Random Good News

Dr Jeff Bulington Teaches Chess To Elementary Children in Mississippi

Franklin County in a remote corner of Mississippi has two stoplights, one elementary school, and long ago lost its only train stop.  Could kids learn chess here?  Would they even want to?  Dr. Jeff Bulington took on the challenge, accepted a contract from an anonymous benefactor, left his home city of Memphis, and moved to Franklin.  Predictions were that Bulington could perhaps find a dozen interested kids.  He found hundreds!

Bobby Poole, Bulington’s assistant chess coach, put it: “All the statistics, everything you look at, Mississippi is the poorest.  It’s the dumbest.  It’s the fattest.  We know that the rest of the nation has that conception of us....  People said that country kids couldn’t learn chess.  We showed ‘em different....  We teach history.  We teach geography.  We teach science.  We teach math.  We teach it all using the chess board….”

Last spring Bulington’s team of mostly elementary school kids from Franklin County faced off against much older high school players at the Mississippi state championships, and they held their own!  Braden, one of the Franklin kids, put it: “They were basically, like, trying to say we were a joke cause we were kids.  But after the game, we usually beat ‘em and they were like very shocked.”

Then, a year-and-a-half after Jeff Bulington first showed up to introduce chess to a small county in Mississippi, 33 of Franklin County’s chess wonders and their parents traveled to the national school championships.  They faced more than 1,500 players from 644 schools, many from wealthy suburban school districts.  The surprising result: Franklin’s fifth graders came in 8th among all the fifth grades and their sixth graders came in 10th among all the sixth grades.  As one Franklin parent put it: “What happened is a bunch of hillbillies beat the snot out of a bunch of really highly educated, sophisticated people.  So that’s what happened…”

 Chess has helped the Franklin kids see there’s more to themselves than they’ve seen before:

 Parker: “Chess is, like, something that like I’m like really good at for once.”

 Donovan: “All my grades used to be like low, medium low Bs.  Now, they’re A’s and high B’s.”

 Rebekah: “I feel like chess could take us anywhere.  But it’s not about where it takes us, it’s about how far it takes us.”

 The year before chess arrived, seven of the 93 graduates from Franklin County High School went on to a four-year college, but every chess player at Franklin says he or she plans to attend college some day.

 It’s often said that to teach is to touch a life forever.   Through chess, these Franklin children’s lives have been forever changed with hope and a brighter future.  The cost of such a chess program is minuscule compared to almost all other educational programs.  Hopefully other school districts, especially less advantaged districts, can take notice.

 

Good News Counts,

 

Marty

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Pins to Represent Solidarity in England

A campaign has been launched in England for people to wear safety pins to show that they are “safe” allies to immigrants or anyone else facing hatred, racism, and bigotry.  Hate crimes have dramatically increased in Britain as well as in the U.S., and here is one small way for people to stand up for kindness, respect, and good will.  It is a signal that shows people facing hate crimes that they’re not alone, that there are people willing to stand up for them and be there for them.

 

Britons are being urged to wear safety pins in public so that any potential victims of racist abuse can turn to them for help or support in the street.  The pin announces that you are a safe person to sit next to on a bus, walk next to on a street, even have a conversation with.  Thousands have shared photos of themselves and their families wearing safety pins in solidarity with those being victimized in their community.

 

How about such a campaign in American communities!

 

Good News Counts,

 

Marty

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Boy Grows Hair To Give To Girls With Cancer

10-year-old Thomas Moore heard about a 5-year-old girl who had lost her hair due to chemotherapy and on his own decided to grow his hair long to give to the girl.  His hair had to be continually cornrowed to keep it neat, and after two years it was ready to be cut.  Sadly, the little girl who had inspired him to do his good deed had passed away, however his hair was enough to make three wigs for children with cancer.  Thomas was nervous getting it cut, wondering what he would look like, but was proud of himself afterwards and thrilled by the joy he had brought to three ill children.  Retired NBA player Derek Anderson's foundation bestowed an Acts of Kindness award on Thomas

 

 

Good News Counts,

 

Marty

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Troop 6000 Learning To Become Role Models and Future Leaders

The Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.  Almost two million girls belong to this stellar organization, and among these are 20 very special young woman comprising Troop 6000.  Troop 6000 is the first in New York City designated solely for homeless girls.  These girls are learning to become role models and future leaders of their community and perhaps someday of the world!  In interviews, the girls of Troop 6000 talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up with answers ranging from fashion designer to pediatrician, from basketball player to engineer.  Silkia, a 9-year-old, said: “I’m going to get mad money and help the homeless!”

14-year-old Hailey is the oldest girl in the troop.  As she puts it: “We’re starting a chain reaction ...  There will be more Girl Scout troops who live in shelters!”  In New York City, children make up nearly 40 percent of the roughly 60,000 people in the city’s primary shelter system, so there are lots more girls to be reached.  Come on all you other American communities, let’s make Hailey’s prophecy come true in shelters, migrant worker camps, and public housing across the country!

