeast Louisiana. Founder Gary LeBlanc is from Gonzalez and lived in New Orleans for 20 years. He went through Katrina – he knows the devastation and decided he would spend the rest of his life on the frontlines, helping people recover.

While Mercy Chefs is faith-based, they are not pushing religion on folks who are hungry – they are just meeting needs, like Jesus demonstrated. Many people who received meals immediately signed up to be volunteers for days afterwards.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Breeze Airways made New Orleans one of their four main hubs – connecting other Southern cities like Little Rock, Louisville, San Antonio and Tampa. The new airline is offering $1 million in free flights to get New Orleans residents home, first responders to the worst hit areas and volunteers into town to help with the Ida recovery.

Anyone can apply for the free flights at flybreeze.com. What a beautiful gift to Southeast Louisiana?! The deadline to apply is next Wednesday, the 22nd.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The video game industry is helping Louisiana (and others impacted by Hurricane Ida) with a bundle of games. These games don’t teach you how to shingle a roof or run power lines – but their proceeds are supplying the Cajun Navy, Bucket Brigade, food banks and more!

A bundle of 15 video games put together by local developers aimed to raise $5000 by packaging their games for a suggested $10 donation. The bundle sale ended last Friday.

They did not raise their target of $5000.

They raised nearly $30,000!

Monday, September 13, 2021

One of the first “heroes” many children meet are firefighters. Fire departments do a great job of being involved in the community – letting kids climb around on the big red fire engines – and teach fire safety at local schools. This they do when they are not busy being superheroes.

Like the name says, firefighters fight fires – something they have been called to do frequently with much of Southern Louisiana depending on generators for power. But they are also usually the first on the scene at accidents, as emergency medical responders. For the last couple of weeks Bridge City Firefighters have also become ice delivery people – checking in on an elderly community slow to get power back.

The ice helps, for sure, but a friendly face full of concern might mean even more. Especially after a weekend where as Americans we remember the impact thousands of firefighters made responding to the September 11th attacks 20 years ago. The famous Mr. Rogers’ quote about looking for the helpers still holds true,”.. you can always find people who are helping.”

Friday, August 27, 2021

College is very expensive. There are all kinds of grants and scholarships you can apply for, but millions of Americans still end up drowning in student loan debt. Now the largest private employer in the country is declaring NO MORE to student debt.

Walmart announced a program to pay college tuition and the cost of books for its full time AND part time associates! That’s over 1.5 million people that essentially just got a full-ride scholarship because of their generous employer.

Not to be outdone, Big Box rival Target says they’ll pay for college for their employees too – and even help cover the cost for grad school! So if you were worried about your future after high school, two of the world’s largest employers will give you a job and a free college education … it’s gonna be ok, friends.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

18 year old Sebbie Hall of Great Britain is making the most out of pandemic life.. Sebbie suffers from a rare Chromosomal issue, which creates learning disabilities. His mom Ashley asked him to think about what skills he could use to raise money for charities.

Without missing a beat, Sebbie responded, “I can be kind.”

Every day Sebbie performs at least one act of kindness. So far he’s done over 1,600 good deeds in his community. And with that “wonderful determination” (according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson) Sebbie has raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity.

Sebbie has walked neighborhood pets, watered gardens, washed cars and baked cakes. He’s handed out PPE for medical personnel and even given warm coats to the homeless. A bit of a Lothario as well, Sebbie has handed out 100 roses to 100 women just to make them smile, on his way to serve at a local food bank.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

The Baltimore Museum of Art is arranging an exhibition called “Guarding the Art,” which will feature a selection of works chosen by unsung giants in the art community: Museum security officers.

One officer chose a series of pre-Columbian sculptures because they made him feel connected to his Puerto Rican ancestry. Another officer with a classical music background chose a piece by German painter Max Beckmann that depicts the artist’s second wife, a violinist.

Whether it was a personal connection to the artwork or a more indescribable one, the 17 officers involved are changing ideas of what it means to “know” art.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Lisa Radcliffe’s son Buster was born with a neuromuscular condition that requires him to wear adaptive braces. The medical wear scared other children in Buster’s preschool and that led to a world changing business.

Lisa thought, “if the orthotics looked like superhero gear, every kid would want to wear them!”

So Lisa started PunkinFutz, which produces super cool looking orthotics for kids. The name PunkinFutz was a loving childhood nickname from Lisa’s dad. The product line, which includes bags for wheelchairs, compression vests for children with sensory issues and fidget toys for the ADHD crowd has been so successful that Lisa was able to quit her full time job and focus on the business.

 

In fact, it was such a big deal that Sesame Street and JCPenney have joined PunkinFutz to develop an exclusive line for their stores!

About 75 percent of the company’s staff has special needs and Lisa hopes to build an entire product line factory that is built to be manned by people with all manners of disabilities.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Pianist Tonee “Valentine” Carter received the biggest tip of his life last Wednesday, courtesy of strangers who heard him play virtually. Carlos Whittaker was dazzled by Carter when he spotted him playing the piano at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and shared videos of the performance with his 200,000 Instagram followers.

Carlos asked them to help him deliver Carter his biggest tip ever, and within 30 minutes, $10,000 had been sent via Venmo and Cash App. When Whittaker told Carter about the tip, he was stunned. “I love giving and donating and helping people, but I never expected someone to do it for me!” Carter said.

The money kept coming in, and that $10,000 grew to $70,000 by Saturday. Carter has kidney disease and receives dialysis treatment nightly, but that doesn’t stop him from going to the airport nearly every day, because when he plays the piano, “I feel like the happiest man in the world.”

Friday, August 20, 2021

A cute kitty wearing glasses would make anybody smile. This is a story about how a bespectacled cat is helping children regain their confidence.

Danielle Crull runs a pediatric optometrist office in Mechanicsburg, PA. She specializes in helping young children with severe ocular problems. Many of her patients have had surgery and are keyed up when it comes to anyone touching their eyes.

That is until a glasses-wearing rescue cat named Truffles hops up into their lap. Dr. Crull says Truffles loves to accessorize with glasses and loves to snuggle with the kids, helping ease their anxiety when getting their own glasses.

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Brayden Morton grew up in rural Canada and became hooked on drugs at a young age. He became a dealer – was involved in gangs and violence. He nearly died multiple times and even tried to take his own life. After 15 failed attempts to get off drugs, the 16th time was the charm.

When a drug addicted young woman stole his dog Darla for some quick cash, Brayden was crushed. But he was able to find the young woman, retrieve his Shar-pei Darla and instead of pressing charges, has offered to help the young woman get clean.

Braydon told her that he recognizes the struggle – he truly has been there before. Westminster House is a drug addiction treatment facility with a bed now waiting on this girl, whenever she is ready to do the work.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Tripp Hughes is a winner. The 7 year old has spent the last three years battling cancer – and recently rang a Fire Truck bell to celebrate his final chemo treatment. When you feel like a winner – you want others to feel like winners too. And so Tripp got to work.

For his seventh birthday this young fighter collected cash and new toys to donate to other kids in the hospital still in the middle of their own fight. Thanks to some generous friends, Tripp was able to donate over 2500 toys and $6000 to the children’s hospital he had just left.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Have an old clunker lying around? Eliot Middleton will cut you a deal. The restaurant owner/mechanic fixes up old cars and donates them to people in need throughout rural South Carolina. To get the vehicles, he trades people a plate of ribs from his restaurant, Middleton’s Village BBQ.

“You don’t have a car, you don’t have a career,” Middleton says simply. “I want to help everybody looking to better themselves when transportation is what’s holding them back.”

So far, he’s collected 100 cars and surprised 33 people with a repaired ride. Middleton says he is committed to using his time and skills to help hard-working community members. It’s also a way to help himself heal: He learned how to fix cars from his father, who passed away in 2020. Every car he fixes, every life he changes, is carrying on that beloved legacy.

Monday, August 16, 2021

Joan Cather runs a Martial Arts training school in Bridgeton, Missouri and this Summer, she and her class were invited to ride on a float in the town’s 4th of July parade.

Halfway through the parade, a fellow karate instructor stopped the parade when he noticed a man in need of medical attention. The other instructor – an off-duty cop – began chest compressions. At first there was no pulse – but the CPR worked and the man was breathing on his own when the ambulance arrived.

A few minutes later, after re-starting the parade, Joan and her co-instructor stopped everything once again to help someone in distress from the heat. CPR and emergency response is a skillset taught and required at Joan’s dojo – and the parade put that need on full display.

After the parade was over, Joan and her team took home 1st place trophy for the performance category – which was just icing on the cake!

Friday, August 13, 2021

The fire started at the entrance to the apartment building and quickly shot up the stairwell to apartments above. Firefighters and first responders came as fast as they could – but it wouldn’t have been quick enough to save everyone from the burning building.

But neighbors and strangers alike saw the flames and began to work together to save everyone. Some scaled the outside of the building to help residents escape through windows. Three people had to go to the hospital but dozens of others were saved because of the swift action of their neighbors.

The chief fire warden praised his community saying, “It’s amazing to see this kind of involvement and to act when other people are in danger, I am proud to see that the residents acted the way they did.”

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Over the last five years, Rodney Smith Jr. has inspired thousands of young people to mow dozens of yards in their communities for free. Smith, 33, is the founder of Raising Men & Women Lawn Care Service in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2017, he took his lawn care service on the road, traveling to all 50 states to help out veterans, cancer survivors, senior citizens, and people just trying to get by. He’s also started a program called the 50 Yard Challenge, which challenges young people to mow 50 yards in their communities.

More than 2,000 people have signed up, and they get t-shirts and other perks along the way — including new lawn care tools if they finish. Why mow so much? Smith says it builds character, and helps people feel connected to their communities.

“My mission in life is to give back,” he says. “Especially to those who need it the most.”

 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

THANK YOU to our amazing superheroes in the medical field. We couldn’t be more grateful for you and the hard work you’re doing.

Florence “SeeSee” Rigney, is said to be America’s oldest working nurse. After more than 70 years caring for patients, 96-year-old Rigney is officially hanging up her scrubs for a well-earned retirement. Rigney’s career in nursing started when penicillin had just been introduced to the medical field, and she ended it as a beloved operation room nurse in Washington state.

Imagine the the thousands and thousands of lives she’s cared for in 70 years! Nurse SeeSee may get to put her feet up now, but her legacy is far from over. The hospital system has established the SeeSee Rigney Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund to inspire future generations of nurses.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Officer Rose Cauthron’s home in Bridge City was severely damaged in a storm last month. The roof began collapsing and needed to be replaced.  Officer Rose works with Causeway Police and formerly worked with the New Orleans Police Department. The collapsing roof isn’t even the biggest trial she’s currently facing. About a month ago, she lost her stepson to an accidental gunshot. The grief, the roof, and her brother’s mental health have all been overwhelming.

