Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media
Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories from the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their media websites. If any link fails to function, click here. The inspiring news story summaries most recently posted here are listed first. You can explore the same list with the most inspiring stories listed first. See also a concise list providing headlines and links to a number of highly inspiring stories. May these articles inspire us to find ever more ways to love and support each other and all around us to be the very best we can be.
People repurpose old shipping containers for lots of things. But Shawn Cooney may have found the greenest use yet. On a vacant lot near Boston's Logan Airport, Cooney is using four former freight containers ... to grow some 30,000 heads of lettuce, herbs and other leafy greens. "I'm not really a farmer," said the 61-year-old Cooney, who ran software companies before starting Corner Stalk farms in 2013. "But it's more interesting than a desk job." If 30,000 heads of lettuce sounds like a lot, it is - and it's the reason why he's able to run a successful farm in one of the country's most expensive cities. The containers come from Freight Farms, a Boston-based startup that outfits the boxes with lights, growing racks and irrigation systems - creating what are essentially super efficient growing machines. The boxes themselves are former freezer containers that were used to ship meat, so they're insulated against the heat and cold. Inside, the plants get light from LEDs and there's no soil. The roots are instead placed in a peat moss base that gets a dollop of nutrient-rich water every 12 minutes. The entire container, floor to ceiling, is filled with plants in a totally self-contained operation. And it churns out the plants. Cooney said he harvests 4,000 to 6,000 plants a week - roughly 80 times the number he'd get from a similar amount of space on a conventional farm. The plants are sold to a wholesaler, which distributes them to mostly high-end restaurants in the Boston area.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Working as a guidance counselor five years ago in Palm Beach County, Estella Pyfrom noticed that [few] students had access to a computer after school. "They needed food. They needed to pay their mortgage or their rent," said Pyfrom, a former teacher. Without a computer at home, or reliable transportation to get to a computer, Pyfrom feared that many of these students would get left behind. So she bought a bus, filled it with computers and brought technology to the kids. Her mobile computer lab, Estella's Brilliant Bus, has provided free, computer-based tutoring for thousands of students since 2011. Pyfrom ... retired in 2009 and used money from her savings to buy the bus, [which] is outfitted with 17 computer stations that are connected to high-speed Internet via satellite. Emblazoned on its side are the words "Have Knowledge, Will Travel" and "We bring learning to you." The bus travels to schools, shelters and community centers throughout the county. Pyfrom and her team provide about 8,000 hours of instruction to at least 500 children a year. She also partnered with a community nonprofit to help provide meals to 3,000 residents each month. To keep up the momentum of her efforts, Pyfrom has continued to pour her savings into maintaining and modifying her bus, so far spending about $1 million, she says. "I don't think I'm going to get tired," she said. "I'm constantly charged up. I look at the faces of the children and I get energized."
Note: Watch an inspiring video on Estella's Brilliant Bus.
France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks. Under a law passed unanimously by the French senate, as of Wednesday large shops will no longer bin good quality food approaching its best-before date. Charities will be able to give out millions more free meals each year to people struggling to afford to eat. The law follows a grassroots campaign in France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste. Campaigners now hope to persuade the EU to adopt similar legislation across member states. Supermarkets will also be barred from deliberately spoiling food in order to stop it being eaten by people foraging in stores’ bins. In recent years, growing numbers of families, students, unemployed and homeless people in France have been foraging in supermarket bins at night to feed themselves. People have been finding edible products thrown out just as their best-before dates approached. Some supermarkets doused binned food in bleach, [or] deliberately binned food in locked warehouses for collection by refuse trucks. Now bosses of supermarkets with a footprint of 400 sq metres (4,305 sq ft) or more will have to sign donation contracts with charities or face a penalty of €3,750 (Ł2,900).
