Every time we try to catch up on the news, negative stories constantly seem to dominate the headlines. There’s a reason why we say some things “restore our faith in humanity” – it’s because we rarely get exposed to the wealth of good things happening around us everyday.
That’s why each Wednesday, we will be bringing you a roundup of some of the biggest news stories about good things that happened around the world to help brighten your day. Here’s 9 positive things that happened last week that you should know about (in no particular order):
January 18 to 25, 2015
1. ‘Humans of New York’ creator raises money to send kids to Harvard
Image: Getty Images
The founder and photographer of the well-known ‘Humans of New York’ blogger helped start an Indiegogo campaign recently to help inner-city middle school kids in New York – who have never left the state – take a trip to Harvard every year. Their principal “wants them to know what it feels like to stand on the campus of one of the world’s top schools, and know that they belong” – and having raised over 800% of their goal, the blogger decided to start a scholarship fund with all money raised over $700,000 for students to actually attend the university one day. Read more
2. ‘Freedom Tattoos’ project gives ex-cons a chance to start over
The Freedom Tattoos project, a joint effort by Pedagogium College of Social Sciences and ad agency Isobar Poland, is giving ex-cons a chance at starting over — and finding work — by covering their crude, amateur prison tattoos with “professionally, socially well-perceived artistic” ones. “The ad casts what Freedom Tattoos does as an extension of its subjects’ personal growth, rather than a matter of hiding their mistakes. Not only is that a smart move, it’s a more accurate and inspiring mission statement,” wrote AdWeek’s David Kiefaber.
3. Dog diagnosed with terminal cancer takes a bucket list adventure
Image: Lauren Fern Watt
When Lauren’s 160-pound English Mastiff Gizelle was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer, she decided to create a bucket-list adventure of everything she had wanted to with her before she died. From searching for waterfalls to canoe rides, cooking lobster and “meeting a cute boy dog at a party”, she took her on a heartbreaking adventure to help her cope with losing her as well as to “live in the present.” Gizelle passed away this month while the pair was visiting Maine. Read more
4. Dallas teacher shows an upbeat side to educators
Last week, teacher Scott Pankey led his students at A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School in Dallas, Texas, in an epic dance to Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk,” proving that educators have style as well. To get so many students happily involved is a marker of a unique teacher and great school dynamic – we’re all wishing we’d had teachers like that, too!
5. UBC creates a handheld medical lab
Image: YouTube Screencap / UBCOTV
Engineers at the University of British Columbia Okanagan have devised a hand-held medical lab capable of detecting viruses, measuring blood glucose levels and finding food-borne pathogens or even weapons of mass destruction – all potentially for a cost of less than $100. Using a smartphone and disposable computer chips, the lab would be able to allow for analysis in remote areas. Read more
6. Cops buy back couple’s wedding ring that was pawned for groceries
Thinking that they were attending a domestic call at a home of an elderly couple having an argument last week, city cops from Cornwall, Ontario found out that an elderly woman was suffering from dementia. With the couple being married 54 years and the husband admitting it was difficult to care and provide her – leading to him recently pawning his wedding ring to buy groceries – the police officers were touched. Between themselves, they raised $150 to buy groceries and $130 to buy the ring back from the pawn shop. Read more
7. Horse left for dead in Oklahoma saved by rescue center
Rudy the horse was recently left tangled in barbwire on the side of the road by his owner, suffering from the cold and attacks by dogs, who tore off his ears and eye lids. He was rescued by Blaze’s Tribute Equine Rescue center, who immediately set up a crowdfunding campaign to help save him. They were able to raise over $16,000 over doubling their $8000 goal. Rudy continues to improve and is getting healthier by the day.
8. Blind mother is given sight to see her newborn for the first time
Kathy Beitz has been legally blind since she was a child, and she desperately wanted to be able to see her son on the day he was born. So the eSight Corporation – a company that produces special glasses that give legally blind people the ability to see – loaned Beitz her a pair of glasses for the day. The $15,000 glasses “combine a camera, display technology, and advanced computing to deliver a real-time video that enables sight for people with vision loss.”
9. Innocent man freed after 37 years in prison
Last week in North Carolina, three judges listened to closing statements on Friday about how 70-year old Joseph Sledge was wrongfully convicted in the 1976 stabbing deaths of a mother and her adult daughter. The special three-judge panel unanimously voted Sledge had proven he was innocent of the killings and ordered his release. Sledge said he’s looking forward to “Going home. Relaxing. Sleeping in a real bed. Probably get in a pool of water and swim for a little while” – painfully showing that it’s easy for us to take such simple things for granted. Read more
Featured image: Lauren Watt
Do you know a local Good Samaritan? Send in your stories and photos of positive things you see in Vancouver to [email protected].