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.
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.

'I Can See, Mommy': Witness The Moment Two Blind Sisters See The World For First Time
2014-09-08, Huffington Post
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:31:07

Sonia and Anita, two sisters living in rural India, were both born blind. A simple surgery, costing about $300, could have restored their sight long ago; but their parents, who earn 17 cents an hour planting and harvesting rice by hand, could barely make ends meet. Thanks to the efforts of 20/20/20, a nonprofit working to restore vision to blind children and adults in some of the world’s poorest countries, Sonia and Anita were able to undergo that simple surgery on their eyes. When the bandages came off, they saw the world around them for the very first time, and it was captured in a video detailing the sisters’ story. Sonia, 12, is said to have gasped as she opened her eyes and blinked into the sunlight for the first time. Her 6-year-old sister, holding her mother close, reportedly declared, “I can see, Mommy.” According to 20/20/20, the 15-minute “miracle” surgery, which the sisters both underwent, involves a surgeon removing the defective lens that causes blindness and replacing it with an artificial lens. The procedure could restore the eyesight of half the blind children and adults in the world, the nonprofit says. “The only problem is, for the poorest people in the world, who live on $1 a day, they could never afford to pay for a $300 surgery. So they will remain blind for the rest of their lives –- unless someone helps them,” 20/20/20 writes on its website.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Why are older Danish women so happy?
2015-05-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:29:17

Eva Kerner, 71, a former secretary, has been retired since 2006 and goes to the gym twice a week ... attends concerts, visits museums, travels extensively, sings in a choir and is a prolific seamstress. “It’s a nice life,” Kerner tells me. “Being so active keeps you young. I’m very happy.” She’s not alone. A study claims that retired Danish women are the most content in Europe, with those aged 65-74 scoring 8.6 out of 10 on the happiness scale – something experts suggest is partly down to the perspective that comes with age. But it’s not just being over 65, female and busy that guarantees you a retirement of pure revelry. There’s something about the experience of “living Danishly” that also helps. “Denmark is a country that takes care of its citizens,” says retired associate professor Jette Eiberg, 71, from Copenhagen. “I feel very lucky to be here and I’m really grateful” – something else that has been proven to boost happiness levels. Sky-high taxes ... have the happy side effect of making Danes more content. Denmark has the lowest income inequality among all the OECD countries and studies show that living in neighbourhoods where most people earn about the same can make you happier. And because Denmark has one of the shortest working weeks at just 37 hours, Danes have plenty of time to foster friendships and extracurricular interests throughout their careers to see them through retirement.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Audi creates green 'e-diesel fuel of the future' using just carbon dioxide and water
2015-04-27, International Business Times
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:24:57

German car manufacturer Audi says it has created the "fuel of the future" made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable sources. The synthetic "e-diesel" was made following a commissioning phase of just four months at a plant in Dresden, Germany. Unlike regular diesel, the clear fuel does not contain any sulphur or fossil oil, while it has an overall energy efficiency of around 70%. Creation of the fuel, which Audi and Sunfire are calling blue crude, first requires heating water to 800C (1,472F) to trigger a high temperature electrolysis to break down the steam to hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen then reacts with the CO2 in synthesis reactors, again under pressure and at a high temperature. The reaction product is a ... synthetic fuel, which is free from sulphur and aromatic hydrocarbons, [that] is suitable for mixing with fossil diesel or being used as a fuel in its own right. Reiner Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi, said: "In developing Audi e-diesel we are promoting another fuel based on CO2 that will allow long-distance mobility with virtually no impact on the climate."

Note: Read exciting news from major media sources on other amazing new energy breakthroughs. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Real Junk Food Project: The Leeds cafe that has fed 10,000 people, using 20 tonnes of unwanted food – and started a worldwide movement
2014-12-16, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:22:26

Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, in Armley, Leeds, feeds his punters on goods that would otherwise have been thrown away by supermarkets, independent grocers and food banks. The 29-year-old trained chef cooks up stews, casseroles, soups and cakes with the unwanted food, charging [based on] a “pay as you feel” policy - allowing punters to pay what they feel they can, and if that is nothing, they can help with the washing up. In just 10 months he has fed 10,000 people on 20 tonnes of unwanted food, raising over £30,000. The cafe ... has inspired 47 other "pay as you feel" cafes to spring in the past few months. But Mr Smith says The Real Junk Food Project ... is about more than simply feeding those who might otherwise go hungry. "It is bringing people from different demographics together [in a way] that doesn't involve money. People are opening Junk Food Projects because they have had enough of what is going on in society and care about what is happening to other human beings," he said. The publication of an all-party report into Hunger in Britain last week revealed 4m people in the UK were at risk of going hungry, while 3.5m adults could not afford to feed themselves properly. Britain experienced the highest rate of food inflation in the world the report said, rising 47% since 2003, compared with 30.4% in the United States, 22.1% in Germany and 16.7% in France.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Love thy neighbor: Son's killer moves next door
2011-06-08, CBS News
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:25:31

In February 1993, Mary's son, Laramiun Byrd, was shot to death. He was 20, and Mary's only child. The killer was a 16-year-old kid named Oshea Israel. Mary wanted justice. "He was an animal. He deserved to be caged." And he was. Tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 and a half years -- Oshea served 17 before being recently released. He now lives back in the old neighborhood - next door to Mary. How a convicted murder ended-up living a door jamb away from his victim's mother is a story, not of horrible misfortune, as you might expect - but of remarkable mercy. A few years ago Mary asked if she could meet Oshea at Minnesota's Stillwater state prison. As a devout Christian, she felt compelled to see if there was some way, if somehow, she could forgive her son's killer. Oshea says they met regularly after that. When he got out, she introduced him to her landlord - who with Mary's blessing, invited Oshea to move into the building. Today they don't just live close - they are close. Mary was able to forgive. "Unforgiveness is like cancer," Mary says. "It will eat you from the inside out. It's not about that other person, me forgiving him does not diminish what he's done. Yes, he murdered my son - but the forgiveness is for me. It's for me." For Oshea, it hasn't been that easy. "I haven't totally forgiven myself yet, I'm learning to forgive myself." To that end, Oshea is now ... singing the praises of God and forgiveness at prisons, churches - to large audiences everywhere.

Note: Watch a beautiful, moving video by the founder of StoryCorps, which led to this story.

After Years Of Hiding, 'Walking In Love' As Transgender
2013-05-03, NPR
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:23:37

Growing up in a rough housing project on Chicago's South Side during the early 1960s, Alexis Martinez had to hide that she was transgender. "When I came out to my mom that I was transgender, I think I was 13 or 14," Alexis says. "And she called the police. And I always remember that when the police showed up, they just laughed and told her, 'You've got a fag for a son, and there's nothing we can do about it. So, I went as macho as I could be, to mask what I really was underneath," explains Alexis, now 62. One day, [Alexis' daughter] Lesley discovered some of her father's female clothes. "It was a big to-do," Lesley says. "It was sort of, you know, my uncovering the secret." Alexis knew trying to cover up that she was transgender would mean a loss of trust with her daughter — so she told. "I was really torn between being a female role model and a dad," Alexis says. "And so, I said to myself, 'OK, well be the best parent. Whatever it takes, however I do it, you have to look out for your baby.' But one of the most difficult things for me was, I was always afraid that I wouldn't be allowed to be in my granddaughters' lives." She needn't have worried. Lesley and her husband's acceptance, Alexis says, "blew that completely out of the water. To Alexis, the openness with which her family can talk about her gender identity "is a miracle," she says. "Now I walk in love, and I try to live that way every day."

Note: Watch a beautiful, moving video by the founder of StoryCorps, which led to this story.

Leadership for Collective Wisdom
2015-04-29, Daily Good
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:21:53

Five conditions for the emergence of collective wisdom: 1. Deep Listening. Listening with an intention that the other person feels heard and seen; creating the conditions and presence for the other to more fully come into their own highest being. 2. Suspend Certainty. Capacity to suspend what we think is right, correct, or proper for a period of time, allowing other ways of knowing and other people to contribute to an expanded understanding. 3. See Whole Systems. Seek diverse perspective. Remain alert to the intrinsic interdependence of one's own group, other groups, larger collectives, and our shared Earth. 4. Gather for Group Emergence. Cultivate parallel ways of knowing - intuition, intellect, somatic awareness, respect for ancestral knowledge, regard for nature and physical space. Create safe spaces for dialogue. Maintain respect for others, for relationships, for human decency. Attend to the emotions arising within yourself and others. 5. Trust in the Extraordinary. Trust in what can emerge above and beyond your current understanding. Welcome all that is arising. Resist being constrained by the limitations of normative values or other's expectations. Recognize the power of synchronicity and meaningful coincidence to shape choices and inspire awe and action.

