Let’s face it, we’re constantly bombarded with bad news, and it’d be easy to think that the world is a grim place without hope or goodness. That’s just not true, though. Here are 7 wonderful stories loosely related to the causes you care about that, hopefully, will brighten your day.
1) Houston Man Steps Up and Pays so School Kids Can Keep Eating
When Care2 readers heard that a Utah school was binning kids’ lunches because their parents had fallen behind on their payments, they were outraged. As many of you pointed out in the comments though, the practice of punishing kids for late school payments isn’t unique to Utah.
When Kenny Thompson of Houston, Texas, learned that there were sixty children in schools he mentors at who were being refused full school meals and instead had to make do with just small sandwiches, all because their parents had fallen behind on their lunch payments, he did something amazing.
Spurred into action by what was going on in Utah and fearing these kids could soon be deprived of their lunch altogether, Mr. Thompson went and paid the bill.
In total, it cost him $465. For the families who couldn’t afford to pay those bills and for the kids who now get to eat full school meals, no doubt it was priceless.
Get the full story below:
2) Man Gets First Prosthetic Hand that Allows Him to Feel Again
About nine years ago a man called Dennis Aabo Sorensen was involved in a fireworks accident that meant he was forced to have his arm amputated. While some functionality could be restored by the use of a prosthetic limb, Sorensen was forced to confront the promise of a life without being able to feel with that hand and arm ever again. Until now. In a medical first for the world’s scientific journals, Science Translational Medicine reports that scientists have successfully fitted Sorensen with a sophisticated prosthetic hand that allows him to experience some sensation.
While the technology is still in its early stages, and Sorensen has only been able to use the hand for a short time, this story is making waves for the future of replacement limbs that it brings so tantalizingly close:
3) Girl Calls Lego Out on Gender Bias, and Lego Responds
“Hey Lego! What about girls?” That’s essentially what 7-year-old Charlotte Benjamin asked in a letter to Lego after visiting her local toy store where she noticed that, even though she loves Lego, most of the exciting Lego products are aimed at boys, while those aimed at girls are, well, rarer, usually always pink and stereotypical.
Today I went to a store and saw Legos in two sections — the girls’ pink and the boys’ blue. All the girls did was sit at home, go to the beach, and shop, and they had no jobs but the boys went on adventures, worked, saved people, and had jobs, even swam with sharks.
I want you to make more Lego girl people and let them go on adventures and have fun, ok!?!
Usually, companies aren’t quick to respond to letter writing campaigns. If they do, they’re usually just posting stock answers. Well, Lego didn’t go so far as to explicitly admit they’ve been getting it wrong, but did tell Charlotte that it is an issue the company is working on:
LEGO play has often been more appealing to boys but we have been very focused on including more female characters and themes that invite even more girls to build, and in the last few years, we are thrilled that we have dramatically increased the number of girls who are choosing to build. While there are still more male characters than female, we have added new characters to the LEGO world to better balance the appeal of our themes.
No news yet on whether Charlotte will continue her crusade for Lego gender equality, but we hope she does.
4) India is Now Polio Free
As of mid-January the world’s leading health authority, the World Health Organisation (WHO), has been able to say that in all practical terms India is now Polio free.
In 2012 the country was taken off the list of regions where Polio is endemic, and now that three years have elapsed without a rise in infection numbers, WHO is confident that this crippling disease is no longer an immediate threat for India. While there are still concerns that Polio could reemerge, as Pakistan still has its own Polio situation to deal with, this is a significant milestone, not just for India but indeed global health.
Here is a video from the Gates Foundation that really stresses how far India has come in a very short time:
5) Man Searches for and Finds the Stranger Who Saved Him from Suicide
You are standing on a bridge. You are looking down. This is your last day on this planet because you feel hopeless and helpless. You are in Hell and you want out. And then a stranger walks by and he talks to you. He buys you a coffee. He reminds you of the goodness and hope that is in the world.
That was what happened to Jonny Benjamin, a London man whose life was saved one faithful day when a stranger he had since come to call “Mike” reached out a hand. Jonny, together with a leading U.K. mental health charity, launched a national campaign to find “Mike” and soon Jonny got to face the man who helped him keep living; he got to say thank you–and it is wonderful.
Here’s the original campaign video:
And here’s Jonny meeting “Mike”:
6) Facebook Helps Dad Revisit His Deceased Son‘s Life
By now most Facebook users will have seen that, to celebrate its 10 year anniversary, Facebook has rolled out a feature called a “Look Back” video that allows users to take a trip down memory lane and recount all the things they’ve posted to Facebook–for heavy users of the site, this is essentially an effortless video journal. For some people, though, these are precious memories of something lost.
On Wednesday, February 5, John Berlin of St. Louis took to YouTube and, in an open video, made an impassioned plea to Facebook. John’s son died in 2012 at the age of just 21. In the video John asks that he be allowed to access his son’s profile or at least see the Look Back video that his son, a Facebook user up until his death, no doubt would have seen this week had he still been alive. Here is Berlin’s plea:
After the story went viral, Facebook quickly responded. They are working on the video right now and said that they were happy to accommodate his request.
7) Little Girl Experiences Playing in the Rain for the First Time
Technically this isn’t strictly causes related (although happiness is a cause, right?), but it is such an uplifting video that it is currently raiding the hearts of most everyone on the Internet–it’s also a perfect way to end our feelgood countdown of the week:
Photo credit: Thinkstock.