Seeking help for PTSD, Rose reached out to Michael Parker, who volunteers with Project Refit. Project Refit is an organization that helps first responders, active duty military, and veterans dealing with isolation or PTSD.  Parker said, “I knew we couldn’t do anything about her stepson or her brother, but I was like we can raise this money, we can help her out [with the roof].”

The group raised $8,500 to fund repairs and NOLA church volunteers helped out along with volunteers from all over including New Jersey, Arkansas, and Northern Louisiana, who camped outside in tents so Rose would not feel alone or afraid while construction was underway.

Monday, August 9, 2021

They go by the nickname, The Shathi Sisters – which means “togetherness” in Bangladeshi. The Shathi Sisters get together once a month to cook up a storm at the St. George’s Anglican Church for a multifaith food kitchen in downtown Montreal.

One Saturday a month, the Shathi sisters produce 100 meals for the homeless and less fortunate of their hometown. They noticed the increase in homelessness due to the pandemic and wanted to make a difference. The plan is to do even more than a once a month cook day.


Friday, August 6, 2021

Hidilyn Diaz did something for her home country of the Philippines that no other Fillipino Olympian has ever done – brought home the Gold!

Diaz is a two time Olympian – and at 30 years of age she was able to deadlift 127 kg (around 280 lbs) – setting a new world record and for the first time since The Philippines began sending athletes to the Olympics in 1924, Diaz is bringing home a Gold medal!

But how she got to the Olympics is the real story. Like many athletes, Hidilyn spent the last year on COVID lockdown. She wasn’t able to see her family after getting stuck in Malaysia due to a travel ban. Stranded without proper training equipment, the innovative Olympian used water jugs to weight train!

Diaz thanks God for opportunities and encourages young Filipinos to “..dream high… That’s how I started. I dreamed high and finally, I was able to do it.”

Thursday, August 5, 2021

When Rayssa Leal was 7 she went viral for skateboarding in a fairy costume. But now Rayssa is trending on Twitter because she’s an Olympic champion!

Rayssa became internet famous back in 2015 when Tony Hawk shared a video of the costumed little girl nailing a heelflip at her home in Brazil. Now she’s rocking a Silver medal on the Olympic podium as one of the first Olympic Skateboarding champions in history – at just 13 years old!

The teenager now has over 6 million Instagram followers, but doesn’t want to be bogged down by fame. She said, “I want to go on with being a little girl that I am, having fun with my friends. I don’t want to have too many responsibilities right now. I just want to be a lovely, lively little girl that I am for the whole [of] Brazil.”

 

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A post shared by Rayssa Leal (@rayssalealsk8)

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

There is a lot of expectation heaped on Olympians. South African swimmer Tatjana Schoenmaker was feeling the pressure so the devout Christian took to her Instagram to pray for peace.

The swimmer wrote: “Father God, may Your will be done, may Your peace fill us up, may we praise You no matter what the outcome. May we be empowered by Your strength to give our all and may we forever be in awe of Your goodness! Thank You for bringing us to this very moment.”

But that “outcome” was going to be better than Tatjana could have possibly anticipated. She started destroying records – setting an Olympic record in the prelims for the 200-meter breaststroke, then setting a new world record and winning the Gold medal in the finals! She also took Silver in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Tatjana became a Christian in 2016 and has used her social media presence as a way to give God glory as she competes on the international stage. At the Olympics, she wears two swim caps – one for South Africa, and another with the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” written on it. Glory to God Alone.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

From fleeing the Syrian Civil War to saving refugees all the way to swimming in the Olympics – this is the story of young Yusra Mardini.

The Mardini family lived a relatively comfortable life in the suburbs of Damascus, the effects of the Civil War were minimal for them. But steadily the violence grew. One day their father, a member of the national swimming team, was arrested and beaten. Their world began to collapse. It was decided that Yusra and her sister Sarah would have to flee the country.

The pair of teenagers went to Turkey and were then crammed on a boat built for 7, but had 20 refugees trying to get to the Greek Island of Lesbos – which has become a waystation for refugees. Just 15 minutes into the voyage, the little boat’s engine sputtered out. Yusra and Sarah got into the cold water, along with a couple of other refugees and used ropes to literally pull the boat through the Aegean Sea to port at Lesbos. They weren’t just swimming for their own lives, but the others on the boat.

Once on dry land, the sisters traveled to Berlin, Germany – often by foot – to live in a refugee camp. While living in a foreign land, Yusra and Sarah connected with a local swimming club for young athletes. With help of their new friends, the sisters were able to get papers and officially immigrate into Germany.

Yusra then went on to become the youngest ever UN Refugee Agency Goodwill Ambassador. And just a week ago in Tokyo, the young woman proudly carried the flag for the Refugee Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremonies.

Monday, August 2, 2021

First Lieutenant Amber English draped herself in the American flag, with her skeet shotgun resting on her shoulder and a gold medal between her teeth! She won top marks and even set an Olympic record by hitting 56 out of 60 targets.

Lt. English’s journey to the Olympics has been a long and difficult path. She went out for the Olympics in 2012 but came up short. Then just before trials in 2016 her father passed away. Again, a missed opportunity. But after 4 years in the Army, at the age of 31, she’s an Olympic champion.

Amber is one of nine US soldiers representing America in the Olympics this year.

 

Friday, July 30, 2021

An Argentinian fencer lost her Olympic match but still won something even better than Olympic Gold. After losing 15-12 against a Hungarian fencer, Argentina’s Maria Maurice was giving an interview when her coach and boyfriend handed her a large handwritten note saying “Do you want to marry me??? Please!”

Maria turned around to find Perez on one knee for the proposal. After screaming in glee she said “YES!!” Maria’s fiancé is a gold medalist fencer himself. Soon the pair will return home to Argentina to celebrate with their friends and family.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix is making sure mothers of young children, like herself, have the resources necessary for childcare. She and her sponsor Athleta have created The Power of She Fund: a $200,000 childcare fund for athletes competing this year.

The grant program helps fund child care costs for mothers who are also athletes while they travel to competitions. Ahead of the Tokyo games, The Power of She Fund gave nine mom/athletes $10,000 grants to help cover childcare while they win medals for Team USA.

Tokyo will be Allyson’s 5th Olympic Games. She’s won nine medals, six gold and three silver. She’ll once again be running the 400m dash.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

When Sydney McLaughlin qualified for the Tokyo Olympics for track and field, she also set a new world record. She was the quickest woman ever to compete in the 400-meter hurdles.

As soon as a microphone was put in her face what came rushing out was “All the glory to God!”

The outspoken Christian went on to praise God and thank him for her coaching team. This is her second trip to the Olympics. The hurdle competition begins on Saturday in Tokyo.

The Olympian wrote on her Instagram, “by grace, through faith, Jesus has given me everything. Records come and go. The glory of God is eternal. Thank you Father.”

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

It’s been a really challenging few years for track star Quanesha Burks. She excelled in high school and went to the University of Alabama on scholarship. In 2019 her grandfather (who helped raise her) passed away, causing her performance to drop off. Then 2020 hit and the pandemic impacted every athlete. While training for an Olympic run, Burks was sidelined with a bone injury for three months. Her coaches didn’t think she would be ready for trials, but hard work and determination prevailed.

At the trials for the Tokyo Olympics Quanesha Burks landed a personal best long-jump of 6.96 meters, and took third place overall, securing her spot on the Team USA roster.

Quanesha said, “I didn’t have everything laid out for me. I didn’t have all the eyes on me. I feel like still to this day I get overlooked. That’s okay. I just know it all starts with your confidence within. Everything I’ve become is because of my mindset and my determination. It’s been a journey and it all started with a little girl working at McDonald’s and here I am.”

Monday, July 26, 2021

18 year old Kieran Moise just graduated high school and is preparing to enter the Air Force Academy – but first, he was going to need a very important haircut. Six years earlier Kieran lost a friend to cancer. Inspired to help children recovering from chemotherapy, Kieran decided to grow out his afro to donate hair to be turned into free wigs through Children with Hair Loss.

By the time school was over, Kieran had grown an impressive 19-inch afro. He then organized a hair cut event to raise $1000 per inch that got chopped ($20,000) before signing up for life in the Air Force.

Kieran noted, “There’s nothing special about helping others, you just have to want to do it.”

Friday, July 23, 2021

Danielle Gletow is the founder of One Simple Wish, an organization that helps donors grant wishes from foster kids, foster parents and young adults who have aged out of the system. It’s emotional work, and one night last month, Gletow was feeling the full weight of it. Her friend had just passed away from ALS, and she was overwhelmed with anxiety over whether she could support all of the people counting on her.

In fact, she had made a special birthday wish days earlier, asking the public for donations on One Simple Wish‘s page. Little did she know that at the same time, a Reddit user was writing a post on the message board site that would change everything. The Redditor, who goes by dartdoug, answered the question “What is something you’ve done purely out of the goodness of your heart but have not told anyone?” by mentioning the One Simple Wish site.

Within hours, the Reddit community had donated sneakers, books, toys, electronics and more, fulfilling dozens of wishes. By last count, donations after the post have totaled more than $185,000. Danielle was blown away.

Danielle Gletow expressed her gratitude by sharing about the young people who would be helped by the outpouring of support: “I want them to feel valued and seen and not for what they’ve been through, not for their trauma, but just for who they are. For their sense of humor. For their intelligence. For their quirkiness. For their interest in writing or art. I want all of them to have some sense of wonder and hope and childhood. And this is what Reddit did.”

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Some kids as young as 2 or 3 are getting ticketed by police in Bogalusa – but not for breaking the law, rather, for being upstanding young people. And by tickets, I mean coupons for free snowballs and ice cream!

The Bogalusa police force are pumping up their numbers by issuing over 200 tickets for local treats to kids of all ages, hoping to build a better relationship with young people and stop crime before it starts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Jonathan Bright is a police officer in Tennessee and last week, he and six of his fellow officers just finished a 12-hour shift and stopped by Waffle House to get something to eat, but it was closed. The reason was that several employees walked off the job mid shift leaving them so short-handed that they were forced to close the restaurant.

After working their 12-hour police shift, the officers jumped in and started helping out at the Waffle House by cleaning, taking orders, and getting the restaurant running again.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Retired Judge Keith Davison decided that grief would not get the best of him. A few years ago he lost his wife to cancer after 66 years of marriage. His grown children have yet to provide grandkids, so Keith became the unofficial grandpa to all the kids in his neighborhood. And he became their favorite grandpa by putting in a HUGE pool.

There is no community pool in Morris, MN – but Judge Davison has extended the invite to his new, huge, 32 feet long, 9-feet deep backyard swimming pool for everyone in the community. Parents are required to be present with the kids. Keith’s backyard has become the Summer hangout spot for dozens of kids and families.

The 94 year old former judge stays fit by swimming laps before and after the children descend on the pool – and then enjoys talking with the families as they live up some Summer fun.

Monday, July 19, 2021

When someone is in trouble – heroes act fast. 16 year old Joseph and his friend 15 year old Dominic are absolutely heroes. The two boy scouts were riding their bikes surveying the damage after flood waters moved through their hometown of Columbia, Missouri when they heard cries coming from a flooded basketball court.

