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.
In recent years, cuddling - billed as therapeutic, nonsexual touch on sites like the Snuggle Buddies and Cuddlist - has become the latest thing in wellness, beyond yoga and meditation. A quasi movement that dates back more than a decade thanks to snuggle mixers sponsored by the nonprofit group Cuddle Party has morphed into a cuddle-for-hire industry of one-on-one sessions. Pro cuddlers promise a physical and psychic salve through spooning, arm tickling and deep embraces. One such practitioner, at $80 an hour, is Brianna Quijada. A manager at a vegan restaurant on the Upper East Side by day, she recently discussed her second career on the Cuddlist network, plying the world’s newest profession by night. What drew you to cuddling? "I just wanted touch. It seemed like a safe way to explore that," [said Quijada]. "It seems weird to think that if I wasn’t in a monogamous relationship and wasn’t having sex, I wasn’t getting that kind of touch." What is the value of touch? "When I experience consensual touch, I am more in my body, I’m more comfortable. It’s like a feeling of being understood. It raises your oxytocin, it calms the fight-or-flight response. At the same time, there’s a feeling of vulnerability, so it’s a really interesting way to connect." What do private clients ask for? "It could be hand holding, synchronized breathing, eye-gazing. I’ve done cuddling while sitting, whether it’s an embrace, holding hands, or their head in my lap, or standing and holding each other. They come to me for relaxation."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
On the Monday following the Orlando massacre, 12 golden retrievers arrived in the Florida city. They had come to offer comfort to some of the victims of the attack, the families of those killed and the emergency medical workers. The animals are part of the K-9 Comfort Dogs team, a program run by the Lutheran Church Charities. Founded in 2008, the team has comforted victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting. Tim Hetzner, the president of the charity, said that the dogs in Orlando were helping to provide a feeling of safety, allowing those in distress to relax their guard and express their vulnerability during a difficult time. “We’ve had a lot of people here that start petting the dog, and they break out crying,” he said. The dogs and their 20 handlers have visited hospitals and churches, and attended vigils and memorial services. On Wednesday, they visited some of the hospitalized victims. “People couldn’t get out of their bed, so we had to bring the dog up so they could pet the dog while laying down,” Mr. Hetzner said. “They start smiling, and in a couple cases, they started talking as much as they could.” Comfort dogs ... are often employed by therapists and medical doctors to help soothe patients. Studies have shown that they can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression as well as the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. There are more than 120 dogs in the K-9 Comfort Dog unit, in 23 states. All of them have received extensive training similar to that of a service dog.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The “bunker” houses the Torolab project known as La Granja Transfronteriza, or La Granja (The Farm) for short – a place brimming with the arts and more that draws community members of all ages. As Tijuana garnered a reputation as one of the most violent places in the world, Camino Verde held the inglorious title of the most dangerous neighborhood in the city. But today, Camino Verde’s story is changing. And La Granja, founded in 2010, has been no small factor. On weekday afternoons, the bunker is bustling with young kids screeching out notes on their violins under the guidance of instructors. Families gather on the weekend to grow vegetables in the nascent community garden. There’s a computer lab upstairs, and parents can pursue their GED certificates. Most strikingly, however, violence in Camino Verde has plunged, falling by 85 percent since 2010. “This was one of the most violent places in the world, where you weren’t expected to make it out,” [Torolab founder Raúl] Cárdenas says. “Now it’s common to see governments and arts schools from around the globe coming to the neighborhood to learn.” When, in 2010, a group of local leaders came together to talk about what they could do to change Tijuana’s violent trajectory, Cárdenas took charge of pinpointing where they could make the biggest difference. “What people want and what people need is to have a livable space,” he says. Already, the project has received multiple prizes and global recognition.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Pedro Reyes says being Mexican is like living in an apartment where an upstairs neighbor has a leaking swimming pool. "Just what is leaking," says Reyes, "is hundreds of thousands of guns." Reyes believes art should address social issues like gun violence, even when they're difficult and controversial. "We have to be allowed to ask questions," he says. "If you are not allowed to ask questions, you are not free." Reyes also addresses the issue of gun violence in another way, by using guns themselves. His first project began in 2007 in the Mexican city of Culiacan. As part of a campaign to curb shootings, the city collected 1,527 guns. He used them to create art. "Those 1,527 guns were melted and made into the same number of shovels," he says. "So for every gun now, there's a shovel. And with every shovel, we planted a tree." Now Reyes is working on a new project. It is one that transforms guns into something more musical. An exhibition of the work is on display at the University of South Florida's Contemporary Art Museum. It's called "Disarm," and consists of guns that have been turned into musical instruments." To me at least," Pedigo says, "the concept is about taking weapons that are destructive in nature and chaotic and trying to make them for something else. So, instead of objects of destruction, they become objects of creation." That's exactly Reyes' point. Art, he says, is about transformation. "It's the same metal," he says, "but it is no longer a gun. It's now a flute or a guitar."
