Inspiring News
Excerpts of Highly Inspiring News Articles in Major Media

Below are one-paragraph excerpts of highly inspiring news articles from the major media. Links are provided to the original inspiring news articles on their media websites. If any link fails, read this webpage. The most inspiring news articles are listed first. You can also explore the news articles listed by order of the date posted. For an abundance of other highly inspiring material, see our Inspiring Resources page. May these inspiring news 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.

Father-son duo are world class competitors, despite odds
1999-11-29, CNN

When Rick Hoyt was 15, he communicated something to his father that changed both their lives. "Dad," the mute quadriplegic wrote in his computer after his father pushed him in a wheelchair in a five-kilometer race, "I felt like I wasn't handicapped." Rick, now 37, has had cerebral palsy since birth. But he has always been treated simply as one of the family, included by his now-divorced parents in almost everything brothers Rob and Russell did. "They told us to put Rick away, in an institution, (because) he's going to be nothing but a vegetable for the rest of his life," his father remembers. "We said, 'No, we're not going to do that. We're going to bring Rick home and bring him up like any other child,'" says Dick Hoyt, 59, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Air National Guard. "And this is what we have done." For more than 20 years, Dick has either towed, pushed or carried Rick in a string of athletic challenges including every Boston Marathon since 1981 and, most recently, last month's Ironman Triathlon World Championships in Hawaii. But mental determination and physical stamina tell only part of the Hoyt story. A message of independence and acceptance typed by Rick on his computer complete the picture: "When I am running, my disability seems to disappear. It is the only place where truly I feel as an equal. Due to all the positive feedback, I do not feel handicapped at all. Rather, I feel that I am the intelligent person that I am with no limits. I have a message for the world which is this: To take time to get to know people with disabilities for the individuals they are."

Note: For much more information about the amazing Hoyt family, click here. And for an incredibly eye-opening eight-minute video on the world from the eyes of an amazing autistic woman, click here.

Worm poo in plastic bottles: Get rich and save the world
2007-01-26, CNN

Add heaps of red worms to mountains of raw, rotting garbage. Then collect the worms' feces, brew it into a liquid, and squeeze it into a used soda bottle. Sound like a twisted fourth-grade boy's concoction for messing with his sister? Not quite. Rather, it is TerraCycle's recipe for success -- as a booming, eco-friendly fertilizer business. "We're not doing this to help save the environment," said co-founder and CEO Tom Szaky. "We're doing this to show that you can make a lot of money while saving the environment." It does that not only by avoiding excess waste, but by embracing others' throwaways -- from the organic material fed to its hard-working worms, to its used plastic packaging, to the once discarded desks and computers in the firm's Trenton, New Jersey, headquarters. The nonprofit environmental group Zerofootprint recently recognized TerraCycle for having "net zero" negative impact -- the first consumer product to earn that distinction. This unique business takes its cue from Szaky. The Princeton drop-out, born to Hungarian parents and raised primarily in Canada, said he doesn't consider himself an environmentalist, admitting he doesn't eat organic food or drive a hybrid car. Many of the breakthroughs came out of necessity, conveniently married to the pro-environment, anti-waste cause. The two core components are worms -- which eat, excrete and procreate freely -- and similarly cheap, all but omnipresent organic waste. When short on cash, TerraCycle decided to place the liquid fertilizer in used, plastic soda bottles scooped off the streets instead of buying new or recycled bottles.

Note: For lots more on this most inspiring company that is creating a new paradigm in business, visit and watch the great video there.

Ricki Lake in 'Business of Being Born,' about birth in America
2008-01-13, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

Things did not exactly go as planned when Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein conceived the idea of working together on an expose of America's delivery rooms. Called "The Business of Being Born," the documentary examines the politics, economics and history of how and where most Americans take their first breaths. This includes the births of Epstein's and Lake's own babies - Lake delivered at home aided by a midwife. Although they were longtime friends, Epstein had written off Lake's interest in home birth and midwifery as a "reckless" crusade that she admits she "totally didn't get." That all changed in 2004 when Lake showed Epstein a home video of [Lake] giving birth to her second son in a bathtub in 2001. "Ricki's video was so inspiring. I didn't know you could have a baby like that - with no blood, in her own home," Epstein says. "It was clean. It was beautiful. She looked so powerful and so in control." While "The Business of Being Born" clearly takes a stance in defending the craft of midwifery, Epstein and Lake insist that their mission is more about empowering women with knowledge and reminding them that they may have more choices than they realize. "The film is not advocating anything but choice. I'm not at all telling people to have a home birth like me," says Lake, who after reading a book called Spiritual Midwifery decided she wanted to give birth to her second child at home. Citing statistics that show home-birthing rates declining from 95 percent in 1900 to less than 1 percent by 1955, the film questions whether American women today have been convinced that they are not responsible for the births of their children or simply don't know how to give birth on their own.