The two young men saw a young woman fighting to keep her head above water. She had tried to swim through the flooded playground but was caught in a current and cramping up. Joseph and Dominic did not hesitate – jumping into the deep and dangerous waters to rescue the flailing woman. She was later taken to the hospital and is expected to be ok.

For their part in the rescue, Joe and Dom were awarded the Citizen Life Safety Award by the local fire department.

Friday, July 16, 2021

We’ve heard so many stories about how during the pandemic, there has been a surge in generosity. Those with the means, blessing those in need. Stumble Inn Bar & Grill in Londonderry, New Hampshire is a local dive known for their chili dogs. A new customer must have really enjoyed his meal because he left a whopper of a tip.

The bill was for $37 – the tip was for $16,000! The diner told the staff to not spend it all in one place as he walked out the door. That is a baller move!

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Chicago police officers were patrolling the 6th district and saw some kids having fun playing basketball. But the milk crate they were using as a hoop had seen better days. So the officers hatched a plan. They collected cash from their coworkers and surprised the neighborhood kids with a brand new basketball goal and some fresh basketballs.

The kids were so excited it was high fives all around. It took 9 officers a few hours to put the goal together, but afterwards they stuck around to shoot some hoops with the kids. This is a gift these families will never forget – and maybe some of these kids will grow up to become cops because they experienced the difference that can be made.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Captain Jennifer Dowker was busy cleaning her glass bottomed boat, docked on the Cheboygan River in Michigan, when she saw something glimmer in the sunlight. It was an old timey glass bottle … and inside was a piece of rolled up parchment.

Jennifer fished the bottle out of the river and read the note inside. Dated November 1926, the note said, “Will the person who finds this bottle return this paper to George Morrow and tell where it was found.”

Jennifer’s crew shared the message in the bottle on Facebook and folks tracked down Michele Primeau – the daughter of George Morrow, who wrote the message nearly 100 years ago. George passed away back in 1995 – but this past Father’s Day Michele got to reminisce about her dad with this special glimpse into his past.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

When Richard Scott William Hutchinson came into the world last year, doctors at Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis gave him a zero percent chance of survival. The infant was born five months premature – recognized by Guinness as the world’s most premature baby. Richard weighed just 11.9 ounces and was so tiny, he could fit in the palm of his parents’ hands.

But inside his little body beat the heart of a fighter.

After six months in the hospital, Richard was discharged from the NICU. This June, he celebrated his first birthday as a thriving, smiling little boy.

Monday, July 12, 2021

For your average 8 year old boy – a Pokémon card collection is the equivalent of your grandmother’s fine china or those Beanie Babies you “invested” in back in the 90s. It’s a priceless possession. Bryson started collecting Pokémon cards when he was just 4. But at age 8 he put up a sign, “Pokémon 4 Sale” in his front lawn.

Bryson’s best friend is his puppy Woodruff, a black lab mix. Woodruff got sick with a virus and Bryson overheard his parents talking with the veterinarian that it would cost hundreds of dollars to save the dog. Bryson wanted to help so he put his Pokémon collection up for sale. When neighbors got wind of what Bryson was up to, the donations started pouring in. Most didn’t want the cards – just to help Woodruff.

While Bryson did sell a few cards – a lot of neighbors made donations of both cash and their own Pokémon cards to the cause. The family quickly had enough to treat Woodruff, who is now back to his healthy happy self. Someone told the Pokémon Company what Bryson did for his pup, and they sent him a ton of new Pokémon cards to make up for the few he sold.

Friday, July 9, 2021

A young man named Jabari Richardson – a student at Texas A&M – was in the process of moving when he saw a man on the side of the road. The man was homeless, holding a sign that simply said “Anything helps, God Bless.”

Jabari pulled some clothes and shoes out of his trunk and gave them to the grateful man. What Jabari didn’t know was the person behind him in traffic filmed the entire thing and posted it to TikTok.

That kind of generous act quickly went viral – set to the country song “The Good Ones” by Gabby Barrett. It’s been viewed well over 6 million times. Jabari was identified and interviewed by local news. He told reporters that his mom raised him to understand not everyone is as blessed as he is and to never take that for granted.

@amburandlex##DADMOVES ##summerschool ##goodpoint ##viral ##helpingthehomeless ##tallahasseeflorida ##foodtiktok ##intothethickofit ##blackmusic ##blacklivesmatter♬ The Good Ones – Gabby Barrett

Thursday, July 8, 2021

A dad wanted to inspire his kids to never give up in pursuing their dreams – and in the process raised a ton of money and got super jacked. Over the course of 12 months, Nate Carroll completed 1,500,231 pushups. He averaged 4,100 pushups a day – often doing many more.

Not only is he the toughest dad on the block, Nate raised money for Tunnels to Towers Foundation – a nonprofit that pays housing bills for families of fallen police and firefighters.

For Nate it was never about breaking records – which of course he did – it was always about showing his children that the key to tackling incredible challenges in life is to take it a little bit at a time.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Michael is 18 years old and is on the autism spectrum, experiencing extreme emotional outbursts. He’s mostly non-verbal but has found a handful of ways to express himself – like editing short videos with special effects, trying to make his dad Mike laugh and playing video games.

Michael was with his dad in Walmart one day and spotted a full-sized old school arcade cabinet. The young man was so enamored by the expensive hardware, his dad, Mike (who was laid off from his job during the pandemic) decided to put his engineering skills to work and built an even better arcade system just for his son.

Mike wired together a stereo with a computer system loaded with games and put it all into a custom built wood frame, tricked out with paint and lights. Michael LOVED his new arcade cabinet. Since completing the project and sharing it online, another family with an autistic child has hired Mike to build one for them.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Cancer patients look for inspiration and hope everywhere. Faith, family, friends, art and music give strength in the fight. Juan Lopez of Marrero spent a year battling cancer. The 13 year old found peace in listening to classical music.

Now that the hardest part of Juan’s battle against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is over, the teen is living his best life – and learning to play the piano. While in the hospital, Clair de Lune became his anthem – a challenging piece on the piano. And Juan now gets to practice the piece in style.

Make A Wish, Chick-Fil-A and Larargue Piano banded together to gift the survivor a Yamaha Baby Grand Piano! Juan is now cancer-free and getting better at the piano every single day.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Stefani Shamrowicz really hates litter. It’s her pet peeve. The Colorado native had to take a month off of work in May, so she decided to travel and see family and friends – and along the way, she collected 126 bags of litter.

Steff used GoFundMe to pay for gas and lodging as she travelled and collected litter into garbage bags, chronicling the entire thing on Instagram. She picked up waste in 12 states – the biggest offender being Ohio – Arizona and Florida rounding out the top 3 littered states visited.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Timothy Harrison spent a lot of his senior year working part time at a local Waffle House in Alabama. Timothy had taken a Saturday morning shift off to attend his high school graduation – but the morning of – he showed up to work.

His manager, Cedric Hampton asked him what was going on and it turned out Timothy couldn’t get a ride to the graduation venue, about a half hour drive away, nor could he afford his cap and gown – so he just decided to come into work.

The staff and patrons of the Waffle House quickly put together the cash to pay for the cap and gown, and manager Cedric grabbed his keys to take Timothy to his graduation ceremony. After a local news channel did a story about Timothy and his Waffle House family, a local State college offered the young man a full scholarship.

Just recently the soon to be college freshman took a tour of the school campus – with Cedric, his manager and mentor from Waffle House right by his side.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Thank you to the men and women in local police forces that are out to serve and protect everyone – everyday. It’s a hard – sometimes impossible job. We’re praying for you – and thankful for your service. Usually when police make the news, it is for all the wrong reasons – but the unsung acts of good public servants will not go unnoticed.

Recently police in Pasco, FL were called to a gas station in response to someone loitering behind the building. When they pulled up, deputies noticed the man looked hungry and had no shoes. They talked with the man, bought him a sandwich and some flip flops to protect his feet and then he went on his way with some basic needs met.

That type of story happens in communities all over the country every day. Let’s be like these cops, today.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Last year, 8-year-old Desiree Mohammadi wanted to help care for the healthcare heroes in New York City. She emptied her piggy bank – a grand total of $52.65 – and donated it all to Northwell Health to buy snacks for front-line workers. Desiree dreams to one day be a doctor on the front-lines as well.

One day came on her 9th birthday.

As a way to say “thank you” to the thoughtful little girl, LIJ Medical Center invited Desiree to shadow some doctors on her 9th birthday. She got a white coat, a stethoscope and jumped right in at the Labor and Delivery Unit. Throughout the day Desiree learned how to dress wounds, use various health instruments and experience a day as a doctor.

The staff at LIJ Med Center all said you didn’t need a stethoscope to experience Desiree’s big heart – she showed compassion to every person she met.

It might be a few years before Dr. Desiree is treating patients at the hospital, but she knows the path before her and is walking it with lots of hope and a group of healthcare professionals already cheering her on.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Hats off to Verda Tetteh, a graduating high school senior from Massachusetts who graciously accepted a $40,000 scholarship from her school — and then asked that it be donated to a student attending a community college instead.

Verda was inspired by her mom Rosemary – who works two jobs to provide for the family. Verda’s mom immigrated from Ghana and graduated from Community College, so that’s where Verda wants to invest her $40,000 scholarship – in the lives of others like her mom.

Meanwhile Verda is off to Harvard to study biochemistry. She has other scholarships and financial aid so tuition won’t be a burden on her family. Verda said matter of factly, “We’re blessed to be a blessing. I thought that I was in the position where God has blessed me so much, and I thought it was the right thing to do to bless somebody else.”

Monday, June 28,2021

7 year-old Lawson Haas is a really cool kid. He loves fishing, hunting, martial arts – and especially baseball. Back in May he helped his Northshore team to a nearly undefeated season. But after one game he wasn’t feeling very well. He had a fever, headaches and bruises. Two days later Lawson was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

The brave 7 year-old has already begun chemotherapy. His family says he is a fighter and will beat this. But Lawson will eventually need a bone marrow transplant. But he will not be walking this journey alone.

Next time you are on the Northshore you might see someone wearing a Lawson Strong bracelet or t-shirt. The community is rallying around the family with blood drives, online fundraisers for medical expenses and a huge baseball tournament to help raise money for the family as they focus on the fight ahead.

Twenty-four local teams signed up to play in a fundraising baseball tournament for Lawson. Of course his team is fired up to win it all for their friend and teammate.

Friday, June 25, 2021

A mega church in Ohio – Crossroad Church – has multiple campuses and boasted a weekly attendance of over 35,000 people pre-pandemic. This year marks the 25th anniversary for the church and to celebrate, they are spreading their considerable resources to a host of other non-profits and ministry organizations.

To celebrate 25 years the church will dole out $2.5 million in grants over the next several months, starting with a $100,000 gift to City Gospel Mission, which cares for the homeless in Cincinnati. They also plan to help fund organizations in Haiti and India.