 

Good News Counts,

Marty

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"Believe In Love" Events

For anyone who might have missed it, February 7th, 2017, Super Bowl Sunday, was the day we watched tearfully as 75,000 people at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, held up plastic tiles, faithfully and without knowing why, to reveal the message, “Believe in Love.” Dr. Sherry Sami, co-founder of the Love Button Global Movement, says: “Love is a choice. I can choose loving responses and actions rather than those driven by fear. That choice affects the people in my life, in my community and in the world.”

An Ithaca College student is organizing “Believe in Love,” an event aiming to unite Ithaca residents through community service and a large gathering on the Ithaca Commons. It’s all about promoting unity during a divided time. “We want people of every age, race, religion, sexuality and social class to come together and unite to put loving one another to center stage, especially at a time when our nation needs it,” says the event’s Facebook page.

Love Sign

As individuals we can all have an important impact through daily random acts of kindness. And all you college students, how about organizing a “Believe in Love” event at your school or in your community!

 

Marty

- Good News Counts!

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Pope Opens Laundromat for Homeless

In addition to finding food to eat and a place to sleep, the homeless experience great difficulty in washing and drying what they are wearing, often the only clothes they have. Pope Francis has opened a free laundromat for the poor of Rome. It will soon be expanded to include showers and a barbershop. Whirlpool has donated washing machines, dryers, and irons, while Proctor and Gamble is providing detergent. East High School in Utah has installed washing machines and dryers for their homeless students which number 80 out of the student body of 2000. The laundry room is also equipped with donated detergent as well as free clothes for the taking. Having clean, appropriate clothes to wear allows students to focus on their academics and greatly increases the chances they will not drop out before graduation. How about more cities, companies, and schools taking inspiration and instruction from these “blessed” models!

 

Marty

-The Good World News

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Incredible Tip Helps Waitress Pay for College

Not wanting to run up more debt, 21-year-old Cayla Chandara was working double shifts as a waitress, trying to pay off college loans before returning to school to finish her education. Two customers struck up a conversation, and Chandara told them about school and her dreams for the future. They surprised her with a $400 tip. Chandra wanted to thank them more properly, so she wrote up a heartfelt note and dropped it off at the front desk of the hotel they had mentioned they were staying at. The couple returned to the restaurant the next night and told Chandra that they wanted to give her $10,000 to pay off her student loans and to contribute to her continuing her college education. She was at a complete loss of words but managed to stammer out that she couldn’t possibly accept such a large sum of money from complete strangers. The couple insisted, saying it would mean as much to them as it would mean to her. “They told me the best way to thank them is to be my best possible self, dream big and strive for my goals,” Chandara said. An incredible gift and wonderful advice from two anonymous strangers.

 

Marty

-The Good World News

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Coat Racks for the Homeless

Emilia Flores, a restaurant owner in Dallas, Texas, set up a “Take one, leave one” coat rack for the homeless. The rack, located outside her place of business, makes available free coats, hats, and scarves during frigid weather. “This is a way of people not being embarrassed about asking,” Flores explained. “They just come and pick what they need and leave.” Flores’ thoughtful idea has now inspired other business owners to set up similar outside coat racks!

 

Marty

-The Good World News

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98 year old Bakes for those in Need

Leo Kellner, a 98-year-old from Nebraska, has found a sweet, sweet way of lifting the spirits of those in need, those who are less fortunate than he. He was poor and hungry during the depression, but during those difficult times his mother worked magic with flour and eggs, and Leo learned to bake. With much time on his hands now after the passing of his wife of 72 years, Leo bakes all varieties of cakes and pies and passes them out daily to community organizations helping to feed the poor. The secret ingredient he always adds is a healthy helping of love. When asked to what he contributes the energy and sharp mind still going strong in his life, he replies “giving to everyone, placing nobody above me, placing nobody below me, liking everyone, and never holding a grudge.” We can all learn from Leo!

 

Marty

- Good World News

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Caring 4 Cars repairs vehicles for those in need

A car mechanic's bill can be incredibly expensive and devastating for someone that does not have the funds to cover the costs.  Fortunately, there are wonderful people in this world that are helping individuals that fall into these situations.

Meet Grant Magrath, a self taught mechanic in Christchurch, New Zealand.  He knows very well how it feels to be in this situation.

"When the kids were toddlers, the head gasket blew on my old Ford Telstar. I had no money to spare, so I bought a workshop manual and fixed it myself.", Magrath said.

Years later, when he heard a story about a struggling young couple who had to borrow money from a loan shark to pay for their vehicle repair bill, it weighed heavy on his heart.

Grant Magrath stated, "I got quite upset. That's money that their children won't have for school, clothes, toys."


That is when Grant decided to gather a group of mechanics together and form "Caring 4 Cars".  This organization collects funds and gathers volunteer mechanics to help fix vehicles for individuals that have difficulty paying for repairs.  The charitable organization also provides an opportunity for people to learn how to repair cars and help others in need.  They created a Facebook page to spread the word: https://www.facebook.com/caringforcars

Way to go Grant and Caring 4 Cars!!!  Keep up the wonderful work :)

 

And that's what's good,

Jon

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