Paralyzed stray dog gets second chance

The chances of a dog found on the streets ending up in a stable, happy forever home are, sadly, pretty slim. If you're a dog like Oscar, who, for reasons unknown, is paralyzed, those chances drop nearly to zero.

Oscar was staring at those odds when he was picked up by animal services in New York City, and, facing the cruel reality of adoption for special needs animals, he was placed on death row.  Then the little Dachshund mix was rescued, and not only rescued, but fit with wheels to overcome his handicap.  As the little pup demonstrates, a canine with special needs is still a rewarding companion.

 

Marty,

The Good World News

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Kings County Tennis League gives free lessons to inner city kids

  • Published in Sports

On most summer Saturdays, Nia Cardoze practices her forehand at the tennis courts outside Brooklyn's Marcy Houses, alongside other kids from the sprawling public housing complex. 
“I want to become the No. 1 player in the world,” said Cardoze, who is 10 years old. 

Cardoze is a member of the Kings County Tennis League, a nonprofit that provides coaching and tennis equipment to children living in four public housing projects in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Every Saturday, about 100 kids gather in small tennis courts or playgrounds alongside volunteer instructors.

Michael McCasland, a tennis standout in high school, moved to Bed-Stuy from Washington, D.C., in 2008 and noticed the gritty Marcy tennis courts, which were rarely used for tennis, he said. One Saturday, McCasland arrived at the courts with a bucket of tennis balls and an extra racket, and began offering free tennis lessons to the neighbors.

"Nobody showed interest," McCasland said. "It was weird to have these tennis courts and the people didn't want to play tennis."

McCasland was undeterred. He posted fliers at bodegas and walked the neighborhood offering to teach kids for free. He said he wanted to show his neighbors that tennis wasn't just a "white guy" game. After a month he had five students. By the summer's end he had 20.

McCasland developed a retention program for the next summer. Children who came to three practices could rent a racket for the week, free of charge. Five practices earned the kid a uniform. He also began mentoring his students, helping them learn vocabulary and develop life skills outside of tennis.

For three summers, McCasland ran his program on a shoestring, collecting used rackets from friends and holding informal fundraisers at bars. In 2011 he received an email from an official with the USTA's Eastern Section, which oversees tennis development in greater New York City.  The relationship with USTA led to the grant money, which has allowed McCasland to purchase rackets, print uniforms and expand into the other public housing complexes.

As McCasland puts it: “This project really has an impact. It builds a connection between tennis and the kids, the kids and their parents and parents to parents.  We get kids more active, and we also see behavioral changes.”

 

Marty,

Good World News

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NYC helicopter pilot saves the day

Michael Campbell, at 22 years old is the youngest helicopter tour pilot in New York City.  Fresh out of training, he knew exactly what to do when things went wrong.

He was 12 minutes into a 25 minute tour he was giving to four Swedish passengers when the helicopter engine suddenly failed.  Campbell went straight into hero mode.

“You only have a second to make the right decision. It’s sink or swim,’’ said Campbell as he recalls the previous days events.

Miraculously within 30 seconds he was able to keep the helicopter level, deploy the floats, and make a safe landing in the Hudson River without a single injury!

“Someone was looking out for me,’’ Campbell said. “I said a little prayer that everything would turn out OK, and I’m just really glad it worked out and everyone walked away without any harm."

Campbell was ready to come into work the next day, but his boss told him to take the day off :)


And that's what's good,

Jon

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