Marty

Marty

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Cubs Outfielder Matt Szczur Is Well Known For His Charity Work

Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur made his major league debut in 2014 and has a career batting average of .242.  While not an everyday player, Szczur has shown tremendous value as a consistent pinch hitter and backup outfielder.  What is of special interest is the impact he has made off the playing field – he is well known for charity and community work.

In 2009, Szczur donated bone marrow to a 15-month-old Ukrainian girl named Anastasia battling leukemia. Szczur saved the girl's life given the severity of her condition.  Last winter, he hosted and helped raise thousands of dollars during his “Szcz The Day” fundraiser for the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Foundation.  More recently he picked up a paint brush in an effort to raise money for Cubs Charities which gives grants focused specifically on creating opportunities for at-risk youth in the areas of education, youth sports, and health and wellness.  For his first ever attempt at artwork, Szczur painted the final out of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.  “Honored and humbled that my first painting was auctioned off for $35,000 for such a great cause,” Szczur posted to Instagram.  “Thank you Cubs Charities for allowing me to give back and be part of something special.”  Way to go, Matt Szczur!

 

Good News Counts,

 

Marty

  • Published in Sports

Where you see trash, those with vision see treasure!

 

The Waste to Wealth program, started in 2012, has trained more than 300 women in northeastern Nigeria to recycle plastic waste into mats, bags and other colorful accessories.  “This has really helped me.  Now I can pay my children’s school fees, I can buy food for my family and also help my relatives,” says one woman.  Another woman puts it: “We are working towards doing the right thing, so whenever we see plastic bags we pick them up; it has become a valuable thing now.  Because of us there are few plastic bags in the streets compared to how it was before.”

 The bags sell for between $3 and $47, depending on size and quality.  “One woman made over $6000 because she was extremely good,” says the Waste to Wealth program coordinator.  “She has bought land, she’s got a computer, and she has paid for her children’s schooling, so we’ve seen the economic benefits the women are having spread back through the community.”

 

 

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is struggling to find efficient ways of managing its waste problems just like countries around the world.  Inventive initiatives like this tackle this problem as well as helping women find ways to earn an income and provide for their families.  A win-win idea.  What innovative solutions to waste problems in our own communities can we come up with?

 

Good News Counts,

 

Marty

“Helping sick kids feel better one smile at a time.” What a wonderful resolution!

Kayla Abramowitz, the Founder and CKO (Chief Kid Officer) of Kayla Cares 4 Kids, herself has Crohn’s disease and juvenile arthritis.  At 11 years old, after extended hospital stays of her own, she wondered what she could do to help other kids.  She was too young to volunteer in children’s hospitals, but she wasn’t too young to start collecting entertainment and educational items to donate to children’s hospitals.  Her initial goal was to collect 100 DVDs to donate to a children’s hospital in her home town.  A newspaper article went viral, and now, three years later, her non-profit organization has collected and donated over 12,000 items.  Her current goal is to deliver DVDs, books, and toys to every children’s hospital in the country.

 As one nurse manager of a pediatrics intensive care unit put it: “We are thrilled that Kayla Cares 4 Kids found us!  No child likes to be in the hospital, so it is important to do whatever we can to make their stay in the hospital a little more enjoyable.  It also makes the nurses happy to be able to provide diversion activities for the kids while they are hospitalized.”  In Kayla’s words: “I can’t believe I’m able to make such a difference in kids’ lives while they’re staying in the hospital.  I think it means the world to them, and I know it means the world to me.”

 When delivering donations to hospitals, Kayla is joined by her mother, father, and two brothers.  “Some people go to the beach on a holiday, but we go to a hospital to deliver items, and it makes us all feel good,” said Kayla’s father. “To know that you’re helping someone else when they’re going through something that we can relate to ourselves, well that makes a difference.” 

 Kayla Abramowitz was named the National Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Go Kayla!  Hopefully Kayla not only wins our hearts, but inspires us all towards thoughtful acts of kindness towards those less fortunate than ourselves.

GoFundMe Campaign Helps 89-Year-Old Retire

Fidencio Sanchez, 89, pushed an ice cream cart for 23 years before retiring.  However,  after his only child died and his grandchildren were left in his care, he had to return to work.  A humble immigrant from Mexico, Sanchez slowly walked his cart full of paletas, or popsicles, and adorned with bells from early morning until 8 at night.  “It’s really hard working out here in the streets....  Even in bad weather I still had to go out and sell,” Sanchez explained.

 A customer was moved.  “I just felt like he looked really tired and needed a day off.  The world came together and gave him a bunch of days off,” said the Good Samaritan who bought 20 paletas before driving away and setting up a GoFundMe campaign to help Sanchez.  More than 15,000 people in 60 countries donated over $380,000 in two weeks.  An attorney is working pro bono for the couple, setting up a trust to protect and manage the money.  “No more work.  I worked because I had to, but my body is no longer strong enough,” says Sanchez, overwhelmed with gratitude.

 This story ended happily.  Sanchez has financial security and the opportunity to rest — thanks to the generosity of strangers.  However, the powerful picture of an elderly man struggling to push an ice cream cart down the street gives all of us a glimpse of how hundreds of thousands of people his age are still working in America, trying to make ends meet.

 

Good New Counts,

 

Marty

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