Note: Don't miss the pictures of Reyes' latest inspiring project at the link above.
Chris Castro has an obsession - turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms. "The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says. Surprising because he's asking Floridians to hand over a good chunk of their precious yards to volunteers who plant gardens full of produce. His program is called Fleet Farming, and it's starting off small, with 10 of these yard farms. Most of them sit smack in the middle of the front yard. Lawns are a thing here. Urban farms? Not so much. But so far, no neighbors have complained. Castro makes sure every garden is meticulously maintained - including homeowner Gary Henderson's. "I just think that the whole idea of lawns, especially in a place like Florida, is absurd," says Henderson, standing amid rows of tomatoes, sweet lettuce, carrots and arugula growing smack in the middle of his front yard. All of Fleet Farming's volunteers only ride bikes, going from garden to garden to harvest the produce. Because the program is bike-powered, Castro keeps the yard gardens within a mile of the local farmers market, where Fleet Farming sells most of the produce. Henderson offers this advice to anyone thinking about replacing their lawn with a garden: "Give it a try ... and once you get to the point where you realize that you can eat your lawn, I think it makes a whole lot of sense." And so do 300 other residents of central Florida. That's how many people are on Fleet Farming's waiting list, ready to eat their lawns instead of having to mow them.
Some 9,000 people stuck with delinquent medical bills had their debts forgiven courtesy of HBO host John Oliver. Oliver, on his "Last Week Tonight" program Sunday, took the action to illustrate a story about the practices of companies that purchase the records of debtors and attempt to collect on them. The show set up its own company to acquire $15 million worth of debt owed to hospitals in Texas, paying $60,000. Oliver said it was "disturbingly easy" for his show to set up a company, which it called Central Asset Recovery Professionals, and incorporate it in Mississippi to make the purchase. Oliver's show engages in a form of investigative comedy, this week examining [how] institutions often sell their debt for pennies on the dollar to companies who then attempt to collect on the bills. These companies operate with little regulation, and sometimes employ shady and abusive collectors who try to intimidate people into paying, he said. RIPMedicaldebt.org, a nonprofit that raises money to buy debt and forgive the bills owed by people who can least afford to pay them, welcomed the attention. "It's absolutely fabulous," said Craig Antico, CEO of RIPMedicaldebt.org. "It puts a light on a problem that few people know exists. If people paid attention to (Oliver's show) and it got them upset, they should realize that we can eradicate much of this debt if we all banded together to help each other," Antico said. "People can make a donation of $50 and wipe out a $10,000 debt."