Social Networking for the Socially Minded
2007-12-17, Washington Post

The office of Razoo on Connecticut Avenue blends two distinct cultures common in Washington. It has the feeling of an Internet start-up, what with programmers clicking away, big flat screens, an espresso machine and funky green carpet. Yet the photos on the walls from Rwanda and other poor countries and the 11 employees, age 23 to 33, suggest it could just as easily be a nongovernmental organization. The combination is no mistake. Razoo is a company that has built a Web site to connect people with one another, much like social networking giants MySpace and Facebook, but in support of humanitarian objectives such as preventing homelessness in the United States and helping families who live in a Nicaragua trash dump. Users and causes each have their own pages. "YouTube is transforming TV. Google has transformed advertising," said Razoo founder J. Sebastian Traeger. "The Web will do the same thing for philanthropy." Traeger ... is following in the footsteps of several other Internet entrepreneurs who are trying to reinvent philanthropy. They hope to apply the tools of the digital age -- such as social networking and peer-to-peer and viral marketing -- to an industry long criticized for its slow-moving ways. Risks abound. The for-profit companies are operating in a nonprofit world. "While the fusion of commercial values and non-commercial values makes sense and has promise, it's not going to be this magical cure," said Jeff Trexler, a Pace University professor who has studied the phenomenon. By merging social networks and philanthropy, the idea is that people will be more likely to give money or support to a certain cause if their friends do. The Internet also holds the promise of cutting down on bureaucracy and the high administrative and marketing costs associated with raising money.

A Life Saver Called "Plumpynut"
2007-10-21, CBS News

Every year, malnutrition kills five million children -- that's one child every six seconds. But now, the Nobel Prize-winning relief group "Doctors Without Borders" says it finally has something that can save millions of these children. It's cheap, easy to make and even easier to use. What is this miraculous cure? It's a ready-to-eat, vitamin-enriched concoction called "Plumpynut," an unusual name for a food that may just be the most important advance ever to cure and prevent malnutrition. "It's a revolution in nutritional affairs," says Dr. Milton Tectonidis, the chief nutritionist for Doctors Without Borders. "Now we have something. It is like an essential medicine. In three weeks, we can cure a kid that ... looked like they're half dead. It’s just, boom! It's a spectacular response," Dr. Tectonidis says. No kids need it more than ... in Niger, a desperately poor country in West Africa, where child malnutrition is so widespread that most mothers have watched at least one of their children die. Why are so many kids dying? Because they can't get the milk, vitamins and minerals their young bodies need. Mothers in these villages can't produce enough milk themselves and can't afford to buy it. Even if they could, they can't store it -- there’s no electricity, so no refrigeration. Powdered milk is useless because most villagers don't have clean water. Plumpynut was designed to overcome all these obstacles. Plumpynut is a remarkably simple concoction: it is basically made of peanut butter, powdered milk, powdered sugar, and enriched with vitamins and minerals. It tastes like a peanut butter paste. It is very sweet, and because of that kids cannot get enough of it. The formula was developed by a nutritionist. It doesn't need refrigeration, water, or cooking; mothers simply squeeze out the paste. Many children can even feed themselves. Each serving is the equivalent of a glass of milk and a multivitamin.

Brazil city slashes crime by closing its bars early
2006-05-10, San Francisco Chronicle

A bold and controversial law that shuts down bars and restaurants after 11 p.m. has turned Diadema, one of Brazil's most violent cities, into an urban model. The law has cut homicides by nearly half and has slashed other crimes by as much as 80 percent after forcing nearly all of the city's 4,800 bars and restaurants in 2002 to stop selling alcohol between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Since then, the homicide rate has dropped by 47 percent, traffic accidents by 30 percent, assaults against women by 55 percent, and alcohol-related hospital admissions by 80 percent. "Diadema had a large homicide rate, and we estimated that based on the data they gave us, the intervention prevented about 270 homicides over a three-year period," said Joel Grube...director of prevention research. The law's success has municipalities across Brazil adopting similar measures. At least 120 towns and cities have restricted the hours in which alcohol can be served, and the federal government now offers additional funds for law enforcement to localities that implement such measures. With little federal control over alcohol sales or consumption, closing bars in troubled areas is an effective way to cut alcohol-related problems, said Ronaldo Laranjeira, a Sao Paulo physician who led the joint Brazil-U.S. study of homicide rates in Diadema after the law took effect. "They made a relatively modest intervention that doesn't really cost any money, and they got these dramatic improvements."

