Inspiring News Stories
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Stories in Major Media



Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news stories reported in the major media. Links are provided to the original stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These inspiring news stories are listed with the stories most recently posted to the website 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.


Note: This comprehensive list of inspiring news stories is usually updated once a week. See also a full index to revealing excerpts of key news articles on several dozen engaging topics.

The Neuroscience of Why Gratitude Makes Us Healthier
2013-10-30, Daily Good
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:28:58
http://www.dailygood.org/story/578/the-neuroscience-of-why-gratitude-makes-us...

Gratitude ... makes you happier and healthier. If you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, anything that is going right with the world or your life, and put your attention there, then statistics say you're going to be better off. Does this mean to live in a state of constant denial and put your head in the sand? Of course not. Gratitude works when you're grateful for something real. What are you actually grateful for? It's a question that could change your life. Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods and even the survival of our marriages. Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington has been researching marriages for two decades. The conclusion of all that research, he states, is that unless a couple is able to maintain a high ratio of positive to negative encounters (5:1 or greater), it is likely the marriage will end. With 90 percent accuracy, Gottman says he can predict, often after only three minutes of observation, which marriages are likely to flourish and which are likely to flounder. The formula is that for every negative expression (a complaint, frown, put-down, expression of anger) there needs to be about five positive ones (smiles, compliments, laughter, expressions of appreciation and gratitude). Keep a daily journal of three things you are thankful for. This works well first thing in the morning, or just before you go to bed. Make it a practice to tell a spouse, partner or friend something you appreciate about them every day. To practice it further, join thousands of others in a transformative 21-Day Gratitude Challenge starting November 7th leading up to Thanksgiving.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Google searching for new ways to give back
2013-10-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:27:43
http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Google-searching-for-new-ways-to-give-back...

Google's founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, made giving back a company priority from the beginning. Their hope was that "someday this institution (under the rubric of 'Google.org') may eclipse Google itself in terms of overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to the largest of the world's problems." Google has firmly established itself as a powerful and innovative player on the corporate philanthropy scene. Google's philanthropic entity was initially formed with a pledge of 3 million shares to make grants in several broad areas, including global poverty, disease and renewable energy. In 2009, Google announced a major strategic shift: to not only fund traditional nonprofits through cash grants, but also to concentrate on using Google's strengths in data-driven technologies and information aggregation to address the world's problems - to, in effect, engineer for social benefit. Google gave away $105 million in grants during 2012, plus $1 billion more in product donations, principally productivity apps and advertising grants for nonprofits. The company was the 12th-largest U.S. corporate cash donor in 2011 and 2012, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Between $45 million and $50 million of that 2012 total [was] directed toward disaster relief, university research and community organizations in Silicon Valley - with $23 million dedicated to Google's Global Impact Awards. Last year's Impact Awardees include Charity: Water, which Google granted $5 million to install remote sensors at 4,000 water points across Africa by 2015. The low-cost sensors will monitor and record actual water flow rate to ensure better maintenance of and access to clean water for more than 1 million people.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Camp Kesem may be 'Cancer Camp,' but most kids want to come back for s'more
2013-06-22, San Jose Mercury News (Silicon Valley, CA's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2013-11-05 08:26:17
http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23499114/camp-kesem-may-be-cancer-camp-but-most

Camp Kesem, which gets its name from the Hebrew word for "magic," is a transformative experience for most of the campers, who spend a week between Woodside and La Honda, amid the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. "A lot of them resist it before they come," said camp director Heather Paul, "and then they get here and find out it's not a cancer camp." Unlike other camps, which often forbid phone calls to and from parents, Camp Kesem has a hotline specifically for that purpose. "For a lot of them, the homesickness can be intense," Paul said, "especially if the parent was recently diagnosed." There had long been camps for children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening diseases, but until Stanford University's Hillel organization started Camp Kesem 13 years ago, there was almost no place for kids from families stricken with the disease to turn when they needed a break from watching their parents' suffering. "Kesem is a little haven where everyone understands and supports each other," said 15-year-old Juliane Bombosch, of San Bruno, whose mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Juliane this year is attending her fourth Kesem, and among the 120 campers and 75 counselors -- all undergraduate volunteers from Stanford -- are many who keep coming back until they exceed the age limit. There are 37 Kesems nationwide, with another five expected to be available next year, but because cancer is expensive, the camps remain free of charge -- and fundraising is a constant challenge.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




A Philadelphia School's Big Bet on Nonviolence
2013-07-18, The Atlantic
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:51:34
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/a-philadelphia-schools-bi...