Renee Hendrix has been a NICU nurse at WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia for over 30 years. In that time, she’s helped countless babies fight for their lives and been a beacon of support and comfort for their families. In honor of National Neonatal Nurses Day on Sept. 15, Kleenex put together this heartwarming video and arranged a special surprise to recognize the beloved nurse and let the families whose lives she touched say thank you. The surprise culminates in a emotional gathering of families Hendrix has aided throughout her time at the hospital. “We don’t realize what an impact we have on families until we see something like that. It was very rewarding,” the NICU nurse told The Huffington Post. “I love those babies like they were my own. I was so honored that people would stop what they were doing and come to be there for me. “It was great to see all of the kids big and healthy and thriving,” she continued. “I definitely felt appreciated and loved. I was just so proud of them. To know I had a part in that was very overwhelming and gratifying.” Hendrix said she was “shocked,” by the surprise, but she was quick to add that her impactful work is par for the course when it comes to nurses. “I do what every other nurse does,” she noted. “I just was the lucky one to get picked. It was a big honor. There are so many nurses that do the same thing.”
Note: Even though it's a Kleenex commercial, this video is incredibly touching.
As more states legalize the use of marijuana, the number of teens with cannabis-related problems is declining, new research suggests. Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the study revealed a 24% decline in marijuana-related problems—such as becoming dependent on the drug or having trouble in school and in relationships—among teenagers. The researchers additionally found an association between drops in problems related to cannabis and reductions in behavioral issues, such as fighting, property crimes and selling drugs. The report also showed that marijuana use rates in young people have been dropping over the years. When asked whether they had used marijuana in the previous 12 months, study participants reported fewer instances of pot use in 2013 than their peers had reported in 2002, a 10% decline overall. Additional research on how the decrease in rates of conduct problems relates to other behaviors is needed. “For example, adolescent crime rates have been declining for about 20 years. Teenage pregnancy rates are at an all time low. Binge drinking among high school students is dropping. (Though you wouldn’t know any of this from news coverage),” [study author Richard A. Grucza] said. “I think it is likely that all of these changes are connected to each other, and to the drop in marijuana use disorder. It’s really important to figure out why this is happening so that we can extend these trends into the future.”
Note: Read more on this Washington University webpage.
Teen pregnancies fell again last year, to another historic low, a government report shows. “The continued decline is really quite amazing,” said Brady Hamilton, the lead author of the new report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, the birth rate for U.S. teens dropped 8 percent. Rates have been falling since 1991, and this marks yet another new low. Experts cite a range of factors, including less sex, positive peer influence, and more consistent use of birth control. “The credit here goes to the teens themselves,” said Bill Albert, spokesman for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The new report is based on a review of most of the birth certificates filed last year. There were nearly 4 million births. That’s down slightly from the 2014 total, by about 4,300. Other key figures from the CDC report [include that] the birth rate was 22 live births per 1,000 females ages 15 through 19, [whereas] the rate was 24 per 1,000 the year before. Unmarried moms accounted for about 40 percent of births.
Maybe it's the 17 freezers he keeps running in his apartment, or his nodding eyes from lack of sleep. Spend a few hours with Allan Law and you start to realize a little crazy comes with his kindness. "It's stupid," Law agrees. "Last night I got no sleep out in the streets, but I slept two hours today." Next week, the Minnesotan known as the "Sandwich Man" will be honored by Minneapolis Rotary for his efforts on behalf of homeless people. Law started serving disadvantaged Minnesotans while still a teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools. His efforts hit high gear when he retired 16 years ago. Working out of the van he drives through the night, last year Law handed out more than 700,000 sandwiches, 7,000 pair of socks and 75,000 bus tokens. Some of his work is funded by his teaching pension, the rest is covered by donations to his non-profit organization, Minneapolis Recreation Development. Those 17 freezers in his apartment store sandwiches made by 800 church, business, and civic groups each year. Law delivers some of the sandwiches for distribution by shelters, others he hands out by himself. "I bring sandwiches so not only will they have something to eat, but when they leave in the morning they can take a couple sandwiches with them." He also makes the rounds to gas stations during the night, collecting food that would otherwise go into dumpsters, for quick distribution to the homeless. "Sometimes I get emotional," Law says. "Somebody has to care."