Note: The above was written by Alan Briskin, co-author of The Power of Collective Wisdom.

Tyson to End Use of Human Antibiotics in Its Chickens by 2017
2015-04-28, New York Times
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:19:38

Tyson Foods, one of the country’s largest meat producers, said on Tuesday that it planned to eliminate the use of human antibiotics in its chicken production by 2017. The company had been working toward that goal for some time, ceasing the use of antibiotics in its hatcheries last year and adopting feed free of antibiotics this year. Then McDonald’s, the sprawling restaurant chain that is one of Tyson’s biggest customers, said in March that it planned over the next two years to rid its supply chains of chicken treated with antibiotics important to human medicine. At that time, health advocates and investment analysts predicted Tyson would take the final steps to eliminate the drugs from its chicken production. The company said in a news release that it would begin meeting with groups of farmers who produce pork, turkey and beef for Tyson under contract to come up with a plan for eliminating antibiotic use in their programs. “Antibiotic-resistant infections are a global health concern,” said Donnie Smith, president and chief executive of Tyson Foods, in a statement. Perdue, another large chicken producer, said last fall that it had eliminated human antibiotics from its hatcheries, the last step in a long process to reduce its reliance on such drugs. It still uses antibiotics that are not used in human medicine, as will Tyson.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

A New Physics Theory of Life
2014-01-28, Scientific American
Posted: 2015-04-27 00:20:55

From the standpoint of physics, there is one essential difference between living things and inanimate clumps of carbon atoms: The former tend to be much better at capturing energy from their environment and dissipating that energy. Jeremy England, a 31-year-old assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has derived a mathematical formula that ... indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it ... inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life. “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant,” England said. His idea [is] detailed in a recent paper and further elaborated in a talk he is delivering at universities around the world. A plant ... is much better at capturing and routing solar energy through itself than an unstructured heap of carbon atoms. Thus, England argues that under certain conditions, matter will spontaneously self-organize. If England’s approach stands up to more testing, it could further liberate biologists from seeking a Darwinian explanation for every adaptation and allow them to think more generally in terms of dissipation-driven organization.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Takaharu and Yui Tezuka: Architects who put people first
2007-10-22, New York Times
Posted: 2015-04-27 00:19:30

An architect couple is working with the notion that buildings should ultimately serve the people who inhabit them. Takaharu and Yui Tezuka of Tezuka Architects believe that a building should give pleasure to its inhabitants ... without high-tech, touch-panel devices; the building should also be in harmony with the landscape and not isolated from it. "What we're expounding is very simple," said Takaharu Tezuka, who had worked in London [before starting] his own firm in Tokyo. "To be in a space where people can feel the breeze, the sunlight, the changing of the seasons, where they can forge and nourish relationships with one another." Tezuka Architects' recent, most visible project is the renovation of Fuji Kindergarten in Tachikawa, a Tokyo suburb. The kindergarten [welcomes] all children, whatever their economic means. Tezuka Architects ... expanded the whole space of Fuji Kindergarten while keeping its spirit sturdily intact. The result is a circular building with a wood deck roof space that is ideal for playing, running around, climbing trees (none of the stately zelkova trees were cut down but grow right through the new roof), leaning on the railings and gazing at the sky. Next to the kindergarten is a farming area for growing organic vegetables and within the grounds the children keep rabbits and goats. The kindergarten has no confining walls (not even in the bathrooms), no signs and no rules except for "very basic stuff, like putting your shoes away when you come in from outside," said Kato.

Note: Enjoy photos of the amazing kindergarten designed by this couple.