Last year when American Paradigm Schools took over Philadelphia's infamous, failing John Paul Jones Middle School, they did something a lot of people would find inconceivable. The school was known as "Jones Jail" for its reputation of violence and disorder, and because the building physically resembled a youth correctional facility. Situated in the Kensington section of the city, it drew students from the heart of a desperately poor hub of injection drug users and street level prostitution where gun violence rates are off the charts. But rather than beef up the already heavy security to ensure safety and restore order, American Paradigm stripped it away. During renovations, they removed the metal detectors and barred windows. The police predicted chaos. But instead, new numbers seem to show that in a single year, the number of serious incidents fell by 90%. The school says it wasn't just the humanizing physical makeover of the facility that helped. Memphis Street Academy also credits the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), a noncoercive, nonviolent conflict resolution regimen originally used in prison settings that was later adapted to violent schools. AVP, when tailored to school settings, emphasizes student empowerment, relationship building and anger management over institutional control and surveillance. There are no aggressive security guards in schools using the AVP model; instead they have engagement coaches, who provide support, encouragement, and a sense of safety.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Pet dog Charlie 'can predict toddler's epileptic fit'
2013-10-15, BBC News
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:50:06
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-24521541

An Irish family has said their pet dog is helping to protect their three-year-old daughter by warning them when she is about to have an epileptic seizure. The Lynch family, from County Clare, believe their Great Dane, Charlie, can sense changes in their child up to 20 minutes before she has a fit. Brianna Lynch has epilepsy since birth. Her family said Charlie will alert them by walking in circles around Brianna. He also gently pins her against a wall to stop her from falling during a fit. Brianna's condition [can] lead to traumatic seizures, some of which cause her to go into a trance-like state, while others cause violent convulsions during which she is at risk of falling and hitting her head. Brianna's mother, Arabella Scanlan, said Charlie is not a trained "seizure alert dog" but was just a normal, family pet who appears to have developed some kind of special skill through his own instincts. They first noticed it some time ago when the huge Great Dane began to get agitated and walk in circles around Brianna. Minutes later the toddler had an epileptic fit. "Charlie will know about 15 to 20 minutes before she's going into seizure. He'll get ever so panicky and giddy, almost as if you'd think 'this stupid dog is going to knock her over'. But he has never once knocked her over. We kept an eye on this and, sure enough, I went into the yard one day and she (Brianna) was buckled over to the side, on top of him (Charlie). She was actually having a seizure. He stayed with her, he didn't move." Ms Scanlan said that since then, the dog rarely leaves Brianna's side and will gently pin her up against a wall or other surface if he senses she is about to fit. He will guard the child until help arrives.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Piano inspires 17-year-old to invent land-mine detector
2012-04-03, NBC News
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:47:23
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/piano-inspires-17-year-old-invent-land-mine...