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A section of the Mic Mac Mall was transformed into a bright anti-bullying statement Wednesday, as the Pink Shirt Promise anti-bullying campaign officially kicked off. The campaign will go for the next eight days, ending just in time for national Pink Shirt day, which was started in Nova Scotia eight years ago by Travis Price. Wearing pink has become an international symbol for the Anti-Bullying Movement. “It was a simple act of kindness, one act, just stand up for him. Show him that he wasn’t alone,” Price said at the opening for the campaign. The boy he’s referring to is a fellow student who wore a pink shirt to school on the first day of classes. He was teased and bullied for wearing the shirt. After seeing the bullying, Price decided to stand up and take action, encouraging other students to wear pink shirts in support of their fellow student and as a way to stand up to bullies. “We didn’t know at the time that Pink Shirt Day would turn into the movement that it has today. It was simply to try and show this student that he wasn’t alone. Now, this simple act of kindness has grown into something that simply blows my mind, that I can say is now in over 27 countries around the world,” [said Price]. The idea behind Pink Shirt Promise is simple: by making a personal pledge to end bullying and spread positivity, you could change someone’s life. Price says it only takes a few seconds for a bystander to intervene.
Note: Watch a great five-minute video on the origins of this inspiring movement.
A Spanish runner has shown the world that sometimes, just sometimes, winning isn't everything. Last month, Spanish athlete Ivan Fernandez Anaya impressed the world by giving up victory to do the right thing. According to El Pais, it happened as the 24-year-old raced a cross-country event in Burlada, Navarre on Dec. 2. In second place to Abel Mutai, the Kenyan athlete who won a bronze medal in the London Olympics, Anaya suddenly had a chance to surge ahead. According to El Pais, Mutai mistakenly thought the end of the race came about 10 meters sooner than it did, and stopped running. Then, he “looked back and saw the people telling him to keep going," Anaya told CNA. "But since he doesn't speak Spanish he didn't realize it." So Anaya slowed, guiding Mutai to the actual finish line. And he didn't think much of it, either. Anaya told El Pais:"I didn't deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn't have closed if he hadn't made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn't going to pass him." His actions may not have won him the match, or the approval of his coach, but they did get him a few new fans.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Every school teaches math and reading, but what about mindfulness and kindness? Twice a week for 20 minutes, pre-kindergarten kids were introduced to stories and practices for paying attention, regulating their emotions, and cultivating kindness. The initial results of our research ... suggest that this program can improve kids’ grades, cognitive abilities, and relationship skills. Having classrooms full of mindful, kind kids completely changes the school environment. Imagine entire schools - entire districts - where kindness is emphasized. That would be truly powerful. Teaching kindness is a way to bubble up widespread transformation that doesn’t require big policy changes or extensive administrative involvement. If you had visited one of our classrooms during the 12-week program, you might have seen a poster on the wall called “Kindness Garden.” When kids performed an act of kindness or benefitted from one, they added a sticker to the poster. The idea is that friendship is like a seed - it needs to be nurtured and taken care of in order to grow. Through that exercise, we got students talking about ... how we might grow more friendship in the classroom. Students who went through the curriculum showed more empathy and kindness and a greater ability to calm themselves down when they felt upset, according to teachers’ ratings. They earned higher grades at the end of the year in certain areas (notably for social and emotional development), and they showed improvement in the ability to think flexibly and delay gratification, skills that have been linked to health and success later in life.
In 1978, 5-year-old Frank "Bopsy" Salazar was diagnosed with leukemia. A woman named Linda Pauling ... had lost her 7-year-old son, Chris, to leukemia that spring. But before Chris passed, the Arizona Department of Public Safety had fulfilled the little boy's dream of becoming a police officer. DPS officers Jim Eaves and Frank Shankwitz had met Chris with a patrol car and motorcycle and made him the only honorary Arizona Highway Patrol Officer in the department's history. The incredible effort inspired Pauling and Shankwitz to start the Make-A-Wish Foundation. "[Pauling] told me that instead of letting the kids just feel sorry for themselves, they wanted to grant wishes, to do something every kid would benefit from, to fulfill their dream while they're still a part of this world," Trujillo said. Shankwitz took over from there, and he went to visit Bopsy to find out more about the boy's dreams. After learning that he'd be granted a wish, the 7-year-old mulled it over. "I want to ride in a hot air balloon," he told Shankwitz. Then he thought about it some more. "No, I want to go to Disneyland." He paused again. "No, I want to be a fireman." But Shankwitz didn't make him pick. All of Bopsy's wishes would be granted. He got his balloon ride and his trip to Disneyland. Fireman Bob - whose real name is Bob Walp - did more than was asked of him to help the sick boy. "We didn't want to just give him a tour," Walp [recalled]. "We decided to give him a badge and a jacket. We let him use the hose. We took him in the truck."