Finding happiness outside the GNP
2006-01-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

You don't have to live in a remote mountain kingdom to rise above the world's frantic pursuit of wealth and consumer goods. Anyone can do it, says his Excellency Lyonpo Jigmi Thinley, minister for home and cultural affairs for the Himalayan nation of Bhutan. He wants to encourage others to do as his country has done, which is to seek "Gross National Happiness [GNH]" more than gross national product [GNP]. "What we need," Thinley said in a phone interview Friday, "is a more caring and compassionate society. Bhutan has made Gross National Happiness -- which its officials also call GNH -- its official index for evaluating development. Production-oriented societies suffer from high rates of mental illness, crime, alcoholism, family breakups and personal alienation; their devotion to the profit motive and self-satisfaction undermines human harmony and fosters the plundering of the Earth's resources, he said. "How many governments are truly committed, how many communities are truly committed to equity, to sustainability?" he asked. To achieve GNH, Thinley said, Bhutan has committed itself to sustainable and equitable development, environmental conservation, preservation of culture and good governance.

NASA engineer chasing dream to harness energy from ocean waves
2005-12-06, Houston Chronicle/Orlando Sentinel

The son of [a] rocket scientist thinks he is close to perfecting...a machine that might make cheap, clean electricity from the ocean. "I believe it'll change the world," said second-generation inventor Tom Woodbridge, a NASA engineer. In theory, the idea is simple. Spinning copper wires through a stable magnetic field makes electricity — lots of electrons jumping off the magnetic field and zooming through a conductive metal. And since the ocean waves are already moving, why not cobble together a machine to harness that energy? Think Pogo Stick inside a floating drum. The rocking motion of the waves pushes a long cylinder of magnets up and down a copper coil. His small model generates 10 watts of power in a 6-inch wave chop. A full-scale version could generate 160 kilowatts. That one buoy is enough to power 160 houses, following the rule of thumb that the average U.S. home uses about 1,000 kilowatts of electricity each month.

Note: The Houston Chronicle actually cut off part of the original article, including the last three sentences above. To read the entire article, click here. For lots more on new energy inventions, see click here.

Breaking Cycle of Poverty with Microloans Yields Nobel Peace Prize
2005-10-23, New York Times/Wall Street Journal/BusinessWeek/The Economist

Several major media articles have sung the praises of microcredit, also known as microfinance and microlending: New York Times: Tiny Loans Make a Big Difference in Lives of Poor; Wall Street Journal: A new way to do well by doing good; BusinessWeek: Microfinance funds lift poor entrepreneurs—and benefit investors; The Economist: Microcredit in India, High finance benefits the poor; Excellent general article in Time magazine titled "The End of Poverty" CNN/Associated Press: Bankers for poor win peace Nobel. Without donating a penny, you can help to break the cycle poverty in a very real way. Microcredit investments are not donations or charity. Like other investments, the money is always yours. You even earn a small amount of interest. Yet for every $1,000 you invest, several entire families in the developing world can be pulled out of poverty every year. That is part of the reason why the United Nations declared 2005 to be the International Year of Microcredit and why the individual and group who originated the microcredit concept were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006. To download a free 24-page guide to microcredit and community investing, click here.  And note that these investments are not influenced at all by market fluctuations.

Note: For more detailed information on this incredibly inspiring means of decimating poverty, click here.