NeverSeconds blogger Martha Payne school dinner photo ban lifted
2012-06-15, BBC
Posted: 2015-04-27 00:17:32

A controversial ban preventing a nine-year-old girl from photographing her school meals has been lifted following a storm of protest on the internet. Martha Payne, from Argyll, has now recorded more than three million hits on her NeverSeconds blog. Martha began publishing photographs of her Lochgilphead Primary School lunches on 30 April. She gave each meal a 'food-o-meter' and health rating, and counted the number of mouthfuls it took her to eat it. She had been using the blog to raise money for the Mary's Meals charity. But in a post published on Thursday evening, Martha said her headteacher told her not to take any more photographs for the blog "because of a headline in a newspaper." The council's decision to impose the ban came after the Daily Record newspaper published a photograph of Martha alongside chef Nick Nairn under the headline "Time to fire the dinner ladies." Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme Mr Payne said his daughter was not happy about the council's decision. By Friday morning, the council's decision had sparked a furious reaction on social media. Local MSP Mike Russell, Scotland's education secretary, tweeted he would be writing to the council's chief executive in his capacity as local MSP, calling for the "daft" ban to be overturned. Officials [lifted] the ban. Publicity caused by the ban helped the schoolgirl smash through her £7,000 fundraising target for the Mary's Meals charity - with total pledges of more than £30,000.

Note: Read this awesome article and watch the accompanying TedX talk about how kids are using technology to transform their live and our world. So cool!!!

Shawn Achor's 6 exercises for happiness
2015-04-22, CBC News (Canada's Public Broadcasting System)
Posted: 2015-04-27 00:15:56

Psychologist and best-selling author Shawn Achor has made a career studying the science of happiness. "Scientifically, happiness is a choice," Achor says. He explains that research has shown you can rewire your brain to make yourself happy by practising simple happiness exercises. Achor says in just 21 days, the exercises can transform a pessimist into an optimist. And within 30 days, those habits change the neuropathways of our brains and turn us into lifelong optimists. These six daily happiness exercises are proven to make anyone, from a 4-year old to an 84-year old, happy, or simply happier, Achor says: 1. Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you're grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. They don't have to be profound. 2. The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint. 3. The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant. 4. Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you're doing and concentrate on breathing. 5. Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. 6. Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends.

Note: The three-minute video at the link above link has some good ideas on achieving greater happiness. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Who's in charge here? No one
2003-04-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-04-20 16:58:35

Semco, Brazil's most famous company ... made its name by standing the conventional corporate rulebook on its head. Semco doesn't have a mission statement, its own rulebook or any written policies. It doesn't have an organisation chart, a human resources department or even, these days, a headquarters. Subordinates choose their managers, decide how much they are paid and when they work. Meetings are voluntary, and two seats at board meetings are open to the first employees who turn up. Salaries are made public, and so is all the company's financial information. Six months is the farthest ahead the group ever looks. Its units each half-year decide how many people they require for the next period. Naturally it doesn't plan which businesses to enter. Instead it 'rambles' into new areas by trial, error and argument. Its current portfolio is an odd mixture of machinery, property, professional services and fledgling hi-tech spin-offs. That's right, Semco is the epitome of managerial incorrectness. Sounds like a recipe for chaos, eh? Yet Semco has surfed Brazil's rough economic and political currents with panache, often growing at between 30 and 40 per cent a year. It turns over $160 million, up from $4m when [company founder Ricardo] Semler joined the family business two decades ago, and it employs 3,000 [people]. $100,000 invested in this barmy firm 20 years ago would now be worth $5m. But conventional control attitudes are deeply programmed. Even now, laments Semler, 'we're only 50 or 60 per cent where we'd like to be'.

Note: Ricardo Semler's wonderfully subversive book, The Seven Day Weekend is available on Don't miss the inspiring TedTalk of this highly innovative man.

The Right Dose of Exercise for a Longer Life
2015-04-15, New York Times Blog
Posted: 2015-04-20 16:57:03

Exercise has had a Goldilocks problem, with experts debating just how much exercise is too little, too much or just the right amount to improve health and longevity. Two new, impressively large-scale studies provide some clarity. In the broader of the two studies, researchers ... found that, unsurprisingly, the people who did not exercise at all were at the highest risk of early death. But those who exercised a little, not meeting the recommendations but doing something, lowered their risk of premature death by 20 percent. The sweet spot for exercise benefits, however, came among those who tripled the recommended level of exercise, working out moderately, mostly by walking, for 450 minutes per week, or a little more than an hour per day. Those people were 39 percent less likely to die prematurely than people who never exercised. At that point, the benefits plateaued, the researchers found, but they never significantly declined. The other new study of exercise and mortality reached a somewhat similar conclusion, [and found that] if someone engaged in even occasional vigorous exercise, he or she gained a small but not unimportant additional reduction in mortality.