Note: For more on this inspiring story, see this webpage.
Seventeen-year-old Gabe Adams was born without arms and legs and suffers from a rare disease called hanhart syndrome, but that doesn't stop him from dancing. After spending most of his life in a wheelchair, he decided to join the dance team at Davis High School. During halftime at a basketball game Friday night, he performed in front of the whole school. Cheers rang out as Gabe put the word disability to shame. "I wanted to prove to myself and to others that there’s more to myself than just a kid in a wheelchair," Adams said. With practices three days a week, which last for more than three hours, dance team is no easy commitment. However, teammate Alexis Delahunty says Gabe makes it seem easy. "I can’t even imagine doing this without my arms and legs. It's so inspiring. He’s just amazing," Delahunty said. His dance teacher, Kim King, says Gabe has brought so much joy to the team and has pushed them all to work harder. "When they see him, they don’t realize how hard it is to get dressed, how hard it is to get in and out of his chair, but Gabe does everything by himself," King said. Gabe's father, Ron Adams, said Gabe is always pushing himself and taking each challenge in stride. "I don’t think everyone understands what it takes, the muscle coordination and development to balance when he doesn’t have limbs," Ron Adams said. He may not realize it, but Gabe is constantly inspiring the people around him.
Note: Note: Don't miss the amazing video at the link above. For more on this most impressive teenager, see this story. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The lobby of TerraCycle’s global headquarters is far from what might be expected for a company that reported $18.7 million in revenue in 2014. the company’s core mission: reducing waste. “Everything around us will become waste,” says Tom Szaky, TerraCycle’s chief executive officer. “Our focus is on anything that you cannot recycle today, and that is 75 percent of all objects in the world.” Mr. Szaky founded TerraCycle in 2001 while a freshman at Princeton University. He and another student fed dining hall leftovers to worms and liquefied the worm compost, creating an organic and highly effective fertilizer. Lacking the money to package their product, the duo used soda bottles they retrieved from recycling bins as containers to peddle the worm poop. “That was the inspirational moment,” says Szaky, who decided to drop out of Princeton to pursue TerraCycle as a full-time endeavor. “What got me very excited was ... waste as a business idea.” Today, TerraCycle is an international leader in “recycling the unrecyclable,” building off the worm compost idea and using other waste materials to craft new products. TerraCycle runs recycling programs in more than 350,000 locations in 22 countries. [They] devise a plan to deal with each type of waste, and then process the waste through refurbishing it into something useful or through reprocessing it for recycling.
August 9, 2014, was one of the most memorable days of my life. On that day I entered a maximum-security prison in Lancaster, Calif. to witness an extraordinary event connecting the lives of some of its inmates with a pack of rescued shelter dogs. Five lucky dogs ... were pulled from a high-kill shelter in Los Angeles and entered this Level 4 prison for a chance at a better life. Earlier this year, Karma Rescue, a nonprofit that saves at-risk dogs from high-kill shelters across Southern California, partnered with the California State Prison Los Angeles County in Lancaster to create "Paws for Life," a program that matches rescued dogs with inmates who train them to boost their odds of adoption. Fourteen inmates were ... selected to train five shelter dogs who stayed at the prison this summer for a 12-week program. From the very beginning, the program struck a chord with everyone involved. Karma Rescue's founder Rande Levine wrote, "Men who had not seen an animal in decades were openly emotional at the sight of the beautiful creatures before them. Just petting our dogs brought many to happy tears. It was a day I will never, ever forget." Several times a week, professional dog trainer Mark Tipton and several dedicated Karma Rescue volunteers drove out to the prison to instruct the inmates on how to train their assigned dogs for 'Canine Good Citizen' certification, a designation that increases the chance that a dog will be successfully adopted.