17-year-old Marian Bechtel might live in Pennsylvania, where land mines are not a common occurrence, but she has still managed to invent the prototype for a brand-new minesweeper. The device, [with a] cost far lower than current technology, uses sound waves to figure out where the deadly devices are. The combination of sensitive microphones and a seismic vibrator connected to a standard metal detector was tested, successfully, on mock plastic and metal land mines. It was a finalist in the recently concluded 2012 Intel Science Talent Search. The project was inspired by family connections and a lucky flash of inspiration. "My parents are both geologists," she says. "Years ago they got connected with an international group of scientists working on a project called RASCAN, developing a holographic radar device for detecting land mines. During the summer before eighth grade, I met all of these scientists and talked with them about their work and the land mine issue. I was really touched and inspired by what they had to say, and wanted to get involved in science and possibly land mine detection. I noticed that when I played certain chords or notes on the piano, the strings on a nearby banjo would resonate," says Bechtel. "I heard this, and it was almost like the story of the apple falling on Newton’s head -- I thought that maybe I could use the same principle to find landmines. So, I began doing research and talking with scientists in humanitarian de-mining and acoustics; three years later I had built a prototype."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Project Unbreakable: from victim to victor
2012-03-13, Sydney Morning Herald (One of Australia's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2013-10-29 08:46:01
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/project-unbreakable-from-victim-to-victo...

Grace Brown was sick of hearing about sexual assault. Having spoken with so many survivors over the years, she grew increasingly frustrated by her inability to help. Then, one night last October, another friend confessed that she too had been abused and it turned out to be the final straw. Brown went to bed determined to act and in the morning Project Unbreakable was born. The project uses photography to help survivors of sexual assault take back the power of the words used against them by their attacker/s and aid in the healing process. Participants write these phrases on a piece of cardboard and Brown, a 19-year-old freshman at The School of Visual Arts in New York City, takes their picture and uploads it on the project's website. Just as powerful are the images she creates. Amassing a tremendous amount of followers from around the world in just five short months, women and men as far as Australia, Europe and the Middle East have submitted their own photos to the site. What's especially striking is the number of people willing to show their faces, essentially outing themselves as survivors of sexual assault. "In the beginning most people didn't show their faces. It wasn't until maybe a month in. People are getting braver and it's been really amazing to watch it grow." Taking part in the project doesn't resolve the problem but it enables the healing to begin. For some, knowing they're not alone or confiding in someone can help kick-start the process and exposing the words used against you can release the hold that they have.

Note: To see powerful photos from Project Unbreakable, click here and here. For the moving website of Project Unbreakable, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Malala Yousafzai wows 'The Daily Show'
2013-10-10, USA Today
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:08:26
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/10/10/malala-jon-stewart-daily-...

Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai ... is a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for her courage in the face of death threats in her home country of Pakistan over her advocacy of education for girls. On Thursday, she won the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Malala was shot in the head and neck one year ago on her school bus by a gunman who was sent by the Taliban, the Muslim clerical group that believes in adherence to a strict version of Islamic law. Where it can, the Taliban has imposed rules forbidding girls from going to school, listening to music or taking most jobs. Malala, who lives in England now, told Stewart that she was stunned when she was told as a 14-year-old girl that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her for her activism and for her blog on the BBC, in which she wrote about how hard it was to live under strict Muslim rule as a girl. "I just could not believe it, I said no, it's not true," she said, saying she thought the Taliban would instead come after her father, who operates a school and opened up his classes to girls. "We thought the Taliban were not that much cruel that they would kill a child." After she was shot, she was allowed to go to Britain for brain surgery. She now lives outside London with her family. Though the Taliban has threatened her life again, she says striking back at them would not help. "If you hit a Talib, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib," she said. "You must not treat others with cruelty. … You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education."

Note: You can watch portions of this inspiring show at the link above and at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Malala Yousafzai meets with the Obamas in the Oval Office
2013-10-11, Washington Post
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:07:06
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/10/11/malala-yousaf...

Malala Yousafzai may not have won the Nobel Peace Prize ... but she enjoyed a private Oval Office audience with President Obama and the first family. Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani student who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for speaking out in support of the right of girls to go to school, met Friday with Obama and his wife, Michelle. [and] the Obamas' 15-year-old daughter, Malia. Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are "fueling terrorism." "I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact." The Pakistani teen was in Washington on Friday for an address at the World Bank, part of her U.S. visit to promote her new memoir, I Am Malala.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Census protester Audrey Tobias acquitted of not filing form
2013-10-09, CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:05:47
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/census-protester-audrey-tobias-acquitte...