The generous spending spree was actually inspired by the federal government. In the middle of a global shutdown, Crossroad Church was fortunate to make their operating budget with the help of the Payment Protection Program loans. Grateful for the help in their time of need, the church now wants to give until it hurts to help as many other organizations as they can.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

One new mamma was trying to balance her new family with completing a graduate degree at MIT. Can you say overachiever? Her supervising professor of neuroscience, Dr. Troy Littleton wanted to help ease his student’s burden so he bought a pack ‘n play for his office, so he could watch the 9 month old while her mom got some research work done.

Dr. Littleton calls it a win-win because while mamma gets to finish her graduate studies, he gets to play with a baby!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Tia’s husband Rodney and Susan’s husband Lance were both on dialysis. Tia and Susan are both nurses at Children’s hospital in Atlanta and connected so they could encourage each other on the difficult journey. Both women had been tested and were not a match for their own husbands – but a chance conversation in the hospital bathroom led to the discovery that the ladies were a match for each other’s husbands!

Instead of waiting forever on the kidney donor list, the wives immediately went into surgery to give kidneys to both Rodney and Lance. Now the families are forever linked – they literally share body parts!

Interested in learning more about kidney donation? kidneyregistry.org

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Tom Stevens was working hard to get the Majestic Ventura Theater open for business now that COVID restrictions have eased in California. While wiggling through a crawl space to do some electric work, Tom discovered a long-forgotten wallet. There was no cash – just some old photos, a Grateful Dead ticket stub and an expired California driver’s license for Colleen Distin.

Tom shared his find on Facebook hoping to get the wallet back to Colleen. In just a couple hours – with over a 1,000 shares of the post, Colleen responded to Tom – excited to see the 40 year old photos again. Colleen had lost her wallet when it fell out of her purse while on a date in 1975. The old family photos immediately brought tears to her eyes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67nNO-n0qHo

Monday, June 21, 2021

Yeva crossed the finish line of the 4×1 relay – arm in arm with three of her teammates. They didn’t win the race – but they brought everyone to tears.  Yeva Klingbeil was a senior at Shenendehowa High School this year. She’s also been battling an aggressive cancer since 2019. Her friends from the school’s track and field team have gone every step of the journey with Yeva. They’ve done fundraisers to help pay for treatment and included Yeva in every way they could at school.

Yeva has never given up hope for a full recovery, largely because of the support of her friends. She’s undergone chemo and radiation and the tumor has shrunk by half – praise God!  At the last track and field race of the year, her teammates half-carried Yeva across the finish line where she was met by all of the competitors cheering her on – a celebration of her won’t quit spirit.

Friday, June 18, 2021

In America it can be hard to fathom the type of poverty experienced in the developing world. A family in Paraguay was living in literal garbage until strangers from all over the world heard their story – and bought them a house.

A mom and her three children were left homeless when the children’s stepfather burned their home to the ground and was sent to prison. They scrapped for building material and were living behind the city dump. One little boy would collect recycling to make money for the family to get food.

Their story was told via TikTok by Aaron Murphy – an American who went to South America to learn Spanish. Raising over $30,000, Aaron was able to purchase this family a house, clothing and furniture. These children had never been in a shower before. The mom is now operating a small restaurant out of the house and the children are all back in school. They have hope and a future thanks to the generosity of strangers from around the world.

 

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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Chef Q. Ibraheem runs an upscale catering business and underground supper club in Evanston, Illinois. It took her years to grow her dreams, and she was finally tasting the fruits of all her labor when the pandemic hit.

Chef Ibraheem watched as schools shut down and families were plunged into food insecurity. Putting aside her own fears for her business, the chef started a program called Kids with Coworkers (referring to children who were home with their parents). Kids With Coworkers prepares and delivers healthy meals to struggling families.

The work came naturally to Chef Ibraheem, since she had volunteered for years with youth programs in the Chicago area, teaching young people how to grow and prepare vegetables from local community gardens. Word of her efforts quickly spread, and donations started arriving, which enabled her to expand. Since March 2020, Ibraheem says she has provided more than 60,000 meals to more than 600 people.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Since 2015, Virginia Rose has been helping mobility-challenged people like herself participate in her favorite pastime: birding. Rose says there’s something deeply satisfying about being engrossed in nature, appreciating the present moment and searching out feathered beauties that leads her to pick up her binoculars time after time. But navigating trails with a manual wheelchair can be nearly impossible. So she founded Birdability, a non-profit group that helps people find birding locations that fit their needs.

So far, the group has mapped out more than 500 birding sites along with their accessibility scores, both in the US and a few internationally. Anyone can access their interactive trail map, and Birdability members can even become captains to help lead inclusive excursions. That’s the other beautiful part of Birdability: connecting people so they can nerd out about birds, together.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Devarius Peters showed up excited to graduate from Hahnville high school this past Spring – he even got some brand new black and white leather Alexander McQueen shoes for the ceremony. But as he was walking in, a school employee informed Devarius that the shoes broke the dress code and he could not wear them if he wanted to walk across the stage.

Devarius was heartbroken and embarrassed. That’s when his former teacher, Mr. John Butler stepped in to help. Mr. Butler quickly slipped his own shoes off and had Devarius put them on so he could walk the stage with his peers. John’s own daughter was also graduating with Devarius, so he took his seat in the auditorium with no shoes, just socks. The folks around him chuckled – they had no idea that the teacher’s shoes were on the feet of his former student on stage.

Devarius, whose feet were a little too small for his borrowed shoes, proudly slid across stage and accepted his diploma with a special grin for his former teacher’s kindness. And the St. Charles School Board is working to change their graduation dress code rules to be more inclusive.

Monday, June 14, 2021

A father and his two children were out fishing on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, FL. It was a hot day, so while anchored, the kids were swimming by the boat. That’s when the current suddenly kicked up and swept them away. Thanks to a cool minded dad and a strong swimming 7 year old, everyone survived the scary ordeal.

When the current became too much for 7 year old Chase and his 4 year old sister Abigail, their father Steven jumped into the water to help. He was able to reach 4 year old Abigail, who was in a life vest, but could not get back to shore. His 7 year old son Chase, who was not in a life vest, battled the rough water for an hour, inching towards shore. Thankfully Chase is an incredible swimmer. As soon as his feet hit dry land he ran to the nearest house to get help.

Rescuers arrived and were able to save Steven and Abigail, who had drifted almost 2 miles further down river. Chase is the hero of Jacksonville for never giving up in the face of great danger.

Friday, June 11, 2021

When California couple Krystal Duhaney and her husband Patrick had their first baby, they struggled to make ends meet. Now Krystal owns a successful business and they wanted to help out other struggling new parents.  Krystal & Patrick decided to spread some kindness by leaving $1,000 worth of cash inside baby products at various Target stores in Southern California. They slipped dollar bills into diaper boxes and under unopened formula lids at the Target stores.

Krystal posted about her Target adventure on Instagram at the end of April and in the weeks that followed, Krystal’s post went viral and has since earned nearly 96,000 likes and hundreds of comments from people commending the couple for their generous actions.

Though the couple was praised on social media, Krystal said she just hopes their gesture will inspire their children, and people raising kids all over the world, to be kind to others.

“As parents raising two young children, it’s really important for us to let our children know… kindness matters and that you never know what somebody’s going through.”

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Charter boat captains Mark Pisano and Paul Strasser have a whopper of a story to tell! Thirty-five years ago, Mark & Paul were piloting a charter back from Catalina Island off the California coast, when they came across a capsized boat and an orange life vest bobbing in the waves. Mark jumped in and pulled out 9-year-old Desiree Rodriguez — the only survivor. Her mother, father, sister, aunt, and uncle all perished in the incident. Desiree had been in the water for 20 hours when they found her.

Thirty-five years passed. Mark & Paul always wondered what happened to Desiree. Then a podcaster invited both men on his show, along with a surprise guest. On the show, Mark & Paul were reintroduced to Desiree Rodriguez and they could not hide their joy.

Now Captains Mark and Paul keep in touch with Desiree, who said the podcast recording really gave her a sense of closure about the tragedy in her past. Desiree and her aunt, who raised her after the incident, were invited to join Mark & Paul on their boat. It was the first time Desiree had been back on the ocean since she was rescued at age 9.

The journey was their first memorial — a commemoration of the family she lost — but also a celebration of guardian angels she gained.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Zohaib Begg is one incredible 8 year-old. He fought and beat cancer at age 4. When the pandemic hit last year, the then 7 year-old self-proclaimed “Chief Kindness Officer” collected more than 6,000 pieces of Personal Protection Equipment for the doctors who helped heal him as a preschooler. Now Zohaib has turned his big heart to helping the homeless in his hometown of Washington DC.

Zohaib gave himself a lofty goal of helping 1,000 homeless people on Global Youth Service Day. He got some help from Sharon Wise, who was once homeless and now advocates for the homeless in the D.C. metro. The pair passed out food, toiletry kits and other supplies to people in need at an underpass off New Jersey Avenue in the shadow of our nation’s Capital.

Each supply pack was filled with donations from local companies that 8 year-old Zohaib personally reached out to, including socks from Bombas, food from Chickfila and groceries from Trader Joe’s.

Zohaib says, “I believe in spreading kindness, and all my donors and partners for this event share this vision and also believe that no one is too young to make a difference.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Meredith Crane watched with frustration as her children (born deaf) struggled to find jobs. With that in mind, she started a company called Keepsake. She produces T-shirt quilts and blankets out of Columbus, OH. Over the last twenty years, Meredith has employed around 125 deaf and hard-of-hearing people at her company.

Keepsake takes old t-shirts and turns them into quilts for their clients. It’s pure comfort – and for many of the deaf employees at Keepsake, each blanket is a vote of confidence in their abilities and achievements.

Monday, June 7, 2021

It was March 29, 2011. Michael Shannon was off for a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway near Dana Point, about an hour’s drive south of Los Angeles. But this joyride wasn’t going to end well. A tractor-trailer crashed into Michael’s SUV.

Michael was alive – but trapped – and he could feel a fire starting to move towards him. He had no way of calling for help. Michael probably shouldn’t have survived. But that’s when the heroes showed up.

A team of two county firefighters and two paramedics were on their way back from another call. Two minutes after the crash they were on the scene of the accident and helping free Michael from the wreck. The paramedics broke out the Jaws of Life and extracted him from the vehicle while other firefighters worked to put out the fire. Michael was air-lifted to a hospital, where he spent the next 45 days undergoing treatment. The crash cost him two toes, which had to be amputated, but he otherwise — miraculously — survived and recovered.

And in a strange way, he had himself to thank.

Orange County paramedic Chris Trokey was one of the heroes of the day, helping rescue Michael from the fiery crash. And while Chris didn’t know it until he arrived at the hospital, it turned out that they had met before – 25 years earlier.

