Monday, April 23, 2018

This nine-year-old works to end plastic pollution

Last year, a Curvier's beaked whale died on the Norwegian coast. Its stomach was filled with 30 plastic bags. 

Nine-year-old Lilly Platt of Holland heard about the 'plastic whale' and was upset about pollution's effect on wildlife. “I started picking up rubbish,” Lilly told reporters. “Every piece I picked up was one less piece that could harm a living creature.” In one of her neighborhood clean-ups, she personally disposed of 91 pieces of plastic. 

She has recruited friends to help locally, but that's not enough for Lilly. She has asked her local McDonald's to switch to paper tops and paper straws for their cups. She even convinced a local business to stop balloon releases, telling them that when the balloons come down, they often entangle marine life.

Lilly's environmental activism has caught the attention of national and international organizations. She now works with a sustainable straw company to develop bamboo straws and sporks folks can carry in their bags when eating on the run. She is a Child Ambassador to HOW Global, and a Youth Ambassador for Plastic Pollution Coalition. 

This month, Lilly and her family will travel to the Norwegian island of Sotra to attend the Plastic Whale Coastal Clean‑Up and Conference.’ As the name implies, the event involves both active work and information sharing. 

Lilly will be right in the thick of it.  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Sixty volunteers help this homeless vet return to his childhood home

U.S. Air Force veteran Michael Malone served four years of active duty and fifteen years in the reserves. When his mother died, he inherited her house, his own childhood home and he was happy to think he'd live there again. There was only one problem - the home needed major repairs and Malone didn't have the money. He moved into a shelter for homeless veterans

Enter Team Depot and Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation. These two organizations teamed up, determined to get Malone the needed repairs. Matt Rice, manager of an Indianapolis Home Depot, said, “We are helping him get back and are getting this house in shape where he can move back in and get going again.”

About 60 volunteers remodeled the bathroom and installed flooring, they painted and repaired. When all was said and done, the home was move-in ready.  “I’m excited for a new leaf in life, a new fresh start," Malone said. "I’m touched by the generosity of people." 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A stranger helps frazzled mom traveling with screaming kids

Jessica Rudeen was traveling alone with her two children, an infant and a preschooler. Because of the day's chaos, she was unable to nurse her 4-month-old on schedule and the infant was 'screaming his head off' as they boarded the plane. She settled her excited 3-year-old into her seat, and then she too began to cry, hollering and thrashing that she wanted to get off the plane. To say Jessica was flustered is an understatement. She was afraid they'd actually be 'kicked off.'

Enter a fellow passenger, the hero, Todd. A complete stranger to the family, Todd offered to hold the baby while Jessica calmed the preschooler, buckled her in, and set her up with a movie on a tablet. Then he turned his attention to the little girl so Jessica could feed her son in peace. By the time the plane took off, both children had relaxed. For the duration of the flight, Todd and the little girl colored and chatted, they watched a movie and talked about the sights outside the plane's window. When Jessica told Todd how much she appreciated his compassionate kindness, he told her that a stranger once did the same thing for his own wife and sons. He was just paying it forward.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Ontario teen scores royal wedding invitation because of her charity work

When she was nine, Faith Dickinson of Peterborough Ontario watched her aunt go through treatment for breast cancer. Her aunt told her she got cold during treatments, so Faith made her a fleece blanket. Her aunt loved it. Faith thought other cancer patients may have the same need, so Cuddles for Cancer was born. 

Now fifteen, Faith has made over 3500 blankets and has raised upwards of $30,000 for material and delivery. She has recently expanded her blanket-giving to returning soldiers with PTSD

Her charity has drawn the attention of the British royal family. Last year, Faith flew to London to receive the Diana Award, given in memory of the late Princess of Wales, to acknowledge young people who are "changing the world… through kindness, compassion and service." There, she met Princes William and Harry. She'll never forget when Prince Harry called her "the most impressive redhead in the room." 

As if that weren't enough, Faith has received an invitation to the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. She will join about 1200 young people who are on the guest list because they've shown leadership and service in their communities. 

Politicians and world leaders have not been invited. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

This second-grader raises funds to buy rain boots and ponchos for the homeless

While driving with his family through Vancouver, BC on a rainy September day in 2016, six-year-old Ryder Moore noticed something - people wearing ragged clothes and no protective footwear. Ryder asked his parents about this, and a conversation about poverty and homelessness followed. Touched by what he saw and learned, Ryder suggested he give away his own boots. His parents guided him toward a way to make a greater impact. 

Now in its third year, Ryder's Rainboots raises funds to buy Rainy Day Kits containing new rain boots, a poncho or rain suit, gloves, socks, and a hat for men, women, and children. Eight-year-old Ryder adds a personal note to each kit, saying “Hope these boots keep your feet dry. From Ryder’s Rainboots xoxo.” He delivers them himself to the Vancouver area homeless shelters. 

All totaled, Ryder's project has raised over $10,000 since its start in 2016, allowing him to deliver over 200 Rainy Day Kits! His goal for 2018 is to raise $5000 by mid-October to prepare the homeless for the fall rainy season in Vancouver. He says, "I want people to have fun and jump in the puddles, and most of all, feel like someone cares for them."