Random Good News

Runners help carry woman across the finish line of Philadelphia marathon

During a recent marathon in Philadelphia a female runner collapsed 100 yards from the finish line.  Showing the highest sportsmanship, two unidentified runners interrupted their runs, carried the exhausted runner up to the finish line, and set her down so that she could take the final step across the line on her own.  She received medical attention and soon recovered.  A video of the good deed has been viewed by millions!  Lionel Messi, the Argentine soccer player considered to be the greatest of all time, has said; “There are more important things in life than winning or losing.”  A lesson we should all learn!

 

Let the Good News brighten your day!

 

Jeremy

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Restaurant owner sets up free coat rack 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!

 

let the Good News brighten your day!

 

Jeremy

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98-Year Old bakes cakes and pies to help feed the homeless

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!

 

Let the Good News brighten your day!

 

Jeremy

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Volunteers and local youth cut lawns for free for the elderly, disabled veterans and single moms

Rodney Smith Jr. of Huntsville, Alabama, was driving home one day during the summer of 2015 and saw an elderly man struggling to cut his lawn.  Rodney stopped to help and an idea was born.

Rodney began recruiting local youths to help, and his group of kid volunteers currently numbers over 60.  They cut lawns for free for the elderly, disabled veterans, and single moms.  The response has been overwhelming from both the youth who participate in the program, and those who receive the free lawn services.  “The kids are so excited, they call and say ‘please save my spot this weekend,’ ” says Rodney.   Donations have paid for gas, and the company, Briggs and Stratton, has contributed lawnmowers and weed eaters.

Rodney views his mission as being a mentor to young men and women, ages 7 to 17, and to encourage kids to get out there and give back to their community.  Making a difference in one's community can take a variety of forms, even if means simply mowing an elderly person’s lawn for free!

 

Let the good news brighten your day!

 

Jeremy

 

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Bishops, Knights, and Rooks in the barbershop!

Bishops, Knights, and Rooks in the barbershop!  12-year-old Cahree Myrick practices chess in a local Baltimore barbershop run by Sundiata Osagie.   Osagie described chess as a “staple” at his barbershop.  “That’s just the culture we’ve developed around here.  People will just stop in and say: ‘Who’s playing chess?  Who's the chess players around here?’”

Last May, Cahree made local history after winning first place in his division at the United States Chess Federation Super Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee.  According to the Baltimore Sun, he’s the first competitor his age from Baltimore to do so.

Cahree credits Osagie’s barbershop for shaping him into a true competitor.  “Sundiata, he’s been my barber since I was like, 5 years old,” Myrick said.  “He taught me to be humble more -- count your blessings and be a good person.  Don’t be like, arrogant, don’t walk in like that.”  Lessons we can all take to heart and not just over the chess board.

 

Let the Good News Brighten Your Day!

 

Jeremy

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The Buddy Bench Brings Friends Together

A simple idea to combat loneliness on the school playground – the buddy bench!  Christian, a first grader, saw a picture of a pretty bench, had an idea, and approached his principal.  He knew that some kids looked like they were lonely at recess, and he thought that a bench, labeled as a “buddy bench,” might encourage friendships.  His principal liked the idea, came up with the funds from the school budget, and soon the elementary school playground had a new addition.

The local newspaper picked up the story, then the Huffington Post and NBC, and the buddy bench movement spread across the country.  Students from all over the country have written to Christian, excited about his idea, and motivated to try and get buddy benches on their own playgrounds.

How about let’s all spread the message of friendship, inclusion, and kindness in our own neighborhoods!

 

 

 

 

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Marty

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Terminal illness doesn’t stop man from repairing and donating bicycles to children in need

What would you do if told you only had months to live?  Bob Charland, 44, was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative brain disease earlier this year.  Hearing that he had an aggressive terminal illness rocked his and his family’s world, but he rebounded, deciding to make the time he has left really count.

Bob always felt that all children should have the opportunity to lead an active life, and he decided to do his part.  A local elementary school in his hometown of Springfield, MA, has mostly kids from low income families.  Most of these kids have never owned a set of wheels, so Bob began repairing donated broken bicycles to give to these kids.  “I get up around 4:00, 4:30 in the morning.  From then, even until 11 o’clock at night, I’m here repairing the bikes.”

Last month, he handed over 35 finished bikes to these appreciative, deserving kids.  “It’s really exciting to see all these kids so happy,” Charland says.  “I’m going to keep doing this as long as I physically can.”  Seeing these kids put down their phones, get off the couch, and spend time outdoors being active brings a smile to his face.

Diagnosis of a terminal illness can’t stop this bike man.  How about all us healthy people giving something back to our community!