The end of coal is near
2015-09-03, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)

We are witnessing the end of an era. Coal is fast becoming the telegraph to renewable energy’s Internet. The fossil-fuel divestment movement, which began just three years ago, is having an impact. Institutional investors representing nearly $1 trillion of portfolio value, including Stanford University, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, have committed to divest from coal. In California, legislation passed Wednesday that would require several of the state’s largest pension funds to divest from coal as well. Coal’s contribution to global warming has led Pope Francis, Prince Charles and the Dalai Lama to call for a transition to clean energy. While coal remains America’s largest source of electricity generation, over the past six years coal-fired generation has declined from 52 to 34 percent of our electricity portfolio. Renewable energy, which made up just 12 percent of California’s generation in 2008, now provides more than 25 percent of the state’s power. California is on track to reach Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. As a result of this progress, there are now more Californians working in the solar industry than working for the state’s utilities. The United States now has twice as many solar industry employees as coal miners. Exporting our know-how to the world, which needs to get off coal too, will be our next big business. Now is indeed the time to divest our pension funds from coal, cut the cord from this piece of our past and hasten our transition to a clean energy future.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

How the Social Mission of Ben & Jerry’s Survived Being Gobbled Up
2015-08-21, New York Times

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield founded their gourmet ice creamery in 1978 ... to make the world’s best ice cream, to run a financially successful company and to “make the world a better place.” When Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods conglomerate, offered to buy the company in 2000 for a rich 25 percent premium ... they worried that Unilever would abandon the progressive aspects of the business. But as a public corporation, Ben & Jerry’s had a fiduciary duty to its shareholders. It agreed to a deal. Very quickly, some of their worst fears were realized. A production plant and a distribution center were shuttered. Sales representatives at headquarters were fired. But today ... Ben & Jerry’s [remains] as mission-driven as ever. The recipe for this amicable partnership was written into the acquisition agreement. Unilever established an “external board” charged with overseeing Ben & Jerry’s culture and social mission [that] does not report to any authority other than itself, nominates its own members, has the right to sue Unilever and will exist in perpetuity. Even with the external board in place, a question remained: How many of Ben & Jerry’s ambitious initiatives could a multinational like Unilever reasonably be expected to support? The answer, it turned out, was most of them. The company now offers its lowest-paid workers more than twice the national minimum wage. It uses only cage-free eggs. And recently, Ben & Jerry’s became a B Corporation, [to certify its] high social and environmental standards.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

On Rooftops of Paris, Expect Green Roofs and Solar Panels
2015-08-19, Yes! Magazine

Green rooftops will soon be sprouting up across France, thanks to a new law passed in March. New buildings in the country’s commercial zones - think shops, offices, and restaurants - must now have either solar panels or green roofs, meaning a growing medium such as soil and a covering of vegetation. The new rooftop vegetation will provide habitat for birds, absorb airborne pollutants, [retain] rainwater, and reduce the urban heat island effect whereby high concentrations of concrete buildings and asphalt increase air temperature. Green roofs could even improve worker productivity, with a recent study by the University of Melbourne finding that participants who took a 40-second break to look at a green roof were more focused and accurate when they got back to work compared to those who viewed a concrete roof. Similar green-roof bylaws exist in various cities around the world, including Tokyo, Toronto, Copenhagen, and Zurich. In Toronto ... all commercial and large residential buildings built since 2009 have been required to have at least 20 percent green-roof coverage. In Copenhagen and Zurich all new flat roofs, both private and public, must be vegetated. And since 2001, all new buildings in Tokyo larger than about 11,000 square feet are required to have at least 20 percent usable green-roof space. However, France is the first to introduce such legislation country-wide. The new law means that France’s urban and industrial skylines might look more like New York City’s booming rooftop farms and less like a concrete jungle.

Note: Don't miss the inspiring photos of innovative green roofs at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

The ‘only town’ in America where cops grant amnesty to drug addicts seeking help
2015-08-17, Washington Post

Leonard Campanello ... posts frequent “Gloucester Police Chief Updates” to the police department’s Facebook page. “Since January of this year, we have responded to dozens of opiate-related overdoses and, unfortunately, the City has seen 4 deaths in this time that are heroin related,” he wrote [on March 6], adding: “4 deaths is 4 too many.” He continued: “If you are a user of opiates or heroin, let us help you. We know you do not want this addiction. We have resources here in the City that can and will make a difference in your life. Do not become a statistic.” The post collected 1,226 “likes” and more page views than there were people in the city. The community, he said, was hungry for different ideas. “The war on drugs is over,” Campanello said in an interview. “And we lost. There is no way we can arrest our way out of this. We’ve been trying that for 50 years. The only thing that has happened is heroin has become cheaper and more people are dying.” He now wanted to turn Gloucester’s police station into an oasis of amnesty in the drug addict’s perilous world. No heroin addict who entered the police seeking help — unless they had outstanding warrants — would face charges or arrest. Even if they toted their drugs and paraphernalia. Instead, they would get help. In another Facebook post in early May, he laid it out. Things then happened fast. The force opened a non-profit called the Police Assisted Addiction and Recovery Initiative. So far, Campanello said, 109 addicts have sought help at the police station.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Wal-Mart joins farmworker pay initiative in Fla
2014-01-16, USA Today/Associated Press

Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday joined an initiative that will require its Florida tomato suppliers to increase farmworker pay and protect workers from forced labor and sexual assault, among other things. The nation's largest retailer became the most influential corporation to join the initiative promoted by ... the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. "Through this collaboration, not only will thousands of hard-working farmworkers see concrete improvements to their lives, but millions of consumers will learn about the Fair Food Program and of a better way to buy fruits and vegetables grown and harvested here in the U.S," said Cruz Salacio, a spokesman for the Coalition. Florida tomato suppliers in the Fair Food Program pass on to their buyers a penny-per-pound of tomatoes pay increase for farmworkers. They also must have zero tolerance for forced labor and sexual assault and put in place a mechanism for resolving labor disputes between growers and farmworkers. The program also requires growers to allow farmworkers to form health and safety committees on each farm. Growers in compliance earn a "Participating Grower" designation, and if they lose the designation through violations, they won't be able to sell their tomatoes to the participating buyers, such as Wal-Mart. "This signifies a tremendous change," Lucas Benitez, a coalition leader, said of Wal-Mart's participation.

Note: Read more on this inspiring initiative.

Facebook Co-Founder Giving Millions Directly To The Poor, No Strings Attached
2015-08-03, Huffington Post

GiveDirectly has a straightforward approach to helping the world's poorest people: just give them cash, no strings attached. The New York-based nonprofit has distributed about $1,000 — roughly a year's income — to thousands of ultra-poor households in Kenya and Uganda. Recipients don't need to pay back the money, and they can spend it however they wish. This might seem like a radical idea, but it's not. Cash transfers have quietly become one of the most widely researched and consistently effective anti-poverty strategies in the developing world. Now GiveDirectly's work is receiving a major boost from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna, who on Monday announced a $25 million donation through their foundation Good Ventures. The gift is greater than GiveDirectly's entire 2014 budget. "Governments and donors spend tens of billions of dollars a year on reducing poverty," Tuna said in a statement, "but the people who are meant to benefit from that money rarely get a say in how it’s spent. GiveDirectly is changing that." Moskovitz and Tuna, both in their early 30s, are among the youngest billionaires to pledge the bulk of their fortune to charity. Their goal isn't just to do good, but to do the most good possible. That goal led them to support exhaustive research to determine which organizations working in poor countries are most effective and cost-efficient. That research, in turn, led them to GiveDirectly - the only nonprofit focused exclusively on cash transfers.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

What If Everything You Knew About Disciplining Kids Was Wrong?
2015-06-01, Mother Jones

Negative consequences, timeouts, and punishment just make bad behavior worse. But a new approach really works. Teachers and administrators still rely overwhelmingly on outdated systems of reward and punishment, rooted in B.F. Skinner's mid-20th-century philosophy that human behavior is determined by consequences and bad behavior must be punished. Far from resolving children's behavior problems, these standard disciplinary methods often exacerbate them. Psychologist Ross Greene, who has taught at Harvard and Virginia Tech, has developed a ... model [that] was honed in children's psychiatric clinics and battle-tested in state juvenile facilities. In 2006 it formally made its way into a smattering of public and private schools. The results thus far have been dramatic, with schools reporting drops as great as 80 percent in disciplinary referrals, suspensions, and incidents of peer aggression. Under Greene's philosophy, you'd no more punish a child for yelling out in class or jumping out of his seat repeatedly than you would if he bombed a spelling test. You'd talk with the kid to figure out the reasons for the outburst, then brainstorm alternative strategies for the next time he felt that way. The goal is to get to the root of the problem, not to discipline a kid for the way his brain is wired. The implications of this new wave of science for teachers are profound: Children can actually reshape their brains when they learn and practice skills. When students are told this is so, both their motivation and achievement levels leap forward.

Note: Ross Greene's inspiring model is detailed in his books The Explosive Child and Lost at School.

