Friday, February 23, 2018

When the children became the teachers

Earlier this month, Marie McGaugh was subbing in a kindergarten class at Souris Regional School on Prince Edward Island, Canada. The children gathered around her feet for morning circle time, settling in for songs and stories. One girl pointed to her friend beside her and said, not unkindly, "Your shirt is on backwards." Other children overheard this and soon the whole class had turned to look at the girl with the backward shirt. Several giggled. The girl with the backward shirt hung her head, red with embarrassment

Ms. McGaugh took this as an opportunity to talk with the kids about hurt feelings and choosing kindness. But as she began, she saw another child silently slip her own arms from her sleeves and turn her own shirt backwards. Then another, and another, until within minutes, almost the entire class wore their shirts backwards. They kept them that way for the rest of the day.

"It was just one of those golden moments where I didn't teach them, they taught me," McGaugh said. "I was blessed to witness it."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Man asks for volunteers to shovel out Chicago seniors, over 100 people respond

On a 9-day stretch in early February, Chicago picked up 18 inches of snow. Jahmal Cole knew that would leave some elderly folks in his South Chicago neighborhood housebound.

Cole is the organizer of the non-profit community group My Block, My Hood, My City which "provides youth with new experiences, exposing them to possibilities beyond their own communities." To his Twitter followers, Cole sent a request for 10 volunteers to help him shovel out some snow-bound seniors. He offered hoodies, hats, and even lunch for anyone willing to help.

Over 100 people showed up, many with shovels in hand. And they weren't just from Cole's neighborhood. Folks came from all around the city, ready and able to help. Some folks who couldn't attend sent food or monetary donations to buy lunch for those working. Together, these "snow angels" shoveled out more than 50 homes.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Kids line up to read to the lonely-looking dog

This story combines several things close to my heart - children, reading, and rescued dogs, retired greyhounds in particular.

John Muellner adopted Sting, a retired racing greyhound, about 7 years ago. Since that time, Sting has gained credentials as a certified therapy dog, visiting children at a local hospital. Once a week, Sting heads over to the White Bear Lake Library in Minnesota for their "Paws to Read" program for kids. As children's librarian Ann Wahlstrom describes it, the program is designed to be non-threatening, a chance for kids to practice their oral reading skills to a mellow, captive audience. Three children sign up to read to Sting for 20 minutes when he visits.

One night last week, no one came to read to Sting. Muellner posted this picture of the lonely-looking dog on his Facebook page.

The photo went viral.

The phone at the library started to ring off the hook. People from around the country have called and offered to read or sing to Sting over the phone. And local kids have signed up to read to him. Sting's reading time is now booked through April.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Man walks 11 miles to work each day, coworkers buy him a car

Trenton Lewis appreciates his job packing trucks at a Little Rock, Arkansas UPS depot. He's only had the job for seven months, and has never missed a day or been late to work. Commendable, especially since his shift starts at 4 am. Even more commendable, Lewis has been walking to work, a trek of 5.5 miles each way through some sketchy neighborhoods in all kinds of weather. He never mentioned this hardship to his coworkers, just reported on time and did his job before starting his long walk home again.

Kenneth Bryant, one of Lewis' coworkers, got wind of his situation. Without Lewis' knowledge, Bryant spread the word among other UPS employees and retirees. Over $2000 was raised in a few weeks time. So last week, employees were called together for a 'union meeting' in the UPS parking lot. There, Bryant presented Lewis with the keys to a Saturn, Lewis' first car.

Lewis is overwhelmed by his coworkers' generosity. He's grateful for the quicker commute to work so he can spend more time at home with his young daughter

Friday, February 9, 2018

100,000 Koreans cheer for other countries' Olympic teams

As athletes from countries all around the world arrived in PyeongChang this week, they were taken by surprise. Hundreds of yellow-vested fans cheered arrivals at PyeongChang's airport, waving flags both of South Korea and the athletes' home nations.

The cohort is part of a larger group, 100,000 strong, calling themselves Korean Supporters. According to Korean Supporters Head of Communications Ki Yang Cho, “Everyone else in Korea is going to support Korea. We’re trying to focus on other countries.”

The group's hospitality doesn't stop at the airport. At their own expense, members of Korean Supporters will attend events throughout the Olympic games. Their bright yellow vests will make it easy to spot them in the crowd, between 100-120 assigned to each event. They will wave flags of Russia, Japan, Canada, and other countries, and recite encouraging chants and phrases in athlete's native languages.

What a way to spread international goodwill.