Note: Don't miss the moving pictures of this inspiring program at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
What started as a small gesture, of feeding underprivileged children, by 31-year-old Darshan and his friends has turned into a full-blown movement. An email he shot off to a restaurant, after being deeply disappointed with the service he got there, just changed the course of Darshan’s life. When the restaurant management apologised for the poor service and offered to give him free food, Darshan refused the offer and asked them to feed underprivileged children instead. The restaurant went ahead with his suggestion, and after feeding the children, sent pictures to Darshan. “This is the moment that changed me forever. The smile on the faces of those children left me touched. And that is when I decided to do something about it,” he says. Thus, the BhookMitao campaign was born. On June 7, 2015, Darshan and his friends went and fed a couple of children in a slum in Vadodara, Gujarat. Today, the BhookMitao movement provides nutritious lunch to as many as 1,200 children in Vadodara. As the volunteer network grows, Darshan has divided it into groups. Each group takes up a particular spot in the city. They coordinate with those who want to donate, procure the raw materials, and cook the meals in their own kitchens. The programme usually begins ... with some fun activities for the kids. They screen movies on education or make them do some craft work etc., and then ... volunteers and children eat the same food together. The movement ... has spread, [and] the number of volunteers has grown from six to over 600.
Marcin Jakubowski, the owner of a small farm in northwestern Missouri, is an agrarian romantic for high-tech times. He holds a Ph.D. in fusion physics. In 2003, the year that he received his doctorate, Jakubowski started a Web site, Open Source Ecology, or O.S.E., with the aim of collecting the best techniques for creating sustainable communities. In 2009, Jakubowski posted on the O.S.E. blog a list of fifty machines that, in his view, could cheaply provide everything that a small community needed to sustain a comfortable existence. The list became the Global Village Construction Set. It includes mainstays of contemporary life (tractor, bakery oven, wind turbine) and also exotic, and relatively untested, equipment: an aluminum extractor, developed for lunar missions, that wrests the metal from clay; a bioplastic extruder, which converts plant-based plastic into such domestic necessities as window frames and adhesive tape. So far, Jakubowski has built sixteen of the machines - most of them prototypes - and he has also sold a few. The boldness of his dream resonates widely. In 2012, Time called the Global Village Construction Set one of the year’s best inventions, and Jakubowski’s TED talk has been viewed more than 1.2 million times. And, nearly every day, he receives e-mails from strangers who want to help him remake civilization, without the competition, bloodshed, or environmental depredation. To Jakubowski, the antidote to specialization and secrecy [is] obvious: self-sufficiency and a willingness to share information.
Note: Don't miss the great, four-minute TED Talk on this inspiring development.
For decades, the Hershey Co. has used sugar made from both sugar beets and sugar cane, but it decided earlier this year to stop buying beet sugar because it comes from genetically modified, or GM, seeds. Hershey communications director Jeff Beckman confirmed that the kisses and many other products stocked on shelves since Halloween no longer contain beet sugar. The company also is transitioning away from artificial to natural ingredients, he said. About 55 percent of domestic U.S. sugar is produced from sugar beets, and nearly 100 percent of the beet seeds are genetically modified to tolerate the herbicide glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Hershey is the only national brand that has dropped beet sugar, although other companies have been asking questions and there has been a lot of chatter about GM sugar on social media. Part of the pressure on Hershey came from a coalition of groups called GMO Inside that began a campaign in 2013 suggesting that consumers tell Hershey and Mars, another large candy manufacturer, to drop all GM ingredients from their products. Elizabeth O’Connell, campaigns director for Green America, one of the groups in the anti-GM coalition ... said consumer groups will continue to pressure companies to remove GM ingredients from food, or at least to label them so consumers know what they’re buying. A current priority is dairy products, she said, because cows are fed mixtures of soy meal, corn and other products from GM seed.