An 89-year-old peace activist who refused to fill out the census because of its link to a U.S. military contractor is not guilty of violating the Statistics Act, a Toronto judge decided today. Audrey Tobias, who faced jail time if she had been convicted, argued she didn't file her 2011 census because it is processed using software from Lockheed Martin. Outside the Old City Hall courthouse after the ruling, the Toronto woman thanked the judge. “He put a lot of work and analysis and care into that judgment,” she said. "I respect it and I am grateful. I think it’s a significant issue for Canadians. I think people will know now what their government is all about.” Tobias said she would have been willing to go to jail. “I would have done whatever was necessary,” she said. “Under no circumstances would I have paid a fine, which was a way of saying I was guilty.” Tobias's lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, had argued that forcing her to complete the census would violate her freedoms of conscience and free expression. Judge Ramez Khawly noted that for a conviction both the act and intent of a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, so he had to acquit Tobias. The judge also described the Justice Department's decision to prosecute Tobias, a Second World War veteran, as a "PR disaster." In 2011, StatsCan received 13 million completed census forms, a 98 per cent response rate. Overall, it referred 54 people for prosecution for failing to complete the mandatory census form.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




New York photographer turns strangers into friends
2013-08-02, CBS News
Posted: 2013-10-22 10:04:29
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57596845/

Forty-five-year-old Richard Renaldi is looking for someone -- two someones, actually. Two total strangers who were meant to be together, if only for a moment. Richard is a New York photographer working on a series of portraits. For each shot he grabs strangers off the street -- like Jenny Wood, an airline employee from Virginia, and Dominek Tucker, a college student from Brooklyn -- and poses them like adoring family. Richard calls the project "Touching Strangers." He started shooting it six years ago and now has hundreds of portraits of these unlikely intimates. Richard puts the people in these poses, but the sentiment that seems to shine through is real -- at least so say the subjects. At first, Brian Sneeden, a poetry teacher, saw no rhyme or reason for posing with 95-year-old retried fashion designer Reiko Ehrman, but eventually he, too, felt a change. "I felt like I cared for her," Brian says. "I felt like it brought down a lot of barriers." Pretty much everyone shared that same sentiment. "Everyone seems to come away with kind of a good feeling," Richard says. "It's kind of lovely. It's lovely." Most photographers capture life as it is, but in these strangers, Richard Renaldi has captured something much more ethereal and elusive. He shows us humanity as it could be -- as most of us wish it would be -- and as it was, at least for those one fleeting moments in time.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Glenn Paige's simple idea: a 'nonkilling' world
2013-10-11, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2013-10-15 10:36:54
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2013/1011/Glenn-Paige-s-si...

After a flash of inspiration Glenn Paige wrote a book on 'nonkilling,' and now his concept is gaining momentum worldwide. Paige, a former political science professor, established the Center for Global Nonkilling and inspired a worldwide movement. "The impact of the teachings of Prof. Glenn Paige is enormous," [says] Bishop Mabwe Lucien of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God churches in Congo. "They have transformed the region." Paige, a cherub-faced retired political science professor [lives] half a world away in Honolulu. His influential work began far from African villagers in 2002, when he published his book. In it he describes a "nonkilling world" as one without killing, threats to kill, or conditions conducive to killing – and one in which there is no dependence on killing or the threat of killing to produce change. Paige posted his book on the Internet, giving it away free of charge in a version that anyone can download from the website of the Center for Global Nonkilling. The big reason for its rapid spread is the nonkilling concept itself, Paige says. In his view, "The logic of killing is running out of steam." Within five years the book was translated into 15 languages, including Arabic, Russian, Hindi, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. Today it is available in 30 languages. The book has begun to influence academic thinking across numerous disciplines. Paige has encouraged scholars to question the "assumption that killing is an inescapable part of the human condition and must be accepted in theory and practice." That paradigm shift has already resulted in books on nonkilling in such fields as anthropology, economics, engineering, geography, history, linguistics, and psychology.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




How the Mind Can Heal the Heart
2013-06-19, Greater Good
Posted: 2013-10-15 10:35:22
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_heal_heart_mind