Note: For some great ideas on healthy exercises, see this article by founder Fred Burks.

Gravity Payments CEO Will Live on $70,000 Worker Wage, Thinks His Life Will Be Luxe Enough
2015-04-14, ABC News
Posted: 2015-04-20 16:55:11

The CEO of a credit-card payments company in Seattle said executive pay is "out of whack," so he's cutting his own pay and creating a minimum salary for his workers. Now, he will be earning $70,000 like many of them, and he's OK with it. Dan Price, 30, announced this week that any employee at his company, Gravity Payments, making less than $70,000 annually will receive a $5,000-per-year raise or be paid a minimum of $50,000, whichever is greater. The aim: By December 2017, everyone will earn $70,000 or more. To facilitate this change, Price said his salary will decrease to $70,000 from about $1 million. "My salary wasn't $1 million because I need that much to live, but that's what it would cost to replace me as a CEO," Price told ABC News. Price started the company in 2004 when he was only 19 years old, [when] the cost of living in Seattle was much lower than it is today. When Gravity launched, the company paid $24,000 per year even for senior positions. Today, the company, which pays an average salary of $48,000, has 120 employees. 70 of their paychecks will grow with this plan. "I may have to scale back a little bit, but nothing I’m not willing to do." Price chose the $70,000 figure based on a 2010 Princeton University study that showed happiness, or "life evaluation," is positively impacted up to $70,000 or $75,000 per year; but increases above that figure did not have a significant positive effect on happiness.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Did This City Bring Down Its Murder Rate by Paying People Not to Kill?
2014-08-00, Mother Jones
Posted: 2015-04-20 16:53:36

It was a crazy idea, but Richmond, California, wouldn't have signed off on DeVone Boggan's plan if it had been suffering from an abundance of sanity. For years, the Bay Area city had been battling one of the nation's worst homicide rates and spending millions of dollars on anti-crime programs to no avail. Boggan, who'd been working to keep teen offenders out of prison ... wondered: What if we identified the most likely perpetrators and paid them to stay out of trouble? In late 2007, Boggan launched the Office of Neighborhood Safety, an experimental public-private partnership that's introduced the "Richmond model" for rolling back street violence. It has done it with a mix of data mining and mentoring, and by crossing lines that other anti-crime initiatives have only tiptoed around. The program's street team sifts through police records and its own intelligence to determine, with actuarial detachment, the 50 people in Richmond most likely to shoot someone and to be shot themselves. ONS tracks them and approaches the most lethal (and vulnerable) on the list, offering them a spot in a program that includes a stipend to turn their lives around. So far, the results have been promising. In 2007, when Boggan's program began, Richmond was America's ninth most dangerous city, with 47 killings among its 106,000 residents. In 2013, it saw its lowest number of homicides in 33 years, and its homicide rate fell to 15. In exchange for shunning dangerous behavior, ONS fellows receive anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per month.

Note: For more on this amazing crime-reduction program, read this article. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Troubled youth kicking it 'old skool' at San Fran bistro
2013-05-16, CNN News
Posted: 2015-04-12 19:38:30

As a juvenile corrections officer in Southern California, Teresa Goines found it rewarding to work with troubled youth and help them turn their lives around. The hardest part usually came after their release. "They'd be super excited, ready to start a new life," she said. "They'd be put in the exact same environment, though, so they'd reoffend, and they'd come back." The system was essentially setting them up to fail. Finding a well-paying job can be a tough proposition when you have a criminal record, Goines said. She wanted to provide an alternative to gangs, knowing that such groups often give troubled youth a way to make money while providing a sense of family and social support. Eventually, she came up with the idea for the Old Skool Cafe, a 1940s-style restaurant run entirely by young people from difficult circumstances. The bistro is in one of San Francisco's roughest neighborhoods, but inside, the atmosphere is warm and inviting. Customers come from all over the city to enjoy the food and entertainment and to support Goines' mission, which provides jobs, career training and a built-in support system to at least 25 at-risk people each year. Giving young people a chance to be seen differently -- and to see themselves differently -- is what the program is all about. It's open to at-risk youth ages 16 to 22, many of whom are referred by social workers or probation officers. Staff members attend workshops on financial literacy, résumé writing and interview skills. They also meet regularly with a life coach who helps them set goals and connects them with resources for housing or medical care.