Chris Trokey was just 3.2 pounds at birth, and doctors had initially given him a 50/50 chance at surviving, but the attending pediatrician monitored his health around the clock and made sure he was stable. That pediatrician? Dr. Michael Shannon.

Trokey’s family long credited Dr. Shannon for saving the future paramedic’s life, and as coincidence would have it, the once-premature baby was able to repay the favor. They’ve made a habit of keeping in touch since. The pair get together for dinner every year on the anniversary of the car accident. And Chris recently became a father. Can you guess who his son’s pediatrician is?  Dr. Shannon.

Friday, June 4, 2021

The owner of a car dealership in Opelousas, LA says it isn’t unusual for his staff to find homeless folks sleeping on his lot every morning. Some find a way into the cars – others on boats or simply under awnings to get out of the weather. They try to help out whenever they can. Al and his team found Jamie outside one morning and the friendly homeless guy hit it off with the car sales team.

They took Jamie to a local hotel, fed him a hot meal, shopped at Walmart for some of his needs and while the men took care of him, Jamie shared his story. He had recently become homeless when his grandparents had passed away. Sean, one of the guys from the car dealership, shared the entire day on TikTok and before they knew it – donations and care packages came pouring in!

They set up a GoFundMe page to manage the gifts, which have surpassed $23,000 to keep Jamie off the streets and help him get his life straight. This group of men are determined to hold Jamie accountable and walk this journey with him.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

A girl named Monyay from Bradenton, FL had just about given up hope of ever having parents. She grew up in foster care and had resigned herself to doing life on her own. But at age 19, everything changed.

Monyay met Leah through the Safe Children Coalition – a non-profit in Florida that helps with the foster care system. Leah was assigned Monyay’s case and they hit it off. She became a mentor to Monyay while she was in high school. But the 32 year old Leah really loved Monyay like a daughter – and decided to make it official if Monyay would have her.

On April 27th the pair, 32 year old Leah and 19 year old Monyay, sat before a judge and he proclaimed them officially mother and daughter.

“I still can’t really describe the way I felt in that moment. It was beyond words,” Monyay said. “That’s the one thing I’ve wanted my entire life, to have a mom.”

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Ashley Fox was shopping with her 3 year old son Norris in tow. Norris is non-verbal and was recently diagnosed with autism. At the checkout, a stuffed animal puppy they had picked up turned out to be too expensive, so Ashley put it back.

Cue meltdown.

Ashley said it must have looked like she was kidnapping her own child as she rushed the toddler to the car as he screamed and cried over the stuffed animal. As Ashley was trying to buckle Norris into his car seat, she felt a tap on her shoulder.

A woman from the store held out the stuffed animal and offered it to Ashley to give to Norris. He immediately calmed down and before Ashley could even fully process the gift, the lady walked away with a knowing smile.

Thousands have now heard the story because Ashley shared the encounter on social media. A random act of kindness changed the world for that mom and her son. Miracles can happen – even in a Walmart parking lot.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

A lot of retirees head for Florida. The state has invested in a lot of senior care facilities, medical care and of course they are famous for tax breaks. A dozen former circus performers recently made the move to the sunshine state and they are loving it.

Oh, by the way, the retirees are elephants. The former Ringling Bros circus performers are making a new life at a wildlife refuge outside of Jacksonville, FL.

The White Oak Conservation staff was concerned the circus elephants might have a hard time adjusting to a wilder lifestyle after a career spent with acrobats and applause, but so far the dozen elephants, ranging from 8 to 38 years old, have all enjoyed exploring the North Florida woods – living their best lives for the rest of their lives.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Earlier this year in Toledo, OH, Jimmy Preston was driving to work and saw a young man trudging through a snowstorm on foot, headed to work at his job at a Kroger supermarket. Jimmy stopped and offered John Brandeberry a ride, taking him to work and learning his story.

After dropping his new friend off at work, Jimmy connected with a non-profit called Blessings in Disguise and started a journey of helping the young man. They paid for John to take driver’s ed and get his license. Then Jimmy and a local Toyota dealership raised funds to buy the young man a used car!

So now John drives to work in his 2013 Toyota Rav4 that was given to him – complete with a new bike and bike rack plus 6 months of car insurance!

Friday, May 28, 2021

Najee Harris was drafted in the first round (24th overall) this Spring by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In college, the Running Back played for Alabama – but before that, he was just a kid from California whose family received a helping hand.

In 2010, Najee’s family (two parents with four kids) lived in a small room at the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program Homeless Shelter. Instead of sweeping a sad and scary part of his life under the rug, Najee is using his newfound fame to educate others about homelessness.

When Najee Harris got the call that he would be a Pittsburgh Steeler – he was celebrating with his family at the very homeless shelter he spent time in as a child. The now-NFL star threw a pizza party for the shelter workers and families that are currently living there.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Joshua Nelson got a scholarship worth nearly $50,000 – which will cover tuition and boarding for four full years. That’s some serious good news. But Joshua had been preparing for college for a while – saving up his money in case he didn’t get a scholarship. Now that he doesn’t have to worry about school costs – he is using his college savings to bless another student in need.

As the president of his High School’s Multicultural Achievement Council, Joshua is putting up $1000 and asking other individuals and local businesses to match his investment to create a scholarship for a deserving minority student. And he hopes that the newly created Joshua Nelson Leaders in Action Scholarship will take off for years to come.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Students from Valley Christian School spent two days packing 10,000 meals for families in need – and not just for their community. About 1500 of the meals were sent to churches and food banks near the school. The rest were shipped to Haiti to be distributed in schools and orphanages.

Haiti is in a constant state of emergency and need. From natural disasters to failed governments – it is a dangerous place. But a handful of students using their free time are going to share meals and the gospel with the people of the island nation.

Every student at Valley Christian – no matter their age or grade – took part in this food project. Some decorated the shipping boxes, others wrote messages of hope, while older high school students prepared the food and loaded boxes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Ronnie Kass has been driving a school bus for St. Tammany Parish since August 2020. The kids love him and say he is sweet and loves to laugh and joke. But one Monday morning earlier this year, no one was laughing.

Ronnie has been undergoing chemo and radiation for esophageal cancer. On a recent Monday, his body just gave out. He started shaking – he was having a seizure. Ronnie still – somehow – managed to pull the bus over and put it in park before passing out – keeping all of his students safe. The kids noticed the danger and called 9-1-1 immediately.

Doctors discovered the cancer has spread to Ronnie’s brain. But the community is rallying around the Kass family – starting a GoFundMe to provide for their needs while Ronnie gets treatment.

The fundraiser hit $7000 in less than six hours. Now it is up over $35,000 with a goal of $50,000 to help the family.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Singer Tabitha Haly has some serious pipes, and her strong singing voice is precious to her in more ways than one. Tabi has spinal muscular atrophy, also known as SMA, which is a degenerative condition that affects muscle movement and respiration. She has never been able to walk, but her father introduced her to music when she was three years old, setting off a lifelong healthy singing practice.

Some physical tasks have become difficult for her over the years, but being able to maintain strong lungs and vocal cords has kept her voice ringing loud and clear. Tabi released her first album, “I Wrote Life,” in 2019.

At her live shows, she advocates for disability rights. Her first single, “I Am Able,” is Tabi’s personal reminder that if, “I can help someone. I can be someone. I can be generous to someone. And most importantly, I can be loved like anyone else.”

Friday, May 21, 2021

You never know when your love story will begin. Some couples meet online – or at church – or a cursed Prince kidnaps a girl who grows fond of his talking teacups and singing candlesticks and then one day there’s just something there that wasn’t there before…

For Evan and Sydney, a chance encounter and mountain rescue led to their one-year anniversary all during a pandemic.

Evan is in the Air Force – stationed in Colorado Springs. But he was visiting his mom and step-father in Sedona, AZ to help around the house as his step-father was battling cancer. An avid mountain-biker, Evan set out to get some exercise and came across a damsel in distress.

Sydney is a massage therapist, going to school to be a social worker. She was enjoying a run along a hiking trail in Sedona – but took a tumble and broke her leg. She was waiting on a friend to come help her when Evan found her. Even carried Sydney the last half-mile of the trail to get her help.

In all the excitement the pair failed to exchange numbers. Months of recovery passed – and Sydney couldn’t find Evan on social media. She and her mother reached out to their local newspaper to get help searching for her Knight in Shining Biking Shorts. Eventually news made its way to Colorado and found Evan.

Sydney and Even just celebrated their one-year anniversary of their fateful meet-cute and are madly in love.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

If you knew your time was limited, how would you spend your remaining days and dollars? A man in Tennessee decided he would use his remaining time and resources to be a blessing.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, went to Gatlinburg, TN to enjoy the serenity of the mountains, while preparing for his step into eternity. He and his daughter enjoyed lunch and dinner at the always-busy Burg Steakhouse. After dinner, the man left a hefty tip – and then some.

Wanting to bless the staff of the steakhouse, the terminally ill customer left a $1000 tip for the waitstaff. Then he went on to pay for two other tables’ meals anonymously.

Hopefully it doesn’t take a diagnosis for us to live so generously. Thank you to everyone who supports LifeSongs – in the good times and the difficult times.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Walker Smallwood grew up playing baseball. He was good too. He dreamed of going to college and then playing professional ball. But life can be messy.

The 17-year-old Kentucky boy was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of taking the mound – he was taking chemotherapy. He had a rare bone cancer in his leg that required six surgeries and 18 lengthy hospital stays. The result was Walker went into remission! Praise God! But his leg is permanently weakened, making it too dangerous to play ball.

Walker would still play catch with his friends and cheer on his teammates. Before his senior season was over, his coaches and parents decided to let Walker take the mound one last time. They figured he could pitch for an inning without risking too much. Walker agreed to pitch until he gave up a hit.

But then a Disney sports movie happened. Walker never gave up a hit. He struck out all but two batters and ended the game with a no-hitter! The game ended and both teams were in tears, celebrating the incredible story of a young man who defeated cancer and still played the game of his life!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Leticia Flores-Gonzalez was having some Christmas fun with her 4-year-old twins Luna and Gianella. They wrote out their Christmas wish lists to Santa and tied them to a couple of balloons – releasing them into the wind from their home in Liberal, Kansas.

The winds did not blow the balloons to the North Pole. In fact – they went the opposite way. Luna’s balloon made it all the way to Grand Cane, Louisiana before getting snagged by a tree. It was there that Alvin Bamburg spotted the debris while out deer hunting. Alvin was so excited to see Luna’s Christmas wish list. She asked for Candy, Spiderman and Frozen dolls, My Little Pony – and of course, a puppy!

Alvin showed the list to his wife, Lee Ann – they shared with some other family and friends and put together the presents for the little girl, whose list they believe God blew directly to them. They were able to connect with the girls’ mother, Leticia, and get Gianella’s list as well – so many people in their community wanted to be a part of blessing these little girls.