Why entrepreneurs are suddenly finding the beauty in ugly produce
2015-05-25, Washington Post

Misshapen potatoes, multi-pronged carrots and past-their-prime apples are coming into vogue. Campaigns aimed at reducing food waste are bringing these fruits and vegetables, previously reserved for hogs, compost piles and landfills, to the forefront of our minds. Dan Barber, co-owner and chef of Blue Hill in Manhattan ... for three weeks this spring turned his prominent eatery into a pop-up he called Waste-ED featuring dishes such as charred pineapple core and “dumpster dive” salad. Forty percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, a statistic that has been widely circulated since the Natural Resource Defense Fund issued a report on the subject in 2012. Many nonprofits and government agencies link that excess to a sobering shortage: the one in six Americans who lack a reliable supply of nutritious food. Taken together, they’re arguably our food system’s worst dichotomy. “We think a for-profit business is the way to solve” food waste, said Evan Lutz, the 22-year-old chief executive and co-founder of Hungry Harvest, a ... program that delivers ugly and excess produce throughout the Baltimore-Washington region. The business spun off last year from a “recovered food CSA” run by the Food Recovery Network, a national nonprofit launched ... to divert food waste from college campuses to feed the hungry. As a for-profit business, Hungry Harvest still works on the hunger side of the equation by donating a pound of produce to food banks and shelters for every pound sold to customers.

Note: Check out the food waste movie.

New research suggests nature walks are good for your brain
2015-06-29, Washington Post

In the past several months, a bevy of studies have added to a growing literature on the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. That includes recent research showing that short micro-breaks spent looking at a nature scene have a rejuvenating effect on the brain – boosting levels of attention – and also that kids who attend schools featuring more greenery fare better on cognitive tests. And Monday, yet another addition. It's a cognitive neuroscience study, meaning not only that benefits from a nature experience were captured in an experiment, but also that their apparent neural signature was observed through brain scans. 38 individuals who lived in urban areas, and who had "no history of mental disorder," were divided into two groups – and asked to take a walk. Half walked for 90 minutes through a natural area. The other half walked along a very busy road. Before and also after the walk, the participants answered a questionnaire designed to measure their tendency toward "rumination," a pattern of often negative, inward-directed thinking and questioning that has been tied to an increased risk of depression. Finally, both before and after the walk, the participants had their brains scanned. The result was that individuals who took the 90-minute nature walk showed a decrease in rumination. And their brain activity also showed a change consistent with this result. Spending time outdoors, in nature, is good for you.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Colorado Teacher Shares Heartbreaking Notes From Third Graders
2015-04-16, ABC News

Kyle Schwartz teaches third grade at Doull Elementary in Denver. In a bid to build trust between her and her students, Schwartz thought up a lesson plan called "I Wish My Teacher Knew." For the activity, Schwartz's third graders jot down a thought for their teacher, sharing something they'd like her to know about them. "I let students determine if they would like to answer anonymously," she says. "I have found that most students are not only willing to include their name, but also enjoy sharing with the class. Even when what my students are sharing is sensitive in nature, most students want their classmates to know. "Some notes are heartbreaking like the first #iwishmyteacherknew tweet which read, 'I wish my teacher knew I don't have pencils at home to do my homework.' I care deeply about each and every one of my students and I don't want any of them to have to suffer the consequences of living in poverty." Blown away by her class' honesty, Schwartz shared some of the notes on Twitter using the hashtag #IWishMyTeacherKnew, encouraging fellow teachers to employ the same lesson with their own students. "After one student shared that she had no one to play with at recess, the rest of the class chimed in and said, 'we got your back.' The next day during recess, I noticed she was playing with a group of girls. Not only can I support my students, but my students can support each other." Schwartz says she also hopes her lesson can help her connect students and their families with the proper resources they need to live comfortably.

Note: Read another inspiring article on this great idea.

Sabotage Conviction Overturned Against Nun, Fellow Activists
2015-05-08, ABC News/Associated Press

An 85-year-old nun and two fellow Catholic peace activists who splashed blood on the walls of a bunker holding weapons-grade uranium — exposing vulnerabilities in the nation's nuclear security — were wrongly convicted of sabotage, an appeals court ruled Friday. At issue was whether Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed injured national security when they cut through several fences to break into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge in July 2012. A panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 decision that they did not. Once there, the trio had hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker to symbolize a Bible passage that refers to the end of war: "They will beat their swords into ploughshares." "If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons ... the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation's ability to attack or defend," the opinion says. "But vague platitudes about a facility's 'crucial role in the national defense' are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage." Rice wrote in a letter to The Associated Press in March that "the important message of the appeal is the illegality of nuclear weapons, which are sabotaging the planet."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

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