Located in northeast Portland, Dignity Village is a self-governed gated community, which currently serves 60 people on any given night - the city limits the number - and provides shelter in the form of tiny houses built mainly from donated and recycled materials. The village emerged in the winter of 2000 as a tent city called Camp Dignity. Now officially a nonprofit, Dignity Village is governed by a democratically elected council of nine residents, who are responsible for day-to-day decisions; all residents can vote on big decisions, like whether to remove a resident or enter into contracts with service providers, in town-hall-style meetings. On a typical night, it provides food, housing, bathrooms, and a mailing address for nearly 60 adults, who pay $35 a month in rent and would otherwise be taking their chances alone sleeping on park benches or city streets. Community may be Dignity Village’s most essential offering. “It’s really what sets people apart from other homeless shelters and encampments, above all else,” says Katie Mays, who works as a social worker at Dignity Village three days a week. Elsewhere, cities are trying out the model. In Eugene, Oregon, Opportunity Village has lifted the concept wholesale. Dignity Village’s influence also has spread to Nashville, where a micro-housing community called Sanctuary has cropped up. What the residents of these communities hold in common are the bonds forged from shared experience - of finally finding a welcome environment after being discarded and stigmatized by larger society.
The man who created the 5-hour Energy drink says he has more money than he needs - about $4 billion more. So he’s giving it away, spending his fortune on a quest to fix the world's biggest problems, including energy. Manoj Bhargava has built a stationary bike to power the millions of homes worldwide that have little or zero electricity. Early next year in India, he plans to distribute 10,000 of his Free Electric battery-equipped bikes, which he says will keep lights and basic appliances going for an entire day with one hour of pedaling. He’s [also] working on ways to make saltwater drinkable, enhance circulation in the body, and secure limitless amounts of clean geothermal energy - via a graphene cord. “If you have wealth, it’s a duty to help those who don’t,” says Michigan resident Bhargava, 62, in a documentary released Monday, Billions in Change, about his Stage 2 Innovations lab. “Make a difference in people’s lives,” he says, “Don’t just talk about it.” Could his bike really work? The first 50 ... will be tested in 15 or 20 small villages in the northern state of Uttarakhand before a major rollout. He says it could provide electricity for the developing world and offer post-storm backup power in wealthier countries. [He] says he doesn’t see altruism in his philanthropy. “I like work,” he says. “It’s not giving back. It’s what else am I going to do?”
Note: Don't miss the inspiring 3-minute video of Manoj and his intriguing inventions which has 28 million views and counting.
The concept of a “celebrity statistician” might sound as though it must be - and should forever remain - an oxymoron. But watch Prof Hans Rosling ... and you may change your mind. After showcasing his unique approach at a conference organised by TED, [he] garnered a reputation as the “Jedi master of data visualisation” and “the man in whose hands data sings”. What Rosling does, in a nutshell, is animate graphs. One dot showing, for example, life expectancy in Britain, is quite unremarkable, but apply Rosling’s software, and, at the click of a mouse, that dot will move, showing ... how it has changed every year. Add other dots, representing other countries, from France to China, and suddenly you have a moving stream ... that puts each country’s life expectancy into perspective and shows how the figures have changed over the last 65 years. Combine all this with the professor’s hyperactive presentation style ... and a potentially dry subject suddenly has a [compelling] narrative. Not that Rosling would ever describe statistics as “dry”. “No!” he says. “Statistics take up four pages in most daily newspapers. People don’t find these boring at all, but they don’t think of them as ‘statistics’. If you support Man United or Arsenal, or if your stock falling means you can’t go on holiday, you are interested. It’s only boring if you get data you didn’t ask for, or if you don’t realise its link with the real world.”
Note: Rosling has some incredibly hopeful and inspiring data, including that the global population of humans is leveling off. Don't miss his incredibly inspiring TED talk titled "The Best Stats You've Ever Seen."