Note: Watch a great, five-minute video on this caring man who makes a big difference.
It was around 7:15 on a recent Tuesday morning. We were in the middle of a partner yoga session at one of the San Francisco editions of Daybreaker, an early-morning dance party that descends, every month, on an increasing number of cities around the world. There wasn’t much time for reflection. A massage train was forming in the center of the increasingly brightening Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. People rubbed shoulders and had their shoulders rubbed. Soon, revelers were thronging the coat check. House music thumped from the main room. Near the D.J., Teresa Young ... formed a circle with 10 of her friends. “It’s hard to motivate people ... to go out to anything these days, but surprisingly the amount of people that will wake up at the crack of dawn to do yoga and dance - massive!” she exclaimed, beaming. She works in digital marketing and planned to go from the party to her office. This, its founders say, is why Daybreaker was created: to give people who genuinely enjoy dancing an outlet to do so without alcohol, drugs, cover fees, bottle service or all of the usual accouterments of night life. The emphasis at the San Francisco party was on consciousness, mindfulness, purposefulness and othernesses that generally necessitate being neither drunk nor high. By 9:30, things were winding down. Lana Baumgartner, 28, contemplated how many calories she had burned: “I’d much rather be dancing with all these people than in a gym.”
There’s a “recycling revolution” happening in Sweden. Less than one per cent of Sweden's household garbage ends up in landfills today. By Swedish law, producers are responsible for handling all costs related to collection and recycling or disposal of their products. If a beverage company sells bottles of pop at stores, the financial onus is on them to pay for bottle collection as well as related recycling or disposal costs. Rules introduced in the 1990s incentivized companies to take a more proactive, eco-conscious role about what products they take to market. It was also a clever way to alleviate taxpayers of full waste management costs. According to data collected from Swedish recycling company Returpack, Swedes collectively return 1.5 billion bottles and cans annually. What can't be reused or recycled usually heads to WTE incineration plants. WTE plants work by loading furnaces with garbage, burning it to generate steam which is used to spin generator turbines used to produce electricity. That electricity is then transferred to transmission lines and a grid distributes it across the country. In Helsingborg (population: 132,989), one plant produces enough power to satisfy 40 per cent of the city’s heating needs. Across Sweden, power produced via WTE provides approximately 950,000 homes with heating and 260,000 with electricity. Recycling and incineration have evolved into efficient garbage-management processes to help the Scandinavian country dramatically cut down the amount of household waste that ends up in landfills.
With 165.5m individual ticket sales [in the UK], film remains a medium with the capability to reach a large and wide-ranging audience. Here, we take a look at ... documentaries which thrust sustainability issues into the spotlight. Food Inc provides an in-depth focus on the 21st century food industry, contending that the major corporation 'factory-model' has scant regard for either animal welfare or consumer well-being in the pursuit of profit. The documentary investigates the meat and grain industries, highlighting the lack of transparency between major food businesses and their customers. Gasland focuses on the process of hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking - the controversial method used to extract natural gas from the ground. The film looks at the major energy industry's attempts to take advantage of the potential resources of a small town, and the apparently disastrous impact on the local environment, particularly the water supply. Who Killed the Electric Car? While documenting the development of the electric car, the film brings to account the corporations and government officials responsible for undermining and legislating against this innovation. Blue Gold: World Water Wars ... looks at the corporate and political machinations surrounding the world water supply and the increasing demand for it. As well as a rebuke for those attempting to stockpile and over-charge for what is an essential to human existence, it provides stories of those fighting for more open access to water supplies.