 

 

 

 

 

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Marty

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2017 Janitor of the Year inspires students and faculty

Ted Qualli, the 66-year-old janitor at Newtown Elementary School, knows the names of every one of the school’s 850 students.  Of course he is the first person to arrive in the morning and the last person to leave at night.  But he does much more than cleaning classrooms.  He wears his old Air Force uniform on Veterans Day and talks to kids about his service.  He grows countless plants and gives them out to the staff and student body.  Most importantly, he talks with the kids about life and teaches them that some of the most important things you learn, you won’t find in a book.  He explains to the kids:  “You got to listen.  You listen, everybody has a message that they're trying to tell you.”

“He's the guy that’s unsung.  He’s the guy that everybody knows is the go-to person.  He’s the guy that keeps the ship afloat,” says principal Kevin King.  As one student puts it:  “He does all this stuff, and he does it with a smile on his face.”  A parent expresses her appreciation: “They just don't make them that way anymore.  He is just absolutely one of the most amazing human beings on this planet.”

Among over 1,200 nominees nationwide, Ted has been selected the 2017 Janitor of the Year.  “I’m so overwhelmed and I just can’t believe that it happened,” said Ted, fighting back tears.  “I just can't believe that people think that much of me.”

The town of Newtown declared a Ted Qualli Day in his honor.  The parent-teacher moms sang him a song at the announcement of his award.  He received a $5000 cash prize from the Cintas Corporation.  And the kids, well, they just love him.

 

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Marty

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High School Students work on a project to create solar-powered shelters for the homeless

Twelve students from San Fernando High School, a math, science, and technology magnet school in the Los Angeles area, spent all last year working on a project to create solar-powered shelters for the homeless.  These16 and 17 year old girls are mostly from low-income families, and are either the daughters of immigrants or immigrants themselves.  They came together and created energy-efficient shelters for those in their community who are less fortunate, without any place to live.

Violet Mardirosian, a math teacher and magnet coordinator at San Fernando High, has worked with the team since the beginning.  There was a lot of work to be done, and the girls spent countless hours researching, working, writing, testing, and re-testing to get it right.  They’ve given presentations to their school, as well as to a group of local engineers.  Their work is so impressive that they’ve been invited to present their work at MIT this June.

These girls have not received a grade or even high school credit for their project, so the work takes place outside of their regular curriculum, after school and on weekends.  When asked what motivates these ambitious students to keep going, Mardirosian says “it’s their drive and compassion....  The girls want to provide comfort and dignity to those in their community who need it the most.”

These girls’ awareness, resolve, commitment and inventiveness are inspiring, but their story also shows that exposure to STEM-related opportunities really matter, and it sends an important message to young girls around our nation: “math and engineering are for you!”

 

 

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Marty

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From Compton to Harvard!

“It was a struggle.  It was rough,” Elijah says of his time growing up in Compton, where only a little over half of students graduate high school.  He remembers a defining moment when he was little:  “It was kind of late at night, my mom ran into my room, and they were shooting outside.  So we would lay, actually, right there, kind of looking at each other.  I was just...looking at my mom for strength ... That moment changed me forever.  I knew I would have to leave Compton.”

Elijah worked hard to achieve his goals, immersing himself in his studies, and never losing focus of his academic goals.  He was accepted to a prestigious high school, over an hour away from home, and there he excelled - using the long commute to study.  Academics always came first, and he achieved a 4.69 GPA on a 5.0 point scale.  He was also a star football player, a track athlete, a leading actor in the school’s productions, and chair of the school’s peer mentoring program.  He became fluent in Spanish.  “I think that struggle - it ignites a fire under you to want to work hard and to want to do more,” he said.

“Everything in his life is preparing him for his future,” his proud mother said.  “He has been through a lot, he has seen a lot and guess what? It made him stronger.”  Elijah credits his mom with getting him to where he is, and she credits him with giving her the strength to be a mom.  His mother raised him alone for 13 years while his dad was in a federal penitentiary.

And where is he now?  Only five percent of applicants are accepted into Harvard, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, and 17-year-old Elijah is one of these elite Harvard bound graduating high school seniors!!!   Harvard awarded Devaughn a complete tuition, room and board scholarship, and his mom set up a GoFundMe campaign to help with books and other school expenses.

Where will Elijah be in 10 years?  “Umm, maybe med school, maybe Wall Street, or maybe an actor on somebody's stage,” he says. “I don't know, but I will be somewhere great. I know that.” Ducking for cover when he hears the ricochet of gunshots outside his bedroom window will now be a distant memory.

 

 

May the Good News brighten your day!

 

Jeremy

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