Finally this Spring – Alvin and Lee Ann got to top off the Christmas wish list in person – making the 600 mile trip to meet the family and drop off the most important item on Luna’s list – a new dachshund puppy!

The girls’ named their pup Max – the families are now forever bonded in friendship – and many have been inspired by their story.

Monday, May 17, 2021

He’s only been painting for five months, and already, Jake Garcia’s art is a collector’s item. The Boston resident is a nursing student, but he recently discovered a love for painting.

“I just thought it would be really nice if you’re walking down the street and you see this scene you really like and you look down and there was an oil painting of it,” Garcia said.

He ran with the idea, and has left several of his original paintings in spots around Boston. “I’ll see something I like, I’ll set up, I’ll do a painting of it, and I’ll do my best to leave it somewhere in the vicinity.”

Jake hopes this inspires others to pick up their own paintbrushes. “We’ve all been inside and a beautiful thing to do is to just go outside and just enjoy the sounds and the sights and the smells and just paint what you see.”

Friday, May 14, 2021

8 year old Jaxson and his almost-2 year old sister Leila were in the backseat of the car munching on chicken nuggies. Suddenly Leila began to choke – a chicken nugget was lodged in her esophagus. Jaxson didn’t panic, though – he knew exactly what to do thanks to Nickelodeon and wrestler turned actor John Cena.

Jaxson calmly alerted their dad and asked him to pull over. Then Jaxson used the heel of his hand to strike Leila’s back – dislodging the food and allowing her to breath again. The hero 8 year old did all of this before Dad could even pull the car over and get to the backseat.

Where did the 8 year old learn this life saving maneuver?

John Cena taught it to him on the Nickelodeon show The Substitute. Local news shared the story – which eventually made its way to John Cena. The former wrestler immediately reached out to Jaxson to congratulate him on his heroic, brave action.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Asking for help can be a real hit to our self esteem. Thankfully the world has girls like Andi Musser in it.

Andi is in 5th grade. When one of her friends at Shreve Elementary mentioned needing new clothes – Andi didn’t hesitate. She went home and rummaged through her closet, grabbing everything she had outgrown. The next day her friend was thrilled to have some cute clothes from a great friend.

Andi was so overwhelmed by the good feeling of helping others, she asked her mom Jessica if they could help even more people. Andi and Jessica pitched the idea of a Kindness Closet at the school to the principal. It would be a safe, private space where students could pick up needed gently used or new donated clothes.

Principal Adam Stein was all about the idea – so Andi gathered clothing donations from a bunch of local stores and the school opened up the student organized Kindness Closet.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

The Olympics are just 72 days away (hopefully). After a year delay – a global pandemic – and miraculous vaccine distributions, the world is ready to compete and celebrate incredible stories of incredible athletes.

One of those stories belongs to a Japanese swimmer named Rikako Ikee. Miss Ikee first competed in the Olympics back in 2016 when she was only 16 years old. In February 2019 she announced she had been diagnosed with leukemia. Rikako fought the cancer with the same tenacity she showed training for the Olympics. After chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, she returned to the pool and began to train once again.

Rikako was discouraged by how weak her body had become from the leukemia, but continued to push herself. She hoped she might be able to contend in the Paris games of 2024, but expected to sit out the Olympics being held in her home country of Japan. But at qualifiers, Rikako became fired up – wanting to represent her country at Tokyo – and won the 100-meter butterfly qualifier!

This Summer we will all get to cheer Rikako Ikee on when she competes for Japan in the 4×100 medley relay.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

A couple of pageant princesses are spreading friendship in a variety of ways! 7-year-old Skylar Catron makes and hands out friendship bracelets everywhere she goes. She loves the smiles and thank yous she gets from each person.

This spunky 7-year-old earned the crown she’s wearing – Skylar is a USA National Miss South Carolina Princess. Her sister Sloan is a Junior Princess who also spreads kindness with crayons, through the Coloring Kindness program.

The sisters also collect bottle caps to be recycled into Buddy Benches – a spot on playgrounds where friends can be made. The idea is any lonely child can visit a Buddy Bench and other kids will immediately invite them to play.

Monday, May 10, 2021

He’s the mayor of FlavorTown – host of the Triple D – Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives – Guy Fieri is one of the most recognizable food personalities on TV – with his killer Camaro and bleached spiked hair. He felt the sting of the pandemic at his restaurants around the country – and personally, not getting to spend Christmas with his elderly parents.

He’s also watched many of his peers in the restaurant industry struggle to make ends meet – so he used his fame to help – by raising over $25 million to support the restaurant employee relief fund.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Dustin Vitale cooks his mom breakfast every morning and thanks to her for the privilege. When his mom, Gloria, was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year, he decided he would try to take her on one last trip — the trip she always dreamed of — to see the pyramids in Egypt. He also wanted to bring along all 14 family members.

Never mind that Dustin works as a middle school teacher in Philadelphia and could never afford the $10,000 to bring everyone. Dustin decided to raise the cash by selling cheesesteak sandwiches. He told neighbors and spread the word on social media. Before long cars were double parked outside his house to buy cheesesteaks. A local food truck offered to peddle the sandwiches at another location to help.

In less than six weeks the family had brought in almost double what they needed for the family trip to Eqypt – over $18,000! The trip is booked for later this year.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Jessie Hamilton worked as the house cook at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house at LSU in the 80s and 90s. She would start her days at 4am – serving her boys breakfast, lunch and dinner. She was basically the Phi Gamma Delta momma – giving rides to the grocery store and the doctor to baby-faced college boys.

Andrew, a Phi Gamma Delta brother back in the 80s, has kept in touch with Jessie over the past 30 years, and called her at the start of the pandemic just to check on her. He found out she was still working two jobs because she couldn’t afford to retire.

So Andrew and nearly 100 other fraternity brothers pulled the greatest Animal House prank of all time – they raised over $50,000 to pay off Jessie’s mortgage! On her 74th birthday the fraternity gave Jessie two checks – one to pay off her house, the other to spend however she wants.

Andrew said, “[Jessie] is the type of person that inspires me, people that don’t have a lot, but give a lot. She’s the most giving person you’ve ever met.”

Jessie Hamilton said she plans to enjoy retirement from the comfort of her paid-off home, adding, “This has been a blessing to me. I am grateful for what God has done. Andrew answered my prayers. He’s my guardian angel.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Garett Talcott teaches kindergarten at Ella Baker Elementary. During the pandemic, Mr. Talcott would go on field trips by himself – and film them for his kids. It was like each video was a virtual field trip. Of course Garett Talcott went viral for his awesome teaching – and has only expanded his virtual curriculum.

From hiking wildlife parks to doing kitchen science experiments and dance parties – this kindergarten teacher has done everything he could think of to engage his students who were stuck at home doing virtual learning.

@vividmichaelField trip with the class to the zoo! ##woodlandparkzoo ##zoo ##penguin ##zookeeper ##antarctic ##arctic ##seattle ##fieldtrip ##onlineclass ##remoteteaching♬ original sound – Mr. Talcott

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tik Tok dances are all the rage. If you are coordinated. Not a single person on staff at LifeSongs has the moves. Or if they do, they are keeping their skillz secret. Thankfully the world is full of dancers.

Back before the pandemic, David Jamison, a 5th grade teacher out of Memphis, went viral with his personalized hand shakes and fist bumps for each of his 75 fifth-grade students. Just look up the hashtag #thedopeeducator.

But Mr. Jamison says now – in the world of facemasks and social distancing – that “you don’t have to physically touch a child to actually ‘touch’ a child.” He’s crafted personalized tik tok style dance moves to greet each of his students into the classroom. And the dope educator has some moves worth being jealous of.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Katie Booser is a 3rd grade teacher in Santa Barbara. Not only does she teach her kids math & science, she teaches them to believe in themselves with affirmations each morning such as “I believe in myself”, “I am strong”, and “I am smart.” She’s made words of affirmation a key part of her teaching strategy.

For the last 10 years, Katie Booser has led third graders in daily affirmations – that’s nearly an entire generation of kids who have had love spoken into their lives! Katie says that words of affirmation are “how we change the conversation… that’s how our world becomes a better place.

Katie recalls being an anxious kid in school herself – and the teachers who taught her to believe in herself were inspirational. She says “I am” statements trick your brain into believing what you are telling it.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Arlyne Radford is a helper to many and a hero to her daughter Kelly. Kelly nominated Miss Arlyne to be a LifeSongs Helper & Hero – winning her mom some free Chickfila and a parking spot at the Drive-In Theater Tour (with Zach, Mac & Cain)! Here’s Miss Arlyne’s story of bringing smiles (and hashbrowns) to her community:

“My mom’s name is Arlyne Radford. She’ll be 81 yrs old next month. She works full time at the St Rose Waffle House. She’s been there for 10 yrs and with the company over 20 yrs. She worked through the pandemic. When COVID first started, it was usually just her & one cook & the manager. Oftentimes the cook & the manager were the same person.

She’s loyal to her customers and to Waffle House. Over the years, instead of donating items to Goodwill, we’ve given them to my mom to bring to her Waffle House family. She will report back to us on who got what and how much the kids and mothers appreciated the items.

I believe she’s doing the Lord’s work right there serving people the best she can at the Saint Rose Waffle House.”

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Recently a man walked into a Dunkin Donuts determined to do something good for his community. The year was rough – but he was blessed and free food is always a great way to bless others. He told the cashier he wanted to pay for the next $1000 worth of food any customer ordered. The cashier was stunned and asked the man to repeat that order…

He thought about it a second and said – nope, make that the next $4000 in food orders. He proceeded to buy $4000 worth of Dunkin Donut gift cards that the store handed out as folks came in all day. Over 300 people got fed – and not just donuts, but full meals!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Appalachian Trail is considered the longest hiking footpath in the world, spanning 14 states and nearly 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine. It’s a tall order for anyone, but Dan Schoenthal is bound and determined to do it. Dan, 56, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2015. Despite the challenges of the disease, he took to heart his doctor’s advice that staying active was just as important as any other part of his health regimen.

Dan did the first 300 miles of the journey last year, and started back up again this April. While he’s excited to work toward a yearslong dream, and keep his body moving, Dan is also raising awareness of the disease and funds for the Parkinson’s Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving care for those with Parkinson’s and finding a cure.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Griffin Baron was 21 years old at the time – working as a shift supervisor at Starbucks in Wilmette, IL when he heard screaming coming from the bathroom. A customer had gone into early labor and everyone in the building could hear her surprise. Jonathan Celner was going to be born – fast – like as fast as you can order a grande coffee.

Griffin helped deliver the baby boy just moments before EMS arrived on the scene. Flash forward 18 years. Griffin is now married and a father of two – but he never forgot the little boy he helped deliver. Someone sent him a Go Fund Me link – and that’s how Griffin reconnected with Jonathon. The young man’s mom had passed away years ago – and he and his brother had just lost their father too.

Griffin met up with Jonathan at the very Starbucks where the former barista helped deliver Jonathan to hear about his life – and find out how he can once again help this young man in his time of need.