Note: Don't miss the incredibly inspiring six-minute video on this. Amazing transformation! Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

A High School Where the Students Are the Teachers
2013-03-27, Time Magazine
Posted: 2015-04-12 19:36:33

If high school students took charge of their education with limited supervision, would they learn? A Massachusetts school is finding out. Sam Levin ... started the program in 2010. Frustrated with his public-high-school schedule and realizing that his friends weren’t inspired to learn, Levin complained to his mother about how unhappy he and his classmates were, to which she responded: “Why don’t you just make your own school?” And so he did. Levin quickly gained the support of his high school guidance counselor, Mike Powell, who remains the program adviser. After getting the O.K. from the school principal and superintendent, the duo were given the green light ... to embark on their experiment in 2010. The curriculum is designed by the students, [who] enroll for an entire semester, and with only a few exceptions ... do not take other classes. Each class has a mix of 10 students, some straight-A students and others who are on the verge of failing their classes. Three to four faculty advisers are available to guide the students and to provide advice. "Giving young people the chance to directly engage in their own learning is rooted in a tremendous amount of research [showing] that is actually how we learn best," says Scott Nine, the executive director of the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA). "When we think about the world our young people live in, the core competencies of autonomy, belongingness and confidence are the building blocks of what we need."

Note: Learn more about this inspiring project in this Huffington Post article.

A Crowdfunding App for the Homeless, HandUp Raises $850,000
2014-07-16, Wall Street Journal Blog
Posted: 2015-04-12 19:34:52

A startup that’s been called “a Kickstarter for the homeless,” HandUp Pbc, has raised $850,000 in seed funding, co-founder and Chief Executive Rose Broome told Venture Capital Dispatch. Unlike giving cash to needy people on the streets, HandUp helps donors give money to homeless people who commit to using it to fulfill specific needs like rent, security deposits, food or health bills. Homeless advocates, or case managers who work in shelters, post profiles on on behalf of the homeless, accept donations via HandUp, then ensure the money is spent on what that person said he or she needed. To generate revenue, HandUp asks donors to pay an optional “support fee” of five dollars each time they make a contribution. If a donor doesn’t opt-in to pay that fee, the entirety of what they donate goes to the homeless person in need. Most homeless people do not or cannot maintain an online bank account or consistent Internet access. So HandUp’s approach helps them get access to online fundraising when they wouldn’t otherwise have the option. It also has the effect of helping non-profits and shelters validate that their clients’ needs are being met fully, and with transparency for donors. With the seed funding, Ms. Broome says HandUp plans to grow its five-employee team, scale beyond San Francisco to help the homeless, and develop partnerships with shelters and non-profits.

Note: Watch an inspiring three-minute CNN video on this great program.

How Gratitude Beats Materialism
2015-01-08, Greater Good
Posted: 2015-04-12 19:32:54

Material things are unlikely to boost our happiness in a sustained or meaningful way. In fact, research suggests that materialistic people are less happy than their peers. They experience fewer positive emotions, are less satisfied with life, and suffer higher levels of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. How can we avoid falling into the unhappiness trap of materialism? One answer has been emerging from social science: Cultivate a mindset of gratitude. In the early 1990s, researchers Marsha Richins and Scott Dawson developed the first scale to measure materialism rigorously. People who score high on Drs. Richins and Dawson’s scale score lower on just about every major scale that scientists use to measure happiness. Earlier this year, Jo-Ann Tsang of Baylor University and her colleagues surveyed 246 undergraduate students to measure their levels of materialism, life satisfaction and gratitude. Their results ... show that as materialism increased, feelings of gratitude and life satisfaction decreased. The relationship between materialism and gratitude can run in the opposite direction. A 2009 study led by Nathaniel Lambert, now of Brigham Young University, found that inducing gratitude in people caused a decrease in materialism. Dr. Lambert and his colleagues were able to increase gratitude in their participants by instructing them to focus on appreciating the good things they had been given in life, then write about what came to mind.

Note: The complete article presents several approaches to cultivating gratitude in everyday life. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Note: For an abundance of other highly inspiring material, see our Inspiring Resources page.

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