Tara Bennett-Goleman and her husband Daniel Goleman form a kind of intellectual dream team—one almost exclusively preoccupied with emotions. In best-selling books like Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman has laid out the cognitive science and theories behind our emotions and social interactions. In her work as a psychotherapist and in her best-selling book Emotional Alchemy, Bennett-Goleman has applied those theories to overcoming self-defeating habits of mind and improving our relationships. Now Bennett-Goleman has a new book called Mind Whispering: A New Map to Freedom from Self-Defeating Emotional Habits. In it, she builds on the theory described in Emotional Alchemy to apply mindfulness to overcoming the ingrained emotional habits that can hurt our relationships. I spoke with Bennett-Goleman and Goleman recently. Jill Suttie: What is mind whispering exactly? Tara Bennett-Goleman: Mind whispering is an integration of Eastern and Western psychologies, the neuroscience of habit change, and principles from horse whispering, creating a new map of the emotional mind. It draws on mindfulness, cognitive therapy, and Buddhist psychology to re-pattern self-defeating habits. Daniel Goleman: Mind whispering helps us to identify our modes of being, particularly the ones that are built around self-defeating habits. Unfortunately, many of us get stuck in those. The modes are on a spectrum—there’s a self-defeating range, but then there’s a positive, healthy range. The alternative to being either anxious or avoidant is to be secure, and the research shows that if we’re in the secure base we’re more open, empathic, generous, and compassionate. The secure mode helps us connect with others.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Website shows foster kids their wishes are worthwhile
2013-03-07, CNN
Posted: 2013-10-15 10:33:42
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/07/us/cnnheroes-gletow-foster-wishes/index.html

Many 16-year-olds might covet a smartphone, an Xbox, maybe some expensive new sneakers or even a car. Ronald Hennig just wanted a suit so he could attend a relative's funeral. "I didn't really own even a shirt and tie or dress shoes," he said. "I was seeing some of my old family members, and it was kind of embarrassing to not have a suit when everyone else would have one." The teenager, who had been in and out of foster care for much of his childhood, was living in a group home at the time. His caseworker was unable to justify the nonessential expense. But an anonymous benefactor stepped in to help Hennig through a website called One Simple Wish. "I got custom-fitted for the suit and I was able to go to the funeral," said Hennig, now 18. "I could pay the same respect as everyone else." One Simple Wish was started by Danielle Gletow to help grant the wishes of children in foster care. Since 2008, the nonprofit has granted more than 4,000 wishes for children living in 35 states. Since 2006, Gletow and her husband, Joe, have been foster parents to several children, eventually adopting one of them. Over the years, many friends and family members expressed a desire to help other children in the system, short of becoming foster parents themselves. "(They) would say, 'I really wish there was something I could do, but I don't want to be a foster parent,' " Gletow said. "I just felt like, this is my opportunity to create something that makes it possible for all of these children who need something to get connected to all of these wonderful people that are out there, that want to help them."

Note: Check out the One Simple Wish website at www.onesimplewish.org and see how to help. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Malala Yousafzai: The Bravest Girl in the World
2013-10-05, Parade Magazine
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:39:34
http://www.parade.com/170557/parade/malala-yousafzai-the-bravest-girl-in-the-...

In this exclusive excerpt from her autobiography, I Am Malala, young activist Malala Yousafzai recounts the day she was shot by the Taliban. "Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, wasn’t the best of days to start with, as it was the middle of exams. We had been getting threats all year. Some were in the newspapers, and some were messages passed on by people. I was more concerned the Taliban would target my father, as he was always speaking out against them. His friend and fellow campaigner Zahid Khan had been shot in the face in August on his way to prayers. When our bus was called, we ran down the school steps. Inside the bus it was hot and sticky. Then we suddenly stopped. A young bearded man had stepped into the road. The man was wearing a peaked cap and had a handkerchief over his nose and mouth. Then he swung himself onto the tailboard and leaned in over us. “Who is Malala?” he demanded. No one said anything, but several of the girls looked at me. I was the only girl with my face uncovered. That’s when he lifted up a black pistol. My friends say he fired three shots. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder. I slumped forward, blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me." Malala has undergone a recovery that is nothing short of miraculous. The bullet narrowly missed her brain [and she] suffered no major permanent neurological damage. The ordeal did, however, solidify her will: “It feels like this life is not my life. It’s a second life. People have prayed to God to spare me and I was spared for a reason—to use my life for helping people.”