Monday, April 26, 2021

It’s more than 2,500 miles from Disneyland in Southern California to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Don Muchow ran them all.

Don Muchow, 59, has been long distance running for years to raise awareness for Type 1 diabetes, which he has lived with since 1972. Originally, he was just planning to run across the country, but decided the two iconic spots would make good goal posts. He started in February 2020, and had planned to finish by May. But the pandemic hit, and he had to make some starts and stops to stay safe.

Finally, on April 5 this year, he made it to Disney World where he was greeted by cheering park staff who loaded him up with balloons, souvenirs and a very well-deserved Mickey ice cream cone. He kept going after that, running two more days to reach the Atlantic Ocean and truly complete his coast-to-coast mission.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Amy Harper has nominated kindergarten teacher Jennifer Falgout as the LifeSongs Helper & Hero – winning her delicious Chick Fil A and a parking spot at the Drive-In Theater Tour on May 6th featuring GRAMMY winner Zach Williams, Mac Powell & new-comers CAIN! Here’s what Amy has to say about Jennifer:

“Jennifer Falgout is a superhero because she has been safely teaching our kindergarteners full-time, in person, since August. Her super hero power is gracefully implementing all the new COVID restrictions/guidelines with a class of 24 kindergarteners and at the same time successfully teaching them to read, do math, and spur on their love for Jesus! Thanks to her our kids have had some sense of normal during this crazy time, and they are thriving in her classroom!”

Jennifer – congratulations on becoming a LifeSongs Helper & Hero! And thanks for breathing life into those little learners this school year.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Politicians are people too. While I don’t know many people who are thrilled by their congress people, we should actively pray for them. It’s been a rough time – with the attack on the Capitol building just a few months ago. To provide some comfort and relief, Clarence – a 160-pound St. Bernard spent last week roaming the halls of Congress offering snuggles.

Clarence is the first official Police Comfort dog in the United States. Clarence and his handler have done tours of duty not only in DC, but at Sandy Hook, Las Vegas and at the Boston Marathon bombing aftermath. He’s our nation’s goodest boy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

A groomer and animal control officer in Omaha, Nebraska, helped save a pet owner’s life, thanks to their instincts and basic human concern. When a regular customer didn’t show to pick their dog Lola up from an appointment, the PetSmart employee sensed something was wrong. The groomer attempted to contact him, but had no luck.

PetSmart called Animal Control Officer Kisha Witherspoon, who also felt uneasy about the situation. She contacted an investigator, who went to the owner’s house and got no response. Police were finally able to enter the home, and found the man lying in distress, suffering a medical episode.

The man is now getting medical care, and Lola is freshly groomed and safe with family members. The Nebraska Humane Society thanked the people involved for their quick thinking. It’s also a great reminder that just a little extra care could save someone’s life.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Recently in Atlanta, Shaq was visiting a friend who works at a Zales Jewelers. While there he overheard a customer shopping for an engagement ring. The ring he had picked out was on sale – but he didn’t have enough of the down payment to lock in the sales price.

That’s when Shaq walked up, slid his credit card across the glass and said “Don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it.” Shaq is always looking for ways to bless others – saying he tries to do a good deed every day.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Finn Lanning is a middle school math teacher – the good kind. The kind that makes class fun and takes the time to get to know his students. One day after class his student Damien told his teacher that he would be leaving school.

Damien was in foster care and in need of a kidney transplant. Since no family could care for him and cover his medical needs, Damien was moving into a children’s hospital for care until a kidney match could be found.

Mr. Lanning couldn’t take it – he quickly got certified as a foster parent and took Damien into his home. Up until this point Finn Lanning was a happy bachelor, with no desire for a family. Flash forward a couple years and he has officially adopted Damien as his son – plus Damien also received his kidney transplant!

Most kids wouldn’t call moving in with your math teacher a fairytale ending – but for Damien and Mr. Lanning – it is a real happily ever after!

Friday, April 16, 2021

Talley Boykin has faithfully driven his school bus in Southern Louisiana all throughout the coronavirus pandemic. He has kept his kids safe – been considerate of every family – and been a light to everyone who knows him.

Talley’s wife Tammie nominated him as a Helper & Hero on LifeSongs – winning him $25 in Chick-Fil-A gift cards and a parking spot at the upcoming Drive In Theater Tour featuring Zach Williams! But more importantly, Tammie got to brag about how God uses her husband Talley.

Several of the kids on the bus call him Paw Paw Talley following the lead of their grandson who rides the bus to school each day. When he missed driving for a few days, concerned calls came flooding in wanting to see Mr. Talley return. He’s a friend and light to these kids each day.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Great teachers might retire after a long fruitful career … but they never actually stop teaching. Vernetta Price has gone from wrangling students to helping neighbors get access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Ms. Vernetta lives in rural Mississippi. She’s so concerned for her elderly neighbors, she has started a carpool to get the entire community of Sardis, MS to the doctor. She has signed up over 80 people for the vaccine and helps drive anyone in need to their appointment.

Vernetta says she wants everyone to be protected so life can return to normal and she can go back to church.

The COVID battle is personal for Vernetta. Her daughter-in-law is still dealing with COVID’s long term effects after contracting the virus last summer. A dear friend and local minister just passed away from the virus. Friends have lost loved ones. So Vernetta won’t stop until she can help protect the most vulnerable in her community.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Brandon Jones’ mother in law is in her 70s and has terminal lung cancer. She lives in Vermont while Brandon and his family reside in Baltimore. Since she can no longer travel down to visit, Brandon and his wife Rina make the six hour drive to Vermont regularly.

Rina’s mother has a favorite restaurant in Baltimore called Ekiben. The Japanese restaurant features a tempura fried broccoli dish that is her absolute favorite. On the last trip up to Vermont she jokingly asked Brandon to bring her some take-out. Fried broccoli doesn’t travel well, so Brandon reached out to the chef at Ekiben – Steven Chu – and asked for the recipe so he could fix the dish for his dying mother in law.

Chef Chu did him one better. The Chef and a couple of his cooks loaded up the ingredients and drove all the way to Vermont to fix the favorite dish (along with several other dishes) from the back of a truck so they could deliver it hot and fresh to this sweet lady.

Chef Steven Chu said, “..it was a huge honor to be able to help fulfill the family’s wishes. This is about her, not us.”

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Canadian couple named Beverly and Dick Perrin wanted to make sure the hard working truckers felt appreciated during this difficult year so they began delivering stacks of hand-written thank-you cards to truck stops.

Each card reads:
“Thank you so much for bringing supplies to our stores. Even though it is sometimes under harsh circumstances. Take care. Stay safe. God’s blessing on you always. Love Beverly Perrin, a very grateful senior.”

Beverly and Dick recognize the essential work of truckers during the pandemic – and the unique challenges they face. Many of the services they depend on – even just clean bathrooms – have been shut down but they kept on … well, truckin. So far the trucker lovin’ Perrins have delivered over 1,000 letters of appreciation.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Last year the global COVID-19 pandemic cost hundreds of thousands of people their livelihood. But when great struggles come – great love abounds. Sometimes in the form of free hot dogs.

Perfectly Frank is a hot dog joint in Norfolk, VA. Early on in the pandemic they put up a bulletin board where anyone in need could grab a ticket for a free meal, no questions asked. Other customers would pre-pay for the extra meals to benefit those who lost their jobs or were trying to feed a neighbor.

The Franks for Friends program started when a single patron gave $2000 to the local restaurant to help the staff and community. Generosity begets generosity and others pitched in to make sure there was always a hot meal for everyone.

In fact, the Franks for Friends program was so huge the store was able to package and deliver free after-school meals for students – all free of charge. And even though the pandemic seems to be waning – Perfectly Frank hopes to continue this free food program permanently.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Sharon Allen of Houma is an amazing home-health nurse who served long hours and sleepless nights for the past year, treating every patient with kindness and grace. Nurse Sharon pushed through 2020 not just for her patients – but as a patient as well. She is battling cancer, but still working and still making a difference!! She is a warrior!

Sharon’s friend Patricia shared about this Hero on lifesongs.com – winning some Chickfila for Nurse Sharon, plus a ticket for the outdoor Drive-In Theater Tour this May featuring Zach Williams, Mac Powell and Cain!

Maybe the Helpers and Heroes in your life were also nurses. Or perhaps first responders – teachers – parents – grocery workers – the list is endless! Who has made a difference in your life? Tell us about your Helpers and Heroes for a chance to tell their story and win them great prizes!

Thursday, April 8, 2021

A year ago, Tyrone John, a high school math teacher in New York City, became the first patient to be intubated with COVID-19 at his local hospital in Queens. At the time, the city was just starting to experience the country’s first coronavirus surge. Tyrone, who is just 39 years old, was the hospital’s first critically ill COVID-19 patient. After being intubated, he was in a coma for almost three weeks.

But Tyrone went from there to become the hospital’s first COVID-19 patient to recover, an “incredibly powerful” moment for the staff. Tyrone recently returned to the facility to thank the intensive care unit staff who saved him. When he walked into the hospital courtyard, he was met with cries of, “Oh my God, he looks so good!”

“You were one of our first, sickest patients,” nurse Michelle Parcels said. “And so you gave us hope by your recovery in those dark moments where we were having so many losses. You gave us hope that what we were doing made a difference.”

The vaccinated hospital staff proclaimed that “hugs are back” and immediately wrapped their arms around Tyrone.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

A good handyman can fix just about anything. What makes a great one? Listen to this…

Tony Antonelli, husband, father, and grandfather to 13 grandchildren, was in need of a new kidney after his first transplant failed.

Dan Reynolds, an army veteran and jack of all trades, who knows a thing or two about tough times, was in Tony’s neighborhood doing yard work and noticed Tony looked a bit pale. He asked what was going on, and Tony shared his health condition with Dan. Dan’s immediate response? “I’d be happy to give you a kidney.”

The two were a match, and, just over a month ago, underwent successful surgery. Hero? Yes. Though the two have another name for each other: Blood Brothers.

“It doesn’t take much to help another human being. You just have to have some compassion,” Dan humbly says.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

When Carver St Pierre grows up, he wants to be a police officer. He’s ready to serve and protect. But it might be a few years yet … Carver is only seven years old. Much of his childhood has now been marked by a global pandemic – and that is pretty rough.

Officer Rob Ekross of the Hopkinton Police department heard about this child’s dream to become a cop, so Officer Rob wanted to make this year special for Carver. Carver was unable to celebrate his last two birthdays with friends and family because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, however, Officer Rob Ekross was going to make it the coolest seventh birthday ever!

The local cop purchased a couple of gifts for this future police officer and delivered them to Carver in his squad car on his seventh birthday.

The whole department wished Carver a happy birthday and said they look forward to serving with him as an officer… in 2035.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Jose Villarruel left an impression when he was Steven Nava’s substitute teacher in high school. “Mr. V,” as students called him, made an effort to get to know the kids he subbed for. He’d ask them about their days and what they’d eaten for lunch, and he’d crack jokes while taking attendance. Kind gestures made his classes fun and memorable.