Libraries aren’t just for books, or even e-books, anymore. In Sacramento, where people can check out sewing machines, ukuleles, GoPro cameras and board games, the new service is called the Library of Things. Services like the Library of Things and the “Stuff-brary” in Mesa, outside Phoenix, are part of a broad cultural shift in which libraries increasingly view themselves as hands-on creative hubs, places where people can learn new crafts and experiment with technology like 3-D printers. Last year, the Free Library of Philadelphia pulled together city, state and private funds to open a teaching kitchen, which is meant to teach math and literacy through recipes and to address childhood obesity. It has a 36-seat classroom and a flat-screen TV for close-ups of chefs preparing healthy dishes. “Libraries are looking for ways to become more active places,” said Kate McCaffrey of the Northern Onondaga Public Library, outside Syracuse, which lends out its garden plots and offers classes on horticulture. “People are looking for places to learn, to do and to be with other people.” The Ann Arbor District Library has been adding to its voluminous collection of circulating science equipment. It offers telescopes, portable digital microscopes and backyard bird cameras, among other things - items that many patrons cannot afford to buy. In Sacramento, each item in the Library of Things bears a bar code, since the Dewey Decimal System was not intended for sewing machines or ukuleles.
A pair of middle school classmates who met decades later on opposite sides of a courtroom reunited once again under happier circumstances. Miami-Dade Judge Mindy Glazer recognized Arthur Booth after he was arrested for burglary charges and appeared before her in bond court last summer. “Did you go to Nautilus for middle school?” the judge asks, leading her former schoolmate, now 49, to burst into tears. “This was the nicest kid in middle school, he was the best kid in middle school. I used to play football with him, all the kids, and look what has happened,” she said, according to NBC Miami. Video of the encounter went viral, and Booth spent 10 months in jail before a guilty plea for burglary and grand theft led to his release into a drug treatment program on Tuesday. He hugged his family after coming out of court before embracing Glazer, who was waiting for him and encouraged him to stay on the right side of the law. “She’s an inspiration and a motivation to me right now. Mindy is incredible,” Booth told CBS Miami. “Cause I know where I could’ve been, but I’m not giving up on life.”
Note: Don't miss the moving video of this at the link above.
A shorter work day increases productivity and makes people happier. The Svartedalens retirement home in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, conducted an experiment to determine whether cutting hours improved patient care and boosted employees' morale. Nurses who worked six-hour days for the past year were found to be 20 per cent happier and had more energy at work and in their spare time. The 68 nurses also took half as much sick time as those in the control group and were able to do 64 per cent more activities with elderly residents. They were also 2.8 times less likely to take any time off work in a two-week period, Bengt Lorentzon, a researcher on the project, told Bloomberg. "If the nurses are at work more time and are more healthy, this means that the continuity at the residence has increased," Mr Lorentzon said. "That means higher quality [care]." Sweden made headlines in 2015 when it was reported the country was moving towards a six-hour work day. A Toyota centre in Gothenburg, Sweden's second largest city, implemented shorter working hours over a decade ago, with the company reporting happier staff, a lower turnover rate and an increase in profits. Their results prompted a number of other Swedish companies to trial shorter hours. Longer working hours have been linked with heart disease and stroke, according to a medical study published in The Lancet.
Komal Ahmad ... is the founder and CEO of Copia, an online platform that connects businesses with leftover food to local organizations that can distribute that food to people in need. While an undergraduate ... Ahmad was walking down the street when she was approached by a homeless man who asked her for money to buy food. Instead of giving him a few bucks, Ahmad decided to take him out to lunch and discovered that he was an Iraq war veteran. “That hit me like a ton of bricks,” she said, noting that she’d just gotten back from summer training for the U.S. Navy. “It was almost like a glimpse of my future. This was a perfectly educated guy, came from a good family. He was just a person who was down on his luck.” Across the street from where Ahmad and the man had eaten lunch, the university’s cafeteria was throwing out thousands of pounds of leftover food. Right then, the dual problems of hunger and food waste struck her. “Those who have and are wasting and those who need and are starving - and they’re both living quite literally right across the street from each other,” she said. “That’s just ridiculous.” Ahmad launched Feeding Forward, a local service that began ... in 2011 and has since grown into the tech startup Copia, which has now distributed some 600,000 pounds of food to 720,000 people in need. As Copia expands, Ahmad said that she hopes her phone app will set the stage for new platforms that can redistribute a wider array of necessities, like medicine and medical supplies.