Note: Malala was only 11 when she took on the Taliban, demanding that girls be given full access to school. Her campaign led to a blog for the BBC, a New York Times documentary, and a Pakistani peace prize. But all that was only a prelude to even more extraordinary events, the Taliban's assassination attempt and her miraculous recovery. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Okla. teen acts to right his father's wrong
2013-09-27, CBS News
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:38:04
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57605098/okla-teen-acts-to-right-his-fa...

Seventy-eight-year-old Tona Herndon of Bethany, Okla., was vulnerable in every way. Her husband of 60 years had died just two weeks earlier. Her eyes were so clouded with grief, she never saw it coming. She was mugged as she visited her husband's grave. The mugger got away with her purse and $700, but not for long. Police caught him, and the news put his mug shot on TV. Fifteen-year-old Christian Lunsford says the first time he saw the picture, he ... had no doubt that it was his dad. Christian says his parents divorced when he was two, and his dad has been mostly absent ever since. Last time he heard from him was a few weeks ago. His dad gave him $250 for a band trip Christian really wants to go on. Christian says his dad has been in and out of jail more than half a dozen times. "There's times that you just feel really low, like, 'Is that going to be me?'" he says. "'Am I going to end up like that?'" Which is why, after Christian heard about his dad's latest crime, he reached out to the victim and asked to meet her. Christian says he just had to tell her he was sorry about what happened. And Christian was just getting started. "He gave me $250 for my band trip, but I'm not sure if it was yours or however he got it, but I'd feel bad if I didn't give it to you," he told Tona. "I accepted the money back," Tona says. "And it was mine to do with what I wanted." "I want you to take your band trip," Tona told Christian. She gave it all back to him for his band trip. "I feel more like my life still has a purpose," Tona says. "You're not who your parents are," Christian says. "Even if they do raise you, you can become whatever you want to be."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




New Yorkers 'pay it forward' after 9/11
2013-09-10, CNN
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:36:51
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/10/us/cnnheroes-parness-sandy/index.html

Some New Yorkers mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks by going to a memorial service or observing a moment of silence. For the past 10 years, Jeff Parness has been helping others. Every September, Parness brings hundreds of volunteers from New York to help another disaster-stricken community in the United States. "It was our way of saying, you know, New Yorkers will never forget what people from around the country and the world did for us in our time of need after 9/11," said Parness. "So that's how the mission started. It was just to pay forward the kindness that we experienced." Over the past decade, Parness' nonprofit, New York Says Thank You, has assisted victims of wildfires in San Diego, tornadoes in the Midwest and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana. Many of those who receive help are so inspired that they travel across the country the next year -- often at their own expense -- to volunteer with Parness' group and help someone else. The result is a unique disaster-response organization. "All of our volunteers are survivors. They survived, whether it was 9/11 or Katrina or tornadoes. So they all share that common bond," said Parness, who quit his job as a venture capitalist to work on his nonprofit full-time. This year, Parness' mission has come full circle. Last weekend, more than 300 volunteers -- at least half of whom were from outside the New York area -- helped rebuild 13 homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in October. For Parness, a native New Yorker, the work carried extra significance.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Two in a Million: Danny and Annie Perasa
2006-02-24, NPR
Posted: 2013-10-08 08:35:26
http://www.npr.org/2006/02/24/5230164/two-in-a-million-danny-and-annie-perasa