Steven Nava didn’t know back then that Mr. V lived in his car, something he’s done for the last eight years to save money to send to his family in Mexico. Steven, now 21, recently spotted Mr. V sleeping in his car early one morning and decided then to raise enough money to get his beloved substitute a more permanent place to stay. So far, he’s raised more than $27,000 for the 77-year-old, due in part to Mr. V’s new fans on TikTok.

Mr. V was stunned by the donation, telling CNN he accepted the gift “with an open heart.” He plans to use some of the funds to visit his wife and children, but in California, he no longer feels alone — Nava and his other former students have become like family themselves.

@stvnna7Im so thankful.. SURPRISE MR.V! HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🥳❤️😩 ily ##foryoupage ##fyp ##thankyou ##viral♬ original sound – Steven Nava

Friday, April 2, 2021

When artist Jayashree Krishnan paints yet another portrait of a brave pandemic first responder, she pays special attention to the eyes.

“Each person’s set of eyes that I have painted so far, they tell their own story,” she says.

Krishnan has painted more than 150 such portraits — some of the eyes laughing, others hopeful, others luminous despite seeing such heavy and haunting loss.

The Seattle-based artist began the project to show appreciation for two cousins who worked 13-hour shifts, seven days a week, at a Michigan hospital. Now, she takes requests and suggestions from social media.

Do you know of a Helper or Hero whose story needs to be shared? CLICK HERE and tell us all about them.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

A young man in 8th grade was sent to the principal’s office for refusing to take his hat off in class. Like most schools today, hats are not allowed. But his fresh cut was a lopsided mess. Principal Jason Smith actually knows his way with the clippers and offered to fix the boy’s hairline. Both the student and his parents were incredibly grateful.

After rushing home for his clippers and tightening up the boy’s cut – all was well. No punishment was needed – just a helping hand from a real hero. Principal Smith is always looking for ways to help his students (he’s even bought at least one student some new shoes). He’s not just trying to push kids through a grade, he’s trying to inspire them to learn and grow.

And it sounds like it is working.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Something delicious is growing in southeast Atlanta. It’s the nation’s largest free food forest, spanning 7.1 acres of land ripe with 2,500 pesticide-free edible and medicinal plants.

In 2016, the Conservation Fund bought a foreclosed plot of land and with the help of a US Forest Service grant and a partnership with the city of Atlanta, the forest began to take shape. Now it is tended by volunteers, and is part of Atlanta’s larger mission to bring healthy food within half a mile of 85% of the city’s 500,000 residents by 2022.

One in 6 Georgians face food insecurity, and 1 in 4 Atlantans live in extremely isolated food deserts, so access to fresh produce in the area is more critical than ever. While New Orleans is known for delicious food – large portions of our population also don’t have easy access to fresh fruits and veggies. Where can we build our own free food forest?

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Calvin Tyler may have one of the greatest comeback stories of all time. Almost 40 years ago, Tyler had to drop out of Morgan State College in Maryland because he couldn’t afford it. Now, he and his wife Tina just committed $20 million to the school for need-based scholarships.

You see, after Calvin Tyler dropped out, he took a job as a UPS driver in Baltimore, and over the years, worked his way up to senior vice president of operations. He retired in 1998 and joined UPS’s board of directors. The Tylers already have a scholarship fund in their name at the school, and their donations over the years have helped more than 200 deserving students get an education at Morgan State.

Maybe your story isn’t going the way you planned. God still has incredible things in store for you!

Monday, March 29, 2021

Kids offer sincere insight into genuine care and love. For example, 4th grader Lex Thompson decided to take his birthday money and use it to encourage the heroes of the pandemic.

The nurses working at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center were astounded when the LaSalle Elementary fourth grader began delivering coffee gift cards to the ICU nurses that had been battling to save lives in the COVID-19 ward.

Lex didn’t bat an eye using his birthday money and savings, saying “..they probably just needed something to tell them they were doing the right thing and that they were supported.”

Friday, March 26, 2021

Before the sun was even up restaurant owner Robert Magiet was out in the frigid cold buying and delivering 15 dozen tamales to freezing, hungry homeless people on the streets of Chicago. But the tamales aren’t a product of his restaurant – he’s trying to help local street vendors get out of the frigid cold of Chicago.

Robert buys out the entire stock of tamales from street vendors so they can get out of the cold and go home for the day. Then, he hands the food out to the homeless. Robert takes tamales to homeless shelters and tent camps under train tracks.

The restaurant owner paid out of pocket until he posted pictures on social media. The public thought it was a great idea and donations poured in. Buying the tamales does a lot more than get vendors out of the cold. It gives hope to those who need it most.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Yes, Chickfila employees really are that awesome. Not only is it their pleasure to serve us, their customers – they love each other too!

17 year old Haley Bridges was the lucky winner of a car at their Chickfila Christmas party – WOW! I usually just get a candle or something from our office Christmas present exchange.

The team at this Wisconsin Chickfila are a tight knit family. Haley met her best friend, a Hawaiian transplant to Appleton, WI named Hoku. Hoku was riding her bike to work each day. Imagine being from Hawaii, to the frozen tundra of Wisconsin! So Haley and some other coworkers had a secret plan to give Hoku the car if any of them won.

Merry Christmas indeed! Hoku was overwhelmed by the generosity of her friends – and of course the teenagers now all cruise the town on their off days in Hoku’s new ride.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

It was a Winter storm that took Texas by surprise. Drivers were stranded – stuck in ditches – scattered all around the Austin, TX area. That’s where the hero of our story shows up. Ryan Sivley took his 4-wheel drive vehicles to the aid of those stranded motorists – rescuing nearly 150 cars from the snowpocalypse in just two days.

Ryan himself is recovering from substantial injuries from an automobile accident. And while he couldn’t do any heavy lifting, he knew he could use his truck to help others who were stranded. Not only did he help tow vehicles out of ditches, he offered rides to stranded motorists – including getting some local nurses to the hospital so they could treat the injured.

A reminder that heroes shine when others despair. Ryan inspires us all to look for ways to help – no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Today’s story is about a woman who literally gave the coat off her back to keep a stranger warm.

Tina Powell was in the Giant Eagle Supermarket in her Pennsylvania hometown and gave the customer in front of her in line a compliment on her jacket. Tina was hoping to find out where she got the coat so she could go get one herself. The customer kindly explained she got it in Spain and that was that.

But when Tina walked outside, the customer had taken off the jacket to give it to her. Tina told her it wasn’t necessary but the customer insisted, saying she had a feeling… God told her she was a wonderful person. Tina began to cry.

Have you ever had one of those moments where God reminds you that He sees you and He has got you in his arms? Tina does for sure. And she’s got a warm coat as a daily reminder.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek’s positive impact will be felt forever, and his family just added one more piece to his legacy. Trebek’s family donated a significant portion of his natty wardrobe to The Doe Fund, an organization that provides support and paid work to underserved Americans with histories of addiction, homelessness and incarceration.

In all, the family donated four suits, 58 dress shirts, 300 neckties, 25 polo shirts, 14 sweaters, nine sports coats, nine pairs of dress shoes, 15 belts, two parkas and three pairs of dress slacks. Doe Fund participants will use the items in their reentry program for job interviews.

“During his last day on set, Alex extolled the virtues of everyone opening up their hands and their hearts to those who are suffering,” said Mike Richards, the game show’s executive producer. “Donating his wardrobe to those who are working to rebuild their lives is the perfect way to begin to honor that last request.”

Friday, March 19, 2021

College is hard work – and paying for it can be equally challenging.

When Dee Mitchell started at Oklahoma State University, he was also working a full time job at Wal-Mart after his mom lost her job. He was working to provide for his family and to keep from drowning in student debt. Dee is also a student athlete, who tried out for the OSU basketball team and made the cut! You gotta be able to really hustle to keep all of these irons in the fire. But Dee was getting it done.

OSU Coach Mike Boyton, showed up one day at the Wal-Mart where Dee worked and surprised the young man with a full-ride scholarship for the rest of his time at school. Dee’s teammates Zoomed in to see Dee break down in tears of joy.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Olympics officially start on July 23rd, but before that, the Olympic flame travels via torch from Athens, Greece to Japan, where runners take the flame on a tour of the host country. The relay will start later this month and include 10,000 relay runners.

Kane Tanaka, the world’s oldest living person, who at the tender age of 118 is planning to carry the Olympic torch this May in Japan. Ms. Tanaka, who has twice survived cancer and lived through two global pandemics, will take the flame as it passes through Shime in her home prefecture of Fukuoka.

She’ll get a push from her family while in her wheelchair, but she’s determined to walk at least a few steps at the end. Tanaka is almost as old as the games themselves. She was born in 1903, just a few years after the modern Olympic Games began in 1896.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s Girl Scout Cookie season, and one troop in Iowa is absolutely crushing it. Troop 64224 of Council Bluffs, Iowa, have sold more than 5,000 boxes of cookies, shattering its sales goal for the 2021 cookie selling stretch. And they’ve done it all while living in an emergency shelter.

The girls, who are between the ages of 5 and 8, live in the Micah House shelter. They’ve reached great cookie heights by using social media, and have even fulfilled another goal of selling to customers in all 50 states, and Washington, DC. Now, they’re looking for their next big win.

“Like any smart businesswomen, they’re going to be taking a look at those goals and reassessing,” Beth Shelton, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa said. “They’ve got it figured out.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Jamie Freeman is a champion. He isn’t a football player or coach – Jamie is the janitor at Greenwood High School. But Jamie, who has cerebral palsy, has always offered words of encouragement to the student athletes all season long.

When the Greenwood Bulldogs became state champions this year, they presented a championship ring to Jamie – as an essential part of the team.

As Jamie’s impact on the team went viral, stories poured in from his community about his outstanding character. A follower of Jesus, Jamie uses his cerebral palsy as an opportunity to share the Gospel whenever he can.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Hunter Kahn, a mechanical engineering student at Cornell University, donated multiple Nintendo Switch consoles and games to Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis after cashing in big on the recent GameStop stock madness.

Hunter made about $30,000 in the wild push to buy up stock of the mall retailer, and used a portion of it to purchase a bundle of Nintendo Switch Lites, multiple games and e-shop gift cards, and screen protectors and cases. The hospital says patients are already using his gifts.

Hunter is also encouraging others who have profited from the movement to use their good fortunes to pay it forward. Plus, he’s putting the rest of his money toward another good cause for himself — his college tuition.

Monday, March 1, 2021

An elementary teacher in Mexico named Ms. Nay converted her pickup truck into a portable classroom to go visit her autistic students during the COVID shutdown!

The school was shut down because of the pandemic, but Ms. Nay refused to let her kids fall behind. She would drive two hours every day to visit the kids who did not have access to books or the internet to keep on top of their school work. Ms.