I first encountered the concept of pay-what-you-can cafes last summer in Boone, N.C., where I ate at F.A.R.M. (Feed All Regardless of Means) Cafe. You can volunteer to earn your meal, pay the suggested price ($10) or less, or you can overpay [towards] a future patron’s meal. As Healthy World Cafe opened in York in April, I signed up for a volunteer shift and planned my visit. F.A.R.M and Healthy World are part of a growing trend of community cafes. Denise Cerreta ... runs the One World Everybody Eats Foundation, helping others replicate her pay-what-you-can model. Most of the nonprofit, volunteer-run cafes are started by individuals or groups, but Panera Bread and the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation also have opened cafes with Cerreta’s guidance. To date, nearly 60 have opened across the country, and another 20 are in the planning stages. Generally, 80 percent of customers pay the suggested price or more, and the remainder pay less or volunteer for meals. “I think the community cafe is truly a hand up, not a handout,” Cerreta said. “Everyone eats there, no one needs to know whether you volunteered, underpaid or overpaid. You can maintain your dignity and eat organic, healthy, local food.” The successful cafes not only address hunger and food insecurity but also become integral parts of their neighborhoods- whether it’s a place to learn skills or hear live music. Some enlist culinary school students as volunteers, some teach cooking to seniors, some offer free used books.
Plastic six-pack rings are the bane of conservationists - images of sea birds and turtles entangled in them serve as constant reminders that consumer culture and the environment don’t get along. But thanks to an innovation from a Florida-based brewery, we can feel a little better about enjoying a six-pack. Saltwater Brewery has partnered with the ad agency We Believers to create what they say is the first fully edible beer can packaging. Made from byproducts of the brewing process such as wheat and barley, their six-pack holders are fully biodegradable and completely digestible. Rather than ensnaring curious animals in a corset of litter, the company’s six-pack rings could serve as a satisfying snack. And if nothing is biting, the rings quickly decompose. Plus, the drink holders are just as strong as the plastic variety, which should keep those Screamin’ Reels safe, as well. The company 3-D printed a test batch of 500 holders in April, according to AdvertisingAge, and it plans to scale up production to meet its current output of 400,000 cans of beer a month. While the edible holders are more expensive to make, Saltwater Brewery wants set an example for other beer producers and encourage them to adopt the idea. They say if their edible holders become commonplace, they could potentially be as cheap as the regular plastic rings.
Ms. Matei started out life thinking she would be a graphic designer. She married, had a child and then divorced. In 1990, as Romania was emerging from Communism, she [fled] the country, walking alone ... into the former Yugoslavia. She eventually arranged for her son to join her and was resettled in Australia. There, she earned a degree in psychology and worked with street children. But in 1998, after bringing her son to Romania on a holiday, she decided to move back and began working with street children here. Soon, the police called asking a favor. Would she take three young prostitutes they had just rounded up to a doctor? Afterward, she was just supposed to release them. “I was annoyed until I got there and saw these girls,” Ms. Matei said. “The mascara was running all over their faces. They had been crying so hard. And they were minors ... but no one cared.” One of the girls was pregnant. All three would be in the hospital for two weeks. But afterward, Ms. Matei said, child welfare services would have nothing to do with them. “Eventually, I got an apartment for them, and more girls kept coming,” she said. “That’s how it started.” Over the years, she has cobbled together all sorts of financing, pleading with various embassies. Right now, the shelter [she founded] is supported by an American ministry dedicated to combating human trafficking, Make Way Partners in Birmingham, Ala. More than 400 girls have stayed in the shelter, and most of them are still in touch, she said.