The story of Danny and Annie Perasa — how they met, and how they've stayed in love — inspires many who hear it. Their joy in life, and in one another, was celebrated recently in New York, where a crowd gathered to honor Danny and Annie. The Perasas are a memorable couple. In person, they come off like a pair of favorite grandparents, with thoughtful wisecracks and stories that take unpredictable turns. They say their affinity for one another was always obvious. Their enthusiasm has now been honored in a tangible way. The StoryCorps oral history project has dedicated its booth in Grand Central Terminal to the Perasas. On Friday, Feb. 10, a plaque was unveiled that dedicated the booth to the Perasas. The plaque reads: "This booth is dedicated to Danny and Annie Perasa, who recorded their story here on January 6, 2004. Their humor, heart, eloquence and love will never be forgotten." The couple made the trip to the ceremony despite Danny's illness: suffering from pancreatic cancer, he is currently in hospice care. Their visit was a treat for those present, as the Perasas revisited the conversation they had that day in 2004, and the life they've shared since 1978.

Note: For a very touching six-minute NPR video on this true story of beautiful marriage, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




Dairy Queen worker's intervention nets royal treatment
2013-09-19, USA Today
Posted: 2013-10-01 09:43:48
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/09/19/dairy-queen-manager-cust...

A Dairy Queen manager who came to the aid of a visually impaired customer is receiving Internet and social media praise for his heroic actions. Joey Prusak said on Sept. 10 [that] one of his regular customers came in to order a sundae. While paying, the visually impaired man dropped some of his money on the floor. "Right then and there I knew when he dropped that $20 bill, game's over, he's not going to know," explained Prusak. "He just kept walking and that's when the lady picked it up and I thought, she's going to give it back 'cause she picked it up so quickly." Prusak then watched as the woman her put the money in her purse. Initially he didn't know what to say, but when the woman reached the counter to place her order Prusak confronted her. He says they went back and forth a bit: She claimed the money was hers. "I said, ma'am I'm not going to serve someone as disrespectful as you, so you can either return the $20 bill and I'll serve you, or you can leave," said Prusak. "And she goes, 'Well it's my 20-dollar bill,' and I go, well then you can leave." The woman left, but was clearly not happy. Prusak ultimately gave the customer who dropped the money $20 of his own money. Other customers saw what happened and one of them emailed Dairy Queen. The email was forwarded to the store's owner, who posted it on a board in the shop. A co-worker was impressed by what happened and posted the message on Facebook, where others found it and shared it. "People started sharing it, pretty soon it's on Reddit," Prusak said. "It's one of the top things on Reddit and all of a sudden it's gone viral."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.




D.I.Y. Foreign-Aid Revolution
2010-10-24, New York Times
Posted: 2013-10-01 09:42:32
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/magazine/24volunteerism-t.html?pagewanted=all

It’s striking that the most innovative activists aren’t necessarily the ones with the most resources, or the best tools. Maggie Doyne epitomizes this truth, for she began her philanthropic work as an 19-year-old financed by her baby-sitting savings. Yet she has somehow figured out how to run a sophisticated aid project in a remote area of Nepal. She took a “gap year” after high-school graduation and ended up in northern India, working with needy children. “The first little girl I met was Hema,” Doyne remembers. Then 6 or 7 years old (few children know their precise age), Hema spent her time breaking rocks and scavenging garbage and had no chance to go to school. Doyne, who decided to take Hema under her wing and pay for her education: “I knew I couldn’t do anything about a million orphans, but what if I started with this girl?” So she took Hema to school and paid $7 for the girl’s school fees and another $8 for a uniform so that she could enter kindergarten. “It became addictive,” Doyne said. “I said, if I can help one girl, why not 5? Why not 10? And along with scholarships, they needed the most basic things: food, shelter, clothing.” Doyne ... telephoned her parents with a strange and urgent request: Can you wire me the money in my savings account? Doyne returned to New Jersey and began to take odd jobs and proselytize for her shelter. People in her hometown thought that she was nuts, but in a benign way — and they wrote checks. After a few months, when Doyne had raised $25,000, she moved back to Nepal to oversee construction of the shelter, called the Kopila Valley Children’s Home.

Note: For a beautiful slide show of Maggie's work, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.





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