It took a bloody Civil War and the passage of a Constitutional amendment to eliminate slavery in the United States. Today, the tools to combat slavery have become decidedly more high-tech (and nonviolent). Made in a Free World in San Francisco, for example, has developed software that helps companies determine whether products they sell or make depend on global slave labor. At least 20 million people across the world are being forced to work for no pay. These workers are either directly or indirectly producing the goods sold by major corporations and small businesses alike, including those in the United States. “At the level of global brands, forced labor and human trafficking can often be hidden from view, the result of complex and frequently outsourced recruitment and hiring practices,” according to a United Nations report. Made in a Free World is a nonprofit that grew out of work that founder and CEO Justin Dillon did for the State Department in 2011. Dillon helped create an algorithm that allows consumers to determine the probability that companies were using slave labor, especially in raw material production, to make 400 popular products like beds, cars and cell phones. “We wanted to start a conversation,” Dillon told me. “No one wants to go out and buy things from slavery.” But Dillon realized that consumers were just one half the equation. To create real change, Made in a Free World needed to help companies - not just shame them - to rid slave labor from supply chains.
Trent Griffin was concerned last summer when he saw a child riding a bike that was missing a front tire in his neighborhood in Huntsville, Ala. He bought supplies to make the fix and offered the boy a newly repaired bike. Soon, Mr. Griffin was visited by many young bike riders. Griffin went to thrift stores to get materials to repair the bikes. He even gave bikes away to children in need. When a child received a freshly fixed bike, he or she also received a life lesson. His sister, Nicole Griffin Fields, told ABC News, "He makes them sign contracts that require them to have good behavior, to maintain their good grades, and to obey their parents." Is a little life counseling from a NASA engineer a good price to pay for having a freshly repaired bike? At least 1,000 people and a NASA astronaut said it was. Griffin's friends and family nominated him for the "Above and Beyond" award from "Good Morning America." His prize was a field full of 50 relatives and 1,000 grateful participants at the US Space and Rocket station near the Marshall Space Flight Center where Griffin works. Griffin also met an astronaut at the International Space Station, Scott Kelly, via a NASA video chat. Commander Kelly told Griffin he would receive 50 bicycles from Schwinn and Mongoose that he can give to more children in his neighborhood. Kelly finished the video chat with a low-gravity flip. America has a rich tradition of active community involvement, and people like Griffin share that with children by example.
Colombia's version of the hit TV contest "Dancing with the Stars" hopes to show millions of viewers that former battlefield enemies can live side by side. John Pinchao, a policeman held captive in a jungle camp, often in chains, by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) until he escaped in 2007, is now sharing the dance floor with ex-FARC child soldier Ana Pacheco, who joined the rebel group aged 14. The prime-time show comes at a time when the three-year-old peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC are approaching the goal the two sides have set of signing an accord by March 23. If successful, this would end half a century of war that has killed 220,000 people and displaced 6.5 million, and would lead to some 7,000 FARC fighters handing in their weapons. As the March deadline for signing a peace deal looms, Colombians are considering to what extent they are ready to forgive FARC and accept former combatants back into society. For Pacheco, who left the rebel ranks when she was 16, the TV show is an opportunity to show the human face of former fighters. The producers of the TV show ... hope the unexpected line-up can foster empathy among Colombians with people who suffered during the years of conflict. "We want the show to awaken solidarity. We weren't just looking for great dancers and celebrities, what inspired us was to show the reality that faces Colombia, it's about living together," said Fox Colombia executive producer Oscar Guarin.
President Obama on Monday announced a ban on solitary confinement for juvenile offenders in the federal prison system, saying the practice is overused and has the potential for devastating psychological consequences. In an op-ed that appears in Tuesday editions of The Washington Post, the president outlines a series of executive actions that also prohibit federal corrections officials from punishing prisoners who commit “low-level infractions” with solitary confinement. The new rules also dictate that the longest a prisoner can be punished with solitary confinement for a first offense is 60 days, rather than the current maximum of 365 days. The president’s reforms apply broadly to the roughly 10,000 federal inmates serving time in solitary confinement. The reforms come six months after Obama, as part of a broader criminal-justice reform push, ordered the Justice Department to study how solitary confinement was being used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. “How can we subject prisoners to unnecessary solitary confinement, knowing its effects, and then expect them to return to our communities as whole people?” Obama wrote in his op-ed. He said he hoped his reforms at the federal level will serve as a model for states to rethink their rules on the issue.