Random Good News

“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.

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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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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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